Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

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Happy World Breastfeeding Week!!!

Although my site has gotten away from all the mama stuff that makes me, me. I am actually a very strong advocate of breastfeeding, as some may know.

In celebration I'm going to be doing a bit of my own sharing,be it stories, favorite links or unedited thoughts on what Breastfeeding means in my life!

If you have a post of your own you would like to share in relation to breastfeeding, this weeks celebration, or anything on topic to share with me, and other readers, please use the link up at the end up this post so we can read your stories as well!
How I Became the "Crazy Nursing Chick" that I am now & What I Have Learned a Long the Way.
Crunchy was something that 5 years ago, I only related to chips. Crunchy, chips.. food..hhmmm.

When I was pregnant with Andy, I remember Mike saying "Well, he'll sleep in our room." And me looking at him like he was crazy. The first time I was asked if I'd breastfeed, or formula feed, I thought for a second, remembered my mom breastfed me & said "Breastfeed.I'm sure"

I thought all of about 5 seconds about these things before I jumped into the world of Mom forums, book reading & information gathering. I just assumed I'd do something, I just didn't know what.

I, like many of you, have been reading so many breastfeeding stories & articles lately. I read a blog entry written by a dad, about his breastfeeding thoughts & decided I'd jump on board & write my own for World Breastfeeding Week.

This is the story of how I went from just a young pregnant mom who had no idea , to an "crunchy mom" in the midst of a 4 year nursing streak. Something that I never saw coming.

I remember living in Florida, as I told you all about before in my How I met my Husband series (start with part one, if you're so inclined) I found myself pregnant, living 1300 miles from anyone I knew & pretty alone. So, I found a world that I was quite sure had died out when I turned 14. The Internet. I found myself on AOL parenting boards & suddenly was immersed in a world of mothers, both prior & soon to be first, sharing thoughts, our pregnancies & so much information swirling around I couldn't wrap my head around it.

Somehow I found myself taken in & grouped with some of the "crunchy" mom's, as they were called. I learned that car seats shouldn't be chosen based on the print, or which is cutest(who knew?!). I also found myself reading as many books& articles as I could. Inevitably, I decided that yes, I would be breastfeeding. I knew my mom did it, in fact, she was a LLL leader in her town & extended nursed both my sister & I into toddlerhood. I learned that my mother in law nursed Mike into toddler hood as well. I read dozens of breastfeeding books.

So That's What They're For! was the top recommended book by every mom, or breastfeeding advocate that I "met."
However, the book that gave me the most knowledge, factual information & inevitably was my most helpful breastfeeding book is Nursing Your Baby by Karen Pryor & Gale Pryor

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn to have a successful nursing relationship that they feel informed & supported by. I got some amazing facts & information from that book while pregnant with Andy. If I had to say one reading material helped me most in my nursing relationship, I would say that book is it. Hands down.

It's funny, I don't consider myself Green, or Crunchy,or Granola which are often words you hear associated with mothers like myself, who do things like cloth diaper, co-sleep & extended breastfeeding. I've recycled my whole life, had a garden in my back yard as long as I can remember & my own parents cloth diapered me, nursed me & I took up space in their bed for plenty of years. To me, these things ARE "normal." So, for me, the choice to breastfeed was pretty simple.

Also..We were/are young & kinda poor, still. Breastmilk is free. That is always a perk. I looked once at what formula cost & about died. holy crap man! I never checked again. I am still in sticker shock.

This is my favorite list, of 101 reasons to breastfeed.. Here are some of the reasons I chose breastfeeding for us:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding:In addition, human milk-fed premature infants receive significant benefits with respect to host protection and improved developmental outcomes compared with formula-fed premature infants…Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child."

Breast milk is always ready and comes in a nicer package than formula does

Breast milk provides perfect infant nutrition
"Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding and is species-specific; all substitute feeding options differ markedly from it. The breastfed infant is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short and long-term benefits."

Breast milk acts like a natural tranquilizer for baby Mother's milk contains chemicals that seem to work like "knock-out drops" for tired babies. Even if baby doesn't fall asleep, he/she will certainly calm down and become more agreeable. If you choose to breastfeed into toddlerhood, you may find that the "terrible twos" never materialize.

Breast milk is a treatment for many common "illnesses" Have pink eye? A shot of breast milk clears it up (and other eye irritants, however, I personally don't recommend doing this if you are nursing while pregnant, as the saltiness of the milk from the hormonal change makes eye balls BURN!!!) Dry skin from eczema? Give it a shot of boob juice! Baby got some diaper rash? Mama milk oughta clear that right up a long with a little diaper free air time.

Breastfeeding acts like a natural tranquilizer for mom..I am down with this part, especially.

Breastfeeding also helps to prevent so many illnesses & diseases in both mother AND child that I could go on for days.. But instead, you should read the full 101 reasons for yourself, some of them are pretty interesting. The list of reasons why breast milk is awesome is endless!

Here are some famous breastfeeding mothers:

Madeline Albright, Secretary of State
Anita Baker, singer
Kim Basinger (actress)
Valerie Bertinelli, actress
Christie Brinkley, model
Hillary Clinton
Katie Couric, host Today
Diana, Princess of Wales
Celine Dion, singer
Jennie Garth
Tipper Gore, Al Gore's wife
Linda Hamilton, actress
Hannah, Mother of Samuel
Faith Hill, singer
Michael Jordan's Mom bf him for 3 years and said "I feel this is why he is the athlete he is."
Lucy Lawless, actress
Sophia Lauren, actress
Pamela Anderson Lee (with implants)
Madonna, singer and actress
Mary, Mother of Jesus
Elle MacPherson, model
Miss Lillian bf President Jimmy Carter, but bottlefed Billy
Demi Moore, actress
Deborah Norville
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Pele's Mom bf him
Kelly Preston (actress)
Princess Grace of Monaco, LLLI conference speaker
Queen Elizabeth II of England breastfed Prince Charles
Queen Sirikit of Thailand breastfed her 4 children
Mary Lou Retton, gymnast, Olympic gold medalist
Patricia Richardson, actress (twins)
Cathy Rigby, gymnast, Olympic gold medalist
Joan Rivers, talk show host and comedienne
Eleanor Roosevelt
Connie Selleca, actress*
Jane Seymour, actress (of Dr. Quinn fame), twins*
Cybil Shepard, actress (twins)
Maria Shriver, actress/news correspondant
Nicole Brown Simpson
Carly Simon, singer*
Susan St. James, actress
Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Britain
Lindsay Wagner*

* These women are or did breastfeed for an extended (normal) period of time. These were known for certain.

I think that is an impressive list! Then again I find it a little sad that is has to be so impressive, when, if you think about it.. and strip away well, everything!! Breastfeeding is sort of how well..life continues as nature intended.Mate,feed young from self.Child grows.It mates. Feeds Young from self. If you walk into nature,be it a barn where animals are being born, or the jungle.. I mean..we are mammals. Right?

A dolphin nurses about 4 times an hour, for between 1.5-3 ( even more depending on the specific case) years with their young. I mean.If you were a dolphin mom you would be kinda like.. .swim swim.. damnit, Wally is on me again!!

If you wanted the breast milk of an mammal that would be a closest genetic match to the needs or your child ( because milk changes to be specific, for the intended drinkers genetic makeup & it's needs) to your own, you would not use cow, or goat milk, you would need to get some boob juice from a gorilla or chimpanzee. Good luck chasing one of those around with a Pump in Style!!

Of course, no..it isn't for everyone & I as a mother know that what works for one mother doesn't always work for another so.. I'll say this. As a mother, I also know how easily it is to feel judged, or even second guess yourself with you compare your parenting methods to others, or they compare them for you. I think that as long as you feed your baby ( this doesnt mean chips & Pepsi, though, ok?) be it breast milk, or formula, and YOU are happy with that decision and it works for you AND your child, than that is really all that matters! :-)

For me, once I decided I'd be breastfeeding that was the end of the subject. I had no bottles or formula in our house, all the free samples that showed up were promptly donated.

I believe that the key to my breastfeeding success lies in the fact that I didn't give it an option not to be. I never second guessed myself, or worried about it, I just knew it was what would happen.

That doesn't mean I didn't hear things to deter me! As many mothers know, when you are pregnant the world seems to lose its filter.

"Suuureee strange old person in Walmart..pat my belly!! I'm sure if I randomly patted your beer belly that would go over well."

"Why thank you! I AM huge! And you are shockingly ugly.Yes, You enjoy your day now too!!"

I mean really.. what is the deal people? So when I had mothers whom I'd just met coming up to me at cook outs asking if I'd breastfeed I was getting used for these type of encounters.

me- "Yes"

them-"Oh ggawwddd.. it's AWFUL. Don't even do it, I'm telling you!"

me- "Oh!! Yikes, how long did you do it for?"

them- "Chhhaa.. like.. 6 whole days!! I'm telling you..it's AWFUL. And it hurts, and who wants saggy boobs anyway, right?"

Well, luckily, after I had Andy, in 2007 it was proven , that saggy breasts after having children are actually not from breastfeeding, but from the actual pregnancy it self. So, you nay sayers out there can check that one right off your "scare" list.

It's not to say that sometimes, hearing these things didn't give me pause, but somehow, just knowing it was what was going to happen,because it just needed to & that was that, worked for me! I just never gave myself an opportunity to doubt myself, and somehow, it worked out great for me!!

I know..lucky me right?

I met Andy when he was over an hour old. I had laid shaking on an ER table staring at the clock while a nurse made sure to listen to none of my prior requests & my in shock husband stood by. I remember, my mom had to ask them to finally give me Andy when they wheeled me into recovery where he was being cleaned up. She was gruff, and unhelpful. Luckily, Andy latched on & off we went, down the hall to our room where he latched on again...And again...

And again & again & again. I just offered him to nurse whenever he seemed like he might want to. I mean, right? You have a baby with only about 2-3 instincts, eat, sleep, poop. So, I can give him the eat & if he doesn't want it, he can stop, right?

Well, no. I was supposed to be switching him to the other side after 10 minutes, then writing it down & all sorts of crap. I was a bit confused.

After three very very very long days of being told what to do & quite frankly? Being too cracked out from oh ya know..major surgery, drugs & oh yeah..three days of no sleep.. I lost it.

I mean..pure hormonal after birth lost it.

Yeah..some of you mamas are nodding with me. You know.

A nurse walked in to check on me, she had been on her shift when I first came in with Andy, she'd told me to get some sleep, as I'd been really tired.

She stopped & looked at me... "Have you slept yet???"


"Holy cr..er.. Wait, why are you stopping him?" she watched as I switched Andy to the other breast.

I explained how nope, we hadn't slept & they keep telling me to switch him. That one doctor even scolded me for refusing to give him a pacifier "Your just going to be sore then."


"Ohh..honey. You're just taking him off when he's only half way filled up! No wonder,let HIM tell you when he's done. He'll pull off when he has had enough & will likely zonk out for hours, all my boys did!"

I am fairly sure I just blinked at her. She smiled & sat down as Andy nursed for about 20 more minutes. Sure enough, suddenly his little lips unlocked with a smack & he lolled off into his first solid period of sleep.

She smiled & left. I woke from a nap to hear she had recommended that I was ready to be discharged, and had gone ahead & seen what she could do to speed that up for us.

I don't remember her name. But I will never ever forget her.

The only problems Andy & I encountered were engorgement ( not as cool as you might think, men!) and thrush, which we battled for 6 months until we resolved it. With each issue, instead of looking at it as a reason to stop, I reminded myself that for every problem there is a solution.

I became familiar with websites like KellyMom as well as referred to my books. I used the nurse & practitioner forum for Dr. Thomas Hale, who writes the yearly publication Medication and Mothers Milk.

I keep the yearly edition on hand to take with me to doctors appointments to use for my own referral. As we all know, I'm a-ok with never working a day again in my life, and luckily, we manage to make that work for us, however, when my children are grown, my plan is to become an IBCLC. I don't necessarily want to work for a hospital,hell, I might even do it on a donated time basis but I'd like to establish sort of a working program with my local doctors to help as an informant so that other mothers who are breastfeeding & have doctors tell them things like "...Uhhh.. well. Just wean then." when they seek medical attention for an reason know that they have other options, that their doctor is just a breastfeeding moron.
((This is where I give you a nice blink & a grin))
It sucks. And can be preventable.I feel strongly enough about this cause, profession & the need for it that I would like to help minimize this dilemma.
When I became pregnant with Ryan, Andy was 12 months and one week old. I didn't know what would happen, but he nursed through my pregnancy & continued to nurse until he was 3.5.

Ryan is still nursing, at 28 months old & was solely breastfed as well, while also tandem nursing with his brother from the day he came home from the hospital.

Believe me. I have plenty to say about nursing. But I'll keep it short.

What works for me, might not work for you.

But for me, I'm pretty proud of myself. I mean. I'm basically awesome. I grew AND nourished two babies with out a drop of formula, and two of them at the same time.
I am kind of a big deal.
So cheers to my fellow nursing mamas. Be it a week, 6 months or 5 years. Every ounce counts.
To those who aren't sure it is for them, I say..I have never met anyone who regrets nursing their baby. You have nothing to lose from trying, and a lot to gain. You never know if it is right for you until you try, and that is often half the battle.
So, ask for help, surround yourself with people who want you to succeed in your nursing relationship, ignore the nay sayers & give it a whirl.
Happy Breastfeeding Week, everyone!!
If you have a link you would like to include, a story or an article, even a good website or joke, feel free to do so below!
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