TLB Comics- Useful Shape

 

by Jennie Bernstein

Shape of boobs breastfeeding babywearing The Leaky Boob comic*Disclaimer: studies show that breastfeeding does not cause breasts to sag.

 

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Breastfeeding Discrimination and Mountain Home Air Force Base- Interview with Breastfeeding In Combat Boots

by Jessica Martin-Weber

Every day we see evidence that parents feeding their babies is in being more and more accepted with less judgment, discrimination, and hostility from the world around them. Though we may hear more about the discrimination and public shaming of babies being fed, the truth is, there are more stories where such feedings either go unnoticed or even outright supported. We see better policies, laws, and even health care being put into place that encourages and facilitates moms in reaching their breastfeeding goals. It’s encouraging to know that we’re making progress.

Which is why it is so incredibly disappointing and discouraging when we encounter discrimination and barriers in that progress, even more so from those who are in leadership and positions of influence.
On April 16, 2015, Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho released a memorandum regarding the official breastfeeding in public base policy by Commander David Iverson. On April 21, 2015 Breastfeeding in Combat Boot’s Facebook community posted the memorandum they had received from a member impacted by this new policy on their page, which you can see here and below.
Mountain Home Air Force Base Breastfeeding policy memorandum
For some this was at least sounding supportive of breastfeeding and trying to be sensitive to everyone. For others though, this was quite a blow. For US Navy veteran and IBCLC Robyn Roche-Paull, author of the book Breastfeeding in Combat Boots and owner of the website and social media communities of the same name, this was particularly disappointing to see. The mom 3 wrote her book and launched her website inspired by her own struggles with breastfeeding in the military with a desire to support other families and help see change happen that would better support military moms.  In short order word of this new policy on MHAFB spread like wild-fire on social media and an informal campaign was launched to voice concerns regarding the policy. At the time of publishing this article, the base had release a revised statement rescinding the policy until further notice in response to the efforts of those supporting breastfed babies. Still, it is clear in the the new statement that this may not be entirely resolved.
As a civilian, I wanted to better understand the situation before reacting and reached out to Robyn. She graciously agreed to answer my questions and I’m happy to share the conversation here with you. Robyn explains what all this means, why it matters, and what we can do about it.
TLB: What exactly is this? For those of us unfamiliar with military procedures, could you explain what this memorandum is and how this impacts the lives of those who work and live on Mountain Home Air Force Base?

Robyn: A memorandum is how the military puts out new policies that affect personnel (military and civilian alike that work and live onboard the installation).  Memorandums are generally reviewed by the base legal department and signed off by the Commander of the installation.  They are to be followed and obeyed by those who live and work on the installation, and should they not be obeyed, those persons can be subject to disciplinary action.  In the case of civil service personnel they can lose their jobs over an infraction if severe enough, and for civilians married to military personnel, the military person (or sponsor) would be subject to the disciplinary action since the military person (sponsor) is responsible for their spouse/children (dependent) actions.

TLB: The memorandum for Mountain Home Air Force Base personnel from Colonel David R. Iverson, Commander of the base has 5 main points. At first glance it would seem these points are positive and in support of breastfeeding with language that expresses respecting the rights of nursing mothers in accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. Is this actually supportive of breastfeeding and protecting the rights of babies to be fed or is there something else going on here?

Robyn: At first glance it does seem to be supportive of breastfeeding since they are providing an office or room for the breastfeeding mom to use.  But reading further it is stipulated that should the mother not wish to use the room, she then MUST use a breastfeeding cover. If she refuses to cover herself then she will asked to leave the premises.    This applies to individuals in “customer service” areas, which on most military installations means anyplace where administrative tasks are completed such as in or out-processing, housing offices, Personnel Support Departments, Medical/Dental waiting areas, etc.  Places where the mother is most likely waiting in line or has a number to be called to be seen.  If she leaves to the area to go breastfeed her child, she now has lost her place in line or misses hearing her number called and has to start the process over again.

The memo goes on to state that this “sort of accommodation supports nursing mothers while also respecting the ‘sensitivities’ of other base personnel and preserves the good order of the military”.  This is anything but supportive of breastfeeding mothers, and is in every way looking out for the possibility of offending other people who might come in contact with the breastfeeding mother, and more importantly, it is putting the needs of the military’s good order and discipline ahead the needs of a hungry infant.  I can only assume that the many twenty-something young Airmen will not be able to control themselves when confronted with a breastfeeding baby and so they need to be protected from witnessing the act lest they attack the mother for being sexually provocative because they caught sight of a little side boob?  I don’t know….
TLB: It seems it is worth noting that only babies and children that are breastfed are impacted in this ruling, is that correct? Bottle-fed infants and children would be permitted to be fed in the same settings that breastfed children will be asked to move to a private room or cover?
Robyn: Yes, it would seem that the policy, as written, only affects breastfed babies and children.  They will be asked to cover or leave while bottle-fed babies and children will not be required to cover or leave.  This fact alone makes the policy discriminatory towards breastfeeding dyads, and introduces the whole concept that there is something inherently wrong or sexual about breastfeeding that requires removal from the area or covering up.
TLB:Is there a precedence set for this kind of discrimination against breastfed infants and children at other bases? Are there other military facilities that have instituted similar policies? Are there any that have taken a more supportive position in regards to infants and children that are fed at the breast of their mothers?

Robyn: There is precedence for this type of discrimination at other military bases.  In 2007 Ft. Bragg had an incident at the BX (Base Exchange, a military only store that carries everything…much like a Walmart) where a worker was told she could not breastfeed her infant on her break because the Exchange had a policy forbidding it. And again in 2011 an Army spouse and breastfeeding mother was asked to leave the housing office at Ft. Bragg because she was breastfeeding her daughter.  In March of 2013, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii had an incident at the out-processing facility with a mother breastfeeding while waiting in line to have her paperwork processed, she was accused of indecent exposure and asked to leave, her active duty husband was threatened with legal action if she didn’t comply.  Later that month, at Schofield Barracks, also in Hawaii, an incident at the Commissary (a grocery store for military personnel) mothers were asked to leave when breastfeeding their infants, and then a policy was put in place requiring breastfeeding mothers to be ‘discreet’ and cover themselves or leave if they were breastfeeding in order to protect the other patrons from having to see the act going on.   In some cases, public outrage and the power of social media, along with education made it possible to rescind the policies and have better ones that were breastfeeding friendly put in place instead, but not in all cases. See my Blog post here regarding another incident.

TLB: Are there any military facilities that have instituted policies that are truly supportive of breastfeeding in public? Could you share with us examples of what such support looks like in policy? Is there a military base that Mountain Home Air Force Base could learn from in supporting breastfeeding children and their families?
Robyn: There are no specific policies that I am aware of at this time that are supportive of Breastfeeding in public.  There are a few that have it included within another breastfeeding policy (like the one at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth which includes a statement that breastfeeding is allowed anywhere within the hospital, but a room can be provided if the mother chooses). I know that the Commanding Officer at Naval Base Ventura County in California made a public statement in the base newspaper that breastfeeding women could do so anywhere and anytime in accordance with California law. But there is no formal policy stating that.
TLB: The memorandum mentions concerns of exposure in public settings, what does this stem from and is there something uniquely particular about this concern on a military base? Is there a reason that this policy would be necessary on base when there are laws protecting breastfeeding babies (and their mothers) on a federal level?

Robyn: I think this stems from concerns about anything that might be considered sexual (even though we know breastfeeding is about feeding a child, not sex!) within the military environment and to also maintain good order and discipline. Its complicated in the military. There is a running and deep-seated fear about sexuality, sexual assault, and sexual harassment that has everyone on point and scared to do or say anything that might be construed as sexual.  I think too that the military in many ways is very conservative and old-fashioned and also still a very male-dominated workplace (only 15% of all military personnel are women), so ANYTHING that might be seen as sexual, i.e. breasts are off-limits and cannot be seen, even if they are just being used to feed a child.  There are bans on girly magazines now at military exchanges (they used to be out where anyone could see the covers) and many installations DO have dress codes and policies concerning what individuals can and cannot wear at the gym, pool, Commissary, Exchange (such as booty shorts, saggy shorts, midriffs, etc.) This unfortunately is an extension of that, without taking into account that the baby or child needs to or is being fed.  (See also my answer above! )  With that said, as a military veteran and spouse, and an IBCLC and advocate for breastfeeding in the military…. I just cant see a reason for this policy to be in place when there are federal laws to protect breastfeeding mothers and babies while on federal property.  I just don’t understand where this came from.  I might have more understanding of the ’need’ for a policy if there had been an ‘incident’ that prompted this policy.  But so far it seems as though it sprang up out of nowhere.

TLB: Speaking of laws, though the state of Idaho has no laws regarding breastfeeding, there is a federal law in place protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed, how can the Commander Iverson institute policies and procedures that are in violation of that law? Are breastfeeding children and their mothers protected by that federal law? What do they risk in refusing to comply with this new base policy?
Robyn: This is where it gets tricky.  There are State laws and Federal laws and then there are Military laws.  Federal trumps State and in some cases Military trumps Federal. However this particular policy only applies to civilian personnel, so it would seem that Federal law wins and breastfeeding mothers and children ARE protected.  I have spoken with a couple of Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers (military lawyers) who basically have stated that Federal law does not apply to UNIFORMED MILITARY personnel, especially if it is an Executive Order (i.e. from the President, otherwise known as the Commander-in-Chief of the military).  But where the law is silent the DOD can make policy, and where the DOD is silent, each branch can make policy and so on down the line to the installation Commander.  However those policies cannot be in conflict with any higher order law or policy.  This applies to State and Local laws and policies as well.  In the case of this policy, again…it applies to civilians and civil-service employees so they are automatically covered by the Federal law.
(See my answer above in regards to not complying with policy.)
TLB: Why does this situation matter both for military personnel and for civilians? Why should we be concerned about this?

Robyn: This sets a precedent for other military installations to create policies that are similar which would be horrible.  Many, many military personnel have families and will be or are breastfeeding, polices of this type could affect a large segment of the population. This could also be used to draft policies that limit when and where active duty military women can breastfeed or pump while in uniform, and that would cause massive amounts of hardship since many of those women already face challenges to keep their milk supplies up. Throw in a policy stating that they cant breastfeed their infant on base while in uniform (such as at Medical) and they may very well just wean.  This policy goes against Federal law, it even goes against the Air Force’s very own fantastically supportive breastfeeding policy that allows military women time and place to breastfeed/pump during the duty day.  So on the one hand the Air Force is supportive of breastfeeding but just don’t do it in front of anybody?  Finally our military families sacrifice a lot of freedoms so that everyone can have the rights afforded to them by living in the United States….and now you are going to tell the very people who live and work and sometimes die for their country, that they cant breastfeed their child whenever and wherever they might be while on US Government property?  Not going to fly folks!

TLB: With all that in mind, what can we do? How can we use our voice regarding this issue and what difference can we make? Are there steps military personnel can take to protest this without threatening their career? What can the civilian population do as well?

Robyn: You can help by being supportive of our military personnel for starters!  You can use your voice by emailing/writing and/or posting to the social media site of Mountain Home Air Force base with your thoughts and concerns about this issue (and any others that come up).  You can write to your Congressmen and women to have them enact better breastfeeding polices for our active duty breastfeeding mothers in the military and also have the Federal breastfeeding law amended to specifically state that it covers military installations as well.  Military personnel pretty much have their hands tied, which is why I have posted the memo and other information anonymously as it is a very real possibility that they can have action taken against them for speaking up about the issue.  These are the very people fighting for your right TO breastfeed when and wherever you choose, but they cant voice that opinion themselves.

___________________
As I stated earlier, before publishing but following our conversation, the Mountain Home Air Force Base released a new statement rescinding the policy, linked here.
Mountain Home Air Force Base rescinds breastfeeding policy
I touched base with Robyn for her take on this statement rescinding the policy and she shared this:
Thanks to Social Media and the power of many moms writing in and voicing their concerns the policy has been rescinded (give the link).  Let’s hope that Commander Iverson will receive some much-needed education on the topic and a revised policy will be fully supportive of breastfeeding mothers.

I agree, I’m grateful for the global village raising their voice against the discrimination of breastfed babies. Together we have influence and can make positive change. Though the rescinding of the policy is encouraging, there is still a bit of a “sorry not sorry” passive aggressive feel to the apology and the line: “I will revoke this policy while we look for a better way to accommodate and be respectful of all individuals in our community” (emphasis mine) leaves quite a bit of room for amending the policy in a way that could still discriminate against breastfeeding children and their mothers.

If you would still like to voice your concern regarding the breastfeeding policy of the base and express support for policies in keeping with the federal law which supports breastfeeding in public, you can send a respectful email (please communicate with respect, no name calling or belittling of the commander) to the Commander’s hotline at 366FW/PA.Public.Affairs@us.af.mil.

My thanks to Robyn for her help in understanding this situation.


_________________

Robyn Roche-Paull

Robyn Roche-Paull

Robyn Roche-Paull, BSN, RN, IBCLC, LLLL
Robyn Roche-Paull, is the award-winning author of the comprehensive book Breastfeeding in Combat Boots: A Survival Guide to the Successful Breastfeeding While Serving in the Military, and the Founder of the website ‘Breastfeeding in Combat Boots’.  She is a Registered Nurse and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) as well as a US Navy Veteran.  She began her breastfeeding career while still on active duty in the US Navy.  She served six years as an aircraft mechanic on F/A-18 Hornets and A-6 Intruders on deployment overseas and stateside.  During that time she gave birth to breastfed her son for well over a year before separating from the military with an Honorable discharge.  Robyn wrote her book due to the difficulties she experienced breastfeeding her son while on active duty, and her desire to help other military mothers be successful at breastfeeding so that they do NOT have to experience those difficulties; but instead can enjoy all that breastfeeding has to offer both mother and child.
Robyn has been working with breastfeeding mothers for over 14 years and has been an IBCLC since 2006. She holds Bachelors degrees in both Maternal Child Health and Nursing. Currently Robyn works as both a Labor & Delivery and Postpartum RN. In addition, Robyn is the Past Area Professional Liaison for La Leche League of Virginia/West Virginia,  is a Board member of MiLCA (Military Lactation Consultants Association), and she is the Secretary for TALCA (Tidewater Area Lactation Consultant Association).  She maintains her website and Facebook page, writes for various blogs and magazines and helps active duty military mothers worldwide via email and Skype.  Robyn lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband of 20 years, who is a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy, and her three (long-term breastfed) children.  

www.breastfeedingincombatboots.com

www.facebook.com/breastfeedingincombatboots

www.twitter.com/BFinCB

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TLB’s First Newsletter! The Leaky Times News, Vol 1

Welcome to The Leaky Boob’s very first newsletter!

Some of the formatting didn’t adjust to our website just right; to see it in a new window the way it was meant to look, click here!

Tell us what you think in a comment below! How do you like it? What feature would you include in future newsletters? What is your favorite feature?

If you would like what you see and would like to subscribe to future TLB Newsletters, you can do so here:

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Welcome to our first Leaky Times newsletter!
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This week’s newsletter generously sponsored by 
Hi, *|FNAME|*! Welcome to our first newsletter for The Leaky Boob group! Where we gather all of our best stories and inspiration and bring them to you each week. We’re so glad you’re here! We hope to inspire you just as much as you inspire us!

Xo -The TLB team

Highlights from theleakyboob.com 

#mystorymatters 

“…All of these women and thousands of others I have heard from felt that their story didn’t matter. They felt their stories weren’t happy enough, dramatic enough, perfect enough, difficult enough, strong enough, smart enough, right enough, important enough, painful enough, humble enough, promising enough, advocate enough, bold enough. Enough.”

YOU ARE ENOUGH.”

 Read more

Rumina’s Full Figure Bra Ambassador and Model Search and Giveaway!

The challenges that face full figured and large breasted women when it comes to breastfeeding can be overwhelming. We believe that quality support for breasts and for a woman’s personal goals in feeding her baby can make all the difference in the world. ALL body types are beautiful and we CELEBRATE you and your family with the shape you have and are striving to be the best support we can be. YOU ARE ENOUGH and #yourstorymatters! Read more HERE for support and for the giveaway!

It’s The Leaky Boob’s 5th Birthday Bash!

Latest TLB Review: Dairy FairyRead Here

Leaky Boob Looks With Ameda- Boob Out Fashion for Breastfeeding Moms  

Welcome to our all NEW feature:   Leaky Boob Looks

Every Wednesday, we will be featuring awesome fashions for the Leaky mom. YOU!Real life. Real options. Options that work for your lifestyle.

Because you’ve GOT to be able to get a boob out!

Check out our latest looks for you and where to find them

HERE

Wanna join in? Tag us with#booboutfashion #LBLWednesday

to show us how YOU get your Leaky fashion on!We may choose YOUR look to feature on our latest looks for the week!

Join The Leaky Boob Community on Facebook!

The Leaky Boob Community Facebook Group is an extension of TheLeakyBoob.com and The Leaky Boob Facebook page. The Leaky Boob Community is a breastfeeding community where we laugh, cry, share and provide information and support brought together around feeding our babies but talking about all facets of life. Respecting that what is best depends on individual circumstances, access to support, personal resources, and more. Encouraging everyone feeding their babies and people that support them everywhere!

Highlights from the web and social media



National Geographic: Could Mother’s Milk Nourish Mind-Manipulating Microbes? Read More

Facebook: A heart-wrenching story of beauty, love, and sacrifice. Read more

Buzzfeed: This illustrating Scottish mom captures life I’m sure a few of us can relate to! Read more



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Get to know Carrie Saum and her passion for empowered wellness through good food and a healthy lifestyle. 

Quinoa Fritters with Coconut Honey Butter

Our son Echo and 
FPIES: Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome



Featured Recipe from Our Stable Table

Buttered Coffee12 oz. freshly brewed coffee1 Tbsp. Kerrygold butter1 Tbsp. organic coconut oil1 Tbsp. Great Lakes Gelatinsweeter (optional)
Directions:1. In a blender or Magic Bullet, add coffee, coconut oil, butter and sweetener.  Add gelatin just before you blend.2. Blend on high for 5 seconds. That’s all it takes to become emulsified and frothy and magical.3. Drink immediately. (or you could get a gelatinous goop instead of this deliciousness!)
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Beyond Moi

Beyond You, Beyond Them, Beyond Now, Beyond Stuff.

Sexual Abuse, Body Image, and the Healing Power of Dance

by Ophelia Martin-Weber

“You put on a leotard and tights that reveal your body shape and form completely, move around in front of others, and constantly have people tell how you are doing it wrong. Judgment, judgment, judgment. Rejection. Why would anyone put up with that?”

“But I know why. When I dance, I feel free.”

Read More

You can learn more about Ophelia’s future in dance and support her by going here!

Beyond Yelling

Yesterday I had a moment where I yelled, stomped around, and made a scene.

Wonderful, Messy, Children

Some kids are girls, and some kids are boys, but one thing is certain: if you let them, kids will be kids.     

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Party Like a Leaky Part 4 – International Edition

 The Leaky Boob is turning 5 years old and we’re celebrating ALL MONTH LONG! And this week the party is going international to include all the readers in the 173 companies where TheLeakyBoob.com is read.

To celebrate we’re collecting and sharing your stories along with collecting some of our favorite maternity, breastfeeding, and baby products to give as gifts to YOU Leakies. Each week our celebration includes a different birthday bash bundle of prizes from our favorite brands, presents for Leakies. AND we’re growing!

Some of us aren’t breastfeeding or bottle-feeding any more (and you thought it was going to last forever) but you’re still a part of our community and you’re still nourishing and loving your family so we’ve grown to expand two more communities where we can talk about our highs and lows of that journey in a safe, judgment-free environment. Over on BeyondMoi.com we talk a lot about, well, everything, specially about parenting and relationships. OurStableTable.com invites everyone to find a seat at the table embracing that sometimes there’s a little wobble in one of our legs, making room for allergies, and creatively nourishing our whole selves with recipes and a lot of honest conversation.

Last, but not least, we have launched our newsletter which brings together TLB, Beyond Moi, and OST, with exclusive special features not available anywhere else, giveaways, round ups, and more from the community. Our first newsletter and sign-ups available here

Our family is growing and we’re happy to share it with you!


Let’s party like a Leaky this month and #TLBsupportForward!

giveaway, The Leaky Boob, international, baby products, nursing, breastfeeding

Here is what’s included in TLB’s Birthday Bash Bundle #4:

Ameda: Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump - Retail Value: $194
Whether you are returning to work or want a fast and easy pumping experience, the Ameda Purely Yours double electric breast pump, designed for daily use, is the ideal breast pump. The Purely Yours breast pumps combine hospital recommended technology with mom friendly features.  Offering the same great pump through retail locations (on-line and brick-and-mortar), insurance benefits, and WIC you can depend on Ameda to provide moms with the tools they need to feed their baby.

Bonus from Ameda: Eat@Mom’s T-Shirt! – Retail Value: $15
All proceeds from the sale of the shirt go to Mother & Child Health Coalition in St Louis.

Tula Baby CarriersErgonomic Baby Carrier – Retail Value: $149
Tula Carriers, Ring Slings, and Wraps, known for comfort, quality, and style, are the top choice in handmade ergonomic baby carriers to be used from birth through toddlerhood and beyond.

MommyCon2 General Admission Tickets to MommyCon – Retail Value: $80
Two general admission tickets to any MommyCon in 2015. MommyCon is you chance to hear Jessica, founder and owner of The Leaky Boob, speak along with a collection of other gifted speakers. Check out when MommyCon will be in a city near you!

Rebecca Michi – Children’s Sleep Consultant: a Copy of Her Book: Sleep and Your Child’s Temperament and a 45 minute telephone sleep consultation – Retail Value: $166
Indigenous to India and the Philippines, Malunggay is known as the “miracle tree” and is widely recognized for its nutritional benefits. It has been used for generations by breastfeeding women to help increase breast milk supply. Can be used during pregnancy.

Spray PalSpray Pal splatter shield – Retail Value: $25
The Spray Pal Splatter Shield was invented by parents to make pre-rinsing cloth diapers easy and mess-free! Just clip your diaper in, grab your diaper sprayer and spray clean at full pressure without worrying about any backsplash on you or the bathroom floor. Easy to clean and folds flat for easy storage.

Goumikids: Goumikids Newborn Set – Retail Value: $40
Goumikids products feature innovative, smart design so that mitts, boots and hats stay put, comfortably. The newborn set is the perfect accompaniment to baby’s arrival with mitts to keep baby from scratching, a hat to regulate body temperature, and boots to keep toes cozy. Organic cotton/bamboo blend.

Beyond the Willow Tree: $50 Gift Voucher – Retail Value: $50
Keepsake jewelry store specializing in unique breast milk jewellery, hair jewellery, placenta and umbilical jewellery, wedding and special keepsakes from a loved ones ashes.

Eyla’s: Eyla’s Starter Package – Retail Value: $140
With this package you receive:
1 x 4oz bottle of Momma Nature Clean Hand Spritz which is all Natural, Vegan and edible. The main ingredient is Tea Tree Oil which is naturally antibacterial.
1 x Baby Comfy Nose Nasal Aspirator. Baby Comfy Nose uses your own suction, so it is much more effective than bulb and battery type aspirators. The design protects you from any contact with mucus and germs, but use a tissue in the body of the aspirator as an effective and disposable filter.
1 x Zen Rocks Infinity Heart Silicone Jewelry. The Infinity Heart design represents never-ending possibilities and no limitations on love.
2 x Baltic Amber Necklace one for baby and one for mom. Amber is associated with sunlight and warmth and reputed to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, accelerates the healing of wounds, reduce inflammation of the throat, ear and stomach infections and respiratory disease. There are no tablets, medications or pastes that can compete with this amber, the necklace is unique and has amazing results which are all natural.
1 x Aqua Vessel Insulated Stainless Steel Filtration Bottle. The Aqua Vessel Insulated Filter Bottle is the first of its kind – a bottle that not only keeps your water cold, but also filters as you drink. Our sustainable plant-based filter attaches easily to the straw top, so every sip you take is cleaned on its way to your mouth. The Stainless Steel design will also allow you to keep cold liquids cold for 36+ hours.

PebbleRainbow Bunny Rattle – Retail value: $22
This cheerful Bunny Rattle from Pebble is handmade and is bringing smiles to faces around the world. This fair trade product provides much-needed employment to mothers providing for their children in rural Bangladesh. Machine washable. 

Total Value of this bundle: $857

__________________

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from April 22, 2015 through April 29, 2015.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors of this birthday giveaway bundle for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank them on their Facebook pages for their show of support!

This giveaway bundle is open to international participants. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Why Would You Wear Your Toddler or Preschooler When They Can Walk?

by Jessica Martin-Weber
This post made possible by the generous sponsorship of Beco Baby Carriers.
Why wear your toddler when they can walk?

Photo credit: Your Street Photography, Meghann Buswell. Love this carrier? There are only two like it the whole world and you can win the other one by going here!

Once upon a time I found the whole idea of wearing a child who could walk completely… ridiculous. Seriously, how is that helping them? They can walk, you’re just trying to keep them little longer and probably inhibiting their development. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO, CARRY THEM ALL AROUND THEIR COLLEGE CAMPUS?

*If you just want the quick points on why maybe you should wear your toddler, skip to the end.*

I figured if you kept carrying your child after they learned how to walk, you’d end up looking like this.

Beco Carrier teenager

Photo credit: Your Street Photography, Meghann Buswell

Then I had a kid. Our first turned out to be a late walker and didn’t really become mobile until between 15 and 16 months old. By that point the other toddlers in our circles were running circles around her and I began to panic, in spite of our pediatrician’s reassurance, that she was never, ever going to walk. Worried that her my dreams of an Olympic gold medalist were fast slipping out of reach, I become a little pushy to get her to walk. And also because carrying her was killing my back and arms, back then we didn’t have any carriers with a high enough weight limit and I just plain didn’t want carry her. Well meaning people around me warned that she was just using me, being lazy, and would never become independent if we “let” her make us carry her all the time. We were “spoiling her” and we’d have to carry her FOREVER. So I pushed. Walk, you’ve got two legs, use them! Besides, you have to become self sufficient and independent some day. Sheesh.

You guys, she was really still just a baby.

But even after she started walking she wanted to be held a lot. In fact, she was timid and scared and insecure. To “help” her through that, I pushed her to be more independent. I’m not proud of this, in fact, it makes me sad. Looking back, me pushing her to walk when she wanted to be close to me was really a jerk thing to do. I would refuse to carry her or carry her for just a moment and then put her down even if she wasn’t ready. My fears were completely unfounded, today she walks and runs and dances ballet just fine. Not only that, after some therapy and healing, she is a self sufficient independent introverted 16 year old who has taught me that connection is more important and respecting individual personal ways of interacting with the world is what makes you not be a jerk of a parent. She didn’t need me pushing her to walk, she needed me available for lots and lots of connection until she was ready. To this day she prefers to observe the world from a bit of a distance before racing into it. But when she does race in, watch out, she has found her confidence and her voice to make a difference.

Since our eldest taught us about respecting our children as individual people, we’ve had 5 more children but it wasn’t until our 3rd that we began to wear our toddlers on purpose. Another introvert, our third daughter felt safest close to a parent and would for several years. Meaning when she was three and four, she still wanted up in certain settings. Instead of traumatizing her with environments she wasn’t ready to navigate independently, we listened to her. When she was ready, she would progress into the world around her on her terms and now confidently moves through the world secure in her steps and returning to us to share her adventures and discoveries. Now, with our almost 3 year old Sugarbaby, we let her set the pace for how she interacts with the world. All 6 of our children have unique personalities, some have loved being close and super snuggly for a long time, others just have moments they need to check in before rushing off again. Every single one of them has, at times, requested to be held and carried even after they could walk. Sometimes for physical reasons, sometimes for emotional reasons. All of their reasons are valid.

And so far, of our older girls, they each also reach a point where closeness doesn’t require us carrying them and we grow together in developing other ways to connect.

Because it turns out, you can’t spoil them by respecting them, they will eventually not want you to carry them everywhere.

Todllerwearing Beco

Photo credit: Your Street Photography, Meghann Buswell

Last year, just before she was 2 years old, Sugarbaby accompanied us to India, a culture of amazing people that adore children and love to touch young ones. Another introvert (we have a pretty even blend of introverts and extroverts in our home), she quickly learned 2 things: how to clearly say “go away, don’t touch!” and “Beco up!” From her safe position on my back she would offer high fives to the people who wanted to hold her, kiss her, and touch her face. Happy and secure in a place she knows to be safe, she interacted with those we encountered in a way that respected her unique way of being in the world. She runs, dances, jumps, and climbs freely but when she needs to be close or when her little legs are tired from all that exercise and strengthening, up into a carrier she goes on mommy, daddy, or even a big sister. Our long family walks or forays into downtown to go to markets and explore happen with a combination of her walking, running, hoping, and twirling (always twirling, she doesn’t really walk right now, she twirls everywhere) and when she’s tired, on somebody’s back. Occasionally she keeps me company during meal prep on my back when she tires of her spot on a stool.

And from the spot on my back and sometimes on my front she whispers in my ear “I love you mommy.” I don’t know how much longer she’ll ask to “Beco” but I’m willing to as long as she does.

For me the question isn’t why would you wear your toddler or preschooler, the question is why wouldn’t you.

Beco Toddler Two of a Kind

Photo credit: Your Street Photography, Meghann Buswell

7 reasons to wear your toddler/preschooler

Want a shot at winning a carrier just like the one in the photos here? Enter here!
  1. Who doesn’t love snuggling? Besides, science shows us that positive physical touch is soothing and healing at all ages, it can even reduce pain. “To touch can be to give life” – Michelangelo
  2. Not only does touch heal, soothe, and connect, neuroscientists have found that physical human contact activates the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex, which is linked to feelings of reward and compassion. All good stuff!
  3. Touch can reduce stress. Young children often ask to be held when they’re experiencing stress such as fear, anxiety, or uncertainty and for good reason, touch can calm them, lower their heart rate and blood pressure, and of course releases positive hormones such as oxytocin. Wearing a child who is experiencing stress can provide them just the support they need to successfully navigate that stress when they’re ready.
  4. Young children can become overstimulated quickly, having a safe place to work through that overstimulation can mean the difference between a toddler becoming a destructive force in the world around them, having a meltdown of tears and screams, or observing and interacting as they see modeled from their safe perch on a trusted adult’s chest or back.
  5. Running. Need I say more? Parents are all excited when their baby learns to walk but in a no time they realize their excitement was misguided. Walking leads to running. You know what you can’t lose at the children’s museum? THE KID STRAPPED ON YOUR BACK. Sure, you have to let them down from time to time but when their running is running you ragged and reminding them to walk 3,342,438 times has made you horse, a ride on mama’s back (hey, let’s play horsey!) is a relief.
  6. Strollers are awesome, a great tool and we use ours still. But strollers are not always awesome. The view is limited for the rider and sometimes the world just feels like an obstacle course when you’re dealing with one. An assisted piggy back ride with a carrier is much easier to contend with than a stroller in many settings.
  7. They love it. Not always and as they grow in their own desire of “I DO IT!” they will have times they most certainly do not want to be worn. But toddlers and preschoolers aren’t really much bigger than babies and they still love to be close. And that’s the best reason. There are plenty of times in life where we have to tell our children no and deny them what they think they want. Being close, being held, having our touch should never be one of them.

_____________________

Do you wear your toddler? Want to but aren’t sure if you should? What are your thoughts on toddlerwearing?

_____________________

For a limited time you can enter to win the same carrier pictured in this article by going here.

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Party Like a Leaky to Celebrate 5 Years of TLB, Part 3!

 The Leaky Boob is turning 5 years old and we’re celebrating ALL MONTH LONG! To celebrate we’re collecting and sharing your stories along with collecting some of our favorite maternity, breastfeeding, and baby products to give as gifts to YOU Leakies. Each week our celebration includes a different birthday bash bundle of prizes from our favorite brands, presents for Leakies. AND we’re growing! Some of us aren’t breastfeeding or bottle-feeding any more (and you thought it was going to last forever) but you’re still a part of our community and you’re still nourishing and loving your family so we’ve grown to expand two more communities where we can talk about our highs and lows of that journey in a safe, judgment-free environment. Over on BeyondMoi.com we talk a lot about, well, everything, specially about parenting and relationships. OurStableTable.com invites everyone to find a seat at the table embracing that sometimes there’s a little wobble in one of our legs, making room for allergies, and creatively nourishing our whole selves with recipes and a lot of honest conversation. Our family is growing and we’re happy to share it with you!


Let’s party like a Leaky this month and #TLBsupportForward!

Bundle #3

Here is what’s included in TLB’s Birthday Bash Bundle #3:

Arm’s Reach ConceptsBeautiful Dreamer Cocoon – Retail Value: $140
The Arm’s Reach® beautiful dreamer™Cocoon will help your baby sleep better by continuing the feeling of the womb, cradling newborns closely and gently swaying in response to their movement. Gentle motion not only soothes but also improves digestion, so it’s ideal for fussy babies. Because the back is adjustable, it’s a great solution for little ones with colic or reflux. Naturally stimulates and entertains baby while awake. Facilitates naptime. Babies learn to control the hammock’s sway with their own body movements, which entertains while encouraging physical activity.

Ameda: Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump - Retail Value: $194
Whether you are returning to work or want a fast and easy pumping experience, the Ameda Purely Yours double electric breast pump, designed for daily use, is the ideal breast pump. The Purely Yours breast pumps combine hospital recommended technology with mom friendly features.  Offering the same great pump through retail locations (on-line and brick-and-mortar), insurance benefits, and WIC you can depend on Ameda to provide moms with the tools they need to feed their baby.

Bonus from Ameda: Eat@Mom’s T-Shirt! – Retail Value: $15
All proceeds from the sale of the shirt go to Mother & Child Health Coalition in St Louis.

ErgobabyNatural Curve™ Nursing Pillow – Retail Value: $70
The Ergobaby Natural Curve™ Nursing Pillow gives you the enduring support you need to relax, nurse comfortably and bond with baby.

LILLEbabyCOMPLETE All Season Baby Carrier – Retail Value: $140
The LÍLLÉbaby COMPLETE baby carriers combines more carrying positions, lasts longer, and includes more features than any other baby carrier. The best of both worlds, this versatile hybrid is ready for whatever comes its way. Featuring an exclusive temperature-control panel that easily zips-up for warmth and zips-down to expose cool, breathable, 3D mesh. It’s lightweight, road-ready and built for daily use—be it in the brisk fall winds or blazing days of summer.

MotherloveMalunggay Breast Milk Supplement – Retail Value: $26
Indigenous to India and the Philippines, Malunggay is known as the “miracle tree” and is widely recognized for its nutritional benefits. It has been used for generations by breastfeeding women to help increase breast milk supply. Can be used during pregnancy.

Mamma-Kin LCCKoalaKin, Hands Free Nursing Pouch – Retail Value: $90
Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s not always intuitive. That’s why we created the KoalaKin, Hands Free Nursing Pouch®… a unique sling that allows moms to perfectly position babies for nursing, giving them easy and inconspicuous access to the breast with minimal strain on the body, and freeing up your hands so you could stay active with older children and other interests.

The Dairy FairyThe Arden All in One Nursing and Handsfree Pumping Bra – Retail Value: $68
No mother in the land should be without the Arden All in One bra. Comfortable, beautiful and efficient. Nurse, handsfree pump, and adjust to fit your fluctuating breast size. Because you don’t have to choose between smart and sexy – you can have both, because you are both.

NuRooNuRoo Pocket – Retail Value: $60
The NüRoo® Pocket is a babywearing shirt that offers full coverage and mobility for moms practicing Skin-to-Skin Contact with their baby. It also doubles as a hands free carrier! Extremely easy to get baby in and out of, without wrapping, tying or knotting. The ‘cross and hug’ closures provide a custom fit as your body changes and your baby grows. The fabric is super soft, breathable, moisture-wicking and offers just the right amount of compression to ensure proper position and continued support for both mom and baby. It adheres to the sling carrier standards, which means it’s been tested up to 45 pounds. A 2014 Editor’s Pick from What to Expecting When You’re Expecting!

Molly’s Suds: Laundry Powder (70 loads) and one of our Wool Dryer Balls (set of 3) – Retail Value: $34
Comprised of only five earth-derived ingredients and formulated especially for sensitive skin, Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder is safe and ideal for your clothes AND your family. The super-concentrated powder is long-lasting and affordable, with just one tablespoon required per load. Just as effective as conventional brands and more effective than natural brands, without the use of harsh chemicals, toxins, fillers, carcinogens, preservatives or GMO ingredients. Works great in all water temperatures and hard water, and is septic- and High Efficiency (HE) washer-safe.

Replace the need for toxic fabric softeners with Molly’s Suds 100% hand felted Wool Dryer Balls, which last up to 1,000 loads, or three years, in the dryer, and reduce drying time by 15-30%. Sourced from humanely sheared sheep, our Wool Dryer Balls are compostable and antimicrobial, naturally soften fabrics, and are great for all laundry, including towels, comforters, clothing, baby laundry, delicates and cloth diapers.

Juno BluEsalen Breast Pump Tote – Retail Value: $185
The Juno Blu Esalen tote is a sleek urban alternative to the traditional breast pump bag. The trend-aware design makes this tote a hidden treasure for both the new and seasoned mother. The Esalen Tote’s sleek design is ideal for going to work, the park or on a play-date.

PebbleRainbow Bunny Rattle – Retail value: $22
This cheerful Bunny Rattle from Pebble is handmade and is bringing smiles to faces around the world. This fair trade product provides much-needed employment to mothers providing for their children in rural Bangladesh. Machine washable. 

Total Value of this bundle: $904

__________________

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from April 15, 2015 through April 22, 2015.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors of this birthday giveaway bundle for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank them on their Facebook pages for their show of support!

This giveaway bundle is for U.S. only. 

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F-cup, As In Frick, Those Are Some Big Boobs- Breastfeeding and Large Breasts

by Joni Edelman
 this post made possible by the generous sponsorship of Rumina Nursingwear.
Joni Edelman and family

The author and her family.

 

 

Let me just start this off right by saying, YAY. All caps YAY. Jessica asked me to write this guest post my and first thought was, naturally, “Who? Me? Are you SURE? But I’m not worthy. It was a real Wayne’s World moment, and if you don’t know what Wayne’s World is, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. Mostly because it would imply that I am old. Which I am not. In any case, once I was able to return to standing, I remembered that I have boobs and they have collectively nursed 10 years and 5+ kids.

Editor’s note: I nearly fainted when she said yes she would write for us! And having fed babies meant she was infinitely qualified to write for TLB. Also, Wayne’s World was a Saturday Night Live skit from the late 80’s turned feature film in the early 90’s for those of you too young to be reading this, I mean, get the reference. Back to Joni…

Speaking of boobs, let’s talk about mine! They’re round(ish). They have nipples. The right one is bigger than the left. And because the right one is bigger than the left, the right nipple points sort of downward in an ode to gravity, and my bellybutton. And speaking of gravity, my boobs and gravity, they are well acquainted. In addition to being round, nipple bearing, disproportionate, and subject to gravity, they are also large. As of this writing, they thoroughly fill an F cup. F is for frick. As in frick, those are some big boobs.

I digress. Let me start from the start. I was born in the early 70s. In the early 70s women were setting their bras on fire and such, which in hindsight seems pretty sensible. I imagine my mother, cut off shorts and tube top, perched on my dad’s shoulders at a Janis Joplin concert, waving her bra in the air, screaming, “THE MAN WILL NOT HOLD ME DOWN.” Or some other such profound feminist thing. As a consequence of the bra burning, my mom wasn’t really wearing bras. As such, I was quite intimately aware of her small sloping breasts and thumb size nipples (which seemed really grotesque to me at 7, but which I now see as relatively common, as in mine look just like that).

I personally didn’t have any boobs. I was 99.7% sure that I was destined to bear the chest of a 10 year old boy until such day as I left this earth.

Then when I was 16 I went to Europe. And while in Europe I ate a lot of pasta/nutella/bread/gelato. Because I was there for quite a while, all that pasta/nutella/bread/gelato basically adhered itself to my butt and chest. Tada. By miracle of chocolate and hazelnuts, plus a sprinkling of hormones, my boobs were born.

breastfeeding through pregnancy

Joni breastfeeding and pregnant.

And then my first baby was born when I was 20. No one in my family had breastfed a baby since The Grapes of Wrath. So no one really talked about it and no one could, or would, really tell me about it. But I decided I was going to figure it out so I equipped myself with two boobs full of milk and three nursing bras.

I nursed that baby and then her brother and his brother and his sister and her brother. And if you lost count, that’s five. Plus some random babies here and there because I am cow-like in milk production. Milk glands are like sweat glands. So making milk is akin to sweating. I sweat a lot and I also make a lot of milk. COINCIDENCE?

The milk sweating doesn’t really have anything to do with the fact that I have two boulders attached to my chest. That’s mostly just genetics. I’m German and when I consider my family tree I picture a busty barmaid in a corset with a tray of beer. Wait. That’s the St. Pauli girl. In any case, where these suckers came from may remain a mystery but what is not a mystery is that they are big.

I was fit for a nursing bra after that first baby, because the three I bought looked like I was trying to shove a watermelon into a tube sock. When the lovely lady at Pea in a Pod (or something. It was the early 90s, the options were slim) measured me and declared me a 34G, I must have turned some shade of white/green, because even she looked alarmed.

Ten year old boy to Dolly Parton. Bam.

Bras and nursing tanks are more readily available now, but in the 90s if you wanted a special size you had to order it. From a catalogue. I know. It was the dark ages. We just all sat around looking at our catalogues by candlelight and eating our curds and whey.

Milk ducts actually increase with the birth/nursing of each subsequent child. Which basically means that by now, I’m equipped with enough milk-sweat glands to feed a not very small village. I nursed my last baby 2.5 years from a G cup.

Nursing with breasts this plentiful has it’s benefits, and of course it’s downfalls. Discuss.

Boos:

  • Buying a bra is no easy feat. Forget off the rack, unless you go to Sports Authority and buy two hammocks and whipstitch them together.
  • Discretion is not easy. It’s hard enough to keep a baby covered much less a breast the size of volleyball. I never even tried. Look stranger, I double dog dare you.
  • Your giant breast may inadvertently smoosh into your baby’s face. Not like suffocation level though (because babies are born with that little nose channel to help them breathe, probably in circumstances such as these) but smoosh, non the less.
  • It’s more likely that your infant will inadvertently latch on to the side your breast, simply because there is so. much. boob.
  • Your back is probably going to hurt from lugging around a pair of tatas heavier than your baby.

 

Breastfeeding with large breasts

The author and her two youngest

Yays:

  • Looking like Dolly Parton. (This can actually fall into either category. The former, from my perspective)
  • In the event you are tandem nursing, it is quite easy to nurse two children at once, even if they are not near each other.
  • In that same category, you can nurse on your back. Because your breasts simply fall down. The one time gravity and breasts work together toward a common goal.
  • Ever been on a long car drive with a crying baby. Boob in the carseat and you don’t have to dangerously lean over the seat. Need I say more?

Despite my lack of support/example/community I nursed all five of my babies until they stopped. I’m profoundly grateful for my E.5 (left) and F (right) breasts. They have served gallons and gallons of meals to a bevy of babies. My gratitude is expressed by way of a well fitting bra, ordered from a catalogue. Just kidding, thankfully it’s from Cacique. Which is good because I’m fresh out of candles.

 

Joni Edelman
I’m Joni. I’m lucky enough to have 5 amazing kids (19, 16, 15, 4 and 2), one fantastic husband, an awesome sister and a yarn addiction. When I’m not raising up people I’m a freelance writer, RN, and the momma behind mommabare. Love is my religion. I like cake and crafty crap. And yoga. In that order. 
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Rumina’s Full Figure Bra Ambassador and Model Search

by Amanda Hall

Model search, plus size model, full figure model, bra model

We’re searching for a woman comfortable with talking about her breasts and being photographed in her bra. We’re searching for a full figure bra ambassador and model.

Why are we doing this? Simple. Because there are not enough garment options for pumping and nursing moms. We don’t mean garments that moms can put on, pump in and take off, there are a few of those options out there. We mean intimate products that moms of all body types, shapes and sizes can wear all-day to pump in or nurse, even do both at the same time. We mean products that can replace a woman’s favorite bra for an equally beloved bra or tank that she can use during the entire length of time she and her baby have that special breastfeeding relationship. Because we believe in options, we are constantly developing breastfeeding garments and products to meet the needs and uniqueness of every single mom.

Are we there yet? Not quite. But for you and future moms, our family at Rumina is committed to always trying to get there. And we’re going to get there by listening to what moms need, what their breastfeeding goals are, what hasn’t worked in the past and what creates booby traps for their breastfeeding experience. And one of the biggest things we’ve heard talking with moms for over the past 3 ½ years of being out there, is that larger breasted moms don’t have as many pumping or nursing options.

My sister Dawn, founder and designer of Rumina, along with our amazing seamstress Kim, have been working on a full figure pump and nurse bra for a while now and we think we’re finally ready to introduce our first version. But we need some help. When we first launch any new product, we produce a very limited quantity to give some moms to test for us. We get their feedback and based on that feedback we make any necessary enhancements to the pattern before we start the first factory production. For this bra we need some full figure moms to test our limited quantity to tell us if we’re on track because this garment will be the foundation for entire Full Figure Pump&Nurse Line.

That’s partly why we’ve launched Rumina’s Full Figure Bra Ambassador & Model Search.

In addition to getting a small group of test moms to try the new Full Figure Bra, we’re using the Ambassador & Model Search to find a model and partner. The winner of the Full Figure Bra Ambassador & Model Search will be the model of Rumina’s Full Figure Bra. She will be on Rumina’s retail packaging and marketing material plus (and the really really exciting part!) she’ll also be a voice among the breastfeeding community, sharing her breastfeeding story as a full figure mom and helping other moms overcome booby traps that may be unique to large breasted moms.

The winner of the Full Figure Bra Ambassador & Model search will participate in podcasts and blog posts and possibly travel with Rumina to various baby events and expos. She’ll also be vital to the development of the Full Figure Pump&Nurse Line, helping us add the moderate to firm full figure bra to the collection.

This is a really exciting time for Rumina. Not only because we are keeping our commitment to introduce new products to make breastfeeding and pumping simple, comfortable and convenient for ALL moms. But we’re asking Rumina’s mommy fans and followers that if they’re fun, passionate about breastfeeding or know a mom who is, to please enter Rumina’s Full Figure Bra Ambassador & Model Search. We would truly love to partner with an amazing mom to help us build a stronger breastfeeding community.

Click here for the link to Rumina’s Full Figure Bra Ambassador & Model Search!

*Editor’s Note: The challenges that face full figured and large breasted women when it comes to breastfeeding can be overwhelming. We believe that quality support for breasts and for a woman’s personal goals in feeding her baby can make all the difference in the world. All body types are beautiful and we celebrate you and your family with the shape you have and are striving to be the best support we can be. You are enough and your story matters!

_______________________

Enter to win one of 4 Rumina Full Coverage Tanks!
U.S. Entries only

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In Search of Answers on Breastfeeding

by Elizabeth Grattan
I found the Leaky Boob after a long while of going it alone in my nursing journey. I lurked silently for months. I watched women come for support. I listened and I learned. And I am so thankful and grateful for the resource. We are three plus years and going strong, my lad and I. And so, in the spirit of forward support, the following is my contribution to celebrate five wonderful years of encouragement for women and men. Thank you Jessica and your admins and the entire family of TLB. All those in this community who make the difference. — Elizabeth
The Leaky Boob #SupportForward #MyStoryMatters Breastfeeding support

The author and her son.

So many questions. So many answers. Information at our fingertips as we crowd source for support and scour the internet to validate our choices. And still, with all the resources in the world, so much still unknown.

Until we figure out we’re answering the wrong questions. We’re framing our dialogues wrong. We’re talking, but we’re not really saying anything. We’re hearing, but we aren’t really listening. We’re trying to reach, without teaching the things that equip and empower women.

So stop for minute. And consider a better lesson….

The reproductive right that belongs to women. The informed choice she can make when taught all the information. The answer to every single question:

Teach children about anatomy. Equip and educate on reproductive choice early and often. Teach the history of breastfeeding. That autonomy always mattered. That milk is custom to species. That women weaned. That nursing a child is part of the reproductive journey.

Teach what alternatives were used besides the mother’s breast to nourish the offspring. Animals, meat stocks, slaves —  hundreds of options that tested our humanity along the way. Teach the history. The good, the bad, the ugly. Teach the injustice. Teach the risk they carried. Teach that babies died early. That infant mortality was horrifying. That we used and exploited women’s bodies.

Teach that we wanted to breastfeed. That we wanted to wean. That we wanted to dry up our milk completely. That we were once unknowingly stripped of a choice. That a pill and a shot were just par for the course. That women and children were at risk. That our options were hit or miss.

Teach the advancements in our journey. How far we have come. How we’re still not done. How amazing that is. That women and children live. But that for some, those same horrors still exist. Teach that we are still working on it.

Teach the socio-economics. Teach the privilege. Teach the realities and the limits on women. Teach the strides we’re making. Teach the change in legislation. Teach that we can and have and will succeed in decisions.

Teach that nursing is a learning process. That seeing breastfeeding matters. That we need observation and exposure. Teach that qualifications have no place. That normalizing keeps women and children from hiding under cover in shame.

Teach about the imperfection in reproduction. So no one is taken aback because a myth told them it was for everyone. Teach how to handle the griefs and losses for women who had their reproductive choices stripped from them.

Teach how to dry the milk. Teach how to wean. Teach how to latch a baby. Teach the laws on breastfeeding. Teach people everything.

And don’t assume a woman will decide to nurse and don’t assume she won’t. Ask her. Trust her answer. Trust her answer might change. And empower her along the way.

So if she says: “I do not want to use my reproductive system this way,” you say: “Okay, here is information on all your options. From drying your milk to stopping engorgement to offering your child their developmental requirement. Here is what’s safe. Here is what isn’t.”

So if she says: “I want to use my reproductive system this way,” you say: “Okay, here is information on all you’re offering. From latching your child to expressing your milk to never forgetting to be kind to yourself. Here is what’s safe. Here is what isn’t.”

But don’t battle about if a reproductive process has benefits. Don’t project your personal preference. Don’t ignore the anecdotes. Don’t ignore the evidence. Don’t tell. Listen. And ask the only relevant question:

“What do you want to do? Because it’s your body, it’s your call. And I want you to know I’m here to help you. Through it all.”

_______________

How would you answer the above question? How have you asked it in support of other women? How are you giving support forward?

_______________

Elizabeth Grattan bio headshot
Elizabeth Grattan is a broadcast talent and writer who has covered current events, human interest and social justice for over twenty-five years. Her loves are the strong, gentle arms of her best friend, reasonably priced blended reds and obviously her dream come true little man. Find & friend Elizabeth on FB or follow along on Twitter.
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It’s TLB’s 5th Birthday! Time to Party Like a Leaky Part 2!

 The Leaky Boob is turning 5 years old and we’re celebrating ALL MONTH LONG! To celebrate we’re collecting and sharing your stories along with collecting some of our favorite maternity, breastfeeding, and baby products to give as gifts to YOU Leakies. Each week our celebration includes a different birthday bash bundle of prizes from our favorite brands, presents for Leakies. AND we’re growing! Some of us aren’t breastfeeding or bottle-feeding any more (and you thought it was going to last forever) but you’re still a part of our community and you’re still nourishing and loving your family so we’ve grown to expand two more communities where we can talk about our highs and lows of that journey in a safe, judgment-free environment. Over on BeyondMoi.com we talk a lot about, well, everything, specially about parenting and relationships. OurStableTable.com invites everyone to find a seat at the table embracing that sometimes there’s a little wobble in one of our legs, making room for allergies, and creatively nourishing our whole selves with recipes and a lot of honest conversation. Our family is growing and we’re happy to share it with you!


Let’s party like a Leaky this month and #TLBsupportForward!

Bundle #2

Here is what’s included in TLB’s Birthday Bash Bundle #2:

Tula Baby Carriers: Ring Sling – Retail Value: $135
Tula Carriers, Ring Slings, and Wraps, known for comfort, quality, and style, are the top choice in handmade ergonomic baby carriers to be used from birth through toddlerhood and beyond.

GladRagsCloth Pad Sampler Kit – Retail Value: $95
An excellent start to any cloth pad user’s collection available in a variety of fun and colorful styles. The Pad Sampler Kit contains 3 GladRags Day Pads, 3 GladRags Pantyliners, 1 GladRags Night Pad, 1 GladRags Carry Bag, 1 Mesh Laundry Bag. New to cloth pads? The Cloth Pad Sampler Kit is a great place to start! For most women, this kit contains enough pads to cover you for part of your cycle. You’ll get to try our Day Pads, Pantyliners, and Night Pads and discover which ones are the best fit for your body and your flow. Tote them on the go in your Carry Bag, and make sure nothing gets lost in the wash with the Mesh Laundry Bag!

Bamboobiesa Multi-pack Bamboobies Nursing Pads (3 Pairs Regular + 1 Pair Overnight), Boob♥ease 100% Organic Nipple Balm and our Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl – Retail Value: $68

Snugabell Mom & Baby GearPumpEase – Retail Value: $38
PumpEase is the only hands-free pumping bra that’s as stylish as it is functional. Free up both hands while you pump!

Baby K’tan, LLC: ACTIVE Baby Carrier – Retail Value: $60
The Baby K’tan ACTIVE Baby Carrier is an innovative “ready to wear” wrap. Made of hi-tech performance fabric, it provides a unique temperature control, wicks away moisture, and blocks over 90% of UVA and UVB rays. The carrier’s unique double-loop design functions as an all-in-one sling, wrap and baby carrier, yet does not require any wrapping or buckling. Simply slip it on like a t-shirt! The Baby K’tan is sized like clothing for the perfect fit (XS, S, M, L, XL) and offers multiple positions from 8-35 lb. Chemical free, azo dye free. No hardware, plastic or metal.

Naked Nursing Tank: Nursing Tank – Retail Value: $40
100% Canadian made Luxury Bamboo Naked Nursing Tank – A midsection cover-up for breastfeeding moms worn underneath regular wardrobe. Allows moms to lift their shirt to nurse their babies while their midriff stays covered at the same time. The Naked Tank is the only nursing tank on the market that can be worn with any bra, and fits every body type (sizes XS – 5X), turning every shirt into a nursing shirt -saving Mom’s money!!

Momzelle Breastfeeding Apparel: Momzelle Gift Card – Retail Value: $50 USD
Shop our online store for the nursing top of your choice. We have a full line of stylish and practical clothes all designed with easy to use nursing openings. From nursing tanks and tees to beautiful nursing dresses, breastfeed your baby anywhere and everywhere with comfort and ease.

A Mother’s BoutiqueVirtual Bra Fitting(R) – Retail Value: $25
Most Moms don’t know what size bra they should be wearing. Our service helps them to figure it out and make recommendations for bras that will meet their needs. It also includes a $25 discount toward one bra of their choice.

Ameda: Store’N Pour Breastmilk Storage Bags - Retail Value :$13
The Store‘N Pour Breast Milk Storage Bags feature everything a mother could want including easy-close zip seal so bags won’t leak, unique tear-and-pour spout helps prevent spills during milk transfer and a gusseted bottom allows filled bag to stand on its own. 50 bags plus 2 adapters.

Bonus from Ameda: Eat@Mom’s T-Shirt! – Retail Value: $15
All proceeds from the sale of the shirt go to Mother & Child Health Coalition in St Louis.

Total Value of this bundle: $539

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from April 7, 2015 through April 15, 2015.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors of this birthday giveaway bundle for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank them on their Facebook pages for their show of support!

This giveaway bundle is for U.S. and Canada Residents only. That’s right, Canadian Leakies: This giveaway is for you too! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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