Breastfeeding While Sick and How To Recover Your Supply

by Jessica Martin-Weber with Rene Fisher, IBCLC

This article made possible by the generous support of Ameda.

Ameda Finesse Double Electric Breast pump

*Please note, this is not intended to be health care advice or to replace or be a substitute for being seen by a qualified health care provider. 

Is it ok to breastfeed when you’re sick? Could baby get sick from your milk? From being so close to you if you’re contagious?

We often hear how great breastfeeding is for our babies’ immune systems, a highly motivating reason to  breastfeed. There’s plenty of evidence that shows this to be true and even though it’s no guarantee that our babies will never be sick (lowering risk is not eliminating risk), it can certainly be a motivating factor to breastfeed. In fact, we know that in infants, breastfeeding significantly reduces respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, SIDS and infant mortality, allergic disease (asthma, atopic dermatitis, and eczema), celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and childhood leukemia and lymphoma. (For more, see here and here.) There’s no doubt that breastfeeding can help reduce how often a baby is seek, the severity of their illness, and the duration of their illness. (More on that here.) Most of the time, breastfeeding is exactly what your baby needs when they are sick.

But what about when the breastfeeding parent is the one sick? Particularly with an infectious disease that baby could easily get being in close proximity to the one sick? Is breastmilk that magical it can protect our babies even then?

Not exactly but, well… kind of.

“…the immunologic components found in breast milk appear increasingly likely to play a specific immunologic role in the protection of the nursing infant.” (Mucosal immunity: the immunology of breast milk)

While it is possible your infant nursling could catch a sickness from you even with breastfeeding and since reduced risk doesn’t mean no risk, it certainly does happen, breastfeeding can reduce the duration of infectious disease in the breastfed infant and even beyond the first year of life.

The American Acadamy of Pediatrics recommendation on breastfeeding while sick:

If a mother has a cold or the flu, it is not necessary to discontinue or interrupt breastfeeding. Through breastfeeding, the infant will receive the antibodies that the mother is producing to fight the illness. Most infectious diseases are also not a cause for weaning or interruption. Generally, by the time a disease has been diagnosed, the infant has been exposed and will probably benefit more from the protection he gets from his mother’s breast milk than from weaning. However, each case must be evaluated individually.

There are times when it would be dangerous to breastfeed during an illness such as when the treatment for the illness carries a higher risk to the baby in the mother’s milk than not breastfeeding would. While this is rarely the case for infectious diseases, it is possible. It is important to speak with your health care provider and disclose that you are breastfeeding when considering treatment options. As not all health care providers are fully informed on human lactation, you may find the following resources helpful in determining treatment options that are safe for breastfeeding and to check a medication’s potential impact on breastmilk supply.

  • LactMed app to look up the compatibility of pharmaceutical treatments with breastfeeding.
  • Infant Risk the leading research for medication safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Sometimes, illness can have an impact on breastfeeding. Some changes to breastfeeding that can happen during an illness of the breastfeeding parent:

  • Low milk supply
  • Milk color changes
  • Increased feedings
  • Decreased feedings
  • Sensitivity
  • Fussy baby at breast
  • Sore nipples

Decreased feeding or pumping, fever, and dehydration can lead to a lower supply of milk. Severe dehydration (such as can happen with gastrointestinal illness) can cause a sudden and drastic drop whereas a slow decrease in milk volume is more typical of illnesses such as the flu. Low supply as a result of dehydration will typically come back quickly with hydration, electrolytes, and rest. Low supply as a result of not fully emptying breasts due to fatigue and other symptoms will take time to rebuild. Low supply as a result of medication side effects usually will begin to recover when the medication is stopped and frequent emptying of the breast increases.

American Academy of Pediatrics breastfeeding through sickness

Recovering Milk Supply Following Illness

If you experience low supply as a result of illness, the best way to increase your supply to meet your baby’s needs is simply to let them breastfeed as often as they are interested in doing so. Complete and frequent draining of the breasts will signal the body to produce more milk. Keeping your baby close and doing skin-to-skin will also help encourage milk production. For lactating parents who pump, adding a 10-20 minute pumping session after several feedings or in between feedings can have the same effect. Don’t be surprise if you pump for 10 minutes immediately following a feeding or even an hour later and get nothing or just a few drops. The stimulation will tell your body to make more milk. It may take several days to see results.

Always be sure to be seen by a qualified health care provider for high fevers, prolonged illness, or severe symptoms.

For further discussion and Q&A on breastfeeding through illness and recovering breastmilk supply following illness, see this video chat with Rene Fisher, IBCLC and Jessica Martin-Weber, The Leaky Boob.

This is general information and does not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. If you have a problem you cannot solve quickly, seek help right away. Every baby is different. If in doubt, contact your physician or healthcare provider.

Mother of 4, Rene Fisher has been an IBCLC since 1998. Rene has worked in private practice before going on to be a hospital Lactation consultant for 10 years where she was responsible for nurses and patient education and hands on assistance with breastfeeding mothers. Rene got started in lactation support as a La Leche League Leader 1993 and became a member of La Leche League Area Professional Liaison Department from 2000 -2010. Today, Rene supports families in reaching their baby feeding goals working with Ameda breastfeeding products.

 

 

Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 21 years.
 
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Pumping Basics Part 1- What The Experts Say To Do To Get Started Pumping Your Breastmilk

by Jessica Martin-Weber with Rene Fisher, IBCLC

This article made possible by the generous support of Ameda.

Ameda Finesse Double Electric Breast pump

When my baby was 4 weeks old, it was time for me to get started pumping not only for my baby to be able to receive my milk when I had to be away from her for work, but also for me to donate my milk to other babies.

To help me get started pumping, I spoke with Rene Fisher, IBCLC from Ameda, Inc. She helped me pick out a pump, the new Ameda Finesse Double Electric, and got me all set up. Via video chat and live stream, Rene got me all ready to go and before I knew it, I was filling milk storage containers with my milk. Thanks to Rene’s help, for the first time ever, after pumping through 6 babies, I’m finally using the right size flanges and pumping pain-free. See what I learned in the video and points below.

Setting Up Your Pump

Carefully read your instruction manual and ensure you have all the parts you need. Follow the directions for preparing your pump and setting up. Wash each part that comes in contact with your breast and milk including the flanges, milk storage containers (unless you intend to pump directly into bags such as the Store and Pour Ameda breastmilk storage bags), valves, and diaphragms. Do NOT wash the tubing. Plug in your power adaptor or install batteries. Wash your hands and assemble the kit (tubing, flanges, diaphragms, valves, milk storage containers, etc.).

Determine Your Flange Size 

Flanges are the horn shaped pieces that hold the pump and storage containers to your breasts. Correct fit of the flanges can prevent tissue damage and improve the effectiveness of your pump. All nipples are different and dynamic and the size of your flange may determine how you respond to pumping. Too small may cause pain and stress, reducing your output to the pump. Too large may cause too much areola and breast tissue to be engaged and not enough stimulation for let down or may result in reduced output. If your nipple presses against the flange or rubs, you may need a larger size. If there is a significant amount of space around your nipple and additional breast tissue is entering the flange which may rub, you may need a smaller size. Because nipples are dynamic, they may change during pregnancy, breastfeeding, and pumping. You may even need a different size flange mid-pumping session. See this video below and the information here to help you determine correct flange size.

Beginning: Set Up

If possible, set up in a quiet, relaxing space. Have a drink and a snack. Get as comfortable as possible, having read the manual prior to beginning.

Beginning: Positioing

Position the flange centered over your nipple, pressing in lightly to create a seal. Without a seal there will be no suction. If you are double pumping you can use your arms to help hold the flanges to your breasts but you may want to use a hands-free-pumping support.

Beginning: Before You Start

Relax. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Think of your baby. Focus on why you’re pumping rather than the output itself. You may want to watch a video of your baby, look at a photo, or smell their clothing.

Beginning: Turn Your Pump On

To get started with pumping, if your pump has individualized speed and suction settings, set your pump on the highest speed and, following the instruction manual for your pump, turn your pump on at the lowest suction level. Gradually increase suction strength to the highest comfortable level. Pumping should never hurt. It is not necessary to go to the highest level if it is painful for you and doing so could interfere with the milk ejection reflex and let down and result in reduced milk output to the pump, potentially causing tissue damage.

Beginning: Let Down and Expression

Stimulate let down with a high speed and the highest comfortable suction. Once let down begins (marked by spraying or flowing milk), reduce speed. You may feel ready to increase the suction level but only do so the the highest comfortable level. When the flow of milk slows to drips or a trickle, return to a higher speed and the highest comfortable suction level to stimulate another let down. It is possible to get up to 9 let downs in a 20 minute pumping session by adjusting speed and suction levels. It may be helpful to observe your baby’s pattern at the breast and mimic it as closely as possible with the pump during your pumping sessions.

When To Pump

When you pump for the first time will greatly depend on why you are pumping. If your baby is in the NICU and there is clinical separation from birth, you will need to begin as soon as possible and plan to pump 8-12 times within a 24 hour period for exclusively pumping. If you are pumping to return to work at 6 weeks postpartum, it is advisable to wait until 3-4 weeks postpartum and your milk supply and breastfeeding are established to protect your supply. If possible, introduce pumping gradually for partial separation giving at least an hour before breastfeeding again after pumping (though let your baby feed at the breast whenever they want to!). Many breastfeeding parents find they get more milk pumping first thing in the morning. Pumping one side while baby is latched and feeds from the other can also lead to more let downs while pumping.

How Long To Pump

Many breastfeeding parents find that 15-20 minutes is adequate time to pump. Some may find it takes longer but with the right pump and proper flange fit, 15-20 minutes will be plenty for most. Utilizing hands on pumping or breast massage while you pump can help encourage your breasts to empty fully, signaling your breasts to produce more milk for your baby. When you pump will depend on your reasons for pumping, how long you are away from your baby, and the amount of milk you need. Every breastfeeding parent and baby are different, figure out what works for you. For more on when and how long to pump, see here.

 

Mother of 4, Rene Fisher has been an IBCLC since 1998. Rene has worked in private practice before going on to be a hospital Lactation consultant for 10 years where she was responsible for nurses and patient education and hands on assistance with breastfeeding mothers. Rene got started in lactation support as a La Leche League Leader 1993 and became a member of La Leche League Area Professional Liaison Department from 2000 -2010. Today, Rene supports families in reaching their baby feeding goals working with Ameda breastfeeding products.

 

 

Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 21 years.
 
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Happy Sex Life – Happy Family, Good Clean Love

by Wendy Strgar

 

goodcleanlove.com

(Facebook livestream on The Leaky Boob with Jessica and Jeremy, parents of 7, featuring Loveologist, Wendy Strgar.)

It has been almost two decades since the birth of my fourth and last baby and yet, even 20 years later, I still remember the cold snap that overtook my marriage in the months that followed her birth. It wasn’t like the previous three kids hadn’t taken a cumulative toll on our sex life. But it was also easy to blame our degenerating intimate life on the overwhelming demands and exhaustion of raising four kids. Over time, it became clear that there were actually many other more important factors contributing to the sexless state of our marriage, and more importantly, that the lack of intimacy we shared was creating deep fissures in the foundation of our loving connection.

It was mind boggling for me, as I suspect it is for most every new parent, just how much of our attention is consumed by the fragility and wonder of a new life – often more than we think it is. In ways that I didn’t expect, a powerful internal conflict grew with each child I had, and worse still, lived at the epicenter of the ongoing and escalating conflicts I had with my partner. Who got to do their own thing, whether occupationally or personally, became our ground of competition. With each new baby the challenges of meeting my own needs and knowing my own desires left me feeling lonely and often angry at my husband. Our experience of growing a family was so different. His inability to understand my ambivalence about full-time mothering and my longing for myself isolated us from each other. And not surprisingly, it was our sex life that was held hostage by our ongoing estrangement in our relationship.

 

Wendy Strgar

 

This loss of a sex life is so common to new parents that it’s cliché. In fact, of all life transitions having a baby tops the list for the disruption of a woman’s libido and a couple’s sex life – sometimes for years. Of course there are many factors at play here – everything from hormones to how couples communicate and show up for each other after the birth of a new baby plays a big role. But even more important than many people realize is how a lack of sexual education and communication skills weighs on our ability to adapt and grow together intimately.

Initially, our sex life falls apart innocently with the many challenging circumstances of growing a family.   But often what becomes clear is just how our limited sexual education manifests and undermines our ability to both identify and express our sexual needs. Without realizing it, our deficit of sexual know-how degenerates into low sexual self-esteem and turns into a battleground of hurt feelings. I remember early in my marriage how little I understood about my own arousal mechanism and how uncomfortable we both were when it came to using words to describe our sexual preferences. Erroneously, I believed that my partner should just know what kinds of touch felt best or which positions worked for me – which was strange, because I didn’t know them myself.

The truth is that what we have no language for is often not available to us. And it is not surprising that so many relationships suffer from ongoing sexual dysfunction issues issues like pain with sex, the inability to orgasm, ongoing vaginal dryness or for men, premature ejaculation and the inability to maintain erections. In fact the sexual health issues are shared almost equally between male and female partners.

We struggled with this combination of sexual inexperience for more years than I would like to admit, which often created more frustration than our fledgling relationship could hold. We often degenerated into hurtful sexual blaming that made both of us feel impotent and afraid to engage. Living with persistent sexual frustration often evolves into an approach-avoidance game where everyone loses and one, or both, partners starts putting one foot out the door.

As our sex life starts to slip away, we don’t realize the impact it is having on the cohesion in the whole relationship. We forget how much emotional release that our physical intimacy brings. I often call it the glue that keeps all the rest of the mess intact, but we know that not engaging sexually undermines the health and longevity of the relationship in so many other ways.

Finding your way out of this downward sexual spiral is possible and deserves your attention. What helped us was both recognizing how much we didn’t want to lose the intimate space we had taken for granted, and developing the curiosity to learn more about our own sexual response. The more confident I became in my own ability to express my sexual needs, the more I could bring to our intimacy and stop blaming him when it didn’t work.

As he saw my willingness grow, and wasn’t worried about my wrath, he had time and space to figure out what helped for him to last longer. With practice, I also got better at finding ways to wake up my arousal which made it possible to throw out the entire idea of needing to “be in the mood.” The more I trusted my capacity to generate a sexual mood, the more we were able to synch up our sexual desires.

During all the baby years I usually had to think my way into desire. It never just came to me, but it became easier and easier to remember how much softer life was for everyone when we took care of our sexual needs first.

 

Wendy Strgar is an award-winning entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Good Clean Love, a pioneer in the organic personal care product industry. She is a popular blogger and author of two books. Sex That Works: An Intimate Guide To Awakening Your Erotic Life, published by Sounds True Publishing in June 2017, is the companion to her first popular book, Love that Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy. Wendy has been featured in many publications including The New York Times Book Review. For more information about Wendy’s relationship help books, visit her author website.

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#TLBnourish 2017 – Gifts to Support the Nourisher

#TLBnourish 2017 is under way, and our campaign sponsors want to support you as you seek to nourish your family and yourself. Check out the sponsors’ products below and use the widget underneath to enter for your chance to win them! For more information on #TLBnourish 2017, click here.

 

A huge thanks to My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear, Pure Spoon, BeliBea, and Motif Pumps presented by Aeroflow Breastpumps for supporting parents and their kids year-round, and for supporting #TLBnourish 2017 for the next few weeks. Check out their featured products below and enter the giveaway for your chance to win all of them!

 

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

The Rainbow Keepsake Kit, retail value: $39.99

The Rainbow Keepsake Kit is a beautiful way to celebrate or honor a life. Accessorize your Heartbeat Animal with a rainbow tutu, rainbow bowtie, or both. Comes with a 13-15″ stuffed animal of your choice and heart-shaped recorder. 

 

Pure Spoon


Pure Spoon $50 gift card, retail value: $50

Pure Spoon’s organic HPP baby food use 100% fresh, certified organic fruits and veggies that are cold-pressed, cold-packed and delivered right to your door. Pure Spoon has 11 flavors, including Avocado and Apples; Blueberry, Bananas and Apples; Butternut Squash, Apples and Oats; Carrots and Zucchini; Simply Pears; and more.

 

Belibea

 

NOURISH Essentials 3-pack, retail value: $127.95

NOURISH Essentials 3-pk includes:
1* NOURISH by BeliBea bra (nude)
1* NOURISH by BeliBea bra (black)
1* NOURISH CAMI (black)
Our seamless, stretch NOURISH Nursing & Pumping bras feature a unique two panel, double snap design allowing for both breastfeeding and pumping. Made for the flexibility of the modern mom, it provides the comfort and convenience of wearing one garment whether nursing, pumping or reveling in the sweet moments in between.
 

Motif Pumps, presented by Aeroflow Breastpumps

 

 

Motif Medical Duo Breast Pump, retail value: $190
Giveaway winner will have the choice to receive either the Curve or the Duo. 
Motif Medical was started with one thing in mind – family. With that, Motif has created products that help families stay happy and healthy. By providing quality products, Motif is able uphold the highest standard for the company. The Motif Duo is the perfect breast pump for busy moms. The pump features an easy-to-operate memory mode that stores your favorite settings to use at a later time. Enjoy pumping on-the-go with this lightweight pump with a rechargeable battery. The Motif Curve is lightweight, quiet and supports many combinations of suction and massage settings. Pump anytime and anywhere with the battery powered motor.

 

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Nourishing Our Children and Ourselves – #TLBnourish 2017

#TLBnourish 2017 is made possible thanks to Title Sponsor: My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

 

#TLBnourish is a time to celebrate nourishing our families, ourselves, and even our community. From sharing recipes to sharing stories to sharing our photos, #TLBnourish is about feeding our whole selves well.

Nourishment is so much more than just nutrition for our bodies; our spirits find nourishment in connection, our relationships find nourishment in each other, our children find nourishment in our arms (our little Lucky reminds my family of this daily), our minds are nourished through learning and conversation, and our hearts are nourished by being with the people we love.

#TLBNourish brings us all together as we hold space for each other in what this may look like in our lives, embracing the bravery required to open up about what and how we nourish ourselves and our families. With so much pressure to be a certain way with an expectation of perfection it can feel risky to say what we really do, but that’s exactly what we’re going to do together, supporting how our journeys are diverse and meaningful. Feeding our very souls.

Also, sometimes we’re just plain ol’ surviving! And we can laugh, cry, and joke about that reality. Nourishment isn’t always the stuff of cooking shows and feel-good-TV. It’s more of a buffet of hasty snacks, complex dishes, and some total flops- like the time my brother used garlic oil on accident to make brownies and it was the laughter that nourished us.

We are excited to share #TLBnourish 2017 with you, The Leaky Boob community, and also our Beyond Moi community, that focuses first on strengthening the connection we have with our families and ourselves to key aspects that deeply impact relationships of all sorts. Join us on The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, hereBeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; and the Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships), here.

#TLBnourish 2017 launched a few days ago with our campaign ambassadors sharing their daily nourishing experiences on Instagram, and introducing our campaign giveaway. It will run for the next couple of weeks though a meaningful focus on how we nourish ourselves and our families is never really limited to a set of dates. It’s what TLB does every day! We will be focusing on what nourishes us with good food, meaningful experiences, opening up, and a lot of humor. All of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities in action teaming up with you, our communities, and brands we trust including Title Sponsoring Brand My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear, maker of the cuddliest keepsake to celebrate and/or honor our new family members.

Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBnourish (and start using it too!), Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister site, BeyondMoi.com, inspiring support within our community, involvement from our campaign sponsors, giveaways, and informative articles.

Let’s explore the many ways we nourish ourselves and our relationships together, with #TLBnourish 2017.

Check out and follow our team of brave campaign ambassadors below on social, and show some love to the wonderful campaign sponsors below who understand the importance of nourishment within our families and intimate relationships.

____________________

Meet Our Campaign Ambassadors 

We’ve assembled a small team to provide a little daily inspiration and some real-life experiences as they focus on the nourishment present in their relationships. Here are the six mamas (apart from myself) that will be sharing their #TLBnourish experiences with us:

Hi everyone! My name is Aley, and I am a 26 year old mother of three – ages 12, 3), and 5 weeks. I nursed my 3 yr old until he was 3.5 and he self weaned when I was about 30 weeks pregnant with his brother. So far, my baby and I are also going stong with nursing. I did disposables with for my other babies but am looking forward to starting cloth soon with my newest little one. I am a stay at home mom so keeping up on housework and keeping the kids alive are my usual daily battles.

You can find Aley on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

Hi, I’m Angela  Mom of three kids (ages 6, 3, and 8 months), I’m a Navy spouse, and registered nurse (pediatrics). We have been moving every two years and we just recently moved to Nevada in July, so still trying to get settled and starting to think about going back to work!

You can find Angela on Instagram.

 

 

Hey Everyone! I’m Ashley, mom of two (ages 2 & 2 months). Currently, I’m a breastfeeding peer counselor. I also volunteer and lead a breastfeeding support group at a local women’s center! I cloth diaper and I’m trying get the hang of babywearing haha!

You can find Ashley on Instagram.

 

 

 

Hello! My name is Diamond and I’m the mom of 4 girls (ages 11, 9, 4, and 8 months)! I’m the founder of Carry On-Newark, (we give free education and natural parenting supplies to low income families in Newark) ,I blog for Smitten Wovens, I’m a chapter leader for World On My Shoulders and occasionally assist my husband on his page (The Babywearing Dad). I am a Babywearing educator, cloth diaper expert and a breastfeeding advocate in Newark NJ. I’m so excited to be here!!

You can find Diamond on Instagram.

 

Hello, my name is Iola. I’m a social media consultant, birth/breastfeeding advocate, hiker, climber, kayaker, doula and mom. I have five wonderful kids ages 6, 5, 2, 1, and 7 weeks. I am a single, co-parenting mom, by choice. We live in Minnesota, twin cities area, my second home is Duluth, MN. We are avid campers. Pretty much an open book.

You can find Iola on Instagram.

 

 

Hey guys! My name is Jess and I’m 31. I have a 2.5 year old boy and am 33 weeks pregnant with a little girl.

I’m a pediatric cardiology nurse at Seattle Children’s in their central Washington clinic but in late February, my family is moving to the east coast. I’m really looking forward to getting the heck out of Washington and starting fresh!

You can find Jess on Instagram.

 

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#TLBnourish 2017 Sponsors

 

Title Sponsor: My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

Looking for a unique pregnancy keepsake? There is nothing more precious to an expectant mother than the sound of her baby’s heartbeat. My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear provides everything you need to capture the sound of your baby’s heartbeat and create a keepsake that will be cherished forever. Our kit includes an adorable stuffed animal, and a 20 second red heart recorder that will easily preserve the sound of your baby’s heartbeat. My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear Kits also make fantastic baby shower gifts! Find out more here

 

Pure Spoon

Pure Spoon’s organic HPP baby food use 100% fresh, certified organic fruits and veggies that are cold-pressed, cold-packed and delivered right to your door. Find out more here

 

BeliBea

An innovative maternity bra line for both breastfeeding and hands-free pumping convenience. Find our more here

 

Motif Pumps, presented by Aeroflow Breastpumps

Supporting new and expecting moms by providing breast pumps through insurance. Find out more about Aeroflow here and more about Motif here
.
To participate in the #TLBnourish 2017 Sponsors’ giveaway, click here
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Belly Painting- Celebrating and Commemorating Pregnancy With Your Children

By Jessica Martin-Weber with Squiggle Bug, Smunchie, Sugarbaby, and Jeremy Martin-Weber

Each person deserves to be celebrated. A theme that is common in our family. Most often , the ways we find to celebrate are small and simple but very special.

We’re going to show one way we enjoy celebrating a coming baby. Belly painting! Together we cooperate to celebrate and commemorate the new person joining our family with creative expression.

Today we already agreed on a seasonal theme but it could be anything! Comment telling us what you’ve done to celebrate a pregnancy and the new family member joining your family.

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#TLBsafekids 2017 – a Giveaway to Inspire and Support

Keeping our kids safe is quite a daunting task. They start out so little, so vulnerable, and though they are amazingly resilient and life comes across as a force with a seeming will of its own, at least babies can’t get themselves into trouble – they’re immobile.

But as they gain mobility, and curiosity grows inside them, each new stage of development has a way of keeping their parents on their toes. How do we balance allowing them to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity, with keeping them safe from dangers lurking around every corner? If we slack on the one side they’ll get hurt! But if we slack the other way, we’ll hold them back.

Put that under things you never thought you’d worry about when you became a parent. This parenting thing was going to be challenging, of course, but frightening? We didn’t see that coming.

But I can tell you this much: those fears are healthy, and so is your desire to allow your kid to explore. Your emotions and your brain may seem like they’re pitted against each other, but in reality you need both to parent well. Because deep down you already know that you can’t completely shield your child from getting hurt, and you also know that hurt, to a degree, is a great teacher. Who ever learned how to walk without falling a hundred times? It’s par for the course, and you are a better parent for allowing your child to learn how to walk even though they will get hurt. And you are an even better parent if you demonstrate to them that you believe in them, comfort them when they’re frustrated and overwhelmed, and encourage them to try again when they’re ready.

We, the parents, have got this, modeling how we can use both our brains and our hearts.

We can learn about developmental milestones form experts, and everyday experiences from others just like us. And there are a ton of tools available to make our life easier, and products designed by people who care about child safety. #TLBsafekids 2017 is featuring several of these products, from brands that were created out of a desire we share with them: making the world a safer place for our kids.

A huge thanks to Diono, Pura Stainless, and Crane for supporting parents and their kids year-round, and for supporting #TLBsafekids 2017 for the next few weeks. Check out their featured products below and enter the giveaway for your chance to win all of them!

 

Diono

The radian rXT All-In-One Convertible Car Seat, retail value: $359.99

Your child’s security is our top priority. We engineered our radian® rXT with premium, innovative features like a steel alloy frame, aluminum reinforced sidewalls, energy absorbing EPS foam and a reinforced adjustable head support to keep your little one protected and comfortable. 

 

Pura Stainless


Pura Kiki Stainless Steel Bottles, retail value: $24.99

100% plastic-free, NonToxic Certified stainless steel bottles that grow with your child from infancy through grade school.

 

Crane

 

Crane Drop Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier, retail value: $54.99

Get relief from dryness in style with a Crane Drop Humidifier. Featuring an award winning design and top rated performance, Crane’s Drop Shape Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifiers provide up to 24 hours of soothing moisture to help relieve the effects of dryness and congestion, helping you and your Family to breathe easy and sleep through the night peacefully. Crane’s Drop design complements any home’s decor. Not only are Crane Drop Humidifiers stylish, but they are easy to use, whisper quiet, more efficient than a household light bulb, and include a built-in auto-shut-off feature that engages when the water tank is empty to ensure safety. The moisture that humidifiers add to dry air also help alleviate many common nuisances brought on by winter heating such as static electricity, peeling wallpaper, shrinking wood, and cracks in paint and furniture.
 

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Focusing on the Safety of Our Children – #TLBsafekids 2017

#TLBsafekids 2017 is made possible thanks to Title Sponsor: Diono

Every parent’s first job is to tend to their child’s health. Every parent is aware of all the ways that they could let their children down. All the ways that they could fail at protecting their children’s health. All the ways that they are likely to screw up their kid(s).

As a mother to 6, almost 7, here are a few things that I wish I had known when I first became a mother:

First off, it’s normal to worry about the safety of our children. Yes, there are unhealthy levels of worry that can lead us to thinking that maybe the best thing to do is to move to a remote area of Montana and never leave the homestead – which is why we need people around us to help us stay within a healthy level of worry. But being concerned for the wellbeing of our children is a good thing. It means we care about them, and we want good things for them.

Second, we will screw up our kid(s). My kids like to point out how everyone is unique in their own way – that weird isn’t bad because we’re all weird in our own way. And while I agree with them and nod my head, in my mind that translates to “we’re all screwed up in our own way.” And the most likely people to have screwed us up? Family. Namely, our parents. But not exclusively. Siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins, all have the honor of being in the position of screwing us up too. Moving to Montana is probably sounding even better right about now isn’t it? Except that if I’m the only one left to influence my child, guess who’s the only one left to screw them up? That’s right. I am. You are. Time will tell just how much time our children will end up needing to spend in therapy – and I’m not joking about that, so far 2 of ours have needed it and we’re big believers in therapy – but in the meantime, all of us parents are just trying to do our best to not screw up our children too much.

Third, we need information. Which means that we need to be able to ask the questions that we have. Which means that we also need to feel safe in asking those questions. That has been one of my primary goals in shaping The Leaky Boob community: to make it a safe place for moms to find information, encouragement, and support, in a judgment-free space. There are no stupid questions. There are only questions needing answers. And a safe space to admit the mistakes we’ve made.

And as first-time parents, we have a LOT of questions needing answers. Second-time parents too! And even seventh-time parents.

As a mom of 6, soon to be 7, you might think that I have it all figured out! But I don’t. There are some things that I’ve learned, sure, but each of my children has proven to me that what makes them unique requires me to adapt my parenting to fit their mould, and not the other way around. Just because one of my kids thought it was a good idea to stuff peas in their nose doesn’t mean that they all will. Just because one of my children seemed to understood the theory of relativity at 12 months doesn’t mean that they all will. And I’m joking about my 12 month old being a super genius. The point is, even I’m still learning, things are changing, new information is regularly becoming available, and I still need a safe space to ask my questions too.

So for the next 3 weeks, The Leaky Boob community is going to have a special focus on safety in a campaign that I like to call #TLBsafekids. And we’re going to talk about all the things that could potentially threaten the health of our little ones. I’ll spare you a list because it basically includes pretty much everything. Which is why we really need a space to be able to talk about it all.

 

Join our private Facebook group #TLBsafekids, check out and follow our team of brave campaign ambassadors below on social, and show some love to the wonderful campaign sponsors below who care very much about the safety of our kids.

 

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#TLBsafekids 2017 Campaign Ambassadors

 

Hello Everyone! My name is Amber. I have 3 beautiful girls: 4, 2 and 4 months. My husband is an over the road truck driver and I am a registered nurse. I am currently not working but am a stay at home mom. My oldest just started preschool, so we are trying to get used to a more structured schedule. I am very excited to be a part of this opportunity!

I live in a small town called Glencoe, in Minnesota. I am originally from Colorado.

You can find Amber on Instagram.

 

Hey everyone! I’m Brianda and I LOVE The Leaky Boob – it’s been a huge resource as a mom. We live in Woodstock, GA, a small suburb of Atlanta. My husband Reid and I have three littles… Olivia (2 years old), Owen (7 months old) and Benjamin (7 months old). Life with a toddler and twins is absolute chaos but I truly love it.

You can find Brianda on Instagram.

 

 

 

Hello Everyone, I’m D’Andra from the great state of Texas and the best city, Dallas, lol !!!!

I have only my 9 month Old Princess, Miss. Emorie Dakota, 3 fur babies, and a Man Child I call Husband  😂 😂 😂

I’m obsessed with natural parenting and learning about different things for my baby to try.

You can find D’Andra on Instagram.

 

 

I’m Leah. I have a 3yr old daughter, HER (Hannah Elizabeth), a 1yr old son, SIR (Saul Isaiah), 2 babies in heaven and I’m currently a little over 14 weeks pregnant! I’m the head Nurse of a missionary organization, but from July to January/Feburary I’m a SAHM. My husband is a part of the Ministry as well. I look forward to connecting with you all on social! I am from NJ but currently live in Lancaster county PA.

You can find Leah on Instagram.

 

 

Hi! I’m Micah. I live in So Cal with my 4 kids (10, 5, 3, 20 months) and boyfriend.

I’ve been a SAHM since the baby was born but I will be going back to work starting Monday at one of our local coffee shops. I’m super excited about it because I’ll still have a pretty flexible schedule for kid stuff.

You can find Micah on Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

 

Hey guys, I am Ophelia. I am a SAHM to my two little guys. Noah is 3, and Joseph is 20 months old. We are from Alabama, and we LOVE being outside. Both boys love getting dirty, as do I. #boymom

You can find Ophelia on Instagram.

 

 

 

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#TLBsafekids 2017 Sponsors

 

Title Sponsor: Diono

Here at Diono we’ve made it our passion to lovingly engineer ideas that are all about safety and smiles. So, whether it’s a big day out or a little trip around the corner, we’ve thought of all the things you’ll need. Find out more here

 

Pura Stainless

100% plastic-free, NonToxic Certified stainless steel bottles that grow with your child from infancy through grade school. Find out more here

 

Crane

Here at Crane, we put “Design for Better Living” into everything we do. We started with a few designs in 2005 and continued to grow each year, working towards solving your indoor needs. Crane products are designed with efficiency, function and style in mind. We love to be creative with colors, designs and we know our products will bring comfort and smiles to your home!

Crane humidifiers help add humidity to any room in your home and will help relieve congestion to keep your family healthy. Any room in your home can be warm and cozy when you have a Crane space heater at your side. Air pollutants are everywhere; Crane air purifiers help eliminate dust, pollen, pet dander and smoke, leaving germ free air in your home. Sometimes you just need a cool breeze, and Crane fans let you direct fresh air into any room you need, whenever you need it.

Find out more here

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Pregnancy, Sleep, and New Baby Sleep Expectations

 

Many thanks to Bamboobies for sponsoring this important discussion on sleep expectations related to the arrival of a new baby. 


And heartfelt thanks also to Rebecca Michi, Children’s Sleep Consultant, for providing her expertise in this conversation. Connect with her through her Facebook page, her website, and her excellent book: “Sleep and Your Child’s Temperament.”

________________________

 

 

Important points shared by Jessica and Rebecca during this Live Stream:

Today we are talking all about sleep in pregnancy and sleep expectations with a new baby. Some sleep myths, such as baby sleeping through the night, are just not true.

Sleep During Pregnancy (focus on 3rd trimester)

Peeing

Rebecca: I think in that last trimester sleep becomes more and more challenging when you’re pregnant. And it’s for a couple of reasons, one of them is that you’re probably gonna need to pee five times a night and that you’re being kicked in the bladder. 

Jessica: You have a little human being on your bladder, you’re gonna need to empty way more often. Plus, your blood volume more than doubles during pregnancy and at the end there that means you’re filtering all of that out, you’re gonna have to pee more often. This is just the deal. Plus the baby’s contributing to that so yeah, lots of peeing. You’re gonna have to get up and pee.

Discomfort

Rebecca: And then you’re just uncomfortable as well and you get more uncomfortable quicker  in a position than you would pre-pregnancy and feel like you’re having to move around lots. Pillows can really help but when you gotta move you’re gonna need to move pillows. Also, your whole center of gravity is different than it once was. You’re not just easily rolling over. So even if you were just gonna come into a light sleep, roll over and go back into a deep sleep, chances are you’re actually gonna be really fully waking up because the whole, “I’ve got to move pillows,” or “I just gotta move this bump from one side to the other,” is just uncomfortable and you’re just waking up way more. 

People say you need to be getting lots of sleep, and that stresses you out, which also impacts your sleep. Good news is you can’t stock up on sleep. It’s not something you can put in the bank and so when baby arrives we’re not as tired. You are going to be tired. 

Sleep is very different with a newborn than it is in the last trimester. 

Sleep training babies before birth

Rebecca: The idea that you can train a baby to follow a sleep schedule in utero is completely ludicrous. It’s absolutely bonkers. There is no actual way that this can happen. What you’ll notice is when you are up and about and moving the baby can be very quiet and very still. And then the second you lay down and try to go to sleep or to sit down and rest that’s when baby starts getting really active. 

Normal newborn sleep, first 24-48 hrs

Rebecca: Remember that all babies are good babies, regardless of how they sleep. They’re gonna sleep like a baby which is what we want. In the very early stages you may be lulled into a false sense of security because there’s a lot of sleep going on. Being born is absolutely exhausting. So you may find that your newborn sleeps really long stretches and you just think, “We’ve got an awesome sleeper! This is great.” But that quickly changes: they will soon be spending more time awake and much shorter stretches of sleep.

They’re always hungry, because your milk hasn’t come in yet, and that quickly gets in the way of sleep too.

Rebecca: The great news is we cannot create any bad habits, whatsoever. It’s just impossible to create bad habits. And that’s when you’re feeding, you’re rocking, you’re bouncing, you’re jiggling, you’re singing, you’re talking, everything is completely fine. The nurturing that was happening in utero continues when you’re with a newborn. You’re now in the fourth trimester  and it’s just survival mode for at least the first twelve weeks. 

Jessica: Just be responsive and watch your baby and interact with your baby. Let your baby sleep and feed them appropriately. 

Rebecca: You don’t need to worry if your 2 day old is not on a sleep schedule. Not in the slightest. I wouldn’t even think about getting on a sleep schedule until over twelve weeks old. 

Jessica: Our bodies do the most milk making processing at night. As wonderful as it is when babies start sleeping longer stretches at night it does, to some degree, threaten your breastmilk supply.

Can't create bad habits with newborns

Week one

Rebecca: Getting into that week one we’re still in that survival mode. They have no idea what is day or what is night and so they’re going to just be continuing to sleep, wake, sleep, wake, sleep, wake. Sleep is just sleep. They’re not thinking of it as nighttime sleep or as daytime sleep. So if you think that your child has days and nights mixed up, they can’t because they don’t really have days or nights.

Rebecca: When they’re born their stomach is so tiny it’s the size of a marble. And that’s tiny. As they grow older and they get bigger the stomach gets bigger and your supply begins to alter as well. That’s gonna really dictate why your child is waking up and when they get hungry. 

That can continue throughout that first twelve weeks. And you may notice that you’re able to get a little bit longer between the feeds and we’re not ever dropping feeds during the night, we’re stretching the time out between the feeds.

Rebecca: The majority of children, about seventy percent, at twelve weeks old are not even getting a five or six hour stretch of sleep. 

Jessica: One of the things we know is that that interrupted sleep for the baby reduces their risk of SIDs. 

I know for me, when I was really struggling, one of the things I would tell myself is, “I’m so glad you’re awake, just keep on being alive.” Because it was hard, and I would feel a little angry or resentful like “Please just sleep!” but it was so important for me to remind myself that her frequent waking was maybe even saving her life. So, just something to keep in mind, it’s important that our babies do what they need to do. 

Rebecca: Sleep deprivation is incredibly tough when you’ve had a newborn you can see why it’s used as a form of torture because it is so effective. 

Jessica: We need to recognize that it is a part of normal human development that, starting as infants, we wake often. Most of us do.

I’ve had one of those kids that slept long stretches right off the bat, that was super easy, immediately threatened my milk supply, immediately made some growth issues for us actually, and so my doctor was telling me to wake her because this became a problem (and to this day she is still a very good sleeper). But my very next kiddo still at 15 feels like she only believes in sleep when she wants to sleep on her terms. That has not changed. She was that way from coming out and stayed that way. We kind of have this range of normal for humans and what our sleep patterns look like as an adult it’s not fair to impose those on to babies. While at the same time there are different sleep personalities, or personalities in general, and my 15 year old’s sleep patterns are, in many ways, much better than they were when she was an infant – it’s true (in large part because she’s responsible for them and not me) but she doesn’t wake me up either way so she lets me sleep. There’s a pretty big spectrum here but I think one of the biggest mistakes we make going into parenting a baby is we expect our newborn human beings to function, in terms of sleep, as adult human beings. And that’s simply not how we’re wired, that’s not how we’re gonna work. 

Week one to week six

Rebecca: More of the same. Just waking and feeding and this is gonna be happening 24 hours a day. You may have wake ups where it’s not just straight back to sleep after the feed but these are gonna be quite short. And then as your child is getting older these awake periods just get longer and longer – but not hugely.

As we get to twelve weeks the longest awake period we should have is an hour and a half and that’s where we’ve got to get everything in. That’s the feed, the diaper change, the playtime, the bath, whatever it is, we’ve got 90 minutes to do that. So don’t feel you have to be home for every nap because you’re not going to be able to do feed, diaper change, getting dressed to go out to the car to get to the store to get back for that next nap. That’s going to be totally impossible to do. So whenever you can, napping on the go is completely fine. 

Jessica: I have definitely had those kids that have slept so much better when we are on the move and the reality is I have things to do. 

Rebecca: Temperament really does play a really big part at really young ages as to how your child is gonna sleep and that’s actually normal.

Jessica: So learn what’s normal from your baby. And be educated with your healthcare provider to make sure they’re growing appropriately and they’re developing on track and all of those things. You’re going to want to recognize that there is no one size fits all sleep standard. So normal is a range. And you have to learn your baby. 

Rebecca: Only help when you need to help. Your baby knows exactly how to get you to help, their cry is very effective, it’s not something we can easily ignore. Which is one of the reasons why the human race is still here, that cry getting us to do whatever we need to do to get it to stop because that’s how we survive. Don’t over help. If they’re happy to just hang out, perfect. It may be they’re happy to hang out for 10-20 minutes and then they may fall asleep or maybe then they need help. But you don’t need to over help especially in the middle of the night if you don’t actually need to be there helping. Generally when they’re crying they need something, even when they need sleep they’ll cry because they’re overtired. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should just leave them, if they’re fussing that’s fine, but you’ve got to figure out what works for your child. Because it may be that they actually need to be held and rocked whilst you’re patting their back. It may be that you need to rock side-to-side rather than back and forward. Every single child is completely unique with what it is that they need but when they’re crying and they need something they’re not manipulating you. 

Jessica: When they wake at night, close to twelve weeks, and they want to be awake for a little while do we engage them during that time or do we keep the lights low and things quiet?

Rebecca: I would keep the lights low with low interaction. And it may be that you need to do a diaper change or whatever it is you need to be doing and we don’t want to be creating this our awake time we actually want to be encouraging sleep at this time. Just keeping it dark, dim and using a very low voice and really low interaction because we want to be encouraging sleep. 

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Child Passenger Safety and Feeding On The Go- Answers From a CPST

by Jessica Martin-Weber with Allana Pinkerton, CPSI
This post made possible by the generous support of Diono.

September is child safety month and we’re taking a look at safety and what we talk about most around here at TLB: feeding our kiddos. Many of us find ourselves needing to feed on the go, from a snack in the car to an entire meal between one activity and the next. 

Allana Pinkerton, a child injury prevention specialist, CPST/CPSI, and mom of two answered our questions on The Leaky Boob Facebook page Live Stream on what we can do to minimize risk when it comes to feeding our children on the go. A huge thanks to Diono in making this conversation with Allana possible.

Whether your child is 3 months old or 3 years old or 13 years old, it is very likely there will come a time when meal or snack time happens on the road. It probably goes without saying that the safest option is to not eat in a moving vehicle. But we all live in the real world and can’t just stay in a bubble so sometimes that’s just not possible so we’re looking at what we can do to make the mobile mealtime as safe as possible. Below are the questions we asked Allana and the Leakies.

When it comes to feeding our children on the go, when we’re in a moving vehicle perhaps on a road trip or having to grab something quick between scheduling commitments, what is important to keep in mind?

*Please note: for safety and to reduce distractions, the driver should never eat and drive.

  • A seat that is more inclined is not a safe option to have a child eat food. Solids shouldn’t be fed in a laying down position.
  • Nothing too hot.
  • When possible, have someone keep an eye on a very young child when they are eating in a moving vehicle. Determine if a mirror is a safe or distracting option for you.
  • Pick foods that are easy to swallow.
  • Avoid choking hazards- for babies and toddlers, nothing hard or like grapes and popcorn.
  • Foods that dissolve easily will reduce choking hazards (i.e. puffs and yogurt melts, etc.)
  • Contained foods that aren’t as likely to spill and get car seat straps wet.
  • Keep in mind, if you’re always eating in the car it may be time to reevaluate how much we’re doing.

Is there anything in particular we should avoid when it comes to feeding our children on the go?

  • Hard candies, even lollipops (a sudden stop could result in injury and/or choking).
  • Foods you know will be messy.
  • Foods that may damaging to your child’s car seat (sticky drinks, dairy, etc.).

What do we need to keep in mind when it comes to installing children’s seats? How can parents find a local CPST to help them?

  • Read the manual. If you’re unclear about something, call the manufacturer. 
  • Have your seat checked by a CPST and be sure they watch you install it and check your install as well, not just have them install it for you. Find one here.
  • Do not use after market products with your seat that are not made by or approved by your seat’s manufacturer (i.e. strap pads) as they could compromise the safety of your seat.

Breastfeeding in the car seat moving vehicle child passenger safety

Are there any safety concerns related to these breastfeeding or bottle-feeding a child in their car seat in a moving vehicle?

  • Propping a bottle for a child not yet able to hold their own is dangerous in that the child may be overwhelmed with the contents of the bottle and has a higher risk of aspirating. Have someone give the baby their bottle and be able to pay attention to them as they feed.
  • Keep in mind a bottle would become a projectile in the case of an accident. Use as small a bottle as possible.
  • Breastfeeding a child in a seat, even if the breastfeeding parent isn’t leaning over the seat, is a significant hazard in the case of a car accident as it places something in front of the child’s face. Physics tell us that in a crash objects (including a breast) will weigh their weight times the force of gravity of the crash. For example, a 30mph crash is around 20-25 G’s (force of gravity). Let’s say the breastfeeding parent weighs 140 pounds. Multiplied by 23 G’s (right in the middle) means 3,220 pounds. That’s the total weight of their body with the momentum of the crash. Their chest alone will weigh at least 1,000 pounds, if not more. Being positioned in front of or possibly over the baby to breastfeed, that’s a minimum of 1,000 pounds being dropped or slammed into the baby. Potentially crushing the child and injuring the parent. This all would be true even with a seat belt on the breastfeeding parent as the parent would not be positioned properly with a chest belt to restrain them from hitting their child in the case of a collision or sudden stop. (See more on this here.)

Feeding on the go means seats will likely get soiled, what do we need to know about cleaning our seats?

  • Never hose a car seat down, that can compromise not just the cover and straps but also the frame and internal materials.
  • Follow your manual’s instructions. 
  • Replace straps if webbing becomes soaked.
  • See these cleaning tips.

 

Allana Pinkerton is the Global Safety Advocate for Diono. She began her career in Child Passenger Safety as a National Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician in 2001 and advanced into the position of a National Instructor in 2002. In 2004, she founded a non-profit organization, Sit Tight, which provided education and free car seats to underserve communities.
As the Global Safety Advocate, she facilitates educating the staff, consumers and the media about car seats. Allana works closely with the marketing team, educating at consumer and industry trade shows, as well as writing blogs on CPS issues. She is called upon to work with engineering and product development team on current and new products. As Diono expands across the globe, Allana continues to expand her role assisting the Diono European and China teams.
Allana has two children, Max (12) and Andrew (20) who is ironically a race car driver. She has been married to Paul for 22 years and he still cannot install a car seat.
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