Breastfeeding Back to Work; a #MyStoryMatters Leaky Share

by Annie Laird, a Leaky

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lactation Snack Station Biscuits

by Carrie Saum

Shortcake

When I pumped exclusively for eternity 21 months, I felt hungry pretty much all the time.  Rarely would a two hour window window pass without food needing to make it’s way into my mouth.   I often forgot to grab a snack before I sat down to pump because pumping and babies/toddlers just don’t mix.  Add the lactation fog that overtakes the mommy brain, and you have a recipe for a one hangry lactating lady.

I tried to get in the routine of filling my water and grabbing a snack. But I was forgetful and typically remembered exactly 30 seconds after hooking myself up to a pump for the next lifetime 20 minutes.  After only 8 months, I realized I could do something about this particular problem.  All I had to do was think ahead for a few days at a time and put some snacks at my pump spot and in my pump bag.

But that also meant I had to actually prepare a snack.  Because as much as I love trailmix and coffee, I needed a little more sustenance.  And to be honest, I needed something to look forward to because pumping exclusively is EFFING HARD.  That’s another post, though.

I tried a few different options to get a decent ratio of carbs:protein.  I also needed every single milk booster I could get because my body wanted to quit making milk right around month eight, but my son’s unique health required me to keep going.

I started tinkering with foods that would fit the bill, and could also be stored at my Lactation Station. (Yep, I named the place where I stored my extra water, snacks, nipple cream, coconut oil, homeopathic stress relief remedy, and positive thoughts.) The snack also had to be allergen-friendly because TED was my constant companion for over a year.  It wasn’t ideal. It was pretty awful actually.  But it helped my baby begin his long healing process to severe food allergies, and I discovered I’m gluten-intolerant in the process. (Damnit.)

One of my favorite foods to munch while pumping were these tasty biscuits.  One was totally satisfying and helped me lose the pumping hanger I fell prey to all too often. They were easy to transport, share, and eat on the go.  Plus, they tasted phenomenal with some strawberries and whipped cream.  I’M JUST SAYING.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 2 eggs*
  • 3/4 cup butter, cold and cubed, or melted coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 scant cup tapioca or cassava flour (wheat flour can be substituted)
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey, or other sweetener
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (omit if using egg replacer)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

*If you want to make this egg-free, go for it!  This can also boost your milk supply. To replace two eggs, I used 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds, 3 Tbsp water, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar.

Directions:

  1. Combine the almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. Add butter to the flour mixture and cut into flour until the butter is in tiny pieces. Or go easy on yourself and whisk in oil.
  3. In a small bowl, combine eggs (or egg replacement), vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar, and honey.  Whisk until fully incorporated.
  4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until barely combined.
  5. Spoon mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and smush with your hand, or bake in lined muffin tins.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and dust with a *tiny* bit of raw cane sugar. (optional)
  8. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before eating, and cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

ShortcakeBiscuits

Pile with strawberries and whipped topping of your choice for an extra special treat.  Dip them in chocolate or your hopes and dreams.  Or you can just eat them and keep the lactation hangries at bay. Your choice.  Either way, you lactating mamas are my heroes.  Keep on pumping!

Happy Milk Making,
Carrie

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

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If you love this smoothie recipe, you might like this recipe for Paleo Chocolate Chip Granola or these Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake on Our Stable Table. 

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CarrieHeadshot

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

Our Nourishment Journey

by Angela Parish

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

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

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

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

Nursing Elijah, my first born.

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

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

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

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

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

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

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

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

Rory and I seeing Patrick from our hospital room. 

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

Angela Parish, Our Nourishment Journey, guest post

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

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

Angela Parish, guest post, Our Nourishment Journey

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

Breastfeeding During Pregnancy AKA Why Does It Feel Like My Nipples Are Falling Off

by: Joni Edelman

breastfeeding during pregnancy, beautiful breastfeeding

My husband and I decided to at least try get pregnant with our fifth (yes, I said fifth) child when our fourth child was just 8 months old. This was a conscious choice because: A. I was (am) getting old. Fast. B. Since I was already Advanced Maternal Age (whatever that means) we considered that it might take a few tries before we were successful, we thought, “Hey, let’s get this party started.”

It took one month.

One.

So I found myself pregnant, mid-summer, with three teenagers and a 9-month-old baby. It’s worth adding that the 9-month-old baby slept about as good as a newborn baby, or worse. Just imagine the worst sleeping situation you can. Multiply it by 2. That’s her. Oh and by the way, my husband works out of town three days a week.

I know you’re probably saying to yourself, “WHAT THE HELL is wrong with this woman? Is she insane?’

Yes.

I am.

Breastfeeding is important to me. Also, I have a guilt complex. There was no damn way I was weaning Ella. Even if it killed me (and it came close), I was hanging in.

And the first few weeks were really nothing special. I was nauseated, having a hard time nursing and keeping food in my body simultaneously. There was some gagging. Ok, there was a lot of gagging. It passed. There was some discomfort but nothing to moan too much about. Ella seemed thirsty, but Adventures in Tandem Nursing was my trusted companion. Having read that milk can take a turn for the salty, I kept a water bottle nearby and soldiered on.

The second trimester crept up before the holidays and one day, nursing Ella down to nap, I realized I hadn’t heard her swallowing. I snuck away, attempted to hand express some milk, only to find that I could not. I chalked this up to some inexplicable cause, I was dehydrated, hungry (neither of which are plausible), any cause really, other than the actual cause: my milk was gone.

It hadn’t even occurred to me that my supply would even dip, much less drop to nothing. And so I sat on the floor of my bedroom, huddled next to an outlet with my pump, topless and awkwardly entangled in tubing, pleading for even a drop of milk to appear. And of course — or there would be no point in this story — there wasn’t a bit. Not an ounce or a teaspoon. Not even a drip.

Blame it on the hormones, the dark winter, the shortened days, the overwhelming task of taking care of four children, blame the tears on what you will. I sat huddled, crying, sobbing, irrationally devastated. The only thing I wanted to do was feed my baby, and birth my other baby. And those things couldn’t co-exist.

Cue guilt.

Suddenly I felt the crushing guilt of everything I’d ever done; my divorce, my new husband, the new baby, the other new baby, the non-organic fruit in my fridge, that time I bought french fries, that other time I bought french fries, that glass of wine I drank during the third trimester, that time my sprinklers ran all night and we were in a drought, global warming. All of it.

Guilt complex. Did I mention it?

I took my guilt and terror into the second trimester. I took my crying to twitter. I asked for reassurance anywhere I could find it (including The Leaky Boob). I was so sure she would wean and it would be my fault and I would have broken her and myself and everything.

But she didn’t wean.

And sometimes I wished she would have. I know that doesn’t make sense (see: I’m crazy). But there were at least three occasions in the middle of the night — Ella screaming to nurse from a breast that had no milk (and PS that isn’t super comfortable) — that I wanted to literally put her outside. It was winter, or I might have.

Pubic symphysis dysfunction nearly crippled me. I had no milk and a baby that wanted nothing but milk. I had four kids that needed me and I was crawling on all fours to the laundry room. I wanted to put my screaming baby outside. I wanted to cover my head and come out finished with pregnancy. Sometimes I didn’t want to be pregnant at all. Sometimes I wanted to cease to exist.

It was not a good time.

And of course, because guilt, I was sure my unborn child knew I didn’t want to be pregnant. And I knew he’d be born and feel unloved and unwanted. I knew it.

And then my homebirth turned into a hospital birth (though that’s another story). And because I didn’t feel guilty enough about the fries and the lawn and everything else, I now got to feel guilt that the baby (who I was already sure felt unloved) had to be born in the hospital.

Less than two days after Max arrived my milk came in with a gush. When Ella realized the milk had miraculously returned after 6 months, she looked up at me, slowly signing ‘milk’ with the deliberate opening and closing of her tiny fist, she smiled her tiny smile, tongue still curled around my nipple. Her hand stroked the back of Max’s head, as if to say, “Thanks for coming. And oh also, thanks for bringing the milk with you.”

We made it to the other side. We graduated to tandem. And I didn’t put anyone in the backyard — excluding myself anyway.

Back to feeling guilty about global warming.

beautiful breastfeeding, cuddling, feeding two kids

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

Ask the CPST with clek- Keeping Your Newborn Safe

This post features questions from readers for a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) focusing on car seats and is made possible by the generous sponsorship of clek who have made their staff CPSTs available to The Leaky Boob community in order to answer your questions and help you keep your children safe. For more questions related to infants in car seats, see questions 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 from our live chat on TLB Facebook wall. 

clek infant thingy

Dear Trudy,

I think we have everything just about in place for our new babe due in about 6 weeks but I’m completely overwhelmed and have anxiety about that drive home from the hospital with our new baby. Is there anything special we need to keep in mind with a newborn in a seat? Older babies seem less concerning as they can support their own heads better and have more muscle tone. I know we’ll have to get comfortable driving with our baby but those first few trips are particularly stressing me. I asked about car seat checks at our hospital tour and they said they’ll send a nurse out with us to be sure we have a proper seat but they aren’t responsible for ensuring we are using it properly. What can we do? What do we need to keep in mind with buckling a newborn? 

Thank you for your help!

Worried in Wisconsin.

 

Dear Worried in Wisconsin,

Having a baby is such an exciting time in life! Having new concerns and worries pop up as you near the big day is perfectly understandable.

You’re right that a newborn baby has a weaker neck and needs help in supporting its head. Installing your car seat so that it’s reclined properly will make sure that your new babe’s head is supported and doesn’t tip forward. Your rear-facing car seat will come with instructions for adjusting the recline and installing it in the vehicle.

Before baby arrives I’d recommend reviewing the information in your car seat manual about securing babe in their car seat. Using a teddy bear or other stuffed animal can help give you some familiarity about how to use and tighten the harness.

When you put baby in the first time, you’ll want to check how they fit in the seat. Depending on the seat you choose, you may need to make some minor adjustments to either the harness height and/or the crotch buckle before leaving the hospital. Your car seat manual will have those instructions in it. Most manufacturers recommend that the harness be positioned so that the straps are at the closest height either even or below the baby’s shoulders.

Once you’ve checked that your seat is adjusted properly for your new babe, make sure that their bum is snug to the back of the seat so that they’re not slouching, and then adjust the harness so that it’s snug over their body. A snug harness has no visible slack, but doesn’t push their body out of position.

I’d also recommend getting in touch with a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST). A CPST has training in helping families install and use their seats properly, and might give you that last bit of peace of mind. You can check for a tech near you by visiting the Safe Kids website and searching by your city and state.

Best wishes as you finish the final preparations for your new baby.

Trudy

 

Dear Trudy

It has been 9 years since I had my last child and now I’m expecting again. The world of car seats seems to have changed a lot and I’ve learned I made a lot of mistakes with my 9 year old, which has caused me to question what I thought I knew. With my son, I used one of those newborn head support inserts that didn’t come with his seat. I have been given a cute little newborn head support insert for this baby but I’ve heard that these aren’t safe yet I noticed many of the seats we have considered for this new baby come with them. Can I not switch out the one in the seat for the cute one we were given? 

Sincerely,

Confused and Concerned

 

Dear Confused and Concerned,

Congratulations on your upcoming new arrival! You’re right – car seats certainly have changed a lot in the last 9 years!

Car seat manufacturers test their seats using the specific covers and accessories that come with the car seat, and carefully select each piece to make sure that the car seat will keep your baby as safe as possible. You’re right that the extra head support inserts that are available in stores shouldn’t be added to your car seat. Most car seat manuals include instructions to only use products provided and approved by the car seat manufacturer for use with the seat, so in most cases you wouldn’t be able to switch out the one that came in the car seat.

The extra head supports available in stores definitely are cute. It’s possible you may be able to use it in your stroller instead and then you can still enjoy the cute factor.

Safe Travels,

Trudy

 

Dear Trudy,

Some of the materials I’ve read say that a baby isn’t safe to be left in a car seat due to possible breathing concerns and now I’m worried about my baby’s breathing even when we’re in the car. If it isn’t safe for a baby to be left in a bucket seat while they nap in the house, how can it be safe in the car? Are there some seats that are less of a risk than others for breathing issues?  

Peace,

Ready to breathe easy.

 

Dear Ready to breathe easy,

There are a few reasons that experts recommend limiting the amount of continuous time an infant spends in a car seat, but the most substantial one is related to possible breathing concerns as you’ve discovered.

Using a car seat in the car is different than using it in the house for a few reasons. Car seats generally sit at a different angle when they’re properly installed in the car vs. when they’re sitting on a surface outside of the car. This increased recline in the car ensures that their head stays in position and doesn’t tip forward. If a car seat sits more upright in the stroller or on the floor, it may lead to positional breathing problems. Infants also typically spend less time in their car seat on an average car ride, than they would if they were napping or sleeping or playing in their car seat outside the car.

In most cases, positional breathing problems happen after a baby has been buckled in to a car seat for an extended period of time. If you have any long car trips coming up while your baby is less than 6 weeks old, I would recommend talking to your baby’s doctor to see if they have any recommendations on how often you should stop for a short break to remove baby from the car seat. In the absence of special medical needs, I generally recommend planned stops at least every 1.5 hours.

Rear-facing only seats are designed to provide protection to your precious cargo at their smallest size, and all rear-facing only seats have a recommended recline angle for when the seat is installed in the car. There can be some variation in the manufacturer’s preferred recline between different models, but provided the seat is installed according to directions, your baby fits the seat properly, and baby’s head doesn’t tip forward chin-to-chest during trips, then you can breathe easy knowing that your baby will breathe fine during car trips.

Safe travels,

Trudy

 

Dear Trudy,

Our infant car seat from my two older children has expired and we need to get a new one for the baby on the way. I’m trying to figure out if there is any reason to get two different seats or if it is more practical to get a convertible that will go down to newborn weight ranges. Is there anything we need to consider when looking at convertible car seats with the intention of using it from the beginning? Are these truly safe options? How does it work to cover such a wide range of sizes? Would it actually be better to just get two different seats?

Thanks for helping us keep our babies safe!

With gratitude,

Two and One on the Way

 

Dear Two and One on the Way,

The decision about whether to start with a convertible car seat or a rear-facing only car seat is one that a lot of families debate. The answer about which style of seat is better is going to be different for each family, but there are some factors you can consider that should help make the decision easier for you.

Convertible seats come in a wide range of sizes and designs. Most of them start at 5lbs, but some of them do a better job of fitting a newborn than others. Depending on how big your baby is at birth, and the model of convertible seat selected, sometimes a newborn doesn’t fit properly in to a convertible seat. Some convertibles, such as Clek’s Foonf and Fllo when used with the infant-thingy, have inserts available that allow newborns to be properly positioned and fit the seat well.

Rear-facing only seats are designed to fit newborns, so if you’re expecting a smaller baby, then they are generally the preferred choice. A rear-facing only seat also has the benefit of being easily portable. This can be helpful if you live in either a very hot climate or a very cold climate since it lets you buckle baby in in the comfort of your house and then carry him or her to your car. It also gives a lot of convenience if you frequently have short trips with a lot of stops along the way.

Provided you’re fairly certain baby will be full-term and of average size, the convenience factor is often the easiest way to decide which option will work best for you. If you plan to babywear, or not use the car seat outside of the car, then choosing a convertible seat may be a practical plan for you. If you think you will appreciate having the carrier option, then that may mean that purchasing two seats is the best choice for your family.

If you decide to go with a convertible seat, I’d recommend researching different models to find a model that fits in your vehicle at a newborn recline, and is also known for fitting small babies well. Google images or visiting a company’s facebook page where customers often share their pictures can be very helpful in giving you a feeling for how a newborn looks in the bigger seat.

Congratulations on the upcoming addition to your family!

Safe travels,

Trudy

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Not only does clek want to help us all get comfortable with getting our little ones secure in our vehicles, they’re going to physically help one Leaky do just that! 

Clek is giving away a Foonf Convertible Car Seat in Flamingo or Tank to a Lucky Leaky.

Foonf is Clek’s no-compromise convertible child seat – introducing revolutionary safety technology, extended rear-facing to 50 lb, innovative convenience features, and it’s recyclable.

Total Retail Value: $449.99 USD ($549.99 in Canada)

Visit www.clekinc.com for more information

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to enter. A big thanks to Clek for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to take a moment to thank Clek on their Facebook page  for their show of support! You can also follow Clek on Twitter and Instagram: username @Clekinc

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Trudy SlaghtTrudy Slaght, Clek CPST, CRST-IT As Clek’s Child Passenger Safety Advocate, a previous board member of the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada, and a CRST Instructor from Edmonton, Alberta, Trudy Slaght pretty much breathes, eats, and lives child passenger safety. With her brain crammed full of valuable tips and advice, Trudy attends and speaks at various industry conferences across North America and provides everything from simple helpful guidance to advanced technical support for parents, caregivers, and even fellow technicians.
A mom of three, Trudy has been involved in the field for over 7 years, spending lots of time thinking about, practicing, and preaching the best methods to keep our little ones safe for the ride. And, even with all this on her plate, Trudy still somehow has the passion and energy to be a contributing author to Canada’s National Child Passenger Technician Training curriculum.

TLB Comic- How Was Your Day?

 

by Jennie Bernstein

Parenting how was your day mom and dad with baby

 

We love our babies and sometimes we love a shower in peace and quiet.

Dark Chocolate Lactation Granola Bark

by Carrie Saum

In my house, anything I make or bake will get eaten either by family or friends.  But it is a very rare occurrence that anything I bake goes in the trash.

When my son was born, I made plenty of lactation goodies (including this lemonade and these cookies) and it was impossible to keep them to myself.  First of all, I didn’t WANT to keep them to myself because I’m a sharer by nature.  Then I couldn’t because all of the people coming in and out of our house knew about the goodies and wanted to partake.

However, that became expensive.  FAST.

I got smart about it.  I made all of the treats I could that were inexpensive.  I could buy oats in bulk for super cheap.  My mom gave me a giant jar of local honey from a farm (also very inexpensive), and the rest is history. I made little crunchy granola bars that resembled Nature’s Valley but without any added junk.

But here’s the thing. I GOT BORED. Since I needed the fuel to keep my supply up while exclusively pumping, I tried my hand at different recipes.  Because boredom is the master of invention.  I think.  No, that’s not the right quote.  But it’s the right idea.  I love trying new things, but I also have to try new things to keep the game interesting. And feeding yourself (and your baby) is always interesting.

So, when boredom struck, I struck back.  I added sunflower seed butter.  And chocolate.

Then I got a little crazy and instead of cutting them, I broke the granola into pieces that were pretty and irregular and made me feel decadent.  And every new mama needs to be made to feel decadent, right?  And maybe even a little fancy, too.  They’re also a breeze to make, and very affordable.

DarkChocolateGranolaBark

 

Ingredients for Granola Bark:

  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 Tbsp molasses (optional, but adds depth of flavor)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter or peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey

Ingredients for Chocolate Layer:

  1. 6 oz 90% cacao chocolate
  2. 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1 Tbsp raw honey

Directions for Granola Bark

  1. Combine all dry ingredients, and mix throughly.
  2. Combine all wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients.
  3. Spread granola mixture in a 7×12 inch parchment-lined dish.  Pack it down hard, leaving no breathing room.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.  Allow to cool completely in the pan.

Directions for Chocolate Layer

  1. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in your home-made double boiler
  2. Add vanilla and stevia
  3. Once melted and stirred well, pour into the pan of chilled nut butter mixture (Optional and delicious step: Spread a thin layer of peanut butter or sunbutter over the granola first, then pour your chocolate over it.)
  4. Allow to harden in the refrigerator for an hour, then break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

For an extra milky boost you can add 2 tablespoons brewer’s yeast and/or 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal to the granola bark. Be warned that some tummies don’t respond well to the brewer’s yeast so if you or your baby tend to have sensitive stomachs, it may be best to skip it.

*Note: These do NOT keep at room temperature because of the coconut oil the chocolate layer. If you want the chocolate to keep at room temperature, consider using (sustainably and humanely harvested) palm oil instead of coconut oil.

You will be impressed with yourself when you make these.  Better yet, make these for a friend who just had a baby and she will be forever grateful.

Barking up the Lactation Tree,
Carrie

If you love this smoothie recipe, you might like this recipe for Paleo Chocolate Chip Granola or these Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake on Our Stable Table. 

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

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

 

 

 

Rest Well- Sleep Support For You and Your Child From Sleep Consultant Rebecca Michi

The Leakies with Rebecca Michi

sleep consultant Rebecca Michi

We asked sleep consultant Rebecca Michi to come help us all get some more sleep and we asked the Leakies to share there current sleep struggles. Here are a few of the responses followed by Rebecca’s support.

 

Chris: My 20 month old has an average 7 hour window of awake time after she wakes from her nap- this is killing me when she doesnt go down for nap til 1:15-2 and then sleeps til 3:00! I can’t stand a 10pm bedtime!! What should I do? should I drop the afternoon nap? My mom said I stopped napping all together at age 2. Worried we are headed this way as well. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

 

Rebecca: I would work on gradually reducing down the nap. Have her wake at 2:45pm for a week and see how that impacts your nights. You can then reduce down another 15 minutes for a week. You should be able to find the perfect nap length, though it may be that she is ready to drop the nap.

Take a little look at your night routine, you want it to be between 30 and 45 minutes long, nice and consistent, same thing in the same place in the same order. Take a look at the environment as well, nice and dark (through the whole night), no energy saving light bulbs in the sleep space and no screen time an hour before bed

 

Courtney: Naps! How can I get my 15 month old to take a nap without getting nursed to sleep. He’s not one of these “drowsy but awake” kind of kids, you can’t rock him because he squirms and won’t settle. I just want to get to the point where I can put him in his crib and he falls asleep on his own. Wishful thinking? We also nurse to sleep for bedtime and when he wakes in the night.

Rebecca: You will need to teach him the skills to get himself to sleep. I suggest some gentle sleep training. When you are gently teaching sleep skills you are always with your child and you can pick them up and soothe them. Take a look at The Baby Whisperer book, Kim Wests book and my book. We all have our own sleep training techniques that are more gentle and hands on. Find a technique you like and stick with it. It’s actually easier to work on nights first, you can work with naps first, but it will be more of a challenge.

 

CarolineMy 7.5 month old never naps (ok maybe twice) longer than 70 min Is there a way to get her to nap longer? When she was younger than 3 months or so she only ever napped being worn and she would nap longer but in her crib she maxes out around 75 min. We would love it if she took longer naps – is this just what she needs? 3 30 -75 min naps (first two usually lose to an hour but the last one of the day frequently only 35 min or so)

Rebecca: How long is she awake between naps? Try aiming for the 2-3-4 routine (awake for 2 hours, nap, awake for 3 hours, nap, awake for 4 hours, down for the night. With 3 hours of nap you have a 12 hour day). Changing to this schedule should help those naps stretch out a little. Have your nap routine within your awake period, so you want to be actively working on getting to sleep at the 2 hour point and the 3 hour point. The last awake period can be a little longer, we have a longer routine so it can be longer than 4 hours. If she has had shorter naps you can have a catnap in the 4 hour stretch, this nap just needs to be long enough to keep her going until bedtime.

 

Cailyn: My 7 month old doesn’t nap in her crib. If I put her down she either wakes up immediately or within 5 minutes. We are currently doing cuddle naps, but would like to get her napping in her crib. She sleeps fine in her crib a night, provided she has napped well in the day. We have been using a lovey to try and get her to associate it with sleep time, and not the cuddling, but so far that hasn’t made a difference. Do we just have to keep trying to put her in her crib for naps, knowing that if she doesn’t nap for long her night time sleep may not be good?

Rebecca: It’s not unusual for children to sleep very differently for naps and night sleep, the reason behind this is due to day sleep (naps) and night sleep being managed by different areas of the brain. Make sure she has plenty of playtime in the crib each day, she needs to be comfortable with the space to nap in the space, this comes with play. When you do work on having her sleep in the crib you will probably notice that the naps get short, this is very normal, naps do reduce in length as we make changes to them. The naps should begin to lengthen out but themselves, but it may take a week or more for them to lengthen out. As we don’t want nights to be too impacted I would suggest having and emergency nap towards the end of the day. Maybe run some errands so she can fall asleep in the car or go for a walk so she can nap in the stroller or carrier, this way she can catch up on a little lost sleep, but you are not going going back to doing those cuddle naps.

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Be sure to check out Rebecca’s book Sleep And Your Child’s Temperament and don’t miss out on the scholarship opportunity to participate in her Sleep Academy LIVE, here.

If you have a question you would like Rebecca to answer next time, please use this form to submit your inquiry.

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small Rebecca Michi121 Rebecca is a Children’s Sleep Consultant who has been working with families for over 20 years. She is a gentle sleep consultant who doesn’t believe in leaving your child to cry-it-out when teaching them to fall asleep more independently. She is passionate about helping children and their parents build healthy habits so they can finally get some sleep. By transforming drama into dreamland, her mission is to help your children—and you—get a good night’s sleep.

TLB Reviews: Ovolo

The Goods: Ovolo Woven Baby Wraps

The Reviewers: Kileah, Micah, and Amy

Editor’s note: we like to use products for a long time before posting our reviews because we feel a week or even a month’s use for something that could be an investment for a buyer isn’t enough time to really be able to review the product. That said, it took us AGES to get this review posted, much to our embarrassment. In that time though we got to learn that not only does Ovolo make quality wraps, they also maintain quality service, support, and interactions.
IMG_2896

Left- Lark Glacier, size 6. Right- Fletching Wagtail, size 4.

The Good

Kileah says…

I am pretty sure I squealed when our Ovolo wraps came in the mail! Down to the packaging…there was so much love and care put into sending it to us. We received the Fletching Wagtail in a size 4 (3.6 metres/11.81 ft.) and the Lark Glacier in a size 5 (4.2/13.78 ft.) both in their loom state.  They both are 100% cotton but both completely gorgeous and DIFFERENT in their feel and wrapping specifics. The wagtail was a bit of a “beast” to break in at first…but nothing that a good thorough washing/drying and a few wears couldn’t fix. It’s an amazingly squishy and supportive wrap that doesn’t dig in at the tension points, and practically oooozed of sleepydust. The pixie hobbit and the baby hobbit both absolutely love getting wrapped up in it. The design of the fletching has a bit of personal meaning to our family as Micah’s grandfather’s name was Fletcher…the middle name we picked out for the sweet baby that we lost several years ago. Holding, wearing, using this warm, sturdy wrap has been a small source of healing in my heart.

And then Ovolo sent me and my littlest squish a NINJA and a HANDMADE Bandana in December. They did it JUST BECAUSE. Because they love their people and care about creating pieces that last. Pieces that are a part of your family…even for generations to come. THAT is the kind of heart and company I want to support. The kind that values my family and will do whatever it takes to help and support us in our journey of loving and learning with each other. Thank you, Ovolo. Thank you for working so hard to love on us in such a busy time of the year!

Baby hobbit in a double hammock carry using the Fletching Wagtail.

Baby hobbit in a double hammock carry using the Fletching Wagtail.

Micah says…

While I’ve been baby wearing since our oldest hobbit was born 6 years ago, this was my first experience wrapping with anything other than a Moby. I have to say that I was a bit skeptical at first- mostly because my experience using the Moby wasn’t that great- it was too long, and stretched out too easily for me. I did my best to put preconceived ideas aside and went to work learning to wrap with the Ovolos we received. I’m pretty big on the way things look, so for starters I can tell you that I was absolutely thrilled with the wraps Ovolo had sent as they were both patterns and colors that I liked. What I was not prepared for, however, was just how comfortable they would be once I got a few wrapping techniques down. The support that I felt I had as I carried a child in both was fantastic, and the knots stayed tied well.

Pixie Hobbit in a ruck carry with a tibetan tie-off using the Lark Glacier.

Pixie Hobbit in a ruck carry with a tibetan tie-off using the Lark Glacier.

 

Amy says…

We reviewed the Heartwood Onyx in a size 6. (100% cotton, 257gsm if you’re into wrap stats.)
I’m saying this, but really, it’s my husband who’s giving the feedback for the review! This wrap is his daily driver. In fact, it’s probably in use for at least an hour each day, if not more! This is our son’s legacy wrap, hands-down, from both a quality perspective and for the emotional attachment we all have to it. My husband is not a wrapper. He wore our daughter in a “crotch-dangler” buckle carrier six years ago, so the first time he wrapped our newborn son in this Ovolo wrap was literally the first time he had ever wrapped a baby.

It’s beginner friendly. At first, we both scoffed at the included instruction photos (“Isn’t this a bit much? LOL.”) Answer: no! It’s not a bit much. Literally as soon as he had the wrap tied, he was praising the instruction sheet for how easy it was to do something that, at first blush, looked complicated. Since then, he’s tried a variety of videos and tutorials to guide him through other carries. (Spoiler alert: none have really worked, he’s ended up frustrated, and gone back to the tried-and-true FWCC. Front Wrap Cross Carry, for those who don’t speak wrap-ease.) It showed up soft and has broken in to buttah. It’s lovely. M y husband does things to this wrap that I’d never dream of! It gets tossed wherever he’s taking it off (floor, couch, bed, on top of the laundry heap in our room…). He’s not gentle with it. Our son has barfed stinky chunks of curdled breastmilk on to it more times than we can count. He sucks, teethes, and chews on the rails. I couldn’t tell you what the care instructions say; all I can tell you is that the hubs tossed it straight into the washer on ‘delicate’ with cloth-diaper safe detergent, and then we line-dried it. In the winter, it went into the dryer on ‘delicate’. I don’t think it’s shrunk much since we first washed and dried it to set the weave and prep it.

Real dad. Real newborn. Real beginner wrap job!

Real dad. Real newborn. Real beginner wrap job!

It’s forgiving as all get-out. It’s been in action for 10 months here and over that time, my husband has gotten MUCH better at wrapping (always the FWCC). He needed a mirror for the first month or so, and now he could probably do it with his eyes closed. He still doesn’t care much for getting the prettiest, or the neatest, or the best wrap job. He knows how to make sure the baby is in a deep seat and to spread the passes over his bum. Beyond that, all bets are off. Our guy isn’t small, either, he’s 25 pounds or so. This wrap forgives the sometimes sloppy passes and stays tight; it keeps him high and feeling light, despite his baby-heft. Even when our (strong like a horse!) baby is arching his back and trying to nose-dive out of it (for instance, when he’s about to be handed off to me to nurse), the passes stay tight and hold him.

If I had to get rid of all my wraps except one, this would be the one we kept. It has taken abuse, forgives sloppy wrapping, and my husband and son don’t go a day without it. It also helps that Ovolo knocked it out of the park with the design; it’s masculine and earthy and aesthetically simple yet beautiful. We love it.

Ovolo Heartwood Onyx. Our legacy wrap.

Ovolo Heartwood Onyx. Our legacy wrap.

The Bad

Kileah says…

As I mentioned before: the Fletching is what I’d call more of an experienced babywearer’s wrap…it’s a DREAM to wrap with when the wrap is broken in…but it takes some good washing/drying and some good beating/wearing around to break in. Absolutely worth the effort because it speaks STRONG and SOFT when it’s in its ideal state. The Lark, simply due to its more “lightweightedness,” was easier to re-adjust to breastfeed my youngest two in.

Micah says…

A few things come to mind here. First, the Fletching Wagtail, which is the wrap that I absolutely loved, is too short to be a versatile wrap for me. At 5’10” and 245 lbs. I need a wrap that’s at least a 6 to be able to feel secure using it in a back carry- I wasn’t able to use this wrap for anything more than a simple hip carry. This could definitely be a downside for dads since we tend to be bigger framed than moms! Also, the Fletching Wagtail is such a heavy woven fabric that it really isn’t ideal for use in warmer weather.

Pixie Hobbit in a hip cross carry using the Lark Glacier. This was on a Costco that she was less than thrilled to be a part of!

Pixie Hobbit in a hip cross carry using the Lark Glacier. This was on a Costco that she was less than thrilled to be a part of!

Amy says…

I think it’s faded a bit after a ton of use and several times drying in the sun. Black is a tough color as fading goes, but that’s really the only potentially bad thing I can say. We don’t mind it the slight fade. I probably should’ve hung it in the evening when it wouldn’t be in direct sunlight. Maybe the other “bad” is that my husband commandeered this thing and I think I’ve gotten to use it maybe one time! Ha!

To Micah’s point, I’ll mention that my husband is 5’7″ and a medium build, and a 6 is just fitting him to wrap our 10 month-old in a FWCC. If you’re buying for a dad (and this is the epitome of a dad wrap!), look at the longer sizes.

The Ugly

Kileah says… 

The ugly for me? Don’t know if I have anything bad to say…I’m in love 🙂

Micah says…

The ugly for me is simply that wraps just aren’t as quick and easy to use as most soft structured carriers. I wish they were, because they are pretty cool and extremely comfortable as long as you wear them correctly.

Amy says…

We did have a hem on one rail succumb to some razor-sharp baby teeth. Fixing that is on my to-do list, but it’s been like that for a couple months, and it hasn’t impacted wrapping at all. (And again, my husband is not gentle when he’s using this thing, so consider that the hems were put under a good deal of stress every time he’s used it.) Did I mention this thing takes a beating?

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While no product is absolutely perfect for everyone, our reviewers all agreed that the Ovolo wraps come close. So we’re excited to share the love with you in an Ovolo Wrap giveaway for one lucky Leaky and excited that 3 additional wraps are going to babywearing lending libraries!

Babywearing Ovolo wrap

Ovolo Ombre Lupine

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Ovolo is giving away one of their brand new wraps, the Ombre Lupine in a Size 6 ($325 value) for one lucky Leaky!

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Meet Ombre Lupine, a gorgeous combination of blues, purples, and greys with a navy blue weft. Lupine is the first in our series of wraps called Ombre. Ovolo Ombre wraps are uniquely woven on a small dobby loom in plain weave and in very limited batches, less than 20 per color. Ombre wraps are woven with 8/2 cotton for both warp and weft. Ombre is truly the wrap for everyone. It carries very much like your favorite handwoven, with lots of stretch, amazing drape, and very gentle on shoulders. Woven and finished in the USA.

Size 4: 4.6 meters

Width: 76cm
Rails: Selvedge
Ends: Blunt Hemmed
Middle Marker: Tactile

100% 8/2 cotton | 275 gsm

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from March 16, 2015 through March 23, 2015.  A big thanks to Ovolo for their support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.  Check out their Etsy shop too!

This giveaway is restricted to US entries only. 

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7 Risks To Feeding Your Child- You’re Screwed No Matter What

by Jessica Martin-Weber

 

risks to feeding children

You have a kid?  Congrats!  What should you feed them?  Trying to decide?  Weighing all your options and carefully assessing the risks?  Great!  You should do that.  Also, you’re screwed no matter what you do.  In 15 years of parenting 6 kids, having both breastfed and formula fed, and gone through phases in nutrition standards (yeah, there was a period with lots of Hamburger Helper and soda pop at each dinner and then a period of only organic, homemade, but most of the time somewhere in the middle), I have found that the “right” way was not only subjective but also highly circumstantial.

That there are some actual risks associated with formula feeding and breastfeeding is undeniable, if heavily debated.  Risks such as possible lowered natural immunity and increased chance of ear infections with formula feeding or risks of mastitis and dietary sensitivities with breastfeeding.  Nothing in life comes without risks.  Yep, you’re facing being screwed or screwing up your kids no matter what you do!  As parents all we can do is try our best to mitigate the risks our children face without putting them in a bubble.  There’s risk to that too, what with BPA concerns, the possible damper on social skills development, and the need for oxygenMay as well let them live in the big bad scary world.  Carefully weighing all the possible options, doing personal research, and making the best informed decisions we can according to our personal circumstances and resources means we have to learn to live with some risks.  Regardless of how you feed your child, there are risks you face no matter how carefully you studied, planned, and executed your decision.  Be it breastmilk straight from the tap, pumped breastmilk, donor milk, or formula and then eventually, before you know it, store bought baby food (organic or not), homemade baby food (organic or not), or baby-led solids, followed by McDonald’s Happy Meals, Whole Foods shopping carts, homemade, or homegrown; there are a few unavoidable risks to feeding your child.

  1. There will likely be times you question yourself.  Is this really necessary?  Am I doing it right?  Am I doing it wrong?  Am I stressing out about nothing?  Have I ruined my child for life?  Has my child ruined me for life?  The answer to all these and more is: probably.
  2. There is little doubt that new information will come out that you have, in fact, made the wrong choice.  Those organic apples weren’t actually organic, breastmilk can have toxins in it (have you had yours tested?!), formula used an unnecessary ingredient now deemed dangerous and cancer causing, the baby food company didn’t list all the ingredients they actually used, artificial colors not only suck the actually cause two horns and a tail to grow on some kids… whatever it is, there will be something that’s bad about the choice you made.
  3. Your child will grow to like junk food.  Like moths to the flame, little kids love toxic laden junk food, the more carcinogens the better.  Try as you might, they will discover the joys of foods you’d rather they not consume thanks to a grandparent, a little friend, a mother more lazy and uninformed than you (admit it, you have been judging her and she knew it), or more likely, daddy. And they will, at some point in time, eat something disgusting off the ground or the floor of your minivan.  They will also pick their nose and eat it.  They will lick something that will make you gag.  No matter what you do to cultivate their palate to make discriminating food choices, they will be drawn to the junk and you will wonder if it ever even mattered.
  4. The growth chart will scare you.  Too big, too little, too average, whatever it is, you’ll probably have at least one appointment with your child’s doctor that will make you concerned about your child’s growth pattern.  Because if there’s anything that can be truly charted, it’s that kids are predictably unpredictable.
  5. Statistics aren’t guarantees.  All the scary stuff that isn’t supposed to happen/is supposed to happen based on how you’re feeding your child doesn’t come true.  The proverbial “they” said if you feed your child “this” way they won’t get sick, or that’s what you understood anyway, and yet you’re wiping green snot off your child’s face every day for months.  And someone is bound to point this out to you, trumpeting how their kid is never sick.  Immune systems can be such ignorant traitors clueless on the what all those studies say.
  6. You will be judged.  Pull out a breast or bottle to feed your baby and watch the judgment fly.  Too long, too brief, too-not-what-they-did.  Bad mom, exhibitionist, endangering your child, endangering other people’s children (their poor eyes may see the choice you’ve made and confuse them!), pouring toxins into your child, doing that in public, you name it, judgment will come from all directions no matter what you do.
  7. You can make yourself crazy.  Trying to do it perfectly right could be exactly what drives you over the edge of sanity.  A very real risk.

And if you think it’s bad when they’re infants, just wait until your child is begging for cheetos and refusing the organic avocado and kale chips at playdates.  No matter how you feed your children as infants, they will someday inevitably grow into toddlers eating their own boogers (and sometimes those of others), tasting dirt on the playground, sucking a sucker they found on the floor of the public bathroom, and licking the railing at a public park.  The good news is, most of the time they really are going to be just fine even though.

Breast or bottle debate humor

Which is why it’s a good thing we don’t feed our children for others.  Good luck!  Whatever you do, there are risks.  This is just one aspect of parenting, have confidence, there are even bigger risk you face in this journey.  Go on, feed your kids, take a deep breath, and take the risks as they come.  You’ve got this.