Yes, I nursed two children at once!

This is a question that I get frequently from friends and from mothers when I’m leading La Leche League meetings. Many moms and expectant moms are curious about how (and why) I tandem nursed our two silly bears, Abbey (now 5) and Joe (now nearly 3).

Amywilla.com: Yes, I nursed two children at once!

Amywilla.com: Yes, I nursed two children at once!

Here is a post that I wrote a while back to discuss tandem nursing. It may not be a goof fit for everyone, but for us, with some reflection and adaptation, it worked to our advantage and to our children’s great benefit. Abbey weaned naturally at 4 years and 11 months – and Joe, now nearly 3 years old, comes to my breast an average of twice per day (surrounding sleeping times).

Navigating a Tandem Nursing Experience

When I became pregnant with our second child, Joseph, I was elated. Instantly, I thought forward to tandem nursing Abbey (who would be 2.5 years at Joseph’s due date) and our new baby, and I was really looking forward to enjoying the experience of nursing two children and the bond that it would form!

When the actual tandem nursing experience came to pass, elated wasn’t quite the right word for the feelings that surfaced. At times I found myself feeling like a mommy dog, nursing a litter of pups! But it still was wonderful, and it’s been an interesting and beautiful experience, and a stunning example of how our bodies are made to mother and how our mothering is meant to evolve.

 

Tandem Nursing During the Newborn Period

 

One of the first things that Abbey said about her baby brother was “Mommy, you need to give my brother Mamas. He wants mamas to drink!” and she started to undo my nursing tank and gently nudge Joseph’s head toward my breast. Sharing was not an issue for Abbey. She constantly wanted to “share mamas” with Joseph, and was happy to do so. But she wanted to share with Joseph every time that he ate. . . and as a newborn eats upwards of 12 times per day, I had to tell Abbey that sharing with him every time he nursed was just not feasible nor was it a comfortable thing for me.

 

When planning to tandem nurse, I urge you to do some meditating on the newborn stage, and prepare some appropriate limits and explanations for your older child about why a newborn baby nurses so frequently, and how that is different from the pattern of nursing that they use as an older child. For example: You’re not a baby; you’re my big girl: For Abbey, it was vital that I explain to her that she just could not nurse all day long. . . statements like “Babies drink mamas all the time because they’re growing really really fast. You’re a big girl, and big girls drink mamas sometimes AND eat food to grow tall and strong!”

 

Abbey still enjoys eating her snack and then running around the house showing off her strong muscles and long legs. Feeding Abbey a snack while Joseph nursed in mid-morning or mid-afternoon was also helpful. I’d preface her snack with “Wow, won’t Joseph be excited when he is old enough to have this yogurt like you! What a special snack!” and then when she was settled with her snack, I would settle down to nurse Joseph.

Tandem Nursing an Older Baby and a Preschooler

Simply saying “No thank you” and asking Abbey to respect my words when she would ask me for “mamas” started to happen more and more as Joseph grew into a crawling infant and would need to nurse for reasons other than just sustenance.

When he would [and still] “ask[s]” to nurse by rooting at by breast or signing for milk because his gums were sore from teething pains or if he fell and bumped his body while trying to learn a new gross motor skill, I would scoop him up and nurse him. . . and Abbey wanted me to do the same for her.

At this point, I just had to start saying “No thank you” to her requests to nurse. . . evolving my child-led-weaning ideals to save the happiness of the household, and do best by both of my children.

I was feeling touched-out and challenged by Abbey’s intensity and demanding nature regarding my “mamas”. And mommy off balance is not good for a family.

Teaching Bodily Integrity:

I needed to come back to a place of balance and peace, and setting limits with my nursing preschooler allowed me to reinstate balance and peace in our tandem nursing relationship and in our household.

I had planned on letting Abbey naturally wean and not imposing my feelings on her requests at all. But this type of all or nothing approach just didn’t work out for our family, and so I taught Abbey a respect for my bodily integrity right alongside teaching her about her own.

Committing to and explaining bodily integrity: I told Abbey, “This is my body, and these are my “mamas”. I choose to share them with you because I love you, and I know you need to nurse sometimes. But I can’t nurse you all the time, and I feel so unhappy when you throw a fit over nursing. Ask me calmly about nursing, and then mommy can enjoy nursing you!”

If you find yourself feeling touched-out by tandem nursing, I urge you to contemplate the WHO’s recommendation on breastfeeding past infancy, and meditate on what it means for you.

They recommend breastfeeding to 2 years of age and then after that, as long as is mutually beneficial and desired.

I asked myself, “I know that breastfeeding my older child is normal and healthy for both of us. But I am having a hard time. What would make this nursing relationship desirable once more for me? What can I change to make it beneficial for ME?” So that I could provide a peaceful and comforting nursing relationship for Abbey instead of one filled with strain and struggle.

Finding Peace:

What I needed was peace in our nursing sessions. With some work, establishing and enforcing nursing limits for Abbey, we have once more come to a place of peace in our tandem nursing story. Now, Every day when Abbey comes downstairs from her nap, she asks to nurse on the sofa – she offers her brother one breast or the other, and takes the other “mama” for herself. Switching after a couple minutes, holding hands, playfully tickling and tugging at each other, my little toddler and beautiful child tandem nurse at my breast . . . and I am finally, actually elated about tandem nursing, just like I dreamt I would be.

This post was originally published on www.amywilla.com.

Wordless Wednesday- Nursing, nursing. . . Everywhere!

Though I have definitely nursed both of my children in numerous places, including church, on a hike, on airplanes, and whenever needed. . . these are the only photographs that I can scrounge up today for our picture post to raise up all nursing mamas during Breastfeeding Week, 2013. All of them are of Joseph nursing. Abbey recently weaned (I think) naturally at the age of 4 1/2.

BreastfeedingYork, Maine after Joseph’s birth.

Asleep after nursing - dec 2011A milky slumber at a Christmas Party in Kittery, Maine

Nursing Joseph as a toddlerPortsmouth, New Hampshire

Wearing Joe, safe, snuggly, and dry, on a walk during which it started pouring down rain!Nursing in the Ergo, in the rain, on a walk from the library with Abbey and Joe. Kittery, ME

IMG_2892Newington, New Hampshire (at the Fox Run Mall)

IMG_1955Kittery, Maine. Recovering from a tummy bug.

IMG_3333Kodiak, Alaska! Nursing in our new home

IMG_2135Here’s Lookin’ at YOU, nursing mama!

You rock!

Where have YOU nursed your baby or child?

Nursing Openly and Honestly


World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***

I feel that the most socially responsible thing that I can do as a human being is to live life working hard and being kind.

And I feel strongly that the most socially responsible thing that I can do as a mother in our society is to normalize nursing by nursing and nurturing my child wherever and whenever it is needed.

I understand the feelings of those who are uncomfortable with seeing mothers nurse their children. I can put myself in the perspective of someone worried about seeing a breast, because our world is so very sexualized, and I, too, have been concerned with “covering up” in the past.

But putting myself in the shoes of those who would rather have me nurse my children under a blanket or in the restroom only serves to make it clearer to me that nursing my child openly and honestly – - – nurturing my children with respect for their needs – - -  is the most socially responsible thing that I can do as a mother in our society.

Because what I see through the eyes of those who want to hide nursing away is the stark reality that our world is misguided and confused. If we don’t know that nursing is normal, then we will always be uncomfortable with it, and we will always sabotage healthy children’s nursing relationships by demanding that moms “be discreet”. If we don’t learn about the normal course of human lactation and child nursing and weaning by seeing it, then we are stuck in a confused reality in which we poison our own future generations by withholding from them the knowledge and respect for normal, necessary, nurturing nursing.

And that my friends is why I feel that the most responsible thing I can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture my children openly, honestly, and with pride. So that I can be a living example of normalcy to this and the future generations of our society.

***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today’s participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 3 with all the carnival links.)

  • Breastfeeding and NIP: A Primer — Rachel Rainbolt of Sage Parenting, featured today at NursingFreedom.org, uses her informative and candid voice to share with you everything you need to know to breastfeed successfully in public, from the practical how-to’s to handling the social stigma.
  • Lactivist Ryan Gosling — Breastfeeding mamas, the time is long overdue for a Lactivist Ryan Gosling. Fortunately, Dionna of Code Name: Mama has created some for your viewing pleasure.
  • In Defense of Formula — Amy of Mom2Mom KMC, guest blogging for Breastfeeding in Combat Boots, asserts that formula is a medical tool rather than a food. She examines how this perspective supports breastfeeding as normal and eliminates the negative tensions between breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding mothers.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival – Breastfeeding Tips & Tricks — Throughout her breastfeeding journey (since March 2009), Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy has shared countless tips and tricks on the topic of breastfeeding.
  • Nursing in the Wild — Meredith at Thank You Ma’am posts about how seeing other moms nurse can make all of us more comfortable with nursing in public.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding — Sara Stepford of The Stepford Sisters confronts the social stigma vs. the reality of breastfeeding and opens up about the steps she takes to make herself and others more comfortable with the process.
  • Breastfeeding Alrik at two years old — This is where Lauren at Hobo Mama and her second-born are at in their nursing relationship, two years in.
  • Perfectly Normal — Stephanie from Urban Hippie writes about the way she and her family have done their part to try and normalize breastfeeding in a society that doesn’t get to see breastfeeding as often as they should.
  • Diagnosis: Excess Lipase — Learn about excess lipase and how to test if your expressed milk has it. That Mama Gretchen shares her own experience.
  • Redefining Normal — Diana at Munchkin’s Mommy reflects on how we can normalize breastfeeding in our society.
  • Nursing Openly and Honestly — Amy W. at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work feels that the most socially responsible thing she can do as a mother is to nurse and nurture her children openly, honestly, and with pride.
  • Wet-nursing, Cross-nursing and Milk-sharing: Outdated? — Jamie Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter shares a response to the Wendy Williams quote about milk sharing being akin to slavery, by giving a brief history of the wet nurse.
  • Tackling Mastitis with an Older Nursling — Much of the advice available for supporting recovery from mastitis seems to be aimed at mamas with younger nurslings. Juliet of Twisting Vines, posting at Natural Parents Network shares tips for dealing with mastitis while breastfeeding a toddler.
  • Milk in the eye — Gena from Nutrition Basics discusses how breastmilk cured her 3 year old’s case of pink eye.
  • Boobie Biter — Rachel Rainbolt at Sage Parenting offers guidance on how to survive and thrive a boobie biter with your breastfeeding relationship intact.
  • My take on breastfeeding advice — Diana at Munchkin’s Mommy shares her insights on nursing for both new moms and new dads.
  • My Top Five Breastfeeding Tips for Delivery Day: Think “A-B-C-D-E”Mothernova shares how her continued success at breastfeeding with her second child rests on a foundation of five key things she did to prepare for baby’s arrival, along with things she did when she and baby first met. Easily enough, these tips can be categorized as “A-B-C-D-E”: Access to lactation consultant, Baby-friendly hospital, Communicate your plan to breastfeed exclusively, Demand, and Expect to room in.
  • Breastfeeding Buddies: Twin Brothers Nurse while Living in the NICU — Twintrospectives at How Do You Do It? shares her 5 tips for learning to breastfeed multiples while in the NICU.
  • Breastfeeding on a Dairy-Free Diet: Our Journey and Our Tips — Finding herself nursing a baby with food allergies, Jenny at Spinning Jenny embarked upon a dairy-free journey with her son for eight months. Here she relates her reasons for making the decision to give up dairy in her diet, why it was worth it, and tips for moms on the same path.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding in my Home — Shannah at The Touch of Life shares how she plans to help keep breastfeeding normal for her own children, even when her breastfeeding years are over.
  • A Year With My Nursling — The more you see and hear, the more normal it becomes, so That Mama Gretchen is sharing her heart on the last year of breastfeeding – the ups and downs, but mostly the joy of her priceless relationship with her son.
  • From Covered to Confident — Krystyna at Sweet Pea Births shares her personal NIP evolution: she started by covering up from neck to ankle while nursing in public. Eight years later, she has gained confidence and the ability to nurse without stressing about flashing a little skin. She shares her views on normalizing breastfeeding – what influenced her and how she hopes to help others.
  • Normalizing Breastfeeding for Older Kids — Sadia at How Do You Do It? hopes that openly discussing breastfeeding with her (now weaned) daughters will help her children feel comfortable with breastfeeding and their bodies in general as they grow.
  • Nursing in Public — Listen up, mammas. Those other people around . . . they don’t matter. It’s not about them. It’s about you and that beautiful baby. Nurse on, says The Swaddled Sprout!
  • How to Nurse a Teenager — Sarah at The Touch of Life declares: the purpose is to help normalize breastfeeding a toddler.

Breastfeeding and Community

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center

Welcome to the World Breastfeeding 2013 Blog Carnival cohosted by NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center!

This post was written for inclusion in the WBW 2013 Blog Carnival. Our participants will be writing and sharing their stories about community support and normalizing breastfeeding all week long. Find more participating sites in the list at the bottom of this post or at the main carnival page.

***


Breastfeeding a child is an incredible journey.

Our son, Joseph (now 2) sleeping peacefully after cuddling up to nurse on the day of his birth

Our son, Joseph (now 2) sleeping peacefully after cuddling up to nurse on the day of his birth

From the first days after birth, spent cradling, studying, and maneuvering your tiny, wrinkly little newborn – - – through the ravenous growth spurts and amazing social contact at your breast- – - to seeing how your child starts to conceptualize mom and milk, and change and wean from the breast as he or she grows. . .

it’s an amazing, complex, fascinating, one-of-a-kind, incredible journey.

And while education, experience, commitment, and clear goals all positively impact the rate of continued breastfeeding in our society, I truly believe that the single most important factor in a healthy and enjoyable breastfeeding experience is community.

Community Approval and Acceptance

Acceptance, approval (and lack thereof) impact a breastfeeding mother and child considerably. A mother accepted by her community and celebrated for feeding her child at the breast is likely to have a positive breastfeeding relationship with her child – no matter how long or short that breastfeeding relationship is.

Just a quick look at a few of the instances of harassment and devaluation of breastfeeding mothers and children show us how society’s misconceptions can poison a perfectly healthy breastfeeding relationship.

It’s also important to encourage breastfeeding mothers without being pushy or judgmental. “Great job, mama!” or “your baby is eating so joyfully” are wonderful, simple accolades for a breastfeeding mom. There is no need to force the point – most mothers benefit from a simple “you’re awesome” or even just a smile in their direction- – - and can feel pressured by too much “breast is best” talk.

The best way that a community at large can support a breastfeeding mother is to treat her as if what she is doing when she nurses is the most normal thing in the world, and that you are happy for her and her child.

Community of Like-Minded Moms

Mother’s groups and breastfeeding support groups like La Leche League and hospital birth groups can be an incredible source of support and encouragement for nursing mothers. Just by being with women who are like-minded and on the same journey, mothers are re-charged and strengthened.

Groups of nursing mothers can bolster a mother and help her through feelings of confusion or doubt, and they can share in both joys and struggles to empower each other through the incredible journey that is mothering.

Supportive Family and Work Environments

The environment at home and at work regarding breastfeeding and nursing mothers contributes heavily to the vitality and success of a nursing dyad. Spouses and other family members can have a positive impact on the nursing dyad by giving loving support of their relationship and keeping routes of dialogue open. Workplaces can be supportive to nursing mothers by understanding that separation from a nursing child requires the pumping of breastmilk, and that this act is normal and necessary. Workplaces have also shown that flexibility and an open dialogue between working mothers and their places of work can lead to new and empowering ideas to support both mothers and our economy.

 

Advocacy

Advocating for nursing mothers, the rights of a nursing child, and the overall truth that nursing is normal and necessary impacts every nursing relationship. There are MANY ways that we can advocate for nursing dyads. 

We can advocate for breastfeeding dyads by expressing the truth that nursing is normal.

YOU can make a difference in the public health of our society by SUPPORTING breastfeeding dyads!

We can advocate for breastfeeding dyads by resisting the possible urge to ask a woman to cover up or move while breastfeeding.

We can advocate for breastfeeding dyads by learning more about lactation and the breastfeeding relationship and sharing this knowledge with others.

We can advocate for breastfeeding dyads by sharing our personal breastfeeding experiences in a constructive manner.

We can advocate for breastfeeding dyads by supporting Baby Friendly Hospitals and baby friendly birth.

We can advocate for breastfeeding dyads by being aware of the sexualization of breasts and the misogyny present in our society regarding the breast’s dual purpose.

We can advocate for breastfeeding dyads by acknowledging bottles as a secondary and not primary way to facilitate infant feeding.

We can advocate for breastfeeding dyads by supporting laws that protect the rights of nursing children and mothers.

. . . and I think most importantly,

We can advocate for breastfeeding dyads by supporting all mothers, all fathers, and all caregivers with respect and compassion (and thus not fueling the mommy-wars that come about when compassion is omitted from discussions).

Community support and societal acceptance of nursing as normal and necessary are powerful aspects of a positive nursing relationship.

What can YOU do as a member of your community to make the world a more supportive place for nursing mothers and children?

***

World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival - NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center Visit NursingFreedom.org and The San Diego Breastfeeding Center for more breastfeeding resources and WBW Carnival details!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Below are a list of links for today’s participants; you can find a complete list of links (updated throughout the week) at our main carnival page:

(This list will be updated by afternoon August 1 with all the carnival links.)

  • If You’re Worried About Your Kid Seeing Me Breastfeeding, You’re Doing It Wrong — Dionna at Code Name: Mama is living the breastfeeding-as-a-cultural-norm dream. She has first-hand experience that kids, teens & adults who see breastfeeding accept breastfeeding.
  • Supporting Breastfeeding Online — Wendy at Breastfeeding Utah reaches out to birth and breastfeeding support professionals who are interested in knowing more about supporting their clients online.
  • Breast Friends — Mama Bree, guest posting at San Diego Breastfeeding Center, shares a baby’s journey to blissful breastfeeding with a little help.
  • World Breastfeeding Week 2013 Blog Carnival – Online Breastfeeding Support — Other than buying and reading up on books, Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy finds that it is useful to read up on other mums’ breastfeeding experiences and how they deal with their obstacles.
  • It Takes a Village… — Meredith at Thank You Ma’am talks about the support she got from her family, especially from her own mom, who is a lactation consultant.
  • Community Support — Ashley at ModerationMama tells about her supportive community surrounding her breastfeeding journey, and she talks about the importance of the breastfeeding class she took while still pregnant.
  • Finding a Nanny to Be Part of My Village — Before returning to work, Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen, posting at Natural Parents Network, needed to find a trusted caregiver for her daughter. Someone who supported her parenting goals and was ready to become part of a family.
  • A Nursey Love Letter — When asked about her nursing support group, KassK of Get Born Tribe surprised herself with the answer: her husband!
  • We are mammals. — To be a mammal . . . what does that mean? Practicing Mammal educates us.
  • Building a Solid Foundation for a Successful Breastfeeding Journey — Tia at Tia’s Sweeps Go ‘Round shares how she built a strong support network to help her successfully breastfeed her newborn daughter.

Breastfeeding Support Blog Party!

Feeding JoeLast Thursday, bloggers from around the world came together in a show of support for breastfeeding mothers. New mothers have enough challenges without having to feel guilty for how they feed their baby, especially when they are choosing the most natural of means – breastfeeding.

Over the last few days there has been a lot of heated debates, controversial posts, and social media outcry against the position that the Weston A. Price Foundation takes on breastfeeding. While they do present sound information on the ideal diet for a human adult, they do so in a manner that brings about guilt, fear, and confusion for mothers.

The bloggers who participated in the Breastfeeding Support Blog Party are not trying to create a divide between mothers. We simply want to offer support, in the form of blog posts, as to why breastfeeding should always be the first choice both for baby and mama.

We hope you take some time to read the posts that were written as part of the Blog Party. There are also over 140 posts linked up as part of this. Take some time to check them out here or link up your own breastfeeding support post!

Dionna at Code Name: Mama has come up with 40 ways that family, friends, coworkers and employers can support mothers who pump breastmilk, along with a ton of resources for you and the pumping mom in your life. There are also some fun graphics you can print and pass out, with 70% of all proceeds going to buy pumps for moms in domestic violence shelters!

Destany at They Are All of Me writes about ten common breastfeeding myths that scare women out of breastfeeding.

Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how her diet wasn’t WAPF perfect, but she still breastfed a perfectly healthy baby.

Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry is passionate about breastfeeding, here are her 101 reasons why!

Kelly at Becoming Crunchy discusses the question of whether you should still nurse – even if your diet isn’t ‘right’.

Jorje of Momma Jorje has enough pressure in her life, she is glad she doesn’t have to worry about what, when and how much food she feeds her son since he is also still nursing.

Angela at EarthMamas World discusses a few of the most common problems that a mama may encounter while breastfeeding. Angela also shares natural remedies for each of these breastfeeding problems!

That Mama Gretchen reflects on the beautiful bond breastfeeding has created as her two children have transitioned from their womb experience to their earth side one.

Julia at A Little Bit of All of It shares ways breastfeeding and breastmilk are unique and special in a way only they can be.

Amy W. at Natural Parents Network shares 5 scientific reasons that mother’s milk is an unequaled form of nutrition and nurture: so awesome, and so unique!

Laura at Authentic Parenting shares solid information on iron intake for the breastfed baby.

Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares the questions (and answers) about breastfeeding she wished she had a friend to answer for her before becoming a mama.

Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter choose to breastfeed her children in part because it’s easier than bottle feeding, not to mention that it is the best nutrition for babies, that it has health benefits for both mother and child, that it encourages bonding, and of course that it’s free! Basically breastmilk is the ultimate convenience food.

KerryAnn at Cooking Traditional Foods shares how the rush to recommend raw milk formula actually harms mothers.

Starlene at GAPS Diet Journey shares her experience with nursing and why she feels it is an important piece of the your baby’s health.

At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy draws a connection between how formula companies market and how women are treated by society.

Amy at Anktangle outlines a few of the many ways breastfeeding benefits both mom and child—aside from providing excellent nutrition.

Adrienne at Whole New Mom shares Part One and Part Two of 100 Reasons Why Breast Is Best.

Dawn at Cultured Mama shares her personal breastfeeding journey and how she overcame low supply issues and successfully tandemed nursed with only one breast.

Mothering in the Newborn Period: NPN Post

Breastfeeding

This weekend, I was published at Natural Parents Network, as a part of my authorship with the site. My article, Mothering in the Newborn Period, is a short list of reminders for the mom of a 0-3 month old to smooth over the transition of having a new little one, and it applies to all moms. Check it out!

Visit Natural Parents Network

I LOVE Natural Parents Network as a comprehensive, supportive place for current, honest, and authentic natural parenting advice and discussion.

If you haven’t checked out Natural Parents Network yet, please do! All moms, dads and other caregivers will be able to find something browsing through the site that will strike up interest and enhance a caregiving role.

I hope you and yours have had a WONDERFUL weekend!

10 Reasons to Breastfeed (funny and true!)

IMG_1298

Joseph, sleeping at the breast

I have been writing some heavy and deep breastfeeding posts lately, and I thought I’d shake it up a bit and post a funny (but true) one!

Scary Mommy has a list of “10 (shallow) Reasons to Breastfeed” and I love giggling through the list. Thanks, Courtney, for reminding me of this list. It’s a hoot!

I think #7 is my personal favorite. Comes in handy every day!

We were just talking at La Leche League the other day about how helpful and lovely it is for a baby/toddler/child to home HOME to mommy’s breast for comfort.

Doesn’t matter what the frustration is, HOME at mommy’s breast always satisfies and comforts!

Take a look and tell me what YOUR favorite “shallow” reason for breastfeeding is!

Why I Advocate for Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding hasn’t always been easy for me, but I’m so glad that I persevered and made breastfeeding work for me.

Because in being a breastfeeding mother and a student of lactation and advocacy, I have come to learn through fact and experiences that breastfeeding is amazing for families – not just nutritionally, but for nurture, learning, and connection.

Watch me lift my 16 month old youngest Silly Bear to my breast on demand, though, and you’d probably think, as others have commented,

“Wow, that seems so easy for you – he latches right on! I wish it were that easy when I tried!”

It Hasn’t Always Been Easy

I’ve been nursing for nearly four years now, and though it seems that nursing comes easy to me, believe me, I’ve seen my share of challenges. From getting Abbey back to the breast during a NICU stay when she was newly born, to judgement from a superior about breast exposure in my role as a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, to a demanding, difficult nursing dynamic from my older child when I was pregnant with our second Silly Bear, and everywhere in-between.

I’ve been told that I was starving my child by an ignorant M.D. I’ve been told that I was disgusting for nursing my babies past infancy. I’ve been told that I’ll spoil my babies by nursing them on demand. I’ve even been chastised for feeding my children at the breast in public (I have also been commended for this). But I know via fact and experience that this negativity is pure ignorance, and I wouldn’t ever change my decision to bless my children’s tummies, hearts, and little lives with my milk and my comfort. Despite the challenges I have faced, the decision to be dedicated to nursing my children is one that I am incredibly proud of.

Feeding Tummies, Hearts, and Minds

Holding my children at my breast feeds them with more than just ideal nutrition – it feeds their hearts to know love and comfort, and it feeds their minds to understand respect, compassion, and boundaries, too.

A breastfeeding relationship is more than a feeding implement. It’s a beautiful, challenging, and dynamic learning experience for mother and child, designed to nourish, teach, and nurture both mother and child.

  •  This is why I advocate for feeding children at the breast – because breastfeeding is important. It’s more than just awesome nutrition – it’s a formative experience for mother, child, and family – giving protection from illnesses, a soft place to run for comfort, and an education to love, patience, and nurture.

 

  • This is why I breastfeed my children, and why I am not ashamed or embarrassed to do so. This is why I tell my friends about the enormous benefits to nursing. This is why I offer my help to anyone I meet with a little nursling or a baby on the way.

 

Because I would like to see every mother, child, and family blessed by the wonder that is nutrition, nourishment, and nurture at the breast. Against any and all societal ignorance, in the face of misinformation and greed, and through struggles and adverse conditions: I want to see every mother, child, and family blessed by the beauty that is breastfeeding. 

Whatever I can do to make that dream closer to a reality, I will do for moms and their families. I’m blessed to have had experience working and learning as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor in Texas, excited to be studying and working toward volunteer breastfeeding support here in Maine, and looking forward to continuing my studies to qualify for the IBCLC Exam and turn helping families embrace and succeed at breastfeeding into a career.

 

 

What is your reaction to the knowledge that breastfeeding is more than just nutrition?

 

Have you experienced the power of breastfeeding in your family?

Sewing Tutorial: DIY Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains are great for keeping kids rooms (or any rooms) dark and cool. Our family benefits from more sleep in the mornings and good, long naps, thanks to blackout-lined curtains. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to sew your own blackout lined curtains. The fabric choices are endless, and the process is fairly simple. With a few common materials, and an hour or two of your time, you can have beautiful DIY blackout curtains to be very proud of!

Materials:

• rotary cutter and mat or fabric shears

• 1 & 2/3 yards of curtain fabric of your choice

• 1 & 1/2 yards of blackout curtain liner.

• coordinating polyester thread

• iron and flat, heat-tolerable surface for pressing

• large flat area for cutting and preparing panels

• sewing machine

• sewing needle for hand stitching

 

Prepare Fabric:

1. Cut curtain fabric in a 44″X 60″ rectangle with your rotary cutter or fabric shears

2. Cut your blackout lining to 42″ X 54″.

3. Prepare your fabrics by pressing fabric to flatten any wrinkles and creases.

 

Sew Side Seams

Lay printed fabric right side up on a large, flat surface. Place the Blackout liner fabric laminated side up on top of the printed fabric (the right side of the print and right [woven] side of the Blackout liner should be facing one another). Place the fabric so that there is an even amount (approx. 3″) of print fabric on the top and bottom under the liner fabric [See Picture].

Photobucket
If you are sewing curtain panels to be used directly on a rod, you will have 8-9 inches at the top.

Bring the right edge of the liner fabric to meet the right edge of the cotton fabric, smooth, and pin in place from the under-side

(the heads of the pins should be on the wrong side of the printed fabric)

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1. Bring the left edge of the liner fabric to meet the left edge of the printed fabric. Because the liner fabric is shorter in width than the printed fabric, you will have an extra 3-4 inches of printed fabric. Do not attempt to smooth this out and trim the printed fabric 1

2. Place your prepared fabric under the sewing machine foot with the print side up

(heads of the pins will be facing up, for you to pull out with your right hand as you sew)

Sew a straight stitch leaving a 1″ seam allowance. Do the same for the right and left sides. Make sure that you trim your threads and go back to your work surface.

Check to see that your seam allowances are 1″. Trim if needed.

Turn your work right side in. Lay the tube of fabric that you just sewed on your work surface with the print side down and the liner fabric centered between the overlap of the print fabric. the fabric overlap should be approx. 1 inch.

3.  Make sure that your seam allowances of both the fabrics are folded outward within the “channels” created by the overlapped print fabric. This will ensure that your curtains black out light from edge to edge.

Check to see that your print fabric overlap is even throughout the length of the curtain panel, and that the seam allowances fit within the “channels” or “casing” created by the overlap, and then press this side seam in place and pin it in place to prepare to topstitch.

4. Bring your pressed and pinned fabric to the sewing machine and topstitch, sewing a straight stitch “in the ditch” between the print overlap and the liner fabric.

Make sure that you straighten the fabric to your left as you sew, and sew carefully as to not lose control of the large amount of fabric.

It’s a long seam, but you can do it! I like to use a Blind Hem Foot and minimum stitch width setting to guide the stitch into “the ditch” as I sew.

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5. Bring your work back to your large flat workspace and press these topstitched seams in place and iron out any wrinkles that have been created.

You want your fabric nice and crisp to make sure that your seams are square and that you don’t end up with funky wrinkles and unintended pleats in any part of your curtain panel! 2

Sew Top and Bottom seams

Top Seam:

{NOTE: If you want to hang your curtains directly on a rod, please add 5-6 inches to your initial measurement for the print fabric, and sew a rod casing for this step}

The following directions will create a straight, closed, and mitered seam with no rod casing that can be hung on ring clips as pictured.

1. Confirm that you have done all of the steps including pressing your finished seams for the side seams. check that your selvedge edges (raw edges) are reasonably straight, and approximately 3″ in length.

2. Measure 1.5″ up the seam allowance on the top on the left and right sides, and mark. Your mark should be approximately halfway up the selvedge edged seam allowance. Now at the very top of the top selvedge edge, measure from the right edge of your piece inward 1.5″ and mark. (A) Connect the marks and snip off the corner of the selvedge. Do the same for the left side. [See Fig. 4A]

3. (B) Snip off the triangle piece of overlap, too. [See Fig. 4B]

4. Fold down seam allowance approximately 1.5″ and press down. [Fig. 4C]

5. Fold corners in so that the inside edge of the triangle formed matches up with the topstitching of the side seams. Press. Do this on both sides. [Fig. 4D]

6. Fold down seam allowance approx. 1.5″ once more, and press. [Fig. 4E] Pin in place from the underside (you’ll want to sew with the right side of the curtain panel facing you).

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7. Sew this hem with a straight stitch- I like to use a double needle, but a single needle will work just fine! Sew from the topstitching on the right side seam to the topstitching on the left side seam.

Bottom Seam:

Repeat steps 2. – 6. for the bottom hem, but sew this hem with a Blind Hem Stitch and Blind Hem Foot. Alternatively, you can use a straight stitch for this hem.

Press all your seams and hems.

Confirm that your curtain panel is the right size and shape before you do the next step.

Finishing Up:

You’ll be hand sewing the mitered edges of the top and bottom seams. Pick a hand sewing needle that is appropriate for the materials you have used in your curtain panel. Hand sew the mitered edges on all four corners of the curtain panel, making sure to secure your thread at the beginning and end of your stitching, and then you’re done!

Go hang up your curtain panels and admire your handiwork. You created something for your family. Doesn’t it feel great!?

Cost and Time Commitment:

Approx. length of time to make one curtain panel, uninterrupted – 1-2 hours.

Cost of materials for one 42″ X 54″ curtain panel – $20 – $30 This is a full-price estimate for using a $6.99 per yard economy blackout fabric and an average $8.00 per yard cotton woven fabric. If you have coupons or discount codes, you can get the fabric for less, as I did. I spent approximately $100 making blackout curtains for both of my children’s rooms – with coupons and sale prices from Joann.com and Fabric.com. (I also received cash back through Ebates by shopping these stores online.)

  1. PIN THE LEFT EDGE of the liner TO THE LEFT EDGE of the print, just as they are. The extra print fabric is a GOOD thing. You WANT overlap.
  2. Pressing has to be the most time consuming and boring part of sewing. But it is imperative. I promise. I wouldn’t make you do it if it weren’t important!

Nursing In Public – Normal & Necessary.

I was skeptical when I clicked over to the Stir article about a Luvs Diaper Commercial starring breastfeeding as a punchline. But when I watched it, I was overjoyed that the ad showed a realistic and positive take on breastfeeding at a restaurant (gasp) without a nursing cover.


Nursing a child is totally normal, necessary, and not at all distasteful. I nursed Abbey and still nurse Joe on demand, without a cover, wherever he needs to nurse. I have even been known to nurse Abbey in public, without a cover, as a preschooler – when she needed to be nursed.

 

Only twice have I ever had a negative experience with nursing my Silly Bears wherever they needed to be fed. But the experiences of other nursing moms like Michelle Hickman of Texas, who was harassed in a Target store for breastfeeding her infant during a shopping trip, my friend Dionna Ford, when she was asked to “turn around and face the wall” to nurse her infant daughter, or Dawn Holland, who was told “finish breastfeeding in the bathroom or leave!” at a Georgia Applebee’s restaurant.

 

Cover If You Want To

If mothers feel more comfortable nursing while wearing a cover 1 then that is their choice. If mothers feel more comfortable nursing in a separate area from others, they are empowered to make that choice for themselves. But choosing to locate oneself away from others or nurse under cover should be a personal choice due to personal reasons, not a requirement, expectation, or a personal choice made in duress because of others’ opinions about a child’s right to nurse and a mother’s right to fulfill her child’s need. “Cover if you want to” is my general take on the to cover or not to cover issue. It is a personal decision of the breastfeeding dyad 2 . . . and is ethically entitled to a lack of coercion from others.

A mother should NEVER be told to move, turn around, or cover up (much less to go to the restroom to nurse!) in order to satiate her child’s needs by nursing at her breast. Doing so is discrimination against a breastfeeding mother, and though not illegal (yet!), the behavior is rude, unethical, and ignorant. Those who make these statements either don’t know about and understand the importance and natural nature of nursing. . . or they don’t care. Either way – ignorance.

Proposed Legislation to Protect Nursing in Public

And soon, it won’t be blissful ignorance. Cities are starting to see that a woman’s right to nurse in public is a right that should be adequately protected.

The City Council of Seattle, WA announced this spring that they will be considering a Breastfeeding Discrimination Ordinance to prevent discrimination of breastfeeding mothers. This kind of legislation goes to show that breastfeeding discrimination does exist, and is a serious issue in our culture. . . and I hope that it passes, and that people are held accountable for discriminating against women on the basis of motherhood and lactation 3

What do you think about the City of Seattle’s proposed legislation to protect nursing mothers and their children from discrimination? 

Have you had any experiences with nursing that you’d like to share? Share in the comments below!

 

  1. and their children will cooperate with being covered, which neither of mine would
  2. mom and baby
  3. I feel strongly about this both because I am an advocate for breastfeeding, full-term nursing, and breastfeeding families, but also because this is part of a larger Public Health issue. Discrimination against breastfeeding moms and their children feeds a societal stigma that breastfeeding is inherently distasteful, a stigma that is absolutely incorrect and harmful to children’s health.