Dear Moms at the Park

No, this isn’t one of those judgey posts about seeing Moms at the park on their cell phones or what they say to their kids. Who am I to judge anyway? I snapped at my toddler this morning making his already rough morning even worse. No, I can’t look down at anyone from any Gentle Parenting Tower.

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This is a thank you letter. Thank you for helping distract my toddler when he started to meltdown and you saw me struggling with my newborn. Thank you for talking him into playing chase with your little girl to give me some moments of calm. Thank you for offering him a snack when I had no hands to get one. Thank you for not giving me a dirty look when I was tandem nursing said toddler and said newborn. Thank you. Just thank you. Thank you all for making this a little bit of a village today.

Abby Theuring, MSW

MommyCon: Mothers to Pump in Public

**MOMMYCON AND ACELLERON MEDICAL PRODUCTS TO SET FIRST BREAST PUMPING WORLD RECORD

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On August 2, 2014, MommyCon and Acelleron Medical Products are partnering to set the first-ever world record for breast pumping in Boston, MA.  Mothers will gather at MommyCon Boston 2014 to pump breast milk together, in public.

Presented by Acelleron, the goal of this record-setting event is to bring awareness to the benefits of human milk for human babies, as well as bring mothers who pump breast milk together.

By pumping milk in a public display, each of our record setters will be making a statement that shows that pumping is normal and a wonderful way for working mothers, as well as babies who are unable to latch, to benefit from human milk.

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“Hosting this record shows mothers around the world that they aren’t alone. Breast pumping mothers are rarely recognized for the work they put into feeding their child, or for the milk they may donate to breast milk banks. By hosting a pumping world record, we are banding together to show that breast pumping is something to be proud of,” says Alexzandra Higgins, MommyCon Founder.

The event will begin at 10:30am at the Revere Hotel, 200 Stuart Street, Boston.

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MommyCon is a boutique style convention dedicated to bringing modern parents and mothers-to-be together. Focusing on natural and organic parenting methods while creating realistic expectations in this modern world. Seminars and workshops include; babywearing, birth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, car seat safety, natural health and medicine, baby gear, green-proofing and more.

For more information about the Acelleron Breast Pumping World Record or MommyCon Boston 2014, please visit www.mommy-con.com or email community@mommy-com.com.

I Forgot to Help My Newborn: Breastfeeding the Second Time

It makes sense that things would be easier the second time around. I heard this from many Moms with more than one child. “It’s so much easier with the second one!” We are much more relaxed this time. We don’t try to be quiet in the house, we don’t listen to the advice and we don’t stress about every little odd thing that Exley does. It’s been smooth. A lot smoother than the early days with my first son, Jack.

Except for breastfeeding.

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Exley passed all of his meconium by day 2 or so. Then his poop turned green as he began to pass the “transitional stools.” But then they just stayed green. For like a week. I kept expecting that they would turn yellow, but each diaper change it was just seedy green poop. I e-mailed my friend Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA. She told me that once Exley came that I should reach out to her if I needed anything. I wasn’t going to mess around. When breastfeeding Jack I took every piece of bad advice and went home and cried that my breastfeeding relationship with him was going to end. I didn’t know where to turn except to the internet and that was just a huge wasteland of confusing information. So I was quick to get reliable help this time.

Nancy wrote back and said that the green poop wasn’t an issue in and of itself. As long as Exley was gaining about an ounce a day and having at least 3 to 4 poops a day then all was probably hunky dory. She suggested starting some breast compressions in the meantime just to help Exley get a bit more milk. A few days later I took Exley to get weighed with another lactation consultant friend of mine who ran a local breastfeeding walk-in clinic. He had gained 4 ounces in 10 days. My heart sank. How could this be happening again? Not this weight problem, Jack didn’t have that, but just breastfeeding issues in general. This was my second time. I was supposed to be immune to problems. I latched the baby on and I was supposed to trust my body and my baby. Isn’t that what everyone says!? (Including me). One thing was for sure. I was confident in the help I was getting from new friends. I knew that they wouldn’t steer me wrong. I knew that they respected my wishes to breastfeed and were going to work to make this successful for me. Even with all the worry I carried for Exley, I felt less isolated than with Jack because I had surrounded myself with people who put my wishes and my son as their top priority.

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My friend also did a check for lip and tongue tie. It looked as though Exley may be tied, but not severely. And even if he was it didn’t automatically mean that this was the cause of the problem; only about 25% of babies with lip and tongue ties have breastfeeding problems. I decided to try some other interventions first. I called Nancy when I got home and she said that he had gained some weight and so there should only need to be a few tweaks in order to get back on track. She asked how tandem nursing was going. I said, already having felt the magnitude of this decision, “it’s a cluster fuck.” She suggested being more mindful about when Jack nurses and from which breast so that Exley was always getting a full breast. Great idea, I had not been doing this. She suggested working on Exley’s latch. I had done a lot of work with Jack on this and knew how to do it. Awesome, done. She asked how the breast compressions were going. I described what I had been doing. She described back to me that I would continue to do this when I switched breasts. Uh, switch breasts? This very common, simple and necessary breastfeeding technique had completely left my brain. I forgot to be switching him from breast to breast! Ugh, how could I be so dumb? I was stunned that I could forget such a simple, almost instinctual, technique. Breastfeeding a toddler is mindless. I never think about what Jack is doing. He does it all himself. Even switching. He unlatches and says “Dis boobie,” and points to the other one. This had been my normal breastfeeding life for 2 years. “I think we may know what the issue is,” I said to Nancy.

Now I had a solid plan. I would do these things for another week and get him weighed again. That week was pretty bad. I was so anxious. What was wrong with Exley? Did he have some disease? What if he didn’t gain weight? What if there was something serious wrong? Even after identifying issues that were obviously leading to the slow weight gain I still became completely fearful and irrational. This may have been my second time around, but this was my first time with this new baby. I was just a new Mom. Like everyone else. Vulnerable, scared, confused. I thought back to all of the breastfeeding advice I had given. I was so confident and calm when it was someone else’s baby. I have so much faith in other mothers being able to get through the rough times. It’s all so different when it’s your baby. It’s so emotional. The fears are irrational. It’s hard to see straight.

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I became completely obsessed with breastfeeding Exley. I hid from Jack sometimes so that Exley could eat even though Nancy assured me that Jack was doing nothing but helping boost my supply. All of my lactation consultant friends assured me that continuing to breastfeed Jack was a safe decision. I stared at Exley every time he ate to make sure he was getting milk. I played with his latch at every feeding to get it perfect. I immersed myself in breastfeeding.

I had become so confident in this whole “trust your baby and your body” mantra that I didn’t even lend Exley a hand to get him started. I latched him on and figured he was good to go. “He knows what to do! He’ll just do it all himself. I trust my baby!” Oy. I was feeling pretty down about it. But the amazing thing about reliable and trustworthy support is that they do believe in you. They won’t judge you or push any other agenda. I want to breastfeed and so Nancy was going to help make that happen. She said, “Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s pretty common for a second time Mom to forget how much help a newborn needs.” That comment really helped alleviate the guilt. It was true. I was so far removed from the newborn days that I just… forgot.

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I waited through each day until the following Wednesday came when I could visit my friend who would weigh Exley again. When that day came I had butterflies in my stomach. I couldn’t wait to put him on that scale. And when I did my eyes popped out of my head. He had gained 11 ounces in just 1 week! Holy moly! It worked! When you think about it I didn’t even do that much. A few tweaks as suggested from a professional and everything was fixed. Just like that. By his 1 month birthday the breastfeeding struggled had been sorted out. And that made the difference for me. Not that I was immune to problems or that as a second time Mom I was supposed to have all of the answers. Just that I had been down a rough road before and knew how to protect myself this time. And the answer to that was to reach out for help and be willing to accept it.

With my first son I don’t think I knew how to accept help. Even in the moments when I knew I needed it I don’t think I knew what it meant to accept it. I have always done everything myself. And I have always been pretty good at whatever I was doing, which, as a social worker, usually surrounded helping others. But me? Need help? Never. Giving birth rocked my world. Breastfeeding brought me to my knees. The process of learning how to breastfeed and then how to be a mother showed me clearly that this cannot be done alone. We need each other. I learned how to open myself up. To simply ask for help. And most importantly listen, follow through and accept what is being said to me.

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You might be reading this saying “well, we can’t all have Nancy Mohrbacher to rely on.” That’s not true! Nancy has developed an amazing, low cost, easy to use, app for iPhone and Android called Breastfeeding Solutions. I also wrote a review for it. I highly recommend this for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to get that reliable help early.

Abby Theuring, MSW

**Photos courtesy of Tiny Bubbles Family Photography by Leslie. Please visit her website and Like her Facebook page. 

**And by Maggie Cuprisin Photography. Please visit her website and Facebook page. 

 

 

Ask an Expert: Breast Fullness and Difficulty Latching

Ask an Expert is a blog feature hosted by a team of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Once a month each IBCLC randomly chooses a question from The Badass Breastfeeder Facebook wall and provides their response on the blog.

By Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA

Fan Question:

“I am expecting my 4th and would like to exclusively breastfeed this one, but I had issues with the 1st 3. My breasts get so large, my nipple almost disappears, and I have a hard time getting the babies to latch. Any ideas on how to fix this?”

It is not unusual for breast fullness that makes latching challenging to develop around Day 3-5 after birth. But there are a couple of easy fixes for latching problems at this and other times. One is a technique called reverse pressure softening. This involves using gentle but firm pressure to move any breast swelling away from the nipple and areola further back into the breast for an easier latch. See a YouTube video demonstrating this. You can also read about it here. Another strategy to make early latching easier for you and baby is using laid-back breastfeeding positions, as gravity helps your baby get on deeper. If you’re still having trouble, I would also recommend seeing a board-certified lactation consultant, as often just a little tweaking can make a huge difference. Best of luck!

unnamedNancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA is a board-certified lactation consultant in the Chicago area who has been helping breastfeeding families since 1982. Her books for professionals are used worldwide. Her books for parents include Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, which she co-authored with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, and her tiny problem-solving guide, Breastfeeding Solutions  In 2013, Nancy released her Breastfeeding Solutions smartphone app (available for Android and iPhones) to give mothers a quick, go-everywhere source of breastfeeding help. Nancy speaks at events around the world.

Ask an Expert: How to Use Breast Milk Storage Times

*Ask an Expert is a blog feature hosted by a team of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs). Once a month each IBCLC randomly chooses a question from The Badass Breastfeeder Facebook wall and provides their response on the blog.

By Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA

Fan Question:

“If I’m going to freeze my milk, do I have to do it right after I pump?”

Here’s how the guidelines in the table below work. You can refrigerate room-temperature milk at any point before its time is up. Depending on your room temperature, this would be before 4 hours (66°F to 72°F/19°C to 22°C) or before 6 to 10 hours (73°F to 77°F/23°C to 25°C). And you can freeze refrigerated milk any time before 8 days.

Milk Storage Guidelines for Healthy, Full-Term Babies at Home

Milk Storage/ Handling Deep Freezer(0°F/-18°C) Refrigerator Freezer(variable 0°F/-18°C) Refrigerator(39°F/4°C) Insulated Cooler with Ice Packs(59°F/15°C) Room Temperature
(66°F–72°F/19°C–22°C)

(73°F–77°F/23°C–25°C)

Fresh Ideal: 6 mo.Okay: 12 mo. 3–4 mo. Ideal: 72 hr.Okay: 8 days 24 hr. 6–10 hr. 4 hr.
Frozen, Thawed in Fridge Do not refreeze Do not refreeze 24 hr. Do not store 4 hr. 4 hr.
Thawed, Warmed, Not Fed Do not refreeze Do not refreeze 4 hr. Do not store Until feeding ends Until feeding ends
Warmed, Fed Discard Discard Discard Discard Until feeding ends Until feeding ends

 
unnamedNancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA is a board-certified lactation consultant in the Chicago area who has been helping breastfeeding families since 1982. Her books for professionals are used worldwide. Her books for parents include Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers, which she co-authored with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, and her tiny problem-solving guide, Breastfeeding Solutions  In 2013, Nancy released her Breastfeeding Solutions smartphone app (available for Android and iPhones) to give mothers a quick, go-everywhere source of breastfeeding help. Nancy speaks at events around the world.