Posted: March 8th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding, Reviews and Giveaways | 9 Comments »
I used to host the Breastfeeding Blog Hop and every Thursday was my night to sit down and dish about the ups and downs of nursing. I handed the reigns over to the lovely ladies at Sisters n’ Cloth and Life of Wife, Mummy, and Nurse this past summer but I still get a hefty amount of traffic regarding breastfeeding on a daily basis.
I was recently asked to review a new line of nursing covers and being a one-time connoisseur of nursing covers, I figured it would be fun to go back in time and revisit all of the things I learned while nursing my boys.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 26th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding Blog Hop | Tags: Breastfeeding Blog Hop | 2 Comments »
When I took over the Breastfeeding Blog Hop from it’s original host, Life with Levi, I was very certain I was up to the challenge of writing about breastfeeding each week, even though I wasn’t pregnant or nursing. As time went on, it became more difficult. What more could I say that hadn’t already been said about my experiences nursing the twins and then Judah?
Not a whole lot. It occurred to me I could keep it all facts and figures, but that isn’t what this page is about and it seemed like another daunting obligation that I just didn’t have time for. As the boys get older and as their needs begin to change on a daily basis, I began to explore ways to simplify my life and get rid of the “clutter” that was taking up my time.
The biggest obvious thing was, of course, my blog. I needed to get rid of the things that demanded my attention and took away from what this space was really supposed to be about.
I am almost done with reviews in my queue, I am getting down to a single advertiser (BlogHer) and unless something really amazing comes along, there will be no more sponsored posts. Basically, I got rid of everything that was replenishing my PayPal account so I could buy diapers.
But, even that wasn’t as hard to give up as this is. I just cannot keep going on, week after week, half-assing and re-hashing my posts. The Breastfeeding Blog Hop deserves better, there are amazing writers that contribute each week and they deserve to have a host who is thrilled to bits to be leading them in discussion each week.
Of course, when things start to fall apart, they do so in a big way. When I approached Lori and Marah about taking over, they both had the same sentiments as I did: they just couldn’t do it anymore, life was getting busy. So, we put our heads together and decided who we would approach to take over the hop…
I would love for you to give a warm welcome to your new hosts:
Melissa and Jeniffer from Sisters ‘n Cloth
and their co-host, Sarah Jane from Life as a Wife, Mummy, and Nurse!
So, this week, instead of a formal topic, let’s call it a breastfeeding free-for-all and write about whatever breastfeeding topic you would like but everyone, please stop by and visit your new hosts and be sure to let them know if there is anything you want to talk about in the future! Also- stop by and wish Marah all the best as she embarks on her new journey as a single mother and to Lori as she packs up and ventures off to live in a tiny house somewhere in the wilds of Oklahoma!
Thank you everyone, this has been amazing and I am sad to let it go, but as with everything, you just have to know when to say “when”.
So, next week, be sure to check out their sites and their Facebook pages as well to see what the topic is and where to link up, I am sure they will do a fabulous job!
Posted: July 19th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding Blog Hop | Tags: Breastfeeding, Nursing in Public | 6 Comments »
Welcome to the Breastfeeding Blog Hop, I know it’s *really* late but it’s *really* crazy at my house so I’m happy to be getting this post up today at all. And it’s a doozy of a topic this week!
For those of you who are new to the hop- this is a weekly hop, hosted by myself, Happiness Redefined and The Gnome’s Mom. Each week we have a different topic pertaining to breastfeeding and you are welcome (and encouraged!) to link up your post, new or old, as long as it jives with the weekly topic.
So- this week I am asking: Should you (or would you) ask permission to nurse in public?
Nursing in Public (NIP) is one of these sticky subjects that is all over the news pretty much all the time. Usually someone (manager, security guard, maintenance man) tells a mother she has to pack it in and either find her way to the restroom or hit the dusty trail: cover up your boobs! Indecent exposure! It’s making me uncomfortable!
I didn’t NIP to prove a point. I nursed where it was comfortable for me, when my child needed to nurse. I wasn’t out to give anyone a peep show. Although, after a certain point, that nursing cover tended to land me in some sticky situations as flailing arms and legs under a cover tend to draw lots of attention.
Would I ask permission to nurse in public?
Not in the sense of “If you tell me I can’t, I won’t” anyways.
I might politely say something to whomever I am with like- “I’m going to nurse him, do you mind?” to which anyone worth their salt is going to nod their head and oblige. But it’s more like an opening line, a warning if you will: avert your eyes if you will be so offended!
(And I’m at least polite enough to give a warning to those I am with, even if it’s kind of lame and unoriginal.)
Kind of like how every customer at Target asks employees if they work there when they need help finding something*. They don’t really question whether or not you work there, they just don’t know what else to say and it feels impolite to just ask a random person where something is without a little small talk first.**
Back to the topic at hand!
I would never ask say, the person at the service desk at Target if I could breastfeed in the store, or some random person at a park or the people at the next booth at a restaurant. What if they said no?
Number 1, by law, I can breastfeed in any public place, anytime, anyhow I see fit (ie- I do not have to use a cover). Number 2, it’s just going to be way more comfortable if that person says no and I do it anyways. And I’m going to do it, because my babies needs come before the comfort of adults who have the ability to extricate themselves from a situation they are uncomfortable with or, you know…avert their eyes and mind their own business.
Sure, there are times when I would go into another room and nurse, but that’s usually for the sake of getting away from distractions and also having a safe, comfortable, quiet place to go. My options are pretty limited in a public setting so I usually went for comfort and as much discretion as possible.
I think the thing with asking permission is you open yourself up to being shot down. You don’t always know what someone is going to say, they may or may not know that you do have the right to nurse your baby anywhere, they may know and just not really care that the law is on your side but since you asked…
So, just don’t do it. Don’t ask permission, it’s more hassle then it’s worth. Be discreet (anyone who has nursed a toddler knows this does not mean covered!). Be confident. Nurse your baby the way God intended and move on with your day. In my experience, most people don’t even notice.
Do you ask permission before nursing in public?
Do you think nursing mothers should ask permission before nursing their children in public?
*”Excuse me, I notice you are wearing red and khaki, a name badge that has a bullseye on it and carrying a walkie and a PDA…Do you work here? I need to find…” Every. Single. Time.
** This may be a Minnesota thing. I distinctly recall a woman looking for the toy department trying to get my attention by whistling like they she was calling a dog from the other end of the store when I worked at a store in Missouri. She obviously had no use for pleasantries. I ignored her because, um, really?
Posted: July 12th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding Blog Hop | Tags: Breastfeeding | 6 Comments »
Welcome to week 28 of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop! This week The Gnome’s Mom, Happiness Redefined and I are talking about our influences and our original reasons for breastfeeding.
I’m trying to think back to why I first set out to breastfeed. I don’t remember my mother breastfeeding my sisters, although she did. I don’t remember being around anyone who ever breastfed- there was definitely no NIP in my life. So, it’s not like i had this background where breastfeeding, especially long-term, was a focus or even something someone set out to do.
But, from the very beginning, that was one of the things I was going to do. I was set on doing it when we had our first positive pregnancy test, I was set on it when we found out we were having twins, I was set on it when the boys were delivered. It was just something I was going to do.
And even after everything we went through with the twins, breastfeeding was still my number one goal with Judah. I actually think that thought was in the back of my mind from the day I stopped breastfeeding the twins- one day this will work as it should. Next time, I will be successful.
I love that so many women are making it a point to breastfeed for as long as they can. I love to think that the next generation will not have the same battles that we have regarding nursing in public, how long we breastfeed, etc. I hope that one day, my boys will remember that yes- their mom breastfed them and they will in turn be supportive of the women in their lives when it comes to breastfeeding.
What influenced you to breastfeed?
Posted: July 5th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding Blog Hop | Tags: Breastfeeding | 4 Comments »
Welcome to week 27 of the Breastfeeding Blog hop hosted by me, The Slacker Mom, The Gnomes Mom, and Happiness Redefined!
This week we are dishing about the things we wish we would have known when we first started breastfeeding.
OK, I’ll start!
When I was pregnant with the twins I knew I was going to breastfeed. I read books, I attended classes, I ignored people when they said things like “You’re going to breastfeed twins? It’s never going to work.” I dug in my heels and I got everyone in my support network on board.
And then I had the boys, and it was really effing hard. Like, harder than I ever expected (4 weeks early they wanted nothing to do with breastfeeding), and I *knew* it wasn’t going to be a calk walk because I had been reading about how it wasn’t going to be easy, that it was going to be work, that it was going to take effort…
And in my naive, new to motherhood haze, I was completely blindsided by the mom wars where breastfeeding is concerned (and in general).
I turned to the internet and looking back, vulnerable, overwhelmed new mom of two, I wish I had someone to tell me to stop listening to people who made me feel bad about the choices I would make. I heaped enough grief on myself without some nameless stranger behind a computer screen adding her $0.02.
I wish someone had told me to only listen to people who were supportive, to tune out the rhetoric and not get trampled over in the grand race to make breastfeeding the be all and end all of motherhood.
I didn’t learn that lesson until I was struggling with Judah, trying to overcome my “failure” with the twins. One day as I was flipping through Twitter it occurred to me that I didn’t need to listen to it. I knew what I wanted, I knew what I was putting into our breastfeeding relationship, these strangers (some who had struggled, most who had not) could never know what it was like to be in my shoes.
And you know what?
They. Don’t. Care.
Not really. Not about *me*. They care about increasing a statistic, they care about furthering a cause, but they do not want you to share your story if you struggle and fail, because it doesn’t support the ideal they are trying to sell: every baby breastfed to 12+ months.
So this is what I would tell my 30 year old, newly pregnant self:
– You do exactly what you plan to do.
– You fight until you can’t fight anymore and then you do what you have to do to stay sane.
– There is nothing wrong with having a happy mom and happy babies. In fact, that is a *good* thing!
– Your memories of the first 3 months of these boys lives will be nothing but tears and screaming while trying to nurse babies who want nothing to do with nursing.
– You will not look back on those days fondly, you will look back on them with regret.
– When those babies finally turn one and bottles and formula are a thing of the past, you are going to wonder what the fuss was about.
– Breastfeeding is awesome and amazing, but motherhood is awesome and amazing anyways.
What wisdom do you wish you could have bestowed on your newly nursing self?
Posted: June 28th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding Blog Hop | Tags: Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding Goals, Breastfeeding Support | No Comments »
Welcome to week 26 of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop, hosted by The Gnome’s Mom, Happiness Redefined and myself!
This week, since we are half-way through the year, I thought it would be a good time to check-in and see where everyone is with their breastfeeding goals.
Of course, having weaned Judah last August and not having pulled the trigger on trying for #4…I have absolutely nothing to report on this topic!
But, I would love to hear about you. Are you struggling? Are you doing better than you ever imagined? Are you in the middle of a 3-month bout of thrush that is making you re-think your goals altogether?
So spill it! Let’s celebrate the wins and lift up the moms needing some extra support!
Of course, as always, be sure to link up and add the code to your post!
Posted: June 14th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding Blog Hop | Tags: Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding Blog Hop | 1 Comment »
Welcome to week 24 of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop!
This week we are going to talk about Dieting while Breastfeeding.
Because of all of the other things I was dealing with post delivery- it never crossed my mind to actively diet. With the twins, breastfeeding made me drop the pounds like no ones business. Of course as soon as I stopped pumping, it all came right back.
With Judah everything was already hanging on by a thread so I didn’t dare mess with that delicate balance. Reducing calories or even working out were actively off limits- even if my weight was not falling off like it did with the twins.
It seems like no matter what your take is, you can find someone to support you when it comes to dieting while breastfeeding.
I think if you are going to start in on a strict diet for weight loss while breastfeeding, it would be a good idea to watch for any changes in your supply or nursing patterns and ease up if necessary.
Your body needs calories to produce milk, maybe instead of cutting calories, make the calories you do eat really count- healthy fats, fruit and veggies. You’ll feel better about what you are eating and hopefully not upset the balance your body needs to keep milk production at peak performance.
If this is your first time stopping by, the Breastfeeding Blog hop is hosted by The Slacker Mom, The Gnome’s Mom and Happiness Redefined. The linky is open Thursday and Friday of each week- link up any post that is pertinent to the weekly topic and be sure to add the linky code to your pot o we can all hop around easily. Thanks for stopping by!
Posted: June 8th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding Blog Hop | Tags: Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding Blog Hop | 1 Comment »
Welcome to this week’s Breastfeeding Blog Hop!
This week the topic is something that we all have to deal with on a daily basis and it can be a sticky subject for every parent, especially in the early months where sleep is at a premium. This week my question is: How often do you breastfeed?
I have to say, this is an area where I might get a little judgy. I know I shouldn’t, but there you are. If I’m being honest, I think the only way to go is nursing on demand. It kind of makes me cringe when the first priority for parents is to get that newborn sleeping through the night. Tiny babies aren’t really built to sleep 5+ hours at a stretch that early.
With the twins, we were overwhelmed. Two infants is a lot of work. I wanted them on a schedule and I wanted them on a schedule immediately (our schedule did not , however, include sleeping through the night).
It didn’t happen.
They never simultaneously napped, they never tandem nursed, they never slept through the night until 14 months. It was a long 14 months- ask my my husband who was home alone with them burning the midnight oil while I was at work!
But we survived. And when 14 months hit and they stopped eating every 2 hours overnight and started sleeping, they also started taking two simultaneous 2-hour naps each day. It was as if the heavens parted and angels started singing. It was unbelievable.
We only nursed for 4 months before my supply was completely gone, I have no idea what would have happened had we nursed on demand. Maybe my supply would have held on a little longer? It’s pretty doubtful. The only thing they hated more than sleeping was nursing but I will never know.
With Judah, breastfeeding was the #1 priority. He liked to nurse and we nursed all. the. time. When we were struggling with weight gain (he lost a lot and took a long time to get to his birth weight) and our pediatrician said he wanted no more than 2 hours between sessions from the beginning of one to the start of the next one I had to laugh because I think at the time we were getting maybe a 30 minute break between sessions at most.
It was tough, I won’t lie.
Being home with twin toddlers and a baby who nursed pretty much constantly was no picnic. A lot of things had to fall apart on our journey to establish a nursing relationship- namely my house and my sanity. Toddlers are like tornadoes and I would just sit in my big red chair and breath through the sounds of things hitting the floor from the next room.
But again, we survived.
Nursing on demand did make it difficult to pump when I had to go back to work. When there is less than an hour between sessions most days, there wasn’t enough milk to make it worth pumping. My stash was pretty dismal when I went back to work- pretty much whatever I pumped the day before was what was available when I left for work.
I was so happy to be able to kiss pumping goodbye when I started staying home full time. Judah was much happier nursing and I was less stressed trying to figure out how to get him milk for when I was not home. Of course I was pretty much home all the time at that point and when I wasn’t, he went with me.
Around 6 months he started dropping sessions. He was mobile and wanted nothing more than to play with his brothers. When he was 8.5 months he climbed down from my lap and walked across the room. My 24 hour a day Twitter addiction got a swift kick to the curb after that and I suddenly had plenty of time (well, more time anyways) to make sure the house was not destroyed on a daily basis.
Nursing on demand, day and night, was the best thing I could have done for my supply. Having low supply issues is no picnic. Every single day threatened to be the last day for many many months. I gave Judah everything I had, it was the best I could do for him.
Here are some resources from my very favorite Breastfeeding resource!
How Does Milk Production Work?
Breastfeeding Your Newborn
Where are you on this? What works best for your family?
As always, the Breastfeeding Blog Hop is hosted by The Gnome’s Mom, Happiness Redefined, and myself!
Link up your post about how often YOU breastfeed and be sure to check out the other bloggers in the hop.
Posted: May 31st, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding Blog Hop | Tags: Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding Blog Hop | 3 Comments »
Welcome to the Breastfeeding Blog Hop! If you haven’t been here before, this is a weekly hop, hosted by The Gnome’s Mom, Happiness Redefined, and myself! The linky for the hop is open Thursday and Friday of each week and we welcome anyone to link up their pertinent posts.
Usually we have a weekly topic but this week I’ve got lots of company in town and I’ve been mostly offline in an effort to spend as much time with my family as possible. So, I am hitting the easy button: It’s a free-for-all! As long as it’s about breastfeeding, feel free to link it up. It can be a favorite old post that needs dusting off or a brand new post about something you’ve been itching to talk about. As long as it’s about breastfeeding, it’s welcome here!
Also- if anyone has something they would like us to touch on in the coming weeks- leave your idea in the comment and I will see if we can work it into the calender!
So, what’s on my mind this week?
Whether or not I’ll ever breastfeed again.
It’s definitely in the plans, but it’s so hard to think about it in any concrete way. With Judah we knew going in there might be issues, and there were. We also knew what we needed to do to overcome them, and for the most part, we did.
The biggest thing for us was compromise.
for me to continue to breastfeed, I had to supplement. There was just no two ways about it. I didn’t want an “all or nothing” type situation, because I know from my experience with the twins that that quickly turned into “nothing”.
But next time, I just wonder how hard I will fight. How much stress will I put us, me, baby, family, through before I make the call on supplementing?
I also entertain the notion that next time might be better somehow (hahahahahaha) or that there might not be a next time. Both seem unlikely.
So I don’t quite know how to prepare for this. I don’t have blinders going in. I’ve been down this road. I know the trials, the sleepless days and nights and the constant crying of a hungry baby and the stress it puts on everyone in an effort to do the best I can.
I hope when the time comes, I can cut myself some slack. I think I’ve worked my way through the stages of grief over failing to breastfeed the twins (remember ANGER?) and I’m quite happy with what I was able to do with Judah, so we’ll see.
Anyways…that’s what’s on my mind. I really need to quiet that voice though- it’s a ways off and worrying about things this far out never did any good for anyone.
Posted: May 24th, 2012 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding Blog Hop | Tags: Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding Blog Hop, Co-Sleeping | 2 Comments »
Welcome to week 21 of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop!
This week we are sharing our Top 3 Tips for breastfeeding. I know we have all had different experiences and different tricks up our sleeves but I also think there will be some universal advice in our posts…
My Top 3 Tips
#1: Nurse on Demand
With the twins, we were very overwhelmed with their feeding schedule. It took forever to nurse (they hated everything about nursing), pump, and dropper feed. I felt like all I did was feed babies, and really, that *was* all I did. But, with two babies, I wanted them on a schedule. I wanted them to eat, nap and then hang out and be happy. You know, like the babies in the parenting books. My kids didn’t nap and they did nothing but scream when they weren’t eating- usually because they were waiting their turn.
It wasn’t exactly nursing on demand (because they never mastered latching at the same time) and it wasn’t really a schedule, it was kind of the worst possible scenario. At least that’s what it felt like.
It was a pretty horrible introduction to motherhood and breastfeeding and although I was upset that it ended at 4 months, I was relieved.
With Judah, all we did was nurse. He loved to nurse and he latched like a pro and once he was latched he would pretty much stay there for 45 minutes. Our pediatrician told me I couldn’t go longer than 2 hours between the start of one session and the start of the next session….as if!
I was lucky if there were 30 minutes between sessions, he was constantly latched.
I absolutely think giving into feeding on demand, no matter how time consuming it was, no matter how much everything fell apart around me because nursing was so time consuming, no matter how much I wanted a break and my body back for an hour…nursing on demand SAVED what little supply I had and it kept us going for those 380 days.
#2: There is No Substitute for a Good Lactation Consultant
If you are having issues, any issues, get yourself to a lactation consultant. A well trained LC will be able to spot problems you might not be aware of and help to get things running smoothly. If I had a nickle for every time someone told me about a simple fix they got after making an appointment with a Lactation Consultant that ended up making a huge difference in their breastfeeding relationship with their child, well, I’d have a few bucks.
Do yourself a favor- make an appointment. If you are unsure where to go, ask your OB or midwife. Ask friends in the area if they have had a good experience with one. Their insight can make all the difference in the world.
I know, this is kind of a controversial one, but it goes hand in hand with nursing on demand. The ability to have Judah next to my bed, to be able to just pull him in and let him latch and keep on sleeping was life changing. With the twins we were both up and fumbling around two or three times a night. I don’t know how many times we watched 30 Rock with the back drop of bottles of breast milk being dropped on the floor every few minutes as Yogi Dad nodded off while feeding his assigned twin. It was pretty horrible.
Co-sleeping can be safe as long as you follow few simple rules and it’s a perfect match for nursing moms.
So, what are your best tips for breastfeeding moms? Link up your post and be sure to grab the linky code for the hop!
As always, check out my fabulous co-hosts: The Gnome’s Mom and Happiness Redefined!