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What you need to know about breastfeeding and postpartum contractions

by Jessica Martin-Weber

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Lactation can save your life, help heal your body, and be good for your uterus.

This is all true.

We talk a lot about how great breastfeeding can be for baby, but did you know it can be great for your uterus too? What your uterus wishes you knew about lactation:

It can save your life.

Potentially in more ways than one. But what really makes your uterus happy is that putting your brand new baby to suckle at your breast stimulates the release of oxytocin in your brain which helps your uterus to clamp down. These postpartum contractions are often called afterbirth pains. That initial latch of your wee babe strengthens the natural contractions and if you haven’t already, helps you expel the placenta and make sure you don’t bleed to death. It can help prevent a postpartum hemorrhage. But don’t worry if your baby doesn’t want to feed right after birth (give them a break, it was an eventful occasion, being born), this continues to work for as long as it takes for your uterus to reduce to it’s normal non-gestating size.

The uterus returning to it’s not-currently-gestating size gives room to the organs that have been squished, making it easier to breathe, eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. It also means less pressure on the pelvic floor organs and tissue. This is an important stage of early healing. Often afterbirth contractions are more intense and painful with subsequent babies but it still does the job. Hate it all you want but it is way better than hemorrhaging and it’s the body’s perfect way to make sure you’re safe and around for a long time.

Every time you put your brand new baby to your breast, even if it doesn’t last long, and you endure a wave of contractions you may curse, swear, stomp your foot, breathe through clenched teeth hissing at your partner that next time they’re having the baby but those painful afterbirth contractions that your nursing babe brings on are important as they cut off the supply of blood to where the placenta had been allowing for healing and recovery to take place. Some don’t experience these contractions as much more than some mild cramping, others find them worse than labor itself. There’s a wide range of experiences, don’t be alarmed if you find that your own varies from that of others. 

Along with signaling to the uterus it’s time to shrink back down, breastfeeding can help you rest. For many that have just had a baby, life just doesn’t let them have the time they need to really heal and that open wound in their uterus doesn’t get the rest it needs which can lead to mom becoming anemic, fatigued, sore, and taking longer to heal. While there’s always a lot to do, breastfeeding can help busy moms take a load off in those early weeks with a hungry baby forcing them to sit and be still long enough to work on a good latch and fill up that little tummy. Taking time to have skin to skin fosters the breastfeeding relationship and can reduce their healing time, leading to sustainable recovery. And because it can help reduce postpartum bleeding and menstrual bleeding both in volume and length of time, some will experience a natural rise in iron levels which will be a real energy boost.

 

Fertility can be delayed with lactation. With my last baby, my 8th full term pregnancy, I got a break from my period until 21 months postpartum. Including pregnancy, that was more than 30 months off and no ovulation. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t miss it one single bit. This isn’t a guarantee but the majority of people experience a delay in the return of their fertility after giving birth if they exclusively breastfeed/chestfeed (meaning no supplementation). When baby is fed only with nursing, the body suppresses fertility to focus on continuing to grow this little person. This would mean no period sometimes until full weaning happens though any time solid foods, supplementation, or artificial nipples are introduced it’s possible their cycle will return. Sometimes that can be thrown off, usually if artificial nipples are used (yeah, even with bottles of their own pumped milk) but sometimes even if there is only ever exclusively nursing the cycle may return early in the postpartum period. But for those that experience suppressed fertility due to breastfeeding, it can be a nice break from their regular menstrual cycle. Because there are no guarantees though, unless you are hoping to get pregnant again shortly after having your baby, some kind of birth control measures would be wise.

Lactation can help with endometriosis and may help reduce cancer risks. Because it is common for the menstrual cycle to be delayed by lactation, those that have endometriosis may experience a stabilization of the progression of their condition which may lead to some relief. This won’t necessarily cure the condition but some do find it is no longer an issue. Causation or correlation, studies show that women that breastfeed have lower incidence of developing uterine, endometrial or ovarian cancer. 

Nursing is no magic bullet that will save you, you may lactate and still get cancer, you may nurse and still experience a retained placenta or postpartum hemorrhage, you may bodyfeed and struggle with endometriosis or have your fertility return right away. But hey, a chance that you could get a break and make your uterus happy? If you can, it could be a chance worth taking.

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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.

How to set up a lactation space you’ll love

by Jessica Martin-Weber

This post made possible by the generous support of Ready Rocker
Use Code: TLB-30 for 30% off your cart on readyrocker.com

 

There’s something comforting about knowing you have a space just for you, all set up with your favorite comforts. When you get there, you can really relax, you feel safe, everything you need is right there, and you can focus on what is really important to you. That is even more true for breastfeeding.

While lactation and baby or toddler feeding happens where it needs to, when it needs to, it can help to have a regular comfortable space or two set up for when you’re home with everything in easy reach so you can just focus on what’s really important. Being comfortable, able to focus, and able to relax can make a difference in getting a latch that works for you and baby without pain, encourage let-down, prevent stress on your body, allow for more complete postpartum healing, and support different positions.


To set up a lactation space you’ll love, keep in mind that one-size-doesn’t-fit-all. We’re all different and that’s great! What works for one may not be what works for another. So get specific about what you like and don’t worry if you’re the only one doing it that way. Your lactation space, like your lactation journey, should be as unique as you and your baby are. Don’t pressure yourself to have the instagram ready lactation journey or breastfeeding space, let your journey unfold, seeking help and using the tools you need in the process. It may not be perfect (whatever that means) but it will be real and that is beautiful.

Some considerations:

Since nursing can be expected to happen at least 8-16 times a day (such a wide range) and be up to 30 minutes a session (and honestly, sometimes longer while you and baby are first learning), meaning 8 or more hours a day spent JUST feeding your baby, it’s important to be as comfortable as possible for those feeds. With that in mind, here are some considerations to take into account when setting up your lactation space.

Picking a spot- get comfy!

  • Quiet and away or in the middle of things?
  • Comfortable seating options? 
  • Is there room for position options and changes such as football hold or laid back positions?
  • Room for others or just you and the nursling?
  • Do you need to be near an outlet, entertainment remote controls, etc.?
  • Lighting- are you able to control the lighting to make it brighter or dimmer?

Once you’ve decided the specific space or two- it may work best for there to be multiple areas set up as a lactation space depending on the time of day or other needs of the family, it can save a lot of stress and headache to have the items you may need or will make you more comfortable within easy reach. What that is depends on each individual’s unique needs but there are some most find handy.

A basket, rolling cart, small tub, caddy, or bag nearby to contain the smaller items makes it easy to have everything you may need in addition to the seating and larger elements of your lactation space. This way you can move your lactation space as needed with easily portable items contained and elements that have multi-function or are portable can streamline the process once you’re more comfortable breastfeeding in other areas. This is why I love a charging adapter with multiple port types and the Ready Rocker for a rocking chair option I can take anywhere.

May be helpful to have…

  • Footstool
  • Water/drink (trust me, you’re going to get thirsty)
  • Snacks (nothing like breastfeeding hunger!)
  • Ready Rocker 
  • Nursing pillow or other supports
  • Cozy options (blanket, sweater, etc.)
  • Nursing pads
  • Heat/cold packs
  • Helpful tools (i.e. nipple cream, lactation massager, burp cloths, hands-free-pumping-bra, etc.)
  • Fidget or safe toy
  • Breast pump or silicone suction expression cup
  • Phone charger
  • Speaker or earbuds
  • Entertainment (phone, book, tablet, etc.)

Now all that’s needed is the baby!

Oh, and while not a part of the actual space, set-up for each lactation session by being sure you empty your bladder first and washing your hands. You don’t want to regret that step, that’s a sure way to make even the most comfortable spot miserable!

How do you have your lactation and baby feeding space set up? Is there anything you’d add to our considerations?


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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.

______________________________

 

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.

A Letter to Non-Birthing Partners

by Jeremy Martin-Weber, Relationship and parenting coach and dad of 8

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this post is sponsored by The Leaky Boob New Baby Guide, available here and by Martin-Weber Relationship, Family, and Parenting Coaching, sign up for your free consult here.

 

A Letter to Non-Birthing Partners

 

Congratulations, you’re having a baby! Or have recently had a baby. Or maybe it was a long time ago. Whatever it is for you, congrats! Having a baby is a wonderful thing that changes you forever. Even as the non-birthing parent, there is a lot of change when you welcome a whole new entire human being into the world.

That’s a good thing! Not an easy thing but still a good thing. 

A lot of the time, energy, and focus has likely been lavished on your partner and the baby growing in their body. That’s understandable – growing babies is a big deal! You may feel unsure about your role in all this or how to best be engaged in caring for your new baby when they’re here, let alone before or even as they are being born. I’m no expert but I’ve been there myself, 8 times now. There’s always a learning curve to becoming a new parent. As the non-birthing partner expecting a new baby your role isn’t relegated to being on the side-lines, you have an active and important part to play.

In the partnered life, most responsibilities can be approached and divided between partners through a conversation based on each person’s strengths, interests, skills, talents, availability, and so on. It rarely comes down to who’s capable – most people are capable of handling most responsibilities – they may not want to, but they can. It’s completely possible to divvy up those responsibilities through conversation that leads to an agreement about who does what. 

There’s one area in particular where, for many, it simply can’t play out that way: growing, birthing, and breastfeeding babies. 

Typically, one partner does all that, and the other partner does… what? Puts the crib together? Smokes a cigar? 

Well, from one non-birthing partner to another, I can tell you that there are many ways for you to be involved that go beyond putting a crib together and maybe fertilizing an egg (or ovum, to be exact). 

For all the books and articles and even classes for the birthing parent, there’s not a lot for the non-birthing parent. So what exactly do you do? Besides wait for the kid to grow up and then you get to be the “fun parent?” (Hint: don’t do that, it won’t serve you, your partner, or your child well.)

What is the nonbirthing partner or dad role with a new baby?
The most important thing you can do is to regularly tell your partner that you want to be as involved as possible and then demonstrate that by being present, interested, curious, and active (that means taking the initiative and actually doing some stuff instead of waiting around to be invited or told what to do). Listen to your partner about what they actually need and want – don’t do something they don’t care for and expect appreciation and praise. The demands on them are massive, don’t make it even more. The biggest difference between you and your partner is that they don’t actually have a choice but to think about having a baby – their body is literally changing every day to make that possible. It serves as a constant reminder. And eventually, it’s not just their body that reminds them, it’s the little body inside their body that reminds them too! You, on the other hand, have a choice. And it comes down to the choice of being involved, or missing out, and it takes effort. Which, translated into your partner’s perspective means that they’re either going through this experience without you or together with you. Don’t wait. No matter how far along the pregnancy is or how old the baby is, it’s not too late to start demonstrating that you want to be involved – the longer you wait the harder it will be, so back to this: don’t wait. You don’t have to know everything. You don’t even have to know anything. You’ll figure it out together. Don’t expect your partner to manage you, you’re not an employee they have to work to direct, be a partner by being proactive.

Following is a list of some of the ways you can be more involved:

PREGNANCY

  • Don’t wait. Demonstrate that you want to be involved now, and every day. 
  • Tell your partner that you want to hear about what it’s like for them to be pregnant. 
  • Tell them that they’re not a nuisance for sharing about their aches and pains and the special parts. 
  • Massage them to help with the aches, but also for connection, and to help relax them. 
  • Get informed about pregnancy, birth, and babies beyond what your partner is willing to share. 
  • Don’t get cocky about what you think you know about growing a baby in your body. No matter how much you think you know, you still aren’t the one experiencing it in real time. 
  • Listen.
  • Be willing to talk about pregnancy, birth, and babies with your partner as often as they want to. It may feel like you’re talking about it all the time, and that’s all you two talk about anymore. GOOD. It won’t last forever, but your partner doesn’t get breaks from being pregnant, so you can deal too. 
  • As a matter of fact, don’t expect your partner to always be the one to bring it up. You go ahead and start that conversation too. Let your partner be the one to say that they want to talk about something else for once – they will, if they get a chance to talk about it enough. This demonstrates your invested interest in your partner, their experience, and the baby.
  • Be a more attentive partner. Offer to do more for your partner. 
  • Tell them they’re beautiful. 
  • Don’t forget romance – keep doing the stuff that reminds you of your love for each other. And it’s ok if that turns into talking about babies. It’s just the deal. 
  • As your partner gets closer to birth and things get harder for them to do, you do more of those things – unless your partner doesn’t want you to. 
  • Don’t coddle your partner, or treat them like they’re sick. Let them tell you when they need to do less. You can ask them about it, but don’t tell them what they can and can’t do. 
  • Talk about the birth. What they want. How you want to be involved. Discuss a birth plan together. 
  • Go to prenatal appointments with them whenever possible and rearrange your schedule to do so. 
  • When they start nesting, do all the things that they say need to be done in order for this baby to arrive in a safe space. It doesn’t matter if some of those things don’t make sense to you. They matter to your partner. 
  • Welcome all of your partner’s feelings. Listen and validate your partner’s experience. 
  • Pick out baby clothes together. 
  • Prepare for the birth together. 
  • Go to the birth classes. 
  • Go to the new baby classes. 
  • Talk with your partner about what you’re both looking forward to, what you fear, how you feel. 
  • Be more present. 
  • Your partner will need more time to be in their own head to sort out what they’re experiencing and how they feel about it, and just be in the moment. Do what you can to help make that happen – more responsibilities around the house, more cooking, meal planning, etc. 
  • If you smell bad to her because of what you eat, don’t eat that again until after the birth and don’t take it personally- pregnancy hormones can create the nose of a bloodhound. 

 

BIRTH

  • More than any other time in this experience of bringing a baby into the world, labor and birth needs to be all about your partner. Your job is to support your partner. 
  • Do everything you can to allow your partner to focus on the work their body is doing – in other words, minimize distractions, and don’t be a distraction. 
  • Let your partner call all the shots. 
  • Do what they say they need. 
  • Remind them of aspects of the Birth Plan as needed. 
  • Go to bat for them. If there needs to be a conversation about the Birth Plan or what your partner wants with a nurse/doctor/midwife or other birth attendant, you do it. Run interference when needed. 
  • Encourage your partner. 
  • Ask them if what you’re doing is what they need but don’t be needy about getting accolades that you’re doing the right thing.
  • Massage them when they need it. 
  • Keep your hand where they directed you to put it, and don’t move it! You’ll never put it back exactly where it was before. 
  • Tell them you love them. 
  • Say affirmations to them (you’ll want to have discussed them beforehand). 

 

NEW BABY

  • Support your birthing partner as they recover from birth. Encourage them to rest. Do everything you can for them so they feel like they can focus on their healing. 
  • Take on all of the household responsibilities, and it’s ok for the house to not be perfect. That doesn’t mean that it’s ok to just let the house go entirely. Dishes still need to be done. Laundry. Trash needs to go out. The house still needs to be clean, even if it’s messier. 
  • Spend time with your partner.
  • Bond with your baby as you change their diaper. 
  • Your partner gets to feed your baby – you get to enjoy watching them. At some point you may have more of a role in actively feeding but it usually takes WAY more work to pump than to nurse directly and you giving the baby a bottle could undermine lactation at first so just sit back and enjoy the bond your partner and the baby are developing through feeding.
  • Keep being attentive to what your partner needs – this will be a part of your bonding with the baby and your partner.
  • Go to baby well checks.
  • Hold your baby. 
  • Feel insecure about that, or other aspects of caring for a new baby? That’s normal. Ask your partner about it. You’ll become more comfortable and confident in time.
  • Talk about the birthing experience with your partner. Invite them to share what it was like for them, what they liked, didn’t like, what surprised them. 

 

As you can see, there’s plenty to do to not only demonstrate that you want to be involved, but to actually BE involved and strengthen your connection with both your partner and your new baby. Do it. Jump in. Don’t wait. You won’t regret it. Nobody ever looks back and says they regret the time they spent loving their loved ones. This time and stage may be consuming in the moment but it really is so brief. Neglecting your role in this time is something you’ll never be able to undo and could damage your relationship with your partner. You matter in all this, don’t minimize the impact you have in this time by not fully being present and participating to connect with your partner and baby.

Martin-Weber Coaching

Jeremy Martin-Weber, relationship family, and parenting coach has been married to his wife Jessica Martin-Weber for 24 years and is the father of 8 children. His background includes music performance, teaching, non-profit director, mentor, and running a non-profit coffee shop. To support as many families in their relationship goals as is possible, Jeremy co-created We’re All Human Here and helps administrate The Leaky Boob in addition to his work as a relationship and family coach. For a free coaching consult, sign up here: https://bit.ly/3akaRR7.

The New Baby Guide 2021 Edition (for Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Newborn)

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Thousands told us what they wanted in a pregnancy, newborn, postpartum, baby-feeding, baby-sleep, and baby-gear guide and everything they wished they had known before having their baby.

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At just $1.99, you can get your copy and support The Leaky Boob and see for yourself.

Not convinced? Keep scrolling for a preview of The Leaky Boob 2021 New Baby Guide.

 

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The Leaky Boob 2021 New Baby Guide is a resource for first-time-parents and new-parents-again with checklists, vital conversations to have for partners and with your health care provider, family, work place, and more. The guide provides information as a jumping off point of what collectively hundreds of parents shared they wish they had known before having a baby. With sections on pregnancy, newborn, postpartum, feeding, sleep, and gear, our guide covers the essentials of having a new baby.

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Will I Livestream My Next Birth?

A letter from Jessica Martin-Weber, founder of The Leaky Boob, mom of 7 with baby no. 8 on the way, and two-time birth live-streamer. 
Find the short answer here.

 

I love this photo. It was just as we got home from a midwife appointment this past week and the first beautiful day we’d had in a while. My husband knit that top for me and I genuinely felt relaxed and pretty for the first time in months after nothing but good news during the appointment. I have struggled to stay connected to the joy of having a new baby as financial and COVID-19 stress has felt crushing. But I was happy here, full of joy and relief. Like I could celebrate a little. Coronavirus meant no maternity pics, no outings with my partner to get ready for the baby, no going to the store even to get a new outfit just for this little one (a ritual I’ve had with each of our babies). COVID-19 took those things and this was as good of a maternity photo sesh as I am going to get with this baby (and not bad, right? He took it on my iPhone and I love it.)

But right, what you’re really wanting to know: will I livestream BB8’s birth?

In 2012 I livestreamed the birth of my 6th baby onto The Leaky Boob website. Then, in 2017 we did it again with our 7th baby. We’ve had a lot of questions about if we’re going to do that again with this one.

My intent with livestreaming both of those births was to normalize birth and show how birth can be different from the mainstream media’s most common depictions.

You can read more about that decision by clicking here.

I have been on the fence about doing so again since getting the positive pregnancy test this time. After sharing 2 very different births with the world in real time and opening myself and my family up in that incredibly vulnerable way, I wasn’t sure I was up for doing so again. But then I’d think about how each of my births have been drastically different and I want to normalize birth in all the ways it occurs.

Indecision haunted me. I’d change my mind on an almost daily basis.

Then COVID-19.

I was too overwhelmed to even think about having a baby let alone livestreaming the birth. Putting any energy into thinking about it was the last thing on my list of priorities so I didn’t.

We announced the pregnancy at the end of March when I started showing.

Several people sent me messages thanking us for sharing our last two births, detailing how watching me birth gave them courage for their own births. How sharing my births with their own children helped them prepare their children for the birth of a sibling. Opened up about how there was healing for them in watching my births. And more. It was moving and inspiring. Still is.

I began to entertain the idea again.

The first birth we livestreamed in 2012 wasn’t a distraction for me but in 2017 concerns about camera position, technical difficulties, and other issues would pull me out of my brain space for labor and birth. Concerned about that happening again, we brainstormed options to be sure it wasn’t intrusive to the birth experience should we choose to livestream BB8’s birth. We talked with friends and our midwives, polled our monthly supporters on Patreon, and considered different ideas.

When people would ask I’ve either avoided answering or responded with a vague “we’re taking a wait and see approach.”

And here we are. Honestly, I thought I’d have given birth by now and the decision would be made for me in some way. But here I am still pregnant and somehow in a place to really think about it more over the last week. (No I’m not going to share how far along I am or my due date, I never do.)

Yes, the plan is that we will be livestreaming this birth.

But we’ve decided that the work and effort that goes into doing so, the risk we take putting ourselves out there like that, the incredible vulnerability and exposure of our family, home, my body, etc. has to give back to us too. Things have changed drastically and thanks to COVID-19 I won’t get any kind of paid maternity leave… not even a little. I fully expect to work the day after I give birth because, well, life.

We’ve shared 2 births freely, dealt with the trolls that come with that, provided free education for millions in doing so, and opened ourselves to all kinds of questioning and second guessing. It is invasive long after the birth but also beautiful and powerful long after too. I’ve never regretted livestreaming our births even when some aspects of doing so fatigued me.

Those births remain up and accessible for free for anyone that would care to view them.

You can watch the 2012 video by clicking here
And you can watch the 2017 video by clicking here

With all that in mind, this time we will be putting the birth behind a paywall. There will be two different ways to participate in viewing the birth: Patreon supporters (who also receive accesses to exclusive content and will be the first to see birth photos, etc.) and one-time-donation access.

If you are a member of The Leaky Boob/We’re All Human Here circle of support on Patreon, you will have access to the birth livestream (with two static cameras set up in the two main spaces we will use for labor and birth). An email will be sent out automatically to our supporters once I’m in labor with the private access link and directions as well as a post in the private access Patreon. Our two eldest daughters will be live blogging the labor and birth in a chat window on the private link as well and our 19yo will be doing short livestreams directly to The Leaky Boob Facebook with little glimpses of what’s going on and interviews with her sisters and the midwives throughout the labor.

The same access will be available (without the access to the exclusive content also available on our Patreon) for those who make a donation for a “ticket” here.

Want to contribute for someone else to be able to view but is unable to due to financial hardship? See here.

I understand some will be disappointed that we are making the birth livestream paid access only, please know I have weighed this heavily. The cost to be able to livestream (and have it not crash our website, etc.) and the time investment (last time I spent days and days after the birth cleaning up troll comments and that was 3 different people moderating them during the birth too) is enough to give us pause as it is. The reality that we are giving so much of ourselves for free at a time when there’s been a huge shift in our family’s income is one we can’t dismiss.

I hope you can understand. I love birth, I love educating and advocating for families, I love making resources accessible. These are deep passions of mine. Sadly, these deep passions don’t pay so well but they do require a lot from me and from my family. I need this to give back and in a way that is going to make a difference for my family as well.

At the moment, if you want to be sure you do not miss the birth livestream, you will need to be a member of The Leaky Boob/We’re All Human Here Patreon here (with additional exclusive content- birth photos will be released on Patreon first, etc.), or make a one time gift back to TLB (suggested minimum donation of $12) here. My desire is to support everyone who wants my support in their pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding journeys and beyond, I just need that to also support my family.

If you are not already a member of The Leaky Boob circle of support Patreon and you want to be sure you don’t miss out on the birth, join by clicking here.

I am looking forward to sharing another birth with you. If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to answer.

With all of my heart and deepest gratitude,

Jessica Martin-Weber
Founder, The Leaky Boob and We’re All Human Here Co-Founder

 

Several have asked for a way to make a direct gift as a way to give back for the support of The Leaky Boob (without getting access to BB8’s live-streamed birth)  For those who would like to give a direct gift with no fees taken out:

Venmo is Jessica Martin-Weber
Paypal is ochantelle@yahoo.com

Please know that there is no obligation or expectation that anyone do so and I am committed to keeping The Leaky Boob free of charge in supporting families.

Looking for more support? Sign up for our emails here and join our private group here.

Virtual Baby Shower Giveaway

This post made possible by Babylist.

I can’t believe it’s been almost 6 weeks since our little Lucky made her appearance to the world. 6 weeks fly by, even when you’re making sure not to blink so you won’t miss anything – maybe especially so. I have had the privilege of enjoying some quality rest this 4th trimester, prioritizing listening to my body and connecting with Lucky. But the fun didn’t end when Lucky was born live for all who tuned in to watch. Last week we had Welcome to the World Lucky! Virtual Baby Shower, thanks to Babylist, and sponsored by many of my favorite brands. In case you missed it, you can watch the baby shower live stream here, where Jeremy and I shared a bit of our lives and living room with you, enjoyed a few games (with prizes!), and discussed with you what we like so much about the featured products in the baby registry we created on Babylist.

And because we like to use opportunities for celebration to bring a bit of joy to others too, we decided to “shower” our followers with a group giveaway, and the non-profit World on My Shoulders with products from the sponsoring brands that they can pass on to survivors of the recent hurricanes in the U.S.. More on both of those below. Don’t miss the sweet deals at the end of this post that our brands are also offering for Black Friday weekend!

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The non-profit organization: World on My Shoulders

“World on My Shoulders (WoMS) is a national organization committed to providing long-term, evidence-based, holistic care to caregivers who are low-income and/or domestic violence victims by providing peer-to-peer support services, reusable and sustainable reproductive health goods, and infant care essentials.” (quoted from the WoMS website

WoMS has been working to provide support to those impacted by hurricane Harvey earlier this year. For more information on how you can support WoMS, including monetary donations, check out this Facebook page. Speaking of monetary donations, would you please consider making one here, however large or small?

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The giveaway

Thank you so much to Babylist for hosting the Virtual Baby Shower giveaway! And much appreciation too to our sponsoring brands: Bamboobies, Chunkabuns, Euphoric Herbals, Glamourmom, Innobaby, Joovy, Ju-ju-be, Milkies from Fairhaven Health, My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear, Naked Tank, and Snugabell.

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

Clockwise from the top left: Euphoric Herbals, Bamboobies, Ju-ju-be, My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear, Snugabell, Innobaby, Milkies from Fairhaven Health, Joovy, Naked Tank, Chunkabuns, Glamourmom

Euphoric Herbals: Ultimate Breastfeeding Bundle, Retail Value: $92
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Bundle contains everything new moms need! A great baby shower gift. Includes Milky Mama tea, Dairy Diva capsules, Milk Machine capsules, Super Salve, Leaf Tea Steeper, and 4 pairs of Bamboo Cotton Nursing Pads. 

 

 

 

 

Bamboobies: Combination Pads, Retail Value: $13
bamboobies® are made of ultra-soft and soothing bamboo rayon velour, an absorbent inner layer of cotton with an outer milk-proof™ liner to help prevent embarrassing leaks! These nursing pads are super absorbent and eco-friendly.

bamboobies® Washable Nursing Pads come in two varieties. The ultra-thin, heart-shaped regular nursing pads are made for light leaking and are designed to be less visible through clothing. The round-shaped overnight nursing pads are not only ultra-soft, but larger, thicker and super absorbent for heavy leaking and newborn nursing. 

 

Ju-ju-be: Be Supplied pump bag, Retail Value: $125
Introducing the Be Supplied: the ultimate structured tote for pumping moms. The little sister of the Be Pumped, the Supplied is lightweight but perfectly roomy. The easy-open interior will comfortably fit your breast pump with room to spare, and the exterior boasts a Mommy Pocket. Both beautiful and versatile, the Be Supplied can be carried with the comfy tote handles or its detachable memory foam messenger strap. It comes in two color ways, The Queen of the Nile (chevron) and The Duchess (polka dot). With its cute design, world-class prints and ultra-organization, you’ll love to carry the Be Supplied with or without the pump!

 

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear: Rainbow Keepsake Kit, Retail Value: $35
The Rainbow Keepsake Kit is a beautiful way to celebrate or honor life. Accessorize your Heartbeat Animal with a rainbow tutu, rainbow bowtie, or both. Includes your choice of a 13-15″ stuffed animal and heart shaped recorder. 

 

 

 

 

Snugabell: Pumpin’ Mama Starter Pack, Retail Value: $75
Everything a pumpin’ mama needs to start her pumping journey. The award-winning PumpEase hands-free pumping bra holds your pump flanges in place so you can read, scroll through your phone, eat, or just relax while you pump. Snugabell’s eco-friendly wet bag is sized to transport all brands of pump accessories incognito, and comes in matching PumpEase prints with a practical snap-loop handle and lined with waterproof PUL so you can use it in a variety of ways even after you’ve hung up your pump flanges. Snugabell’s newest product, Nip Balm, relieves breastfeeding and pumping discomfort by replenishing moisture and treating tired tatas to a refreshing cocktail of healing herbs and nourishing oils. Snugabell Nip Balm can be used on nipples, lips, cheeks, cuticles, elbows, rough spots, tattoos, and more! Snugabell’s Breastmilk Storage Guidelines Fridge Magnet is a must-have for moms with more on their mind than keeping track of their milk; it keeps the information you need where you need it – on the fridge!

 

Innobaby: Nursing Mother’s Bundle, Retail Value: $49
The Silicone Fish Bath Scrubs are great for gently cleaning and massaging baby, kids, and grown-ups too! Its double sided design features shorter strands that are great for gently cleaning cradle cap, while the longer strands work great for lathering and massaging. 100% silicone, this scrub is easy to care for and naturally resists mold – dishwasher and sterilization safe. 

The Aquaheat™  Solo Food Warmer is a portable, lightweight on-the-go food warming solution that requires no electricity to create heat. Simply add water to the heat packs to activate heat anytime, anywhere. Great for warming up breastmilk and bottles on the go as well as food. Solution for Lipase and scalding milk on the go. 

The Packin’ Smart Twistables 2-Tier all-in-one storage solution for moms on-the-go is now designed to store both liquid and dry! Can carry water for Aquaheat™ activation as well as snacks like nuts and fruits for nursing mom. A must-have diaper bag essential to store, dispense and organize formula, cereal, snacks, water, extra juice, pacifiers and more in one convenient unit. Put an end to a diaper bag mess or endless search for the items you need. Twist-to-Seal design allows you to stack and interlock multiple containers while quality construction allows each use as simple as it can be. 

 

Milkies, of Fairhaven Health: Milkies Milk-Saver and Milkies Milk Tray, Retail Value: $48
Milkies Milk-Saver: Easy to use, simply slip the Milk-Saver into our bra-cup on the non-nursing side before you begin breastfeeding. The Milk-Saver collects the milk that is leaked when your breast milk lets down. Once you’ve finished the breastfeeding session, simply transfer the collected milk into storage containers and keep in refrigerator or freezer to feed your baby at a later time. 

Milkies Milk Trays freeze your breast milk in 1-ounce “Milk Sticks” that fit through all bottle openings and allow you to thaw just the right amount of milk for each feeding – so that not a drop of your “liquid gold” goes to waste! 

 

 

Joovy: Groove Ultralight 2017 stroller ($200), Nook high chair ($130), Room playard ($200), total Retail Value: $570
The Groove Ultralight is the perfect car stroller, travel stroller, or second stroller with all the right features. Getting around with baby is a breeze. This durable umbrella stroller is newborn ready and weighs only 15.7 lbs, but has a capacity of 55 lbs – it will grow with your child. With cup-holders for larger wheels, you’ll be strolling in style. And this rain cover ($40) allows you to take your baby out in the rain too! 

To simplify mealtime, the Nook high chair features a large swing-open tray that can be operated with just one hand! It is a roomy, full-size high chair with a deluxe, padded leatherette seat and accommodates a child up to 50 lbs. The tray’s four depth adjustments allows the Nook to grow with your child.   

The Room is a full-featured nursery center for any room in the house and grows into a playard as baby gets mobile. From bassinet to changing table and diaper station, to playard, the Room easily transitions with your baby as they grow, and moves from room to room, and house to house, with its two wheels and collapsible frame. 

 

 

 

The Naked Tank: Bamboo Naked Tank, Retail Value: $35
A perfectly designed tank top that fits just under your bra, keeping only your midsection covered when you need to breastfeed. Works seamlessly with any bra, including your sports bra if you need the added support, because there are no clasps or hooks to attach or move out of the way. Designed by two breastfeeding mamas who needed something that helped them feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public. 

 

 

 

Chunkabuns: Merino Wool Pants, Retail Value: $90
These pants double as diaper covers because they are made of support-soft 100% knit wool. They are stretchy, breathable, absorbent, and naturally anti-microbial. For a snug, comfortable fit, there is extra stretch in the legs and waist that moves with you baby. Plus, Grow-with-me features so that one pair of pants lasts four or more pant sizes! 

 

 

 

Glamourmom: Nursing Bra Long Top, Retail Value: $59
Full support adjustable nursing bra built-into a stylish nursing tank top. Featuring Full discretion and support when nursing in public, adjustable chest band, postpartum tummy coverage, extra length to mid-thigh for a more fashionable option, wide adjustable elastic bra straps for extra support, nursing bra hook closures for easy, one-handed access, machine washable. 

 

 

 

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The Black Friday weekend deals

These amazing brands are not only giving these products away to a lucky Leakie and to World On My Shoulders, they are offering some amazing deals for this coming Black Friday weekend! Check out what they’re offering below:

 

Bamboobies
Check in with them for some amazing Black Friday and Cyber Mom-day deals!

Chunkabuns
Black Friday: 3 for 1 Chunkabuns Socks! and 30% off shirts.
Small Business Saturday: 2 for 1 Savvy & Posh Pants
Cyber Monday: 3 for 1 Handy Bands

Euphoric Herbals
Receive 20% off your first purchase by using coupon code: TLB.
Join the Euphoric Herbals newsletter to be notified of the special Small Business Saturday promotion.

Fairhaven Health
They are having their biggest Black Friday sale to date! Be sure to check out www.mymilkies.com on Black Friday!

Glamourmom
Now through Cyber Monday: 20% off at www.glamourmom.com using code LBGM1117

Innobaby
Cyber Monday Promo Code: CYBERTLB for 30% off at www.innobaby.com – only god on Monday 11/27/17
Use code TLBSHOWER for 25% off at www.innobaby.com anytime (expires 12/31/17)

Ju-ju-be
25% off site wide on Black Friday from 6am-10am PST

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear
20% off using code: LUCKY

Snugabell
Pumpease pumping bras will be 25% off on amazon.com and amazon.ca 11/24-11/27. No code required. Listing must state “Sold by Snugabell Mom & Baby Gear and Fulfilled by Amazon” to be valid.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2016 Infant Feeding Guide with Product Reviews + Giveaway

by The Leaky Boob Community

The CDC says that the number one reason for women who intend to breastfeed but don’t end up reaching their breastfeeding goals is lack of support. Support goes a long way in making a difference in our feeding journeys. From familial, social, medical, and employment structures, there are many ways we can find and experience support. With story sharing, information sharing, and resource sharing, The Leaky Boob is dedicated to making support for the infant feeding journey easier to find. It may be breastfeeding that brings us all together but through support and finding community we stick around for the connection and rally behind the boob, bottle, formula, and solids. Our infant feeding guide pulls together information, resources, product reviews, and tips from our community to offer that support we’re committed to.

Not much is really needed for feeding a baby in those early days, provided everything goes smoothly. But since it doesn’t always go smoothly, sometimes we need some products to support the journey. Plus, even when it does go smoothly, there are some things that help make it easier and more fun.

After flipping through our guide, be sure to enter to win every product featured in our guide this year!

[joomag width=600 height=338 title=the-leaky-boob magazineId=0750365001473387237 pageNumber=1 theme=293042,151b26,ffffff,ffe358,ufffff ]

And we’re giving it ALL away! Every single item included in our 31 page guide is being given away. Divided into 2 separate bundles, we’re excited to be able to give 2 different Leakies each one of these bundles from our guide. Use the widget below to enter and tell us which bundle you’d want to win in the comments.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and a huge thanks to all the brands that wanted to make this possible!

Bump, Baby, and Beyond Product Guide 2016 + Giveaway

by The Leaky Boob Community

We asked around from our favorite parents (you!) and put together a guide of the products we love for pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn care. Introducing our Bump, Baby, and Beyond 2016 Product Guide! But that’s not all, our readers gave us their best tips and advice they wish they had received about pregnancy, birth, and having a new baby. There’s a lot of wisdom here! Take some time, browse through this issue, and comment letting us know what you love, what you’re interested in, and what you think we left out, there are so many great products and advice, we’re bound to miss some.

[joomag width=502 height=300 title=the-leaky-boob magazineId=0994658001463786786 pageNumber=1 theme=293042,151b26,ffffff,ffe358,ufffff ]

And we’re giving it ALL away! Every single item included in our guide (over 50!) is being given away. Divided into 3 separate bundles, we’re excited to be able to give 3 different leakies different bundles from our guide. Use the widget below to enter and tell us what 2 friends you have that you’d like to win the other two bundles in the comments.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and a huge thanks to all the brands that wanted to make this possible!

12 Surprising Possible Realities Of Your First Postpartum Periods

by Jessica Martin-Weber

Sorry for the Buzzfeed style title. It’s that time of the month and there wasn’t enough chocolate to get me through writing this and coming up with a clear yet titillating title too.

The last 5 days we’ve been bleeding our hearts out on The Leaky Boob, Beyond Moi, A Girl With A View, and a little bit with What Love Tastes Like, opening up and sharing all about periods. Free bleeding information and experiences, debunking myths and being honest. In that time we’ve learned a lot. Like a girl having her first period (called menarche), there were a few things that surprised us and at times we found ourselves overly-grumpy. But mostly we felt like we were in good company and that commiserating was cathartic.

Also chocolate. Or bacon. Sometimes chips. And wine.

As we all shared the activities of our uteruses together, we started noticing a pattern. Not completely regular but consistent enough to chart and make a prediction:

Most women will be surprised by their first postpartum periods.

Not all and the surprises weren’t always unpleasant in nature but many women had no idea what they experienced was possible. Like, at all. And they thought they were the only one in the world to experience it.

Since we’ve already aired all our period panties to the world, it’s time to shed some of the mystery like a uterine lining. Here it is, our list of surprising possible realities of your first postpartum periods.

  1. No matter how long your postpartum bleeding lasts (lochia, which is not a period and you can read more about here), it isn’t an indicator of what your postpartum periods will be like.period week is coming
  2. It could take months for Aunt Flo to visit after you have had a baby, even over a year and for some it could be two years. Breastfeeding exclusively makes it more likely your favorite auntie won’t be around for a while.
  3. But it is no guarantee. Because we’re talking hormones and Aunt Flo, there’s only so much you can predict. Don’t be unprepared because you could be one of those that gets it back at 6 weeks postpartum and is like clockwork every month after. Even if you’re breastfeeding and your child never sees another nipple but yours. Yes, even if you’re breastfeeding twins.postpartum period surprise meme
  4. It could take a while to really get going, there could be brown spotting for a few days a month for several months while your body is indecisive. Get your period undies ready.
  5. OR it could come back with a vengeance with a gush that will feel like a scene from Game Of Thrones playing at the most inopportune moment. You may want to have supplies with you at all times just in case.brace-yourselves-cramps
  6. Essentially, there’s no guarantee when you’re going to start riding the crimson tide again after you have a baby.
  7. There’s also no guarantee that it will be the same as what you had before you had your baby. It could be lighter, shorter, and less uncomfortable. It could be heavier, longer and more painful.* Or any combination. Or different every time.
  8. The products you used before may still be your favorites. But you may suddenly hate them. Many women find they want to try something new and don’t be surprised if you see disposables as stinky, uncomfortable, and gradually building a mountain of waste that will be around when your children are having children. Which is a disgusting thought, your period supplies slowly rotting in a landfill when your grandkids are being born. And since you’re more comfortable with the weird things your body does (childbirth can do that to a person), the idea of washing cloth pads or to put a cup in it doesn’t seem so crazy any more. Diva-Cup-Evangelist
  9. If you’re breastfeeding, shark week may mean that your nipples protest someone latching on. Nipple sensitivity AND cramps? So not fair but often so real. Thankfully it usually doesn’t last long and chocolate can help.
  10. Even more annoying, periods and/or ovulation can cause a dip in milk supply if you are breastfeeding. So not only are you annoyed, your hungry baby is too. Most of the time this indicates a magnesium deficiency and supplements may fix this problem (see more here) but only after the most emotional and sensitive time when you have a hungry kid frustrated at your boob. You know what has magnesium? Chocolate. period week chocolate
  11. Just like a girl may experience irregular periods for about a year, postpartum women may find that it takes their cycles a good year to establish a regular pattern. The upside to this is that it is completely reasonable to always eat chocolate since you never really know.
  12. Health care providers may not have a clue what’s going on either. They should and many will but some don’t. You may have to educate them.

Be prepared for anything. Postpartum menses seem to like surprises.

Keep calm and menstruate on

*It is important to note that severe or debilitating pain or extremely heavy bleeding is a sign that something is wrong and may need more than chocolate and wine to address. It is well documented that women are more easily dismissed by health care providers about their pain and discomfort when it comes to health concerns. If your concerns are repeatedly brushed off as being normal but you feel something is wrong or your normal life is disrupted, please speak to your health care provider or find another one. Be persistent until you find one that will take your concern seriously. Menstruation is a normal biological part of life for most healthy child-bearing age women, it isn’t a pathology that women just have to deal with on a monthly basis and if it is interrupting your normal activity and lowering your quality of life, something more serious may be going on.

 

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Have you survived mastitis? How did you get through?

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Jessica Martin-Weber Drawing from a diverse background in the performing arts and midwifery, Jessica Martin-Weber supports women and families, creating spaces for open dialogue. Writer and speaker, Jessica is the creator of TheLeakyBoob.com, co-creator of BeyondMoi.com, and creator and author of the children’s book and community of What Love Tastes Like, supporter of A Girl With A View, and co-founder of Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference. She co-parents her 6 daughters with her husband of 19 years and is currently writing her first creative non-fiction book.

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.