Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Alyssa Milano, Lactivist

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Like Every Mom: A Bottle-Feeding Mom's Story

Today, we have a Guest Post from our friend Jessica. Unable to breastfeed due to the need to take some heavy-duty medications, she wants to share ways that breastfeeding moms can support mothers like her.

Like every mom, I have a mantra. It keeps me going when the toddler has thrown off his diaper in favor of peeing on the floor, the only food in the fridge is a stick of butter and some olives, and I’ve forgotten to move clothes to the dryer for the third time.

“I’m doing the best I can with what I have.”

Child, if you don’t want your diaper then sit on the toilet. While I order a pizza and wash the damn clothes again. Screw it, let’s just buy new clothes.

This mantra first came to me long ago, when I was freshly pregnant, excited and terrified. I sat in my doctors office as she listed off all the tests, appointments, and risks associated with this new adventure. In passing, before I left, she said “and you won’t be able to breastfeed.”

What? Well, I’ll do the best I can with what I have. That’s all I could say. Because what I have is Crohn's Disease, and by a stroke of faith and luck I found myself in my GI’s office that day discussing the pregnancy that should have been impossible. But I had asked God for this baby, and that changed everything for me.

Months before my pregnancy and after trying every medication on the market (and all of them failing to control my Crohn's), I was put on bi-weekly injections of Humira and daily high doses of Prednisone. For the first time in a long time I was able to eat, I was able to live a normal life, I gained back the 20 pounds I lost to illness, and I was thriving again. I was getting healthy enough for the bowel resection I would need to remove the damaged part of my colon. And then…. BABY! What an awesome surprise! I thought I was getting healthy enough for surgery, but I was actually getting healthy enough to be a mom.

I would be able to wean off the prednisone for my pregnancy, but would have to resume it again after delivery. I would take Humira throughout pregnancy and after delivery. While these two medications worked beautifully to control my illness, they are not nursing-mamma-friendly. From the FDA:

“It is not known whether adalimumab (HUMIRA) is excreted in human milk or absorbed systemically after ingestion. Because many drugs and immunoglobulins are excreted in human milk, 
and because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from HUMIRA, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.” 

“Systemically administered corticosteroids (PREDNISONE) appear in human milk and could suppress growth, interfere with endogenous corticosteroid production, or cause other untoward effects. Because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants from corticosteroids, a decision should be made whether to discontinue nursing or to discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.”

In a nutshell, the FDA says if you really need these medications to live, then you really can’t breastfeed. And breastfeeding was something I’d never given any thought to until I was told I couldn’t. Isn’t it amazing how badly we want something we can’t have? I was going to find a way. There had to be a way.

Funny thing, there was actually no way. There are some things you can’t just will to happen. Defeated, I sulked with a cake. Because pregnancy rationale always wins and cake is delicious. And I knew I would do the best I could with what I had.

I’ve been lucky. In our breastfeeding-friendly community, I was often the only mom scooping formula and shaking bottles. Aside from a few snide remarks from passerby…. “breast is best!” (Correct reply is “and formula is the best alternative!”), I’ve found support from the village of breastfeeding moms. I know this is not the norm. Formula shaming is real, and it hurts. Don’t we all just love our babies? We love them so much our hearts ache. Don’t look at the bottle, look at the mom. Look at the baby. It’s that same love you share. I promise. 

Here’s what I’d like to ask from you beautiful breastfeeding moms. Let me join your village. I have a cute baby and cake and I’m told I’m a blast at parties. Here’s how you can include me:

1) My boobs hurt like hell. Please, for the love of God, help me. 

Somewhere in all the formula research I did, I convinced myself that since I would not be able to nurse, my milk would simply not come in. Hey, guess what? I make TONS of milk. I was wildly unprepared. I found myself staring at the wall of nursing pads at target, boobs on fire and leaking through my shirt. Tell me to get a cabbage, what nursing pads to use. Tell me not to bind the fiery monsters too tight, and to take Benadryl. And most importantly, that this too shall pass.

2) Invite me to mom groups.

You probably saw me maneuvering around breastfeeding circle at the natural baby store. I’m just here for a teething necklace and damn, I should have probably looked into what classes they do here first. Now it’s all awkward when someone asks me to join and I sheepishly shake a bottle of formula in reply. Please save me from my awkwardness. Could you invite me to cloth diapering and baby wearing group? And let’s have lunch after class. It’ll be fun, I promise. 

3) Those bottles are not going to wash themselves

When you come visit me, freshly home with my new babe, the sink will be brimming with half empty bottles. I’m so tired, I’m so sore, and I feel like I’ve been washing bottles for days. The laundry can wait, we don’t need another casserole. Please, wash a few bottles while you’re here. I might cry with joy, seriously. 

4) Feed my baby

The one thing I have loved about formula feeding from day one is that everyone I love can feed my baby. It’s amazing to watch, so awkward at first. Get the boppy, am I holding him right? This angle isn’t right, adjust. And again. How do I hold the bottle? Am I doing this right?
But baby knows. Baby leads, and curls in for a warm meal and a nap. And whoever is holding that bottle relaxes into that sweet amazing place, mesmerized by my little one. You will love that moment and I want to share it with you. 

5) Offer me some milk 

WHAT. Oh, that’s so awkward! Yeah, I know, but that’s ok. Just do it. I can’t ask you for your liquid gold that you’ve pumped for days to acquire (Or weeks? I have no idea.). But you can just throw it out there. “If you ever need some milk, I’ve got a freezer full!” I may never take you up on it, but I will know how much you care about me and my baby. I need that. 

In return, I promise to always support you. Hey, you know that moment when you just want to cry to someone about your latch issues and not hear “oh, I’ve been there” in reply? I’m your girl. I have not been there. Tell me all about it, I’ll just listen. I promise.

When you’re struggling, I will be your biggest cheerleader! I’m so proud to say my friend breastfed for a week, a month, a year, still going. Keep going. I know you can do it, and I know you need to hear it and I will tell you this every day.

When you wean that babe and shed a few tears, I’ll be right there to pick you up and take you out to celebrate. This is a milestone! Let’s go get you a sexy new bra and drink cocktails. Bring your tiny purse that could not possibly fit a pump, it goes great with that new non-nursing shirt!

We can be friends, see? We can do so much for each other. It takes a village because everyone in the village is different. If we were all the same we’d be quite boring, actually. Let’s not be boring, let’s be awesome together. I’ll bake you lactation cookies while you clip formula coupons for me. That’s how awesome moms party.

Jessica is a full time working mom to one fabulous little boy and his epic head of hair. When she’s not in the office, you can find her cooking up Pinterest fails, cursing at her sewing machine, or coloring on the walls with her son.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Jamberry Review & Special Giveaway

It's so amazing that we are already celebrating a year of this wonderful blog being in existence! We have been honored to have such a fantastic, diverse group of women share their stories with us and our readers. To celebrate our blogiversary, a friend has created some absolutely gorgeous Jamberry nail wraps to support breastfeeding! One lucky reader will win a set, and everyone will have a chance to purchase them if you don't win. The best part is, she is hosting an online Jamberry party and will give 20% of all proceeds to La Leche League! What a great way to get a little something for yourself and give back to a great organization.

If you haven't heard of Jamberry yet, what rock have you been living under?? But seriously, these things are amazing! Have you ever tried to paint your nails with a baby or toddler around? Yeah, me either. I can imagine if you did, it could go something like this:

If someone knows who to credit for this photo, let me know!

My other fear is that I'd get the polish on, and immediately at that moment, my baby would need me. Then I'd have nail polish smudged all over. Sure you can go to the salon, but sometimes you just don't have the time or the money for that. Enter Jamberry nails. These things are amazing! They are high quality nail stickers that can last up to 2 weeks on fingers and 4 weeks on toes. I don't know about you, but when I do get a manicure at the salon, it's a miracle if it lasts more than 24 hours. It will obviously depend on your individual nails, but these have the potential to be a fabulous looking manicure for 14 days. That's amazing! Here are a few of my Jamicures.

Besides the simplicity, one of the things I love best about Jamberry is how natural they are. Even though most nail polish is now available 5 Free, they still have some chemicals. I love that Jamberry is simply an acrylic polymer. There's also no smell, which is perfect if you are pregnant or nursing and can't tolerate the fumes. Jamberry offers a multitude of styles to choose from. There is something for everyone, whether you are a more reserved person or love a pop of color and pattern. One sheet of Jamberry wraps can yield you two manicures and two pedicures, and even some extra left for accent nails. I've even see people take the scraps and use them for French tips.

My friend and fellow breastfeeding mom, Dawn, was generous enough to have these special breastfeeding wraps designed for us. One lucky reader will win a set in their choice of pink or purple. On top of that, we'll be having an online party where you can order any Jamberry wraps your heart desires. 20% of all purchases will be donated to La Leche League, so make sure you stock up! Take advantage of the Buy 3, Get 1 Free deal. That makes the cost of a Jamicure about $3.75. What salon can you go to for that price?!

Win a set of these gorgeous breastfeeding nail wraps
To place your order, visit Dawn's Jamberry site. Shop around, add your items to your cart, and check out. When placing your order, make sure you select a party and choose Adventures in Breastfeeding LLL Fundraiser. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact Dawn or any of the AIB admins. We will be happy to help you place your order! Join us on Facebook for all the party fun here. Learn more about Jamberry, see different Jamicures, and more. 

Thank you for joining us this past year on our journey. We look forward to sharing many more stories, tips, and recipes with all of you. 

Thanks to everyone for entering the giveaway! Congrats to Jessica H. on winning the beautiful custom Jams. I hope you'll share a picture with us when you apply them. For everyone else, you can order your own set of pink or purple custom Jams by contacting Dawn at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Year in Review: Big Changes FAQ

Today, we continue our look back at a year of tips and nips (see what I did there?) from the Adventures in Breastfeeding team! Monday, Laura covered the most common questions we hear from moms at the beginning of their breastfeeding journeys, so now it's time to talk about what comes after that! Maybe you're still in the newborn phase and wondering what to expect as your nursling grows, or maybe you're a seasoned pro looking for advice on extended breastfeeding. Either way, we have plenty of great answers and personal stories for you fabulous mamas!

I'm going back to work soon and I'm so nervous! Will I still be able to breastfeed?

You can definitely keep nursing even if you work full-time! We have plenty of tips on how to establish a good pumping routine, the best pumping supplies to have on hand, and a VERY IMPORTANT overview of your legal rights as a pumping mom!
Know Your Rights: Pumping in the Workplace
Pumping Counts Too: A Working Mom's Story

Working Mamas Must-Have Pumping Supplies

I've got a handle on breastfeeding and would really like to rejoin normal society. What can I wear? What can I eat? Can I finally have a beer? Am I EVER going to drop this baby weight?!

Breathe, Mama: we've got you covered! There are plenty of cute clothes you can wear that make it easy to nurse your babe, and we have a wildly popular pumpkin spice lactation cookie recipe that even your non-nursing friends will be begging for. YES, you can have that beer, and probably another drink, as well! And definitely bookmark this great post on getting in shape while breastfeeding!
Nursing Wear for the Mama on the Go
Pumpkin Spice Lactation Cookies

Pumping it Up!

I've decided to nurse beyond a year, but I don't know anyone else who's breastfed for that long. What's it like?

What a wonderful thing to do for your child! Though it may not seem like it, you're in great company! Important things to consider if you're going to practice extended (or "biological") breastfeeding are: how to tell the difference between weaning and a nursing strike, knowing the facts so you can answer the skeptics, setting boundaries with an increasingly communicative and independent toddler, and whether to tandem nurse if another baby is on the way!

Everyone seems to have an opinion about my decision to breastfeed or nurse in public. I feel so alone sometimes....

We totally get it. That's why we talk about our first experience nursing in public (and later without a cover! GASP!), that time someone reported our beautiful nursing photo, and we highlight some of the amazing breastfeeding art and imagery out there.
5 Awesome Breastfeeding Posters
Phew! We've had a busy year with all these boobs and babies! And we have even bigger plans for next year! From the bottoms of our hearts, thank you so much for your interest, support, and incredible feedback! Please stay tuned this month for lots of fresh topics, giveaways, and more exciting changes!

And tell us what topics you'd like to see us cover on the blog, or contact us to become a regular or occasional author! Nurse on, mamas!

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Year in Review: Starting Out FAQ

It's November...and we couldn't be more thrilled that this month marks one year of tears, triumphs, and tatas here at Adventures in Breastfeeding!

To kick off our celebration, we're taking a look back at some of our greatest hits. Today I'll share links to posts that would answer questions moms might have when they are breastfeeding newborns. Later this week Missy will highlight AIB posts that would be more relevant for those who are further along in their breastfeeding adventure. Wherever you are on your journey, we are confident you'll find something informative, inspiring, and empowering as we look back on a year's worth of Adventures in Breastfeeding.

Here are a few of our most popular responses to some common questions new moms have when they begin breastfeeding.

I'm pregnant with my first baby! What can I do now to prepare for my breastfeeding adventure?

Congrats! When it comes to finding success breastfeeding, our contributors have 3 important tips to avoid feeling overwhelmed: educate yourself, trust yourself, and get support.

5 Things You Really Need to Breastfeed
Doing It Wrong
5 Things Every New Mom Wants to Hear

I have a newborn and this is HARD! Does it get better?

The short answer is yes. Whether the barrier you're facing is nipple pain (ouch!), postpartum depression, or anxiety about inverted nipples or augmented breasts, chances are you'll find a way to dig in and get through it. A few of our contributors have shared about these obstacles and how they overcame them.

The Vanishing Finish Line
When Life is on Mute
Do Faulty Breasts = Breastfeeding Failure?


Am I making enough milk? Do I need to supplement with formula?

Misinformation about breast milk supply and what constitutes a "normal" breastfeeding relationship has got to be the biggest booby trap out there. If you are concerned about your supply, it may be an issue with baby, or it may be an issue with you. It helps to have realistic expectations about how supply is created, how it's not, and how often baby will feed (especially during a developmental leap or growth spurt). But sometimes there may be another issue at play, like a posterior tongue tie. If you've already begun supplementing and would like to try to scale back, you can find some tips here.

4 Myths Busted
Pumping Output is Not an Indicator of Supply
Surviving a Growth Spurt

Diagnosing a Posterior Tongue Tie

How to Stop Supplementing

I had dreams of breastfeeding my baby, but now he's in the NICU. What now?

Any parent who has had a NICU experience knows that it's difficult to put into words the challenges you'll face. Tiffany has shared her story of nursing in the NICU and Analyn wrote about how nursing helped her little girl during a hospital stay. 

Nursing in the NICU
Breastfeeding and Hospital Stays

As I look back at the blog's first year, I feel so blessed by what I see: dozens of posts by women (and men!) telling their stories about fears faced, lessons learned, and victories celebrated. Stories of support and encouragement for moms in tough breastfeeding situations. I know now, more than ever, that I am not in this alone. Boy am I grateful.

Would you add anything to this FAQ list about breastfeeding a newborn? 
Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page!

And don't forget to check out Missy's post on Thursday about FAQs moms have when they pass the newborn stage.