I have letters after my name. When I sign something professionally, I get the honor of following my signature with 'IBCLC'. Unfortunatley, people outside of the breastfeeding community, and many people inside that community, don't know what that means.
When I wrote the exam, I published this post to explain why I had been so stressed but I wanted to go back and give some more detail.
Understanding breastfeeding and how babies respond starts with understanding that their is a difference between supply and flow. The are certainly related, and they function with each other, but they aren't the same thing.
All to often, when working with clients who have been given breastfeeding advice by someone else, I hear something similar to this:
"The current plan is to feed for 20 mins a side, then pump, then top him up with expressed milk or formula"
So many things wrong with this plan, not the least of which is,
WHEN ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO ENJOY YOUR BABY?
But the one I want to focus on today is the timing part.
Practically every night, for the last 7+ years, I have sat on the couch and breastfed a baby to sleep. At some point during those evenings, I usually decide I'd like a cup of tea. The problem is that since I'm trapped under a sleeping baby, I can't get up and make said cup. So my wonderful, amazing, husband has done it for me. Every night. For 7+ years.
I asked him to put the kettle on the other day and it occurred to me, that although as much as I love that he does this for me, and I'm sure he doesn't hate it, it is not likely something that he would do so consistently if I wasn't nursing.
That got me thinking, there has to be some other benefits of breastfeeding that aren't listed on traditional channels. Things that are happy outcomes that nursing mothers can take advantage of, but not benefits doctors or health care providers would promote.
So here you go - My list of 11 Secret Benefits of Breastfeeding
Deciding on the type of baby carrier that will work best for your family can be a very complicated process. There are a LOT of types and choices, and each one has its pro's and con's. That's why I own so many! (It has nothing to do with wants. It's all pro's and con's of different types. ;-) Well, that's what I tell my husband!).
Your first step after you decide you want to baby wear is deciding on the style of carrier.
There are lots of styles and types of carriers - this is a focus on soft structured carriers or SSC's. A SSC is probably what you picture when you think of babywearing. Its like an empty backpack that your baby sits in. Ideally, you want something that keeps your baby in the optimal ergonomic shape (Think 'M' shape with knees and bum) and has coverage from one knee to the other knee as long as baby isn't walking yet. They don't have a hard frame to them and can usually be worn on the front or back with some giving you the option to forward face or wear the baby on your hip.
Once you've narrowed it down, choosing a brand can be equally complicated. Soft Structured carriers can be particularly confusing. Ask your friends and they will give you the name of their favorite, or the one they hear the most (*cough* Tula *cough*). Even if it's the most popular, the unique fit of different SSC's means that what works best for your best friend, might not work best for you.
So how do you decide?
How do you make a choice?
Here are my 10 tips on how to choose a soft structured carrier
I was talking to a little girl this week. I asked what she wanted for Christmas. She answered that she would like a Unicorn. I said something like 'oh -a stuffed one?' She looked at me a bit strangly and said no, she wanted a real unicorn. One that she could keep in the backyard, and feed, brush its hair and ride. I wished her the best of luck and carried on with my day, but it got me thinking,
If reality wasn't an issue, what would you really want for Christmas?
I didn't have a good week last week. Everyone is healthy, fed and happy and I got stuff done, but I felt very stretched and tired, overworked and underappreciated.
When I thought about it though, I realized I hadnt' done anything for myself all week. Every time I had a free moment I was focused on accomplishing something else for someone else. I did nothing for ME! I put myself on the bottom of the pile and in the end, that's how I felt.
It happens more often then I'd like to admit, and I would guess it happens to most of us, fairly often.
So, in an effort to stop letting it happen to you, here are 5 ways to move self care to the top of your to do list so that you can take the time for you when you need to.
'Tis the season to be jolly!
This time of year, everywhere you go, there seems to be alcohol available. And the question is, as a breastfeeding mother, can you enjoy? Is it okay to indulge?
If you google this question, you can find posts that say it's okay and other that say not a chance. So what's the real answer?
Lets look at the do's and dont's when it comes to alcohol and breastfeeding.
How to tell that a latch really is a good one
A typical conversation in my life:
Parent: I know the latch is good but it still hurts.
Me: How do you know the latch is good?
Parent: I saw (insert doctor, public health nurse, other support person) and they said it was fine.
Stop right there.
If your latch hurts, it's not a good latch.
I promise. If it hurts, something is wrong.
When you have a new baby, you tend to question everything. You really are left with no ability to form clear thoughts because every decision seems so very momentous. Every tiny thing you do affects another human being. And that is HUGE weight on anyone's shoulders. Put that on the shoulders of an exhausted, hormonal woman who feels like she's just run a marathon and it's a wonder anyone gets out alive.
We do though. We get out alive. A lot of that is simply due to the support that we have around us.