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

We’re Moving!

by Jessica Martin-Weber and Amy West

Leakies, we’ve got something really special for you. We’re talking about #BFingPlaces (Oh!  The Places You Go!) for World Breastfeeding Month and we’ve taken it one step further. Literally.

We have every reason in the world to be physically active; heart health, longevity, reduced health problems, strength, endurance, lower blood pressure, stronger bones, joint health, mental clarity, better sleep, and decrease in depression and anxiety to name a few.  Several studies show that people who exercise more are just happier.  Which has always baffled me personally since exercise is kind of the opposite of happy for me.  Still, I know it’s good for me so I’ve tried to do it regularly and felt guilty when I didn’t.

With having children though, juggling family, home, and work (and yes, even when I didn’t have a job), getting exercise in is often an overwhelming challenge.  Between the media, “experts,” bloggers, friends, family, health care providers, and yes, even myself saying what is so important for children, there are just so many other aspects of a child’s development that require my attention.  There is every reason in the world to not be physically active; reading to our children, providing quality meals, addressing their social needs, researching all medications/foods/education, shopping to have the “best” deals on the highest quality (but the blanket MUST be organic, what about off-gassing?!), spending quality play time with our children, limiting screen time, grooming them, keeping house, bonding, learning and executing proper child passenger safety (installing that perfect car seat that took 3 weeks of research and a small loan to purchase) and being sure every minute of their every day is filled with only the best developmentally appropriate activities.  With all that’s on our plates, how do we find time to be physically active?

But really, how can we not?

We have perfectly legit reasons to not be moving and perfectly inspiring reasons to get moving.  It’s not easy sometimes but it’s definitely worth it.

I was born with a minor heart condition, something I’ve lived with all my life.  Doctors have told me that keeping my weight in a healthy range and staying physically active will go a long way in taking care of my health and sure enough, I can tell when I’ve put on a few too many pounds, have let inactivity sneak into my routine, or am lazy about my water intake.  I try to make it a priority but I’m just not crazy about most forms of exercise.  I’m not the type to become a health nut, I’m not likely become an exercise fanatic, and I don’t like exercise for exercise’s sake.  Something else has to motivate me to get off my butt and get moving.

Turns out I have 6 really talented motivators.  I want to be around for a long time to be with my children and eventually my grandchildren and I can’t afford to wait to get started.  They inspire me and not only for my own health, but for the health of my whole family.  And now they’ve inspired me to share that motivation with you!

Actually it was Amy West’s idea, she came to me about how regularly taking walks was helping her in her immediate postpartum time.  Her mood, emotional state, and energy levels went up as she walked with her two kids, Ava and Luke.  I agreed and we wanted to find a way to share it with the Leakies and their families.  And with that, #TLBmoves was born.

It’s time for #TLBmoves!

And I hope you’ll get moving with me for your own reasons.

Are you a runner? Walker? Cross-fit fan?  Couch potato looking to change? Or maybe you just want to be screen-free a little more often.

Whatever your goal, you can join us for #TLBmoves!  This is all about embracing an active lifestyle and making healthier choices, no matter where you’re starting from.

Us? We’re starting by walking more. Just the simple act of taking a daily stroll can do amazing things for your health–both mental and physical! Our initial goal is to log a minimum of 10 miles (about 15,000 steps) each week, or 30 very active minutes each day, but you can set virtually any goal that’s important to you and participate in any way you’d like! (Quit smoking, play with the kids more, eat more veggies, do jumping jacks at your desk, living room dance party – anything goes!)

If you’re already doing that (or more), awesome! Whatever YOUR goal is, we want to see you reach it. #TLBmoves is not a fitness campaign; yeah, we’re talking about steps and activity, but the bigger goal here is overall health and happiness. You can participate at whatever level is comfortable for you: walking, jogging, running, cross-fitting, swimming – anything. (#TLBmoves is aimed at all moms of all backgrounds and is not limited to or specifically endorsing those who breastfeed.)  And we’ll never ask what’s your excuse, we know we all have great excuses so we understand that it’s one day, one step at a time to reach your personal goals.

#TeamTLBmoves! Meet the four mamas who will be sharing their #TLBmoves journeys during the month of August:

Jessica: Founder, owner, and author of The Leaky Boob Facebook group and website; mother of six girls, ages 2, 4, 6, 11, 13, and 15.

Amy: Writer (www.amywest.co); mother of two children, a five-year-old daughter and a three-month-old son.

Kileah: Member of the TLB Reviews editorial team; mother of four children, ages 6, 4, 2 and 8 months.

Elise: Member of the TLB Reviews editorial team; mother of one two-month-old son.

Meet our partners:

#TLBmoves is a big undertaking and we are so thrilled to be working with brands we believe in to bring you this event. Our partners really want to see moms getting active and enjoying a healthy lifestyle with their families! We’ll be sharing tons of photos of #TeamTLBmoves using gear from the following brands:

Joovy

JoovyWe are all about taking small steps to a healthier lifestyle – literally! Going for a daily walk with the little ones is one of the cornerstones of what we’re doing. Joovy has partnered with us to feature four of their kick-ass strollers, which we will put to to the test over the next month. You’ll see the TooFold, Qool, Caboose VaryLight, and Zoom in action. From the big kids to the littles, Joovy is making it easy (and whine-free!) to stroll with the whole family.

tula

Tula Baby CarriersWe aren’t just pushing our little ones in the strollers – we’re going to wear them, too! Whether it’s in the uber comfortable Standard or Toddler carrier, or in one of Tula’s amazingly gorgeous woven wraps, we’ll be wearing our babies throughout the month as we get out and move! Where will the #TULAlove turn up next? Stay tuned…

thinkbaby thinksport

Thinkbaby and ThinksportIt’s August, so the weather is hot. A big part of #TLBmoves is getting active outdoors (work that natural vitamin D!). A good, safe sunscreen and water bottles are necessities. Thinkbaby and Thinksport care as much as we do when it comes to keeping our families safe from harmful chemicals. We’re staying hydrated and keeping sunburns at bay, minus the endocrine disruptors!

When?
#TLBmoves will run from August 1st-31st, 2014, but we hope you’ll keep moving long after the end of the month! (We may have something up our sleeves to that end, too!)

How?
Participation is on the honor system. Counting steps can be fun, but the point isn’t a number (on a pedometer, scale, or otherwise) – it’s making healthy choices and becoming more active in general. It’s all about feeling good! Moms can track their activity via whatever means they choose. (You can use a FitBit, another pedometer, you can time three five-minute songs for a dance party in your living room – it’s up to you!)

Where?
Anyone, anywhere can participate! We’ll be announcing some fun prizes from our brand partners, and those are limited to the United States at this time, but the world is your oyster if you want to get active with us!

JOIN OUR PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP (Please note: this is a co-ed community where you’ll find support as we get active and make healthy choices together. Judgement free! Come as you are, this group is your #TLBmoves tribe!)

JOIN OUR FITBIT FORUM (The four #TeamTLBmoves mamas will be using FitBits to track our steps! They’re totally optional, but if you want to use one, you can grab yours here: http://bit.ly/TLBfitbit.)

Who?
You, your friends, your kids, your partner, your boss, your mom, your dad… anyone!  Though The Leaky Boob is focused on encouraging families primarily through breastfeeding, we support breastfeeding moms and everyone that supports them.  Breastfeeding isn’t a requirement to participate with TLB and #TLBmoves.  (If you are breastfeeding and you’re wondering about exercise and breastfeeding, we have an article all about that here.

We’ll have more updates soon – in the meantime, please follow TLB on Instagram to keep up with #TLBmoves. Use the hashtag #TLBmoves on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share your pics. We want to see what you’re doing to MOVE, mamas!

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

TLB Reviews: Líllébaby All Seasons Carrier

The Goods: líllébaby Complete All Seasons Carrier in Stone

The Reviewers: Micah and Amy

The Good: 

Micah says…

photo (3)

On a hike with Baby Hobbit- this was our first outdoor excursion with the lillébaby All Seasons Carrier.

My  complaint with soft structure carriers has always been that I couldn’t wear them for very long without my back hurting. The lillébaby All Seasons Carrier is the first soft structure carrier to solve that problem for me with the lumbar support. Previously, I would find myself needing to adjust whatever carrier I was wearing in an attempt to stay comfortable. The lumbar support on the lillébaby All Seasons Carrier not only supports my lower back, it also helps me to get the carrier on right the first time because of the way it lays on my back. I’m a big fan of the extra long straps and the fact that they can be worn backpack style or criss-crossed as it allows for maximum comfort while baby wearing. Speaking of the straps- I love that they are placed in such a way that you pull them from the front when wearing baby on the front. Other soft structured carriers require you to reach around your back and pull the straps from your shoulders, which is no easy feat- especially with a baby strapped to you!

None of our children have cared to forward face when being carried, but the fact that this carrier is convertible and can be used both ways is pretty cool and adds value as you are really getting 2 carriers for the price of 1. The neck support is fantastic for providing support for a sleeping baby’s head without having to put the full hood up and in doing so make baby warmer and uncomfortable. Additionally, I love that the front panel unzips to allow baby’s body to be cooler, especially in warmer temperatures. Our children tend to be little heaters, so this carrier helps mommy and daddy to stay a bit cooler as well.

photo (2)

We took Baby Hobbit out on the town with us for our anniversary last month. As you can see, she was quite comfortable!

Amy says… Soft-structured carriers (SSC’s) tend to be a recipe for sweat in the humid summer heat where we live. Baby usually ends up too hot to stay in the carrier, which defeats the purpose of trying to use it (and means schlepping the carrier and baby separately). The mesh material used and zip-down front panel on this carrier live up to the “all seasons” name; it really is cooler! To that end, the neck support being there without needing the hood to support our little guy’s head was very appreciated in the summer heat!

We’ve used it with our newborn for the first few months of his life and both my husband and I have been really happy with this one.  I was able to breastfeed in it just by lowering the waist band a bit. I got some looks, but they were mostly in awe that I could wear him, feed him, and have the use of both of my hands! (The stone color also meant that we can switch this one back and forth and both be happy wearing it. My husband is totally fine wearing my cutesy patterned babywearing stuff, but he prefers this one over the rest!)

My absolute favorite thing about this carrier is the lumbar support! We have a few other soft-structured buckle carriers and a narrow waist belt will compress exactly the wrong part of my lower back and make it really sore. The little lumbar support panel on the líllébaby All Seasons makes a HUGE difference, both distributing baby’s weight more evenly and making the carrier WAY more comfortable to wear, especially for longer stretches. Lumbar support in action: (excuse the crappy picture!)

lillebaby lumbar

Really, I just love that little panel! I think all SSC’s should be designed this way, it’s *awesome!*

The Bad:

Micah says…The only bad thing I have to say about this carrier is that none of the accessories are included. I don’t expect manufacturers to include every accessory imaginable with their carrier, but I would love it if they included things that most parents would appreciate, like teething pads, with the carrier instead of selling them separately.

Amy says… After the first few times we adjusted the seat, it was easier, but the snap system  for the seat can be a little tricky at first. (Do not attempt to change the seat from wide to narrow for the first time if your baby is already unhappy…not that I’d know, or anything!) The way the seat on this carrier adjusts is really clever, I actually like it a lot.

The Ugly: 

Micah says… At the risk of sounding a bit picky, I will say that I don’t really like that the neck support doesn’t stay in place when not in use. there are snaps to hold it in place when folded down, but the weight of the baby prevents them from staying snapped. In future models I think it would be great if lillébaby addressed this. While it isn’t an issue of functionality, I feel like this does detract a bit from the overall look of the carrier.

Amy says… To use this carrier for a newborn, they recommend rolling up a hand towel or blanket and using it as a seat. We had trouble finding a blanket that was the right size to create the seat height we needed for our newborn. Even once we did, it’s a pain to be rolling up a seat and having to tote an extra blanket for that purpose. I’d much prefer an integral newborn seat or insert that just does the job without any guess work. (That might sound a little stupid, but a 30×30 receiving blanket rolls up differently than a hand towel or a big muslin swaddling blanket, know what I mean? A minor issue, but still a point of potential improvement in what is otherwise an awesome SSC. My husband’s favorite, in fact!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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