#TLBmoves 2017 – Helping You Get Moving with a Chance to Win

We all need a little inspiration to make changes in our lives.

In the context of #TLBmoves, where we consider how we can increase our level of physical activity in ways that make sense to each of us, it helps to figure out more specific reasons than “Moving more is good for me” and set some more specific goals than “I’m going to move more than I usually do.” (not sure what #TLBmoves is? Click here for more information).

Reasons to get moving might be to keep up with the kids without huffing and puffing, to increase our energy level, to avoid certain health risks or issues we are already coping with, or to enjoy a longer life with our partner. 

Setting specific daily and/or weekly goals are helpful too, like walking a mile a day, getting through an exercise routine 3 times per week, or taking yoga classes or hitting the gym a certain number of times per week. We need measurable goals that are easy to track or we’re more likely to lose interest. 

And we need to cut ourselves some slack when we fail, because failure is a part of living.

So for those of us that need a little more inspiration, the #TLBmoves 2017 sponsors are offering some wonderful products that could be very useful to us as we get moving. I am pleased to announce the #TLBmoves 2017 giveaway! 

A huge thanks to Joovy, Contours, The Vintage Honey Shop, and Chunkabuns, for their support of this campaign. 

 

The Giveaway

 

Contours – Wear your little one as you get moving! 

The Contours Love 3-in-1 Baby CarrierRetail Value: $99
The Contours Love 3-in-1 Baby Carrier is soft, supportive, and super easy-to-use. This award-winning infant carrier provides beneficial skin-to-skin contact with no fabric or straps between parent and baby. The Love is perfect for babywearing from infancy (beginning at 8 lbs.) when the little one will rest in an ergonomic fetal or “froggy” position. As baby grows, the Contours Love baby carrier provides a supportive seated position and allows legs to rest comfortably as they naturally straighten out over the next 10+ weeks. At 6 months of age and up to 30 lbs., your baby can face forward in the carrier. The Love carrier requires no separate inserts or accessories to accommodate newborns and provides a hip-healthy position for your little one as recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. 

 

Joovy – Get moving with your little one!

Winner’s choice of either the Caboose Too or the Tricycoo 4.1.  Retail Value: $180 (Caboose Too) or $130 (Tricycoo)

Caboose Too – if your children are close in age, the Caboose is just what you need in a compact double stroller. The “Too” includes the Rear Seat so you’ll have more options for younger riders. The seat is easily removed so when your older child is ready, they can choose to stand, sit or walk. Check out all the amazing specs here

Tricycoo 4.1 – for children as young as 10 months, the Tricycoo 4.1 is the perfect way to introduce your child to balance and coordination. Featuring 4 different stages, this tricycle grows with your child (from 10 months to 30+ months!), changing from a parent assisted ride to a kid powered tricycle. Find out more details here.

 

The Vintage Honey Shop – Keep your little one distracted as you get moving!

Winner’s choice of a teething/nursing necklace. Retail Value: $25
Our necklaces help keep mama from being scratched & pinched during feeding time and provide relief when teething! You can also wear our necklaces while wearing your baby. Our necklaces will provide a focal point, and give them something to play with and grab onto while being close to your heart. 

 

ChunkabunsGet moving without apologies, but with comfort!

“Mom Strong” shirt with matching “Strong Like Mom” shirt. Retail Value: $49
Mommy and Me set! “Strong Like Mommy” for the infant tee and for mom, a “Mom Strong” flowy tee. Super flattering fit, Flowy style to disguise any wobbly bits (mom’s only nemesis) that may remain from the creation of her adorable baby. 

Total Value for the giveaway: $350

Please use the following widget to participate in the giveaway. Be honest with your answers – we will be checking! One winner takes all! Good luck! 

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A Move Toward Health, for Family, for You – #TLBMoves 2017

You might think that with expecting a baby for the 7th time there would be very little left to surprise me about the pregnant life – that there wouldn’t be anything new for me to figure out. That’s what I thought.
 
But I find myself fairly well stumped about what to do about a condition that I have never experienced in previous pregnancies: feeling well. Well enough to do more than my typical pattern of laying down, bathroom run to puke, laying down, bathroom run to puke, ad nauseam (pun intended).
 
So here I am, not throwing up all day long, eating better than I have since, well, possibly ever, and feeling like I could go for daily runs with Jeremy, who isn’t running daily but did start running several times a week a couple months ago. Of course, I can’t actually run, what with my belly and boobs bouncing and flopping, but more importantly because, well, I’m actively saving all my running energy for when I’ll need it most: when we’re past some cataclysmic event and living in a glorious post-apocalyptic era – and also, I hate running. Not to mention I stopped running last fall and it’s not a good idea to start a new high impact physical activity over halfway through pregnancy (if you are a runner before you are pregnant and can continue into your pregnancy, that’s great!)
 
But I am wanting to get more active because I know that being active is good for me, looking through Pinterest to find inspiration, browsing YouTube for activities that I would enjoy, while I know that at this point a 20 minute walk completely wears me out – the upside being that I nap really well right now!
 
How on earth are we supposed to focus on our health while growing a baby? Especially when the information out there is so polarized? It’s either do/eat whatever you want or start Zumba and hot yoga and stick to green protein smoothies.
 
And how on earth are we supposed to think about being physically active with a newborn? Or an infant? Or a toddler? Or all of the above? And be a stay at home parent? Or a working parent?
 
I don’t know.
 
But once a year I encourage The Leaky Boob community to think about it and find small ways to inch ourselves toward being more healthy. For the 4th year in a row, we are taking a few weeks of summer to take a good, non-shaming, look at ourselves, and determine what steps we can each take to be just a little healthier than we are.
 
I’m not dogmatic about how babies are fed, and I’m sure as hell not going to be dogmatic about getting fit. You won’t find me pushing my Leakies to join a gym or a 6 AM boot camp. Just like for infant feeding, I look forward to sharing thought-provoking information, personal stories and anecdotes from our community, and encouraging the support of one another in TLB’s various platforms.
 
#TLBmoves is a campaign where everyone is welcome, couch potatoes to triathletes, fitness experts to exercise loathers, women and men and children, because no matter who you are, taking care of you is one of the ways that you take care of the ones you love.
 
I bring no agenda, no program, no exercise routines, no weight loss plans, or anything like that. Just a desire for Leakies to support each other as we each figure out what’s right for us. It could be adding a 10 minute walk to your day, cutting back on sugar, trying the squat challenge, really anything that seems achievable to you right now. Try it out, assess, and change your goal when you need to.
 

My husband, Jeremy, started running again a couple of months ago. He walked to our neighborhood park and set for himself the goal of making it around the park 8 times, running as much as he could handle and walking the rest. The park is ⅓ mile around. I don’t know why he picked 8 times. The first time he tried, he mostly walked. Now, 2 months later, after going to the park 2-3 times a week, he is up to 13 times around, 10 of which are running. He slowly increased how much he ran and also the number of times he went around, based on how he felt each day he went out. He has no goal other than getting healthier and losing a little weight in the process. After the first couple of weeks, he made a startling discovery: he had more energy overall. Yes, exercising still wipes him out right after he goes for his run, and he still hates it, but he feels more awake and “with it” than he did before he started moving more.
 
#TLBmoves is about getting started together. You can make it into becoming an Olympic athlete if you want. Or you can focus on being better able to keep up with your toddler. It’s up to you. Will you join me? 
 
It’s time for #TLBmoves!
 

 
Find support and inspiration in our closed group #TLBmoves here.  And join me on The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, here; BeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; and the Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships), here.
 
#TLBmoves 2017 runs through the end of July, though a meaningful focus on how we get moving with our families is never really limited to a set of dates. We will be focusing on what inspires us in health and fitness, sharing meaningful experiences, opening up, posting ideas, and a lot of humor. All of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities in action teaming up with you, our communities, and a few select brands we trust: Contours, Joovy, The Vintage Honey Shop, and Chunkabuns.
 
Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBmoves (and start using it too!), Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister site, BeyondMoi.com, inspiring support within our community, involvement from our campaign sponsors, giveaways, and informative articles.
 
Let’s explore health and moving together, with #TLBmoves. Oh, and enter our giveaway here

 

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Meet Our Ambassadors

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

 
 

Dominique Gallo

I am a Hampton Roads native currently residing in Roanoke County. I am a wife to a  L.E.O (Law Enforcement Officer) and mom to two beautiful girls, an energetic little boy,  and two fur babies. I was called to birth work because of the birth of my oldest. I had no support and was not able to make informed decisions– or any decisions for that matter!. I felt bullied and scared. From then on with a little helpful nudging from friends and family I decided to become a lactation consultant and a doula to make sure that mothers did not have to experience what I experienced. I have an undergrad degree in Community Health Education from Virginia Commonwealth University (Go Rams!) and currently finishing up a master’s degree in Health and Wellness: Lactation Consulting to further my knowledge in lactation. I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) , a professional doula trained by toLabor, and a child birth educator trained by Lamaze International.  I am the Director of Marketing for the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA), and I also host a podcast, called Mocha Milkies Cafe, to help bring knowledge and awareness about breastfeeding and positive birth practices to African America women in my spare time. 


Ambar Gingerelli

Ambar Gingerelli is a wife + mama, life coach for new moms, and the creator of Mama Bird Well Nest, a blog dedicated to supporting mothers in creating happy and healthy lives. She helps mamas who are struggling to find balance learn to put themselves first so that they can have a positive experience of motherhood and feel deeply connected to themselves and their children. Ambar believes that true health comes from nurturing ourselves fully in mind, body, and spirit, and that it is vital for us to take great care of ourselves so that we are better able to care for our loved ones. You can connect with her on her blog, www.mamabirdwellnest.com and on her Instagram page, www.instagram.com/mamabirdwellnest. Check out her free yoga video series – an easy way to get moving!

 


Ashley Martin

Ashley Martin is a breastfeeding educator from the Chicagoland area. She the mama to one busy bee toddler and currently waiting on the arrival of her second seed.  Ashley is also the creator of Mommy & Moon, a blog dedicated to encouraging moms to cultivate a positive space for self love. She believes the key to motherhood is being resilient.

There is so much beauty in the resilience of a woman, both physically in mentally! We are strong! 

You can connect with Ashley on Instagram and through her blog, www.mommyandmoon.com

 

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

Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, and co-creator of BeyondMoi.com. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 20 years and they are all looking forward to the addition of a new family member sometime this Fall.

 

 

 

 

Sara Smith

Sara Smith is a wife, mother, breastfeeding and education advocate, and community volunteer. After struggling to nurse her first child due to a lack of knowledge and community resources, she decided to continue her post-graduate education as a breastfeeding peer counselor and aims to provide breastfeeding support to families in her county once certified. Sara believes that evidence-based information is greatly empowering, especially when it comes to the health and well-being of new mothers and the babies that depend on them.  When Sara is not wrangling her two toddlers, she volunteers as the Co-Vice President and Co-Chair (and blogger) for the Arizona Breastfeeding Bag Project/Arizona Breastfeeding Bag Project – Mohave County, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing breastfeeding support bags to new and expecting mothers in Arizona. Follow her personal adventures with #TLBmoves on Instagram

 

Brianda Traylor.

Hey! I’m Brianda Traylor I am a proud mommy of a two year old girl named Olivia and twin 5 month old boys named Owen and Benjamin. My house is always chaotic but I love every minute of it. I work full time and I am always on the move with my little dragons (khaleesi reference). I am so happy to be apart of the #TLBMoves campaign and I hope I bring some love and light by sharing my chaos.  

 

 

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Meet Our Partners

We are so grateful to partner with brands who value the mission of The Leaky Boob and we trust to share with our community. Leakies themselves, the brands below have made caring for families with quality products that we can trust a priority, and they believe in the importance for us all to get moving in and beyond #TLBmoves. Check out the giveaway they’re sponsoring over here!


Contours Contours is a family-owned and family-operated company that has been developing baby products for more than 70 years, and we know that nothing is more important than family. Life is hectic, kids grow up fast, and every moment counts. Contours products are designed to make parents’ lives easier. Our strollers, carriers, and everything in between bring balance to their active lives with convenience and adaptability. Check out the Contours Love 3-in-1 baby carrier!

 

Joovy – Joovy is a U.S. born, lifestyle brand that brings innovative design concepts to the growing and dynamic baby accessory market.

Since 2005, Joovy has been dedicated to making mobility easier for growing families. Our mission is to provide parents with products that are both fun and functional with an emphasis on durability, utility, and on-trend design. Each of the products that we offer also takes your child’s comfort and safety into consideration, making it a product that the whole family enjoys.

Joovy’s collection of products has grown to five categories: strollers, feeding, playards, walkers, bikes/trikes/toys and accessories. Its attention to innovative designs and high quality at an affordable price sets it apart from the competition.

 


The Vintage Honey Shop – We are a handmade teething & nursing necklace company in Nashville, TN. Our necklaces help keep mama from being scratched & pinched during feeding time and provide relief when teething! You can also wear our necklaces while wearing your baby as they provide a focal point for your baby, giving them something to play with and grab onto while being close to your heart. Check out their teething and nursing necklaces!

 

Chunkabuns – Like every great idea, Chunkabuns began with a mission in mind: to solve the Fluffy Bottomed Baby epidemic once and for all. Chunkabuns is the passion project of a cloth-diapering mom who struggled to find clothing that fit comfortably around cloth diapers while still looking good. After two years of research, redesign, and product testing, Chunkabuns is proud to offer a unique, quality solution for parents using non-disposable cloth diapers that will grow right alongside your baby! But that’s not all – they have also developed fun and inspiring shirts and other items of clothing for everyone in the family! Check out Chunkabuns tops here!

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*My Body* On Demand

by Jessica Martin-Weber

Content Note

This piece focuses on sexual assault and includes discussion and detailed description of birth including birth trauma, anxiety, and mention of sexual assault.


The sweet smell of a new baby was more intoxicating than I had imagined. My heart swelled every time I held her, I thought I had known love, this was even more. Joy, relief, peace, total contentment.

It had been a difficult pregnancy and an even more difficult birth. So often, most of the time, I felt completely out of control as though I had no say over my body or what happened to me. Spending hours and hours reading text books, reading personal accounts, absorbing all the literature I could on pregnancy and birth, I had taken advantage of every resources I could to be prepared. Long ago I had found that learning as much as I could about an experience I was facing helped me feel less out of control and more calm. It helped me to think rationally, ask informed questions, and make decisions that didn’t seem desperate. So I managed better than I expected with the sense of lack of control and autonomy. Reading and listening to the stories of others that had traversed the path of parenthood through pregnancy and birth before me, I understood that modesty might fly out the window, that decisions may need to be made quickly, that plans may need to be altered for life saving measures.

As a sexual assault survivor who was still processing and recovering, I saw a therapist regularly, journaled, and read materials on sexual assault survivors giving birth. It was important to me that my birth partner- my husband and my birth team be aware that I was a survivor and that consent was particularly important to me for any touching. We were all prepared.

But in the end it wasn’t the pregnancy and birth that brought anxiety flooding back for me as I became a mother for the first time. It wasn’t the incessant vomiting, multiple hospitalizations for hydration, the numerous failed IV placement attempts, the premature rupture of membranes at 32 weeks and the rushed amniocentesis without anything to numb the insertion of the largest needle ever to enter my body, the diagnosis of asymmetrical IUGR, the weeks of steroids, or the diagnosis of pre-e that made me feel that I had no say over what happened to my body. Even when we had to fight in the hospital for certain accommodations to help me relax in labor I didn’t feel out of control. And when an episiotomy was performed without my consent I was angry but at the time accepted it was necessary (it wasn’t but I made peace with it). Not even when my doctor shoved her arm up inside me to her elbow to manually scrape out my uterus and perform an extraction of my partially retained placenta when I was hemorrhaging, not even then did I feel that my autonomy was threatened.

It wasn’t until a few days later, at home, as my milk flooded my breasts making them hot and swollen and my baby suddenly was desperately and constantly in demand of my breasts that I experienced my first panic attack.

Feed on demand.

sexual assault survivor breastfeeding

I wanted to run away. I wanted to say no. I felt trapped and stuck and completely at the mercy of another human being.

Every time she rooted or fussed, her little mouth searching, I felt it wash over me.

Feed on demand.

Those 3 words were the sentence that thrust me back to when someone else had the control, the say, and all the power over my body. Their hands, their mouth, their fingers, their body probing mine and demanding what they wanted from me. I had no say, I was overpowered. And later, in another context, there was a charade of my own power but if I truly loved them, truly trusted them, I would give my body over to their demands, because that was what love did, even if it hurt. Love meant obligation.

Feed on demand.

But this was my baby. The greatest love I had ever known. And this wasn’t sexual, this was nurturing and caring, this was mothering.

What was wrong with me? Why did I feel like this?

Feed on demand.

This other person outside of myself had all the say over my body. She had the right to demand my body and I had to give it to her or I was failing in loving her fully and in giving her what she deserved. Her right to my milk was so much more important than my right to my body, what kind of mother would I be to deny her demands?

Feed on demand.

I loved her. I was obligated to her. I would do anything for her.

So I would expose my breast to her demanding mouth. I would draw her close through her demanding cries. I would try to control my reaction as her suck demanded my milk. I offered myself to her demands because she mattered more than me.

Feed on demand.

Utilizing breathing exercises I had practiced for labor and staring up at the ceiling as I ran through songs in my head trying to distract myself from the anxiety that clawed at my throat as she suckled at my breast. I got through weeks and weeks of feeds. Months. I was loving her, I told myself. Love required sacrifice, motherhood is full of sacrifices. I would meet her demands for my body because I loved her.

Feed on demand.

Mommy and Arden bfing hand kiss

Eventually it got easier for me. I didn’t stay stuck there and I even found feeding my baby to be a healing experience. As she grew our relationship developed and I could look into her eyes as I fed her, her contented sighs and complete trust helping my anxiety to subside. I’m sure oxytocin helped too. But personally, it was having the option to always say no by instead offering a bottle of breastmilk that helped me find the autonomy I had in saying yes too. It took time but slowly I was able to reframe what was happening.

I wasn’t losing control of my body to a demanding, controlling, abusive person in an imbalanced relationship that was causing me pain. No, my baby was dependent on me and powerless herself as an infant. I was choosing to respond to her and care for her needs.

I no longer saw it as feeding on demand but rather responsive feeding. Responding to her cues and cries for me, the safest person she knew. She was safe for me too.

Love is responsive.

Responsive feeding. Feeding with love.

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Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, and creator and author of the children’s book and community of What Love Tastes Like, supporter of A Girl With A View, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 19 years and is currently writing her first creative non-fiction book.
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Baby Feeding and Finding Your Village- The Importance of Community In Reaching Your Breastfeeding Goals

By Jessica Martin-Weber

This post made possible by the support of The Village from Ameda, Inc.

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The US Surgeon General identified lack of support as one of the primary reasons families don’t reach their breastfeeding goals. Be that support in education about breastfeeding, support in health care, support in dealing with breastfeeding difficulties, support in social settings, and support related to employment environment, lack of support directly impacts breastfeeding goals.

For over 6 years, The Leaky Boob has been supporting families in their baby feeding journeys and we’ve seen exactly the impact support can have on breastfeeding goals. Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • Support helps the breastfeeding parent be prepared.
  • Support helps the breastfeeding parent better advocate for themselves and their child.
  • Support helps the breastfeeding parent be informed.
  • Support helps the breastfeeding parent identify problems and know when and where to go for care.
  • Support helps the breastfeeding parent not feel alone.

That last point matters more than you might think. Breastfeeding can feel like such an isolating solo act, particularly in an unsupportive environment and support can go a long way in combating loneliness that some experience as part of their baby feeding journey.

When I had my first baby, my breastfeeding supportive mom (community!) encouraged me to try a breastfeeding support group when I was having pain initially. As I walked in I felt uncomfortable right away but decided to give it a try anyway but by the end I knew it wasn’t for me. In fact, I was more anxious after that experience but not necessarily because of breastfeeding but rather it was a group that attracted families that felt frighteningly “crunchy” to me at the time (no lie, I’d probably fit in great there now). Personality and value differences made it not a good fit for me and that is ok. Unfortunately, at the time breastfeeding support was not so wide-spread and I ended up very alone and isolated in feeding my baby. Aside from my very supportive husband, neither my health care providers nor my friends were supportive or experienced with breastfeeding. Thankfully, my own mother was and though we were separated by more than a thousand miles, she continued to offer encouragement, information, and support. Just having that one experienced voice, even when her experiences were vastly different from mine, helped me in reaching my breastfeeding goals. Even with the support of my partner and my mother I felt alone in feeding my baby but I am so grateful for their support because I can only imagine how much more difficult it would have been without them. Not every support community is right for every individual, even when they’re shared experience and common interest based communities. Which is why there is a wide variety of options and increasingly so. Different people are going to have different needs and ways they experience community.

Ameda cobranded 2017

To find a community that is right for you

Determine what you need. Just looking for clinical facts and information? Find encouragement being able to ask anything and everything? Inspired by hearing the stories of others? Love seeing images of baby feeding? Enjoy connecting in the day to day? Want it to be only about baby feeding? Need focused connection on a specific feeding related experience? Value feeding as what brings you together but want to share about anything and everything else? Figure out what works for you personally and look for options that fit your needs and personality.

Clarify your values. Is there certain language that you want to avoid? Is there a controversial topic that you have a strong position on that is a non-negotiable for you? Identify your personal values and have a clear understanding of them for yourself.

Recognize what you have to offer. Community isn’t just about getting the support you need, community works when everyone gives and receives. You have something to offer in supporting others, even if you don’t feel like it, your story matters and sharing it can make a difference for others.

Ask around. Breastfeeding rates continue to rise (2007 initiation rates were around 70%, in 2014 they were nearly 80%) so more and more people have at least some experience with breastfeeding. If you know someone that has had a baby, ask them where they found breastfeeding support, you’re likely to have better results than with just a google search.

Eventually I figured out what I needed in community, particularly in a baby feeding support community. A judgment-free atmosphere that supports people over methodology, embraces the wide diversity of feeding modalities and tools (exclusively from the breast, pumping, bottle-feeding, combo formula feeding, formula feeding, etc.), promotes information, and has an emphasis on the relational sharing of baby feeding experiences with the good, the bad, the ugly, and the funny was what I needed which is reflected in The Leaky Boob and the communities we partner with, such as this one.

Once we know that community makes a difference in reaching breastfeeding goals and in supporting parents in finding their confidence, it only makes sense that we would work to be community ourselves, supporting and encouraging each other along the way. It takes a village, after all, together, we are the village.

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JMW headshot

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

by Sarah Saucedo

This post is generously made possible by Bamboobies

bamboobies banner - 2016

When you are considering breastfeeding your baby, it may seem like it will be a one-woman show. The notion that you will be the sole provider for your new baby’s nutrition may seem a bit overwhelming. However, that doesn’t need to be the case! Your partner can play a key support role in your breastfeeding success.

In the first couple days postpartum, having help to make the most of “lying in” should be a priority. “Lying in” simply means the days or week following delivery where mom and baby should be breastfeeding, bonding, doing skin to skin and little else. Your partner can help make this transition easier with a few simple acts:

  • Make sure any therapy or breastfeeding essentials are within your reach and ready to use (nursing pads, nipple balm, therapy pillows)
    • If using reusable nursing pads – make sure they are clean and ready to go
    • Heating or cooling the therapy pillows depending on your liking
  • Make sure you are hydrated and fed
    • Always have a water bottle on your nightstand
    • Place easy-to-grab snacks like protein bars or fruits that don’t need to be refrigerated, like bananas and oranges, within your reach
  • Help with any pain medications or dressings that you may have from your delivery; this can be a big help-especially if you had a cesarean or particularly hard labor.

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Once you are comfortable enough to move around the house more, there are plenty of ways that your partner can still be helpful and supportive in your breastfeeding journey. Here are a few:

  • Stock a nursing station or stations in you favorite spot(s), so you have what you need when you need it. Snacks, wipes, burp clothes, a full water battle, nursing pads and something entertaining, like a good book or magazine are essentials. Fueling you body and mind while the little one eats is multitasking at its finest.
  • Use a bottle to feed baby pumped breastmilk. This can give you some time to take that much needed shower, read a book, or even sleep if your partner is able to pick up a night feeding. It may seem trivial but these little acts of self-care go a long way in the postpartum period.
  • Clean the pump parts and bottles (they add up!)

Having your partner’s support doesn’t need to stop when you venture out of the house, either! Your partner can be just as involved in your breastfeeding journey whether out to eat, shopping, or at a sporting event.

  • Provide emotional support when you need it. It can be a huge boost to your confidence! Knowing that they support you and your breastfeeding journey can be the key to making a possibly anxious situation (like your first time out of the house) as smooth as possible.
  • Check to make sure the diaper bag is fully stocked with all your favorite breastfeeding supplies (pads, nipple balm, and nursing shawl) and whatever baby needs is also helpful. Don’t forget an extra diaper or two and a change of clothes for baby. You might want an extra shirt, too, just in case!

Bringing a new life into the world is challenging and exciting. Having a partner that supports your feeding choices makes everything a little easier. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Chances are, your partner will be looking for ways to be involved with baby and you during your breastfeeding journey as well. Happy breastfeeding!

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Sarah is a mom of two wonderful boys, and is expecting her third child in March! She is bamboobie’s support maven as well as a Certified Lactation Educator and Counselor and is passionate about all things breastfeeding. 
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Health- Not Just Boobs, Get Moving Too- #TLBMoves 2016

TLBmoves1
Big active giveaway here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s time for #TLBmoves!

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

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

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

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

#TLBmoves 2016 runs through the month of July, though a meaningful focus (and a fun giveaway!) on how we get moving with our families is never really limited to a set of dates. We will be focusing on what inspires us in health and fitness sharing meaningful experiences, opening up, posting ideas, and a lot of humor. All of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities in action teaming up with you, our communities, and brands we trust including Title Sponsoring Brand ThinkBaby ThinkSport, a company that prioritizes making products that are safe including sunscreen and water bottles to help you get moving. Be on the lookout for the hashtag: #TLBmoves (and start using it too!), Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister site, BeyondMoi.com, inspiring support within our community, involvement from our campaign sponsors, giveaways, and informative articles.

Let’s explore health and moving together, with #TLBmoves.

 

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Meet Our Ambassadors

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

IMG_0112Hannah Buckley.

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

 

13383538_10157045234550038_1295936637_oBryttany Hyde.

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

 

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Allyson Storey.

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

 

 

 

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Shannon DeLong.

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

 

 

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Meet Our Partners

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

Thinkbaby_favoredby

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

 

BelabumbumActiveLogo

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

 

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

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

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When Food Makes Your Child Sick- Allergies and Parenting

By Heather Mackles, RN, BSN

When the food you’re feeding your child is making them sick, what do you do? One mother, a member of The Leaky Boob Community group admin team, shares her family’s journey with food allergies and how it has changed them. A registered nurse, the author shares some points for families on potential signs for allergies and how to proceed.

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It started with a crying baby, a “sensitivity” to my breastmilk, and a transition to soy formula under the direction of our pediatrician. Then it became vomiting, weight loss, and a hospitalization. Eight years later, we’re dealing with food anxiety, rebelling, and a struggle with autonomy. Somewhere in there was a major food overhaul.

Food allergies.

I am a parent of a child with multiple food allergies. We wield EpiPens, Benadryl and a rescue inhaler. We see a pediatrician, dermatologist and allergist every few months. We are one piece of candy away from a trip to the ER.

Food can kill my son.

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I was told while pregnant from a lactation consultant that babies rarely have an issue with actual breastmilk. Only babies with true milk protein allergies were unable to breastfeed due to the whey protein in breastmilk. My pediatrician agreed after we had several visits with complaints of horrible crying with no relief and constant diarrhea. He told me that my baby may have a sensitivity to my breastmilk and that it would be in my best interest to wean him immediately to soy formula. There was no mention of removing dairy from my diet first. Now knowing more than I did then, I probably could’ve tried removing all dairy from my diet and chances are strong that would have been a better option for my son. For more on breastfeeding a child with food sensitivities or food allergies, see this post here.

But I didn’t know then what I know now. I didn’t know how to fight and advocate for my son.

When we first got the diagnosis from the gastroenterologist, I made that first trip to Whole Foods. I was beside myself. I didn’t know what I was looking for. Then this saint of an employee came up to me, and asked if he could help me find something. I poured my heart out to him while he helped me navigate the store.

My child, who loved homemade fettuccine Alfredo (which starts with a stick of butter and a pint of heavy cream), now could not have anything that had the milk protein, casein, in it. It’s not a lactose-intolerance. He can’t just drink lactose-free milk and be fine. He can’t have any animal milks, butter, cheeses or whey protein. His reactions continued going up until his diagnosis had only been gut and skin related, but that doesn’t mean that the next exposure couldn’t affect his respiratory system.

The threat is very real.

My son can’t eat or have contact with:

  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Tree Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Tomato anything
  • Nitrates
  • Fluoride
  • MSG
  • Artificial Colors
  • Preservatives

We now have to read every ingredient list for EVERYTHING. When he’s prescribed a medicine, or even if I go to give him over-the-counter medicine, I have to call the manufacturer and get the all clear that it does not contain dairy or gluten. Sometimes the manufacturer is closed, or won’t return my calls for days, but he needs the medication at that moment. So I have to take a deep breath, weigh the risks and benefits, pray, and give him the medicine. His allergy medicine prescribed by his allergist? I gave it to him for a month and couldn’t figure out why he was breaking out in hives and having diarrhea. It contained gluten as a main ingredient. Because his vitamins were cultured in milk, but they didn’t list it because they don’t contain milk, he had a reaction. Now he’s taking vegan vitamins to be sure they are dairy free. His allergies have evolved over the years, though he has yet to grow out of any, as many kids with one food allergy usually become allergic to other foods over time.

Every single thing that goes into my child’s mouth requires me to check the ingredient lists. Unfortunately, if something in it is milk-derived, it doesn’t have to list that according to the FDA. There’s a lot of ambiguity when it comes to artificial and natural flavors, colors and preservatives, and transparency is not required. So do I give him the food that should be okay and risk a reaction, or do I disappoint him and tell him it’s not safe? We play that game. Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes I hear him coughing in his room at night, one of his common early symptoms of a reaction, and the panic starts rising. “What did he eat today? Was it anything that we ate differently? Have I looked at our safe foods’ ingredient lists recently? Did they change their ingredients?” And then I mentally go back through everything he ate in the past 24 hours, because reactions can be delayed. His are usually around 8 hours after ingestion. Sometimes it could be anything, sometimes I may not even know for sure what he has eaten.

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I cringe when other kids offer him food because he SO BADLY wants to take it, but he does good most days on refusing. Sometimes he slips, but I have to give him some autonomy. I cannot keep him in a bubble forever. He has had to learn how to resist temptation in the most evil of ways. Food is more than eating. It’s a social and cultural enjoyment. Good food brings people together and celebrations often center around food. Many people take offense even, including family members, when we say that he can’t have whatever they’re offering, because we aren’t sure of the ingredients.

My son experiences discrimination every time he’s on some sort of a team or in a group activity. I’ve heard such things as “We don’t accommodate for people with food allergies.” and “Can’t you just bring him his own snack to every game?” told to me by other parents, teachers, and team leaders. But there’s always that one parent on the team that texts me to ask me for suggestions on my son’s safe foods because they want to make sure he feels included. One parent who shows they care. They are the shining beacon of light, and by being able to share in team snack with everyone else, just like every other kid, you made his day. It warms my heart to see him so happy. And it makes me so angry when people blow off his food allergies like they’re nothing.

My child’s food allergies aren’t a preference, they are a life and death risk. I know it is inconvenient, my family lives with and accommodates those inconvenient risks every day.

Our safe restaurants include Mellow Mushroom and Disney restaurants. That’s about it. Going out to eat is another adventure. It takes a lot of time and energy, because we have to call ahead and make sure they can make something for my son that he can actually eat. He’s not picky by any means, but he does have his preferences, and most places either have 1-2 things on the menu he can have, or none at all. Like most of us, he wants to enjoy eating beyond considering whether or not it will make him sick. Most times, the restaurant’s employee we talk to on the phone can’t guarantee that they’ll have a meal free of his allergens. By the time we call around to 3-4 places we’ve selectively picked, we usually throw in the towel and make something at home. We make 95% of our food at home from the most basic ingredients. It takes too much time, planning and effort to go to a new restaurant, where most of the time, the employees are very poorly educated on food allergies and cross contamination. Fast food is mostly out of the question. We don’t even try there. If we need fast food, we make him a safe option at home.

Do I want to be this controlling? HELL NO. I want to let him eat whatever he wants, and I would cut off my left arm if he could just have one slice of birthday cake at another kid’s birthday party. But his diagnosis requires vigilance and I must provide that.

Still, I refuse to allow food to define my child. He is a smart, funny, easy-going kid. He’s never met a stranger and will hold a conversation with anyone he meets. He is good at acrobatics, circus aerial arts, and baseball. He just signed a modeling contract through a worldwide agency. His smile is infectious and that lights up the room. Food allergies are NOT who he is. He may have them, but they are not him. He is Ian, a boy who has food allergies.

And I stand in the background, ensuring he stays safe as he blossoms into his own person.

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Right now, we take it one day at a time and we learn and grow with him. There will be more rebellion. There will most likely be more ER visits in the future. There will be times where he chooses to not bring his EpiPens with him because it’s not cool to have special needs. Hopefully that day, he won’t need it, as most days he won’t. Hopefully he won’t learn this lesson the hard way. But there will also be good friends that we meet along the way, and we will cherish them forever.

I went on to successfully breastfeed two more children. My middle child was breastfed until 18 months old, and my youngest is 19 months old and still breastfeeding with no end in sight. We introduced the top eight most allergenic foods at 6 months old under the direction of our (new) pediatrician and both of my youngest kids have no food allergies.

There’s a lot I wish I knew back in the day with my son that I know now. For new parents it can be overwhelming and scary. Most of the time I’m not scared any more, just vigilent. And I’m able to share what I’ve learned. There are boundaries to learn, together we can figure them out. In this post, another parent shares a few methods about food boundaries with her food sensitive child. 

Want to know what to look for and what could be a warning sign of an allergy in your child? Here are some of the most common things to look for when evaluating for food allergies in children:

  •      Rash around the mouth
  •      Flushed face
  •      Hives
  •      Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  •      Behavioral changes, mostly severe anxiety or restlessness after eating
  •      Fast heartbeat*
  •      Face, tongue or lip swelling*
  •      Constant coughing or wheezing*
  •      Difficulty breathing*
  •      Loss of consciousness*
*If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately as these are signs of a life threatening medical emergency.

They could encounter the allergen once and react to it, or they could’ve been exposed to the allergen 100 times before and all of a sudden start reacting to it. There is no telling when or how bad they’re going to react to the allergen, if their body chooses to react to that particular food protein.

Many life-threatening food allergy reactions (called anaphylaxis) happen to kids who did not know they had a food allergy. If you suspect that your child has a food allergy, please consult your physician for further allergy testing. 

If you’d like to learn more about food allergies, please visit: www.foodallergy.org.

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Living with the reality that the very nourishment that should sustain us, bring us joy, and lead to health could make our child sick, endangering their lives, isn’t easy. If you get to enjoy life without these scary obstacles, please be patient with those of us who must learn how to navigate them. If you are just discovering that allergies may be a part of your child’s life, you’ve got this. It may require a lifestyle change but you’ve got this. With community and information sharing you can be your child’s strongest advocate and learn how to navigate this terrain without it stealing your joy. 

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Heather Mackles is a 32-year-old retired PICU RN, who is happily married to her husband, and stays at home with her three children, two dogs and an antisocial cat. In her minuscule amounts of free time, between changing diapers and homeschooling/unschooling her kids, she enjoys traveling, taking frequent trips to Disney, sewing, and critiquing medical TV shows. She believes in advocating for all women from all walks of life, and loves helping women achieve their breastfeeding goals.
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Avoid Getting Punched in the Boob This Holiday Season

This email is generously sponsored by our friends at

 

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Hey moms, you need to take care of YOU!

Would a giveaway help?

I know, I know, you hear it all the time but you just can’t because laundry, work, laundry, demanding kids, laundry, dishes, parties, every. thing. else, mostly no time. 

Besides, moms are tough. Very tough. They do hard things every day, even just to get their babies. Moms push beings out their vagina or have their abdomen cut open, or stretch their emotions through adoption, allow their entire body chemistry to change, sacrificing sleep, hot meals, hot showers, and even have some of their brain invaded for their children. 

Moms are tough.

When it comes to breastfeeding, many moms tough it out through all kinds of challenges. Some may have an easy go of it but a rather significant mother of moms face challenges along the way. There are a few words that even the toughest of these women shudder at the thought of. Words such as:

They’re all hard and we could each probably add our own words but those 4 are universally understood. Bad news for breastfeeding moms. 

But did you know that your chance of developing the last one, mastitis, goes up during the holidays? According to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine a predisposing risk factor is “Maternal Stress and Fatigue.”

To continue reading about mastitis with some tips to take care of you, VISIT HERE.

Peace,

Jessica Martin-Weber
Founder, TheLeakyBoob.com

View More: http://yourstreetphotography.pass.us/martinwebberfamily1

 

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Breastfeeding Back to Work; a #MyStoryMatters Leaky Share

by Annie Laird, a Leaky

guest post, #MyStoryMatters, leaky to leaky, Annie Laird

I was attending the Naval Postgraduate School when I had my first daughter. Luckily, I had her at the end of a quarter, and got to take an entire 3 months off school before going back. The Department Lead of my curriculum has also breastfed all her children and was very supportive. She allowed me to use the office of an adjunct professor that was on a leave of absence to pump my milk for the fist year of my daughter’s life. I had an abundant supply and exclusively breastfed her for 7 months prior to introducing any other food. I built up a freezer stash that was sufficient to cover my overnight absences from her starting at 7 months when I got underway for a week at a time on research cruises off the California coast (I was working toward my Masters degree in Physical Oceanography). There was no way to store my breastmilk on the tiny vessel, so I diligently pumped every 3 hours and poured it all down the drain. Just before she turned 1, I stopped pumping during the day, and we continued nursing until just after her 2nd birthday, when I had to deploy overseas as the Weapons Control Officer on a Guided Missile Destroyer. 

I breastfed my 2nd daughter fairly easily, albeit, without ever being able to build up the huge freezer stash I was able to with my first. It probably was because I only got 6 weeks of maternity leave before I had to be back at work. When she was 3 months old, I flew with her and my oldest daughter to Bahrain to visit my husband, who was deployed there. The fact that she was breastfed made the trip so simple. She slept most of the 14 hour flight from Washington D.C. to Kuwait! No bottles to mix, no formula to drag along. Shortly after that trip, I left Active Duty Naval service, and started my first civilian job. I let my supervisor know that I would need a place to express my breastmilk throughout the day, and it had better not be a bathroom, thank you very much! A retired Master Chief himself, he ran all over base, finding an adequate space for me.

My supply tanked when my 2nd daughter was about 7-8 months, and I couldn’t figure out why. Then, oh! I’m pregnant! Surprise!! I cried every time my daughter would latch on; cracked, bleeding nipples were the order of the day. The scabs would dry onto my bra and as I would open my bra up to nurse, the scabs would rip off, starting the bleeding all over again. I finally called up a local IBCLC, Robin Kaplan, and cried over the phone about how miserable I was. She replied, “Annie, first rule: Feed the Baby. If you aren’t happy with the situation, transition to formula and quit breastfeeding.” So I did! I hung up my pump when my 2nd daughter was 9 months of age, and she weaned directly to an open cup (thank you Navy day care ladies for teaching her that!).

I gave birth to my 3rd daughter at home, and she took to breastfeeding like a champ. I took 8 weeks off of work, and then me and my pump started making the trek every 2-3 hours back to the pumping room at my place of employment. I keep my supply up by cosleeping with her and nursing throughout the night.

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Annie Laird is the podcast host of Preggie Pals (a sister show of The Boob Group podcast), a Certified Labor Doula, Lactation Educator, Navy Veteran, Navy Wife, Mom to 3 little girls, and a Government Contractor. She has breastfed all her kids while holding down a job (at times, multiple jobs) outside the home and is currently breastfeeding her almost 6 month old exclusively.
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Bipolar Parenting- The Fear My Children Would Be Better Off Motherless

by Joni Edelman

In 2005, my oldest sons were five and seven years old. On a summer afternoon I found them in a hurricane of kicks and slaps, a disagreement over legos or hot wheels. I raised my voice, yelling, STOP. Unfazed by my clenched fists, my volume, the anger in my eyes and in my scowl, their fighting continued. My rage reached boiling. I scanned the room. My eyes landed on a wooden chair near the door and brought it down on the hardwood floor in a crash, splinters flying, the flooring scratched. The fighting stopped and their expressions told a story of terror.

I remember those faces — still. It’s been 10 years.

***

In the summer of 1983 my best friend ever in the entire universe came to my house for a sleepover. My house was the best house for sleepovers. We had Twinkies and microwave popcorn, fruit roll-ups and A&W Root Beer — and all the things 9 year old’s dreams are made of. The cabinets were organized alphabetically; Twinkies by the Triscuits, popcorn by the Pasta-roni.

I had a daisy comforter and three decorative pillows, my own TV, and eight Cabbage Patch dolls. My mom would sometimes be gone all night — which only added to the allure.

Me and my best friend forever ate the popcorn, and everything else, and watched whatever was on TV (which wasn’t much). And went to sleep.

When we woke up Saturday morning, the house was quiet, and I had a new stepfather. Steve worked construction and smelled like stale cigarettes and tequila and freshly milled 2X4s. He yelled a lot. I didn’t like him. He had three pesky, filthy children, who I also didn’t like.

Friday night, my mom and Steve went to Vegas. And Saturday morning I had a new family. The next week, in the middle of a school day, my mom picked me up. From school we went to Steve’s house, which was dirty, remotely located, and surrounded by flooded groves of walnut trees and fields of cotton. I didn’t like it either.

I never saw my school — or my desk full of Hello Kitty pencils — again.

This may seem like odd behavior, because it is, but it wasn’t for me. Sudden changes in locale, housing, men, stepsiblings, schools, all typical. I loathed it. I was accustomed to it.

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Ten years later I was living on my own and helping my sixth stepfather raise my 4-year-old sister. My mom was living in some remote city in Northern California, with the addict who would ostensibly become my seventh stepfather. I was in college, married, pregnant, terrified.

In early adulthood the bipolar disorder that was my genetic destiny was pushed around — shuffled from doctor to doctor, city to city, misdiagnosis to misdiagnosis. Deeply distressed, consumed by sadness, it was just “postpartum depression.” If I had manic energy, it was “drive” or “passion” or “dedication.” Snap decisions, irresponsible, risky, promiscuous, it was just “life learning.” I never finished anything I started, something always got in the way. It was never Bipolar Disorder.

It was always Bipolar Disorder.

I wanted children, a family — stability to heal my wounds. And I knew the truth, I was very sick. I wanted desperately to be anyone but my mother, but, always suppressed, always explained away, I was exactly like my mother. All night sewing marathons, consuming obsession with fitness, organization, church, gardening, decor, 17 kinds of crafts. My magical thinking, my invincibility. The rage. The waves of crippling depression.

I had three children who were pushed aside, when I was sad, or busy, which was a lot of the time. I yelled. I cried. I retreated. I apologized. I did it all again — an infinite loop of dysfunction.

I wanted to be the best mother. The opposite of my mother. I wanted to do it all, and well. But  I wasn’t doing it well. I was doing what I could. But sometimes what you can do isn’t enough.

There was always fear, the fear of the unspoken truth, the elephant in the room — in my life, all around me —  as much as I didn’t want to be my mother, I was. I ignored it, ultimately medicating the long troughs of depression, celebrating the months of boundless energy, denying the dysfunctional behavior;  the out of control spending, the risk taking, the defiance, the promiscuity, the rage.

For 20 years.

***

When I was 40, I met my psychiatrist, a diminutive man, who drinks lattes and eats Sun Chips during my appointments. The man who mixed a complicated cocktail of psychiatric medications, and finally leveled my moods. The man that rose my depression, and stole my mania, and bridged the gap between crippling sadness and dangerous madness. The man who changed it all.

Despite the bridge, my moods still shift from time to time. Lately they’ve been low, I’ve planned my death seven different ways. And so we adjust my dosages. Three months ago they were high, high enough that I didn’t want to sleep. But I continued to swallow the usual pills, and the extra pills he prescribed to force the sleep I hate, to shut me down. We move my meds up and down, in spite of the sometimes crippling side effects. In the name of sanity. In the name of trying to be a safe place for my five children.

Bipolar Parenting, Joni Edelman

I’m still scared. I’m scared that the 10 years I lived in denial hurt my children, irreparably.  I’m scared that they will grow up and write something like this, recounting a childhood of fear and dysfunction. I’m scared that the cocktail that keeps me alive may stop working — that the depths of depression will take hold, and I won’t be able to shake it. And I will die. And leave them motherless.

I’m scared that they might be better off motherless.

I’m scared that one of them will have this cursed gift. I’m scared they will blame me, like I blamed her. I’m scared that someday I’ll be her, and not even know.

Every night I brush my teeth and I swallow five pills and I hope that I can be better, that I am better.

___________________________

IMG_0670 I’m Joni. I’m lucky enough to have 5 amazing kids (19, 16, 15, 4 and 2), one fantastic husband, an awesome sister and a yarn addiction. When I’m not raising up people I’m a freelance writer, RN, and the momma behind mommabare. Love is my religion. I like cake and crafty crap. And yoga. In that order. 
You can follow Joni on Instagram here and on Twitter here.
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