Archive for the 'boobs' Category

Mothering Magazine-an insult to eP’ers

This morning, I continued creating posts for our huge sell-off. I sell items at several different online “stores”, including ebay, DiaperSwappers, and the Trading Post @ Mothering Magazine’s discussion boards. Mothering is an awesome magazine dedicated to Natural Family Living. I refer back to their back issues frequently regarding questions I have about natural birth, breastfeeding, vaccinations, babywearing, and co-sleeping.

Unfortunately, I had an experience this morning at their online trading post that really perplexed and ultimately disappointed me. I posted five 9 ounce Avent bottles for sale. I used these bottles for a limited time while I was exclusively pumping (eP’ing) and supplementing with formula. As many of you know, I had extensive breastfeeding problems and finally managed to find success. In fact, at nearly 15 months, my “flat nipples” are still nursing a tongue tied baby! My breastfeeding story can be found HERE.

Almost immediately after posting the bottles for sale, I was contacted by a moderator and told that my post was deleted. The reasoning behind this decision was based on Mothering’s support of the World Health Organization’s code of “Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes.”

Cynthia Mosher, Mothering’s Discussion Board Administror, has posted the following:

ATTENTION All Trading Posters


Advertising formula, bottles, and pacifiers is a violation of the WHO Code of the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes which Mothering and MDC voluntarily supports. So please refrain from posting such items for sale, trade, or giveaway, inclluding coupons for such items.

Any questions or concerns can be addressed to me by email or PM. Thanks for your help and support in this matter.

~Cynthia Mosher
Administrator, MDC

There’s a part of me that wants to jump up and down and clap for Mothering’s hardcore stance against formula and their militant advocacy of breastmilk. And yet, who are we forgetting here?

We’re forgetting the moms who, because of economic need, are forced back into the workforce at 6 weeks postpartum. The mothers who are sitting in bathroom stalls at their place of employment, closing their eyes and thinking of their child as they let down for a double electric, battery operated pump. We’re forgetting the moms who are hooked up to plastic tubing as they make the long commute home. The moms who sit in the NICU for months with their premies and sick babies. The moms who have scoured the internet for help and resources and have found online communites full of other women who are chained to the breastpump, every 2 hours. Pumping, storing, freezing, thawing, warming, pumping.

After you get the hang of it, nursing isn’t difficult. Rolling over in bed to plop a breast into the waiting mouth of your child isn’t hard. Lifting your shirt as you sit on a bench at the mall doesn’t take any work.

Pumping 8-10 times a day, taking supplements and aids to build supply, waking up in the middle of the night to sit up and pump, cleaning and sterilizing pump parts, buying a pump, renting a pump, buying storage bags, bottles, nipples, bottle brushes. Never being able to leave home for long periods of time without a huge supply of equipment. This is hard. This is the most difficult feeding method. It takes dedication, sheer determination, and fierce mother love to make this sort of commitment.

So to Mothering Magazine, shame on you. Shame on you for outcasting these mothers by your elitist refusal to help supply them with equipment at a reduced price by other helpful mamas.

And for pumping moms everywhere, the resource links:


Movin’ on up (err…down)

When Animal was 6 weeks old, I decided to get fitted for a high quality nursing bra. I figured that my breasts had evened out to their permanent nursing size, and I wanted to make sure that I had a few good bras to last me through the breastfeeding experience. I decided to be professionally fitted, which I highly recommend. (Most women are wearing the wrong size bra.)

And so, the lady with the tape measure and the granny glasses checked out the goods while I stood there shirtless in the dressing room, waiting for the outcome. She tapped her finger to her mouth. “40F” she announced. I just about shit my pants. Sure, I knew that I had grown some since Rylan’s birth, but I surely hadn’t expected to be in the 40’s, much less in an F cup. In fact, back then I had no idea that anything past a D cup even existed. And so, for the next 11 months, I’ve owned two nursing bras. Very expensive, but very boring. White, lacy, latches at the shoulder to expose the jugs to the hungry bebe. I’ve worn them around the clock, 24/7 and I’ve had about all I can handle.

So last night, I decided to take another trip to my local high end department store for another fitting. Considering that Animal is almost done weaning, I figured that now is the appropriate time. I tried my hardest to stop dreaming of a black bra without monster straps. I focused on the fact that I would at least leave the store with something that didn’t have a little bead in the center that could be pushed from one side to the other to remind me which breast had been emptied last.

I followed the Fitter into the dressing room. “What size are you wearing now?” she asked. “40F”, I mumbled. She raised an eyebrow. I peeled off my shirt and out came the tape measure. I braced myself. “36D,” she said firmly. The heavens opened up and I heard angels singing. She promptly left and returned with armfulls of black, lace, patterns, colors, fabrics and styles. I was in D cup heaven. And believe you me, I left the store with a little black number.

A mother’s body

Today when I got out of the shower, instead of trying to avoid the inevitable glimpse of my naked body in the mirror, I studied myself. I looked at my reflection straight on. I turned to the side. I have the body of a mother. My skin is soft and fair, the trait I carry over from my girlhood. My neck is long and elegant, my shoulders graceful but strong. My biceps are toned from years of picking up sturdy little boys and carrying 18 bags of groceries at a time. The hair on my arms is just peach fuzz, so blonde its almost white. My hands show my age, beginning to grow creases and turn dry from laundry and dishes. My breasts look swollen, slung low from pregnancy and nursing. The skin on my chest has been stretched so tight and thin that I can see the bright blue veins running underneath my skin, pumping thick, rich blood. My belly is round, soft like bread dough that has been stretched and pulled and kneaded. My babies lived here. The marks that run down my sides and into the space between my legs are okay with me. The fold of skin near the bottom of my abdomen cannot bother me. In return for these scars I was rewarded three times with new life, healthy and pure. My legs are strong, they have carried the weight of these pregnancies. They have climbed stairs, pushed strollers, squatted to allow the baby’s head to break through. I can’t keep hating the body that has served me well. It has never failed me. There is nothing I can regret.

Why I call myself a militant lactivist

When my first son was born, sleepy and drugged from two doses of Stadol and an extremely “effective” epidural, I put him to my breast and found that he was incapable of latching on. He literally could not suck any portion of my nipple into his mouth. Oh he would try alright, opening up with the big baby bird mouth just like his instincts told him too, but once he came into contact with my skin, he would just slip right off the nipple. There was just nothing there to grab onto. The lactation consultant was called. She positioned and lectured and huffed and puffed and finally handed over a nipple shield. As a 19 year old single mother, I think I had done more research than most, reading whatever I could get my hands on and attending a breastfeeding class during my pregnancy. But when it came right down to the scary Unknown, I did as I was told because, after all, *they* were the professionals. The shield seemed to be working. He was getting colostrum, and then 3 days later, the milk came. I had several nurses from various programs visit me in my home to help with the nursing. I was told that my baby had jaundice, and I was told horror stories of its danger. I was firmly instructed to nurse every 2 hours around the clock and I did so, each day growing more and more afraid of this terrible Jaundice that was out to get my firstborn. And yet, it all seemed to be for nought. I was referred to the pediatrician. Everyone agreed. Formula supplementation was necessary to clear the jaundice. My son was a week old, and not gaining weight.

The first bottle seemed like heaven. How easy it was to scoop out the powder, fill with warm tap water and shake. How quickly he sucked it down, and how long it kept him full. All of the sudden, nursing with the breast shield seemed like a strenuous and taxing chore. I had to sterilize after each use. I had to tote it everywhere. I had to perfectly position it over my nipple, which ruled out nursing discreetly in public. I knew that breastmilk was best, but I had been spoiled by the luxury of the bottle. Once the jaundice had cleared and he had gained the “required amount of weight”, I started pumping milk and feeding this expressed milk via a bottle. I wasn’t really sure if this would work. I had never heard of of anyone who had pumped instead of breastfed. None of the professionals had presented it as an option. I pumped until my supply dwindled and eventually disappeared. By 4 months old, my son was exclusively formula fed.

18 months later, my second son was born. I experienced the same problem. Same sleepy newborn, same inability to latch on to my nipple. Same jaundice, same failure to thrive, same weight loss, same doctor paranoia. This time, my new lactation consultants had a diagnosis. I had flat nipples. I would probably never be able to breastfeed directly. I didn’t even have the will to fight. By the time my new baby was a week old, my milk was drying out and he was drinking Enfamil. And besides…my other baby had done just fine with formula. He had thrived and was healthy and smart. Unfortunately, I realized later that my refusal to breastfeed would contribute to a nasty case of postpartum depression. Bonding didn’t come until my child was well over a year old.

Five years passed, and I became pregnant again. This time, I had renewed strength and believed that anything was possible. I wore breast shells every day for the last 3 months of my pregnancy, in order to help draw out my nipples. I did “nipple exercises”, rolling my nipples and pulling on them to make them erect and stiff. I read everything I could. I surrounded myself with nursing mothers.

I had read that a natural birth would be beneficial to the breastfeeding process. To ensure that there was no possible way that I could receive pain relief during labor, I chose and planned a homebirth. Animal was born and was immediately placed on my chest. He wasn’t suctioned. His cord was not cut. His heel was not pricked. His eyes weren’t smeared with goo. He never left my chest. He was alert and curious and he found my nipple and ferociously latched on. In my eyes, it was a miracle.

Unfortunately, in the next few weeks, I started having excruciating nipple pain. I knew that sore nipples could be normal, but this was way beyond “sore.” I would curl my toes and squeeze my eyes shut every time he latched on. Then I would cry and scream while he nursed. My nipples were cracked and bleeding. I hated feeding him. I never looked forward to it, and when he was hungry, I would cringe, knowing what I would have to endure.

The situation was made even worse because of the fact that he was constantly nursing. Sometimes he would eat for 30 minutes on each side, fall asleep for a few moments, and then wake up screaming for more. He never seemed to get full. I stopped feeling my letdowns. I stopped hearing him swallow. He was jaundiced, and much worse than my first two boys. He was not gaining back his birth weight. He had lost almost a pound. I sought help, everyone gave me advice and tips, but nothing worked.

When he was 3 weeks old, I could not take it any longer. I broke down and told my husband that I couldn’t go on. I felt like a complete failure, and I spent several days as an emotional wreck, feeling like I was a terrible mother. I was fully aware of the many benefits of breastfeeding, and was determined that my baby would still receive breastmilk. I searched the internet, and found some information about Exclusively Pumping. I found a support group and messageboards where women were pumping their milk and feeding their babies. Some of them had been doing it for a year or more! So I started on my pumping journey. I rented a hospital grade double electric breastpump from a local pharmacy. I pumped every 2-3 hours for 20 minutes. I pumped at least 8 times per day. I got up to pump once in the middle of the night. At first, I had very little milk. I was pumping an ounce during each pumping session. I started taking Fenugreek supplements and drinking Mother’s milk tea 3x per day. I ate oatmeal, blessed thistle, alfalfa, drank gallons of water and tried every “letdown” trick in the book. Very slowly, my supply increased (about a half ounce each day). I did have to supplement with formula for awhile, but within 2 weeks, I was pumping enough milk to keep up with my baby. At first, it felt liberating. My nipples had healed, I had no more pain, my baby was full and happy, the jaundice had cleared and he had gained weight. But it didn’t take long before the pumping became exhausting. I was chained to the pump. I couldn’t go shopping without making sure I could be back within 2 hours to pump. I had to bring the pump, bottles, freezer bags, ice packs, bottle warmers, and cooler to my in-laws house for Thanksgiving. I was confined to the house. I saw other people effortlessly nursing their babies and I was jealous. It wasn’t fair. I missed the feeling of having my baby close to my breast. Breastfeeding would have been so much more convenient and easy.

Eventually, and with everyone telling me “I was crazy”, I started bringing Animal back to the breast. I would let him latch on, but as soon as I felt discomfort, I would unlatch him and feed him a bottle that was warm and ready for him. At one point, I let him nurse for too long, and I got a blood blister on my nipple. It was very painful, and I just couldn’t believe that such a terrible thing could be happening. What was wrong?? I knew there was something wrong with Animal’s latch. I knew that it shouldn’t hurt, and I knew that he was not effectively drawing enough milk from my breast, and this had caused my supply to dwindle. I didn’t think he would ever successfully breastfeed. I took him to my midwife. She evaluated the latch, and found that he was tucking in his lower lip. She showed me how to correct this, but the pain still would not subside. I took him to my pediatrician. She concluded that Animal was tongue tied. She told me that we could clip the tongue, but she would not recommend it, and advised me to keep trying. At my 6 week check up, I explained to my midwife that I felt that he wasn’t efficiently able to draw milk from my breasts. My midwife wondered if maybe a huge increase of milk would help. She gave me a homeopathic remedy called “lactuca virosa.” She instructed me to put one dissolvable pellet under my tongue 3 times per day. On my way home, I took the first pellet. Within a few hours, I was engorged and leaking! I put Animal to my breast and nursed him without discomfort. While he was eating, milk was dribbling out the sides of his mouth. I had never seen that happen before! He came off the breast with a full belly and happy as a clam. I couldn’t believe it! Throughout the day, I kept breastfeeding him. I wanted to see how long it would take before he needed a bottle. 24 hours later and still no bottle! Days became weeks, my supply was more than sufficient, and I had no pain to speak of. It was amazing! I still felt very uncomfortable with nursing. Because of Animal’s tongue tie, and the way he latched, I could only nurse him in the football hold, and that made it impossible to nurse discreetly in public. It wasn’t until he was about 3 months old that he was finally able to be held in the cradle hold and I finally felt that we were getting the hang of it.

Animal is now 12 months old and still nursing. I still can’t believe that we turned things around, but I am so glad we did. When Animal is curled up in my lap, stroking my arm, looking into my eyes, or playing with my hair, I feel so blessed for the experience. Breastfeeding my son has made me a better mother. Not just to him, but to my older children as well. I had no idea how important the physiological process of nursing was for a mother/baby connection. I’m proud of myself for the overcoming the struggles, and fighting so hard for this privilege.

I’ve faced a lot of opposition regarding my views on breastfeeding. I expect it. I know what its like to feel like a failure. I know what its like to feel like you did all that you could. I know what its like to be offended by someone insinuating that your formula fed child is not healthy or smart. It’s okay to say “I didn’t have enough information” or “I didn’t have enough support/resources”. It’s okay to say “I was tired/frustrated/depressed and bottlefeeding was easier.” It’s okay to say “I was bullied into formula feeding by a medical professional, a family member, a friend.” Hell, it’s even okay to say “I didn’t want my breasts to get saggy. I wanted to start drinking/smoking/dieting again.” It is NOT OKAY to say “My breasts didn’t work. I tried everything I could and it was impossible.” Because ladies, you can’t all have broken breasts. And the majority of you are formula feeding. It is not okay to make excuses and perpetuate the myth that it is common for our bodies to fail us. While you are trying to rationalize your choice to bottlefeed in an attempt to clear your guilty conscience, you are spreading the word that your situation is normal. As a result, the children in this country are suffering and missing out on the health and psychological benefits that breastfeeding provides. Be honest with yourself, and honest with moms-to-be, and new mothers. Your experiences can help, instead of hinder if you’ll only be willing to face the truth.

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