The Gift of Breastfeeding Support

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The Gift of Breastfeeding Support

by Sara Smith

‘Tis the season for quality time with loved ones, laughs with good friends, and celebrating all that we have to be thankful for.  Most of us pay extra mind to the things often taken for granted during the normal course of the year: the roof over our heads, the food on the table, shoes on our feet, a safe place for our children to lie their heads, perhaps a few gifts under a tree.  These are all very worthy things to be grateful for, but as my oldest child’s third birthday draws near, I am reminded of another gift that not all are fortunate enough to have…the gift of breastfeeding support and a successful breastfeeding journey.

In and of itself breastfeeding is a gift, to the mother and the child, and to generations to follow.  We know about the unmatched nutritional content of breast milk, the healing properties the milk carries, and the ever-growing list of things breastfeeding aids in preventing for both mom and baby.  The long-term benefits of the bond formed between mother and child during nursing are well documented,  and it’s not difficult to find a mother who can attest to loving the connection she has with her nursling.  But breastfeeding is not always an easy gift to give.  Indeed, for many of us, it comes only as a great burden, of which we have no firsthand knowledge, at a time when we just want to sleep! This was my life nearly three years ago, and none of it felt healing or preventative, and my son and I seemed to have a terrible connection.  I was giving every ounce (no pun intended!) of myself to an insatiable pink screamer, and “gift” was not in the list of words I chose to use about breastfeeding.

I was hopeless and defeated.  The hospital staff gave no breastfeeding support, the women in my family either didn’t breastfeed, breastfed decades ago, or lived hours away and could only help via text when they had time in their own busy lives.  As my baby lost weight, and the pediatrician “prescribed” supplementation, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried about my failures as a new mother.  It was this feeling of failure (and utter exhaustion as my husband and I fed our hysterical son formula with a dropper in the wee hours of the morning), the led me to call on a woman whom I had met briefly just weeks before at a holiday dinner.  She was an IBCLC, and at the time I could not have cared less what this meant, because I was going to feed my baby with no problems and wouldn’t need any help.  Baby comes out, put baby to boob, baby eats, baby sleeps.  That was it, right?  I admitted to myself that that wasn’t it, pushed my pride aside, and begged her as nicely as possible to come help.

She came.  She saw.  She conquered…our poor latch, that is.  Our lives were changed that day, mine, my son’s, and my husband’s, even the life of the second baby I swore at the time I wouldn’t be having.  As she flipped through my pile of breastfeeding reference books to the exact pages that I needed, propped and stuffed pillows into every nook and cranny of my glider, and smashed (so gently!) that little open mouth against my engorged breast, I felt an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders (literally and figuratively).  This was it, this is what I had been needing.  She didn’t feed him for me, couldn’t heal my scabbed nipples in one afternoon, and wouldn’t be able to take back the upsetting first week we’d had.  But she listened, she sat with me and looked for ways to improve our technique, she smiled and hugged me when he fell asleep at the breast completely full for the first time.  She followed up, still follows up…three years later.  It was her gift of unwavering support that enabled me to gift breastfeeding to my children.

I sit here now, tearful with recollection as my little family slumbers in the next room, looking at the wrapped presents under our tiny tree.  I know what all of the packages are, I spent weeks carefully picking out things I know my son will love, sneakily wrapped them while he was distracted playing with his baby sister.  But in my heart, I know there is no greater gift than what breastfeeding has given him.  The remote-controlled car and the child-sized guitar might be fun, but I’d like to see them prevent against obesity and cancer! The new boots and ball cap with be cute, but nothing will ever fit as well as the perfect chemical balance of breast milk.  As for my five month old, there’s not much down there for her to open this year since she’s gotten most of big brother’s hand-me-down toys.  I don’t imagine she will mind much though, she’s still getting the best gift of all…boobies!!

Do you have a special support person who changed your breastfeeding journey?

Tell us about him or her!  A grateful heart (and a good supply!) is a gift that keeps on giving. <3

Are You Thankful for Breastfeeding?

mildrik

Are You Thankful for Breastfeeding?

November is a month when we focus on what we are thankful for. Have you added breastfeeding to that list? A woman’s body being able to provide nourishment and comfort to their baby is a miraculous part of nature.  Often we think of breastfeeding as a chore but instead try to list the things it has given to you. Even if you breastfed for a short time or supplement with another form of food, every drop of liquid gold that you produce helps your baby and you in these areas:

  • bonding
  • antibodies
  • develops babies immunity
  • prevents diseases
  • brain development
  • establishes good gut microbiota
  • easy bed time routine
  • quiet time

Has breastfeeding been a struggle for you? Then you have even more to be thankful for. Be grateful for the obstacles because they make you even more committed in your choice to provide the very best for your baby. You have probably done more research than most moms. You are growing your creativity when you forget a pump part at home and have to figure out what to do. And if you start asking moms, none would say they had a beautiful breastfeeding journey with no problems at all. If you want to produce more milk, click on our products page to see what we offer.

Please comment- what’s on your list of reasons to be thankful for breastfeeding?

I bet your baby would agree that breastfeeding is the best thing in his/ her life!

*Source- Science Daily

Breastfeeding & Yoga

Breastfeeding Mamas

Stretching, breathing, centering- are all things that are good for anyone. This is especially true if you are a breastfeeding mom. Your neck and shoulders need the release after being in a breastfeeding position for so many hours a day. Yoga also increases your blood flow and some theorize it can actually help your milk supply (studies are being done).

The great news is that you can do some simple stretches at home with your baby.  Here is a great link on stretches that are perfect for new moms. You can also find mommy and me yoga classes here in the Valley. One that I have been to recently was at HA Yoga in Tempe. What makes HA Yoga different is the owner Nikki Brewer is also very much connected to the birth and breastfeeding world. She easily tailors her classes based on what kind of stretching your body needs. And she also offers private classes for labor, birth and breastfeeding.

We are collaborating with HA Yoga to bring you a special yoga event in November just for moms. Check the event page tab to register today.

Do you use yoga stretches to work out your achy shoulders and de-stress?

Where are your favorite places in the Valley for yoga?

One day soon you may be able to do poses like this: yoga3

A real story of breastfeeding

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My Mom always told me that I would be a good cow. I’m not sure that’s actually a compliment but it stayed with me after my first child was born. I had a long labor with him (typical) and the birth was nothing like I had planned (typical). When they handed me this tiny, wrinkly, red, crying infant I was completely overwhelmed. The midwife in the room suggested breastfeeding. Good thing my baby knew what to do, he latched on like a champ.

Breastfeeding in the hospital (Mercy Gilbert) was great. An IBCLC came in to see us, she showed us some holds and asked me to record the times and lengths of his feedings. Sure, my nipples were sore but cream helped and my baby’s latch was really good so the discomfort didn’t last long. When it was time to go home, the nurse handed me the Similac formula Bag. I didn’t want any formula in my house (too tempting) so I left the can in the room.

When we got home, it was a complete whirlwind. I was so so so tired and he cried all the time. I was sobbing too saying “I just want to eat dinner”. I quickly learned to do everything one handed, holding him with the other. Per my Mom’s advice I tried to put him on a schedule- ha! That was completely frustrating to baby and me- he wanted boob, I had boob. What made more sense was to just nurse him on demand. Breastfeeding was the only thing that calmed him down and comforted him.

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Breastfeeding continued to be a positive thing for us, throughout all his milestones and my sleepless nights. Throughout bumps and bruises, fevers and emotional upsets. He would sign for it, that chubby little fist opening and closing. Just after he turned one, I became pregnant with our second baby. He was still breastfeeding, it’s completely safe in most cases. I will never forget nursing him in the rocking chair, I was 14 weeks pregnant and he looked at me quizzically and asked “baby?” We were feeling baby moving for the first time together.

Of course, I had doubts about breastfeeding and wanted to use formula every now and then. But with the words of my Mom and my husband’s encouragement, we made it through those tough days and it was so so worth it. It’s important that we share these positive stories more than the negative ones. Would you be willing to share how you successfully breastfed? Send us your story in an email to azbfbp@gmail.com. Let’s tell Moms the real story of breastfeeding.

Have you Been Breastfeeding Allll day?

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Have You Been Breastfeeding Allll day?

Great! That’s exactly what you should be feeling in the first few months with baby. Here are some other tips/ tricks so you will know that breastfeeding is going well:

Your baby is feeding 8-12 times in 24 hours. Considering it may take up to an hour to nurse a side, burp, change a diaper, nurse other side and burp again. To you it will feel like every hour. Indulge your baby, they are doing exactly what they are supposed to do. By about 2-3 months your baby will start going longer between feeds.

You hear or see your baby swallow when she feeds. Click on this link to a Jack Newman video to see a baby swallowing while latched.

Baby has 6-8 wet diapers and a total of 3 yellow poop diapers by day five. Simply take 6 diapers out of the pack and put them on the changing mat. If you’ve used them all by the end of the day, baby is outputting well 🙂

Significant Moments Photography

Significant Moments Photography

 

Baby begins to gain weight after day five and is back up to birth weight by 10 days old. Yup, it’s normal for them to lose a few ounces after birth, then start gaining it back when they are being fed your wonderful, nutritious breast milk.

For those of you that have survived the newborn stage- what would you add to this?