Breastfeeding


Breastmilk Keepsakes

EXCITING NEWS! Read on to find a 10% off coupon code for HollyDay Designs!

Breastmilk Necklace

What do you do with your frozen breastmilk stash? It might sound like a rhetorical question, one with a simple answer: Feed it to the baby! But, there’s a way to turn some of your milk into a breastmilk keepsake to memorialize your breastfeeding relationship!

It might sound silly, but this wasn’t around when I was at the end of my stash or I would have sent it off to a breastmilk jeweler instead of using it as an additive in the bath to help with my daughter’s eczema. Last year, a close friend moved very, very far away, so a big group of us pooled together and bought her a breastmilk necklace to honor her and her son’s hard-won nursing relationship.

So, if I was to have access to a time machine, one of the many stops would be to the day I used my last bag of frozen milk to tell myself to hold onto it because there was a cool new trend going to happen in a couple years.

If you search online, you will find a million different jewelers who create breastmilk keepsakes – necklaces, beads for your Pandora bracelet, and more. The artisan selected for our friend’s necklace was one recommended to me, Hollyday Designs. I loved that she had a design that incorporated a camera as the recipient is a wonderful photographer (her pics are all over this site!). If you like this necklace, you’ll love her other designs!

 

UPDATE!!!! Once I shared my blog post with Holly, owner of Hollyday Designs, she was so thrilled to hear about my experience that she offered my clients and readers A COUPON CODE!

Now through July 31st, use code BOLDBIRTH10 for 10% off your entire order from HollyDay Designs! They offer more than just breastmilk keepsakes – they also create memorial pieces and, similar to the breastmilk options, they have beautiful pieces that incorporate your life-sustaining placenta!


Meet Sarah Ward, IBCLC of Tallahassee Lactation Care 2

Today I’d like to introduce you to Sarah Ward, IBCLC, owner of Tallahassee Lactation Care, and one of the most thoughtful and uplifting people I’ve ever met. The number of people who would like to bottle Sarah’s warmth and kindness numbers in the thousands, I am certain.I sat down with Sarah to learn more about how she became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and what inspires her life’s work.

Sarah and I will be together at the Capital Area Breastfeeding Coalition‘s booth at this Saturday’s Good to Be Green Festival.

Tallahassee Lactation CareWhat made you interested in becoming an IBCLC?

I became interested in becoming an IBCLC after I met one for the first time. My first son was days old and breastfeeding was a disaster. Every time he came near me, he became hysterical. I was sure it would never work out, and that I would have to pump forever. She never doubted me, though. Ever. We had many obstacles to overcome, but at two months he latched onto me without any devices, prep, or finger crossing. And it was magical! Whatever a woman’s breastfeeding goals may be, I want to help her get there. Because that reaching the top of the mountain part, that’s juicy!

What is your favorite part about being an IBCLC?

Holding tiny new babies is definitely a job perk for me! However my favorite part is empowering mom to be her best self. No one really talks at baby showers about the monumental role change from woman to mother. I found it to be overwhelming, powerful, intense, and mostly just instantaneous. All of a sudden you are responsible for another’s life, and perhaps even his only source of sustenance. Encouraging mom to trust her own instincts and to listen for that wise voice inside, believing in a mom until she believes in herself. THAT is my favorite part of being an IBCLC.

Where did you grow up?Babywearing Tallahassee

I grew up in Temple Terrace, FL, which is a tiny town outside of Tampa. I lived in the same house almost my whole life with my mom, dad, and sister. We could walk a block down to the Hillsborough River. It wasn’t terribly exciting, but it also wasn’t tragic. I hope I can give my kids the same slow and steady upbringing.

What is your favorite part about Tallahassee?

My favorite part about Tallahassee is the people. There seems to be a greater number of open-minded and tolerant people than anywhere else I have lived. I love that it’s small enough that I will probably run into a friend or two when out and about, but it’s also big enough that there’s always something to do.

What is something about you that we would be surprised to hear?

I think most people would be surprised to know that I can’t use a manual can opener, and honestly I’m terrible with the electric ones too. I also, can’t use a lighter to save my life. You know the the small one that people use to light cigarettes? I just can’t get it to work. And to round out my list of shortcomings, you might as well know that I am terrified of being burned by the oven. If anyone else is home, I always ask them to take out whatever is finished in the oven. I’ve never been burned, but just can’t shake this fear.

Tallahassee BabywearingBesides the oven, do you have a most hated household chore?

My most hated household chore is cleaning out the car. The level of disorder in my car, usually mirrors the level of chaos in my life. I try to get through the whole thing every week, because I really do feel better when it’s done. That said, I ask every holiday for someone else to do it for me!

I think you deserve many, many trophies, but have you ever won one?

I have won a trophy, thanks for asking! My mom was one of 7 kids, two boys and 5 girls. The girls all took married names that began with either S or W, while the boys kept the family name which begins with a W. All of their children are my cousins. Our generations has also taken on the marrying of Ss and Ws. So each year at the family reunion, the Ss compete against the Ws in games like Scrabble, mini golf, sand castle building, etc. When we were younger, the patriarch of the family would hand out his old golfing trophies that had new name plates on them like “Best in Volleyball,” or whatever the game was. It was a traveling trophy so the next year if the Ss lost, they would have to pass it on to the Ws. We haven’t given out trophies in years, but it’s still my favorite week every year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Postpartum Weight – Adjusting Expectations

Getting back in shape, especially as my daughter has weaned most of her feedings in the last year, has been difficult.

I experienced the most common stereotype about postpartum bodies: I lost all my pregnancy weight pretty quickly. Due to some serious health issues during pregnancy, I’d gained only 18 pounds. So, purely out of curiosity, I stepped on the scale soon after my daughter was born and had lost most of the weight. A seven pounder, plus all the extras of pregnancy – placenta and the like, plus overactive supply, made the journey towards zero a quick one.

Before you start cursing my name, vowing to never talk to me ever again, please read this: I lost it all only to GAIN IT ALL BACK as she dropped feedings since her third birthday.

For the last year or so, my body has filled out, especially in the middle, and I have struggled with getting back into healthy eating habits. When you’re starving all the time and feeding a ravenous string bean around the clock, you eat whatever is available. And so a large pile of warm (or not) macaroni and cheese it is. And that’s what I got used to, unfortunately.

Although my body shape isn’t tooooo far off from before (more cushioning around the middle), I weigh as much (or more) than I did when I gave birth, and my sense of balance is back to ground zero. After floundering for a while, lacking motivation and hours in the day, I’ve found something that is helping me slim down and gain strength: TRX taught by a mama friend who had a few years back found herself in a similar situation as I am now. And it’s working. I think. I have lost about 5 pounds in the last several months doing one TRX session a week and working to eat better, more like I did before motherhood came along and threw me for a loop.

My exercise goals for the future include completing the Couch to 5K program and continuing TRX. My overall health goal is to get my eating back to where it needs to be, and I’m planning to start this with the help of Once a Month Meals. But more on that in a later post once I’ve started using it. (Trying this out for accountability purposes 😉 )

All that to say adjust expectations has been key for me as I have started this process. Juggling motherhood and the day-to-day and everything that has to fit into 24 hours a day isn’t easy. Plus, our postpartum bodies are different, plain and simple, from what they were pre-pregnancy, and we deserve to give ourselves patience as we figure it all out.

I was inspired to share a little bit of my personal journey with postpartum weight after reading this article on Postpartum and Exercise on AttachmentParenting.org.

Enough about me. What have your postpartum exercise routine and clean eating habits looked like?

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Learning Early Breastfeeding Cues

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One of the absolutely MOST important things for a new parent is your learning your baby’s feeding cues.

A lot of people think a baby crying is the first sign of hunger but that’s actually one of the LAST cues.

When your sweet baby starts stirring, that is the very first sign that he’s ready for milk. His tummy is ready for a refill and is waking him up so he can get to it.

The more visible cues are the more physical ones: smacking or licking his lips, gnawing on his hands, rubbing his hands anywhere around his face, stretching, etc. Those are his way of saying, “Hey, if you put me near a breast, I’d be very happy to eat.”

If he has woken and has given all the other signs of readiness but nursing hasn’t begun, then he will pull out the big guns, telling you all about his displeasure at the lack of milk traveling to his belly.

 

Two real life scenarios:

Your baby is giving you the “I’m hungry” cues but also has a dirty diaper. Yes, another one. What do you do?!? Well, that’s your decision, but what I would suggest is that a full baby would probably tolerate a diaper change rather than a hungry one. Just a guess, though.

Your baby has given you all the signs, but for whatever reason, you have not been able to get to him fast enough (it happens, be gentle to yourself, please!). Now, he’s moved on and is doing his best impression of the babies on the bottom of the above chart… All three at once! What do you do now?!?!?!? The answer is NOT put him to the breast. I can tell you from personal experience that a baby yelling at the boob is one of the most stressful moments of a new mother’s life. No, instead, place your baby on your chest, give him time to reconnect with you skin-to-skin, for you both have a moment to find your calm, to take a collective breath and start over again together. Then, try to latch baby for the feeding.

 

A side note, but sometime to file away in the important parenting skills section of your sleep-deprived brain: Skin-to-skin can bring you both back to center, not just in these moments. File that away for the next rough moment with baby.

 

I joke with my clients that every time they think their baby is cute, they should probably assume he is also hungry. Babies need to be fed 8-12 times a day (which averages out to about every 2-3 hours). If he’s feeding more often than that (can be referred to as “cluster feeding”), it can be because of growth spurts, building your supply, or just because he needs to be near you, just as he has been for the last nine months or so.

 

If you’re interested in speaking with me more about breastfeeding and early cues, please contact me at Leslee@BoldBirth.org or (850) 597-2535.

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