When your older, weaned child asks to breastfeed

by Jessica Martin-Weber

Today my 4 year old Smunchie who hasn’t breastfed in quite some time, asked for bobbies.  She hadn’t been feeling well all day and though it had been a while since she had breastfed, it was obvious that she found even the idea comforting.  Her eyes wide and a seriousness about her, she implored for some mama milk.  I offered to try to express some into a cup for her and the tiny bit of hope in her face dropped as she said ok but she really wanted to try to get the milk herself.  Without missing a beat, her two year old little sister rushed over, hands out, and screamed “my bobbies!”

Yes, my children were fighting over my boobs.

I gently reminded 2 year old Sugarbaby that they were my bobbies but that I share them and decided to invite both girls to cuddle up to nurse.

IMG_8849

I expect this post will make some people uncomfortable but we need to talk about it anyway.

Sometimes, older, weaned children will ask to breastfeed.  Whether it be a new baby added to the family or just what seems a random interest, it’s not unusual for a child to see breastfeeding and want to give it a try.  They may be quite insistent or perhaps shy and act embarrassed.  It may come when you’re sitting there feeding their younger sibling or when they get a moment alone with you.  There is a possibility that they are more than a little curious and will want to re-establish a breastfeeding relationship.

Before you freak out (probably too late), keep in mind that children don’t have a developed sense of sexuality or even what makes something sexual.  Unless the child is more like a teenager, the interest in breastfeeding has more to do with curiosity than sexual confusion.  Even though adults in much of westernized society place a heavy emphasis on the sexual function of the female breasts over the nutritional and nurturing functions, children just don’t see it that way so you can take a deep breath and know that there is nothing wrong with your child, they’re just a normal child with normal curiosity.  Breasts are another body part made intriguing by the fact that children have yet to develop breasts themselves and if a child encounters breastfeeding and had it explained to them without shame, they are going to understand breasts as a food source rather than identifying breasts for sexual pleasure.  Please note: gender identity, the differences between the sexes, perceived gender roles, attachment, emotional bonds, body autonomy, and understanding appropriate touching is developing from infancy.

And no, feeding children well past infancy into early childhood is not messing them up.  You don’t have to worry about psychological damage from breastfeeding past one or two years old.  That myth has totally been debunked both through scientific research and anecdotally by many older children and adults that remember breastfeeding at such an age.  Read one such account from an outspoken 12 year old who breastfed until she was 4.

If their sexual awareness has yet to develop, they don’t yet buy into society’s emphasis on female breasts primarily as sex objects, and it’s not messing kids up to breastfeed well beyond the 1st year of life, how should we respond?

With patience.  With love.  With acceptance.  With gentleness.  Without shame.  Without fear.  Without judgment.

As is often the case, the manner with which we respond to our children is more important than what we actually do.  If your older, weaned child asks to breastfeed, saying yes or no is less important than how you say it.  Before you respond, ask yourself what your reaction could be communicating to your child.  Is it loving?  Does it communicate acceptance? Or is it expressing shock and disgust?  Could they confuse your response as a rejection of them?  That they did something wrong?  That breastfeeding is shameful?

What should you do if your older, weaned child asks to breastfeed?  I have no idea.  Whatever is right for you.  I would just encourage you not to rush your decision, take a moment and reflect on why or why not you may be comfortable with that.  With older children, a conversation is usually possible and a reasonable place to start.  Involving them in a conversation as part of your decision making could be a bonding experience for you both.

Your decision is completely up to you and your personal boundaries.  If you’re not comfortable letting your older, weaned child breastfeed then don’t.  If you think you may be ok with it, then let them.  Your boundaries and modeling bodily autonomy is important too and an older child is capable of understanding such boundaries.  If you decide you’re comfortable with it and even want to encourage them to relearn how to properly latch (yes, that is an option) and that works for both of you, that can be significant journey as well.  Whatever you decide, just do so gently and you’ll both be fine.

My two eldest children never expressed an interest in breastfeeding once they weaned, not even when siblings were born.  Curiosity and copying with their own babies (dolls), absolutely, but they were never interested in trying to breastfeed for themselves.  Since then though I’ve had each of my 4 younger ones ask to try.  It weirded me out at first and I refused but that particular child began to ask repeatedly every time I sat to feed her younger sister and eventually I decided I didn’t actually have a good reason not to.  Having such a large child at my breast (she was 4) seemed strange to me but it only took one try and then a polite thank you with a hug to make me realize that was about my issues and what I considered normal than it was about somehow being wrong.  She did enjoy having my milk in a cup for months afterward though and that was something that meant a lot to her.  The most common reaction my children have is to have no idea what to do at the breast, attempt a couple of sucks, giggle, pull away, and inform me they aren’t babies any more and “bobbies are for babies.”  Sometimes they do get milk and don’t like the taste.  Even if they are interested in trying again, once their curiosity was satisfied they were happy to move on and leave breastfeeding to babies.

But that’s not what has happened with my current 4 year old.  She returns every so often to the breast, has even figured out that if she can get her little sister to start on one breast and then switch after let down, it’s easier for her and she’ll get more milk.  It doesn’t happen often, increasingly less and less, but she does still ask from time to time.  This time, after latching and not getting any milk, she decided she was good with just a cuddle.

“I like your milk, mommy, but I like your cuddles best.”

For us, it was worth letting her try.

breastfeeding the weaned child

 

___________________________

What do you think you would do if your previously weaned child asked to breastfeed again?

___________________________

Share

Nurturing Life Giveaway – Breastfeeding

Nurturing Life

These two words define and drive everything that Motherlove does, from their organic farm in Colorado, to their herbal care products, the educational classes taught by founder Kathryn Higgins, to the Nurturing Life Foundation, Motherlove’s non-profit which supports mothers and children all over the country.  So it’s no surprise that Motherlove has had such a beautiful, long-standing relationship with The Leaky Boob, extending their support of mothers and children to our Leakies and their breastfeeding journey with their babies.  The Motherlove website sums it up well:

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 11.06.13 AMWhat is Nurturing Life?
It is fostering an environment where development, growth, and health are encouraged, and doing so in each facet of our life, including each stage.  True beauty can emerge in your life and others’ as you nurture life in yourself, your friendships, romantic relationship, through pregnancy, birth, in your relationship with your children, and more, and yes, even your garden.

“At Motherlove, we use Nurturing Life as our mission statement because nurturing moms and babies together is essential for both to thrive.  During pregnancy, moms are reminded minute-by-minute of this relationship and we typically focus on our health and wellbeing because it’s tied to our child’s life.” (Nurturing Life – Self Care for Mothersby Motherlove Herbal Company)

To wrap up this series of Motherlove giveaways that has touched on the ways mothers can intentionally nurture life through pregnancy and postpartum, through the ups and downs and aches and pains, we now focus on breastfeeding.  It is only fitting as we are celebrating World Breastfeeding Month right now.

Every new mother’s story is her own, whether it is very similar to other mothers’ experiences or appears to be completely opposite.  Every relationship between a mother and her baby should be free to develop in their own particular way, at their own particular speed.  There is no template that will fit every mother-baby relationship.  The Leaky Boob recognizes this and welcomes every mother, whether they bottle-feed, use SNS, breastfeed for a day or for years, whether their baby-days are in the distant past, or even if they never had a baby.  All are welcome.  And Motherlove also recognizes this reality, ready to meet mothers and babies where they are, encouraging them to pursue the Nurturing Life, and providing quality and safe products for whenever a need arises for them.

To help celebrate World Breastfeeding Month, Motherlove is collaborating with two other TLB sponsors, specializing in nursing necklaces, so that Mom and baby both get a prize this week!  Freja Toys and KangarooCare are each offering 3 beautiful necklaces, which means you could be one of the 6 prize winners for this giveaway.  Varja from KangarooCare wanted to share this heart-warming message about her breastfeeding journey with all of us:

“I knew I would breastfeed since the moment I found out that I was going to have a baby.  And I did it.  I nursed my first child for 4 and a half years, and the second for 2 and a half.  I breastfed during pregnancy and then 2 kids at the same time.  My breasts produced milk for 5 years non-stop.  Some might say this is too much, and others that this is nothing special.  But to me, breastfeeding is a real miracle.  I am a vegetarian and I was told that I would never be able to give birth to a healthy baby and then breastfeed.  But it was not so.  I am convinced that breast milk is not just clear liquid with a specific chemical composition; it is love.  Liquid love.”

________________________

Motherlove, KangarooCare and Freja Toys are coming together to offer 6 prizes for 6 lucky Leakies!

 All six prizes start with a Motherlove Nipple Cream salve.  

nc-1-759160-10011-1

Then the breakdown is as follows:

Prize 1: a KangarooCare Fox Nursing Necklace, from Apple Wood

KC1

Prize 2: a KangarooCare Organic Nursing Necklace in Cream & Oatmeal, from Juniper Wood

10149460_10202538437613772_1875612036_n

Prize 3: a KangarooCare Simple Rainbow Nursing Necklace, from Oak Wood

il_fullxfull.506646498_gryv

 

Prizes 4-6: a Freja Toys Organic Cotton Nursing Necklace, winner’s choice of color.

organic_02

DSC_6963

 ____________________

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from August 13, 2014 through August 20, 2014.  A big thanks to Motherlove for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; and thanks also to KangarooCare and Freja Toys for making this giveaway a whole lot more fun!  Please be sure to visit their Facebook pages (Motherlove, KangarooCare, Freja Toys), follow Motherlove on Twitter, and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

Nurturing Life Giveaway – When Cute Hurts

Nurturing Life

These two words define and drive everything that Motherlove does, from their organic farm in Colorado, to their herbal care products, the educational classes taught by founder Kathryn Higgins, to the Nurturing Life Foundation, Motherlove’s non-profit which supports mothers and children all over the country.  So it’s no surprise that Motherlove has had such a beautiful, long-standing relationship with The Leaky Boob, extending their support of mothers and children to our Leakies and their breastfeeding journey with their babies.  The Motherlove website sums it up well:

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 11.06.13 AMWhat is Nurturing Life?
It is fostering an environment where development, growth, and health are encouraged, and doing so in each facet of our life, including each stage.  True beauty can emerge in your life and others’ as you nurture life in yourself, your friendships, romantic relationship, through pregnancy, birth, in your relationship with your children, and more, and yes, even your garden.

“At Motherlove, we use Nurturing Life as our mission statement because nurturing moms and babies together is essential for both to thrive.  During pregnancy, moms are reminded minute-by-minute of this relationship and we typically focus on our health and wellbeing because it’s tied to our child’s life.” (Nurturing Life – Self Care for Mothersby Motherlove Herbal Company)

This Motherlove series of giveaways started out by focusing on maintaining your wellbeing during pregnancy in week 1.  We then moved on to the challenges of postpartum and the importance of acknowledging  and talking about “unmentionable” things like hemorrhoids and postpartum depression as the best path to recovery and healing.

The focus for this week is the painful subject of, well, pain.  Because, let’s face it, a mom’s relationship with Little Miss Cute or Little Mister Bundle of Joy often includes times of discomfort and pain, such as mastitis, thrush, and diaper rash, not to mention teeth (pain for mom and baby) among many others.  Most people tend to share the happy moments they have with their children on social media, and it can seem like they never have any difficulties in life.  In general I think it’s a very helpful thing to focus on the positive things in your life, but if that’s all anyone ever does it can be very alienating to those of us who are going through a tough time.

There are too many pain-laden challenges that come with a new baby to name them all in one post, so here are a few of the big ones with a link so that you hopefully feel less alone, conversations get rolling, and you can see that there are many resources at your fingertips, though some ailments do require professional help.  Now that baby is born, you are nurturing life for two people, but you don’t have to go it alone.

Mastitis – read about Jessica’s journey with the red-eyed breastfeeding monster.

ThrushThis Motherlove-sponsored post is your guide to determining if you have it.

Diaper Rashthis post isn’t about diaper rash, but it is about The Piano Man’s explosive and humorous first encounter with baby poop.  And this Motherlove article is about diaper care.

Of course you can always search Motherlove’s blog or The Leaky Boob’s blog for helpful information on whatever is ailing you.

____________________

Motherlove is giving away a Diaper Rash and Thrush salve to help ease the pain of 3 lucky Leakies.

dr-1-759160-23001-6

____________________

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from August 7, 2014 through August 14, 2014.  A big thanks to Motherlove for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

Why I breastfed my 2 year old on a crowded public transit train

by Jessica Martin-Weber

This isn’t a statement, it’s not even as significant as a photo op. It’s just a moment. An average, regular, normal moment for my daughter and me. In 2 years of breastfeeding, she and I have had thousands like it. Taking public transportation on our way for a day downtown with the family, she got tired, wanted a cuddle, and a little mama milk. And I snapped a few breastfeeding selfies because this regular, normal moment is important to me and a big part of my life. A life I share with my online community and when something is important pretending it doesn’t exist and never happens is lonely.

20140807-155902-57542977.jpg

Would you, could you, on a train?

At first I distracted her and put her off. I didn’t want to breastfeed my 2 year old in public and face possible harassment for doing so. Though I know the law protects me, I also know many people are uncomfortable with breastfeeding babies in public let alone toddlers. I didn’t want to be the source of the discomfort of others or worse, possible conflict. At 2 she’s old enough to wait and can have other food and drink for snack.

But I had just returned that morning from a three day trip and my littlest missed her mama. Being close, having mama milk, was all a part of our reconnecting. Could I really place the possible discomfort of others above the need my little girl had for comfort and closeness? Yes, we could have comfort, connectedness, and closeness in other ways but breastfeeding was still her favorite, should my 2 year old forgo what she enjoyed the most because some strangers may not understand what a woman’s breasts are really for?

I decided no, I would not do that to her and my daughter would come first. And I breastfed her. On a packed train headed downtown on a Sunday afternoon. There was no agenda, no ulterior motive. In that normal moment with my daughter, though I had a pinch of anxiety that someone may take issue with me feeding and comforting my daughter at my breast, my focus was on her, not normalizing breastfeeding. Because that’s not why I breastfeed.

It isn’t normal to see breastfeeding still in most western societies. Though breastfeeding is elevated and preached, it’s hardly visible enough to be considered normal. We’ve allowed ourselves to accept a definition of the female breasts limited to just the sexual nature the mature mammary glands can have. With that we’ve lost sight of the biological and anthropological norm. Something I write and speak about often. Working to change such perceptions is part of why I do The Leaky Boob at all.

But still, that’s not why I breastfed my daughter that day. Or any day. I fed her because she needed it. Because I’m her mommy and feeding and comforting our children is just what moms do.

And that’s just… Normal.

Share

Nurturing Life Giveaway – After Birth

Nurturing Life

These two words define and drive everything that Motherlove does, from their organic farm in Colorado, to their herbal care products, the educational classes taught by founder Kathryn Higgins, to the Nurturing Life Foundation, Motherlove’s non-profit which supports mothers and children all over the country.  So it’s no surprise that Motherlove has had such a beautiful, long-standing relationship with The Leaky Boob, extending their support of mothers and children to our Leakies and their breastfeeding journey with their babies.  The Motherlove website sums it up well:

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 11.06.13 AMWhat is Nurturing Life?
It is fostering an environment where development, growth, and health are encouraged, and doing so in each facet of our life, including each stage.  True beauty can emerge in your life and others’ as you nurture life in yourself, your friendships, romantic relationship, through pregnancy, birth, in your relationship with your children, and more, and yes, even your garden.

“At Motherlove, we use Nurturing Life as our mission statement because nurturing moms and babies together is essential for both to thrive.  During pregnancy, moms are reminded minute-by-minute of this relationship and we typically focus on our health and wellbeing because it’s tied to our child’s life.” (Nurturing Life – Self Care for Mothersby Motherlove Herbal Company)

Last week we focused on the stage of life that creates new mothers: pregnancy.  Ushering new life into the world is such a beautiful thing, but is often accompanied by challenges and changes.  With the many changes and new sensations that new mothers experience, it can be such a natural time for her to focus on her health and well-being.  But what happens once the baby is born?

It is so easy to think that, other than adjusting to caring for a new person in the family, everything else immediately returns to normal.  But that is often not the reality of new mothers.  The parts of their body involved in growing a baby do shift back toward the way they were, but some of them will remain forever altered.  Others require a little patience and eventually some hard work, such as toning ab muscles to tighten the postpartum abdominal gap.  But a new mother’s body isn’t done changing either: now that one set of hormones is subsiding, another floods her body as she produces milk to feed her new baby.  We often treat birth as the end of the journey, where changes end and all is back to normal.  But this far from the experience of most women.

Moreover, beyond stretch marks, curvier hips, extra baby weight, and lactating, there are other completely natural and normal challenges that new moms face.  But very few like to talk about them, and so many moms don’t have the support that they need to welcome and experience the postpartum changes as they come.  Instead, they are rushed back to work and/or housework, and they feel the unrealistic expectation that they just be “ok” because their beautiful new baby is there.

Postpartum depression doesn’t just go away because there is a new baby.  Traumatic birth experiences aren’t healed by adorable baby sounds.  Hemorrhoids don’t just disappear because a bundle of cuteness has been born.  These and many more issues are considered too embarrassing or shameful to discuss, and many new mothers feel that they don’t have permission to take the time to find help.  They must bounce back immediately, and so they hide their real struggles and end up struggling with self-loathing and depression much longer than necessary, if they ever recover at all.  Silence is no healer.  Stuffing feelings down and clamping a lid on them only serves to incubate them and grow them into much more serious issues.

Let’s talk about the empty womb, the sense of emptiness inside, the fears we have, the struggle to fall in love with our babies, the dislike of our bodies, the anger, the horrors of the birth experience, the dark thoughts, the painful hemorrhoids, along with the rest.  These are the realities of postpartum, just as much as baby cuteness, breastfeeding, dirty diapers, and sleepless nights.  You are not alone in dealing with these things.  Look for understanding and information from those around you, from trusted online resources, and if you just can’t find the support and information you need in those places, get in touch with a professional who can.

And partners, friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers who think new mothers should just get over whatever is bothering them, they are the ones who need to get over themselves and provide helpful support for the new mother.  Nurture her so that she can feel free to nurture herself.  Self-care is deeply impacted by those around us, either for better, or for worse.  As a new mother adjusts to caring for another little person and her body heals from giving birth and keeps changing in the postpartum, how can we show her the kind of support that allows her to nurture life within herself so she can share that nurturing life with her baby and beyond from a place of health and well-being?

____________________

Motherlove is giving away a Sitz Bath and Rhoids Balm to 3 lucky Leakies.


rb-1-759160-12001-0szb-6-759160-19103-4

____________________

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from August 1, 2014 through August 8, 2014.  A big thanks to Motherlove for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

“Oh the Places You Go!” Giveaway

For World Breastfeeding Month we’re celebrating just how normal infant feeding is by taking a look at all the places you go!  With brands that support families in their parenting journey, we’re all teaming up for our adventures Up High, Outdoors, Off The Beaten Path, With Water, and Close To Home (pregnancy focused!).  Each week features a theme because we’re feeding our babies and toddlers here, there, and everywhere.  Oh!  The Places You Go!  The prize packs vary every week totaling over $5,000 in value for the whole month.  And we’re going even further, each week there is one winner AND they get to pick a friend to receive a Beco Gemini.  Oh!  The Places You Go together!

But we’re not stopping there, check out how you can be a part of #TLBmoves, on step at a time.

 

Week 1 logos done 2

Week 1: “Up High”, Total Value: $1091

16 Minute Club: a box of helpful goodies for the breastfeeding mother, $35 value

Bamboobies: a Chic Nursing Shawl, $30 value

Beco: a Beco Soleil baby carrier, $140 value

Belmama and Cherub: a Shower Hug, $30 value

Clek: A brand new Fllo carseat, $380 value

Freja Toys: a Rainbow Bird Nursing/Teething Necklace, $20 value

Gracie & Sam: a Half Buckle Cotton Mei Tai with Harry Potter Spells Cotton-Linen Canvas print, $102 value

KoalaKin: a Koalakin nursing pouch, $90 value

Little Spruce Organics: Two sets of organic cotton nursing pads (flannel & knitted), $14 value

Melinda G: a Dreamy Sleep Bra in black, $25 value

Momzelle: $25 Gift Certificate for momzelle.com, $25 value

Motherlove: Nipple Cream, $10 value

A Mother’s Boutique: winner’s choice of a nursing top from the Annee Matthew collection, up to a $75 value

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Lil’ Octopus, a $35 value

Naked Nursing Tank: Platinum Light Grey Classic Cotton Edition, $30 value

NuRoo: a Nursing Scarf, $30 value

The Vintage Honey Shop: $20 shop credit, $20 value

 Week 1 prizes final 2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

__________________

 

Week 2 logos done 2

 

Week 2: “Outdoors”, Total Value: $1012

16 Minute Club: a box of helpful goodies for the breastfeeding mother, $35 value

Bamboobies: a Bamboobies Brahhh, $32 value

Bebe Au Lait: a BAL-ASTORIA nursing cover, $36 value

Beco: a Beco Soleil baby carrier, $140 value

Belmama and Cherub: a Shower Hug, $30 value

Ergobaby: a Performance Baby Carrier, $140 value

Freja Toys: an Organic Cotton Nursing/Teething Necklace, $22 value

Juno Blu: A stylish Ventana breast pump satchel in Mushroom, $185 Value

Little Spruce Organics: a Wooden Sun Puzzle, $34 value

Melinda G: a tee-shirt soft-cup nursing bra style #2115 in nude, $45 value

Momzelle: $25 Gift Certificate for momzelle.com, $25 value

Motherlove: Green Salve, $9 value

A Mother’s Boutique: winner’s choice of a nursing top from the Annee Matthew collection, up to a $75 value

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Lil’ Octopus, a $35 value

Naked Nursing Tank: Lily White Luxury Bamboo Edition, $40 Value

NuRoo: a Nursing Scarf, $30 value

Nursing Bra Express: Baby Nip Nipple Hat, $20 value

Rumina: a Hands-Free Pump&Nurse Classic Crossover Bra, a $34 value

Undercover Mama: one Undercover Mama, $25 value

The Vintage Honey Shop$20 shop credit, $20 value

Week 2 prizes done 2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

__________________

Week 3 logos updated cropped

Week 3: “Off the Beaten Path”, Total Value: $1053

16 Minute Club: a box of helpful goodies for the breastfeeding mother, $35 value

Beco: a Beco Soleil baby carrier, $140 value

Belmama and Cherub: a Shower Hug, $30 value

The Dairy Fairy: an Arden bra, $68 value

Freja Toys: a Petite Linen Nursing/Teething Necklace, $20 value

Gracie & Sam: a Full Tie Linen Luxe Sci-Fi Lover Mei Tai, $130 value

KangarooCare: a Fun Stripes Nursing Necklace in Pink, Oak Wood, $26 value

Little Spruce Organics: an Organic Cotton Nursing Bra, $48 value

Melinda G: a Cami Sutra nursing cami in black, $50 value

Momzelle: $25 Gift Certificate for momzelle.com, $25 value

Motherlove: Rhoid Balm, $10 value

A Mother’s Boutique: winner’s choice of a nursing top from the Annee Matthew collection, up to a $75 value

Mrs Patel’s: a box of Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Fenugreek Bars, a $26 value

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Lil’ Octopus, a $35 value

Naked Nursing Tank: Hot Pink Luxury Bamboo Edition, $40 Value

NuRoo: a Nursing Scarf, $30 value

Nurse Purse: Winner’s Choice of style for one Nurse Purse bag, $129 value

Nursing Bra Express: a Satin Trim Cotton Sleep Bra, $20 value

Snugabell: a PumpEase Prize Pack including a hands-free pumping bra, a Wet Bag, a ”Through a Child’s Eyes” Keepsake Colouring Book, a Do Not Disturb door hanger, and a Breastmilk Storage Guidelines fridge magnet, $71 Value

Undercover Mama: one Undercover Mama, $25 value

The Vintage Honey Shop$20 shop credit, $20 value

Week 3 prizes done 2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

__________________

Week 4 logos done 2

Week 4: “With Water”, Total Value: $738

16 Minute Club: a box of helpful goodies for the breastfeeding mother, $35 value

Bamboobies: Bellease Organic Belly & Baby Butter, $17 value

Bebe Au Lait: a BAL-NEST Nursing Cover, $36 value

Beco: a Beco Soleil baby carrier, $140 value

Belmama and Cherub: a Shower Hug, $30 value

Freja Toys: a Babywearing Mommy Doll, $42 value

Little Spruce Organics: Organic Wool/ Silk Nursing Pads, $21 value

Luv My Bag: a LillyBit UpTown Diaper Clutch in Chevron, $35 value

Melinda G: a Dreamy Sleep Bra in black, $25 value

Momzelle: $25 Gift Certificate for momzelle.com , $25 value

Motherlove: Diaper Rash and Thrush, $10 value

A Mother’s Boutique: winner’s choice of a nursing top from the Annee Matthew collection, up to a $75 value

Mrs Patel’s: a bag of Chai Spice Milk Water Tea, a $12 value

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Lil’ Octopus, a $35 value

Naked Nursing Tank: Midnight Black Luxury Bamboo Edition, $40 Value

NuRoo: a NuRoo Pocket, $60 value

One Creative Mama: winner’s choice of a mom/baby shirt set, up to $55 value

Undercover Mama: one Undercover Mama, $25 value

The Vintage Honey Shop$20 shop credit, $20 value

Week 4 prizes done 2

__________________

Week 5 logos done 2

Week 5: “Close to Home”, Total Value: $1328

16 Minute Club: a box of helpful goodies for the breastfeeding mother, $35 value

Arm’s Reacha Toffee Stripe Mini Arc Co-Sleeper, a $175 value

Bamboobies: Two pairs of Bamboobies Regular Nursing Pads, $15 value

Bebe Au Lait: a BAL-NEST essentials set, $50 value

Beco: a Beco Soleil baby carrier, $140 value

Belmama and Cherub: a Shower Hug, $30 value

Cezara: a belly support panty, $49 value

The Dairy Fairy: a Rose handsfree pumping bra, $34 value

Freja Toys: a Crocheted baby rattles set, $32 value

Juno Blu: A stylish Juno Blu Esalen breast pump tote in Multi-Snake, $185 Value

KoalaKin: a Koalakin nursing pouch, $90 value

LilleBaby: a Complete All-Season baby carrier, $135 value

Little Spruce Organics: Organic Cotton Receiving Blanket, $18 value

Milk and Joy: an Organic Cotton Teething Necklace (winner’s choice of color). $35 Value

Momzelle: $25 Gift Certificate for momzelle.com, $25 value

Motherlove: NL Gift Box, $60 value

A Mother’s Boutique: winner’s choice of a nursing top from the Annee Matthew collection, up to a $75 value

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: a Lil’ Octopus, a $35 value

Naked Nursing Tank: Charcoal Classic Cotton Edition, $30 Value

NuRoo: a NuRoo Pocket, $60 value

The Vintage Honey Shop$20 shop credit, $20 value

Week 5 prizes done 2

Share

Oh! The Places You Go! World Breastfeeding Week/World Breastfeeding Month 2014

by Jessica Martin-Weber

#BFingPlaces

Oh the places you go!  Families are busy, on the go in their daily life be it at the grocery store, the park, school, the museum, parents’ work, church, community activities, you name it.  And then there are special events such as vacations at the beach, mountain top weddings, saying goodbye to a loved one, excursions to historical sites, and theme parks.  And along the way, we’re doing what we do, caring for our children, like normal.

It’s about to be World Breastfeeding Week/Month.  I confess, for the last several years I’ve really struggled with this month.  It seems like it should be my favorite, certainly as an outspoken breastfeeding supporter World Breastfeeding Week/Month has a lot of meaning and significance, yet still, I have been increasingly uncomfortable with it.  There are major world wide events bringing breastfeeding moms together, thousands of blog posts sharing personal stories of breastfeeding, mainstream media coverage on the importance of breastfeeding, thousands of brands offering promotions on breastfeeding related products, memes of breastfeeding sayings, giveaways galore, and informative posts as to the virtues of breastfeeding.  Overall, this sounds like a good thing, so why was I uncomfortable

Because somehow, I felt the focus was off (at least my own was) and the audience, well, the audience was mostly the choir.  World Breastfeeding Week/Month was preaching to the choir.  And sometimes the not so thinly veiled, if unintentional message was “breastfeeding moms are better than non-breastfeeding moms.”

I considered not participating, considered taking a position that every single day is World Breastfeeding Day at TLB and just continue on as normal with nothing special for the month.  There was conversation about ignoring it completely but that seemed impractical and kind of weird. Since I see the need for awareness and supportive conversation about breastfeeding, I do believe World Breastfeeding Week/Month has a lot of value, we just needed to figure out what that was in our context and how that fit TLB’s mission. As The Leaky Boob team started discussing how we could celebrate World Breastfeeding Week/World Breastfeeding Month, we knew we wanted it to focus on the moms first and then families. Instead of announcing to the world that breastfeeding is awesome (it is awesome, it’s also really just normal) and jumping in on the megaphone that ends up just going back to the moms that are already aware, we wanted to do something a little more intentional.  Though it makes me feel a little ridiculous to say, we have lost something when it comes to breastfeeding, we have lost it being normally accepted by society.  Plenty of people seem aware of breastfeeding, maybe even too aware, and I know very few people will even debate that breastfeeding is good for babies yet it hardly seems normal.  As absurd as it may sounds, breastfeeding still desperately needs to be (re)normalized.  Since we’re mammals though, that’s like saying breathing isn’t normal, or walking needs to be normalized.

Ultimately though, regardless of how absurd it sounds, women are harassed for feeding their babies, asked to leave restaurants, fear meeting their child’s needs in public due to public shaming, face judgment for how they feed their children, and feel pressured to feed a certain way but be invisible. Weirdly enough though, women that don’t feed their baby directly at their breast or with breastmilk, face much of the same. And those women experience World Breastfeeding Week/Month too but without the cheering support that breastfeeding moms receive.

Feed your baby way up high,

Or way down low?

In the sun

Or in the snow?

By the water

At the bay?

Feed your baby every day.

Show us the path you take

As your baby eats his steak*

What you see

Or what you do

On your journey

We support you.

*or milk, snack, baby food…

Help us celebrate families and normalize feeding babies without debate or judgment by taking and sharing pictures on social media.  Whether you feed at the breast, with a cover or without, with an at the breast supplementer, or using a bottle, your journey is part of normal infant feeding.  By posting images of the wide diversity there is in infant and toddler feeding, we can help remind ourselves and the rest of the world that we are people with feelings just trying to do our best in the normal act of feeding our children and we can be trusted to make the best decisions about that according to information, our personal circumstances, and our access to resources.  The image can be of you feeding your baby or of what you see as you’re feeding your baby.  Share your journey and together we can support each other with #BFingPlaces and #ISupportYou.  Post your images on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, or whatever social media platform you love to use and use those hashtags.  Be on the look out for some amazing giveaways and remember, every day is a day for support.

This year, World Breastfeeding Week/Month is still going to be celebrated at TLB.  There will be giveaways (one huge prize pack every week for five weeks!) and information sharing, personal stories and memes posted, and events gathering together moms that feed their babies with breastmilk.  But there will also be support for all families regardless of what their journey looks like when it comes to how they feed their children.  We’re celebrating you with the goal to normalize feeding children including breast and bottle feeding.  Free of judgment, full of support, we support you where you are.  Wherever you go.  And Oh!  The places you go.

 

Share

Nurturing Life Giveaway – New Life

Nurturing Life

These two words define and drive everything that Motherlove does, from their organic farm in Colorado, to their herbal care products, the educational classes taught by founder Kathryn Higgins, to the Nurturing Life Foundation, Motherlove’s non-profit which supports mothers and children all over the country.  So it’s no surprise that Motherlove has had such a beautiful, long-standing relationship with The Leaky Boob, extending their support of mothers and children to our Leakies and their breastfeeding journey with their babies.  The Motherlove website sums it up well:

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 11.06.13 AMWhat is Nurturing Life?
It is fostering an environment where development, growth, and health are encouraged, and doing so in each facet of our life, including each stage.  True beauty can emerge in your life and others’ as you nurture life in yourself, your friendships, romantic relationship, through pregnancy, birth, in your relationship with your children, and more, and yes, even your garden.

“At Motherlove, we use Nurturing Life as our mission statement because nurturing moms and babies together is essential for both to thrive.  During pregnancy, moms are reminded minute-by-minute of this relationship and we typically focus on our health and wellbeing because it’s tied to our child’s life.” (Nurturing Life – Self Care for Mothers, by Motherlove Herbal Company)

Today’s giveaway is focused on that stage of motherhood where women’s bodies nurture new life within themselves.  As the miracle of new life so naturally models that environment where development, growth and health are encouraged, let’s all remember to take a moment to focus on the areas of our life where we can encourage that nurturing to grow.

Start with yourself.  If you’re in a place where your needs, or your health, have taken a backseat to others’ needs or other priorities, it can be a challenge to find a little space for “you.”  “Motherhood is the same way.  None of us are perfect and learning to nurture yourself is a journey.  Start with just five minutes a day and do something small.

  • Take a walk
  • Enjoy some silence (hard to find, but necessary!)
  • Eat a nutritious meal
  • Take a shower
  • Spend a few extra minutes applying Pregnant Belly Salve just for you
  • Phone a friend
  • Learn something new
  • Watch or listen to something funny and laugh!”

(Nurturing Life – Self Care for Mothersby Motherlove Herbal Company)

It isn’t selfish to do a little something for yourself, to nurture your soul, your body, and spirit.  Actually, nurturing yourself does everyone around you a whole lot of good; it models the importance of self-care to your children, and puts you in a much healthier place to nurture those around you.

Enter the giveaway below and leave a comment describing one or two ways that you intentionally nurture yourself.  They don’t have to be related to pregnancy, and by the way, the Pregnant Belly Salve would make a great “just because” gift for any of your expectant friends; so you don’t have to be pregnant to enter the giveaway.

____________________

Motherlove is giving away a Pregnant Belly Salve to 3 lucky Leakies.

pbs-4-759160-11044-8

____________________

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from July 22, 2014 through July 29, 2014.  A big thanks to Motherlove for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

Tattoo risk while breastfeeding

We’re giving away some tattoo aftercare balm and a tattoo.  Seriously.  Keep reading.  But if you want to skip to the giveaway part, the short version is that if you’re using a safe, reputable shop, there is almost no risk to getting a tattoo while breastfeeding.  Which is good news if you’re breastfeeding and want to get a tattoo.  Woohoo!

open line work tree and bird arm tattoo

 

From time to time we’re asked on The Leaky Boob Facebook page about the safety of getting tattoos while breastfeeding.  While there isn’t a lot of information out there regarding studies done specifically on getting tattoos while breastfeeding, most health care professionals agree that as long as you are using a reputable shop that follows all the guidelines required for safe-handling and hygiene, there is no real risk to the breastfeeding relationship for the mother to get a tattoo.

Please note: don’t tattoo babies or small children, that would just be mean.

Just a few weeks ago, following Camp MommyCon near Denver, Colorado, I had a what has been a long planned appointment for my very first tattoo.  And yes, I’m still breastfeeding 2 year old Sugarbaby.  This appointment with Colin Kolker at Chroma Collective Tattoo Co. was in the works for a long time, generously gifted to help me realize a healing dream I’ve had for over 2 years to reclaim a spot on my arm scarred along my motherhood journey.  Colin helped me express my healing, inner strength, and the beauty that I have found along the way with a symbolic and meaningful tattoo that represented all of that to me.  You can read about the story and meaning behind my tattoo here.

 

open line work delicate tree and birds tattoo

Before I even made the appointment, I answered all the questions I could on breastfeeding and getting a tattoo.  Personally I decided that the risk, while minimal, was enough for me to want to wait at least until Sugarbaby was over 12 months old simply because should something happen she would no longer be dependent on just breastmilk.  Even though I was confident nothing would happen.  Finances and opportunity pushed it back another year.  At that point I felt I was well informed on any potential risk and what I could do to all but eliminate even that.  Confident that it was safe, the only nervousness I had going into my appointment that evening was that it would hurt.

It did hurt.  I had tattoolas to help me though.  Because support makes all the difference, don’t you know.  Also, people, stop comparing tattoos to giving birth.  It’s totally different and just because I can handle pain when necessary (and I can’t actually stop it anyway) in order to push out a baby does not mean I’m not a wuss about other pain.  To be clear, I’m a total wimp.  Tattoos hurt.  About like you think it would hurt to be repeatedly stabbed and scratched with a needle.  Because that’s exactly what’s happening.  But the pain was totally worth it and in some spots it even felt good, kind of like a tens unit.  Other spots felt like torture.  Still, not like giving birth, the sensation is much less than that of giving birth.

mom tattoo Chroma Tattoo

Shout out to the MommyCon Tattoolas Laney, Xza, and Alyssa!

Here’s what I considered in making my decision to get a tattoo as a breastfeeding mother:

  1. Ink molecules are too large to get into the blood stream and milk.  Sugarbaby wouldn’t have ink flavored milk but I did love that Chroma Collective Tattoo Co. used nontoxic vegan ink they were happy to show me and explain.  This also meant I was less likely to have an allergic reaction to the ink as an immune response and made me feel more comfortable with my decision.
  2. The shop I chose meets all safety standards, sterilizing the equipment and practicing good hygiene.  Breastfeeding or not, seriously, this is a minimum.  Avoid infection by going to a clean, licensed, reputable shop.  They should have an autoclave, single-use inks, gloves, and needles.  Look them up on review sites and check with the local department of health to see if they comply with health code standards.
  3. My health was in my hands, if I followed the protocol for aftercare I would further reduce any risk of infection or possible harm to me and Sugarbaby.  I followed Colin’s directions exactly and not only did I not have any issues, using the Motherlove Tatto Care, I healed surprisingly fast and with almost no flaking or peeling.
  4. Tattoos have been a part of various cultures for a very long time and is legally supported.  Some tattoo artists may refuse to give a breastfeeding mother a tattoo but no major recognized medical body (such as the AAP or WHO) have issued warnings against the practice.  I felt history and science indicated that it was a safe choice for me.  The considerations put forth in this article were helpful.
  5. I don’t tend to have allergies so I wasn’t personally worried that I was likely to have an allergic reaction to the ink.

delicate tree and birds tattoo and breastfeeding

Tattoos aren’t for everyone and some who may want a tattoo may still feel more comfortable waiting until their nursling has weaned.  For me going through with my ink dream is something I’m incredibly glad I did knowing the risk was almost nothing.

I promised a giveaway.

nontoxic tattoo aftercare

And now… you can get a tattoo and take care of it too!  Motherlove Herbal Company is giving away their Tattoo Care to 3 lucky Leakies.  I used Motherlove Tattoo Care from the very beginning as part of my aftercare regimen.  Colin had instructed me to keep the area moist, not letting it dry out by rubbing in Motherlove Tattoo Care several times a day.  It worked like a charm.  Motherlove Tattoo Care is made with certified organic ingredients, handcrafted in Colorado using the same tried and true organic ingredients that have been trusted in other Motherlove products for over 20 years. This thoughtful formulation of herbs provides optimal moisturizing and healing properties, yet retains a consistency that is comfortable to apply. Unlike petroleum based products, Motherlove Tattoo Care allows the skin to breathe, promotes quicker healing, and allows ink to fully penetrate the skin.

Chroma Collective Tattoo Co. Giveaway

Tattoo in progress selfie!

 

We’re also giving away a 2 hour session with Colin Kolker at Chroma Collective Tattoo Co. in Parker, Colorado (outside Denver).  One lucky Leaky will win a  2-hour custom tattoo session at Chroma Collective Tattoo Co. in Parker, Colorado with artist Colin Kolker. Value: $300 but no cash value. Gift Certificate will be mailed to winner or can be picked up at the shop.  Some restrictions apply.  If the piece is more detailed/larger, the winner will be responsible to pay any remaining difference. If the tattoo takes less than 2 hours, the remaining balance cannot be rolled over into a second tattoo/session- good for one session only. Colin is booked pretty solid but has a few availabilities in Sept/Oct and on so there could be a wait time for an appointment.  Must be 18+ and the winner is responsible for their own transportation to and from the Parker, Colorado shop location.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share

A 14 year old girl’s thoughts on breasts, breastfeeding, sex appeal, and society.

Reposting this article from last year, at a time when there is public outrage and debate about women posting photos online of themselves breastfeeding and arguments rage about how appropriate inappropriate it is to breastfeeding in public,  it seems timely to share the thoughts of a 14 year old girl on what messages she sees in the world of breasts, breastfeeding, sex appeal, and society. 
by Ophélia Martin-Weber
Photo credit Dorothea Lange, 1936 Library of Congress, American Memory

Photo credit Dorothea Lange, 1936 Library of Congress, American Memory

I wonder when people started treating boobs as objects used just for sex.  A long time ago did people respect moms and their breasts feeding hungry babies?  Even though they didn’t see women as equal did they know that breastfeeding was the healthiest, easiest, and natural source of nutrients to feed the baby and nothing to shun?  There was a time when women didn’t have the right to vote but could freely pull out their breast and feed their baby and today it seems like we have flipped those.  In some ways we have come so far in how women are treated and viewed in society but in other ways women, particularly mothers, are dismissed as their real value being only in their appeal to the opposite sex.  I wonder if we’ve lost something.  Then I wonder what that means for me and I’m only a 14 year old girl. When I was younger I didn’t know breasts had amazing powers to produce milk even though my mom breastfed my sisters and me.  All that I knew was that I had little boobies and I couldn’t wait for the day when my nipples would transform into breasts.  I don’t remember when the fact that mature breasts can give milk really stuck in my head but when it did I thought humans were related to cows.  Sure, humans and cows are both mammals but when I was a kid I thought maybe women actually were cows.  Today I know that’s not true and I also understand there is a lot of attention given to the sexiness of the female breast and that makes me uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable because now that I have breasts I find myself wanting smaller breasts in part because I’m a ballerina but also because I know that bigger breasts are supposed draw attention from guys, are seen as more sexy, and could decide how I am treated by others.  Part of me feels that if I want to be liked I have to have big breasts.  I want guys to notice me but I don’t want guys to notice me (yes, I know this is a contradiction) and I really don’t want them to think I’m just here to have sex with.  I’m just not ready for that and don’t know if I ever will be.  To me, I’m so much more than my sex appeal.  So I’m careful about what I wear, I don’t want communicate that I want attention based on sex but that frustrates me too.  The clothes I like the best and find most comfortable are more form fitting but if I wear yoga pants that fit my butt well will it be communicating that I want the wrong kind of attention?  Or in a leotard are my breasts speaking louder than my mind or my art?  I hope not.  I want to matter to others for more than just my body.  As a dancer, I work with my body a lot and I work hard to make it strong and healthy but not for attention.  That work is to help me tell stories, to use my body as an artist and an athlete.  Struggling with my body every day is part of my lot as a dancer and I have a love hate relationship with it and I’m ok with that.  What I don’t want is to question my natural biology simply because of how others say it should be.  Sometimes it feels as though society wants to punish those with female body parts yet tell us we’re equal without having to act like we really are.  I don’t get it, I understand that breasts are considered sex things but they don’t seem any more “sexy” than most of the other parts of my body such as my lips, my arms, my shoulders, my legs.  Men may find them sexy (is it that way in every culture or just ours?) but they aren’t sexy to me, they feed babies. Urban ballerina Looking back to what my childish mind was thinking and comparing it to some people’s opinions about moms openly breastfeeding in public, I wonder if they too see breastfeeding moms as cows?  Do breastfeeding mothers need to be fenced and herded together, separate from everyone else?  I know there are people that think about moms that way but not everyone does.  A lot of my adult friends have different opinions about breastfeeding but they don’t think poorly about my mom and they don’t ask her to cover when she’s feeding my little sister.  It doesn’t bother them that part of my mom’s breast is visible.  Pictures of beautiful and sexy women show off breasts at least as much as a mom’s breast is seen when she is breastfeeding.  In our culture, what is the most sexy part about women’s breasts?  The breast that is popping out of a too small shirt or the covered nipple?  Why?  If it’s the nipple, why is it such a big deal about breastfeeding in public if the baby is hiding the nipple?  Maybe it’s understandable because of the messages we get from certain parts of society, they might think it is sexual because a person’s mouth, even if it is a baby is on a woman’s breast but they need to get a grip and review their history lessons.   And also learn how breastfeeding works. Why is it ok for men to show off their mammary glands but women can’t?  Why aren’t women “allowed” to expose their chest as much as men can?  Why is it considered indecent for me to be topless by my neighbor across the street can walk around just in his shorts and nobody has a problem with it?  How is that equal?  How is that not discrimination?  Stop telling me I can be equal to my male counterparts but then tell me I have to hide my body more as if there is something wrong with me. I’m not sure I even want to have babies but if I do I will breastfeed them though I have to admit the idea of breastfeeding in public scares me because I know how people think of breasts, women, and moms.  That kind of attention isn’t what I want for myself.  I don’t know what I will do though because I know too much about breastfeeding to not breastfeed and I don’t think I’d want to just stay home all the time.  How sad is it that anyone would be afraid to feed their baby in public?  I’m a little disappointed in myself for feeling this way, I mean, my mom is The Leaky Boob, I feel like she’s the queen of breastfeeding.  But that’s where I am right now.  Fortunately, I have a long time to figure that out and I know I have a family that will support me along the way. If all this obsession with female breasts didn’t actually happen, what would life be like?  If we could change the attitudes against breastfeeding would we actually change attitudes about women?  I hope we can learn from our mistakes because I think people are being hurt by the accepted cultural attitudes of social norms.  And I’m still young, I have to have hope.

________________________________________

What do you think?  

Do you feel attitudes about breastfeeding are related in any way to our attitudes about women in general?  

How did you think about breasts, breastfeeding, and your own body when you were a teen?

________________________________________

Completely unrelated to this post, this video shares the author’s story of dance, her dance aspirations, and her current project.

________________________________________

teen ballerina Ophélia Martin-Weber is 15 years old, the eldest of six girls.  Ophélia is in 8th grade, homeschooled, and is passionate about dance.  A few years ago Ophélia wrote for The Leaky Boob, sharing her views as an 11 year old on breastfeeding and Jessica recently shared a proud mama moment about Ophélia.  You can see some of Ophélia’s dancing and hear her share her dance story and dreams in this video.
Share