Friday, July 8, 2011

Thank you Max, but I didn't need help tweeting

Earthy Crunchy Mama

I had my first son over three years ago. During the nine months of pregnancy, I left my job, got married, did a semester of a masters in social work, and then decided to take the next year off from school for just me and the babe. I had my plate cleared and was ready to be a stay-at-home mom!

I’ll summarize what I learned from the first round - staying at home had the following major advantages:

  1. Lots of one-on-one time with the kiddo.
  2. Never have to hand off my adorable helpless child to a stranger at a daycare
  3. All you have to do to get an amazing milk supply is breastfeed 21 hours a day.

Major disadvantages:

  1. Lots of one-on-one time with the kiddo.
  2. Never have get to hand off my adorable helpless child to a stranger at a daycare.
  3. All you have to do to get an amazing milk supply is breastfeed 21 hours a day!!

I kid. Sort of. The truth was that while round one was amazing / wonderful / I-would-do-it-all-the-same-I-promise, I was going a little crazy without some more personal challenges and adult interaction. Babies are cool, but they don’t offer too much in the way of intellectual conversation.

Leading up to round two, I got sort of earthy crunchy - you may have heard of us ;) After a couple of years of part time grad school, I found my true calling in cloth diapers, breastfeeding, and baby carriers. Who knew.

While I was pregnant, there was a lot of thinking about what I wanted to do when Max was born. I had to decide if I wanted to make a go at starting a business now or waiting until I was settled with the kids, maybe even waiting until they were in school. My husband encouraged me to go for it, and now I’m in business -- part of the WAHM club.

“So,” you may ask, “is this WAHM thing the perfect solution?!” Well, of course you should know, there is no perfect solution; nothing in life is that simple, especially when there’s kids. Max is a year old now, and still nursing. Thinking back over the past year of nursing while working from home, two words come to mind: lucky and claustrophobia.
I have been so lucky to be able to work, while still having the breastfeeding benefits of being a stay at home mom. The greatest benefit for me has been the ability of nurse on demand and actually have the baby on the breast. Having the baby on the breast often allows the baby to get the deepest and fattiest milk, creating great demand and a great supply. Though many women pump and work out of the house, I think it would have been much more difficult to for me to have exclusively breast fed.

The other side of working from home while breastfeeding can only be described as claustrophobic, at least for me. While, I am so happy to be able to nurse my baby, there are times, I just want to work and not have a baby attached to my boob. Unfortunately, my little one doesn’t always understand that.

In the beginning, it wasn’t too bad, I could stick him in a baby carrier or use my My Breast Friend nursing pillow and write reviews, make invoices and do customer support at my computer. However, there was always a baby between me and what I needed to get done, which could be awkward, and often left me typing one handed and very slowly. Then very quickly, nursing and working wasn’t an option any more. The baby would constantly reach for my papers or computer, often erasing my hard work, or Tweeting for me. When he gets demanding about wanting to nurse, I want to rush through it, to get back to my time working, which is something I do so I can have something just for me, not mom or kid related.
I want to be able to focus on something without having a baby hanging off of me. I am often envious of parents who work out of the home and can focus only on their work. But despite it’s challenges, being able to work at home has been a wonderful experience. I know it has made me closer to my boys, and has absolutely facilitated a wonderful nursing experience.

My best advice for those in the same situation: don’t become a milk bar, but also, don’t rush the breastfeeding for work. My first time around I nursed on demand, all the time. This time, especially through baby-led weaning, I’ve been able to get the nursing down to 5 or 6 solid sessions a day by the time he’s one. When I do sit down to breastfeed with my little one, the times I feel most claustrophobic is when I spend the whole time thinking about how much I need to get back to work. It’s not always possible, but when you can, try to relax a little and use it as a break. Catch up on your TiVo, because getting frustrated isn’t going to make it go any faster, and you’ll miss out on enjoying the bonding time.

Jenn Leggett
Chief Executive Mama
Earthy Crunchy Mama

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Meet Mama Pear Designs: A Shout Out and 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. 
  • post a comment related to any breast feeding guest posts on my blog this month  +3 entries and let me know
  • follow any one of the guest posters blogs  + 3 entries and let me know
  • Write about this giveaway on your blog and link back. +3 entries and let me know                 
  • email me the link to your breastfeeding story and allow me to publicly add to my blog roll for the month of July +5 entries 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.

My Breast Feeding Failure by Lindsay

My Breast Feeding Failure

Baby #1: I was only 17 when my first daughter was born and breast feeding wasn't even an option for me back then. I was young and the whole breastfeeding thing grossed me out. Please keep in mind that I was only 17, a baby myself, that was ignorant to the benefits to both my baby and myself. So what are those benefits exactly? Well according to Medela there are many benefits for both mom and baby. Besides the many wonderful health benefits breast feeding brings, really there is a HUGE list that could be a post in itself, some of the important things that I missed out on is:

(borrowed from Medela)

The skin-to-skin contact encouraged by breastfeeding offers babies greater emotional security and enhances bonding.

Breast Feeding is the most natural and cheapest way to feed baby.

From 3 months to 12 months postpartum, breastfeeding increases the rate of weight loss in most nursing mothers.

Big fail on my part that I did not even consider giving my 1st born the best start at life.

Baby #2: I was older this time, in my late 20's, and wanted to breast feed my baby. From the moment was born she latched on and was a great feeder, but I was not producing any milk. After trying to feed her and pump for the two days that I was in the hospital, with no success, I couldn't stand the thought that my daughter had not eaten at all the first two days of her life and caved in a gave her formula. After that I pumped and still nothing :( I did not have the support of the hospital and was not informed by anyone that there was a medication that could help with milk production, therefore I gave up.

Yet again I failed. But there is something good that came from me not breast feeding my youngest daughter and that is my 3rd child! I found out that I was pregnant with my 3rd when Sena was only 5 months. We were not trying, nor were we preventing, but boy was that a surprise that most likely wouldn't have been possible if I were breast feeding. At first I cried...I mean I was just starting to get over PPD (postpartum depression) and started feeling like myself again, only to find out that I would have to do it all over again. But now that baby boy is here I could not imagine life without my little Buddy. He has, and continues to bring such joy to our lives.

Baby #3: Since I had trouble producing milk for Sena, I really wasn't expecting much in the breast feeding department, but I was sure going to try. Surprisingly I produced plenty of milk and my son was a great eater, but I had encountered a different type of obstacle: a 14-month old little girl running around and getting into everything she wasn't supposed to. I breast fed my son for the first month but could not find the time to sit and feed him with Sena running everywhere. That and I didn't want Sena to think that Kemi was more important to me than her because he took up all of my time. Truthfully I was having a hard time trying to find out how to divide my time between the two of them and was still trying to adjust to being a mom of two under 2 and an 11 year old.

Again I gave up to early. Again I failed.

For my next baby, yes we plan on having at least one more, I WILL succeed. This time I am more educated and know where to go for help, if I need it. I WILL talk to a lactation consultant before ever considering to stop. I WILL seek out support from other breast feeding momma's. I WILL give this next baby the best possible start, for as long as he/she wants to. I CAN and WILL do this!

For those that were successful in breast feeding their babies, what advise can you give to help me succeed with baby #4? What are your breast feeding stories, whether you failed or succeeded? Please only positive constructive comments. I know some of us mothers are very passionate about breast feeding and that it can be a touchy subject for some. I just want to hear other mother's stories and struggles to breast feed their children and how, if they did, overcome those obstacles.


{with permission barrowed from Linsay's Reviews & Giveaways}