I Love My Baby More Than You Love Your Baby:

How the On-Line Motherhood Support Community is Committing Mass Suicide

We love nothing more than to say we have this wonderful, global community of women designed to support each other in a way that many people in our daily lives have not. And yet, we shit on this very community every single day. Many times a day. All day. I am just about at my wits end with the woman on woman hating on the internet. Yes, I am talking about you. And I am talking about me. Every single one of us needs to take responsibility.

We type nasty comments to each other about the carriers that we choose to use, for our choice of baby clothes, for using the hospital nursery, for our choice of toys for our children and even for choosing to age our child in months versus years. This is just a few of the ways we shit on our community every day. This list is endless. The amount of topics that inevitably draw nasty and hateful comments is staggering and would be impossible to list here. And I am largely exposed to the gentle parenting community. Ironic, right? Mothers who claim to be on a gentle path turn into the most ungentle people.

It’s not trolls. It’s us. It’s the very mothers who claim to be a part of this community; who claim to support other mothers.

And we hide behind our keyboards and our hateful words and claim to be “just stating our opinion.”

Newsflash: No one asked for your opinion. And just because you have one doesn’t mean you should spew it out at every opportunity. You are free not to comment. Actually, you are encouraged not to comment unless you have something supportive or complimentary to say. Because, you know, we claim to support each other.

And don’t give me the whole caped-crusader bit, “I am an internet activist and I am passionate about this subject.” You know what? You are actually pushing people away when you bash people over the head with your views. It’s not the way to successfully get your point across.

Competition

The reality is we are all different. Even those of us that claim to be exactly the same. Just give it some time and you will learn that there are significant differences in all of us and how we parent. And that’s a good thing. Also, you have no idea what goes in the life of another person. Especially those that you have an internet relationship with. And certainly those that you don’t know at all!

It seems we are all extremists on the internet. “That woman is a bad mom because her kid plays with a tablet. That kid must be so neglected with no toys.” “That woman isn’t using an ergonomically correct carrier. Poor thing, that baby is going to be severely crippled!” “That baby is in the nursery. Just give up now, you have ruined your child.” Stop it. Just. Stop. It. The poor kid with the tablet probably also has toys and is allowed outside. The baby in the carrier is not going to die. The mother who chose to use the nursery can be just as AP as you. They’ve made different decisions than you and you need to get over it. We all love our children equally.

Oh, and also, mind your own business!

Your extremes, opinions and hate are killing this community. This community that you claim to care about, that you claim supports you.

I highly suggest trying to find your mama tribe because this one on the internet is dying. We are killing it. Unless we all woman up and take responsibility for ourselves this will be no place that any mother is going to want to be a part of.

Have we lost all compassion for each other? Or maybe we never had it.

The bottom line is that we have been given this gift. This gift of the internet that connects us in ways impossible before it existed. And we are going to lose it. We are going to kill it.

Challenge: I challenge you to comment only when you have something supportive or useful (if someone has asked for it) to say. When you see someone you disagree with try embracing that person. Try inviting them into the community knowing that somewhere down the line they will be exposed to the same information that you have.

Maybe the differences are too extreme to be able to be friends, maybe you’re disgusted by a person’s choices: even more reason to embrace someone because if someone is giving you that strong of a reaction then it is more about you than it is about them. Try embracing them, try embracing yourself. Or at the very least try leaving it alone.

Kindness Begets Kindness. It’s the only thing that ever has.

Abby Theuring, MSW

Breastfeeding 2: The Logisitcs

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Nursing Clothes You’ve Been Waiting For: A Review of Latched Mama Nursing Clothes

You might notice that you never see me wearing breastfeeding tops. The nursing wear that I have come across as a breastfeeding mother is either too expensive or too ugly. I took to the 2 shirt method (wearing 2 shirts and pulling the top one up above my breast and the bottom one down under my breast to free my nipple) and when that became too much work I now simply tug whatever I am wearing under my breast and expose my chest; something that has never bothered me.

Before I became pregnant I had built a beautiful wardrobe of clothes. I worked fulltime and liked to look slick. After having my first child I found that I was never able to return to the nice items in my wardrobe because I was always having to think about what was going to fit best with my go-to method of pulling my shirt down. I still have these nice clothes. I don’t know when I’ll wear them. In the meantime my signature look is the shelf bra tank from Target. #oneineverycolor

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Shelf bra. Pink. Not pretending to try. 

I don’t mind at all that I have given up my fancy clothes, but I wouldn’t mind looking a bit more, how you say, put together sometimes. My tank tops have begun to fray where the strap meets the bra from being pulled down so many times. I got slightly too excited the other day when I found my holey, cutoff sweat pants that I thought were gone forever. I think many moms have a time when they embrace not caring much about their appearance and many of us also have a time when we’d like to start pampering ourselves again.

With a nursing 6 month old and 3 year old I really wanted to find some stylish nursing clothes that weren’t going to break my bank. I was surprised when I visited Latched Mama nursing clothes by how cute the items were. “Well, I bet they’re expensive.” I was wrong. “Well, I bet they’re crappy!” Wrong again.

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Latched Mama Lightweight Nursing Hoodie

Seriously, folks. I found some great nursing wear that is cute and affordable! Woot!

Latched Mama nursing clothes are made with a cotton/spandex mix so it fits comfortably and feels as soft as your nursling’s breastmilk-nourished skin. The items have easy access secret passages to your nipple for quick latching. This is most useful when babywearing so you’re not digging around for the bottom of your shirt or trying to pull your shirt down with your hand in between yourself and baby. These tops provide you with maximum coverage if discretion is your thing.

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Latched Mama Active Nursing Tank. 

My littlest nursling loves the strings on the hoodie. They are the perfect distraction from nipple twiddling or scratching. The tops have become my go-to shirts. I get compliments on them before people learn they are nursing tops. I am going to get a couple more so that I never have to go through a day without one! Baby steps, but I am feeling a bit more like my old self that liked to wear fashionable clothes. It means a lot to a mother just 6 months postpartum.

I doubt you will be disappointed when visiting Latched Mama. So go on! Check them out and get a few things for yourself! You can search their tops, dresses and jewelry here. And don’t forget to follow Latched Mama on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Abby Theuring, MSW

Ask an Expert: Milk Supply and Knowing How Much is Enough

By Wendy Wisner, IBCLC

Fan Question: I had my third child three weeks ago today. I wanted to breastfeed desperately but he was having difficulty latching. I had the same issue with my other two children. I think it has something to do with my nipple shape. I had resorted to pumping and giving him mostly pumped milk but with some formula as well. I had a huge milk supply and should have pumped more often than I did but with three kids it was difficult. A few days ago my son latched perfectly! Ever since he got a good latch he wants to breastfeed constantly. However, I realized at that point that my milk supply had dwindled to practically nothing. I get a tablespoon in maybe a half hour. I have been nursing on demand for hours. I really want to exclusively bf. Is it possible to get my full supply back? I have been topping him off with a little formula because I don’t know if he’s getting enough. Also I’m pumping to stimulate supply.

 

WENDY WISNER, IBCLC:  It is wonderful that you persevered and were able to build up a good milk supply despite a non-latching baby.  And it is extra wonderful that your baby has now latched on! Milk supply doesn’t just “go away” within a matter of days.  You say that your baby is nursing “constantly” – my guess is that your baby is drinking all the milk that you normally pumped, which is why you aren’t seeing much when you pump.  That would be a good thing, right? But how to know if this is the case?  First, is your baby generally wetting the same number of diapers, and pooping with the same frequency?  The most concrete way of knowing if your baby is getting enough, though, is to get a weight check.  So if diaper output is good, wait a few days and then request a weight check at the pediatrician’s office.  I would also suggest getting another weight check a week or two later just to be sure, especially since your baby never nursed at the breast before, and may still be figuring it out.  If both weight checks go well, then your body is producing all the milk your baby needs, and your baby is getting it!  If you were previously giving significant amounts of formula before, I suggest you wean off the formula slowly (a few ounces every few days), and get frequent weight checks to verify things are on track.

If anything is amiss or if you have any questions, a meeting with a lactation consultant (IBCLC) would be a good idea to rule out any latching or sucking issues.  Good luck, and nurse on!

 

unnamed Wendy Wisner is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), writer, and mother of two amazing boys.  In addition to her work with breastfeeding moms, she has published two books of poems, and a handful of articles about mothering and breastfeeding.  She blogs at www.nursememama.com.

A Mother Relactates

By Anonymous

I would like to share this for other moms to know what’s possible. All throughout my pregnancy my plan was to breastfeed my baby. I tried to prepare myself as much as I could but I knew nothing at all about breastfeeding. In the world around me formula feeding was the norm. All my friends and family all formula fed their babies so I really had no one around for support or to learn from. I took a class at the hospital to try and learn what I could there. The class did nothing short of scare me and intimidate me with everything that can go wrong. So the day came to go in for my scheduled c section, and I had just made my mind up that I would just stick with the “normal” way to feed my baby. When we got home from the hospital that night I had this sense of guilt that I had decided not breastfeed my baby. I sat up in bed and tried to get her to latch and she even as a 3 day old baby just couldn’t latch so at that time lacking barely any knowledge about breastfeeding. I gave up. I felt as if I let my baby down. 3 weeks went past and I took her in for a checkup and I asked the pediatrician was I too late? Could I do anything to try and start a breastfeeding relationship that I now just longed for with my baby? She says the most important weeks have passed but it is possible. Try and latch her and see what happens.

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My baby still wouldn’t have it. I broke down. This was so important to me why did I make that decision. I kept replaying that moment that they asked me breast or bottle? And thinking why? Why wouldn’t you have just tried? 3 more weeks passed and I was even more overwhelmed with the guilt. I reached out to a lactation consultant and she basically told me it wasn’t possible without getting this this and this and spending hundreds of dollars. Discouraged again. Then I found out my insurance would cover a pump. I was so happy. I ordered it and it came in two days later. After doing hours and hours and hours of research of stories blogs and any information I could find. I found out what I was trying to do was called relactating.

So from then I started pumping every 3 hours for 15 min. So discouraged at first because I was getting so little milk. Like 1 or 2 drops. I did this for 3 weeks and was only up to 2 ounces a day. Am I crazy?? This isn’t going to work I thought. It’s too late. But for some reason I just kept going. Then the time came for me to go back to work. I thought this is going to be tricky. So I just started pumping at work, no one needed to know I didn’t start from the beginning or what I was going through. A few days later I decided to call another lactation consultant and make an appointment to go in. At this point I just wanted to know was this worth my time? Am I going to be able to build a supply up? I met with her a few days later and she was so encouraging. After talking to her I knew I could keep going that I could do it. I had come this far I’m just going to keep going. I was taking Fenugreek and that seemed to be working was starting to see an increase and this only made me want to keep going.

Then I find out because of my medical condition hypothyroidism that I could no longer take this because it would counteract my medication. I was devastated because I felt like I was finally getting somewhere. A couple more weeks passed increasing but not like it was with the Fenugreek. I was feeling really discouraged again. Luckily every time I was feeling sad and discouraged I just text my awesome lactation consultant and she would build me back up. “Remember why you’re doing this,” she would say. So I kept going. She found a more milk supplement that didn’t contain Fenugreek. So I started taking that. It seemed to working too. I was not only focused on building my supply but I also wanted a nursing relationship with my baby. I bought a nipple shield. At first she absolutely hated it for days and weeks I tried getting her to latch with and without it. Finally one night just feeling pretty low about it, I tried again. She took it! I was so happy was this really happening?? So of course we were soooo happy that I had accomplished this with her.

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I went on to nurse her with it and pump at work. By this time I was pumping about 5 ounces at work and just pretty much nursing nonstop with the shield. I was so worried that she wasn’t getting enough because she just nursed with it constantly. Then I got the flu and my supply dropped and one night I couldn’t get her to nurse at all with a shield SNS or anything. I started to panic was it over? Everything I worked for all felt like it was coming down and I was so sad and disappointed. I was given a prescription for Domperidone to try and build my supply back up.  So in the next couple of days we did skin to skin and nursed through the night and she came back around. The Domperidone seemed to really be working I was pumping 8 ounces at work and I was so happy things were coming back together for us. Then one morning I tried to get her to latch without the shield as I did pretty much every feed. She latched! I felt like I had won this battle and maybe just maybe we were done with the shield and close to exclusive breastfeeding. Then she wouldn’t have anything to do with it all that day so I thought I just got excited for nothing. So determined still the next night I tried walking around with her and latching her and just when I was feeling discouraged again she latched and didn’t come off!

From that point on she has nursed only without the shield and gets so excited when it’s time to nurse. I had only tried one round of the Domperidone and then my supply seemed to go back to where it was before so I was slightly disappointed yet again that wasn’t me that was just the medicine building it for me. After dropping again I tried half of a prescription again. Same thing happened again. This time I tried looking up ways to increase it without that. I started adding in 5 and 10 min hand pump sessions throughout my work day for a week or so and eating oatmeal every day. This must have really worked because now as of today I am pumping 10-12 ounces just at work and solely nursing when I am not at work. Right now this is enough for my baby while she is at the sitter. She hasn’t had supplement formula in over a week.

I started this when my baby was 6 and a half weeks old and she is now 5 months old. She was nursing with the shield at 3 months and nursing without it by 4 months. I just wanted to share my story to show that it is possible just don’t give up and know there is resources and help out there. If it weren’t for my lactation consultant in this I don’t know how far I would have come. This being my second baby. I also have a 5-year-old daughter who sometimes I felt like I wasn’t paying enough attention too but she’s been so supportive of mommy. I tell her I’m doing what’s best for sissy.  It was an adjustment for all of us but now it’s just normal in our house!