Saturday, December 31, 2011

happy new year!

One year ago, I was the parent of one daughter, and seven months pregnant with another. My only experience with breastfeeding had gone horribly, and as I anxiously anticipated the birth of Baby S, I wondered if I would have success or another failure.

Today, one year later, I am the parent of a 2 year old daughter, a ten month old daughter, a stepmom of a 13 and 8 years old girls (2011 saw the partial resolution of a long, bitter, custody argument that is still going on- don't ask). And, I am happy to add, I have experienced 10 months of wonderful breastfeeding.

Sure, we've had our ups and downs. The downs: nipple pain and engorged breasts in the first months, marathon feeding sessions that seemed to last 23 hours a day, leaking breasts and pumping troubles. But we've also had our incredible ups: immediate latching, the cozy warm oxytocin feelings, the snuggling and fun, the success in the nursing in public forays, the sense of accomplishment and the digesting of the negative feelings that came with feeding Toddler B. As I look back, it's easy to overlook the downs because of the incredible ups!

What's up for this next year? As our goal is to breastfeed for at least two years, I hope to experience another successful breastfeeding year. I have read that breastfeeding a toddler comes with it's own issues (the energy! the gymnastics!), but I feel prepared and ready to meet whatever comes my way.

Here's to another happy breastfeeding new year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

nursing olympics

Gone are the days of the sweet little newborn nursing quietly at my side. Enter the days of the squirmy, energetic, distracted baby- also known as the Toddler Nursing Olympics.

Baby S has a new favorite game. When we lay down in the bed to nurse before nap or bedtime, she'll lay on her side and eat for about 2 seconds before wiggling onto her belly and sitting up. She will then laugh and bounce around before zeroing in on my breast. She'll stare at it, smile, and then- dive bomb! She bobs down quickly like a little bird and latches onto my nipple, drinking and bouncing on her butt for a few seconds before unlatching, laughing, and doing it all over again.

Another variation is when she dive bombs, drinks, and then falls onto her belly. She'll twist her little face to drink and then stick her butt up in the air. After nursing for a couple of seconds she'll unlatch and push herself up into a crawl position, laugh, and do it all over again.

While annoying sometimes, and frustrating when I am trying to get her to sleep, I mainly am just enjoying this stage. Her energy and general bounciness are adorable. The faces she makes never fail to make me laugh, even if I have to stifle my laughter if I am trying to keep a straight "go to sleep" face. It's clear that she loves nursing, and loves me. Who wouldn't be happy with that?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

topsy turvy

Nobody likes moving- me least of all. The packing and carrying and heaving and hauling and losing things. Then the carrying and heaving and hauling and unpacking and organizing and all that.. so much time and effort! Add two needy children to the mix and it is all-consuming.

Plus, to make matters worse, we are not even moving into a permanent place. We are moving from our apartment to my sister's house (who has moved out of state for the next few months), where we will stay until April before moving yet again into a permanent place. So we have to bring the things that we need with us, and store everything else.

Luckily, I don't need to pack up my breasts and breast milk- they are a part of my package! No misplacing a breast along the way! Hee hee. But I am having an issue with our pump and bottle storage system.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

breastfeeding inspiration- christmas morning edition!

Guido Reni (1628-30) Madonna and Child

Merry Christmas to all of you mamas and nurslings out there!

Friday, December 23, 2011

nip update- holiday version

We've come a long way from the first days of nursing in public. How do I know? Reflecting on our recent holiday dinner.

Perhaps some people don't consider nursing in front of family the same as nursing out in the general public, but I do. My family is not the most open and sharing. My parents were not at my birth, holding my legs as the baby popped out. After Toddler B was born, my mother advised that I get "properly dressed" and not try to nurse in front of my brother-in-law because it "made him nervous" (which it didn't, and I didn't). Nursing in front of my father during a trip this summer stressed me out to no end.

But on Tuesday, at our Hannukkah dinner, I realized I didn't care anymore. Baby S wants to eat? No problem. I sat myself down on the couch, popped my boob out, and fed her. I didn't bother to try to cover up- what was there to see? I didn't feel nervous, or stressed. I didn't think about what my father, or brother, or mother would think. I just did what I had to do.

I think that my family is more comfortable with it as well. A couple of months ago, my dad and brother would notice me nursing and make excuses to walk out of the room. Now they stay. They're not sitting next to me, but they don't leave the room. I think this is great! Look at how far we have all come, as a family! Nobody talks about it, but it's clear that it has become a normal occurrence. I hope that my sister and sister-in-law notice this- when it comes time for them to nurse, hopefully they won't feel as nervous as I did in the beginning.

I'm happy that I spent all that time forcing myself to do it, and to be comfortable with it. Yay to me and yay to us!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

the crab

Today we went to a birthday party at my partner's cousin's house. I was looking forward to it- plenty of cousins and aunties who love to engage and cuddle with Toddler B, and (I thought) Baby S is now at the stage where she can play on the floor with the other babies and toddlers and amuse herself. I imagined a couple of hours of sitting back and gabbing with the cousins, stress free.


What happened? First mistake- while we waited to leave so that Toddler B could have a nice long nap, we didn't bother trying to put Baby S down for a nap since I figured that she would sleep on the long car ride and continue sleeping for a bit once we got there. Seemed like a good plan, and got off to a good start- she fell asleep immediately in the car and even slept once we got there... for about 3 minutes. Perhaps I should have put her in the quiet bedroom instead of leaving her in the noisy living room. Oops. First step to the crab.

Monday, December 12, 2011

maria lactans

Lately I've been coming across some interesting images of Mary (mother of Jesus) squirting milk at some saint. The first time I saw it, I have to admit that I did a double take, but I wasn't too surprised. Catholicism seems to be full of weirdness like this- people getting swallowed by whales, flowers appearing out of nowhere, statues coming to life and squirting breast milk at you. Nothing out of the ordinary here, you know.

The pictures represent the the story of Saint Bernard. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) knelt one day in front of a statue of the Virgin and Child and asked her, “Show yourself to be a mother.”  While in a dream-like trance, Mary responded by pressing her breast near his lips and nourishing him with her milk.

The story seems to have spread from Spain, and is shown a few different ways: with Mary shooting milk at his mouth (representing an oracle being received), at his eyes (representing clairvoyance), or at his forehead (representing wisdom being received). 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

giveaway: pregnancy mama merit badge

In honor of Toddler B's second (!) birthday, I'm giving away another Mama Merit Badge from Mama Scout.

Two years ago tonight I was sitting in a hospital room wondering about the little girl that was about to come out of my body and watching Las Mananitas being sung to La Virgen on Univision. Little did I know that it would be almost another full 24 hours until I met her!

I had already enjoyed 38 weeks of pregnancy. Yes, there was nausea and uncomfortableness, watching my body stretch to unimaginable proportions, enduring the monotony of a lentil diet as I struggled with gestational diabetes, pains in my legs and sleepless nights. But there was also the beauty of knowing that I was growing a person inside of me. For 9 months, she was all mine, safe and swimming in my womb. I walked around with the constant feeling of having a special secret in me, of carrying something precious. The bond we had during that time was irreplaceable- just her and me, me and her. I will never forget it.

This badge is for all you mamas who have felt this pleasure and pain. The description of this badge puts it nicely:

This badge is for creating, growing and protecting life inside your own body. For enduring strangers that rub on you, invasive doctor's visits, horribly personal questions from everyone you come in contact with, and being treated like helpless child, you are ready to wear this badge. If you have swelled, stretched, vomited, peed yourself or watched your body transform into something barely recognizable, you have earned this!

Ever think, I should get a medal for this?!? Amy Bowers is a mother from Florida who creates them! Reward yourself and fellow mamas with badges for pregnancy, breastfeeding, tantrums, sex and more. Visit her Mama Scout shop on Etsy, buy badges at, or follow her blogCheck out her thoughts on breastfeeding and more in our interview with her done in fall 2011.

One lucky Breastfed reader will win the pregnancy merit badge. Enter below with Rafflecopter!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by Life With LeviThe Slacker Mom and Diary of a Devil Dog Wife.

The topic of this week's Breastfeeding Blog Hop is words of encouragement- what encouragement have I received or what can I say for other breastfeeding mothers?

I think some of the best words that I heard when I was having issues breastfeeding Toddler B were "I had problems with breastfeeding too" and "breastfeeding's not always easy". I can't tell you how isolated I felt when at first all I was hearing was other moms telling me how easy it was for them, about how their milk let down so fast, blah blah blah. Their Niagra Falls-like supply, how their baby latched on before it was even out of the womb, how I just needed to put my baby to the breast (like I had never thought to try that... ). I felt like such an outcast, the worst mother in the world- not even fit to be a mother, obviously, since I couldn't do what came so naturally to every other woman under the sun.

Friday, December 2, 2011

interview and giveaway: faith hope trick print and digital design

What gets you through motherhood? No, not the fun, cuddly times- that's easy. I'm talking about the hard times. The sleepless nights, the crabby fights with the partner, being covered with poop as you're trying to get out of the house to work, the leaky boobs and crying babies. 

Sometimes we need to look at something that inspires us and makes us smile a bit. That's why I'm loving the print designs from the shop Faith Hope Trick Print and Digital Design. Along with birth announcements and party invitations, owner and mother Amy Nucera creates prints that delight the eyes and the mind. I was drawn in by her lovely breastfeeding inspired prints.

Today Amy shares with us her personal experiences with breastfeeding and some advice for mamas who are interested in starting their own businesses. Read on for an interview with Amy and details for how to win a package of her fun and inspiring breastfeeding prints!

What inspired you to create your breastfeeding designs?
Breastfeeding is a cause near and dear to my heart (quite literally, as I am a breastfeeding mother myself). Before I had my daughter, I was only vaguely aware of what breastfeeding entailed, or that there were so many people and places available to me that I could go for help and support. I saw more and more mothers giving up, or not trying at all, because of a lack of education and support. Knowing what a wonderful experience it could be for mother and child I wanted other mothers to have the same opportunity-to educate, encourage and support other women in their breastfeeding journeys. 

When my daughter was about a year old I found a wonderful local organization called the Nursing Mother's Advisory Council (NMAC) that shares these goals. NMAC ( is a non-profit, volunteer organization serving areas of Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania and is comprised of a group of trained volunteer women who have breastfed their children and who wish to help others have a positive nursing experience. NMAC volunteers offer support and counseling, free of charge, without judgment. They offer a bi-annual training class for new peer counselors, which I completed last May. It seemed a natural extension to combine my two passions-design and breastfeeding advocacy-so I created some materials specifically for nursing mama's.

Share some of your personal breastfeeding experience with us.
Breastfeeding has been a wonderful experience for me and my daughter. Going in, I wasn't what you would call "gung ho" about the whole thing. I figured I would try it but honestly didn't expect to stick with it. No one was more surprised than me that we ended up exclusively breastfeeding with such success. 

When she was about 5 months old, I had to have a mass removed from my right breast (thankfully, benign). Faced with the possibility of having to stop nursing while recovering, I found that I was more determined than ever to continue. My doctor was very supportive and we were able to get through the surgery and recovery while continuing to breastfeed. Now, I'm breastfeeding a toddler and couldn't imagine having done it any other way. My daughter is happy, healthy and well-adjusted, and I have no doubt that this is in no small part to our positive breastfeeding relationship. 

Any advice for new breastfeeding mothers?
Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn't always come naturally to all mothers and babies (I know it didn't for me). Educate yourself as much as you can beforehand so you know what to expect. Talk to other nursing moms, read books and articles, watch videos, and consider taking a breastfeeding class (offered by most hospitals) some time in your third trimester. Enlist the support of your doctor-make sure he or she knows your intent to breastfeed and that they are supportive. Establish a support system: your baby's father, friends, family, and other nursing mothers. 

Breastfeeding can be challenging and time consuming-especially in the first few weeks-and you'll want to have others around to ask questions and provide emotional support. Don't be shy about seeking help when you need it, whether it be from friends, family, a peer counselor or a lactation consultant. You can seek out a support group in your area-even if breastfeeding is going well, these groups are a wonderful way to connect with other nursing mothers and babies. Lastly, be aware that it does get easier as you and your little one get used to each other and find your rhythm.

Any advice for mamas that want to start their own business?
For me, what worked was going with what I knew (graphic design) and combining it with the things I love. My designs tend to reflect things that I enjoy in my own life: pop culture, family, breastfeeding. I believe this makes my designs more personal, and, in turn, more successful. I did a lot of research and started slow, learning from others and from my own experiences how to fine tune my shop and my products. 

It's a continual learning curve for me. Get yourself out there and advertise yourself, both on the web and in "real life". If people can't find you, they can't buy from you. I enjoy what I do, which for me is the key to not giving up, even when things are slow. To that end I would also say to not be discouraged if things start off slowly. I didn't make my first sale for a few months after I opened my shop, but business has steadily picked up since then. I may not be ready to quit my day job, but there's something immensely satisfying about selling my own original designs.

Thanks Amy! Check out her prints, birth announcements, party invitations and Christmas designs at her Etsy shop:

In addition, Faith Hope Trick is offering two Breastfed readers a chance to win one of two amazing breastfeeding print packages:

Package #1

Package #2
Package 1:
One (1) "Start Your Day With Two Jugs of Milk" print, 8x12"

One (1) "Keep Calm and Nurse On" print, 5x7
Twenty (20) "Thank You for Nursing in Public" cards, 2x3.5"

Package 2:
One (1) "Keep Calm and Nurse On" print, 8x12"
One (1) "Breastfeeding is a Mother's Gift" print (pink), 5x7
Twenty (20) "Thank You for Nursing in Public" cards, 2x3.5"

Follow directions on the Rafflecopter to enter. Don't forget to click "I Did This!" after completing a step. Good luck!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

the endocrinologist and the formula

Had an interesting interaction with a doctor today. We were at the endocrinologist to discuss some tests for Toddler B. The doctor, Dr. Sunni, was asking us about Toddler B's time in the NICU after she was born.

I informed her that Toddler B had been given a good amount of Similac for two weeks in the NICU as we had big issues with establishing breastfeeding. She looked at me, and after a long pause said, "Well, their marketing states that they are very similar to breast milk." I said that it might say that, but I disagreed, although I was thankful that it helped to keep her alive. Dr. Sunni smiled and changed the subject.

I thought this was really interesting- notice that she didn't say that Similac is similar to breast milk. She said that their marketing states that they are similar to breast milk. This tells me that she personally does not believe what their marketing tells us, but perhaps as a hospital employee she is not allowed to state this.

What do you think? Has anyone had a similar experience? Do you know of hospital staff that are not allowed to say that formula is not as good as breast milk? I would be curious to hear.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...