1

If You’re Haunted By Recurrent Mastitis: Help & Tips

22256624_3192453460766_4690658743142825516_o copy

It comes on suddenly and leaves without a trace. I always forget how bad mastitis is until I get it again, then I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long with breastfeeding because I’ve felt hounded by those ‘quitting feelings’ during many a run with this illness.

I just recovered from my 8th (in 5 years) and hopefully final battle with mastitis; my second bout of the “boob flu” in two weeks.

Thankfully I’ve learned something new with each run of the boob flu madness… Continue reading

1

No More Babies: How I Really Feel (Last Child Grief)

21687885_3183909687177_797510569706804953_n

Thoughts at 4 Months Postpartum

I only have two children, and two will be my only. We always planned to have two kids for the usual reasons: financial resources, practicality, health reasons, familiarity, and so on.

This pregnancy and postpartum were much different than the first. I suspect it has much to do with knowing they’ll be my last.

I feel the postpartum slipping away. My youngest is now four months old, which means a little more than a trimester ago he was playing, breathing, wriggling, and listening in my womb.

For these past months I’ve watched my body turn into something blooming and abundant to swollen and rumpling to deflated and limp, stressed from constant demands upon it and weak from the the endless drill of late nights and early mornings. I’ve felt unmotivated to move into a new chapter, for I know once that happens, I won’t get to call myself ‘newly postpartum.’ In my case, not ever again.

This is now the body I’m left with. Rather, this is the body I get to keep. I’ve got more skin than I had before, a herniated navel, and my hair seems to be grieving with me as it sheds like a willow in the fall.

I think I’ll say I’m no longer ‘postpartum’ when my linea nigra disappears. The first time it took a year. I think that’s when I’ll stop telling people “I just had a baby…”

Right now my body is a signpost of declarations that say this shop is closed, be back soon. I know better because my intentions are steps ahead; I know the shop is closed indefinitely. Continue reading

0

When You Feel Awkward Seeing Breastfeeding in Public

20294277_3133870676233_3282641345410500516_n

For one reason or another, some people feel awkward when they see a woman breastfeeding her child in public. This does not necessarily make them bad people. Their feelings can be perfectly valid; it takes a unique set of nature and nurture to arrive at the point of feeling awkward with a specific trigger such as this.

For those who aren’t accustomed to seeing breastfeeding in public and are largely uninformed about how it all works, a little patience may be needed as they adjust. After all, few of us have been spared from American culture’s mixed messages about women’s roles and heavy promotion of both infant formula and breasts as sex objects.

That said, misunderstanding and ignorance are acceptable; projection of fears and lashing out with harassing or discriminatory behavior are not.

Here are a few ideas about what to do and not do if you’re not yet comfortable seeing breastfeeding in public (but you’re working on it, right?).

Continue reading

0

Breastfeeding Concerns During a Natural Disaster: Babies Still Need To Eat

 

3831694_web0_motherbabyrescue

Via Associated Press

As I write this*, I’m taking note of the tornado warnings that have made my phone beep seemingly every hour for the past few days. The sound of rain pelting the windows. Bayous and reservoirs cresting over. I’m watching friends’ and neighbors’ homes flood in real time. Reading about pleas for rescue as families seek refuge from rising water in their attics and on their roofs. You could say things are out of control.

Amid all of this, babies still need to eat. Newborn babies who took their first breath at a Houston area birth center after tropical storm Harvey made landfall. Older babies who nurse around the clock or drink expressed or powdered milk or formula supplements.

The stores are closed and roads are crumbling or underwater. Formula is now largely inaccessible. But babies still need to eat.

Pumping moms need to continue pumping to avoid mastitis, supply issues, and maintain production. What about when the power goes out? Or when the house floods and the circuit board must be shut off? Hopefully they have a manual pump or have been taught how to hand express… because babies still need to eat.

New mothers, welcomed into motherhood with all the terrific drama Mother Nature herself could muster: I hope you have a (relatively) easy time getting started. The well-trained eye of a lactation consultant in your home, personally assessing latch and other tricky spots, cannot compare to scouring the internet for emergency breastfeeding help in the early days. But no one is risking travel across town for ‘work’ in a deluge. A lucky mother has her phone fully charged and ready to go with breastfeeding apps right now because, of course, babies still need to eat.

*(Flood waters have since receded from my neighborhood and we’re doing fine now. However, eleven million people in the southeast counties of Texas are still trying to get a grip on the continued consequences of this historic flooding). Continue reading

0

For The Breastfeeding Mom With Body Mods

breastfeeding-room-082-copy

Last year at a La Leche League Conference, a woman held a seminar called “Babies, Breasts, and Body Mods: Where Body Art and Breastfeeding Collide.” Robyn Roche-Paull, BSN, RNC, MNN, IBCLC, LLLL, USN veteran (say all that ten times fast!) was herself clearly no stranger to permanent and semi-permanent body decor.

The room was packed with Leaders, lactation specialists, medical workers, and breastfeeding advocates who all wanted to know: What’s a mama need to know about body art and possible impact upon her boobie monsters?

Roche-Paull’s lecture got me thinking… especially since I’ve had my eye on the prize of a new tattoo since before my last pregnancy, and waiting until weaning years from now sounds a tiny, wee bit torturous.

These days, there’s not such a strong stigma or taboo attached to mothers who have body modifications, but many women find themselves wondering what’s the best protocol for fresh body mods during the lactation period. When they consult their care providers, many really haven’t the faintest clue how to answer.

What exactly are body modifications? Popular types include branding (3rd degree burns to create scars), piercing, scarification (cutting), and tattooing. Here we’ll focus on the most prevalent: piercings and tattoos.

Now a little crash course for you curious body art geeks…

Continue reading

0

If I Could Give Only 5 Pieces of Breastfeeding Advice To a New Mom

15439895_2924354198452_932489583518350295_n-copy

If you could give only five pieces of breastfeeding advice to a new mother, what would you say? Here’s what I’d tell her.

Continue reading

0

What Not To Say To A Breastfeeding Mom Who Has Oversupply

14900394_2880576304032_3189463501460238391_n-copy

I make lots of milk. I won’t hesitate to admit I’m satisfied with this fate. That said, it is a little harder to explain how my overly zealous breasts have also caused several of my main nursing challenges.

After a third official run-in with mastitis since giving birth seven months ago (fifth time between two babies), please hear me when I say… sometimes this blessing feels a bit like a curse in disguise.

Continue reading