We understand that Mother’s Day is not really a time off for many mothers. There is breakfast in bed that was wonderful, but the kitchen was left a mess, there are sick children, and/or the kids need help getting ready for church services. There is someone who knows how you feel. Your own mom. Chances are she has been where you are on Mother’s Day smiling because her family cares while keeping their caring from going nuclear. It’s a bond that you now share. Here are a few ways to show her that you appreciate what she did for you, what you are now doing for your own children.
More Than A Phone Call
It’s important to call our moms on the day that celebrates them taking care of us, but go the extra mile to show that your mom wasn’t just an after thought. She may be far away. You may not be able to take her out to brunch or go get your nails done together. That doesn’t let you off the hook to show her that she is special. Take the time to buy or create a greeting card for your mother and mail it so that it will arrive in time for Mother’s Day. There could be a gift sent in the mail with it. Let her know that now you’re all grown up you think more of her than a quick scramble to the phone Sunday morning.
Use Your Kids
Grandchildren hold a special place in the hearts of their grandmothers. If mom lives far away, make her day special with a scheduled Skype call. Don’t plan it too close to bedtime or nap time. Make sure your children understand that grandma is your mommy and it’s her special day too. After all, they wouldn’t have a mommy without grandma. Send pictures. Be sure to pick pictures where your kids are playing with something granny has sent them or wearing an outfit she had picked out for them. This tells her her gifts are not only appreciated, they are special and used.
Breast feeding is both rewarding to mom and baby. There are bonding benefits as well as health benefits. However, our fast pace lifestyle makes it difficult to give our little ones what they need while trying to make a living. What options are there when you go back to work?
Pumping or hand expression in pretty easy to do. Picking a breast pump can be a little more tricky. Many are very expensive. There are pumps that can pump both breasts at the same time. There are one breast at a time breast pumps. There are manual and electric pumps. If you have the time (and the aim) you could even procure milk from your breasts using your own hands. Choosing a pump really depends on two things. How much can you afford to spend on a breast pump? How much time do you have. A double pump may be best if you have less time, even if it is a little more expensive. On the other hand if you have less cash a manual pump may be a better fit.
We all know that breastfeeding is a benefit to our little ones, but what about for mom? It turns out that breastfeeding can be a healthy practice for mom as well.
We all want to lose a little weight after a pregnancy, and breastfeeding can help with that. When done correctly, we eat better while breastfeeding. We also burn more calories as we produce milk for our children. If we were to add routine exercise to our schedule we could be fit in no time. We just don’t want to go overboard with our dieting. That wouldn’t help either mommy or baby.
Less Work For Feedings
Making bottles in the middle of the night can be less than fun when we have a crying baby waiting to eat. Whether we prepare bottles before bedtime and put them in the fridge, or make the bottles at the time of the feeding, they still need to be heated to the right temperature, which can be problematic when we are a little groggy at midnight. It’s much easier to be able to sit in a rocking chair and pull out a breast to feed our child in less than a minute. An added bonus would be less bottle cleaning or the scent of bad formula. Nasty!
A new mother’s relationship with food when nursing should be a healthy and cautious one. It’s important for us to remember that our children are also dependent on our nutrition.
Foods To Avoid
I admit that I look forward to being able to enjoy certain foods after being pregnant, but it’s still important to run these foods past a doctor if you are nursing. For example, when breastfeeding it’s still important to avoid fish with high levels of mercury content. Large amounts of caffeine should also be avoided. Some people will tell us that sushi is fine to eat, while others will maintain that raw fish is still suspect and therefore off the menu. When in doubt, take the question to an expert not the internet.
In addition to this, it isn’t safe just to assume that all herbs are safe to use while breastfeeding. This is not true for some herbs and can vary from patient to patient. Once again, when in doubt ask a professional.
Food To Increase Milk Production
I’m a scientifically minded person. This is probably because ever since I was a little kid I drove my parents and teachers crazy by asking WHY…but I needed detailed answers. “Why is the sky blue?” could not be answered with, “Well, that’s the color the sky is, the light makes it look blue”–no, the whole concept of the color spectrum and so on had to be explained before I was satisfied. Perhaps this expectedly also got me in trouble with the nuns at the Catholic school I attended for asking too many theological questions, but that’s another story.
Anyway, this means I question a lot of things. If I read an article on a news site that says “New Study Reveals Yogurt Cures Feline Leukemia,” the first thing I will do is read the article, point out all the factual errors, and question statements about the results that aren’t backed up with statistics or other links, then hunt for the original study in a scientific journal and point out that the study showed that at 10am on a sunny Monday in March, a cat ate yogurt and tested negative for leukemia three days later which means nothing scientifically and the article was dumb. Yes, really, I do this all the time, probably much to the annoyance of everyone in my life. Anyway, THIS means that I naturally tend to be skeptical of alternative medicines and cures. Sure, millions of people might swear by taking a certain herbal supplement to prevent the flu or something, but if there are no studies proving so, it wouldn’t even cross my mind to try it.
I’m aware that nursing your baby exposes them to antibodies and other compounds that aren’t in formula. But everywhere, people were touting the healing properties of breastmilk. It cured pinkeye! It cured cradle cap! It cured diaper rash! It cured everything! The skeptic in me kicked in, even the entire nineteen months I nursed my daughter. Sure, it’s good nutrition for a child, but as a remedy for a bunch of different things? Bah.
Breast milk can be quite handy. Yes, it feeds our infants in a healthier and more natural way, but it can be used in other useful ways as well. Here are three ways that breast milk can continue to benefit our little ones and community.
In Baby Food Production
If you make your own baby food try using breast milk in place of formula in cereal or other recipes. This works well if you are weaning your baby from the breast but not from breast milk. Breast milk can still be hand expressed or pumped and stored for future use. This also delays the use of dairy in a child’s diet. That’s particularly good if a dairy allergy runs in the family. You also won’t have to worry about a formula after taste that your child won’t like. They will still have the same old milk they recognize.
Cassandra has made her grand appearance since my last blog post. I am relieved that our journey with cholestasis has come to an end and she is here, safe and healthy.
We knew at the beginning of my pregnancy that the chances of getting cholestasis again were very high. Some studies say the chances are even as high as 90%. So while I was hopeful to avoid it, I knew that more likely then not, we would be dealing with it again. The first time I had it was during my pregnancy with my fourth child, I only had to deal with the itching for a very short time, I was diagnosed and induced the very same day. It really did not prepare me for what I would be experiencing this time around.
The itching began weeks before I was diagnosed this time, my official diagnoses came around the 33 week mark. They got me on medicine right away but nothing ever fully took away the itching. I now have scars on my arms, legs, feet, and chest because I would scratch so much.
My induction date was set for February 7th I spent the four weeks beforehand at a lot of doctor visits with extra tests. Due to the complications the condition can have for an unborn baby, I needed a lot of extra monitoring. I felt like a living pin cushion from all the blood tests they were doing. The Tuesday before my induction date was my final doctor visit. She wanted to see if I was favorable for induction and I was not. I was barely dilated to a one, 30% effaced and my cervix was very high. My doctor wanted to try cervical ripening the night before. I was upset by this news, it was another night away from my older children and more intervention that I did not want.
Thursday night I went in around 7pm and they started the cervidal. The night was pretty uneventful, I did contract every two minutes most of the night but they were not very painful. I tried to get some sleep and hoped that by morning something would have happened. By morning I was only a two and 40% effaced, it was pretty disappointing to hear. A pitocin drip was started around 7 am and I spent the afternoon walking the halls, getting the pitocin upped, more walking, more pitocin. They checked me a few times during the afternoon and not much was changing. By 3pm I was sitting at a three and 50% effaced. My doctor wanted to break my water and that is when I made the choice to get an epidural. I did not have the energy to labor all day and all night, I had not slept well in so long from the itching and I was just wanting things to be over. I wanted a natural labor, I was pretty upset with how everything was going. They let me off the monitors for awhile, I sat in the bath and waited for the anesthesiologist. While in there I broke down and cried, my husband was sitting with me and he just held me, kept reassuring me that it was okay and telling me that no matter what, I was still strong and we would have our baby soon.
When I discovered I was pregnant with my oldest child, I knew I was going to breastfeed her the same way I knew I was going to cloth diaper; the same way I knew that now I was going to be a mother I needed to spend less money on video games and expensive chocolates. How did I know? Honestly, I can’t quite remember two years later.
Goodbye, delicious, expensive, gourmet mini cheesecakes. You will be sorely missed.
My husband and I had been actively trying for a child, so I had definitely been reading up on everything child-related. We’re not horrifically poor, but I knew I was going to quit my job after our daughter was born, cutting our family income in half, and apparently children were expensive. The Internet said so! Nursing would be much cheaper than formula, at any rate. I decided I would breastfeed my kids and thought little more about it, and learned that formula feeding hadn’t even crossed my husband’s mind, so we were in complete agreement.
Our daughter was born, all tiny and squalling. To my utmost relief, my daughter picked up on nursing right away and other than some initial chapped skin that healed within a couple of weeks,we had very few problems. I was relieved, but another nagging thought was always at the back of my mind.
When my daughter was 7 months old, we flew on an airplane to visit my family. I was petrified for a million reasons; what if she screamed the whole time and everyone hated us? What if I nursed her on the plane and a flight attendant kicked us off? What if she pooped for 4 hours straight? But the question that was REALLY on my mind was, “What will my family think when I nurse her in front of them?”
See, my grandparents are immigrants from a southeast Asian country. My grandfather in particular escaped severe poverty by coming to the USA. And while out of necessity my mother, aunt, and uncle wore cloth diapers, they were formula fed and when they grew up, they formula fed and used disposables on all their kids. It was the prosperous American thing to do! I was already aware that my parents were under the impression that we were nursing and using cloth diapers ONLY because they assumed we couldn’t afford otherwise and that we claimed that it was for the environment, etc, only to cover the embarrassment of being poor. Of course, it wasn’t true (I mean, I really DO care about the environment and so on) but I was acutely aware that this attitude was going to be present the entire time we were visiting.
When I considered breastfeeding before I had my child I didn’t bother studying up on different ways to hold my child while feeding him. I figured that I would just hold my child to my breast and that my child would do the rest. Flash forward to my worst day of breast feeding. I was trying to get my child to latch on to my breast and he was frustrated because he was hungry. As I raised him to my face to comfort him, he immediately latched onto my nose with the suction of a vaccum cleaner. While I was trying to gently extract my son from my face my husband came in and lovingly told me he wasn’t sure that was how breastfeeding worked. I had to agree. It was time to study some more.
I learned quickly that my son just didn’t enjoy the cradle position (the only position I thought I would need.) The cradle position was where we cradle our child in our arms and they latch to our breast. He seemed to hate this hold. Being willing to try a new hold, but hesitant to go too far out of my comfort zone I tried the cross cradle hold. It worked better. Instead of supporting my baby’s head in the crook of my arm, I would support his head in the hand of my other arm. It was awkward for me, but I notice that my son seemed to be less frustrated. This gave me confidence to explore other holds.
The Football Hold
I found that my son really liked the football hold or clutch hold. This is where the baby’s legs were tucked under my arm and he (facing up) latched on from the front. He loved this position. I would put a pillow under him to help support us both. I later found out that this was a great position for women who had just had a cesarean. It keeps the child from laying on sore and healing parts of our bodies. This hold worked great for my right side, but my son preferred a different position when nursing on my left side.
Let me confess straight off: Breastfeeding is “meh” for me.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m quite a fan of nursing for as long you can, because it’s cheap, there are nutritional benefits, insert other positive scientifically-based statements about breastfeeding here. I believe all that, I really do.
BUT so many people and websites go on and on about how wonderful it feels to nurse, how they feel relaxed and happy, how they look down into their child’s eyes and feel a loving, unbreakable bond as the baby literally sucks nutrients from their body, and I’m like, “You feel what now?”
It’s not that I hate nursing but am too poor to buy formula, or whatever other people might assume. It’s just that for me, nursing is…a thing that I do. A natural bodily function, like breathing or walking or whatnot. It does not feel special, or wonderful, or even out of the ordinary. My baby is hungry, so I put him or her to my breast and then read or putz around online while he or she nurses. That’s all there is to it.
When my daughter was fifteen months old, I discovered I was pregnant again. Pregnancy has never been kind to me and the first trimester is the worst. I got terrible migraines and swallowing pills whole made me barf, so I often sent my husband on nighttime runs to the store to pick up boxes and boxes of kid’s chewable Tylenol for me. On weekends I would sleep for 13 hours straight and wake up still exhausted. When I did throw up my face would be covered in bright red broken blood vessels that even makeup couldn’t cover up. And this time, the symptoms of the first trimester lasted long into the second trimester, too.
You might imagine how difficult it was for me to nurse during this time. I hated it. I may have been fairly apathetic about nursing before but the last thing I wanted to do while feeling utterly horrible was nurse another child. Luckily, my daughter has always been an excellent eater and was eating nearly everything we gave her, so I wasn’t overly concerned about her nutrition. And since she was more mobile and interested in the world around, she would nurse a few minutes and then run off to explore, instead of embarking on the marathon nursing sessions she loved when she was younger. It was easier, but not very fun.