It’s your first day home with your baby. Could anything else feel more terrifying? I don’t think there is a new parent out there who didn’t say to themselves “I am not qualified to take care of a baby!” at some point in those early days. When you are in the hospital (if you gave birth in a hospital setting) there are nurses and doctors checking on you, visitors coming to see you and the baby, help with diaper changes, bathing, changing clothes. Even your meals are brought to you. Everything you need is just one push of the call button. It’s blissful. Then you’re discharged.
This is when all the chaos starts. The first night home can be challenging. In all the preparation families do to bring a new life into the world, I don’t know how many actually prepare and learn about HOW baby will react to coming into this world. It’s cold and loud and bright – babies are used to a cozy womb. Overstimulation is common during the newborn period. Reading baby behavior can be difficult, especially if this is a foreign language to you and you are sleep deprived. Maybe you envisioned yourself holding your sweet baby, breastfeeding, and setting your baby down to sleep. Everyone sleeps for a few hours and then up again. In reality, the baby wants to eat every 30 minutes, cries if you put her down and no one is sleeping. And it’s all perfectly normal. In fact, I would expect nothing less.
This week’s Badass Breastfeeding Podcast is all about the first few days home, what to expect, and how to survive. Don’t miss it!
What is extended breastfeeding, anyway? How do you determine when you have crossed over from “regular” breastfeeding and into “extended” breastfeeding? I have heard many opinions about this, so let’s get right down to it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends babies breastfeed for 2 years. The World Health Organization (or WHO) recommends up to age 3. My point of view is really anything beyond the 2 years that is recommended by the AAP. I breastfed all my kids for over a year and I don’t really consider that extended. Some consider anything over the first year to be extended breastfeeding. However you look at it, it’s beneficial for mom and baby.
Society is pretty vocal with their judgment about this particular topic. Kind of that no filter, offensive type of judgment. Since I work with breastfeeding mothers, I will celebrate any breastfeeding milestone. I am also a safe place for mothers who are breastfeeding into toddlerhood. Often mothers won’t even tell their family members or their doctor that they are still breastfeeding for fear of the backlash that may come with it.
As with any other aspect of parenting (or really anything else you do in your life), extended breastfeeding is a choice that is made between mother and baby and the family, and doesn’t need the vote of approval from anyone else. If it’s working for you, keep it up.
Week 4 of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast is all about extended breastfeeding. Interested in hearing more? Check it out here.
Have you ever seen someone tandem nurse? It’s somewhat of a unicorn in our society these days. Just knowing someone who has managed this is enough, let alone witness it with your own eyes.
Tandem nursing is when mom is breastfeeding her new baby and still breastfeeding the first baby. This is a pretty amazing thing to be doing, especially when you consider that she is now breastfeeding 2 kids and 2 different stages of development. So let’s put this a different way. I breastfed twins. 2 babies (my claim to fame, by the way). I am really proud that I breastfed twins. I also have a master’s degree. And published a book. But that breastfeeding twins thing – definitely my best work. However, breastfeeding twins is not tandem nursing. Tandem nursing is a completely different type of talent.
Let’s break it down. Now we have a woman who is breastfeeding a toddler and becomes pregnant. Do you remember what it’s like to be pregnant (if you aren’t pregnant right now, that is)? Do you remember the breast tenderness, the fatigue, the overall feeling of ICK that can take over at times…now imagine breastfeeding a toddler through all of that. And the toddler along with a newborn. It is probably one of the most remarkable things a new mother can do. I celebrate women who do this, because it is certainly not for everyone. One of the biggest obstacles to tandem nursing and nursing while pregnant is getting past societal norms. The information, or lack thereof, is astounding. Everything from slighting your baby from nutrients to preterm labor – everyone has an opinion about this and most of it is not valid.
This is where I plug the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast. This week we talk about tandem nursing and breastfeeding while pregnant, and all the fun that goes along with it. Want to learn more? Have your own experiences? Tune in, and then feel free to reach out with your stories as well. Check it out!
When my babies were born, I remember being unsure of what to do. Not just with feeding, but with so many other aspects of parenting. Bedtime, bathing, breastfeeding, pediatrician appointments, and sleep habits…the list goes on and on. The more questions I had, the more opinions I received. Or so it seemed. And this was BEFORE Google really kicked in to solve all of our problems.
One of the biggest complaints I get from new parents is the lack of consistency in the information they are given. From what they read online to what they read in books and blogs, information from nurses to advice from family…no 2 pieces of information are the same. In our society now, people are disconnected from each other. Where we used to count on generations of family to be the “village”, so many have moved away from home to settle somewhere else. Technology is how we stay in touch and how we keep connected. With babies, it is still necessary to have the human interaction that has kept us connected for hundreds of years.
This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, we talk about this very thing. How conflicting information can be detrimental to the breastfeeding relationship between the mother/baby dyad. How can you know who to listen to and what advice to follow? Tune in and find out. I will give you a hint – it’s not as complicated as you might think.
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Sometimes it seems as if there is never enough hours in the day. I remember a time when it didn’t seem like life was so jam-packed with stuff to do. If it’s not about work, its kids, or pets, or the house…as overwhelming as it seems at times, sometimes I wonder if I do better with a plate that is always full. I think I am one of those people who just like to take on more and more. Bring on the challenge of yet another project! I’m the girl who wrote papers in college at the last minute (always turned out fine). Now that I am in the real world, I take things right up until the deadline before I finish. My mom always said that I do best when I fly by the seat of my pants.
That being said, I decided that I didn’t have enough going on and I should start a podcast. I met Abby at a conference a couple months ago. She was doing a keynote presentation and I was doing a breakout session. I didn’t think about a podcast at first, but once I got home and reached out to her via email, it just seemed like a good thing to try.
Abby is known as the Badass Breastfeeder. Breastfeeding advocate extraordinaire. It’s only fitting that we would have so much to share with the world in regards to breastfeeding, babies, parenting, and the social issues that may surround all of the above. It made sense to join efforts with a podcast. Why should you listen to this podcast? Well, first of all, because it’s badass. If that isn’t reason enough, how about being able to weigh in on the topics that are chosen? We welcome your feedback, and offer up our email for listeners to make suggestions on what they want to hear. We talk about real life issues surrounding breastfeeding, in a way that all new families can relate to. It feels like we are sitting there with you, offering to answer your questions and solve your problems. Admit it, this is the breastfeeding podcast that you’ve been waiting for. So click the link below and subscribe. You’ll be glad you did.
I have noticed over the last several years that breastfeeding problems seem to come in waves. I might have one month when most of the issues are sore nipples and latch problems. Other months I might see more babies with slow weight gain. More recently, I have had several mothers complain about teething and biting babies.
During pregnancy, when a woman is asked about breastfeeding often the answer I hear is “I will breastfeed until the baby gets teeth”. Well, babies do still have to eat even when teeth start coming in. Once you are aware of what to look for with your teething baby, the whole idea doesn’t seem quite as dangerous.
One of the difficult ideas behind teething is that you don’t really know when it will start, and it is different for every baby. Have 5 babies? Experience teething in 5 different ways. It’s hard to get around that. Babies can also show signs of teething for months before you actually see that little tooth come through. As uncomfortable as this may be for you and breastfeeding, it is probably worse for your little one. In addition, nursing may bring your baby comfort if teething is uncomfortable, or help him back to sleep if he wakes during the night with teething pain.
Not every baby will bite when breastfeeding. Some may bite once, and the shriek of pain that comes from their mom may be enough to put a stop to it. The one thing to remember is that if baby is biting, she is not feeding. Let me repeat that – if baby is biting, she is not feeding. For a baby to feed effectively, her tongue must be over the gum line (and the teeth) and that is not possible when nursing. I have found that by the time a baby gets to the stage where they are teething, most mothers are comfortable enough that they are not watching their baby as closely as they did when they were newborns. You may need to limit all the other distractions and go back to looking at only your baby. Once the nursing slows down, take baby off before he can start biting.
Check out this article for more ideas for babies who might be challenged with feeding and teething. It gives more great suggestions for getting through this developmental period comfortably…not only for your baby but for mothers as well.
I saw this great family today. Baby is 4 days old; he is baby number 2 for this mama. The baby was feeding well, milk was coming in, and mom felt good. While we talked, her older son (3 and a half) was bouncing around and chatting away with mom and dad. He didn’t pay too much attention to his little brother, and mom seemed pretty comfortable so far navigating the new waters of having 2 little boys. After I observed the baby feeding and we discussed a few other breastfeeding concerns she had, mom pointed to her first son and announced “I won’t make the mistake of trying to get this baby on a schedule like I did with him”. Dad nodded his head in agreement. I was surprised to hear her say this – I usually hear new mothers proclaiming their dedication to obtaining some sort of schedule. “This time” she said, “I will just go with the flow”.
Such wise words.
In the many years that I have been working with families, schedules are an important piece of the postpartum puzzle for many new parents. This is really difficult, and I try and coax mothers to keep an open mind about developing a schedule with a baby at a young age. Schedules flaunt structure and routine during a time when so many changes are happening. Parents are looking for something to set in place so they can feel like they are balancing everything. However, no one ever bothers to tell the baby that this so-called schedule is being implemented. Babies have their own ideas, and it is usually y not anything like what your schedule says. Babies are very unpredictable. They eat at different times each day, sleep can be erratic and spontaneous and it is nearly impossible to foretell their temperament. For some new mothers, this is a scary concept. Structure is a way of life for many people (not me, of course. I fly by the seat of my pants) and the thought of going through the day not knowing what will happen is downright scary. Because babies are their own little person, their needs are specific. Just like ours. We aren’t hungry at the same time each day, we don’t sleep the same each day – neither will your baby. The only difference is that we can discuss this with everyone around us, and your baby can’t. The more you push your baby to get into a routine that works for you, the harder things may seem.
Take this time to get to know your baby. After the first few months, babies may be easier to guide into a routine that is more predictable. I have discovered through my experiences that the more relaxed and “go with the flow” things are in the beginning, the easier everyone adapts. This time goes quickly, enjoy it.