Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: How Have My Breastfeeding Goals Changed?

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 how your breastfeeding goals have changed. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

In 2009, when I was pregnant with my first child, my goal was to breastfeed him for a year. That’s just the thing to do, right? We know there are medical benefits to nursing, I know breastfeeding is biological, and society told me that one year was the right amount of time to do it.

I even went to a La Leche League meeting and sat there judging a woman who was nursing her 18-month old. I judged her so much!success

So then, my son had some challenges breastfeeding and I had to supplement with formula. This made me realize how very important nursing is to me. It felt important for me to exclusively breastfeed my child, and yet that wasn’t working.

The ladies at LLL (who welcomed me back, even though I had been a Judgy Judy) assured me that every drop of breastmilk I was feeding my son was valuable to him. I let go of my judgment.

He turned one, and I no longer could imagine just weaning him. Just like that? Because of some arbitrary click in the calendar? So we kept going, just a little bit longer. “Just one more day,” I told myself, each morning. After all, I didn’t start out gymnastic-nursing a toddler.

When he turned 20 months old, still nursing like a champ, he got a pretty bad chest/double ear infection. All he would agree to consume was my breastmilk, and our pediatrician said, “Isn’t it wonderful you can give him just what he needs right now? He’s getting all the hydration and nutrients he needs while he’s sick.” By then, I don’t think I had nursing goals anymore. Breastfeeding had become just part of our lives together.

Breastfeeding is one of my parenting strategies. It’s shaped my life. I weaned my first son cold-turkey when he was 27 months old and down to 2 nursing sessions a day. I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with my second son, and nursing was just too painful. It didn’t feel like exceeding a goal. It just felt like I really wanted my nipples to stop hurting. 

But all of a sudden, I had to parent him sort of differently…like I had to get up and prepare beverages for him if he was thirsty.

I’m still nursing my second son, who just turned 26 months old, despite being 38 weeks pregnant. I’m sure I’m one of those women at the La Leche League meetings who shock the first-time moms. I’m super pregnant, nursing a child who uses full sentences to communicate.

My goal, if you can call it that, for this next stage of nursing is to let breastfeeding help me be as lazy as possible. Breastfeeding will let me lie in bed ten more minutes if I can latch on my toddler, then close my eyes. Breastfeeding will quickly stop any crying from the baby…or the toddler. Breastfeeding will put the younger 2 kids to sleep.

Really, I should just start thinking about how I can get my 5-year-old to breastfeed again so I can move my body as little as possible these next few months. I’m only sort of kidding.

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

Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival: My Breastfeeding Mantra

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 your breastfeeding mantra. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

 

This, too, shall pass.

It seems so simple and I feel like I hear it all the time, but truly, “this, too, shall pass,” has been the phrase that’s gotten me through five years of parenting so far.

I use it in a lot of situations, like when things are really challenging and I want to scream and yell and hurl myself on the floor, just like my kids. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and recite, “this, too, shall pass. This, too, shall pass.”Luang Pu Toad Buddha Statue, The Biggest Monk image at Wat Huay Mongkol Temple in Thailland

Right now, I’m 36 weeks pregnant with a rash and a head cold and my kids wanted eggs, not cereal, for breakfast and I pretty much just want to crawl back in bed and let them raise themselves today. This, too, shall pass. And it will! Even if it feels like it takes forever.

But, there’s also, “This, too, shall pass,” to remind me that I need to cherish these moments my toddler asks me to rock him to sleep. This will pass–in two years, he’ll be a very big boy and will put on his own pajamas, select his own books, and talk incessantly about Beyblades. I remind myself, “this, too, shall pass,” so that I sit and soak up the cuddles and the chubby baby cheeks, because they pass. They fade away into lean preschooler bodies and grownup questions before I can blink.

Any minute now (I hope!) I’ll have a newborn, squishy baby nursing for hours at a time, and I know that sometimes, I’ll feel like the last thing I want to do is sit on the couch for another second nursing a baby. I’ll return to my mantra, both as a way to help me cope with the trying moment and a way to remind myself to cherish this fleeting, precious stage, where my babies need me so desperately.

This, too, shall pass.

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

Cold Relief in Late Pregnancy

I’m three weeks into a cold, 36 weeks pregnant. Most likely, I have a sinus infection. I’ve been to see my midwives, my chiropractor, and my PCP (whom I saw twice). Everyone agrees that I am a miserable, congested person, but nobody feels it’s appropriate to prescribe me antibiotics given my late stage of pregnancy and the fact that the baby seems to be doing fine, despite my feeling short of breath. And miserable.

Sidenote: I feel a little frustrated by this medical advice, given how quick medical people are to pump laboring mothers full of epidural, pitocin, and antibiotics to treat Group B Strep…

Anyway, my medical team suggested I try a saline rinse, so I was squirting salty water up my nose a few times a day. I don’t feel like that was very helpful.

Next up came dark honey. Not grocery store honey, mind you. I don’t usually buy that anyway, because we have such wonderful local honey at our farmers markets here. I was instructed to buy fancy (actually, local) honey, as dark as possible, and drink tablespoonfuls of it. My doctor said mixing it into my tea wouldn’t do as good a job–I’m supposed to drink spoonfuls of it straight up.

Just looking at the spoon of honey was giving me a pregnant-lady aversion, so I’ve been stirring it into my red raspberry leaf tea and hoping for the best.

Today, day 21 of the cold, I reached a new level of grouchiness and inability to deal with my symptoms. I finally went to the store and bought a neti pot.

Have you ever used a neti pot? Look at the image in this blog post. See the happy woman pouring water through her nostrils, like it’s pleasant? There was a similarly-happy looking person on the instructions for my neti pot. Let me tell you, I do not look like that using my neti pot.

By the time I had my face lined up and my saline solution all mixed according to instructions, I already hated this product. And then I tipped the neti pot into my nostril. Oh! The things that poured out of my nose. So many things.

They didn’t just drop out beautifully like in that image. Oh no. I sputtered and gagged and cursed and stomped my feet, because it sort of burns to pour salty water into your sinus cavities. It’s been about 5 minutes and I can still breathe through my nose, so this is an improvement. If the relief continues, I’ll consider it a success. But I will still always find the process gross and cumbersome!

Did you experience a cold during your pregnancy? Leave us a comment to share remedies that brought you relief. 

Explaining Lactation to My Kindergartener

Have you ever talked with a kindergartener? Have you ever fallen down into their rabbit hole of questions? This morning, my son wanted to know exactly how his brother gets milk from my breasts. Like, where does the milk in there COME FROM? child reading book

First I explained how mothers have milk ducts and breast tissue and other parts that create milk. None of these parts show up on his “Systems of the Body” puzzle, obviously, so he doesn’t quite believe me that they exist. You can imagine how much time we then spent on the Internet, locating images of milk ducts.

Then, I had to explain to him why (primarily) mothers provide milk for their babies. Sure, there have been documented cases of males lactating, and trans dads can provide milk for their babies. This didn’t do much to help him understand why he couldn’t nurse his brother.

Oh, how I wish he could nurse his brother!

My next hour was spent thus: “Well, Miles, you see, when the mother’s placenta detaches, this triggers a hormonal response to produce milk…”

In the end, we went to the library to find this book, which claims it will “explain the nature and development of breasts and how they are used to breastfeed milk to babies.” Let’s hope this author has passed the book by a review team of 5-year-olds, because my curious son wants to know it all!

Do you have a curious kiddo asking questions about breastfeeding? Leave us a comment to share some of your favorite nursing resources for older kids.

Nursing While Pregnant: Guidelines for the Final Stretch

I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant and my toddler is still nursing, so I’ve finally accepted that he will not self-wean before the baby arrives. Hopefully, he won’t ramp up his nursing too much once my newborn arrives–I think I can handle one or two nursing sessions with him per day, especially once my milk . . . → Read More: Nursing While Pregnant: Guidelines for the Final Stretch

Treating PUPPP (Late Pregnancy Rash)

Toward the end of my nearly-42-week pregnancy with my first son, I developed intense itching in my stretch marks. When I say intense, I mean itching beyond any I’ve experienced before. And I’ve contracted nasty cases of poison ivy, oak, and sumac, so I like to think I’m an experienced itcher.

After a . . . → Read More: Treating PUPPP (Late Pregnancy Rash)

Extended Breastfeeding Linked to Reduced Diabetes Risk

Last week, the American Diabetes Association released some new findings stating that “intensive and extended breastfeeding lowered a woman’s risk for developing type 2 diabetes after pregnancy in which she had gestational diabetes.”

There’s so much to unpack in those findings! My first questions were: what defines intensive breastfeeding? What defines extended breastfeeding?

In this research, intensive . . . → Read More: Extended Breastfeeding Linked to Reduced Diabetes Risk