Lie down in a comfortable place.
Latch baby on.
Feel your bodies relax and become
Suffused with peace.
Rest your nose in his hair.
By Molly Remer
Previously published in New Beginnings and in Compleat Mother. I decided that I need to remember to post some of the things that I’ve written and had published various places. This poem popped into my head one afternoon when I was nursing Z to sleep during an illness—he’d been wanting to nurse A LOT and I had spent a lot of time doing so during a several day time period.
This giveaway is now closed. Summer was the winner! Congratulations!
I’m excited to have a Simple Wishes Hands-Free Pumping Bustier to give away this week! A lot of mothers combine breastfeeding with working (and pumping at work). As one of my friends (a mother of infant twins) phrased it recently, you have to be a “multi-tasking phenom.” A bra like this would be a helpful addition to the multi-tasker’s skill set 🙂 I wish that all mothers would have the freedom and flexibility at work to be able to sit down and really take a few minutes “time out” to pump for their babies. However, this is not the reality that a lot of mothers experience in the workplace and that is where a “bustier” like Simple Wishes can definitely come in handy! The company was founded by four sisters and has formed a recent partnership with WIC. According to the company’s website:
Using a breast pump is significantly easier with the Bustier, as it allows moms to pump hands-free. Pumping hands-free encourages and supports moms to:
• Promote the use of a breast pump for greater length of time (ideally six to 12 months), by minimizing user frustration.
• Reduce the duration of each pumping session
• Double pump—pump both breasts simultaneously
• Massage breasts, relax, and think of their baby while expressing
I have a light pink Simple Wishes to give away this week (contest ends on Saturday the 20th at noon). One of the cool things about this bra is that the ribcage band is adjustable up to 10 inches, so you can get a “custom” fit. The one I have to give away is a size L up to XXL. I have taken the bustier out of the package to look at, but it is brand new and never worn (though the seal is opened from my having examined it). To enter to win, you have several choices. For the basic entry, just leave a comment (making sure I have some way to contact you from it if you win). For bonus entries, do one (or all) of the following:
Leave an additional comment sharing your favorite tip for pumping at work
Speaking of fun blog giveaways, the Hypnobabies blog is also having a giveaway (I’m late posting about it though–it ends tomorrow, so hurry up!). Their giveaway is for a Hypnosis for an Easy Pregnancy CD. I know several Hypnobabies educators online and they have such a wonderfully positive and affirming perspective about birth. It is really exciting and refreshing.
A few weeks ago, I got a package of some adorable cards from The Umbilical Card. These cards are SO cute! I wanted to post a quick post to suggest you check out her website and get some for yourself (or for a doula, CBE, midwife, L & D nurse, or other special friend!). The cards have a pregnant belly side view and then a sweet little separate card baby on the inside of the card attached with a plastic umbilical cord. One thing that makes them extra neat is that the have real fabric, real bows, and real beads/cording for necklaces, which gives them mixed-media appeal. Really cute!
She also has “Lactationary” with nursing pairs and some with babies in slings. The cards are available with multiples as well. I love them!
There was a question recently on a list I belong to about the impact of epidurals on breastfeeding. The person asking the question had been told by several hospital based childbirth educators that epidurals do not “cross the placenta’ and thus do not have an impact on the baby. Since this is an issue of concern, I thought I’d share some of my response/thoughts regarding this question here. I was happy to hear Linda J. Smith speak at the LLLI conference luncheon session about this very issue–the impact of birth practices on breastfeeding–and she covered a ton of material about the impact of epidurals on breastfeeding (she also wrote a book on the same topic with the late Mary Kroeger). There is some good information, though much less complete, on her site. The biggest problems with epidurals are the impact on the mother rather than the baby, though the medications used in epidurals DO cross the placenta and get to the baby, they are much less seriously impactful than IV or IM narcotics. An epidural refers to the means of medication delivery not what is actually being delivered into the body, so it is hard to say definitively that one has no effect, because different anesthesiologists use different “cocktails” of drugs in their epidurals. They usually use bupivacaine as the anesthetic, but there are opoids included as well, such as *morphine* or other related opoids like that.
All the books I have as a CBE say that medications used in epidurals do make it to the baby, but effects vary. Most effects are connected to what is happening to mom—i.e. mother gets a fever as a side effect of the meds and that stresses baby. Fluid overloading leads to more fluid in baby’s lungs, etc. The main breastfeeding impact on the mother’s side is excess fluid retention in the breasts due to the fluid “bolus” administered prior to an epidural. Baby is a little sleepy following birth and then can’t latch to severely swollen breasts (which are not “normally” engorged, but excessively so due to excess fluid), and so it goes. You often hear from mothers that their nipples are “too flat” for the baby to latch on to and as you probe further you find that the flatness has NOTHING to do with the mother’s true anatomy, but has to do with that excess fluid. Women are so programmed to look inward and blame themselves for problems that it is really unfortunate (like mothers who “aren’t making enough milk” when it is really a pump with bad suction).
Basically most breastfeeding problems that have to do with birth practices are not correctly attributed to the source—the birth practices—and are instead blamed on the mother (“flat nipples”), the baby (“lazy suck”), or breastfeeding (“sometimes it just doesn’t work out”).
I just read some cool news about a recent discovery that there appear to be stem cells in breastmilk!
A quote from the article:
“The point is that many mothers see milks as identical – formula milk and breast milk look the same so they must be the same. But we know now that they are quite different and a lot of the effects of breast milk versus formula don’t become apparent for decades. Formula companies have focussed on matching breast milk’s nutritional qualities but formula can never provide the developmental guidance.”
Truly, breastmilk is unmatchable. It seems almost magical 🙂
La Leche League International has completely redone their catalog–the layout and appearance have received a stunning makeover and the result is a beautiful new “pocket guide” called “Breastfeeding Guide: tips & products.” So, instead of being a catalog, it is actually a helpful little booklet first and a catalog second (the products come in the second half of the booklet, after the tips. 26 pages of questions answered and then 25 pages of catalog–pocket sized though, so maybe 3 x 5?). For being so small, it covers a remarkable amount of territory and gives lots of good information–from “How often will my baby nurse?” to “When will baby sleep all night?” to “Is it possible to breastfeed twins?” It is a great little *book* not just a catalog. I love it and think it was a stroke of genius to reach out this way! The format is inspired (and inspiring!)
Childbirth educators, doulas, and lactation consultants wishing to acquire many of these Guides in bulk to distribute to their clients can do so for only the cost of shipping! ($5.41 for 50 little books!) Go to the LLLI online store to order some. They really are a lovely and useful resource!
At the LLL of MO conference this month, I attended several wonderful sessions by Diane Wiessinger who makes the connection between giving birth on a woman’s own terms contributing to an easy breastfeeding relationship. She also emphasized the fact that we are mammals and just like other mammal mothers certain things contribute to or detract from our ability to give birth in a safe and healthy manner.
Diane shares the following description of why your baby’s birth matters:
“A trip to a strange place with strange smells. Bright lights, busy people. Numbness. A carefully cleaned and wrapped baby who doesn’t stay with Mama. Any other mammal would reject her baby after a beginning like that. Which means that most American mothers have to welcome their newborns with their heads and not their hearts. Not the best start for confident mothering. Not the best start for breastfeeding. Not the best start for love.”
She also says, “Don’t be fooled by the Birth Channel. A normal birth is not a medical event or a source of horrible pain. It happens on its own, with the woman moving in whatever way feels right to her, feeling the labor and feeling–being–in charge. Find someone who will support this.”