Friday, August 9, 2013

Classics survive for a reason

When we first started cloth diapering (when Munchkin was between 5 & 6 months old), we went for a pretty pricey WAHM diaper that was an All-In-Two system. The inners and inserts were bamboo--and we're still using most of those inserts now as boosters for nighttime. The outer parts...well, nobody told me that the sanitize cycle on my washer would be too harsh for regular use. I found that out after our stash of 16 diapers (which, now, seems tiny!) delaminated after about a year. I was really wary of any other system, with the exception of pockets. I didn't even like the idea of All-In-Ones! I'd learned my lesson and wanted to treat anything with PUL very nicely so it would last. Munchkin spent about a year in disposable diapers again, because I didn't want to buy ANOTHER stash of cloth.
Then it was time to figure out what we wanted to do for Lil Man. I wanted him in cloth for a myriad of reasons, with cost being a huge contributing factor. I began building his stash early, keeping costs down by buying from baby steals and finding the majority from another mama who didn't need as many anymore. Pretty much almost all of Lil Man's diapers are pockets, and I got snaps whenever I could. We don't use any of the velcro diapers we have anymore because the velcro is shot and Lil Man is way too adept at taking them off (he's even gotten a snap one open)!
A few of the diapers we have are sized, and he's pretty much grown out of them now, so a couple months ago we headed to Wasilla to go to Arctic Baby Bottoms...aka, cloth diaper heaven. Mark actually is the one who suggested we go....don't be too surprised, he's the one who suggested cloth diapering Munchkin in the first place! I knew I didn't want to buy anything TOO expensive because I'm *hoping* that we won't be in them TOO much longer (I'm hoping and praying about a year more) and I just really hate spending money when I can help it. I'd been looking into prefolds and covers...and convinced Mark to let me get them. We got 6 Osocozy unbleached diapers and 3 Thirsties covers. I prepped them that night and started the next day. We had a couple Snappi's from a couple different giveaways/goody bags, so we were set. I fell.in.love. Seriously! I had some gift card money on Amazon that'd I'd saved and earned more from Crowdtap, so I ordered another 6 diapers and one more cover. These things are amazingly absorbent. The one downside is that I forget to change as often as I should because they DO.NOT.LEAK! We even had one last overnight. I just have to be more mindful of the time and make sure I change him before he asks. I am going to have to sew some extender tabs on the diapers because we bought the premium size--rated for 15-30lbs, and Lil Man is currently 31lbs. They just don't quite reach around the waist as well as they could, but I found a handy tutorial to take care of that.
I thought to take some pictures when the new diapers came to show the difference between unprepped and prepped (oh, the shrinkage...but oh how soft they get!!!)--and a cutie Lil Man excited for mail!

He was so excited!! 

Prepped vs. Unprepped

They look so huge out of the package...

...and the shrinkage...mainly in length, but a little in width too.
These are now my absolute favorite go-to diapers. Mark loves them too....because I change them. He hasn't quite mastered how to get these on a wiggly Lil Man, but he's trying. I can only imagine how fancy these seemed to the mamas who were used to using flat diapers, and now these are considered "old-school". I prefer to think of them as the classics now (I'm not quite up to trying to fold flats!), and they have definitely survived for a reason, even with all the cool new diapers out there!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My take on breastfeeding advice


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***



As NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center's blog carnival for World Breastfeeding Week wraps up, it's a chance to share any breastfeeding tips and tricks we've learned along the way. I'll talk to the mom's first and have a little bit to say to dad's in a minute.
New moms...please don't be afraid to keep asking for help. It really shouldn't hurt--it will be uncomfortable, but flat out pain isn't good. I cried every feeding for the first 6 weeks of Munchkin's life because of a shallow latch. She grew a little and was able to get a good latch and we were golden from then on out...but six weeks is way too long to have a problem. I technically understood the problem and the solution...but nobody was ever able to get me to understand how to apply it. Remember you're both learning something new, and while it is natural, it doesn't mean that it's instantaneous knowledge. Also, remember that each nursling is different, so don't expect every journey to look the same!
There will be times, especially if you have more than one child, that you will be absolutely and completely touched out. You won't want to have another human being be near you for absolutely any reason what so ever. That's ok. Try to stay calm (it's hard!!) and gently take time for yourself.
As you progress through your baby's nursing career, they will find increasingly interesting positions to nurse in. You'll have fingers in your hair, your nose, your mouth, your ears, hopefully not your eyes (but they'll try!), toes in your face...I've seen some crazy stuff, but as long as you can try to maintain a sense of humor, it'll pass. Lil Man is having to learn his nursing manners all over again because he LOVES to put his fingers in my mouth and flail his arm up and down. The only time he's a calm nursling right now is when he's that perfect amount of tired. And that's ok.
Oh, and one last thing before I get started on my advice to the dads...remember him? Yeah, he's new to this too and probably completely lost. Try to give him a break, ok? He's doing the best he can.

Alright, new daddies. Welcome to a crazy adventure. Oh goodness, you've just been through a lot and your wife is hogging the baby and ignoring you. Well, at least it seems that way, huh? With newborn's tummies being the size of a marble and breastmilk being so easily digested, they need to eat often. I promise that some of that time, Mom is really wishing you had a pair of lactating breasts too. Please, please, PLEASE, don't offer formula as an alternative if she really has her heart set on breastfeeding. Even if it comes from the nicest, truest place of you..don't. It will NOT come across as supportive and she's likely to get upset and angry. So right now, the best way to help your baby, is to help your wife. Make sure she stays hydrated--breastfeeding takes a lot of water and it's easy to forget to drink enough. Help her get comfortable, childbirth is hard! The kicker...remember that she DOES love you. It may not look like it, but she thinks you're amazing. It's a big adjustment for everyone. As the baby gets older you'll be able to do more than just change diapers. Another thing that is so important: be her protector. Even in the hospital. If the nurses and doctors try to push something that you as parents aren't ok with, that's your time to step in. If somebody gives her a hard time about nursing, you stand up for her. Encourage her, show her that you are proud of her. Oh, and be prepared to have the baby try to latch onto you. Munchkin loved to latch onto Daddy's nose as a newborn...he quickly learned to not let her face near his bare chest.

Nursing is such a short time in a child's life, my biggest "tip" is to try to enjoy it as much as you can. Celebrate every milestone, every achievement, cherish every stage. They're all amazing and you can't go back in time!


***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 3 with all the carnival links.)

  • Breastfeeding and NIP: A Primer — Rachel Rainbolt of Sage Parenting, featured today at NursingFreedom.org, uses her informative and candid voice to share with you everything you need to know to breastfeed successfully in public, from the practical how-to's to handling the social stigma.
  • Lactivist Ryan Gosling — Breastfeeding mamas, the time is long overdue for a Lactivist Ryan Gosling. Fortunately, Dionna of Code Name: Mama has created some for your viewing pleasure.
  • In Defense of Formula — Amy of Mom2Mom KMC, guest blogging for Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, asserts that formula is a medical tool rather than a food. She examines how this perspective supports breastfeeding as normal and eliminates the negative tensions between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
  • Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.
  • Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
  • Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn't get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
  • Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
  • Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
  • Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
  • Wet-nursing, Cross-nursing and Milk-sharing: Outdated? — Jamie Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter shares a response to the Wendy Williams quote about milk sharing being akin to slavery, by giving a brief history of the wet nurse.
  • Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
  • Milk in the eye — Gena from Nutrition Basics discusses how breastmilk cured her 3 year old's case of pink eye.
  • Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
  • My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
  • My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think "A-B-C-D-E"Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby's arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as "A-B-C-D-E": Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
  • Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
  • Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
  • A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding - the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
  • From Covered to Confident — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares her personal NIP evolution: she started by covering up from neck to ankle while nursing in public. Eight years later, she has gained confidence and the ability to nurse without stressing about flashing a little skin. She shares her views on normalizing breastfeeding - what influenced her and how she hopes to help others.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
  • Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
  • How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Redefining Normal


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***



Continuing in NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center's blog carnival for World Breastfeeding Week, I'm back to talk about normalizing breastfeeding. Being the baby of the family, I didn't get to see my mom nursing another baby, and I was young enough when my cousins were born that I don't remember if they nursed or not...so I have no real memories of nursing, but even so, it was normal for me. It was what I expected of myself when I had children.
How I normalize breastfeeding is pretty simple. I treat it as normal. When Munchkin was younger, I used a cover...but it wasn't too long before that made MORE of a scene, so we ditched it. I still carry it in the diaper bag as an impromptu blanket...last time it was used to sit in the seat of a shopping cart that had a little bit of rain in it so Munchkin's bum would stay dry, so it's come in handy! I used the cover for Lil Man when he was as teeny tiny as he was (which wasn't very teeny tiny!) but ditched it even sooner than I had with Munchkin. I've become very adept at latching without showing much skin. Munchkin tells me about how she'll feed her babies with her boobs someday, and even nurses her dolls and stuffed animals. I think the biggest part of nursing in public to help normalize it is to not make a show of it.
People throw around "discretion", and honestly, I think every nursing mother uses her own discretion. I don't know any nursing mom that wants to do anything other than feed her hungry child when she is nursing in public. I know I can't speak for every nursing mother in the world, but at least for me, I don't want my boobs on display. I'm not ripping my entire shirt off and baring my entire chest to the world to feed my baby. I'm a big fan of the t-shirt/tank combo (especially if that tank is an Undercover Mama tank..even easier!) so that everything can stay covered while still allowing Lil Man what he needs!
One of the big challenges I see to normalizing breastfeeding, especially in public is that some people are way too invested in what others are doing. I think that if you're offended by seeing someone breastfeed, you're looking too long. If you aren't part of the nursing dyad, then you're free to move on. No time to be offended!
Now, I have no experience with negative attitudes from strangers, I've never been asked to move, stop, or leave somewhere. I've never had someone say something rude, and if anyone has ever given me the stink-eye over it, I never noticed--I was too invested in my situation to worry about others around me. That, to me, is a step. At least in my area, breastfeeding is becoming normal. We're making progress. So for every nursing mother out there, just keep going. You don't have to stage a nurse-in to normalize breastfeeding. Just go about your daily lives, nurse when you need to, wherever you are. I think that if you go into this with a polite attitude, people will be more inclined to be polite back (hopefully by either saying something encouraging or ignoring it all together). If you have a defensive attitude, then you're more likely to catch some resistance.
I see a thousand tiny steps making a huge change in our culture. A persistence to the cause rather than a huge campaign all at once. If we help shape our children's view of breastfeeding as normal and they grow up expecting that, seeing that, understanding that, then that is what they will live. That is when we will truly see the change.



***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 3 with all the carnival links.)

  • Breastfeeding and NIP: A Primer — Rachel Rainbolt of Sage Parenting, featured today at NursingFreedom.org, uses her informative and candid voice to share with you everything you need to know to breastfeed successfully in public, from the practical how-to's to handling the social stigma.
  • Lactivist Ryan Gosling — Breastfeeding mamas, the time is long overdue for a Lactivist Ryan Gosling. Fortunately, Dionna of Code Name: Mama has created some for your viewing pleasure.
  • In Defense of Formula — Amy of Mom2Mom KMC, guest blogging for Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, asserts that formula is a medical tool rather than a food. She examines how this perspective supports breastfeeding as normal and eliminates the negative tensions between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
  • Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.
  • Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
  • Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn't get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
  • Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
  • Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
  • Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
  • Wet-nursing, Cross-nursing and Milk-sharing: Outdated? — Jamie Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter shares a response to the Wendy Williams quote about milk sharing being akin to slavery, by giving a brief history of the wet nurse.
  • Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
  • Milk in the eye — Gena from Nutrition Basics discusses how breastmilk cured her 3 year old's case of pink eye.
  • Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
  • My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
  • My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think "A-B-C-D-E"Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby's arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as "A-B-C-D-E": Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
  • Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
  • Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
  • A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding - the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
  • From Covered to Confident — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares her personal NIP evolution: she started by covering up from neck to ankle while nursing in public. Eight years later, she has gained confidence and the ability to nurse without stressing about flashing a little skin. She shares her views on normalizing breastfeeding - what influenced her and how she hopes to help others.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
  • Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
  • How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Stubbornness and Support: My Breastfeeding Journey


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***



Today kicks off World Breastfeeding Week and to celebrate, NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center are hosting a blog carnival! This year's theme is Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers, so the posts this week will be revolving around that theme.

My breastfeeding journey really began even before I had Munchkin! My mom breastfed both my sister and I, my sister breastfed both of her kids (and she was a teacher!! I never realized what a pumping commitment that was until I had my own kiddos, so super yay for her!!), and I just expected I'd breastfeed my own kids. Formula wasn't an option to me unless my boobs didn't work. As in no milk production. Honestly, I really think this is where my success began. I expected to breastfeed. I didn't expect to "try", I just expected to do it.
Fast forward to my pregnancy with Munchkin. I started doing my own research on breastfeeding, reading my copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting" like a good first time mama, scouring the internet--I really didn't have much else to do, my hours at work had been cut to just about nil, Mark was deployed in Afghanistan, and I didn't "go out" really--looking for anything I could read. I'm glad that I was self-prepared, because I don't really recall my doctors ever asking me how I was planning on feeding Munchkin until I was in the delivery room with her and the L&D nurse had to put it into the computer. Please remember that all of my medical care was provided at a military hospital, so from my understanding, it is incredibly different than a private or even public hospital.
My hospital didn't offer a birth class and I had to go into L&D on my own to "tour" and find out what I needed to do on D-Day, so I paid for a birth class at the hospital in town. Boy, am I glad I did!! The lady that taught that class was amazing. She came from a family of lactation consultants and I believe was working on her own training. She really helped me out since I was there by myself...kinda awkward in the whole group of couples, but hey, when my hubby's half way around the world fighting a war, it's what happens. She became my go-to info source.
When Munchkin was born, I wanted to nurse her right away, but hadn't the slightest idea of how to actually accomplish that. So one of my L&D nurses came in and groped my breast, held it at an awkward angle, put Munchkin in one hand and attempted to latch her. She scolded me if I tried to hold Munchkin any other way than what she had initially shown me and was generally unhelpful. Poor Munchkin's head was smaller than my boob, so it was interesting trying to position everything. I had Mark go home and bring my boppy pillow to the hospital, which helped a bit. I kept asking for a lactation consultant and was sent nurses that were "lactation counselors" (hindsight...they were just the nurses in the unit) that were completely unhelpful. It HURT. Badly. I was bleeding and scabbed...it was awful. They kept telling me the same thing over and over, I UNDERSTOOD the information, but I couldn't get it in practice. She had a shallow latch that was not very effective. Still I pushed through. I'm incredibly stubborn when I want to be, and this was a case of wanting to be.
We were released from the hospital on a Sunday morning (she was born on a Friday morning),  with instructions to come back the next day for a weight check. I nursed her as often as I could stand it, pretty much crying every time. It was in these early days I learned to read while nursing, as I was shut away in my bedroom for hours at a time it seemed! At the weight check I asked the nurse again if she could help me with nursing. I knew it wasn't supposed to be so painful, yet she watched us nurse and said we were doing it perfect.
Mark, trying to be helpful, suggested we just give her formula. Looking back, I truly see it coming from a place of support, hating to see his wife in pain, wanting me to be able to take a break and relax....but then, it felt like a slap across the face. It felt like him saying "You're not good enough." He had NO experience with breastfeeding as everyone in his family used formula, so he really didn't know what to do. He had to go back to Afghanistan when Munchkin was only 9 days old, so from then until about 5 months, we were on our own. I resolved to get it working right. Her pediatricians were always pushing formula, stating she was too little, but my sweet birth class teacher/new breastfeeding mentor was there telling me she was fine and that I didn't have to use formula if I didn't want to. Every Saturday she led a Mom & Baby group at the hospital where I'd taken the birth class and they had a baby scale. So every week, we would go and socialize and I would weigh her. I could see her gaining appropriately, so even when her doctors were concerned about her low percentile, I knew that she was growing like she needed to.
I wish that I had been able to see a Lactation Consultant, but I had no idea where to look, and honestly, even if I had, I wouldn't have been able to afford one since TRICARE wouldn't have covered it. It took about 6 weeks before I was comfortable while nursing. She grew a little, we both learned a lot, and everything clicked. After that, we breastfeed whenever she was hungry, wherever we were! I freaked out some WalMart employees, but never had anyone say anything negative to me. We were pressured into starting solids at 4 months, I held off until 5 so that Mark was home for it and that started our weaning process. My original goal was 12 months, so that was the timeline we were using. Then as it got closer, the more I learned and realized I wanted to aim for 24 months. By shortly after her first birthday, we'd already gone so far on our weaning journey that we were down to naps and bedtime with an occasional daytime session here and there. I discovered that I was pregnant with Lil Man in April 2011 and started reading up on nursing during pregnancy. It turned out that I didn't need to worry too much, as she ended up weaning herself (by stopping asking) in June 2011, at 20 months old. So I had a bit of a break before starting again in December!
Lil Man's nursing experience has been quite different. He was 10lbs at birth and they required me to give him formula (they threatened CPS if I didn't comply), but he wouldn't drink a significant amount (I applauded his smart choice at only hours old!) and instead of worrying about that, I spent my energy getting him to nurse. He took to it well, and while I was sore the first bit, it was nothing like I'd experienced with Munchkin. I knew going into it this time that I wanted to aim for 24 months with no soilds before 6 months, much to my doctor's annoyance for not following her schedule. Lil Man gave us no issues on weight gain, he's now 19 months old weighing 31lbs. He's built like a tank and looks like there should only be one year between him and his sister rather than two. He nurses well--and still fairly often, somedays I have to remind him he's not a newborn! We've practiced baby-led weaning with him, so he feeds himself very well too! I haven't sought out any breastfeeding support groups with him because we really haven't run into any issues that I didn't experience with Munchkin or know how to get through. I don't know what our true weaning story will look like, I really plan on letting him take the lead. I'll probably start being a little more pro-active in the process after his 2nd birthday, but we'll see.
Community support played a much bigger role in my experience with Munchkin, although I wish I'd known about more of it--I didn't even know about our local La Leche League until a couple weeks ago! I think that if I'd needed it with Lil Man, I would've been able to find it since I was more comfortable taking the initiative rather than asking the doctors and nurses at our hospital. The one warm-fuzzy I've gotten from our hospital came this past week from an ER doc--Lil Man overdosed on Benadryl and had to be on monitors to check for arrhythmia. Nursing was the only way to get him to calm down to take a nap, and once he'd finally fallen asleep, the doc came back to our room to make sure we didn't need anything and asked if he'd fallen asleep easily. I explained that I nursed him and he congratulated me and told me his wife nursed their second until almost 3. He was the first doctor in that hospital that hadn't given me a weird look for continuing to nurse past 12 months. So even though I don't really feel like I need any constant support because I'm confident in my decision to continue nursing, that little boost made me feel so great about it.


***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today's participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 1 with all the carnival links.)

  • If You're Worried About Your Kid Seeing Me Breastfeeding, You're Doing It Wrong — Dionna at Code Name: Mama is living the breastfeeding-as-a-cultural-norm dream. She has first-hand experience that kids, teens & adults who see breastfeeding accept breastfeeding.
  • Supporting Breastfeeding Online — Wendy at Breastfeeding Utah reaches out to birth and breastfeeding support professionals who are interested in knowing more about supporting their clients online.
  • Breast Friends — Mama Bree, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center, shares a baby's journey to blissful breastfeeding with a little help.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Online Breastfeeding Support — Other than buying and reading up on books, Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy finds that it is useful to read up on other mums’ breastfeeding experiences and how they deal with their obstacles.
  • It Takes a Village... — Meredith at Thank You Ma'am talks about the support she got from her family, especially from her own mom, who is a lactation consultant.
  • Community Support — Ashley at ModerationMama tells about her supportive community surrounding her breastfeeding journey, and she talks about the importance of the breastfeeding class she took while still pregnant.
  • Finding a Nanny to Be Part of My Village — Before returning to work, Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen, posting at Natural Parents Network, needed to find a trusted caregiver for her daughter. Someone who supported her parenting goals and was ready to become part of a family.
  • A Nursey Love Letter — When asked about her nursing support group, KassK of Get Born Tribe surprised herself with the answer: her husband!
  • We are mammals. — To be a mammal . . . what does that mean? Practicing Mammal educates us.
  • Building a Solid Foundation for a Successful Breastfeeding Journey — Tia at Tia's Sweeps Go 'Round shares how she built a strong support network to help her successfully breastfeed her newborn daughter.
  • Stubbornness and Support: My Breastfeeding Journey — Diana at Munchkin's Mommy shares her breastfeeding journey, from unhelpful nurses to a gentle guide, and her sheer stubbornness.
  • Looking online for breastfeeding support — The author at "Just" A Mom has found many ways to use the internet to support her mothering and breastfeeding journey, and she has learned how to keep her online experiences positive.
  • The Village that didn't feed — Nona's Nipples at The Touch of Life explains how our communities influence our choices. She explains how she came to breastfeed and how it was taken away.
  • Nursing By Example — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births decided to nurse through a pregnancy and to try tandem nursing thanks to the support from her La Leche League leader and another mother in her community. Read about the resources that were helpful and the lessons she learned on her journey into tandem nursing.
  • A Burden Shared: How my IBCLC Lightened my Load — My IBCLC rocks!! smscott at In All Things...One Step at a Time's journey would not be possible without a huge contribution of time and energy from her IBCLC. Her difficult times were measured in weeks and months instead of moments.
  • Fathers Need Breastfeeding Support Too — Destany at They Are All of Me recalls that the biggest detriment to her breastfeeding success was her husband's strong disapproval.
  • Breastfeeding Support Over the Years — Valerie at Momma in Progress discusses the range of support she received over her seven-year breastfeeding journey.
  • Uncharted Territory: Breastfeeding — Michelle at Oh, The Simple Joys describes her change of heart regarding breastfeeding and the kind souls who helped along the way. From thinking formula was the norm to extended ecological breastfeeding, this is her story. Her story also includes breastfeeding after a hospital birth, dealing with inverted nipples, and the lactation consultant who helped to name her daughter.
  • Online Breastfeeding Support: Finding Success, Acceptance and Friendships — Author and CLEC Lara Audelo of Virtual Breastfeeding Culture shares how online breastfeeding support changed her entire life, and why so many mothers are drawn to it, rely upon it, and place such value on their virtual mother-to-mother connections.
  • Staying Connected---Online Breastfeeding Support for AD Military MomsBreastfeeding in Combat Boots shares how important online support is to the success of breastfeeding for mothers serving in the military.
  • Breastfeeding and Community — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work discusses ways in which community affects breastfeeding dyads and makes suggestions for accepting and supporting nursing as normal and necessary.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Community Support — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy has been breastfeeding NON-STOP since 4th March 2009, the day her first child Benjamin was born. Jenny shares who has been in her community of breastfeeding supporters.
  • Oversupply as a Blessing in Disguise: Milk Sharing and Wet Nursing — Tooele Birth and Breastfeeding, guest posting at Code Name: Mama, tells how she ended up donating breastmilk and wet nursing several babies. She shares the benefits from both a recipient and a donor.