Ready For Your Virtual Baby Shower? Your Virtual Baby Shower Planning Guide

by Lavinia Martin-Weber
This post made possible by GooseWaddle

(Join The Leaky Boob’s virtual baby shower here.)

In the midst of the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic, we’re finding our whole world shifting to being online… well, more than it already was before the stay-at-home orders were issued. But just because our physical social lives come to a grinding halt doesn’t mean our way of life does. 

And people are still making and having babies. 

So what now? You’re pregnant (congrats!), during a pandemic (oh crap), and you have to stay at home (*insert big sad face here*). Never fear, oh incredible child-bearing human, you can still have your baby shower and throw a party to introduce your baby to the world!

(Download our quick and easy guide to introducing baby safely with social distancing here.)

“But how?” you may ask.

Introducing: the internet! I may know nothing about being pregnant but I know how the internet works and I love a good party. And even when all this pandemic stuff is over (it will end at some point, right?), so many of us have pocket friends that live all over the world that can’t get together in person for a party that we need to have options. So let’s celebrate you and your little one with the rest of your friends online. 

Bring on the virtual baby shower!

(If you’re short on time and need to simplify even more, WebBabyShower is a website that will do a lot of these steps for you.)

Whether you’re organizing a meet and greet for your own baby (which is absolutely, TOTALLY fine to do- girl, throw yourself a party, appreciate yourself and celebrate your baby!) or throwing a baby shower for a friend, as with any party, you have to figure out the Big Four. The Big Four (I should trademark this) being the main four questions you have to ask yourself in order to plan a party: where, when, what, and who. It can be as casual and simple as you like or it can be a big involved shin-dig. Whatever works for you and your budget.

(Download our Virtual Baby Shower Planning Guide and Checklist here.)

 

Before we get to the boring technical stuff (like what platforms are available), let’s get to the fun part of party planning. The What, if you will, of the Big Four™ (if you want to skip to what video call platforms you can use, then scroll down to the bottom of this article). Themes! If a specific theme for a party isn’t your thing, more power to you, but I personally really enjoy having something to base my party around. My two personal favorite birthday parties were Renaissance knight themed, and Harry Potter Hogwarts feast themed, respectively. 

“But why do themes if it’s going to be virtual?” 

Good question and I’m glad you asked. When there’s nobody coming over to your house to celebrate, what’s the point in picking a theme for them to partake in and appreciate? I get it, and maybe it’s too much of a hassle, but I think it would be fun to decorate the background of your limited screen square or use a border or background theme related to the party theme. It can add variety and once it’s set up, it feels nice to be within the party space. I’d compare it to the same feeling as getting out of pajamas for a video chat or getting dressed up just because. It feels good! It sets the mood. It makes it feel special. It is FUN! It can uplift your spirits, something that definitely comes in handy if you’re trying to celebrate. If you’re blanking on what themes to incorporate into your baby shower, don’t worry, I did a lot of brainstorming. And if these theme ideas don’t work for you hopefully they inspire you to come up with one that does! 

  • Disney and/or Pixar: I love how general and specific with this one you could be. You could choose just Disney in general and theme your party like it’s the Disney parks themselves with an assortment of iconic Disney/Pixar characters. Or you could get super specific! A Toy Story theme, Disney Princess theme, Star Wars, the Marvel universe, Mickey and Friends themed, or any of your favorite Disney/Pixar stories! Dress up inspired by your favorite Disney character, wear Mickey ears, play iconic Disney tunes in the background, the Disney world is open to you! 
  • Studio Ghibli: Man oh man do I love me some Studio Ghibli. It’s another one of those theme ideas where you can do a general theme or hone in on a specific movie. You can pay homage to the general aesthetic of the Studio Ghibli movies (which I LOVE), or if you have a favorite movie you want to represent (like “My Neighbor Totoro”), you can just keep it to that. 
  • Doctor Who: For all you Doctor Who fans! I never actually got into the show (I know, my loss), but it’s still All The Rage™ (and I do love that the new “Doctor” is a woman). Dress up as your favorite doctor and turn your pen into that screwdriver thing one of them holds (I’m sorry, I mean no disrespect to the Doctors please don’t come for me Whovians).
  • Harry Potter: I had a Harry Potter party for my 18th birthday and it was awesome! Hung battery charged candles from my ceiling with fishing wire, dressed up in my Hogwarts House colors (I’m a Slytherin hehehe), and ate food inspired by the Hogwarts feast (which is a lot of boiled food as it turns out). Take a sorting test! Take bets as to which house your friends might be in! Drink firewhiskey and pumpkin juice! Hogwarts spirit!
  • Anime: Another one where you can be general and specific. Anime is a HUGE category. You could celebrate the classics (Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Naruto, Pokémon, etc) or pick a favorite to base your theme around! Cosplay your favorite character and geek out. And in case anyone was wondering, my favorite anime is Soul Eater, and yes I have cosplayed as the Thomson Sisters thank-you-very-much (Soul Eater is not appropriate for children as it has mature themes). 

Here I am with Earth Baby (top) and Lollie (bottom) when we cosplayed as the Thompson Sisters and Death the Kid at our city’s Comic Con in 2016.

  • Hello Kitty: Oh boy is the Hello Kitty fandom still HUGE. Another franchise I’m not that well-versed in, but I see it EVERYWHERE with its cute kitties, bunnies(?), and colors. Dig out all of your Hello Kitty merchandise and share your love for the cool cat with your friends and family. 
  • Toki Doki: I love Toki Doki. The characters are so adorable and creative! You can order the cute plushies or mystery mini characters for you and your friends to unwrap together. 
  • Astrology: This is less franchise/fandom-ish, but I personally really dig astrology and looking at zodiacs and natal charts. Although I’m not an adamant believer in horoscopes, I still think it’s fun to draw parallels in zodiac personality charts. Look up and read your and your friend’s natal charts, dress up as your zodiac animal and colors, make fun of stereotypes! (I am a flaming hot double Aries cheeto with Libra as my rising). I’m just talking about the zodiacs based off of Babylonian and Hellenistic astronomy because those are what I’m into, but don’t forget Chinese zodiacs and others! 
  • Nintendo: Can be a general theme to show love to all of the classic Nintendo games, or once again you can get specific. Dress up as your favorite Mario Brother character, or if you’re a Legend of Zelda fan like me, Zelda character. Play Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart online together, reminisce about the good ol’ days when Mario was a 2D scroller game. Oh, and you can play some of the iconic video game soundtracks in the background because let’s be honest, Nintendo games have KILLER original soundtracks. 
  • Classic Hollywood: Have all of your guests show up dressed inspired by their favorite classic hollywood movie. Like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Singin’ in the Rain, Roman Holiday, My Fair Lady, The Wizard of Oz, and more! Another one of those themes where you can play all those nostalgic soundtracks in the background, and maybe try to guess what movies they are from!
  • You can Theme by Era! Dress up as your favorite 20th century fashion era. Whether it be the Roaring 20s’, the Rockin’ 60s’, or the Alternative 90s’ have fun (and maybe pull from your own wardrobe)! Encourage your guests to costume up too. Play the iconic tunes of each era and play 90s’ kid trivia! 
  • Forest/space/beach, etc. Whether you go with a fantasy version or the real thing, transport your virtual gathering to anywhere in the world with a little decorating online and in real life.
  • And lastly, you can base your theme around DND or other RPG’s (Roleplayer Games). I’ve played DND once and honestly? I need a party to join because that one-shot session was all I needed to get HOOKED. Dress up as your character, take on their cannon accent, and play a session of DND with your friends. Don’t know how? Don’t worry, there’s tons of information on the internet on how to campaign (basically how to start a group and build a story). All the information online and HUGE fanbase may look daunting, but you’re likely to find a helpful fan who’ll be more than willing to assist you in your DND endeavors. It might even be someone you know! I had no clue my dad played DND when he was a child until about a year ago. 

 

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Food. Drinks. Gifts. Games. BAM let’s go. 

If I were to list all of the food, gifts, and games specific to each theme that you can easily (and affordably) send to your guests then this would be more of an overwhelming ride down the rabbit hole that is Pinterest and not a helpful article. So instead I’ll fire off some new trendy and standard classic party ideas that can be applied to some, if not all of the themes listed. Otherwise, I’ll leave the Pinterest digging to you. 

FOOD – food is the only real reason I used to go to parties. Well that and I’m an extrovert. If I could get away with it, my guests wouldn’t be allowed at my parties without bringing something to munch on (that was when I could actually throw in-person parties). Humans love food, so how can we incorporate it into our virtual party? May I introduce to you: food delivery services. You may not be able to lay a spread in your party venue but you can have party treats delivered to your guests. It doesn’t have to be a lot but there are a range of options way beyond edible arrangements. Sure, there is DoorDash, UberEats, and Postmates but those are EXPENSIVE. I’m talking companies who are ready to send you a big box of popcorn lollipops (sounds weird, but trust me, they are AH-MAHZING), a box of candy assortments, fruit bouquets, pretzel boxes, a DIY cookie decoration kit, or customized cookies (maybe with your baby’s name on them in the party theme? Just an idea.). I’m just going to list off some of my favorite cookie delivery companies I’ve discovered, because who doesn’t like cookies? (I’m very sorry if you don’t like cookies). 

I find the cookie decorating kits to be especially fun, even more so if you have a little one you want to keep still while you talk to your more mature friends. It’s also a nice set activity you can schedule into your party. If you haven’t noticed already, all of these were found in a quick and easy search on Etsy! I strongly suggest looking on Etsy for your foodie needs to support small businesses. And hopefully you can count on your product to not taste like a factory. 

For DRINKS, unfortunately there isn’t really a drink delivery option so let your guests decide what they’ll have. I’d encourage them to get creative and try to match the party’s theme, or send them a recipe for the drink you’ll be enjoying, or for the non-preggos put together a cocktail kit you send out ahead of time with mini-bottles. Etsy for the win again with these fabulous drinks:

Let’s talk PARTY FAVORS (personally my least favorite party thing to figure out because UGH that’s so many small things to plan and nobody wants a bunch of plastic junk). Once again, I’d recommend Etsy for a quick and easy party favor find that you can send out to your friends but there’s also Amazon and boutiques and you may be able to support a local-to–you business if they have an online store as well. If you’re doing some kind of food delivery then maybe skip the favors completely. Party favors aren’t necessary but if you really want to do something, keep it simple. It doesn’t need to be a lot. Be sure you work this stuff out at least a month in advance since all of it is counting on the mailing services in your area and where you order. You can get baby shower specific, or just search general party favor gifts. As I stated at the beginning of this article, I’ve never been pregnant and thus never have had my own child so the baby shower gifts were a little confusing to me. Scrolling through I was like… huh? But maybe it’ll make sense for you mamas and mamas to be. I did like the bath bomb, tea kits, and scrunchie party favors I found. Also don’t get shy with the DIY! Find bracelet making kits or temporary tattoo kits, those are fun and will keep you and your guests’ hands busy during the call. Still feeling uninspired about party favors? Take a dip into Pinterest. Not only will it give you something to do for an hour or two, but there’s a plethora of ideas in there!

Now GAMES. Personally, I’d count the DIY projects as a game, but if you want to get technical then I have a few other ideas for you and your virtual baby shower. If you don’t like them, that’s ok. Not everyone is as cool as me and gets what I get, Pinterest is your friend in this case. 

  • One word: T-R-I-V-I-A. I love me some good ol’ trivia. It sparks my competitive spirit and love for knowing things. You can make it specific to your theme too! If you’re having your classic baby shower theme, quiz your guests on pregnancy and birth (I’d win because do you even know my mom?), or if you have a theme like Disney, do a Disney trivia. I love how applicable trivia can be to different subjects and let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good trivia? 
  • Bingo is another game that’s pretty diverse in what theme you throw it in. You can make your own bingo, or easily find a bingo template or prepaid printable online.
  • If you’re still pregnant, take guesses on the birth date, first sign of labor, weight of baby, etc. If this is after baby has arrived, go with guesses on anything that hasn’t been shared publicly.
  • The Song Guessing Game. I don’t know if other people do this, but in my house we have this made up game where one person links up with our bluetooth speaker and plays a song (usually a soundtrack, but it can be anything!) and then we all try to guess what it’s from (in the case of a soundtrack, we try to guess the movie title). Whoever guesses it first gets to pick the next song. This game can go on for forever and it’s fairly simple and easy to pick up. You can dish out handicaps to those who seem to have an unfair advantage. Take my older sister for example, she regularly listens to soundtracks, way more than the rest of our family. So normally she has a 10-15 second handicap where she can’t guess the song to give others a chance (she’s a BEAST at this game, often guessing a track correctly by the first note/second). 

To keep your celebration flowing, CREATE AN AGENDA. A common agenda structure would be welcome/greeting, ice breaker game, game, food/gifts (guests eat while gifts are opened), game, remarks/well-wishes/new baby advice, goodbyes. 

Create a memento of the event with a digital guestbook or video with each guest pre-recording a video tribute. With screen sharing options on most platforms you can share the tribute with all the guests as part of the virtual babyshower. There are several apps available for these, I like mydigitalguestbook.com and tribute.co.

Let’s talk about BUDGET real quick (ew, I know). In these “unprecedented” times (I can’t wait for more “precedented” times again), money can be the last thing you want to think about… or spend. Which is totally reasonable. The good news is you CAN do a virtual party completely for free, which is great! You can also pull it off very low cost, or the sky is the limit. I actually think an upside to a virtual baby shower is that you’re spending less than you would for an actual party. I looked it up, and most in-person baby showers range between $300 – $1,000 having to take into account venue, decorations, catering/food, possibly having to Uber your drunk friend home, party favors, cake, drinks, and the like. When it’s all virtual, many of those things are null and void. So, if it’s feasible, allow yourself grace to buy all your friends party favors because in actuality, you’re probably spending less than you would’ve if the party was in-person. 

If you’re feeling in a particularly party throwing mood, you can create a small care package for each guest and ship them out once you have the RSVPs. Be sure to get the invitations out early enough to get responses back and have time to pack up and ship each party-in-a-box care package to your guests. With a care package style you can send homemade goodies too, printable game sheets (like the bingo cards), the fixings for a mocktail/cocktail, theme decorations, and more.

 

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Now we gotta invite people to this special baby shower you’re planning, here comes the Who and the When. We’re combining two of the Big Four™. Obviously, it’s going to be people you actually want there to celebrate this new baby, but how are you going to invite them? Thankfully, you don’t have to burn your hand trying to handwrite cute invitations (did people even do that before the pandemic?) because now it’s all ✨~virtual~✨. Here are three virtual invitation options that I found! 

  • The Evite we all know and love. I’m the most familiar with this one, and it makes things fairly easy and simple! Very user friendly. Also, it’s completely free (aside from upgrades, but meh, they still have a vast array of good options).
  • Paperless Post isn’t free, but its options are adorable. They do things based on coins, which is kinda like a store credit system. When you first sign up, you get 25 coins free. Clicking on the first baby shower invite option, it was 2 coins to use. From then on there are various upgrades to choose from (using coins) that can spruce up your invitation. 
  • Smilebox is free with a basic plan. The basic plan includes unlimited cards to choose from and you can share your invite on Twitter. With Smilebox premium ($2.99 a month) you’re granted the option to share on FaceBook as well as Twitter, sharing by email, adding your own music, unlimited storage and backup for drafts, and removing the watermark. From what I’ve seen, they also have a wide display of cards to choose from. 

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR INVITATION

  1. Details on the date and time of your live event
  2. A link to join the group or meeting
  3. A link to your registry with a ship-to address

Don’t forget to send event reminders closer to the date! 

Let there be PRESENTS!

(Get the softest blankets ever like the one in our images here, sweet plushies, beautiful wood teethers, bibs, and more at goosewaddle.com.)

You can always make your celebration a gift-less party or invite guests to make a donation to your favorite non-profit organization in your honor. But babies need stuff and people LOVE to give baby gifts, so be sure to create a registry or if you’re hosting for someone else, have them create a registry and include that information in the invitations (along with an out so people don’t feel like they HAVE to get you a gift to join the party). Go virtual shopping and build your wishlist of items you want and/or need to prepare for this new baby. Here are a few websites so you can do it all from your couch in your pajamas. 

  • Babylist: from what I’ve briefly explored, this website is super user friendly and pretty much the luxury registry experience! It has easy ready-for-you buttons to different websites to get started on your list including Target, Amazon, Pottery Barn Kids, Walmart, and others. I know my mom has used it and loves it because you can add items from multiple different shops including small businesses, Etsy, and register for things like a doula, prenatal massage, and having meals delivered. 
  • Target: if you look up “Target registry” it’ll pull up a page ready to help you build your wishlist. Also seems super user friendly but you’re limited to, well, Target.
  • BuyBuyBaby: They have a 20% off deal on their product when you register! On top of having their own website of product, you can create your wishlist on their site and add other brands in it to share with your friends and family. 

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Now time for the Where. Obviously, in terms of an actual physical location for your virtual baby shower this may be the best part: HOME! You don’t even have to put on pants if you don’t want to (just be sure to remember that if you’re going to stand up on camera because that could make your party awkward REAL FAST). But what about the where on the internet? We have a plethora of options (and it’s not just Zoom, who else here is tired of Zoom and can’t think of it as a fun thing anymore?). 

Cisco Webex

Personally, Cisco Webex is my favorite platform for a multi-person facetime. For the host, you have to create an account, download a plugin for Cisco Webex, start a meeting with the BIG green button, and invite your friends via email! For the guests, it’s even more simple: click the big green button they get via the host’s email invitation and BOOM, they’re ready to party. No installing any plugins on their end, and it works across any mobile device or video system. With the FREE Webex plan, yes free, you can have meetings with up to 100 participants, HD video, screen sharing, and a personal room, and there’s no point in time where the free plan stops for you. 

Jitsi Meet

Jitsi Meet is another video meeting platform (duh) known for its exceptional security (way more than Zoom’s). Fully secure, very easy, and once again: your friends don’t need to register to get into the room! Just send them the link and they are IN, baby! Jitsi Meet also has an audio feature where you can recognize who’s talking and blow up their feed so they are featured in the meeting/party. There is a session recording option as well if you really want to keep the meeting for later reminiscing. After the meeting is over, the recording will be downloaded into Dropbox just for you. Jitsi Meet can integrate with Slack, Google Calendar, and Office 365 (I have no clue what Slack or Office 365 are, but if you’re more tech savvy than I am, which is 100% possible, this may mean something to you). With up to 75 possible guests (though 35 is the recommended amount for quality), the host can kick out anyone who’s annoying them or they accidentally invited because they forgot they were ghosting that one guest. Only downside that I can tell is that you CAN’T set up the room beforehand, unlike Zoom where you can schedule a room to be up at a specific time. With Jitsi Meet, the host has to make the room live themselves at their preferred time and then invite their guests. And oh, did I mention it’s free?

Skype 

Another option is Skype, but even compared to Zoom it wouldn’t be my go-to choice. Recently, in light of the coronavirus lockdown, Skype has released a new feature called Meet Now that allows hosts to set up and share free meetings without having the Skype app downloaded for all parties involved. The host just has to go through the Skype website to set it up. Similar to a few other platforms we’ve been looking at, Skype also has an option to record and download sessions after they are ended. It’s totally free to host video conferences (or if you’re a gamer like me: parties), more secure than Zoom, and you can have up to 50 people in a party. Which depending on your social circle, can seem small or just enough. My favorite feature of Skype? I like it’s “incoming call” jingle. Not sure why, but it can keep me groovin’ for a while. 

Zoom

And lastly, we have Zoom. I know, I know, I was trying to give you other options in substitution of Zoom, but hear me out. It’s boring, and bland, and everyone’s sick of it BUT it does have a wait room, a feature I actually really appreciate. There were calls of concern about Zoom’s security after hackers figured out how to get into activated parties and drop less-than-savory videos into the feed, but Zoom has since then made their platform more secure. Complete with passwords to get in and wait rooms. Before someone can join a Zoom call, the host has to approve of them dropping in. While they are waiting for approval, the guest is put in a virtual wait room where they can test their microphone, speaker, and video feed. This is another video conference app that allows the host to record and download the session for the archives if they want to. If the session is being recorded, any guest who hops into the meeting will hear a small announcement that the session is being recorded, just to give them a heads up. Zoom has a basic free plan where you can have up to 100 guests in a meeting with the basic features we all know and love. But with a few paid upgrades, you can have a party with up to 1,000 participants (why you’d want that, I don’t know. Sounds absolutely chaotic). Honestly, I actually like Zoom. I use it weekly for my telehealth therapy session, which is something that I personally need during this pandemic (I could write a whole other article about why I advocate for therapy as a 19 year old). 

If you’re going with Zoom, check out these virtual baby shower bundles from Babylist that includes digital invite event header, custom Zoom backgrounds, themed printable games, and thank you cards. They even have 10 free fun virtual backgrounds with a step-by-step guide to install and use them.

That’s all I have for you today! It’s been a pleasure and honor to start you on your path to your virtual baby shower. I hope I’ve inspired you to make the most of your virtual baby shower. Once again, CONGRATS to the new little human! I hope you and your child are healthy and the birthing process goes smoothly. I may not be a mother, but I know new life is beautiful and I love babies. The possibilities are endless for you and your virtual baby shower and I wish you all the best. 

 

Yours truly, 

Lavinia (AKA Storyteller, AKA the second oldest, AKA Jessica The Leaky Boob’s daughter)

You, Your Baby, Breastfeeding, and COVID-19

by Jessica Martin-Weber

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Breastfeeding Coronavirus Hand Washing

 

Friends, your baby has the right to breastfeed if that is what you were planning to do, want to do, and are able to do.

Not even COVID-19 should stop that from happening.

Even if you test positive for coronavirus.

Even if a health care provider insists that you should be separated from your baby for your baby’s health.

Overwhelmingly, evidence supports that if you are well enough to hold your baby, you are well enough to breastfeed even when you test positive for COVID-19.

(If you are not well enough to hold your baby, you still deserve to be supported in breastfeeding- see here as to how that can be possible).

 

** See this collection of resources of research on breastfeeding and COVID-19, what you need to know, what health care providers need to know, how you can advocate for you and your baby and more. We will be adding to it as materials become available.**

 

We’ve heard from a number of families who are being told they have to separate from their baby at the time of birth if they test positive. Even if they are not symptomatic. Even if they are able to mask and care for their baby following the recommendations of the World Health Organization, the CDC (in the USA), and other major health organizations.

After giving birth is an incredibly vulnerable time and it can be difficult to advocate for yourself and your baby in the immediate hours and days following your baby’s birth. Having a plan and communicating that with your health care team and support person can go a long way in making that easier. Being aware of current recommendations and evidence-based practices as well as being informed on your birth facility’s protocols will allow you to better advocate for you and your baby.

The following is for those in the USA who are COVID-19 positive and physically able to provide care and breastfeed their baby. 

Communicate your wishes to breastfeed even if you are CV19+ with your health care provider BEFORE giving birth if possible and request that it be included in your chart even if you do not test positive. It may be helpful to reference the WHO and CDC recommendations (included in the document linked here) and request that they be included in your chart as well. For example ask that something like this be charted:

“Patient has communicated that breastfeeding is a priority according to the recommendations of the CDC and WHO and requests lactation support regardless of patient’s COVID-19 status at time of birth.”

Current recommendations from the World Health Organization encourage breastfeeding and skin-to-skin when the lactating parent is COVID-19 as the best available protection for the infant with the parent wearing a mask and practicing good hand hygiene (and doing so for the chest area as well).

 

Breastfeeding when COVID-19 positive

 

Current recommendations from the CDC are vague at best, conflicting and confusing at worst. Hospitals are given quite a bit of autonomy in determining their protocols and there’s a wide range of interpretations of the CDC recommendations. Key in their recommendations (updated as of May 20, 2020) is this: “…the risks and benefits of temporary separation of the mother from her baby should be discussed with the mother by the healthcare team, and decisions about temporary separation should be made in accordance with the mother’s wishes.”

So what do you do if you give birth, are COVID-19 positive, and are told that separation from your infant is mandatory?

First, remember that nobody can take your baby from you without your permission without reasonable cause. You have the right to refuse to comply with protocols and practices with which you do not agree or understand. You have the right and responsibility to understand what is being recommended for the health of your child and the evidence for those recommendations. You have the right and responsibility to ask questions until you are satisfied and have the understanding you need. You have the right and responsibility to make fully informed consent in the health care decisions of you and your child. You have the right to make decisions about your child’s health care without bullying, coercion, or threats.

If you are told that your health care facility’s protocols require separation and no direct breastfeeding (pumping only), ask to speak to your child’s doctor directly, tell them you want to work together with them for the health and well-being of your new baby, that you want to understand exactly what is being recommended and why, and inquire why the WHO recommendations are not being followed. 

Listen respectfully as they explain.

Then communicate clearly that you wish to follow current evidence-based recommendations to breastfeed directly and will practice good hand and chest hygiene and wear a mask but that it is your intent to breastfeed your baby according to the WHO recommendations on breastfeeding and COVID-19 positive status. 

If you are told that the institution does not follow the WHO recommendations, you may want to point out that the CDC clearly states “…decisions about temporary separation should be made in accordance with the mother’s wishes.”

If you are again told separation is mandatory, you may find it helpful to say that you appreciate their concern for you and your child’s well-being but that you do not consent to separation based on current evidence-based recommendations to breastfeed.

If you are told that they will call CPS, you may want to state: “I would like it charted that you, Doctor/Nurse _____________ have said that CPS would be called on me if I followed the recommendations from the WHO and CDC regarding separation of the breastfeeding pair in the case of CV19+ status and that this institution would not support me in following current evidence-based recommendations regarding breastfeeding during the coronavirus pandemic.” Asking for this to be in our chart is protective for both you and the health care team. Documentation is very important. Maintaining your own documentation is also important should things escalate. Hopefully that won’t be the case but it is wise to be prepared.

If things continue to escalate, it may be time to reach out to seek legal counsel.

As much as this is a vulnerable time and there’s a lot happening in the body postpartum, as much as possible, remaining calm and non-combative is helpful. Keep in mind that information is changing rapidly and protocols are often decided by hospital administration rather than the actual care providers. The majority of healthcare professionals are just trying to help others as best they know how and may have been given no say in the hospital policies. Attacking them rarely is beneficial and could cost you an influential ally.

 

 

You and your baby should be together and evidence supports that. Should you find yourself dealing with a situation of mandatory separation at birth due to COVID-19 status, please know that all evidence supports that you and your baby should be together, have skin-to-skin, and breastfeed. You are the best person to advocate for your baby and your baby needs to be with you.

For an ever growing list of resources and information on breastfeeding and COVID-19 including studies, health organization recommendations, and more, please see this list. We will be adding resources as they become available so check back frequently.

 

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If this resource was helpful for you, consider helping The Leaky Boob by giving back. Help us keep our information, support, and resources free by becoming a patron and get access to exclusive content just for our supporters. Join here today.

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Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of wereallhumanhere.com, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 23 years.

Night Weaning Gently FAQ’s and Night Weaning Week 2020 with Giveaway

Night Weaning Week 2020 is made possible thanks to the generous support of Naturepedic and the Night Weaning Gently Workshop.

 

Learn more about all the brands sponsoring Night Weaning Week below, including Naturepedic organic mattressesArdo, Crane USA, Olababy, the “Night Weaning, gently” workshop, and the upcoming “Sex, Interrupted” e-book.

But first, we’re answering some common questions related to Night Weaning.___________________

Night Weaning Gently FAQs

by Jessica Martin-Weber

 

What is respectful, gentle night weaning?

Respectful, gentle night weaning is a mindful process of ending night feeds that considers the needs of the entire family with awareness of development and the importance of the parent/caregiver – child bond. This process cares for the whole family and can be done with any sleep arrangement in respect for the family’s values, priorities, and needs. While it may be with some tears, it won’t be traumatizing or isolating and there will be comfort for those tears, which teaches your child that they can be upset and still have care and support from you even when they can’t have what they want. It does not involve leaving your child to cry alone.

Ready to night wean but want more help in doing so? Take our Night Weaning Gently Workshop e-course.

 

When is a good time to start thinking about night weaning and does it have to mean moving baby into their own room? How do you know if they’re ready?

(Want to determine your family’s readiness for a respectful, gentle night weaning experience? Start with this free downloadable night weaning readiness checklist.)

I really think the answer to this is very unique to each family and each baby. Night weaning doesn’t have to mean moving the child into their own room if that is not what is desired by the family. It is important to remember that every child is different and their unique temperament may greatly influence their night weaning readiness. While some infants naturally give up their night feeds at a young age, more commonly night feeds remain an important part of an infant’s routine until 10-12 months of age or beyond for both nutrition and comforting reasons. Under 6 months night feeds for the breastfed baby are important in establishing and protecting milk supply and night weaning too early can lead to low milk supply. If your child is under 10 months, they may not be ready to night wean. Both child and parental readiness are important – if you are not ready to night wean your child, you do not have to. Your child’s level of readiness for night weaning is the most important consideration and we do not encourage attempting to night wean if your child’s readiness score is not optimal. 

(Points to keep in mind for your child’s sleep space.)

 

Will night weaning gently end all night wakeups?

Maybe, maybe not. It usually will help but we all wake for a wide variety of reasons, including babies, toddlers, and young children. Night weaning gently will end night wakings to feed while respectfully preserving the parent/caregiver-child bond.

 

How long does it take to night wean gently?

It is very unique and individual, every child and family is different but typically somewhere between 7-10 nights. However, sometimes it is a very smooth and easy-going transition, particularly if your child is very ready for the process and it may be complete in 3 nights. Other times it is a more drawn out process with additional steps, particularly if there are any set-backs such as illness or travel. 

Wondering if your child is really ready? See this checklist.

 

What are some cues that your baby may be ready for night time weaning?

Studies have shown that babies under 12 months still need to wake often to eat both for nutrition and for safety in their sleep cycle.  So I don’t look for any signs of readiness before 10-12 months. After the one year mark, though, any combination of these may be a sign of readiness to night wean:

  • Seems tired and grumpy during the day.
  • Eats well (solids and breast milk) during the day.
  • Has moved through some of the major milestones such as walking.
  • Does NOT have intense separation anxiety.
  • Is not actively teething or sick.
  • Seems frustrated and restless at night at the breast
  • Wakes to nurse but falls quickly back to sleep without really eating.
  • Shows basic understanding of phrases like “all done.”
  • Shows interest and awareness in bed time routines and daytime vs. nighttime.
  • May play putting toys to bed.
  • Responds to soothing other than breastfeeding (i.e. rocking, singing, back rubs, etc.)
  • For a more complete list of signs of night weaning readiness, download your free night weaning readiness checklist here.

I think night weaning is most successful if the child is truly ready for it, please don’t expect that just because your child is over a year old they will be ready to night wean.  If it is a giant struggle or at any time the parents feel this is all wrong and not what they want to be doing then they should stop. It is possible that a child won’t be ready one month but will be the next. Remaining flexible is perhaps the most important key to night weaning. Maybe for all of parenting actually.

 

What’s really involved in respectful, gentle night weaning?

It will depend on your child’s personality, your sleep arrangements, the support you have, and your primary goals in night weaning, but in general you set a kind of time frame that you won’t breastfeed during (your most valuable sleep hours) and soothe without the breast when they wake instead. Go over the night weaning readiness checklist and if it looks like you’re ready, you start with a block of time you don’t feed during the night, say 10pm – 4am and instead offer cuddles, back rubs, soft sounds, empathy for their upset with comforting words, and maybe a sippy cup of water. You may want to do more to prepare and it is likely you will want to more specifically customize the process to be mindful of your child’s personal sleep temperament.

Learn more about your child’s sleep temperament and night weaning gently in this do-at-you-own-pace e-workshop.

 

Can you respectfully and gently night wean a child without the help of a partner?

Absolutely. 

 

Are there options in how to night wean?

There are several and any method should be customizable to your family’s needs.

Night weaning gently method overviews:

The Feed To Sleep Method– For toddlers. If continuing to breastfeed to sleep for bedtime is something you want to continue, this method allows for gently ending middle of the night feeds while allowing for breastfeeding to continue to be the last step in the bedtime routine. With responsive comfort given for wake-ups during a set time frame of your most valuable sleep hours, the Feed to Sleep Method gradually reduces feed times during those hours over the course of several days but does not interfere with breastfeeding to sleep at bedtime.

The Gentle Weaning Method– For older babies and toddlers. This method involves including breastfeeding as part of the bedtime routine but gently weaning off breastfeeding to get to sleep at bedtime and through the night. A respectful, tuned-in approach that ends the connection between breastfeeding and nighttime sleep by observing how suckling changes and gradually reducing the time at the breast for each feed before laying baby back down.

The Time Block Method– For older toddlers and preschoolers. Involves the older child in the process with conversation that breastfeeding (or whatever your family calls it) will only happen when the sun shines or in a specific spot and not during sleep time any more. Selecting one feed to start with and using the light outside, the time on the clock, a color changing clock, or some other signal, the child knows that breastfeeding will not be available until that time but that comfort is still offered.

 

Do you have to night wean or will they eventually stop on their own?

Night weaning is completely optional. All children will stop feeding through the night on their own, often between the ages of 2-4 but sometimes later. However, no child has been breastfeeding through the night by the time they have gone off to college, they all stop at some point. If you don’t want to night wean, you don’t have to.

I can’t stress enough that being flexible and figuring out what works for your family, not following a set schedule of what someone has predetermined your child should be doing at what age is crucial for the night weaning experience to be free from trauma.

For more in-depth support in planning your respectful, gentle night weaning journey and for less than the cost of a night at a hotel, take the Night Weaning Gently Workshop with Jessica Martin-Weber and no-cry Children’s Sleep Consultant, Rebecca Michi. Register here.

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Night Weaning Week Giveaway

 

Many thanks to the brands that are participating in Night Weaning Week. They believe that parents should have easy access to the information they need to make the best decisions they can. Their products reflect that belief, and we’re excited to share a bit about the ones featured in this giveaway.

To enter the giveaway, please use the widget at the end of this post. 

 

Our Title Sponsor, Naturepedic, is all about sleep. Their mission is to provide everyone from babies to adults with a fuller, healthier night’s sleep on a quality organic mattress. Their handcrafted organic mattresses and accessories are a dream to sleep on. You can sleep soundly knowing that you are completely safe from unhealthy materials and chemicals.

Naturepedic Crib Mattress
Retail Value: $349 

The Organic Breathable 2-Stage Baby Crib Mattress combines breathability and waterproofing for a safe, healthy and hygienic crib mattress design. The mattress starts with a firm, flat waterproof surface made from non-GMO sugarcane that is so pure, it actually meets food contact standards and easily wipes clean.

 

 

 

 

A free registration for the “Night Weaning, gently” workshop
$295 Value

Learn how to gently end night feeds thanks to the Night Weaning Gentlyworkshop, with Jessica Martin-Weber, founder of The Leaky Boob and Rebecca Michi, children’s sleep consultant.

 

 

Ardo: Calypso-To-Go breast pump
Retail Value: $300

The Calypso-To-Go is a Swiss-made, closed system breast pump that features: 64 settings, 3 power options (battery, AC adapter, car adapter), less than a pound, piston pump (gentler than membrane pump), 250mmHg (same as most pumps), insurance covered. It goes where you go!

 

 

 

 

Crane: Elephant Humidifier
Retail Value: $55

Meet Elliot the Elephant! No matter the humidity level you would like to achieve we’ve got you covered. The Crane Adorable cool mist humidifiers offer variable output settings and an adjustable 360 degree mist lid making it easy to send the mist in any direction. Plus, our humidifiers are whisper quiet which makes it the perfect option for light sleepers, kids, and especially babies.


Olababy: a transitional feeding set, or a spoon + bowl feeding set
Retail Value: $25

Baby-led weaning training spoons and silicone bottles

 

 

 

 

12 free copies of the upcoming “Sex, Interrupted” e-book
Retail value: $17.99
Coming out April, 2020

What if intimacy and sex could actually be BETTER after baby?

Jessica and Jeremy Martin-Weber, together for over 20 years and still “doin’ it” in spite of having 7 kids, share their stories and thoughts on how they’ve kept their connection – and their groove – alive all this time. Straightforward and honest, they share the good, the bad – the ugly – the challenges and the beauty in maintaining a relationship when babies enter the picture – and stay there FOREVER. 

 

Enter the giveaway here:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are There Sweet Dreams With A Breastfed Baby? Sleep and the Breastfed Baby

by Jessica Martin-Weber

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The Leaky Boob is committed to providing free information, support, and community. You can be a part of making that possible by joining our circle of support. Any and all support amount makes a difference.

_________________________

 

This post made possible by the generous support of Naturepedic

 

Ah sleep. Everyone wants it, parents struggle to get it. 

We hear all kinds of things about sleep when kids are in the picture. From the start, tiny humans come out with a different set of sleep needs than the people taking care of them and it doesn’t take long to figure out that they seem to require much less sleep for 1,000 times more energy. It’s a mismatch from the get go. So the quest begins for the elusive right amount of sleep for everyone in the family with a balanced routine so the parents and their infants and children can get what they need. Everyone has an opinion and strategy on sleep and even strangers in the grocery store may share with parents their magic tricks for getting babies to sleep through the night (which is only considered 6 hours without waking).

When it comes to sleep and breastfed babies, the advice and myths abound but sleep, like many other aspects of a child, is very much an individual thing. Personality, developmental stages, individual body quirks, etc. can have a major impact on sleep. The fears we typically hear about sleep and the breastfed baby is that for some reason the breastfed baby will wake more often than their formula-fed peers, become dependent on the breast to fall asleep, and have sleep struggles longer. While often formula fed babies may wake less frequently to feed in the early months because formula takes longer and more work to digest, evidence shows that there’s no guarantee that will be the case. Further evidence suggests that formula fed babies and breastfed babies (and their parents!) still get the same total amount of sleep. Plus, by 9 months, all sleep differences between breastfeed babies and formula fed babies have leveled out anyway. With the lowered risk of health issues including diarrhea and ear infections (talk about sleep disrupters!) and the reduced risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), breastfeeding is still the normal biological way to feed a baby and recommended by experts.

So does breastfeeding mean poor sleep?

8 points you need to know about sleep and the breastfed baby.

Have realistic expectations. Young babies wake frequently, often those wakings are to feed. Frequent wakes are completely normal so adjust your expectations accordingly. Babies have small stomachs, breastmilk is digested quickly because it is exactly what their bodies need, and the part of their brain that regulates sleep hasn’t developed to differentiate between day time sleep and night time sleep or naps and long sleeps. Frequent wakings actually reduces the risk of SIDS, a blessing in disguise.

Breastfeeding helps babies fall asleep. The oxytocin release that comes with breastfeeding is relaxing and naturally makes babies and parents sleepy. It isn’t a bad habit for breastfed babies to fall asleep at the breast and to want to return to the breast to help them settle when they wake in the night, it is normal. Including breastfeeding as part of the consistent bed time routine is a good way to help them get to sleep. If your baby has started solids, just be sure to brush their teeth before breastfeeding so that there aren’t any other food particles on their teeth that could lead to tooth decay. Breastmilk itself is fine for teeth as long as they are clean. Needing to breastfeed to sleep won’t become a lifelong crutch, we promise.

Babies breastfeeding at night helps milk supply. Prolactin levels (milk making hormones) are highest at night which means that babies wanting to breastfeed at night actually work together with those higher prolactin levels to help your body make more milk. A baby that starts sleeping through the night too early could lead to a lower milk supply. It may help to think of your baby waking to feed during the night as protecting your milk supply.

Realistic expectations- again! Research shows that only 43% of babies over 6 months actually regularly sleep 8 hour stretches without waking during the night. That leaves 57% of babies over 6 months that do wake in that time and need help getting back to sleep. By 12 months those numbers flip and 57% of babies over 12 months regularly sleep 8 hour stretches without waking during the night, so 43% of babies are still waking. 72% of babies are making it 6 hour stretches without waking during the night by that age. The expectation that the majority of babies are going to be sleeping through the night by 6-12 months is a myth and causes unnecessary pressure based on unrealistic expectations. If your baby isn’t sleeping through the night, they’re in good company.

Breastfed babies wake for other reasons than to feed. Though they may prefer settling back down to sleep at the breast, they also wake if they’re cold, hot, wet or soiled, scared, were startled, and any other number of reasons. Just like adults. The difference is that adults usually wake and fall back asleep without needing assistance in doing so, a skill that takes some time to develop. Comforting connection that helps your baby feel secure is the best way to help them calm and settle back to sleep.

No matter how they are fed, all babies need a safe sleep space. A firm flat surface (no inclined sleepers) free of blankets, toys, and crib bumpers. Keep in mind that infants up to a year need about 12-16 hours of sleep a day and toddlers need about 11-14 hours a day. That’s a lot of time spent in their sleep space, consider the materials with which your child will be spending a significant portion of their day.

Most breastfed babies aren’t ready to go 8 hours without a feed until after 12 months. Due to stomach size and development, it is normal for them to need a snack and comfort in the middle of the night. Night weaning can actually lead to more wakings if done too early.

Sleep will happen, some day. It may seem like night wakings are lasting forever but most children do eventually settle into the normal sleep patterns we all crave. Even the worst sleepers improve but not everyone ends up with the “sleep through the night” pattern society tells us to expect. My 7yo still often wakes once a night in need of some comfort. Even I have times where I struggle with frequent wakings and have difficulty getting back to sleep. There’s a wide range of normal at all ages.

Keep in mind that there is a wide range of normal and there are a number of factors that can contribute to disrupted sleep for infants and toddlers. Having realistic expectations goes a long way in being patient with the process. If you’re concerned that your child may be exhibiting signs of abnormal sleep, speak with your child’s health care provider about your concerns. Sometimes sleep issues are a sign of something else more serious going on that should be explored by a qualified healthcare professional.

_________________________

If this resource was helpful for you, consider helping The Leaky Boob by giving back. Help us keep our information, support, and resources free by becoming a patron and get access to exclusive content just for our supporters. Join here today.

______________________________

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 wereallhumanhere.com, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 23 years.

Making Time and Space To Get Moving- #TLBMoves 2019

by Jessica Martin-Weber

I get moving because I don’t want to die young.

Sounds dramatic but this is a reality for me. Which sucks because I’m a mom and it is SO DARN HARD to find the time to get moving. Then I think I’m just lazy or unmotivated or don’t really care and before I know it I’m in a cycle of self-loathing talk and still not getting moving.

When personal trainer and The Biggest Loser star, Jillian Michaels became a mom she admitted that one of the aspects of parenting that caught her by surprise was just how difficult it could be to take care of herself. She couldn’t always fit a workout in her day… sometimes not even in her week. With an in-your-face personality and no-excuses approach to supporting people in their own health goals, she suddenly found out just how challenging it could be to be the one taking care of everyone and not having time to take care of herself. 

I didn’t exactly cheer when I heard that but my response was pretty much “tell me about it.” If Jillian Michaels struggled to find the time and it is her job, then I could have some compassion for myself struggling to find the time.

Physical activity isn’t my favorite thing. I’m much more in my element sitting and reading a book than going for a run, making pasta than joining a gym, taking a literature class than taking a spin class, or going online than going for a walk. It takes effort and intentionality for me to get moving. I groan about it frequently but I make it a priority anyway because I have a heart condition and I know that if I want to be around for a long time with my family, I have to put the work in now.

Which is why once a year I encourage The Leaky Boob community to think about it and find small ways to inch ourselves toward being more healthy. For the 4th year in a row, we are taking a few weeks of summer to take a good, non-shaming, look at ourselves, and determine what steps we can each take to be just a little healthier than we are.

I’m not dogmatic about how babies are fed, and I’m sure as hell not going to be dogmatic about getting fit. You won’t find us pushing anyone to join a gym or a 6 AM boot camp. What I’ve found works best for most is to try things until you find what you can enjoy the most… even if “enjoy” really just means tolerate the best or dislike the least. In my own experience it can be different for different times of my life. Sometimes it is just getting out for a walk, other times I prefer to work out in my living room with a DVD, and other times running is my thing. Just like for infant feeding, I look forward to sharing thought-provoking information, personal stories and anecdotes from our community, and encouraging the support of one another in TLB’s various platforms.

#TLBmoves is a campaign where everyone is welcome, couch potatoes to triathletes, fitness experts to exercise loathers, women and men and children, because no matter who you are, taking care of you is one of the ways that you take care of the ones you love.

I bring no agenda, no program, no exercise routines, no weight loss plans, or anything like that. Just a desire for Leakies to support each other as we each figure out what’s right for us. It could be adding a 10 minute walk to your day, cutting back on sugar, trying the squat challenge, really anything that seems achievable to you right now. Try it out, assess, and change your goal when you need to.

#TLBmoves is about getting started together. You can make it into becoming an Olympic athlete if you want. Or you can focus on being better able to keep up with your toddler. It’s up to you. Will you join me? 

It’s time for #TLBmoves!

Find support and inspiration in our closed group #TLBmoves here. And join me on The Leaky Boob Facebook page, here; The Leaky Boob Community Facebook group, hereBeyondMoi.com and the Beyond Moi Facebook Page, here; and the Beyond Moi Community Facebook group (where we talk about just about anything and everything- particularly relationships), here.

#TLBmoves 2019 runs from July 22nd through August 11th, though a meaningful focus on how we get moving with our families is never really limited to a set of dates. We will be focusing on what inspires us in health and fitness, sharing meaningful experiences, opening up, posting ideas, and a lot of humor. All of this through the sharing of information, support, and most importantly, The Leaky Boob and Beyond Moi communities in action teaming up with you, our communities, and a few select brands we trust: Humble-Bee, Evenflo, JuJuBe, MiaMily, Olen Skin Care, and Bamboobies.

Be on the lookout for the hashtags #TLBmoves and #TLBmoves2019 (and start using them too!), Leaky guest posts, a vocal presence across social media (Instagram, and Facebook), posts from our campaign ambassadors, relevant information and interactions on our sister site, BeyondMoi.com, inspiring support within our community, involvement from our campaign sponsors, giveaways, and informative articles.

Let’s explore health and moving together with #TLBmoves. Oh, and enter our giveaway! (more information below)

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The Giveaway

Making any kind of change in life is so much easier with support. #TLBmoves 2019 is made possible thanks to the support of some truly amazing brands. They exist to make your life easier and healthier. They are here for you.

One of the ways that these Campaign Sponsors support new parents is by creating products that are designed to bring a positive impact to your life. To simplify it. To beautify it. To augment it. To protect your baby. To protect you. To go with you wherever you need or choose to be. To support you.

The following products will be featured during #TLBmoves 2019 and you have a chance to win them in our campaign giveaway!

Humble-Bee: the Nurse-sling
This is the only nursing pillow that HOLDS your baby, relaxes your wrists, lets you sit back and enjoy the precious moment comfortably. Retail Value: $40

Evenflo: the Evenflo Gold Picot Xpand Travel System
This travel system can be configured in 22 ways for infant and child seating at optimal heights and angles. So whether child wants to take a nap or enjoy the scenery, this super convenient modular stroller can expand or compress- with a click. And wherever you go, you can help make sure that your baby stays safe and comfy, with the SensorSafe app that sends real-time alerts right to your phone. Retail Value: $499

JuJuBe: Core Convertible Bundle
This bag is easily one of JuJuBe’s most functional bags to date! With four exterior pockets and seven interior pockets, organization is a cinch, and it can be worn in four different ways: backpack, cross body, over-the-shoulder, and tote – without having to switch out any straps. Plus, three matching set pieces and matching changing pad, and stroller hooks are all included. Perfect for parents on-the-go! Retail Value: $75

Olen Skin Care: Baby Butz diaper cream, and Sunblock Baby + Kids
Baby Butz cream is a diaper rash treatment that is both a barrier and healing cream, preventing and healing rashes FAST. Made from all-natural ingredients and licensed as a Natural Health Product, it’s the safest and most effective diaper cream available without a prescription. Sunblocz Baby & Kids is a 100% all-natural, mineral sunscreen. Its formula boasts the highest percent Zinc Oxide (non-nano) in a base of natural and anti-oxidant ingredients, not only making it safe for babies’ sensitive skin, but also offering superior sunburn protection, AND it’s Coral Reef Safe. Retail Value: $32 for both

MiaMily: the HIPSTER Smart 3D hip seat baby carrier
This carrier is a 3D baby carrier because it has a built-in 3D hip seat incorporated into the structure. This means that no matter what position you carry your baby (facing in, forward facing, hip carry, or back carry), your baby’s hips are always in the correct M position (knees supported at hip level, legs open and not dangling). The hip seat, combined with the widest waist belt in the market, means a lighter carry for your shoulders, back, and great lumbar support. This carrier also features a large storage pocket, external milk bottle pocket, changing pad, crossable shoulder straps, and so much more! Retail Value: $189

Bamboobies: Easy Access Tank, and Yoga Nursing Bra
The award-winning bamboobies Yoga Nursing Bra is designed to keep new moms comfortable, fashionable, and feeling great throughout the day. The Easy Access Tank was created specifically for breastfeeding moms with loose fabric for easy access breastfeeding. Retail Value: $52 for the pair

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Meet Our Ambassadors

We’ve assembled a small team to provide a little daily inspiration and some real-life experiences as they focus on getting moving. Here are the six mamas (apart from myself) that will be sharing their #TLBmoves experiences with us for the next 3 weeks:

Hi! I’m Amanda. I am a wife to a hilarious and hardworking man and mama to 4 earth-side kiddos ages 7, 5, 3, and 3 months, and one precious angel baby. I’ve got a Masters in Clinical Psychology and had grand plans to become a Marriage and Family Therapist, but the pull of motherhood was strong within me and I’ve been a Domestic Engineer for 6 amazing years! I thrive in the crazy that is motherhood! I get my kicks hoarding books, singing, drinking coffee and wine, backing, and playing Sims.

Follow Amanda on Instagram and Facebook!

 

 

I’m Chinenye, mostly called “Chi” or “Nenye” by my friends and family. I’m a finance analyst but left my job to take care of my little munchkin Jidenna who is almost 13 months old and still grabs on to my boobs like his life depends on it. Lol. When I’m not chasing my little one and preventing him from putting the tiniest things only his eyes can see into his mouth, I’m making scented soy candles and other natural products or testing out new fragrances to include in my candle line. I’ve also recently picked up photography as a hobby.

Follow Chinenye on Instagram!

 

Hi, I’m Katie! I am a stay at home mom and Coast Guard wife. I have one beautiful daughter who is almost one and a nine year old chocolate lab who still demands as much attention as a real kid. I am one week away from my breastfeeding goal of one year with no intention or desire to wean any time soon. This is my third campaign with The Leaky boob and I am so happy to be back. When I’m not chasing around a baby you can find me in the woods hiking, camping, or exploring.

Follow Katie on Instagram and Facebook!

 

 

I’m Kimberly – mom of four, married 15 years, coming out of the fog of PPD and learning to fall in love with our big surprise baby and how different this stage looks than I expected. I love baking, binge watching, anything outside, and being right – just ask my husband 😂

Follow Kimberly on Instagram!

 

 

 

 

I’m Lissette. A stay at home momma from NYC. Have two little ladies, ages 4, and 3 months. Been breastfeeding nearly continuously for 5 yrs with the support of my husband as well as online spaces like The Leaky Boob. When I’m not on Instagram, I’m rewatching The Office, crocheting, or helping out at our local Community garden.

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

Follow Rachel on Instagram!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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Looking to Increase Your Pumping Output? Try Parallel Pumping!

by Jessica Martin-Weber with Dr. Kathleen F. McCue, FNP-BC, IBCLC-RLC
This article made possible by the generous support of Littlebeam Nursing Pillows.

Not every lactating parent will find it necessary to pump to reach their breastfeeding goals. Many, however, do find it necessary. Whatever the reason for pumping breastmilk- whether it is to supplement your baby with your milk when you are away from them, to supplement at-the-breast feeds regularly, or in order to donate – efficiency and sufficient milk supply are certainly desired. While the primary way to increase breastmilk supply is to empty the breasts fully and frequently, and usually nothing is quite as good at that as your baby, sometimes other strategies are helpful particularly if you’re looking to increase your pumping output. It is important to note that output isn’t the same as supply and sometimes it is just about getting the milk that is in the breast, out of the breast! Typically, if everything is functioning normally, our sweet, soft, warm, cuddly babies are much better at emptying the breast than a cold, whirring machine pressed against your breast sucking mechanically. Letting down to a breast pump may take time and practice and there are several different aspects of milk let down with a pump that can help such as proper flange fit, lubricating flanges, and utilizing the suction and speed settings on the pump to customize cycles that encourage let down and expression. Without that cuddly, sweet, soft, and warm baby, trying to get letdown can be, well… a let down.

But what if you could have the cuddly warm baby help with both emptying the breast and having more of an output with the pump?

Rather than feeding baby directly from the breast, then pump, then bottle-feed (also called “triple feeding”), pumping one side while baby is latched on the other can cut down on a step if supplementing with mother’s milk is necessary. Pumping one side while baby is latched on the other is called “parallel pumping.” Parallel pumping may cut down on work, save time, and may lead to increased output. Parallel pumping is the breastfeeding version of working smarter, not harder. It is believed parallel pumping yields such results because having baby latched helps with initial letdown (ever leak from one breast when baby is latched and breastfeeding from the other breast?), trigger additional letdowns to the pump, and double stimulation increases the body’s response and increases milk production- much like having twins. My own personal experience with parallel pumping was such that even when my own babies no longer needed my milk, I was responding so well with parallel pumping that I continued in order to donate my milk to other babies. It made pumping seem like less of a time commitment in order to donate as I was able to do it when I was already sitting to feed my baby, and it took less time to pump while having an even higher output.

*Keep reading for tips on getting started with parallel pumping.

The technique of parallel pumping works so well and with such efficiency that many parents have tried it with excellent results. Dr. Kathleen F. McCue conducted a study that is being published in Clinical Lactation journal that looked at satisfaction with the technique of parallel pumping. 

Some comments from patients:

“I was able to sit there and nurse him and also pump so that my husband can do the next feeding, which was fabulous.”

“I felt a sense of accomplishment the first time I did it. [Like,] ‘Okay, look at this. It’s working really well.’ She got into the football hold. I was able to pump, and it did feel like it was maximizing time.”

“Once you get the mechanics down it felt good in a way to feel like you were being efficient, like an efficient use of time.”

“I feel like I’m getting the pumping done simultaneously. Because I’m only pumping one breast at a time I can have one clean flange waiting… for next round. It actually takes a little bit of pressure off of me and I feel like I’m getting more done.”

“It is just efficient, because if my daughter only wanted to nurse from one side then normally what I would do is that I would feed her and then get her down sleeping, and then pump the other side. So, if I could just pump while she was nursing, it’s more efficient that way. That was nice not to have to then, after I get her down, then sit down and have to pump for another 15 minutes.”

Now you have heard how well parallel pumping works, it’s time to get started!

  • Get comfortable feeding your baby with a variety of holds. Many find the football hold most comfortable for parallel pumping but try different holds and get comfortable with them to see what best works for you.
  • Pillows are your friend. Support your baby’s body with pillows. A versatile nursing pillow such as the Littlebeam Nursing Pillow will allow you to find the best position that works for you and your baby. Use as many pillows as necessary to support your baby at your breast.
  • Choose your pump. A double electric pump may be most efficient even though you’re only using one side to parallel pump. However, some find a single electric or manual pump to be sufficient. A passive silicone suction pump may be a comfortable, effective option as well.
  • Set up and be familiar with your pump before trying to parallel pump. A few pumping sessions with just the pump can go a long way in making the experience of parallel pumping a smooth one. Remember, it isn’t always best to crank the speed and suction all the way up, particularly if it makes you uncomfortable or causes you pain. Instead, use the highest comfortable vacuum setting with the highest speed to encourage letdown, slowing the speed when letdown is achieved. Adjust multiple times through the feed/pumping session for best results.
  • A hands-free-pumping bra is the way to go. Free up your hands to support your baby, use the pump controls, utilize hands on pumping/breast massage, or even just to be able to take a drink while you feed the baby and the pump.
  • Get comfortable. Find a spot that is comfortable with plenty of room for you, the baby, and your pump. 
  • Don’t wait for late hunger cues. Set up before baby is too hungry by catching those early hunger cues and get situated before baby is upset and “hangry.” Have flanges and milk storage container (bottle or bag) washed and ready to go between feedings/pumping sessions.
  • Position pump first. Have the pump placed on your breast before bringing your baby to your breast. It is much more challenging to get the pump in place with a squirmy baby on the other breast.
  • Distraction. Some babies find the pump to be a distraction and may hit or kick the pump, yank tubing, or simply stop feeding to look at it. Have something for baby to focus on such as a nursing necklace or safe toy.
  • Have baby prime the pump! Latch baby before starting to pump then turn on the pump (remember, not too strong- pain interferes with letdown!) and pay attention to your baby. Before you know it, your milk will be flowing!

Want more on parallel pumping? Watch the following video with Dr. Kathleen McCue.

Your Marvelous Changing Bust And What You Need To Know- Breast Changes In Pregnancy

by Jessica Martin-Weber with Tracey Montford
This post made possible by the generous support of Cake Lingerie.

Breasts change throughout our lives are influenced by hormones, genetics, age, and other factors. For many, after puberty, the most noticeable change comes with pregnancy and breastfeeding. It can be helpful to know what to expect and what may help with comfort through these times of transition for our breasts and what to look for bras that provide gentle transitional support. You may not recognize your breasts with all the changes you may experience in pregnancy and breastfeeding but you still can have support, comfort, and know what you need to know to enjoy your marvelous changing bust.

Breast changes in pregnancy

For some, breasts are like their own personal magic 8 ball. Give them a little shake, ask them a question, and see what the answer is. Should I wear that underwire or go with the yoga bra? Is it a good day for potato chips or should it be salad? Should I carry pads with me or is it going to be 9 months before I need those? Or boobs are like horses. Gently pat them and ask “is it looking like rain, snow, or ice today girls?” “What do you think, facing the red flood or are we pushing a new human being out in less than a year?” “Are we craving chocolate or need a puke bucket?”

Second to puberty, during pregnancy breasts tend to experience significant growth and change. Thanks to pregnancy, it’s like you get to relive the wonders and magic of puberty all over again only this time, strangers may want to rub your belly and ask you what you’re having. (A human, we can safely guess you’re having a human!)

Pregnancy triggers the breasts to prepare for lactation to feed the developing baby after birth. The grape-like clusters of milk making tissue in the breast begin to increase in volume and number causing the tissue to expand. Yes, your boobs typically are going to grow in pregnancy- likely the biggest and most noticeable change to you’re breasts you’re going to experience since you were 11 years old. So many breast changes in pregnancy, milk making tissue expands, you grow more milk making tissue, blood flow increases, the tissue becomes more dense, the nipples and areola darken and often grow, and more. This involuntary biological response is often the first noticeable symptom of pregnancy for many women and can be quite sudden. Others may not notice any change until later in their pregnancy. Those that experience discomfort during their regular cycle are more likely to experience additional discomfort during pregnancy. Be kind to your breasts, understand that every individual and every pregnancy is unique, and find what helps you feel comfortable in this time of transition.

*Note: No change at all may be an indicator, along with other markers, of a lack of glandular tissue and should be discussed with a health care provider. This alone is not a determinant factor or sign of future breastmilk supply.

Breast changes common in pregnancy- first trimester

  • Rapid growth sometimes even before positive pregnancy test.
  • Tissue may feel more dense.
  • Achy pain is common and may last for weeks.
  • Skin my itch and be sensitive.
  • Nipples may become more tender and sensitive.
  • Areola may begin to get larger.
  • Rapid growth may lead to stretch marks on the breast.
  • Veins may become more visible as the skin gets thinner.

Support for breast changes in first trimester

As your breast size and shape may begin to change rapidly with growth being common, a transitional bra that offers flexible support with a size range in cup sizes my minimize discomfort and sensitivity. Look for a bra that is very soft with minimal structuring while providing support with a wide band and fabric that gives, providing gentle support. Some breasts change 5-6 cup sizes, it may be necessary to shop for new bras that accommodate the new breast growth. Limiting refined sugars and caffeine may also reduce discomfort.

Breast changes common in pregnancy- second trimester

  • Growth may slow down or even stop.
  • Sensitivity usually lessens.
  • The nipples and areolas may begin to darken.
  • The areola may continue to get larger.
  • To accommodate the growing baby, the rib cage may begin to expand.
  • More blueish veins may be visible under the surface as blood volume increases.

Support for breast changes in the second trimester

The second trimester tends to be more stable with changes slowing down and discomfort decreasing. If breast growth has slowed or ceased altogether, wearing a more structured bra may be more comfortable. As the rib cage begins to expand adding an expander may provide more comfort or getting sized for a better fitting bra may be necessary. During pregnancy, blood volume typically doubles and due to the thinner nature of the skin of chest area, veins may become more visible under the surface.

Breast changes common in pregnancy- third trimester

  • Some discharge or dried flakes of colostrum may be noticed on the nipple.
  • Breasts may become more sensitive again.
  • Growth may increase again.
  • Rib cage expands further as the hormone relaxin loosens tissue and baby gets bigger.
  • Breasts may begin to feel more heavy.
  • Nipples may become more sensitive to touch.
  • Areola may darken.
  • Areola may grow larger.
  • Bumps on areola may be more noticeable (Montgomery Glands).

Support for breast changes in the third trimester

As the body prepares to feed the growing baby, the breasts again enter a time of transition, particularly closer to the due date. Structured bras may be uncomfortable and compress the tissue and as more milk producing tissue develops, breast size may be in flux. A soft, supportive transitional bra may be more comfortable during this time and into the immediate postpartum. Some may notice their breasts beginning to leak or to find dried bits of colostrum on their nipple or on their bra. Though it is unusual for leaking to be noticeable through clothing in the third trimester, soft nursing pads can be used to absorb any leaks and prevent soaking through and may be more comfortable. Montgomery Glands around the nipple and on the areola my increase in size. These glands secrete an oil (lipoid fluid) that helps keep the areola and the nipple lubricated and protected and the smell of this oil may serve as a signal to the newborn of where to latch and suckle.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding breast myths

  • Myth: Use a toothbrush or rough cloth to toughen up nipples for breastfeeding.There is no need to prepare nipples for breastfeeding by using anything on your nipples. Nipples naturally prepare themselves. The one exception could be with inverted nipples needing to be drawn out. To prepare for breastfeeding, take a class, read materials, and if you are concerned, meet with an IBCLC or other breastfeeding support person to have your breasts evaluated.
  • Myth: Breast size indicates how much milk you will makeWhile your breast size may indicate how much milk your breasts may store, breast size is not an indicator of breastmilk supply. Shape of breasts and the space between the breasts may indicate how much glandular tissue is present which may impact milk supply but this can impact breasts of all sizes. If you are concerned, see an IBCLC or other breastfeeding support person to have your breasts evaluated.
  • Myth: Breastfeeding causes breasts to sag. It isn’t breastfeeding that causes sag, it is thought to be a combination of factors such as genetics and pregnancy. While breast tissue changes in density sometimes through pregnancy and breastfeeding, breastfeeding doesn’t mean sag. Read more in this study here.
  • Myth: No leaking means you don’t have milk. Some breasts never leak through pregnancy or breastfeeding but this is not a sign breastmilk supply or ability to breastfeed.
  • Myth: Inverted or flat nipples mean you can’t breastfeed. Inverted or flat nipples do not automatically mean baby won’t latch. Often inverted or flat nipples are drawn out with breastfeeding and there are options to help otherwise, even before baby is born. If you are concerned, see an IBCLC or other breastfeeding support person to have your breasts evaluated.

The hormonal response of breast changes through pregnancy all lead up to breastfeeding. There are more changes through breastfeeding and then again through weaning but the majority of the breast changes take place in pregnancy. 

How the right bra can make a difference

A good bra that fits well and accommodates these important changes in pregnancy and through breastfeeding can make a difference in comfort levels in this time of flux. Some bra fitting tips for the stages of pregnancy and breastfeeding:

  • Band should be snug but not tight. The majority of the support comes from the band, not the shoulder straps. Be sure it sits straight around the body for best fit. If it feels tight but is the right size, try loosening the shoulder straps some and pull the band down in the back. A band riding up in the back compromises fit and support.
  • Center front sits plat on chest, breasts fit comfortably within the cups.
  • Straps fit comfortably, not digging into shoulders or slipping off. 
  • Flexible sizing with minimal structure. Look for a transitional bra such as Cake Lingerie’s maternity and nursing bras, Rock Candy, Cotton Candy, and Sugar Candy, that accommodate 4-5 cup sizes with supportive fabric that has give. This doesn’t mean you have to accept uniboob, a good transitional bra will provide gentle lift, separation, and support.

Get your best fit with this step-by-step fit guide and calculator.

_________________________________________________

Use the discount code TLB15 for 15% off at cakematernity.com.

Tracey Montford created Cake Lingerie in 2008 when she wanted bras that worked for the modern mother. With a background in creative arts and teaching, she never imagined having her own business, let alone creating one out of her own personal need. She now owns and runs Cake Lingerie from Sydney, Australia with her husband, Keith and their children.
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, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 22 years.

 

 

 

 

 

What Breastfeeding Has Taught Me About My Body

by Jessica Martin-Weber
This post made possible by the generous support of Natracare.

 

Breastfeeding and my body has been a bit of a getting to know you experience. What I thought I knew about my body changed and what I never considered emerged as all consuming. One surprise after another and even after 7 kids I’m still learning about my body thanks to breastfeeding. Turns out, breastfeeding has shown me that my body is a veritable fun-house full of tricks and surprises.

Thanks to breastfeeding, I’ve learned that:

My body is smart. It knows all kinds of things, like when I’m growing a baby in my body, when I’m growing a baby outside of my body, when my baby is getting hungry even when she’s still asleep and I LEAK. It even knows when my baby’s temperature isn’t quite right and my breasts will adjust their temp to help cool my baby or warm her up.

My odor can change– thank you hormones! Hot flashes aren’t just for menopause, nope. The first few months of breastfeeding brings all the hot flashes and I had to up my deodorant game. Even after things settle a bit my, uh, scent, is totally different and a lot stronger while I’m breastfeeding. I’ve heard rumors that’s to help baby find me and while that may be true, she’s not the only one!

That there is a wide range of normal. For me, 7 babies has been 7 different experiences, all within that wide range of normal. Nothing like thinking “I’ve got this, done it before” only to feel like it is a case of the body snatcher. Leak and feel let down every time with one baby? Doesn’t mean it will happen with the next! Hold on for the wild ride of “normal”. Some people leak and some people don’t. Breastfeeding isn’t one-size-fits-most, “normal” likes to mix things up!

My body rises to the challenge. That it will make exactly the amount of milk my baby needs and then some if I ask it too. Milk supply issues are real and frustrating to deal with but if everything is working how it is set up to work, if you ask it, milk will come.

My body is sensitive, how I treat it and what I put on/in it matters. Turns out my body doesn’t like certain things so much. It is sensitive to not drinking enough water, the kinds of foods I eat, the chemicals in my laundry detergent, what my nursing pads are made out of (these disposables are chlorine-free)… it is even picky about my deodorant! I discovered that even nursing pads could irritate my breastfeeding breasts and the food I ate could even change the color and smell of my milk!

My body is strong and can tolerate a lot. Like lack of sleep. Somehow I sleep less than a sorority girl during pledge week and my body still makes what’s basically a magic elixir that sustains an entire other human being. I’ve tolerated bloody nipples, a baby needing to feed every 2 hours, pumping around the clock, and more. All while sleep deprived. 

I can go over 2 years without a menstrual cycle… and everything is totally fine. Between pregnancy and then the delay in the return of my fertility while breastfeeding (called amenorrhea), I can go over 2 years without a period. Which is fine by me! But when it does come, it’s like my uterus goes all Carrie on me. Crime scene. CSI. One must be prepared.

My body changes and change is natural– there’s no going back, only forward. Why would I want to go back to the time before my sweet baby anyway? My body has changed with pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and sleep deprivation. The evidence of my children is etched into my body, I have changed and I will never go back.

My body can heal and sustain life at the same time. After a baby is born and begins to breastfeed, that very breastfeeding signals the uterus to contract and begin to heal the open wound left by the placenta. It’s about as pleasant as having your insides run through a garbage disposal but it can save your life, reduce your bleeding time, and help your uterus heal. ALL AT THE SAME TIME AS FEEDING YOUR BABY. No big.

My body needs a lot of water. So much water. I’m basically a fish living on land.

With breastfeeding, my body needs a lot of food too. Yes, I am hungry. Again.

My skin is stretchy. Very, very stretchy. When I’m not breastfeeding, socks with rocks. When I am breastfeeding, melons. I really never could have imagined how much stretch is possible. Also… niplash.

Everything is connected and what I do today matters tomorrow- for my body, my family, and the earth. Breastfeeding has made me more aware of how I treat all of them and how they all impact the other. I make choices now to care for and protect all of them. When I take care of my body, I’m better able to care for my family and the earth (such as with organic, chlorine-free, biodegradable and compostable products like these nursing pads, these wipes, these postpartum pads, and these menstrual products).

There’s a lot I don’t know. That should have been obvious but I had no idea how much I didn’t know. Breastfeeding has been my body school. So much has taken me by surprise since having children including just how much I don’t know about my own body and how it works. I’ve learned a lot over time because I was confused and then curious and had to learn.

Watch me go through my list and then some in this 10 minute video!

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, freelance writer, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. Jessica lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest and co-parents her 7 daughters with her husband of 22 years.