A Breastfeeding Mama Needs…

Sure, breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy, or instinctive to know what you need to be successful (especially in American culture). Unlike other cultures, American women aren’t always surrounded by their mothers, mother-in-law, mom friends, or the “village” of helpers. We’re often visited by an LC in the hospital and then sent on our merry way with a breastfeeding pamphlet and a list of recommended reading. So…what does a breastfeeding mama need to be successful?

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  1. Friends/family who’ve been successful at breastfeeding

A woman who wants to breastfeed her baby and has goals for how long she plans to nurse does not need to be surrounded by naysayers or women who will discourage her from her goals. Every mother is different. Breastfeeding may not have worked for you and your family, but that doesn’t mean you should share your trials and tribulations with this new mother, nor should you tell her how great formula was…HER goal is nursing and she needs encouragement. Invite friends over to encourage, praise, and assist.

2. Calories! Fat! Protein! Vitamins!

Every woman wants to reclaim her body after pregnancy, but the weight will fall off very quivkly for a nursing mother WITHOUT dieting. This is not the time to cut calories. A nursing mother needs 300-500 extra calories per day (1000 more if she’s nursing twins), and she should stick to a healthy fat and high protein diet. Healthy fats would include nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, or fatty fish. And don’t forget to keep taking your prenatal vitamins!

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3. A gallon of water a day

I drank a gallon of water a day during my pregnancy and found that the more I drank, the more I wanted and the better I felt. A nursing mom is producing milk (a fluid) therefore she needs fluids. Duh!

4. Her placenta

Okay, stop gagging and get over yourself. It’s actually becoming a mainstream, modern practice to have your placenta encapsulated after birth. It’s in capsule form just like vitamins and comes with dosage instructions. Your placenta has a heap of health benefits postpartum, but also increases your milk supply. You can book my encapsulator here. Get ‘er done!

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5. Gear

Invest in a nursing pillow such as the MyBrest Friend Nursing Pillow, Boppy, or Twin Z if you’re having multiples. These help you get a much better position for nursing while supporting back and arm muscles. Get you a good nursing cover too so you can nurse in public no matter where you are or who you’re with. A nursing stool or ottoman to prop your feet up on can be nice, too, and you’ll want underwire free nursing bras or tanks.

6. Nipple Balms or Coconut Oil

Nursing can sometimes lead to sore, dry, or cracked nipples. Get into a habit of using an organic nipple balm like Earth Mama Angel Baby or even organic coconut oil to soothe.

7. Legit Nursing Pump

All insurance companies cover breastpumps now, but not all of them are high quality. Make sure you can get an electrical, hospital grade pump. My insurance didn’t cover the hospital grade pumps so I bought one off a resell site that was unopened, in the box for $40. Pumping can help you build stock for outings, babysitters, or bottle feeding when your spouse wants in on the feeding time. Plus, breastfeeding is all about supply and demand so pumping can help you drain your breasts after feedings to keep your supply high.

8. Station(s)

It makes life easier for a nursing mom to have everything she needs within reach. Stock a basket(s) with nipple balm, burp cloth, nursing pads, nipple shield (if needed), snacks, and water bottles. I have one in my bedroom AND in the nursery- the two places I know I’m likely to nurse my babies.

9. A supportive spouse

Nursing can start out as a full time job. It takes hard work, dedication, and patience to build supply, find comfortable positions, and get baby to latch right. Moms can often feel overwhelmed, helpless exhausted, and discouraged. They need a spouse that will rub their shoulders or feet, keep them company while they nurse, bring them funny things to read or watch while they’re in their nursing spot, and one who praises their efforts and encourages them to keep going.

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10. Realistic goals

Colostrum is the first little bit of breastmilk baby will get. It’s loaded with health beenefits, antibodies, wgite blood cells, healthy fats, etc etc etc. Every mother should have a goal of at least feeding her baby that. Then, set a goal to nurse for 1 full month. See if you can make it 3 months. Then aim for 6 and hopefully you’ll make it a year or more. Many moms say if you can get past the first few months it’s a cakewalk after that.

If you find yourself struggling, hire a trained Lactation Consultant. They can be real lifesavers and the best money you’ve ever spent for your baby’s health! Also, lager beer, fenugreek, brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, and oats have all been said to increase supply. Give it a fair shot!

Happy milking, 

That Girl

 

Raising Boys as Knights: A Letter to my Husband

Dear husband,

I married you because I fell in love with your heart. I recognized that you were a good man; something that is VERY hard to find. I knew you’d love me the way my father loves my mother and I saw the definition of manhood in you. I wanted to marry a man. I hope together we can raise our boys to be men.

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“A real man accepts responsibility, rejects passivity, leads courageously, and expects the greater reward,” Robert Lewis. Lewis used the Bible as the guidebook for raising boys into men when he wrote the book, Raising a Modern Day Knight. A knight was a man of integrity, virtue, respect, courage, and strength. I want to raise my boys with these traits in mind and choose my words and actions carefully as a parent knowing that raising boys into men is no small feat.

During WWII, when the men were off fighting the war, women stepped in to fill vacant positions. For the first time in history they had moved out of the home and into the “field”. When the men returned, many of the women decided they didn’t want to go back to the kitchen, so to speak. At this time, we saw a shift in power from men to women and it didn’t stop there. Have you taken a good look around lately? Pay attention to sitcoms, commercials, magazines…where have all the men gone? Men today are so often portrayed as idiots, worthless blobs, or neanderthals. What role models to little boys have today other than power hungry politicians, pot-smoking youtube phenomenons, rappers that belittle others…

Our belief systems about men are faulty as well. A man who expresses his feelings is considered weak. A man who is well mannered, enjoys art, culture, or fashion is automatically thought to be gay. Men drink whiskey, not wine. Ugh! I want more for our sons.

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As a father, it will never matter what you say; it will always matter what you do. I can tell them how a good man lives his life and try my best to raise them to be that way, but they will ALWAYS look to you as their example.

The way you talk to me is the way they will talk to me. If you talk back to me, argue with me, or belittle me (even joking around), they will think this is acceptable. And, not only towards me, but to other women.

They will only keep their rooms clean, their laundry done, and the toilet seat down if this is the way you live as well.

If you make jokes or comments that are demeaning to others, they will grow up without respect for those different, or less fortunate than they. 

The foods you choose to eat will be what they think men eat. They will want to grow up tall and strong like you and will nurture their bodies the same way you do.

When you work hard to reach a goal, share the feelings of that success with them. How else will they learn that it takes working hard to achieve success?

I hope you’ll model for them how to control your temper, express your feelings, and cope effectively with life’s disappointments so that they too will behave that way.

If they expect you to pick them up on time and you don’t, they will learn it’s okay to be late as long as you have a good excuse.

Issuing a consequence without following through sends the message that a man’s word means nothing.

If you demonstrate the way you accept responsibility, reject passivity, lead courageously, and expect the greater reward, they too will become those kind of men. 

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          Husband, I believe in my heart that God gave us two sons trusting that we could raise them to be good men. If we keep God at the center of our marriage and raise our sons to live like Christ, I know we will experience so much joy raising them and such pride in who they become.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” – Romans 12: 2 (reject passivity)

“Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be men of courage, be strong” -I Corinthians 16:13 (accept responsibility)

“But as for me and my family we will serve the Lord” -Joshua 24:15 (lead courageously)

“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” -Revelation 22:12 (expects the greater reward)

I think our boys will be born some time this week, if not tomorrow, so I’m feeling very reflective and sentimental, but I hope as parents we will always take time to reflect on who they are becoming and how our actions may be affecting them.

I love you, 

Baby Mama