Monday, August 13, 2012

My thoughts on the new, but not-so-improved Boba 3G

So you may remember a few months back when I wrote about how excited I was to get the new Boba Baby Carrier, the Boba 3G.  I was excited about the new features, like a cell phone pocket, purse straps, and the ability to convert the carrier to an infant carrier.  Well, those cool features don't quite make up for one HUGE design flaw... the new sliders on the chest strap!

Boba 3G chest strap
Ergo/Boba 2G chest strap

I used to get frustrated with how hard it was to move the chest strap higher and lower on the Boba 2G.  Now I realize that it was a good thing.  The chest strap on the Boba 3G slides so smoothly and easily that it doesn't stay where you put it.  This isn't as big of a deal when you're wearing your little one on your back, because when the chest strap is in front, it's relatively easy to keep pushing it back down.  However, when you're wearing your baby on your front, it's not quite as easy to keep pushing the clip down in back of you. 

I would start out with the clip positioned between my shoulder blades and within minutes of wearing Emi on my front, the clip would have shifted up to the top of my neck.  Not only was this painful on my neck, having the chest clip up so high made my baby hang too far from my body, and that would cause extra strain and pain between my shoulder blades.  It also seemed to make the straps rub against the back of my arms.  I'm not sure if that was because the padding on straps is shorter on the 3G or if it's because the chest trap being positioned at the top of the neck causes the straps to pull forward more.  (Unfortunately, I sold my 2Gs before I got the 3G, so I couldn't get a picture comparing the length of the padding on the straps.)  Anyway, because of this, I couldn't handle wearing my baby on my front for more than 20 - 30 minutes.

I contacted Boba, thinking maybe I had a defective carrier, and they kindly sent me another.  (They really are a fabulous company!)  But unfortunately I had the same problem with that one.  I've had a couple of readers contact me to let me know they've had the same issues with their 3G's, so I'm pretty sure I'm not just being overly particular.

Anyway I'm super bummed, but I can't recommend the Boba 3G.  I love the Boba company and I think they make the most comfortable baby wraps I've ever worn.  And honestly, the Boba 2G is the most comfortable soft-structured carrier I've ever worn.  I'm now using an Ergo though.  While it's not as comfortable as the Boba 2G, it is more comfy than the Boba 3G (and I have to admit, I LOVE the big pocket it has on the back!)  Hopefully, Boba will come out with a 4G soon that will rectify the chest strap slippage problem... if they do, I'll be first in line to buy one!  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Weaning Process

I had planned to write this for the Natural Parents Network World Breastfeeding Week Blog Hop.  But then I realized that World Breastfeeding Week ended yesterday.  (I can't keep my days straight, since becoming a stay at home mom!)  Oh well!  I figure this is still worth sharing...

I mentioned in my last post that my almost-four-year-old has been talking about weaning, so I thought I'd write a little more about my experience with the weaning process thus far (keeping in mind that it hasn't actually happened yet!)

When I was pregnant with little Gigi, I had a goal of nursing her until she was two. I had read that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended breastfeeding for AT LEAST 12 months, and as long as it was mutually desireable by mother and child, and that the World Health Organization recommended breastfeeding for two years and beyond. I had envisioned her weaning somewhere around the age of two, and definitely before three. I personally knew a couple of people who had nursed past two, but no one who had nursed past 3 (although I had heard that Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods nursed till four). Anyway, needless to say, I never thought I'd be nursing an almost-four-year-old.

Up until the time I got pregnant with Emi Lou (right around Gigi's second birthday), I hadn't really ever put any limits on nursing with Gigi.  It was usually really relaxing for me, and I loved the closeness and the cuddle time. During my second trimester though, my milk dried up, which made it kind of painful to nurse. That was when I had to finally start setting some limits with nursing, and I suppose that is when the journey towards weaning began.

I think it's important to keep in mind, for those of us who firmly believe in child-led weaning, that the mother's feelings matter too. The nursing relationship needs to be MUTUALLY desireable and enjoyable, and if the mother is starting to feel resentful of the nursing relationship, then something needs to change.

While I was pregnant and struggling to set nursing limits in a kind and loving way, I was reading Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower. The book was a god-send! It was full of ideas on limit-setting, such as nursing only in certain special spots, or nursing for the duration of a short song (like the ABC song) or while you count. Gigi doesn't like it when I count, but prefers a time limit like "only for three minutes" or "one more minute".

I'm not gonna lie... there were some tears when we first started setting limits. She didn't like being told to stop nursing. She had always nursed whenever she wanted, for as long as she wanted. But we talked about how it hurt me sometimes and sometimes I needed a break, and eventually we had fewer and fewer tears.  Now she's so used to me giving her the one-minute warning that if I don't give her the warning before she's feeling done, she'll say, "Hey mom, aren't you gonna tell me one more minute?"

After Emi Lou was born, we had to set more limits. Most of the time, I was able to nurse them simultaneously and everything was great, but Emi sometimes struggled with nursing and needed my undivided attention. She has also always been highly distractable, so there were some times when I would need Gigi to leave the room. That was really hard, and I tried to minimize those instances, since I knew that adjusting to life with a new sibling is such a challenge for little ones and I didn't want Gigi to feel left out or to resent her sister. But the bottom line was that Emi Lou's nursing needs came first.

Gradually, over the past year Gigi has come to nurse less and less. We've learned new ways to comfort her and to put her to sleep. (I usually let her nurse for a couple minutes and then we just cuddle till she falls asleep.) She has also more or less night weaned. Thanks to the beautiful book Nursies when the Sun Shines, she has learned that once we go to sleep, she doesn't nurse again until the sunshines. I thought that would be a hard one, considering the "nursies" are available to Emi all thru the night, but Gigi actually never seemed to notice.

So now we're at a point when Gigi nurses just two or three times a day most days, and usually not for more than 15 minutes total. I feel like she's well on her way to weaning, though I'm not sure it will happen by her birthday. I'm sure it will happen soon enough though, and when it does it will definitely be bittersweet. It's so fun to watch her grow up, but part of me wishes I could keep her my cuddly baby forever!

Reflecting back over the years of our nursing relationship, the weaning process and timeline haven't exactly happened as I had anticipated, but that's ok.  I continually remind myself that every weaning is unique.  Nursing has been an entirely different experience with Emi Lou and I'm sure weaning will as well.  I got this wonderful handout at a La Leche League meeting in Katy, Texas, and I really hope it's ok that I'm sharing it.  (I've contacted the LLL leader who I got it from to find out if she wrote it or if it's an official La Leche League publication, so that I can give appropriate credit.)  It has a lot of great tips and reminders about extended nursing and weaning, and I found it very useful...

For now, we're just doing what is working for us, and I'm happy that I'm seeing gradual progress towards weaning.  People often ask me what I'll do if she still wants to keep nursing at six or eight... quite honestly, I don't know.  As I mentioned earlier, I never thought I'd be nursing an almost-four-year-old but here I am!  I'm going to continue to be in tune with how I feel and to talk to Gigi about she feels, and hopefully she'll be ready to say good-bye to her nursies soon.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tandem nursing my growing girls

You may or may not have noticed that I haven't posted a tandem nursing update during the past year.  I guess that's because the experience has been relatively uneventful.  But considering that my post on How tandem nursing saves my sanity! is the second highest-traffic generator on my blog, I figure it must be something people are interested in, and deserves an update! 

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, one of the goals of World Breastfeeding Week this year is to  is to "plan what more can be done to support all women to be able to optimally feed and care for of their infants and young children."  I believe that tandem nursing is something that definitely can help moms to feed and care for their infants and young children, especially if they are close in age.

Now before I go any further, I should mention that I know tandem nursing is not for everyone.  I can understand why some women might feel touched out, or tied down at the thought of nursing more than one child.  For some mothers, it is physically more than they can bear or something they just flat aren't interested in.  And that's ok.  I don't think that nursing more than one child at a time makes you a better mother.  (Remember, breastfeeding is not a contest!)  For me, nursing two children just seemed a lot less stressful than weaning my first daughter before she was ready. 

It seems that often times mothers become pregnant before their nursling is physically or emotionally ready to wean.  (Can you imagine having four children under the age of four, all of whom were still nursing?!)  Continuing to nurse thru pregnancy and beyond is considered safe for most women, and can be rewarding for both mother and the nurslings.   Simultaneous tandem nursing allows mom to rest and relax while nourishing and cuddling her little ones.  (My favorite perk!)  Being allowed to continue nursing often helps older siblings feel less jealous and more accepting of the younger sibling. 

We're now going on 14 months strong (closer to two years, if you count the time I was pregnant) in our tandem nursing journey and it has been a wonderful, beautiful experience.  I love those moments when I have both of my girls curled up in my arms, nursing to sleep, and the times when they playfully "fight" over which side is theirs, covering it up, and then falling over giggling.

Of course, there have been times when I have had to limit Gigi's nursing, whether because her sister is getting distracted (wanting to play), or because my milk supply is low, or because I'm just too "touched out".  Sometimes there have been tears of protest and rejection, but I feel fortunate that, for the most part, Gigi has been very understanding and cooperative.

I'm starting to feel ready for her to wean now. I'm glad that she's at an age (she'll be four in October) that we can talk about weaning and she understands. She's been taking baby steps towards weaning over the past year, and says she's going to be done when she's four... I hope she is, but we'll see! Until then, I'm just trying to cherish sweet moments like these...

Photo Credit: Timbra/Landslide Photography

celebrate world breastfeeding week on npn

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 1, 2012

The Big Latch On 2012... events held on Friday AND Saturday this year!

The Big Latch On is bigger and better than ever this year, with events being held on Friday and Saturday! This is a great opportunity to support and promote breastfeeding in your community.  Find your nearest BLO location here and join with moms from 23 different countries in an effort to break a world record for the most moms simultaneously breastfeeding!

Wordless Wednesday: What a breastfeeding 3 year-old REALLY looks like!!

In case you hadn't heard, World Breastfeeding Week starts today!  One of the goals of World Breastfeeding Week this year is to "plan what more can be done to support all women to be able to optimally feed and care for of their infants and young children." 

I believe one of the most important things that can be done to support women to be able to successfully breastfeed is to let people see it!  The world got an eye-full, with the notorious TIME cover story a couple of months ago, but I wanted to share what nursing a 3 year old looks like in our house...

Photo Credit: Timbra/Landslide Photography

I had hoped to have more photos for today's Wordless Wednesday post, but there was a bit of a mix up regarding the images I ordered and we've been total slackers in the photo-taking department over the past 5 months or so (we moved cross country twice in a 4 mo. period!), so this "Wordless" Wednesday post has more words than images :)  I hope to have some new tandem nursing photos to share next week though!

celebrate world breastfeeding week on npn

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.)


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