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Newsletter: THE NEW MOM- Our Best Advice EVER!

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For the BRAND NEW MUM, or for the NEWLY-MADE-MOTHER in your life, this newsletter edition is just for YOU. Resources curated to keep, share, and change lives plus some special discounts! We welcome you and your new bundle. If that new baby stage is over for you, scroll down to our contribution from our sister sites that have nothing to do with babies and infant feeding for recipes, relationship stories, and reviews.

 

Dear Leakies,

How will parenting change you? Let me count the ways. We’ll start with 4 for now though.

Whether everything went according to the serene picture in your head or nothing like it at all, becoming a new parent is an experience like no other. Largely because all the preparation in the world doesn’t really prepare you and before you know it, parenting is sink or swim.

So you start swimming. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep SWIIIIIIIIIIIIIMING!

The reality is no matter how much you envisioned being a perfect parent, you will fail. I know, not very encouraging. But the sooner you accept that, the better it will be, you are not going to ever be a perfect parent. Parenting will change you and though you won’t be a perfect parent, you ARE the perfect parent for your child(ren). Flaws and all. There are glorious, amazing moments in parenting that will take your breath away. There are sweet, tender moments in parenting that will make you smile and treasure the little things. And yes, there are horrible, nightmarish moments in parenting that will cause you to question what you were thinking getting into this gig in the first place. All of the moments need the other moments.

Three ways parenting will change you:

You will redefine a good night’s sleep. And you’ll be amazed at how little can feel so good. Four months into parenting our second daughter, who had a personal vendetta against sleep, we had our first night with 4 hours in a row. Plus another 2 after that. It was amazing. I celebrated. Never mind that a year before a good night was 10 uninterrupted hours of sleep.

Clean takes on a new meaning too. So just how much like sour milk does that shirt you wore yesterday smell? On a scale of 1-10 if it’s a 7 it may likely pass as wearable.

You will need more storage on your phone. Sure, it’s popular to be annoyed with your friends posting pictures and videos of their kids all the time on social media but, OMG, you should have seen the way she discovered her fingers! You’re going to need more room on your phone.

Patience for yourself. At least I hope parenting changes you this way. If you are a perfectionist, this is particularly hard. In the end though, if you wouldn’t want someone treating your child the way you treat yourself, then you’re going to need to model that with how you treat yourself. Patience is key.

You’ve got this. You will keep swimming.

And for some of the more fun parts of parenting a newborn, see these 12 signs that you’re breastfeeding a newborn here.

Scroll down for more support for new parents, a great coupon code (20% off!) for a top that will convert all your shirts into breastfeeding tops, and for topics well beyond those baby days, see the sections from our sister sites OurStableTable.com andBeyondMoi.com.

GO HERE for an exclusive coupon code and MORE!

Discounts, Giveaway, Milk, and Moving!

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Dear Leakies,

I’m going to keep this short and sweet:

LET’S GET MOVING!

It’s time for #TLBmoves and we’re working up a sweat and to an awesome giveaway with our friends from Tula, ThinkBaby ThinkSport, Belabumbum Active Wear, and Eyla’s Imports. Find out more information here.

Whatever it looks like for you, we’re supporting each other on getting moving towards health and wholeness. For many of us, learning about and then actually feeding our babies was the gateway to more conscientious living, a sort of snowball effect. Establishing health habits as a way of life is, of course, a good thing. And the family that moves together is healthy together. (For some inspiration, here’s 100 years of fitness fads in 100 seconds video fun.) Share your journey with us using the hashtag #TLBmoves on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and if you’d like to go deeper, submit your story like Kelsey by emailing content@theleakyboob.com.

I’m enjoying moving with my family and I’m moving closer and closer to Milk! Bringing together many of the people who inspire me, I’ve created Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference with Xza Higgins, founder of MommyCon. Taking place in L.A. July 31st and August 1st, this conference is for health care providers (offering continuing education credits and contact hours) and families. Founded on the belief that infant feeding support makes a difference and can directly influence confidence levels in parents, MiLK focuses on information sharing and mindful support that builds parents up without tearing down, respecting the unique journey of each of us. MiLK aims to actively educate and support infant feeding by connecting health care providers and the families they care for discussing breastfeeding, formula feeding, breastmilk pumping, at the breast supplementing, bottle feeding, cup feeding, spoon feeding… FEEDING. This is not, to be clear, a breastfeeding conference. It is an infant feeding conference with a goal of bringing together health care providers and parents where we can learn from each other. Most importantly, I hope we learn how to really listen and what support can really looks like.

To help you move that direction with me, we have a huge giveaway that includes enough tickets for your local breastfeeding group! For that extra newsletter entry option, GET YOUR INFORMATION HERE!

Babywearing, Connection, Partner Support: The Leaky Times Newsletter Vol. 9

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This TLB Newsletter generously sponsored by  LOGO.cdr

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Dear Leakies,

This summer as you get outside to explore, keeping your baby close and on you can be a big help with feeding your baby. With so many different types of carriers available, there’s almost certainly an option that will work for you. Between the different brands of carriers (and some brands having more than one style, such as Tula), online support and information (such as babywearing and breastfeedingthis online chat with Paxbaby and The Leaky Boob) and retailers (where you can find many different brands in one place!), babywearing libraries, babywearing educators, and ways to purchase used; more and more families have access to figuring out what babywearing can be for them.

And that’s good news. The skin to skin contact of babywearing sends signals to your body that helps you produce milk even as you’re busy keeping up with older kids and vacation plans. There are so many benefits of babywearing, even including neurological and physical development, see more on that here. Even better, for moms feeding directly at the breast, learning how to breastfeed in a carrier can be a total game changer, making it possible to feed on the go. We think this is so Ula babywearingimportant, we have a whole workshop at the Milk Conference to teach moms and support providers more about breastfeeding in the carrier. While not everybody will be comfortable breastfeeding in the carrier, having the option to do so can help remove just one more breastfeeding obstacle. Carry all the babies, feed all the babies! (On your front, just to be clear, unless you have a sense of humor and flexible breasts like this.)

With our friends at Tula, we want to help. You can read a helpful article they’ve recently posted about the HOW and WHY of breastfeeding and babywearing!

Dad babywearingEven if breastfeeding in the carrier isn’t for you or if you’re not breastfeeding directly at the breast, babywearing can be a fun and special way to care for your little one… and your toddler! (I share all about why you might want to wear your toddler and preschooler here.) Babywearing is an excellent way for non-breastfeeding partner parents to connect as well, (older siblings too, see this article for more on sibling-wearing) fostering connections and closeness in shared experience and constant snuggles. For tips on what to consider in looking for a carrier that works for you and/or your partner, check out this link to get you started.

The conversation and education about babywearing has increased, and with good reason. There are a lot of benefits of babywearing but it is important it’s done safely. This is why we are talking about it, anyone could make a mistake (including this celebrity) and babywearing safety is important. Together we can support each other in caring for our little ones.

Want to read more? Check out the rest of our latest news on breastfeeding, partner and babywearing resources, and EXCLUSIVE giveaways in our latest newsletter

 RIGHT HERE !!

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Epic MiLK! The Leaky Times Newsletter Vol.8

by Kileah McIlvain

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Dear Leakies,

This may come as a shock, but I’m not passionate about breastfeeding.

Which is why I hope you all can join me at Milk: An Infant Feeding Conference on August 1st in Los Angelas, CA. This conference is all about bringing together everyone involved in infant feeding conversations to learn how to listen, share information, and offer true support. Support that isn’t possible when we’re judging and shaming individuals.

Nearly every day we hear from moms they concern about how they are feeding their baby. Guilt weaves through their words. With heartbreak they share their story, aching at what they perceive to be failure and hoping we can offer some magic fix. We tell them all the same thing.

Feed the baby. That’s the first rule of infant feeding care, FEED THE BABY. Because no matter what methodology, the baby must be fed. Not feeding the baby IS failure.

If there were a first rule of infant feeding support, it should be “DON’T BE A JERK.” Followed closely by “SUPPORT THE PERSON OVER THE METHODOLOGY.” Being a jerk and supporting a methodology over people IS failure.

Feeding the baby isn’t failure.

Sometimes, the people that should be the most supportive, end up offering unsupportive support.

READ MORE HERE!

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Carrot Fennel (Lactation) Slaw – Feed Your Whole Family

by Carrie Saum

What do you do when you have multiple food needs in your family?

For example: Dad wants protein.  Kids want carbs. Mom could use some milk boosting foods. And EVERYONE needs veggies. You can’t spend a fortune or the energy accommodating everyone all the time, right?  Because you are a mom and you have to feed yourself and your family and maybe the neighborhood, too.

We joined a co-op a few years ago to purchase high-quality animal protein that was raised properly, humanely, and that was affordable.  That might not be possible for you, and that’s okay.  But it felt very important to us and we made the switch, even though it meant eating slightly less meat.

As a new mom, I fell in love with my crockpot.  I love the idea of putting a few ingredients into a pot, walking away for the day, and then eating a fantastic home cooked meal that night.  It seemed to meet all of the criteria for feeding my family: inexpensive, tasty, satisfying, balanced, and full of nutrition.

My favorite crockpot recipe by far is this Pulled Pork.  It’s incredibly versatile and easy to serve, reheat, remake, and freeze.  I make this fennel slaw recipe for the family and use it in pulled pork tacos.  The sweetness of the slaw pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the pork. It has a fighting chance of pleasing the whole family, and boosting your milk production, too!

pulled pork

Ingredients:

  • 2 bulbs of fennel, thinly sliced (I recommend using a mandolin.)
  • 2-3 carrots, shaved (I use a veggie peeler.)
  • Cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • Sea Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine fennel, carrots and as much cilantro as you’d like in a bowl.  I like LOTS of cilantro.
  2. Add vinegar, honey, S&P and mix thoroughly.
  3. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving to set.

My favorite preparation is this on top of pulled pork tacos with a little goat cheese a an ice cold limeade  to wash it down with.

Enjoy your summer, enjoy your family!
Carrie

If you like this recipe, check out this recipe for brussel sprouts or Charlie Brown Bars over on Our Stable Table.

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*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 atOurStableTable.com.

 

 

Kangaroo Care Awareness Day Celebration with NüRoo

Kangaroo Care Awareness Day Nuroo Skin-to-skin increasing neural pathways

Today is Kangaroo Care Awareness Day, a day that’s near and dear to us, because it celebrates and highlights the practice of Kangaroo Care (KC), or Skin-to-Skin contact. We at NüRoo are extremely passionate about the practice, science and benefits of KC. So passionate about it, that we truly geek out and could talk about it all day!   But it wasn’t always that way….

We, Daniela + Hope, the co-founders of NüRoo, both had children before learning the importance of Kangaroo Care. Sure, we had heard of Skin-to-Skin contact and knew that it was good for mom and baby, but that was the extent of what we knew. It wasn’t until subsequent pregnancies, when our nurse midwives told us about the long-term benefits of the practice, that we truly understood what KC was all about. Our nurses explained that Kangaroo Care (KC) was a very specific way of holding baby, wearing only a diaper, vertically on mom’s bare chest. Continuous skin-to-skin contact stimulates a nerve in both mom and baby, sending a message to the brain to produce a hormonal cascade that delivers a whole ton of benefits.

We were AMAZED to learn that an uninterrupted 60 minutes of Kangaroo Care would accelerate baby’s brain development, reduce stress and crying, regulate baby’s body temperature, heart rate and breathing; increase their quality of sleep; enhance their immune system; stimulate digestion and weight gain; and increase breastfeeding behavior. Equally important, the practice offered benefits for mom that include a decreased risk of postpartum depression; increased milk production; reduction in postpartum bleeding, cortisol (stress) levels, and blood pressure; increased pain tolerance; and higher levels of psychological well-being.

Having received a taste of the science behind the practice, how could we not give and receive all those amazing benefits simply by cuddling our newborn?!

Each of us left the hospital bound and determined to practice KC with our babies, for at least an hour a day. But with active families, including toddlers, running around at home, who had an uninterrupted hour, much less 10 minutes, to lay with baby skin-to-skin in bed or on the couch? And so, the hunt was on for a product that allowed us to wear baby skin-to-skin while we were on our feet, hands-free, doing what we needed to do. And when we never found such a product out there, we decided to invent it ourselves, and the NüRoo Pocket was born!

Seeing the impact Kangaroo Care had on our babies charged and empowered us to advocate for this incredible practice for ALL moms and babies. Hungry to learn as much as we could, we went on to become certified by the US Institute for Kangaroo Care and continue to educate providers and moms alike on the many benefits of KC that extend far beyond bonding. If our story can leave you with one lasting though, may it be that skin-to-skin is not just a hospital based practice. Over 40 years of research proves that the best place for you and your baby to spend the fourth trimester and beyond, is together skin-to-skin! Learn more about the NüRoo Pocket and the science behind the practice at nuroobaby.com.

Nuroo breastfeeding kangaroo care awareness day

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 Daniela + Hope are giving away 1 NüRoo Pockets Babywearing Shirt to 12 different winners to encourage and support Kangaroo Care Awareness Day and skin-to-skin time for moms and babies.

The NüRoo® Pocket is a babywearing shirt that offers full coverage and mobility for moms practicing skin-to-skin contact with their baby.  It also doubles as a hands-free carrier!  Extremely easy to get baby in and out of, without wrapping, tying or knotting.

  • The ‘cross and hug’ closures provide a custom fit as your body changes and your baby grows.
  • The fabric is super soft, breathable, moisture-wicking and offers just the right amount of compression to ensure proper position and continued support for both mom and baby.
  • It adheres to the sling carrier standards, which means it’s been tested up to 45 pounds.
  • A 2014 Editor’s Pick from What to Expecting When You’re Expecting!
  • Available in long-sleeve or short-sleeve in Black or Teal, Sizes XS – XL
  • Designed for pre- and full-term babies
  • Retails for $59.99

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This giveaway is open to winners in the USA only.

Facebook Removes Breastfeeding Photos and Disables Mom’s Account Ignoring Their Own Policies- Again.

by Jessica Martin-Weber
Breastfeeding and Facebook

Photo Credit: Stephanie Shirley Abby shared this photo on Facebook previously with no issue.

Between 3 and 4pm on Saturday, May 9th, 2015, the day before celebrating her very first Mother’s Day as a mom, Bump 2 Baby Birth Photography owner, Abby Camarata, discovered that her access to the virtual global town hall that is Facebook was unavailable. More specifically, that her account had been disabled. The new mom of 4 week old Rocco was cut off from much of her community and from her business and she had no idea why. When she attempted to log in she received a message from Facebook that her account was disabled and if she had questions she could visit Facebook’s help center. That was it.

It hasn’t been long since Facebook received praise for finally amending their guidelines for image posting to include supporting breastfeeding photos. Just this past March news outlets, bloggers, and advocates celebrated when the guidelines were further clarified after several years of back and forth drama between Facebook, users, and the media when breastfeeding photos would be removed. There was a collective sigh that maybe this dysfunctional censoring of motherhood and the women that share it was finally over with the social media giant.

Apparently not. And this isn’t the first time they’ve violated their own policies about breastfeeding photos.

Abby and I chatted initially when her account was still disabled. Her personal profile was reinstated by 9.05 pm that evening but her business page is still gone. She still doesn’t know why. What she suspects? Somebody complained about the breastfeeding photos on both her personal profile and on her business page. This first time mom shared her thoughts on why this matters not only for her personally but for many parents in today’s society.

TLB: Abby, I’m so sorry your personal profile was disabled by Facebook. I know you’ve used your Facebook to connect with friends and family as well as for your business. Up until your account was disabled, how has FB been important to you both in the past and now more recently? How will not having it impact you?

Abby: Facebook has always been an outlet for keeping in touch with friends and family but more recently, it’s been nothing short of a lifeline. Especially since the birth of my first baby, Rocco, four weeks ago. Life can easily become isolating at this stage, Facebook as been a consistent connecting point for me through this transition. From the moment we announced our little love coming earthside, a meal train was set up in my tribe and quickly a whole month worth of dinners were signed up for. I joined a Homebirth Cesarean Facebook group that has been a shoulder for me to cry on and a safe place for me to vent. The Leaky Boob Community group has been a lifesaver. I love how this is a group of nursing moms so when I woke up at 3am and my boob felt like it got ran over by a truck, I had several responses of support and encouragement with suggested remedies within minutes!

Not having Facebook kept me from my tribe and my resources. Both of which are part of my every day-to-day life. It may not have been for long, this time, but I don’t know if it will happen again and the connections and relationships I have there mean a lot to me, particularly during this difficult postpartum stage. My business is impacted as well. I cant correspond with clients, share new work, or follow up on leads and referrals.

 

Facebook account disabled after posting breastfeeding photos.

The message Abby received when she attempted to login.

 

TLB: How did you discover your account was disabled? Has Facebook given you a reason for disabling your account or indicated that it is a determined length of time for this ban? When did they contact you?

Abby: I discovered the disabling of my account only after several friends messaged me about my account being inactive. My account was still active after the initial flagged photo for nudity so I’m not sure why it was actually deactivated later. I was never given a length of time for the ban. I was never contacted about ANY of the ordeal. When my account was reactivated, it stated that my image was reported for nudity, and that the photos were removed for “violating Facebook’s Community Standards” even though the images remain on my page, and the link to the community standards was broken and I was unable to read them.

TLB: Birth and breastfeeding are big aspects of your work as a photographer, now as a mother yourself, what do you see is the significance of capturing and sharing these moments through photography? How has it been significant for you personally?

Abby: Given the rough journey I’ve experienced so far with breastfeeding, and the utter bliss and healing it brings me, I have a renewed appreciation and love for breastfeeding photography. We are given such a short time to have this special bonding time with our children. Some moms are blessed with more time than others.

Personally, not knowing how long my body will keep producing milk with my hormone issues, I savor every second I can nurse my son. I hope others are encouraged by the images I share as I’ve been encouraged by the breastfeeding images others have shared. I’ve learned a lot too.

Breastfeeding selfie Abby shared on Facebook on May 9, 2015.

Breastfeeding selfie Abby shared on Facebook on May 9, 2015.

Breastfeeding and Facebook

The notice Abby received that her photo was reported by someone on her friend list.

 

Breastfeeding photo removed by Facebook May 2015.

The notice Abby received that her photo was determined to violate FB standards.

 

 

TLB: You had a breastfeeding photo reported just before your account was disabled, why had you shared that photo in particular? Have you had breastfeeding photos reported in the past? Was the photo removed by FB or was the last that you knew, they reviewing the report?

Abby: I take photos almost every time I nurse my son. The awe and love for breastfeeding hasn’t worn off. Again, with my breastfeeding issues, and not knowing how long I will be able to nurse him, EVERY DAY is a victory. Every latch is a reason to celebrate. Every suckle is a savored moment. A moment I want to hold onto. To remember. To document. To share! This new thing, breastfeeding, is totally rad and I want to share my journey and the love I have for it. I want to normalize it!

The very first photo I shared of Rocco, announcing his arrival, was a photo of him breastfeeding. The two week herbal bath family photos that were taken, I shared a breastfeeding photo. I shared a photo of Rocco latched as we enjoyed the shade at the park. I shared the breastfeeding photos from our three week family photo shoot. All were celebrated by friends and family and not one of them were reported to my knowledge.

Shortly after I posted my photo, it was reported. I was taken aback because out of all the nursing photos I have shared, this was the most modest! Rocco was covering his mouth with his hands. I posted a screenshot of my reported image, and then got off Facebook to tend to my son. Before I know it, I received texts from three different friends asking if I had disabled my account. I was blocked out of Facebook. My account was disabled, without warning. I waited and waited for an explanation from Facebook via email and I received nothing.

TLB: Are you familiar with Facebook’s policy on breastfeeding photos and do you believe your photos were in keeping with those policies? 

Abby: I have never read the actual policies, but the last update I read from a friend, is that as long as the baby was actively nursing, any breast or nipple showing was not in violation of any policies.

Breastfeeding and Facebook

Photo Credit: Stephanie Shirley Abby had previously shared this photo on Facebook with no incident.

Alternative breastmilk feeding

Photo Credit: Stephanie Shirley. Abby feeding Rocco. Abby previously shared this photo on Facebook with no incident.

 

TLB: You shared that your breastfeeding journey has been difficult and very important to you, how does it feel in light of that to not only having someone on your friend list report your image but then to have FB actually disable your account?

Abby: It was SO disheartening, on so many levels. It’s overwhelming. What was frustrating right off is that I was provided no explanation from Facebook. It hurts that a “friend” reported my image because the image for me is the same as someone else posting a selfie at a finish line of a race. It’s a triumph. Something I’m working hard for. Something I’m proud of. It’s frustrating not only that a breastfeeding photo was reported, but it was THAT photo, which showed absolutely no nipple. I thought it was modest.

TLB: What did you do when you discovered the report of your breastfeeding photo?

Abby: I shared a screenshot of the flagged version of the photo in hopes to get feedback. Was this image offensive? HOW was this image offensive? I asked the “offended” to message me with an explanation. (I was genuinely curious.) I also asked them to remove themselves from my friends list. And that wasn’t to be malicious, it was because I don’t plan on stopping the share of nursing photos. Breastfeeding, by anyone, should be celebrated.

TLB: Your account is reinstated, will you be doing anything differently in terms of your behavior on FB?

Abby: I did have an impulse to keep my account deactivated and just start a new one with a few close friends and family. I was just so hurt that someone would be so offended by something that’s so innocent and special to me. But, refuse to stop sharing my nursing photos. If it’s a special moment, and I feel beautiful in it, you bet I’m going to share it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeding my son exactly as nature intended it. I need to contribute to this societal stigma around breastfeeding. It needs to change.

TLB: If you knew who it was that reported your photo, what would you say to them?

Abby: It depends on who it was and why they reported it. I have more than 100 things I would like to say to them. I really wish they would message me and open a discussion about their concerns than rather “report and run away.” It seems very childish to me. They don’t have to follow my profile nor even be friends with me on Facebook.

TLB: Lastly, is there anything you would like people to know coming through this experience?

Abby: I could tell you to stop sharing nursing photos. I could tell you to choose your Facebook “friends” wisely. To change the privacy settings on your nursing photos. But that wouldn’t change a thing. That’s not going to break down the breastfeeding stigma rampant in our American society. Keep sharing your beautiful images. Together, we can make waves. We can normalize breastfeeding for our future generations. For our children. Nurse on mamas.

Breastfeeding and Facebook

Abby and Rocco

At The Leaky Boob we believe everybody’s story matters and we should have the freedom to share it without censoring from outside sources, particularly in places where we find our community. Sharing our stories not only connects us but strengthens us all. #MyStoryMatters #YourStoryMatters and we hope you continue to share it wherever you are comfortable doing so. Share your story and offer #TLBsupportForward.

Want to share your story? Let us know in the comments.

Leaky Boob and Earth Mama Support with Integrity

Earth Mama Celebrates The Leaky Boob and My Story Matters.

 

#MyStoryMatters #TLBsupportForward

Was breastfeeding a piece of cake for you? Or were you a mama who struggled every day? Was your time so short you don’t think you have a story, or so long you’re reluctant to mention it? Did you have the support of everyone, or were you discouraged from your choices? Every story is important, and every story matters: every time a breastfeeding mama tells her story it helps others see themselves and find courage and support. There is not ONE model for breastfeeding, and it doesn’t matter what your story is, we all need to commit to supporting each other.

 

In honor of The Leaky Boob’s Fifth Anniversary and My Story Matters, Earth Mama is renewing the Support With Integrity Pledge. The Leaky Boob’s open, supportive, non-judgmental environment is a perfect example of criticism-free breastfeeding help, with acknowledgment that there are as many ways to get your baby fed as there are types of nursing pillows. The Leaky Boob encourages “acceptance no matter if you use a pillow from the bed or one that’s branded – if one kind of pump works better for you then hallelujah! Nobody lives this life exactly the same way. That includes different breastfeeding “methods”. If the mama is happy and the baby is healthy that’s perfect. And we can encourage a community of people who are there to support, not criticize or judge.” Sing it, Leaky!

 

The Support with Integrity Pledge gives props to women who choose to lift each other up, and not tear each other down. There are so many opinions and choices when it comes to breastfeeding: whether or not you should even be using a nursing pillow, which brand, how often, on a schedule not on a schedule, a nipple shield or not, and don’t get us started on position! Football, side laying, upside down yoga baby… there is so much overwhelming information, and everyone has a different experience.

 

Instead of judging choices that are different from ours, let’s choose to be each other’s cheerleaders. Let’s choose to acknowledge that breastfeeding can be hard, or easy, or both, and it can be different for different children of the same mama. Let’s stand down from judgment, and jump toward supporting every mama’s personal decision. Let’s strengthen and unite the efforts of breastfeeding supporters, who focus on getting the baby fed, and not take sides about how it’s done, or being right.

 

So often when you find an exhausted mama, a crying baby, and frustration at trying to make this breastfeeding thing work, you also find people wanting to help. And help is wonderful, of course, but sometimes it comes with an edge. Some who are very invested in a certain way of doing things can sometimes forget to, first and most important, be kind and supportive. Maybe you’ve been the mama, maybe you’ve been the supportive friend, maybe you’ve even been the one pushing an agenda a little too hard. We’ve all been there, and we all mean well.

Need some help trying to figure out what’s helpful and what’s not? Here are some ways to support mamas who may not be making the same choices as you:

 

Helpful

 

  • “You are doing great, mama.” This little phrase can mean so much, especially when a mama is feeling confused and exhausted.

 

  • Suggest she find a support site or Facebook page similar to HER values, not yours. The Leaky Boob is a welcoming breastfeeding community that offers judgment-free support and helpful resources.

 

  • “How can I help? I will keep my opinions to myself and do whatever you need!” And then button your lip and do it!

 

  • Help defuse aggressive questioning or pointed comments with a, “I’m so glad your nursing choices have been beneficial to you and your baby, but my friend has chosen a different way and she could really use our support!”

 

 

Not Helpful

 

  • Piles of research on the “right” way to breastfeed – we can find all sorts of conflicting information on the Internet. Respect that your friend has chosen a way that works for her, even if you disagree with it.

 

  • Scary stories information about other people’s bad experiences.

 

  • “It was easy for you before, why can’t you do it this time?” Remember, different babies have different breastfeeding experiences.

 

  • Any unsolicited opinion about method, equipment, position, or schedule – you don’t know the whole story, and if the baby’s being fed, just smile and admire that there are lots of ways to get the job done!

 

 

And now, go take the pledge! “I agree to hold hands and help mamas get what they need to make breastfeeding work for them, no matter how they choose to do it. If a mama and baby are making it work, I’ll stand and cheer them on from the sidelines.”

 

Sign on now here!

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Share with us what you find to be helpful and respectful support and what you have found not to be helpful nor respectful support in the comments below.

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Breastfeeding Discrimination and Mountain Home Air Force Base- Interview with Breastfeeding In Combat Boots

by Jessica Martin-Weber

Every day we see evidence that parents feeding their babies is in being more and more accepted with less judgment, discrimination, and hostility from the world around them. Though we may hear more about the discrimination and public shaming of babies being fed, the truth is, there are more stories where such feedings either go unnoticed or even outright supported. We see better policies, laws, and even health care being put into place that encourages and facilitates moms in reaching their breastfeeding goals. It’s encouraging to know that we’re making progress.

Which is why it is so incredibly disappointing and discouraging when we encounter discrimination and barriers in that progress, even more so from those who are in leadership and positions of influence.
On April 16, 2015, Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho released a memorandum regarding the official breastfeeding in public base policy by Commander David Iverson. On April 21, 2015 Breastfeeding in Combat Boot’s Facebook community posted the memorandum they had received from a member impacted by this new policy on their page, which you can see here and below.
Mountain Home Air Force Base Breastfeeding policy memorandum
For some this was at least sounding supportive of breastfeeding and trying to be sensitive to everyone. For others though, this was quite a blow. For US Navy veteran and IBCLC Robyn Roche-Paull, author of the book Breastfeeding in Combat Boots and owner of the website and social media communities of the same name, this was particularly disappointing to see. The mom 3 wrote her book and launched her website inspired by her own struggles with breastfeeding in the military with a desire to support other families and help see change happen that would better support military moms.  In short order word of this new policy on MHAFB spread like wild-fire on social media and an informal campaign was launched to voice concerns regarding the policy. At the time of publishing this article, the base had release a revised statement rescinding the policy until further notice in response to the efforts of those supporting breastfed babies. Still, it is clear in the the new statement that this may not be entirely resolved.
As a civilian, I wanted to better understand the situation before reacting and reached out to Robyn. She graciously agreed to answer my questions and I’m happy to share the conversation here with you. Robyn explains what all this means, why it matters, and what we can do about it.
TLB: What exactly is this? For those of us unfamiliar with military procedures, could you explain what this memorandum is and how this impacts the lives of those who work and live on Mountain Home Air Force Base?

Robyn: A memorandum is how the military puts out new policies that affect personnel (military and civilian alike that work and live onboard the installation).  Memorandums are generally reviewed by the base legal department and signed off by the Commander of the installation.  They are to be followed and obeyed by those who live and work on the installation, and should they not be obeyed, those persons can be subject to disciplinary action.  In the case of civil service personnel they can lose their jobs over an infraction if severe enough, and for civilians married to military personnel, the military person (or sponsor) would be subject to the disciplinary action since the military person (sponsor) is responsible for their spouse/children (dependent) actions.

TLB: The memorandum for Mountain Home Air Force Base personnel from Colonel David R. Iverson, Commander of the base has 5 main points. At first glance it would seem these points are positive and in support of breastfeeding with language that expresses respecting the rights of nursing mothers in accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. Is this actually supportive of breastfeeding and protecting the rights of babies to be fed or is there something else going on here?

Robyn: At first glance it does seem to be supportive of breastfeeding since they are providing an office or room for the breastfeeding mom to use.  But reading further it is stipulated that should the mother not wish to use the room, she then MUST use a breastfeeding cover. If she refuses to cover herself then she will asked to leave the premises.    This applies to individuals in “customer service” areas, which on most military installations means anyplace where administrative tasks are completed such as in or out-processing, housing offices, Personnel Support Departments, Medical/Dental waiting areas, etc.  Places where the mother is most likely waiting in line or has a number to be called to be seen.  If she leaves to the area to go breastfeed her child, she now has lost her place in line or misses hearing her number called and has to start the process over again.

The memo goes on to state that this “sort of accommodation supports nursing mothers while also respecting the ‘sensitivities’ of other base personnel and preserves the good order of the military”.  This is anything but supportive of breastfeeding mothers, and is in every way looking out for the possibility of offending other people who might come in contact with the breastfeeding mother, and more importantly, it is putting the needs of the military’s good order and discipline ahead the needs of a hungry infant.  I can only assume that the many twenty-something young Airmen will not be able to control themselves when confronted with a breastfeeding baby and so they need to be protected from witnessing the act lest they attack the mother for being sexually provocative because they caught sight of a little side boob?  I don’t know….
TLB: It seems it is worth noting that only babies and children that are breastfed are impacted in this ruling, is that correct? Bottle-fed infants and children would be permitted to be fed in the same settings that breastfed children will be asked to move to a private room or cover?
Robyn: Yes, it would seem that the policy, as written, only affects breastfed babies and children.  They will be asked to cover or leave while bottle-fed babies and children will not be required to cover or leave.  This fact alone makes the policy discriminatory towards breastfeeding dyads, and introduces the whole concept that there is something inherently wrong or sexual about breastfeeding that requires removal from the area or covering up.
TLB:Is there a precedence set for this kind of discrimination against breastfed infants and children at other bases? Are there other military facilities that have instituted similar policies? Are there any that have taken a more supportive position in regards to infants and children that are fed at the breast of their mothers?

Robyn: There is precedence for this type of discrimination at other military bases.  In 2007 Ft. Bragg had an incident at the BX (Base Exchange, a military only store that carries everything…much like a Walmart) where a worker was told she could not breastfeed her infant on her break because the Exchange had a policy forbidding it. And again in 2011 an Army spouse and breastfeeding mother was asked to leave the housing office at Ft. Bragg because she was breastfeeding her daughter.  In March of 2013, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii had an incident at the out-processing facility with a mother breastfeeding while waiting in line to have her paperwork processed, she was accused of indecent exposure and asked to leave, her active duty husband was threatened with legal action if she didn’t comply.  Later that month, at Schofield Barracks, also in Hawaii, an incident at the Commissary (a grocery store for military personnel) mothers were asked to leave when breastfeeding their infants, and then a policy was put in place requiring breastfeeding mothers to be ‘discreet’ and cover themselves or leave if they were breastfeeding in order to protect the other patrons from having to see the act going on.   In some cases, public outrage and the power of social media, along with education made it possible to rescind the policies and have better ones that were breastfeeding friendly put in place instead, but not in all cases. See my Blog post here regarding another incident.

TLB: Are there any military facilities that have instituted policies that are truly supportive of breastfeeding in public? Could you share with us examples of what such support looks like in policy? Is there a military base that Mountain Home Air Force Base could learn from in supporting breastfeeding children and their families?
Robyn: There are no specific policies that I am aware of at this time that are supportive of Breastfeeding in public.  There are a few that have it included within another breastfeeding policy (like the one at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth which includes a statement that breastfeeding is allowed anywhere within the hospital, but a room can be provided if the mother chooses). I know that the Commanding Officer at Naval Base Ventura County in California made a public statement in the base newspaper that breastfeeding women could do so anywhere and anytime in accordance with California law. But there is no formal policy stating that.
TLB: The memorandum mentions concerns of exposure in public settings, what does this stem from and is there something uniquely particular about this concern on a military base? Is there a reason that this policy would be necessary on base when there are laws protecting breastfeeding babies (and their mothers) on a federal level?

Robyn: I think this stems from concerns about anything that might be considered sexual (even though we know breastfeeding is about feeding a child, not sex!) within the military environment and to also maintain good order and discipline. Its complicated in the military. There is a running and deep-seated fear about sexuality, sexual assault, and sexual harassment that has everyone on point and scared to do or say anything that might be construed as sexual.  I think too that the military in many ways is very conservative and old-fashioned and also still a very male-dominated workplace (only 15% of all military personnel are women), so ANYTHING that might be seen as sexual, i.e. breasts are off-limits and cannot be seen, even if they are just being used to feed a child.  There are bans on girly magazines now at military exchanges (they used to be out where anyone could see the covers) and many installations DO have dress codes and policies concerning what individuals can and cannot wear at the gym, pool, Commissary, Exchange (such as booty shorts, saggy shorts, midriffs, etc.) This unfortunately is an extension of that, without taking into account that the baby or child needs to or is being fed.  (See also my answer above! )  With that said, as a military veteran and spouse, and an IBCLC and advocate for breastfeeding in the military…. I just cant see a reason for this policy to be in place when there are federal laws to protect breastfeeding mothers and babies while on federal property.  I just don’t understand where this came from.  I might have more understanding of the ’need’ for a policy if there had been an ‘incident’ that prompted this policy.  But so far it seems as though it sprang up out of nowhere.

TLB: Speaking of laws, though the state of Idaho has no laws regarding breastfeeding, there is a federal law in place protecting a woman’s right to breastfeed, how can the Commander Iverson institute policies and procedures that are in violation of that law? Are breastfeeding children and their mothers protected by that federal law? What do they risk in refusing to comply with this new base policy?
Robyn: This is where it gets tricky.  There are State laws and Federal laws and then there are Military laws.  Federal trumps State and in some cases Military trumps Federal. However this particular policy only applies to civilian personnel, so it would seem that Federal law wins and breastfeeding mothers and children ARE protected.  I have spoken with a couple of Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers (military lawyers) who basically have stated that Federal law does not apply to UNIFORMED MILITARY personnel, especially if it is an Executive Order (i.e. from the President, otherwise known as the Commander-in-Chief of the military).  But where the law is silent the DOD can make policy, and where the DOD is silent, each branch can make policy and so on down the line to the installation Commander.  However those policies cannot be in conflict with any higher order law or policy.  This applies to State and Local laws and policies as well.  In the case of this policy, again…it applies to civilians and civil-service employees so they are automatically covered by the Federal law.
(See my answer above in regards to not complying with policy.)
TLB: Why does this situation matter both for military personnel and for civilians? Why should we be concerned about this?

Robyn: This sets a precedent for other military installations to create policies that are similar which would be horrible.  Many, many military personnel have families and will be or are breastfeeding, polices of this type could affect a large segment of the population. This could also be used to draft policies that limit when and where active duty military women can breastfeed or pump while in uniform, and that would cause massive amounts of hardship since many of those women already face challenges to keep their milk supplies up. Throw in a policy stating that they cant breastfeed their infant on base while in uniform (such as at Medical) and they may very well just wean.  This policy goes against Federal law, it even goes against the Air Force’s very own fantastically supportive breastfeeding policy that allows military women time and place to breastfeed/pump during the duty day.  So on the one hand the Air Force is supportive of breastfeeding but just don’t do it in front of anybody?  Finally our military families sacrifice a lot of freedoms so that everyone can have the rights afforded to them by living in the United States….and now you are going to tell the very people who live and work and sometimes die for their country, that they cant breastfeed their child whenever and wherever they might be while on US Government property?  Not going to fly folks!

TLB: With all that in mind, what can we do? How can we use our voice regarding this issue and what difference can we make? Are there steps military personnel can take to protest this without threatening their career? What can the civilian population do as well?

Robyn: You can help by being supportive of our military personnel for starters!  You can use your voice by emailing/writing and/or posting to the social media site of Mountain Home Air Force base with your thoughts and concerns about this issue (and any others that come up).  You can write to your Congressmen and women to have them enact better breastfeeding polices for our active duty breastfeeding mothers in the military and also have the Federal breastfeeding law amended to specifically state that it covers military installations as well.  Military personnel pretty much have their hands tied, which is why I have posted the memo and other information anonymously as it is a very real possibility that they can have action taken against them for speaking up about the issue.  These are the very people fighting for your right TO breastfeed when and wherever you choose, but they cant voice that opinion themselves.

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As I stated earlier, before publishing but following our conversation, the Mountain Home Air Force Base released a new statement rescinding the policy, linked here.
Mountain Home Air Force Base rescinds breastfeeding policy
I touched base with Robyn for her take on this statement rescinding the policy and she shared this:
Thanks to Social Media and the power of many moms writing in and voicing their concerns the policy has been rescinded (give the link).  Let’s hope that Commander Iverson will receive some much-needed education on the topic and a revised policy will be fully supportive of breastfeeding mothers.

I agree, I’m grateful for the global village raising their voice against the discrimination of breastfed babies. Together we have influence and can make positive change. Though the rescinding of the policy is encouraging, there is still a bit of a “sorry not sorry” passive aggressive feel to the apology and the line: “I will revoke this policy while we look for a better way to accommodate and be respectful of all individuals in our community” (emphasis mine) leaves quite a bit of room for amending the policy in a way that could still discriminate against breastfeeding children and their mothers.

If you would still like to voice your concern regarding the breastfeeding policy of the base and express support for policies in keeping with the federal law which supports breastfeeding in public, you can send a respectful email (please communicate with respect, no name calling or belittling of the commander) to the Commander’s hotline at 366FW/PA.Public.Affairs@us.af.mil.

My thanks to Robyn for her help in understanding this situation.


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Robyn Roche-Paull

Robyn Roche-Paull

Robyn Roche-Paull, BSN, RN, IBCLC, LLLL
Robyn Roche-Paull, is the award-winning author of the comprehensive book Breastfeeding in Combat Boots: A Survival Guide to the Successful Breastfeeding While Serving in the Military, and the Founder of the website ‘Breastfeeding in Combat Boots’.  She is a Registered Nurse and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) as well as a US Navy Veteran.  She began her breastfeeding career while still on active duty in the US Navy.  She served six years as an aircraft mechanic on F/A-18 Hornets and A-6 Intruders on deployment overseas and stateside.  During that time she gave birth to breastfed her son for well over a year before separating from the military with an Honorable discharge.  Robyn wrote her book due to the difficulties she experienced breastfeeding her son while on active duty, and her desire to help other military mothers be successful at breastfeeding so that they do NOT have to experience those difficulties; but instead can enjoy all that breastfeeding has to offer both mother and child.
Robyn has been working with breastfeeding mothers for over 14 years and has been an IBCLC since 2006. She holds Bachelors degrees in both Maternal Child Health and Nursing. Currently Robyn works as both a Labor & Delivery and Postpartum RN. In addition, Robyn is the Past Area Professional Liaison for La Leche League of Virginia/West Virginia,  is a Board member of MiLCA (Military Lactation Consultants Association), and she is the Secretary for TALCA (Tidewater Area Lactation Consultant Association).  She maintains her website and Facebook page, writes for various blogs and magazines and helps active duty military mothers worldwide via email and Skype.  Robyn lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia with her husband of 20 years, who is a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy, and her three (long-term breastfed) children.  

www.breastfeedingincombatboots.com

www.facebook.com/breastfeedingincombatboots

www.twitter.com/BFinCB

In Search of Answers on Breastfeeding

by Elizabeth Grattan
I found the Leaky Boob after a long while of going it alone in my nursing journey. I lurked silently for months. I watched women come for support. I listened and I learned. And I am so thankful and grateful for the resource. We are three plus years and going strong, my lad and I. And so, in the spirit of forward support, the following is my contribution to celebrate five wonderful years of encouragement for women and men. Thank you Jessica and your admins and the entire family of TLB. All those in this community who make the difference. — Elizabeth
The Leaky Boob #SupportForward #MyStoryMatters Breastfeeding support

The author and her son.

So many questions. So many answers. Information at our fingertips as we crowd source for support and scour the internet to validate our choices. And still, with all the resources in the world, so much still unknown.

Until we figure out we’re answering the wrong questions. We’re framing our dialogues wrong. We’re talking, but we’re not really saying anything. We’re hearing, but we aren’t really listening. We’re trying to reach, without teaching the things that equip and empower women.

So stop for minute. And consider a better lesson….

The reproductive right that belongs to women. The informed choice she can make when taught all the information. The answer to every single question:

Teach children about anatomy. Equip and educate on reproductive choice early and often. Teach the history of breastfeeding. That autonomy always mattered. That milk is custom to species. That women weaned. That nursing a child is part of the reproductive journey.

Teach what alternatives were used besides the mother’s breast to nourish the offspring. Animals, meat stocks, slaves —  hundreds of options that tested our humanity along the way. Teach the history. The good, the bad, the ugly. Teach the injustice. Teach the risk they carried. Teach that babies died early. That infant mortality was horrifying. That we used and exploited women’s bodies.

Teach that we wanted to breastfeed. That we wanted to wean. That we wanted to dry up our milk completely. That we were once unknowingly stripped of a choice. That a pill and a shot were just par for the course. That women and children were at risk. That our options were hit or miss.

Teach the advancements in our journey. How far we have come. How we’re still not done. How amazing that is. That women and children live. But that for some, those same horrors still exist. Teach that we are still working on it.

Teach the socio-economics. Teach the privilege. Teach the realities and the limits on women. Teach the strides we’re making. Teach the change in legislation. Teach that we can and have and will succeed in decisions.

Teach that nursing is a learning process. That seeing breastfeeding matters. That we need observation and exposure. Teach that qualifications have no place. That normalizing keeps women and children from hiding under cover in shame.

Teach about the imperfection in reproduction. So no one is taken aback because a myth told them it was for everyone. Teach how to handle the griefs and losses for women who had their reproductive choices stripped from them.

Teach how to dry the milk. Teach how to wean. Teach how to latch a baby. Teach the laws on breastfeeding. Teach people everything.

And don’t assume a woman will decide to nurse and don’t assume she won’t. Ask her. Trust her answer. Trust her answer might change. And empower her along the way.

So if she says: “I do not want to use my reproductive system this way,” you say: “Okay, here is information on all your options. From drying your milk to stopping engorgement to offering your child their developmental requirement. Here is what’s safe. Here is what isn’t.”

So if she says: “I want to use my reproductive system this way,” you say: “Okay, here is information on all you’re offering. From latching your child to expressing your milk to never forgetting to be kind to yourself. Here is what’s safe. Here is what isn’t.”

But don’t battle about if a reproductive process has benefits. Don’t project your personal preference. Don’t ignore the anecdotes. Don’t ignore the evidence. Don’t tell. Listen. And ask the only relevant question:

“What do you want to do? Because it’s your body, it’s your call. And I want you to know I’m here to help you. Through it all.”

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How would you answer the above question? How have you asked it in support of other women? How are you giving support forward?

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Elizabeth Grattan bio headshot
Elizabeth Grattan is a broadcast talent and writer who has covered current events, human interest and social justice for over twenty-five years. Her loves are the strong, gentle arms of her best friend, reasonably priced blended reds and obviously her dream come true little man. Find & friend Elizabeth on FB or follow along on Twitter.