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Earth Mama Angel Baby Give-away

Today we have a giveaway from new TLB sponsor Earth Mama Angel Baby.  Cruelty-free, certified vegan, kosher, and 100% free from toxic ingredients, EMAB products are safe for the entire family.  The baby shampoos and washes are our favorites and we’re so impressed with how the foaming bottles mean a little bit goes a long way.  I’ve loved all the EMAB products I’ve had the chance to try, from their teas to the Angel Baby Bottom Balm, their New Mama Bottom Spray to their massage oil, these products are not only safe but are also wonderfully soothing.  In addition to their wonderful products, EMAB has made it a priority to support families, providing education and care resources.  Read on for details on this giveaway opportunity and an interview with this company that so loves on mamas and babies all over.  Be sure to visit their blog  for informative parenting articles and more.

TLB: What would you like readers to know about your company?

Melinda: The one most important thing I’d love people to really understand is this: these products were formulated for pregnant women to use. If it’s going ON and IN a pregnant woman, it is literally being given to her unborn baby. The herbs used in Earth Mama products have stood the test of generations, and their safe use is supported by evidence based research for their use on the most fragile population on the planet. If it’s safe enough for a pregnant woman, it’s safe for anybody.

TLB: How did Earth Mama Angel Baby come about?

Melinda: I didn’t originally intend to start an organic herbal manufacturing company. Every single product I formulated was created to help support friends and family for one problem or another. I am a nurse, and went on a personal quest to formulate pure, organic products that combined traditional plant medicine with evidence-based research. At Earth Mama we study the safest herbs, pore over evidence-based research, and formulate the safest products possible, the safest products a company can make in this industry, and products that are as close to the earth as can be.

TLB: What are your favorite breastfeeding memories as a mom?

Melinda: I have many unforgettable breastfeeding moments. One of the first was sitting in the dark, exhausted, hearing nothing but perfect stillness and the wonderful breathing and swallowing noises my tiny baby made. I was filled with a love greater than any I had ever felt in my whole life.

Another was when I realized that breastfeeding wasn’t just nourishment for my baby, it was also comfort. At times, all my baby needed, the thing that made it all better, whether it was an owie or overtiredness, was the comfort of my breast.

The other thing I loved is that when I left the house and had to pack 92 changes of clothing and 42 extra diapers, I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I had enough bottles. If we got stuck in traffic or missed a plane, I brought dinner with us!

TLB: What is one tip that helped you in your breastfeeding journey that you’d like to pass on to other moms?

Melinda: On day two after my first child was born I was home alone. I didn’t have support or models of breastfeeding, but I also didn’t have any expectations of problems. I didn’t know there could be problems. In my innocence, I just assumed it was the way babies ate their food, so any difficulty that came up I just figured out! There weren’t the incredibly invaluable resources mamas have now, like lactation consultants and amazing breastfeeding resources like The Leaky Boob. I think I’d say to breastfeeding mamas, the first time you dig a trench you’re gonna get blisters. But by the time you’ve dug 5 trenches you’ll have some calluses and you’ll know that holding the spade a certain way works better for you than another way. By the time you’ve dug 10 you won’t even think about any of that. There’s a break-in period for breastfeeding, and there’s value in staying with it. In the end there is an amazing reward, not just the best nutrition for your baby, and the bond you’ll have for life, but the knowledge that you did this amazing, miraculous thing. It’s like boot camp, you asked your body to do something difficult, and it responded with exhaustion and confusion and then showing you that it was capable of doing it.


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Earth Mama Angel Baby is giving away 3 prizes:

1. Breastfeeding Essentials Bundle Retail value: $35.27

2. Nipple Butter 2oz, Booby Tubes and Milkmaid Tea Retail value: $36.09 

3. Set of three 5.3oz soaps: Calming Lavender, Non-Scents, and Angel Baby  Retail Value: $29.85


 

Currently Leakies can find these and other great products on the Earth Mama Angel Baby website.

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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered and have fun browsing www.earthmamaangelbaby.com.  The giveaway is open from August 20, 2012 to August 28, 2012.  Earth Mama Angel Baby is thrilled to offer their very first give-away with TLB!  A big thanks to Melinda for her ongoing 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.

This giveaway is open to US and Canada entries only.

 

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The WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program- why you should care

It’s déjà vu for me today, Leakies.

Last year, right around this time, I wrote an article for this very site about how a representative was proposing that we removing funding from the WIC breastfeeding peer counselor program, The High Life of a WIC BReastfeeding Counselor.  That was struck down, and quickly, but sadly enough, threats to the program loom again.

In case you don’t know what the breastfeeding peer counselor program is, it’s an awesome program at WIC where breastfeeding or former breastfeeding moms are hired and thoroughly trained to provide breastfeeding advice and support.  In fact, our training is so awesome and the program is so respected that the organization that tests people to become registered lactation consultants, IBLCE, allows it as one of the few ways to gather the hands on hours required to take the examination.  The program helps both new moms and moms-to-be with a variety of breastfeeding issues.  We teach classes, we do one-on-one counseling, and we assess moms and babies who are having issues.  We can catch issues early and fix them or refer to someone who can.  We run support groups and work with businesses and hospitals to make the community a more supportive place for women who do choose to breastfeed.  We run warmlines.  Some of us do home or hospital visitations.  Many of us are IBCLCs.  What we do, in a private practice setting, would cost you a LOT of money.  Yet, for the women who qualify for WIC, these services are totally free.

And although we are all breastfeeding advocates, we’re not going to force you to breastfeed or look down on you if you don’t.  We will encourage you and help you, but we will not force our goals or ideals on you, and we will not look down on you if you don’t breastfeed for as long as we would or in the way that we would or even at all.  There’s something pretty amazing, though, about seeing a new mom who really, really wants to breastfeed, so incredibly tired and sore and unhappy and on the verge of giving up light up when she is given the tools needed to make things work for her.  And these tools are sadly unavailable in many other places.  Many doctors aren’t all the breastfeeding savvy.  Hospitals that have lactation consultants often only have them there part time, or they are too overbooked to give moms the time that they need.  La Leche League meetings can be at times that a new mom can’t manage – especially if she’s also working.

Money for breastfeeding support within WIC was already cut once this year.  This is pretty sad, given that the Surgeon General’s call to action to support breastfeeding was issued just a year ago.  We know the numerous benefits of breastfeeding, and we know that while so many moms want to breastfeed, a significant amount simply aren’t meeting their goals.  Mother to mother support is proven to be a huge help.  And when that support is trained and qualified to bust myths and give realistic advice while not being judgmental, that’s even better.

A House subcommittee yesterday passed a bill for funding for WIC that has no money earmarked for peer counselors. That, combined with the lowered budget overall, means that a lot of ladies will be losing their jobs and a lot of moms will be losing what might be the only education and support they have for breastfeeding.  While my office is amazing and everyone is supportive of breastfeeding and decently educated, and while I believe that WIC has taken steps to ensure that is the norm, there are many agencies that only maintain a counselor because that money is earmarked.  The peer counselor in those offices may be the only person there well versed in breastfeeding and holding the solutions to common issues.  If we take her away, there will be a lot of moms that switch to formula – not because they want to, but because they feel like they have no choice in the matter.

So why should you care?

Well, if you believe that women should be supported in their breastfeeding endeavors, you want breastfeeding peer counselors to keep their funding.  If you are someone who doesn’t care about breastfeeding but wants government spending to decrease, then you want breastfeeding peer counselors to keep their jobs.  You see, we help women to be healthier and have healthier babies, which translates into less money spent on state insurance and less spent on purchasing formula.  If you’re a business owner or manager, you want us to keep our funding, because by helping moms to keep breastfeeding and continuing to confer that specifically tailored immune protection, your employees’ babies are at their optimal health, and your employees will be at work more often, increasing productivity.

I urge you to sign this petition and consider letting your elected officials know that cutting funding to this program is ridiculous and short-sighted.  It may save some money short term, but it will have significant consequences long term.

 

 

 Star Rodriguiz, IBCLC, is a breastfeeding peer counselor for a WIC in the Midwest and has just started her private practice as an IBCLC (her Facebook page is here, go “like” for great support).  She also sits on the  breastfeeding task force in her town, is helping her  community’s Early Head Start redefine  their breastfeeding support, and is the  driving force behind a local breastfeeding campaign.  In  the remainder of her free  time, she chases around her nursling and preschooler.

 

Mother’s Day Wishes- Mother’s Milk Tea Giveaway

Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk has long been a trusted option for moms looking to boost their breastmilk supply.  I had the chance to ask Dannelle Jenkins, marketing coordinator for Traditional Medicinals, some questions about the company, how they are celebrating moms this year, and what their Mother’s Day wish is for all moms.

TLB:  What should TLB readers know about Traditional Medicinals?

Dannelle:  We love breastfeeding moms and support you all the way! We know that breastfeeding can be a wonderful, challenging, rewarding and sometimes awkward journey and we hope to provide you a little moment of peace and comfort with our Mother’s Milk(r) tea, used for centuries by women to help them breastfeed.*

 

TLB:  How did Traditional Medicinals come to be?

Dannelle:  In early 1974, three young friends started Traditional Medicinals(r) in the back store room of a small herb shop along the Russian River in Northern California. For nearly forty years, we’ve been passionate about connecting people with plants and passing along the centuries-old wisdom of how to use them. After all these years, our aspirations remain the same: help you use plants to be healthy. We are devoted stewards of traditional herbal medicine, practitioners of sustainable sourcing, meticulous judges of highest quality herbs, caring members of our communities, proud employee-owners of our independent company, herb nerds, and plant people who, without meaning to sound too hippie about it, feel like the plants are talking to us. We hope you will enjoy the fruits (or flowers, roots and leaves) of our labor. With over 50 herbal teas created by herbalists for your health and wellness, we invite you to explore the wonderful world of plants. In good health!

 

TLB:  How are you celebrating Mother’s Day?

Dannelle:  This Mother’s Day, we created a slideshow of our employees and all the reasons they love their moms. Check out our Facebook page to see what we have to say to our own moms this year.

 

TLB:  What do you wish for all mothers this mother’s day?

Dannelle:  We hope all you mothers are able to enjoy and embrace the wonderful (sometimes messy!) experience of being a mom. It’s one of the greatest things to do and to be and we love you for it. We hope you love yourselves too.

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Three lucky winners will be randomly selected to win a case (each case has 6 cartons!) of Organic Mother’s Milk Tea, a retail value of $32.94 each.

From the Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk Tea website:

Promotes Healthy Lactation*
Herbal Dietary Supplement

Organic Mother’s Milk® promotes healthy lactation* and is traditionally used to increase breast milk production.* This traditional combination of anise, fennel and coriander has been used for centuries by European women, often recommended by lactation counselors and medical herbalists. Organic Mother’s Milk® is a pleasantly aromatic balance of sweet, spicy and slightly bitter tastes.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered and be sure to visit Organic Mother’s Milk tea Facebook page to get to know this company that makes it a priority to support breastfeeding moms through their sponsorship of TLB and thank them for this opportunity.  This giveaway is open from May 11, 2012 through May 18, 2012.

This giveaway is only open to residents in the USA, thank you.

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Breastfeeding and biting- mistakes, surviving, and what I’ve learned

After working out how this whole breastfeeding thing works, most breastfeeding dyads settle into a sweet, easy breastfeeding relationship.  Mutually satisfying and safe, mom and baby usually find comfort in the breastfeeding journey they share.  And then one day, SNAP!  Or maybe CLAAAAAAAAAAAAAMP!  Instead of the wood nymph, rainbow farting unicorns breastfeeding experience, you’ve got a surprisingly powerful yet small jaw with or without teeth gripping your nipple, a sick feeling in your stomach, and a barely stifled screech of pain.

A regular concern and related questions we see on The Leaky Boob Facebook page is dealing with biting.  It’s scary, putting your breast into another person’s mouth and hoping they don’t decide to chomp down.  Particularly when that person doesn’t understand why that would be a bad thing or even that it would cause you pain. In my own breastfeeding journey I have had plenty of biting babies.  I’ve examined my breast with deep teeth marks, red and throbbing from clamped jaws, and had tears sting my eyes as I gasped for breath when my nursling has decided to go at my boob as if it was a steak.  I’ve even had blood drawn and the skin broken.  Yep, I’ve been bitten and yep, it hurts, and yep, I’ve lived to tell about it.

The truth is, bite happen.  Er, make that bites happen.

With my very first nursling, 13 years ago, I acted on the advice to flick my baby on the cheek when she bit me. At first I couldn’t do it and just yelped and told Earth Baby no bite. That didn’t work. She bit me only a few more times but the last time I was frustrated and fed-up and went with what I had been told to do: flick her on the cheek and tell her no. Her face immediately reflected the confusion and betrayal she felt, up to that point I had never intentionally hurt her and she had no idea what she did to deserve such treatment. Neither did I.  As she wailed and refused to nurse I knew that I should have trusted my instincts to not hurt my baby. She never nursed again, that traumatic experience led to a nursing strike that led to weaning at 10 months. My sensitive little girl just couldn’t trust me.  I pumped for another two months in order to reach my goal of a year but Earth Baby never accepted my breast again.

So what’s a mom to do?  Fearing a nursing relationship with a potential piranha could be enough to discourage anyone from breastfeeding.  It’s no wonder that many women decide they are going to breastfeed only until the first time baby bites or teeth come in and then that’s it.  All or nothing.  Stop or be bit or worse, injure your own child to stop them from biting. It doesn’t have to be that way though.  For starters, why borrow trouble?  Not all babies bite and some that do don’t do so roughly so it’s possible that you’ll never even experience a piranha on the boob.  Secondly, there are ways to handle biting should you have a nursling that wants to sink their teeth into something, namely, you.  It doesn’t have to be the end, in fact, it can actually be the beginning of the give and take that all relationships eventually need to develop.  Working through biting can strengthen your bond, give you confidence as a mother, and give you and your nursling a new dimension to your relationship.  Like all hard times, it’s worth working through.

But how?  How do you work through it?  What do you do if you fear feeding your little one because of the possible nip or down right full on chomp?  There may not be one simple strategy for everyone but asking other moms that have been there what worked for them is a great place to start.  Seeking the advice of a professional lactation consultant is another.  I did both and have compiled the suggestions and experiences here, browse through and see what you think might work for you.

It also helps to understand why a baby or toddler might bite in the first place.  It is important to understand they are not biting to be mean or malicious, they don’t even understand that concept.  In fact, they don’t understand that biting even hurts until we teach them.  Unfortunately for mom, our natural response to hollar ouch may not teach baby that it hurts but rather that biting gets a funny reaction from mom.  Others may be frightened by moms initial reaction and require comforting or even refuse the breast entirely for a time being afraid of another outburst.  Controlling our response, admittedly difficult to do, and utilizing other strategies may be more effective and less traumatizing for both mom and baby.  Remember, babies and toddlers don’t bite to be mean and if you can, identifying the reason they are biting can help you figure out how to respond.

Reasons a baby or toddler may bite while breastfeeding and tools to stop it

Teeth are beginning to move and cut through the gum.  This hurts, the most painful time being before the teeth actually erupt.  Babies figure out pretty quickly that counter pressure helps relieve some of that discomfort and so they chew fingers, teething rings, corners of a blanket, anything they can find.  Including your boob.  Offer teething options, try comfort measures before putting them to the breast, be sure it’s feeding they want and not chewing time they are looking for, and pay close attention to their behavior at the breast.  Often, biting can be headed off before it even happens.

Bored and all done feeding.  This happens at the end of the feeding.  Being all done but not necessarily ready to move on, your baby or toddler may bite out of distraction and boredom.  Since they aren’t requiring milk any more, a lazy latch replaces an effective and safe no-biting latch and bam, you get bit.  Pay attention to changes of their jaw and tongue to stop the session before they bite.  Most babies will have a change in their sucking patterns once they’re really done feeding.  Slowing down, head shaking, jaw tension, looking around, falling asleep, etc. can all be signs that they’re actually done.  Break latch and move on to cuddles and hopefully you’ll avoid being bitten.

Not opening wide enough or needing to adjust latch.  In this case they are hungry, they want to nurse but as time progresses and changes, such as teeth, happen the latch needs to progress and change.  If the latch isn’t wide enough a baby or toddler is likely to bite.  This usually happens near the beginning of the feeding.  Unlatching and readjusting their latch, showing them what you want them to do by modeling a wide open mouth with tongue forward, and reminding them gently before each feeding session can help with this.  A different position that causes them to have to open wide to take in the nipple can also make this easier.

Physical limitations can cause biting.  Tongue tie is one example on the baby’s part, over active milk ejection reflex is another on mom’s part.  This is particularly true for younger babies biting or clenching with their jaw.  Seeing an IBCLC is the most effective measure for helping solve these type of biting issues.

Along with boredom, distractions can lead to biting.  Whether they are startled or just curious about what’s going on around them, biting can occur with distractions.  In this case, helping them focus can go a long way in reducing biting, try a teething necklace or something else for them to hold and play with while at the breast.

Saying “hey, look at me!”  Maybe you’re multitasking and they want your attention solely on them.  Biting can be a way of getting your attention on them.  This is probably just a phase, meeting their need for connection with you, make it a priority to look into their eyes, talk with them, caress their head, etc.  Remember, they don’t do this to be mean or demanding, they do it because they legitimately need this time with you, you’re their world!

 

What I do now

I honestly can’t remember if Lolie, my 3rd baby bit me ever but I know The Storyteller (#2), Squiggle Bug (#4), and Smunchie (#5) all did.  Never again did I flick my baby to teach them not to bite, I utilized other strategies using a combination of tools.  Kathleen Huggins’ book The Nursing Mother’s Companion gave me some great tips on dealing with biting and when I find I need reminders I still reach for my trusty breastfeeding resource, I love and use Kathleen’s suggestions.  Heading off biting when possible has been by far the most effective.  If they did bite on the breast I try to break their latch by sliding my pinky into the corner of their mouth along side my nipple.  If, for some reason, that doesn’t work or their grip is too strong for it to work, I pull my baby into my breast which will cause them to let go.  I don’t care for that move personally, it just makes me a little uncomfortable to block their airways if even for just a second which is why I don’t try it first.  However, it is effective and safe and my babies have never seemed to be frightened because of it.  With my younger babies I just make eye contact and say “ouch, no bite please” and offer the breast again, keeping a careful eye out that they’re are indeed interested in continuing the feeding of if the bite because they were done anyway.  Knowing that they have to change their latch to be able to bite and pull their tongue back, I pay attention for any subtle changes and break their latch before they have a chance to bite again.  If they don’t seem to really be interested in continuing the session, we move on to other activities and wait for cues that they are ready to eat again later.  For older babies I sit them up an say “ouch, no bite please” and place them on the floor near by, offering a toy for them to play with.  If they still desire to breastfeed they will let me know and I’m willing to try again, reminding them to open wide (which I demonstrate) and saying “remember, no bite.”  Again, paying close attention for any subtle shifts in their latch, I aim to remove them from the breast before they have a chance to bite.  If there is a second attempt, I repeat telling them no bite and then tell them “all done nursing right now” and move on to our next activity.  Depending on each child’s personality, I may have to repeat this 1-6 times but it rarely is a stage that lasts long.  For me, resorting to tactics such as hair pulling, flicking, or biting back are simply not an option, I can’t intentionally inflict pain on my child, particularly when I know there are other effective options at my disposal.  I never want my child to associate fear being hurt by me, particularly at the breast.  I’m so grateful I found other methods and have been able to successfully end biting without the devastating results Earth Baby and I experienced.

All images used with permission and generously shared by the Leakies on The Leaky B@@b Facebook page.

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What have your experience, positive or painful, been with biting and breastfeeding?  

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