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Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Three Things I'll Do Differently This Year...

Yep, it's that time of year. When we all sit down and make up a huge list of unachievable goals that leaves us feeling bad about ourselves and ready to wipe those resolutions from our memories come the first of February. That's one reason that I don't typically make "New Year's Resolutions." That said, this month's Blog Carnival with the "booby brigade" is all about New Year's Resolutions, so I've got to find a way to work it in. ;)

So instead of hard and fast "resolutions" I've decided to write about three things that I've already started working on to do differently this year.

1.) Drinking. No, I'm not going to give up alcohol...I don't drink it anyway. But as any nursing mom knows, breastfeeding a child on demand leaves you as dry as the City of Westerville. Having never been a big fan of water, that leaves me guzzling tea, juice, milk, and whatever other non-water beverage that I can get my hands on. I did the math a few weeks ago and realized that on average, I'm consuming about 400-600 calories a day in liquids. YIKES! (No wonder I stopped loosing weight) In fact, I was drinking about 1.5 gallons of milk a week. (at least it was skim!) So I've decided to limit myself to ONE calorie containing beverage per day. Everything else is tea (unsweet, decaf) or water (with lemon or lime). Thankfully I've found water with lemon or lime to be pretty palatable and we've recently switched to organic milk for the adults in the household (Nora has had organic milk since she weaned) so I really can't afford to buy myself a gallon and a half of milk each week. ;) I'm not going to do the whole "must drink x ounces of water a day" thing, but I find that I'm thirsty enough that I probably drink about 80 ounces of fluid anyway. Since I already eat fairly healthy, I'm hoping that this change in what I drink will help jump start a bit more weight loss. (The pounds just melted off when I was pumping for Nora, I was kinda hoping for the same this time around.)

2.) Volunteering. Before I had kids, I did a lot of volunteering. In fact, there was many a Sunday that I got to church at 7am and didn't leave to go home until nearly 3pm because there were so many ministries going on that I was involved in. I also found myself heading out at least one night a week to help out with something. Having two kids and not many babysitters makes that a lot more difficult. That's one area that the Internet is super handy for. Volunteering doesn't have to mean getting out and doing things physically...sometimes it simply requires time. To that end, I'm going to "volunteer" more actively as a home birth and breastfeeding activist. I'm going to get involved with my local LLL group to make some more contacts in the community and I'm going to devote more time to building out the content side of the Lactivist with articles, tips, resource guides and more on topics like breastfeeding, pumping, milk banking and childbirth issues. I'm also in talks to work on setting up an Ohio resource site that helps women connect with doulas, midwives and other childbirth and breastfeeding related professionals.

3.) Over-Extension. This may seem ironic in respect to number two above, but I'm going to work to try not to overextend myself so much this year. While my "real job" really only takes about 15-20 hours a day worth of work, I've added in The Lactivist, two kids, some discussion forum hosting and a slew of extra consulting work. Somehow I keep finding myself committed to a speaking gig or a teaching seminar or something else that only takes a few hours to do, but that requires many hours of prep work. My brain says "oh, that will just take an hour or two on X day" and my mouth then says "yes" before I really get a chance to think through what I'm committing to. I never realized this until 3 weeks post-partum when I realized I had two teleseminars scheduled that I hadn't prepared for. (Who agrees to do a training seminar 3 weeks post-partum??) So now I'm working to think things through a little more before committing myself to extra "work." After all, if I'm going to spend more time volunteering, that time has to get taken away from somewhere. I think "extra projects" are what's going to lose out.

Will I manage to pull them all off? Well, number three is kinda doubtful, but I'm feeling pretty confident about one and two, since they're more about gradual changes than massive, unattainable goals.

Wondering what other breastfeeding moms are determined to do this year? Check out the rest of the posts in this month's carnival of breastfeeding...

Sinead over at Breastfeeding Mums writes about wanting to better schedule her time so that she can spend more time enjoying her kids and less time hacking away at her computer.

Tanya at the Motherwear Blog offers up 10 great ways to promote breastfeeding in the coming year and asks everyone to pledge to fulfill at least three of them. (It's only January 1st, but I've already knocked out 4, 5, 7 and 8 and FULLY plan on doing 9 by the end of the week. ;) I'll get to the others soon. (Oh yeah, you can also sign up for a change at a $100 Motherwear shopping spree as well.)

Angela over at Breastfeeding 1-2-3 shares her decision to get serious about exercise once again and features some great information about starting up an exercise program after birth and how it might (or might not) impact your nursing relationship.

Andi at Mama Knows Breast says it's time to get organized! From clearing out the sock drawer to donating used toys, Andi has some great ideas for removing some of the disorder from your life.

We're also joined this month by two guests to the carnival. Carrie over at Natural Moms Talk Radio (hey Carrie!) and Momma's Little Angel.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, December 25, 2006

First Negative Comment About Me Breastfeeding....

Obviously the holidays are a good time to get out and about and see lots of people that you don't see very often. It's also one of those times when a lot of moms have to deal with negative comments that they don't otherwise have to put up with.

Thus, it was while home for the holidays that I heard my first negative comment on breastfeeding (and yes, it had to do with doing it "in public.")

I'm about 11 years out of high school and each Christmas, a high school buddy of mine throws a Christmas party. It's the only time each year that I get to see many of my high school friends, though I only get to go about every other year due to holiday scheduling and in-laws. So last Friday night was the party and off I went with Emmitt in tow.

About 30 minutes after I got there, 10 of us were sitting around the dining room table eating pizza and chatting. Emmitt was getting hungry, so I sat him in my lap, reached under my shirt to unhook my nursing bra and slipped my nursing pad into my pocket.

"Oh my God! What was that!" shrieked (yes, actually shrieked) one of the "girls" (she's 28) at the table.

"It's called a nursing pad." I replied.

"You aren't going to do that HERE!?!" she said in horror (LOL)

And just as I was about to say "well why wouldn't I?" pretty much EVERY other person at the table (none of whom have kids) jumped down her throat with choruses of "oh grow up!" and "get over it!" LOL...

What made it even better is that the friend sitting on the other side of me is a year out of med school (and looks like she's 15). She's a family practice doc in the Air Force at a base in California and happens to catch babies. She actually LECTURED said friend on how great breastmilk was and how awesome it was that I was giving my baby the absolute best food. (It reminded me of that fairly annoying commercial where the party girls get lectured on that birth control pill by their "hot" doctor friend...only this wasn't hokey.)

So I nursed Emmitt while she continued to occasionally go "Oh ew! hurry up! get it done, get it done!" and everyone else continued to tell her to grow up and stop acting like a baby.

Personally, I found it kind of entertaining. It was also great to find out that my doctor friend hasn't been sucked over to the "dark side." She's VERY pro-breastfeeding and was thrilled to hear that I'd had Emmitt at home with a midwife. I of course was thrilled to hear that she was catching babies and had to work hard not to start grilling her on details and her birth philosophies. ;)

Oh yeah, the topic of extended breastfeeding also briefly popped up (You know, the whole "if they're old enough to ask, they're too old to nurse) and just as I was starting to point out that it's a cultural thing and that the international average weaning age is around 3, the doc friend jumped back in about how you really SHOULD nurse until the age of 2. LOL.

Anyone looking for a good family practice doc about halfway between San Fran and Sacramento needs to look her up. ;)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Lactivist Nurses in the Bathroom...

*GASP*

I know...I could almost hear the collective intake of breath! I almost couldn't believe it myself.

So I'm at home visiting my family and mom asked me last night if I could take my 91 year old great aunt to her eye doctor appointment this morning. I love my aunt (in fact, my older daughter's middle name is in honor of this aunt) so of course I said yes. So, I packed up Emmitt, left Nora with Greg and headed off to pick up Aunt Phyllis.

We went to the eye doctor and settled into the waiting room. It was a long, long wait. We chatted with the other people there, Emmitt did his "good" baby act ;) and then Aunt Phyllis went back to see the doc. Emmitt started getting fussy, so I tried to nurse him. He'd eat for a few seconds, pull off, fuss, try and eat again, pull off, fuss, latch on, go to town, then pull off. It was a fun game of "plug the leak" with my finger when he pulled off. (I have a strong enough let-down that if he pulls of in the first few minutes, I get an arc of milk that will shoot several feet.) He finally seemed to settle a bit and had himself a meal.

I got a burp out of him but not long after, he started getting fussy again. Turns out, his diaper was dirty. Now I'll nurse pretty much anywhere, but I do try to not change his diaper in front of a zillion people. So I got up and asked the receptionist if they had a bathroom. They did (and it was actually a nice clean one, looked like my grandma's guest bath, lol) but of course there's no changing table. So, I got a ton of paper towels and put them down on the floor so I'd have someplace clean to lay him. Got him changed and he started fussing again.

At this point, it seemed kinda silly to go back out and play fussy-baby peek-a-boob in a waiting room with a dozen people, so I sat down on the closed toilet (a real toilet, not those seatless public restroom ones) and nursed him. For some reason, it's just easier nursing a fussy baby when you CAN whip your whole breast out. So he nursed for another five minutes and then BAM, conked out, sound asleep. I went back to the waiting room, set him in his carseat, snuggled his blanket around him and he stayed asleep until we got home 30 minutes later.

I had to laugh at myself though. I never would have dreamed you'd find me nursing in the bathroom, but it DID make things easier in that particular situation. Now that said, there's a ginormous difference between me deciding on that route on my own and people simply EXPECTING you to head off to the bathroom to nurse. Kind of like nursing covers...I don't like them, but if a mom wants to use one because SHE wants to and not because she thinks she HAS to, then it doesn't bother me at all.

So what say you? Ever find yourself nursing "in hiding" just because it made it easier? Should I have to turn in my Lactivist shirt? ;)

Oh and to note, the only reaction I got when I did nurse him out in the waiting room was an elderly lady (maybe late 80s?) who smiled at me.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Is He a Good Baby?

I think that's up there with "how are you feeling" during pregnancy as one of the most annoying questions.

Why? Well, two reasons...

1.) What the heck is a "good" baby? I'm sorry, I thought all babies were good. But apparently, if your child manages to sleep through the night super early or doesn't care if you ever hold him/her, or eats on a schedule from the start, they are suddenly a good baby.

I'm always tempted to say "No, I birthed the spawn of satan, he's an eeeeviiiil baby."

2.) They don't really want to hear the answer unless it's "oh yes, he's wonderful." I know this because when people would ask me that the first few weeks, I'd respond and say "he's a GREAT baby, but he's much fussier than my daughter was." It was the total truth, but you could tell they had no interest in hearing it. (Just like no one wants to hear about your 'roids or frequent vomiting or back pain while pregnant, they just want to hear that you "feel great!")

So why the heck do people say this? When did quiet, complacent babies get deemed "good" and what does that make the babies that actually require a little attention? Bad? Evil? Satan?

My friend Judy has decided that she'll simply respond "Well, she did get that tatoo..." when someone asks this about her newborn.

I like that line of thinking...

Perhaps my new line will be... "Oh no, we've already had to ground him twice and just last week we caught him trying to steal the car..."

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Picture Time

It's a busy week (wrapping things up before heading out for the holidays tomorrow or Friday) so chances are high that all I'll get up today is some pictures...but hey, picture are fun. ;)

So, here we go...

Unposed picture of Emmitt after Nora messed around with his blanket...

From 12-19-06


Nora doing the typical "kid" smile when I tried to get a nice shot of her...

From 12-19-06


Nora showing Emmitt how to use his gymini...

From 12-19-06


Nora proving that she doesn't *quite* yet understand the potty (but close!)

From 12-19-06

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Urg...My Kid Broke Me...

Egads...seriously, Emmitt totally broke me. :(

Woke up yesterday with horrific chest pains...anytime I moved my head wrong or moved my shoulders wrong it was like someone was just crushing my heart. After an initial freak out that I was having a heart attack, I realized that I'd pulled a muscle in my chest. (Did that once in high school, not fun.) Then I realized that I probably did it from all that bending over to hoist Emmitt up. (Nora only weighed about 10 pounds at this age, Emmitt is 15+)

So first I have to figure out how to heal (when I have to keep picking him up) and then I have to figure out how to avoid pulling that muscle again. After all, there is no "lift with the knees" when your kid is in an ill-heighted bassinet next to your bed. I suppose I could try and wake Greg up for every feeding, but that seems unlikely to work. ;) I can't just leave Emmitt in the bed with us because Greg is a cover freak and drowns himself under 90 million layers of suffocating goodness. Sometimes I'm surprised that *I* survive, let alone keeping Emmitt breathing. I suppose he and I could take to sleeping on the living room floor for a few days, but that just doesn't seem restful. ;)

I'm headed to the chiropractor tomorrow, so hopefully he can help, but I'd love to hear your suggestions. Any of the rest of you have a chunk of a kid at 2.5 months and find themselves with similar problems? How did you survive it? How am I going to survive this at six months when he weighs 20 pounds or at a year when he weighs 85 pounds and I have to take him on Maury?

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Attack of the Lactation Consultants

One of the complaints that I often hear from moms that had trouble breastfeeding is that they heard so much pressure from friends and family to "just quit and enjoy the baby." One of the things they often say is that in retrospect, they wish someone had simply said to them "you CAN do this, it will get better." To that end, we often push new moms to see lactation consultants "early and often" to make sure that breastfeeding gets well established.

But what happens when it's the lactation consultants that are the problem?

Picture this. You're the mother of a baby born six weeks premature. You're recovering from a difficult c-section with excessive blood loss. Your baby has spent several days in the NICU and you're swelled up like a Macy's balloon from the IV fluids that have been pumped into you since you were hospitalized several days before the birth. You desperately want to breastfeed and you're bound and determined to make it work. Unfortunately, since baby came early, you've not yet attended a breastfeeding class.

Starting within a few hours of the birth, you start to hear things like this...

"You MUST start pumping within six hours of the birth!"
"You need to pump, but you can wait until tomorrow..."
"You don't need to pump for a day or two, get some rest"
"If you don't start pumping within twelve hours, your milk might not come in"
"Pump early and often, as much as you can stand."
"Make sure you pump every two hours for the first few days"
"You can go up for four hours between pumping sessions if you're tired."

Now fast forward a day or two...

"Your baby was premature, she doesn't have the energy to nurse"
"Breastfeeding is the easiest way for a baby to eat, it takes less energy than a bottle"
"Your baby may not be able to nurse for a few weeks, until she's stronger"
"You've got to get that baby on the breast and do it now"
"You're supplementing? You need to stop so baby gets hungry enough to nurse"
"Don't worry about supplementing, we can wean baby off of it over time"
"Is baby latching? Is baby getting milk? You can't just nurse her if she's not getting enough milk"
"Try taking one bottle away at a time, see if she nurses better"
"Nurse her less so that she can focus on growing, then we'll work on the latch"

At this point, you're in an endless cycle of attempting to nurse, then bottle feeding, then pumping. You might get an hour of sleep here and there and oh yeah, you're still recovering from major surgery. Now it gets even more fun...

"If you don't get that baby on the breast soon, you may lose your milk supply"
"Don't worry, get some rest, you can build your supply up over time"
"You're still pumping? Baby should be nursing by now!"
"You're taking a four hour break at night from pumping? You can't do that, you must pump more often!"
"Get to a lactation consultant immediately!"
"You don't need to come in for a consultation until next week"
"Sounds like things are going fine, call me if you think you need a consultation"
"Why did you wait so long to call? You've got to get help pronto, as in yesterday"

You can sort of fill in the rest on your own...I'm sure it's happened to some of you. We tend to talk about how great lactation consultants are and how necessary they are to the process and I agree 100%. But how do you weed out the good LCs from the bad? How do you know who is giving you old information and who is giving you new information? How do you work around odd personalities that run the gamut from "squirrel on crack" shooting off rapid fire instructions in a dizzying daze to laid-back "things will be fiiiiiiine" lackadaisical attitudes? (And that's before you even add in the advice from well-meaning friends.)

It's enough to send any new mom running to a room with her baby and locking the door behind them so that they can just find a few minutes to enjoy each other's company.

And we wonder why breastfeeding rates are so low?

I think lactation consultants are amazing people. I know a few personally that I have an enormous amount of respect for. Unfortunately, LCs are like any profession...it's filled with good, qualified people and with people that have no business slapping those initials behind their names. It's further proof than an LC can, quite literally, make or break a mom's breastfeeding experience.

I saw my own breastfeeding relationship with Elnora tanked by an LC. I saw my breastfeeding relationship with Emmitt saved by one.

How do we fight this battle? How do we take women that are the first in generations to nurse and get them the guidance and the help that they need without making things so difficult that they call it quits simply to get a moment of peace with their child during those precious early days?

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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The Best Christmas Pagent Ever

Not too long before I was exposing myself to a Korean film crew, I was enjoying conversation at the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio volunteer holiday party. Along with the ladies from the milk bank and I were a few LLLL, a retired nurse, some LCs and a dad that drives all over the state to pick up milk from drop-off points. During the course fo the conversation, one of the LLLL told a story that she'd read online. It brought down the house.

I would have loved to have shared it, but it was too long to remember.

Thankfully, Micky over at Mocha Milk spotted it as well and posted it on her blog. Since it's already flying all over the web, I'll post it for you here as well. I'll also say that if anyone knows the mom that posted it you might tell her to email me. A story like that is worth a free Lactivist shirt for the little one...I've left her a private message, here's hoping she responds.


Went to Abigail's school Christmas concert (no "proper" Nativity this year Sad ). Each class did a little something followed by a song or 2. Anyway, Ab's class did a Nativity scene, with Ab as Mary ( Grin How proud was I?). A few mins into their bit Ab promptly lifted her dress & shoved baby Jesus up it. The script then wandered away from what they'd learnt & goes as follows....

Joseph: "What are you doing?"
Mary: "I'm feeding our baby"
Shepherd: "Have you got a bottle up there then?"
Mary: "Don't be silly he's having milk from my booby"
Joseph: "That's disgusting"
Mary: "No, that baby milk they have in Tescos is disgusting. My baby's having proper milk"
Shepherd: "What's a booby?"
Mary: "Those sticky out bits ladies have"
Shepherd: "They're not boobies, they're nipples"
Mary: "No they're not, they're boobies"
Joseph: "So why can't Jesus have milk from a bottle then?"
Mary: "Because I haven't got a breast pump with me - you forgot to put it on the donkey"
Shepherd: "Can't you ask the teacher for a bottle to feed Jesus with?"
Mary: "No because this is the best way to feed Jesus. Anyway bottles haven't been invented yet & even if they were I've just had a baby so if you think I'm faffing about round Tescos to buy baby milk when I make proper milk in my boobies you can think again"


From the mouths of babes...especially love tha tlast line. ;)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Milk Bands Nursing Bracelet Review

Back in October I wrote a post about the concept of nursing bracelets when I discovered that it actually WASN'T easy to remember what side I had last nursed Emmitt on. Well apparently the good folks over at Milk Bands pay attention when people talk because they contacted me pretty quickly and offered to send me some of their product to try out. Never one to turn down free stuff (or the opportunity to get some more great content on the site) I gave them my address and waited for my package to arrive. I've been wearing my Milk Bands nursing bracelet now for about a month and I think it's time to share my thoughts with Lactivist readers.

The Lactivist Says: Fabulous concept, but room for improvement

Pros:
Inexpensive
Looks good
Gets the job done

Cons:
Marker pegs are a choking hazard
Hard to manipulate pegs

Milk Bands are one of the few options available when it comes to nursing bracelets, but there's no doubt in my mind that they are one of the best. Having used one now for more than a month, I can pretty much say without a doubt that it will stay on my wrist for at least the next year. In fact, I've already given one away to a friend as part of a "breastfeeding starter kit" that I made up for her baby shower. I've also been asked by at least a dozen people what it is and when I've explained it to them they've all commented on what a great idea it is or how much they would have liked to have had one when they were nursing. Add in the fact that they're less than $6 and you've got a handy item for any breastfeeder. (Note to any of you last minute Christmas shoppers...Milk Bands would be a great stocking stuffer for the nursing mom on your list.)

So the concept goes something like this...Milk Bands are a silicone bracelet in the style of all those other popular silicone bracelets that have flooded the market in the last few years. The main difference is that they've got a slew of holes in them designed to let you mark the time of your last feeding session. Milk Bands are also imprinted with the word "Left" on one side and the word "Right on the other side. Thus, you slide it on your wrist of choice and simply flip it inside out every time you nurse your babe. (Though the bracelets obviously aren't idiot proof...I spent a full day switching it from one hand to the other before I realized that I could simply flip it inside out...DUH!)

I was a little skeptical on the "keep track of your last feeding" idea as I'm a firm supporter of nursing on demand. There is no feeding schedule in my house, so I couldn't see taking the time to mark off the last feeding. (Though now that I have a friend with a baby that you literally have to wake for feedings, I guess I can see the point.) Since I had no use for marking off the time of the last feeding, I took to simply marking the number of feedings per day. This was more out of curiosity than anything, but it's been kind of neat to watch Emmitt's progression from nursing a zillion times a day (ok, ok, not a zillion, but when I first got my Milk Bands he was eating 12+ times in 24 hours) to nursing 8 or 9 times in 24 hours. It makes for an easy way to detect a growth spurt as well since instead of thinking to myself "gee, he seems to be nursing more often today" I can actually say "wow, he nursed 12 times today, he hasn't done that in awhile.)

The thing that keeps me from absolutely adoring Milk Bands is the "hole and marker" concept. For some reason all those little holes remind me of a hospital bracelet and I can't stand hospitals. Beyond that though, and a more legitimate concern is that manipulating those little plastic sticks into the holes is kinda tough. Doing it in the dark when you're nursing in the middle of the night is almost impossible. Add in the fact that if you lose one, you're leaving a nice little choking hazard around for any other toddlers that happen to be in the house. I've never lost one, but I have had visions of sling shotting them across the room if I accidentally let go of the band while I had it stretched out to put the marker in place. (click on the recommended techniques link on the Milk Bands site and you'll see what I mean...)

So overall, a fantastic product. I'll keep using mine and I'd recommend them to anyone else that can't remember their right boob from their left. I just look forward to the time when Milk Bands decides to offer up a little design update that won't require a one-handed stretch and plug act to move those pegs around.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Love it! Nursing on Mr. Rogers

Ok, so it's not a human mom nursing, but right now, Mr Rogers is talking to a visitor that has shown up with a dog and her puppies. The puppies were acting kinda crazy and Mr Rogers said "are they still nursing?" and the man said "yes, and I think they are hungry."

He then had the mom dog lay on her side and the puppies latched on and went to town while the man and Mr Rogers kept talking about puppies and babies.

Go Mr Rogers! :)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Attack of the MEME!!!

Wikipedia is handy if you've never heard of a meme...

Anyway, Carrie over at Blah Blah Blog has "invited" me to a come as you are blog party. (and she HAD to let me know about it on a day when I look like I haven't slept in months...oh wait...I HAVEN'T slept in months!)

So here I am...



I'm late to the game because I'm just coming off maternity leave and now have to do my REAL job on top of breastfeeding non-stop, keeping my two year old from falling into the Christmas tree again and fullfilling my obsessive need to blog about all things boobie.

So anyway...picture was taken about five minutes ago. That's me nursing Emmitt while Nora sits next to us watching Seasame Street. Oh yeah, I'm perfecting my one-handed typing skills as well. (The laptop sits on the couch next to me while I'm nursing.) All further proof that only a mother REALLY understands the idea of multi-tasking. ;)

Apparently I'm now supposed to invite someone. And by invite...I mean that you also have to post an unflattering picture that was taken of you as soon as possible after getting your invite and that you have to tell us what you were doing when it was taken. (and saying that you were cursing me for making you take a photo of YOURself without make-up does NOT count :-P )

Thus, I invite Jax, K (yes Kelly, I mean YOU), Angela and One Smarmy Mama...just cause...well...I think smarmy is cute! ;)

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Still Giving Bad Advice on Breastfeeding

I won't go into a total rant about all the bad advice I've heard doctors give over the years when it comes to breastfeeding, but I couldn't resist pointing out the idiocy of some advice that I just spotted.

From The Star-Ledger:

I advise mothers to nurse from each breast with every feed and to switch every five minutes, limiting feedings to 20 minutes. I think it's important to stop after 20 minutes to allow the breasts to refill and the nipples to rest.

Huh? Seriously? Allowing the breasts to "refill?"

I'm sorry, I wasn't aware that they emptied...or that they refilled on their own without baby nursing to the point of not getting more than drops. Last time I checked, baby needed to "empty" the breast in order to tell the body to create MORE milk the next time.

And switch every five minutes?

Good gravy! Can you imagine nursing in public if you had to switch breasts every five minutes? Heck, can you imagine nursing at home with a stop watch in one hand as you prepared to yank your peacefully nursing child from the breast so that you could start the process all over again?

Ever hear of hind milk?

*sigh* Why does this blather continue to be spread by people who should know better?

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Did I ever tell you about the time...

...that my breasts got me on South Korean television?

No? Maybe that's because it just happened this morning.

Seriously... Last week I got a phone call from a woman with SBS Korean Television. Apparently SBS has a tv program similar to our 60 Minutes or Dateline type shows that occasionally does documentaries. They were filming one this week that focused on breastfeeding and breast milk banking. (Apparently, South Korea has an abysmally low breastfeeding rates...)

The documentary team had found The Lactivist blog and knew that I was both a milk donor and a lactivist. She said that the film crew was hoping to have the chance to do some filming at the Mother's Milk Bank here in central Ohio and they wanted to know if they could interview me as well.

Yep...that's right. South Korean documentary film crew wants to talk about, and film my milk jugs.

As if it's not breaking enough new ground to be the first breastfeeder in generations on both sides of my family...or to run a lactivist blog, or to have all of my friends and family think of me as that crazy, crunchy, home-birthing lactivist. As if it didn't give folks enough of a laugh to have that photo of me nursing Emmitt make the AP wire after our Delta Nurse-in a few weeks back.

Now my boobs are going to be on TV half-way around the world.

Of course I said yes. ;) It's all for a good cause right?

So this morning, I spent about half an hour chatting with the producer about how I got involved in milk banking, why I built this web site, what I hope to accomplish through my lactivism and so on. (I wonder if I'll be dubbed or have subtitles...I've never been dubbed before...do you think it hurts?) The kicker was that the producer wanted to know if he could have footage of me pumping.

Now I've nursed in public all over the place. From malls to restaurants to stores to planes...if I've been there, I've nursed there. I've even pumped in some strange locations (remember the whole rifle range story?). What I've never done is pump breast milk with a camera man about six inches away filming close ups of the entire process. Praise God that I wore a nursing top today and could at least pump without my still-lovely post-partum tummy making it into the shot.

They say they'll send me a tape once the documentary is put together. Unless they dub the whole thing, I don't suppose I'll understand much, but it will be something unique that I can put with Emmitt's baby stuff. That kid's certainly going to have some stories that his school-mates don't...

"Look Emmitt...here's a picture of your first smile...and here's the picture of you just after you were born on that futon that you happen to be sitting on right now. Oh, and here's the Columbus Dispatch article from when we went to the nurse-in...oh yes and don't forget that South Korean documentary that we did where mommy showed all of South Korea what her breasts look like when she's hooked up like a dairy cow."

Yep...this kid doesn't have a chance of being normal.

I kinda like that.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Epidurals and Breastfeeding...

There's a new study making the rounds of the blog world this week that talks about the possible effect of epidurals on breastfeeding. In fact, my friends Andi and Angela have already shared their take on the subject. The study, featured in an article over at BBC News titled "Epidurals 'Hamper Breastfeeding'" speculates that there may be several factors in play that cause moms who have epidurals to have lower breastfeeding rates.

From the article:

The researchers, led by Dr Siranda Torvaldsen, say: "There is a growing body of evidence that the fentanyl component of epidurals may be associated with sleepy infants and difficult establishing breastfeeding."

They add: "Whatever the underlying mechanism, it is important that women who are at higher risk of breastfeeding cessation are provided with adequate breastfeeding assistance and support, both in the initial postpartum period [just after birth] and the following few months."

Pat O'Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said it was possible that fentanyl had an effect on the baby.

But he added: "There are other factors which may explain this link, including that if a woman chooses not to have an epidural, she may also be more motivated to persevere with breastfeeding.


I've actually been having this same discussion with both my midwife and a friend that's a lactation consultant. While I fully believe that there's a tie-in here, I don't necessarily think that it's a direct result of the epidural medication that's causing the problem.

Personally, I think the issue is two-fold.

1.) There's an obvious "belief-system" that can vary between moms that choose to get epidural pain relief and moms that choose to have an unmedicated birth and there's a good chance that those personal beliefs influence the success and duration of breastfeeding. A reality of having a successful unmedicated birth is that moms must put a LOT of time and effort toward preparation. Natural childbirth classes like those offered by Hypnobabies and Bradley take a LOT of time and effort. Unmedicated childbirth is hard work, at least in terms of preparation. Thus, it can pretty easily be argued that women who are willing to consciously plan for and work toward an unmedicated birth may be more likely to "stick it out" when breastfeeding gets tough. (NOTE: I am NOT saying that epidural moms are bad, that unmedicated moms get medals, blah blah blah...I've HAD an epidural, believe me, I get it. LOL...My point is simply that there's a tie in between the "work" associated with preparing for an NCB and the work associated with nursing. There are plenty of epidural moms out there that breastfeed just fine.)

2.) The BIGGER factor, in my mind is IV fluids. See, the moms that I know that had epidurals and had an easy time breastfeeding where those that didn't have their epidurals for HOURS (or days) on end. Without the epidural, it's unlikely that they had bag after bag of IV fluids. See, there's a tie-in between massive fluid overloads and difficulty breastfeeding and I personally believe that it's the massive fluid overdose that causes the problems, not the medicine in the epidural. Here's why...

First, when mom has a MASSIVE amount of fluid in her system, things tend to swell...especially low-hanging areas. Think of how the feet, the hands and yes, the breasts, tend to collect fluid when mom is having edema problems. That swelling that takes place in the breasts mimics extreme engorgement and makes it very difficult for baby to get a good latch. Anyone that has tried to nurse knows that breastfeeding a baby with a bad latch is painful, VERY painful and frustrating for the baby. In fact, unresolved bad latch is what pushed me to switch to pumping with Elnora. (And yes, I did have an epidural and IV fluids with her.)

The second problem is that when mom is overflowing with excess fluids, the body works very hard to return to its natural state. That means that mom's body is working hard to flush that excess fluid out of the system. Obviously the process of making breast milk means adding MORE fluid to the equation. A new body of research is starting to look into the possibility that women's bodies actually fight the production of breast milk in moms that have massive fluid overloads. Basically, the body says "nope! you have too much fluid already...we're not letting you add any more!"

That's why I tell moms that it's just peachy to have an epidural if you want one. After all, despite having a wonderful experience with an unmedicated home birth for my second child, I get that some moms simply have no interest in the "full" experience of labor and birth. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. The availability of pain relief to laboring mothers is a fantastic invention! However...it's a good idea to hold off as long as you can and to avoid that IV until it's time to get the epidural so that you can avoid that fluid problem that can come with the epi. In fact, I have two friends that had so much IV fluid during their labors that their feet literally squished when they walked for up to a week after the birth. One was unable to breastfeed and gave up after a few days of frustration, the other is still fighting her way through.

That said, I'll be interested to see more research as this comes out. It's certainly possible that the medication itself is what's causing problems, but we all know that the narcotics in the epidural leave the system pretty quickly and many babies don't get the hang of nursing for a few days. Thus, I really do think it's something else (the fluid) that's contributing to the problems that many "medical mamas" have with getting breastfeeding established.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, December 11, 2006

On a Lighter Note...Picture Time

Because it's been a stressful week... Let's lighten the mood with pictures. ;)

Emmitt after Elnora found a new sticker to play with...
From 12-11-06


The first picture of Emmitt and I in months (I take the pictures)...
From 12-11-06


Emmitt admiring his big sister...
From 12-11-06


and finally...

Elnora preparing to launch her own blog...
From 12-11-06

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Calling All New Mexico Lactivists

Tanya over at Motherwear points to a meeting this week in Albuquerque aimed at putting together a New Mexico Breastfeeding task force. The group will be working to come up with draft legislation and towards finding a legislator that will be willing to introduce the legislation to the state legislature.

While New Mexico currently has a law (SB 545) that permits a mother to breastfeed her child in any location that she and the child otherwise have the right to be, the state has no law requiring or encouraging employers to allow mothers time (and space) to pump while at work.

If you're in the Albuquerque area and are interested in joining the fight, please consider attending the meeting this Friday at the University of New Mexico.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

For All Those Little Lactivists

As you know, I've been working to add some new shirts and designs to the Lactivist store just in time for the December fundraiser. (100% of all profits from the month of December are being donated to the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio.)

Anyway, I've just added three new designs to the kid's section, all of which are inspired by the type of shirts I wish I'd had to put on my kids when we went to the Delta nurse-in. If you have a little lactivist in your family, or know of one, these are the shirts for you.

Try eating with a blanket over YOUR head
If you can eat in public, why can't I?
and...
Do YOU eat in the bathroom?

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Offering Support...Knowing How Hard to Push

It's a hard line these days in being supportive of breastfeeding without going overboard. I never really realized that until this past week.

See, I have a friend that was planning a home birth early next year and that was determined to breastfeed. Quite honestly, of anyone I've known (other than myself) I'd have given her the best shot at making a go at it, because she isn't afraid of hard work and is a VERY strong individual.

Unfortunately, she ended up with a previa that wouldn't quit and had to have an emergency c-section early last week. Since she was only 34 weeks along, that meant that the baby spent a few days in the NICU. Since there was a previa, that also meant that during the c-section they had to cut through the placenta (which ups the risk of hemmorage) and she lost about 1.5 liters of blood. Put all those things together and you have a mom that is so far from exhausted and stressed that it's ridiculous.

Nonetheless, she was determined to breastfeed, so I wanted to try and help in terms of that so that she could focus on other things. But again, this is the question of how hard to you push. There's also the issue of how many times can you say "the hospital gave you bad information...you need to do X instead."

We all know that mom needs to nurse or start pumping ASAP after birth. In fact, within six hours is the ideal. Unfortunately, when her husband tried to get the nurses to bring her a pump, the nurses pitched a fit, saying that she had to rest and she didn't need to pump that day. (In fact, they said the ONLY reason for her to pump was to get her used to the "sensation" of pumping....arg...sure, let's wait a day or two and make sure the milk NEVER comes in.) Her husband went to bat for her though and pitched a fit until he found someone to bring a pump.

That said, they never showed her how to use it or hook it up. So I headed back into the hospital that night to show them what to do. We got the pump hooked up, I showed her husband how to work it and we got them setup with a schedule. (He'd brought an alarm clock so that he could wake up, run the pump for her, and clean the parts.) That said, we still had to call to request dish soap (to wash the parts) and Lansinoh (since pumping is VERY hard on the nipples) and ready-feed bottles (so that she could pump straight into them instead of losing milk during transfer). Quite honestly, it was like this hospital knew NOTHING about pumping.

That was the last I saw of them for a few days as I had to head to Chicago for a show. I checked in when I got back and things weren't too much better. She was still valiantly pumping away, though she was now down to about 8 times a day instead of the 10-12 I'd told her to aim for. (The hospital lactation consultant told her she could pump much less than I'd suggested.) Unfortunately, she said that she'd gone from getting a decent amount per session to getting almost nothing. She was also now nursing, them bottle feeding, then pumping.

Once again, it was an issue of I knew she wasn't pumping long enough OR often enough, but I also knew that she was about to pass out from exhaustion every other second of the day. So how hard do you push? She also hadn't seen a lactation consultant to work on the latch and getting baby moved to the breast, but again, how hard do you push? When I went to visit I saw that they were feeding the baby from those ready-feed bottles that the hospital has and were using one of those teeny tiny nipples that allows baby to feed with the lips almost closed. (As opposed to a wide bottom nipple where you can flange the lips to mimic a proper latch.) I asked about that, but they didn't have any other bottles. (I took them a set the next day that had the Playtex wide-bottom nipple)

The hospital had also put the baby on neocate, a soy-based formula. I asked why and they simply said that the were trying to get more calories in her. (Neocate has 22 calories an ounce while most regular formula has 20 calories an ounce.) But still, I'd always been under the impression that soy-based formulas were ONLY to be used if baby couldn't tolerate a milk based formula...otherwise your only option if baby can't tolerate the soy is to go straight to the prescription based formulas like Alimentum (sp).

So, I offered to pump. After all, I'd be pumping to donate to babies I didn't know, I might as well take a few days or a week and send that milk to a baby that I DID know. Plus, we know that my milk is really high calorie (25 calories an ounce on average) and if I pumped after Emmitt nursed, I could kick that up to 27-30 calories an ounce. That's way more nutrition per ounce than the Neocate and coming in a form that's more easily digested. So today is day three of pumping to help supplement what she's getting on her own. Thankfully, as of yesterday, she was starting to get some volume again.

That said, she's still not been to see a lactation consultant and as of last night was planning on waiting "a few days, or maybe until next week" which just doesn't seem soon enough to me. After all, the longer they avoid getting a good latch and the longer baby gets used to a bottle, the harder it's going to be. There's also the hard and fast reality that not everyone can bring in a milk supply with a pump. But again...how hard do you push?

Breastfeeding is the absolute best thing that you can do for your child, but there's also a point where it's not unreasonable to give up, get some rest and get to the point where you can care for your child without risking your own health. Knowing where that point lies can be tough though.

I guess the best thing I can liken it to is the person bound and determined to have an unmedicated childbirth, but knowing that they'll probably lose it in transition. Almost every woman I know who attempted unmedicated birth in the hospital broke down and asked for an epidural. Most of them made it clear ahead of time that they were to be stalled until it was too late if they did so. In fact, I made my husband promise to make me wait 20 minutes at least three times before "letting" me get one if I asked.

Now I realize just how hard it is on those support persons. People DO change their minds and it's not unreasonable to do so. I know that if I'd asked for an epidural and my husband had immediately gotten me one that I would have been furious with him after the fact. On the other hand, if I'd REALLY needed it and he'd tried to keep me from having it over and over again, I'd be mad at him for that too. Thus, the balancing act of a support person is a tough one. Part of me wants to tell my friend that it's ok and understandable if she wants to give up, but I also think there's a very high chance that if we gave her that "out" and she took it, that she'd be really mad at us down the road. On the other hand, I don't want to be the obnoxious person who makes someone feel guilty for giving up after what has amounted to an incredibly valiant effort.

So what's a friend to do? Stand by, offer support, offer suggestions and gently push...knowing that by ONLY gently pushing, things may fall to the point that breastfeeding become impossible? (which is what's happening now) Or risk long-term anger by either pushing HARD or by giving "permission" for someone to quit?

And do hospitals sit around all day planning out all the little things they can do to tank breastfeeding? I mean SERIOUSLY! It's like they read the book of how to make breastfeeding easier and then did everything the exact opposite. It's pretty infuriating.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

My Little Helper...

It's funny how older siblings...even when still very young...ca learn how to help out with the whole "caring for baby" thing. While Nora just turned two last month and is one of those two year olds that doesn't talk...she's very observant and LOVES to help with Emmitt.

Usually that means bringing me a diaper, or throwing the dirty one away...but she seems to be getting the value of breastfeeding now too. :)

Yesterday afternoon two sets of aunts and uncles, my grandfather and my cousin were visiting, One aunt was holding Emmitt and he started his "I'm hungry" fuss. Nora immediately looked at me. I didn't get up right away, so she came over to me, looked at Emmitt and the tried to lift up my shirt. LOL

This morning, I got the pump out (since I've finally started pumping to donate milk) and while moving to turn it on, she grabbed the horns and held them up to my breasts. LOL

At least I'm making sure she grows up knowing how to pump and breastfeed. ;) I'm still waiting for the day that I catch her nursing a doll. I so very much want to be able to snap a picture of that.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Breastfeeding on American Airlines

Just a few weeks after the Delta breastfeeding incident, I found myself boarding a flight of my own with my 10 week old son and my mother in tow. We were flying American Airlines from Columbus to Chicago so that I could speak in a few different sessions as a large search marketing conference. (online marketing being my "real" job.)

The flight there was pretty uneventful. We were told that we had to move from the front of the plane (we were in the 4th row) to the back of the plane (second to the last row) because we were traveling with an infant. I found that odd and no explanation was offered (though I did later find out what the deal was.) I had already nursed Emmitt in the airport while we waited to board, so I knew that the other passengers were aware that I'd likely be breastfeeding on the plane.

No one ever said a word. Not that I expected them to, but seriously, not a word. Neither did Emmitt. He nursed happily during take-off and then again when we began our descent about an hour later. In between he dozed or smiled and laughed. Pretty easy flight for us. Ironically, the noise on the flight came from the two small dogs that were traveling in "under the seat" carriers a few rows in front of us. Those poor dogs howled for most of the flight, I'd imagine because they don't know how to pop their ears.

Our stay in Chicago went well...we arrived early Wednesday with plans to fly out Thursday evening. Emmitt nursed all over the hotel and even in the speaker ready room for the conference (I was polishing my talk). In fact, things went so well that the show organizers (who I've known for years) wanted to know if I'd bring him to the next show in New York this April. LOL.

After a mad dash to the airport thinking that we'd miss our flight home, we arrived at the gate just 5 minutes before boarding. Once again, we were told that we'd have to move to the back of the plane. This time the stewardess came back specifically to talk to us. She explained that the back of the plane has 3 oxygen masks per row instead of 2 and that infant life vests were located under the back seats. In other words, the back of the plane is specially equipped safety wise for those traveling with children in their laps. (I'd assumed they just wanted us back there because it's louder and the engines would drown out the sound of fussy babies, lol.)

A few minutes later as we were moving onto the runway and I was getting Emmitt situated to nurse, she came back to speak with us again. You'll never guess what she said...

"Enjoy your meal little guy!"

LOL. :) See? That's how it SHOULD be. We even chatted some as I was deplaning about birth and babies and such. Thus, I came home prepared to write about my great experience traveling on American Airlines...that is until we landed.

We had gate checked our stroller. However, it was cold that night, so they announced that all gate checked luggage would be going to baggage claim. We asked if that included the stroller and were told that ALL gate checked baggage was going to baggage claim.

Every try to carry all your crap PLUS a two month old through an airport? See, this is why I'd tried so hard (and failed) to get the sling thing worked out. Instead, we traded off carrying him (almost 15 pounds of chubby fun) and then mom sat with him while I gathered all our luggage.

They broke our stroller.

Yup, that's right, nearly snapped the wheel clean off. So that meant I got to stand in line with all the folks with missing luggage only to be told that American Airlines accepts no responsibility for the things that are broken on their plane.

Nice, huh? So American Airlines flight attendants get a thumbs up from me, but their baggage department and customer service center get a HUGE thumbs down.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Massachusetts Nursing in Public Bill

Motherwear's Tanya Lieberman had a great post yesterday about the current status of the breastfeeding legislation in Massachusetts along with an update on the New York Breastfeeding Bill of Rights that I posted about last week.

Tanya writes...

In Massachusetts, State Senator Susan Fargo has authored the SB 2704, the Breastfeeding Mothers Protection Act, which would provide protection for nursing in public and would create an incentive for employers to establish clean, private facilities for women to pump and store breastmilk. Massachusetts is one of only 14 states that do not have laws which specifically allow women to breastfeed in any public or private location.

I've also heard from Tanya that the bill is stuck in committee due to opposition from small business owners. (restaurants, primarily) If you live in Massachusetts, I'd urge you to contact House Ways and Means Committee Chair DeLeo at 617-722-2990 to voice your support for the legislation.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Breastfeeding Saves Lives...Check This Out

I don't have a lot of time right now, but wanted to get this story on here. I'll be back later with full commentary.

Mom and two kids survive being stranded for 9 days by breastfeeding

Wow. If you are the praying type, please say a prayer for the father, who is still missing.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Call for Help - Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio

As regular Lactivist readers know, milk banking is a cause near and dear to my heart. It's actually what compelled me to start this blog. I've also always donated a portion of profits from sales of the Lactivist shirts to the milk bank. Thanks to Lactivist readers and shoppers that meant that I was able to take down a check for $1000 over the summer. Right now the tally is back up to about $300, but I'm hoping that you can help us make it more.

One of the great things about the HMBANA milk banks is the fact that they are non-profit. They charge ONLY enough money to cover the processing and storage costs for the milk. While insurance often covers the cost of the milk, some insurance companies refuse to pay. In other situations, the parents of the baby simply don't have insurance. Since HMBANA milk banks are committed to providing that milk for any baby that medically needs it, that means that they sometimes send out milk that they will never be reimbursed for. In fact, the average milk bank never receives payment for 15-20% of the milk that they ship. Here in Columbus, that percentage if even higher. Add in the fact that the milk bank is barely two years old (and thus hasn't yet recouped enough costs to pay for all their equipment) and you've got a milk bank that's really struggling to the point that every single dollar of donations REALLY counts.

Thus, any money earned from the sale of ANY product on the Lactivist site between December 1st to December 31st will be going straight to the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio. I'm hoping that if everyone helps spread the word that we might be able to add to that $300 to come up with another $1000 for the bank. So if you're a nursing mom, ask for a Lactivist shirt for Christmas or Hanukah, or buy one for your husband or your baby. If you KNOW a nursing mom, buy her or her baby a Lactivist shirt for the holidays.

Don't feel like shopping, but want to make a donation? You can send a donation via PayPal by either transferring funds or by placing it on your credit card. Heck, if every Lactivist reader donated a single dollar, we'd make it to that $1000 mark in NO TIME! I'll gather that money together with the sales money and will post a grand total here on the site come January 1st.

Even beyond shopping and donating, you can still help out! If you have a blog, consider running a post talking about this fundraiser and pointing your readers to the store. If you belong to a message board, discussion forum, email list, La Leche League group, MOPS group...or ANYTHING that puts you in touch with other mothers, consider passing the information along.

You've got another week or two to get orders in and to still get your orders delivered by Christmas. (You can also come back and spend your holiday cash on a gift for yourself in the last week of the month.) It's also good to note that CafePress is running some holiday shipping specials right now.

There are nearly twenty new designs or redesigns up on the site, including some ADORABLE new children's products. The Milk Bank needs YOUR help in order to continue providing the valuable service that they provide. Please consider doing what you can to help out.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

A Breastfeeding Mom's Holiday Wish List

This month the members of the "boobie brigade" and I are offering up our second installment of the breastfeeding blog carnival. This month, we're focusing on holiday gift guides for the breastfeeding moms. You'll find a post by Tanya at Motherwear titled "From Need to nice: Best Gifts for the Breastfeeding Mother, a post from Andi at Mama Knows Breast on why DVR has become a nursing mom's best friend, some tips from Breastfeeding 1-2-3's Angela on how to buy gifts for a breastfeeding mom without breaking the bank and a post from Sinead at Breastfeeding Mums that includes every nursing mom's biggest request...a good nights' sleep!

We're also joined this month by two guest bloggers from "I Don't Know" and Mama's Angel.

Since Anngela and Sinead have offered up quite a few suggestions based on their own favorite products, and since I already post product reviews here on the site...I've decided to shift focus and post a list of the things that I actually want, but have never tried.

A Good, but Pretty Nursing Bra

Blech. Nursing bras stink. They're expensive, they're ugly and they're often not very comfortable. In fact, nursing bras tend to make me think of the Sunday coupon section that always features those mail order bras that look like something out of a 1950's flick when all women looked like they had two missiles attached to the front of their chest. Sure, there are plenty of great options for average size moms, I've even seen some downright pretty ones...if you're no bigger than a C cup. But since the Lactivist was built for triplets, I need something that not only looks good, but that's also capable of supporting Dolly Parton.

Thankfully, the folks at FigLeaves.com know that just because you're nursing doesn't mean you want to wear one of those giant white granny bras. I've spotted several gorgeous nursing bras over there that are actually available in sizes larger than C.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes!

While it's perfectly easy and acceptable to breastfeed a child without any special clothes, there's no denying that absolute ease that comes with breastfeeding in a public in a great nursing top. I'll nurse anytime, anywhere (and have, LOLO but I do try to wear a nursing top if I'm headed out on the town. While I have a couple of tops from Motherhood Maternity, I keep dreaming of going on a shopping spree at the Motherwear web site.

Unfortunately, nursing tops are not cheap. If you're a sales rack junkie like me, it's tough to swallow the idea of spending $30+ dollars for a single shirt. Thankfully, Motherwear has a clearance section. But there's another great option if you are a little creative. I went on my own shopping spree at Old Navy just last week and have decided that several of their items are MUST-HAVES for any nursing mom. With layering in style, it's pretty easy to load up on basics from a site like Old Navy, cut your own slits in some of the shirts and then open yourself up to a world of wardrobe possibilities. Just snag a tank top, a crew neck tee, a long sleeve tee, a Henley or even a Kangaroo tee, cut slits on each side, make a quick seam with your sewing machine to protect it in the wash and layer away. At about $10 per shirt, you could buy 5 "base" shirts and simply change what you wear them under, giving you a COMPLETE nursing wardrobe for $50.

And of course, what nursing mom's wardrobe would be comeplete without at least one shirt from The Lactivist? You could always try my personal favorite... "I'm Too Lazy to Bottlefeed." Another option, if the mom on your list happens to actually BE a lactivist is to snag the new "It's not about my right to breastfeed, it's about my child's right to eat" shirt. I'll post later with more details, but know that every penny earned from Lactivist sales in the month of December is going STRAIGHT to the Mother's Milk Bank of Ohio, which is in desperate need of funds.

Nursing Pads

While I've talked about nursing pads that I love and...well...hate, I'm intrigued by Lily Padz. I keep hearing about how wonderful they are and as someone that still leaks enough at night that I have to nurse Emmitt while holding a towel up to the non-nursing breast, I can see how handy they'd be. For those that haven't heard of Lily Padz, they are basically a thin, silicone pad that has a tacky side that's self-adhesive. They work by applying slight pressure to the nipple to keep you from having any leaking. They're also reusable, with the site claiming that a pair (about $18) will last for up to two months.

Nursing Pillow

A nursing mom quickly learns that if they're going to get any sleep, baby needs to be nearby. In my house, that means that Emmitt is in the pack-n-play about two feet from my side of the bed. For many moms, that means co-sleeping. To that end, I'm intrigued by the Nurse-n-Glow nursing pillow. Basically, this pillow positions baby properly on his side with a protective barrier from sleepy bedmates. Better yet, the pillow LIGHTS UP allowing mom to see baby for latching, checking, or adoration. ;)

Books

I'm a research junkie. I thrive on learning anything and everything I can about topics that interest me and that means that reference manuals take up quite a bit of space on my shelf. Since I'm pretty hard-core about avoiding medicine during pregnancy and while breastfeed (ok, ok, I don't like taking medicine period, but at least I have a really good excuse while pregnant or nursing...) I would absolutely love to have my own copy of Dr. Hale's Medication and Mother's Milk. I'd also love a copy of Dr. Sears Breastfeeding Book and would ask for LLL's Womanly Art of Breastfeeding if I didn't already own it.

A GOOD Sling

While I haven't blogged much on it, we'll just say that my adventures in slinging have not been positive. I personally find baby wearing to be more difficult than breastfeeding. However, for many nursing moms, slings are a life-saver. That's why a good sling, be it a pouch style, ring sling or mei tai is likely going to work it's way onto every breastfeeding mom's wish list. Added to this gift should be a one hour consult with someone else that has successfully used that style of carrier. ;)

A "Just Big Enough" Diaper Bag

The beautiful thing about breastfeeding is how much less gear you need to carry around with you in a diaper bag. In fact, when I head out with Emmitt and leave Elnora home with Greg, I find that all I really need to do is throw a few diapers and some wipes into my purse. That's got me wishing for a new diaper bag that has some space for a spare outfit, but still isn't so big that you could pack a week's worth of gear in it. I could go crazy with a super trendy Fleurville Mini tote, but seeing as how they cost nearly $100 (and as I mentioned...I'm cheap) I'd probably settle for an equally cute mini tote like this one.

A Little (or a Lot!) Bit of Pampering

While breastfeeding is one of the most amazing things I've been able to do in my life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, there's no denying how much energy it takes to nurse a growing child. If you add in my pregnancy days, it's been nearly five months since I've slept more than 4 and a half hours straight...most nights I'm lucky to get one good four hour stretch. Add in caring for a two year old and there is no "sleep when baby sleeps" option. Thus, a little bit of pampering would be nice. Maid service, a gift card for a nice restaurant that does take-out, or a Netflix gift certificate would be enjoyed by most of the breastfeeding moms that I know.

A spa trip would be fabulous, but consider whether or not the mom is able to be away from her baby that long yet... Or let her turn her own bathroom into a spa with yummy bath products that leave her smelling good enough to eat. (yeah, yeah, baby already thinks that, but let everyone else thing it too. Know a nursing mom that loves sparklies? Why not get her a hand-crafted necklace that's as gorgeous as she is?

Gotta Mention...

Ok, so I said I wasn't going to mention things that I already have, but I'd be remiss if I didn't suggest just a couple of things that I couldn't live without. Lansinoh...a Milk Bands nursing bracelet...and a great breast pump. Got any other great ideas? Throw a comment on here with a link to what you'd move love to get as a nursing mom.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Just in Time for the Holidays...

Not only is CafePress currently running a free holiday shipping deal...but we here at The Lactivist (and by we, I mean, well...me) have just finished updating the site with a SLEW of new goodies for your kids. (yes, yes...new goodies for the adults are coming along too, but geeze, I gotta get other work done too ya know...)

Anyway, you can check out the whole new line of children's wear including my personal favorites boob monster and Mom's too lazy to bottlefeed. You'll also note that ALL of our children's shirts are avaiable in kids' sizes too...because breastfeeding doesn't have to stop when your child outgrows a onsie. ;)

For those grown-ups looking for a little holiday cheer...stay tuned. I'll be working through the weekend to get the new adult shirts online in new slogans AND new items of clothing.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Before and After

This was my baby when I didn't think twice about what food I put into my mouth...

From 10-2206


This is my baby after I finally figured out that there are, in fact, some babies that don't like it when moms eat certain foods.

From 11-30-06


Funny how right about the time that the leftover Halloween chocolate ran out, my baby turned into a cooing, laughing, smiling angel.

And no, it's not coincidence, I tested it by eating more chocolate...it is DEFINITELY the chocolate.

Boys! :-P

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments:

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Blazing the Breastfeeding Trail...

I remember back when I was EPing for Elnora for all those months...I'd hear moms talking about how much work it would be and how they couldn't believe I'd go to all that trouble...how breastfeeding was soooooooooo easy. To be perfectly honest with you, I kinda thought they were full of crap. ;) I mean I've always been a HUGE supporter of breastfeeding, but I really honestly thought that it was something "hard" that only really, really dedicated people managed to do. I admired moms that pulled it off and secretly kinda wished that I could be one of them.

Ha! Much like many other things in life, it turns out that breastfeeding CAN be exceedingly difficult those first few weeks, but once you get past that hump, it's so easy it's laughable. But I think back to my experience with Elnora and a few things REALLY stand out at me...

Firstly, I've realized that up until this baby was born, I didn't know ANYONE that had breastfed within the last 15 years. I have two aunts that nursed their children for a couple months each and I have a friend from church that nursed her sons 20-some years ago. But that's it. I had no peers, no friends, no one in close proximity that had breastfed. I think I really underestimated how much harder that makes it for a woman. Not having someone to turn to when things get tough, being the first to do something different...it's a HUGE mental and emotional step for some women.

This time around, things were a little different, but not much. The wife of a work colleague was breastfeeding her third child and was very encouraging and a friend gave birth just a week before Emmitt was born and is still nursing. In reality, the Delta Nurse-in last week was the first time that I had ANY exposure to women my own age sitting around nursing their children. Pretty crazy for "The Lactivist" eh?

Secondly, I was much more informed this time around than I was the last time. I knew what to expect and I knew that I had to get help at the VERY FIRST SIGN of a problem. (We did have problems and I saw an IBCLC on day four.) I was also having a home birth which already put me into the "blazing new trails" category, so breastfeeding really didn't seem all that strange to friends and family. ;)

I can't stress enough how important I think it is for women to see and know other women that breastfeed. Exposure does wonders toward educating, normalizing and promoting breastfeeding. It's been amazing to have the chance to help play that role for people around me. That's part of why I've made it a point to NEVER hide when I'm nursing and to do everything in my power to make breastfeeding a normal, natural thing that takes place around friends, family and the general public. It's been refreshing to see perspectives change...for example...

1.) My mother-in-law who was an L&D nurse in the early 70's. She was pretty terrified at the idea of a home birth, but actually ended up being here for it and thinking it was pretty cool. She also knew very little about breastfeeding, having bottlefed her kids in the 70's. The first week here she commented on how often I was nursing Emmitt and said "I thought you were only supposed to nurse every three hours?"

I explained that that was an old way of thinking and that that was part of why so many women had supply issues. Fast forward just two months later and we were talking at thanksgiving. The Emily Gillette thing came up and at some point, someone mentioned something about the kid's age...my mother-in-law piped up with "Well isn't it actually recommended that moms breastfeed for at LEAST a year and preferably two?" Tee hee.. Love it!

2.) My father. Dad's been pretty on board with the benefits of breast milk since I started the Lactivist project last year. In fact, he's come up with several of the slogans on our shirts (including Nip/Suck and "That's my baby's lunch you're staring at"). Anyway, during a discussion over lunch a few weeks ago the subject of breastfeeding came up. Dad paused, looked at my mom, and said, in a slightly accusing tone 'Why didn't you breastfeed our kids??' I laughed, but had to stand up for mom explaining that it just wasn't done then and she really didn't do anything "wrong" by not nursing us.

3.) My cousin's boyfriend. My cousin (age 25) and her boyfriend recently moved to our small village and have been spending a lot of time here. I was talking to her a week or so ago and she told me about his reaction to my nursing while he's there. She said that the first time I did it, he kinda freaked out, thinking "oh no! she's gonna nurse! what do I do!!" She said he was trying so hard to avert his eyes but also felt like he just couldn't look away. About a minute into nursing, he realized he couldn't see anything at all and every since he said he hardly even notices. He'd just never been exposed to it before and didn't know what to expect.

There's nothing extraordinary about those three examples. I'm not any different from any other nursing mom...I'm not really "blazing new trails" that other people aren't capable of blazing. In reality, these types of things are happening all over the world...every time a woman steps up to the challenge and becomes the first in her inner circle to breastfeed a child. The domino effect is a powerful one and every single one of us needs to realize the role that we play in pushing those dominos down.

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Author: Jennifer Laycock » Comments: