When There Is No Glow- Nymphai and Nurturing Our Own Healing

by Jessica Martin-Weber
I have a tattoo on my upper right arm that starts at a three pointed scar on my inner arm and wraps up and around my shoulder. A twisty, viney type of tree with swirls, knots, and sharp looking points. The tree looks like it has grown around many obstacles and against the wind. It isn’t a tall, straight tree, it is a tree with gnarls and curves, marked by it’s struggle to survive. A beautiful tree that springs from a scar in the soil. Flapping their wings, 6 birds that may have just been resting on the curved and hunched branches of this tree are taking flight. Delicate but obviously powerful, these birds are majestic and strong. I dreamed of this tattoo for years, shared the vision with my tattoo artist Colin Kolker, sketched many variations with my husband Jeremy, and eventually Colin captured the essence in the design that is permanently etched into my arm. This tattoo means so much to me it is now woven into Tekhni fabric to carry babies. Find your opportunity to enter in a Tekhni giveaway at the end of this article!
This is why.
When pregnancy isn't glowing

Photo Credit: Meghann Buswell, Your Street Photography.

“You look terrible!”  There was concern in her voice, not malice. I did look terrible, frightening even. I could have been auditioning to be an extra in Schindler’s List. I knew I looked bad. Not wanting to explain much, I tell her I’m ok, I’m just pregnant. She looks horrified and whispers “I thought pregnant women glowed.”

No, nope, nu-uh. Ok, well, some pregnant women glow. Maybe even most. I don’t glow. Unless you count the green tinged pallor I sport in pregnancy a glow.

In my head pregnancy is going to be this serene existence of light, one with the earth, I’ll feel like a goddess, my body humming with the growing life within and a sense of wisdom and peace filling me. It radiates from me as I float along my every day life where everything suddenly has more meaning. I had expectations.

Unfortunately, that isn’t what happens.

Instead of floating, I crash to the ground in a heap of extra saliva and a stomach that rejects all food and liquid all day, every day. This causes my skin to lose elasticity, my body fat to burn off quickly, my kidneys to release toxins, my eyes to sink deeper into my skull, the tiny blood vessels in my face and neck to burst, my complexion to take on a green yellow hue, my head to spin when I shift my weight, my other organs to work harder as they dehydrate, and my veins to go into hiding so that every IV attempt results in bruises the size of plums up and down my arms. I don’t even know how to tell youHyperemesis Gravidarum.

Decidedly not glowing.

Every pregnancy I hoped the results would be different. There were plans, you see. Plans for how I would eat, how I would prepare for my coming baby. Plans for a level of physical activity and creativity bursts. Plans for how my baby and I would grow together, healthy and strong. Plans for how my friends and family would share in my pregnancy, how we would celebrate and enjoy the journey. Plans for how everything would go the way it was supposed to go. Plans that never came to be.

Because no glowing.

I hate being pregnant.

Cue a new glow, those fuming at me for not fulfilling my role of goddess mother because I dare to admit I don’t love pregnancy. Even Kim Kardashian, who people love to hate and hate to love, can’t state that pregnancy isn’t an experience she enjoys without encountering more vitriol than normal.

 

Pregnant mothers are supposed to glow and love pregnancy.

You can fail being a mother before your kid is even outside of your body.

All because you didn’t. feel. the. glow.

When pregnancy isn't glowing

Photo Credit: Meghann Buswell, Your Street Photography.

We have a romanticized version of all aspects of motherhood upheld in our society. A version that is always glowing, radiating from some isolated pedestal of unattainable idealism. While sometimes we may feel like a goddess in our mothering, for many of us those luminescent images require metaphorical if not literal special lighting, makeup, shape wear, and most elusive of all, a nap. In other words, the river goddess nursing her baby in the stream may be beautiful and remind of us some inner peace we’ve made contact with a time or two but for many of us it is heavily staged.

Most of my moments in parenting haven’t been glowing. Some of them I was barely surviving.

When pregnancy isn't glowing

Photo Credit: Meghann Buswell, Your Street Photography.

It can be crushing to realize that your experience with conception, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding aren’t a breathtaking image of serenity, that your reality isn’t naturally incandescent. When all you want is to glow, to radiate, to enjoy the path that gets you to your baby but what you get is near destruction, it can be hard to separate the journey from your own personhood. Sometimes it can be hard to separate the journey from the gift. There were times when my baby felt like my enemy, my torturer, my reminder of my failure. Those times were dark and twisted. But they were nothing compared to the times when I felt my baby suffered because I just. couldn’t. glow. The agony that my babies paid the price was by far the most painful to endure.

  • Infertility.
  • Pregnancy loss.
  • Pregnancy complications.
  • Birth trauma.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Financial stress.
  • Disrupted bonding.
  • Feeding difficulties.
  • Postpartum depression.

Whatever it is, the grief is real, the suffering is profound. And the shaping is valuable.

Even if you aren’t glowing.

Specially if you aren’t glowing.

Poopins front wrap Tekhni Nymphai

Photo Credit: Meghann Buswell, Your Street Photography.

When there is no glow, particularly when there is no glow when pure radiance is what is expected, how do you go about being honest with yourself and others? And how do you start to heal while accepting what it is?

Here’s what has helped me.

Journal. Write it all down. The reality, the struggle, the loneliness, the fear that the fact that you feel this way or have experienced these things means you’re not enough. All of it, write it down.

Cry. Yep, cry. You’re going to anyway. Give yourself permission and cry. And don’t dismiss it as hormones or being a woman or overreacting or whatever. Cry because you’re human and humans cry when something hurts. It is not weakness to cry, it is a strength to stop pretending.

Art. Whether you enjoy expressing yourself through art or not, drawing, coloring, painting, sculpting, dancing, playing music, you name it, artistic expression can be incredibly cathartic because sometimes words alone just art enough to full get those feelings out. And taking in someone else’s artistic expression can be just as powerful.

Talk. You may be afraid that people may not like hearing your journey because it isn’t warm and fuzzy but more often than not sharing your story will actually help someone processing their own glowless experience. That sharing can help you and them. Be it in person or online, opening up about our struggles builds community that values authenticity and that can actually help save lives.

Commemorate. An event, big or small, to honor the journey (but please don’t do a balloon release, it’s littering and hard on animal friends); a special purchase that holds a lot of meaning for you; a ritualistic occasion that connects deeply with you; a meaningful plant/tree/shrub planted in your yard as a hopeful yet gentle reminder; compile mementos in a book; create something unique that captures the profound nature of your journey.

The tree on my arm represents me, the birds my daughters. My tattoo turned Tekhni woven wrap, named for the nymphs of Greek mythology who nurture nature, has helped me glow. From reclaiming my body to having a beautiful woven wrap that represents so much healing, hope, and promise in nurturing that surrounds other moms and their precious children, I have found a glow I can’t contain. May we all glow with honesty and hope.

When pregnancy isn't glowing

Photo Credit: Meghann Buswell, Your Street Photography.

________________

Thank you for reading my story, I would love to hear yours as well. Comment here sharing your glowing or not-so-glowing experience with parenting, how you’ve found healing, and how you commemorate that experience.

If you’d like to share your story with a larger audience, submit your story with photos, your bio, and the subject #MyStoryMatters to content @ theleakyboob.com (no spaces).

________________

Jessica Martin-WeberDrawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com,co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, and co-creator of OurStableTable.com, supporter of A Girl With A View, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 19 years and is currently writing her first creative non-fiction book and a children’s book.

 

Enter for your chance to win a ring sling with a pattern based on my tattoo. This beautiful Tekhni Wovens ring sling in Clover is yours for the winning! Enter below:

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What I Want My Daughters To Know About Motherhood- Feeding Babies

by Jessica Martin-Weber
Recently I was reflecting on why I started Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference and I thought back on my different feeding journeys with my daughters, looking back and wishing there were things I knew when I first started out that I know now. I considered writing a post to my young self but then I realized that the ones I really want to know now what I wish I knew then about infant feeding are my daughters. Before they embark on their own motherhood journey, before they begin feeding their own babies (yes, I’m assuming that out of 6 girls at least one of them will have children and I will get to be a grandparent), there are so many things I want them to know, I could write a book and not just on infant feeding. Respecting that their journey will be their own, not some version or extension of mine, what I want to share isn’t a how to nor is it a manual, it is more just… my heart. Why am I starting an infant feeding conference? My daughters are why.

View More: http://yourstreetphotography.pass.us/martinwebberfamily2

Dear Daughter,

From time to time I reflect on the days when you were new to the world, newer than you are now, which is still pretty new. Those days when you were tiny and fit snuggled on my chest with your arms and legs tucked under you, my hand supporting your little bum. I think about the smell of your head, the feel of your skin, the depth of your eyes. I smile as I remember arguing with your father and sometimes others that it wasn’t gas, you were actually really smiling in your sleep. Like precious family heirlooms, from time to time I reverently unpack the memories of your daddy gently swinging you on his arm during fussy periods of the day, how one of your big sisters would interact with you, the way you calmed when I held you, the seriousness with which you would watch light dancing on the wall, and other fragments of the time when you were the smallest big thing in my world.

Some of those cherished mental keepsakes have little barbs on them. They sting when I unpack them, no matter how careful I am. How you were taken away from me just after I had the first chance to hold you because I was hemorrhaging, the time I screwed up and dropped you due to careless use of an infant carrier (Oh sweetie, I tried to call Child Protective Services on myself), hours and hours of screaming that nothing would soothe and the obvious pain you were in (heads up, colic is hell), the stint in the hospital with RSV, and so many more. I could keep these painful memories locked up and forgotten but I don’t, though I don’t linger over them too long, they are an important part of the story we share.

A good number of those treasured memories so carefully packed in my mind are around feeding you. You, as babies do, ate often. Satiated is but a temporary state of being and babies stay there only for brief moment of visitation. Some of these memory gems are truly sublime, shining moments that reflect the light of my love, your beauty, and our connection in sparkling bursts of color from ever angel and with every turn. Some of them are more like clunky chunks of rough rock, the weight and texture of which can make me raw. There is beauty there, beauty only appreciated when the whole topography is viewed. I cherish them all.

My baby feeding story journey isn’t isolated to just feeding you. All 6 of my children have impacted me and feeding each of them has had a hand in shaping me as a mother and directly impacting how I parented. And so, there are a few things I really want you to know about feeding babies. This won’t give you everything you need to know but these, my strong, intelligent, and courageous daughter, are the things what I want you to know from my heart about feeding babies and I hope sharing this now feeds you in a new way.

Feeding is important. Very important. Feeding our babies is the most basic, most essential, most immediate, and most elemental aspect of parenting. It can be said, without fail, that not feeding your baby is parenting failure. Neglect. Abuse. This may seem obvious and it is, but it is also important in ways you wouldn’t first see.  In my experience, how our children come to us is a journey that shapes us much like rushing water can shape rock. Babies aren’t the only ones birthed, mothers are birthed through the arrival of their children into their lives. Likewise, how we feed our babies can lay a foundation for how we parent. Feeding can shore up our confidence as parents and it can tear it down.

But not that important. For as deeply as it can impact us, you’ll feed your babies so many times each day that it can become mundane. That’s ok. You don’t have to experience each moment feeding your baby as a super special time of bonding. That would be like expecting every meal with your significant other to be a candlelight dinner that you poured yourself into preparing and spent looking deeply into each other’s eyes. In the end, as long as the feeding happens, the important part is done. And because it has to be done so frequently, letting go of expectations as to how it happens can be freeing to enjoy each experience as much as possible without the stress.

You matter too. Before baby comes, everyone is all about the mother-to-be. After baby comes, everyone is all about the baby and the mom is little more than the easel holding up the masterpiece. With that comes all the opinions on how to care for, and certainly how to feed, the masterpiece. But you matter too. According to many, you’ll be doing it wrong. Even those who support the method you are using will find ways to tell you are doing it wrong. Everything is subject to such “support” when it comes to feeding your baby. Bottle feeding? You’re holding that bottle wrong, using the wrong bottle, giving a bottle at all… all wrong. Breastfeeding? You’re using the wrong position, the wrong pillows, the wrong place, the wrong timing, doing it at all… all wrong. Pumping? You’re using the wrong pump, the wrong setting, the wrong method, doing it at all… all wrong. With everyone focused on the adorable masterpiece, they will want to “help” you care for it “right.” In the process, some will forget about caring for you. Mothering may change how you see your body and how you feel about it, aspects you may not love may be the most wonderful to your child. Mothering will change your heart and how you feel about it, aspects you may not love about yourself may be the most wonderful to your child. Take care of you, your children will need you to, they need and love you. It may feel selfish but taking care of you is important in taking care of your baby. You matter. Find those that can genuinely support you and your goals in caring for your baby. Those who believe you matter too.

The system is broken. It is improving and I hope by the time you are embarking on this journey, the system will be in a much better place. Right now though, it’s broken. From uninformed health care providers to uninformed store managers, from predatory marketing to pushy breastfeeding supporters, from poor insurance coverage to poor maternity leave, from ignorant judgmental strangers on the internet to ignorant judgmental friends in person, the system of infant feeding support in our society is failing moms. It is imbedded in our culture and it is hurting people. That can change but only by addressing the system rather than individual parents. They, you, just need someone willing to support them as a person, not a conquest. There is a lot of hurt, anger, guilt, shame, fear, arrogance, and hope surrounding this and you will hear it but it isn’t really about you.

Science is cool. There’s a lot of it and you’ll want to take the time to be familiar with it before you head into feeding your babies. Not everyone agrees on the science, it’s worth hearing the various view points. Being informed and personally conscientious can help you tap into your own powerful confidence. Decide what makes sense to you, what works for you according to the information, resources, and support available to you within your personal context and individual circumstances.

But feeding babies isn’t science, it’s a relationship. At some point, all the information in the world, all the evidence, all the support, all the goals aren’t important any more. Because it is a relationship. You and your baby. You are the one who knows what that relationship needs, you are the expert, you are the one most qualified. Even when you feel like you aren’t. You taught me that what a baby really needs is a fully invested parent who lovingly cares for them. Listen to yourself and your baby and don’t let anyone else define your relationship, feeding or otherwise.

There is more, so much more about feeding I want to tell you but for now I’ll stop here. Except for this:

I believe in you. I support you. Whatever you need, I am here for you and plan to be there for you. Unless you ask me not to. But most of all, I love you. You’ve got this.

Love,

Mom

____________________

What would you say to your children about infant feeding? How will you tell them the story of feeding them? What do you want them to know?

Milk BLO event graphic

I started Milk with MommyCon founder, Xza Higgins, with the goal to bring together health care providers, parenting advocates, infant feeding influencers, and parents for workshops, seminars, and connecting centered around conversation supporting feeding our babies.

Founded on the belief that infant feeding support makes a difference and can directly influence confidence levels in parents, MiLK focuses on information sharing and mindful support that builds parents up without tearing down, respecting the unique journey of each of us. MiLK aims to actively educate and support infant feeding by connecting health care providers and the families they care for discussing breastfeeding, formula feeding, breastmilk pumping, at the breast supplementing, bottle feeding, cup feeding, spoon feeding… FEEDING. This is not, to be clear, a breastfeeding conference. It is an infant feeding conference with a goal of bringing together health care providers and parents where we can learn from each other.

Most importantly, I hope we learn how to really listen and what support can really looks like.

I hope you can me join me in Los Angeles, California, July 31st and August 1st. The speakers and panelists are all people I greatly respect, people that inspire me not only in my infant feeding journeys but in supporting others in their journeys as well. Offering 9.25 CERPs (IBCLC) and 11.1 Contact Hours (BRN), MiLK is for the lay parent and the health care professional.

I would love to see you there.

__________________

We have a MiLK giveaway!
3 prizes:

Grand prize: 2 tickets for one winner with the VIP option and a set of general admission to the local breastfeeding support group of their choice, 1 Arm’s Reach Mini-CoSleeper in Santa Fe, 1 tekhni Nymphai wrap, 1 Ergobaby nursing pillow, 1 Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump, 1 [email protected] shirt, 1 box Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Milkmaid Tea, 1 Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter, 1 pair Earth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes.
Prize pack 1: 2 general admission tickets to milk, 1 tekhni Nymphai wrap, 1 Ergobaby nursing pillow, 1 manual pump, 1 Ameda nursing tank, 1 [email protected] shirt.

Prize pack 2: 2 general admission tickets to milk, 1 tekhni Nymphai ring sling, 1 Ergobaby nursing pillow, 1 [email protected] shirt.

milkgrandprizegiveaway

Open to USA residents only.

Please use the widget below to enter.

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TLB Comic: Just A Little Spit Up

by Jennie Bernstein
20may15tlbcomic1
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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.

 

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

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*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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Party Like a Leaky to Celebrate 5 Years of TLB, Part 3!

 The Leaky Boob is turning 5 years old and we’re celebrating ALL MONTH LONG! To celebrate we’re collecting and sharing your stories along with collecting some of our favorite maternity, breastfeeding, and baby products to give as gifts to YOU Leakies. Each week our celebration includes a different birthday bash bundle of prizes from our favorite brands, presents for Leakies. AND we’re growing! Some of us aren’t breastfeeding or bottle-feeding any more (and you thought it was going to last forever) but you’re still a part of our community and you’re still nourishing and loving your family so we’ve grown to expand two more communities where we can talk about our highs and lows of that journey in a safe, judgment-free environment. Over on BeyondMoi.com we talk a lot about, well, everything, specially about parenting and relationships. OurStableTable.com invites everyone to find a seat at the table embracing that sometimes there’s a little wobble in one of our legs, making room for allergies, and creatively nourishing our whole selves with recipes and a lot of honest conversation. Our family is growing and we’re happy to share it with you!


Let’s party like a Leaky this month and #TLBsupportForward!

Bundle #3

Here is what’s included in TLB’s Birthday Bash Bundle #3:

Arm’s Reach ConceptsBeautiful Dreamer Cocoon – Retail Value: $140
The Arm’s Reach® beautiful dreamer™Cocoon will help your baby sleep better by continuing the feeling of the womb, cradling newborns closely and gently swaying in response to their movement. Gentle motion not only soothes but also improves digestion, so it’s ideal for fussy babies. Because the back is adjustable, it’s a great solution for little ones with colic or reflux. Naturally stimulates and entertains baby while awake. Facilitates naptime. Babies learn to control the hammock’s sway with their own body movements, which entertains while encouraging physical activity.

Ameda: Purely Yours Double Electric Breast Pump – Retail Value: $194
Whether you are returning to work or want a fast and easy pumping experience, the Ameda Purely Yours double electric breast pump, designed for daily use, is the ideal breast pump. The Purely Yours breast pumps combine hospital recommended technology with mom friendly features.  Offering the same great pump through retail locations (on-line and brick-and-mortar), insurance benefits, and WIC you can depend on Ameda to provide moms with the tools they need to feed their baby.

Bonus from Ameda:[email protected]’s T-Shirt! – Retail Value: $15
All proceeds from the sale of the shirt go to Mother & Child Health Coalition in St Louis.

ErgobabyNatural Curve™ Nursing Pillow – Retail Value: $70
The Ergobaby Natural Curve™ Nursing Pillow gives you the enduring support you need to relax, nurse comfortably and bond with baby.

LILLEbabyCOMPLETE All Season Baby Carrier – Retail Value: $140
The LÍLLÉbaby COMPLETE baby carriers combines more carrying positions, lasts longer, and includes more features than any other baby carrier. The best of both worlds, this versatile hybrid is ready for whatever comes its way. Featuring an exclusive temperature-control panel that easily zips-up for warmth and zips-down to expose cool, breathable, 3D mesh. It’s lightweight, road-ready and built for daily use—be it in the brisk fall winds or blazing days of summer.

MotherloveMalunggay Breast Milk Supplement – Retail Value: $26
Indigenous to India and the Philippines, Malunggay is known as the “miracle tree” and is widely recognized for its nutritional benefits. It has been used for generations by breastfeeding women to help increase breast milk supply. Can be used during pregnancy.

Mamma-Kin LCCKoalaKin, Hands Free Nursing Pouch – Retail Value: $90
Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s not always intuitive. That’s why we created the KoalaKin, Hands Free Nursing Pouch®… a unique sling that allows moms to perfectly position babies for nursing, giving them easy and inconspicuous access to the breast with minimal strain on the body, and freeing up your hands so you could stay active with older children and other interests.

The Dairy FairyThe Arden All in One Nursing and Handsfree Pumping Bra – Retail Value: $68
No mother in the land should be without the Arden All in One bra. Comfortable, beautiful and efficient. Nurse, handsfree pump, and adjust to fit your fluctuating breast size. Because you don’t have to choose between smart and sexy – you can have both, because you are both.

NuRooNuRoo Pocket – Retail Value: $60
The NüRoo® Pocket is a babywearing shirt that offers full coverage and mobility for moms practicing Skin-to-Skin Contact with their baby. It also doubles as a hands free carrier! Extremely easy to get baby in and out of, without wrapping, tying or knotting. The ‘cross and hug’ closures provide a custom fit as your body changes and your baby grows. The fabric is super soft, breathable, moisture-wicking and offers just the right amount of compression to ensure proper position and continued support for both mom and baby. It adheres to the sling carrier standards, which means it’s been tested up to 45 pounds. A 2014 Editor’s Pick from What to Expecting When You’re Expecting!

Molly’s Suds: Laundry Powder (70 loads) and one of our Wool Dryer Balls (set of 3) – Retail Value: $34
Comprised of only five earth-derived ingredients and formulated especially for sensitive skin, Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder is safe and ideal for your clothes AND your family. The super-concentrated powder is long-lasting and affordable, with just one tablespoon required per load. Just as effective as conventional brands and more effective than natural brands, without the use of harsh chemicals, toxins, fillers, carcinogens, preservatives or GMO ingredients. Works great in all water temperatures and hard water, and is septic- and High Efficiency (HE) washer-safe.

Replace the need for toxic fabric softeners with Molly’s Suds 100% hand felted Wool Dryer Balls, which last up to 1,000 loads, or three years, in the dryer, and reduce drying time by 15-30%. Sourced from humanely sheared sheep, our Wool Dryer Balls are compostable and antimicrobial, naturally soften fabrics, and are great for all laundry, including towels, comforters, clothing, baby laundry, delicates and cloth diapers.

Juno BluEsalen Breast Pump Tote – Retail Value: $185
The Juno Blu Esalen tote is a sleek urban alternative to the traditional breast pump bag. The trend-aware design makes this tote a hidden treasure for both the new and seasoned mother. The Esalen Tote’s sleek design is ideal for going to work, the park or on a play-date.

PebbleRainbow Bunny Rattle – Retail value: $22
This cheerful Bunny Rattle from Pebble is handmade and is bringing smiles to faces around the world. This fair trade product provides much-needed employment to mothers providing for their children in rural Bangladesh. Machine washable. 

Total Value of this bundle: $904

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from April 15, 2015 through April 22, 2015.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors of this birthday giveaway bundle for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank them on their Facebook pages for their show of support!

This giveaway bundle is for U.S. only. 

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In Search of Answers on Breastfeeding

by Elizabeth Grattan
I found the Leaky Boob after a long while of going it alone in my nursing journey. I lurked silently for months. I watched women come for support. I listened and I learned. And I am so thankful and grateful for the resource. We are three plus years and going strong, my lad and I. And so, in the spirit of forward support, the following is my contribution to celebrate five wonderful years of encouragement for women and men. Thank you Jessica and your admins and the entire family of TLB. All those in this community who make the difference. — Elizabeth
The Leaky Boob #SupportForward #MyStoryMatters Breastfeeding support

The author and her son.

So many questions. So many answers. Information at our fingertips as we crowd source for support and scour the internet to validate our choices. And still, with all the resources in the world, so much still unknown.

Until we figure out we’re answering the wrong questions. We’re framing our dialogues wrong. We’re talking, but we’re not really saying anything. We’re hearing, but we aren’t really listening. We’re trying to reach, without teaching the things that equip and empower women.

So stop for minute. And consider a better lesson….

The reproductive right that belongs to women. The informed choice she can make when taught all the information. The answer to every single question:

Teach children about anatomy. Equip and educate on reproductive choice early and often. Teach the history of breastfeeding. That autonomy always mattered. That milk is custom to species. That women weaned. That nursing a child is part of the reproductive journey.

Teach what alternatives were used besides the mother’s breast to nourish the offspring. Animals, meat stocks, slaves —  hundreds of options that tested our humanity along the way. Teach the history. The good, the bad, the ugly. Teach the injustice. Teach the risk they carried. Teach that babies died early. That infant mortality was horrifying. That we used and exploited women’s bodies.

Teach that we wanted to breastfeed. That we wanted to wean. That we wanted to dry up our milk completely. That we were once unknowingly stripped of a choice. That a pill and a shot were just par for the course. That women and children were at risk. That our options were hit or miss.

Teach the advancements in our journey. How far we have come. How we’re still not done. How amazing that is. That women and children live. But that for some, those same horrors still exist. Teach that we are still working on it.

Teach the socio-economics. Teach the privilege. Teach the realities and the limits on women. Teach the strides we’re making. Teach the change in legislation. Teach that we can and have and will succeed in decisions.

Teach that nursing is a learning process. That seeing breastfeeding matters. That we need observation and exposure. Teach that qualifications have no place. That normalizing keeps women and children from hiding under cover in shame.

Teach about the imperfection in reproduction. So no one is taken aback because a myth told them it was for everyone. Teach how to handle the griefs and losses for women who had their reproductive choices stripped from them.

Teach how to dry the milk. Teach how to wean. Teach how to latch a baby. Teach the laws on breastfeeding. Teach people everything.

And don’t assume a woman will decide to nurse and don’t assume she won’t. Ask her. Trust her answer. Trust her answer might change. And empower her along the way.

So if she says: “I do not want to use my reproductive system this way,” you say: “Okay, here is information on all your options. From drying your milk to stopping engorgement to offering your child their developmental requirement. Here is what’s safe. Here is what isn’t.”

So if she says: “I want to use my reproductive system this way,” you say: “Okay, here is information on all you’re offering. From latching your child to expressing your milk to never forgetting to be kind to yourself. Here is what’s safe. Here is what isn’t.”

But don’t battle about if a reproductive process has benefits. Don’t project your personal preference. Don’t ignore the anecdotes. Don’t ignore the evidence. Don’t tell. Listen. And ask the only relevant question:

“What do you want to do? Because it’s your body, it’s your call. And I want you to know I’m here to help you. Through it all.”

_______________

How would you answer the above question? How have you asked it in support of other women? How are you giving support forward?

_______________

Elizabeth Grattan bio headshot
Elizabeth Grattan is a broadcast talent and writer who has covered current events, human interest and social justice for over twenty-five years. Her loves are the strong, gentle arms of her best friend, reasonably priced blended reds and obviously her dream come true little man. Find & friend Elizabeth on FB or follow along on Twitter.
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It’s TLB’s 5th Birthday! Time to Party Like a Leaky Part 2!

 The Leaky Boob is turning 5 years old and we’re celebrating ALL MONTH LONG! To celebrate we’re collecting and sharing your stories along with collecting some of our favorite maternity, breastfeeding, and baby products to give as gifts to YOU Leakies. Each week our celebration includes a different birthday bash bundle of prizes from our favorite brands, presents for Leakies. AND we’re growing! Some of us aren’t breastfeeding or bottle-feeding any more (and you thought it was going to last forever) but you’re still a part of our community and you’re still nourishing and loving your family so we’ve grown to expand two more communities where we can talk about our highs and lows of that journey in a safe, judgment-free environment. Over on BeyondMoi.com we talk a lot about, well, everything, specially about parenting and relationships. OurStableTable.com invites everyone to find a seat at the table embracing that sometimes there’s a little wobble in one of our legs, making room for allergies, and creatively nourishing our whole selves with recipes and a lot of honest conversation. Our family is growing and we’re happy to share it with you!


Let’s party like a Leaky this month and #TLBsupportForward!

Bundle #2

Here is what’s included in TLB’s Birthday Bash Bundle #2:

Tula Baby Carriers: Ring Sling – Retail Value: $135
Tula Carriers, Ring Slings, and Wraps, known for comfort, quality, and style, are the top choice in handmade ergonomic baby carriers to be used from birth through toddlerhood and beyond.

GladRagsCloth Pad Sampler Kit – Retail Value: $95
An excellent start to any cloth pad user’s collection available in a variety of fun and colorful styles. The Pad Sampler Kit contains 3 GladRags Day Pads, 3 GladRags Pantyliners, 1 GladRags Night Pad, 1 GladRags Carry Bag, 1 Mesh Laundry Bag. New to cloth pads? The Cloth Pad Sampler Kit is a great place to start! For most women, this kit contains enough pads to cover you for part of your cycle. You’ll get to try our Day Pads, Pantyliners, and Night Pads and discover which ones are the best fit for your body and your flow. Tote them on the go in your Carry Bag, and make sure nothing gets lost in the wash with the Mesh Laundry Bag!

Bamboobiesa Multi-pack Bamboobies Nursing Pads (3 Pairs Regular + 1 Pair Overnight), Boob♥ease 100% Organic Nipple Balm and our Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl – Retail Value: $68

Snugabell Mom & Baby GearPumpEase – Retail Value: $38
PumpEase is the only hands-free pumping bra that’s as stylish as it is functional. Free up both hands while you pump!

Baby K’tan, LLC: ACTIVE Baby Carrier – Retail Value: $60
The Baby K’tan ACTIVE Baby Carrier is an innovative “ready to wear” wrap. Made of hi-tech performance fabric, it provides a unique temperature control, wicks away moisture, and blocks over 90% of UVA and UVB rays. The carrier’s unique double-loop design functions as an all-in-one sling, wrap and baby carrier, yet does not require any wrapping or buckling. Simply slip it on like a t-shirt! The Baby K’tan is sized like clothing for the perfect fit (XS, S, M, L, XL) and offers multiple positions from 8-35 lb. Chemical free, azo dye free. No hardware, plastic or metal.

Naked Nursing Tank: Nursing Tank – Retail Value: $40
100% Canadian made Luxury Bamboo Naked Nursing Tank – A midsection cover-up for breastfeeding moms worn underneath regular wardrobe. Allows moms to lift their shirt to nurse their babies while their midriff stays covered at the same time. The Naked Tank is the only nursing tank on the market that can be worn with any bra, and fits every body type (sizes XS – 5X), turning every shirt into a nursing shirt -saving Mom’s money!!

Momzelle Breastfeeding Apparel: Momzelle Gift Card – Retail Value: $50 USD
Shop our online store for the nursing top of your choice. We have a full line of stylish and practical clothes all designed with easy to use nursing openings. From nursing tanks and tees to beautiful nursing dresses, breastfeed your baby anywhere and everywhere with comfort and ease.

A Mother’s BoutiqueVirtual Bra Fitting(R) – Retail Value: $25
Most Moms don’t know what size bra they should be wearing. Our service helps them to figure it out and make recommendations for bras that will meet their needs. It also includes a $25 discount toward one bra of their choice.

Ameda: Store’N Pour Breastmilk Storage Bags – Retail Value :$13
The Store‘N Pour Breast Milk Storage Bags feature everything a mother could want including easy-close zip seal so bags won’t leak, unique tear-and-pour spout helps prevent spills during milk transfer and a gusseted bottom allows filled bag to stand on its own. 50 bags plus 2 adapters.

Bonus from Ameda:[email protected]’s T-Shirt! – Retail Value: $15
All proceeds from the sale of the shirt go to Mother & Child Health Coalition in St Louis.

Total Value of this bundle: $539

__________________

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from April 7, 2015 through April 15, 2015.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors of this birthday giveaway bundle for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank them on their Facebook pages for their show of support!

This giveaway bundle is for U.S. and Canada Residents only. That’s right, Canadian Leakies: This giveaway is for you too! 🙂

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Congratulations TLB, You’re 5! Presents For Leakies!

 

The Leaky Boob is turning 5 years old and we’re celebrating ALL MONTH LONG! To celebrate we’re collecting and sharing your stories along with collecting some of our favorite maternity, breastfeeding, and baby products to give as gifts to YOU Leakies. AND we’re growing! Some of us aren’t breastfeeding or bottle-feeding any more (and you thought it was going to last forever) but you’re still a part of our community and you’re still nourishing and loving your family so we’ve grown to expand two more communities where we can talk about our highs and lows of that journey in a safe, judgment-free environment. Over on BeyondMoi.com we talk a lot about, well, everything, specially about parenting and relationships. OurStableTable.com invites everyone to find a seat at the table embracing that sometimes there’s a little wobble in one of our legs, making room for allergies, and creatively nourishing our whole selves with recipes and a lot of honest conversation. Our family is growing and we’re happy to share it with you!


Let’s party like a Leaky this month and #TLBsupportForward!

Bundle #1 better

Beco Baby Carrier: Gemini 10-Year Anniversary Baby Carrier (LIMITED EDITION), made with Repreve – Value: $130
Keep your little one close while you dash around town, breezing through mommy/daddy duties hands-free. Suitable for all-day use, Beco Gemini allows you to carry baby in a seat that’s comfortable and safe for both of you.
 Every Repreve Blend Beco Gemini Baby Carrier is made from 5 recycled bottles

Bebe au LaitComfort by Design Nursing Pillow, Retail Value: $55
Created by a nursing mom, the Bébé au Lait Comfort by Design Nursing Pillow is Lactation Consultant and Focus Group approved. The pillow has an open shape for a flexible fit, designed to fit all moms. With an optimum height to promote a better latch and a more comfortable experience for Mom and baby The reversible, dual-sided design offers Mom the choice of a soft or flat lying surface for baby, providing the support mom and baby need for breastfeeding success. The Nursing Pillow is also designed with a convenient, two-sided pocket to keep burp cloths, breast pads and other essentials within easy reach and a padded, adjustable positioning strap that can also be tucked away if so desired. Both the pillow and removable slip cover are machine washable. Experience true support from the the Bébé au Lait Comfort by Design Nursing Pillow

Mrs Patel’sGluten-free Vegan Chocolate Fenugreek Bars – Retail Value: $26
Gluten-free and Vegan Chocolate Fenugreek Bars for breastfeeding mothers that help increase milk supply. (cannot be taken while pregnant)

The Dairy FairyThe Rose Handsfree Pumping Bra – Retail Value: $68
The Rose handsfree pumping bra reflects the goddess that you are. No more bands, velcro, zippers, hooks or pullies. Just a beautiful and feminine bra so you can quickly and efficiently pump, and maybe even have a second to check emails.

SloombOvernight Bamboo Fitted Diaper – Retail Value: $28
Sustainablebabyish overnight bamboo fitteds are soft and beautiful, made entirely of super absorbent bamboo|organic cotton fleece. perfect for day time use & the answer for nights. each OBF includes a shell with a double-length 3-layer snap-in fleece soaker that can be folded for customizable absorption. an extra lay in 3-layer fleece doubler is included to boost absorbency when and where you need it most. pair with sustainablebabyish wool covers for a leak free combination.

Cezara: Belly Support Panty – Retail value: $48.99
Cezara provides comfort and support during pregnancy, after delivery and especially after Cesarean delivery. The integrated support band lifts the belly and supports the back while the internal padding compresses the lower abdomen and, after a Cesarean, compresses and protects the scar. Mom is supported and nurses, babywears and cares for her baby more comfortably. Cezara is worn over a panty or as the panty and is panty sized from small (fits panty size 5) through 5-X (fits panty size 13) – the winner chooses the size. 

PebbleRainbow Bunny Rattle – Retail value: $21.95
This cheerful Bunny Rattle from Pebble is handmade and is bringing smiles to faces around the world. This fair trade product provides much-needed employment to mothers providing for their children in rural Bangladesh. Machine washable. 

Total Value of this bundle: $378

__________________

BUT WAIT! 

We have a last minute addition to this giveaway! 

Ameda wants to party with us too! Be sure to check the new giveaway entry options in the Rafflecopter widget below! Here is what Ameda is adding to our first giveaway bundle:

IMG_1745

Store’N Pour – Retail Value :$12.99
The Store‘N Pour Breast Milk Storage Bags feature everything a mother could want including easy-close zip seal so bags won’t leak, unique tear-and-pour spout helps prevent spills during milk transfer and a gusseted bottom allows filled bag to stand on its own. 50 bags plus 2 adapters.

T-Shirt – Retail Value: $15
[email protected] t-shirt! All proceeds from the sale of the shirt go to Mother & Child Health Coalition in St Louis.

This boosts the total value of this bundle to $406!

__________________

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from April 2, 2015 through April 6, 2015.  A big thanks to all of the sponsors of this birthday giveaway bundle for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank them on their Facebook pages for their show of support!

This giveaway bundle is for U.S. Residents only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Introducing Boobles™- MOST Like Mom

by Jessica Martin-Weber

Baby in restaurant boob selection breastfeeding

You’ve seen it, the advertising of bottles and formula announcing how their product is somehow “like mom.” Or proclaiming that there are new developments that allows their product to be “more like the breast” while elsewhere on the packaging they say “breast is best.” It sounds amazing: new technology, new understanding, new science has unlocked some secret that makes this nipple shape and design more like a real breast than all previous nipple shapes or this specially formulated blend of ingredients more brain boosting like what is found in breastmilk than all previous specially formulated blends ever of all time in the history of feeding babies. Now it’s “more like mom” than ever before! Hey, this could be the answer to your breastfeeding troubles, this product will fix colic, sleep issues, calma your kid, teach them how to breastfeed, and probably even make your bed, because it’s MORE LIKE MOM!

Honestly though, I understand where it is coming from and it’s not the first time plastic and silicone has been confused as being “just like” the real thing, so really, it’s not that surprising. (Boobs, I’m referring to fake boobs. Which, really, when you think about it, bottles are just a different version of fake boobs. Portable, detached, feeding utensil fake boobs for feeding babies.)

But of course that’s what they’re trying to do, create, market, and sell something that is as close as possible to what human infants are born expecting. It’s probably not going to do so well with truly honest advertising that says “really nothing like mom but acceptable delivery system for infant nutrition.” Can’t imagine why brands would shy away from that approach. Besides, the basic shape is there and the design is sometimes there requiring the baby to suck to get anything from the teat (you may be surprised though, lots of bottles just run like a facet when you tilt them, some of the biggest culprits are those that claim to be for breastfed babies).

These claims, while highly contested, are on to something. It just makes sense to feed babies “like mom”. Their mouths are shaped for that, their brains are wired for sucking, and developmentally that’s really all babies can manage since forks and spoons are tricky at that stage and tubes are hopefully medically unnecessary. Having used a eye dropper to feed one of my infants, that’s also rather time consuming and messy. Having used bottles with all my babies (photographic evidence here because apparently if you’ve never posted a photo of it online, it never even happened and you’re a lying jerk), I can say a bottle tends to be a effective delivery system of infant nutrition. Very few people would argue against the basic design of bottles, it’s comparing it to mom that gets confusing and, well, kind of like lying. A predatory preying on someone who just wants to do what’s “best” for their child. These companies have financial motivation to convince someone that their product is like mom.

Because, let’s be honest here, how do they know it’s “like mom?” Aside from the obvious differences in materials (warm, living tissue vs plastic and/or silicone), each woman, shoot, for most of us, each breast is different. When they say more like the breast, I find myself asking “which one?” and when I read claims of a bottle design being closer to mom, I wonder “who?”

So, I did. I asked several of my friends to give me their interpretation of what a bottle that looked like them would look like. I asked them, if there was a bottle designed to be like their breast, what would be distinctive of their customized more like mom boob bottle, what we’re calling “Boobles™- MOST LIKE MOM”. For several of us, that would require two very different options since each of the breasts on our chest are unique in their own right. Can’t be more like this mom with just one bottle.

Here are the renderings of these moms and what their breasts would look like topping a bottle, if bottles were truly more like THAT mom. Introducing “Boobles™- MOST LIKE MOM” concept bottles that are truly, “more like mom”:

The Badass Breastfeeding Abby Theurig's Boobles™

The Badass Breastfeeder, Abby Theurig’s Boobles™ need two versions.

Kelly's Boobles

Kelly’s Boobles™

Laura Dover's Boobles

Laura Dover’s Boobles™, two different styles.

Megan O'Neill's Booble

Acelleron Maternal Health and Wellness, Megan O’Neill’s Booble™

Rachelle Unlatched Lesteshen's Booble

Rachelle Unlatched Lesteshen’s Booble™

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Emily’s Boobles™ are similar but not exactly the same.

10866871_10204402315952634_782702041_n

Iola from What the Beep Am I Doing would need two different models too.

10872556_1032654700093503_622254104_n

Amy Peterson drew a sample of what a Booble™ could look like for a woman with a bifurcated nipple.

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Jessie’s Booble™ sketch

Carrie booble

Carrie from Our Stable Table has Lefty and Old Faithful Boobles™.

Anonymous Booble- I promised I wouldn't tell.

Anonymous Booble™- I promised I wouldn’t tell.

Serena's Boobles™

Serena’s Boobles™, one size doesn’t fit all.

MommyCon's, Xza Higgins Boobles™ would neat a righty bottle that is prone to leak.

MommyCon’s, Xza Higgins would neat a righty Booble™ that is prone to leak.

What would your Booble look like and what would be the unique features to make it “more like mom” for your baby?

With all the brands out there touting to be “more like mom” and promising silly things like teaching your baby how to breastfeed (biology taught your baby to breastfeed, the bottle is an attempt at copying your biology, plastic can’t teach a baby how to breastfeed!) and product names that make you think of breasts and breastfeeding, it can be confusing to find a bottle that works for your little one should they need it. How do you cut through all the gimmicks and marketing to truly find one that will meet your baby’s needs, particularly if you are breastfeeding? A popular suggestion is to find a nipple shape that looks like your breast, but aside from the potential awkward moment to check your boob selfie on your phone or to whip a boob out if you need to compare your own nipples to the bottle while you’re at the store (and then I bet you’ll wish you were shopping online), is that really helpful? I decided to ask my friend Amy Peterson, IBCLC and co-author of the book Balancing Breast and Bottle, Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals for some guidance:

Don’t waste time looking for a bottle nipple that looks like your breast. The best way to choose a bottle nipple is to look at your baby’s latch on your breast, and then on the bottle nipple.  The tip of the nipple needs to reach far back into your baby’s mouth, while the baby’s lips are slightly opened and rest on a portion of the nipple base. Surprisingly, many shapes marketed for breastfed babies are often the shapes that cause the worst bottle latch: a latch where the baby looks like he is sucking on a straw.

It’s probably a long way off for customized bottles made from silicon molds of each individual mother’s breasts, Boobles aren’t going to be happening any time soon. (Either a brilliant business idea or the worst idea ever.) Of course, the ridiculous claims and names of bottles aren’t about to go away any time soon either. Sifting through it all to find what works for you and your family, with the help of an IBCLC health care professional if necessary, skip the comparisons to your own breasts or those of a random woman in a stock photo used to make a sale and look for something that meets the needs of your baby. While the breast is certainly the best design for a human infant, though not always without problems that may make feeding difficult, there’s no bottle that’s going to really be anything like the breast. Unless of course plastic, silicon, glass, and/or rubber makes you think “more like mom.”

Here at TLB, how you feed your baby is secondary to that you feed your baby. Having a sense of humor, exploring some of the social and relational aspects of infant feeding and parenting, discussing information, and sharing our stories is really what we’re about. Phrases comparing infant feeding devices (doesn’t that sound so much cooler and refined than “bottle”?) to breasts are something we take issue with because ultimately we feel it’s confusing and it undermines the confidence families can have in feeding their babies well. Because, let’s get real, there can’t be many of us that look at a bottle nipple and say “hey, I resemble that teat!”

What would a Booble based on you look like and what kind of functional features would your customized Boobles have? Email your rendering of a custom designed Booble to [email protected] with the subject “My Booble” in the subject and we’ll add it to our gallery of bottle designs that would actually be more like mom.

For me, aside from two different models, my Boobles would have one a bit more dense than the other and both would leak whenever a baby cried. I could never take them in public without some sort of cover.

Boobles™- MOST LIKE MOM!

*Please note, you don’t have to use bottles to feed your baby if you don’t want or need to.

** Please note, doesn’t have to be breasts either.

*** Also, this post is supposed to be humorous, not something to get worked up over.

****And Boobles aren’t really a thing.

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How to Wean Your Teenager

by Jessica Martin-Weber with Ophélia and Lavinia Martin-Weber

How to wean a teenager

It is a well known fact that if you don’t make sure you get a baby off the boob by the end of their first year or definitely by the time they are two, they will never, ever stop breastfeeding and you’ll have to go to college with them. This is a fact known by every Tom, Dick, and Harry, Cindy, Karen, and Amanda. If you’re not aware of this, don’t worry, any conversation about breastfeeding beyond infancy in person, on an online article, blog posts, and of course, social media, will eventually become about this very fact. It is an inescapable truth: if you breastfeed past infancy your child will never wean and you will find yourself breastfeeding a teenager or young adult some day. Once they can ask for it you have to cut them off or they will never stop. Clearly breastfeeding is more addictive than chocolate, alcohol, crack, speed, shopping, and independence.

Because everyone knows that 3 and 13 are pretty much the same thing, you just stick a one in front of that 3. Teens are, according to most people, really just toddlers in bigger bodies, with raging hormones, pimples, and a slightly larger vocabulary. The temper tantrums are pretty much the same. Childhood goes so fast, don’t blink because you’ll miss it if you do and the next thing you know your 6’ 1” teenage boy will be folding himself onto your lap and tugging at your shirt saying “nene please mama.” Fact.

*Disclaimer: I have teenagers, they were breastfed as babies and toddlers but they never breastfed beyond early childhood so I can’t say I have any experience with this fact myself, nor have I ever encountered a breastfeeding teenager and unless my friends are lying, neither have they. But thousands of people say it is true. I know, I read it online.

But let’s say you’ve done it, ignored all the warnings and breastfed your child after their 1st birthday and then even after their 2nd and 3rd and 4th birthdays, now what? If you haven’t already, you’re headed straight to meeting them at lunch in high school so they can have mama milk. And if you have more than one child, you really are in big trouble. Juggling all those schedules to get your kids their babas is going to get really challenging.

It’s true, I guess, you’re just going to HAVE to cut them off at some point unless you really are ok following them to college and then some day on their honeymoon. There could be bonding moments in the future as you breastfeed your grown son while his wife breastfeeds their son. If that just won’t work for you though, how are you ever going to get that teenager to stop breastfeeding? When is it really time to wean and how do you do it?

I turned to my resident experts on teens: Earth Baby, 16, and Storyteller, 13. They were a bit shocked when I initially brought it up to them:

Me: “How should a mom wean their teenager from breastfeeding?”

EB: “Wait, WHAT?”

Storyteller: “That’s a thing? I don’t think that’s a thing.”

Me: “It’s totes a thing, I read it online.”

*At this point I got “the look” from Storyteller.

Storyteller: “You should never say ‘totes again’ and now I know that’s not a thing.”

EB: “Wait, WHAT? Are you really asking what I think you are asking?”

Me: “What’s wrong with me saying ‘totes’? And yes, I’m really asking.”

EB: “I don’t think any of my friends have conversations like this with their moms…”

Storyteller: “OMG, I know mine don’t. They also don’t breastfeed. Or say ‘totes.’ People saying teenagers breastfeed are severely lacking in intelligence. You can’t say ‘totes’ because you’re too old.”

EB: “Our family is weird, isn’t it?”

Me: “They either don’t breastfeed because their mom weaned them when they were young enough or they do breastfeed in secret. Some of them have to because I read it on the internet. Why am I too old to say ‘totes’?”

Storyteller: “You do know you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, right? It’s just dumb to think that kids that don’t stop breastfeeding when they are little will end up wanting to breastfeed as teenagers. Saying ‘totes’ is dumb too. What is wrong with people?”

Me: “I write on the internet, of course you can believe everything you read on the internet!

Earth Baby: “This is ridiculous.”

Earth Baby and Storyteller how to wean teenagers

Storyteller (left) and Earth Baby (right).

It took a while to get them to just go with me on this but that was an excellent example of just how hard it could be to wean a teenager. They’re stubborn creatures and smart too, they can argue until you’re blue in the face and they’ll still continue. Weaning a breastfed teenager could be intensely difficult! I can see why there are so many warnings to wean while they are still young.

Besides, can you imagine breastfeeding through the dreaded wisdom teeth stage?

After bribing them, they came up with some ideas. I shot down a few, such as the suggestion that you just tell them no, that it’s all done. Oh puh-lease, teenagers and “no” go about as well together as oil and water. I’m not so great at taking a direct “no” either so I know it’s best to save them for the big things such as “no, you absolutely can not surf on the hood of a truck going down the highway.” They agreed that “no” wouldn’t work given our family’s own personal experience with how well “no” is an effective strategy for a teenager. #itsnoteffectiveatall

Here are the ones we all thought might be most effective though, all approved by the teenagers in my house:

Gentle conversation. According to my 13 year old, teenagers are reasonable.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Moving on.

Bribe them with cake. That’s right, offer cake and tell them if they give up “bobbies” they can have cake. Also acceptable would be cake pops, frappuccinos, mini doughnuts, and iTunes gift cards.

Wean to drive. They can’t drive or get a drivers license until they give up the mama milks for good. No exceptions. It would be so important for mom to hold strong when the whining starts after they’ve started driving and start whining about how badly they need their nene.

Entertainment options. If you’re trying to wean a younger teen or maybe a tween, you could try saying no PG 13 movies because those movies are for big kids and big kids don’t get to breastfeed any more. This will work because all their friends will be talking about the next Pitch Perfect movie and they’ll totally be left out which would even be worse than weaning.

Smart phone. Like breastfeeding, all the teens are smartphoning these days. It’s simple though, mom will have to get another job to afford the bill so she can’t breastfeed any more. If they want a smartphone to fit in with their friends, they’ll be more than willing for mom to hang up her nursing bras and go to work.

Dating. Explain that any possible dates will be a little horrified if they found out they were still breastfeeding. It could really hurt their chances of finding a date… ever. But since embarrassment is worse than death for teens, simply posting a breastfeeding selfie and tagging them on social media would possibly do it. Also, would take care of the whole talking to you thing.

Prom. There’s just no way you could find an on trend yet age appropriate prom dress that has easy boob access. Show them what you’d have to wear to prom so they had mama milks when they needed it. They’ll never want to breastfeed again.

Charge. Teenagers are the largest demographic with a disposable income. Use it to your advantage, my 13yo thought that $1/1 minute sounded about fair if a teen wanted to continue breastfeeding. That would encourage them to wean real quick: buy a new outfit or get some “bob bob” and the decision would be pretty simple.

Just say no. My teenagers maintain that saying “my body, my choice” would be a firm boundary no teenager would cross. Specially if you’re already teaching them to respect themselves and others.

So, tell us, what are your tips for weaning teenagers?

 

*Please note: this is intended to be humorous with a bit of satire.
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