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.
Lets play a game.
I have invited you to dinner. You come to my home, we chat for a bit, and then we sit down at the table. (after I clear away all the toys, bills, random bits of art work etc.).
'At our house, we have rules around meals' I say.
'You can eat, as much as you want, BUT, you only get to eat for 20 mins'
Odd, you think. That seems like a bit of a strange way to serve a meal. But you're hungry, so you agree to it.
If you look at things with an adult in mind, they seem ridiculous. Why do they make sense if we transfer them to a baby?
When we watch a clock and not a baby, we can come to conclusions about the clock.
We can't say that the baby ate for 20 minutes. We don't know that because we didn't see that. What we can say, is that the baby was at the breast for 20 minutes. We can probably say other things to, like the clock is red, or its a wrist watch, or it makes noise. We might even be able to say things like 'the baby fell asleep'.
We can make conclusions about where the baby was and how much time baby was there, but, we can't make any conclusions about how much the baby actually ate, just like we can't say you ate dinner because you sat at the table for 20 mins.
Sitting at the table doesn't mean we're eating. Falling asleep doesn't mean a baby is full.
When we watch a clock and not a baby, we can come to conclusions about the clock."
Conversely, if we watch the baby, and not the clock, we can come to conclusions about the baby. If we can identify when the baby is drinking as opposed to nibbling or resting, and we watch their behavior, then we know if the baby got enough milk or if they're still hungry.
If you need help learning how to tell that your baby is getting enough milk, reach out for help. A good lactation consultant can help you identify drinks vs. sucks and pauses. Once you know how to see that, you're off to the races!
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.
There is so much breastfeeding information out there. There is no way you can read it all before baby comes, and truthfully, after baby comes, everything is so overwhelming that even if you did read it all, you wouldn't remember it. I've learned a lot in the last 7 years and narrowed it down a bit. Here are 15 things I wish I'd known before I started breastfeeding. (and 1 bonus!)
In this world of parenting and breastfeeding and children and motherhood there are so many obstecles and challenges that we must overcome. It's all so new to each of us and it's not like choosing a china pattern. Each of the decissions you make can have a VERY significant impact of someone else's life. Someone else that you love very dearly. Most people would give their life for this someone. You have to make ALL THE DECISSIONS for this someone and it's completly overwhelming.
Some people research, and research and research. Others ask a trusted source. Others still just follow their gut. No way is wrong, as long as it's not unsafe and it feels right to you. But it's all overwhelming.
If you're new to this, I want to pass on a couple of things that I've learned (usually the hard way) so that you don't have to learn them.
I listened to the weather. I knew it was coming. That doesn't mean waking up to freezing temperatures and snow on the ground wasn't a shock this morning. Thank goodness we we're at least prepared enough to know we have boots, coats and snowpants available. Hats and mitts we had to dig for, but we had them too so we were good.
I did occur to me though, that adding cold changes what I do with babywearing, and I'm sure it does for you too. I thought a quick post about cold weather options might give you an idea of what you can do in future, now that you're likely in for the day.
You have options.