Health- Not Just Boobs, Get Moving Too- #TLBMoves 2016

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Big active giveaway here.

What if we had a community that didn’t judge to be a part of in pursuit of health for ourselves and our family? A community that understands life, fitness, and health isn’t one-size-fits-all. Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?

This year we’ve loved, we’ve nourished, and now… we’re moving!

We’re not going anywhere in particular but we are journeying toward health, activity, and awareness. Not as isolated individuals, but as a family, a community. With each other and with our kids, we’re taking steps to get more movement in our lives. That movement may be a dance party in the living room, a daily babywearing walk at the park, hitting the gym, taking a Zumba class, playing Pokemon Go, including more veggies, setting up the blender for more healthy homemade smoothies, you name it, you define what #TLBmoves looks like for you.

It all began in August 2014 with the first ever #TLBmoves and it took off. Some of us got a little more movement in our lives, others got a whole lot more. We cheered on some working on (and succeeding) quitting smoking, others had step goals to hit, there were those that started yoga or crossfit or pilates regularly, and others started having salads once a day. Getting moving together brought us closer together and we discovered that thanks to the global village of the internet, we could cheer each other on and have fun in the process. When we found ourselves stuck, we could be honest about the challenges we were facing and there would be no judgment, just support and encouragement. It was inspiring and we all wanted to keep moving.

Many of us did, though our interactions weren’t as frequent with the start of school and as colder weather rolled in, many of us found ways to keep going. And here we are, nearly a year later, and we’re still moving. The push we all got from the month of #TLBmoves was motivating and we felt it was time to do it again and invite more to join us.

As parents, we have every reason in the world to be physically active; heart health, longevity, reduced health problems, strength, endurance, lower blood pressure, stronger bones, joint health, mental clarity, better sleep, and decrease in depression and anxiety to name a few. With having children though, juggling family, home, and for some, work, getting to exercise is often an overwhelming challenge. Between the media, “experts,” bloggers, friends, family, health care providers, and yes, even myself saying what is so important for children, there are just so many other aspects of a child’s development that require my attention. There is every reason in the world to not be physically active; reading to our children, providing quality meals, addressing their social needs, researching all medications/foods/education, shopping to have the “best” deals on the highest quality, spending quality play time with our children, limiting screen time, grooming them, keeping house, bonding, learning and executing proper child passenger safety (installing that perfect car seat that took 3 weeks of research and a small loan to purchase), and being sure every minute of their every day is filled with only the best developmentally appropriate activities. With all that’s on our plates, how do we find time to be physically active?

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

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

It’s time for #TLBmoves!

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

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

Whatever your goal, you can join us for #TLBmoves!  This is all about embracing an active lifestyle and making healthier choices, no matter where you’re starting from and we’re here to support each other completely free of judgment each step of the way.

Following the collective inspiration of #TLBloves, #TLBsafeKids, and most recently #TLBnourish, we are excited to share this moving experience with you, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities, that focuses first on strengthening the connection we have with our families and ourselves, through physical activity and health. Join us on our closed group #TLBmoves here; The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, here; BeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; the Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships), here; and What Love Tastes Like, here.

#TLBmoves 2016 runs through the month of July, though a meaningful focus (and a fun giveaway!) on how we get moving with our families is never really limited to a set of dates. We will be focusing on what inspires us in health and fitness sharing meaningful experiences, opening up, posting ideas, 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 ThinkBaby ThinkSport, a company that prioritizes making products that are safe including sunscreen and water bottles to help you get moving. Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBmoves (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 health and moving together, with #TLBmoves.

 

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Meet Our Ambassadors

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

MommyCon presents WEAR: Babywearing Conference (TK Photography Photobooth) | wearconference.comLaTia Barrett.

LaTia lives in Maryland with her wife and daughter. She loves all things food and Disney, and tries to combine the two as often as possible. When not at Disney (or planning a Disney trip), she is a WAHM, babywearing educator, postpartum doula, and singer.

 

 

View More: http://yourstreetphotography.pass.us/martinwebberfamily1Jessica Martin-Weber.

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, and creator and author of the children’s book and community of What Love Tastes Like, supporter of A Girl With A View, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 19 years and is currently writing her first creative non-fiction book.

 

 

IMG_0112Hannah Buckley.

I’m Hannah!  I’m from a small town in NE Texas, but I currently live in New Port Richey, FL.  I am an extremely busy work at home mom!  Aside from the everyday Mama duties, I’m a local photographer. We also own a web design and marketing company in Tarpon Springs, FL, so I stay very busy!  For the past (almost) 4 years, I have been married to my best friend, Brian.  We have 2 beautiful and energetic boys, Dayton (2 years) and Madden (4 months).  I love being outside, grilling and playing in the water with the boys. We take frequent trips to the beach and love to try new local restaurants.  I have recently started to really enjoy cooking and baking, and I’m having a blast with lactation recipes!  My life is hectic at times, silly, fun, hard, and busy… but I wouldn’t trade one single minute of it!

 

13383538_10157045234550038_1295936637_oBryttany Hyde.

My name is Bryttany, I am a work from home mom, blogger, and business owner from Woodstock, GA. I moved to Woodstock shortly after meeting my husband Cameron while now 6 years later we are proud parents to Killian (23 months) and AthenaRose (1 month). Coloring and reading are some of my favorite activities when I’m not wrapping babies and helping others learn about cloth diapers!

 

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Allyson Storey.

I am originally from California, moved to Delaware as a teenager, and am now located just outside of Portland Oregon! I am a stay at home mom but am starting a photography business. I love to go camping and rock climbing with my family. I have one daughter, her name is Savannah and she is 7 months old. I have been married for almost 5 years to my husband Richard. 

 

 

 

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Shannon DeLong.

Hey Leakies! My name is Shannon and I am a native Texan in the Houston area.  I am a work at home mom as the Project Manager for The Leaky Boob and I am currently working on my certification to become both a lactation counselor as well as a birth doula.  I am a busy, single-mom to my daugher Mirabelle (9), and my 2 sons Levi and Isaiah (6 & 3).  I love roadtrips, being outdoors camping, hiking, and making memories as a family.  Oh and coffee…I LOVE coffee!

 

 

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Meet Our Partners

Supporting our unique and diverse nourishment journeys, we are so grateful to partner with brands who value the mission of The Leaky Boob and we trust to share with our community. Leakies themselves, the brands below have made caring for families with quality products that we can trust a priority.

Thinkbaby_favoredby

Thinkbaby  Thinksport.  At Thinkbaby and Thinksport, we are continually expanding our mission to provide safe products by identifying consumer product categories with known human health issues. Specifically, we target products that contain high levels of hormone disruptors and carcinogens. We then work with leading scientists worldwide to create safe alternatives.

 

BelabumbumActiveLogo

Belabumbum.  Belabumbum’s Ultra Smooth Nursing Sports Bra offers medium-impact support with wireless microfiber cups lined with cotton and removable spacer pads to provide coverage and wick away moisture. The bra’s side cup is made with breathable stretch mesh and elasticized for fit. Ventilated side panels transfer moisture and heat away from mom.

 

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Tula. Prance is a Tula Coast carrier with a whimsical, spirited print. Fields of flowers and happy, prancing unicorns fill the design that is paired with a fun purple canvas and mesh center panel. Prance is the ultimate wish come true!

Tula Coast is designed to bring a cool breeze to your day! This line of Tula Baby Carriers offers a reinterpretation of our original framed panel design using breathable mesh material which creates a ventilated carrier perfectly suited for active lifestyles and warm weather locales.

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Reasons To Love Your Body Right Now

by Joni Edelman

joni edelman, love your body, body image

It seems of all the things we love, it’s hardest to love ourselves. Maybe it’s the ideal we are being sold by the media. Maybe it’s borne out of comparison. Maybe there’s no real explanation at all. I’m not really certain, though I suspect it’s a bit of all of those. We love our partners, our children, even our dogs (even though they chew on things and poop on things). But at the end of the day, we look in the mirror, we poke, we pull, we loathe. Many of us do it. Most of us do it. I don’t know why we exhaust ourselves to be something besides ourselves.

Here is what I do know, if you can’t love yourself (or at least just be OK with yourself), right now, as you are, you’re wasting your time. You’re wasting your energy. You’re wasting your spirit. You’re wasting your life. I spent most of my adult life fighting the body I live in. I tried to change it. I dieted. I exercised to excess, to self-harm. I starved myself. I wore things to try to squish my body, to shape my body — anything, to change it into something I would love.

And then one day — literally one day — I decided I was done. I was done hating. I was done starving. I was done with disgust, anger, envy, loathing. I was done comparing myself to people on TV, people in magazines, people in the grocery store. I was just… done.

Am I 100% successful, 100% of the time? No. Some days are better than others. Some days I see myself in a photo, and I think, “Well. Your stomach looks there is a baby in it [there isn’t].” Some days I briefly entertain going back to the not eating and obsessive exercising. And then I remind myself of all the following. I hope you can remind yourself too.

You are not your body.

Your body is part of you, but you are not it. You may be lot of things; human, a female/male/transgender/non-binary, 41 years old (in my case anyway), a mother, a partner, a sibling, an artist, a writer, a gardener, a cake aficionado. You are not your body. There is more to you than your physical form. So much more than what the mirror reflects.

Your body is working for you.

You are breathing and moving. Your blood is circulating. Your stomach is digesting. You literally have to do nothing to make all of that happen. Sometimes it’s good to just pause and recognize that your body is giving you a lot. Maybe instead of loathing it, you could thank it for all the stuff it is doing that you aren’t even asking it to do.

Your body is impermanent.

Whether you believe in God, Allah, Buddha, Mother Earth, Zeus, Physics, Oprah or Tom Cruise, we can all agree (I think) that at some point our physical body will cease to exist. Whether we go to heaven, or the sky, or Venus, or into oblivion, or are reincarnated into a whole new thing, or if our particles just go back into the universe, we won’t be this thing forever. At some point this thing will just be a thing that existed and then didn’t.

Capitalism wants you to hate yourself.

There are industries based on your self-consciousness. If America got up tomorrow and said, “Yeah, I’m actually done spending money on things to make myself look ostensibly better.”, ENTIRE industries would completely cease to exist. The cosmetic industry makes $60 billion dollars a year IN AMERICA alone. That said BILLION. DOLLARS. The diet industry? Twenty MORE billion. That’s like $80 billion dollars. We could literally cure world hunger with $30 billion dollars a year and we are spending $20 billions a year trying to lose weight. Just let that simmer for a minute. The commercials you see? They are designed to make you feel bad. Don’t be fooled. Be angry.

You are the only one who really cares.

At the end of the day, your stretch marks only matter to you. Your partner loves you regardless — and if they don’t, you have another problem to address. Not one of my five children, not the 20-year-old not the three-year-old, quite literally none of them ever have said, “Wow mom I really hate your stretchmarks.” Never once. Your fat, your wrinkles, your spider veins, you are the only one who cares. Until you don’t.

There are other things you could be doing.

If you even spend 15 minutes a day thinking about your body, can you think of anything else you could do with that 15 minutes. Can you think of anything? Could you read a book? Learn a language? Knit? Crochet? Spend time with your kids? Your partner? If you stopped worrying about your body, what else could you do?

At the end of your life, you WILL NOT EVER say “I wish I looked better.”

I’m an RN and I used to be a hospice RN. I solemnly swear, of all the people I watched die (and it was a lot), none of them ever said, “I wish I were skinny. I wish I had fewer stretch marks. I wish my stomach were flat.” NONE. Not even one. Ever. I bet you want to know what they did say. I’ll tell you. 1. I wish I had spent more time with my family. 2. I wish I had been more open and expressive with my love. 3. I wish I had mended fences sooner (or not broken the fence in the first place).

Why not start doing those things now? You don’t have to be diagnosed with a terminal illness to shift your focus.

You get one body. You get to do this whole thing one time. What if you could just enjoy it? How would that change everything?

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IMG_0670Joni M. Edelman is a feminist, wife, mom of five, Editor In Chief at ravishly.com, and (sometimes) RN. You can read her relevant, relatable writing around the internet. Subject matter addressed includes, but is not limited to; body positivity, parenting, mental health, cake.
Likes: cake, yarn, root vegetables. Dislikes: pants, mosquitos, writing in third-person.
Follow Joni on twitter and instagram.
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Breastfeeding and Teenage Boys

by Joni Edelman

Joni Edelman, family photo

Sometime in the early 2000s, a friend was visiting my house for a playdate. Nothing special, just the typical crackers and raisins and toys all over the house sort of thing. We were just sitting on the couch, chatting and eating ice cream — you know, like stay at home moms do — and mid sentence, she paused, “Joni, what is THAT?”

‘That’ was a book on my ottoman (not coffee table because, hello, no coffee tables with five toddlers running around). ‘That’ was a book by Anne Geddes, a large coffee table (ottoman) book. It featured photographs of women — in all states of pregnancy and postpartum — their babies, and sometimes babies that weren’t theirs. You get what I’m saying; there were babies and ladies. Oh and also, they were nude, or partly nude.

I said, “It’s a… book?” Other Less Free-Spirited Mom says, “BUT THEY ARE NAKED. Aren’t you afraid your kids will see this? They are TOTALLY NAKED.”

Astute observation, Queen of Obvious. The commoners are so lucky to have you.

“No. I’m not really worried about them finding it because I read it to them. I don’t want them to be embarrassed by seeing nude babies and pregnant women. Bodies are normal. Whatever.”

The playdate became less frequent after that.

You guys still with me?

Good.

That was about 15 or so years ago and I’m no less ‘progressive’ now. I was already sort of odd compared to my peers. My parents were hippies — like free-love and stuff and things (by ‘stuff’ I mean braless concerts and by ‘things’ I mean pot, lots of pot.) My parents never shamed my body, and though they failed in a lot of ways, I’ve never been uncomfortable with the human form. I’m an RN and for years I looked at vaginas for 12 hours a day. It’s a just a body.

We are skin and bones and muscle and fat and hair. No we are literally ALL just of that stuff differently configured.

I’m getting to the point. Hang in there.

Five years ago I had my fourth baby and 18 months after that, her brother. By the time I thought it would be a great idea to start a whole entire second family my older children were 10, 12, and 15. I thought I was done having babies so I never gave much thought as to how my older kids would (or would not) be involved in the pregnancy/labor/birth process. I became pregnant, and we just went with the flow.

We opted to homebirth and offered them the opportunity to be present — ⅔ of them decided that they weren’t that afraid of blood, and stayed to cheer me on (the other ⅓ was just in his room down the hall) My 10-year-old, Owen, was the first person to spot Ella’s head in the water and my 15-year-old, Kelsey, was the first person to hold her.

Here’s a video. Get a kleenex.

You’re welcome.

Anyway.

It just simply never occurred to me that any of this should have been hidden. And it begs the question, when did we start to think birth and death and life should be hidden? Who taught us that shame? Where did we learn to sexualize our bodies such that to see them is a forbidden and lustful act?

BRB need to go get a Master’s degree in anthropology with a focus on human sexuality.

As the babies grew and my big kids grew, we shuttled everyone around to sports things and band things and all the things teenagers do, and we brought the baby (and eventually babies). And I nursed uncovered at every event. And then I tandem nursed and basically my boobs were out, like completely OUT, for at least three solid years.

At more than one event, I was given the put your boob away, lady stink eye. And at more than one event one, or both, of my boys gave the stink eye right back. I didn’t have to tell them to defend their sister’s (and brother’s) right to eat. They just did it. We nursed at a gym, at a concert, at a Giants baseball game, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, on a ferry, on a beach, at a park.

I never said, “This is my right, and I’m going to do it.” I just did it. And none of them ever thought it wasn’t normal.

Because I never said it wasn’t.

Did my sons see my breasts and nipples? Yes, I’m sure they did. They also saw my vagina, because a baby came out of it and they were watching. And they see my face everyday and the top of my head too because my tallest son is 6’3”. And you know what? They are totally not even traumatized a little bit. Well, they may be a little traumatized by my face. It gets pretty cranky looking when they forget to take out the trash.

What did they learn from those experiences? Well, hopefully, they learned that human bodies are just that, bodies. We respect them and we revere them and we don’t shame them. Because they don’t deserve any of that.

This is where the change starts. With my kids and your kids and the kids who see us feeding our babies without embarrassment. Things become normalized one act a time.

I’ve given my kids the opportunity to see something I hope will serve them in their lives. My son’s partners will never have to be concerned that they won’t be supported. My daughters will know the normalcy that is child birthing and feeding and rearing.

Teenagers are easily embarrassed. And I guess I should have expected that mine would be too. But they just weren’t. Why not? I don’t know. Maybe it was the Anne Geddes book.

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Not sure how to tell your kids about breastfeeding, here is an article with helpful tips. 

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I’m Joni. I’m lucky enough to have 5 amazing kids (19, 16, 15, 4 and 2), one fantastic husband, an awesome sister and a yarn addiction. When I’m not raising up people I’m a freelance writer, RN, and the momma behind mommabare. Love is my religion. I like cake and crafty crap. And yoga. In that order. 
You can follow Joni on Instagram here and on Twitter here.

 

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Free to be SAFE!- #TLBsafeKids with Clek

#TLBsafeKids

Hey Leakies,

It’s time to talk about practicing safe…ty.

We’re not here to feed into any anxiety or to cause any stress about your family’s safety.

Be honest, you probably do that just fine on your own.

Since so many of us parents have no problem worrying about our families we wanted to start something to actually help reduce that worry.

I know, right? How are we going to do that without alcohol?

Community. Better than fine wine.

Through the month of September and even far beyond we’re building community to share information, tell our stories, confess our fears, admit our mistakes, and help each other work out the right safety decisions for our families. Free of judgment, #TLBsafeKids respects the individual responsibility of parents for their family and trust them to make the best informed safety decisions according to their individual resources, circumstances, and access to information.

Respecting each other, ourselves, and our children, #TLBsafeKids brings together parents concerned about safety around information, ideas, and sharing our stories. And we believe it can be fun. Though there are aspects of safety conversations and education that can be scary, when we approach it with respect and a sense of fun it can become a part of parenting that isn’t dominated by fear and instead builds confidence in ourselves, our communities, and most importantly, our children. Together we are journeying toward health, safety, confidence, and awareness. Not as isolated individuals, but as a family, a community. With each other and with our kids, we’re taking steps to be confidently and freely safe. It may mean getting your car seat installation checked, reassessing your home for safety hazards, changing how you talk to your children, adjusting your sleep arrangements, fixing something broken in your home, you name it, you define what #TLBsafeKids looks like for you.

It all began in August 2014 with the first ever #TLBmoves and it took off. We cheered on some working on (and succeeding) quitting smoking, others had step goals to hit, there were those that started yoga or crossfit or pilates every day, and others started having salads every day. Getting moving together brought us closer together and we discovered that thanks to the global village of the internet, we could cheer each other on and have fun in the process. When we found ourselves stuck, we could be honest about the challenges we were facing and there would be no judgment, just support and encouragement. It was inspiring and we all wanted to keep moving. Nobody was judged and everyone was supported.

Not long after that we began dreaming about other ways we could support each other and other areas that can be difficult to address alone or where we fear judgment. Safety quickly emerged as an area that where many of needed judgment-free support and information sharing. And to safely admit our missteps along the way.

So #TLBsafeKids was born.

From sleep to babywearing, from car seats to home safety, from relationships to skin care, from health to cleaning products and so much more, we’re talking about it all with #TLBsafeKids and daring to honestly share the journey with each other without judgment. Ultimately, we believe this is the only way we can actually succeed.

#TLBsafeKids isn’t about wrapping our children in bubble wrap and keeping them from experiencing the world around them. Respectful of ourselves and our children, #TLBsafeKids aims to help each of us, parents and children alike, to tap into our own power to make confident decisions assessing risk, utilizing products, and employing strategies that allow us to live life to the fullest while being safe.

We hope you’ll join us.

It’s time for #TLBsafeKids!

Whatever area concerns you the most, our #TLBsafeKids community is here to support you. We may not have all the answers but you have our support in finding them.

Whatever your goal, you can join us for #TLBsafeKids!  This is all about embracing an intentional lifestyle that isn’t encumbered by safe practices but enhanced by them. No matter where you’re starting from and we’re here to support each other completely free of judgment each step of the way.

We have a team to help provide some inspiration, not with dictating how you decide to keep you family safe, #TLBsafeKids isn’t about acquiring a certain set of safety rules, but honest and respectful sharing of the journey we’re all on to keep our children safe. Kids in tow and personal goals put out there, our team isn’t to glamorize the journey, simply to share together one step at a time.

#TeamTLBsafeKids! Meet the five mamas who will be sharing their #TLBsafeKids journeys during the month of September:

Jessica: Founder, owner, and author of The Leaky Boob Facebook group and website; mother of six girls, ages 3, 5, 7, 12, 14, and 16.

Jasmine: is a stay at home mom of 4, 2 in heaven and 2 boys ages 4.5 years old and 7 months. Her eldest has Autism and they are currently implementing some new safety strategies according to his needs. Jasmine is a babywearing group leader in the Pacific Northwest.

Kileah: Member of TLB’s editorial team; mother of four children, ages 7, 5, 3 and 22 months. Kileah loves canning, cooking, and being with her family.

Brianne: work from home mom of 3 children, ages 11, 6, and 3 years old. Brianne is married to a fitness enthusiast but has struggled to find time for herself to do the same.

Meet our partners:

#TLBsafeKids is a big undertaking and we are so thrilled to be working with brands we believe in to bring you this event. Our partners really want to see families discovering the best safety practices for them! With information, education, and support, our partner brands is going out of their way to support YOU. Culminating with a giveaway featuring the best of all our partnering brands for #TLBsafeKids. We’ll be sharing photos of #TeamTLBsafeKids using gear from the following brands:

 

#TLBsafekids clek sponsor

Clek. Elemental safety is the Clek approach — the Clek way of thinking is about the performance of each of their products and the lives they are protecting. Essential elements and our methodology enable them to develop systems that work together to protect our kids. Manufactured in North America with a commitment to innovation without compromise and sustainability which is evident in their recycling program. Clek is striving to keep our kids safe today and tomorrow.

 

#TLBsafekids with California baby, skin deep safetyCalifornia Baby. With a mission to only create the safest natural products to soothe, nourish and smooth out life’s rough patches the natural way: one baby, one kid, one family at a time; California Baby makes it a priority to keep our kids safe from head to toe. They’re obsessed with purity and sustainability in every part of the process, from ingredient selection to manufacturing to packaging and beyond. With California Baby moms and dads who can rest easier knowing that they haven’t brought another unsustainable, toxic product into the house.

Newton Logo

 

Newton. A breathable crib mattress unlike any other. No matter where your baby sleeps, in their own room in a crib, in a crib side-car with your bed, in a crib in your room, or on a Montessori style bed on the floor, a breathable sleeping surface for you little one will let you breath easier too. Newton knows that your baby’s safety comes first and they also know how much you want to give them the right start in life. As experts in the area of sleep, they know just how important good sleep is for both of you. This is why they have devoted our time and expertise to creating a crib mattress that is not only safer, but also more comfortable.

#TLBsafeKids Health safety sponsor Crane

 

Crane. Since 2005, Crane USA has taken the lead in putting the “fun” into cool mist humidifiers, air purifiers, and space heating with a commitment to design for better living. Knowing just how much the air we breath impacts our health and safety, Crane products are functional and efficient at fulfilling your home health needs while communicating an appreciation for elegant design. With a unique sense of design and unwavering commitment to quality Crane continues to create their own distinctive interpretation of humidity, air quality, and heating solutions while remaining a step ahead of the crowd.

catbirdbaby_logo

 

CatBird Baby. Designed by a mom who needed help carrying everything with her baby, CatBird Baby Carriers are designed to be practical, stylish, comfortable, and easy to use. With a variety of products to support babywearing and make the babywearing experience even more enjoyable, CatBird Carriers are designed by a mom for moms and dads. Offering hybrid carriers along with standard designs, CatBird Carriers listens to parents and what they are looking for in a babycarrier.

Rhoost #TLBsafeKids partnering brand

Rhoost. Rhoost’s goal is to create products that allow parents to spend more time having fun with their kids, and less time worrying about them.  They are committed to creating innovative solutions that are safe for babies, safe for the environment, and easy to use. And they’ve succeeded. From baby grooming to cord winders, from finger guards to outlet covers and cabinet closures, Rhoost supports parents in safe, easy living.

When?
#TLBsafeKids runs run from September 1st-30st, 2015, but we hope you’ll keep growing, learning, and sharing long after the end of the month! (We may have something up our sleeves to that end, too!)

How?
Participation is up to you. How do you want to be involved? Want to share your story? Have some specific safety concerns you want to address in your own home? Are you passionate about certain aspects of safety and want to support others in learning about it? Is sharing the process and seeing how others are putting safe practices into place in their home helpful for you? Whatever it is, there are options for finding the way to participate that works best for you and your goals.

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

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

Who?
You, your friends, your kids, your partner, your boss, your mom, your dad… anyone!  Though The Leaky Boob is focused on encouraging families primarily through breastfeeding, we support breastfeeding moms and everyone that supports them.  Breastfeeding isn’t a requirement to participate with TLB and #TLBsafeKids.

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

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#TLBMoves: Kelsey’s Story-Changing Her Life to Inspire Others

by Kelsey Daniels

*Editor’s Note: I have had the pleasure of being close friends with Kelsey and her family over the past few years as our two families have grown! I hope that her story inspires you, Leaky. She has been instrumental in encouraging me to  jumpstart taking care of myself with #TLBMoves. If you’d like to continue being inspired by Kelsey and her journey to health, check out her Instagram feed @kelseyjdaniels and Join our Private Group on Facebook!

 

When I became a mom, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. But to be honest, I kind of lost myself.

I devoted 100% of my time into taking care of my three little boys.

I completely forgot to take care of myself.

 

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Beginning and Current: Kelsey’s Journey!

 

I used my kids as an excuse for not taking care of my body.I was too busy, too tired, and felt too far gone to do anything about it.

I was surviving motherhood, and not enjoying it at all.

Finally, I decided it was no longer okay for me to use my kids as an excuse to be 50+ lbs. overweight and 11692749_10152852661372100_6381956419378480368_neat nothing but junk. It was time for change. I started eating well, working out daily, and had a killer group of friends to hold me accountable to my goals.

I quickly fell in love with taking care of my body, and my kids quickly took notice! I now feel good about what I’m putting in my body, and I don’t feel guilty when I nurse my little Samson, because I know he’s getting the very best things from me. It’s been just over three months and I’ve lost 25lbs and over 23 inches.

It’s so wonderful to know I’m making my way towards a healthier me, but the best part?

I’ve found myself again.

I matter.

And my family is benefitting from me being well cared for!

I’ve found time in my day just for ME, and it’s amazing how thats affected being a mom, wife, and friend.

I am now the example to my kids that I feel good about.11137182_10152859116892100_8961811249812096667_n

They are my reason why, not my excuse!

 

I did it.

I’m still doing it.

YOU CAN DO THIS.

Together we can change!

From This Leaky To You,

-Kelsey

 

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Kelsey, her husband, and their 3 amazing boys live and work at a youth camp in McCall, Idaho. Kelsey is also a stay-at-home mum and is a coach for Beachbody Fitness! Some of her family’s favorite activities include watersliding, hiking, watching Avatar The Last Airbender, inspiring youth to live enriched lives, and playing pirates with their boys! To follow Kelsey and be inspired by her journey to better health, follow her Instagram @Kelseyjdaniels

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Get Your Move On- Family Style #TLBmoves with Tula Baby Carriers

Active family, babywearing, Tula Baby Carriers

Hey Leakies, let’s get moving!

We’re not going anywhere in particular but we are journeying toward health, activity, and awareness. Not as isolated individuals, but as a family, a community. With each other and with our kids, we’re taking steps to get more movement in our lives. That movement may be a dance party in the living room, a daily walk at the park, hitting the gym, including more veggies, setting up the blender for more healthy homemade smoothies, you name it, you define what #TLBmoves looks like for you.

It all began in August 2014 with the first ever #TLBmoves and it took off. Some of us got a little more movement in our lives, others got a whole lot more. We cheered on some working on (and succeeding) quitting smoking, others had step goals to hit, there were those that started yoga or crossfit or pilates every day, and others started having salads every day. Getting moving together brought us closer together and we discovered that thanks to the global village of the internet, we could cheer each other on and have fun in the process. When we found ourselves stuck, we could be honest about the challenges we were facing and there would be no judgment, just support and encouragement. It was inspiring and we all wanted to keep moving.

Many of us did, though our interactions weren’t as frequent with the start of school and as colder weather rolled in, many of us found ways to keep going. And here we are, nearly a year later, and we’re still moving. The push we all got from the month of #TLBmoves was motivating and we felt it was time to do it again and invite more to join us.

As parents, we have every reason in the world to be physically active; heart health, longevity, reduced health problems, strength, endurance, lower blood pressure, stronger bones, joint health, mental clarity, better sleep, and decrease in depression and anxiety to name a few. With having children though, juggling family, home, and for some, work, getting to exercise is often an overwhelming challenge. Between the media, “experts,” bloggers, friends, family, health care providers, and yes, even myself saying what is so important for children, there are just so many other aspects of a child’s development that require my attention. There is every reason in the world to not be physically active; reading to our children, providing quality meals, addressing their social needs, researching all medications/foods/education, shopping to have the “best” deals on the highest quality, spending quality play time with our children, limiting screen time, grooming them, keeping house, bonding, learning and executing proper child passenger safety (installing that perfect car seat that took 3 weeks of research and a small loan to purchase), and being sure every minute of their every day is filled with only the best developmentally appropriate activities. With all that’s on our plates, how do we find time to be physically active?

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

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

It’s time for #TLBmoves!

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

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

Whatever your goal, you can join us for #TLBmoves!  This is all about embracing an active lifestyle and making healthier choices, no matter where you’re starting from and we’re here to support each other completely free of judgment each step of the way.

We have a team to help provide some inspiration, not with before and after pictures, #TLBmoves isn’t about acquiring a certain body aesthetic, but with honest sharing of the journey. Kids in tow and personal goals put out there, our team isn’t to glamorize the journey, simply to share together one step at a time.

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

Jessica: Founder, owner, and author of The Leaky Boob Facebook group and website; mother of six girls, ages 3, 5, 7, 12, 14, and 16.

Jeanna: guidance counselor and mom to a 6 month old little girl.

Kileah: Member of TLB’s editorial team; mother of four children, ages 7, 5, 3 and 19 months. Kileah loves canning, cooking, and being with her family.

Iola: Mom of Cadden, Lyam,and Eli all under 5 living in Minnesota but visiting Wisconsin regularly. Iola works out of her home, blogs here, and is a doula and advocate for improving breastfeeding rates in the black community.

Brianne: work from home mom of 3 children, ages 11, 6, and 3 years old. Brianne is married to a fitness enthusiast but has struggled to find time for herself to do the same.

Meet our partners:

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

#TLBmoves Title sponsor Tula Baby carriers, woven wrap and soft structured carriers

 

Tula Baby Carriers. Tula believes in supporting us all being close to our little ones AND getting moving toward a healthier way of living so much that they are our title sponsors. We aren’t just pushing our little ones in the strollers – we’re going to wear them, too! Whether it’s in the uber comfortable Standard or Toddler carrier, or in one of Tula’s amazingly gorgeous woven wraps, we’ll be wearing our babies throughout the month as we get out and move! Where will the #TULAlove turn up next? Stay tuned…

 

Maternity and breastfeeding fitness apparel

 

Bellabumbum. Committed to high quality and comfortable apparel that provides support and room to move for the pregnant or breastfeeding mom, Belabumbum creates mindful activewear for moms. With fabrics that stretch and breathe, Belabumbum clothing is designed to last with comfortable fit that suits your level of activity for many years to come. Created by moms for moms, Belabumbum knows that moms want to look good whether they’re running a race, running to the grocery store, or running after a toddler. Perfect for Boob Out Fashion and room for growing bellies, you can’t better comfort as you get moving. Through out #TLBmoves you’ll see the convertible capri pant, nursing cami, and a new sports bra that’s not yet released.

#TLBmoves sponsoring brand

Eyla’s.  A reliable source for most of your parenting needs (they don’t sell sleep, sorry), Eyla’s will keep the whole family safely hydrated with their Eco Vessel bottles in your choice of glass or stainless steel. All Eco Vessel products are BPA and phthalate free, recyclable and environmentally friendly and come in a wide variety of styles and sizes including a line perfect for toddler hands. Drink up

 

thinkbaby thinksport

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

When?
#TLBmoves will run from July 1st-31st, 2015, but we hope you’ll keep moving long after the end of the month! (We may have something up our sleeves to that end, too!)

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

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

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

Who?
You, your friends, your kids, your partner, your boss, your mom, your dad… anyone!  Though The Leaky Boob is focused on encouraging families primarily through breastfeeding, we support breastfeeding moms and everyone that supports them.  Breastfeeding isn’t a requirement to participate with TLB and #TLBmoves.

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

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TLB Comics- Useful Shape

 

by Jennie Bernstein

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

 

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

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

The author and her family.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

breastfeeding through pregnancy

Joni breastfeeding and pregnant.

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

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

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

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

Ten year old boy to Dolly Parton. Bam.

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

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

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

Boos:

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

 

Breastfeeding with large breasts

The author and her two youngest

Yays:

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

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

 

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

“I always feel bad sharing my story because I don’t want to make others feel bad, breastfeeding my baby was so easy for me, it was just perfect. I almost feel like my story doesn’t count.”

The woman standing in front of me had a sleeping little one strapped on her back and a worried expression pressed on her face. She shared briefly in this rushed moment with hundreds of people around us that she rarely talked about her breastfeeding experience when she knows so many women struggle in their own journeys. Concern that sharing her own story may cause them pain, she keeps it to herself.

Another woman before her told me she didn’t talk about her breastfeeding journey except around a few key friends because it was so discouraging and difficult she didn’t want anyone else to feel sorry for her or not try breastfeeding out of fear that they would have a similar experience.

And before that a mother told me that she never talked about her experience feeding her baby for fear of judgment because she switched to formula just a few weeks in due to difficulties and postpartum depression compounded by needing to return to work. She just couldn’t take hearing more of the inevitable questions that would follow if she shared, asking if she tried any number of herbs and medications for her supply, if she saw the right kind of breastfeeding support, or how she felt about poisoning her baby with formula, or that if she truly loved her son she would have tried harder to give him breastmilk.

Following all of them was the mother that loved breastfeeding, had overcome a few difficulties, and went one to breastfeed for 3 years before weaning and starting all over again with a new little one. But she was a quiet person and not comfortable with breastfeeding in public, it was even challenging for her to do so with a cover and she preferred a private location away from other people. Awkward and very self-aware, she hated breastfeeding in public and she never posted breastfeeding pictures online (does that mean she even really breastfed if she didn’t take and share a #brelfie? Would people think she was lying?). So she didn’t talk about breastfeeding much because she felt like a fraud. There were some points she would love to tell but not all of it and not to just anyone. Her past history of sexual abuse made it even more difficult for her and she didn’t want to share more about her infant feeding path than she was comfortable with but that seemed inadequate and wouldn’t really help anyone.

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

Enough.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

You aren’t perfect and you never will be, whatever perfect means.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your highs, your lows.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The flab, the stretch marks, the skin and bones, or the extra padding.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The moments of pride, the moments of shame.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your hurt and your joy.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your vagina, your scars, your breasts, and your bottles.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

And #YourStoryMatters.

#MyStoryMatters too.

Our children are watching, long before you will realize they are aware, they are watching. Every criticism you bestow upon yourself eats away at your confidence and how you view yourself. Which eats away at your child. How they will grow to see you, how they will grow to believe you see them, and how they will grow to see themselves. Are you treating yourself as well as you want your child to be treated by themselves and others some day? We are their models, is this what we want for them? And are we treating others, our friends and peers, how we want our children to treat others and how we want others to treat our children?

Will your child look at you and see that you are enough?

Will your child look at themselves and see that they are enough?

Perfection is far too high to aim for and since it is unattainable we are setting ourselves and our children up for failure if we tell them they are perfect and berate ourselves when we’re not. Someday they will know the truth that they aren’t perfect and we will have been the ones that lied to them.

But enough is enough. Within enough, there’s room for growth but still acceptance of where you are. When we are enough we can see how our stories matter. All of ours.

#IAmEnough

 

TLB is celebrating its 5th birthday this month. A month long celebration of our community and the thousands upon thousands of stories shared there. For 5 years families have been finding support in their journeys, receiving support and giving support. After finding the support they needed, many stay to pay it forward. Support forward. #TLBSupportForward. There is no better way to celebrate this milestone than going back to our roots, sharing our stories of feeding our children, our babies. To share your story with our community, email it to content @ theleakyboob.com (no spaces). All stories are welcome, we will have to be selective in what we publish to be sure it is a good fit and due to the volume of submissions it is possible we won’t be able to publish them all, but your story matters; so whether it is published on TLB or shared in the comments and interactions of our community, we hope you share your story. You can help encourage others with your story by making your own sign like above and taking a picture of you holding it to share on social media with these hashtags. Whatever it may be, from pure bliss of rainbows and sunshine to heartache and pain, your story matters. In sharing it you testify that you are enough and encourage others that they are enough too.

And together we all can say #IAmEnough #MyStoryMatters #TLBSupportForward.

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More Than a Pair of Tits, But Can I Be Human?

by Jessica Martin-Weber
Breasts. Comfort? Sex things? Feeding utensils? Provocative snares? Defining body parts? Or just a pain in the neck?

Breasts. Comfort? Sex things? Feeding utensils? Provocative snares? Defining body parts? Or just a pain in the neck?

Once, a supportive male boss told me I was more than a pair of tits. Thanks, I think, so what does that make me? What about other women?

Breasts are at once over celebrated and under appreciated. The bastion of physical femininity, breasts rise up before young girls as the ultimate marker of becoming a woman while at the same time being berated for tripping men up and getting too much attention. Slap a pair of breasts overflowing a lacy bra on the side of a bus and watch the accidents’ ticker tape start rolling. As for coming of age, periods shmeriods, it’s not the uterus the world notices, it’s your tits! We idolize the lactating breast as the best, the mark of superior motherhood, yet we worship the sexually available ready to have fun-oh-sex-goddess-of-desire-breasts as the mark of superior womanhood. Shake those milk jugs and bring all the boys to your yard! Here’s a cover for feeding your babies, don’t let that disgusting best milk of awesome slutty motherness get anywhere or be noticed and here are some pasties for when you set aside your mom of the year sash at night and it’s time to BLOW HIS MIND!

The messages we get about our breasts and our bodies, messages we may internalize, can end up defining us. They don’t have to but often they do without us realizing it. Our successes and our failures may be measured against these messages. We all want to pretend we don’t care what other people think, but the truth is most of us do to an extent. Understandably so because none of us want to be alone. We actually need each other, need community, and needing people means we care about what they think.  Sometimes we can’t see past the tips of our nipples. Sometimes, we can’t see past the tips of other women’s nipples either. And more and more we can’t see past the tip of an artificial nipple. Do men have to put up with anything like this? Society gets their panties in a bunch when a woman feeds her baby no matter how she does it, oddly enough, not so much when a dad feeds his baby. Men get accolades for “babysitting” (AKA: parenting) and adored for feeding their child. Women get covers, judgment, shunning, and news reports. Why? Because they’re women. And there are breasts involved even when not being used.

When I began developing I mostly had a feeling of dread tinged with excitement about my impending new appendages. Then they were real, not just a developing idea, they were really, really there and I was thrilled, I was a woman, not only did I bleed between my legs, I had BOOBS! That lasted for all of 2 minutes and came crashing down when I realized that when properly clothed, the tiny bits I had wouldn’t bounce joyfully in a bra, wouldn’t fill out a bathing suit, they wouldn’t even cause a disturbance in the fabric of my shirt. I got mosquito bites for breasts. There had been fire ant bites on my ankles bigger than my tits. Before my breasts grew, I hated the idea of having my own pair of tits and being seen as a sexy symbol of busty lust but once they set up a very disappointing shop on my chest, I wanted nothing more. I had been betrayed!

They were supposed to be alluring. Sexy. Comforting. Nurturing. All at once. Instead, my breasts were barely there. My disappointment was palpable. Unlike my breasts.

My mother has fabulous breasts and I had a deep appreciation for them. To comfort me when mine were disappointing she shared how she had tiny tits once too. But then she got pregnant and breastfed, and my brother, sister, and I gave her the gift of big boobs which stuck around after all her children weaned. It was hope. Except, of course, there wouldn’t be any tits there for my some-day-partner to feel up and lead to baby making, my chest still looked, and felt, like a preteen boy’s. If the only thing that was going to change that was having babies, I might have a problem.

Later, after I had managed the baby making feat, my breasts would still be disappointingly small and my mother, out of love and concern, would come to me with an offer from her and my dad. Breast implants, they would pay for them to ensure my husband was satisfied with me sexually and would not leave me and my daughters. Because they believed what I had long suspected, with my tiny tits, I couldn’t possibly be enough.

Breastfed or not, little girls and boys tend to find comfort at their mother’s or a mother-figure’s breast. Nurturing and comforting, breasts are just pleasant. Why? I’m not sure anybody really knows. Biologically it’s probably because they are both sustenance for the infants of our species and have a certain erotic appeal that helps with the continuation of the species. But none of us are thinking about that when we’re drawn to them. Besides, essentially breasts are skin covered sacks of fat with some glandular tissue and milk ducts thrown in for functionality. They’re more complicated than that, but when you break it down, boobs are fat bags with nerves. Which hardly sounds attractive at all. Still, humans are drawn to these fat bags, the human female breast. At first for food and comfort, then for fascination, and then for sex. Sex, of course, leads to more babies and the cycle starts all over again. Beautiful, important, and confusing.

Are they ever really even ours?

How do we reconcile how we’ve seen our mother’s breasts, the breasts of other maternal figures, the breasts of our peers, the breasts of celebrities, and even the different stages and functions of our own breasts? There’s no switch we get to flip, you know. Moving from one phase of boob love to the next is complicated and confusing. Often it doesn’t go smoothly and there’s struggle involved. Find nurturing comfort and sustenance at the breast, baby! Stop that. Grow some tits! Stop that. Cover them up! Stop that. Flaunt them! Stop that. Boobs = sex! Stop that. Nurture a child with them! Stop that. Play things for your partner! Stop that. Tie them up, nobody wants to see those tired old things hitting your knees, that’s not SEXY! How do we go from being comforted at the breast, to admiring breasts, to wanting our own breasts, to discovering how the world sees breasts, to embracing the sensuality of our breasts, to properly covering them, then by just having breasts somehow being responsible for being harassed for sex, forget the nurturing stuff breasts are for sex, have a baby and hold them to your chest and just be ok with now your baby’s mouth and hands and head are there more than your sexual partner’s. Be a good child, a good sex goddess, a nurturing goddess and don’t be a slut or a bad mom or sexually unavailable. Do. It. All. What you do with your boobs, how you dress them, how you use them, how you present them, and how others notice them requires a lot of time and energy. A defining factor of how others see us and more importantly, how we see ourselves. The shape of our breasts can shape us.

Which can mess with our heads.

I talk with women every day about their breasts. It’s a casual conversation, but honest. Women are surprisingly willing to talk about them, if somewhat hesitant at first. But talking about our tits is kind of like taking our bras off at the end of the day: HALLELUJAH, I DON’T HAVE THAT CONSTRICTIVE TORTURE DEVICE HOLDING ME UP ANY MORE! I CAN BREATHE! We can talk about our boobs! You see, everyone else is talking about them and we know it. Men, fashion designers, doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, fashion magazines, politicians… you name it, everyone’s talking about our tits. Except us. Some of us are still whispering “breast” before cancer because even the word makes us uncomfortable. We’re not supposed to actually notice our own breasts! And noticing the breasts of others comes with baggage packed with jealousy and judgement. We’re certainly not supposed to be talking about them. Feel your boobies? Ok, but could we not say that out loud please? Don’t you just have a card I can stick in my underwear drawer for a monthly reminder? To talk about our breasts means we have to dance our words around in a complicated choreography of avoiding the conflict and appreciation we have about our own chests. It’s not a safe dance. If we like them, we sound like we’re bragging. If we don’t like them, we sound like we don’t enjoy being women. If we enjoy them in sex, we wonder if we’re weird. If we don’t enjoy them in sex, we’re pretty sure we sound frigid. If we’re proud of them, we’re going to be heard as putting down other women. If we’re not proud of them, we’re perceived as being dissatisfied. Most of all, we wonder how much of our success as women, as sexual partners, as mothers is tied up in these things we contain between some elastic, padding, and maybe a bit of wire. If we participate in titty talk, do we risk exposing ourselves with our womanly failures to the world? Are we enough?

Sometimes, our breasts and all the baggage that society hands us to go with them, get in the way of remembering we are human. Perhaps we could connect with our own humanity a little bit deeper by appreciating our breasts without shame, no longer worrying about how others are or are not using theirs, and talking about our own breasts without apologetic whispers. And to look in the mirror and tell ourselves we are enough.IMG_3816.JPG

This post is inspired by a portion of one of the talks sponsored by Ergobaby and Ameda, Inc. at MommyCon 2015.

 

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