Epic MiLK! The Leaky Times Newsletter Vol.8

by Kileah McIlvain

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Dear Leakies,

This may come as a shock, but I’m not passionate about breastfeeding.

Which is why I hope you all can join me at Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference on August 1st in Los Angelas, CA. This conference is all about bringing together everyone involved in infant feeding conversations to learn how to listen, share information, and offer true support. Support that isn’t possible when we’re judging and shaming individuals.

Nearly every day we hear from moms they concern about how they are feeding their baby. Guilt weaves through their words. With heartbreak they share their story, aching at what they perceive to be failure and hoping we can offer some magic fix. We tell them all the same thing.

Feed the baby. That’s the first rule of infant feeding care, FEED THE BABY. Because no matter what methodology, the baby must be fed. Not feeding the baby IS failure.

If there were a first rule of infant feeding support, it should be “DON’T BE A JERK.” Followed closely by “SUPPORT THE PERSON OVER THE METHODOLOGY.” Being a jerk and supporting a methodology over people IS failure.

Feeding the baby isn’t failure.

Sometimes, the people that should be the most supportive, end up offering unsupportive support.

READ MORE HERE!

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Leaky Looks: Let’s Welcome Summer Edition!

by Kileah McIlvain

Hey Leakies! Summer is HERE (ok. ok. It officially starts on Sunday…but around here all of the schools have just gotten out for the summer and you can literally smell the sunscreen and freedom wafting in on the warm breezes we’ve been getting here in the Pacific Northwest!

This week we’re giving you some beautiful looks celebrating the beginning of summer in STYLE! pssssst…..Don’t forget to stay tuned for our Applecheeks Nursing Infinity Scarf giveaway!

 

To The Zoo We Go

day at the zoo!

This look I had to put together as we’re planning a zoo trip soon! Keeping it light and layered with an Applecheeks Infinity Nursing Scarf, a Yummielife.com nursing tank, and a Target.com pleated maxi skirt completed with a J. Crew summer hat andSalt Water Sandals from Modcloth! It’s important to have a simple but capable bag like this beautiful plum colored Juno Blu Pumping Bag and keep hydrated with a Sigg water bottle and I also added in some California Baby suncreen (great for kids AND adults!) and one of my favorite lightweight strollers: the Joovy Groove UltraLight! Set for a day of primate watching and exploring the animal kingdom!

Concert On The Lawn

Summer Concert On The Lawn

This look was one of my favorites as here in Portland we get the treat of sooo many wonderful summer concerts outside! I centered this look around the Floressa Ayana Maxi Dress from Queen Bee, a Chambray jacket from Lulus.com, and Kokoro wrap in Mon Cheri. Our delicate grass around here can get a bit dry after the hot weather we’ve been having so I added in a soft blanket from Urban OutFitters. Best part about this ensemble? The Custom wrap conversion bag from Smiling Octopus. Isn’t it just amazing?!

Summer In The City

Summer City mama

This look I curated around this beautiful lightweight button-down blouse (easy to nurse in!) fromAshleyStewart.com, the Anita Stretch microfiber nursing bra Bare Necessities and distressed jeans from Torrid.com. The cute summer hat is from Forever21.com and my current favorite suede wedges from Toms.com. When you’re trecking the concrete jungle in warmer weather, you don’t want a big bulky diaper bag to clunk around your midsection! I added in this gray canvas leather tote from Pottery Barn Kids as a sleek and understated option for carrying your essentials. Beco Soleil in Steps is one of the best lightweight carriers to explore the best haunts and food carts in with your baby!

Have a great week, Leakies! Don’t forget to enter our Applecheeks giveaway when I give the signal! Watch for it!!

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Leaky Looks: YOU Choose Edition!

You spoke, and I delivered! This week to kick off the month of June, AppleCheeks, Naked Tank, and Bebe Au Lait teamed up with me to give you our freshest and latest #LeakyLooks!  I asked all of our Leakies on Instagram and Facebook  the #BoobOutFashion they wanted to see MOST on our picks this week.  The top 3 came in as Boho/Hippie Mama, Beach/Daytrip Mama, and Workout Mama.  Have fun looking through your looks! Pin, share, repost, tag us and tell us what you would choose!

 

To The Beach We Go!

To The Beach We Go!

I think most, if not all of us, want that perfect summer dress. Light, flowing, flattering and breathable (and #BoobOut -able!). I started out with this gorgeous all-cotton Torrid maxi dress that hits loosely at the natural waist and flows comfy and loose over all of our beautiful mama shapes! I saw the AppleCheeks nursing infinity scarf and fell in love with the colors immediately! As a scarf-lover myself, this lightweight item works as a no-fuss fashion statement, nursing cover, and beach hair protector all in one! I added in a soft pink bra, a silver footbed sandal, teal leather diaper bag, and a wide-brimmed sunhat from LL Bean (and let’s not forget the chewbead bracelets! I love wearing a TON of these in the summer!). I chose to include one of EWG’s highest-rated sunscreens (and gentle on sensitive skin!) and an adorable AppleCheeks diaper. Toss in a Mastitis Patrol tee for your little, sunglasses, and your favorite soft-soled sandals and you’ve got the makings of a fantastic day in the sand and surf!

Rockin’ That Gym Look!

Rockin' That Gym Look

I got so many awesome requests to do another workout look this week! I had done a couple of looks here and there, but this has got to be my favorite collection so far! I centered this look around one of the BEST Leaky wardrobe pieces in my closet-the Naked Tank! It’s breathable, lightweight, comes in white or black, and means I don’t have to put on 3 layers to function comfortably (can we say NO OVERHEATING OR SWAMP BOOBS?! Plus, free shipping for orders over $50? Yeah. Just Do It. No pun intended. Ha.) I LOVE these Belabumbum yoga jogger pants that fit loosely in the hip and thigh and hug the ankle! The rebound racer sports bra that I chose isn’t actually a “nursing” bra, but it might as well be! the front two straps are high-quality velcro that allow you to undo a side and adjust after you empty a breast! The HydroFlask insulated water bottle has always been one of my favorite go-to’s for keeping liquids cold OR hot, depending on my needs. Add in a durable gym bag, a lightweight top to cool down in when you leave the gym and some great Asics trainers and you’ve got yourself a no-fuss, all-function workout ensemble!

Work That Bohemian Mama!

Earthy Mama

I fell in love with this cotton wrap boho skirt from oOlives on etsy and just HAD to use it to create this bohemian hippie look! A wrap skirt is such a great option for both pregnant and nursing mamas as it’s easily adjustable and comfortable (and cool!). I added in a peasant top from Walmart (inexpensive!) and a lovely bralette from Aerie.com. Now…the piece that I’m MOST excited about in this look is the Bebe au Lait muslin nursing cover in Botanica! This lightweight premium cotton muslin is the PERFECT match for a hot day, whether you need it to shield baby from sun or distraction while eating or you can drape it over a low branch to give baby extra shade! I’m pretty sure I want every print they have. Ha! I added in the Ergo carrier in Dandelion because it’s all cotton and a lighter color which means it’ll be reflecting heat more than absorbing it.  I finished off this look with a fun diaper bag, Born gladiator sandals, and an awesome multi-colored necklace from Modcloth!

So there you have it, Leakies! YOUR CHOICE. And I absolutely LOVED your ideas! I hope you like what I picked! Tag me on instagram (@theleakyboob or @abitofearth) and show me how you rock YOUR #BoobOutFashion!

PSSSSST. Remember to keep an eye out for our upcoming giveaways!

They’re almost here!

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Boob Out Fashion: Spectactular Summer Edition!

by Kileah McIlvain

Last week when we released our Special Occasion Edition,  a leaky on our Instagram feed asked me about nursing SWIMWEAR. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! What IF there WAS such a thing as beautiful, functional swimwear for nursing mamas…or outdoor gear that is breastfeeding-friendly…or workout wear that made it easy to access the milk…what IF?!

Well, @megfyfewatkins ….THANK you for the idea that wouldn’t leave me. I FOUND the droids…err…clothing…you were looking for! (Yes. I’m a Star Wars nerd. More on that, later!)

 

By the Poolside

Swimwear

 

This gorgeous look is centered around the beautiful Pez D’Or La Mer 3-piece tankini set! Provides extra support for your lactating breasts, easily makes milk accessible and really compliments a wide range of figures! I added a Dotti Lazer-cut Kimono cover-up and a simple Sanuk white sandal (so dang comfy. seriously.) In the summer, chances are you’re going to want both you AND baby to cool off in the nearest cool water, so what better way to carry your squish than in a Beachfront Baby Water Ring Sling! Lightweight, dries super-fast, is easily adjustable for comfort and weight of baby and looks effortless. Add in a beautiful and functional Jelly Strands chewbead necklace, a Storksak diaper bag and some EWG-approved Badger Sunscreen and you are good to go for a beautiful day at the beach or by the poolside!

 

Yoga For Two

Workout

This was such a fun look to put together! I pulled this look together based on this Old Navy Burnout Tank I JUST purchased last week! It’s really easy to breastfeed in and pairs really well with the Melinda G Sports Nursing Bra that I picked out (Yes. there ARE actually sports bras that are made for the breastfeeding and pumping mama!). I love the easy cuteness of a good Bolder Band to keep sweat out of my face as I’m working out. REI has Hugger Mugger Batik yoga bags that I seriously want like…all of. I added an Echo Vessel water bottle and a great gym bag. My first carrier I ever had was an Ergobaby Original carrier. They still remain one of my go-to carriers and after birthing 4 hobbits, it has always held up to our busy lifestyle!

Take A Hike

Hiking

Living in the Pacific Northwest is kind of like saying “I live in a mecca for all things lush and outdoors.” An hour to the misty mountains. An hour to the soft-sanded coast. Deep lakes, temperate rainforests, and internationally-acclaimed hiking trails are one of our trademarks in these parts. Imagine my HAPPINESS when I discovered there is an actual clothing line designed for the active, pregnant/breastfeeding mom! Mountain Mama has an impressive line of great outdoorwear for the active outdoors mom! Crafted well from durable material and versatile for just about any wardrobe. I included the Salomon Ellipse GTX women’s hiking shoes (top-rated by Outdoor Gear Lab!) and the Lillebaby All-Seasons carrier in Stone as it’s incredibly breathable and the dimensions work so very well for both mums and dads! (see a GREAT review my husband did on them HERE!). Throw in a GORGEOUS Tekhni Pax Delta Hip Sack, some chemical-free thinksport sunscreen, and a double-insulated Kleen Kanteen stainless-steel bottle and you are set to explore the great outdoors with your family!

Are you inspired, yet?! Want to show us your summer-friendly #LeakyLooks outfits? Inspire the Leakies and tag us using our hastags on instagram or facebook! Now get outside and enjoy life in all of its summer beauty in all of your #booboutfashion awesomness!

PSSSSST: we have some super-awesome exclusive stuff coming soon (As in, next week!). (a giveaway? a Leaky feature? What could it be?!)…so keep watching our #LeakyLooks space and get your share-button ready! It’s going to be GOOD.

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TLB Comic: Just A Little Spit Up

by Jennie Bernstein
20may15tlbcomic1
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Leaky Looks: Special Occasions Edition!

by kileah mcilvain

It’s heeeeeere! You know what I’m talking about. You get that beautifully-embossed invitation…followed by another one…and another one…and another one. Graduations, Weddings, Soirees… I don’t know about you but my mind immediately starts racing on just WHAT I’m going to wear to all of these functions. And then I start thinking about FUNCTION. Breastfeeding, without melting into a puddle of lycra and mascara and sweat, feeling comfortable and fabulous….is it even possible?! To that I say YES.

Are you ready for The Leaky Boob to help you take the guesswork out of finding such requirements?! Buckle your nursing bras, Leakies, here are our looks!

Summer Wedding Set:

Wedding Set

This look I centered around a gorgeous wrapped floral dress from Modcloth. The shades of green and cut of the dress compliment a wide range of skin tones and body curves and the lightweight stretch jersey on top provides easy access to breastfeeding (and is comfortable for all-day wear!). I absolutely LOVED the hat (hello shade!) and gold leafed necklace from H&M. Adding a classy white leather diaper bag from Storksak gives you a fashionable way to carry all of your essentials and baby gear and a simple silk Sakura Bloom ring sling pulls out the lighter yellowish green leaves in the dress and provides a simple in-and-out option for your little nursling! I chose a HerRoom Cotton nursing bra (breathable, comfortable with JUST the right amount of support and flexibility!). Finish this look off with a pair of wonderful heeled sandals and you’ve got yourself a look that will keep you cool, comfortable and gorgeously put-together for a day of festivities!

 

Graduation Set

Graduation SetThis look was my (and Jessica’s!) FAVORITE. I went with a gorgeous tulip dress from Modcloth that provides easy pumping/feeding access with a You!Lingerie bra. The floral heels (yes, they’re hard to find but we just COULDN’T resist putting them in!) pull the mint green and pink coral together. Whether you’re in line to receive your diploma or watching a loved one’s big day to turn the tassle, simplicity is KEY-so instead of putting a diaper bag or pumping bag with this look we opted for a simple clutch to carry only the essentials! A lot of graduations end up being outside (HOT) or in a giant stadium with a LOT of people (again, HOT). Things can get loud and long so we added the wonderful lightweight muslin cover in Isla from Bebe au Lait that can provide some breathable privacy and shade for you and baby! We finished this look with a lovely green glass floral necklace and the Tula Naida (mermaids!) wrap and this look is set to both STUN and FUNCTION for such a big day!

 

Evening Set

Evening Soirée

 

We wanted to pull this look together for the Leaky who needs something classy, evening event-appropriate, boob-friendly and absolutely stunning! This look is using a chiffon asymmetrical dress from Torrid with a red lace nursing bra. I added in some Milkies Milk-savers (because sometimes these evening events can go long and Leaky Boobs can happen! #operationSaveLiquidGold can NOW happen! I added in a simple and chic pumping bag from Sarah Wells and some Earth Mama Morning Wellness Spray to keep you feeling fresh, alive and collected throughout the evening (bet you didn’t know it wasn’t JUST for morning sickness! This stuff is amazing). I found this gorgeous “dragonscale” jewelry and just HAD to add it in. Because I am a mama who wants to feel kind of like a badass in social functions…and even a simple statement like jewelry can totally do that for me!

 

There you have it, Leakies! Some inspiration to keep you functioning through the special events of the season! Now-it’s YOUR turn to show us what you’re rocking!

Tag us and use #LeakyLooks and #BoobOutFashion and you could get picked to be featured on our Instagram feed. And STAY TUNED…we’ve got some super exciting extras coming your way…any guesses?!

 

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Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: When No One Knows

by Kileah McIlvain

TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains experiences of depression and anxiety and loss and may be triggering to certain individuals. Please read with care.

postpartum depression postpartum anxiety, monster within.

photo: urban bay photography

I sat there. On the park bench in the middle of Laurelhurst a year ago today. He sat on the other end. I felt like a NOTHING. A Void. A Black hole from which and out of which nothing good could come. I wanted to hurl myself into the quiet duckpond while the local shakespeare players were acting out a scene from Macbeth on the other side of the trees. The feelings of exploding, of darkness, of drowning, of feeling like nothing but a walking corpse never felt more present. What was the point? Why the hell was I put on this earth if God was going to play russian roulette with my life? What the hell was I supposed to do with this gnawing grief of  a past miscarriage and the overwhelming demands of  trying to meet my family’s needs? Why couldn’t I just be kind? Why couldn’t I be strong and be good and just BE who my kids and my husband needed me to be? The questions that had taken root in the dark and walled-up places of my heart began to erupt. The rotten rags that I’d used to stuff up all of the leaks and holes riddling my soul began to surface from these murky depths. I was thrashing around in the gaping maw of my own personal monster. I couldn’t move anymore. I was going to sink. I wanted to sink…and be nothing. It was terrifying.

I. Wanted. To. Die. 

The strange thing is. No one tells you. Either because they don’t know what to say or they don’t even KNOW. It’s easy to smile and nod, and pretend you’ve got it together. Because that’s what you do. It’s invisible, this monster. It chews at your mind and sucks your soul until you feel hulled out…like a painted eggshell that looks great to everyone around you…but you’re hollow and fragile. And no one has a clue. They don’t know that you want to run away. They don’t know that it terrifies you to say anything because you’re sure that if you do, someone will call CPS or SPCC and take your children away. You’re convinced you’re a bad mom. That you aren’t capable of caring for these little humans you gave birth to. The yelling, the blackouts where 15 minutes later you don’t know what was done or what was said. The deeply-ridden shame and anxiety and the panic attacks triggered by the hot water in the shower. I remember the earliest days of my darkness when I laid my son down two weeks after becoming a new mother and cringing because the thought of touching him repulsed me. Because I didn’t want him to touch me. His crying and my exhaustion and me feeling like I couldn’t do anything right (including breastfeeding challenges)…it was overwhelming. And it didn’t stop. With each new life I birthed into this world, my darkness found new depths and more desolate places to dwell. This happened to me. This silent inner monster had blackened everything…and it didn’t go away.

I reached that breaking point a year ago today. I realized that I was unwell. That it wasn’t normal to want to die. That it wasn’t normal to be experiencing panic attacks and blackouts and physical pain because you didn’t want to move or deal or face anyone or anything. That running away from bonding emotionally through touch wasn’t normal.

I’ll tell you what didn’t help.

  • The very cautious ventures into the world of mental health and community before my breaking point had so far amounted to bible verses being shoved down my raw throat (If you just do ABC, God will make it all better!) and people frustrated with my questions because “How could you think this about God? It just isn’t true, and you have to figure that out!”
  • I was told “You’re breastfeeding! There should be tons of lovey warm hormones flowing through you. That isn’t possible!”
  • I was told “Well I got over it, I just had to make up my mind to pull myself up out of this funk.” To which I said “Really? Because I’ve been trying for 5 years and 3 more kids now…and it isn’t working.”
  • I was told “It’s just the baby blues. You just need  YOU-time.” And while that may be the healing ticket someone needs to start getting better…it wasn’t mine. It was only a small number in the equation that was my situation.

What did I do? Well, nothing huge to start with. But talking to someone about it helped. (for me, that was my partner.) No, he wasn’t perfect, but he sat there. And listened. I told him that I was terrified. All the time. I was angry. Angry that God allowed my life to experience what I have. That it wasn’t necessary. That everyone’s life would be better off without me in it. That I wasn’t what anyone needed and I wasn’t healthy for anyone to deal with. I was scared of repeating the harm and emotional and relational damage that was done to me in my own childhood. That started my own journey to health. Reaching out, finding resources, wanting better.

I found a few resources online to point me in the right direction. I was currently breastfeeding my 4th little one and didn’t even know if there were medication options available for me. I didn’t know WHAT I needed, exactly. I just knew that up to that point? Nothing was working. And it needed to change. This had been going on for 5 years. FIVE. YEARS. I didn’t even know what normal meant for me anymore…I only knew THIS. I found a therapist through my state’s mental health resources. I was connected with people that didn’t look down on me like I was some unfit mother…but as a valuable human being who had a condition and in need of help navigating through my depression and anxiety so that I could be healthy again.

Postpartum depression and anxiety isn’t just in your head. It isn’t imagined or something you can just will away or pretend it doesn’t exist.

Postpartum depression and anxiety IS real.

Postpartum depression and anxiety IS a monster.

But it’s a monster you DON’T have to try slaying on your own.

photo: urban bay photography

photo: urban bay photography

Am I there yet? No. But some days I am better.

Sometimes I can look up now and notice that the way the wind moves through the trees is beautiful. I can catch glimpses of hope in my eyes when I look in the mirror. Some days are dark. Really dark. But they are not ALL dark, now. I am not alone. I know now that it’s ok to reach out to the people in my life who are helping me through this. My husband. My therapist. My councilor.  My mind…is better. Medication,therapy, counseling, therapeutic touch, acupuncture, babywearing, herbal supplements, meals…those are a few things that are helping me.  The biggest catalyst for me? Speaking up. Spreading awareness of just what postpartum depression and anxiety feels like and what it can do and resources that are out there to help mothers struggling. Because I am there. WE are there. And things CAN get better. WE are not alone.

Photo: Urban Bay Photography

Photo: Urban Bay Photography

Speak. Don’t stay silent.

Your voice may shake. Your knees may buckle. The monster inside may scream at you. But know you are enough. There IS help. The world IS more beautiful because you are in it. Courage, dear heart. You are enough. And this heart of yours is being forged into a masterpiece. You. Are. LOVED.

Some resources that helped me understand my postpartum depression and anxiety:

-Artistic infographics on what it feels like to live with depression and anxiety. Good for people who want to help but don’t know what to do.

-A helpful collection of comic strips because a different perspective and sense of humor can help.

-A great checklist and resource page that helped me in recognizing PPD and PPA.

 

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TLB Comics- Six Reasons Moms Continue Breastfeeding For Themselves

by Jennie Bernstein and Jessica Martin-Weber

Breastfeeding toddlers for mom's benefit reality check

 

It probably seems obvious to anyone that has breastfed a toddler that doing so is clearly all about the mom’s desires.* What a mom gets out of breastfeeding her toddler is nothing more than a relaxing, pleasurable experience that makes her feel just like she did when she was breastfeeding her child as a newborn. In fact, it’s almost exactly the same. Breastfeeding beyond 6 weeks/6 months/12 months/18 months/6 years really is all about keeping their “baby” truly an actual baby.*

Still, some people just don’t understand. This list of 5 reasons moms continue to breastfeed their babies after the arbitrary acceptable cut-off date enforced by random strangers or other individuals such as family members and friends who aren’t actually whipping their boob out for their 3 year old “infant” to suckle may shed some clarity on the matter.

  1. To hold on to those baby months years. By continuing to breastfeed, her child won’t grow up and will stay an infant forever. This one is obvious. She just loves changing diapers, waking multiple times a night, and screams for communication that she is using her magic milk coming from her magic boobs to keep her child an infant. It’s just so fulfilling. After all, with no baby to baby, what would she do anyway?
  2. She is preparing to enter American Gladiator. Or Wipe Out. Breastfeeding her toddler/preschooler is the perfect training. With all this preparation, there is no doubt she’ll be winning that cash prize.
  3. She’s lazy. Can’t be bothered to teach that kid to eat real food or clean up after the inevitable mess it will make eating real food. So naturally she’d rather wrestle an octopus with her boob. Oh, and the octopus still wants food to throw.
  4. Lack of discipline. Too much of a softy to tell her kid no, she pulls out her boob for the little tyrant any time it is demanded. There’s probably nothing she says no to, like candy, knives, or running in the street…
  5. Looking for attention. Because everyone knows how fun it is to have everyone you know commenting on how they think you suck at parenting and finding just one more way for others to disagree with your parenting choices is just the most. fun. ever!
  6. Her pleasure. That’s right, this is really what it’s all about- her own personal pleasure. Round house kicks to the head, nipple twists during gymnurstics, niplash, you name it, they’re all for her pleasure. She’s just using her child for her own selfish desires and satisfaction which is why she agrees to breastfeed a truck from time to time and has perfected controlling her reactions to getting a finger jabbed into her eye.

 

_________________

What would you add to your list as to reasons why moms may continue to breastfeed their toddler or preschooler?

_________________

*This piece uses sarcasm and satire in an attempt to make a humorous point. It is possible it fails entirely and the reader may assume the author is serious. This note is to clarify that the author is, in fact, seriously not serious and just a bit of a smart a**.
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Facebook Removes Breastfeeding Photos and Disables Mom’s Account Ignoring Their Own Policies- Again.

by Jessica Martin-Weber
Breastfeeding and Facebook

Photo Credit: Stephanie Shirley Abby shared this photo on Facebook previously with no issue.

Between 3 and 4pm on Saturday, May 9th, 2015, the day before celebrating her very first Mother’s Day as a mom, Bump 2 Baby Birth Photography owner, Abby Camarata, discovered that her access to the virtual global town hall that is Facebook was unavailable. More specifically, that her account had been disabled. The new mom of 4 week old Rocco was cut off from much of her community and from her business and she had no idea why. When she attempted to log in she received a message from Facebook that her account was disabled and if she had questions she could visit Facebook’s help center. That was it.

It hasn’t been long since Facebook received praise for finally amending their guidelines for image posting to include supporting breastfeeding photos. Just this past March news outlets, bloggers, and advocates celebrated when the guidelines were further clarified after several years of back and forth drama between Facebook, users, and the media when breastfeeding photos would be removed. There was a collective sigh that maybe this dysfunctional censoring of motherhood and the women that share it was finally over with the social media giant.

Apparently not. And this isn’t the first time they’ve violated their own policies about breastfeeding photos.

Abby and I chatted initially when her account was still disabled. Her personal profile was reinstated by 9.05 pm that evening but her business page is still gone. She still doesn’t know why. What she suspects? Somebody complained about the breastfeeding photos on both her personal profile and on her business page. This first time mom shared her thoughts on why this matters not only for her personally but for many parents in today’s society.

TLB: Abby, I’m so sorry your personal profile was disabled by Facebook. I know you’ve used your Facebook to connect with friends and family as well as for your business. Up until your account was disabled, how has FB been important to you both in the past and now more recently? How will not having it impact you?

Abby: Facebook has always been an outlet for keeping in touch with friends and family but more recently, it’s been nothing short of a lifeline. Especially since the birth of my first baby, Rocco, four weeks ago. Life can easily become isolating at this stage, Facebook as been a consistent connecting point for me through this transition. From the moment we announced our little love coming earthside, a meal train was set up in my tribe and quickly a whole month worth of dinners were signed up for. I joined a Homebirth Cesarean Facebook group that has been a shoulder for me to cry on and a safe place for me to vent. The Leaky Boob Community group has been a lifesaver. I love how this is a group of nursing moms so when I woke up at 3am and my boob felt like it got ran over by a truck, I had several responses of support and encouragement with suggested remedies within minutes!

Not having Facebook kept me from my tribe and my resources. Both of which are part of my every day-to-day life. It may not have been for long, this time, but I don’t know if it will happen again and the connections and relationships I have there mean a lot to me, particularly during this difficult postpartum stage. My business is impacted as well. I cant correspond with clients, share new work, or follow up on leads and referrals.

 

Facebook account disabled after posting breastfeeding photos.

The message Abby received when she attempted to login.

 

TLB: How did you discover your account was disabled? Has Facebook given you a reason for disabling your account or indicated that it is a determined length of time for this ban? When did they contact you?

Abby: I discovered the disabling of my account only after several friends messaged me about my account being inactive. My account was still active after the initial flagged photo for nudity so I’m not sure why it was actually deactivated later. I was never given a length of time for the ban. I was never contacted about ANY of the ordeal. When my account was reactivated, it stated that my image was reported for nudity, and that the photos were removed for “violating Facebook’s Community Standards” even though the images remain on my page, and the link to the community standards was broken and I was unable to read them.

TLB: Birth and breastfeeding are big aspects of your work as a photographer, now as a mother yourself, what do you see is the significance of capturing and sharing these moments through photography? How has it been significant for you personally?

Abby: Given the rough journey I’ve experienced so far with breastfeeding, and the utter bliss and healing it brings me, I have a renewed appreciation and love for breastfeeding photography. We are given such a short time to have this special bonding time with our children. Some moms are blessed with more time than others.

Personally, not knowing how long my body will keep producing milk with my hormone issues, I savor every second I can nurse my son. I hope others are encouraged by the images I share as I’ve been encouraged by the breastfeeding images others have shared. I’ve learned a lot too.

Breastfeeding selfie Abby shared on Facebook on May 9, 2015.

Breastfeeding selfie Abby shared on Facebook on May 9, 2015.

Breastfeeding and Facebook

The notice Abby received that her photo was reported by someone on her friend list.

 

Breastfeeding photo removed by Facebook May 2015.

The notice Abby received that her photo was determined to violate FB standards.

 

 

TLB: You had a breastfeeding photo reported just before your account was disabled, why had you shared that photo in particular? Have you had breastfeeding photos reported in the past? Was the photo removed by FB or was the last that you knew, they reviewing the report?

Abby: I take photos almost every time I nurse my son. The awe and love for breastfeeding hasn’t worn off. Again, with my breastfeeding issues, and not knowing how long I will be able to nurse him, EVERY DAY is a victory. Every latch is a reason to celebrate. Every suckle is a savored moment. A moment I want to hold onto. To remember. To document. To share! This new thing, breastfeeding, is totally rad and I want to share my journey and the love I have for it. I want to normalize it!

The very first photo I shared of Rocco, announcing his arrival, was a photo of him breastfeeding. The two week herbal bath family photos that were taken, I shared a breastfeeding photo. I shared a photo of Rocco latched as we enjoyed the shade at the park. I shared the breastfeeding photos from our three week family photo shoot. All were celebrated by friends and family and not one of them were reported to my knowledge.

Shortly after I posted my photo, it was reported. I was taken aback because out of all the nursing photos I have shared, this was the most modest! Rocco was covering his mouth with his hands. I posted a screenshot of my reported image, and then got off Facebook to tend to my son. Before I know it, I received texts from three different friends asking if I had disabled my account. I was blocked out of Facebook. My account was disabled, without warning. I waited and waited for an explanation from Facebook via email and I received nothing.

TLB: Are you familiar with Facebook’s policy on breastfeeding photos and do you believe your photos were in keeping with those policies? 

Abby: I have never read the actual policies, but the last update I read from a friend, is that as long as the baby was actively nursing, any breast or nipple showing was not in violation of any policies.

Breastfeeding and Facebook

Photo Credit: Stephanie Shirley Abby had previously shared this photo on Facebook with no incident.

Alternative breastmilk feeding

Photo Credit: Stephanie Shirley. Abby feeding Rocco. Abby previously shared this photo on Facebook with no incident.

 

TLB: You shared that your breastfeeding journey has been difficult and very important to you, how does it feel in light of that to not only having someone on your friend list report your image but then to have FB actually disable your account?

Abby: It was SO disheartening, on so many levels. It’s overwhelming. What was frustrating right off is that I was provided no explanation from Facebook. It hurts that a “friend” reported my image because the image for me is the same as someone else posting a selfie at a finish line of a race. It’s a triumph. Something I’m working hard for. Something I’m proud of. It’s frustrating not only that a breastfeeding photo was reported, but it was THAT photo, which showed absolutely no nipple. I thought it was modest.

TLB: What did you do when you discovered the report of your breastfeeding photo?

Abby: I shared a screenshot of the flagged version of the photo in hopes to get feedback. Was this image offensive? HOW was this image offensive? I asked the “offended” to message me with an explanation. (I was genuinely curious.) I also asked them to remove themselves from my friends list. And that wasn’t to be malicious, it was because I don’t plan on stopping the share of nursing photos. Breastfeeding, by anyone, should be celebrated.

TLB: Your account is reinstated, will you be doing anything differently in terms of your behavior on FB?

Abby: I did have an impulse to keep my account deactivated and just start a new one with a few close friends and family. I was just so hurt that someone would be so offended by something that’s so innocent and special to me. But, refuse to stop sharing my nursing photos. If it’s a special moment, and I feel beautiful in it, you bet I’m going to share it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeding my son exactly as nature intended it. I need to contribute to this societal stigma around breastfeeding. It needs to change.

TLB: If you knew who it was that reported your photo, what would you say to them?

Abby: It depends on who it was and why they reported it. I have more than 100 things I would like to say to them. I really wish they would message me and open a discussion about their concerns than rather “report and run away.” It seems very childish to me. They don’t have to follow my profile nor even be friends with me on Facebook.

TLB: Lastly, is there anything you would like people to know coming through this experience?

Abby: I could tell you to stop sharing nursing photos. I could tell you to choose your Facebook “friends” wisely. To change the privacy settings on your nursing photos. But that wouldn’t change a thing. That’s not going to break down the breastfeeding stigma rampant in our American society. Keep sharing your beautiful images. Together, we can make waves. We can normalize breastfeeding for our future generations. For our children. Nurse on mamas.

Breastfeeding and Facebook

Abby and Rocco

At The Leaky Boob we believe everybody’s story matters and we should have the freedom to share it without censoring from outside sources, particularly in places where we find our community. Sharing our stories not only connects us but strengthens us all. #MyStoryMatters #YourStoryMatters and we hope you continue to share it wherever you are comfortable doing so. Share your story and offer #TLBsupportForward.

Want to share your story? Let us know in the comments.

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5 Breastfeeding Changes That Happen After Baby’s 1st Birthday

by Jessica Martin-Weber and artist Jennie Bernstein

breastfeeding a 1 year old

 

There is something about that 1st birthday, everything just seems to change. In an instant, instead of seeing diapers stretching endlessly before you, you’re thinking cap and gown and you begin to fret about that college application. Kids really do grow up fast, how you’ve been idle for the last 12 months  when it comes to planning little Johnny’s future, you’ll never know. What were you thinking? The kids is going to bust out in Pomp and Circumstance any second now!*

Everthing changes from that point on, and, as at least half the internet and maybe most of your friends will tell you, that includes breastfeeding. If you haven’t heard already, if you’re still breastfeeding your child at 1 year and 1 day, you better start preparing for how to wean your teenager and cross your fingers that you’ll be able to find a nursing dress for graduation and an open spot in the college dorms for both of you. Now, since there are all kinds of recommendations to continue breastfeeding after the first birthday and since 1st birthdays have a way of sneaking up on parents, more and more moms find themselves following, often unintentionally, in the age old tradition of breastfeeding their kiddo through college.

At 1 year and a day, everything about your kid changes, everything about breastfeeding changes. Everything. You’re practically breastfeeding an adult. Here’s what you need to know about the changes to your breastfeeding kiddo past their first year if you don’t wean your child off the boob by 1 year and 1 day.

  1. The number. The go from 11 months to 12 months. That’s huge. That number increase in the one’s position means you can officially start counting their age in years rather than months because everyone knows a 12 month old 1 year old is the same developmentally as a 22 month 1 year old. They’re also so much closer to filing their own taxes.
  2. They’ve had cake. Their palate has totally changed. In our family we take the recommendations for only whole, unprocessed foods for our baby’s first foods and no refined sugar (or honey) for the first year. From day 1- 11 months and 30 days, we vigilantly keep refined sugar out of our baby’s diet. Naturally, we celebrate those health efforts with a cake entirely of their own and cheer when they smash it, diving in head first to instantly become addicted to the very thing we’ve avoided the 12 months prior.
  3. They can ask for it. The day before? Not so much. You always had to wildly guess when your baby wanted to breastfeed, randomly whipping your boob out for them if you thought maybe it was time because up until their 1st birthday they had no way of letting you know they wanted to nurse. But at 1 year and 1 day, they may just start asking for it.
  4. They are bigger. Boom, over night, transition from baby to toddler, even if they aren’t actually toddling, is complete. They may not walk yet and they only have about 3 words, but it’s clear they are big kids now. Now you’re not breastfeeding a baby, you’ve got a full-fledged almost toddler, AKA teenager, on your hands.
  5. They love it. With how grown up they practically are you’d think they’d be over breastfeeding. Instead it tends to become an obsession. It is as if they realize that you’re also getting old and they want to hold on to you forever and keep you from growing away from them. They’re trying to keep you their mommy forever. And you thought the newborn nursing around the clock stage was over.

Brace yourself, breastfeeding a 1 year and 1 day old child is completely different from breastfeeding an 11 month and 30 day old baby. If you find you need help weaning before graduation, we have some suggestions here.

*This piece uses sarcasm and satire in an attempt to make a humorous point. It is possible it fails entirely and the reader may assume the author is serious. This note is to clarify that the author is, in fact, seriously not serious and just a bit of a smart a**.
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