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

TLB Reviews: Cezara Belly Support Panty

The Goods: Cezara Belly Support Panty

The Reviewer: Elise

cezara

The Good: Elise says . . . This panty is a great option for those looking for belly and back support. It can be worn on its own or over your regular underwear. It is a nice 90% cotton and 10% spandex fabric that is very soft. For those who feel that their belly is pulling their weight forward and straining their lower back this would be a great choice for supporting the belly weight and relieving back pain. The velcro closure helps to adjust the waist size as you expand during pregnancy and then shrink after birth. I had a belly support band that had the tendency to move around or scrunch up. The nice thing about the Cezara panty is that it will not move around since it is a belly support and panty in one.

cezara drawing

The Bad: Elise says . . . I don’t believe that there is a “normal” pregnancy. Everyone’s body grows and changes in different ways. However there are some common physical issues that occur during pregnancy. One of them is low back pain. I had a back ache for about a week early on during my pregnancy and then for the rest of the time I did not have any back issues, which is a rarity. Therefore I found myself not needing belly and back support. I preferred to wear light-weight bikini underwear that sat below my belly. I was feeling so physically good that I was able to teach dance classes up until the day I went in for my cesarean! This panty would have been great had I had back pain issues, but for my fitness level I did not find that it was necessary.

The Ugly: Elise says . . . The fabric is very soft, but due to my sensitive skin I did not like the thick elastic band. I was lucky to have a fairly painless cesarean recovery. I did experience some tender skin issues with my stretched belly. I found my stretched belly skin to be more tender than my cesarean scar! So for me this supportive underwear with the thick elastic band was not a good option. However for those in need of back support and incision protection these panties would be a great choice to look into.

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

TLB Reviews: My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

The Goods: Heartbeat Bunny from  My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

The Reviewer: Elise

The Good: Elise says . . . Stuffed animals are fun toys for your baby. The stuffed animals from My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear are not only fun, they are incredibly special. I never would have thought to record my baby’s prenatal heartbeat, but I am so glad I did. The site has many different animals to choose from. I received the bunny and it is a high quality stuffed animal and so soft! It may sound silly, but in the days before I had my baby I would hug the heartbeat bunny and listen to my baby’s heartbeat and feel so comforted. My birthing instructor had just told us to find sensory objects to bring to the hospital to help during the birthing process. The heartbeat bear is a perfect object to bring as it fulfills both hearing and touch. The directions for recording are simple and easy to follow. It is a great keepsake and I know it will be neat to show to my son when he can understand that he is listening to his heartbeat when he was in my belly!

heartbeat bear

The Bad: Elise says . . . This may not be on your list of necessary items. When I was preparing for my baby’s arrival I tried to weed out all the unnecessary items. This stuffed animal probably would not have made the cut. However I am so glad I have it! Although it may not be necessary for the care of your baby, I think all mothers should have one. I thought it might be awkward to ask my ob-gyn to help me record the heartbeat. I thought I might interfere with the important elements of the check up, but she was very supportive and helpful. Although this was the first time someone had asked to record the heartbeat during a check up she was more than willing to help. I cannot think of a better way to record your baby’s heartbeat. It will be treasured for many years!

The Ugly: Elise says . . . There is a little switch that you have to tape over on the recording device that goes in the bear. If it accidentally gets switched back it will delete the heartbeat recording! This is a little nerve wracking. Luckily they have a way to store the recording online so if it gets deleted it can be retrieved. Make sure not to skip that step!

Share

TLB Reviews: Dairy Fairy

The Goods: The Dairy Fairy’s Sadie All-in-One Nursing and Handsfree Pumping Tank , $75 and Arden bra, $68

The Reviewers: Amy and Jessica

sadie tank

The Good: 

Amy says… The fit on this is highly adjustable/customizable, which is a huge plus when the shape of your body is literally fluctuating by the hour! The material is extremely high-quality (it’s very soft and washes well) and you can tell these are produced with care. The belly area has a generous cut, so I didn’t feel like I was trying to stuff myself into the tank. (Because let’s face it, sometimes wearing any clothes at all when you’ve just had a baby can feel like that!)

The fact that this is geared for pumping or at-breast feeding is really nice. I didn’t have this experience, but I’d imagine that this would be a very lovely gift for the mom of a babe in the NICU, who’s pumping/feeding around the clock. The panels pull aside easily for nursing and give plenty of access to the breast.

Nursing bra and pumping bra

Jessica says… The Arden Bra is SO much in one, I love it!  I was really concerned about the support of this bra.  It didn’t seem like something could be so adjustable while providing quality support.  As it turns out, the construction of it in order to have the hands-free pumping option and the quality of the materials make it very supportive.  Enough so that I can even run in it without wincing.  I’ve had this bra for a year and it’s held up very well with regular usage and washing it like normal.  I’ve even thrown it in the dryer because sometimes that’s the only way I’m going to get a bra on that day.  Super soft, supportive, providing a firm stretch that is perfect for fluctuating breast size.  Using the hook and loops system on the front, the cup sizes adjusts easily, even under clothing if your support needs change while you’re out, I just moved it when I was feeding.  Hands-free pumping construction makes it super easy to pump one breast while direct feeding from the other side which for me is exactly what I need for pumping for donating purposes as well as when I’m traveling away from my nursling and need to pump.  It’s pretty, well made, and very functional, the cut is generous but not so high so it works with most tops.

The Bad:

Amy says… The cut of the cups on this top is pull-aside friendly, but that also means there’s less fabric to contain humongous I-just-had-a-baby engorged boobs. I was somewhere in the neighborhood of a 34D immediately postpartum and I’m a B-C now, and it’s definitely more comfortable now that my supply has regulated and I’m not as busty.

I’d like to see removable foam cup pads (like in swimsuits or sports bras) so that this could be worn as a stand-alone bra-top/camisole under a nice outfit. (Without the pads,– well, let’s just say nipples eeeeverywhere!)

Jessica says… I do wish it had more padding only because of nipples showing through or the inevitable leaking I experience but that’s manageable enough with a pair of breastpads which I can change as needed.  Depending on the back hook setting, sometimes the tag was itchy.  Now that I’ve gone down in breast size a bit I don’t notice this.  It did take me a little to get used to the hook/loops on the front, I couldn’t change it easily until I practiced a few times.

The Ugly: 

Amy says… The top has an adjustable band with the way the cups cross over and hook in (see the illustration below). Even with the play in band size that provides, the band on this size small was still really tight for me. Full disclosure, I measure a 32 and just prefer to wear a 34 band size in my bras, so I don’t like an overly tight band to begin with. But even so, I felt that it was pretty tight. If in doubt – size up.

sadie tank illustration

Jessica says… I think the sizing runs small, even though it is adjustable.  There are so many settings so I was surprised to see that the size small wasn’t comfortable for me even on the biggest setting.  When I first got the bra I was a 32 DD and quickly decided I needed a size medium in the Arden Bra.  Even now with being back down to a B cup I’m more comfortable in the medium.  The price point seems a bit high for one bra but it is so functional and so comfortable that it’s like getting 4 bras in one.  I wear tank tops a lot in the summer and I do find that it will show on the sides of a scoop neck top.

You can find the Arden bra and the Sadie Tank here and find the Dairy Fairy on Facebook.

 

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

TLB Reviews: Bamboobies Nursing Bra & Nursing Shawl

The Goods: Bamboobies Brahhh & Chic Nursing Shawl

The Reviewers: Kileah and Amy

The Good: 

bamboobies braKileah says…Really was suprised with how much I liked the Bamboobies Brahhh. I am ever the skeptic of anything that might resemble “restricting”…for workout or yoga or anything. This bra did not disappoint! So soft, supportive, forgiving to the ever-changing amazing post-partum  breastfeeding breasts…I loved it! No weird seams to dig into my skin (ladies, I am VERY sensitive to seams/rough edges in clothing!). I was so comfortable in it that I wore it to bed. WIN.

As far as the Chic Nursing Shawl goes-I have to tell you a cool sunburn story. So I was silly and got myself a niiiiice sunburn (read: YEOWCH MY SKIN IS ON FIRE.). I couldn’t bear to have anything on my skin but a loose-fitting tank…and this shawl! It was soooo incredibly soft, chic, and gentle on my skin. It was like this soft cool fabric that KEPT COOL even on the 93F day we had. It also served as a genius fashion choice when my 2 year old hobbit wanted to play “yank-the-nipple” with me while breastfeeding at our community gatherings. Plus? Makes an AMAZING jedi cape on the fly. Just saying.

bamboobies shawlAmy says… I start wearing different bras about .02 seconds into my pregnancies, because my boobs are the first thing to change (and scream, “Hi! PREGNANT!”). At that point, stretchy is best for me. I’d say this is a great maternity-through-breastfeeding bra. I love the lotus flower design (hey, it’s the little things!). As far as nursing goes, it pulls to the side easily. It’s a cotton-based material (organic, actually!) and I thought it would lose its shape. Even in the early days of nursing (when I was pulling it to the side practically hourly), it stayed supportive .

And the shawl? Maybe it’s just me, but my body went through major size changes between the last few months of my pregnancy and the first two months postpartum. After I had my baby, nothing fit; not my maternity stuff, not my pre-pregnancy stuff. I wasn’t about to go buy a new wardrobe, so adding this shawl in over a stretchy nursing tank was my move. (It’s very pretty over a maternity tank, too!) It gave me some fabric to work with for privacy while the baby latched (it was a bit of an all-hands-on-deck experience and while I’m A-ok with nursing in public, having a little coverage to get the tongue-tied baby on was nice). It also made me look a little more put together than I would have, otherwise.

Bamboobies BrahhhThe Bad:

Kileah says…I don’t have enough of the Brahhh. I need more. MORE!

I think I’d love to see a grey option in the shawl as sometimes black/plum can be a bit limiting to some wardrobes.

Amy says… I’d like a tiny bit more cleavage coverage on the bra (it dips in the middle), but that’s just me.  I had a little trouble learning how to wear the shawl. That sounds kind of stupid, but I’d put it on and I wasn’t sure how it was supposed to go or be styled or look once it was on.

The Ugly: 

Kileah says…Nothing ugly here. Two hobbit thumbs up!

Amy says… A couple times, the straps let the front of the bra ride down and end up pretty scrunched in the under-boob area (that’s the technical term). It may have been from wearing it for a couple days straight, so your mileage may vary.

__________________

Bamboobies wants to hear from you!  And so they are offering  a giveaway featuring their Nursing Brahhh and Nursing Shawl to 3 lucky Leaky winners (winner’s choice of either the bra or the shawl).  We hope the winner will come and add their two cents in the comment section and on our Facebook page.  Good luck!  Due to shipping and customs constraints, this giveaway is open to USA residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

Leaving the parenting island and asking for help

by Jessica Martin-Weber
Parenting Island and asking for help

Parenting Island AKA Poop Rock.

 

I was struck by the beauty of that island looking rock from afar on the shore in San Francisco.  Then my friend told me it was so pretty because it was covered in bird poop.  Poop Rock.  Reminded me a lot of parenting, pretty from afar but sometimes lonely and covered in poop when you get up close.

Don’t lecture me, I know parenting is wonderful, I love it but that doesn’t mean it’s not sometimes really hard and stinky like a rock covered in poop.

Last week, my good friend Cindy was battling pneumonia.  It was horrible and scary.  Her husband is in the military and away at the moment so she and her 4 children are on their own as she struggles to get well.  I couldn’t get to her, we’re over 8 hours from each other in different countries, but I wish I could.  Every time I saw her share something of her struggle I was moved, inspired, and ready to jump in the van (that broke down 4 days after I wrote this).  Through Facebook, I feel like I get to keep up with my friend and in some small way offer support.  I wish I could do more.  Yet even so sick and all the way in Canada, my friend reminded me of something incredibly important: we all need help from time to time.

Asking for help is one of the hardest needs to voice sometimes.  Or all the time.  People judge and are judged for even needing help and we all feel it.  There is such shame attached to needing help or even encouragement.  We’re all supposed to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and in made for TV moments, triumph over whatever challenges we face.  Alone.  Without resources.  Without bragging. Without getting anything we don’t deserve because by our own blood, sweat, and tears we paid for it or worked for it or fought for it all on our own.  We talk about the strength of the human spirit and applaud those that figure out how to go it without help.  And anyone that is worn out, broken down, or overwhelmed must be less of a person.  Even in a safe place, like The Leaky Boob Facebook, mothers (and sometimes dads too) may take the bold step to admit they are struggling but do so with trepidation, beating themselves up for being a “horrible parent, feeling like a failure” before someone else does, all because they find parenting hard sometimes.

This cultural attitude of glorifying individualism and self-sufficiency is hard enough when children aren’t involved, but when we become parents it’s not just us any more.  Our pride can get in the way of seeking out desperately needed help.  Pregnancy and childbirth set the precedent in parenting without help and while I love doulas and highly recommend having doula support for birthing women (I have for mine), traditionally the role wasn’t a paid position but one filled by a family member, friend, or a member of the community.  There seems to be a growing sense of shame in needing help from someone who isn’t designated as a paid professional.  We see it in infant nutrition all the time, mothers struggling but too embarrassed to admit breastfeeding isn’t working as well as it “naturally” should as she struggles with pain and a frustrated baby or families not knowing where to turn when they need an alternative.  In fact, the number one reason mother’s don’t reach their personal breastfeeding goals is lack of support.  Support = help.  But it certainly isn’t isolated to the area of infant nutrition, pregnancy, and child birth.  Parenting dilemmas such as health care, child care, discipline, education, financial stress, housing, safety, you name it, are often hindered by our own pride in asking for help.  As though needing a helping hand occasionally, let alone for a long season, is an indication of inadequacies or failure.  Afraid it reflects badly on us and our abilities, many parents forgo voicing their need for support and actual help because we know people will say things like “you shouldn’t have had children if you couldn’t handle it” (what are parents supposed to do, put the kids back from where they got them?), we suffer quietly and so do our children.  Sometimes it’s major roadblocks that threaten the health and safety of the family, particularly the children, others deplete personal internal resources and reinforce feelings of failing over every day aspects of parenting that may wear us down.  Either way, while learning to deal with hardships and having the experience of overcoming them on our own once in a while can be empowering, is this isolation really what we want to be the norm?

But the truth is we all benefit when we help each other, yes, even when we admit we need help and ask for it.  Not only individually are we strengthened, our communities are too.  It can be risky though, by admitting our struggles, we’re opening ourselves up for criticizing judgment or worse, being ignored and that is more than hard, it’s down right terrifyingly heart breaking.  Most parents would do anything including swallowing their pride to care for their children, there’s not a job we wouldn’t work or begging we are above when it comes to the safety and provision of our children.  That fear though, the fear of judgment or of not mattering enough for someone to even notice, can be paralyzing and parents may, unintentionally, cause suffering for their children simply because the cultural attitudes about asking for help have effectively silenced them for issuing the call when most needed.  Yet almost no parent would say their child deserved less.

Asking for help is something I continue to grow in along with knowing how to offer help, carefully avoiding judgment.  Including learning how to have grace without judgment for myself.  The journey hasn’t been easy and I’m still learning.  How does one master admitting you can’t do something on your own?  That you don’t have it all together and need others?  I’m not sure yet but I know it has gotten easier for me simply by looking at my children, I never want them to be afraid to ask for my help when they encounter difficulties.  They have not only been my inspiration in seeking out help when I need it, but sometimes my teachers.  They have shown me the joy that comes from helping and being helped, the agony that comes from pride getting in the way.  From communicating my need for help during difficult pregnancies to admitting I don’t know how to handle certain parenting situations, to finding a mentor in understanding child development when my children were driving me crazy to even asking for financial support because we lack the funds required to help our daughter reacher her dreams, though Jeremy and I work hard for our family, admitting we can’t always do it on our own and that we’re not an island but in fact need the village, our children are the ones that have benefited the most from us humbling ourselves to say three little words: “help me please.”  Accepting our limitations is the first step in being able to strengthen each other.  I firmly believe that in strengthening, supporting, and yes helping, parents makes for a healthier community that is stronger, more creative, and more skilled.  What a gift we can give our children.

My friend Cindy, has posted on Facebook a few pleas for help with her children so she can rest.  Yes, she could keep trying to go it on her own, likely prolonging her illness and a lower level of care for her children while she tries to recover.  There are risks to her not recovering, potentially problematic for those around her.  Worse, she could end up in the hospital and her children in the custody of someone else for an indeterminate amount of time.  It is to her health benefit, the benefit of the health care system, the benefit of her children, and the benefit of her friends for her to ask for help.  Her recovery will be aided and the community circles around her will be stronger as a result.  Relationships are being fortified as her friends respond to her pleas and offer their support not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.  I am so incredibly proud of her asking for help.  Knowing her personally I know that she is a capable, strong, and hard working woman, talented as a journalist and an attentive and loving mother.  This moment of needing help (and the next one that comes her way) are not a reflection of her capabilities, simply a moment where her humanity is evident.  And she has already paid it forward and will do so again.  Because she gets that we need each other.  We all do.

 

Share

TLB Reviews: Push Pack

Let’s talk about packing your bag for your birth center or hospital birth. (And hey, even if you’re birthing at home…it’s a good idea to have a bag packed just in case!)

The Goods: Princess Push Pack by Push Pack, $78.95, in Tulip and Magnolia Pink

The Reviewers: Elise and Amy

The Good: 

Elise says… I had a breech position baby so I headed into the hospital for a planned c-section. I was a little nervous as I had never had surgery before. Having the Push Pack helped to make my journey feel like a fun adventure. It was comforting to know I had a package of everything I could possibly need. I packed some of my own things too, but it is nice to have some extras! I did not know how long I would be in the hospital and it was a great comfort to have the pack with me. Two months later I am still using items from the pack. My favorite items by far are the breast pads. I have tried many different kinds of breast pads both disposable and cloth and the cloth pads included in the pack are definitely my favorite.  I was impressed that the included items were all natural including Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and lanolin free nipple cream. I would definitely recommend getting this for someone as a gift. I know that people love to give baby clothes at baby showers, but it is so much nicer when someone gives you something fun and useful like this pack.

Elise received the Princess Push pack in Tulip.

Elise received the Princess Push pack in Tulip.

Amy says… I had a planned home water birth, so I’m writing from a slightly different perspective. This time around (my second birth) I did not want a repeat of my hospital birth. I didn’t want anything to do with packing any “emergency” or “just in case” bag. From that point of view, I love that this is a ready-to-go bag that’s all done for you (in a pretty case, to boot!). If something hit the fan, this pretty little case included everything I needed. Basically, it didn’t mess with my psyche AND I was still prepared. BOOM.
The bag it comes in is extremely high-quality and pretty (I’d expect it to retail for over $40, actually), I’ll get years of use out of it. (There’s a less expensive version that comes in a different bag that isn’t premium like the one we’re reviewing, too!)
The products are very consciously-chosen: organic, natural, good-for-your-body-and-the-earth stuff. That made the bag even more of a no-brainer for me. I didn’t need to think about packing stuff and this came with product selections that I would have chosen for myself. I can’t honestly think of what I would add, other than my own clothes, baby clothes, and my camera (and they actually include a tag on the bag with a suggested list of what to pack in addition to the Push Pack, which would be really helpful).  You really don’t need much more than what’s in this bag!
Here are some pictures of the goodies that came in the Push Pack:
Really pretty, right? It's an extremely high quality bag!

Really pretty, right? It’s an extremely high quality bag!

push pack personal care

Everything you need to be fresh & clean! If you walk out the door with only this, you’re covered.

Mama care: pads, disposable underwear (there were 3 in the pack, 2 are shown), Earth Mama Angel Baby's Mama Bottom Balm, Motherlove nipple cream, and breast pads. You're literally taken care of from top to bottom.

Mama care: pads, disposable underwear (there were 3 in the pack, 2 are shown), Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Mama Bottom Balm, Motherlove nipple cream, and breast pads. You’re literally taken care of from top to bottom.

The inclusion of a notepad, pen, and thank-you notes? I think that's brilliant. So helpful.

The inclusion of a notepad, pen, and thank-you notes? I think that’s brilliant. So helpful.

The pack of playing cards is great! It's very possible you're going to have to pass some time, so they might come in handy.  There were more snacks, but, uh...pregnancy. I ate them before photos were taken. ::hangs head in shame::

The pack of playing cards is great! It’s very possible you’re going to have to pass some time, so they might come in handy.
There were more snacks, but, uh…pregnancy. I ate them before photos were taken. ::hangs head in shame::

I was reaching for the nipple cream and breast pads within hours of birthing my son at home, so this isn’t a product that needs to be exclusive to moms birthing at hospitals or birth centers. I’ve found most everything to be useful and this was great to have at home for my peace of mind, should a transfer have been necessary. Price-wise, I think you’d come pretty close to what this costs if you tried to DIY it. Once you add in the convenience of someone else thinking through what goes in it and packing it, I’d buy one if I were birthing again. I also think this would make a fantastic gift for any mama-to-be!

 

The Bad:

Elise says… Honestly I did not end up using anything in the pack while I was in the hospital. To my surprise my c-section went amazingly smooth and I was only in the hospital for 2 nights. The hospital was great in providing everything I needed for those two nights. However when I got home I found myself going back to the bag over and over again to get needed items. When I ran out of those ugly disposable underwear that are oh so necessary I found an extra pair in the pack. When I ran out of pads I had extra in the pack. When I ran out of shower gel and nipple balm, there were some in the pack. So while it was merely a comfort to know I had it in the hospital it really became useful during my postpartum recovery at home.

Amy says…  It comes with a packet instant oatmeal that says it helps promote milk production, and it’s my understanding that you need old-fashioned rolled oats if you’re aiming for a galactagogue effect. (Though hey, it’s just nice to have an option that isn’t hospital food, I guess! And it comes with a spoon, which is really thoughtful.)

 

The Ugly: 

Elise says…  I ran out of thank you notes and I was hopeful I could use the ones in the pack, but they were too small to fit my standard size birth announcement. I am not a gum chewer or candy eater so while the lollipop and gum were fun ideas they were not useful to me (but probably great for others!).

Amy says… The razor that comes in it is probably not one I’d use (single blade, disposable, I’d probably cut myself). Same goes for the undies; even though they’re individually wrapped and labeled as disposable, they weren’t going to be comfy enough for me to wear. (Though admittedly, I’m very particular.)

___________________________________

We’re super excited to be giving away a $40 gift code to one lucky Leaky to help them select their own Push Pack.  This giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share