April showers bring.. new breastfeeding bags!

OK, well it wasn’t raining because we live in Arizona. But it was beautiful weather for our bag stuffing event this past Saturday. We got there early to get a Ramada and set up for the fun to begin. Seriously, this is the best part of this job!

Meredith and her two daughters came to help stuff and to add a flyer and a fruit snack into the bag. She runs the Baby Boot Camp in South Chandler and South Gilbert. Heather, Myrna and Tanya were there too with their families. Heather and Tanya even donated the disposable nursing pads you will find in the bags. Thank you very much ladies! They were super fast stuffers and within an hour (with some nursing breaks) they had 200 bags stuffed. Here’s a little peek at what’s inside the April AZ Breastfeeding Bag:

 

Our next bags will be filled in June. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for the event announcement. We would love to have your help! Send us an email at AZBFBP@gmail.com if you are interested in being a featured advertiser in our bags. Click the “Bags” page and scroll down for the order form if you would like to order an AZ Breastfeeding Bag. 🙂 Happy Breastfeeding!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“My Breast Friend”

 

Picture courtesy of Shanyn Nicole Photography

 

When I was a brand new mommy I wanted to breastfeed my baby. I had never been around a nursing mom, I didn’t have any friends with babies. My baby and I struggled at first but with many tears and omitting dairy foods in my diet we got the hang of it and before long were exclusively breastfeeding. I met some other mom friends through La Leche Leaugue meetings and a Meet Up group and we quickly became BFF’s. One day, during a chaotic playdate with about 4 of us, one of my friends piped up “I just want you to know that if my baby ever needs breastmilk and I’m not around, I’m OK with you nursing him”. Frankly I was shocked and I couldn’t imagine nursing her baby or saying back to her that it was OK to nurse mine. It was so outside of my comfort zone at that point. I think we all kind of nodded and moved on.

Fast forward a few years and a second child. Another friend (from that same group) and I decided to babysit swap with our kids. We were both nursing one year olds. I tried to casually bring it up “so, if your toddler asks for milk, is it OK with you if I nurse her?”  My friend was totally fine with it and I think relieved because that meant she didn’t have to pump and leave milk. Later that evening when I was nursing my daughter, hers curled up next to me and kind of pulled at my shirt. So, I offered her the other side and tandem nursed our sweet girls together. It was a completely beautiful moment and her little one was comforted even though she was missing her mama. A few weeks later, that friend watched my kids and nursed my daughter when she asked for it. Something that seemed like a big deal a few years ago turned out to be so easy and natural.

I can’t help wondering if women were casual about breast sharing could we be more successful at breastfeeding?

Take for instance this past fall when my neice was born. My sister-in-law struggled in the early days with breastfeeding (as many moms do). She wondered “am I doing this right? Is baby getting enough milk? It feels like she wants to nurse all the time!” I messaged her, texted with my brother and sent her articles (she lives in another state). But imagine how powerful it would have been if I had taken my neice to my breast and said “here, this is what it looks like”. If she could have seen me with my newborn nursing around the clock and known that it is completely normal.

Or what about a new friend? A woman I met through the project and I’m just getting to know but feel that friendship connection with already. Can I offer to nurse her baby? Would she be shocked at the idea just as I was as a new mom? Perhaps if I had read a story about breast sharing before my baby was born, I would have been more open to the idea from the beginning.

So, what do you think? Is the idea of another woman nursing your baby OK with you? Do you have a story of a time when you nursed a baby that was not your own? Has anyone else ever breastfed your baby? How did you feel about it?

Let’s tell our stories and begin to normalize this beautiful gift: breastfeeding each other’s babies.

Breastfeeding Advice: From Moms Who Have Been There

 

We asked our followers for their best advice on breastfeeding and of course, they delivered! Here are the top 5 breastfeeding tips from moms who have been there.

1. Knowledge is Power
Allison B. – “Read a breastfeeding book before baby is born! Go to a LLL or hospital breastfeeding meeting while pregnant. Making that connection now will make it easier to attend the meeting after baby is born!”
Lacey L. – “Have these websites bookmarked on your favorites tab: http://kellymom.com/ and http://www.llli.org/webus.html and start reading about breastfeeding so you are prepared.”
Delilah J. – “Attend classes on breastfeeding and get a breastfeeding pillow.”

2. Build a Support Network

Nikki V. – “There’s a learning curve just like with anything. Be patient and give yourself & baby time to learn. Join the AZ Breastfeeding Bag Project support group.” Here is the link to the facebook support group ? https://www.facebook.com/groups/627367134048048/

Abrinna V. – ”Don’t be afraid to ask for help on day 2 or day 100. Read as much as you can before baby comes.”

Christina G. – “Ask for help if you need it! Do a little investigating before you let someone tell you, “a lot of women just can’t breastfeed”, do not introduce a paci or a bottle for at least several weeks, have a support group of mama’s who have successfully nursed, be patient, take care of yourself by eating healthy and drinking lots of water!”

3. Keep Calm and Breastfeed On

Angela T. – “When in doubt/pain/frustration, ask a qualified lactation consultant. Each baby will nurse differently! Whether you breastfeed for 6weeks or 6 months or 6 years you are providing the most optimal nutrition for your baby.”

Jessica B. – “If at first you don’t succeed keep trying. My CJ was two months old almost to the day before she latched on. Then for a month I had to slowly wean her from the bottle to just latching on.”

Serena S. – “If it seems hard in the beginning stick it out it will get easier and be well worth it for baby and you and no matter what negative comments people throw your way just remember you’re doing what’s best for both you and you’re baby it’s your decision and that’s all that matters.”

Katie E. – “You don’t have to love it. Not everyone feels empowered or amazed by breastfeeding and that’s okay. Keep trying, you’ll get the hang of it.”

Amber H. – “That just because breastfeeding is natural doesn’t mean that it comes naturally. It is a learned art that takes time to get the hang of but it gets easier and becomes second nature. It can be difficult but stick to it and it will be worth it. When you feel like giving up, just give it one more day. If all else fails, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Breast is best and the more the better but if you can’t exclusively breastfeed some is better than none!”

4. Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated

Crystal – “Eat well, drink tons of water and don’t stop or your supply will stop too. One beer a night helps production and stress.”

Gina E. – “Keep bottled water and healthy snacks in your diaper bag so that you have something to eat at any given time. It is crazy how hungry you can get while breastfeeding!”

Melanie B. – “Eat lots of healthy fats and whole grains to keep you feeling full.”

5. Good Latch is Essential

Holly T. – “Hold your boob like a sandwich to get a good latch. Sounds weird but really works, it is also called the C-hold. Take any blankets and clothing off of yourself and baby so that you and baby are skin to skin, do this as often as you can to help a sleepy baby eat more. “

Kristen C. – “If you are having latch issues, ask about tongue tie.”

Chloe L. – “If you are not so comfortable having an audience, don’t be afraid to ask for some space. If you are nervous, the baby will sense it and it will be harder than it needs to be.”

If you have any additional tips, please share them in the comments!
Photo credit: Kelly Harris-Lawson of I Shoot Stuff. https://www.facebook.com/photosbykelly