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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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

by Carrie Saum

This post made possible by a partnership with The Leaky Boob sister community, Our Stable Table.

Photo courtesy of Gwyneth Colleen Photography.

Photo courtesy of Gwyneth Colleen Photography.

 

Confession:

I am a cookie snob.

Lactation cookies are no different.

I found a recipe in my mom’s kitchen recipe box on a raggedy old index card. It wasn’t in her handwriting or my grandmothers’ handwriting.  I snagged the card and kept it for a few years.  But let’s face it.  I made these cookies SO OFTEN that I committed the recipe to permanent memory.

When I had my son, we were too stressed and busy to think about lactation cookies while he was in the NICU for the first week of his life.  We came home from the hospital, and I had to get serious about boosting my milk supply, especially since I was not sleeping or eating regularly, and pumping exclusively. (I know, I know.  Not a great way to start motherhood, but those days were SURVIVAL. And it got better.)

My husband, who just happens to be an amazing baker, took over making the oatmeal cookies while I was working around the clock to feed my baby.  My husband and I ate these cookies by the batch, a bright spot in a wild season, and I would wake up in the middle of the night to pump and feed my baby with a spoonful of the cookie dough in one hand and my newborn in the other.

These are ADDICTIVE.

Oh yeah.  And the cookies totally boosted my milk supply. Which, let’s face it, was a bonus.

There are three versions of this cookie.

Version 1: The Regular Version. This version is perfect for eating in any form, raw, cooked, frozen, etc.

Version 2: The Lactation Version. This version gives extra milk-boosting power with the addition of flax meal.

Version 3: The You-Will-Never-Love-Another-Cookie-As-Much-As-This-Cookie Version.  I think this one is pretty self-explanatory.  And it will still make you milky.  Is that even a phrase?  It shouldn’t be.  I immediately regret writing it.

I’ll give you the base recipe with the tweaks (which are minor) along the way.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached flour ( 1.5 cups for V3)
  • 2.5 cups old fashioned oats, not instant (3 cups for V3)
  • 2 cups milk chocolate chips (You can use dark or semi-sweet chocolate but it’s less awesome.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp whole milk (4 Tbsp for V2)
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal (ONLY for V2)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Using an elctric mixer or a lot of elbow grease, cream butter and sugars until fluffy and light. Beat in the eggs, milk and vanilla extract.
  2. Combine flour, (flax meal if you are making V2), baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a separate bowl.
  3. Slowly add flour mixture to the sugar mixture until it’s incorporated. Be careful not to over mix. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
  4. On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, put dough in 1 inch rounds, making sure to leave plenty of room to expand.
  5. Bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  I’ll let you decide what kind of doneness you like but I pull them promptly at 13 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven, and cool completely on cooling rack.  Or until you can reasonably eat them without burning the crap out of your mouth.
  7. Skip baking them altogether and just eat the dough straight.

These are also pretty awesome to make and bring to your friends who have just become parents, so just go ahead and bookmark this recipe and plan to make them.  You will be the favorite friend, possibly ever.  This is also a great way to love your newly lactating Baby Mama, too.

If you like this recipe, head over to Our Stable Table for more great recipes and some great conversation.

Happy Lactating!
Carrie

 

IMG_2895Carrie Saum brings a passion for wellness and over a decade of experience in health care to her clients. A certified Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor (AWC) from the Kerala Ayurveda Academy, she empowers individuals and families to achieve health and balance through time-honored practices and health knowledge.
Carrie has extensive first-hand experience in vast array of medical and service fields. With background in paramedic medicine, Carrie spent ten years serving in the non-profit sector managing organizations, programs, and orchestrating resources to meet health needs of people across the United States and abroad in countries such as Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, and Zambia. As an AWC, Carrie currently coaches her clients and their families about topics including nutrition, weight loss, and stress management.In addition to her work as a wellness counselor, Carrie is a passionate “foodie” and author. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and young son.

 

 

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Boob Out Fashion: Put It On and Go Edition

 

 

You know all of that time I have to get ready every day with 4 kids under 7? No? Well neither do I! Which is why putting on clothes that are breastfeeding-friendly and carrier-friendly should be a no-brainer. Sometimes before this mama brain has had coffee, trying to wrap my head around picking out a functional outfit that doesn’t look like “I gave up on today” can be somewhat of an olympic feat (at least to me!). So, I chose these looks to help us (ME) along with the process. Because no one mama should have to live through wardrobe crisis when there are little ones to keep alive! I’ve gotta say that it always makes me feel a little better about those nighttime marathon nursing sessions when I feel and look good during the day!

So. Sit back, grab that coffee you’ve probably warmed up 3 times already (no shame!) and see my latest inspiration for this week!                  xoxo-Kileah

 

Look #1: Nursing Chic

Maxi dresses are one of the best ways to look fabulous without a lot of effort and brain crisis. They’re comfortable, breezy, hit your curves in the best way and you can dress them up or down with jewelry or a jean vest! (Yes, jean vests are IN, ladies! and they look good with almost EVERYTHING.) I paired a Sakura Bloom sling, an Amy Michelle Zebra Diaper Bag, and a gorgeous chewbead necklace from Nursing Novi. Pops of color. A Wide-brimmed black hat means that non-showered hair suddenly becomes beach chic! I added in the super-comfy Rose Mousse Contour nursing bra by Cake Lingerie and BAM. Look made. Zero effort.

Leaky Boob Looks Boob Out Fashion 04.22.15 Nursing Chic

Look #2: Put It On and Go

Jessica asked me to do a look last week that was “something more than yoga pants” but still comfortable! So, here it is! Remember those boyfriend jeans I keep raving about? Well I’m doing it again! Playful You nursing bra by You! Lingerie paired with your favorite nursing bra under a Sly Fox Threads t-shirt and hoodie. An inexpensive but cute embellished hat and Toms cordones lace-ups (I have these. I also live in these when I’m not living in my doc martens.) are finished off with a Beco Carrier in “Steps.” This? This outfit is magic. It’s a take on the “t-shirt and jeans” but stepped up a notch! Ready for Mom Life!

Leaky Boob Looks Boob Out Fashion 04.22.15 Put it on and go

Look #3: Easy Chic

This tunic-type striped dress is BRILLIANT because it has a waist-tie you can use to accentuate as little or as much as you want of your shape! It also has an easy v-neck bodice that you can pop out a breast to feed baby easily while carrying them in this red Ergo Original carrier. (I mean, just LOOK at that red! LOVE.) I added in the Forever Yours Emerald nursing bra from Hot Milk Lingerie because it’s comfy lightweight, and the Babymel Ruby Rucksack in Mocha. This bag is a veritable organizers dream. (or my dream. whatever. ha!) Add in a nice strappy sandal and a statement piece of jewelry (I added in a hammered brass bracelet!) and you’re ready to rock your day in comfort.

Leaky Boob Looks Boob out Fashion Easy Chich 04.22.15

Like these looks? Tell us! Put together your own look and tag us on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest to show us how YOU rock your mom look! We may FEATURE you in an upcoming look! 

#booboutfashion #LBLwednesday 

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LBL Wednesday- Boob Out Fashion: Leakies Vote!

So this week on The Leaky Boob Facebook Community, I put it to your vote: Choose YOUR favorite look and I’ll do a #flatlay collection featuring a boob-friendly look based on that theme!

Bohemian/Hippie Mama and Beach Mama came in First and Second by a landslide with Portlandia Mama a close Third! So without further adieu, I give you Leaky Boob Looks: Leakies Edition.

Leaky Look #1: Bohemian Hippie Mama

 

Breastfeeding friendly fashions

I found this A-MAZ-ING paisley bohemian dress that functions as a wrap-style dress (I need this. In all of the colors.).  The bodice and skirt hit all the right spots and give a flowing freestyle look while the neckline is perfect for easy feeding access! I paired this up with the Glamour Mom Nursing Bra Full Bust Long Top. Sleek, comfortable, crafted to celebrate your beautiful curves! I added in a Luv My Bag in Namaste Poppins and some bangled gladiator sandals (it’s like they were MADE for this dress!) and finished it off with some coordinating Chewbeads bangles and necklace. Because teething. And distractions.

 

Leaky Look #2: Beach Mama

Ergo baby breastfeeding beach ready

 

I wanted this Beachy look to be comfortable and easy to throw on and go! Stripes for this loose cotton shirt and the cut is longer so it can work over fitted jeans OR shorts. I added the Bella Materna Anytime Nursing Bralette both for its comparable range of sizes but also for its all-day comfort! I had to include the Ju-Ju-Be “The Admiral” bag (because ANCHORS, Leakies! Seriously. Cute.) and the Ergo Original Carrier in Marine. (Whales. Beach. Follow me? :D). Finished off the look with easy on-easy off Birks. Because no one wants to get sand in their shoes!

 

Leaky Look #3: Portlandia Mama

Breastfeeding friendly fashion

 

This look was so fun to put together! I am a PDX mum myself (disclaimer I live in Vancouver. I love it. We locals affectionately call it either Vantucky or the Suburb of Portland. But Portland is basically my second skin. And just a 3 minute drive away! Long live Vantucky!) I confess that I have these particular boots and I live in them. And they make me feel like a badass mom. Amazing how shoes can do that. Ok. Moving On :D  I centered this look around one of my favorite sweatshirts from Sly Fox Threads over a Naked Nursing Tank. We Portlanders are pretty laid back, eclectic and a little particular, but we really value our comfort. Boyfriend jeans are super “in”, flatter nearly every body shape and go with just about any kind of boot, shoe, sandal or loafer that you put with it! AND they don’t look like mom jeans. WIN. We are really conscious of our choice in natural and organic anything. Hence the Alexa Organics teething necklace! Finished off this look with a great wool Fedora and a low-profile diaper handbag and now YOU can rock the Portlandia look!

 

Show us how YOU rock your Leaky Look! Tag us on Facebook or Instagram and use hashtags #booboutfashion     #LBLWednesday

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Leaky Boob Looks With Ameda- Boob Out Fashion for Breastfeeding Moms

by Kileah McIlvain
this post made possible by the generous sponsorship of Ameda.

Welcome to our all NEW feature:   Leaky Boob Looks

Every Wednesday, we will be featuring awesome fashions for the Leaky mom. YOU!

 Real life. Real options. Options that work for your lifestyle. 

Because you’ve got to be able to get a boob out.

I don’t know about you, but I love feeling put together without feeling like I have to use all of my remaining brain cells to pull it all together.  Why not share the awesome?

So-we’re here to share some of our ideas with you!

Moms who work, moms at home, moms on the go. Moms in between, moms rocking their awesome.

YOU!

Stuck? Want to break out of the mold and try something new that can help you rock your awesome? Here are some looks we’ve created just for YOU featuring some of our favorite products to inspire YOU to rock your own Leaky Looks!

 

Leaky Looks 1: Retro Mama

 

Ameda nursing tank, Eat@Moms shirt, Tom's High Heel Shoes, Vintage Honey Nursing Necklace, Luv My Bag

 

 

Leaky Looks 2: Babywearing Mom On The Go

On the Go Mom babywearing breastfeeding fashion, Annee Matthews keyhole tunic breastfeeding top, Ergo 360, Jujubee diaper bag

Leaky Looks 3: From Office to Mom’s Night Out

Working mom date night breastfeeding babywearing friendly fashion Sakura Bloom ring sling, Luv My Bag, Vintage Honey nursing necklace, The Dairy Fairy Arden nursing and pumping bra

Leaky Looks 1: Retro Mama 

This look features Ameda’s retro-themed crew neck t-shirt and nursing tank!  The greatest feature of this look? That the Ameda nursing tank makes ANY shirt (even a “non-nursing” shirt) breastfeeding-friendly! Pair this with a nursing/teething necklace from The Vintage Honey Shop and the Skooch Urban Messenger diaper bag from Luv My Bag (maybe even a pinup bandana!), pair it all with your favorite jeans (maternity jeans are the best!), and you’ve got yourself some serious rockabilly cute going on that will still let you chase after your toddler.

Leaky Looks 2: Babywearing Mom On The Go

This lightly-layered Leaky Look features the Keyhole Tunic from A Mother’s Boutique, the Ju-Ju-Be Be All diaper bag from Luv My Bag (major bag envy going on over here), and the Four Position 360° from Ergobaby.  The Keyhole Tunic is fantastic (and so kind!) for the post-birth mom and the extra-long bodice with hugging bottom panel lays so well over leggings or skinny jeans (or your maternity trousers!). For a review of this piece,  read here. The Ergo 360° is easily versatile with 4 positions to carry your little squish and easily adjusts to nurse or feed while out and about.  And. The diaper bag, you guys. sighs of bag love We paired a thin patterned scarf, a light cardigan for unpredictable spring weather, and a chic black ballet flat to complete the look. Easy, comfy, fabulous!

Leaky Looks 3: From Office to Mom’s Night Out

We created this classy set to highlight how easy it can be to pump in style while at the office or out on the town! We paired a gorgeous chambray shirtdress (buttons are magic!) with the all-in-one and handsfree-pumping Arden Bra from The Dairy Fairy.  We found the Halsea Weekend Bag (that can hold ALL OF THE THINGS, including your pump gear!) from Luv My Bag, added some edgy leather moto leggings, and comfortable red hot pointed flats. A look you can easily transition  from office to night out in effortless and comfortable style.

 ***

Want to show us YOUR leaky looks? Create your own Leaky Looks and post on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and TAG us using

#LBLWednesdays       #FashionOn

We’d love to feature YOUR leaky fashion on Leaky Boob Looks!

__________________

Get started on today’s Leaky Looks by winning this bundle from Ameda:

Eat@Moms T-Shirt: $15

Bra/Cami: $29.99

Store’N Pour 50ct plus adapters: $12.99

Cool’N Carry: $29.99

HydroGels: $16.99

Hand Pump: $46.99

Use the widget below to enter, this giveaway is open to EVERYONE but you only have 24 hours so hurry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Why I breastfed my baby on TV

 

 

guest post by Jennifer Borget, news reporter for Austin, YNN and blogger at The Baby Making Machine.

 

babymaking mama austin newscast breastfeeding

It’s amazing how something as natural and innate as breastfeeding can be so misunderstood.

I didn’t see breastfeeding growing up. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I began to learn the benefits. I believe there’s a serious gap in awareness and knowledge about breastfeeding, and so many mothers—Especially in the minority community–don’t know what they’re missing.

I work as a news reporter and have a chance to help make an impact. In an effort to bring awareness to breastfeeding, and continue this important discussion, I sat down with two other mothers and conducted an interview with our babies latched-on, on-air.  (See the original segment here.)

It was bold, and something that required quite a bit of discussion and approval from people way above my pay grade, but in the end, it aired, and I was happy with the result.

Providing breast milk to my babies—What I consider to be the best nourishment for my children, hasn’t been a walk in the park.

First, I had to do my own research on the benefits and process. My mother tried to breastfeed me, but said it didn’t work out. I remember helping with my younger sisters formula bottles as I grew up.

All I knew was formula, and we were fine. I didn’t think it would be a big deal if breastfeeding “just didn’t work” for me either.

I took many of my questions to Twitter, and often found myself getting annoyed by self-proclaimed “lactavists” who told me to throw away my emergency can of formula, and seemed to have an answer for every excuse I had for why breastfeeding may not work for me.

At the time I felt like these tweeple were acting like “know it alls” who perceived formula as poison. To this day I’m still a little intimidated by overzealous lactavists, but then again, I wonder if I’ve become one myself.

I started with a goal to breastfeed through maternity leave. I pumped almost every day, multiple times a day. I stored more than 200 ounces of frozen milk to use as an emergency stash after I went back to work. I pumped every day at work, but some days I came up short, and the stash came in handy.

My husband was very supportive, making sure not to feed our daughter right before I left to come home. It was liquid gold we were rationing.

Three months went by, and I set a new goal to breastfeed until my daughter hit six months. That’s a lot of formula money saved—One of my big motivations at the time. Then I set another goal to continue nursing until her first birthday. By the time my daughter turned one, we had survived our own personal hiccups, and made it further breastfeeding than I had ever imagined. I continued to nurse my daughter until she was about 17 months. By then I had learned an immense amount of information about breastfeeding, and found myself on the giving end of breastfeeding support.

The Baby Making Machine

Jennifer and her children on set at her job.

Now, my daughter is three and I have a three-month-old nursing baby boy. I’m excited to talk about breastfeeding with anyone who will listen. I hope I don’t come across pushy. I’m really just excited to share a secret, the secret benefits, convenience, and enjoyment breastfeeding brings, that I didn’t know about when I was about to have my baby. Though they’re not really secrets, I just didn’t know about it at first.  This excitement is what drove me to do a news segment on breastfeeding, and with it being World Breastfeeding Week, there was no better time.

Here in Austin and in other locations around the world, nursing mothers are coming together for latch-on events, and nursing in unison. These events are made to start conversations about breastfeeding and nursing in public. One idea is the more we see women breastfeeding, the more normal it becomes, and the more people can learn about the benefits of breastfeeding. If I had seen women around me breastfeeding while I grew up, maybe I wouldn’t have been so hostile towards women who tried to inform me about it. Maybe then breastfeeding would have never been a question, but an automatic decision.

If I had seen women around me breastfeeding as I grew up...

 

________________________

Have you found yourself becoming more of an advocate for breastfeeding?  How so?  Where you ever hostile towards those that tried to inform and encourage you to breastfeed?  If you’ve changed, what inspired that change?

________________________

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Fear and Breastfeeding in Las Vegas

Breastfeeding is not porn, nudity, or obscene The Leaky Boob

Since starting The Leaky Boob 2.5 years ago I have said and photographed things I would never have imagined doing before.  I’ve said things such as “breastfeeding is not about sex, it’s about feeding a baby.”  Nothing like stating the obvious.  Most recently was texting my husband “do you know where that nudie card is I brought back from Vegas?  I need it.”  Yep, I brought a nudie card home from Vegas.

Say “Las Vegas” and most of us conjure up images of slot machines, black jack tables, show girls, stripers, booze, and buffets with obscene quantities of food.  Sex and money seem to flow freely.  Clothing requirements are little more than sequins, triangles, stars, and stilettos for women, the range is a little more diverse for men.

Say “mommy conference” and you probably picture babies in strollers or carriers, baby toys, tennis shoes, snack cups, and a chatty group of women.  Breastmilk and cheerios seem to flow freely.  Clothing requirements range from diapers and onesies or soft outfits in bright colors for the smaller ones in the crowd and something comfortable covered in spit up for the adults.

Say “mommy conference in Las Vegas” and you might get a little confused.

However, as much as it may seem like a collision of 2 very different worlds, the MommyCon conference in Las Vegas hosted at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino was anything but confused.  It was fun, vibrant, and sometimes a little comical (I doubt Vegas has ever seen so many babies in carriers going through their casinos).  The Flamingo Hotel did a great job securing extra cribs for the influx of young guests and the conference area hosted workshops like dancing with your baby and it didn’t even involve a pole.  While there was room for improvement, the host hotel handled the influx of moms and dads with babies and young children well and the juxtaposition wasn’t as weird as I anticipated.  I was thrilled to be there as a speaker and enjoyed my first ever trip to Las Vegas.  It seemed appropriate that I was in Vegas speaking about Sex, Lies, Parenting, and the Rest.  I had a great time with my fellow speakers and meeting the attendees of the event.

I have breastfed 6 children now, in all different settings, sometimes covered and sometimes not.  Over time, however, I stopped covering completely thanks to babies that fought the cover, me realizing that I don’t show much when I feed my baby, and eventually a belief that covering was actually hindering breastfeeding for some women either because they didn’t see others doing it or because they couldn’t navigate breastfeeding in public with a cover.  In all my breastfeeding in public experience, I have never, not once, been asked to cover or leave.  There have been times I thought I received disapproving looks or was shunned for feeding but I’ve never experienced any kind of real negativity about my feeding my baby.  Actually, I’ve experienced several positive and affirming exchanges as I fed my babies in public, more people expressing support than disapproval.  Today I’m experienced and confident when I feed my babies, well practiced and well informed about my baby’s right to eat.  Even now though, when I need to feed my baby in a public setting I will have a moment of anticipatory nervousness as though I expect something to happen.

Flamingo hotel

Feeding Sugarbaby at the Tropical Breezes cafe at the Flamingo in Las Vegas

Except in Vegas at a mommy conference that highlighted breastfeeding and where I was speaking because I created “The Leaky Boob.”  It didn’t even occur to me that someone could have a problem with me breastfeeding there, of all places.

Following my first talk in the morning of Friday, January 4, 2013, I met up with my friend, Sue, who was helping take care of my 8 month old daughter, who I call Sugarbaby, while I spoke.  We decided to have lunch in the Flamingo’s Tropical Breeze Cafe so I could feed my baby and myself before speaking at another session after the break.  Wearing a simple button up shirt and a Rumina Nursingwear tank with Bamboobies breastpads (I may be The Leaky Boob but I didn’t want to leak during my talks), I fed my hungry baby shortly after we were seated while we skimmed the menu.  She was hungry and had missed me so she got down to business pretty quickly and stayed focused.  Our server brought us our drinks and a random cup of coffee neither of us ordered and took our food order.  As we sat joking about the random cup of coffee and waiting for our food (I think he thought I looked like I could use some caffeine), a lovely woman in a suit approached us.  She smiled and asked us how we were then very politely requested that I use a cover, nodding in the general direction of my baby at my breast.

People, I laughed.  I couldn’t help it.  I laughed and asked her to repeat herself.

After confirming that she was indeed asking me to cover while I fed my baby I returned her smile, barely suppressed my laughter, and informed her of my legal right to breastfeed my baby anywhere my baby and I have the right to be, covered or not.  (Do you know the laws where you are?  This helpful resource by Mamava is a great place to start to find out.)  Her smile waining ever so slightly and her eyes widening ever so noticeably, she gently, though firmly, informed me that I could do whatever I wanted to do but that if I covered I would be making others feel more comfortable as there had been four tables that complained about what I was doing.

I laughed again.  Harder.  “They do know they are in Vegas, right?” I asked her through my laughter.  Because this is what is on the sidewalks and shoved into the hands of those walking on the strip:

Vegas Nudie card

She looked around and I kept looking at her, still chuckling at the irony of this situation.  She knows that just before walking into her cafe I walked past a platform where that very evening, like every night, a woman exposing far more than I was while feeding my baby, dances with moves intending to sexually entice.  She knows that the sidewalks in front of the hotel are littered with photo cards of naked women with tiny stars on their nipples.  She knows that this very hotel advertises a burlesque show featuring breasts (bare), butts, and spread eagle moves on a video that loops endlessly in each guest elevator.  She knows that the very people that complained have seen all that and probably more in the 10 minutes before they sat at their table.  I know she was just trying to do her job.  I know she had no idea that there was actually a law stating I had the right to breastfeed anywhere my baby and I were legally permitted to be.  I know that in her line of work making the customer happy is a delicate balance when one customer may be making another uncomfortable.  I know that in that moment she was wishing I had never walked into her cafe.  I wondered if news coverage of irate breastfeeding moms flashed through her mind.

When she looked back at me I felt sorry for her.  She was probably a mom, I don’t know, but she wasn’t trying to make my life hard, nor was I trying to complicate her job.  In her mind it was simple, I could cover.  In my mind it was simple as well, putting the comfort of others over my child’s right to eat without a blanket on her head just wasn’t ok.  Her smile gone but her face still pleasant she stated again that I could do what I want but it would really help if I covered.  I thanked her and kindly told her that I would continue feeding my baby as I was.

Note that she didn’t yell at me, she never touched my baby or me, she did not call me names, she did not go over to the tables that complained and loudly inform them that I wouldn’t comply, she didn’t ask me to leave, and she didn’t threaten me in any way.

My friend and I laughed once she walked away, we could hardly talk as we shook with laughter.  Jamie Greyson, TheBabyGuyNYC,  joined us for lunch and we all talked about what had just happened.  This was a big deal but I didn’t want to do much about it before giving the hotel and casino the opportunity to make things right.  As I had another session coming up there wasn’t much I could do in the moment but finish feeding my daughter, eat my lunch, and tweet about the irony of the situation.  Jamie and I both shared the story on Twitter, tagged Flamingo, ordered our food, and discussed the entire situation over our meal before heading to my next session.  We all agreed that how I was feeding Sugarbaby at the moment showed far less than the poster outside the cafe and the cards handed out on the Vegas streets.

Vegas showgirl and breastfeeding mom

Poster outside cafe, me feeding Sugarbaby inside cafe.

Here’s where it gets most interesting.  In the 2.5 years I’ve been running The Leaky Boob I have watched how companies handle such fumbles when they receive public scrutiny for harassing a breastfeeding mothers and precious few navigate the rocky terrain well.  That very weekend Hollister Co was facing a national nurse-in protesting their handling of one of their store managers humiliating a Houston woman for breastfeeding in their Galleria store.  Over a week later and the company still hasn’t responded adequately.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Las Vegas hotel and casino but was pleasantly surprised to discover tweets from them responding not only to mine and Jamie’s tweets regarding the situation but individual responses to each of our followers that tweeted Flamingo about the situation as well.  It wasn’t long before I had a direct exchange with Flamingo on Twitter, in direct message, over emails, and then a phone call.  The representatives of the Flamingo asked if they could meet with me before I left and they publicly informed Twitter that they would be working with me to make it right.

My day was full of events and meetings so I was unavailable until Saturday, just before I had to leave.  It would have been easy to brush me off on a Saturday but instead Scott Farber Director of Food Operations, met with me personally Saturday morning to apologize, let me know that he had a meeting with his staff on Friday and informed them of Nevada state law permitting a woman to breastfeed her child where ever she has the legal right to be, and instructing his staff that should customers complain about a woman breastfeeding again they would not address the mother but would work with the customers that complained.  Kind and genuine, Scott laughed with me at the irony of being in Vegas and asked to cover.  Scott offered to make it up to me with a free meal and more and was genuinely concerned about how I was after the experience.  He shared that Estella, the manager, was horrified that she had misstepped in saying anything to me and he extended her apology as well as I didn’t have time to meet with her.  We discussed how the Flamingo could better welcome families and some changes that could be made to do so well.  The possibility of me returning to train their staff and sister hotels to consult with them on how to be set apart in Las Vegas as a family friendly destination came up.  These weren’t the actions of a company that wanted to embarrass their customer families, these were the actions of a company that cared to stand apart and understands the value of doing things right.

Yes, the cafe manager should have been aware of the law prior to asking me to cover but it isn’t a well-known law and probably not something they would have even anticipated needing to know.  Now that they are aware, however, they are responding and preparing to not make the same mistake again.  Instead of ignoring or responding heatedly to the situation, the Flamingo has become a model for other companies that find themselves in what could be a PR disaster.  A company that will receive my repeat business because of how well they handled their mistake.

The problem is a simple fix for the historic Las Vegas hotel and casino and they are well on their way to making it right.  The experience reflects more on society as a whole though.  That the most scandalous sight for some Las Vegas visitors was a baby eating is a little mind boggling.  Thankfully, I’m not easily intimidated, am informed on the law, am more than happy to help educate, and in the end I’m glad this experience happened to me because I believe through it The Leaky Boob and the Flamingo hotel and casino can work together to better support breastfeeding moms be they in Las Vegas or on the other side of the world.  If it happened to someone else it could have greatly damaged their breastfeeding relationship or intimidated them to not risk leaving their home setting them up for postpartum depression and extreme isolation.  Hopefully, by raising awareness others can become informed of the laws and their right to feed their baby and more companies will work to educate their employees on how to better support breastfeeding mothers and more and more mothers won’t have to be afraid to breastfeed their babies in Vegas or anywhere else.

Vegas call card compared to breastfeeding

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 The Flamingo Hotel and Casino has asked me for tips and suggestions as to how their staff could handle breastfeeding situations in the future in a way that would be supportive and informed.  

What would be your suggestions?  

What tips would you give the employees that may encounter a breastfeeding pair and possible complaints from other guests?

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12 Weaning Ceremonies


Breastfeeding can be such a sacred time in our lives. While we cherish the breastfeeding journey, it is rare in our culture to commemorate the end of breastfeeding with little more than a note in the baby book. If breastfeeding was important to you, consider celebrating your experiences and remembering this special transition with a weaning ceremony.

Your weaning ceremony can serve multiple purposes. If you choose to involve your child, it can be an event to mark the end of nursing – something that mother and child gently discuss and plan in anticipation of weaning. For mothers and their partners, a weaning ceremony is a way to honor the transition from breastfeeding to nursing beyond the breast, and all of the emotions that accompany that change.

Some children may not benefit from a definite, marked end to the nursing relationship. If a slow, natural end to breastfeeding is more comfortable for your child, you can still hold a quiet ceremony by yourself, with your spouse, or with other mothers who can understand and support you through this transition. Don’t be afraid to mourn the end of breastfeeding – it is a normal and healthy response to this change. But after you’ve given yourself time to mourn, consciously meditate on the joys of mothering a child who has weaned. A weaning ceremony can help you mindfully navigate this change.

Below are 12 weaning ceremony ideas that you can adapt to meet your own needs and those of your nursling. If you have other ceremony ideas, please share them in the comments so I can add them to the list.

    1. Write your nursling a letter. Include anything you’d like to share about your nursing relationship, what this change means to you, your hopes and dreams for them, etc. I found two examples of weaning letters: one at Mothering.com, the other from a Jewish mother at ritualwell.
    2. Anoint yourself with herbs for weaning. Herbs can help with physical discomfort and emotional healing. Kellymom lists several herbs to help decrease milk supply, including sage and peppermint. Earth Mama Angel Baby makes a No More Milk tea that includes some of these herbs. And because you will experience a drop in prolactin levels during weaning, it may also help to prepare yourself with herbal remedies for depression.(1) Herbs to help alleviate depression that are safe to use while breastfeeding include St. Johnís wort, Evening primrose oil, Motherwort, and Blessed thistle.(2)
    3. Write your breastfeeding story. Start with those milky newborn memories – the pursed lips nursing even after they’ve unlatched, sleepy rooting at all hours of the day and night, the newness of life and the awe of continuing to grow your baby with your own body. Continue on through infancy – those milky smiles, dive bombing for your breast, the day your little one first starts babbling or signing in a recognizable way for milk. Write about the joys of breastfeeding past infancy – nursing gymnastics, manners, nursing away every hurt, the special words and phrases you and your nursling share.(3) Share the highs and lows of your nursing experience and the emotions you’ve gone through along the way. Here are two stories to get you started: one at Kellymom, another at La Leche League International.
    4. Throw a weaning party. For little ones who need a celebration to mark the occasion of weaning, consider having an intimate party – just you and your nursling and partner. Make special foods, bake a cake, whatever makes it special for your family. Here is an example of a weaning party.
    5. Write a book. Create a personal book for your child about their breastfeeding journey, their babyhood, and their transition into a “big kid.”
    6. Hold a special ceremony for your nursling.Sometimes breastfeeding pairs need to wean when neither mama nor child is ready. In these situations, a special ceremony may help mark the day of weaning, helping the child clearly see the end of nursing while beginning the grieving process for both in a bittersweet way.Jessica of The Leaky B@@b was pregnant, gaining very little weight, and felt pressured by her care providers to wean. To help give closure to her 21 month old nursling, Jessica, her husband, and the big sisters all wrote a special note for the nursling. After eating a special meal together, the family gathered around a candle. Jessica invited her nursling to climb into her lap for one last nursing session. As her nursling snuggled in, the family read their letters to the child. They also gave her several sweet gifts. When she was finished nursing, she blew out the candle.

      While your weaning ceremony will be memorable and sweet, be prepared for nurslings to continue to ask to nurse. They simply do not understand what it means to wean forever, and you will very likely have to soothe many tears in the weeks to come (as Jessica did).

    7. Give yourself (and/or your child) a gift. Find something special that represents this transition. I highly recommend Hollyday Designs breastmilk jewelry – it is beautiful.
    8. Create a breastfeeding scrapbook. Gather pictures and/or video of you and your little one snuggling and nursing and compile them into a keepsake scrapbook (a virtual one or one that you can hold).
    9. Go on a date. Take your nursling somewhere special. Make it an event that represents how “grown up” they are.
    10. Tell your child their nursing story. Regardless of whether you write it down, tell your little one about your nursing journey as you’ve lived it. Telling them this story over the years will help normalize breastfeeding for them, and it will help you both retain sweet memories from their nursing years.
    11. Choose a special time to be together. If you or your little one are missing a regular nursing time, find something special you can do together every day at that time instead. Think about snuggling, reading, yoga, meditation, art, or some other activity you will both enjoy. For as long as you need to throughout and after the weaning process, take a few moments at the beginning of your special time to check in with yourself and truly be present with your child.
    12. Design your own ritual.Several cultures and religions have weaning ceremonies. Research them and design a ceremony that will be meaningful to your family. Here are a few resources to get you started:

Did you do something to mark the end of your breastfeeding relationship? Please share in the comments.

Footnotes:
(1) From Kellymom: “Prolactin, the hormone that stimulates milk production, also brings with it a feeling of well-being, calmness and relaxation. The faster the weaning process the more abrupt the shift in hormone levels, and the more likely that you will experience adverse effects.”
(2) Safe herb list found here. It also says that St. Johnís wort should not be taken in conjunction with any other depression medication.
(3) And if you’d like to share your nursing past infancy story, consider submitting it to my series. See my Contributor Guidelines page for more details.

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Dionna is a lawyer turned work at home mama of two amazing kids, Kieran and Ailia. You can normally find Dionna over at Code Name: Mama where she shares information, resources, and her thoughts on natural parenting and life with little ones. Dionna is also cofounder of Natural Parents Network and NursingFreedom.org, and author of For My Children: A Mother’s Journal of Memories, Wishes, and Wisdom.
Connect with Dionna on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

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Babymooning- 12 signs you are the mother of a breastfeeding newborn

I’m babymooning.  Sugarbaby and I are doing very well, now 12 days postpartum.  I’ve been trying very hard to take it easy and respect this postpartum time for myself and it has been paying off.  Over the last almost 2 weeks I’ve been simply enjoying my baby, my family, and resting.  Cherishing this newborn time that goes too fast has been my priority.
I wanted to share some observations I’ve made during my babymoon, maybe you can relate and I’m sure you can add some of your own.
You know you’re the mom of a breastfeeding newborn when…
  1. You finally get to take a shower and within 10 minute of getting out you already have leaked milk all over your clean shirt.
  2. As much as you like the longer, thicker hair you grew during pregnancy, hacking it off with a dull pair of scissors is starting to sound like a good plan between the frequency of showers you get, the death-like grip of a tiny handful of hair your baby is capable of, cleaning spit up out of it several times a day, and the nagging fear of a hair tourniquet.
  3. You wonder why you didn’t invest in more yoga pants and are certain you will never wear blue jeans again.
  4. Your favorite food is: “anything someone else made.”
  5. Any time someone hugs you any way but with a side hug you wince.
  6. The old adage “never wake a sleeping baby” doesn’t apply when your boobs are rock hard boulders crushing your chest.  Yes, you will wake your baby for some relief.
  7. You wish you had jedi powers for every time you forget to grab a drink of water before you sit down to breastfeed… again.
  8. “Sleep when baby sleeps” seems like a good plan but you wonder when you’d get to pee or brush your teeth or eat.  Then you realize that sleep trumps everything else and decide you’ll pee, brush your teeth, and eat while holding your baby.
  9. Something seems really funny and you laugh hysterically only to forget what was so funny 5 minutes later.
  10. Shirts are “clean” unless the smell is too bad or there is obvious spit-up or poop on them, dried milk leaks don’t count as “dirty.”
  11. The stash of reusable breastpads that seemed so impressive before giving birth is used up in one day after your milk comes in.
  12. You’d rather sniff your baby’s head snuggled on your chest than even your favorite flower any day.

The Leakies on The Leaky Boob Facebook page had plenty more here and I hope you’ll add your own in the comments below.  Now back to my baby head sniffing!

 

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A Translation Guide for Navigating the Terrain Between Breastfeeders and Formula-Feeders

Talking about breastmilk or formula can be difficult to navigate with a loose, slippery, and uneven terrain.  One second you think you have sure-footing and the next you’re on your butt.

I’m not going to deny that hurtful phrases come from breastfeeding supporters, occasionally in the form of personal attacks, and if you’ve personally experienced that, I’m truly sorry.  Please know that most of us just want to get information out there, encourage others and want to see babies fed.  Including me.

More often I see what are truly meant as innocuous statements of information and education that are simply misunderstood.  All of us experience life through a variety of personal filters and we often have sensitive areas that automatically put us on our guard and we may take things as a personal attack when that’s hardly the intent.  When it comes to feeding babies all those devoted moms doing their best have some serious passion.

An article is released sharing the findings of a new study that revealing some new findings about breastmilk or there may be some issues with formula and hundreds of comments pour in with things like “formula is the same thing, really and all the breastfed kids I know are sick all the time but my formula fed kids have genius IQs and are never sick” or “you know, not everyone can breastfeed so I guess I’m a bad mom because my breasts just didn’t work.”  To add fuel to the fire there are the comments that say things like “See, this is why I’m so glad I gave my babies the best and breastfed.”  And really, what does saying something like that do for anyone?  Heaven forbid it be an article on a formula recall and the “so glad I breastfeed, breastmilk is never recalled” comments start flooding Facebook newsfeeds and loading the comments section on blogs and articles.  Nothing like rubbing someone’s face in their scary circumstances and flaunting “sucks to be you!”  If we’re not careful we cross the line from passionate advocacy into plain ol’ bullying.

Then there’s the mom celebrating her success in breastfeeding, sharing “So excited we’ve made it to 6 months without even one drop of formula!  GO BOOBIE MILK!  WOOT!”  In that moment that mom is inviting everyone to a party at her house because she’s truly excited about her accomplishment.  But just as sure as she’s about to pop the cork on that sparkling grape juice to pour a round for everyone someone says something like “I don’t know why everyone has to be so down on formula, it makes moms that use it feel bad.”

They probably don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer and they don’t intend to dismiss the celebration of that mom (or maybe they do, I can’t really say) but stirring in their internal narrative of parenting confidence are insecurities on this issue, perhaps closer to the surface than they realized.  Instead of being able to celebrate with that mom, they are having to deal with their own less than happy feelings and defend, at least to themselves, their reality.

Thankfully, most of the time people can just say some encouraging and supportive words.  Once in a while, far more often than I’d like, the communication deteriorates.  Quickly.  As though we’re trying to have an important conversation but lack the skills.  Like we’re speaking different languages.

Maybe we need an interpreter?  What follows is my light-hearted attempt at some translations to help us navigate these slippery slopes.

 

It’s not a put down on formula feeding mothers when breastfeeding advocates say:

 

“Breastfeeding is the normal way to feed a baby.”

What we don’t mean:  “Formula feeding moms are less of a mother and less than normal.”  We know that’s not true.  We also know that breastfeeding isn’t (yet) accepted as normal in society.  We certainly don’t mean that it is always easy or even possible for every mom.  Or that formula feeding moms don’t deserve to be treated as normal, loving, caring mothers because we know they are normal, loving, caring mothers.  Nope, none of those things are what we mean.

What we do mean:  Breastfeeding is the biologically normal way to feed a baby.  A mother’s body is programmed to breastfeed and a newborn baby is programmed TO breastfeed.  Meaning that, barring any physical difficulties, babies are born ready to breastfeed; the delivery of the placenta signals the mother’s breasts to produce milk to feed, the mother’s body biologically responds to birth by producing milk, and human milk is (usually) the perfectly formulated food biologically for a human baby.

 

“I’m proud to breastfeed.”

We don’t mean:  “I’m better than a formula feeding mom.”  Just like being proud to be a mother isn’t a put down to those aren’t mothers, so being proud of breastfeeding isn’t a put down to those that don’t breastfeed.

We do mean:  Breastfeeding is important to us and sometimes it’s hard and comes with recognized challenges.  We’re celebrating our accomplishment of something we value as important for ourselves.  We’re also recognizing that there is a lot in our society that sabotages moms that want to breastfeed and combating that can be challenging.

 

“I love the bond I have with my baby with breastfeeding.”

We don’t mean:  “Moms that don’t breastfeed aren’t as connected to their babies.”  Feeding a baby is a deep connection no matter how it’s done and is just one way parents bond with their babies.  Most of us know moms that formula-fed and are incredibly bonded to their children and don’t doubt for a second that formula-feeding moms deeply love their children.

We do mean:  This is something we consider special and helps us feel connected to our child.  That, to us, breastfeeding has a deep feeling of interconnection that goes beyond something we can explain but we try even thought words fail us.  Feeding our babies with our milk and at our breasts is one way we feel deeply bonded to our babies.

 

“I’m so glad I’ve never had to give my baby formula” or “I’m so glad she’s not had 1 drop of formula.”

We don’t mean:  “Formula feeding moms are lazy or giving their babies poison.”  Nope, it’s not a commentary on what someone else does.  We’re not saying that somehow formula feeding moms should be ashamed of giving their babies formula or that never giving a baby formula is some dividing line between the good moms and the bad moms.

We do mean:  Like being proud of breastfeeding, not giving their baby formula just feels like a personal accomplishment.  It is in no way a reflection of our opinion of anyone else’s choice or situation, merely an acknowledgment of a personal goal.

 

“Breastfeeding is beautiful!”

We don’t mean:  “It’s perfectly beautiful all the time.”  Finding something beautiful doesn’t mean it’s easy or right for everyone and it doesn’t even mean we always enjoy the experience.

We do mean:  Not only do we NOT find it gross, we also think it is special, something wonderful, and to be celebrated.  It is more than nutrition to us and is a beautiful experience we treasure even though it has plenty of challenges along the way.  We also know that not everyone agrees with us, that’s part of why we say it though so we can hope to change negative cultural attitudes toward breastfeeding.

 

“Breast is best!”

We don’t mean:  “The moms that breastfeed are the best moms and the moms that don’t are just ok or bad.”  That’s not it at all.  In fact, this slogan came first from formula companies when they were forced to acknowledge that breastmilk was a superior product to formula.  They had to acknowledge that but had to find a way that could make formula sound normal and breastfeeding to sound like it was a parenting “extra,” an optional choice.

We do mean:  Breast milk is the best food choice available for a baby and young child.  Personally, I don’t care for this statement myself (you can find more on that here) but I know when people say it they aren’t intending anything other than their enthusiasm for breastfeeding and stating a simple fact: breast milk is good for babies.  It’s not a put down towards anyone.

 

“I feel sorry for babies that aren’t breastfed.”

We don’t mean:  “Those kids are just so screwed.”  This comment makes me uncomfortable, I don’t like it.  But I understand where it’s coming from and why it’s said.  Those of us that breastfeed see the joy and delight our own children have in the experience, how they love breastfeeding.  We are completely convinced it is special for both them and ourselves in a purely innocent, sweet way.  While it can be very close to a put down, I don’t believe it usually is intended as such and we don’t actually full on pity children that didn’t get to breastfeed but rather mourn the loss of an experience we consider special.

We do mean:  This is an awkward but genuine expression of sadness for those missing out on something we feel is so special.  Should it be said?  I don’t think so.  But if it is I hope formula-feeding moms can understand it is most likely only because the speaker/writer truly believes every child should get to have the marvelous experience her own enjoyed so much.

 

“There need to be strict regulations regarding the manufacturing and marketing of formula.”

We don’t mean:  “Formula-feeding parents are gullible and fall for the marketing of poisonous formula.”  Voicing the view point that there need to be standards in how formula is marketed and that there should be strict regulations for formula as a product isn’t a reflection on the parents at all.  It may reflect a cynical distrust that formula manufactures have anything other than a bottom line on their mind (Unsupportive Support- For a Profit).  Ultimately though, those of us that believe that the manufacturing and marketing of artificial breastmilk substitutes in infant and toddler nutrition believe so for the good of the children’ receiving the product.

We do mean:  Even if our children don’t receive formula, the children that do are worth higher standards of excellence.  We demand transparency and better regulations for artificial breastmilk substitutes manufacturing for the babies that need it. Formula is necessary, the health of many children depend on it being manufactured with integrity.

 

Before you find yourself careening down a conversation on your butt, try to remember that most people aren’t trying to start something and those that are probably aren’t worth your time.  As a breastfeeding mother, I promise, I’m not trying to push formula feeding parents down.  We’re all just carefully trying to pick our way over the rocks, slippery spots, and potential jabs to enjoy the view life has to offer and with a little bit of sensitivity and understanding going both ways, we can all offer a hand to each other in spite of our differences.

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