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Sweet Pea Births

Chandler, Arizona

Sweet Pea Births

...celebrating every swee​t pea their birth

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Keep Calm and Feed Your Baby

Posted on July 27, 2014 at 2:56 PM Comments comments (0)
breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival! This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding in public. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

Today’s prompt: Breastfeeding in public. We all know that life goes on while breastfeeding and leaving the house means breastfeeding in public. Tell us your stories, thoughts, and so on.
 
The last nine years have seen a huge evolution in the way I nurse in public.  I have gone from nursing our children under a blanket or nursing cover to nursing without a cover.  My comfort zone for nursing in public has been stretched from nursing an infant, to nursing a one-year old, to suggesting that nursing could wait until we got home after our children hit the second birthday mark.  Our fourth child would not accept that answer.  My comfort zone for breastfeeding when we are out of our home has been stretched again.
 
I know that my comfort in doing so exists only because I have seen other women around me nurse older children.  If it had not been for their casual attitude, and the knowledge that breastfeeding is much more than breastmilk, I do not think I would have made the choice to keep nursing an older child outside of our home.
 
As she approaches her third birthday, I am starting to draw the line.  I will ask her to wait until we get home to nurse, and if she doesn’t accept that answer, I ask her to wait until we are in the car.  At night, I can tell when she asks to nurse because she is bored, versus actually wanting to nurse because she is sleepy and ready for bed.  So we are still negotiating, and I am now a mother a Sweet Pea who turns three on October 1 and still nurses in public.
 
For any mother that is feeling uneasy with nursing in public, I would encourage you to remember that your baby relies on you to be their center, their comfort, their safe place.  If anyone outside of that has an opinion that is just too bad.  If it is family, set clear expectations: in our home, I will do what I need to do to meet our child’s needs.  If you are in their home, ask them where they would like you to nurse the baby.  Respect that, and as time passes, you may find that their attitude relaxes.  It is especially helpful if your partner can build up the nursing relationship while you are nursing, telling the family how proud they are of you and how your baby is not just surviving, but thriving and growing well thanks to your commitment to breastfeed.
 
If you find yourself with a hungry, inconsolable Sweet Pea and you are out among strangers, set yourself up for success the first few times.  Find a women’s lounge in an upscale department store, or ask to use a dressing room, or maybe a quiet corner somewhere, so that you and your Sweet Pea can both settle down and nurse.  As your confidence grows, you may not be as anxious to find more secluded places.  You will soon find that any seating area is a place where you and Sweet Pea can take a break and breastfeed.  All those other people – release the worry of offending others.  They are fleeting observers who will never again be in your life.  And who knows – your example may help normalize breastfeeding for another person, or lend confidence to a future parent who is inspired by your example.
 
Another idea I suggest to gain confidence is to travel in numbers.  Go to a breastfeeding support group where you can see how other people nurse in public, and where you will not be in the minority if you want to breastfeed.  Go out and have playdates or share meals with other breastfeeding MotherBabys.  It is very unlikely that a whole group of you will be intimidated or approached.  Lastly, know the breastfeeding laws in your area.  Most states protect breastfeeding in public and if you are lawfully present in a public space, then you are “allowed” to breastfeed.  See breastfeeding laws state by state HERE.

You will learn and grow through the whole process of motherhood.  Nursing in public is just one small subset of skills you will learn as life goes on after your Sweet Pea’s Birth-Day.

What are your tips to help a mama be more confident with nursing in public?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

Mommy Con: Abby from The BA Breastfeeder

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 6:53 AM Comments comments (0)
Mommy Con founder Xza Louise Higgins envisioned that the conferences would be about delivering quality information and products to mothers around the country.  The Los Angeles event did all that and more!  See our vendor coverage HERE on our SPF blog, and check out the Babywearing Fashion Show HERE, and scenes from the Babywearing World Record HERE.  

To close out this amazing day, a fourth speaker took the stage at 3:00 pm. Milkin' Cookies sponsored an appearance by Abby Theuring from The Badass Breastfeeder.  She came up to address the dedicated mamas (and some partners!) who had been in attendance with their nurslings since 10:00 am.  Her message was about taking up the cause to normalize breastfeeding.

Here are the notes from her speech:

She had an interaction with women at the post office who asked her about breastfeeding when they saw her nursing in public.  As she walked away, she reflected on the conversation.  While it had been awkward to talk at length with strangers about breastfeeding, she realized that by breastfeeding her toddler in public, when had just opened up the possibilities to the women she had been talking to.  The next time they saw someone nursing in public, they would get it…and if they ever saw another woman breastfeeding a toddler, they wouldn’t think to themselves, "I’ve never seen that before"…they would remember her.

Before we are pregnant for the first time, we have a totally different relationship with our breasts.  She put on a non-nursing bra from her drawer the other day and realized that before parenthood, her bras were all about putting breasts on display, in your face; and that is how it is in society – breasts are displayed.**

Latch a baby onto that breast – it freaks people out!! It doesn’t matter that it is natural – people don’t want to see it.

Nursing In Public – everyone can do that.  We can start a chain of events – every mom has the power to normalize breastfeeding.

We are all fighting the fight.
Fight for worthy causes – NIP is one of them.
This is a cause where all we have to do is show up.

Live life.
Lead life.
Breastfeed as you want to do.
Makes us happy no matter where we are.

Breastfeeding moms were backed into a corner when formula became “the norm”.  Breastfeeding moms were scared to go out of the house – we need to reclaim the norm!

Her first breastfeeding experience was an awful experience – not nice, soft and fuzzy like all the pictures.  Every day she thought breastfeeding was over – and then it wasn’t.  By three months, her child was off formula, and at 26 months, her child is still breastfeeding.

There are sleepless nights with a newborn.  The first few months of parenting, you feel like a drunk person.  Time is upside down.  You are going to the emergency room because you don’t know what is wrong with your baby.  Then you learn.  And keep learning.

Breastfeeding is proven to be able to change society.  We can change the norms.  We can raise healthy children who in turn become healthy, whole adults.

Norms are caused by what people are doing.  We have the opportunity to start a new cycle:
Start breastfeeding
Start nursing in public
Empower breastfeeding from the start
When it’s an observers turn or our children’s turn, they do the same

Empowerment is contagious
Empowerment is progressive
It begins to infiltrate our parenting, every aspect of life

For example: pregnant with horrible morning sickness.  Get up. Throw Up. Go to work.  Continue to throw up.  Who does that??  Yet you get through it and move on.  (I think her point was that if you can make that shift for your pregnancy/child, you start making other shifts in thinking for your child, i.e., NIP even if it is out of your "norm".)

From her social worker background, she liked rules – she liked structure.  Parenting is anything but that.

Mothers are the foundation of civilization.  It is time for mothers to lead the way.

**This rang so true for me!! That morning, I figured I would throw on my last pretty, underwire bra that I have since I was not going to bring a nursling with me.  The second I had it on properly – O My Gosh – I couldn’t wait to take it off!! It was incredibly uncomfortable.  So back to my trusty nursing bra I went…I felt like I could breathe again.

Want to get more scoop on the Mommy Con experience?
HERE are my notes from Dr. Robert Sears - He talked about vaccinations during pregnancy, postpartum, and for infants.
 
HERE are the notes from Jessica Martin-Weber of The Leaky [email protected]@b - Her talk was about parenting and being confident as a parent.
 
HERE are the notes from January Harshe of Birth Without Fear - Her talk was about the choices we make around birth and forming a support community.


Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 

Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Reflections: Being A Breastfeeding Family

Posted on August 30, 2013 at 2:52 PM Comments comments (0)
This is part of an "In Their Own Words" series in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month 2013.  Here at Sweet Pea Births we celebrate and honor all breastfeeding relationships, and want to share these stories with you to empower and inspire you.  No matter how the journey starts, with help, support, and persistence, most mothers can achieve the breastfeeding relationship they want with their nurslings.  If you would like to submit your story, please email me at krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com.  


Sweet Pea Births understands that not all mothers can or want to breastfeed.  These stories are shared for learning purposes, not to judge the choices we make when we feed our children.

Some Thoughts from Coach Bruss:
At the end of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, I wanted to give my perspective on how breast-feeding has impacted our family over 8 years and four children.

Like many (most?) first time Dads, I had no idea what we were in for when Krystyna first got pregnant in 2004.  Looking back, it's hard to fathom the depth of all the things I did not know.  What I did know that I was fully engaged and willing to do anything to support Krystyna in her pregnancy with our first child, and then continue that support as we became a new family together.  To that end, when K. asked to attend Bradley Method® natural birth classes, I wholeheartedly agreed and supported her though that first pregnancy.  When she committed to breast-feeding, I was certainly supportive but didn't really understand all that this meant. 

As I learned more and more, I found that breastfeeding, especially for first time mother is hard work.  It is a learned skill for both mother and child.   Many times it can be painful or uncomfortable for Moms.  Nursing in public brings on a whole other set of challenges.  Support in these early days took the form of listening to Krystyna, making sure her other needs were taken care of as much as possible so she could focus on learning and also being there with her in public when she was nursing to support her as much as I could.

As our family grew there was more to learn and do to support.  Krystyna and I became certified and are now teaching Bradley™ classes to a new generation of parents.  Through that process we learned more and more of the benefits of breastfeeding to both children *and* mothers, all that as we experienced those benefits first hand in our children.  

The health benefits of breastfeeding to children are well documented and while I *knew* this intrinsically, it was interesting in our studies to find out just how extensive these benefits are.  Additionally, I was surprised to learn how positive the impact was for mothers, most notably the decreased risk of breast cancer for those moms that breast-feed extensively.  

Lastly, and more anecdotally from me, the emotional benefit of all our children being breast-fed exclusively for a minimum of 6 months and then beyond, is so apparent in our children who all have a solid, positive relationship with Krystyna and who are all growing up as highly self-confident children.

So from my perspective, breastfeeding in our family has had an overwhelming positive impact on our health and well being.  It is a lot of work for Moms, a huge amount of commitment on their part.  The role of the Dad is to be as supportive as possible and realize that all the work is worth it in the end and will provide a lifetime of benefits to your family.

Best,
Bruss

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonWe are now enrolling for our Fall 2013 Series
The Bradley Method® for New Parents:
September 6, 2013 through November 22, 2013
Classes meet at 6:00 pm

Bradley™ “Next” – full series plus focus on sibling preparation
September 7, 2013 through November 23, 2013
Classes meet at 2:00 pm
 
For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected] 


In Their Own Words: Dana

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 7:58 AM Comments comments (0)
This is part of a "In Their Own Words" series in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month 2013.  Here at Sweet Pea Births we celebrate and honor all breastfeeding relationships, and want to share these stories with you to empower and inspire you that no matter what the journey, with help, support, and persistence, most mothers can achieve the breastfeeding relationship they want with their nurslings.  If you would like to submit your story, please email me at krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com.  


Sweet Pea Births understands that not all mothers can or want to breastfeed.  These stories are shared for learning purposes, not to judge the choices we make when we feed our children.

Dana's Story
Before having children, I never imagined myself nursing, let alone nursing for as long as I did.  The first few weeks after having my firstborn, Evan, were ridiculously difficult.  I was told he was tongue-tied and would have to be cut in order for him to latch properly.  It was absolutely miserable for me, not to mention painful.  Even the lactation consultant guffawed, saying that most women as sore as I was would have stopped nursing.  All of the material I read through, though, claimed that nursing was best.

I was a stay-at-home mom, formula is expensive as it is, and on one income the cost was prohibitive.  The savings we enjoyed by nursing was motivation enough for me to continue.  I persevered with the help and support of the warm line (confidential phone-in support) at the hospital I gave birth at, the lactation consultant, and my “then” husband (we divorced after our daughter was born).

Evan and I enjoyed a nursing relationship until he weaned at 16 months.  I didn't really want to stop nursing at that point, but we were down to just once a day, and he woke up one morning and refused to nurse.  He is feisty like that to this very day, so in hindsight I can understand.
  
Thankfully, when I gave birth to my daughter, two and a half years after my son, things went much smoother.  She took to the nipple like a champ - she's a girl that knows what she wants and how to get it!  

Although many of my family members thought I was off my rocker for nursing "so long," we nursed for 22 months.  The only reason for our cessation was that she would manipulate her bedtime routine.  She would tell me, “Mama, no nursies.”  I'd put her to bed, and 10 minutes later, she'd be screaming to nurse.  It took about three days of this behavior before I realized what she was doing.  She was putting off going to sleep for as long as she could "get away with."  Once it became a game like that, I guessed she was done.  We probably would have continued otherwise.  

Both of my kids never “appreciated” being covered, and thankfully, I lived in a community that celebrated and applauded nursing.  I was never embarrassed because in my mind this is how babies should be fed.  I've always been very supportive of others nursing as well, and I look forward to sharing my stories with those that need encouragement and inspiration.  

Nursing is such a wonderful and beautiful experience, and I am so happy that I shared that with my children.  I am content knowing that they were well nourished and well cared for.

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 
We are now enrolling for our Fall 2013 Series
The Bradley Method® for New Parents:
September 6, 2013 through November 22, 2013
Classes meet at 6:30 pm

Bradley™ “Next” – full series plus focus on sibling preparation
September 7, 2013 through November 23, 2013
Classes meet at 2:00 pm


For more information or to register, please call us at 602-684-6567 or email us at [email protected]




In Their Own Words: Kelly

Posted on August 9, 2013 at 9:22 AM Comments comments (22)
This is part of a "In Their Own Words" series in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month 2013.  Here at Sweet Pea Births we celebrate and honor all breastfeeding relationships, and want to share these stories with you to empower and inspire you that no matter what the journey, with help, support, and persistence, most mothers can achieve the breastfeeding relationship they want with their nurslings.  If you would like to submit your story, please email me at krystyna{at}sweetpeabirths{dot}com.


When I got closer to the end of my pregnancy with Cruz I knew without a doubt I was going to breastfeed him. I thought it was odd that so many people were curious about if I was going to or not. More than just close friends and family, acquaintances and random strangers even asked. It wasn't an option for me. Of course I would breastfeed him, why wouldn't I?

Growing up I had been told a few times my mom breastfed us. It was natural, normal. She told us how she'd have to feed us TWINS at the same time and when I was younger I never fully appreciated how difficult and draining that must have been. I didn't hear my mom tell me how hard it was. She mentioned how she was in contact with La Leche League (LLL) members and how her milk was so rich she was told she should consider donating her milk to milk banks. Even though I knew she did this for us, with us, I didn't blink an eye when all my dolls were fed through a bottle. I remember their puckered lips and fake bottles whose nipple fit perfectly in those lips.   Thankfully, pop culture didn't steer me away from breastfeeding. My natural instincts knew it was the only way to go.

When my nephew was born, I had the profound privilege of being a part of his first few weeks. Every moment I had I drove to my twin sister's house and helped in any way I knew how. Not having been around a lot of newborns in the past, and never having seen the difficulties of breastfeeding, it was surprising how much work it was! We'd get up in the middle of the night, he'd latch on, and either her husband or I (sometimes both at the same time) would help with the SNS (or Supplemental Nursing System, typically given to moms who have had given birth through Cesarean, or to moms whose milk wasn't coming in fast enough).

It was tough, he was hungry, we were tired. My sister tried as best she could for as long as she could in those first few weeks and even contacted help through her hospital. In the end, she decided the best thing for him was to give him formula. Although she felt as though she couldn't breastfeed him, she didn't give up without a fight. I'm thankful for spending those weeks with her, watching and helping her with that fight because I knew it would help me when I had my own children. 

Before Cruz was born, I was ready. I knew it was going to be hard. I knew that as natural as breastfeeding is, it's a skill that takes a while to hone. A skill that many women all over the world hone on their own, but for me, I'm grateful for the people in my life that were there to support me and for the ones who let me be a part of their struggles so I may be more knowledgeable.

I attended a LLL meeting in my weeks before his birth and I was adamant that a lactation consultant come to my room within 24 hours of Cruz's birth. I wanted to get support immediately so I didn't have to make the choice to give him bottles unless I knew I had tried everything and it was totally necessary, just as my sister had done. 

In the first few days home, I suffered painful engorgement and was on the phone with the lactation consultant almost daily. At his first well visit only a few days after his birth, I went to see the lactation consultant *again* to make sure his latch was good and I was “doing it right”. She reassured me everything was great.

By the time Cruz was three weeks old, I was still in a lot of pain every time he latched. It was so severe I would cry out in pain or silently cry. At that point I made yet another appointment with the lactation consultant. She referred me to the Ear Neck Throat doctors to look at a possible tongue-tie. She warned me it was considered a controversial procedure to correct it because many ENTs don’t consider tongue-tie an issue since “structurally” or physically there’s nothing “wrong” with the tongue. We went anyway.  A $5 copay later and he had told us he saw nothing wrong with Cruz’s tongue. 

Still in pain, I went to my local LLL meeting that week and described what I was going through. Although the leader prefaced the meeting that she was not an expert, but had two children with tongue-ties, she referred me to the head ENT at Oakland Children’s Hospital. It turned out Cruz didn’t have a classic tongue-tie in the front…he had an anterior tongue tie, in the back, on the sides. A simple swab of local anesthetic, a quick incision, not even a cry, and his latch immediately improved. Not only did it not hurt at all but he seemed happier too.

Fast forward to Cruz’s well check at 7 months…the pediatrician told us he had not gained one ounce since his last visit at 4 months, and although he had grown in length, his head did not grow at all either. We had three different nurses measure, including the one who usually does all of his measurements at these checks. I was told to get him to gain weight yesterday and hope that with the weight gain comes head/brain growth. I even questioned the growth charts they used at that office, asking to not compare him to formula fed babies, or babies who had started solids at four months old. It didn’t matter. At 7 months, he was deemed failure to thrive. I asked the pediatrician what to do. He was an exclusively breastfed baby who had just started solids but that was just for practice. She recommended less solids and to follow each nursing session with as much formula as he wanted. In the meantime, she recommended blood tests to rule out any diseases.

Not wanting to have to draw blood unless we needed to, I asked what the worst-case scenario was. She told me she wished I didn’t ask…she said worst cases were leukemia, or some rare childhood disease (I can’t remember what it was called) where he would not see his first birthday.

I immediately contacted my LLL leader for advice. He was a happy baby who not only made every age appropriate milestone, but he had made them earlier than his peers. He was even sleeping through the night for the entire month before we found out something was wrong! I had been nursing Cruz mostly on demand for months now. He would sometimes go even 4-5 hours and still didn’t show signs of hunger. Not even crying. Usually by the fourth hour, I would be painfully engorged so I would nurse him anyway, even if he didn’t show the signs. He happily nursed at any time, whether it was four minutes after nursing or four hours. 


I thought maybe my milk wasn’t fatty enough for him. I started taking twelve fenugreek (the amount at which I finally smelled like maple syrup) combined with four mothers milk plus a day. I started nursing him every two hours, both sides, for at least ten minutes each side. He was a distracted nurser and wouldn’t nurse very long if there were something else in the room that seemed fun to play with or look at and the only thing that I could do to keep him at the breast was to play some stupid fisher price app. I offered him up to eight ounces of formula after each nursing session. Sometimes he finished all eight ounces, sometimes he only wanted two ounces. I was also instructed to nurse him then offer a bottle every time he woke up in the middle of the night, assuming that if he did wake up, he woke out of hunger. 

We had to go in to the doctor’s office every other day for the first two weeks for weight and measurement checks (head and length). Within the first 48 hours he gained almost two pounds. By the end of the second week he had “caught up” to his own weight curve and his head had shown small growth (but any growth was a success).

Within thirty days all of the blood tests came back and they found nothing “wrong” with any of it. They chalked it up to not enough calories. I was able to slowly wean him off the formula when he was ten months old, starting with the bottles in the middle of the night. The last one I cut out was the bottle after nursing before bed. By the time he turned eleven months he was back to being only breastfed every three hours and any time he woke in the night (which at this point he had begun to wake three + times a night!).

By the time he turned one, we were able to increase his solid intake and I got the “all clear” to return to on demand nursing. Two weeks after his one-year birthday he contracted hand foot mouth and went on a nursing strike. Combined with no nursing and all of the supplements I was taking to maintain my increased supply for him (the fenugreek and mothers milk plus), I came down with mastitis. I took antibiotics, pumped, anf massaged it away.

To get Cruz to nurse again, we took a few baths together and I didn’t offer nursing to him. I just cuddled him and by the third bath, he had felt good enough to nurse again.

Cruz is now almost nineteen months old and I am no longer taking the mothers milk plus pills but am still taking four fenugreek pills a day. I’m thankful I was able to get down to only four gradually without hurting my supply or risking a plugged duct or worse. Other than nursing to nap and at bedtime, he still nurses on demand which some days feels like it’s all day, and others it feels like it’s only to nap and to bed. Cruz still wakes between two or three (sometimes four to five) times a night to nurse when he’s not teething. When he’s teething, he will either stay latched on all night or wake at least once every twenty to forty-five minutes!

Because of everything we went through, especially after he was four months old, I felt like a failure. I felt like I was starving my child and didn’t even know it. I was inhibiting his growth and sabotaged my own supply by not catching on to his cues (if he even showed any). How did I miss the fact that he wasn’t getting enough? I looked for all the tell tale signs of hunger. To this day I harbor a lot of guilt and sadness. Although he’s thriving now, I can’t bring myself to trust when he says he’s not hungry or walks away from the table like most toddlers do. I’m supposed to trust that he will eat when he’s hungry. I’m supposed to trust that he will graze and barely eat some days like toddlers do, then sometimes eat like there’s no tomorrow like toddlers do. Everyday I battle with trusting Cruz and trusting my instincts. I keep a mental list of everything he consumes within each three-day period, just so I don’t miss anything. To make sure weird patterns don’t emerge. 

For this I am grateful I am still able to nurse him. On days he barely wants to eat or is too busy to eat, I know I can count on calories and nourishment from my milk. I will continue to battle this until I forgive myself and know that I was, and still am, doing the best thing I can for Cruz.

It hasn't been a walk in the park. The challenges I've had to face in the breast-feeding world: engorgement, plugged duct, blebs, tongue tie, supply drop, mastitis, Cruz batting at me while nursing, and kneading and scratching, Cruz wanting to sit up while nursing and tear off or down right refuse the cover while in public, distracted baby nursing, being so exhausted that my arm falls when nursing him at night and the slippage results in painful, accidental biting! 

I'm not going to lie, there are time I absolutely hate it. It can be isolating, especially in this culture. I'm stared at in public even if I use a nursing cover (which I hardly do anymore). Often times I have to go to another room to nurse, or I'm the only one in the room who still nurses, or the only one in the room who's ever nursed. Ridiculous as it sounds, sometimes breastfeeding is blamed for Cruz's sleeplessness, attachment to me, lack of weight and even sometimes the opposite - his "thunder thighs", and also sometimes his inability (or what I think is unwillingness) to "selfsoothe".

Breastfeeding is not supposed to be painful, but sometimes it is. Cruz likes to do acrobatics while nursing sometimes. And as much as I try to get him to stay still, he's strong. And active. And willful. And I'm exhausted. So I let him "get away" with it because I know it will last only 3 more minutes and then he'll be almost asleep. Or distracted and full and want to go play.


But as much as I hate it, 
I love it so much more.
I know he's getting the best possible nourishment there is. He’s only had one ear infection (and that was after he was one year old). He's only been sick twice and thank God I was able to nurse him through both of those times. The benefits for him are numerous but I'm not a martyr; I can't deny the benefits for me! And now that he’s a toddler, any time he is having a bad day, tantrums, falls and gets hurt, or needs comforting, nursing is the best answer! But even more so than all of the physical benefits for both of us, the greatest benefit is I've been able to continue to naturally connect with him deeper than anyone else in the world can. Only a nursing mother feels the gentle eyelashes flutter and slowly close for the last time as her child falls asleep peacefully at her breast. Only a nursing child can find and latch onto his mother’s breast in the pitch-blackness of the night and be nourished and know comfort the way nature intended.

These are the things that keep me going. They far outweigh any negativity society puts on breastfeeding. Even when I'm asked for the millionth time, "when are you planning on stopping?" It's a funny thing this breastfeeding relationship...people are always so curious when women decide to breastfeed and for how long.

When Beyonce nursed her baby, it made headlines. Perhaps because it came on the heels of Time Magazine's controversial issue depicting an extended breastfeeding relationship between a mother and her son. Perhaps because Beyonce is a pop star and very much in the public eye. Perhaps because she wasn't ashamed or made to think she had to hide when it was time to nourish her newborn. It makes me sad that our society as a whole doesn't view breastfeeding as the norm, and that it's even a topic to discuss at all. 

Shouldn't something so natural to mothers and babies be something that is naturally overlooked as a "hot topic" since it's something that can and should be happening enough to be the norm? Instead of "Oh, look, that mom's nursing her baby/toddler in public <gasp>", shouldn't it be "Oh, I didn't even notice her nursing her baby because I see it often enough it's not shocking."

Blessed be the day mothers can nurse their babies without making headlines. Blessed be the day no one asks a mother IF she'll breastfeed. Blessed be the day appropriate extended breastfeeding relationships between mother and child aren't questioned...more on that topic another day :) 


For now, I leave you with this…

My breastfeeding goal when I first had Cruz: definitely 6 months and shoot for 1 year as ultimate goal.

My breastfeeding goal now that Cruz is a year and a half...that's between Cruz and I. We'll stop when we're ready :) 





Feel free to leave a comment - it will be moderated and posted.
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Humans Feeding Humans

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 9:29 AM Comments comments (2)
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.

***


Celebrating Each Mother's Journey: Not every breastfeeding relationship looks the same. There are mothers who exclusively breastfed, exclusively pumped, breastfed with supplementation, breastfed for three hours or three years, never breastfed but wanted to, or did some combination of these. The important thing is that each mother is supported and given accurate information. Today let's discuss how we can celebrate every breastfeeding relationship. 


We can celebrate every breastfeeding relationship by acknowledging the variety of ways that women can feed their babies.  As described in today’s topic prompt, there are more ways to feed an infant than breast to baby.   Besides breastfeeding, there are relationships where the MotherBaby, “exclusively pumped, breastfed with supplementation, breastfed for three hours or three years, never breastfed but wanted to, or did some combination of these.” 

In addition to those scenarios, there are also women who educated themselves and participated in human milk sharing, or maybe allowed a friend or relative to wet nurse.  These are all available options besides the two most commonly acknowledged and debated food delivery systems: exclusive breastfeeding and formula feeding.

As a childbirth educator, it is my honor and privilege to offer information about breastfeeding in our classes and to introduce our students to the wide world of breastfeeding support for their journey.  Although I am not a certified lactation consultant, I have been the ear for mamas on their path to feed their children with their own milk.  The mothers in our student base have run the gamut all of those options.  Due to the amount of support our mamas have, so far all the families have found a path to breastfeed for at least the first six months of infancy as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  I have heard their tears of disappointment, and wept with joy when they share the news that their baby finally latched.  We celebrate when they are no longer pumping and cleaning pump parts and bottle-feeding systems.

These MotherBabys succeed in their pursuit of a breastfeeding relationship because they do not feel judgment for their inability to exclusively breastfeed.  Instead, they are provided with a plethora of options to support them in their journey to feed their human babies human milk.  They are provided with lists of breastfeeding support groups in our area that offer information and camaraderie.  They are offered names of lactation consultants when they need one-on-one support.  Even if a MotherBaby does not live in a metropolitan area with face-to-face support options, the age of the internet has given rise to video resources and websites available 24/7 via the world wide web (see some of our student's favorite resources at the end of today's post). 

In order to celebrate the variety of ways that families feed their babies, I propose that we find some new ways to communicate about breastfeeding that are not so divisive.  In our eagerness to share the joy of breastfeeding, it is easy to forget that the questions we ask may unintentionally put people on the defensive. 

Instead of asking, “Are you breastfeeding,” with the implication that they should be, we can ask, “How are you feeding your baby?”  If the answer is not breastfeeding, then we can ask, “Did you want to breastfeed?”  If the answer is another “no,” we can share the benefits of skin-to-skin and eye contact when a baby is being bottle-fed, maybe let them know about babywearing, and then move on, making our best effort not to pass judgment.  We can also share information about milk sharing to open the door to the possibility, and offer to share more information in the future: “I don’t know if you knew that some families are choosing to supplement with human milk instead of formula.  If you ever want to know more about that, I would be happy to send you some resources so you can look into it.”

If the answer is something akin to “I tried and it hasn’t been working out for us”, we can follow up with “Would you let me help you find the resources to help you breastfeed?  Although it is natural, it is not always easy and there are many women who have needed help getting off to a good start.”  By asking gently, the door is open for us to share any and all information to help the MotherBaby develop the breastfeeding relationship that works for them.

We must also focus our ire on the lack of information about all the different ways to feed infants human milk where it originates.  Instead of pitting the breastfeeding camp against the formula feeding camp, we need to go back to the source of the challenge: the formula manufacturers.  



It is not in the formula companies best interest to have the majority of the population exclusively breastfeed, so the lie that formula is “as good as” breastmilk has persisted.  I am not anti-formula.  I know that formula is a great option to provide the necessary nutrients when there is no other option available.  However, the wholesale equality that has been attributed to formula has kept women and children from taking advantage of nature’s best nutrition simply because we are trusting.  We trust that our doctors would not withhold information, we trust the advertising campaigns, and we do not question the status quo.

So do celebrate breastfeeding in all its forms.  Commend the mother who is exclusively breastfeeding.  Praise the woman who exclusively pumped, because that is the mother of all commitments.  Support them women who breastfed with supplementation, and ask them what you can do to help them if they want to exclusively breastfeed.  Congratulate the woman who breastfed for three hours and educate her on how she can still achieve a breastfeeding-type bond with her child.  Cheer the woman who breastfed for three years, and encourage her to tell her story so that other families know it has been done and they are not alone.  Mourn with the woman never breastfed but wanted to, inform her that her past relationship does not dictate her future breastfeeding stories, and help her find the support groups to try breastfeeding again with her future children.  Applaud the human milk donors and the wet nurses.  Theirs is an ancient tradition that is coming out of the shadows of time and back into awareness. 

Last of all, we can celebrate by sharing a smile.  No matter how you see a woman feeding her child, smile at her because we are all sisters on the journey of motherhood.  Accept her, because in spite of different choices, we are all mothers doing the best we know how to do today.  At the end of the day, our children may be playmates, classmates, friends and lovers. 

Let’s set the tone for celebration and acceptance by living love, starting with the mothers who know of our sleep deprivation in the newborn phase, the tickle in our bellies when we get to share a smile with our baby, and the pure joy that we feel every time we look at the miracle that we loved so tenderly from their first moments on earth.  That really is something to celebrate.

Breastfeeding Support Groups:
La Leche League~ http://www.llli.org/
Hospital Support Groups – call your local hospital to see if they offer classes or support groups
 
How to find a Lactation Consultant:
Read THIS post that explains the different designations in lactation consultants.  Training can vary from a 16-40 hour course, with and without clinical hours, to IBCLC's who have the equivalent of a college degree in human lactation.

IBCLC:The gold standard in lactation care, these support people have the equivalent of a college degree in human lactation.  You can find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant HERE.

Human Milk Sharing:
Eats on Feets~ http://www.eatsonfeets.org/
Human Milk 4 Human Babies~ http://hm4hb.net/

On-line resources:
BreastFeeding, Inc.: “aim is to empower parents by ensuring they receive the most up-to-date information to assist them with their breastfeeding baby. We strive to provide them this information through breastfeeding resources which include, but are not limited to, free information sheets, video clips, and articles.”
http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/

KellyMom: “our goal is to provide support & evidence-based information on breastfeeding, sleep and parenting. I am the mother of three lovely children, and I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).”
http://kellymom.com/

Stanford School of Medicine: Videos and articles about breastfeeding
http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/

Infant Risk Center: "The InfantRisk Center will be dedicated to providing up-to-date evidence-based information on the use of medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding." 
http://www.infantrisk.com

Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.
 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonDisclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

More Posts From Nursing Freedom and San Diego Breastfeeding Coalition World Breastfeeding Week Blog Carnival:

August 5: Each Mother's Journey and Milk Sharing

  • An Unexpected Formula-Fed Attachment — Kyle (of JEDI Momster and) writing at Natural Parents Network, exclusively breastfed three healthy babies. So when she was pregnant with her fourth, she assumed she would have no breastfeeding troubles she could not overcome. Turns out, her fourth baby had his own ideas. Kyle shares her heartfelt thoughts on how she came to terms with the conclusion of her breastfeeding journey.
  • It Take a Village: Cross Nursing — Shannah at Breastfeeding Utahshares how cross-nursing helped her baby in their time of need, and how that experience inspired her to create a community of cross-nursing and milk-sharing women.
  • Random little influences and Large scale support communities lead to knowing better and doing better — amy at random mom shares how her ideas and successes involved with breastfeeding evolved with each of her children, how her first milk sharing experience completely floored her, and how small personal experiences combined with huge communities of online support were responsible for leading and educating her from point A to point D, and hopefully beyond.
  • Mikko's weaning story — After five years of breastfeeding, Lauren atHobo Mama shares how the nursing relationship with her firstborn came to a gentle end.
  • My Milk is Your Milk — Lola at What the Beep am I Doing? discusses her use of donor milk and hhow she paid the gift back to other families.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - Celebrating Each Mother's Journey — Jenny at I'm a full-time mummy lists her experiences and journey as a breastfeeding mother.
  • Working Mom Nursing Twins — Sadia at How Do You Do It? breastfed her twin daughters breastfed for 7 months. They made it through premature birth and NICU stays, her return to full-time work, her husband's deployment to Iraq, and Baby J's nursing strike.
  • So, You Wanna Milkshare? — Milk banks, informed community sharing and friends, oh my! So many ways to share the milky love; That Mama Gretchen is sharing her experience with each.
  • Milk Siblings: One Mama's Milk Sharing Story (and Resources)Amber, guest posting at Code Name: Mama, shares how her views on milk sharing were influenced by her daughter receiving donor milk from a bank during a NICU stay, and how that inspired her to give her stash to a friend.
  • Humans Feeding Humans — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares ideas on how we can celebrate all the different ways modern mommies feed their babies. While we are comfortable with the breastmilk-formula paradigm, she proposes that we expand our horizons and embrace all the different ways mamas feed their infants.
  • When Breastfeeding Doesn't Go As Planned — MandyE of Twin Trials and Triumphs shares the challenges she faced in feeding her premature twins. She's still learning to cope with things not having gone exactly as she'd always hoped.
  • Taking Back My Life By Giving Away My Milk — When Amanda Rose Adams's first child was born, he was tube fed, airlifted, ventilated, and nearly died twice. In the chaos of her son's survival, pumping breast milk was physically and mentally soothing for Amanda. Before long her freezer was literally overflowing with milk - then she started giving it away.
  • The Tortoise and the Hare — Nona's Nipples at The Touch of Lifediscusses why we care about breast milk and formula with everything inbetween.
  • Finding My Tribe of Women Through Milk Sharing — Mj, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center shares her journey breastfeeding with low milk supply and supplementing with donor milk using an at the breast supplemental nursing system. She shares the impact milk sharing has had on her life, her family, and how it saved her breastfeeding relationship.
  • Human Milk for Human Babies — Sam at Nelson's Nest shares her perspective on milk-sharing after an unexpected premature delivery left her pumping in the hopes of breastfeeding her son one day. Sam's milk was an amazing gift to the other preemie who received it, but the connection was a blessing in the donor mom's life too!
  • Sister, I Honor You — A mother feeding her baby is a triumph and should be honored, not criticized. Before you judge or propagate your own cause, go find your sister. A post by Racher: Mama, CSW, at The Touch of Life.
  • Every Breastfeeding Journey Is Different, Every One Is Special — No two stories are alike, evidenced by That Mama Gretchen's collaboration of a few dear mama's reflections on their breastfeeding highs, lows and in betweens.
  • A Pumping Mom's Journey — Shannah at Breastfeeding Utah shares about her journey pumping for her son, who was born at 29 weeks.

Big Latch On 2013

Posted on August 4, 2013 at 11:06 AM Comments comments (23)
We decided to host a Big Latch On event on Wednesday...three days before the event!  We are so glad that we have students in the area, and we had one more mama call us who had to bow out at the last minute.  

Here are the pictures from yesterday.  Next year, we will plan ahead and do it right so that it can be a fun event for "our" summer town and truly raise awareness in the broader community for breastfeeding and breastfeeding support groups.




He does hold babies once in a while :)













5 Confidence Builders for Nursing In Public

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 10:11 AM Comments comments (1)
We had the pleasure of hosting an impromptu mama group yesterday!  It is always such an honor to visit with alumni mamas and babies – we love hearing from all of our past students.

These mamas are attending the Breastfeeding Support Group hosted at Modern Mommy Boutique on Tuesday mornings.  We heard a couple of birth stories, talked about cloth diapering (all four of them are using cloth!), and I learned what about the “bikini twist”!  Even this mama learned something new.

One of the questions that came up is, “How do I get comfortable nursing in public?”

This mom felt very comfortable nursing at home, and was okay doing so in front of family and friends.  Now that their baby is 11 weeks old, she is ready to start venturing out of the house, and she knows the reality is that at some point, the baby is going to get hungry while they are out and about living their lives.

I offered some suggestions that I want to share with you:

1.  Start in front of the mirror. 
Take some time to “see” what it looks like.  If you are going to use a nursing cover, practice putting it on and then nurse your baby under the cover.  Using the mirror offers feedback on how to maneuver baby, cloth and hands.  If you are going to nurse without a cover, the mirror can reassure you about how much skin you are showing.  Some mamas like to wear nursing blouses or tank tops that have a panel to cover the midsection and only expose the breast to the baby.  Very little, if any flesh shows with tops designed specifically for nursing.  Other mamas prefer to wear their favorite non-nursing tops and simply pull down the clothing to expose just the breast to the baby.  Although the whole breast is out, you would be surprised at how little nipple and areola show once the baby is latched on.  Each mamas has to decide what her comfort level is, and the mirror is a great place to really “see” and decide what is going to work for you.

2.  Build your confidence in a safe place.
We are fortunate to have several support breastfeeding groups to choose from in the Phoenix area (see list below).  Go, go, go!  Surround yourself with nursing moms that have the same questions, and those that are a little ahead of where you are to hear their questions, and learn from the mamas that are confident.  Everyone who attends is nursing, is going to nurse, or has nursed – it is a judgment-free zone.  While support groups may not be the ideal place for one-to-one coaching, they are one of the best places to build your confidence in your ability to nurse in public because you are all there to talk and learn about breastfeeding.  No one is going to be offended if you feed your hungry baby!

3.  Go out as a family.
Our first Bradley® teacher made a great suggestion in class that gave Bruss something “to do” while offering me the confidence boost I needed the first few times we nursed outside of the safety of our home.  Sadly, people find it easy to pick on a mom by herself.  Adding the extra layer of Coach is a different dynamic, and very few people will pick on a nursing family.  Her suggestion was to have Coach put an arm around the MotherBaby as they nursed and eyeball anyone who looked over with a stare and a smile.  His arm gave us protection, support, and love.  We have never been harassed.  The confidence I gained nursing in the safety of his arms grew me into a confident nursing mama without his having to be around.  I “just knew” it was going to be okay and now I can breastfeed whenever and wherever baby needs to nurse.

4.  Travel as a pack.
Most coaches have to go back to work sooner than mamas.  I suggested that these mamas keep getting together after their support group, or other times during the week.  There is strength in numbers – two+ nursing mamas are not very likely to get harassed.  You can support each other, watch the babies if someone has to use the restroom, and build a “new normal” in your corner of the world.  There is a beauty and camaraderie in growing and learning together.

5.  Arm yourself with knowledge.
The Arizona law states that breastfeeding is not an act of indecent exposure, and also affirms that you have a right to breastfeed wherever you are lawfully present.  If anyone questions you or asks you to leave, you can respectfully decline because your baby has the human right to eat when they are hungry.  The state of Arizona recognizes that, and protects your right to feed your baby. HERE is a handy PDF file you can use if you live in the state of Arizona.  You can print this on business cards and hand out the Arizona Revised Statutes to anyone who questions your right to breastfeed.  Should the interaction escalate, HERE is some information on how to manage the situation.

For most of us, there is a learning curve to breastfeeding.  You are not alone.  You can learn and you will gain confidence.  Your baby will thank you for the effort as they grow and thrive.  The people around you that can’t thank you in person will thank you to their peers when they say, “I saw another woman do this, and I know I can do this.”

Remember the struggle when you are a breastfeeding pro, and please go up to a new mother who is holding back the tears.  Smile at her as she nurses her baby, and if you have the confidence, tell her how well she is doing and thank her for taking the time to breastfeed her baby.  One at a time, we can change the perception and build a world in which breastfeeding is accepted whenever and wherever baby needs to be nursed.

How did you build your confidence as a nursing mother/family?
Please leave us a comment - it will be moderated and posted. 
*I think* that the amount of traffic you so generously generate has led to a lot of spam posting.  In an effort to keep the spam to a minimum, I am taking the time to moderate comments now.

Breastfeeding Support Groups
Breastfeeding Support Group • Tuesday mornings
 • Time:10:00 AM
Modern Mommy Boutique, 3355 W Chandler Blvd, #3, Chandler, AZ  85226,
(480) 857-7187
Facilitator: Debbie Gillespie, IBCLC, RLC

Dignity Healthcare Breastfeeding Support Groups
With the exception of major holidays…
Chandler Regional Medical Center's
 Breastfeeding Support Group meets weekly on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Mercy Gilbert Medical Center's
 Breastfeeding Support Group meets weekly on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
For more information, please call the ResourceLink toll-free 
1 (877) 728-5414, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Blossoming Moms Breastfeeding and Postpartum Support Group • Every Wednesday morning  • Time: 11:00 AM
Pregnant moms are welcome too!
Blossom Birth and Wellness Center
2928 N 16th Place, Phoenix, AZ 85016
Facilitator: Michelle Hottya 818-606-5687

Breastfeeding Support Group • Babymoon Inn • Every Wednesday morning • Time: 10:00 am
New mothers have many questions and concerns about breastfeeding. Join us to exchange information and experiences. You can also weigh your baby, get help with your baby's latch or just spend time with other mothers that are breastfeeding.
215 East Lexington Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 
(480) 270-9819

Breastfeeding Circle• 3rd Monday of the month • Time: 11:30 am
Come join the group to get help for your breastfeeding questions and concerns, or to share your trials and triumphs.  Please bring a healthy snack to share.  The circle is open to any adult and lap babies only. Freedom and The Seed office
170 South Ash Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85281 
480-528-1689

La Leche League of Arizona
Click on “Meeting Notice” to find a group that meets in your area

La Leche League International
Choose your country – that will lead to a page where you can click to find a support group in your area

Disclaimer: 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson   The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

The Anatomy of a Nurse-In

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)
Hollister Nurse-In
Hollister Nurse-In
Our little group in front of Hollister in Chandler, AZ
Nurse-In! 

The phrase is a play on the “sit-ins” of the 1960s that happened on the college campuses in the United States.  When tied to the word nursing, there are different pictures that come to mind:
(You fill in the blank)

As I learned through an experience last year, a nurse-in is the last resort on the rung of interventions with a business owner or a corporation that has mistreated or embarrassed a woman who is nursing within her rights at a place of public accommodation.

In every state in the United States, except for Idaho, Michigan, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia, state laws protects a woman’s right to breastfeed in public.  Some simply say it’s legal; others put some enforcement behind it by imposing fines on people and businesses that harass nursing mothers.

You can find your states specific breastfeeding laws HERE

So what are the steps to take before you have a national call to action to “Nurse-In” at a business?

1.)  Make the manager aware of the situation and/or let them know the circumstances, ask if they are aware of the your state’s breastfeeding law, and ask for an apology.

2.)  If you leave the business before you speak to a manager (or maybe it was the manager that approached you!), you can still call and speak to them on the phone, or write a letter to the place of business.  Again, the goal is to make them aware of the legal protection by state law to nurse in public, and to get an apology for the action of the employee.

3.)  You can decide if you want to request that the company does training on breastfeeding law, and that they develop appropriate responses for customers who complain about your choice to nurse in public.  If it was my place of business, I would train my employees to say something like this, “I am sorry you are uncomfortable with the mother’s choice to nurse her baby.  She is well within her rights, and state law protects those rights.  How can I accommodate you without disturbing her or her baby?”

4.)  If an apology is not forthcoming, then you seek out a breastfeeding advocate to help you navigate through the proper channels.  In Arizona, we are blessed to have a local advocate on our side; and there is also a nationwide resource in the United States.

Here are some channels to assist you if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation while nursing in public:

In Arizona contact:
Michelle Hottya
818-606-5687

United States:
Best for Babes
http://www.bestforbabes.org/
NIP Hotline
1-855-NIP-FREE
Read more HERE

5.)  If you have done the above and there is no resolution that is a win-win for both parties involved, then you stage a nurse-in.  It is a call for nursing mothers in your area or across the country to bring awareness to a business that does not support breastfeeding mothers and breastfed babies.

If and when you see a nurse-in in the news or an event being formed on social media, please pay attention.  If a mama has gone through the proper channels, as both mothers in the Hollister incidents did (Hollister refused to comment or offer apologies, even when approached by the media), then by all means please go and support them whether or not you have a nursling anymore.  Tell everyone you know about their indifference and ask them to vote with their dollars by providing them with names of businesses and services that are MotherBaby friendly.

It is our baby's human right to receive our milk in a clean, safe
place.  Little by little, with each MotherBaby pair that brings
nursing out of the public bathrooms and into the public eye, we can
change the perception of breastfeeding.  It will be a great day when
seeing a mama nurse in public is no longer cause for conflict – it
will be an accepted act of normal.

LINK LIST
Houston incident (2012)

Hollister Nurse-In Pictures
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jtes/the-great-hollister-nurse-in-of-2013

Breastfeeding Laws by State
http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx

NIP Hotline
https://www.bestforbabes.org/announcing-1-855-nip-free-the-best-for-babes-nursing-in-public-harassment-hotline


Disclaimer:
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, Payson The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

Breastfeeding and The Law

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 12:56 PM Comments comments (1)
A look at breastfeeding laws in public and in the workplaceI got an alarming text from a student last week.  I won’t share the details since I haven’t asked permission.  What I can tell you is that it reminded me how little the general public and employers know about our breastfeeding and pumping “rights” as outlined in state and federal law. 
 
Since my passion for breastfeeding is second only to my passion for natural birth, I forget that I live in a vacuum of other BF fanatics.  Just because we know and discuss the laws amongst ourselves does not mean that we are doing a good job at educating the public.  Here is one attempt to rectify that.
 
If you live in Arizona, there are two statutes that protect your right to breastfeed in public.  One states that breastfeeding shall not be considered an indecent exposure.  The other one states that moms can breastfeed in any place that they are lawfully present.
 
Here are the statutes and the exact language:
 
A.R.S. 41-1443
A mother is entitled to breastfeed in any area of a public place or a place of public accommodation where the mother is otherwise lawfully present.
 
A.R.S. 13-1402
Indecent exposure does not include an act of breastfeeding by a mother.
 
While I am grateful for our laws, I found out when I was traveling this summer that our home state looks pretty measly compared to the protections afforded to women in other states.
 
Click here to see state breastfeeding laws across the United States.
 
So that is one area clarified:  If you live in Arizona or one of the other 45 states where nursing in public is protected, you can lawfully breastfeed in public.  If you live in Idaho, Michigan, South Dakota, Virginia or West Virginia you will find that your rights to breastfeed in public are not explicitly protected under your state law.  There are some great laws on the books in other states – you can get involved and make a difference for mamas in your home state.
 
The second area that pertains to breastfeeding and the law is pumping in the workplace.  Yes, you can!  And although we have yet to see what the whole law in action looks like, a golden nugget in the Affordable Care Act (2010) is that moms who want to pump at work now have a Federal Law that backs up and supports their choice.
 
One of the provisions in the ACA addressed the needs of moms who want/need to make a career outside the home and breastfeeding work for them.  Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was amended to include a provision for mothers who want to express milk in the workplace.
 
Here are the highlights:
  • Employers are required to provide reasonable break time
  • Frequency is “as needed” by the nursing mother
  • A private, non-bathroom place for nursing mothers to express breast milk during the workday should be provided
  • The place is to be shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public
  • Nursing mothers are to be accommodated for one year after the child’s birth
 
There are some exemptions for providing a dedicated space if a company is less than 50 employees, however, they must still allow you privacy and the time to express milk for baby.  If your state law is more inclusive and/or provides more protection than the federal law, then the state law prevails.
 
“My” La Leche League leader makes a great suggestion to the working out of the home moms that attend meetings.  She suggests that using a neutral word may make the discussion a little easier to have when you are reminding your boss that they need to follow the law.  Her idea is to  replace the word “breastfeeding” with the word “lactation” when discussing your needs with your supervisors. 
 
For an overview of workplace support under federal law, click here.
 
For a Fact Sheet you can share with your employer, click here.

 
Many moms have been able to resume their career outside of the home and still maintain an exclusive breastmilk relationship with their child.  As I listen to moms who have made the choice to pump after returning to work, I hear that the women who do so successfully have these things in common:
  • Partners support the choice by helping mom in the way that she wants and asks for help, and they appreciate the commitment.
  • They have a clear goal in mind and an intrinsic belief that breastmilk is the choice for their family.
  • They are part of a support system that affirms their choice, whether it’s other moms at work that are making the same choice or a support group, such as La Leche League.
 
Here are some links to help you make the most of your pumping sessions at work:
Milk Calculator – how much does baby need?

Making “the most” out of your pumping sessions

 
I will close by asking pumping moms to look into hand expression.  There are many videos and tutorials up on the internet.  It is a great way to finish the pumping sessions because  the breastmilk only vacuums out what is at the front of the breast.  By becoming proficient at hand expression, a mama can get more milk after the pumping session with the machine is over.

Here is one link - you need to register your email address to access.
 
Do you have any tips to share about pumping during office hours?  Please leave a comment – thank you!
 
Laws in action: A look at state laws along our road trip

Link List:
State Breastfeeding Laws
http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx

FLSA - Section 7 Information
http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/Workplace/WorkplaceSupport/WorkplaceSupportinHealthCareReform/tabid/175/Default.aspx

FLSA - Section 7 Fact Sheet
http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs73.htm

Kelly Mom Milk Calculator
http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/pumping/milkcalc/

Making the Most of Pumping Sessions
http://bfmed.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/nicu-pearl-cover-the-containers-during-pumping-to-make-more-milk/
 
Hand expression video
http://newborns.stanford.edu/Breastfeeding/HandExpression.html

Disclaimer: 
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.

 

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