A Voice For The Community

"I am blessed. I had a wonderful and encouraging support system in my husband, family, and a few nurses who sensed my determination and frustration. I had opportunities to attend support programs and join groups of supportive women who understand. I have formed friendships and am surrounded by great people who share their knowledge. And I have learned. I have learned that every woman not only has a right to choose what is best for her and her child but to make an informed decision and receive support" Jillian, nursing mama to Jack Angelo

This is place to share the stories that come along with being a nursing mama. Wether you breast-fed your baby for 1 day or 3 years, we're not here to judge, simply to listen. Listen to what happened when you tried your best for 3 whole weeks only to be defeated. Listen to how being a mommy changed the way you looked at the world. And all the other stories, insights and moments that fall in between the complex and the truthful lessons you learned from your baby.

Read. Enjoy. Share. This is the voice of the nursing community.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Results Are In!

Many of you voted in the poll: "How Do You Feel About CIO
(Cry It Out)".

The poll ended last night and you may be surprised to hear the results!  While 11% of the voters were happy with their CIO experience and 22% couldn't stomach the idea of CIO (our two "extremes" in the selection of answers given) 1% said they tried it and would never do it again, but 55% of voters agree that a modified version of this parenting technique is for their family!  These results just reiterate the notion that most parents feel most comfortable and successful with a parenting style geared toward their specific family and baby.

It is tempting to give and take advice on baby rearing.  The truth is, there is no right or wrong way to nurture our little ones.  Choosing a parenting style involves considering many factors including (but not limited to) your babies age, your babies temperament & your families style.  Before becoming a mommy (and still on the weekends today) I was an MC at parties.  When I was learning to MC, I studied many successful party entertainers and their approach to getting the crowd involved in the party.  I learned very quickly that success was not in the actual approach used but the confidence behind the approach.  The very best entertainers were those who did what made them comfortable and who had fun in the process!

Thanks to all who participated in the poll!  It was fun to see were the numbers where falling with each visitor!  Check out our next poll: "Does your Baby have a Nap Schedule??"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jillian and Jack-The Truth Behind the Decision

When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I traveled through the wave of emotions that rush in as soon as the stick indicates that yes, your intuition was correct. It was not long after that I tapped into the many resources I had bookmarked on my computer while I wished and hoped and dreamed as my husband and I navigated the world of trying to start a family and dealing with infertility. We were blessed. We are blessed.

Almost immediately, the decision making begins. All of a sudden what I ate,drank, and did had the profoundest of impacts and while I was rearranging how I lived my life, I was also thinking about what I wanted for my child. Breastfeeding was always the option for me. I had read and read and read and knew it was what I wanted for my child but I also know that nothing is as easy at it seems and had witnessed many women in my life struggle with feeding their own child.

The small amount of breastfeeding we do see in the media or popular culture portrays breastfeeding as an easy task. It's always serene and peaceful, not learned but inherent and punctuated by the smile of a mother and a doting father. Having witnessed the struggle of women around me, I quickly enrolled my husband and I in a breastfeeding class for expecting parents. It was here that I thought I would learn it all.

The class covered the mechanics and spurred my husband and I to talk about breastfeeding and what it would mean to us but what more could it do? While I knew it would be a challenge, with the class under my belt, I was ready to face it head on.

No one told me about the pain, the crying, the frustration, the lack of energy, the amount of energy (two people spending thirty minutes trying to get a newborn to latch on through tears), the feeling of empowerment and the feelings of failure. Breastfeeding is natural but it does not come naturally. It is an art that mother and baby must learn during the precious time they are becoming acquainted. I would argue that there is no task so difficult to learn with such great rewards.

I am blessed. I had a wonderful and encouraging support system in my husband, family, and a few nurses who sensed my determination and frustration. I had opportunities to attend support programs and join groups of supportive women who understand. I have formed friendships and am surrounded by great people who share their knowledge. And I have learned. I have learned that every woman not only has a right to choose what is best for her and her child but to make an informed decision and receive support.

Knowledge is power.

There is no right or wrong here. This is not a place to comment on another's story but instead to read and learn. We all have our own breastfeeding truth and it is my hope that by sharing our stories we can empower other women, mothers and mothers-to-be and help them understand that they are not alone and that there is no judgment to their truth. -Jillian, nursing mama to Jack Angelo 10 months

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meet Amy

In my search for voices of the nursing community, I came across a great little blog called "Toddler in Tow" by Amy,
nursing mama of Abbey, 27 months.

I quickly read through her blog and knew she was a mama to be in touch with! Her post on "extended" nursing inspired me to forgo my own nursing goals and allow Teddy to wean at his own pace. I guess I was leaning more and more to this route as Teddy got older. Perhaps that's even one of the many reasons I started this blog. Nursing mamas need a lot of support in the way of knowledge-questions answered, problems solved, etc in the beginning. As our infants slowly (or rather quickly) become toddlers and we fall more outside the norm for nursing in our families and communities, support from and moms "like me" becomes much more important. At least for me, as a first time, self doubting mom, the idea of being around mamas with the same peaceful parenting style is comforting. Here is a little excerpt from what Amy has shared with me:

"My mom is a child development professor, so she had gifted me some infant and child development books when I was pregnant - and as I re-read them, I saw the importance of breastfeeding and natural parenting all over the place - as it relates to infant development, breastfeeding really does make is easier for infants to learn. The studies on higher IQ in breastfed babies don't really cut it. It's more about the process than the outcome. Babies who are breastfed, especially through toddlerhood, take to every aspect of life a little more readily, and their brain development is more fluid than those who are bottle fed - simply because of the natural positioning of a baby at the breast. Cool, huh?"

You can read more about Amy's experience with nursing past infancy here:

Amy has generously agreed to write a guest post for my new blogging venture! I am so excited to share her story and her voice on Milk Mamas Speak with all you mamas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

You Know You're A MAMA When---

I am 30 years old. I am not a young mama. I lived a good, full life until Teddy came. I got used to scheduling every minute of my day in a planner-now i'm lucky if I get 2 things off a list in my head! I loved getting my nails done, drinking my Starbucks and shopping at Juicy-now I only get my nails done when I have to work, I shop at baby gap and-well, my baby doesn't sleep so I still go to Starbucks:) When Teddy was about three months old I started noticing things around me that made me stop and think-WOW now I know I'm a mom!! For example-I have a bouncy seat in my bathroom! ONLY a mom would have a bouncy seat in her bathroom!! And how I now feel refreshed after 4 hours sleep! Just little things that my perfect, organized and once clean life would never have included! So I thought it would be fun to have a weekly-You Know Your A Mama When... Blog Post! Maybe you'll find them as funny as I do (after all you were once an in control, center-of-your-own-world woman, too, right?)

So...How do you know your a mama? I'd love to know!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gina & Khloe-End of the Road or Road Block?

I've had a lot of experiences with nursing as many of us have had but this one just happened recently which put me into tears which surprisingly hasn't happened in a few months:

At month 9 or so my sweet Khloe really started to get distracted while breastfeeding, even in quiet rooms that were familiar to her. She started to play with my nipples than actually feed off of them. I eventually got her to stop but during that time period she bite both of my nipples and now left me wounded with 2 bite size holes in my nipples. Over the next few weeks they progressively got worse and started to not heal. I reached out to my wonderful MOBBsters and went about my situation a few different ways. I consulted the lactation line at Virtua first and took their suggestions to use, but they weren't really helping.

Now 2 months later and still in pain and wounded I decided to reach out to my Dr. to see if there was something medically I could do. I suppose it was the nurse which called me back and after I explained my situation she was like well there is only one thing I can suggest and that is to stop breastfeeding. I was in complete shock and didn't even know how to respond. I was thinking to myself "is that the best someone can offer me" to give up everything that I have been working so hard to maintain for the past 11 months? It was crushing to me that it was even an option out of someones mouth for me to just give up like it was a bad habit. I cried for a little while over the disappointment over the advice I was given.

So I decided that I do not wish to give up breastfeeding and maybe my nipples won't heal until I am done and maybe it will be painful to breastfeed because my wounds won't heal but that is certainly my choice to make. I have decided to continue to breastfeed and to keep doing preventative measures to ensure no infection occurs but never again will I turn to the medical professionals about advice on breastfeeding since I clearly know how they stand.
-Gina nursing mama to Khloe, 11months

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What's In Your Milk?

I find it funny that whenever something is bothering my son, Teddy, the first response by many is "What have you been eating?"
The numerous "professionals" (I quote professionals because while they are doctors and GI specialists, none of them have professional experience nursing or probably any extensive learning in the area) I have consulted about Teddy's gas and trouble popping have assured me that it is few and far between that they find a baby with actual food sensitivities or allergies. In fact, In my nursing community, I only know of 1 baby with a diagnosed sensitivity.

But, none the less, where there is trouble it's the nursing mamas fault! Sad, really because as nurturing moms we kind of already wrongly feel this way ( a natural instinct, i guess). If people don't understand how breast feeding works then they shouldn't offer advice that could potentially and unnecessarily mess with a milk mamas head! I called the doctor one time because there was black stingy looking things in Teddy's poop. He was 4 months old and exclusivley breast fed at the time. The nurse's response: "Oh your breast feeding?-well everything you eat gets passed onto him, maybe it's something you ate?" Yes, trusted doctors office nurse the black stringy things passed through my bloodstream into Teddy's poop!!! Seriously!

I once read that no one every questions what the cow ate when formula fed babies have problems:) Just Saying!
Jamie nursing mama to Teddy Jax, 7 months

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Way To Stay Connected

I am part of the sleep deprived mama club! My little one, Teddy, has not slept past 4 hours EVER! We have easy nights where he is up every 2-3 hours. We have our rough nights where he is up every 45 minutes. While I don't believe there is a sole cause to our sleep troubles, I am constantly doing my best to overcome each problem as they come up. Gas, Teething, there is always a good reason why this little man gets carried into my bed between the hours of 11pm and 5am (normally closer to the 11pm time these days) and happily spoons into mommy for the rest of the night.

I have a sensitive baby is what I finally generalized. The smallest discomfort wakens him and its mommy to the rescue. I am OK with this, that's what I'm hear for! I learned early on with Teddy that it makes life a lot easier if I live in the moment and do what helps at the time. I don't worry about what could happen and if a bad habit will develop until it does. If Teddy gets use to sleeping with mommy, I'll deal with it when it's a problem. But, while I fully surrender to a sensitive baby, I still continue to tweak my approach to putting Teddy to sleep in hopes of finding "the" routine that keeps him sleeping through the night (haha!)

Recently I discovered that if I hold Teddy and rock him (after he has stopped nursing) until he is soundly asleep he will happily snuggle up and continue sleeping. This is the exact opposite of what he does if I try to stand up and place him in his crib. When attempting to put him in his crib routing begins and we sit back down to drift back to sleep nursing. Attempt after attempt ends this way until he is finally too tired to fight the separation anymore.

Why will he happily sleep in my arms without nursing but as soon as he feels me stand to place him in his crib, he routes?? To stay asleep he must nurse! Rocking in my arms doesn't work unless he has drifted to sleep at the breast. It dawned on me this evening that he is fighting to stay connected-literally! Looking at our sleeping battles from this view, it doesn't seem so inconvenient and tiring anymore. All he desires is a connection-so be it! Jamie nursing mama of Teddy Jax, 7 months