Sometimes, it’s better with him.

Sometimes, it’s better with him.

Picture this: you’ve been terrorized by a miniature version of yourself all morning (in other words, a normal Friday). The typical pattern is toddler asks for something (Waffle! Bite! Milk!), and when given said item, vehemently denies ever wanting it and punishes you for your insolence with assorted fussy behaviors. This pattern continues until toddler finally, blessedly, falls asleep.

 

Jack sleep
only someone with real cojones takes a flash picture of a sleeping toddler.

Picture this: house is silent. Toddler is crashed out in the bed. You slip out and quietly fist pump over the specter of Free Time. You never know how long this toddler-free time will last, so you intend to use it wisely (HA). It’s time to recharge the batteries, bring the patience meter up from negative 47, restore calm. You browse Facebook, check your email, and revel in the fact that there aren’t any sticky little fingers trying to turn the laptop off. You decide it’s time to dust off the old blog and start writing again.

Yes. It is definitely You Time.

dance
Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/JltOMwYmioVrO

Until…

A subtle change occurs in the atmosphere. You glance down the hall and see a little face quietly peering at you around the corner. The toddler has woken up and silently come to find you. He creeps over with a look of complete joy, like he’s just been given carte blanche to write on all the walls and climb on all the tables.

Jack table

So much for You Time.

But instead of getting frustrated, you welcome him. He crawls into your lap and asks to nurse. You oblige. He nurses for a few minutes before drifting off to sleep.

Jack nurse

You could get up and take him back to bed. You might be able to scrape out a little more You Time, maybe even craft that blog post that’s suddenly percolating.

But instead, you let him sleep in your arms. You smile at his little baby snores and memorize his sleeping face. He must have known you both needed this. The two of you sit silently on the couch, his little body sprawled out over your arm and lap, while you type your thoughts on your phone instead of the laptop.

Sometimes You Time is better with him. Sometimes what you – I – need isn’t time without him; its peaceful time with him. I need the reminder that it won’t always be like this – the good and the bad. He may always drive me nuts in one way or another, but he won’t always be able to snuggle into my lap for a midafternoon nurse ‘n nap. So for today, I welcome him into my You Time.

1000 burpees in 1 month

Last month, my friend Cindy posted a challenge. “Do 1000 burpees in September!” she said. “It’ll be fun!” she said.

If you know anything about Fitness Me, you’ll know I have a deep hatred of burpees. It’s the punishment if you don’t finish an obstacle in the Spartan Races. It makes your whole body hurt. It’s the worst exercise in the world.

So of course, I had to join in the challenge. Face something I hate, head-on? Oh yeah!

I’m happy to report that I DID IT. I did 1,050 burpees in 30 days. WTF. That’s so many burpees. I did these in addition to the workouts I am doing for a fitness competition that started Sept. 15.

And I feel AMAZING! I don’t hate burpees as much as I did prior to the challenge. I don’t fear them as much as I did (because really, that’s where deep hatred stems from – FEAR).

I’m even doing Burpees for Booby Traps! I volunteer for Best for Babes, a breastfeeding advocacy organization that supports all moms in meeting their personal breastfeeding goals. We’re in the middle of the We’ve Got Your Back, Babe! Personal Fitness Challenge, which raises money and awareness of the Booby Traps. Booby Traps are the barriers that all moms face when trying to breastfeed.

If you want to make me do more burpees, donate to the cause!

http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/runliftsara/weve-got-your-back-babe-2014

 

Who are the jerks? Well…

I recently read an article titled, “Should We Stop Acting Like Breastfeeding is a Big Deal?” It’s an intriguing question and a well-written article, and when it was posted on the Best for Babes Facebook page, it sparked some interesting conversations. From the comments, it seems a lot of women have only experienced positive, open-minded breastfeeding support, which is AWESOME, but left them wondering why this was even an issue. One comment that jumped out at me was:

Just to ask a question: who ARE those “pushy rude judgmental” people?

*Raises hand* Reformed, pushy jerk here. Truth: I once was a BA (breastfeeding a-hole).

I used to be one of those hyper-judgmental women who thought breastfeeding was the only way to go and formula feeding was bad, mmkay? Then I had a kid, started my own breastfeeding journey, became an IBCLC and realized how wrong I was (I plan to write a more nuanced post about my evolution as a breastfeeding advocate at some point in the future). But, my point is that there are people out there who are more “strident” in their support. I think they are the minority, thankfully; also, obviously it’s not just on the breastfeeding end of the feeding spectrum that you see this level of “enthusiasm.” (Using euphemisms and quotations to avoid making overt negative statements about passionate activists – negativity never keeps the conversation going!).

Me, in the middle of my evolution
Me, in the middle of my evolution

I did see the author’s point that widely publicized incidents of nursing in public (NIP) issues may scare some moms off of NIP or breastfeeding in general; in my personal experience I’ve had mom friends say that very thing. I don’t think that’s a reason to stop the advocacy efforts altogether; as another commenter posted, we don’t want to leave the mom who was harassed while NIP hanging in the wind! Maybe we need to get more creative and find additional ways to make the point that nursing in public is not a crime?

HOWEVER, I do think there most definitely is a place for breastfeeding advocacy, as we still have a LOT of work to do to make this biological norm the cultural norm as well.

Breastfeeding isn’t all tender moments and unicorn farts

Breastfeeding isn’t all tender moments and unicorn farts

Ashley Nicole, model and girlfriend of Miami Dolphins player Phillip Wheeler recently posted a picture of herself breastfeeding on Instagram:

http://instagram.com/p/kcqcGpKR8k/
http://instagram.com/p/kcqcGpKR8k/

Of course, people lost their shit. Cover up! You’re holding the baby wrong! Don’t wear sunglasses because you can’t make eye contact. You shouldn’t be dressed so sexy while feeding [really? who said nursing moms have to look frumpy?]. And one of my favorite comments:

Problem is she is standing up, holding the baby like a sack of potatoes and not even looking at the baby. Doesn’t look like a tender moment.

Uh, so when did breastfeeding have to be all about tender moments? Yes, part of breastfeeding is bonding with the baby, making eye contact, enjoying the rush of feel-good hormones. Those are important and necessary for both mama and baby.

But honestly, we all know it’s not that way 100% of the time. Sometimes, it’s about getting the job of feeding done. Sometimes (like this mama) we’re on our way out the door and baby decides it’s time to nurse. Maybe she decided to multitask and feed while getting ready to leave. Maybe she thought, I’ll feed him right up until he goes in the car seat, and then I can feed again when we get to where we’re going. I know I’ve had those thoughts before!

It would be wonderful if every time the baby feeds, we could hit the pause button on Life. The majority of the time, we can. But sometimes, we can’t. And mothers should not be chastised for fitting breastfeeding into their busy lives

The point is, don’t try to pretend that breastfeeding is 100% rainbows and sweet moments and then berate a mother for not following that credo. Breastfeeding is hard work, and occasionally you have to sacrifice the tender moment to keep life moving. Don’t hate the mama who is making breastfeeding work for her.

I support breastfeeding, but… [you actually don’t]

I support breastfeeding, but… [you actually don’t]

Booby Tuesday

One thing that drives me nuts is when I see stuff like this:

“I support breastfeeding, but not past a certain age.”
“I support breastfeeding, but women need to cover up in public.”
“I support breastfeeding, but it has to be exclusive.  No formula here!”
“I support breastfeeding, but ONLY IF IT FITS WITH MY PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS ABOUT WHAT IS RIGHT.”

Call me crazy, but I feel that if you truly support something or someone, there is no need to qualify it. I support my husband. I may not agree with everything he chooses to do, but I still support him. Likewise with breastfeeding. I may not choose to nurse to age 7 or supplement with formula or use a cover in public, but I still support women who do make those choices. Because it’s not about what I think is right. The only thing that I am right about, are the choices I make for my family.

If you feel the need to throw in a ‘but’ after the statement “I support breastfeeding,” then I say you don’t really support breastfeeding. Instead, you support your own beliefs. Which is great, but it’s kind of not necessary, since the general assumption would be that if you had an idea, you’d support it.

I’m not saying you have to love every aspect about breastfeeding to support it. I was ready to wean my son a few months after he turned two. Some people would say I should have let him go longer, let him decide when he was done. Welp, I wasn’t comfortable going longer. Not sure I’ll go much past two years with the next baby; we’ll just have to see. But I know there are mothers who nurse until 3, 4, 5 years and older. You know what? I support them. Period. I respect their ability to make the best decisions for their families.  Nursing for that long may not be my cup of tea, but I can still support the moms who do it.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Another example. Maybe you don’t like how moms feed uncovered in public. That’s fine. You can still support those mothers by realizing it’s not about you. Those moms are not trying to make you uncomfortable; they’re simply feeding their baby in the easiest way they know. Maybe they wanted to use a cover, but a thrashing baby said no. Maybe they wanted to use a private room, but one wasn’t available. Maybe they are just as uncomfortable as you are, especially when they feel your disapproving stare. And maybe, they want people to see them feeding because they want to help normalize breastfeeding in our culture. Whatever. The reasons don’t matter. What matters is being able to support those moms even if you wouldn’t personally make the same choice.

It comes down to support. If you want to see breastfeeding moms succeed, give them your full, unconditional support. Don’t try to hold them to your own standards, because that’s not fair. We’re all in different situations, with different babies, just trying to make it work. We need support, not buts.

 

Boobie Tuesday: Changes in Pregnancy

One reason I decided to jump back into blogging was because I felt compelled to write about breastfeeding stuff. I’m an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, but I don’t do much with it these days. I’m active on a few Facebook groups, and I volunteer with Breastfeeding USA’s social network team. I’m not in a position to find a job in the breastfeeding arena, and though there are a few volunteer opportunities in my area, I’ve been lazy in pursuing them. All that adds up to the conclusion: there are not enough boobies in my life and I must write about them!

Also, I thought using the title “Boobie Tuesday” was really funny. At least until Ruby Tuesday tries to sue me.

Booby Tuesday

Welcome to Boobie Tuesday!

The boobie topic that has been on my mind lately has actually been on my chest: breast changes in pregnancy.

My boobs HURT. Oh my Lord. They are way too enthusiastic for this baby to come. They’re like, “Whoo hoo! New baby on the way! We know what to do! Let’s throw a lactation party and get ready to nurse! Eff yeah, let’s do this!” and then they get sort of hard and all achy. When I wake up in the morning, it seriously feels like my husband punches me in the boobs all night.

Here’s the thing, girls: We are only 15 weeks along. We have at least 25 more weeks until Baby McCall 2.0 shows up. CALM THE EFF DOWN. You will get your chance to nurse; just be patient.

Now, I know it’s normal and positive to have breast changes in pregnancy. But just because something is normal, doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. I had virtually no breast changes in my pregnancy with Colt. I went from a 36D bra to a 38D bra later in my pregnancy as my ginormous belly pushed my diaphragm out a bit. Other than that – not much else went on in the boob department. We still went on to nurse for 27 months.

This time might be different because Colt and I only stopped breastfeeding about a year before I got pregnant. I never stopped producing milk, so the girls never really got a rest in between nursing and pregnancy. So instead of starting from scratch, they merely have to rev things up. Almost right from the start of this pregnancy, I had tender nipples, fuller breasts and soreness all over. Again, totally normal and even to be desired, but I don’t have to like it!

So now I live in soft sports bras (not super constrictive ones – more like the ones for yoga that just barely hold them in place). And I’ve pretty much instituted a “lookie no touchie” policy for my husband (sorry, babe).

What about you? Were your breast changes different from pregnancy to pregnancy?

Infant formula is not poison

Infant formula is not poison

I haven’t written about breastfeeding in quite some time. It hasn’t been a big factor in my life recently, as we weaned in December and I quit my job as lactation consultant in January. I’ve kept a small presence in the online portion of a breastfeeding support group I helped found (just can’t quite let go) and when someone recently equated formula to poison, it ruffled my feathers.

Wait, a lactation consultant who doesn’t think formula is the devil?  (Trust me, we’re out there).

The short answer is no. I do think that formula-feeding moms deserve a product with better ingredients (lose the GMO’s, guys, or at least label that you use them so parents can make informed decisions about what they feed their babies!!). However, infant formula is not a substance that, when introduced into or absorbed by a living organism, causes death or injury, esp. one that kills by rapid action. Nor is it an American butt rock band that gave us such classics as “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and “Nothin’ But a Good Time.”

Well, why would it bother me if someone else bad-mouths formula?

Because I used to be one of those judgmental assholes and I feel ashamed of my past.

When I was pregnant, I was determined to breastfeed. I knew it was the best option for my baby and I couldn’t believe that everyone else didn’t think the same as me! I railed on and on to my friend who was pregnant at the same time about how I couldn’t imagine mothers not wanting to breastfeed, what’s wrong with them, how could they harm their babies that way. My friend admitted that she might have to formula feed because of a previous breast reduction surgery, and I pitied her. I embodied the stereotype of the militant lactivist.

Then, I had my baby and got to experience the reality of breastfeeding. It’s not easy, and sometimes it’s downright hellish. I started to see why some moms not want to do it, or might not be able to do it, and my rock-solid belief of “breast is best” started to crack a little (along with my nipples). I began to realize I may have been wrong to be so judgmental.

My friend had her baby and told me that she had never planned to breastfeed; she just used the excuse of her breast reduction surgery to placate me. She told me that she felt uncomfortable with so much attention on her breasts and didn’t want to do it, but was worried how I would judge her if she admitted that. I felt like a world class scumbag. Back then, she was one of my best friends. During a time that was so special to both of us (how many people are lucky enough to experience their first pregnancies alongside their best friend?), I ruined some of the excitement with my narrow-minded views. This took those small cracks in my “breast is best” belief and shattered it.

What little pieces of my judgmental self remained were obliterated when I started working as a lactation consultant. I worked in a hospital with around 500 births a year. In the beginning, I know there were a few moms I upset with my reaction to them using formula. This was in part due to the pressure being put on me to produce higher breastfeeding rates, and every mom that used formula cut into that. Thankfully, I quickly realized that numbers were not as important as the moms and babies who represented them. I also realized that it was not my job to shame a mom into breastfeeding, and being disappointed in a mom for using formula was extremely arrogant and inappropriate. To those moms, I apologize.

Though I did help our hospital achieve amazing breastfeeding rates, I feel my most important job was building up moms – especially those for whom breastfeeding was not working out. Moms would show up in my office, exhausted and worn out from a constant merry-go-round of feeding, pumping, supplementing and tearfully admit that they couldn’t do it anymore. They would then break down and sob, proclaiming themselves failures for not being able to breastfeed and for having to use formula. This is usually the part where my heart broke, and I’d often tear up with them. I looked those moms straight in the eye and told them they were good mothers. I told them that the bond between mom and baby was more important than how baby was fed. I told them their babies were going to thrive and be happy, no matter how baby was fed. I told them they were amazing, strong mamas for loving their babies so much. They would look at me in disbelief, with tears in their eyes, and I would keep repeating it until I saw a glimmer of acceptance. I believed it was my job to be one of the lone breastfeeding supporters who could also (gasp!) support moms who didn’t breastfeed.

It’s because of those moms that I bristle when I see someone call formula poison or insinuate that formula-feeding moms are somehow less than breastfeeding moms. Seeing crap like that only rubs salt in those mothers’ wounds. They beat themselves up enough as it is; they don’t need random people spewing garbage like that. I wish I could go back in time and smack my judgmental self on the forehead. If I could, I would then tell her this:

breast or bottle