I’m religious. I was raised to be modest. I would get angry when my friends would jokingly pull up my sleeve to show off my shoulders. So you’d think I would be adamant about covering up when I nurse my babies. And I guess I used to be.
When I first started nursing, I had the fancy bras and about three blankets to make sure every angle of my body was covered. My husband would be on one side and the baby’s feet sticking out the other, if she kicked enough. This would mostly happen in church since I was a homemaker. So you can imagine me trying to listen to the service while worrying that I was exposing a sacred part of myself to the entire congregation. Those days are long passed.
Now, the people around me would be lucky if I covered up. Not because I believe that women should be allowed to be free. Not because it’s just a body part and people should get over it. It’s because I’m done. I’m done worrying over whether or not I can feed my kid. I’m done carrying three blankets, making sure I packed my wrap, causing a scene whenever I try to cover up. I’m tired of sweaty, red baby face and struggling to keep a cover on when they’re kicking and pulling at it because they’re uncomfortable. I quickly found that if I just slipped my shirt up or down and let the baby latch, no one would ever know. Whereas, if I put in all the effort to get the modesty brigade out, the baby wouldn’t get fed soon enough and would start freaking out and all eyes would be on me. And stay on me through my attempts to keep them under.
Many years ago, breastfeeding was on its way “out.” Advances in the nutrition and development of commercial formulas meant that children who needed to be on formula, whatever the reason may be, were able to thrive on good nutrition. However, with these scientific breakthroughs, and due to an enormous number of factors that I won’t do into in depth here, the general American public came to see formula as “better” than breastmilk, and women who chose to breastfeed were seen as weird, perhaps even “backwards.”
If you nurse, it will probably happen to you: You’re out and about and you THOUGHT your baby was fine, but…uh oh, he or she is doing that telltale “Eh, eh, eh” cry. Baby is hungry, you don’t have a bottle, and there are a thousand people around you! But how will they react to you stepping aside for a moment to feed your impatient child? If you’re like me, every horror story you’ve ever heard on the internet will come roaring back to you and you will grit your teeth until you have a headache and declare that staying at home until your child is weaned is the best course of action.
Nursing in public isn’t too bad once you get used to it. At a restaurant you can curl up all cozy in a booth, at a park you can sit on a bench, using jackets to cover yourself and baby if you want. In many states, nursing in public is even protected by law.
Traveling, however, can be an entirely different beast. Every few months another story makes its rounds on the news about a mother getting kicked off of a train or airplane by stern employees who insist that nursing on a plane isn’t allowed, and then if you make the horrific mistake of reading the comments on those news stories you’ll see dozens of people saying ignorant things like, “Well she should have just pumped a bottle before she got on the 10 hour flight, why did she need to nurse on the plane?” It’s enough to make anyone want to second-guess nursing while traveling, but you will probably travel at some point while you nurse a child, and your body will not stop making milk just because you hopped on a bus with sixty other people.
I really hate bra shopping.
Actually, I hate clothes shopping in general. A size large in one brand fits like a medium in another brand and I won’t even talk about what gigantic size I am in junior’s department clothing. Mostly, it’s a huge pain and bra shopping is even worse. Some bras have underwire, some are cut high, some low, some stretch and some don’t, sometimes you want a mix of casual and fancy bras for different occasions and sometimes even if you get measured for your correct size, some brands will just fit weird on you.
And then you get pregnant.
Your hormones don’t care whether you’ve decided to breastfeed or formula feed. Your pregnant body simply starts producing hormones which tell your stomach to start aching, your nose to suddenly hate the smell of orange juice and pork, and your breasts to start preparing for nursing a baby. It doesn’t matter that it will be about three-quarters of a year before you actually have a baby in your arms to nurse, your body just hops on that preparation ASAP. Thus, even if you have decided to formula feed your child, you will likely need to shop around for new bras at some point during your pregnancy.
Nursing bras come in a huge variety of styles and colors, just to make your life THAT much harder.
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
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.
Posted 01-13-2014 at 10:11 AM by yoliyoda
“Could you stop touching your boob?” My husband gave me a sour look, and I couldn’t help but return it. “How would you like it if I just repositioned my stuff all out in public?” I huffed, frowned, and snapped my hands to my side.
This was probably the 3rd time I have had this question from my husband in a short period. True, we were with friends, and in public, but honestly it wasn’t my intention to embarrass my husband or my friends. At this point I find that touching my breasts is almost second nature, and done completely without thought. Basically I’m checking to see how “full” each one is. Usually when I get the urge to do so it’s been about 90 minutes to two hours since my last nursing session, and it’s eating time for my son. There is almost a tingling, or pulling down, sensation. The most natural response is to cup and lift each breast to see how heavy they are. There is nothing conscious about it. It’s not a tactical move, I just do it. That doesn’t, however, stop my husband’s ears from burning with embarrassment. He usually whispers to me threats that he can do the same, in a matter of speaking.
But really, is a man rearranging his gonads comparable to me touching my breasts? I’ve insisted to him that it’s two completely different things. Breastfeeding women are touching to see if there is a high content in the breasts as a sign that it’s time to get some liquid out, while a man touching his gonads….
OK, you can see where my argument went wrong. Still, I insisted that I wasn’t doing it on purpose, and that is really wasn’t such a big deal, and most people probably didn’t even notice a quick check.
So, I was wrong about that too. Recently I was sitting at a red light when I looked over to the driver on the left of me. A 20-something year old guy was sitting there, a wisp of dusty blond hair flicked over his forehead, mouth agape. I instantly got outraged. What the heck was he staring at? Then I realized, I was squeezing my boob and he was watching. The look on his face wasn’t that of a pervert, it was that of a guy who was about to text a friend and go ‘You’d never guess what I just saw at the light?’
Posted 11-27-2013 at 08:06 AM by yoliyoda
It’s been awhile since I’ve had the effort and energy to doll myself up–hair, nails, and makeup. However, now it has been almost 4 months and now I’m getting back into the swing of things. But, some beauty routines simply have to change to adapt to my little one. While I had already thought that my large hoop earring would have to be shelved until further notice, there was another aspect of my beauty routine that I hadn’t thought of changing until recently: my nail polish.
Like many breastfeeding mamas, at times I find it necessary to stick my index finger between my little one’s gums, into his mouth, to break his suction on my nipple. Until recently I had only thought of my hands simply needing to be clean, not toxin free. I recently did a cute style on my nails. I was admiring them when the smell of chemicals hit me. It wasn’t until the first time after that when I placed my finger in him mouth did I wonder what my polish might taste or feel like to my little man.
So just what is in nail polish anyway? Every brand has different recipes, but most include “film forming agents, resins and plasticizers, solvents, and coloring agents” (DiscoveryHealth). One of the main ingredients is nitrocellulose. Guess where else you can find this ingredient? Dynamite.
In terms of plasticizers and resins, you might find amyl and butyl stearate, castor oil, glycerol, fatty acids and acetic acids. Butyl Stearate is a known irritant. Acetic Acid can be used to treat ear infections, but hasn’t been study for use in patients under the age of 3. Glycerol can be “ taken by mouth for weight loss, improving exercise