Just another Minnesota Mom blog.

Stick to Your Schedule

Posted: November 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: Blog Hop, Breastfeeding | 6 Comments »

This week we are talking about Holiday Survival on the Breastfeeding Blog Hop. Follow Life With Levi, Diary of a Devil Dog Wife and myself as we cover every topic imaginable pertaining to breastfeeding. Be sure to link up your own post and give some comment love!

Holiday survival.

Looking back I still cringe at our first Christmas with the twins. They were about 6 weeks old, still struggling with breastfeeding, still supplementing, I was pumping. They were also the first grandchildren on either side and there was a lot of pressure to fit our circus of a life into whatever happened to be going on because everyone wanted to see the boys.

Because I worked in retail we had planned to have our kids around Christmas so that I could be off to enjoy the holiday (for once!). In actuality it was probably the least enjoyable holiday I’ve ever lived through.

I was stressed. They were thrown off their schedule again and again and we had a really hard time recovering. Feelings were hurt when I put my foot down.

My one takeaway from that Christmas was this: Never plan to have a child born around the holidays!

Last year with Judah it was a bit different. At 4 months old he was plenty established with breastfeeding and I had no qualms about nursing when I needed to and putting my foot down on messing with his schedule*. We also had the added benefit (heh) of our twins being diagnosed with autism the week before so no one was going to do or say anything to step on my toes!

I think the biggest thing for me is making sure that if you have a fairly rigid schedule- you stick to it. Some babies deal with changes in routine better than others and that is great, but if you know a deviation (be it a nap or nursing or who does the feeding) is going to affect you- put your foot down.

What’s your best holiday survival tip?

*If you call nursing every 60 to 90 minutes a schedule!
** Please don’t misconstrue this into thinking I’m telling you to put your baby on a schedule1 Maybe “routine” is a better word. Don’t get caught up in the holiday magic and start going longer between feeds because so and so from out of town is holding your baby and is perfectly fine with him rooting around and trying to nurse through her shirt. Same with shopping and parties- make sure baby comes first!

A Smile Goes a Long Way

Posted: August 11th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: Blog Hop, Breastfeeding, Nursing in Public | 3 Comments »

***This was originally posted on my Your Voices blog on August 4th, 2011***

It’s World Breastfeeding Week.  Did you know that?  Kind of a big deal in the circles I run in.  The moms like to talk about breastfeeding.  Whether they are doing it.  How awesome (or hard) it is.  How to deal with each new situation that comes up (nursing strikes, cluster feeding, latch issues, slow weight gain, thrush, weaning, biting etc.).

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about nursing in public floating around the past few weeks.  On my reader, on message boards, on my Facebook feed, on Twitter.  A lot of them are in reaction to a blogger who posed the question: Do mother’s openly breastfeeding in public make you uncomfortable?

I think back to my pre-baby, pre-nursing days and I am ashamed of the things I thought about women who chose to nurse in public (the few times I actually witnessed it).  Bottom line?  I thought it was disgusting, I thought it was distracting, I thought it was something that should be hidden away behind closed doors.  I thought women were just trying to get attention.  I’m pretty sure I shot a few dirty looks to nursing Moms.

I was embarrassed to be in the presence of another woman’s breasts.  And you know what?  That was my issue.  Before I nursed a baby, I didn’t “get it”.  It never occurred to me that a baby might be uncomfortable under a cover (would like to eat with a blanket over your head?).  It never occurred to me that a woman shouldn’t be banished to another room to feed a child (If you think a bathroom stall is suitable for nursing a child you should be voted off the island.).  It didn’t occur to me that anything was actually happening beyond a long slow flashing.  Who cares if she’s feeding her baby…she’s showing everyone her breasts!

Fast forward a few years and I am thankful that I have never run into the likes of me.

I nurse in public.  More often then not, without a cover.  I’m discreet, yes, but that could quickly change depending on the mood of my son.  Nursing in Public is not about putting on a show.  It is not about getting attention.  It’s about feeding your child.  If you want a show, put a cover over my sons head, I guarantee you’ll see more that way as he flails about and I try to keep him covered.

I am lucky, I have never come across a dirty look or heard a nasty comment.  On the contrary, I have had many knowing glances and very positive words of wisdom bestowed upon me as I’ve nursed my son.  In the grand scheme of things, nursing in public has been fairly easy to do considering all of our struggles.

Nursing in public will never be fully accepted if more women don’t nurse in public.  Obviously there are some women who would rather not ever be in that situation to begin with, for various reasons, and that is fine.  That doesn’t mean ALL women need to stay home, go into the next room or cover up their baby.

Next time you see a mother nursing her child, give her a smile.  Tell her she’s doing a great job.  I promise you will make her day.

I’m posting this as part of the Breastfeeding Blog hop, hosted weekly by Jen over at Life with Levi and co-hosted by Marah at Diary of a Devil Dog Wife and myself.  This weeks topic is Nursing in Public.  Link up!

A Story of Struggle and Success {World Breastfeeding Week}

Posted: August 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: Blog Hop, Breastfeeding, Formula, supplements, World Breastfeeding Week | 7 Comments »

When you are feeling crushed under the pressure of a baby not gaining weight and you are doing everything you can think of (and everything everyone is telling you to do) and you are still struggling and the latch is perfect and comfortable and you couldn’t have more support if you tried and it’s still not the happy blissful act you dreamed it would be, but rather nothing but frustration as your baby cries in anguished hunger because you just don’t have enough to give him- I give you permission to scream into your pillow about the unfairness of it all. Cry in the shower and get all that tension that is building up out of your system: breastfeeding is hard, breastfeeding sucks.

Then pick yourself up and try something new.

For me, my biggest no-no was formula. I wasn’t going to do it. Nasty horrible formula companies, what were they trying to do? Undermine me as a breastfeeding mother? Assholes! (This is what I was being told by the lactivists- and I believed them.) So, I nursed and then pumped (next to nothing because we were nursing probably an hour out of every two hours) and then supplemented what I had pumped with a dropper (because HELLO! bottles and their damn nipple confusion are right there in bed with those asshole formula companies*).

So, you can imagine my surprise when after 2 weeks of weight checks every 2 days and *still* not being back up to birth weight (not even close, actually), I started contemplating formula. Just to get us over this sleepy jaundice hump. Jaundice is sneaky that way- you get rid of the bilirubin from pooping, and you have to eat to poop, but the jaundice makes you too sleepy to stay awake enough to eat effectively, so you don’t poop…it’s a vicious circle of awesomness.

So, we finally bit the bullet. Against all advice from everyone (except my pediatrician, he was letting me choose the path but had a feeling formula might help get us over the hump). I finally gave him a bottle. Of formula. Having him attached to my breasts 50% of the day wasn’t getting us anywhere, With the constant emptying, there just wasn’t anything there to get.

He sucked the bottle down so fast I couldn’t believe it. Then he went to sleep and woke up 2 hours later, happy as a clam. At our next appointment, he finally was at his birth weight. To top it off he had had a nursing strike the previous day where he wouldn’t eat anything at all. It was unreal.

Soon his jaundice was gone and he was sleeping and waking and eating on a more regular schedule. So, once a day between feedings I gave him a little bottle of formula to top him off. It gave us all a break. He was happier, I was happier. We had made it over the hump.

We were back to 100% breastfeeding by the time I went back to work, which ended up being short lived because between the nursing and supplementing I could never pump enough for an entire shift
(or pump enough on my shift) and my boss wasn’t too excited to have my husband pleading for me to come home early to feed a crying baby every few days.

What are your options here? You can’t NOT feed your baby, I couldn’t leave my husband with an inconsolable infant with no options…back to the formula supplement. Because of this, nursing for us never really hit a comfortable stride until I quit my job. Then I could sit in a chair nursing (and tweeting) all day long if I wanted. And I did. But, we still needed that little extra to fill that tummy and calm him down.

Even with that little top-off bottle of formula (there was never enough to pump with all of that nursing) we still nursed every 90 minutes or so for months, we are still nursing at night (although he also drinks cow’s milk out of a cup and eats all meals at the table with the rest of the family).

He’s about to turn 1 here in a few days. He weighs 2 pounds less than his brothers who are almost 3. He’s my little tank.

It was a struggle for sure, and there were days and weeks (that 3 months of thrush!) where I was certain it was all going to end at any minute. But he LOVES to nurse, and I love to nurse. So, we nurse.

*Obviously this is sarcasm. I have no problem with formula, all of my kids have had formula to some degree.

Mama’s Boy

Posted: July 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: #Judahthetank, Blog Hop, Bonding, Breastfeeding | 7 Comments »

Judah entertains himself in the car

There is one thing I wanted before my youngest was born.  I wanted a clingy, comes to me only baby who loved to nurse and couldn’t get enough of me.  I am pretty sure I said I wanted one that was “all mine” on more than one occasion.  I wanted a Mama’s Boy.

Well, I got what I wished for.

Judah and I have been pretty much inseparable since he was born.  I like it that way.  He’s a handful and I don’t get nearly as much done as I’d like to, but  I feel like I missed out on that with the twins.  They are Daddy’s Boys, which is great, but kind of sad for me.  Sure, we have a bond, but it’s not quite the same as what I have with Judah.  Judah is like my little blond shadow. An exhausting, but adorable shadow.

I’m fairly certain I can thank the endless hours of nursing and bed-sharing for this closeness.  I’m so glad we’ve persevered and gotten as far as we have!  We are mostly nursing at night now, right before he goes down, then again before I go to bed a few hours later and if he wakes up in the middle of the night.  He’s usually back in our bed when Yogi Dad goes to work in the morning.  If he hits a rough patch during the day we’ll sit and nurse for a few minutes and things are all better.

I spend a lot of time during the day with him attached to my legs as I do dishes or cook meals or check email.  Pretty much anytime I stand still means I will have a little head bobbing against my thighs, I’m getting very good at walking around with him holding onto my legs.  He thinks it’s hysterical! 

This past weekend we traveled with  my mom and Sister to Kansas City and there were plenty of moments where I questioned my sanity in bringing him with.  But we’re still nursing.  And I just can’t justify stopping just so I can have a nice leisurely trip. I’m letting him lead the way with weaning and I imagine cutting him off abruptly would rock his little world.  I don’t want to do that.  Even if others don’t understand or agree with it.  Two is the new recommendation, right?

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by Life with Levi and co-hosted by Diary of a Devil Dog Wife and myself.  The hop runs every Thursday and Friday.

Putting away the Pump.

Posted: June 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: Blog Hop, Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding Blog Hop, Pumping, Weaning | 6 Comments »

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by Life with Levi and co-hosted by Diary of a Devil Dog Wife and myself. Each week we choose a different subject connected to Breastfeeding. Link up your posts and join in the conversation!

This week we’re talking about Pumping!

With both of my pregnancies I was pumping from day one. It’s not my favorite thing, but it was necessary. Nurse, pump, supplement, nurse, pump, supplement….I pumped 2-3 times a night at work for months and it served it’s purpose well for us. But, I was happy to leave it behind a few months ago when I started saying home.

With Judah nursing every 90 minutes to 2 hours there was no point in continuing. He could get the milk out much better than a pump ever could, so I stopped. Now that he’s weaned down to pretty much only nursing after dark it does make me wonder if I should pump, just to keep things going.

But what would the point be? We’re almost at a year, which was my long-term goal. He’s drinking cows milk and eating three meals of table foods a day. I’m just having a hard time giving it up. But I don’t want to pump. I *really* don’t want to pump.

So that’s where we are. Almost at the end. I’m going to let this ride and not try to save it with power pumping or Reglan or Fenugreek. This one is all Judah. When he’s done, he’s done.

Dad makes a difference!

Posted: June 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: Blog Hop, Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding Blog Hop | 2 Comments »

In all of my ups and downs with breastfeeding there has been one constant. My husband. If it weren’t for his support I think Judah and I would not have made it as far as we have. All the months Judah slept with us, all the nights he comes to bed with us now and poor Yogi Dad is nudged aside to give Judah some room to sprawl out. It’s made all of the difference. I am totally convinced that bed-sharing and co-sleeping was the one thing that saved breastfeeding for us. That almost constant contact through the wee hours of the night, they just make such a difference.

Aside from that, there is the always constant support. The willingness to let me make the decisions as to how Judah is fed, when we decided to introduce formula, not to mention picking up the slack during those first 6 months when we were easily nursing 9-10 hours a day. It’s a big commitment and I know not everyone is as lucky as I am to have that kind of unwavering support.

So I’m just going to say Thank You my Dear Husband. As a Dad (and a husband) you really knock it out of the park!

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop which runs Thursdays and Fridays. The Hop is hosted by Life with Levi and co-hosted by Diary of a Devil Dog Wife and myself. Each week has a different topic, feel free to link up a new or old post that goes with our weekly theme!

Crying over Spilled Milk

Posted: June 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: #Judahthetank, Blog Hop, Breastfeeding, Lincoln, Lincolnton and Wy, Mom stuff, Nursing in Public, Wyatt | 13 Comments »

This post is a part of the weekly Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by Life with Levi and co-hosted by Diary of a Devil Dog Wife and myself. The hop runs every Thursday and Friday, we’d love it if you linked up your pertinent posts!

Those first few days home from the hospital are always so crazy at our house. The first time around it was because we had two babies and well, two babies is a bit crazy. The second time around it was because we had toddler twins and a newborn…I’m still going to blame the crazy on the twins. (Seriously, people who compare having “Irish” twins to having actual twins are kidding themselves. But that’s besides the point.)

Back to my story!

The first time I pumped at home after Judah was born and actually got something that was enough to get excited about…I accidentally dumped it all over my counter when I went to pour it into my little breast milk freezer bags. Awesome. When you have supply issues you never want to waste a drop, but there I was watching it drip onto the floor.

In my mind there was a slow motion scream like you’d see in the movies (Nooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!) but in reality it was more like “mother effing blankity blank blank blank @##%#%^$^!!!!”. I get a little salty in real life.

As someone with low supply I vacillate between wanting to never waste a drop and feeling like it doesn’t really matter because tomorrow there might not be anything left anyways, so what’s the point. I know, it’s kind of a harsh reality, but there you go.

I suppose in the grand scheme of things, a few ounces of spilled milk is really nothing to cry over. I mean, I could have had a much bigger breastfeeding accident. Although I’m not sure what that might be…severed nipples?

What would you consider a breastfeeding “Ooops”?

BFBH Week 23: Back to Work!

Posted: June 9th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: #Judahthetank, Blog Hop, Blogging, Breastfeeding, Family, Feelings, Lincoln, Lincolnton and Wy, Nursing in Public, Pumping, Wyatt | 8 Comments »

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog hop, hosted each Thursday and Friday by Life with Levi and co-hosted by myself and Diary of a Devil Dog Wife. The topic is new every week, join us!

During both of my pregnancies I knew that I would be going back to work at some point. For better or worse, that was the plan. Because of this I started pumping pretty much from day one. Maybe day two. I was always feed, pump, supplement or feed, pump, freeze. Always the pumping.

Of course I pumped at work as well. I was lucky in the fact that I had my own office where I could hole up and pump three times a night, but for the most part it wasn’t enough. Because of certain rules my company had in place, I was only afforded two 15-minute breaks and one 30-minute break. It would have been much better for my if I had been able to do three 20-minutes breaks, but it wasn’t an option. 15 minutes to set up, pump through 2 let-downs and clean-up and be back to work? It’s almost impossible. but, I suppose as long as I was given the option and the space to do it they don’t have to go out of their way to make it work for me.

Because of supply issues I was never able to build up any sort of stash for Judah. There were many mornings (I worked overnight) that my husband would frantically call and want to know if I could get home early because the milk was gone and Judah was going crazy. Of course I was a good little breastfeeding Mama and I didn’t dare let him have formula. It was so much better to torture him by not letting him eat! That’s sarcasm, in case you didn’t catch it. Eventually I did have to get formula because I couldn’t keep leaving work early and I was already pumping around the clock and nursing and it was never ever enough. He was like a bottomless pit.

In my experience, I really don’t know how you can sustain both breastfeeding and pumping while working. I could see exclusively pumping, because you aren’t feeding the baby and then trying to build up a stash with what is left, one or two ounces at a time. Judah could put down 8 ounces in a sitting at 3 months old. I could only pump between 2-6 ounces in a session. It just never equaled out.

Eventually I ended up staying home and although it wasn’t the only reason or even the main reason, a big reason we came to the decision was to salvage what was left of breastfeeding with Judah. I had to quit my job to make it work. In the months that followed I spent the better part of my day parked on the couch with Judah nursing and me tweeting on my Blackberry. A lot of things didn’t get done, but the most important thing was nursing Judah.

And that was enough for me.

BFBH Week 22: Breastfeeding and PPD

Posted: June 2nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: #Judahthetank, Blog Hop, Breastfeeding, Day to Day, Feelings, Kids, Lincoln, Lincolnton and Wy, Wyatt | 2 Comments »

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted each Thursday and Friday by Life With Levi! Each week we focus on a different topic in the realm of breastfeeding. Please link up pertinent posts and join the conversation!

First, a little background…

I don’t do pregnancy well. When I was pregnant with the twins my midwife was pretty clear that she thought I might be high risk for PPD because it had been so rough for so long, she didn’t know if I’d be able to bounce back.

I was pretty worried about it myself. Yogi Dad was always on the lookout for signs. For the most part things were great. Immediately upon delivery I felt about a gazillion times better. I needed that. Of course as I’ve said in previous posts, breastfeeding has never come easy and with the twins it was kind of like my own personal hell.

But I’m not sure I would go so far as to say I had PPD.

Sure, it was frustrating beyond belief.
Yes, there were many, many tears.
I’m pretty sure I said some pretty crazy things about what I might do if I didn’t get a shower or some sleep or some time away from screaming babies.

But it all stemmed from something that I could have stopped if i had wanted to, if I had pulled myself away from everyone telling me I just needed to try harder. Once I finally did that things got better.

The frustration went away. The babies stopped crying. I stopped crying. Everyone got more sleep.

But there is the guilt in that. You know…taking the *easy* way out.

With Judah the frustration was always tempered by the fact that he wanted to nurse and nursed well, I just have supply issues. Once we got over the hump, things got better. We co-slept and bed-shared so sleep was never as big of an issue.

I am very aware that it could have gone differently. I think being aware of PPD and having my husband and family be aware of what to watch for was key to making sure if it did become an issue it would be taken care of right away.

BFBH Week 21: Success Stories!

Posted: May 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: #Judahthetank, Blog Hop, Blogging, Breastfeeding, FTW, Goals, Mom stuff, Nursing in Public | 5 Comments »

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog Hop hosted by Life with Levi every Thursday and Friday. Each week there is a new topic pertaining to breastfeeding, please feel free to link up your post and join in the conversation!

Last week when I finished writing my post I felt a bit jaded and maybe a bit sheepish for putting it all out there. It was such a downer post. Then I started to read the other posts linked up and they were all kind of telling the same story.

Breastfeeding is hard.

But, it gets easier.

Once I resigned myself to the fact that Judah liked to nurse around the clock I realized it was working. Once I saw that he had finally gotten out of the sleepy jaundiced slump he was in and started gaining weight, it was obvious to everyone that he was thriving. I was a breastfeeding mom.

I could finally let go of a little bit of the failure I felt with the boys.

And for me, that is a huge win.

Now! Let’s see what everyone else has to say on the subject. I bet this week gets everyone excited about all out awesome experience!