Why I am not passionate about breastfeeding

by Jessica Martin-Weber
TLB creed

“How did you become so passionate about breastfeeding?”

This question comes up often.  For a while I would hem and haw an answer, stringing together some words that were an attempt at sounding intelligent and reasonable as to why I would have created and continue to run The Leaky Boob.  Awkward and fumbling, I hoped it covered the truth.

I’m not passionate about breastfeeding.

My second daughter received formula starting at 4.5 months and by 5 months was completely formula fed.  The reasons are hardly the point of me sharing this fact.  It was, we believed, the right thing for our family at the time and, like these things are want to be, complicated.

I never felt guilty about it, never even thought about feeling guilty about it.  It just was.  I’d like to say she was perfectly healthy and no issues what so ever but that wasn’t our experience.  Between reflux that took months to resolve, constipation issues that took just as long and several expensive experiments, and then RSV, pneumonia, strep throat, multiple ear infections, and more than I care to recount, her first year was more difficult than I had ever anticipated.  Formula didn’t make it better, much it was exasperated by formula.  Still, through all that, guilt about stopping breastfeeding never occurred to me.  Nor did anger, bitterness, or even hurt.  I was sad, disappointed that it didn’t work for us but that didn’t last long and there wasn’t really anything I could do about it.  Fighting like hell to be able to breastfeed had taken a toll and I was confident that giving it up was actually better for my daughter and I by that point.

I was right.

Later, when I shared my story with someone they comforted me, telling me dealing with that guilt must have been hard.  Strange, I thought, why would I feel guilty?  In that moment and many moments later as I reflected on the guilt I didn’t have, my confidence in my parenting and decision making began to erode a bit.  Already struggling with postpartum depression, this little chink in the foundation of my parenting led to me believing that I was not fit to be a mother.  It wasn’t this person’s fault but I entered a place of shadows and shame, afraid that I couldn’t trust myself to make decisions for my children.

Time, therapy, medication, and some really good friends supporting me by encouraging me to see that I was not, in fact, a horrible mother, helped me turn things around.  Through that though, I began to understand something far more important than breastmilk or formula: confidence isn’t being right, confidence is more than believing in yourself to do the right thing, confidence is having peace with who you are even when you make mistakes.  With my confidence growing again, I moved forward with my husband, embracing that doing the right thing for our family wouldn’t always be an issue of black and white, A and B, or left and right, but rather a sensitivity for all parties involved doing the best we could with whatever circumstances we would face with whatever resources, information, and understanding we had available at the time.

My next baby was breastfed, up until 18 months we had an easy, simple breastfeeding relationship that working full time and caring for 2 other children only complimented, never hindered.  Weaning with her came unexpectedly when the single most difficult and devastating parenting experience we have encountered to date hit us: the sexual abuse of our two eldest by a very dear friend.

It was tempting to unravel in that time and in many ways I did.  But our daughters needed me.  Faking it often, I attempted confidence even as I asked how could I let this happen, how could I not see the signs, how could I… have failed so badly?

More time, therapy, and really incredible friends supporting us, we got through the investigation, trial, and agonizing fragmentation of our family.  Each step was in uncharted and sometimes lonely waters with swells of failure sweeping over me.  There was grief, pain, hurt, bitterness, doubt, and anger, so much anger.  My confidence wavered and so did my husband’s.  We considered a cabin in Montana and cutting off the outside world.

Our daughters didn’t need Montana though, they didn’t need to go off the grid and be isolated.  What our daughters needed most was someone, something to be a safe landing place for them.  That was us.  There was never a moment that I was sure we were doing everything right as we walked the path in search of justice and healing and there were plenty of people telling us how we should be doing it or how we were doing it wrong.  In the midst of the pain, grief, and anger, the truth we had learned before became an anchor along with our faith and love: confidence is having peace with who you are even when you make mistakes.  Our daughters needed us to have confidence to help them land softly.  There was space for us to be honest about our insecurities and fear but the greatest gift we could give our children along with our love was to have peace in our ability to love them well even through this.

Today, 9 years later, I know my husband and I are not perfect parents, we’ve made choices that we would change if we were to have the chance to make them again.  Maybe I would fight harder to be able to breastfeed my second baby longer.  Maybe I would have feed us all with better food.  Maybe I would have done things differently in our relationship with our daughters’ attacker.  Maybe I would handle the abuse another way.  Maybe.  I don’t really know.  But I do know that having peace in who we are, holding on to peace even as it shreds in my hands pounded by guilt, bitterness, and anger, helped our daughters find peace in who they are.  Together, we found healing.

Any more when I am asked why I’m so passionate about breastfeeding I tell the asker the truth: it’s not breastfeeding I’m passionate about.  I support moms in breastfeeding because of the gift of confidence breastfeeding can be.  Maybe it won’t be for everyone but for many it is, it was for me and so this is one way I can offer support.  The science and relationship bonding are compelling on their own but they aren’t why I talk about breastfeeding so much.  By not apologizing for our bodies, not suppressing our bodies, and having peace in who we are and how we are can help mothers find the confidence they are going to need for the really tough parts of parenting.  Feeding their children, be it breastmilk or formula, is one of the very first steps all parents must take, undermining their confidence there is insidious and damaging.  People that are confident are more free to love, learn, and live with joy.  Babies with confident parents have a place to land softly no matter what life throws at them.  I’m not passionate about breastfeeding, I never have been.  People are my passion.  People start out as babies.  Babies are cared for by parents.  Parents are people.

This may not make me popular in some circles, I don’t mind.  But I believe that having a hurt, angry, bitter mother struggling with their own confidence and ability to parent is far, far worse than feeding a baby formula could ever be.  I think breastmilk is great but I think caring for people is even greater.  The benefits of confident parenting far outweigh the risks.

I would never tell a woman, or anyone, what to do with their body nor what to do with their child.  Respecting their ability and responsibility in making the right decision for themselves and their family based on the circumstances they face with the information and resources available to them at that time means I don’t know what they should do.  All I can do is offer support, information, and encourage them to embrace their confidence and move forward with peace.

This is why at The Leaky Boob we believe:

Feed the baby, care for the mother, support the family.

But if you need some help or support to feed your baby how you want: we are here.

If you need help with how to correctly mix and prepare a formula bottle: we are here.

If you need help with breastfeeding: we are here.

If you need help going back to work and continuing to breastfeed: we are here.

If you need help weaning (at any age): we are here.

If you need help starting solids: we are here.

If you just want to talk: we are here.

 

Walk in confidence, live with peace, land softly.

 

Community.  Support.  TLB.

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DIY Earl Grey Tea Sugar Scrub-experimental recipe

by Kari Swanson

Earl Grey Tea Sugar Scrub

Earl Grey Tea Sugar Scrub

Last holiday season I gave 4oz jelly jars of homemade sugar scrub to friends and family as gifts.  I used a recipe I found online customized for the fragrances that I thought friends and family would enjoy.  Recently I have started to experiment with the recipe.  This is my current experiment.

Ingredients:

Honey, Organic Coconut Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Organic Sugar, Vitamin E, Earl Grey Tea Flavoring, Lemon Essential Oil, loose Earl Grey tea leaves

Honey, Organic Coconut Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Organic Sugar, Vitamin E, Earl Grey Tea Flavoring, Lemon Essential Oil, loose Earl Grey tea leaves

1 1/2 cups of organic sugar

1/4 cup of organic coconut oil

1/4 cup of sunflower seed oil

1 tblsp of local honey

6-8 drops of lemon essential oil

8-10 drops of Earl Grey tea flavoring

a few drops of Vitamin E oil (optional)

2 tsp of loose Earl Grey tea leaves

 

 

Place sugar in the bottom of a large glass bowl and drop the coconut and sunflower oils in on top.

P8110713-300x225-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add drops of lemon essential oil and tea flavoring to the top of the coconut oil

Coconut Oil is a solid at temperatures below 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coconut Oil is a solid at temperatures below 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wear (non-latex) rubber gloves and mix by hand.  Add the honey and Vitamin E oil and continue mixing.

When the sugar, oils and fragrances are thoroughly combined add the loose tea leaves and continue to mix until the tea leaves are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

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I put my sugar scrubs in glass canning jars.  The blue jar at the top of the page is a limited edition Ball Heritage Collection pint jar.  If you don’t have canning jars you could use any container with a lid that seals.

Sugar scrubs are great for dry skin.  They leave your skin soft and smooth.

 

kariswansonTLB

 

Kari Swanson is a daughter, sister, wife, mother of two, librarian, member of Generation X and an admin for The Leaky B@@b Facebook page.   Kari blogs occasionally over at Thoughts from BookishMama.

 

This post was originally posted on Thoughts from BookishMama.

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The Vintage Honey Shop Giveaway

Jennifer and Melissa, the creative ladies of The Vintage Honey Shop, love to share beautiful things with the world, as you clearly notice when you visit their Shop.  So when they recently did a photoshoot of nursing moms outdoors on furniture you would expect to see in someone’s home, they were so pleased with the results that they wanted to share them too!  Jenifer and Melissa answered a few questions for us below, and we all hope that the following images and giveaway help brighten your day.

View More: http://christinacampbell.pass.us/vintaghoney

TLB:  The Vintage Honey Shop has such a charming, classic feel, as the name suggests.  What do you use for inspiration with your necklaces and other products?

Jennifer & Melissa:  We love vintage & modern designs!  We named our shop, The Vintage Honey Shop, because of our love of vintage designs, but also because we love the color yellow…that deep vintage honey yellow….thus our name was born!  We wanted to reflect our love of vintage & modern in our shop.  We didn’t even start out making nursing/teething necklaces.  They sort of found us!  We began making fabric beaded necklaces because frankly, they are really pretty!  After we started making them we found that they made great teething & nursing necklaces!  Unfortunately, our little ones were past the teething & nursing stage when we made these…but boy do we wish we would have made them when we were breastfeeding!!  Would have helped out SO much!!  Our shop has evolved into something awesome & great!  It is something that we are proud of & believe in!  But if you would have told us three years ago when we opened the shop that we would be rockin’ the teething & nursing world…we wouldn’t have believed you! :)  We have a love of fabric…we choose fabrics based on how it makes us ‘feel’!  If we see it & it makes us smile or jump up & down (yes, fabric sometimes makes Jennifer do that!)…then we buy it!  The same goes for our paper products…pretty paper just makes us happy!  When we are happy…then we hope that comes across in our products & designs

View More: http://christinacampbell.pass.us/vintaghoney

TLB:  I’ve heard that you recently had a fun photoshoot; did it really involve couches, fields and babies?  That sounds very unique. What was your favorite part of the photoshoot?

Jen & Mel:  Oh my goodness, that photoshoot was so much fun!  We had been planning this shoot for over six months.  We wanted to do a photoshoot that showcased our necklaces being used by real moms & their babies!  So we asked a few of our mom friends to see if they would be in our photoshoot, called our photographer to set up a date & time, and began planning the shoot!  We love that our necklaces are natural…we just natural, unfinished bead & rings in our necklaces…and we wanted to reflect that by having our photoshoot outdoors in a field.  Being a mom & breasfeeding your baby is very natural, so we wanted to take what we do naturally in our homes to the outdoors!  So we set up a bed, couch, rocking chair & vintage quilt outside in a beautiful field!

View More: http://christinacampbell.pass.us/vintaghoneyView More: http://christinacampbell.pass.us/vintaghoney
View More: http://christinacampbell.pass.us/vintaghoneyView More: http://christinacampbell.pass.us/vintaghoney

TLB:  Were there any particular challenges involved?

Jen & Mel:  A week before our photoshoot, the bed we had planned to use fell through.  We panicked!  The bed shot was super important to us so we searched all over craigslist & asked around to see if we could find the kind of bed we were looking for.  About 4 days before the shoot, Melissa found an old, nasty bed frame sitting outside of craft & furniture store.  It was in super bad shape…it was falling apart & it had bird poop all over it!  Gross, we know!  But it was the style we wanted & it was only $10!  So Melissa picked it up & we cleaned, added a wood decal to it & painted it a beautiful yellow color.  It look completely different…you would have no idea it was the same beaten up frame!  Then the day of the shoot, everything that could go wrong did!  It began to rain, we had babysitting issues & Melissa’s electricity went out so she could not do her hair for the shoot!  Everything ended up working out…the rain stopped & Melissa was able to get her hairdesser to fit her in to do her hair!  Once we arrived at our shoot location, everything came together beautifully!  Everything we had envisioned for our shoot had turned out even better than we planned!  The babies were hams, the moms looked stunning & all the babies took to the necklaces right away!  It was amazing!

TLB:  Could you tell us a bit about your photographer?

Jen & Mel:  We have the best photographer!  Christina Campbell of Eternal Treasures Photography in Murfreesboro, TN  was the photographer of this photoshoot & another one we had last year.  She was so patient with our moms & babes.  When we contacted her & told her what we wanted to do, she didn’t even bat an eye about us taking photographs of moms nursing their lil ones on a living room couch in the middle of a field!  She is such a sweetheart…we joke around that we need to keep having photoshoots just so that we can hang out with her!

TLB:  Is there anything else that you would like The Leaky Boob community to know about?

Jen & Mel:  We are both moms & wives first, then we are the owners & designers with The Vintage Honey Shop.  Jennifer has three boys ages 10, 5 & 3.  She has been married to her highschool sweetheart for almost 16 years! Jennifer does the sewing, ordering fabric, manages the majority of our social media & makes the necklaces and bracelets.  Melissa is mom to her daughter, 9, and son, 6.  She too married her highschool sweetheart over 17 years ago!  On the weekends she is a critical care nurse that specializes in cardiac care.  Melissa is our paper girl!  She makes all of our cupcake toppers & paper rosette balls.  While Melissa rocks the paper part of our shop, she also helps in handmaking our necklaces too!  Melissa is the one responsible for shipping & hand wrapping all of our orders!

We really love what we do.  We love it that we make products that help moms feel beautiful & that help with their teething & nursing babies.  We are proud of our shop & we strive for excellence in all that we do!  We hope that this is reflected in our products & shop!

 

View More: http://christinacampbell.pass.us/vintaghoneyView More: http://christinacampbell.pass.us/vintaghoney

 

Jennifer & Melissa are giving away one teething ring necklace to 3  lucky Leakies (winner’s choice).
Retail Value: $25.00

 

View More: http://christinacampbell.pass.us/vintaghoney

Currently Leakies can find these and other nursing/teething necklaces in The Vintage Honey Shop website.
Additionally, Jennifer and Melissa are offering you a 15% discount for their store from now through July 25!  Use coupon code tlb15

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from July 12, 2013 through July 18, 2013.  A big thanks to Melissa and Jennifer and The Vintage Honey Shop for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page  or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.  You can also find them on Instagram and Pinterest!

This giveaway is open to international entries.

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Naked Nursing Tank On TV! Giveaway

Jen and Carrie, the WAHMs (Work At Home Moms) behind The Naked Nursing Tank, recently had the opportunity to go on live television on a famous Canadian morning show, Marilyn Denis.  This was such an exciting opportunity for them that they wanted to share it with The Leaky Boob community and celebrate with a giveaway!  

Marilyn Denis Show 2

TLB:  So set the stage for us a bit.  What show were you on (help us Americans out here), and why were you there?

Jen & Carrie:  We were featured on The Marilyn Denis Show, a talk show  that is based in Toronto and is aired across Canada, nationwide.  It was a Mompreneurs show featuring a panel of experts, including Arlene Dickinson, who is famous for her regular part on The Dragon’s Den -the Canadian version of The Shark Tank.

TLB:  I have never been on a morning show (in front of a national audience!) before; what was that like?

Jen & Carrie:  It was AMAZING!!!  We were so fortunate to have been able to have had this opportunity! It was such a knowledgeable group of people to ask our questions to about how to expand our business globally with a sustainable platform. There was also opportunity to follow up “off-air” which gave us more time to pick their brains and connect on a personal level, learning more about future next steps. Let us just say that it was also pretty amazing to have our hair and makeup done (that is a rarity amongst most working mothers) ;)

TLB:  Thank you for the shout out in the video, by the way!  : )  What did you take away from this experience?  Was it helpful?

Jen & Carrie: No Problem, we love you guys, and we have nothing but GREAT things to say about a forum such as yours!  The experience was definitely helpful.  We have had follow up emails and phone conversations with the women that were on the show with us and we have been given suggestions on how to  keep moving forward and reach the global market of breastfeeding mamas.  In addition, with the enormous amount of emails and positive feedback, we’ve realized that the Naked Tank needs to be in the hands of EVERY mother -as it really is changing the experience of nursing in public and feeling more comfortable while doing so.

TLB:  Did you develop any new plans for the future of The Naked Nursing Tank?

Jen & Carrie:  Yes, absolutely!  We have started production of Plus sized tanks, which should be ready to go by the end of the summer, and we also have another little genius idea up our sleeve as well…stay tuned for the launch of that complementary patented product!! :)

TLB:  Do you have any plans to return to live TV any time soon?

Jen & Carrie: There is always something in the works…and listen, if we could get our hair and makeup done again, we would do it every day!! LOL!! Just say the word :)

Marilyn Denis Show nursing 2

To watch the video from the Marilyn Denis show featuring Melissa and Jennifer of Naked Nursing Tank, click on the image above.

 

Carrie and Jen are giving away 2 different prizes to 2 lucky Leakies.  The prizes are:

1. Luxury Bamboo Naked Nursing Tank: Ultra-soft Bamboo in your choice of Lily White or Midnight Black  Retail Value: $39.99 CAD

2. Classic Cotton Naked Nursing Tank: Firm weighted super soft cotton/lycra fabric in your choice of Charcoal Grey or Platinum Light Grey   Retail Value: $29.99 CAD

4. Both Bamboo Tanks Together7. Before-After

Currently Leakies can find these and other  breastfeeding Naked Nursing Tank items on the  www.thenakedtank.com website.

Kathleen and Yvonne  

Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from July 9, 2013 through July 18, 2013.  A big thanks to Jen and Carrie and The Naked Nursing Tank for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit  them on Facebook or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is open to international entries.

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Momzelle Giveaway

When is a business more than a business?  When it cares about something other than “the bottom line.”  That’s what we love about our TLB sponsors.  Though these companies care about many different social and environmental causes, there is one thing that they all have in common: encouraging families on their breastfeeding journey.  One such company is Momzelle.  Read on as Christine, the woman behind this Canadian TLB sponsor, shares about how Momzelle cares about breastfeeding moms and enter for your chance to win a fun and comfortable nursing top!

Christine Poirier co-founder of Momzelle

TLB:  You make a variety of simple and very elegant tops for expecting and nursing women.  What are some of the values that you incorporate into the design of your clothing?

Christine Poirier:  I design the tops for mothers who love and care for their babies, nursing them night or day, and the tops reflect these values of love and care. The materials are soft and stretchy, meant to be comforting to the mother and to the baby who will be nursing and holding on to it. Freedom is also one of the values that go in the design of the clothing. The tops are meant to provide freedom to the mothers, who can nurse anywhere, and to the babies, who can feed anywhere. The tops have practical and simple nursing openings meant to ease new moms into their new motherly task of nursing.

TLB:  What kind of feedback have you received from the moms wearing your clothes?

Christine Poirier:  The comments we receive are overwhelmingly positive. One of the good things about the Momzelle website is that each product has its reviews posted next to it, with little stars that help choose what’s best. Some moms wonder why they did not get one before, others say that the Momzelle nursing tops are the best nursing tops they own. One of my favorite comment came from a mom who wanted to show her newborn to her relatives in a different state. She had to fly there and she was distressed at the idea of nursing her baby next to a stranger in the plane. She received her nursing top in time for her flight and she said it saved the trip. She was very thankful. This is what we are all about: helping women feel good about breastfeeding, no matter where they are.

TLB:  I know that you like to find ways to support women directly.  What are some of the ways that you are involved in supporting expecting and breastfeeding women?

Christine Poirier:  You should have a a look at our Facebook page! We have over 9700 fans and we post fun breastfeeding pics, jokes and inspiring quotes on a daily basis. That’s the fun bit. On the other serious side, we also have an informative section on our website and blog, where we post articles from my favorite doctor and breastfeeding specialist, Dr. Jack Newman. Outside of the web, I really like to encourage breastfeeding support groups like La Leche League and the activities that they organize. We do so by providing prizes for their events and by sponsoring them. We do the same for events that go across the board, like the yearly breastfeeding challenge (when groups across North America compete in a friendly way to get the most babies at the breast at the same time on the same day).  A couple of years ago, our efforts in supporting breastfeeding women were recognized when we won the “Best Socially-Minded Business Award” from the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. We are quite proud!

300 - Nursing band nursing baby

Christine Poirier of Momzelle nursing clothing is giving away a fun and comfy T-shirt to 3 lucky Leakies.

This comfortable Momzelle nursing T-shirt is made of 95% cotton, 5% spandex, comes in your choice of black or fuchsia, and says: “I make milk.  What’s your superpower?.”  Retail Value: $46.00

020- T-shirt with I make milk print black

Currently Leakies can find this fabulous nursing top and other breastfeeding items in the Momzelle website.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from June 4, 2013 through June 11, 2013.  A big thanks to Christine and Momzelle for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page  or follow them on twitter  (@momzelle on Twitter) and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway open to US and Canada entries.

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Snugabell giveaway

Being a mom herself, Snugabell’s Wendy Bell is all about supporting moms.  Designing products that help moms reach their breastfeeding goals with a flair for style, Wendy is a sincere supporter not just of breastfeeding but also of the moms and babies it matters to.  I’m privileged to call Wendy my friend and excited to have her share more about her company, her breastfeeding journey, and extend her support to all TLB readers.

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TLB:  Hi Wendy, I always love when we get to feature Snugabell and your brilliant PumpEase line here on TLB.  You’ve supported TLB for a while now and have seen first hand through your support of Best For Babes, TLB and virtual breastfeeding support, how moms can come together and the difference mom-to-mom support can make.  What are some of your favorite examples of mom-to-mom support?

Wendy:  I have to confess that I am a little bit envious of the support that moms have online today.  I had a few issues breastfeeding my daughters (nothing major, but it was worrisome nonetheless) and thus reached out to my GP and a dietician at my local health unit, and also scoured the internet for hours on end, however all I found was conflicting (mis)information.  Those were the days before Facebook and Twitter.  Heck, I hadn’t even heard of KellyMom.com back then.  I felt alone and frustrated.  So this is an example of what potentially can happen without mom-to-mom support, how far we’ve come and what a huge impact it has today for a mom to ‘hear’, “Oh that happened to me too when my DD was that age.  It’s just a nursing strike”.  That feeling that you’re not alone in your breastfeeding journey, especially for first-time moms, is extremely powerful.

TLB:  What kind of support did you have in your breastfeeding journey?  Did you have someone or someones that were instrumental in providing support for you?

Wendy:  My GP is very pro-breastfeeding.  I remember telling him that I was going to add cereal to my first daughter’s bottle (of pumped breastmilk) to help her sleep longer at night (yup, I didn’t know any better – I was listening to the aunts and grandmas!) and he pretty much told me NOT to do that.  The nurse at his office was so encouraging too.  When I brought my eldest daughter in for her first post-delivery check-up, she weighed her and proceeded to give me major kudos on her weight gain.  It made me feel so proud as I had no idea what I was doing (or so I thought).  My family were all very supportive as well; no one was freaked out by a nursing mama; it was all good!  I didn’t feel super confident nursing in public (like in a mall) however, as I didn’t know about baby wearing either back then and therefore was trying to use a receiving blanket.  I know I would have worn my baby had I been better informed.  (In fact, for a few years after DD#2 was born and I had already started Snugabell and learned so much, I often told my husband that I wished I could have another baby if only to put into practice all this amazing new information!)

TLB:  You have a couple of new products as part of this giveaway; could you tell us about them and how these products help support moms in their breastfeeding journey?

Wendy:  Our ‘Through a Child’s Eyes’’colouring book was designed to help further normalize breastfeeding and pumping and to discover the beauty of breastfeeding!  The warm, inviting drawings and likable characters make it easy to answer curious qustions and keep little hands busy while teaching helpful lessons.  I love colouring with my girls and hope other moms do too!  You can even design your own PumpEase and share it on our Facebook wall!

Our fabulous new, all-purpose, reusable PumpEase Wet Bag is designed to transport all brands of breast pump personal kits (bottles, flanges and tubes) ‘incognito’.  It features a snap-loop handle and looks so cute decked out in matching PumpEase prints that no one will ever guess what’s inside.  Lined with waterproof PUL (you cloth-diapering mamas know what that is!  For those that don’t, it stands for Polyurethane Laminate and is a compound fabric made by laminating fabric to a thin film of polyurethane, thus creating a water barrier), you will find plenty of uses for it even after you’ve hung up your pump flanges – diaper changes on-the-go, keeping electronics safe at the pool, potty training, snacks, travel, cosmetics and much, much more!

TLB:  How does Snugabell actively cultivate mom-to-mom support?  How can Leakies connect with Snugabell and what will they find for support with you?

Wendy:  When we first hired the amazing Amy West to manage our Facebook and Twitter, she asked me what my goal was for those spaces.  I told her I wanted to build a community; it had NOTHING to do with sales.  Amy (CLC) and Hillary (studying to be a doula and still nursing her 21-month old son) co-manage our social media now and I (CLE) jump in when I can.  We provide evidence-based information, support, encourage support from our community and refer to an IBCLC as appropriate.  Gosh, sometimes a mom just needs an ear!

I am super-duper proud of the fantastic communities that we have cultivated in both arenas and am continually inspired by the conversations that happen there.  Leakies can find us on Twitter @PumpEase and @snugabell (that’s me) as well as on our Snugabell Facebook page.  Be sure to say “Hi!” and that you are visiting from The Leaky Boob!  :-)

TLB:  Thank you so much for supporting TLB and your generous giveaway providing support to these moms.  What would you encourage moms to consider in offering mom-to-mom support?  Any tips for finding and giving such support?

Wendy: I believe the key is to refrain from judging other moms’ choices or circumstances that led them to (believe they) had no choice.  I was there.  Again, if I were to have my first baby tomorrow, I would change a LOT.  This is what keeps my judgy pants off and my compassion glasses on.  We’re all in this together (creating the next generation that is), so let’s lift mamas up rather than beat them down.  We’re all doing the best that we can with the knowledge that we have.  And if I were looking for support today, I would turn to the internet, no question.

A&M_April_2013

Wendy’s children

Wendy is giving away one PumpEase Prize Pack featuring:

  1. PumpEase hands-free pumping bra  Retail Value: $38.00
  2. Matching PumpEase Wet Bag  Retail Value: $14.00
  3. Through a Child’s Eyes – Colouring Book  Retail Value: $12.00

Total Value: $64.00 USD

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Currently Leakies can find these and other maternity, nursing and hands-free pumping products on the snugabell.com website.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from May 24, 2013 through May 30, 2013.  A big thanks to Wendy and Snugabell for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page, follow Wendy on Twitter and follow PumpEase on Twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

Snugabell will ship worldwide.

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Fairhaven Health Fertility Giveaway

Fairhaven Health has been a TLB sponsor for quite some time now.  We have come to know them as a company that supports breastfeeding women by providing helpful information regarding the health and diet of expecting and nursing moms, and we’ve enjoyed a few giveaways on TLB of helpful products for breastfeeding moms.  But that’s not all there is to Fairhaven Health.  In the following interview, Suzanne answers questions related to the other side of the company: fertility.  And following the interview is your chance to enter a fertility related giveaway.

Munson Family

Suzanne of Fairhaven Health, and her family

TLB:  Tell us a bit about the fertility side of Fairhaven Health.

Suzanne:  Fairhaven Health has been in the “fertility” business for more than a decade, and has helped thousands of couples achieve pregnancy naturally by providing scientifically-validated dietary supplements for enhancing female and male fertility, along with ovulation prediction tools to help couples identify the fertile days in a woman’s menstrual cycle. If you are trying to become pregnant naturally (or avoid pregnancy, for that matter), accurate ovulation prediction is vital. It is important for couples to understand that there are actually only a few days during each menstrual cycle that intercourse will result in conception – the so-called fertile window. If couples are not having intercourse during the fertile window, in the few days before and on the day of ovulation, they will not get pregnant.

Many women chart their basal body temperatures as a way to track ovulation. This giveaway features Fairhaven Health’s  ibasal – a computerized digital basal thermometer.

TLB:  How do you predict ovulation by tracking your basal body temperature (BBT)?

Suzanne:  Basal body temperature (known as BBT in the acronym-laden TTC world) is the temperature at which your body rests. Charting BBT is one of the tried and true methods for determining when during your cycle ovulation occurs. By taking your BBT accurately and consistently first thing every morning throughout your menstrual cycle, you will be able to detect the natural, yet very subtle, rise in your basal body temperature that occurs just after ovulation. This thermal shift is caused by the hormone progesterone, sometimes referred to as the “warming hormone”.  Immediately following ovulation, the corpus luteum (the remnants of the ovarian follicle that released the egg) begins to produce progesterone. The increased amount of progesterone is necessary to help ensure a fertilized egg can implant successfully into the wall of the uterus, and it also causes the body to warm up, which is reflected in an increase in the BBT.

But, like with other fertility charting methods, there is some variability in the way that women experience the thermal shift. In general, many women will notice a “biphasic” pattern to their chart, with relatively low temperatures before ovulation and slightly higher temperatures after ovulation. It is important to note that this BBT shift is actually quite subtle, with temperatures typically rising by only .4 degrees F (.2 degrees C) after ovulation, and sometimes even less. Some women will see a rapid rise in their BBT, and others will see an incremental rise. Due to this variability, it is important for you to chart for several cycles to understand the specific way in which you experience this BBT shift. But, once you have a good understanding of your own BBT chart, you will be able to accurately predict your fertile days and time intercourse accordingly.

TLB:  How is the ibasal different than other BBT thermometers out there?

Suzanne:  Unlike other digital (or glass) BBT thermometers, the ibasal is an “intelligent” thermometer. In addition to accurately recording and storing your BBT data, the ibasal contains a proprietary algorithm that allows it to analyze and interpret BBT data in order to make a fertility prediction. The ibasal also allows you to record additional information about her menstrual cycle, including bleeding, cramping, and cervical mucus consistency. After a couple cycles of consistent use, the ibasal will use all of the data it receives (BBT and any other fertility data) to determine your daily fertility status.

TLB:  What are some of the features of the ibasal that make charting BBT convenient?

Suzanne:  For BBT charting to be a reliable and accurate ovulation prediction tool, it is essential that you take your BBT at the same time every morning. For this reason, the ibasal requires that you set the internal alarm clock, and once set, it will only allow you to take a temperature reading at that set time. Like any other annoying alarm clock, the ibasal alarm will sound continuously (for 10 minutes!) until you take her temperature – a guarantee that you will be collecting accurate BBT data.

TLB:  Tell us about OvaGraph.com.

Suzanne:  A couple of years ago, Fairhaven Health launched OvaGraph.com, a FREE online fertility charting community. At OvaGraph.com, you can store and view (in graphs and calendars) your BBT data, as well as data from electronic fertility monitors (such as the OvaCue) and other menstrual cycle data (including results from urine test sticks and cervical mucus changes). And, your FREE membership at OvaGraph.com provides you with the opportunity to interact with a supportive and knowledgeable community of women on all topics related to fertility and pregnancy.

Fertility

Fairhaven Health is giving away 1 ibasal computerized digital basal thermometer to 2 lucky Leakies.

The ibasal is a computerized digital basal thermometer and fertility monitor that helps you maximize your chances of conceiving by accurately measuring your BBT and interpreting this data to produce a fertility prediction in advance of ovulation.

Retail Value: $59.95

ibasalbox-lowrez Currently Leakies can find the ibasal and other helpful “trying-to-conceive” products at FairhavenHealth.com.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from May 22, 2013 through May 28, 2013.  A big thanks to Fairhaven Health for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page  or follow them on twitter  and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

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Boba Giveaway

I had the opportunity to meet Boba founders Robert and Elizabeth Antunovic and their 4 children at their office and warehouse a couple of weeks ago in Denver, Colorado.  This delightful family and rest of the Boba family are so warm and open, truly a caring group of people so it’s no wonder that their products would be an extension of their personalities and who they are.  With innovative design, quality production, and a touch of whimsy, Boba’s carriers have something for everyone that wants to babywear.  Having tried the Boba 3G, the Boba Air, and the Boba wrap, I have experienced that intentional care myself and it helps me care for my family.  We love the versatility, ease of use, and how comfortable all their carriers are and a great bonus is that all of them have been breastfeeding friendly!  Hope you enjoy learning more about this company and good luck on the giveaway!

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Elizabeth Antunovic, Co-founder and mother of four

TLB:  Boba is a funny-sounding name.  Where did it come from?

Elizabeth:  Yes, some think of the chewy round tapioca goodness sucked through a wide straw. Others think Star Wars. Spanish speakers may think of something silly.

We started out as sleepy wrap as you may know and put it out there that we were looking for a new name when we introduced our hot soft structured carriers to the world.  ”Sleepy” was descriptive as the wrap was indeed a tranquilizer. But we needed a name.

It was actually suggested by my dear wise mama friend.

BOulder BAby she said (I guess it could also be BOlder BAby)  Boba.

Not that profound. But something to chew on. something with character.  perfect nonetheless.

TLB:  We have discovered that there are a whole lot of infant carrier companies out there.  What do you think makes Boba stand out?

Elizabeth:  I could list all the features, sing praises of the leg support, the high back and not having to buy a darn waist extender if you are plus size.  Alas if you mamas are anything like I am you’ll research and compare baby carriers so much that you could probably write a dissertation.  We care. That’s the difference.  I have been having babies since we started. I have carried my sons and daughters, nursed them, consoled them, sung to them, moved with them pretty much every day for the last seven years. There is always something that can be done better.  So we assess and tweak and adjust the carrier so that you can move the baby to a lower position to nurse in it using just your two thumbs, so that you can bring your phone with you, so that your purse doesn’t fall off your shoulder while you’re holding your toddler’s hand, so that your older baby doesn’t get welts on the back of his thighs.  My husband and I are “in” it. Living it. Researching it. Spreading the light on all that is possible when you wear your baby.

TLB:  Have you used carriers with your own children?  Would you share a couple of particularly memorable moments from your own experience?

Elizabeth:  The only time that I haven’t worn my kids in the last decade is the latter parts of pregnancies when my blooming belly would not stand for it.  I have baby worn while riding a camel in Egypt but I won’t get into that :)  I have worn my babies while at the pumpkin patch, in rickshaws in Asia, watching the water buffalo on the banks of the holy Ganges river, hiking the Julien Alps, milking a goat in Serbia, mushroom picking in Slovenia, while exploring the ancient mud city of Bam, Iran, and of course every time I go to Target!

In the beginning of the business it was far from a life of play.  There was some serious dedication.  Long long hours.  Thank God these wraps were comfortable. They had to be. I wore my babies while sweating under mosquito nets and answering customer service emails. I wore my babies’ coordinating photo shoots.  I wore them during the days of website revamps and tradeshows and hours of learning the strings of social media.  I wore them while reading any books that I could get my hands on about preemies and skin to skin, ergonomics, hip dysplasia, and proprioception.

They say that the cobbler’s son is always barefoot.

Not me.  I couldn’t live without my carriers.  So practical.  So magically unifying.

Thanks for your time!

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Boba is giving away four different prizes to three lucky Leakies.  The prizes are:

1. Boba Wrap (one winner)
The Boba Wrap is the perfect wrap style carrier – with its unique fabric blend and the no-guesswork tying, it is a great choice for beginners and advanced babywearers alike, and is especially great for use with newborns. Retail Value: $38.00 

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2. Boba Carrier 3G and matching Boba Mini (one winner)
Ideal for babies and toddlers alike, the Boba Carrier 3G may be converted to a newborn carrier without an infant insert or any additional items and used well into toddlerhood. Our ergonomic design includes features to make breastfeeding easy on the go, maximizes comfort with multiple adjustments, and with lots of designs to choose from, Boba Carrier 3G is the perfect fit for your entire family.  Retail Value: $125.00

The Boba Mini is designed for carrying dolls and toys to help spread the joy of babywearing to children all over the world. It is made with 100% cotton like our Boba Carrier 3G and can be worn by children 3 years and upRetail Value: $29.95

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Boba.Mini

3. Boba Air (one winner)
The Boba Air is simple to use, ultra lightweight and ergonomic! Similar in design to our popular soft structured carrier, but made of high tech nylon and weighing just 11 ounces, it is the perfect carrier for travelers or any parent on the go – when you’re done, just fold, zip & stash in.  Retail Value: $65.00

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Currently Leakies can find these and other babywearing items in the Boba website at www.bobafamily.com or at a Boba baby carrier retailer near you.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from May 2, 2013 through May 8, 2013.  A big thanks to Elizabeth and Boba for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page  or follow them on twitter  (@Boba on Twitter) and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

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Earth Day Giveaway

Happy Earth Day, TLB followers!  It seems fitting that Earth Mama Angel Baby would have a giveaway with us today, considering “Earth” is an integral part of their name.  As you can gage from the following interview, Earth Mama Angel Baby is looking out for the Earth as they create products that are good for mamas and babies.  Find our more about this TLB sponsor, and enter the giveaway below. 

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TLB:  What makes breastfeeding eco-friendly?

Melinda:  It’s to-go meals without any waste! No bottles, no formula, no transport costs. Of course you can buy things that make breastfeeding easier, or more comfortable, or more efficient for you, but at its simplest, breastfeeding is completely self-sustaining.

TLB:  How does Earth Mama’s mission support eco-friendly breastfeeding?

Melinda:  Everything Earth Mama does is about providing safe, comforting products for the benefit of mamas and babies. That includes Mother Earth. We use organic and sustainably grown herbs and continually refine products as organic ingredients or more efficient herbs are available. We make the extra effort to certify our products, and use certified organic herbs because “certified organic” is the only way you can know for sure an herb was planted, grown, harvested and handled in a safe and sustainable way. Of course there are no petrochemicals, artificial ingredients or toxins in any Earth Mama product, ever. We choose green and toxin-free business practices because we have a company-wide commitment to honor the earth and her valuable resources. It isn’t just breastfeeding, we approach every aspect of pregnancy and childbirth in a eco-minded way.

TLB:  Which products specifically support breastfeeding?

Melinda:  USDA Certified 100% Organic Milkmaid Tea helps support healthy breast milk production naturally, with time- and science-tested herbs known to help increase milk supply. Natural Nipple Butter is certified organic by Oregon Tilth and helps soothe sore, cracked nipples without petrochemicals or lanolin (which many mamas avoid due to concerns about allergies and pesticide residue). Booby Tubes® are 100% natural, gel-free breast packs that can be used warm or cold, depending on what breasts need!

TLB:  Would you call yourselves eco-minded, tree-hugging, peace mamas? 

Melinda:  We love to sign our correspondence, “Peace, love and Natural Nipple Butter for All!” so yeah, I guess you could say that!

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 Earth Mama Angel Baby is giving away 3 Breastfeeding Essentials Bundles to 3 lucky Leakies
(one per winner).  

Retail Value: $44.09 each

The Breastfeeding Essentials Bundle offers soothing comfort to nourish a new mama’s breasts, so she can nourish her angel baby, naturally.

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Currently Leakies can find the Breastfeeding Essentials Bundle and other organic pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care items on the Earth Mama Angel Baby website.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from April 22, 2013 through April 30, 2013.  A big thanks to Earth Mama Angel Baby for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page  or follow them on twitter  (@EarthMamaHQ on Twitter) and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

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One Creative Mama Giveaway

You all may know Judy Masucci from A Mother’s Boutique – she has been a long-time sponsor of The Leaky Boob, a mom and a breastfeeding advocate.  Well, she’s back with a new venture – One Creative Mama – cute breastfeeding advocacy gear for babies.  What a great way to show the world how much you and your little one love breastfeeding!  Judy is excited to introduce you to her new company and give 5 lucky Leakies some great gear too!

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TLB:  What should TLB readers know about One Creative Mama?

Judy:  One Creative Mama was founded by a mom, lactation educator and breastfeeding advocate.  Her name was Sarah – and I used to purchase her items for my store.  About 2-3 years ago, Sarah stopped making the One Creative mama items because she has changed her focus to in-person mentoring of moms instead of making products.  So I decided to buy the business and give it a new look.  I took all of Sarah’s great breastfeeding advocacy sayings and made them into cute colorful shirts and rompers – so that babies can tell the world just how much they love breastfeeding!

TLB:  What’s the inspiration behind One Creative Mama?

Judy:  I am a huge breastfeeding advocate.  When the original owner of One Creative Mama decided that she wasn’t going to continue with her business anymore, I decided to carry on where she left off.  I love her creative sayings and I knew that I could build this business into a way for moms and babies to express themselves and their love for nursing in a cute, whimsical way.  It gives moms a chance to show off their babies and it tells the world that bresatfeeding is so normal – it’s on a baby’s shirt!

TLB:  How is breastfeeding advocacy important and how does One Creative Mama support breastfeeding?

Judy:  Normalizing breastfeeding is so important because when something is “normal” then everything gets easier.  Women won’t have to worry about being scorned for breastfeeding or asked to leave their location.  We have laws in place, but the best way to help normalize breastfeeding is to do it – openly and publically.  And wearing shirts that tell the world you are breastfeeding also serve to normalize it.  So for mom and baby – we make cute, whimsical shirts and rompers that are fun to wear and fun to give as gifts.  And for the world – it’s one small step toward the normalization of breastfeeding as the normal way of feeding your baby.

TLB:  What’s your favorite breastfeeding tip?

Judy:  My favorite tip is to stick with it.  In the early days, everything is difficult and lack of sleep can make it seem like it won’t get any easier.  But if you stick with it through the early days, it will get easier and you will get to enjoy a wonderful bonding session with your baby time and time again.

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Judy is giving away 3 different prizes to 5 lucky Leakies.

The prizes are:

  1. A One Creative Mama Baby Romper – your choice of saying, size and color – Five great sayings to choose from.  Retail Value: $17.99 – ONE winner
  2. A One Creative Mama Baby Shirt – your choice of saying, size and color – Five great sayings to choose from.  Retail Value: $12.99 – TWO winners
  3. A One Creative Mama Baby Bib – your choice of saying and color – Five great sayings to choose from.  Retail Value: $10.99 – TWO winners

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Currently Leakies can find these and other great breastfeeding and baby items on the One Creative Mama website.  

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from April 17, 2013 through April 23, 2013.  A big thanks to Judy and One Creative Mama for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page  or follow them on twitter  (@OneCreativeMama on Twitter) and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

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