Saturday, July 16, 2011

Planet Wise Review

I have to tell you even if you don't have kids these bags are fabulous. I have five and would love to try the food wrapping reusable items.

I originally got this bag for the pool. I drop the swimsuits in here to keep my pool bag dry. The swim suits are usually not rung out because I swim with kids. The water has never once leaked out of the bag. I wash the bag every time we go swimming. It has not faded or shrunk, the zipper still works awesome. I'd have to say we go to the pool at least five times a week since it's doctor recommended for my back issues.

 Then Earthy Crunchy Mama sent we some Planet Wise flannel wipes so I needed a bag and got this one. This is when I realized how cool these bags really were. I can put damp cloth wipes in this pouch. When I'm out and about and need a wipe, there it is. I don't need to waste our bottled water or dip the cloth wipe in the melted ice from my soda.

Then I got to thinking how cool would it be to have a bag like this that could hold my diapers and wipes in one pocket and my wet soiled diapers and wipes in another pocket. I didn't really shop for one until I really thought it would be really nice to have while potty training instead of my old over used wet bag I used with Sonny. I just happened to think of it when Planet Wise was on sale. I got two bags this time. One to go back and forth to preschool and one to hang in my bathroom to store dry trainers and the soiled trainers.
Hanging Wet/Dry Bag
Wet/Dry bag for preschool
The Wet Pocket
The Dry Pocket

All in the same time frame my vacation from menstruation of many years returned. All of a sudden I

felt like a teen again staring at an isle full of products I was no longer familiar with. All I knew was that I hated dry weave. After both boys were born I got the most painful rash. This is when I jumped on Twitter an threw the question out their if anyone uses cloth pads for their period. A bunch of women said yes. I got links to patterns and was advised FuzziBunz had a good one. My thoughts flashed back to the day I go my first FuzziBunz cloth diaper for Sonny over four years ago. I remembered just how soft they are and I was going to try them. My friend on twitter also happened to be a Eco friendly store owner with a large assortment of FuzziBunz Mom Cloth and was having a sale on Planet Wise, Sandbox Lane. Planet Wise makes a tiny little Wet/Dry bag perfect for ladies who use cloth sanitary pads. I purchased some pads and the bag. I haven't use either yet but there is always next month.

Enter this Giveback/Giveaway for a chance to win one of these Planet Wise bags in one of our random drawings. Ends 10/17/11

Today I am Thankful for Extended Breastfeeding....

Today I am Thankful for Extended Breastfeeding....

This is a great read if your thinking of extended breastfeeding.

Maple Leaf Mommy's Blog

Friday, July 15, 2011

A link to my guest post @rthycrunchymama

A Lifetime of Cloth Diapering

We started potty training Declan. Yes this is my last bit of fun in the cloth diapering world. My last baby. I have been buying a few different brands of trainers and will let you know what I think of each.

Have a great weekend. A couple more breastfeeding stories coming up this week.

Breastfeeding & Pregnant

People are baffled. "You're still nursing?" Yep, I am. While pregnant. Why? Because my son wasn't ready to wean and I wasn't ready either. I won't say it's been easy because sometimes it isn't. But that hasn't made me stop yet.
Nursing poolside at 6 months.
When we first found out we were expecting again, we were shocked. It was a huge surprise. Of course we were also incredibly excited as well but it wasn't planned and Logan was only 11 months old when I got pregnant again and was still nursing 4-5 times during the day and at night before bed. So I'll admit my first concern was how pregnancy would impact breastfeeding. I'd done enough research to know there was a very good chance my milk supply would drop. And at around 3 months it did. Drastically. Up until then, I'd had an abundant supply. Over-abundant actually. I spent the first 6 months of Logan's life dealing with engorgement and leaking. I stopped pumping completely when he was 3 months old because I wanted less milk. So when my supply all but disappeared I kicked myself for not keeping up with pumping and having a back-up supply. My supply went from plentiful to almost nada practically overnight. Logan became fussy and frustrated when he would latch and get nothing but a few drops. We started supplementing with soy milk since I just wasn't making enough. I tried every pregnancy-safe remedy. I tried pumping. Nothing worked. So I was just as frustrated as Logan. I felt awful. He wanted to nurse and I had nothing to give him. Luckily my boy is persistent and kept on trying anyway. He eventually stopped fussing when very little came out, content to just comfort nurse. He was handling it better than I was. Apparently it helped. At around 6 months my supply increased. Not a lot, but enough that he can now nurse about twice a day and seem satisfied. During those 3 months when my supply was gone, while Logan continued to comfort nurse, he only effectively nursed maybe once every other day or so. He cut out nursing before bed. If he was thirsty, he would request his cup before his "nummies." I missed the connection breastfeeding gave us and I'm so glad to have it back.
Satisfying his thirst at an outdoor festival.
Breastfeeding while pregnant does come with some pitfalls though. My breasts are sore and swollen from pregnancy and nursing is sometimes painful. Not to mention Logan needs to re-learn how to latch properly after his time off. He got used to a straw and now tries to treat my nipple like a straw. It hurts a little, but we're working on it and he's gotten better. There's also the issue of positioning. At almost 8 months pregnant, the only way for me to be comfortable while nursing is to sit up and prop Logan up beside me. He wants to curl up in my lap or nurse side-lying like he used to and that's not comfortable for either of us. So he's a lot more squirmy that normal and keeps trying to climb up onto my belly and I have to keep patiently pushing him off. Nursing also occasionally seems to bring on Braxton-Hicks contractions lately. Not comfortable. Sometimes I have to unlatch him and take a break. He gets confused and doesn't understand why and I feel just awful about it. So, no, it hasn't always been easy. But it has been rewarding and I wouldn't change it for the world. There's nothing as beautiful to me as having my baby snuggled up close sharing something special that only I can offer him. Logan is 19 months old now and shows no signs of wanting to wean, so pretty soon I'll be entering the world of tandem nursing and facing a whole new set of challenges. And to that I say, "Bring it on."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I was 24 and knew NOTHING! My Breast feeding adventure Part 1

I got married very young and was pregnant with my first baby at 24. I had a lot of question since none of my friends had babies. My sisters had babies but both are quiet a bit older than I and had very different views. I went to every class my doctor offered up. One of the classes was breast feeding. There were possibly fifty pregnant women in the class all practicing holding plastic babies to our breasts. Everything was a blur at the end of class.

I called my Mom and asked her what she did about breast feeding. Her answer was poor people breast feed when she was having babies, no one talked about it and when she gave birth to my oldest brother he was taken away to the nursery to allow her time to recover.When her milk came in it sprayed everywhere and agreed to have her chest bound to stop milk production. She told me I was the only one whom she breast feed and it was only for six weeks because she was in the hospital for three week after she had me. Her doctor told her I was over weight and to put me on low fat cows milk.

So here I am 24 freaking out. Everyone told me something different, nothing was clear and I was going to have a baby. Instead of preparing myself for the baby I prepared my self for the idea of my baby. I bought the crib, made the bedding, had multiple baby showers, washed all the cloths put them away and shopped for big pants for after I gave birth. Not once did I think about feeding this child.

When Marysa finally came I had back labor for two weeks, was eleven days overdue, was in active labor 10 hours before I agreed to an epidural, slept 11 hours to be woke up and told it was time to push. I pushed for three hours and thirty six minutes. When my daughter was born I was tired and sore. The nurse put my daughter on my chest and I asked her to take her away. It was awful. I had no idea about how I missed that bonding moment.

They quickly moved me into a recovery room where I was asked if I took the breast feeding class, handed my baby and was expected to know what to do. There was a dry erase board on the wall where I was expected to record what side I nursed on and for how long. Marysa, my baby didn't know what to do either. She kept clamping on to the end of my nipple and leaving sores. She screamed the entire first night. Every time she would finally fall asleep a nurse would come in flick on the fluorescent lights and tell me to nurse. I have to be honest with you I almost gave up and gave her a bottle. I did give up and gave her a pacifier.

In the morning a woman came in to my room to examine me and Marysa. A lactation nurse. She was  a God send. She told me my breast were to large and my baby's head was to small for her to latch on correctly. That if I laid on my side with my baby on her side and if cupped my breast with my hand to make it smaller moving my daughters nose to my nipple almost teasing her she would open her mouth wide. She did. She latched on correctly. I was able to nurse.

My pediatrician advised I should nurse for the first year. Marysa liked nursing we went almost until her third birthday. I had bribed her with Disneyland to stop after numerous times failing. Over all I think she was ready. Marysa is now 10. She has hardly ever been sick and is at the top of her class. I think there is something to be said about increased immunities and brain development.

This is me at 25 and Marysa at 5 months.
I went back to work when Marysa was nine weeks old. While I was at work I pumped in a bathroom standing in front of the mirror while women came in an out making all sorts of uncomfortable small talk. There were no breast feeding laws to protect me back then. I pumped during my 15 minute break and lunch. I produced enough for her at daycare. The best advice I was given by the consultant was My baby will not go hungry. I never suplamented formula for Marysa and she was a fat happy little girl.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Breastfeeding: A Year In Review

As a breastfeeding mother who has had a breast reduction I had a challenging road. Despite the setback of a reduction, I was able to exclusively breastfeed my son for six months and am still breastfeeding him now at one year. Perhaps my story can give some hope to other moms hoping to breastfeed after a reduction. Part I: Pregnancy A year ago I was very, very pregnant. We were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little monkey – wondering if he was a boy or a girl and wondering which of the names we liked would suit him. My feet were massively swollen. I was drinking a LOT of chocolate milk. I was also agonizing over whether or not I’d be able to breastfeed my baby. I wanted to, very much. My mom breastfed me and my three siblings. Jb’s mom breastfed her and her four brothers. I strongly believe that breastmilk is the best choice for babies and mom – and we didn’t have a lot of room in our budget for the added expense of formula. But I had a breast reduction about a decade ago and there was no way to know what kind of success I’d have nursing my baby. I researched breastfeeding after a reduction extensively ( is a great place to start) and found there are a range of experiences out there – enough to give me hope, but no guarantees. There are so many variables: the type of surgery, your age, how much time has passed, your body’s capacity for healing (recanalization and reinnervation). There were suggestions and strategies for boosting supply once the baby arrived , but while pregnant all I could do was wait and see.
I thought about it everyday. I had dreams almost every night about breastfeeding – or nightmares about not being able to. I was prepared for a wide possibility of scenarios from not getting a single drop to being able to feed my baby without supplementation - but knew that most likely I’d only be able to produce a small amount of milk and would likely need to supplement with formula. I researched galactagogues and nursing supplementers like the Medela SNS and Lact-Aid. I braced myself for the worst, hoped for the best, read everything I could get my hands on and waited. Pt. II: The Early Weeks Once my perfect little baby joined us earthside we had our first nursing session within an hour of his birth. I didn’t know if my body would produce, but I was ready to give it my best shot. Despite the reduction, I was set up for success in every way: I was full of information. My doula training and reading requirements had laid a good foundation of information on breastfeeding and upon becoming pregnant I upped my information consumption considerably. I had an incredible support system: I worked in a community of doulas, midwives, and IBCLCs. I had family who had breastfed and friends who were currently nursing babies or toddlers. The Midwife Center (where Leo was born) and the pediatrician we chose were very pro-breastfeeding and non-alarmist. I had an awesome natural birth and enjoyed skin to skin time with Leo right after his birth. My partner was completely on board for breastfeeding our baby. She supported me 100% and picked up a lot of the other work so that I could focus on nursing. I was enrolled in WIC which sent a Lactation Consultant to my home twice a week for those first weeks and also loaned me a hospital grade pump at no charge. (This would have been completely unaffordable for our family without WIC.)
I was so hopeful as I put him to the breast for the first time and visualized him getting all the nourishment he needed. Within three hours I had my first blister. The weeks that followed are a blur – but I remember them being really, really hard. My poor nipples were torn apart, I was sleep deprived, I screamed into a pillow every time he latched, the first few times I tried to nurse in public I had a small panic attack, it seemed like he wanted to nurse every minute of every day, and his weight gain was slow. For someone who was educated about breastfeeding and had so many resources available to me, I couldn’t believe how vulnerable I still was to worry and doubt. I worried I wasn’t making enough milk, I worried if I pumped rather than nursed I’d interfere with establishing whatever supply I was capable of, I worried that my lean and long little baby was hungry… There was plenty to worry about. I cried. Oh, how I cried. The hormones coursing through my system certainly weren’t on my side. Three a.m. through sunrise was the hardest time, when I would open the cabinet and stare at those cans of formula that the formula company had delivered to my door the week of my due date. Without all the support I had around me I certainly would have given up. At around the one month mark things started to change. I began using a nipple shield (despite my concerns about nipple confusion) which let my nipples heal, I got a prescription for All Purpose Nipple Ointment, Leo’s latch improved, his weight was catching up and I had a couple successful nursing sessions in a public setting. It wasn’t quite smooth sailing, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Pt. III: Happily Ever After By two months we were off the nipple shield completely and nursing was no longer something I dreaded. The sleepless nights, worry, pain, and doubt were fading. I mean, we still had a baby so there was still sleeplessness, worry and doubt – but it wasn’t due to breastfeeding anymore. I was free to focus all my nervous mama energy elsewhere. Things got better and better and soon I was realizing how nice it was that I didn’t have to think about packing bottles and formula each time we left the house and that I barely had to wake up for those night time feedings – since we co-sleep I just had to roll over to nurse him back to sleep. As things fell into place and Leo and I developed a happy and easy nursing relationship I made sure to do several things: Thank everyone in my pediatrician’s office and at the midwife center. They really empowered me to keep at it when my supply was working so hard to establish itself. There is a world of difference between hearing “Well, your baby is not gaining as quickly as we’d like to see, but let’s have him come in for regular weigh-ins and see how he progresses. I wouldn’t worry, though, look how energetic he is and how bright his eyes are.” versus “Your baby has not gained enough weight. It looks like you aren’t making enough milk, have you considered supplementing?” Write a letter to WIC thanking them for offering breastfeeding support through their program. I know that without the lactation consultant who came to my home and was knowledgeable and encouraging I would have thrown in the towel. One morning in particular – she single-handedly brought me back from the edge. Nurse in public. Leo has nursed in restaurants, rest stops, parks, museums, stores and concerts. I remember how inept and self conscious I felt that first time I attempted to feed him out of the house. I went home and googled images of women nursing in public – "do they pull their shirts up or down?" Now that I’ve figured out what works for us, I use it – and hope some new mama is encouraged. Leo turns one in a few short days. For the first six months of his life he was exclusively breastfed. He is now developing a love for solid foods, but is still nursing regularly. I’m so grateful I have been able to nurse him for a whole year and don’t see an immediate end in sight for our nursing relationship. It has been such a joy. From the newborn snorty rooting, to the feeling of his little hand rubbing my arm, to seeing his eyes rolling back in his head when he latches on, to his current acrobatics (last night he was nursing while standing on one foot and somehow running the toes of his other foot through my hair…) – it has been such a special part of my life and I’m so glad I stuck it out during those tough early weeks.