Posts Tagged ‘ breastfeeding ’

The Moment I Knew My Breastfeeding Days Were Over

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

bonnie and joshuaWhen my son was born, I was filled with a mix of joy and terror. Okay, mostly terror. Taking care of a baby completely freaked me out—I felt like I was living in a pop quiz I hadn’t prepared for. To compensate, I fretted over everything: swaddling, bathing, soothing, even what to dress him in every day. But breastfeeding? Eh, that was barely a blip on my radar.

Obviously it wasn’t because I knew what I was doing in that department. No, indeed. But thanks to my ignorance, I approached nursing the same way I would a giant bubble floating in front of my face: enjoy it while it lasts, kid. When I clutched my tiny baby to me for the first time, I left it up to nature and my body and the heavens above to eke out some colostrum for him, and miraculously, a little came out. Holy crap, we’re really doing this, I remember thinking as I looked down at the top of his downy head.

But I still wasn’t ready to enlist my boobs for the long haul. Horror stories about supply issues and mastitis were creating static in my brain, and honestly, I was too overwhelmed with everything else to even wonder how much longer I’d breastfeed my kid. Oh sure, I had my limit in mind before I delivered—a year, ideally, but no more than two—but taking it day by day felt a little easier, a little more natural for me.

So that’s what we did for the next 12 months. Eventually, my sense of wonder about nursing gave way to the routine: Strap on the pillow, curl up with my hungry babe, and wait for the familiar sting of letdown. Sometimes breastfeeding was a chore. Sometimes it was boring. Sometimes it felt like precious moments slipping through my fingers. But it always felt right for us, and as he steadily packed on the pounds and inches, I couldn’t help but burst with pride. He was growing! And I was helping to make that happen!

When my son’s one-year well visit approached, I was expecting another seal of approval from the pediatrician. But this time, he grimaced at the growth chart and showed me where my son should be and where he currently was. The gap wasn’t big, but it was there. He gently asked whether I was still nursing and if my supply was keeping pace. Reflexively, I was ready to say, “Of course it is!” but then I remembered the increased feedings, the crankiness, the insatiable hunger. My cheeks burned. I felt like a fool and a failure. For the first time, it hit me: my breastfeeding days were numbered.

Turns out, my son already had weaning on his mind. A few days after the well visit, we were in our favorite nursing spot, as usual, and I had just gotten him into position to eat. The milk was on its way—I could feel it—but rather than latch on, he just stared at me, as if to say, Are we still doing this? Like a soon-to-be jilted partner, I pulled out all the stops to cajole him into staying around, to nurse just one last time. I might have even said “C’mon” a couple of times. Finally, he gave in, but I could tell his mind was made up. He was done with breastfeeding, and there was no turning back.

Stopping cold turkey was strange for me. On one hand, I could dump the stained nursing bras, the box of nursing pads, the godforsaken pillow. I could drink wine without reservation. My boobs would go back to being my own. On the other hand, my son no longer needed me in the same way. No more would he want to snuggle with me for several long stretches a day. He was really, truly growing up, and the thought thrilled and terrified me. In the end, of course, there was no need to read the articles on how to wean my baby. He took care of the job for both of us. Weaning myself, on the other hand, would take a little bit longer.

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

How to Wean a Baby
How to Wean a Baby
How to Wean a Baby

Photo of Bonnie and Joshua Vengrow courtesy of Love, Louise Photography

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Another Win for Breastfeeding Moms — in Virginia

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Wooden gavelIn other beneficial breastfeeding news, Virginia became the latest state to pass a bill that will protect the rights of moms to breastfeed in public.

Once the governor of Virginia signs off on the bill, a law will become official this July, making Virginia the 48th state to support mothers’ right to breastfeed. The only two remaining states that have yet to pass a similar law are South Dakota and Idaho.

Up until now, moms in Virginia could breastfeed in public spaces owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia, such as parks and playgrounds. But once the bill goes into effect, moms will be able to breastfeed in privately-owned but public businesses, such as coffee shops and retail stores, without being asked to leave.

Three amazing moms and two senators were behind pushing the bill through, reports The Huffington Post. “Without [this bill], women can be harassed and discriminated while children are denied the basic necessity of eating to survive. This bill will empower women,” says Crystal McCullough, one of the mom supporters.

This is definitely another great step toward the #normalizebreastfeeding movement!

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

Breastfeeding in Public
Breastfeeding in Public
Breastfeeding in Public

Photo of wooden gavel via Shutterstock

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Breastfeeding Can Help Build Up Baby’s Immune System

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Mom breastfeeding baby outdoorsBreastfeeding is a personal choice, but there’s no doubt there are benefits of breastfeeding for mom (like bonding with baby and an easier way to lose baby weight) and for baby (like reduced levels of arsenic and antibody protection from measles).

Another important benefit for baby includes further protection against allergies, and a new study confirms that breastfeeding has positive affects on a baby’s immune system from an early age.

Researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit conducted six separate studies to analyze connections between breastfeeding and the bacterial ecosystem (or microorganisms) in baby’s gut that often affect the immune system. These microorganisms can often “contribute to a host of diseases like obesity, autoimmune diseases, circulating disorders, and pediatric allergies and infection,” reports Science Daily.

In particular, the reseachers wanted to see how breastfeeding would stimulate the bacteria in baby’s gut to protect against allergies and asthma. What they discovered was that breastfed babies (between 1 and 6 months) had more diverse microorganisms that would help regulate and develop the immune system, and that babies as young as 1 month had less risk of developing allergies (especially toward pets).

“The research is telling us that exposure to a higher and more diverse burden of environmental bacteria and specific patterns of gut bacteria appear to boost the immune system’s protection against allergies and asthma,” says Christine Cole Johnson, Ph.D., chair of Henry Ford’s Department of Public Health Sciences and the lead researcher of the study. She believes the study adds supporto to the hygiene hypothesis theory that exposing kids to certain bacteria and germs at an early age can actually help boost the immune system.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

Common Breastfeeding Myths
Common Breastfeeding Myths
Common Breastfeeding Myths

Photo: Mom breastfeeding baby outdoors via Shutterstock

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Yet Another Mom’s “Controversial” Breastfeeding Photo

Monday, February 16th, 2015

In a time when conversations about public breastfeeding and loving a woman’s natural, self are happening everywhere—one would think the world would be more accepting and appreciative of the images. But this is still not the case and Jade Beall, a photographer and mother, realizes this all too often.

Beall is the founder of “A Beautiful Body Project,” a photo project that aims to display “truthful images of women” that are not airbrushed or Photoshopped, especially women who breastfeed. Her project was inspired by a nude breastfeeding self-portrait she took, and the physical and emotional changes she experienced after the birth of her son.

Recently, Beall posted a photo of seven naked moms (all with diverse bodies) breastfeeding their babies on her Facebook page (see below). Within hours, the photo received almost 9,000 likes and 3,000 comments—but with all the positive feedback came the negative. Facebook users, mostly men, left comments requesting that the image be taken down.

Jade Beall Photography - Breastfeeding Women

Finally, someone reported the image because one of the women’s nipples had not been blurred out, and Facebook removed the photo from their site. This wasn’t the first time one of her photos was removed, but Beall had made sure to blur out nipples and private areas. Unfortunately, Beall had missed one nipple, but she quickly replaced the old image with a newly edited (nipple-free) version.

Facebook does allow photos of breastfeeding these days (as opposed to a few years ago), but the site still has a strict policy on how photos display nudity. Although blurring out a nipple may fulfill Facebook’s guidelines for now, Beall and so many other moms will still continue to advocate for the display of a woman’s most natural self when breastfeeding.

“I love seeing a room full of diverse bodies feeding their babies, the very bodies that made and gave life to the babies!” she told The Huffington Post.  ”When we see a woman with the untypical body type feeling empowered and vulnerable to pose for an artist, it’s like somehow I break the rules of what is acceptable for how much skin a woman ‘should’ show. And to show her allowing her breasts to be used in a completely un-sexualized manner, that really rocks the boat.”

We want to hear your thoughts: Do you think this photograph pushs the limits? Or do you think society should get with the program and appreciate photographs like Beall’s?

Plus: See gorgeous celebrity breastfeeding photos!

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding
How to Hold Baby While Breastfeeding

Photo of diverse women breastfeeding featured with permission of Jade Beall Photography

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JWoww Shows Off Post-Breastfeeding Implants

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last five years, you know that JWoww is no stranger to letting it all hang out. Literally. Still, even her hardcore fans were shocked by a recent photo the mom of one posted on Instagram, Us Weekly reports. But it’s not because of the leopard print corset (or “waist trainer,” in celeb parlance) cinching her already tiny midsection. Nope, the buzz was all about her boobs, which looked conspicuously bigger than the last time we saw them.

JWoww (real name, Jenni Farley) hopped on her website to explain. Like a beer-soaked carpet in a Jersey Shore beach house, her 34F implants were due for a refresh. But it wasn’t just gravity and time taking their toll on her ta ta’s — being pregnant and nursing baby Meilani also did a doozy on them. “I kept them the same size, so they are still Fs,” she writes. “I just switched them out from breastfeeding!”

Pre-baby, I would have scoffed at this. But now? I hear you, JWoww. Nothing changed my body like breastfeeding did. The second my milk came in, they ballooned to Pam-Anderson-circa-Baywatch size (much to my husband’s delight). Then, once my son weaned himself, they went sort-of-kind-of-not-really back to normal. Similar, but somewhat deflated. Hmm. Though I didn’t go under the knife to perk them back up, I totally get the desire to reclaim your best pre-baby, er, assets.

Turns out, JWoww may even undergo a third augmentation down the line. Between praising her plastic surgeon and the “soft, natural look” of her new breasts, she let it slip that she plans to undergo another surgery in a few years after she has baby number 2. “YES, I said it! I want another baby, and that’s why I wanted to get them done now before we try again and before our wedding, too,” Farley explains. Though she swore off sex with fiancé Roger Mathew for “a year or two” following Meilani’s painful delivery, it sounds like she’s ready to give pregnancy another shot. Here’s hoping the second time around is much easier on her — and her new-and-improved bod.

Tell us: How did having a baby change your body?

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

How to Avoid Breast Engorgement
How to Avoid Breast Engorgement
How to Avoid Breast Engorgement

Image of JWoww courtesy of Jenni Farley via Instagram

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