Friday, November 25, 2011

25% off Ergo carriers and accessories, 25% off Melissa & Doug toys, 40% off Sleepy Wraps, and 50% off Boba 2G for Small Business Saturday!


So did anyone stay up late, waiting in line to get any great Black Friday deals?  I thought about it for about half a second.  My hubby tried to brave the crowds, but when he drove up to Target and saw the insane amount of people waiting in line, he decided to come back to our toasty warm house instead!
 
I haven't done much Christmas shopping yet, but I plan to do a lot of shopping tomorrow on Small Business Saturday.  One sale that I'm super excited about is at One Lucky Mama.
 
When I decided I wanted to use cloth diapers with my second baby, all my friends from La Leche League told me I needed to go see Julie at One Lucky Mama (formerly Little For Now).  Julie was so sweet and took the time to explain the pros and cons of different diapers, and answered all the questions I had. 
 
I went back to see her a couple weeks ago to get a baby shower gift and I was blown away by her selection of Melissa & Doug toys!  When she told me that they were all going to be 25% off until Christmas (in store), I knew where I'd be buying all my Christmas toys!
 
In addition to the great deal on Melissa & Doug toys, here are some of the other great deals happening in store tomorrow...


25% off Ergo carriers and accessories (backpacks, weather covers, etc.)
25% off swaddling blankets, skin care, and many other items
50% off Boba 2G carrier
40% off Sleepy Wraps
20% off Moby Wraps 
10% off TummyTub and stool, training pants, cloth diapers, handmade diaper bags, and aprons.



For those of you not in the Salt Lake valley, OneLuckyMama.com will have all Melissa & Doug toys on sale 25% off and all baby carriers (including the ERGO!) 10 % off until Monday, November 28th.

Happy shopping!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finding family balance


As some of you may have noticed, I've taken a bit of a break from blogging over the past couple months.  I've been trying hard to blog regularly over the past year, and I felt like I was really on a roll during July and August, but over the past couple months I've had to put blogging on the back burner while I attempted to find balance in my life.

I've learned the hard way that it is quite a juggling act to be the kind of parent I want to be, and the kind of wife and partner I want to be, and some how manage to take care of all the other stuff that needs to be done like cleaning toilets, grocery shopping, and the dreaded laundry!  Unfortunately, I have dropped the ball a lot over the past couple of years and it has caused quite a strain on our family.  I have been striving so intently to meet my childrens' needs that I was often neglecting my husband's needs and my own.

I imagine that I'm not the first attached parent who has focused so much attention on caring for her children, that taking time for herself and her spouse has fallen to the bottom of the priority list.  I imagine that most people struggle to find family balance... to try to meet everyone's needs, including his or her own.  I always had good intentions of going on dates or going to the spa (I can't tell you how many unused Groupons I have for restaurants, massages, and facials!) but somehow those things never ended up happening.

Thankfully my sister gave me this great book a couple of months ago and it really helped me to reevaluate my priorities. (Please don't automatically stop reading when you see who the author is ;o)


I realize this isn't the typical book recommendation you would expect to receive from an Attachment Parenting blog.  To be honest, I'm not a fan of Dr. Laura.  I don't agree with her point of view on many things (I doubt I would agree with much of her parenting advice), but despite her extreme over-generalizations of men's and women's personality traits and roles in life, I did learn a lot from this book.  I'm embarrassed to admit that at thirty-something years old, and five years into marriage, I was pretty clueless about the few basic things that men need to be happy.  I realized that I had gone in to hyper-mom mode over the past few years and had been neglecting my husband and my marriage.

At the same time, I realized that I had kind of been neglecting myself a bit too.  Don't get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to so thoroughly enjoy being with my children that I really don't ever feel the need to "get away".  I guess that's why it was so hard for me to see that not taking time for myself was actually hurting me and my family.  It was hard for me, hard for my girls, and hard for my husband when I was away, so I felt like it made everyone's life easier if I just always had at least one of the girls with me at all times.  I felt selfish when I thought of doing things alone, knowing my girls would be sad and my hubby would be stressed if I left.

Turns out that everyone actually suffers if I don't take a little time to myself.  Over the past couple of months I have realized that when I take a couple hours a week to do something for myself, by myself, I feel less drained and am able to give more.  I've also seen how much closer my husband and his girls have become, and how much more confident of a father he seems to be.  But the best part is how much fun my hubby and I have had going out on DATES, and how much closer we have become!


So how do you find balance in your family?  What do you do to try to ensure everyone's needs are met?  (Is that even really possible??)  I'd love to hear some perspective from my readers!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Babywearing Class today RESCHEDULED!

The person who was going to host the babywearing class today has a sick kiddo, so it is being rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 22nd.  I'll post more details as I get them...

Friday, September 30, 2011

FREE Utah Babywearing Class

Hey friends!  Sorry for my disappearance for the past month... I was on a roll, blogging up a storm in August, but for the past month or so the thought of blogging gave me serious anxiety.  Anyway, just wanted to let everyone know about an awesome event happening tomorrow...


Aubrey of Utah Valley Hypnobabies is hosting a free babywearing class.  This is a great opportunity for those who are interested in babywearing to learn about babywearing safety, and to try out different types of baby carriers.  It will also be a fun event for experienced babywearers to be able to share their tips and tricks.  I'm planning on going, and it would be great to see some of you too.  If you'd like to attend, please go here to RSVP or contact me via Facebook to get more info.


Also, if you're interested in my two favorite types of baby carriers, check out my post about how to make a baby wrap and my review of the Boba vs. the Ergo (two of the most popular soft-structured baby carriers on the market).


Hope to see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing Flash Mob!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a Babywearing Flash Mob at the downtown library.  I wore Emi Lou in a Sleepy Wrap on the front and Gigi in a Boba on the back, while shakin' it to the Black Eyed Peas "Let's Get It Started".  (I'm super bummed that you can't hear the music, but other than that I think this video is super cool!)

Monday, August 8, 2011

How Involving My Kid Saves My Sanity!

Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


One thing I've learned as a mother of a toddler (who's now almost a preschooler!), it can be near impossible to get anything done if she's not occupied or sleeping!  So I figure I have two choices:  find something for her to do that will keep her entertained and occupied while I complete my task, or involve her in what I'm doing. 

True, the task will probably take a little longer to complete if the little one is involved, but I'll probably have fewer interruptions than if she's not.  True, there may be more mess to clean up when we're done, but she'd probably be off in another room making a mess if she weren't working with me.

Of course the greatest benefit of involving your kids in your projects is the opportunity to bond with them and teach them. You can teach math skills, like matching and sorting when assembling furniture and folding laundry.


One of our favorite activities to do together is baking.  I think this, in itself, is an important skill for children to learn, but it also gives parents the opportunity to teach children math (counting, fractions, addition, multiplication, etc.)  I almost always modify recipes (doubling the yield or reducing the fat or sugar content), so I'm always doing math when I'm baking!  At this point, learning fractions and multiplication are a little advanced for my little one, but I hope it's something she learns naturally and easily.  For now, we're just working on counting and addition!


 Here's one of our favorite recipes... Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Beat together butter, oil, and sugars until creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  • Add baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and flour; beat well.
  • Stir in oats and raisins; mix well. (I usually stir in half of the oats and raisins, then stir in the rest to make sure all the oats and raisins get well distributed.).
  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8 minutes.
  • Cool for 1 - 2 minutes on baking sheet, then move to wire rack

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:



It must be a sign...

I was just upstairs changing my baby's diaper, thinking "I need to order a couple more Thirsties Duo Wraps in the next size up."


I'm so lucky because my friend loaned me this diaper cover and I LOVE it!  Since it's a two-size adjustable size diaper, it fits even small babies great!  And I love that has leg gussetts to help prevent leaks!

So I came downstairs and got on facebook while I was nursing my girls, and what did I see?  The second announcement on my FB newsfeed was a message from Thirsties saying that they're giving away a starter kit of 2-Thirsties Duo Wraps, 2-Duo Hemp Prefolds, & 2-Stay Dry Duo Inserts at this weeks "Thirsties Thursday Giveaway"!!  How awesome is that?!  I really hope I win.  I'd love to get my hands on a couple of these babies...



Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to Discreetly Nurse a Newborn in a Wrap

Since I'm an avid "couponer", my shopping trips tend to be hours long.  I almost always have my darling daughters with me when I shop and almost always end up needing to nurse.  Rather than struggling to find somewhere to sit and nurse with a cart full of stuff, I just nurse as I go.  It's really quite simple, and I doubt anyone even notices. (Unless, of course, they hear the slurping of my noisy nursers!)

Supporting and positioning a newborn is much different from nursing a toddler.  With a toddler, you simply need to loosen the wrap or the straps of your carrier so that the toddler sits lower and is at nipple level.  Generally toddlers can then find the goods and stay latched on, without any support.

It took me a week or so to figure it out how to properly position and support little Emi Lou, and I wanted to share a video of what we do.  I do need to make one clarification before you watch the video though... when I say that small newborns "don't need a lot of support," I mean they don't need a lot of support FROM THE WRAP.  I know small newborns are extremely wobbly and need a lot of support and help getting (and staying) latched, but since they don't typically weigh much, they don't need much support from the wrap.  The older and bigger your baby gets, the more support you will need from the wrap!  (I hope that makes sense!) 

Anyway, enjoy the video and let me know if you have any questions...




celebrate-wbw-npn-450

I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Human Milk 4 Human Babies!

Since it's World Breastfeeding Week, I thought this would be the perfect time to write about a new project I'm involved with:  Human Milk 4 Human Babies.

All human babies deserve human milk.  It's naturally best for human babies.  Unfortunately, some women are unable to breastfeed.  Though there are several milk banks around the country, the milk is expensive to purchase (upwards of $100 per day) and generally reserved for babies that are premature and/or very ill.  Consequently, many mothers turn to formula to feed their babies.


The mission of Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB) is "to promote the nourishment of babies and children around the world with human milk."  Using the popular social networking site, facebook, the group helps to connect families in need of milk with mothers that have a surplus.  Currently there are over 130 HM4HB community pages (representing 52 countries) with 20,000 community page members.  The group estimates that "through our pages, hundreds of babies in need receive breastmilk every single day."

Of course, many people may question the safety of milksharing.  HM4HB operates on the principle of informed consent.  On their website they state "we trust, honour, and value the autonomy of families and we assert they are capable of weighing the benefits and risks of milksharing in order to make choices that are best for them. We hold the space for them and protect their right to do what is normal, healthy, and ecological."  On their FAQ page, HM4HB suggests several things to consider when screening a donor, and recipients can ask for donors to take blood tests or other health screenings.

True, there are risks to informal milk sharing, but there are also risks to formula and risks of not breastfeeding.  One of the best articles I have read on the subject is "Risks of Informal Breastmilk Sharing versus Formula Feeding" on the blog PhD in Parenting.  The article touches on the fact that when you give babies formula, you are accepting the risks that babies are more suceptible to bacteria and disease, babies have a higher likelihood to have ear infections, respiratory tract infections, asthma, childhood lukemia, and diabetes, among other health problems.  Both shared breastmilk and formula are at risk for being contaminated, however breastmilk can be flash heated to kill bacteria and HIV. (Flash heating is how I've always reheated frozen breastmilk anyway.)

The World Health Organization has stated:
For those few health situations where infants cannot, or should not, be breastfed, the choice of the best alternative – expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat – depends on individual circumstances.
Notice that a "breast-milk substitute" (e.g. formula) is LAST in the priority list for alternatives to breastfeeding. 

Personally, I'm not sure why the concept of a wet-nurse is so taboo in our society.  I'd be willing to do it, but I doubt anyone I know would take me up on the offer.  I'm sure it's much easier and more convenient to use formula than to find a breastmilk donor, but I'm so glad to know that should I ever need it, there is another option to feed my baby.

I absolutely love this part of the Human Milk 4 Human Babies Vision Statement:
Breastmilk, the biologically normal sustenance for humankind, is a free-flowing resource and mothers of the world are willing to share it. Milksharing is a vital tradition that has been taken from us, and it is crucial that we regain trust in ourselves, our neighbors, and in our fellow women. Feeding any breastmilk substitute is not without risk and we support the families who know there is another option. We are the bridge that connects local families and brings them together again as milksharing communities. Indeed, the future of humanity depends on our return to sharing in a local and tangible way with one another. 
We want milksharing and wet-nursing to be commonplace and babies to be fed at women's breasts whenever and wherever they need it. We dream of a world where mothers from previous generations pass on the tradition of breastfeeding and are a wealth of knowledge and support. We can forsee a time when women protect each other and help one another feed their babies so that every mother feels whole and no mother feels broken or that her body is failing her. We imagine a world where family members, friends, lactation consultants, doctors, and midwives do not hesitate to recommend donor milk when it is needed. We envision a future where families come together to raise this generation, and the next, by nourishing human babies everywhere with human milk and unconditional love.
I think the vision of Human Milk 4 Human Babies is beautiful, and I want to do everything I can to help that vision become reality.  I encourage you to find your local HM4HB facebook page, in case you ever need a donor or could become a donor yourself. (For my local friends, here's the link to the Utah HM4HB page and to the Idaho HM4HB page.)

***
celebrate-wbw-npn-450

I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back Carries with a Newborn in a Wrap

I was totally inspired by all the pictures of mamas wearing babies on their backs in wraps in last week's Wordless Wednesday blog hop.  Lauren at Hobo Mama passed along some links to videos of back carries with a newborn, so I tried it out yesterday while I was cleaning and making dinner.


I had to have Marco help me adjust a bit, but it wasn't too hard to get Emi Lou on my back, and it was much easier and more comfortable... not to mention SAFER... to have her on my back while I was making dinner. 

I always have a hard time keeping my babies from tilting their head back when they sleep.  As you can see, the wrap is supporting her head, but I need to work on keeping her head tilted down a little more.

Do you wear your newborn on your back?  What's your favorite carrier or type of tie for back carries with a newborn?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Big Latch On!

A week from today mamas all across the nation will gather to attempt to break the world record for simultaneous breastfeeding during the Big Latch On.  (The current international world record is 9,826 nursing mothers, recorded at 325 sites in 16 countries in October 2010.)  Our local event is being held at Library Square in downtown Salt Lake City.  To participate, you must register between 10 and 10:30 am, then have your child latched on from 10:30 - 10:31 am. 

I'm really excited for the opportunity to be part of a (potential) world record-breaking event!  If you are interested in participating in the Big Latch On in your area, go here for more info.

And speaking of latching on, last week at the Latch On America event, I picked up quite a few goodie bags.  In one of the bags were some Lasinoh products along with a card of "Latch-On Tips".  It was so clever and helpful, I just had to share...
  
Lips          Baby’s lips turn outward
Areola    Baby takes one inch of areola into mouth along with nipple
Tickle      Tickle baby’s lips with your nipple to encourage a wide open mouth
Chin         Baby’s chin rests against breast
Hold        Hold breast with thumb on one side and fingers on the other to aid latch-on
Open      Bring baby to breast when baby’s mouth is wide open
No Pain  If you are feeling pain or discomfort, gently unlatch and try again

I think the last tip, No Pain, is the most important.  Breastfeeding should not hurt.  If your baby is not latched on properly, it will be painful and may lead to sore, cracked, or bleeding nipples. 

If you're struggling with obtaining a proper latch, hopefully the tips above will help.  If you've tried the tips above and still don't feel you're obtaining a good latch, try working with a lactation consultant or La Leche League leader.  You can always find a La Leche League leader by going here or by calling 1-877-4-LALECHE.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing Photos

Welcome 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 when you have more than one child. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!



My first babywearing photo ever


Babywearing at the Beach


Babywearing in Kauai
(I really don't know how people travel WITHOUT wearing their babies!)


Babywearing a sleepy, nursing toddler in my homemade stretchy wrap.


My first "Tandem Babywearing" photo...
6 months pregnant and wearing a sick, nursing toddler


Wearing both munchkins on the outside


Not a babywearing photo of me (obviously), but how beautiful is this?


Observing everyone wearing babies in Guatemala had a profound impact on me.  It made me the babywearer I am today and I can't imagine life any other way!!




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

How I Am a Hippie

Image courtesy Travis_Simon


A couple weeks after Emi Lou was born, I went to a friend's house to have her take some pictures of us.  I had curled my hair and put on full face make up.  I think I was even wearing my fake lashes.  So we got to talking and my sweet friend said to me, "I love your blog, but what's with the 'hippie'?"

Now I'll admit, if you saw me on the street, you probably wouldn't think "hippie".  I love my Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, and John Lennon, but I've never had dreads, I shave my legs and armpits (before it gets noticeably long anyway), and I haven't owned Birkenstocks since the eighth grade.

But I've always kind of been the "hippie" of my family... doing "weird" things like wearing my baby, having a family bed, tandem nursing, cloth diapering, and having a natural hospital birth and then a home birth. 

Today I was reading Natural Urban Mamas blog post on Babywearing Myths and Misconceptions and she explained how babywearing is for hippies.  According to wikipedia.org, Both the words "hip" and "hep" came from black American culture and denote awareness. To say "I'm hip to the situation" means "I am aware of the situation." Thus the word "hippie" means "one who is aware," and expanded awareness was a goal of the movement.

So in that sense of the word, I am absolutely a hippie!  I am a hippie for the Attachment Parenting movement (which is all about PEACEful parenting).  I'm a hippie for natural childbirth and the Homebirth movement.  I'm a hippie for breastfeeding, babywearing, and bedsharing.  I'm newly a hippie for cloth diapering and elimination communication.
Hippies en busca de la tierra prometida by efedefoto
"Hippies in search of the Promised Land"

So even though I don't look like this...

Image courtesy misterjt

... I can assure you I really am a hippie!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How Tandem Nursing Saves My Sanity!

Welcome 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 reliable breastfeeding resources. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!





I remember the first time I saw a picture of a tandem nursing pair... I was pregnant with Gigi and I had gotten a free copy of Mothering magazine from my midwife. (That magazine changed my life in so many ways!) In the letters to the editor section, there was a picture of a mother nursing her 3 year old and her 3 week old, and I remember thinking "Wow! That's kind of crazy!! There's no way I could ever do that!!!" 

Even though I knew I wanted to let my little one wean on her own, it somehow never occurred to me someone might nurse both a toddler and a newborn. I guess I figured my little Gigi would wean herself before I even tried to get pregnant again. I really didn't think she'd nurse past two years. 

Of course, after she was born, it quickly became apparent how much she loved nursing and that it wouldn't be something she'd give up easily or early. That child nursed to sleep, nursed to wake up, nursed for comfort, nursed because she was bored, and nursed for any other reason you could think of!

When I found out I was pregnant with Emi Lou, Gigi was 22 months old. She was still nursing a minimum of four times a day (and often much more than that) and all thru the night. There was no way I could consider weaning her. I knew how much it meant to her and didn't want to force her to give up nursing before she was ready, so I started researching tandem nursing.

I was surprised to learn that many moms who intend to tandem nurse don't make it thru the pregnancy without the older child weaning for one reason or another.  Children often wean themselves when the mother becomes pregnant, due to changes in the taste and quantity of the breastmilk, and mothers often find they must wean because nursing becomes too painful when they're pregnant. 

Fortunately for us, Gigi didn't seem bothered by changes in the taste of the milk and she was happy to dry nurse when there was hardly anything there. And fortunately for me, I didn't experience too much discomfort nursing while pregnant.

I read Adventures in Tandem Nursing, and found it to be a very valuable resource. It taught me that it's ok to set limits with nurslings, which I hadn't done before then. Gigi is a "twiddler", and that's one thing that had to stop when I was pregnant because it was the one thing that seemed to hurt. There were also times during the second trimester, when I didn't have much milk, that I had to implement the "Count to 10" rule because I could only handle dry nursing for so long!

I have to say, I'm so thankful that Gigi was old enough to understand me when I explained the changes we had to make to continue nursing. And now, during those times when Emi Lou needs my undivided attention while nursing, I'm glad that Gigi is understanding and waits for her sister to finish. It's also helpful that she's old enough and mobile enough to figure out all sorts of creative positions that allow her to nurse at the same time as Emi Lou!


I can't imagine life as a new mom-to-two without tandem nursing. Many of my friends have told me the hardest thing about having a second baby is trying to keep a reign on the older sibbling while they're feeding the newborn.  Big brother/sister is either fighting for your attention or off getting into mischeif! That's never a problem for us because the minute I sit down to nurse Emi Lou, Gigi is right there to join in the fun! It's so nice and relaxing to be able to lay in bed, with a little one in each arm, and enjoy the feel-good hormones released as we nurse.

And having a toddler who's willing to nurse on demand is extremely helpful when you suffer with oversupply and plugged ducts! In the early weeks, I always had to have Gigi nurse a little bit before I nursed Emi Lou because my let-down reflex was so strong that Emi Lou was constantly choking and gagging.  And even now, I get a plugged duct at least once a week, but thanks to having two nurslings (and one with a really well-developed, intense suck) I'm usually able to work out the plug in less than a day.

I think one of the sweetest benefits of tandem nursing is the bonding it can promote between sibblings. I definitely think it's helped Gigi to bond with her sister. She likes to help her sister get latched on and to hold her hand or hug her while they nurse. It just melts my heart watching them! I feel like they'll always have a very special bond as a result of tandem nursing.


I know tandem nursing isn't for everyone, but I encourage any nursing mother who's pregnant (or thinking about it), to at least consider tandem nursing. It has saved my sanity in so many ways... from sparing me the stress of weaning my toddler before she was ready, to allowing me to pacify her when she has a typical two-year-old meltdown, to giving me time to just put my feet up and relax when I need to! 

I'm not gonna lie... there are times when it's a little draining to be nursing two, but I doubt there's a mom of two out there (or a mom of one, for that matter!) who doesn't feel drained from time to time for one reason or another!  There are so many benefits of tandem nursing, for mama and the nurslings, and it can be such a special experience. It's an experience I hope to enjoy for at least another year... or two... (most children wean before they're five, right?!)






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

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Milk for Thought

Nursing Emi Lou in front of the big, pink bus

Have you heard about the 27 year old single guy (with no children) who's driving across the country in a 40 foot pink bus to raise awareness for breastfeeding?  Well his name is Ryan Comfort, and I had the privilege of meeting this fascinating individual at the Latch On America: Utah event last Friday, where I learned about his goal for the Latch On America tour and the vision for his website, MilkforThought.com.

In a nutshell, the concept behind MilkforThought.com and the Latch On America tour is to create change by uniting the breastfeeding community.  Many moms know how difficult it can be to breastfeed... from problems with proper latch and sore nipples, to low milk supply or oversupply.  Imagine if there was a website you could visit to find videos showing how to get a proper latch or demonstrating different nursing positions to help slow the flow due to oversupply.  Imagine if, on that same website, you could browse profiles of lactation consultants or find local support groups for breastfeeding.  Well that's what Ryan hopes MilkforThought.com will become. 

According to their website, the goal of MilkforThought.com is the following:

At Milk for Thought, we want to change the landscape of breastfeeding — from attitudes to advocacy to education. Our goals are to work collaboratively to empower pregnant and breastfeeding moms by connecting them to local experts and counselors, baby-friendly hospitals and birthing centers, support groups, and other mothers who are out there and want so much to help. Instantly, new moms will get the support, encouragement, and shoulder to lean on that they need to have a successful breastfeeding journey.
The website is still under development, but eventually it will be kind of like a Facebook for breastfeeding (my analogy, not theirs!)  They had pamphlets at the event with some cool screen shots of what the social networking pages will look like. (Wish my scanner worked so I could share!)  Anyway, I can't wait till all the features of the website are up and running.  In the meantime, you can sign up for an account here so that you can be among the first to know as updates to the site are made!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Why I feel the need to nurse in public!

Welcome 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 the importance of breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!



Me nursing Gigi in the Ergo as we waited to march in the Draper Days Parade
  
I'll admit it.  I'm not shy about "whipping it out," when necessary.  But if you would have asked me 5 years ago how I felt about nursing a baby in public (uncovered if necessary), I (like most Americans) would have told you it was weird and totally inappropriate.

I remember the first time I actually saw a mother nursing in public, uncovered.  It was about 5 years ago.  I was working at IKEA and the mother was waiting in line at the bistro.  I was shocked.  I remember saying to a co-worker, "Can you believe that mom is just standing there nursing?!"

Oh how the tables have turned!  I guess the first time I nursed "in public" was in the hospital.  Our friends Ian, Erin, and their daughter Ava visited us in the hospital the night Gigi was born, and since the hospital hadn't sent a lactation consultant my way (despite my numerous requests) and I was a clueless first time mom, I asked Erin to help me figure out this whole nursing thing. I tried to think of a way to cover myself so that Erin could see my baby and the goods, but Ian couldn't, but since all I had was the sheet on the bed and the hospital gown I was wearing, I just whipped it out.  I was desperate to feed my baby, so I figured Ian could either see the goods or look away.

I remember the first time I tried to nurse in public while covered.  I was in Albertsons, going on a super coupon shopping spree.  I was wearing Gigi in my Sleepy Wrap, my cart was full to the brim, and I was trying to find some granola bars that were free after coupon.  Suddenly I felt my  baby start rubbing her head back and forth between my breasts, searching for something to latch on to.  I knew she wouldn't be able to hold out till I finished shopping and checked out... till I could hide in a bathroom stall or in the car to nurse.  Luckily my sister-in-law had sent me a lovely nursing cover, so I pulled it out, then pulled out the goods and fed my baby. 

I still couldn't find the granola bars so I found a store employee to ask for assistance.  The employee I found looked like he was in his mid-forties (old enough to have kids) and was really tall.  Tall enough that he could surely see down the nursing cover.  When I asked where I could find the granola bars, he looked annoyed and said they didn't have any.  Truthfully, I'm not sure if the guy was annoyed that I was nursing in public, or annoyed that I was another crazy coupon lady looking for those free granola bars!

I'd say the nursing in public experience that really turned me into a lactivist though was an experience I had with just me and my co-worker.  My sweet co-worker, who ended up replacing me when I decided to stay home full time, was a mid-twenties single girl who was the youngest in her family.  One evening after everyone in the office had gone home for the day, we met to finish training her on the duties she would be taking over.  Little Gigi got hungry, so I put on my nursing cover and started nursing, while continuing to train my co-worker. 

Suddenly Gigi started sucking really loudly.  I'm not sure if it was really any louder than she normally was when she nursed, or if it just felt that way because it was so quiet in the office, but I could tell my co-worker was getting a little uncomfortable.  I appologized for what a noisy eater Gigi was, and she laughed and said "Yeah, AWKWARD!"

I felt bad for making my co-worker uncomfortable (I really do feel bad when I make people feel uncomfortable!) but as I drove home I got to thinking... Why does it make someone feel awkward to hear a baby suck loudly on a breast, yet people seem to think it's cute to hear those sounds when a bottle or pacifier is on the other end?  Why is it that what is natural doesn't seem normal?  Why is it that using a breast for its god-given purpose is seen as indecent?

It seems to me that the best way to normalize breastfeeding is not to hide it!  It's not "normal" because it's not something people normally see. 

True, it's possible to leave your cart full of groceries to go hide in the bathroom to nurse your baby, but do you like eating in the bathroom?  Why should a baby be forced to do so??  Some babies will allow you to cover them with a nursing cover, but many won't.  Should they not be allowed to eat?  I would bet that most people would be more disturbed and annoyed by the sound of a screaming, starving baby than a mother nursing uncovered.

I remember reading an article in Mothering Magazine about a woman who lived in Mongolia, a country where 93% of women are breastfeeding exclusively at 4 months and 82% continued for 12 - 15 months. She told of how breastfeeding women were highly revered... how taxi drivers would give her the thumbs up sign as she nursed her son, and vendors would clear a space for her in their stalls so her son could "drink up." (You can read the entire article here.)

How would it be to live in a country where women were embraced for breastfeeding their children whenever and wherever they were?  Unfortunately, women in our society are often harrassed instead. 

I was shocked when I learned that a local momma was recently harrassed in Whole Foods (of all places) for nursing her 18 month old.  The store manager and security guard couldn't understand why she wouldn't just "cover up".  I'm here to attest that not even my mellow little Gigi would let me keep any sort of cover over her after she was about 9 months old!  I really loved the momma's response to the "cover up" suggestion...
To me, when you ask a nursing mother to cover up it sends a message that what you are doing is wrong.  I didn't feel it was appropriate for them to tell me I was doing something wrong when I was nourishing my child.
A national nurse-in is being organized for Saturday, August 20th, and I definitely plan to attend.  I'm thinking about ordering some of these cards to hand out at the event, because really I don't think I could summarize the reasons I nurse in public any better than this...






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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Favorite Breastfeeding Photos

So I've been wanting to participate in "Wordless Wednesday" for a while now, but as we all know, I have a hard time blogging regularly.  I was all excited to participate in the blog carnival hosted by The Breastfeeding Cafe, but kind of intimidated as well since I've never participated in a blog carnival and I'm afraid of deadlines.  Then I somehow overlooked the fact that the blog carnival was happening in the weeks leading up to all the Breastfeeding Cafe events, and didn't realize that the blog carnival had already started until I got Hobo Mama's Wordless Wednesday email.  I tried emailing the "blog carnival mistress" but I guess I was a little too late to be included in the blog carnival today... I'm going to post this anyway...


This is the only professional picture I've had taken.  I'm looking forward to having some more taken as part of a fundraiser the Breastfeeding Cafe is holding.


I think this was my first breastfeeding pic ever taken. (Amazing quality, I know!)  I love that Gigi looks as orange as a pumpkin, and that my breast is bigger than her head!


Cookies and Milk!


First picture of Emi Lou nursing.  She's probably only about 10 minutes old in this picture. (I'm not 100% sure because I just discovered the date and time on my hubby's camera are off!)


I love this portrait my friend Ginger took when Emi Lou was 2 weeks old



This is how we spend a good portion of the day... especially when my hubby is traveling, as it seems to be the only way I can keep everyone content sometimes!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

FREE SLEEPY WRAP OR BOBA!!!

So I'm sure you all know what a HUGE fan I am of my Sleepy Wrap and my Boba carrier, and of babywearing in general.  Needless to say, when some friends of mine from La Leche League organized a "Babywearing Flash Mob" I jumped right on board... even though I had NO idea what a "flash mob" was.  For anyone as clueless as me, the wikipedia definition of a "flash mob" is "a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and sometimes seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment and/or satire."  Now you probably know what I mean, but in any case here's a good example...


(Thankfully, the dance we will be performing isn't nearly this elaborate!) 

Although I had my apprehensions about doing a little choreographed dance in a busy public place, I figured if it would raise awareness of the benefits of babywearing, it would be worth it.  Well I was completely sold on the idea when I saw on Facebook today that every mama who participates in the flash mob will get either a free Sleepy Wrap or Boba Carrier!!!!!! 

So if you would like to be given one of my two favorite baby products and you are available the first weekend of August, come participate in the babywearing flash mob.  The next rehearsal is July 15th at 4 pm.  You can find out more details by "liking" the Breastfeeding Cafe SLC on Facebook.

And a potential added bonus to those of you who may be new to babywearing... there will be lots of people at the flash mob rehearsals who can give you tips on ways to wear your baby :)  So come join the fun and be a part of the babywearing flash mob!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Emi Lou's birth story

WARNING: This is a really long post. I personally don't enjoy reading verbose blog posts, but this post is more a record for me and Emi Lou than something I think other people will enjoy reading. Feel free to skip over the story and just look at the pictures :) Oh and speaking of pictures... these are pictures of childbirth, so you may not want to look at them if you are offended by too much skin. I tried to make sure there's nothing too graphic, but consider yourself warned...


Our sweet little Emilia Lucia arrived on May 19th at 2:42 a.m., and it was a magical, beautiful event!I’m pretty sure this sweet little angel was ready to arrive for a few weeks before she did, but she waited until mommy was ready.

As I mentioned before, we started remodeling the entire main floor of our house about a week before we decided we wanted a home birth. (I know I STILL need to post “after” pics of the remodel, but I figure this is a more important topic to blog about :) Here's a sneak peak though...)


The normal me has a hard time functioning in a disorganized, dirty house. The nine-month pregnant me, who was planning to birth at home, could hardly function in the mess that was left when the remodel was finished.

It took a couple of weeks, but on Tuesday, the 17th, I finally had my house mostly put back together.  I woke up the morning of the 18th feeling like I would meet my baby girl before I went to sleep. I washed the little outfit I wanted her to wear when she arrived and spent the day doing some deep cleaning.

Marco came home around 6 pm and was a little upset. He had been talking to our friends about how I had been measuring small for the past month and was worried that there was something wrong with the baby. He wanted to get an ultrasound, so I called the midwife and she agreed to set something up first thing in the morning.  I remember thinking that it would be a little weird to look at the baby in utero the next day, because I really imagined having her in my arms.

Around 9 pm I started wondering if my mind was playing tricks on me. I was feeling contractions about every 10 minutes, but they still felt like Braxton-Hicks contractions. I decided to take a bath and see if they went away (something which had worked without fail for the 6 months I had been enduring Braxton-Hicks contractions). They were still coming pretty regularly while I was in the bath and started coming about 5 minutes apart when I got out, so at 10:30 pm I decided to call the midwife, Melissa.

When Melissa arrived around 11 pm I still didn’t really feel like I was in labor, but when she checked me she found that I was dilated to 4 and fully effaced. She said that some people would stay at that point for days, but she felt like we should go ahead and set up the pool. So Marco and Melissa set up the birth pool while I went downstairs to try to put Gigi to bed.

I think Gigi knew something was up because even though she was really tired, she just wouldn’t fall asleep. I nursed her for at least an hour while we watched Word World, and although the nursing didn’t put her to sleep, it was at least helpful for moving labor along.

I got up at about 12:30 because the contractions were getting longer and stronger and were finally feeling like more than just Braxton-Hicks. I tried texting and calling the friends who had planned on attending the birth, but of course, couldn’t get a hold of anyone! I wandered around for a bit… said hello to the other midwife, Heidi, who had arrived, made sure the video camera and digital cameras were ready, and at about 1:30 am I finally decided to get in the birth pool. 


Just as I was getting in the pool, my friend Liz called me back to let me know she was on the way. I was so relieved! Liz had used Hypnobirthing when she delivered her daughter and had given me a few birth hypnosis CDs (including “Baby Stay IN!”, which I listened to every night for a month, up until May 17th :) I knew Liz would be able to help me stay relaxed and focused during birth, and I was glad that she would be able to help take pictures of the birth as well.

The power of Hypnobirthing!
 
After I got off the phone with Liz, I heard Gigi coming upstairs. When she saw that I was in the pool, she wanted to get in too, so Marco helped her put on her swimsuit.  I could hear her in her room saying something to Marco about Emi Lou coming in the pool :) She was so excited!


Gigi’s pool time didn’t last very long though. As soon as she got in, she decided she was ready for bed! It was perfect timing… I could see that she was completely wiped out and would be asleep in no time, and my contractions were still manageable… so after Marco put on her jammies, I got out and took her down to bed.

Even though I was wrapped in a towel and covered in blankets, I was shivering uncontrollably! Gigi giggled at me and said “Can you please stop that?!” Then she latched on and passed out.  

I was kind of amazed how quickly she fell asleep and stayed asleep... a couple of minutes after we laid down (before I was sure she was asleep) I felt a contraction come on and I remembered thinking “Oh my gosh, I feel like my water is going to break!” Sure enough, a second later, it broke with a gush. I was sure Gigi would feel it and freak out, but miraculously she just snored away.

I snuck out of bed and into the bathroom. I guess Marco must have heard me because the next thing I remember is being curled up in a ball on the floor with Marco trying to help me up. Somehow we made it upstairs and into the birth pool, which was sweet relief!

My beautiful midwife, Melissa

I can’t say enough about what a wonderful tool I think a tub/pool of warm is for a laboring woman. It is so relaxing and makes labor so much more manageable! And from what I’ve read, being able to stay relaxed is the key to helping your labor progress.

I know this pic is a little blurry, but I just love the intensity in Marco's face in this one.

So far, that has definitely been true for me. I remember I progressed really quickly with Gigi while I was in the tub, but then things slowed down when I had to get out to push. Since I was able to stay in the water for the entire labor and delivery this time, it took less than an hour from the time my water broke till my baby girl was in my arms.


I think the best thing about having a home water birth though, was how Marco was able to be so involved in the whole process. The midwives were so wonderful about assisting us in delivering our baby... they coached and encouraged us, and knew when to step back and when to get involved.


Emi Lou was born into all of our hands. I asked for help after her head and shoulders came out, because she didn’t slide right out like I had imagined she would. I’m definitely glad the midwives were there to help after she was born because she didn’t make a sound for a few minutes after she arrived… she just looked at me.



Honestly, it worried me a little, but the midwives reminded me she was still getting oxygen thru her umbilical cord. They were right there with oxygen immediately, and kept checking her heart and lungs with the stethoscope. She had good color, and it only took a minute or two for her to make a little squawk and clear her lungs. But after a squawk or two, she fell asleep and took over a 10 minute nap! I don’t know if that was a sign that her birth was exhausting or super peaceful, but it seems like I have another super mellow baby :)


After I got out of the birth pool, we moved into the bedroom so daddy could have some skin-to-skin bonding time and so she could have a chance to nurse. She latched on right away and has been nursing like a champ! (In fact, she weighed an ounce more than her birth weight when we visited the pediatrician 4 days after she was born, and I hear it normally takes a week or 2 for babies to get back to their birth weight!)


We did the newborn exam right on the bed, and I was able to hold her hands which was nice because it helped her stay calm. Official stats: 8 lbs 3 oz (after nursing :) and 20.5 inches long!


The midwives stayed for about an hour to clean up and make sure we were doing ok. After they left I called my mom, tried texting a bunch of people (only to find out that I can’t send a text to more than 10 people at once and I have no way of forwarding sent texts on my phone), and finally went to bed. I had planned on us all going to bed in the same bed, as a big happy family, but decided to sleep in the guest bed with Emi Lou so we could capture on film the moment Gigi met her baby sister. (Which I did, and it was beautiful, but that’s another post for another day…) 


So my home birth was everything I had imagined and hoped for. I don’t think it could have gone any more perfectly! We are all recuperating and adjusting to life as a family of four wonderfully. Gigi loves her baby sister (sometimes a little too much) and she is such a great big sister. Emi Lou is calm and mellow and makes it easy to still be able to spend lots of time with Gigi. Marco has been so incredibly helpful… cooking (he’s an amazing chef) and cleaning and helping out with the girls. I feel great, although I am a little sleep deprived because sweet Emi Lou spends a lot of time awake at night wanting to nurse and look around :) But I can’t complain… Emi Lou had a perfect birth and I have a perfect family! Life is good!!

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