October 7th-13th is “International Babywearing Week”. This is a time for babywear-ers everywhere to celebrate their babywearing ways while also spreading awareness about babywearing.
If anyone knows anything about me – I’m all about babywearing! And I get a lot of questions about carriers, styles and ways of babywearing. So, this month I’ll be writing all about babywearing. I’ll keep a running list of posts here, so you can check back and have a quick reference! Let me know if you want to know anything specific and I’ll try to address it this month.
This episode of the “Fam’s 5 Faves” is focusing on breastfeeding. I figured it was a great segue off of last month’s series focusing on Milking It.
Here is a break down of our favorites…
My two “go to” covers right now are the Motherhood Nursing Scarf and my Simple by Bebe Au Lait. I use the scarf when it is cool enough to sport a scarf – it’s super handy and cute too! The Bebe Au Lati is extremely breathable for warmer days (read more about it here).
My back SCREAMS at me when we’ve been away from home and away from my pillow. It’s important to not hunch over baby when nursing, and bringing them up higher helps you save your back. I love this pillow so much that I’m taking it on our trip to Hawaii. Nine days is just TOO long to be away from it! I know there are quite a few brands out there, like the Boppy and My Breast Friend, but I’m a Boppy gal myself! It has a lot of uses other than just a nursing pillow. When your little one is on “tummy time”, you can prop them up on it. It also helps stabilize them when they start sitting up! I even prop Liam up a bit on it when he is sleeping on the ground.
Lets just be frank here ladies – engorgement and sore nipples are no fun. These guys were either in my freezer or in my bra those first few weeks. I highly suggest two sets – keep rotating them out! I love that I could use them directly on the nipples, or set it up so they went around them. They were soft, organic … I really did love them! They still do come out of the freezer – like when I am upping my supply for storage, and thus pumping A LOT.
Organic, smells good … I love this little nipple saving jar. And the small jar goes a LONG way. I still have the same jar I brought to the hospital with me! I dab a little on, let it melt and soak in, then “cover up” again. I also put it on before I pump to keep from getting sore. At first I was worried that Liam didn’t like the taste, so I switched to coconut butter. But I soon switched back. Now, the simple smell of it makes me remember those first few days of Liam’s life. And it is ALWAYS in my pumping bag!
I cheated on the “two for one” deal again on this, but my preferred nipple pads have changed over time. In the beginning I leaked… a LOT. So I loved the washable organic cotton nursing pads. I cycled through them quickly, sometimes two sets a day. But they were super soft against my “skin”, and offered protection from things that might accidentally brush against “sensitive areas”. After my milk situation evened out, I switched to the LilyPadz. I love them! They still offer protection against friction, cover up your “headlights” and keep enough pressure on to stop minor leaks. More on them in the future…
What are some of your top favorites for breastfeeding?
Follow this series on twitter and facebook #fams5faves
Wow – I had a lot of fun writing about breastfeeding last month. And I still didn’t have time to hit everything! You’ll still see the topic popping up time and time again. It’s a major part of my life as breastfeeding mommy. But here will be the upcoming focus…
This month I want to hit My Favorite Things. A lot of you have asked “what are your top 5 things for…” – here are some answers for you! There is no way I will hit EVERYTHING in one month, so this will actually be kicking off a regular series. These posts will be more “summaries” than in depth Tried and True (T&T) posts. But, have no fear, a lot of these items will show up again in upcoming T&Ts!
October 7-13 is International Babywearing Week! If you know me, you know I *love* babywearing! So October will be dedicated to everything babywearing. I’ll be starting a regular series discussing why we wear, as well as giving you the in and outs of babywearing. What carriers get thumbs up, what get thumbs DOWN? What to look for, what to try, where to start – we’ll be talking about it here! I’ll be giving you a peek into my own stash, as well as others I have tried/borrowed/drooled heavily over. All the T&Ts will be focused on wearing as well. There may even be a few tutorials about some customizing I’ve done for my own carriers. I’m excited!
The New Year …
Oliver and I are really praying about where God is leading us. We believe we went through infertility for a purpose. We believe we’re beginning to figure that out. And this blog will play a part. But we are still really praying about the how, when, and what of this venture we are exploring. Please pray with us, and keep an eye out here for new about our new adventure!
On a more personal note …
I’ve been a bit MIA from blogging because this weekend was a BIG deal. We travelled to Cincinnati, Ohio to celebrate my great grandmother’s birthday.
Let that sink in for a minute. *My* great grandmother. That makes her Liam’s great great grandmother. TWO greats in there folks, not a typo. And before you begin asking if we all sat around her bed in the nursing home, watching her being spoon fed pudding – you’ve got the WRONG idea. My great grandma is a spit fire lady with her mind still about her and her body only just beginning to fail her. It is only in the last year that she has begun needing a cane to steady herself. This lady has lived through the depression, the deaths of two husbands, 2 children, a daughter-in-law and one grandchild. She’s seen her legacy grow through 3 children, 5 grandchildren, 11 great grandchildren and now 2 great great grandchildren. And she still carries her head high, has a smile on her face, and doesn’t let anyone boss her around. Can you tell I love this lady?
So, for her 97th birthday, all she really wanted from Oliver and me was to meet Liam. We were getting regular calls, asking when we’d bring her great great grandson out. We began planning a trip, and my mom jumped into the planning as well. Soon we had it arranged so my sister would meet us there with my niece, and my brother would meet us there from LA.
I’m not going to lie. When we rounded the corner to see her walking towards Liam, smiling, I cried. I lost my grandparents (her son and daughter-in-law) when I was a freshman in college. I was VERY close to them, they lived with us for many years leading up to their passings. It was so very important to me that she meet my first child. But, as we spent years battling infertility, I was really worried that she wouldn’t be here. To see her walk up to Liam, pat his face, talk sweetly to him – and to see him smile back at her. I’m crying again typing this. I could do nothing less that praise the Lord.
I had never heard of “Power Pumping” when I began my breastfeeding journey. The concept behind “Power Pumping” is to simulate your little one going through a growth spurt. You know, that time every few months where it feels like they are attached to you 24/7. When you Power Pump, you make your body believe the baby is needing a LOT more food IMMEDIATELY. Which is exactly what you need to convince your body of when your supply isn’t enough. You are telling your ta-tas “MORE! MORE!”
Many moms struggle keeping their supply up when they are pumping at work. A pump just isn’t the same as baby, and often the milk begins to taper off. This is a huge concern, plus it builds up the “mommy guilt” (“Maybe I should be a stay—at-home mom”, “I can’t feed my own child…”). Sometimes time away from baby can also cause a drop. That quick business trip, weekend away, etc can be all it takes to dry you up. Other times a lot of stress. A deployed family member, illness, financial problems. But it *is* possible to get that supply up again!
Pump for 10 minutes. Then, take a 10 minute break. Repeat this for at least 1 hour per day. Most people report seeing an increase in their supply in just a few days!
So if you find yourself needing to up your supply, create yourself a little “Power Pumping Mommy Time-Out” after the little one is in bed tonight. Make yourself a batch of lactation cookies, pour yourself a cup of Mother’s Milk tea, turn on some music/a movie and get your Power Pump pattern going. Not only are you making more milk for the munchkin, you are also giving yourself an emotional reprieve and energy boost as well!
Hopefully your body will kick it into high gear to try and provide sustenance to your little sweet cheeks! Happy pumping!
A little over 2 years ago, I was offered the opportunity to visit our friends Faith and Roger. In Africa. For 3 weeks. Oliver and I were already over 2 years into trying for a baby. I didn’t want to commit and then back out, but I also didn’t want to pass up this opportunity. Oliver and I decided to leave it at God’s feet. A baby meant “no”, no baby meant “go”. We would cut off trying one month before the trip, just to be safe (with immunizations, malaria meds, etc). The one month mark came, and there was no baby. So, I went. And God also brought along my best friend (much to her surprise as well!).
What God did in me, while there, was AMAZING. My journal has many tear stained pages, as I asked for a baby again and again. The pictures show the pure joy I felt while working and living there. The biggest moment was when He used someone I didn’t even know to tell me the BIG news. He was promising a baby…. a baby boy. I was able to stand on that promise – and just 8 months later God said “yes”. And Liam’s life began!
The trip not only promised me Liam – but brought me closer than ever with my friend Kelly. We lived, worked, ate and played together for three weeks – and still liked each other afterwards!
Yes, you read that right! You can actually JUSTIFY cookies! Well, like an nursing mother CAN’T justify them. But seriously, these can help with milk production – and my friends say they are quite yummy to boot! (Remember: me = overproduction … me + a dozen of these would probably = engorgement)
Why cookies? Well, just any cookie isn’t going to work. Sorry ladies, that box of Thin Mints in the freezer cannot be applied to this excuse. The kind of cookies I am talking about are “Lactation Cookies”. Creative title, no? But there is actually a science behind them.
As you look through the collection of cookies below, you’ll see a common set of ingredients between them. Brewers yeast, wheat germ, whole oats, and flax seed are just a few. These ingredients are believed to help increase your milk supply! Reading through the blogs and websites of each pin, a lot of the moms believe it helped them. And guess what, you can even mix some fenugreek in for good measure!
There are plenty of variations, even muffins! Browse through the board and see what looks yummy. Butterscotch? Pumpkin Seed? Chocolate chip? What are you waiting for?! Get baking!
If you have done any googling, you have no doubt come across “fenugreek” as a way of upping your milk supply. But why? And how? And what are your options? Read on fellow milkies, read on!
Fenugreek is a plant grown in Europe and the Middle East. It mainly comes from India, but is also harvested from Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, France and many more locations. The Fenugreek leaves are used as herbs, its seeds are for spices the the leaves and sprouts as vegetables. The most well known use of fenugreek is in some Indian curries.
I can hear you now – Ok, ok Tara… but what about my MILK?!
Well, fenugreek is believed to be a galactagogue. (It’s ok to say “galacti-go-go wha?!” I did too!) It is really just a fancy way to say “I get the milk flowing!”
You have a lot of options when bringing fenugreek into your diet. Below are just a few..
You could go totally hard core and get straight up fenugreek. Then add it into your food or steep it in some hot water. I’ve heard the flavor can be QUITE overwhelming… so you may want to proceed with caution with this idea!
Note: Some of my mommy friends reminded me that there are fenugreek capsules you can take! If you want it pure – give those a whirl!
This is the route I took when I was expecting. I grabbed a box at my local Whole Foods and threw it into my bag. The Lactation Consultants at the hospital brought me tea bags as well. I thought it tasted a bit like black licorice, which I am *not* a fan of. I found it easier to drink over ice, and would chug it. Amazon offers a variety of Milk Teas. I went with Organic Mother’s Milk personally – each tea bag made two cups of tea.
I have not tried this myself, mostly just because I haven’t come across it in stores. But I would love to give it a try – perhaps a review soon? And not just because I am a child of the 80s/90s. Milky! is a product created by Tia and Tamera Mowry (Sister, Sister!). It’s made with fenugreek, but created to mask the taste for those who REALLY don’t like the flavor. You won’t find it on Amazon, but you can find it in Destination Maternity stores, on their website or over at Need Brands.
After last week (World Breastfeeding Week), my brain is still stuck on the topic. So I wanted to discuss a topic many mommies have questions about – how to encourage milk production. This is a topic I didn’t look much into before having Liam. I wish I had! Thankfully I had read about certain items and did throw them into my bag. Also, we were blessed that the hospital where Liam was born is quite “crunchy”. So the Lactation Consultants brought me some things to increase supply as well!
I am “blessed” with over production and have to pump to get some of the milk off regularly, especially after a few days of cluster feedings or a growth spurt (for Liam.. not me!). But I know plenty of moms who really struggle with production. And not just at the beginning! I was talking to a fellow mommy last week and her supply almost totally dried up after a few days with a low grade fever. Yikes! Other moms have a lot of difficulty keeping production up when they have to do significant pumping (working moms, poor latch, sick babies, etc). Since Liam has been born, I’ve read and researched a TON. Our breastfeeding relationship is something very important to me. The thought of my milk drying up is heartbreaking!
This will be a series, so I am spreading the posts out of this week. Today I wanted to provide a list of things that COULD dry up your milk. Keep in mind, ever mommy’s body is different. So some things may dry up one mommy’s milk while not affecting someone else’s milk supply at all. But it’s better to be safe than sorry from my point of view!
Peppermint (any form)
High doses of B-6
Estrogen birth control
Vitex (for fertility)
Cabbage Leaves (helps with engorgement) Tight bras
Rapid weight loss
Limited BF length
Today is the final day of World Breastfeeding Week. I want to hit on a topic that comes up a LOT …
The mom who WANTED to breastfeed but her life took another path.
I want to say that by celebrating World Breastfeeding Week, I was in no way saying “I’m better than you”. Instead, it was to stand with moms around the world to celebrate those who breastfeed , to raise awareness about breastfeeding and making sure everyone’s rights are protected. I’m the first person to say that what we plan for our children doesn’t always come to fruition. I had grand plans of a natural child birth, but my life took another path when Liam became transverse breech at 36 weeks.
In my opinion, what matters is this:
Did you educate yourself and then do the best you possibly could for your child?
Yes? Then you my friend, are a supermom. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Celebrate motherhood, whether you have reached it yet or not. Because there are those who have!
Celebrate breastfeeding, whether you did or didn’t. Because there are those who did!
Celebrate formula, so that you ARE able to offer your child food. Because there are some who don’t have access to it.
Overall, will you please choose joy for the road traveled, and not judgement (on yourself or others!). We are all doing the best we can.
Happy World Breastfeeding Week – for mom’s everywhere to have the right to try to do it with their blessings.
When nursing, your view is sometimes pretty limited. Since learning how to breastfeed Liam in the baby carrier (read: STEEP learning curve) my view has improved. But with a bad back, sometimes I just need to sit and rest myself. Here are some of my views …
99% of the time, when I nurse at home, I am sitting in my chair. My beloved chair was a gift from my Mother-in-law when we announced our pregnancy. I spent a LOT of time picking it out, and it is my FAVORITE place to sit. Sometimes I have to remember that I can sit OTHER places when I’m not nursing! We set it in the living room at the condo, so we are a part of everything while nursing. This is important to me. No one should have to eat “alone” – including Liam!
When we move to Colorado, we will spend a couple of months at my parents’ house while we place offers on homes. We went out to visit for Mother’s Day/Memorial Day and this was my view while nursing. Ohemwow – I could get VERY used to this! It is very special early in the morning, when it is just the two of us. I can sit, nurse and praise the Lord for all our blessings … most specifically, Liam.
This past weekend we took Liam to the aquarium for the first time. To say I got teary eyed watching him in awe is an understatement. But the best part was when he got hungry. Oliver led us to the “Open Ocean” exhibit to grab a bench. I think this is one of the BEST views I’ve ever had while nursing!