Q – How many extra calories do I need while breastfeeding?
Q. Do I need to drink milk to produce milk?
Moms beat themselves up and then take it out on each other for choices that should be made by each individual personally. Do I know that the American Academy of Pediatrics says breast is best? Yes, I may have read that a million times or so but you know what? It doesn’t always go that way. There are moms who can’t, moms who adopt, and fathers who are the primary parents.
There are breastfeeding mamas and then there are others that have to go with an alternative method.
What a year it’s been for parenting to be in the spotlight. With What to Expect When You’re Expecting about to debut, the ‘Mommy Wars‘ surrounding Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney being a SAHM, and now Time Magazine’s provocative cover. For me, it’s not the image but the headline. The article inside is pretty tame – facts and ideas about attachment parenting that surfaced 20 years ago and have always caused judgement and quibbles in the nicest of mommy groups.
“Are you mom enough?” Seriously? Time Magazine should be ashamed. There are gimmicks to get people in grocery store lines to snag a magazine but this headline is in seriously poor taste. As if Moms aren’t hard enough on themselves. The reason I run UrbanMommies and UrbanDaddies is that when I had young kids I felt isolated, judged and condescended. I was so immersed in the ‘shoulds’ of attachment parenting that I neglected the needs of myself as a woman and human being. I am thrilled that more parents are nursing and wearing their babies. But mothers and fathers are also losing sight of their own needs. Dr. Sears is a brilliant physician with great ideas, but like with all ‘religions’, if taken to the extreme or used out of context, chaos ensues.
Both of my kids had colic for 18 months. (I’m hoping the brain-synapse theory of colic is true and it just means they are smart). They were high needs babies. I wore them both in a sling or carrier hours every day. The massage bills added up. And I didn’t shower much. The boys wouldn’t go in a stroller without screaming so I just sacrificed my body and hoped that the skeleton would hold out. They slept in my bed for a few weeks and they snacked on breast milk whenever they were inclined. I was exhausted, drained, burnt out and my milk supply dwindled due to lack of self-care.
So I read all of the books about ‘gentle’ ways to train them to sleep. (This is where you hear people start growling as we get into the Pantley vs. Ferber debate.) In a nutshell, I tried all of the gentle stuff. For weeks. I was still exhausted. They wouldn’t settle. The guilt was overwhelming and everyone weighed in. Nurses, paediatricians, friends, helplines, and my elders. So now I was exhausted and demoralized, questioning my parenting and values. As soon as I shut out the ‘advisors’, I had an epiphany. I decided I needed to care for myself, my marriage, my health. Follow my instincts. I knew my baby and my family. The others didn’t carry a kid in their belly and have a head emerge from their ‘Lady Garden’ (quoting the Bloggess on CNN – brilliant). I was no good to my kids if I was an exhausted and irritated mess.
So I let them cry a bit. Yes, a ‘modified’ Ferber approach. I put them in a crib. I took off whatever stinky t-shirt I was wearing and tucked it into their hands, hoping my smell would calm them and vindicate me. I went back often, leaving them a bit longer each time. They were stubborn but after a time, they both learned to sleep. Some mom friends stopped talking to me. I was the devil. But my milk supply returned. The colour came back to my cheeks. I still carried them in a sling all the time. I nursed until they were 18 months (and I was at my thinnest – why the hell did I stop?!) and I still carry and cuddle them. They are very attached and loving.
So I used my instincts as a parent to do what was best for my family and kids. I stopped listening to the know-it-all Moms who were trying to justify their own decisions by criticizing mine. And I developed enough confidence and belief in my intuition to pour my heart and soul into a company that would hopefully help other moms to trust their own decisions and take time to care for themselves. So yes, Time Magazine. I am Mom enough, and I would argue that all Moms, whatever their decisions on breast/bottle, sleep training, baby wearing or whether they stay at home or work outside are all Mom enough. We are all doing the best we can. As we shared yesterday through Facebook, “There is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one”.
I caught wind of these things and I absolutely had to see for myself – Milkscreen test strips. Created for the mom that wants to enjoy an occasional drink but make sure she is not passing any alcohol onto baby, Milkscreen test strips are the first ever at-home tests to identify the presence of alcohol in breast milk.
Alcohol can pass through the body into breast milk. About 2% of the alcohol you consume will enter your bloodstream and breast milk. Because everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, the amount of time it takes for the alcohol to leave your breast milk also varies. The only way to know for sure that alcohol is not present is to test the breast milk.
Yeah – I was always a bit rude to servers who refused to give me a glass of wine if I had a baby in my arms. Pump and dump? Really? (That’s not a solution. Alcohol is not trapped in breast milk. It is funneled through breast milk just as it is through your bloodstream, and pumping and dumping will just make you produce more milk a few hours later and feel uncomfortable.).
Anyway. I am an advocate of a breathalyzer in a car, and think a strip that tells you if you should or should not breastfeed is great. Any tool that can facilitate you being a responsible parent is amazing. It’s so good to have tests to know whether you are physically doing well, especially when you want to do the best you can for your baby.
One of the main things a new mom needs is a breast pump. Even if she doesn’t work outside the home, there are so many ways a breast pump can mean the answer to an emergency or simply avoiding a headache…or a nap!
Your body is amazing. It supported a new life for nine months, and then overcame a physical task unlike any other, to give birth to your beautiful baby. Now, your body is producing milk and adjusting to new hormones, sleep deprivation, and new routines. In many cultures, including in Asia, it is expected that during the postpartum period women rest and bond with the baby while her family takes care of all the other daily responsibilities. We’ve researched nourishing foods to support postpartum recovery. You just have to eat them!
If you are planning on breastfeeding, there are a few items that are essential to your success. You will need a nursing bra, nursing top, breast pump, nursing cover and lastly, patience. With these modern conveniences Breastfeeding is simpler and more stylish than ever.
New and soon-to-be moms face many important decisions : Co-sleeping or crib? Cloth or reusable diapers. And of course, the critical mission of finding the perfect nursing bra for those that plan to breastfeed. Sara Witzaney, owner of designer boutique Posh Mommy, realizes that like regular bras, not all nursing bras are created equal. These days, new moms have more selection than ever to choose from and it’s important to find the one that will meet your needs right from the beginning.
The most common reason mothers probably choose to breastfeed is the knowledge that human milk is the superior infant food. It contains live cells, like those in blood. Some components of human milk also enhance the effects of others, so the ingredients of human milk work together. Here is Why Human Milk is so Special.In contrast, only a small percentage of some ingredients of formula are absorbed; mixing ingredients in formula does not guarantee they will act together the way they do in human milk.