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May 20, 2014 4:59 pm

Birth Story Extras

There were a few things that happened during and right after Thora was born that didn’t seem like they fit into the birth story, so here’s the down low on those things:

Double Placenta

At my 20 week ultrasound, the tech thought I had an accessory lobe on my placenta. Usually, accessory lobes are like an extra little “bloop” of placenta connected to the main one. After Thora was born and they took the placenta out, we discovered that the accessory lobe was essentially a whole placenta of its own, nearly as large as the main one! This is really unusual. Daniel had the presence of mind to take a photo for me and it’s disgusting and wonderful. I’d post the photo here, but it’s kind of gory? I mean it’s an internal organ in a plastic tub with some blood, basically. I texted it to a couple friends so we could marvel over the weirdness though!

During surgery, I overheard one of the doctors say something about “sending it to the lab” and “seeing what Pathology had to say about it” and at that point, I could probably have declined the testing, but I was also curious as to why I might have a double placenta. Like maybe I was supposed to have twins but one of them didn’t work out? I don’t know.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) the pathology report was disappointingly normal. They essentially said it was a variation of normal and still classified it as an accessory lobe.

I had somebody lined up to encapsulate my placenta, so I was disappointed that I didn’t get to do that this time around, especially since the pathology report didn’t reveal any juicy information like an absorbed twin or anything. On the bright side, I’ve been doing really well emotionally and I didn’t lose very much blood during surgery, so I don’t feel like I desperately needed the placenta pills.

HELLP Syndrome

Upon my admission to the hospital, they took some blood for lab work. Oddly, despite having none of the obvious signs of preeclampsia like severe swelling, proteinuria, high blood pressure, headaches or visual disturbances, my liver function and kidney function tests came back with HORRIBLE numbers. My liver function test should have been somewhere in the 30s and it was 250+. Kidney function was also terrible, but I don’t know the exact numbers.

Because I had none of the other symptoms, they tentatively classified it as “Atypical HELLP Syndrome” and the OB on call, Dr. S, opted not to give me magnesium sulfate because my follow-up bloodwork showed my numbers were improving steadily. I am ENDLESSLY thankful to her for making that call. It was kind of a controversial one, given that the risk for skipping the mag was me having seizures – the OB I saw the next day said that had she been there and seen that first lab result, she would have put me on the mag straight away, no questions asked, even if the follow-up tests showed I was improving.

I really credit the lack of mag sulfate for my dramatically different recovery. I was able to get on and off my hospital bed earlier than I did after Wesley, with a minimum of pain and suffering, and I felt like my body was my own. With Wesley’s birth, I basically felt like I was wearing a fat suit and it was so hard to move.

The fact that I ended up with the “worse” version of preeclampsia is kind of scary to me. I assumed since I didn’t have any symptoms that I managed to make it through this pregnancy without any pre-e complications, but then I ended up with this weirdo version of HELLP.

Remember when my feet got really, really itchy a while back? We chalked it up to an estrogen spike, but knowing that my liver was basically toast at the end of my pregnancy makes me think that my liver was the cause of the itchy feet like the internet said it was.

It probably sounds really irresponsible, but I’m kind of thankful we didn’t investigate it further. Like, had I really pushed things, Denise could have done bloodwork and it probably would have showed poor liver function and then we would have had to make a decision about early induction, and I likely would have ended up with an emergency c-section and wouldn’t have gotten to labor at home at all. So! I’m kind of glad I didn’t follow up on that hunch.

I actually just got a call today saying my repeat bloodwork from my 2-week incision check was good – my numbers weren’t back to normal yet but they’re definitely trending that direction.

Surgery Differences

I touched on this in the actual birth story, but my two surgery experiences were so vastly different that I wanted to expand on this a bit more. With Wesley’s birth, I really felt it was something done to me instead of with me, and I was treated like a weird baby-carrying vessel that was entirely ignored during the procedure.

With Thora’s birth, the hospital staff definitely made both Daniel and I feel like we were part of the process. It’s actually hard for me to articulate how nice it felt to have somebody acknowledging me during the surgery and checking in to make sure I was comfortable. Even something as simple as where the anesthesiologist stood during the surgery! It’s such a small thing, but it made such a huge difference in my experience. JJ was right next to me where I could see him instead of standing behind my head, out of my view.

The atmosphere in the OR was also sort of jovial and friendly. It was probably technically an “emergency” c-section because it was unplanned, but it didn’t feel crazy or rushed like Wesley’s did. My mom works at the hospital, so I think a lot of people involved in the surgery knew I was her daughter. It didn’t get me VIP treatment or anything, but it did make the surgery less scary knowing that those people knew me (and I knew some of them). I could hear the doctors talking and everybody seemed cheerful, which helped it feel like a happy occasion versus the kind of dour atmosphere everybody had during Wesley’s birth.

I did know several of the OB nurses I had over the next few days, which was kind of fun. My mom was actually my night nurse the second evening we were there!

Birth Partner

This birth story wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention how amazing Daniel was throughout my labor and the subsequent hospital transfer and delivery. With Wesley’s birth, neither one of us had any idea what we were doing and we both felt panicky and unsure of ourselves. With Thora’s birth, we took Bradley birth classes that made us both way more confident in the labor process and what to expect.

Daniel spent basically eleven or twelve hours squeezing my hips with his hands to help me through contractions. It took a lot of effort and I am so appreciative – he didn’t complain about it at all. I’m not the sort of person that needs a lot of verbal cheerleading – it usually feels really artificial and silly to me. Daniel did a great job of recognizing when I needed supportive things said to me, and for the most part simply provided a comforting presence and the ever-important hip squeezes.

I obviously have no idea what it’s like watching your partner experience something as crazy as labor, but when we’re talking with people about the labor process, he’s quick to jump in and say how awesome I did. I haven’t really talked with him much about his experience specifically, but I get the impression that he is proud of the effort I put in and he obviously knows how important trying for a VBAC was to me so I know he’s glad I got to experience labor and pushing even if it didn’t end how we expected it to.

ALSO: I have to mention his expert hospital bag packing – we were seriously out of the house in about five minutes after we made the decision to transfer, and he managed to grab me a totally acceptable going-home outfit of yoga pants and two shirt options. Really the only things we missed were our phone chargers and a going-home outfit for the baby, which wasn’t even a big deal given that we live about a minute and a half from the hospital anyway so he could just go home to get stuff we forgot.

Long story short, he was the exact kind of labor support I needed and I love him to pieces.

Mastitis

On Monday, I got off the couch to use the bathroom and as soon as I made it in there I got full-body chills. My boobs were huge and hot, which is normal after your milk comes in and you get engorged, but I knew that the fever chills were a sign of mastitis, so I took my temperature: 99.5. I drank some water and took a nap, but when I woke up an hour later and took my temperature, it was 101.6, and I was already on ibuprofen and oxycodone + acetaminophen which should have done something about the fever.

Mastitis is a breast infection and the symptoms make you feel like you have the flu. I felt awful.

I got a doctor’s appointment for the next day. I did feel better that morning and my temperature was 98.2, but when I went in for the appointment the doctor was like, yep, I can see exactly where the infection is! She prescribed me some antibiotics to take for a week. I was nervous about getting thrush, but we seem to have avoided that for now (knock on wood).

Mastitis is absolutely no fun. Now I just have to hope I’m not one of the unlucky people that gets recurring mastitis! Gah.

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December 11, 2012 8:57 pm

The Post-Nursing Toddler

On two separate days this past week, Wesley has requested to nurse.

Well, I say that like was a beautiful moment with sunshine and bluebirds – what actually happened was that he was sitting on my lap and poked my boob and said, “I want t’ drink milk from yew bewwwbies.”

And then he said, “I drink milk from yew bewwwbies. I drink milk, I have zat thing, I put it on, and I drink you milk.”

(“That thing,” being the nipple shield we used at nearly every feeding for two years.)

……

Today, he told me “I want t’ drink chocwit milk from yew bewwwbies.” I laughed and told him I don’t make chocolate milk, and unfortunately I don’t think I make any milk at all anymore. And then I told him that if he had a little brother or a sister, my “boobies” would start making milk again. He told me, “I have brother, yew bewwwbies makin’ milk again. Tiny babies drink milk from mommy bewwwbies.”

……

He recently found a nipple shield somewhere (I used to have them stashed all over the place so they turn up now and again) and now I can’t remember what his actual words were, but he knew exactly what it was for despite not having used it for nearly a year. That astonishes me.

……

I often wonder how much he remembers about nursing, and what specifically he remembers. I just asked him if he remembered drinking milk, and he said, “Um… YEP.” and then refused to elaborate but told me all about how he built a castle but it fell into a fire pit. So maybe he is not the best for specifics, but it’s super interesting to me that he has some memories of the two years we spent together, nursing.

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April 4, 2012 5:41 pm

End of an Era

I’m going to go ahead and declare that Wesley and I are done breastfeeding. He was on the “every two weeks” plan for quite some time – two months, maybe – and it pleased me that we might be able to hit my goal of breastfeeding for two years. I don’t know if we “officially” hit that goal – he still asks to nurse but clearly has no idea what to do once he gets there so he hasn’t actually had milk in quite some time – but to me it feels like we did, so I’m going to say that we did.

I feel like I’m in a weird place right now though, being a breastfeeding advocate who is not currently breastfeeding. Intellectually, I know it is totally possible to live in this space, but it feels weird to me nonetheless. I think my next steps are going to be researching how to improve Idaho’s breastfeeding laws! That way, even though I am not currently nursing a baby, I can still help out and support other mothers who are or who plan to.

I’m sad about a few things; namely, that I have no photos of us breastfeeding. NOTE TO PARENTS: take photos of this! Your wife/girlfriend/partner may not ever want to see them, but some of us would be really happy if we had them.

Also, you know how everybody says “nobody gets a gold medal for breastfeeding?” Sometimes I think that’s sad, because gold medals are awesome. So I made myself one.

(I used this tutorial. Mostly.)

Now that we’re done nursing, I took the opportunity to invest in some state-of-the-art non-nursing bras, and I am so very, very excited for them to come in the mail.

8 Comments >

September 15, 2011 10:32 am

Texas WIC – Breastmilk Counts!

In sharp contrast to my last post, the WIC program in Texas has created a beautiful, informative resource for breastfeeding moms: Breastmilk Counts.

Check out the 30-second TV spot near the bottom of the campaign page.

WIC Breastfeeding promotional advertisement

It shows moms breastfeeding and details a ton of benefits associated with breastfeeding your baby. It tells you to imagine the benefits of continuing for 6 to 12 months, helping to dispel the myth that you should wean early. It’s extremely tastefully done and I loved watching it. (Wesley did too, and giggled and pointed happily when the baby was “eating milks.”)

They have a great article on learning to nurse in public. I like that they note that several options are for your privacy while reiterating the Texas law that you are allowed to nurse anywhere you are already allowed to be yourself. This helps give confidence to mothers that might be worried they are being “indecent.” The website also offers a handy printable card (upper right) so if you do have a confrontation, you can show them the statues that support you. Awesome!

They have a whole section on returning to work, offering tips on how to talk to your employer and suggesting places to pump. (For what it’s worth, I pumped in a tiny conference room, and my employer agreed to install blinds on the windows to make sure it was a private place for me.) There’s also a page on how to build your freezer stash before you go back to work! This site left me feeling like they’d thought of everything.

It makes me so happy to see such a well-rounded website about breastfeeding, especially since it’s from the WIC program! WIC spends tons of money annually providing free or low-cost formula to participants, and would save so much money if they encouraged more mothers to breastfeed. I think this website is a huge step in the right direction, and I would love to see more of this sort of thing on a federal level.

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September 6, 2011 4:23 pm

Hey Evenflo – That’s not what I call support.

This morning, I saw a link to an Evenflo ad from somebody I follow on Facebook. I watched the whole video in horror as it perpetuated a ton of the most common breastfeeding myths and stereotypes while attempting to sell a product to breastfeeding mothers.

evenflo-video

The ad has since been marked as “private” on YouTube and is no longer available for viewing, but let me recap:

1. Obnoxious in-laws arrive and gawk at mother holding her baby, Mother-in-law says derisively, “Breastfeeding AGAIN?” (Despite the fact that it doesn’t even look like the mom is breastfeeding!)

2. Husband tries to usher his parents out of the room, claiming mom and baby’s need for privacy. (As though nursing in front of your in-laws is a total impossibility.)

3. Mother-in-law makes a comment about “them” (mom’s breasts) being “so small” and wonders if Mom can make enough milk. (Breast size is not a good indicator of milk supply. Women with small breasts can have oversupply, just as women with large breasts can have undersupply.)

4. Mom and baby sneak around the house trying to breastfeed in private while Father-in-law searches vainly for half & half for his coffee. (Again, as though you must be sequestered to nurse).

5. Mother-in-law whines that no one else gets to feed the baby. (It’s not their job to feed the baby – it’s Mom’s! They can do any number of other things, like change baby’s diaper, do laundry, do dishes, give baby a bath, make dinner, etc.)

6. Mom asks husband to pass her her purse, and they exchange a knowing glance. They run to their bedroom where the mom pulls a hand pump out of her purse and says to give her a few minutes. (As though pumping a bottle is going to solve the problem of mom and dad’s complete lack of boundaries regarding their obnoxious, unsupportive in-laws?)

7. Mom returns from the bedroom carrying a bottle of milk, which Father-in-law then mistakes for half & half for his coffee. Time slows down (“Nooooooo!”) as he pours the pumped milk into his coffee and takes a big gulp. (As though breastmilk is so gross, it’s not to be ingested.)

8. Father-in-law makes a comment about the milk definitely being 2%. (Implying her milk is “less than whole” when really, it is her infant’s source of complete nutrition.)

My reaction to the video was one of irritation and anger. The in-laws undermined the breastfeeding relationship at every turn, and instead of standing up for her baby’s best interests and telling the in-laws to screw off, the mom caves and hides in the bedroom to pump. I know there are probably some women who find pumping empowering, but I really, really did not enjoy it and cannot imagine purposely pumping when I didn’t have to do so, especially if it was done to placate family members with a misguided sense of entitlement with regard to my baby’s eating habits.

The entire thing really squicked me out. Ostensibly, this ad was to promote Evenflo’s manual breast pump. Helping perpetuate the most damaging breastfeeding myths around is not a good way to win the support of breastfeeding mothers.

Evenflo attempted to placate the masses by posting the following on Twitter:

We hear you. We appreciate how passionate you are. We are equally passionate & fully support all moms & the personal choices they make.

…and then followed up with:

Our intent with the video was to spark a conversation through lively humor, but we have heard your concerns & have decided to take it down.

Somehow, with the last scene of the video highlighting the Evenflo pump, I don’t think that was their true intent. And I don’t think that showing breastfeeding as an inconsiderate and selfish act is “fully supporting” all moms.

This article sums up the timeline of events pretty well, but I think they get it wrong when they indicate it’s just “mommy bloggers” who are upset. It’s moms who use social media who are upset, and I’m willing to bet that many, if not most of them, do not maintain a blog.

The comments on the above article indicate that many people think nursing moms can’t take a joke. I can take a joke – it’s just that this video wasn’t funny. There is humor in obnoxious in-laws, in pumping, and yes, even in breastfeeding, but this video did not find that humor. Instead, they took cheap pot-shots at a mother doing what she felt was right for her baby, and offered their product as a way of capitulating to overbearing family members who clearly don’t have the baby’s best interests in mind. Not really a product I want to support.

(Plus, having anybody drink the breastmilk that I pumped for my baby would have been devastating (not funny!) to me, because of the time and effort it takes to get that amount of expressed milk.)

I have not purchased any Evenflo products in the past, but you can bet I will not be buying them in the future, and I suggest you don’t either.

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September 4, 2011 5:04 pm

Disaster Shower

Most of the time, I try to time my showering while Wesley is napping, because I don’t have to worry about him getting into stuff or hurting himself while he’s awake. Today was a shower day for me, but I didn’t manage to shower before Daniel left for work.

Wesley seemed cheerful, so I told him I was going to hop in the shower and he could play until Mama was done. He saw me get in the shower and then toddled off to find some toys. I got done shampooing my hair and had just applied my conditioner when I heard a scream.

Parents, nannies, babysitters: You know this scream. The HELP I AM INJURED I MAY BE DYING HELP HELP scream.

I quickly shut the shower off, grabbed a towel and ran into the living room, thinking maybe he fell off the couch or something fell on him, but I didn’t see him! He screamed again and I realized he was in my bedroom. I sprinted that direction.

He was sitting on the floor with one hand pinned inside my pants drawer, scream-sobbing.

(Aside: he is ALWAYS messing with drawers even though he knows he’s not supposed to. He’s gotten his fingers pinched before but it hasn’t seemed to deter him.)

I flung open the drawer and looked at his finger. It was crunched. Like, really crunched. As in, he was not bleeding and the skin wasn’t broken but I was not immediately sure this was a “walk it off” sort of situation. His nail had a dent and was purpley where the drawer smashed it, and his finger pad was white and formed to the shape of the drawer.

I sat there comforting him until he stopped crying. His finger had mostly gone back to the right shape and coloring, so I told him I needed to get back in the shower to finish getting clean. (I was still soaking wet and covered in conditioner.) He seemed okay, but once I stepped in the shower he freaked out and started screaming and wouldn’t stop signing “milk.”

So, I did what had to be done: I kneeled on the bottom of the tub with the shower running, and provided a walk-up milk bar. Eventually, he calmed down enough that I was able to stand up and finish my shower, but man. I am going to avoid showering when he’s awake for a long time!

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September 1, 2011 7:08 pm

My First LLL Meeting

I went to my first La Leche League meeting several weeks ago! I had been meaning to go for a while, but the nearest meetings are about an hour away so you really have to make a point of going.

I accidentally left about 30 minutes late because I couldn’t get Wesley ready to go fast enough, and then I had to stop to get gas and it was basically a whole big mess. Fortunately, nobody seemed to mind that I was late and despite being disoriented initially, I had a lot of fun. The moms were really nice and there was a wide range of babies there – everything from a 3-week-old and an 8-week-old to a couple five- or six-month-olds and then Wesley and a 14-month old. Wesley managed to ask to nurse three different times during the hour we were there, but I think that was more because he was ready for a nap than anything else.

The meeting was a lot more about general parenting than I would have expected. The leader passed around index cards with questions on them like, “How do you get a haircut?” and “How do you use a public restroom?” and we would chat for a bit about how we personally manage to get those things done.

After the meeting was over, I talked to the leader about the process of becoming a LLL leader myself. I am now working on a writing assignment that involves talking about each of the ten philosophies of LLL and what they mean to me. I am excited to eventually start some LLL meetings here, since we don’t even have a mother’s group or a breastfeeding group or anything like that and it would be nice to have some kind of support group for new mothers.

The next meeting is a week from today and I’m excited to go again. I have to complete a “series” of four meetings before I am eligible to become a leader applicant, and as I continue attending, I’m hoping to get a better feel for how the meetings are organized and what sort of things to discuss for when I hold my own meetings.

(Also, if anyone is curious about my breastfeeding woes, you will be pleased to hear that I began forcing the use of the nipple shield with every feeding and I am now completely healed. His latch is still dreadful, but using the shield avoids 99% of the pain involved. So I am tied to the shield, yes, but not bleeding and that is a compromise I am more than willing to make.)

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July 22, 2011 1:08 pm

Nursing toddler-Wesley

Nursing Wesley right now is a difficult thing for me, but not for the reasons you might expect.

He’s nearly 16 months old now, and he’s become a quick nurser – usually five minutes or so and he’s done, and he really only nurses a few times during the day. However, since he weaned himself off the nipple shield a month ago, I’ve been having problems. Like, pain-and-damage problems. Cracks, bleeding, the whole works. During the 14.5 months he nursed with the shield (surprise, surprise) he did not learn to correct his latch problems.

His latch looks fine from the outside (lips turned out, asymmetrical latch, etc.) which makes this infinitely more frustrating. To the best of my knowledge, he just has a really shallow latch. I sandwich the boob and make sure the nip is the last thing in his mouth, but to no avail. I grit my teeth, bite pillows or my hand, and come away from every feeding with blanching, a compressed nip, cracks, and sometimes bleeding. I tried going back to the shield a few times in moments of sheer, eye-watering desperation but he isn’t having it and cries until I remove it.

Making this all the more complicated is that I have been looking into becoming an LLL Leader. It’s something I think I want to do, and there is definitely a need here as the current leader is somewhat inactive, but it’s extremely difficult for me to be enthusiastic about helping people fix their nursing problems when I can’t even fix my own. I feel like I should already know what to do, but I have no idea how to fix a persistent shallow latch in a TODDLER who has been perfecting this particular brand of nursing for almost a year and a half.

I don’t want to wean him; neither of us is ready for that. He’d be devastated and I’d be upset that I didn’t make it to two years. But I find myself avoiding nursing him, even if he asks for it (by signing “milk” and then “please,” I die of the cute) because of the pain involved. I’m applying Lansinoh like it’s my job, and I’m pulling on his chin and trying to tell him “big mouth, BIG MOUTH” to improve things, but I’m not sure what to expect with regards to healing if he does not correct his shallow latch. It’s been over a month, and the damage isn’t going away.

I love being a nursing mother, but man this is hard. I’m just not sure what to do!

3 Comments >

January 21, 2011 4:32 pm

Type 1 Diabetes Prevention

This article is driving me nuts.

It talks about “special infant formula” that “may protect against Type 1 Diabetes” even though they are not sure exactly how the highly hydrolyzed proteins in that special formula actually help.

I object to the complete omission of the fact that breastfeeding protects against Type 1 Diabetes (among other things), and that protection is improved the longer you breastfeed. The conclusion of the study (above link) was that “longer exclusive and total breastfeeding appears as an independent protective factor against type 1 diabetes.”

You’d think the diabetes article might have mentioned this. Especially since it’s more natural and, from the sounds of it, more effective.

Instead, they offer this:

“Based on the current results, we think that it is justified to recommend weaning to a highly hydrolyzed formula for babies in families with a member affected by type 1 diabetes.”

…which makes it sound like they recommend stopping breastfeeding in favor of the “special” formula if a family member has type 1 diabetes. They also use the phrase “…feeding your baby a special formula when weaning off breastfeeding…” which seems to entirely omit the option of nursing your baby long enough that they don’t require formula when weaning and can go straight to real food and (possibly) cow’s milk.

I find the whole article very obnoxious.

3 Comments >

January 13, 2011 2:52 pm

Booby Traps

Best for Babes is calling for women to share their “Booby Traps” – stories of being set up to fail at breastfeeding. They will present these stories to the Surgeon General and the media to try to illustrate the setbacks and hurdles women face when they want to breastfeed.

Here are mine:

C-section and delayed breastfeeding

I was medically induced due to pre-eclampsia and ended up with an emergency c-section. I had awful edema (swelling) and compromised liver and kidney functions, and was put on magnesium sulfate and did not get an opportunity to breastfeed my baby for several hours after he was born.

Scare tactics from a brusque LC

The last Lactation Consultant I saw in the hospital was downright awful and used scare tactics to make me doubt my own ability to feed my child. I knew babies lost weight after delivery, and I also knew that their elimination habits are somewhat unpredictable very early on. The LC tried to scare me (into making milk? not sure what her objective was) regarding his weight loss, which was well within the normal range, and since I was pumped full of fluids during and after labor, his initial weight may have been artificially high. She also tried to scare me regarding his lack of dirty diapers after an initial few (also pretty normal).

I was only discharged from the hospital after I agreed to take the baby in for a weight check the next day. We were both healthy, recovering, and he was breastfeeding reasonably fine. I repeat: I was told I would have to spend another (expensive! unnecessary!) night in the hospital so they could monitor his DIAPER OUTPUT, or I could go home and then commit to keeping an LC appointment the next day to weigh him. No contest – I went home.

The LC I saw the next day seemed confused why I was there, since he was clearly gaining tons of weight and eating fine. Which I knew already, but was bullied into not trusting my body.

Nipple shields and other accessories

Wesley was not keen on opening his mouth very wide to nurse, which made nursing very painful. I was advised to use a shield to help him latch. I was not told that it might damage my supply (it didn’t, fortunately) and I was not told how to wean him off it, or even that I SHOULD wean him off it.

Consequently, I had to figure out for myself how to wean him off the shield, and just as we were almost down to not needing it, he received his 2 month vaccinations and refused to eat without the shield and we were back to square one. He still uses it today (at 9.5 months old), as I’ve been unsuccessful in attempting to wean off the shield since then – he simply doesn’t recognize my boob as food unless the shield is present.

I was also sent home with formula, empty plastic bottles (presumably for pumping, but they are Similac branded), a syringe and tube system for feeding, sugar water, and a Medela Special Needs Feeder (like a giant syringe with a nipple on the end). For what purpose? I have no idea. I found it incredibly wasteful. A special needs feeder? HE WAS BREASTFEEDING FINE. I am not sure what kind of special needs she thought he might develop whereupon I might need to use that, but sending me home with all that junk irks me, even now.

Being sent home with formula

This one in particular really infuriates me. The LC (the crap one, from point #1) clearly observed my baby successfully breastfeeding and receiving milk. Why pack my bag full of “just in case” formula as I’m leaving?

To make matters worse, it was the super-expensive Nutramigen kind, which means that if I did choose to supplement, I would have used that brand and been hesitant to switch unless my baby obviously didn’t tolerate it. If I’d done that, I’d be out FAR more money than if I had been sent home with the one of the normal varieties. Or none at all, which should have been the case.

On the other hand, I am incredibly fortunate for several reasons:

  • My mom is a Labor & Delivery nurse, and successfully breastfed three babies. She showed me how to use my pump. Daniel’s mom successfully breastfed four babies. Daniel was incredibly supportive and helpful, especially in the early days of figuring it all out. My family, extended family, and in-laws are very breastfeeding supportive.
  • My workplace has been very good at accommodating my pumping needs. They installed window blinds in a conference room so I could use it to pump, and do not make a fuss about my pumping breaks.
  • I respond well to the pump. A friend of mine is only able to pump if her baby is nursing on the opposite breast – she doesn’t experience the let-down reflex otherwise and is unable to pump any milk. I’ve never had a problem with let-down for the pump and I know how lucky that is.
  • I was good about trusting my instincts and not letting the crazy hysteric LC get to me. I think many other people in those situations would have given in and just used the formula to get her off their backs. Daniel still occasionally brings up how insane she was.

Clearly, there are significant hurdles to successful breastfeeding for new mothers. I mean, look at my list! And I would consider myself a success story! Think of all the other things that can go wrong – unsupportive family, pediatrician, husband, hospital; misinformation regarding cluster feedings and how often day-old babies need to eat (and how much); nurses recommending formula to resolve jaundice; the list goes on.

Do you have any stories of Booby Traps? Best for Babes is looking to receive as many stories as possible.

7 Comments >

November 15, 2010 8:30 pm

Breastfeeding on Sesame Street

My internet friend Megan recently shared this link to a clip of Sesame Street where a mama is nursing her baby. I LOVE IT. It’s so… normal. Refreshingly normal. There’s no judging, awkwardness, or apologizing. She’s even nursing without a cover! On national television! (Further proof that you CAN nurse discreetly without a cover.)

I can’t imagine a clip like this being aired on ANY kid’s television station now (especially since the reaction to Katy Perry’s clothed boobs on Sesame Street not too long ago) so I’m very appreciative that this clip exists.

2 Comments >

August 31, 2010 8:29 am

Questions

I’ve heard of the four-month sleep regression, but is it normal for a five-month-old to forget how to eat at night when they wake up hungry? Wesley used to start snuffling to himself to wake me up, I’d give him a boob, and he’d eat and go right back to sleep. I’d often fall asleep before he was done.

Lately, he wakes up and wails until I give him a boob, but instead of trying to eat he starts YELLING. Angry, frustrated yelling, writhing around, etc. Either that or he’ll mouth the boob a bit but not make any kind of effort to latch/suckle and then start yelling. A few nights ago, I had to get up and sit on the edge of the bed and nurse him in the cradle hold every. single. time he woke up. This is a baby who was pleased as punch to nurse side-lying every night for MONTHS and now seems to have forgotten everything he ever knew about nighttime feedings.

Sometimes what ends up working is if I let him have his pacifier for a few seconds, and while he has the sucking rhythm down I quickly swipe out the binky and give him a boob. But it isn’t foolproof. Once, offering the other boob worked; once, we had to specifically wash the nipple shield for that feeding (you’re supposed to wash them after every feeding but hell if I am getting out of bed multiple times a night to wash it – a quick wipe generally suffices); one night we had to thaw some milk and give him a bottle, TWICE, instead of merely breastfeeding him. And then this morning he refused to eat at all. I took him to daycare (arriving at 7:45am) when he hadn’t eaten since 4:15am and he typically likes to eat every two hours, if he even makes it that far.

I don’t know what’s going on. He’s CLEARLY hungry and looking for food; his nursing position is the same when he’s side-lying as when he’s cradle-held; he’ll often stop crying to take a pacifier for a few minutes, but after he realizes it’s not giving him food he starts crying again. He eats perfectly fine during the day (either from me or from the bottle).

Consequently, I am getting less sleep now than I did when he was a newborn. This is a problem. I don’t mind that he wakes up during the night to nurse; I mind that when he wakes up, instead of quietly eating his food and going back to sleep, he yells and screams and makes a fuss until I rouse myself completely and sit up and hold him on my lap to eat, staying awake the whole time.

Is this teething? Demon possession? Sleep regression due to milestones? Ear infection? Do I have a crazy baby?

Help.

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August 13, 2010 7:27 pm

Old Navy endorses formula-feeding

I was browsing Old Navy yesterday looking for some clothes for Wesley when I happened across a onesie that gave me pause. (Keep in mind I was looking for clothes to buy for my baby – I did not go to this site with the intention of finding something that irritated me.)

I came across this:

formula-powered

I am not angry that this shirt exists. I think it’s cute and if I formula-fed, I would consider purchasing it for my baby. However, since I breastfeed, where the eff is my shirt? Why can’t there be both versions?

breastmilk-powered

Is Old Navy afraid to put the word “breastmilk” on a shirt? I would be okay with “Powered by Mama’s milk” if they were squeamish. (Which… GRAH to that, I see no reason to be squeamish about feeding a baby.)

I just want to see equal representation. This says to me, “At Gap, Inc. we support formula-feeding instead of breastfeeding to the point that we will take the time to design and manufacture a shirt to communicate our stance.” Had both shirts been offered, I likely would not have even noticed this.

Given that Old Navy provides nursing tops to breastfeeding mothers, the production of this “Formula Powered” bodysuit without an accompanying “Breastmilk Powered” design baffles me.

I’ve sent an email to their customer service department outlining these issues, and I’m looking forward to their response.

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August 2, 2010 12:21 pm

Not Militant, Just Irritated

Even though I am personally committed to breastfeeding, I’m not crazy-militant about it. You know this. Basically, I firmly believe in doing what’s best for you and your family and if that’s breastfeeding or formula-feeding or just supplementing or whatever, GREAT.

However, I have seen several breastfeeding-related things recently that made me very, very irritated.

Thing the first:

The Double Shot in Oklahoma is run by a total jerk:

Mr. Brian Franklin posts that breastfeeding is not okay at his shop, despite this being against Oklahoma state law. When breastfeeding advocates get on his case, he tells them to “settle down,” and he relents (HA!) and says he supposes it is okay, as long as it’s “in private.”

And then when it doesn’t stop, he claims he was “just kidding anyway.”

Folks. Breastfeeding mothers have the right to feed their babies WHEREVER THEY WANT, just like formula-feeding mothers. It is AGAINST THE LAW to make them go elsewhere.

Thing the second:

From Babycenter, “Your 4-month-old, Week 2“:

Your baby has a bigger tummy now, so she won’t need to fill up as often. Four or five times a day will often do it, in fact, unless she’s exclusively breastfed, in which case she’ll still want to eat six to eight times a day.

This is so petty and nitpicky that I feel guilty posting it, but WHYYYY is formula-feeding the default language in this article? Why could it not have said, “Eating six to eight times a day will often do it, unless she’s formula-fed, in which case eating only four to five times a day is normal.”

Why is “unless she’s exclusively breastfed” the fringe case? Is breastfeeding really that uncommon past 12 weeks or so?

As a country, if would like to improve our breastfeeding rates, we should start taking a closer look at the language we use when referring to feeding our babies and how that affects the public’s attitude toward breastfeeding. If formula-feeding is presented as the norm, why would that motivate someone to stick with breastfeeding?

Thing the third:

When people on Facebook (or wherever) talk about how great it is that “Daddy gets up with the baby at night” so they can sleep.

I see this all over the place. Again, are this many people supplementing or full-on formula-feeding? The reason my baby gets up at night is to eat, and Daddy would be of absolutely no help in that case. (Maybe these babies aren’t getting up because they’re hungry?)

I suppose I could pump and give a bottle at night, but pumping is so much effort and I’m right there anyway – why not just feed him? Are these people pumping every day so Daddy can handle nighttime wakeups? I just don’t get it.

GRAH.

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July 26, 2010 4:42 pm

Reason #943 Why I Love My Husband

This afternoon, on the phone with Daniel. He just finished telling me that Wesley’s Nana Tami and Papa Dave have taken him to the music store and wouldn’t be home when I got home from work:

Me: “Awh dang. Well… hm. I guess I can… partition my milk in peace?”

Daniel: “Hahaha!”

Me: “Thrilling, right? I didn’t get as much today as I usually do.”

Daniel: “Awh. We can have oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow.”

Regardless whether it helps or not, I just love that he knew to offer.

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