For the mom who feels invisible – #TLBMomsMatter

by Jessica Martin-Weber

In all the needs we put before our own,

It can feel like in the equation of our life, we don’t matter.

In always being available to meet other’s need for sustenance, connection, guidance, and care…

It can feel like our own needs for rest and space are no longer allowed.

In all the spinning plates we juggle and all the work that always STILL needs to be done…

It can feel like we are dropping everything and can’t cope.

In helping instill a sense of self in the ones that call us “mom” or “mama” or “mommy” by encouraging their character and personal growth…

It can feel like who we are isn’t important and our own personal growth is forgotten.

In the pursuit of what is best for our children and cheering them on in their adventures…

It can feel like nobody cares about doing the same for us and we can only watch the adventures of others.

In supporting the ones we love in their opportunities to follow their dreams…

It can feel like we are unsupported and our own opportunities and goals are discarded.

In providing community and camaraderie for the most precious people in our lives…

It can feel like we are left-overs, unwanted, invisible, and alone.

In managing our feelings to tend to the big and small emotions of the developing ones we care for…

It can feel like our own emotions are a nuisance and insignificant.

In the nurturing of those who need us most…

It can feel like we are emptying ourselves so completely but that it will never be enough.

 

You matter. 

Moms matter.

TLBmomsMatter

 

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

You aren’t perfect and you never will be, whatever perfect means.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your highs and your lows.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The flab, the stretch marks, the skin and bones, or the extra padding.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The moments of pride, the moments of shame.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your hurt and your joy.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your vagina, your scars, your breasts, and your bottles.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

And you matter.

#MomsMatter

 

The oxygen mask theory is that if you don’t have your own mask on, you’ll become incapacitated and unable to help those who need assistance. In other words, we all matter.

Moms, this campaign is for you and we want you to know that you matter. And when moms matter, it is good for the whole family.

*****************************

 

Thanks to NOONI’S, Simple Wishes, TWELVElittle, and Wilde Brands.

 

Our friends at NOONI’S, Simple Wishes, TWELVElittle, and Wilde Brands believe so much in moms that they decided to sponsor the very first #TLBMomsMatter and you have a chance to win some of their products! A bundle of products for 2 winners, plus a few runner-up prizes.

Each of the 2 bundles includes:

A NOONI’S Leak-Resistant Nursing Sleep Bra, retail value $50
No nursing pads needed in NOONI’S sleep bra, the first all-in-one full-coverage bra designed to wick away, absorb, and prevent breast milk from leaking through. NOONI’S relaxed fit straps and waistband allow for effortless nursing access. And, our baby-soft fleece interior is not only incredibly cozy, but also stays warm when wet and won’t stick to healing chapped nipples. Use Code MomsMatter for 10% off your purchase HERE!

Simple Wishes, winner’s choice of nursing and pumping bras, with matching panties, retail value $75
Comfort, support, adjustability, and a touch of sexy – why shouldn’t moms have all of that in one bra? Simple Wishes wants all moms to feel confident, and a comfortable sexy bra is a great place to start! Use code SUPERMOM25 for 25% off your purchase HERE!

Wilde Brands brings you the very first chips made from 100% chicken! A 4 pack is yours for the winning. A $20 value. 
These chips have the satisfying crunch you crave and they are a total protein snack. Perfect for moms-to-be, new moms, and seasoned moms too. And speaking of seasoning, the Wilde Chicken and Waffles flavor is amazing! Use code LEAKYBOOB for 20% off your purchase HERE!

TWELVElittle is offering winner’s choice of anything on their website, a $75-179 value
Adorable and fashionable, these baby bags are for all moms and dads. Each bag is thoroughly designed with individual style, and engineered with every practicality. Made of high quality water resistant fabrics and genuine leather, these bags continue to be the perfect accessory long after you graduate from the baby stage. Use code TLB20 for 20% off your purchase HERE!

4 other winners will each receive a 4-pack of Wilde Brands chips! That’s 6 chances to win in this giveaway. 

Enter the giveaway with the widget at the bottom of this post! 

 

Meet our #TLBMomsMatter campaign ambassadors:

Hey y’all! I’m Ashley- wifey to my college sweetheart Nelson and mama of 3 under 3.

I work full time at a university as a program coordinator. Aside from work, I adore family time and going on adventures.

My goal with blogging is to encourage mamas to live their best and most healthy lives!

Follow Ashley on Instagram and don’t miss her blog.

 

I’m Kimberly! Mom of unexpectedly four, aged 10, 7, 5, and 1. Married 15 years this summer (a child bride, OBVIOUSLY ; )  ).

I love baking, mom dates, Netflix, research, all day shopping trips, being outside, making lists, and being right. I’m passionate about motherhood and not losing your personhood within it, and the spirit of The Leaky Boob’s message. I’m also typing this as I nurse the baby back to sleep, because #whateverworks, right?

Find Kimberly on Instagram.

 

 

I’m Lissette. Often loud New Yorker but mostly exhausted pigeon. 😀  Married to a pretty tall guy named Ralph and together we have 2 kids, aged 4 and 2 months, and 2 cats, Nintendo and Sony.

I’m a nerdy momma who also loves crafting. My 4th trimester has just been breastfeeding, changing cloth diapers, trying to fid new volunteers for our community garden, and maybe too much Instagram… lol. Excited to be a part of this! 🙂

Look for Lissette on Instagram!

 

 

My name is Nayeli, I am a mom of two!

I am a small business owner, my husband and I are videographers. I’m mostly at home with my little ones, and when I am out at work our families help us with the kids.

I felt that with my first pregnancy/parenthood journey I didn’t have all the knowledge/research available to me, so that’s what I’trying to do on my page- help parents-to-be/new parents be aware of all the options they have!

Follow Nayeli on Instagram.

 

 

My name is Rachel! I am mother to 4 living children, 1 angel baby, former foster mother to 4 different children, and current foster mom to a teenager and her baby (yes, I’m a grandma at 33!), and wife to Milkman.

I can be found stealing kisses from my husband in the kitchen, munching on baby cheeks, nursing a kid or two, chasing chickens around the farm we live on, juggling social workers, and sending memes to my bestie.

I blog over at SheRocksTheCradle.com, where I talk about parenting, babies, fostering, breastfeeding, and marriage. I am so excite to be back on a TLB Campaign because it gives me the opportunity to build a community with other mothers.

Follow Rachel on Instagram and Facebook!

 

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For the mom who feels invisible – When #TLBMomsMatter, it’s good for the whole family

by Jessica Martin-Weber

In all the needs we put before our own,

It can feel like in the equation of our life, we don’t matter.

In always being available to meet other’s need for sustenance, connection, guidance, and care…

It can feel like our own needs for rest and space are no longer allowed.

In all the spinning plates we juggle and all the work that always STILL needs to be done…

It can feel like we are dropping everything and can’t cope.

In helping instill a sense of self in the ones that call us “mom” or “mama” or “mommy” by encouraging their character and personal growth…

It can feel like who we are isn’t important and our own personal growth is forgotten.

In the pursuit of what is best for our children and cheering them on in their adventures…

It can feel like nobody cares about doing the same for us and we can only watch the adventures of others.

In supporting the ones we love in their opportunities to follow their dreams…

It can feel like we are unsupported and our own opportunities and goals are discarded.

In providing community and camaraderie for the most precious people in our lives…

It can feel like we are left-overs, unwanted, invisible, and alone.

In managing our feelings to tend to the big and small emotions of the developing ones we care for…

It can feel like our own emotions are a nuisance and insignificant.

In the nurturing of those who need us most…

It can feel like we are emptying ourselves so completely but that it will never be enough.

 

You matter. 

Moms matter.

TLBmomsMatter

 

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

You aren’t perfect and you never will be, whatever perfect means.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your highs and your lows.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The flab, the stretch marks, the skin and bones, or the extra padding.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

The moments of pride, the moments of shame.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your hurt and your joy.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

Your vagina, your scars, your breasts, and your bottles.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

And you matter.

#MomsMatter

 

The oxygen mask theory is that if you don’t have your own mask on, you’ll become incapacitated and unable to help those who need assistance. In other words, we all matter.

Moms, this campaign is for you and we want you to know that you matter. And when moms matter, it is good for the whole family.

*****************************

 

Thanks to NOONI’S, Simple Wishes, TWELVElittle, and Wilde Brands.

 

Our friends at NOONI’S, Simple Wishes, TWELVElittle, and Wilde Brands believe so much in moms that they decided to sponsor the very first #TLBMomsMatter and you have a chance to win some of their products! A bundle of products for 2 winners, plus a few runner-up prizes.

Each of the 2 bundles includes:

A NOONI’S Leak-Resistant Nursing Sleep Bra, retail value $50
No nursing pads needed in NOONI’S sleep bra, the first all-in-one full-coverage bra designed to wick away, absorb, and prevent breast milk from leaking through. NOONI’S relaxed fit straps and waistband allow for effortless nursing access. And, our baby-soft fleece interior is not only incredibly cozy, but also stays warm when wet and won’t stick to healing chapped nipples. Use Code MomsMatter for 10% off your purchase HERE!

Simple Wishes, winner’s choice of nursing and pumping bras, with matching panties, retail value $75
Comfort, support, adjustability, and a touch of sexy – why shouldn’t moms have all of that in one bra? Simple Wishes wants all moms to feel confident, and a comfortable sexy bra is a great place to start! Use code SUPERMOM25 for 25% off your purchase HERE!

Wilde Brands brings you the very first chips made from 100% chicken! A 4 pack is yours for the winning. A $20 value. 
These chips have the satisfying crunch you crave and they are a total protein snack. Perfect for moms-to-be, new moms, and seasoned moms too. And speaking of seasoning, the Wilde Chicken and Waffles flavor is amazing! Use code LEAKYBOOB for 20% off your purchase HERE!

TWELVElittle is offering winner’s choice of anything on their website, a $75-179 value
Adorable and fashionable, these baby bags are for all moms and dads. Each bag is thoroughly designed with individual style, and engineered with every practicality. Made of high quality water resistant fabrics and genuine leather, these bags continue to be the perfect accessory long after you graduate from the baby stage. Use code TLB20 for 20% off your purchase HERE!

4 other winners will each receive a 4-pack of Wilde Brands chips! That’s 6 chances to win in this giveaway. 

Enter the giveaway with the widget at the bottom of this post! 

 

Meet our #TLBMomsMatter campaign ambassadors:

Hey y’all! I’m Ashley- wifey to my college sweetheart Nelson and mama of 3 under 3.

I work full time at a university as a program coordinator. Aside from work, I adore family time and going on adventures.

My goal with blogging is to encourage mamas to live their best and most healthy lives!

Follow Ashley on Instagram and don’t miss her blog.

 

I’m Kimberly! Mom of unexpectedly four, aged 10, 7, 5, and 1. Married 15 years this summer (a child bride, OBVIOUSLY ; )  ).

I love baking, mom dates, Netflix, research, all day shopping trips, being outside, making lists, and being right. I’m passionate about motherhood and not losing your personhood within it, and the spirit of The Leaky Boob’s message. I’m also typing this as I nurse the baby back to sleep, because #whateverworks, right?

Find Kimberly on Instagram.

 

 

I’m Lissette. Often loud New Yorker but mostly exhausted pigeon. 😀  Married to a pretty tall guy named Ralph and together we have 2 kids, aged 4 and 2 months, and 2 cats, Nintendo and Sony.

I’m a nerdy momma who also loves crafting. My 4th trimester has just been breastfeeding, changing cloth diapers, trying to fid new volunteers for our community garden, and maybe too much Instagram… lol. Excited to be a part of this! 🙂

Look for Lissette on Instagram!

 

 

My name is Nayeli, I am a mom of two!

I am a small business owner, my husband and I are videographers. I’m mostly at home with my little ones, and when I am out at work our families help us with the kids.

I felt that with my first pregnancy/parenthood journey I didn’t have all the knowledge/research available to me, so that’s what I’trying to do on my page- help parents-to-be/new parents be aware of all the options they have!

Follow Nayeli on Instagram.

 

 

My name is Rachel! I am mother to 4 living children, 1 angel baby, former foster mother to 4 different children, and current foster mom to a teenager and her baby (yes, I’m a grandma at 33!), and wife to Milkman.

I can be found stealing kisses from my husband in the kitchen, munching on baby cheeks, nursing a kid or two, chasing chickens around the farm we live on, juggling social workers, and sending memes to my bestie.

I blog over at SheRocksTheCradle.com, where I talk about parenting, babies, fostering, breastfeeding, and marriage. I am so excite to be back on a TLB Campaign because it gives me the opportunity to build a community with other mothers.

Follow Rachel on Instagram and Facebook!

 

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Breastfeeding Confession: I don’t love breastfeeding

by Jessica Martin-Weber

This post made possible by the support of EvenFlo Feeding

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________________________

As I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with Sugarbaby, now 4, I had noticed a few women commenting online that they hated breastfeeding or at least didn’t love it. Not that they were stopping or refused to do it but that they didn’t have any of the warm fuzzy feelings they’d heard others talk about and they were looking forward to experiencing themselves. Often with their confession came the question: “does this make me a bad mom?”

My heart ached with them. I had felt the same.

I watched as some people responded making suggestions as to how they could maybe enjoy the experience more, or how it may take some time to get to that place, some sharing how much they love breastfeeding and are sorry the poster didn’t, and sometimes a few responding that they could relate. These women would respond that they were really struggling or felt broken, or questioned that maybe they didn’t love their child enough and that there was something wrong with them.

And again my heart ached with them.

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I was 35 weeks pregnant that week, preparing for a new nursling. Expecting baby #6, I was fairly confident that everything would be fine with breastfeeding. Not overly so, as I know each breastfeeding experience is different but there was no doubt in my mind that I’d be breastfeeding and that if there were any challenges we’d be able to work through them with our incredible support system. Still, there was this tiny part of me that wasn’t really looking forward to it. Maybe even dreading it a little. Which is almost heresy coming from the person that started The Leaky Boob.

Feeling for those women struggling I posted this status update on The Leaky [email protected]@b Facebook page: 

“I don’t *love* breastfeeding. Nope, I don’t. It doesn’t give me warm, fuzzy feelings. I don’t look forward to sitting down with my nursling. I don’t particularly care for the sensation. But I breastfeed and I actively advocate and educate about breastfeeding. Why? Because I believe it’s the biologically normal way to feed a human infant. I don’t see myself as a martyr, just doing what I need to do to care for my children. I also don’t think this makes my a bad mom any more than the fact that sometimes I really hate making dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. Or changing diapers and doing laundry. What about you? Anyone else not “love” breastfeeding? What’s your breastfeeding confession?”

Responses started pouring in and in less than an hour there were close to 200 comments. The first 20 or so comments (I didn’t count, it could be a dozen or 50) are either people sharing they can relate, thanking me for such an honest confession because they felt less alone or freakish, sharing that it’s a love/hate relationship for them, the random “don’t like seeing people breastfeeding in public” (what’s that doing there?), the super excited ones that LOVE it and can’t relate, and the true confession of wanting to go out drinking (one brave soul shared that). Most of the 200 responses were from women grateful to hear my confession, thanking me for letting them know they weren’t alone and weren’t a bad mom for having these feelings. Then came the handful of comments saying that status was terrible and would discourage moms from breastfeeding. A few said that if they had seen that post when they were first breastfeeding and things were rough it would have made them want to quit. They asserted that we shouldn’t lie but we have to be selective with our words so as not to scare someone off. A few came down hard saying they were disappointed to see a post like that on TLB and called into question if I really support breastfeeding with posts like that.

I told my #4 nursling at the time that I didn’t like breastfeeding. Apologizing that I was gritting my teeth through her nursing sessions, I stroked her cheek and told her that even though I didn’t love breastfeeding I did very much love her and so she was worth it. Too young to understand, I felt my little girl sleeping in my arms and my chest tightened as the truth of my love for her surged through me making it hard to breathe. In that moment I vowed that even if I never loved breastfeeding I would focus on how much I love my daughter while she’s at my breast and I could take pleasure in how much she enjoyed breastfeeding even if I didn’t personally enjoy it.

Going into breastfeeding my 6th baby, my feelings about breastfeeding had changed, the skin-crawling, teeth gritting feeling was gone and while I still couldn’t say that I personally loved it I truly and deeply loved how much my baby loves to breastfeed. As her mother, there is an expansive satisfaction in making her happy that overwhelms even my own discomfort. She went on to breastfeed for 4 years and no, I don’t regret doing so. I don’t see myself as a martyr, just as a mother who, like most parents, has to give up some of my own personal comfort for a time for the benefit of my child. Though I’m not breastfeeding now, when I was, when my baby would grin up at me briefly letting go of my nipple, a little dribble of milk coursing down her cheek, I feel privileged to share and be the source of this moment she enjoyed so much. I will continue to support and advocate for breastfeeding and I will continue being honest about my own breastfeeding journey and feelings because in the long run we all need the kind of support to be who we really are if we’re going to grow.

I followed up with this that day on Facebook: (edited here)

“So sometimes breastfeeding isn’t an amazing experience, sometimes it is. We can be honest about our feelings with ourselves and with others and need to have safe places to do so. If that’s announcing loving the experience or sharing that it’s a struggle not enjoyed, it’s important to have that place. Even for me. Being brave enough to be honest enough to admit the hard stuff is where true support is found. When I first started breastfeeding and hated it deeply it wasn’t helpful to only hear how wonderful it was for everyone else. I needed to hear a balance of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I didn’t believe anyone actually enjoyed it, they just said they did it because it was expected. Today, 6 nurslings later, I’ve learned that it’s complicated and that’s ok. Everyone’s experience is different and nobody should have to hide it because what we need is to be honest, supportive, and real. Some things are going to encourage you, some are going to discourage you, either way, own YOUR experience.”

________________________

What about you? Have you had times where even if everything was working fine, you just didn’t enjoy breastfeeding? Why do you continue?

________________________

Jessica 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.
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Can you say “b…”?

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This newsletter is generously sponsored by our friends at

Ameda brand

Dear Leakies,

Can you imagine hiring someone to take care of your children who didn’t take care of their own physical, emotional, and mental health? From their depleted state, the care they could provide your children could be compromised to such an extent that your child may not receive the attention and safety they need. Most of us would want our child’s caregivers to be taking care of themselves to ensure that our children are well cared for.

Yet, as mothers, many of us regularly neglect our own care. Busyness, fear, and even shame keep us from taking care of our bodies, minds, and spirits leaving us depleted and run down. And it’s not surprise, life with children rarely goes according to plan, it usually looks more like this. Still, we need to remind ourselves that our children deserve healthy, happy, cared-for moms.

This extends to our breasts. Read more here.

____________________

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More Than Baby Blues, Mommy Blues and a Giveaway

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Dear Leakies,

Can you come in close? I want to tell you something very important:

Your life matters.

It’s not just because you care so well for you children, (even when you don’t feel like you’re doing a great job).

It’s not because your family depends on you to be unfailingly strong, (even when you feel so weak you cannot fathom getting out of bed in the mornings).

It’s not because of anything you do or don’t do today. 

This nurturing, giving, feeding, parenting journey is hard. Sometimes unbearably so. 

18 months ago, my son was diagnosed with a rare syndrome that made him allergic to food. Not just a few things, but about 99% of all foods. He had a traumatic, life-threatening injury at birth and we came so close to losing him. We were just starting to get our footing back when he was diagnosed with FPIES

My rope, the one I had been hanging onto for 7 months, the one that was frayed and just starting to strengthen again? That one. It broke. And I broke with it. I felt shattered. I was in emotional/psychological free-fall, the pieces of me scattering across the ground that felt impossibly far away and also like it was rising up to swallow me. (See Feeding Echo, here.)

I struggled periodically with some anxiety and depression in the 34 years before I gave birth, as well as PTSD, although I would never have labeled them at the time. I was under the very harmful and mistaken impression that any sort of mood, personality, or mental disorder or imbalance meant that my life would stop and I would forever wear a scarlet letter for the Crazy I carried around in my brain. And if I was Crazy, it meant that nothing I said or did mattered anymore…continue reading here.

____________________

Carrie Saum, headshot

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Healing Power of Breastmilk Donation After Loss- In Memory of Maya; a #MyStoryMatters Leaky Share

 by Ulrike K. Ingram

***Please note, this piece covers infant loss in detail and may be triggering for some.

infant and pregnancy loss

My daughter Maya was stillborn at 35 weeks gestation. It was a sudden and devastating loss to find out that after an easy, uncomplicated pregnancy, she had died due to a cord accident. While still being in shock after her death and birth, I started to think about what to do once my milk came in. I knew early on that I wanted to try to pump for donation purposes, but wasn’t sure if I could really do it, physically and emotionally. I planned to just take it one pumping session at a time. I didn’t want to make a long term commitment and then fail. My milk came in when I woke up on the Friday after she died on Wednesday. I started pumping that day and collected maybe 2 ounces of milk during the first session.

I have two older children who I breastfed. When they were younger, I was working part-time and I only had to pump occasionally. Pumping exclusively after Maya’s birth was a challenge. I tried to pump 6- 7 times in a 24 hour period. Three weeks later, I was consistently getting about 5 ounces of milk per session. I was still taking it one session at a time, always worried that my supply was decreasing, or that I was just too tired to get up in the middle of the night to pump. I was very close to stopping maybe five weeks after Maya was born. I struggled for several days with whether to continue or stop. After talking to my husband and praying about it for several days, I felt a piece in my heart about continuing on this journey. It felt like a God given guidance that it was good to pump and good to continue for longer.

Three months went by and I was still pumping, though not as frequently, probably only about four times per day. I didn’t plan how long I would continue to pump because it my only connection to Maya.

Sometimes when I pumped during the day, one or both of my sons would sit with me, or play on the floor next to me. My younger son would ask, “Mommy, why do you have to pump?” or when I’m done, “Mommy, why are you stopping?” I have explained to them why I pump. Although I wasn’t sure they really understood, I recognized that it was okay. Once my younger son told my husband that he likes to play in our guest bedroom because that’s where mommy pumps.

Almost five months went by and I stopped pumping at the end of July – 4 1⁄2 months after Maya was born. I decreased my pumping frequently from four times to three times per day. I then limited the remaining pumping sessions to 10 minutes, then 9 minutes two days later, then 8 minutes, and so forth. I was eventually able to stop pumping without feeling engorged. It was a slow process of letting go, physically and emotionally.

In total, I pumped for 131 days, and donated 470 breast milk bags, an estimation of 2300 ounces of milk. I donated the milk to local moms through a Facebook page, which matches milk donors with moms looking for milk, who for various reasons do not have enough milk for their baby, or want to provide breast milk to their adopted child.

guest post, leaky to leaky

It has been a privilege and an honor to use Maya’s milk in a meaningful way. It was one of the few things I was able to do in my daughter’s name. It’s part of her legacy. It’s her milk. It was made for her, and I was able to give it to somebody else who needed it. On the difficult days, when I was tired or emotionally drained, I sometimes wondered whether it was worth it. I suspect that the recipient cannot appreciate the value of this milk to the full extent. There is a lot more meaning and love in this milk and the act of pumping and the invested time than the recipients will ever know. I imagine that Maya has been watching over our family from heaven, seeing me pump, and understands that it was for her. It’s her legacy and her memory that is being carried forward and passed on to others.

 ____________________

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

____________________

Ulrike and her husband have two older boys and then got pregnant with their daughter Maya in 2013. After an easy pregnancy, they found out that she had passed away at 36 weeks gestation due to a blood clotting issue. Ulrike pumped and donated Maya’s milk for several months. It was a way to keep her memory alive in one tangible and physical way for Ulrike.
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Cuddle = Nurse; A #MyStoryMatters Leaky Share

by Andrea Jacko, a leaky

When I was pregnant with my first child I knew that I wanted to breastfeed. My mom nursed my siblings and I until we were one and I wanted to do the same. Looking back I didn’t think we would be going as long as we are with no end in sight. Maggie, my very energetic, free spirited 21 month old is so amazing. I treasure our nursing sessions because it gives us a few minutes throughout the day to just sit and cuddle. Cuddle is the word she uses when she wants to nurse – how can anyone say no to that?! 

guest post, breastfeeding

I’m an RN in a very busy critical care unit, working 3-12 hour shifts a week. I went back to work when she was 10 weeks old and I was determined to continue breastfeeding. Maggie reversed cycled something crazy and only ate 4 ounces on days I would work. That meant she was up all night long making up for the fact that she didn’t eat all day. Thank goodness for cosleeping or I would be miserable! Because she reversed cycled, I built up quite the freezer stash and I have donated over 1000 ounces to other moms for their precious babies.

When Maggie was 14 months old we found out we were pregnant! My biggest fear was my milk drying up and Maggie being forced to wean and her not being able to decide when to stop. My milk did dry up around 13 weeks and that’s when I stopped pumping at work. Thankfully, Maggie never stopped nursing. My colostrum came in around 25 weeks and Maggie was so excited! Nursing a toddler has it’s challenges and being pregnant I’ve had some nursing aversions but again, I want Maggie to decide when she’s ready to be done, not me. We have set limits with her and I night-weaned her at 19 months. Now we snuggle at night instead and she is perfectly happy with that.

Her vocabulary is expanding every day and I love the things she says when the time comes to nurse. Yesterday I was getting dressed and I didn’t have a shirt on – she looks up at me and goes “boobies, yumm!” And then proceeded to smile and sign to nurse. How can you say no to that? She frequently will kiss my breast and say thank you after a nursing session. Absolutely melts my heart. Hopefully she is okay sharing because it looks like I will be tandem nursing her and her brother when he’s born in 6 weeks.

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Can you relate to this Leaky’s story? Comment telling us how and if you would like to share your story, please do so by emailing content @ theleakyboob.com (no spaces) with the subject line #MyStoryMatters submission. Join us in sharing #MyStoryMatters and normalizing breastfeeding with the wide variety of infant feeding stories we all have.

_________________

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Making The Mothering Season Matter: Summer Edition

by Carrie Saum

This summer, I made a few promises to myself. Kind of like a reboot of my New Year’s resolution except better, because SUMMER.

  • I will eat all the vegetables I grow in my garden. (I’m winning that one.)
  • I will take my toddler for an outdoor adventure everyday. (This has happened every day except when we have had record breaking heat.)
  • I will take a shower every single day because I stink when I don’t. (Hahahaha! Yeah. NOPE.)
  • I will eat a real breakfast and no longer count a handful of trail mix and a cup of coffee as a complete meal. (I have replaced trail mix with scraps of my toddler’s rejected breakfast. I’ll call this a wash.)
  • I will pack up the car once a week and take an adventure with my son during the day. (I’m killing it!)

The last two summers have absolutely sucked. I mean that literally and figuratively. I pumped exclusively for my baby for 21 months, spanning the length of two summers. Lugging around the breast pump and a newborn and then a toddler made it tricky to do activities on my own with my son. I still did it, but we stuck closer to home and the mental/emotional/physical/logistical effort was just TOO MUCH.

But this summer? This summer has been redemption.

My BFF and I have been dreaming of having babies and doing fun things together with them. We chose an easy spot close to home for our first excursion. We loaded up all of our stuff and our babies and our courage and struck out for a nearby river. ALL BY OURSELVES.

Echo Adventure Travel

Our sons were less sure than we were about this.

Sweet, child-riddled-but-still-doing-it-anyway Freedom.

We were wild mamas, spreading out blankets and packages of seaweed snacks and mango and splashing in the frigid river with our babies who seemed completely immune to shockingly cold water. We doled out food and milk and took turns corralling our sons who only wanted to eat the sand and make big splashes in the water.

We upped the ante for our next adventure. The coast is about 90 minutes from our front door, so we gathered our courage, planned for the entire day, and set out for the Pacific Ocean like mommy pioneers. In fact, I’m certain we had enough gear to fill a covered wagon.

After two tantrum stops, lunch at a café where our boys behaved like tiny well-behaved adults and never threw a single bit of food or fussed once, a stop for an over-priced dark chocolate bar and lattes, a pee break, and quick conversation about which actual beach to go to, we arrived. A mere four hours later. We were so jubilant that we made it, we didn’t care how long it took us.Echo Beach River

We splashed and played and chased our tiny monsters all over the beach with abandon. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you those 2 hours were positively magical. We learned that beach sand is just as delicious to toddlers as river sand, and nothing is funnier than watching mommy run full speed into the surf to rescue a ball before it is lost to the sea forever.

There were many other adventures this summer, and sometimes involving long rides in the car, and others just a walk around the neighborhood with a low key brunch and bit of thrift store shopping.

There were tantrums and mishaps and close calls and moments when we questioned our sanity, but WE DID IT. And we will do it again.

As autumn approaches, I’m already dreaming up more adventures. It gets a little tricky because of the cold and rain, not to mention indoor play spaces are a total no-go for us because of severe food allergies. But we will keep trying, enjoying and relishing every season. Even if it’s simple.  Even if it’s hard.EchoMommyBeach

We only get to experience our children as children once. It doesn’t need to be magical, but it needs to be memorable for all of the right reasons. For both of us.

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

by Angela Parish

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

I am a proud “lactivist” and breastfeeding Mama of almost 17 month old twins. There was a time when I thought I would never get here. Not because motherhood and nourishing my babies isn’t something I desperately wanted, but because I struggled (and still struggle) with infertility. Infertility isn’t really part of my breastfeeding (and bottle feeding) journey but it is part of a more complete picture of me as a mother and as a person. My husband and I struggled the dark years of infertility from November 2009 until the conception of our first successful (In Vitro) pregnancy in August of 2011. It was a long and painful year and ten months.

Our first son, Elijah was born in April 2012. It had been my dream to nurse Elijah, exclusively. I did so for about five and a half months before introducing solids. He was developmentally advanced…sitting up unassisted at 4 1⁄2 months. We practiced babyled weaning with him and because he showed all signs of readiness, we allowed Elijah to experiment and ingest a slowly increasing variety of whole foods.

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

Nursing Elijah, my first born.

I produced A LOT of milk and so I had bloodwork done so Elijah and I could donate milk through Mothers Milk Bank. We also made several donations to private individuals struggling with supply. It was a very fulfilling time in my life as I not only fed my baby but also helped feed others in need. As we neared Elijah’s first birthday, I began to stash my milk again. We knew we wanted to pursue more children and had decided that after Elijah’s first birthday we would have another fresh in vitro cycle. This would require weaning my baby. And so by Elijah’s first birthday, he was no longer breastfeeding but did continue to get Mama’s previously pumped milk every day until he was almost 16 months old. Although I think Elijah would have been an excellent candidate for full term (extended) nursing, the choice to wean was the right one for our family and it resulted in our beautiful fraternal twin boys born in February 2014.

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

We had planned an HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean) for our twin boys, Patrick and Rory. But God had other plans for our family. After about a week of prodromal labor, and what felt like an eternity of some very difficult and painful labor at home with no progress, we transferred to the hospital. I continued to make no progress for several hours until the Pitocin and epidural had been in place. When we arrived we had been turned away at Texas Children’s Hospital by the OB on call because we were a home birth transfer. However a Fellow on duty not only agreed to take me as a patient but allowed me a trial of a vaginal birth….and actually seemed excited about it. Still, I was heartbroken. I found out that I had to push in the operating room and my midwife, doula and birth photographer would not be allowed in. This was not the birth I had planned.

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

I was put on an operating table, forced to lay on my back on a table that was broken and push. I got my first VBAC. Rory Mark was born and immediately taken away so that I could start working on Baby B. This was not the plan. At home, I was supposed to nurse Rory to keep contractions going, and get on hands and knees if necessary because Baby B often needs encouragement. I don’t think they even showed me Rory, let alone allowed me to nurse him. One thing that I was not expecting was not being able to feel my tummy tighten from contractions once one baby was out. My stomach was so tight and stretched from pregnancy that once I gave birth to the first baby, I could no longer feel when I was supposed to push. And the nurse that was supposed to be helping me with that was not telling me when to push.

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

In the end, little Patrick was in distress and I ended up having an emergency cesarean. (So much that they started cutting me before the anesthesiologist was in the room and I felt EVERYTHING for the first few minutes.) Patrick was not breathing nor did he have a heartbeat when he was first born. His vitals started shortly after birth, but he was whisked away to the NICU before I could see him. He was placed on a cooling blanket treatment for four days and not allowed to nurse (or get anything other than an IV) or be picked up. I got to see the him next morning, but had to leave Rory in our hospital room because he was not allowed in the NICU. My twins, who had been together for 38 weeks 2 days, were separated for the first time.

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

Rory and I seeing Patrick from our hospital room. 

When day four arrived and Patrick was taken off his cooling treatment, the first thing I wanted to do was nurse him. He had a lot of catching up to do! And to my surprise, my tiny boy latched on right away! It was a weak latch but a latch nonetheless. It was my intention for this baby and his twin to be exclusively breastfed. But plans change. And in order for him to come home more quickly, he needed to be given bottles of Mama’s pumped (and some donated) milk. There would have been no way for me to exclusively breast feed both babies when they were not allowed to be in the same room. And even if I could have exclusively breast fed Patrick, the NICU doctors liked to keep track of intake and I knew the bottle would get my baby home faster. I went down at every feeding I could and administered his bottles myself, also offering the breast so he could practice. I called his nurse after every feeding I was unable to make it to in order to find out how many cc’s he had consumed. It was two steps forward, one step back for twelve days. During that time I consulted with the hospital lactation consultant who basically told me I was doing everything right and while that was flattering, it was not at all helpful. I knew that once I got him home, I would need to call BABES, a very reputable and supportive lactation consultant organization here in Houston.

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

Patrick came home on Valentine’s Day, 2014 which was my original due date. I always nursed him first. And then I would offer the bottle. He came home on a Friday. By Wednesday, my lactation consultant, Leah, came to our home and gave me some amazing advice on how to hold him so he had a better angle. By the following Friday, he was OFF THE BOTTLE! We were so blessed! I know it would not be that easy for everyone. I was and am so grateful that we had bottles when we needed them. And I am also grateful that we no longer did. Both parts of our journey are precious and special. Both provided needed nourishment to my baby. And even when I was bottle feeding him my pumped milk, I felt this incredible connection and bond as I nourished his little body.

Patrick has now been nursing for one year, four months and three weeks. Rory has been nursing for one year, four months, three weeks and four days. Neither shows any sign of stopping any time soon and while nursing toddlers (especially TWIN toddlers) presents its own challenges, I love this season of life. They both had Mama’s milk exclusively until their first birthday as planned, consisting of mainly nursing with occasional bottles so Mama could get out for a bit. Mamas needs breaks in order to be good mamas! It has been an amazing journey providing nourishment to all three of my children and I look forward to doing it again one day.

Angela Parish, guest post, Our Nourishment Journey

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Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post
 Angela, who is a photo-junkie, lives with her husband and three beautiful boys in Houston. 
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Green Goddess Lactation Smoothie

 

 

by Carrie Saum

GreenGoddessSmoothie

After all of the shakes, parfaits, cookies, cakes, and bowls of oats, you might be ready for some green.  As it turns out, this is just the thing.

For weeks, I started my day out with this tasty green smoothie.  As a working mom who also pumped exclusively, I found it difficult to make good choices for breakfast.  The convenience foods were much easier and took less effort, and on mornings when I was struggling to stay awake, (much less gather all my pump gear and my baby and my baby’s gear and leave the house before 8:00 AM), I found that too many extra steps made me crazy.

In an effort to fuel my brain, my body, and my baby, I decided to make a slight shift.  I still grabbed my convenience foods for nursing snacks, (because, holy moly, making milk makes you HANGRY!), but I started my day with this instead.

The reason why I call this smoothie the Green Goddess? Well, I felt like a goddess when I drank it.  I noticed that I moved more easily through my work day, my brain seemed to fire faster, and my milk more plentiful.  It provided a necessary punch of energy, essential vitamins, healthy fats, and amino acids.  Plus, I felt really good knowing that my baby was getting all of those fantastic nutrients, too.

This takes FIVE MINUTES to prepare and you have great morning fuel.

  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, tightly packed (or a pretty healthy handful if you aren’t into measuring…like me.)
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 green apple, seeded and cored, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 2 fresh basil leaves (optional, but great for milk and taste)
  • 1 tsp (heaping) flax meal (optional, but great for milk)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup water

Directions: Combine everything in blender or magic bullet and blend until smooth. Chill in freezer for 20 minutes or drink immediately.

Let’s keep ourselves fueled, mamas.  Feeding babies and taking care of ourselves is hard work.

Channelling The Inner Goddess,

Carrie

*Note: It’s important to point out that most women aren’t going to need to eat food with the intention of upping their milk supply, if everything is working the way it is supposed to, your baby will know how to up your supply just fine themselves. Skin-to-skin and feeding on demand are the best ways to increase breastmilk supply to meet your baby’s needs. (Concerned you have low supply? Read this to help figure out if it is something you need to be concerned about.) For those women, galactalogues just happen and they don’t need to think about it. But some women, like me, do need a boost. As a mom who ended up exclusively pumping and indeed having low supply such that I ended up on medication solely to increase my milk production, I know what it’s like to look for anything, anything at all that would help my body make even just a little more milk to help feed my baby. With the support of my health care providers, we tried everything. It becomes “I will eat all the cookies, I will drink all the shakes, I will eat all the parfaits!” if it even just makes me feel like I’m doing something to address the low supply struggle, it is worth it.
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If you love this smoothie recipe, you might like this recipe for Paleo Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies or these Grain-Free Crepes Florentine over on Our Stable Table.


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

 

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