Every day is breastfeeding day

World Breastfeeding Month/Week is great, a time to raise awareness, share information, celebrate, do crazy huge giveaways, encourage, and share stories.  But I have to be honest here, I’m only a tiny bit into it.  Why?  Because as a breastfeeding mom and a supporter of breastfeeding moms, it’s world breastfeeding DAY every day and everywhere.  It’s just a part of what I do, a part of my life.  Breastfeeding is more than the biologically normal way for me to feed and care for my babies and toddlers, it has actually become one of the most important tools in my parenting tool box.  It tops the list.

Breastfeeding and babywearing, parenting power tools each in their own right, together strategically efficient.  It’s not they have to go together but when they do it’s a win win for all involved.  Ring sling, wrap, soft structure carrier, whatever your favorite carrier is, it can be one of the most supportive tools to your breastfeeding.  And like breastfeeding, as a mother of 6 active little girls, babywearing is a tool I use every day, everywhere.  As World Breastfeeding Month draws to a close, I want to share how babywearing can be a useful tool not only for your parenting in general but specifically related to helping you reach your breastfeeding goals.

#bfbw365

How Babywearing can help you reach your breastfeeding goals:

Babywearing makes for easy skin-to-skin care.  If the wearer is topless or wears a low cut top with lots of skin available and baby is naked or close to naked, babywearing can easily facilitate the important skin-to-skin access that all babies benefit from specially in the early days but even Zrejnuk,.aching far beyond.  Why is skin-to-skin contact so great?  Helps baby regulate breathing and body temperature, better blood sugar levels,  maintains baby’s heart rate and blood pressure, encourages breastfeeding, promotes emotional bonding, reduces infant and maternal/paternal stress, can help prevent or lessen postpartum depression, is comforting to baby, reduces crying, helps developmental process, lowers anxiety, and so much more.

Babywearing keeps baby close for ease in picking up hunger cues.  Even if it isn’t the breastfeeding mother always wearing the baby, any caregiver can easily and quickly pick up onp] baby’s cues that it’s time to eat, allowing for a quick response which will help the mother’s supply and baby’s stress levels.

Babywearing enables mom to be active while being close.  Whether she’s working, doing chores, or caring for other children, babywearing keeps baby close and let’s her multitask her responsibilities.  Moms that feel like they can keep up with their other responsibilities while caring for their infant are more likely to reach their breastfeeding goals because they won’t feel trapped in their home.  Having a happy baby safe and secure and being able to be productive in other areas is a huge confident boost that will go a long way not only in her overall parenting but can directly impact her breastfeeding goals.

Babywearing encourages breastfeeding in public.  Have baby, will go out.  Since babywearing can help moms be on the go it can also help them breastfeed in public.  Moms isolated and stuck inside their house often struggle with anxiety and postpartum depression.  Both babywearing and breastfeeding can simplify getting out and being active in social settings, reducing the risk of isolating mothers and developing postpartum depression and/or postpartum anxiety.  Once she works out how to breastfeed in a carrier (tip: practice in front of a mirror to see what it looks like- you’ll be surprised how incognito breastfeeding in a carrier can be if you are concerned about that.), breastfeeding in a carrier can be much easier than using a cover if mom feels she should, easier than taking baby out of the carrier and feeding even if she feels she doesn’t need to cover, and easier than a bottle of expressed milk or formula.  And it takes us back to the previous point, mom can be active not only while being close but actually while breastfeeding.  Because when you have a 3 year old and a new baby, sitting down in a quite setting with a pillow and staring into your baby’s eyes while they feed for the 67th time that day (I exaggerate… 24th time that day) isn’t always possible.  Being able to feed your baby and keep up with the 3 year old is priceless!

Babywearing helps normalize breastfeeding.  You read that right and no, it’s not a stretch.  Since breastfeeding is encouraged and supported by babywearing the more families that utilize it the more breastfeeding will increase in both numbers and visibility.  As more and more women begin to confidently feed their babies with their breasts, breastfeeding will become more and more normal.  Like walking, when breastfeeding is normal there will be better support available for those that may encounter difficulties because it simply won’t be acceptable to ignore breastfeeding problems any more than it would be acceptable to ignore problems walking.  Babywearing helps normalize breastfeeding by encouraging breastfeeding, helping more moms breastfeed while out, and supporting moms in reaching their breastfeeding goals.

Even for moms that aren’t comfortable feeding in their carrier (but don’t despair if you struggle with feeding in the carrier, it may get easier with time, in a different carrier, or with practice and help from someone) babywearing can be a useful part of your breastfeeding journey and even help you reach your breastfeeding goals for many of the reasons listed above.

World Breastfeeding Month?  Just a month?  It’s great but that’s just a drop in the bucket.  I breastfeed. I babywear. Every day. Everywhere. 365. Way beyond World Breastfeeding Month.

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Do you breastfeed every day?  Everywhere?  Does babywearing help you? 

If it’s always breastfeeding day for you or has been, share the breastfeeding and/or babywearing love by posting a photo of you breastfeeding and/or babywearing (or the badge or banner below) and let others know!  Use the hashtag #BFBW365 on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and help normalize breastfeeding and babywearing for all parents.

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BFBW365

#BFBW365

 

This week The Leaky Boob is teaming up with Beco Baby Carriers to encourage breastfeeding every day, everywhere.  In showing their support they are also sponsoring a chat on The Leaky [email protected]@b Facebook page on Thursday, September 5th, 2013 at 8pm Central for an hour about breastfeeding 365 and what’s in your parenting toolkit.  We will be giving away 4 Beco Soleils with accessory packs as part of the chat.  RSVP for the chat using the chat below and participate on Thursday, September 5th, 2013 for a chance to win a carrier to help you breastfeed and babywear every day, everywhere. 
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Attached in reality- Beco Soleil giveaway

There are many philosophies and theories in parenting but the application of these ideas varies greatly in their manifestations.  The reality isn’t always what we expect and as parents we have to make adjustments along the way.  Taking time to explore our own aims and desires for our parenting journey is important, shaping how we apply whatever philosophy feel right for our family and moving from an idea to intentional steps in reaching those goals.  Sharing that exploration with others on the parenting journey can help provide us with more tools for the path and open our minds to consider other approaches we may have thought we understood and dismissed prior to engaging in conversations with other parents only to discover that our definition was too narrow.

Jamie Grumet from I Am Not the Babysitter and Beco Baby Carrier share about moving from philosophy to reality in our parenting.  Exploring developing attachments with our children, babywearing, discussing attachment parenting, Jamie opens up with The Leaky Boob community, getting real about what it’s really like as an attachment parent and encouraging families.

You can find the chat threads full of information here:

Welcome, questions

What is attachment parenting?  What’s your parenting style?

Myths of attachment parenting

Babywearing, bonding, and breastfeeding in a carrier

Adjustments of parenting: finding time for your partner, yourself, and other interests

Handling criticism

What our children can teach us

Additional giveaway

Whatever parenting style label you feel fits you, one thing is sure: when you have very young children, a baby carrier is an incredibly helpful tool in your parenting tool box.  Which is why Beco is giving away another Soleil ($130 value) as part of today’s chat.  Act fast, it’s a super quick giveaway and we don’t want anyone to miss out!  To be entered for your  chance to win, simply use the widget below.  Good luck!

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Better than bling

This post is recycled from my old family blog, edited and updated a bit to share here.
(Squiggle Bug babywearing her giraffe lovey when she was 2 years old) 

I wear my baby. And my toddler. I’m a babywearing mama. No matter my outfit, they match. The perfect accessory, they go with blue jeans, silk skirts, maxi-dresses, t-shirts and vintage jackets. Better than bling, they boldly proclaim my status to the world: I AM A MOM!

(Smunchie- 4 weeks in the Mei Tais and Squiggle Bug- 2 years in the Beco, on me, iPhone pic by The Storyteller)

Because people couldn’t already tell I’m a mom. Ok, so I don’t babywear to look cool or make sure my status as MOM is known. I’m pretty sure that could be made clear with the constant spit-up decoration on my shoulder, the massive diaper bag and the fact that I have 5 small people and 1 teen running around regularly calling me “Mommy!” apparently just so they can declare who I am to the entire world. Not because they actually have anything to say. Make that 4 small people, Sugarbaby isn’t talking yet. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when she does, children have an amazing ability to increase volume exponentially.

 

(Lolie wears her new baby in a kid tai by Sweet Slings)

 No, I wear my babies for other reasons than making a fashion statement. Though babywearing does kind of save me from having to worry about fashion, nobody can tell what I’m wearing when there is a super sweet jelly kid on my back or front. In fact, people almost don’t notice me, just the tiny people that seemed to sprout extra long legs and a head. I put my babies in slings, wraps, Mei Tais, and soft structured carriers for far greater reasons than fashion. I didn’t have a kid (or 6) so I could look cool, even though I do.

I wear them for convenience. I mean, gosh, I need my arms, I can’t stand around holding a kid all day. Sheesh.

 

(Multi-tasking, building an art piece while wearing and nursing a 6 week old Smunchie)
Sugarbaby as a newborn breastfeeding in the Moby Wrap

 Alright, that’s actually true but that isn’t the only reason any more. It started out that way, to be sure. I have times when I wrap a little one on me so I can actually get the dishes done, vacuum the carpet (mom, stop laughing, I do vacuum… sometimes), or have a phone conversation but I keep my babies tied to my body with strips of fabric so I can be close to them and they can be close to me. There was a time when I bought the idea that we needed to make our little people as independent as possible from the get-go but over time and over the course of my parenting experiences, I don’t feel that way any more. I actually think it is a good thing if my baby is attached to me and I am attached to them.

babywearing, baby carrier, woven wrap, girasol

Sugarbaby at 5 months in a Girasol light rainbow wrap while we shop the Farmer's Market.

However, I don’t call myself an Attachment Parent-er. Or whatever. I don’t like labels. I have a a label phobia. I’m label-phobic. Oh crap, now I’m labeled again! Gah. Anyway, there are principles of Attachment Parenting I love, The Piano Man and I do a lot of them instinctively but still don’t consider ourselves AP. It probably really does just go back to the label thing. We choose to wear our babies because though we started doing it for convenience reasons we noticed a few things about babywearing. For starters, we just like having them close, it feels good to them and to us. The stroller started to seem like a pain in the rear compared to the sling. Our babies were way happier on us than anywhere else. The easiest way to sooth an upset baby that didn’t need to nurse was to wrap her close to us. On cold days it was so cozy and we could know she was ok. We felt like we didn’t miss anything, smiles, talking, observing, all of it was right there. When we started thinking about it, it just seemed more pleasant for our baby to be up close to us being able to see what was going on around them clearly. I noticed that I talk to my babies more, interact with them more when they are on me and yes, talk to, not at. And the big one was just the contact, it seemed like an easier transition to go from the womb, to being snuggled up in a wrap, to hanging out on mommy or daddy’s back, and then exploring the world, knowing they can come back when they need to.

babywearing, baby carrier, woven wrap, girasol, ring sling

The Piano Man with Sugarbaby in a Girasol conversion ring sling

So we are big time babywearers now, it kind of just happened. Babywearing makes many aspects of my parenting life easier including breastfeeding, chasing after toddlers, and even my career.  I get a lot of work done with a small person on me supported by one of our trusty carriers.  All while feeling confident that it’s good for them and for me.  I love PaxBaby.com for what they carry and Jillian’s one-on-one support, their Facebook page is also a wealth of information whether you’re brand new to babywearing or an experienced wrapper. Be sure to also check out Babywearing International and babywearer.com.  My top 2 picks for getting started babywearing with a little one is a ring sling (please no plastic rings) and a Moby Wrap (another great source of support and information is the Moby Facebook page).  For older babies and toddlers, I suggest starting with a ring sling or a soft structure carrier such as Beco, Ergo, or Boba.  Woven wraps are my personal favorite for frequent carrying though they take some practice to get comfortably skilled at wrapping.  I highly recommend talking with Jillian at PaxBaby to help you figure out which carrier would be right for you.

There has been some concern about babywearing safety, this post isn’t about that but check out some of these hyperlinks. We don’t use the types of carriers that were recalled, we prefer wraps, ring slings, soft structure carriers, woven and stretchy wraps, and Mai Teis and make sure we babywear safely. If you are a babywearing mama or daddy, check out my friend Shanna’s blog for ideas on how to respond to the inevitable “you know those things kills babies, right?” concern you’ll get now. I’m not in a hurry for my babies to grow up and not need me any more, most parents aren’t. Ok, sometimes I am but those come from a place of feeling overwhelmed and tired. But most of the time, I’m trying to savor the moments because I know they go by all too quickly. What better way to do that than to have my baby on me for as long as we can?

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Breastfeeding and Support: The Snowball Effect

by Nancy Massotto, Ph.D. 

photo credit: flickr user redjar

 

When I had my first child, I was determined to breastfeed for at least six months.  Even with that modest goal in mind, I had friends and family members question my decision, ask why we weren’t using formula, and nag us about when we would start solids and stop nursing.  Along the way, breastfeeding led to co-sleeping, babywearing, and a whole host of “alternative” choices on my parenting journey.  In a blink, my son was 3 and we were still nursing.  And the questions were coming with even more intensity.

As our parenting journey evolved so, too, did our commitment to more holistic choices.  I now refer to it as a sort of “snowball” effect.  Breastfeeding brought an even deeper awareness and concern about what I was putting in my body, for health and nutritional reasons, but also as we discovered that our child had a number of food allergies.  The more I investigated, the more concerned I became about what toxins our food might contain and how genetic modification or artificial ingredients would impact our health.  That awareness quickly spread to the presence of toxins in our home – in personal care products, toys, and cleaning products.  And the snowball grew.

The bigger the snowball, the larger the pressure seemed to grow from those who didn’t agree with my now “crunchy” parenting style.  I became the wacky extremist and felt more and more alienated.  If it were not for the amazing support I found with other women, my journey would have been very different.  I could not imagine nursing a three year old when my son was first born, but seeing other moms nursing toddlers, having the voices of encouragement and support, and knowing that I was not alone made all the difference.  Surrounding myself with a community of moms was essential not only for my journey, but for my sanity.  My fellow mamas could laugh with me at the critics, brainstorm on ways to stick to my principles, and sympathize with the struggles – even when they did not agree with my choices.  That empathy, that understanding was empowering.  Being connected opened up a space to embrace my instincts and to build the parenting relationship that I wanted.  And it brought me to a place of tolerance and understanding for others’ choices, even when I did not agree with them.

Another child later and my snowball is now a mountain of holistic choices.  From homebirth and breastfeeding to sustainable and simple living, my lifestyle and my parenting continue to evolve.  My community of moms continues to inspire me to follow my own path and laughs with me at the many critics who find fault with my choices.  I have found my personal comfort zone because of that support and know that my tribe has many different members, but a common purpose and shared support.

What parenting doors has breastfeeding opened for you?  Has it forged a new journey?  And how do you deal with the naysayers?

 

 Holistic Parenting Expert and Executive Director of the Holistic Moms Network,  Dr. Nancy Massotto, Ph.D is a dedicated advocate for holistic medicine and green  living. She is the mother of two boys, both born at home. Before embarking on her  journey into motherhood, Dr. Massotto earned her Ph.D. in political science from  the University of Maryland, specializing in gender studies, women’s issues, and  international affairs. She also holds Master’s degrees from George Washington  University, Elliot School of International Affairs, and the University of Maryland.  Dr. Massotto has lectured at several universities on gender studies, international relations, and women’s issues, including at American University and George Washington University. She conducted research on women’s issues while working for non-profit research institutes and organizations in the Washington, D.C. area, including the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and the Women’s Research and Education Institute (WREI), authoring and co-authoring publications during her tenure.  Motherhood renewed her interest in community building and strengthened her commitment to natural living, from which the Holistic Moms Network was born.
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Sugarbaby Introduces Herself

by The Piano Man

Hello world, Sugarbaby here.  My name is Arden, or so I’m told.  Most of the time Sisters call me baby, but Mommy and Daddy are trying their hardest to get them to use my name.  I have 5 sisters!  And there’s never a lack of hands to hold me close, but my favorite place to be in the whole world, as I know it, is in Mommy’s arms.  Daddy’s ok, but there’s nothing like the smell, the touch, the feel of Mommy.  I’m pretty sure she feels the same way, because I can feel her face touching my head and I can hear her breathing me in as well.  I can’t imagine a happier place.

Mommy and Daddy noticed that I already dream when I sleep, but I’m not telling them if I dream of the last couple of days where everything is so bright, or of the day I left my first home, or of when I was still in that warm and comfy place before that.  It was getting really crowded in there, so it’s nice to be able to stretch out my arms and feel the emptiness around me in between my fingers.  But sometimes that makes me scared, and so Mommy or Daddy hold me close with my arms tight against my tummy, and I feel much better.  I really like being close, really, really close.  When I’m awake, and when I’m asleep.  All the time.

I really didn’t want to come out of Mommy’s tummy at first.  It was crowded in there, but I didn’t want to leave.  I would wiggle my head and refused to go through the right way.  But in the end, I decided to come out anyway, but it had to be my way.  And my way was without my head being squished.  Plus I waited until absolutely everything was just right, which took a while, and then I came out in one push.  Everyone was so surprised!  And then they said things like how big I was.  I guess I’m just a bit ahead of the curve, full of surprises.  They measured me and weighed me and determined that I was actually a week and a half older than they estimated.  But that was after I got some serious cuddle time with Mommy.  It was a little strange feeling her from the outside, but I really love the way she smells, and the way it feels to be against her chest with her arms around me.  Oh yeah!  I can smell!  And breathe!  I practiced all that before but it’s really different when you breathe liquid.  But all that practice really paid off.  The world is lot bigger than I imagined, but it’s ok because I have Mommy to hold me, and feed me.  Oh, and I eat!  That’s new too, but I really like it.  I could do it all day.  And don’t worry, this is all totally normal and your own baby can tell you all about that right here.

Anyway, when everybody saw me, they said things like how big I am, and how my head is perfect – which, of course it is, I worked hard to keep it that way! – and then later they said how I looked like a 3-month old Cosette!  That’s so funny.  She must have been teeny!

Well, I’m getting sleepy again.  I love to sleep.  I could do that all day too!  But before I go dream my secret dreams, I’ll give you some of the other information that those Other People seem to think is really important.

my full name: Arden Credence Martin-Weber – Arden is the name of a forest in England and the setting of a wonderful Shakespeare play they say is called As You Like It.  I’m going to read it later.  Arden means “ardent,” “passionate,” or “excited,” and I think I’m living up to that pretty well so far.  Credence means belief, faith, credibility.  Not sure where I stand on that one yet.

birth date: April 19, 2012 (I share a birthday with my godfather.  We were born 31 years and 30 minutes apart!)

birth weight: 8 lbs 10 oz – record breaking Martin-Weber baby! I may be the littlest but I’m the biggest too!  I rock.

birth length: 21 1/4 inches – not a record breaker, but still, I’m sure I’m long for my age.

I’m a girl – duh.  : )  And that’s just perfect for me.

I have a red birthmark on my forehead (wherever that is – I can’t see it), and it’ll probably fade with time, but it’s the same birthmark that my biggest sister, Ophélia, had, and also my wonderful uncle Preston.  It’ll probably fade with time, and pop up when I get angry, er, passionate about something, because that’s my name.  Arden.

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