Friday, July 1, 2011

My Breastfeeding Journey by Katy

the long and short of it

My Breastfeeding Journey

I always knew I was going to breastfeed. My mom did, for all three of us. To me, there just wasn’t any other way. I got unexpectedly pregnant with my first daughter in Aug of 08. My husband had just left for our first deployment. I had to tell him over e-mail with a picture of the pregnancy test attached. I was freaked. After an almost 4 year hiatus from school due to moving every 9 months or less for military training, I was finally back in a 4 year college with 2 years to finish my degree in geology. How was I going to be the mom I wanted to be while in school? I decided what could fall by the wayside if things go to be too much-like cloth diapers, making my own baby food, etc. One thing that would not would be breastfeeding for a year. Come hell or high water, my daughter was going to be breastfed. My husband, however, was not at all supportive at first. He was formula fed. He and his sister turned out fine. It was gross, disgusting. I think he might have called it dirty at one point, but I can’t really remember. The bad part about our whole debate was it had to be done all over e-mail. Phone service when you are in the middle of ocean kinda blows. The few video chats we did have were spent on happier topics. I sent him article after article. I told him all the benefits for our baby and me. Finally I got him to shut up about it by providing a cost analysis of breast milk vs. formula, and if I had to use formula, it was going to be the organic kind from non-hormone treated cows, so we were talking a lot of money every month! Since he is the saver (and I’m the spender) in our relationship that got him to quiet down. Fast forward to the birth of our beautiful, spunky Hoo. Since I didn’t really know how it was all going to work out, I had gotten a can of organic formula & special bottles that really did look like the breast. I try getting her to latch on and nurse. She was born at 4:51 in the morning, so the staff lactation consultants aren’t there yet. A nurse is helping me try to get the right latch and she keeps pulling off. After successfully latching & her nursing for a few minutes, the nurse leaves, she stops and my husband steps in

“That’s it, she’s still hungry! I’m feeding her!”

He walks over to the bag to make a bottle. He was planning on making the whole thing and giving it to her (it was like a 9oz bottle!) because she just had to still be hungry! The nurse comes back and tells him to chill out, our daughter’s stomach was about the size of a dime & the ‘liquid gold’ of colsturm was plenty for her. The LC came in with ‘boob puppets’ that had a flip up panel to show all the parts of the breast. And she actually demonstrated the proper latch., with her own mouth and all. I was a little shocked, and my husband was trying his hardest not to laugh. She still wasn’t latching that well when she came back after a few hours so she had me squeeze a little bit on a spoon for my husband to give to her. I could tell he was less than pleased. After that first night and giving her the binkie, she learned how to suck properly and breastfeeding was going great. My husband was warming up to it, making jokes about cleaning up bodily fluids that had been processed by another creatures colon and was really happy when she stopped pooping every 2 hours at night because he didn’t have to do a thing when she got up.

At three months old I had to leave her with a sitter when I went to school. I had 13-hour days down at class, so of course I was pumping. I didn’t like the thought of an electric, so I used a manual pump and any class break I had that was longer than 15 minutes, I was out in my car, pumping away, carrying my little lunch cooler of milk to class. I would go rushing home every day, feeling like I was going to burst, grab my child & nurse while pumping at the same time. I hated pumping. The next semester my sitter entered her third trimester of pregnancy, so I found her a spot in a day care 5 minutes from my campus. I would arrive an hour early, nurse her before day care, go rushing out on my 1 hour lunch break, get her, feed her while eating myself, then pick her up at the end of the day, feed her & make the commute home. We had such a great little groove going.

Then at the very end of the year, 2 weeks before she turned one, I had to go out in the field for a geology project that had to be done or I wouldn’t graduate. It was 5 days away from my precious child, and the environment just wasn’t going to be conducive to pumping and storing (I really had no idea what to expect). So we decided to wean her, despite the many tears from me. We started at 11 months, cutting out the dinner, then the lunch, then the morning & I nursed her for my last time the night before I left. I cried. I just wasn’t ready. I had cried every day of the weaning process, especially that first time we cut out the dinner feeding and I could hear her cry and cry for me. I didn’t even have enough milk stored to give her that instead of cow’s milk. I held her that last night, rocked her and saw her sweet little face cuddled up to my breast and just cried. I tried to get her to eat more and more. I burned the memory into my skull.

I didn’t really feel that much pain from stopping during my trip, but long days hulling around rock samples and doing geologic mapping will do that to you. I could still get some milk out in the shower, so I held out the hope that maybe she would want to nurse when I returned. She didn’t. She was done. My little baby just wasn’t a baby any more.

We had been trying to have our second child for about a month, and I found out the day after I got back that I was pregnant. I wonder if that had something to do with her no longer wanting to nurse & the easy weaning. I still longed to nurse her.

We were driving back home shortly after the birth of our second child. I thanked my husband for being so supportive of breastfeeding our daughter and asked him what changed his mind-he had become so for it that I couldn’t believe it was the same person. He told me that he knew I was going to breastfed no matter what, and that he might as well be supportive of it rather than fight with me constantly. Nice. I asked him if he was glad that I did, and he got this soft, special ‘fatherly’ smile on his face and told me yes. He said watching me at the hospital with our second, when she latched on that I got this look over my face-this nurturing, loving, ahhh I’m breastfeeding finally look.

Seven weeks later, he had left for deployment and I almost lost my second baby due to a mystery illness. I had to use an electric pump for the first time to maintain supply, while wondering if the last time I nursed her at 1:30pm that day was going to be the last time ever. She couldn’t nurse for over 36 hours. She was crying in pain, crying for nourishment and my heart was breaking over not being able to nurse her. Every fiber of my being just wanted to put her to my breast and make everything better. I couldn’t even pick her up. When she finally was allowed to and latched on for the first time, I felt all the emotions from her first time nursing after birth. I could barely hold back the tears.

We left the hospital, and within a week she had gained a whole pound! We are rocking it now. I love looking at her chunky little body and know that it is from me, that I am the one giving her what she needs to grow. And this time, nothing will hold me back-she will wean when she wants too, not because of anything else. I think the best part about our whole journey together is not just my husband’s total change of heart, but seeing our older daughter walk around nursing her babies. I love that I am raising two girls who will see breastfeeding as a natural, normal event long before they ever see breasts used to sell cars.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mama Pear Designs Giveaway

As a lot of you know I'm dying to get my on-line shop off the ground. The process is taking a little longer than I had hoped. Lara is one of the vendors I was introduced too in hopes of reselling her Lactivist inspired  T-shirts for Mom's and Onesies for Babies. Well my store may have taken off slow but my interest in her company did not leave so this July not only is my Shout Out/Giveaway Mama Pear Designs but I am dedicating my blog to one of my passions of Breast feeding.

My own stories with my three will be laced among other stories I was donated by Mom's who currently are, who have in the past and who have tried to breastfeed. This is my Shout Out to Mama Pear Designs.

First lets meet Lara who is the brains behind these natural organic cotton T's for Mom and Baby with personal shout outs on each item Pro Breastfeeding.

In the Spring of 2006, I found out that I was pregnant with my first child, and I immediately knew that once my baby was born I would do whatever necessary to breastfeed him. I was fortunate enough to have a baby who knew right from the start how to suckle, and then and there, a beautiful relationship came to be. I have since had another baby and I am enjoying nursing him just as much as I did my older son. In short, my journey through motherhood thus far has created a passion for breastfeeding. In my own personal experience I have found such joy, that I strive to help other moms-to-be realize the possibilities in the beautiful relationship that awaits them should they choose to nurse their babies. I also strive to encourage my friends who are also breastfeeding moms, when they encounter an issue that involves breastfeeding.

MamaPear Designs(TM) was born when it became overwhelmingly apparent to me that there needs to be a greater social awareness created with regard to, and a real public dialogue conducted about, breastfeeding. It needs to be encouraged and promoted by health professionals and mamas alike. My hope is that when you wear one of my designs, you will raise an eyebrow, provoke a thought, incite a question, and create awareness for a cause that needs women like you to help promote it. Join me as a proud Lactivist and let’s change the world…one pair at a time!

If you peek around this site, you will see that MamaPear Designs(TM) aims to be more than just a store. This is a place dedicated to sharing, educating, support, and giving back. Please stop by the support section for links to helpful breastfeeding resources and articles.

I am proud to announce that most recently my passion for breastfeeding has led me to formal education in this area so that I may help women learn the value of breastfeeding and how to feed their babies. I completed my Lactation Education Counselor training through University of California San Diego, and I am so excited to be qualified to teach and share my passion for breastfeeding with other moms (and dads) to be!

Thanks for stopping by, we hope that becomes one of your favorite places
Founder, MamaPear Designs
Certified Lactation Education Counselor (CLEC)
(Taken directly from About Me tab.) 

The Giveaway as always is my treat and for fun. I hope you will join in. I do check for honesty.  

The Giveaway will be a T-shirt of your choice from Mama Pear Designs to be announced July 31 9pm PST. Entries will stop being counted at 7PM PST.

There will be a bonus random drawings during the giveaway of a surprise item. Just because I like my readers.
  • The Mandatory entry  Follow publicly with Google Friend Connect "GFC" and let me know by posting a comment. +1 entry
  • Enter Mama Pear Designs 1st Anniversary giveaway (ends July 5th) + 2 entries and let me know.
  • follow me @pinkradish on twitter +1 entry and let me know.
  • follow @MamaPearDesigns on twitter +1entry and let me know.
  • Like Blended Family of 5 on Face Book +1 entry and let me know.
  • Post this giveaway to your Face Book page +1 entry and let me know
  • Tweet (Blended Family of 5: July's Mama Pear Design Shout Out & Giveaway Lactivist inspired wearable #giveaway Ends July 31) no more than once every 4 hours about this giveaway + 1 entry and let me know. 

Lastly anyone who finds it in their heart to help offset my giveaway costs I sell Barefoot books and would be grateful if you'd consider a book for your self or someone you love.

Sells of Barefoot Books go back to you in my Shout Outs.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Would you like some cheese with your whine?

No this is not about my kids but their Mama. In the drive through line this morning for my coffee I had a little small talk with one of my oldest friends about how my life has been going. We joked about how I'd be coming in with my walker for coffee soon. She joked back about how she'd help me with my crutches.

The truth is I have been presented with a reality I'm not ready to deal with. I posted about my back issues a few months back. Now I'll let you know it's progressed in to numbness in the entire right side of my body. I am up for a second MRI to scan my brain, neck and upper back. The scary part is not the MRI but that they will be looking for neurological disorders like MS.

I am now not only on nine pills to trick my nerves in to not producing the pain I have been feeling but now I have an anti seizure med to help even more. I can sleep but I also feel as if I have been injected with novocaine all over my body. This sucks. My doctors are good, my parents are worried and everyone else seems to ignore the fact I can not act as I did about seven months ago.

I'm scared and sick of feeling this way. I can not wait for it all to be over.

Wordless Wednesday