Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Lactation Smoothie

by Carrie Saum

During my 21 months of exclusive pumping, I kind of became obsessed with milk-boosting foods. There’s a fancy name for those foods, but I just call them Milk Movers.

Breakfast was and is the hardest meal for me, and after having a newborn with special needs that I pumped milk for eight times a day, breakfast became a handful of trailmix and a cup of coffee. This was not sustainable for many reasons, but not the least of which I needed MORE food, and balanced meals. My milk supply was barely adequate to begin with, so getting plenty of Milk Movers was imperative.

While I deeply desired to eat better, I had a hard time fitting in all of my responsibilities, including responsibly feeding myself. My bandwidth for anything beyond survival was pretty minimal in those days.  Adding in Milk Movers, which I definitely needed, seemed downright impossible. So, I began experimenting with foods that would be fast, nutritious, provide solid sustenance, and would not overwhelm me with too many steps.

Smoothies seemed like the best option. You basically just take a scoop of this and handful of that and put some kind of liquid in it and call it good, right? Right. I came up with a few recipes to keep handy, and tweaked them to feel like I was having an indulgent treat.  The healthy factor could just be a bonus.

My very favorite was this little gem. Full of protein, flavor, and it felt like a complete indulgence.

ChocolatePeanutButterBananaSmoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe banana, cut into small chunks and frozen solid
  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 2 Tbsp all-natural peanut butter*
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (optional but so good for you both!)
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp ground flax seed
  • splash of vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Drink immediately and feel happy you are giving yourself and your baby great and delicious nutrition.

*If you can’t do peanut butter, almond butter will work just as well, and so will sunbutter. And if you are feeling really daring, you can add a handful of baby spinach and get some greens in there, too!

Also, I peeled and chopped a whole bunch of bananas once a week, then froze them in individual servings so I could easily grab them to make a smoothie. This was a total lifesaver. I didn’t have to think, I just had to blend.

All of you mamas are doing great work for your little babes. Keep it up.

Cheers to you!

*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.


If you love this smoothie recipe, you might like this recipe for Paleo Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies or these Grain-Free Crepes Florentine over on Our Stable Table.


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.
 

 

 

 

9 Tips to Having More and Better Sex After Baby

by Jeremy Martin-Weber
This post is a partner post to one Jessica wrote, 16 points about sex after baby, on beyondmoi.com and a giveaway for Newport Beach MommyCon on November 1, 2014.  Find the giveaway information and widget to enter at the end of this post.

Running the risk of sounding like Cosmo, or Marie Claire, in honor of Valentine’s Day and all the men out there making strategic plans, hoping that their romantic equations will guarantee that they’ll get lucky, I’d like to offer a list of my own.  I don’t claim to be an expert, but my list is the product of 17 years of trial and error with my wife, and I can personally attest that as long as I stick to it, she simply can’t get enough of me.  Seventeen years and six children, and sex just keeps getting better, and we both want it more than we ever did before.

#LoveBeyondMoi The Leaky Boob Beyond Moi Valentine's Day giveaway

You too can have a better sex life; it’s not over just because you’re parents.  If you’re looking for ways to make her (or him) want to drag you to the bedroom, rip your clothes off, and have hot, steamy, sex with you all night long (that’s how those magazine covers read, right?), then this list is for you.

1. Help around the house… but not for sex Everyone loves a partner who is involved, who takes time to help out with household duties.  Way back when we were first married, I first heard the notion that if I took the trash out, my wife would find that act so sexy she wouldn’t be able to help herself and would have to have me right then and there.  I thought that sounded rather strange and hadn’t noticed that effect on her before, but I really started paying attention the next few times I took the trash out, and here is what I noticed: she appreciated my help, but didn’t think it was anything extraordinary.  And that made sense.  But I also noticed that when we were both paying attention to the ways the other was helping out, we both appreciated the other person for doing so, and we felt closer for noticing, and feeling closer can easily lead to sexual feelings.  See how it works?  But it won’t work if you help around the house just to have sex.  There is no magic there.  My advice: do the dishes, help out with your kids, fold and put away the laundry, by all means take the trash out, and for extra credit, thank your partner for those same things and all the other tasks they do.  They may argue that they don’t do it for you, and don’t need to be thanked, but they’ll still appreciate you noticing.  Noticing is sexy. That first tip isn’t just for parents, I admit, but it may be more relevant to parents because prolonged lack of sleep so effectively scrambles your brains that even very simple relational things can get sucked into that black hole (or driving your children to all of their extracurricular activities – that can scramble your brain too over time).  It’s very much the same for this second tip.

2. Get physical… but not for sex Touch your partner.  Often.  Every day.  We can get so determined to get it on that we forget the thrill of simple touches.  You know how physical relationships are compared to a baseball diamond, each base representing more intimate acts of physical expression, ultimately culminating in sexual intercourse when you get to home base?  We can be so goal-oriented, or sexually frustrated, that all we focus on is getting to that home plate.  When Jessica and I were first dating, even the simplest of touches was thrilling because it carried so much meaning.  Caressing each other’s hands communicated love and care, romantic intention, and sexual desire all rolled into one.  A kiss was a gesture of commitment, a desire to be close, to be real and vulnerable.  Sure, at other times, a kiss was an expression of sexual desire, full of passion and wild abandon. But that’s exactly the point.  Physical expressions weren’t all just a means to a steamy, naked end.  Because of their variety, their commonality was clear: a communication of love.  And when I feel loved by my wife, I feel safe, trusting and sexy.  And I know she feels the same way.  And do you know what that leads to?  Great sex.  My advice: kiss your partner at least every morning and evening, wrap your arms around her, hold hands, maybe even take a few dance steps together, and savor each of those physical moments for their simplicity.  Because touching to communicate love is sexy.

3. Distance makes for sexier reconnection Now that we’re all ready to touch our partners more, I offer a word of caution: it has to be the right moment.  Unfortunately, most of us have to find out through trial and error; that’s for both partners.  Jessica and I have both had to learn about ourselves how and when we like to be touched, let alone what our spouse likes.  If you try to touch your partner and you are rebuffed, don’t jump to the conclusion that they just don’t like your touch or don’t want sex (touching just for that end is already a big libido killer anyway).  Pluck up your courage, control your urge to scream and cry (if you actually have feelings, of course), and ask your partner about it.  The way our schedule works, one of us is often home with children most of the day while the other goes out and works at a coffeeshop.  It doesn’t matter which one of us it is, some days at home leave us wanting to find a dark, quiet, corner where we can hug our own knees and twitch for awhile as our brain tries to reboot, and our body relaxes from being touched all day long.  It’s not that we don’t love being home with our children, it’s that it’s not the easiest job in the world.  If you walk in the door and see a frazzled, bleary-eyed partner with a blank expression on their face, that is probably not the time for dipping your partner and a fervent I-missed-you-so-much-wasn’t-today-great kind of kiss.  If ever you’re unsure, I have the simplest solution: ask.  And follow it up with an offer to give them some space.  Ask how you can help before jumping in.  And then, by all means, jump in!  Find ways to give your partner a break on a regular basis.  Sometimes 20 minutes is all it takes to center ourselves.  Sometimes it may take a whole morning, or an entire day, but trust me on this: sex is way better with a centered partner.  Because getting time away is sexy.

4. flirt more… but not for sex I think that every healthy, sexually mature human being likes to feel sexy.  One way to feel sexy is to get a good idea of what real sexy people look like by gazing at magazines, watching music videos, or checking out the latest blockbuster film, then looking in the mirror and saying to yourself: “Damn I look good!”  If I just described you, then this whole post probably isn’t for you at all.  For most of the rest of us, feeling sexy is deeply tied to feeling desired.  When Jessica gives me a sultry “Hey sexy” I feel a boost in confidence, my day gets brighter, and I feel sexy.  Granted, I have to fight off the destructive voice in my head giving me a 5 reasons why you’re not on the sexy list, and just trust that my wife is calling it likes she sees it.  This takes practice, but when I do it regularly, that vile voice in my head gives up and must go into hibernation or something.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone that when you feel sexy, you’re more inclined to have sexy thoughts, and… you know.  So my advice to you is to give your partner a reason to silence that voice in their head.  All the time.  Okay, don’t be obnoxious about it, or you’ll come across as pushy.  Flirt, wink, do the Magnum P.I. eyebrow thing (if you don’t know what that is, well, then, never mind), make subtle suggestive comments; whatever communicates to your partner that they are desired, and desirable.  But don’t have your heart set on sex.  Because flirting is sexy and is an end in and of itself.

5. Spend quality time together… but not for sex.  Developing togetherness has been foundational to our relationship and affects every part of it, including our sex life.  I realize that this concept may definitively put me in the hapless romantic category, but I don’t care, I am an unabashed hapless romantic who has great sex with his wife of 17 years so there.  We have this notion that relationships are living things, and they are constantly evolving, just as each person in the relationship is growing and changing daily.  This means that being static (not changing) is not possible.  You are either growing closer together and developing stronger bonds, or you are slowly drifting apart – unless you are a stone statue of a couple, and even then erosion does take its plodding toll.  So we intentionally find ways that bring us closer together.  There is no reason why you can’t still be as into each other as when you first got together.  Actually, we believe that you should cultivate your relationship keeping being into each other as a worthwhile goal.  Find common interests, and/or try new experiences together.  Play games together.  Make music together.  No, those aren’t references to sexual activities.  Cook together.  Hike or bike together.  Visit museums.  Go out for coffee or a fancy dinner.  Any activity that you will enjoy together, preferably with lots of eye contact, and with no electronic devices or screens (after you’re done reading this you should try it).  Because when you spend time being into each other, you end up wanting to explore all the ways you could be into each other.  (that was a sexual reference, by the way…).

6. Talk more… and I don’t mean about sex (and I don’t mean talk dirty more) Spending time together, being more and more into each other, involves a lot of communication, and most of that will be through actual conversations.  With words and sentences and all that.  If you’re really getting into each other, developing that sense of togetherness that I mentioned in the previous point, then you’re going to want to communicate that you care about your partner’s life, about their day, every day, and that you’re interested in the details, the little experiences that you missed out on.  This may seem obvious, but you’re going to want to communicate that you missed your partner.  Because being missed is sexy.  And giving a damn is really sexy.

7. Help get the kids to bed, and again after midnight.  So finally a practical tip!  I suggest that you don’t gloss over the relational mushy-gushy stuff that I took nearly 2,000 words to write about.  That’s the stuff that really leads to more, and great, sex.  The practical logistics of making sex happen won’t cut it by themselves.  Getting obnoxious distractions (i.e. children- only obnoxious when you’re hoping to make some whoopie) out of the way is essential to hooking up with your partner.  Bed time can be exhausting and time-consuming, and, depending on the age of your children, can burn a parent out and render them huddled in a dark, quiet, corner, hugging their knees, etc.  Or fast asleep before the kids.  It’s much better with two parents.  That way you communicate that you give a damn, that you want to do this together, that you’re willing to help, not to mention demonstrating to your children that you are there for them and their other parent.  Ways to make it more fun: text each other once the bedtime routine is finished but your haven’t extricated yourself from your children’s arms and legs.  A fun texting game we’ve played is where one of us sends the other a random emoticon, and the other has to guess what it’s supposed to mean.  Oops, now everyone knows: we’re dorks.  Dorks that flirt and have great sex.   This may or may not lead to sexting, by the way, which is always fun but possibly awkward and ill-advised if you’re still helping kids settle.  Getting kids to bed once may not be enough.  You may have to commit to moving a sleeping baby, 1 or 2 or even 3 yr old back to their bed after they have sweetly sought out your comforting cuddles around midnight and fallen asleep in the bed where, damn it, you were hoping to have sex (or just cuddle with your partner, or sleep on separate sides of the bed, depending on how grueling the bedtime routine was and how long you each need to huddle by yourselves in the dark, etc.).  Because a kidless bed with just you and your partner is sexy.  (This isn’t to say cosleeping damages sex lives, it doesn’t and we do cosleep, we just also have a “bed” for the cosleepers that they visit for us to have alone time in our bed.  And, if you don’t have teenagers around, there are plenty of other, though less comfortable, places in a house to utilize.)

8. Change the sheets! Those of you who have known us for a little while know what this means, so feel free to skip this tip.  For those of you who don’t, I’ll let you in on our little secret: clean sheets are sexy.  Clean sheets are so sexy that my wife has this irresistible urge to sleep naked in them.  If it weren’t for the sheer logistics of children seeking cuddles, 8 of us in a house with one washing machine, and having to work and feed our family, I would probably wash our sheets every day.  Quick disclaimer: I have learned that just because my wife is naked in bed does not guarantee that we will have sex, or that she is logically interested in having sex.  You would do well to heed these words.  That being said, clean sheets may increase your odds; they certainly increase mine!  Also, mind-blowing as this may sound: sleeping naked together is sexy, and an end in and of itself. And finally, if you’re still with me, the #1 thing you can do to have more sex as parents:

9. Stop asking for it.   There is nothing quite like a whiner to kill a mood, or destroy any chance of there even being a mood to get into in the first place.  Asking for sex, or demanding it, damages your relationship with your partner.  Asking for it communicates only one thing: you think you have to have sex, that you deserve it, or that it is some kind of need.  It is not a form of flirting, it is not flattering, it is not sexy, it doesn’t communicate that your partner is desirable, it does not bring you closer together, it does not communicate that you care, or give a damn about anyone but yourself, and most of all, it communicates a lack of love and respect.  It is gross.  Even if the sheets are clean.  And if you helped around the house, and you flirted, and did your part in getting kids to bed, and spent time listening to every little detail of your partner’s day, and watched whatever stupid movie they wanted to, and this somehow means that you deserve sex, that they owe you sex, then you know nothing about what a healthy relationship looks like, and I would further venture to say that this is exactly the kind of thinking that leads to an abusive relationship.  Talk about it but in a carefully, respectful, and concerned conversation.  “I miss having sex with you” means a lot more than “We never have sex any more.”  And if you mention your sexual needs, like it’s some kind of basic human need, you should be slapped.  A basic human need is one where the human is at risk of dying if that need isn’t met.  Like eating, or drinking water.  Are you at risk of dying if you can’t have sex?  No.  And if you’re that horny and you feel like you just can’t keep it together without a release, then I’m sure your partner would appreciate you using your capable hands, rather than pressuring them or guilting them into letting you use their body for your own pleasurable end.  Because guilting your partner into sex is NOT sexy.  And pressuring your partner into sex will not lead to more and better sex, before or after baby.  Also, consider getting therapy.  Therapy can be sexy too.

There is one thing that effectively sums up my 8 tips to having more sex after baby (because that last one wasn’t really a tip, was it?): focus on your relationship with your partner.  All the rest will take care of itself.  And no, that’s not a sexual reference.

~ The Piano Man (aka: Jeremy from BeyondMoi)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Join us at MommyCon Newport Beach on November 1, 2014 where Jessica is talking about Breastfeeding and Healing sponsored by Motherlove Herbal Company, and Jeremy and Jessica are leading a workshop on Sex After Baby sponsored by our friends at Arm’s Reach Cosleeper. For a chance to win a pair of tickets, use the widget below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Breastfeeding and Ballet, making it work- Sarah Ricard Orza and the Pacific Northwest Ballet

Sarah Orza breastfeeding mother ballerina

Sarah Ricard Orza performing Giselle with the Pacific Northwest Ballet  ©Lindsay Thomas

The first time I saw soloist Sarah Orza dance was as she performed the role of the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty at Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, Washington. She was sublime and the 4 preteen/teen girls I was sitting with gasped and whispered about her extension, her feet, her artistry, and her hands. Their excitement was palpable (sorry anyone sitting near us that may have been disturbed by the energy coming from our row) but mine was more subdued. While I admired her skill and artistry and marveled at her technique and her performance was stunning, I was intrigued by her for other reasons.

Like how does she not leak all over those gorgeous costumes?

By act 2 her boobs must be so engorged.

She can dance on her toes, extend a leg past her head balanced on a piece of paper mache, leap effortless over people’s heads, AND make milk for her 10 month old?

Yes, yes she can. Perhaps even more amazing (can it get more amazing?) was the reality that she could do much of that not only because of her biology, talent, skill, and hard work, but because she is in a supportive environment.

The ballet world is known for rigorous schedules, demanding physical requirements, competitive peers, limited opportunities, body type expectations, controlling dietary habits, short careers, and breath-taking performances of athletic artistry. Nobody has ever thought of the ballet profession as being family friendly. Yet at a time when major corporations are struggling with implementing federal regulations supportive of mothers pumping their breastmilk in the work place, an organization in the nonprofit ballet profession is figuring out how to make it work. In an extremely competitive field where motherhood used to be seen as career ending situation, more and more women are finding they can start a family and continue on their professional track.

Sarah Orza Breastfeeding ballerina

Sarah Ricard Orza and William Lin-Yee ©Lindsay Thomas Pacific Northwest Ballet.

At just 4 years of age, little Sarah was enrolled in her first ballet class. She enjoyed it and was encouraged for her natural aptitude. Around 12 and 13 years of age, with the encouragement of her instructors, Sarah experienced a resurgence of interest. Her devotion and hard work paid off with the opportunity for even more devotion and hard work when she was accepted and attended the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York. At just 18 she received an apprenticeship at the New York City Ballet where she danced her way up the ranks for 7 years. Then, in an unusual move that would foreshadow what was to come in her career, Sarah stepped away from dance to listen to her heart. Burned out and unsure of what she wanted to do next, she worked in jewelry design for a year. In ballet, a year is an eternity, leaving the studio for a year often means you don’t go back.

But not for Sarah, engaged to a principal dancer, she wasn’t far from the dance world and in 2008 moved from New York to Seattle for her future husband’s career. The stage began calling and Sarah asked for an audition at PNB as well, in just 3 weeks of getting back into the studio, she had her audition and subsequently, a job offer.

From 2008-2012, Sarah and husband Seth, a principal dancer with PNB, enjoyed marriage and dance together. Then in 2012 they went into parenthood with careful planning. Looking at the season schedule, they tried to time the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum recovery just right and lucky for them, their plan worked. Sarah’s last performance with PNB before she gave birth was in the Nutcracker near the end of her first trimester. At that point, also enrolled in college classes, Sarah worked in the marketing and communications department of the company as an intern until the home birth of her daughter Lola on May 15th, 2013.

Sarah took 8 weeks to just recover and babymoon. She didn’t even think about returning to physical activity in that time, just respected her body’s need for rest and both her’s and Lola’s need for bonding. When I asked her about that time and how she approached that time and the time after she said “My body created this life, I didn’t really lose the weight at first, I wanted to hold onto it. It was important to enjoy this window of time and my body had already done so much for me as an amazing vessel, I wanted to be gentle with it. I was never going to feel the same again, I couldn’t go back to what my body was before having Lola and maybe that’s ok.”

Certainly her body was changed forever and her desire to breastfeed was one very obvious change for her body. Breastfed herself until she was 3 years old, a year before starting her what would be training for her professional career, Sarah was confident that she would breastfeed her own children. Seth was on board and willing to do what he could to support her in reaching her goals and Sarah prepared for returning from maternity leave by communicating with Peter Boal, artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet, that she would be breastfeeding and it was a priority. While the administrative side of PNB had provisions for breastfeeding mothers in the office, there hadn’t been many ballerinas that required accommodations for pumping. Still, willing to learn and having had some experience with a few ballerinas before, Mr. Boal and the company were ready and willing to support Sarah.

Sarah Orza Breastfeeding ballerina

Sarah Ricard Orza with husband Seth Orza and daughter Lola ©Lindsay Thomas, Pacific Northwest Ballet

When she returned to the company in the fall of 2013 arrangements had been made and flexibility was required of everyone. The community of the company was supportive and not only did Sarah get back in shape, the 2013-2014 season found her cast as a soloist in some impressive and demanding roles including the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty and one of the most demanding roles in classical ballet, Giselle in spite of hiccups along the way. Early on, as she was working on toning and becoming familiar with this new version of her body, Sarah often found herself in a nearby closet during class time pumping her milk and missing out on the grande allegro portion of the class. This impacted her jumps resulting in this strength of hers a temporary weakness. Sometimes the cast would have to wait for her for rehearsals but they would take advantage of the opportunity to work pieces without her. During performances she would pump in the dressing room as needed and the other ballerinas got used to seeing Sarah hooked up to the pump expressing her milk. “I had two full time jobs plus being a mother, pumping and dance, I worked at both of them full time.” With videos and a piece of Lola’s clothing she tucked into her dance bag, Sarah found that she responded well to the pump even with all the demands she put on her body as an athletic artist.

But between the support of her husband Seth, her mother staying with Lola close enough to the theater and studio for Sarah to run home during the day to breastfeed some of the feeds, Peter, and the rest of the PNB family, she was able to make it work, not only being able to exclusively breastfeed (with her pumping when she was away from Lola) but pumping enough to donate. It wasn’t long before Sarah’s jumps were soaring again too.

Sarah made it clear that she knew going into this that she was willing to sacrifice to make it work, her breastfeeding goals were so important to her that she would skip going back to work if necessary. With a mixture of pride and gratitude Sarah explained it didn’t come to that because of the support of Seth as a very hands on dad, support from her mother, her boss Peter as the artistic director of the company, and her coworkers understanding that her lactating didn’t impair her dancing. What kept her going she said: “I’ve kept my eye on the prize, Lola, her health and safety all along.”

Sarah Ricard Orza with daughter Lola ©Lindsay Thomas, Pacific Northwest Ballet

Sarah Ricard Orza with daughter Lola ©Lindsay Thomas, Pacific Northwest Ballet

And it’s Lola that inspires her in continuing to take leaps in her dance. Sarah isn’t done with ballet, at 33 years old she has quite a few good years still ahead of her and she’s working hard pursuing her career goals along with her family goals. “It’s not worth leaving Lola if I don’t push myself. I’m going to keep reaching, I love ballet and I love my daughter, I have to commit myself fully to both to make it worth the sacrifices required. Both Seth and I do.”

Sarah has been a leader within the company regarding maternity policy and breastfeeding. This year three other ballerinas were expecting little ones and there were open conversations about breastfeeding in the studio and dressing rooms. PNB was ready and prepared to have appropriate accommodations in place for these dancers should they need space to pump for their babies as well.

Lola and Sarah are still breastfeeding, Sarah plans to let Lola wean when she’s ready. This next season Sarah isn’t planning on pumping backstage as Lola has taken to solids just fine and is well over a year. But that breastfeeding bond is still special for them right now.

When I got to go back with my eldest to Seattle to see Sarah dance as Giselle this past spring, I was moved to tears by her performance. The grace, strength, and dedication as she played the role of a young maiden driven insane by love lost and then sacrificed herself as one of the mysterious willis dancing all night to keep the man she loved alive, I forgot during the performance that she is also the mother of a sweet little girl. Her dedication and passion for her craft made it so all I saw was the heartbroken Giselle on stage. When I got to hug Sarah following the performance, all I saw was the sweet dedicated mother with a passion for her daughter.

Sarah will be onstage again this year at Pacific Northwest Ballet and I’m certain I’ll be making the drive from Portland to Seattle to be mesmerized by her performance again. To get tickets to a performance, visit pnb.org. You can also find Sarah pictured on PNBs Facebook and Instagram as well as on her own Instagram.

 

Sarah Orza breastfeeding ballerina

Sarah Ricard Orza with daughter Lola ©Lindsay Thomas, Pacific Northwest Ballet

 

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How has your place of employment supported you in your breastfeeding journey? How did your coworkers respond? What do you think would help more women reach their breastfeeding goals while maintaining a presence in the work place?

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Nurturing Life Giveaway – After Birth

Nurturing Life

These two words define and drive everything that Motherlove does, from their organic farm in Colorado, to their herbal care products, the educational classes taught by founder Kathryn Higgins, to the Nurturing Life Foundation, Motherlove’s non-profit which supports mothers and children all over the country.  So it’s no surprise that Motherlove has had such a beautiful, long-standing relationship with The Leaky Boob, extending their support of mothers and children to our Leakies and their breastfeeding journey with their babies.  The Motherlove website sums it up well:

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 11.06.13 AMWhat is Nurturing Life?
It is fostering an environment where development, growth, and health are encouraged, and doing so in each facet of our life, including each stage.  True beauty can emerge in your life and others’ as you nurture life in yourself, your friendships, romantic relationship, through pregnancy, birth, in your relationship with your children, and more, and yes, even your garden.

“At Motherlove, we use Nurturing Life as our mission statement because nurturing moms and babies together is essential for both to thrive.  During pregnancy, moms are reminded minute-by-minute of this relationship and we typically focus on our health and wellbeing because it’s tied to our child’s life.” (Nurturing Life – Self Care for Mothersby Motherlove Herbal Company)

Last week we focused on the stage of life that creates new mothers: pregnancy.  Ushering new life into the world is such a beautiful thing, but is often accompanied by challenges and changes.  With the many changes and new sensations that new mothers experience, it can be such a natural time for her to focus on her health and well-being.  But what happens once the baby is born?

It is so easy to think that, other than adjusting to caring for a new person in the family, everything else immediately returns to normal.  But that is often not the reality of new mothers.  The parts of their body involved in growing a baby do shift back toward the way they were, but some of them will remain forever altered.  Others require a little patience and eventually some hard work, such as toning ab muscles to tighten the postpartum abdominal gap.  But a new mother’s body isn’t done changing either: now that one set of hormones is subsiding, another floods her body as she produces milk to feed her new baby.  We often treat birth as the end of the journey, where changes end and all is back to normal.  But this far from the experience of most women.

Moreover, beyond stretch marks, curvier hips, extra baby weight, and lactating, there are other completely natural and normal challenges that new moms face.  But very few like to talk about them, and so many moms don’t have the support that they need to welcome and experience the postpartum changes as they come.  Instead, they are rushed back to work and/or housework, and they feel the unrealistic expectation that they just be “ok” because their beautiful new baby is there.

Postpartum depression doesn’t just go away because there is a new baby.  Traumatic birth experiences aren’t healed by adorable baby sounds.  Hemorrhoids don’t just disappear because a bundle of cuteness has been born.  These and many more issues are considered too embarrassing or shameful to discuss, and many new mothers feel that they don’t have permission to take the time to find help.  They must bounce back immediately, and so they hide their real struggles and end up struggling with self-loathing and depression much longer than necessary, if they ever recover at all.  Silence is no healer.  Stuffing feelings down and clamping a lid on them only serves to incubate them and grow them into much more serious issues.

Let’s talk about the empty womb, the sense of emptiness inside, the fears we have, the struggle to fall in love with our babies, the dislike of our bodies, the anger, the horrors of the birth experience, the dark thoughts, the painful hemorrhoids, along with the rest.  These are the realities of postpartum, just as much as baby cuteness, breastfeeding, dirty diapers, and sleepless nights.  You are not alone in dealing with these things.  Look for understanding and information from those around you, from trusted online resources, and if you just can’t find the support and information you need in those places, get in touch with a professional who can.

And partners, friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers who think new mothers should just get over whatever is bothering them, they are the ones who need to get over themselves and provide helpful support for the new mother.  Nurture her so that she can feel free to nurture herself.  Self-care is deeply impacted by those around us, either for better, or for worse.  As a new mother adjusts to caring for another little person and her body heals from giving birth and keeps changing in the postpartum, how can we show her the kind of support that allows her to nurture life within herself so she can share that nurturing life with her baby and beyond from a place of health and well-being?

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Motherlove is giving away a Sitz Bath and Rhoids Balm to 3 lucky Leakies.


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Good luck to everyone!  Please use the widget below to be entered.  The giveaway is open from August 1, 2014 through August 8, 2014.  A big thanks to Motherlove for their ongoing support of TLB and all breastfeeding women; please be sure to visit their Facebook page or follow them on twitter and thank them for their support of TLB and this giveaway opportunity.

This giveaway is restricted to U.S. residents only.

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TLB Reviews: Push Pack

Let’s talk about packing your bag for your birth center or hospital birth. (And hey, even if you’re birthing at home…it’s a good idea to have a bag packed just in case!)

The Goods: Princess Push Pack by Push Pack, $78.95, in Tulip and Magnolia Pink

The Reviewers: Elise and Amy

The Good: 

Elise says… I had a breech position baby so I headed into the hospital for a planned c-section. I was a little nervous as I had never had surgery before. Having the Push Pack helped to make my journey feel like a fun adventure. It was comforting to know I had a package of everything I could possibly need. I packed some of my own things too, but it is nice to have some extras! I did not know how long I would be in the hospital and it was a great comfort to have the pack with me. Two months later I am still using items from the pack. My favorite items by far are the breast pads. I have tried many different kinds of breast pads both disposable and cloth and the cloth pads included in the pack are definitely my favorite.  I was impressed that the included items were all natural including Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and lanolin free nipple cream. I would definitely recommend getting this for someone as a gift. I know that people love to give baby clothes at baby showers, but it is so much nicer when someone gives you something fun and useful like this pack.

Elise received the Princess Push pack in Tulip.

Elise received the Princess Push pack in Tulip.

Amy says… I had a planned home water birth, so I’m writing from a slightly different perspective. This time around (my second birth) I did not want a repeat of my hospital birth. I didn’t want anything to do with packing any “emergency” or “just in case” bag. From that point of view, I love that this is a ready-to-go bag that’s all done for you (in a pretty case, to boot!). If something hit the fan, this pretty little case included everything I needed. Basically, it didn’t mess with my psyche AND I was still prepared. BOOM.
The bag it comes in is extremely high-quality and pretty (I’d expect it to retail for over $40, actually), I’ll get years of use out of it. (There’s a less expensive version that comes in a different bag that isn’t premium like the one we’re reviewing, too!)
The products are very consciously-chosen: organic, natural, good-for-your-body-and-the-earth stuff. That made the bag even more of a no-brainer for me. I didn’t need to think about packing stuff and this came with product selections that I would have chosen for myself. I can’t honestly think of what I would add, other than my own clothes, baby clothes, and my camera (and they actually include a tag on the bag with a suggested list of what to pack in addition to the Push Pack, which would be really helpful).  You really don’t need much more than what’s in this bag!
Here are some pictures of the goodies that came in the Push Pack:
Really pretty, right? It's an extremely high quality bag!

Really pretty, right? It’s an extremely high quality bag!

push pack personal care

Everything you need to be fresh & clean! If you walk out the door with only this, you’re covered.

Mama care: pads, disposable underwear (there were 3 in the pack, 2 are shown), Earth Mama Angel Baby's Mama Bottom Balm, Motherlove nipple cream, and breast pads. You're literally taken care of from top to bottom.

Mama care: pads, disposable underwear (there were 3 in the pack, 2 are shown), Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Mama Bottom Balm, Motherlove nipple cream, and breast pads. You’re literally taken care of from top to bottom.

The inclusion of a notepad, pen, and thank-you notes? I think that's brilliant. So helpful.

The inclusion of a notepad, pen, and thank-you notes? I think that’s brilliant. So helpful.

The pack of playing cards is great! It's very possible you're going to have to pass some time, so they might come in handy.  There were more snacks, but, uh...pregnancy. I ate them before photos were taken. ::hangs head in shame::

The pack of playing cards is great! It’s very possible you’re going to have to pass some time, so they might come in handy.
There were more snacks, but, uh…pregnancy. I ate them before photos were taken. ::hangs head in shame::

I was reaching for the nipple cream and breast pads within hours of birthing my son at home, so this isn’t a product that needs to be exclusive to moms birthing at hospitals or birth centers. I’ve found most everything to be useful and this was great to have at home for my peace of mind, should a transfer have been necessary. Price-wise, I think you’d come pretty close to what this costs if you tried to DIY it. Once you add in the convenience of someone else thinking through what goes in it and packing it, I’d buy one if I were birthing again. I also think this would make a fantastic gift for any mama-to-be!

 

The Bad:

Elise says… Honestly I did not end up using anything in the pack while I was in the hospital. To my surprise my c-section went amazingly smooth and I was only in the hospital for 2 nights. The hospital was great in providing everything I needed for those two nights. However when I got home I found myself going back to the bag over and over again to get needed items. When I ran out of those ugly disposable underwear that are oh so necessary I found an extra pair in the pack. When I ran out of pads I had extra in the pack. When I ran out of shower gel and nipple balm, there were some in the pack. So while it was merely a comfort to know I had it in the hospital it really became useful during my postpartum recovery at home.

Amy says…  It comes with a packet instant oatmeal that says it helps promote milk production, and it’s my understanding that you need old-fashioned rolled oats if you’re aiming for a galactagogue effect. (Though hey, it’s just nice to have an option that isn’t hospital food, I guess! And it comes with a spoon, which is really thoughtful.)

 

The Ugly: 

Elise says…  I ran out of thank you notes and I was hopeful I could use the ones in the pack, but they were too small to fit my standard size birth announcement. I am not a gum chewer or candy eater so while the lollipop and gum were fun ideas they were not useful to me (but probably great for others!).

Amy says… The razor that comes in it is probably not one I’d use (single blade, disposable, I’d probably cut myself). Same goes for the undies; even though they’re individually wrapped and labeled as disposable, they weren’t going to be comfy enough for me to wear. (Though admittedly, I’m very particular.)

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We’re super excited to be giving away a $40 gift code to one lucky Leaky to help them select their own Push Pack.  This giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only.  Good luck!

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Love Beyond Moi TLB Giveaway

Presenting:

The Leaky Boob‘s

Valentine’s Day Giveaway:

“For the Love of… Love!”

 

Valentine’s Day may be our favorite commercial holiday.  Underneath the shiny red packaging, the chocolates, the flowers, and the expectations, it’s a celebration of Love.  And not just romantic love, important as that is.  On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate the love we have for our children and for our friends too, and the love our children have for each other and for us, and of course, our love of Love!

Once you become a parent you really understand love beyond yourself and beyond what you get out of it.  In the first year, breastfeeding often plays a vital role in developing that parent/child bond of love.  Moving first beyond yourself, and beyond your partner, taking them with you to new experiences together, beyond the known, and way beyond breastfeeding, where do you find information and support beyond TLB?  Jessica and I explore the challenges beyond breastfeeding on our other website: beyondmoi.com and to celebrate this Valentine’s Day we are bringing TLB and BeyondMoi together for the first time.  In honor of this event and our involvement in MommyCon (see below), we have each written an article about sex after baby, one on each website.  Jessica’s is here, and Jeremy’s (The Piano Man) is here.

This Valentine’s Day, we thought we would spread the love to The Leaky Boob community by facilitating a huge giveaway to demonstrate the love and appreciation we have for our sponsors and our followers.  The Leaky Boob community continues to be a place where breastfeeding support and encouragement can be offered for free, and where the normalization of breastfeeding feels like a real possibility through the sharing of information, experiences and the growing network we are all helping to create.  Perhaps this giveaway would be more aptly named: “For the Love of… Breastfeeding!”  But we know that breastfeeding itself is an act of love, so we’ll stick to a celebration of love.

Below is a list of some of our generous TLB sponsors, with information on what they are contributing to this giveaway, and links to other promotions they are having.  Below that, you will find instructions on how to enter the giveaway.  By the way, we’ve decided that it would be fun to lump all the prizes into one Grand Prize for a single winner!  Just wait until you see all the loot being offered.  We will also have a small, but charming, second place prize.  Before you scroll down to check it out, there is one more very important thing you need to know: due to the large number of sponsors participating in this giveaway, and each of their shipping restrictions, we have decided that this giveaway will be for people living in the U.S. only.  I apologize if this restricts you from possibly winning this giveaway.  The U.S. is simply the one single place for shipping that all of these sponsors have in common.  Please, U.S. entries only.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jessica, The Piano Man, and our whole family of TLB sponsors

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oobr-snowberryClek

Giveaway entry:
Pink Oobr booster seat
(winner’s choice of Flamingo or Snowberry)

Oobr™ is Clek’s™ full back booster seat that provides superior protection for your child without sacrificing comfort, convenience or style.

Click here for more information.

Additionally, don’t miss our February 14th special on our shop.clekinc.com site: all pink seats are 10% off!  One day only!

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Arm's ReachArm’s Reach

Giveaway item:
Mini Co-Sleeper® Bassinet Toffee

The Mini Co-Sleeper® bassinet is a unique creation that allows you and your baby to sleep comfortably next to each other from the moment your baby arrives. This bassinet enables you to reach over and draw your baby close for comforting and bonding. The innovative design also makes breastfeeding easy.

The Mini Co-Sleeper® bassinet is the ideal sleep solution for any concerned parent.

Arm’s Reach is also the generous sponsor making it possible for Jeremy, aka: The Piano Man, to speak with Jessica at 4 different MommyCon events in 2014, presenting their “Sex After Baby” talk.  Jeremy will be speaking in Chicago, Denver, ??? , and ???  Look below for more MommyCon information.

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Motherlove adjusted Motherlove

Giveaway item:
Nurturing Life Giftbox.

Motherlove’s complete selection celebrating new motherhood! From pregnancy and labor, to breastfeeding and babies, these products nurture mother and baby with certified organic herbs and pure ingredients. These products do not contain any synthetic ingredients, fragrances or parabens commonly found in body care products. The perfect gift for the mother who is looking for only the highest quality, pure, natural products for herself and child. pregnant belly salve 4 oz., nipple cream 1 oz., birth & baby oil 2 oz., sitz bath spray 2 oz., diaper rash & thrush 1 oz., environmentally responsible Motherlove tote bag

Motherlove is also the generous sponsor making it possible for Jessica to speak at all MommyCon events in 2014!   See below for more information!

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MommyConMommyCon

Giveaway item:
Two general admission tickets to any MommyCon location in 2014

MommyCon is a natural parenting convention that travels around the United States bringing organic parenting practices to the masses. The event features seminars and workshops on topics such as; birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, car seat safety, essential oils and so much more. Guest speakers include; The Baby Guy NYC, Honest Toddler, The Badass Breastfeeder and The Leaky Boob.

Use promotional code “leakyboob” for 10% off at mommy-con.com

“We love leakies! Come leak at MommyCon!”

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SOLEIL ELLIE BECO BABY CARRIER adjustedBeco

Giveaway item:
Beco Soleil Baby Carrier (Ellie print)

With the Beco Soleil Baby Carrier, crossing your straps makes wearing your baby comfortable and easy!  Beco’s award-winning design is celebrated by parents around the world.  Combining proper ergonomics with versatile features provides you the best babywearing experience.

Wear Beco from birth through toddler years.

Wear Beco on your front, back or hip.

Wear Beco with love.

Click here for more information on the Beco Soleil.

“This one’s for the Leakies! Soleil makes breastfeeding possible anywhere you go! ♥ ”
– the Beco team

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Fairhaven HealthFairhaven Health

Giveaway items:
A jar of Dream Belly Stretch Mark Butter, a Milk-Saver and a Milkies Freeze, and one bag of Nursing Time Tea

DreamBelly Stretch Mark Butter: A luxurious butter with a gentle, refreshing scent – just what you need to tone and regenerate the skin on your belly after childbirth.

Milkies Milk-Saver: Save every drop of your precious breast milk with this one-of-a-kind product that collects leaking breast milk from your non-nursing side while you breast feed.

milkies-milk-saver-6

• Milkies Freeze: The answer to your breast milk storage hassles: A “first-in, first-out” breast milk storage container that protects your bags of frozen milk from damage and leaks, and fits nicely in  your freezer.

• Nursing Time Tea: A nutritive and refreshing tea with a light lemony flavor that contains several herbs helpful for promoting breast milk production.

Use promotional code “LEAKYHEART” for a 10% discount on all of our nursing products through February.

Milkies-Freeze-Banner

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ErgoBabyErgoErgoBaby

Giveaway item:
ErgoBaby Wrap

The Ergobaby Wrap is the perfect companion in those first months & beyond. Made from soft stretchy cotton (our premium 4D Stretch™ material), our Ergobaby Wrap makes different carrying positions easy, comfortable & secure for you & your baby.

 

 

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RuminaRumina

Giveaway items:
Rumina’s Sweet Valentine set

Each set will include one Red Relaxed Hands-Free Pump & Nurse Bra plus an order of Sea Salted Caramels & Half Dozen Swizzled Strawberries by Shari’s Berries.

Rumina2

Plus, like Rumina’s Facebook Page to enter March’s Lucky Momma Giveaway! March Rumina will be giving away a $100.00 Amex card, a $50.00 Amazon card and one lucky winner will receive a Motorola MBP25-2 Digital 2.4-inch Video Monitor (retail value $199.99).

AND, shop www.ruminaformoms.com to receive 25% Off Plus Free Shipping on Rumina’s Red Relaxed Hands-Free Pump & Nurse Bra. *USPS Priority shipping only

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BamboobiesBamboobies

Giveaway item:
Bamboobies Prize Pack

The Prize Pack ($115.00 value) includes:

Multi-pack Bamboobies Nursing Pads (3 pair regular + 1 pair overnight)

Boob♥ease 100% Organic Natural Nipple Balm

Bamboobies Brahhh: Maternity, Sleep and Nursing Bra with Flower Accent (color berry)

Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl with Flower Accent (color black)

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Wean Cubes Garden Pack adjustedWean Green

Giveaway item:
A Garden Pack of Wean Cubes (4 oz pack of 4 – multicolor)

Wean Green is dedicated to providing parents with safe and environmental baby products that fit into every parent’s diaper bag!  Our Glass Cubes are the safest way to store your breast milk,  homemade baby food, and of course, those snacks that your little one can’t live without when you’re out and about!

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SnugabellSnugabell

Giveaway item:
PumpEase hands-free pumping bra, color rhubarb

PumpEase features patented, ‘no-stitch’ horn openings, guaranteed to accommodate any breast pump on the market.  Click here for more information.

Additionally, use promotional code “TLBOOB25” for 25 percent off at Snugabell.com, Amazon.com, and Amazon.ca.
(minimum $38 order)

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Kangaroo CareKangaroo Care

Giveaway items:
An Aqua Rainbow Nursing Necklace and a Matching Teething Bracelet

 Kangaroo Care is also offering a 20% discount  from the 14th of February through the 15th of February!  No coupon codes need to be entered – the prices will already be discounted!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Dairy Fairy

Giveaway item:
The Sadie All in One Tank
(valued at $75, in either Black or White)

The only nursing tank that multitasks as much as you do; nurse, handsfree pump and adjust to fit your fluctuating size. In or out, our new design is beautiful and discreet.  Click here for more information.

Additionally, use code “sadielaunch” at thedairyfairy.com for a $10 discount.

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LilleBabyLíllébaby

Giveaway item:
Líllébaby COMPLETE Organic Designer Baby Carrier 
(Green Meadow w/ Finch – Retail value $149.00)

Líllébaby is excited to offer one of their brand new designer prints for this giveaway: the Green Meadow with Finch!

Why COMPLETE?
“Compare the líllébaby® COMPLETE™ with any baby carrier and you will see why it deserves its name – it includes every carrying position and ensures your baby is correctly and  ergonomically positioned in every setting.”

Click here for more information.

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Muslin isla-nc-package-1000pxBébé Au Lait

Giveaway item:
Bébé au Lait Muslin Nursing Cover

“New for 2014! Bebe au Lait’s Muslin Collection pairs the softness and breathability of premium Muslin with the stylish patterns that have made their products must-haves for modern families.”

Click here for more information.

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MomzelleMomzelle

Giveaway item:
Maria criss-cross nursing dress

New from their winter collection, this graceful nursing dress will make you feel beautiful and comfortable at the same time. The criss-cross nursing opening is very practical and can be used both sides simultaneously. Made with cotton modale (95% cotton modale, 5% spandex), this fabric has a fresh and soft feeling on the skin, plus gives a nice drape to the dress.

Made with love and care.

“This eye-catching dress can easily be your new breastfeeding essential. For everyday and any occasion, you deserve to feel beautiful and confident while breastfeeding!
Thank you and happy nursing” 🙂

– The Momzelle team

Additionally, use code “LKYF14” at momzelle.com for a $5 discount.

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My Baby's Heartbeat Bear adjustedMy Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

Giveaway item:
Angel Bear

The My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear Angel Kit includes an adorable stuffed Angel Bear and special heart shaped recorder.  The Angel Bear is a very soft fleece-like material, with a velcro closure opening on the back where you can place the recorded heartbeat. My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear kits make the perfect baby shower gift or pregnancy keepsake!  Click here for more information.

Additionally, use code “FEB20” at mybabysheartbeatbear.com for a 20% discount.

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ShowerHugShowerHug

Giveaway item:
a ShowerHug

The Shower Hug is a therapeutic breast wrap designed to make showers a time of serenity and renewal for pregnant and breastfeeding moms who experience breast tenderness.

A “Certified Miracle,” The Shower Hug is Mommy’s patented Essential for Breast Pain Relief during pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding.  This multifunctional and affordable alternative to traditional nursing bras eliminates the most frustrating and painful obstacles to breastfeeding success. The Shower Hug can be worn in or out of the shower.

Click here for more information.

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KKBrwn-LR-CLKoalaKin

Giveaway item:
A KoalaKin, Hands-Free Nursing Pouch

The KoalaKin® nursing pouch helps you bond with your nursing baby by freeing your hands for extra snuggles, diaper checks, and even reading.  Click here for more information.

“Love is in the air… Free your hands for more loving touches with the KoalaKin, Hands Free Nursing Pouch.”  

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MobyWrapMobyWrap

Giveaway item:
Organic Moby Wrap in our new Garnet color

Wrap baby in our 100% OE certified organic cotton carrier.  Softness and Support.  Click here for more information.

Additionally, use code “TLBbaby” amobywrap.com for a 10% discount.

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Naked Nursing TankNaked Tank Logo 1Naked Nursing Tank

Giveaway item:
White Luxury Bamboo Naked Nursing Tank

Click here for more information.

Additionally, use code “LEAKYSHIP” awww.thenakedtank.com for free shipping.

Happy Valentine’s Day Leakies!!  Hope you love your new tank as much as you love your special Valentine!!” – Carrie and Jen

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Freja Toys necklaceFreja Toys

Giveaway items:
a nursing necklace (any color for winner’s choice)
and a baby rattles fruit set.
Total value: $54.00

 We have been creating our toys and moms jewelry in the Ukraine (East Europe) since 2007.  All of our products are unique and full of warmth and love.  They are made from natural materials and are absolutely safe for your kids!

Freja Toys fruits-set-01

Our main goal is to give joy to kids and their moms and to make the world around happier and kinder!

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sloomb diapersloomb basewooliesSloomb

Giveaway items:
a Camper VHLC and a Sparrow Basewoolies

“The Velour HLCs are soft, trim, and super absorbent cloth diapers – extra soft fluff for your little hipsters! Just pair the VHLC with Sparrow Basewoolies to keep your kids warm on the inside and out!”

Click here for more information about VHLCs and here for more information about Basewoolies.

PS: HLC stands for “Happy Little Clouds”

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MrsPatels adjustedMrs Patel’s

Giveaway item:
Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Fenugreek Bars

Our mission is to help nursing mothers. We believe our products can help women heal faster after giving birth as well as increase their milk supply.

Additionally, use code “FIRSTORDER” amrsmilk.com for 20% off your first order.

“Treat yourself and your baby this Valentine’s with a box of our delicious gluten-free and vegan milk-making Fenugreek Bars!” – Anhoni

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NuRooNüRoo

Giveaway item:
one NüRoo Nursing Scarf

The NüRoo Nursing Scarf provides endless options for coverage and style. Learn more at nuroobaby.com.

NüRoo® fabric is super soft, breathable, wrinkle free, and not distracting for baby. As an added bonus, you’ll love this fashionable scarf long after your breastfeeding days!

Customize your coverage: wrapped or draped, front and back, over the shoulder or around your neck.

Learn more here.

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GoosieGoosie Organics

Giveaway item:
an Organic Nursing and Babywearing Jewelry piece of your choice

Check out the Goosie Organics Etsy shop here!

We create beautiful organic nursing and babywearing necklaces and bracelets. All of our products are handmade with natural materials including our unique 100% organic yarn. Each wooden bead and necklace chain are hand crocheted with this beautiful organic yarn. The wood buttons, coconut rings & buckles and wood beads are handcrafted locally and polished with organic beeswax and olive oil.

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Giveaway item:

An Assortment of Breastfeeding Products

 

The Assortment includes:

MilkMakers Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies (10pk)
Balm Baby Nipple Soother/Nursing Aid (1.25 fl oz)
Milk Trays Breast Milk Freezing System
Dry Mama Reusable Nursing Pads (1 pair)
Our Lady of Leche – Birds & Bees Teas Lactatin Tea – 2.5 oz tin with loose leaf tea

Basic Baby is both a physical store in Upstate New York, as well as an online retailer, offering helpful products for parents in all beginning stages of parenting, such as maternity, cloth diapering, babywearing, nursing, potty training, and more.  Get to know them at basicbabyshop.com

Additionally, use code “leakylove” for 10% off regular priced items store wide with free shipping on orders over $15 – not to be combined with any other offer – 1 use per customer – offer ends 2/28/14

“Thank you for all the love!” – the Basic Baby shop team

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JetPackRainbow Souffle

Giveaway item:
a JetPack toy and a printable JetPack Valentine’s Day card

The JetPack toy is a unique soft fabric toy that engages children’s natural tendency to make anything into an adventure.  Show someone you love them to the moon and back with a toy JetPack!
The printable paper JetPack card also doubles as a toy! It’s whimsical and fun for kids of all ages.  It’s easy to assemble and you have the option to print a Valentine’s message on the reverse side.

Click here for more information.

Additionally, use Coupon Code “ROCKETBLAST” in our shop for 20% off their order through February 20th.

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View More: http://christinacampbell.pass.us/vintaghoneyThe Vintage Honey Shop

Giveaway item:
A nursing necklace with teething ring ($25 value)

The Vintage Honey Shop is a place to buy handcrafted paper & fabric items.  Jennifer & Melissa make every handcrafted item with love and care!

The Vintage Honey Shop: Where paper & fabric stick!

Additionally, use code “LEAKIESWIN” athevintagehoneyshop.etsy.com for a 10% discount.

“All of our products are handmade to help mama feel beautiful while helping baby be happy!  Happy Valentines Day, Leakies….we {heart} y’all!!”
– Jen & Mel

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A Mother's BoutiqueA Mother’s Boutique

Giveaway item:
a nursing top of her choice from our Annee Matthew collection  (value up to $75)

Annee Matthew maternity and nursing clothes are unique, exquisitely designed pieces of modern maternity and nursing clothing that will make any new mother or mother-to-be feel beautiful.  Click here for more information.

Additionally, there is a special coupon for Leakies to treat themselves to something else in our store, at mothersboutique.com.  Just use coupon code “TLB” and you will save $5 off any purchase of $20 or more.

“We support breastfeeding moms and nursing in public is so much easier in one our cute, stylish nursing tops!”

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UM.AdQuartPgShortUndercover Mama

Giveaway item:
a $30 giftcard to Undercover Mama

Mom Invented, Mom Owned, Mom Operated.

Additionally, enjoy Free Shipping on orders of 2 shirts or more at undercovermama.com/shop (no coupon required)

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nursing-bra-express-giveaway adjustedNursing Bra Express

Giveaway item:
Molded Cotton Nursing Bra
(winner’s choice of nude, white, or black)

Our best selling nursing bra is comfortable, supportive, soft and has a pretty trim.  Wear this nursing bra every day – it is perfect for all occasions and will keep you comfortable and cool with breathable cotton and quick-release one-hand nursing clasps on each cup.  Larger cup sizes have foam support in cup and wider straps.  Sizes available: 32-36A, 32-40B, 32-44C/D, 32-44DD/E, 34-42DDD/F.

Additionally, use promotional code “LOVE” to save 10% on your entire order at nursingbraexpress.com, and free shipping on orders of $99 or more!

“Happy Valentine’s Day to all the Leakies!  We hope you think of us for all of your nursing bra needs.  We have a great selection of bras at affordable prices!”

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Petite BisouPetite Bisou

Giveaway item:
a set of our Bebe Nacre Breast Shells (a$49.95 AUD value)

Hand-polished in Paris, these natural shells soothe sore and cracked nipples and provide nourishment and protection while nursing.  Find out more about this age old Scandinavian tradition for breast care here.

Enjoy Motherhood and your new baby in a beautiful way! 

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One Creative MamaOne Creative Mama

Giveaway item:
a mommy-baby matching shirt set

Mommy Is My Dairy Queen shirt for babies: http://onecreativemama.com/dairyqueen.html – Value $13.99

Dairy Queen shirt for moms (moms can nurse through the sleeve!): http://onecreativemama.com/dqmom1.html – Value $33.98-36.98

Winner can choose size and color for both items

Total Value: $47.97-$50.97

Additionally, use code “TLB” at onecreativemama.com for a 15% discount on any purchase.

“Hey leakies, One Creative Mama supports breastfeeding and we want to share our cute designs with all of you!”

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DSC_9766_09.psdMelinda G™

Giveaway item:
A Smoothly Divine™ nursing bra in nude 

Win the new Melinda G™ very pretty, very comfortable nursing bra with removable pads – wear with the pads for discretion and added OOOOMPH! or without the pads for natural contours – either way, you’ll look great!  Click here for sizing information.

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CezaraT Belly Support Panty #4000 after delivery with pink backgroundCezara™ 

Giveaway item:
A Cezara™ belly support panty   

Cezara™ provides comfy belly lift and back support during pregnancy, after delivery and especially after Cesarean delivery, when the internal pad compresses and protects the scar, for more relaxed nursing without the concerns of baby resting on the scar.

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And finally, a special, sexy guest sponsor for this Valentine’s Day giveaway:

Blossom Organics

Giveaway item:
A Pleasurable Gift Basket

“Let Your pure Pleasure Blossom Naturally with Blossom Organics”

The basket includes:

Natural Moisturizing Lubricant (4 oz and 1 oz)
Warm Sensation Lubricant (4 oz and 1 oz)
Pure Pleasure Arousal Gel (0.5 oz and 5 ml)
Warm Sensation Massage Oil (3 oz)
Revitalizing Breast Exam Cream (1.7 oz.)

Our goal is to create safe, all-natural intimate care products that help you achieve healthy well-being, beautiful intimacy and blissful pleasure.  Click here for more information.

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WOW!  That’s a whole lot of TLB sponsor love!

Below is the widget for the giveaway.  Remember, this is for U.S. entries only.  

Here’s to hoping you get lucky!

And don’t forget to use the discount codes from our sponsors listed above!

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Ergobaby Postpartum FB Chat and Giveaway

“Ergobaby follows a personal mission to keep children close and comforted, and parents strong and able.”
From Ergobaby’s About page

Born out of a desire to keep children close and comfortable as their parents go about their daily lives, Ergobaby is committed to supporting parents navigate those beautiful and challenging postpartum waters.  A perfect example of this is the Live Chat that they are sponsoring on The Leaky Boob Facebook page today.  Its focus is on the surprises and difficulties that a mother experiences postpartum.  They are bringing Abigail Morgan, L.Ac, MTOM, to the discussion, and are offering some of their baby wearing products in support of new moms as well!
Ergo mom cuddle

Ergobaby is giving away:

– 3 Wraps
– 2 Swaddlers
– 1 Organic Baby Carrier

6 lucky winners for this generous giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ergobaby Postpartum and Newborn care chat and giveaway

Ergobaby knows the importance of those first few days, weeks, and months with a new baby and that taking good care of mom is part of taking good care of baby.  That’s why they are sponsoring a live chat on The Leaky Boob Facebook page with postpartum doula and IBCLC Marcy Sauter.  That’s also why they are giving away some carriers and their new Ergobaby swaddlers (designed to allow freedom of movement while still providing a safe, snuggly swaddle), because supporting families from day one is what they’re all about.

Ergo mom cuddle

To check out our chat and the wealth of information and support shared there, check out these links:

Introduction

Preparing for the postpartum and newborn period

Postpartum depression and mom care with breastfeeding

Postpartum and newborn care with older children and family

Postpartum mom and newborn care in special circumstances

What postpartum physical changes moms found surprising

Baby care essentials

Crazy new mom

The importance of rest postpartum and societal support

Moving beyond the postpartum and newborn phase

 

To be entered into the giveaways, click on the widgets below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Baby Weight Workout

I hear often from moms wanting to get back in shape after having a baby but concerned that exercise and dieting could harm their milk supply.  IBCLC Star Rodriguez helped clarify the questions we see frequently from moms on breastfeeding and fitness in this article here.  Be sure to check that out and don’t forget that it is always best to work with your health care provider in determining a healthy activity level and nutritional plan.  

Once you are certain that adding working out and increased physical activity is a healthy choice for you (and evidence supports that it’s healthy for most of us!) the challenge many parents face is when to find the time, space, and right activity.  Having children around it can be difficult to make some space for yourself and your health.  You are worth it though and your children deserve to have healthy parents, plus, when your children see you making physical activity and your own health a priority, you are modeling how important it is for them as well.  The best way for your children to develop healthy habits is for you to demonstrate healthy habits yourself.  Happy health to you and your family!  ~Jessica

 

Jennifer from Fit For Expecting has offered up a workout to help make it easier to find some time to take care of you.  Check out this Baby Weight Workout that you can enjoy WITH your baby.  I think it’s a great springboard for customizing and creating your own workout that fits your family’s unique makeup.  For more support, be sure to check out Jennifer’s website and like the Fit For Expecting Facebook page.  ~Jessica

Most moms know that exercise is good for them physically, mentally and emotionally. But, when life gets busy, exercise often gets put on the back burner. I designed a workout specifically for Leakies, that’s quick (5 minutes total) and incorporates baby into each exercise. I’m calling it the “Baby Weight Workout” because, that’s right, baby functions as the weight.
A few general exercise tips to keep in mind:
  • For your comfort and for a content baby, you might want to breastfeed before exercising.
  • Stay hydrated – drink water before, during and after exercising.
  • Eat a snack 1 1/2 – 2 hours before exercising.
Enjoy!
TLB Workout - Exercising with Baby

Supporting the Breastfeeding Family as a Whole

by Amber McCann, IBCLC
supporting the breastfeeding family as a whole
Recently, I was collaborating with a colleague as we worked through the nitty-gritty details of a challenging situation one of my clients was having. As an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), I work with families to support their breastfeeding and, while my job is incredibly rewarding, it also requires a LOT of “detective” work. This case was challenging my skills and knowledge and I reached out for help. As we sorted through the facts and brainstormed ideas, my colleague said to me, “I’m realizing that you alway lean towards  the side of the mom and I lean towards the side of the baby.”

The comment caught me off guard. I wasn’t offended because I make no apologies for the fact that connecting with mothers is my “sweet spot”. I also don’t believe that I nor my colleagues ever sacrifice one member of the breastfeeding relationship to the exclusion of the other. But it did cause me to think and reflect on how, as a professional, I approach the work I do. Do I miss critical pieces of the puzzle because I’m so focused on the mother’s well being? Do I forget the important role that dads and partners play in the family? Do I miss the most vulnerable person in the whole dynamic…the tiny baby herself? (*Cue dramatic soul searching)

 

I came to this realization:

Breastfeeding support that doesn’t recognize the family as a whole FAILS.

Breastfeeding is much more than one breast, one baby, one mother, and one belly that needs nutrition. It is also getting to know each other, communicating, finding balance between all parties, and connecting on an intimate and vulnerable level. While I certainly do not claim that these experiences happen only in breastfeeding families, I do believe that breastfeeding imparts benefits that go far beyond calories and weight gain.

For that reason, I think it is critically important that, as those who support breastfeeding, we see the breastfeeding family as a whole. Much of the conversation in breastfeeding support centers around whether someone is doing it the “right way”: no supplements, pacifiers, bottles, cribs, you have to wear your baby, don’t you dare give cereals before 6 months, breastfeed until they are two, breastfeed while you are pregnant, breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed…and if you don’t do it this way, you are a failure. It simply breaks my heart because, while each of these recommendations has value and impact in the broader issue of public health, these black and white messages often forget that, when it comes down to it, there are real people making real decisions for real families. We must move away from support that sees only the mother, only the baby, or only the breastfeeding.

Decision Making is Up to the Family

As a clinician, I must take a full health history of both the mother and baby in my care. Inevitably, this becomes what is, for many women, the first telling of their birth story to someone outside of their family. It is an incredibly raw and vulnerable experience. I learn of relationships, of history, of fears and of disappointment. I also hear of how she was proud of herself, of her strength and her tenacity. Every woman’s experience, both before and after birth, is wildly different. Each family is to be respected in their decision making. What is the right decision in birth, in breastfeeding…heck, even in what to do with their Saturday afternoon, is up to them, filtered through the lens of their experience, their history and their knowledge. There are things about the way I live my life that I believe deeply in, but this I believe more: Mothers are smart and incredibly capable of making the decisions that are best for their families. My job is to provide information, help them sort through their options and allow them to space to figure out what is best for them…even if what is best for them is not what I would have chosen.

She is About More than her Breasts

As advocates, sometimes we work so hard on the big picture ideas in regards to improving breastfeeding rates and cultural acceptance that we make the mistake of seeing each woman as one to be “conqured”…wishing only to “win her to our side”. Supporting breastfeeding on a macro level is tough work which takes huge volumes of energy, but what a disservice when we think of women as only check marks in the “initiated breastfeeding” or “exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months” columns.

Often, in an attempt to support breastfeeding, we forget that there is much more going on in this relationship than milk ejections and swallowing. The community supporting those with Insufficient Glandular Tissue and Low Milk Supply do this beautifully. Inspired by Diana West’s groundbreaking book Defining Your Own Success, these women champion the idea that THEY get to be the ones who decide what breastfeeding will look like for them, in light of significant challenges. We must look at breastfeeding women not as simply milk makers, but life makers and relationship makers and confidence makers as well.

Empower Parents for Long Term Impact

I’m absolutely convinced that the early days of of a baby’s life are critical to the formation of parenting confidence. What if, instead of throwing checklists full of things that not even well-rested people could handle, we instill confidence and a “we were made for this” kind of attitude. I’ve long maintained that birth and breastfeeding are the only two biological processes that we, as a culture, assume won’t work the way they were designed to. From the moment we announce our pregnancies, we are bombarded with messages that tell us that we simply aren’t up for the task, that out bodies will fail us, that we won’t be good enough, smart enough, mom enough. Why then are we surprised when those messages continue on into parenthood? For those we encounter as breastfeeding supporters, we can have a significant impact at a critical moment. Reminding a woman that her body was made for breastfeeding, encouraging her to follow her “gut”, and listening closely to her ideas about what could improve her outlook can all be vitally important.  Moments like that set her up for future success. Feeling like “I am the most qualified person to care for my child” on Day 3 can often translate into the same feeling on day 5 and month 5 and year 5. Treating parents with respect and care and with the belief that they are wildly capable is critical.

The great Dr. Seuss was quite the philosopher when he penned, “A person’s a person, no matter how small” and I would echo with “A family is a family no matter how young.”  As we seek to pour our professional and volunteer lives into these brand new families, we must remember that communicating about their value and worth are important building blocks to their long term confidence as parents. I’m privileged to be able to be one of the first professionals to look them in brand new parent (bleary and bloodshot) eyes and say “You’ve Got This!”

Mothers are capable breastfeeding nourish breastfeeding support

 

 Amber McCann, IBCLC is a board certified lactation consultant in private practice  with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside of Washington, DC and the co-editor  of Lactation Matters, the official blog of the International Lactation Consultant Association  (ILCA). She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media  channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same. In addition, she has written  for a number of breastfeeding support blogs including Hygeia and Best for Babes. She also  serves as the Social Media Coordinator for GOLD Conferences Internationaland is a regular  contributor to The Boob Group, a weekly online radio program for breastfeeding moms. When she’s not furiously composing tweets (follow her at @iamambermccann) or updating her Facebook page, she probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV.