Bring Breastfeeding Back to Sesame Street!

The following is a press release that was copied by the Bring Breastfeeding Back website:

Bring Breastfeeding Back to Sesame Street (BBBSS) is a group of mothers who want to see Sesame Street bring breastfeeding back to their program. Breastfeeding mother and blogger, Lani Michelle of Boobie Time Blog, posted a call to action via Facebook that asked for mothers to help bring breastfeeding back to Sesame Street. Fellow mom Jessica Williams joined in and started the Care2 petition,  together with a team of moms they have garnished over 30,000 signatures since January 2nd, and have received an outpouring of support and media attention, and it is creating a movement for social change. Time: Healthland reports a response from Executive Vice President of Sesame Workshop Sherrie Westin: “There has never been any edict to remove breast-feeding from the show,” says Westin. “We have included it and absolutely would include it again if it were a natural part of the storyline.”

BBBSS states that thirty years ago, nursing was regularly shown on the show, but has since been replaced with bottle feeding. In the 1990’s, Sesame Street updated videos including “You’re My Baby,” and replaced all portions that included breastfeeding with bottle feeding. Decades ago, Sesame Street aired several videos that included guest stars breastfeeding their babies. In a 1977 episode, guest star Buffy St. Marie is shown breast feeding while she explains to Big Bird that breastfeeding is a natural way of providing nourishment for her child.

 

BBBSS asks that Sesame Street include breastfeeding equally in their programming. The group believes that in order to ensure the health of future generations, children need to see breastfeeding as a natural way to feed a baby. This in turn will make for healthier children, and reduce the risk of breast cancer for many nursing mothers. BBBSS states that the United States has the lowest breastfeeding rates of all western cultures. According the the CDC, in 2011, 74.6% of women in the US attempted to breastfeed, and by age six months only 14.8% of mothers were exclusively breastfeeding.

 

BBBSS believes there is a lack of social support for breastfeeding mothers. Their goal is social normalcy for breastfeeding through inclusion in media and education. BBBSS believes that exposing young children to breastfeeding in every day situations will help teach them that breastfeeding is normal, and therefore help remove any stigmas associated with it. BBBSS concludes, “Sesame Street has the unique opportunity to take the lead in addressing this issue. Sesame Street has always been devoted to the portrayal of important issues in a positive, age appropriate manner, and BBBSS is confident breastfeeding will be shown the same care.”

 

Supporting the Breastfeeding Relationship

Breastfeeding activists know all about the many benefits that go along with breastfeeding. Those who are passionate about breastfeeding are often quick to share their knowledge, opinions, support, and advice…whether it is wanted or not. When talking to others(whether they are breastfeeding or not) often this unsolicited information that is intended as support can come across as rather judgmental. Support delivered in this manner is often not supportive or helpful at all. So what can we all do to provide real support to new mothers?
Listen without Judgement- All people have a hard time listening if they do not feel that they have been heard. Think back to being a new mother, what a new mom needs is someone to be there to listen without judging. After being able to talk through her emotions she will most likely feel more equipped to persevere through her current challenge!
Validate and Accept Her Reality – Being a new mom is hard and breastfeeding is hard. Accept and validate whatever the mother is feeling. If, for example, a new mom tells you that she is not making enough milk, do not jump to the conclusion that she has been receiving bad advice. Acknowledge how frustrated she must be and how hard it would be to not know if your baby is getting enough nourishment.
Empower Her – Help her to trust her gut and her instincts. When she asks you a question about breastfeeding, try asking her what she thinks. What does her gut tell her? Never underestimate a mothers instincts, it is tuning into them that is the hard part.
Offer Support and Information, not Advice – There is a big difference between “you should feed your baby more often” and “breastfeeding is a process of supply and demand and usually the more a mother feeds her baby, the more milk she will make”. One of these statements is a judgement and one offers evidence based information.
Most new moms in our country need so much more support then they are receiving, but what they don’t need is judgement and criticism. Were there people in your life that were extremely valuable to the success of your breastfeeding relationship? How did they support you?

DIY Nursing Clothes

During my preparation for motherhood and breastfeeding I frequently scoured second-hand shops hoping to get a good deal on nursing clothes. I was hoping to find a Planet Drugs coupon code, too, for mu hubby and I did. You can get a Planet Drugs discount, too. I think that I ended up with about four or five of the nursing tanks. I quickly realized that although they were nice to have, I often was just as comfortable in my regular tops. A few ideas for making everyday clothes into “nursing clothes”:

  • Layer – The easiest way to transform any outfit into nursing friendly attire is to wear stretchy layers. The bottom layer being a top that can easily be pulled down and the top one that is easy to pull up. Easy peasy!
  • Belly Bands – If you have a belly band lying around from your pregnancy(or that you have been using during the early days postpartum) it can make the perfect under layer to cover your belly while your shirt is lifted up for nursing.
  • Cotton Bras – If you would like a makeshift nursing bra, flexible bras that can be easily pulled down work great!
  • Sacrifice an old shirt – Although I have never done this myself, I have heard of many mothers taking scissors to an old tank top to cut out two holes for easy nursing. The tank top is then used as the bottom layer.

Have other ideas for do-it-yourself nursing attire? Comment to share your wisdom!

Favorite Breastfeeding Snacks!

And you thought you were hungry during pregnancy! Man, those early days(and months) of nursing I probably found myself feeling truly full only a handful of times. While struggling to keep up with life as a new mom, easy to grab nutritious snacks sure do come in handy! Here is a list of my top 5 favorite breastfeeding snacks:

  1. Raw Nuts – It doesn’t get much easier than grabbing a hand full of almonds or cashews whenever you are hungry.
  2. Smoothies – I would often make a smoothie in a large mason jar in the morning then enjoy small smoothies throughout the day. My favorite combo includes berries, banana, yogurt, and some juice. Throwing an avocado in there packs your smoothie full of healthy fats and it tastes great!
  3. Lara Bars – Lara bars are made with very few ingredients and contain no fillers! For instance, their cashew cookie bar is made with only dates and cashews; and they taste great. They are still a go to snack for me and my toddler.
  4. Whole Fruits and Veggies – I loved having fruit and veggies available that were easy to eat without much preparation – such as apples, bananas, pears, grapes, carrot sticks, or cucumber slices.
  5. Hard boiled Eggs – It is easy to miss out on protein when snacking all day and rarely having time to sit down for a full meal. Having hard boiled eggs prepared provides an easy and protein-dense snack.

So what were/are your favorite easy breastfeeding snacks?

New Dad | and baby makes three…

The adjustment from a twosome to a threesome can be quite the tricky transition. During the early days, when baby seems to be breastfeeding around the clock, dads can often feel left out in the cold. As baby gets older, and into toddler-hood, they may seem to only want mommy during times of frustration, tiredness, and stress. A fathers role in the new family triangle can be hard to figure out. Know that a fathers role, although different, is just as important as a mothers.

The following list of  “new dad tricks” was compiled with the help of my husband:

 

  • Skin-to-skin contact– Spend time skin-to-skin with your baby whenever it is possible. Take baths with baby, cuddle on the couch with baby on your chest, or lay in bed as you read stories and mom takes a well deserved break. Skin-to-skin contact will help to facilitate bonding between you and your child.
  • Take care of mom – During the early weeks and months it is your job to take care of mom! Breastfeeding is a 24 hour a day job and man is it exhausting. Mom needs someone to make snacks and bring her a glass of water; she needs someone to rub her aching shoulders and offer her bites of food when she does not have her hands free; she needs someone to hand her her favorite book when the baby falls asleep nursing and she left the book on the other side of the room. It is so hard to nurture someone all day and never be nurtured yourself. By nourishing mom you are nourishing your baby!
  • Mealtime – Once baby begins experimenting with solid food(around the middle of the first year), take over mealtime when you are home. Mom will be grateful for the chance to use both of her hands to eat a meal for once. Baby mealtimes do not need to be a daunting task. It is unnecessary to provide special “baby food” for your child; simply mash some healthy food from your plate with a fork and place it in front of your baby for him to grab if he is interested. Don’t worry if all he wants to do is play with his food. Playing with food is a wonderful sensory experience and mamas milk is providing all the nutrition he needs for now!
  • Baby-wearing – Wearing your baby in a carrier is a great way to bond with your child. Take walks down to the park, around the neighborhood, or simply wear your baby while you cook dinner. This is an easy way to naturally bring on a nap for the baby who usually nurses to sleep. Don’t be surprised if these daddy-baby walks become something that you look forward to all day long!
  • Diaper changes – Diaper changes are a wonderful bonding opportunity. Your baby will be looking at your face and listening to your voice. Play games with your baby during diaper time. Extremely young babies have the ability to imitate. Open and close your mouth slowly while your baby is studying your face and see if he tries it too! Try taking over the majority of diaper changes when you are home, your partner will be extremely grateful.
  • One-on-one time – As your baby gets older, spend some one-on-one time with your child as your partner runs an errand or takes a bath. These windows will gradually get longer as your baby grows. This time will help your child form a secure and trusting attachment to you. Your child will soon learn that although you are not mommy, you are there to meet their needs and provide them with loving comfort in a way that only daddy can.
  • Sleep with baby– Don’t separate yourself from nighttime parenting by sleeping in a separate room.  The family bed is a wonderful way to bond, especially if you work long hours.  If your child only wants to nurse back to sleep when they wake during the night, a loving rub on the back when the baby wakes will let your partner know that you are there if she needs you. Although you might be short on sleep for awhile, it is worth it when your baby reaches for your arm in the middle of the night or wakes you up with a big smile in the morning.

The bond that you share with your child is stronger than anything you could have possibly imagined prior to becoming a parent. Taking the time to be a nurturing, attentive, and involved father while your baby is young will help to lay a strong foundation for the relationship that the two of you will share for the rest of your life.

Breastfeeding Resolutions in 2017

Happy new year everyone! Also, Happy anniversary for all of those who have followed the breastfeeding blog since it’s beginning(which happens to have been a year ago this past Wednesday)! This new year I have been thinking about some “attainable” resolutions that I would like to work towards. The resolution that I have chosen this year is simply

“To Be More Present”

I have always been someone who has difficulty slowing down and really enjoying the moment, I seem to always be looking ahead. This is something I am really going to work on this year. I started doing yoga last year and now that the little guy is two, I would like to make more time for my practice. We have even been doing a family calm yoga class on Friday mornings! My family and I will be moving across the country this coming spring and will be simplifying our lives a great deal so that we can get by with less and spend more time together as a family.

I am also pledging to focus on the same resolution when it comes to breastfeeding. Now that I have reached the two year mark with my son, the ball is pretty much in his court. He may decide that he wants to wean this year, or perhaps weaning is a little while away still. Either way, I am going to “be more present” by really tuning into this little guy who is growing so fast. I am going to remind myself to slow down and enjoy those few cuddle filled nursing times that we have each day. Because….. before I know it, our breastfeeding relationship will be over and I know I will miss it oh so much.

Skin Crawling and Nipple Fiddling

A breastfeeding relationship involves two people. In order for the relationship to remain a happy one it is important to address any underlying resentments or negative feelings that you might have. For me, negative feelings arise whenever my son decides that he has to twiddle, play with, pat, or otherwise touch my other nipple while he is nursing.

I can’t explain why this particular behavior bothers me so much, but it does. After hearing from others it seems that I am not alone. I will admit that this is something that has bothered me since almost the beginning of our nursing relationship, and it is something that I have always tried to head off. After two years(even after always being redirected when he reaches for my other nipple) he still tries almost every time he is nursing! After researching and speaking with other moms about this common behavior, I have compiled this list of suggestions for the mom who deals with this as well. Try one or a few of these options to see if it works with your child:

  • Redirect their hand to your belly or arm(or somewhere you don’t mind being touched or fiddled with) every single time they reach for your nipple.
  • Nurse from the opposite side during the night. In other words, offer your child the furthest breast so that you are lying on your other nipple. DO NOT do this if you are prone to plugged ducts or mastitis!
  • Limit access through clothing. This works for some but my son just finds his way(and even if he didn’t it seems to still bother me over top of clothing as well).
  • Provide a stuffed animal to play with and fiddle instead.
  • Holding or play with little hands while nursing.
  • Explain calmly and gently that it bothers you. Ex “I don’t like being touched there, you can rub my arm(hold this stuffed animal, hold my hand, etc..) instead”. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat….

So, I offer to you these suggestions to try as they seem to work for many moms. So…what gets under your skin?

Baby Acne

During pregnancy and labor, a baby receives a surge of hormones that are transferred to her from her mama via the placenta. One of the side affects of this hormone kick is baby acne. If your baby develops small pimples on her face, back, or other areas of her body that look remarkably similar to the acne that a teenager would develop, it is usually nothing to worry about. Baby acne can start any time after birth and it is completely normal for it to stick around for a few months; it is also normal for the acne to peak around 3 or 4 weeks of age.  So what can you do to care for your baby’s skin in the mean time?

  • Creams or lotions are not usually necessary, and could irritate the skin; you can simply rinse your baby’s face with water during bath time.
  • Keep your little one dressed appropriately for the weather, sweat can make baby acne worse. A good rule of thumb during the early months is for baby to be wearing one light layer more than what you are wearing.
  • Breastmilk works wonders for soothing irritated skin and it is unlikely it will make anything worse! Rub a bit on the skin whenever you remember.

Be sure to keep an eye on the rash and get some professional advice if it starts to look like eczema or a rash related to food allergies. I know it is hard to see your baby’s beautiful face covered in patches of acne, but baby acne does go away! More likely than not you will barely remember that it was ever even a concern.

Infant Sleep – What’s Normal?

“Is the baby sleeping through the night yet?” is likely one question you will hear more times that you can imagine during the first year of your baby’s life. For the mother who’s baby continues to wake frequently, hearing this can be very discouraging and make someone question their nighttime parenting techniques. What needs to be known is that a baby waking frequently at night is completely normal! The child who sleeps through most of the night at a young age is actually in the minority. It is also completely normal for a child to need to be parented to sleep(and back to sleep) throughout their first years of life and beyond. So what is within the range of normal infant sleep?

  • Baby’s sleep cycles last around one hour(compared to an adult sleep cycle which lasts around an hour and a half). This means that every single hour of the night your baby goes through a “light sleep” period where she will either be able to settle herself back to sleep fairly effortlessly or she may need a little help getting through the light sleep phase back into deep sleep. Babies often have an easier time moving through light sleep by themselves during the first hours of the night and need more help as the morning approaches.
  • It takes about 20 minutes after your baby’s eyes close for him to enter “deep sleep”. Although the end of the day is a time when most parents are really itching to have some alone time, it helps to approach bedtime knowing that it might take up to an hour and rarely takes less than 30 minutes.
  • In the early months, babies need to nurse frequently throughout the night. Breast milk takes approximately 1-3 hours to be digested. Waking up frequently is a survival technique. Although breastfed babies do wake more frequently, they are often easier to get back to sleep.
  • A sleep study done in 1994 that involved 640 babies revealed that only 17% of babies are sleeping through the night at 6 months old. Another 1994 sleep study, involving over 3,000 participants, determined that it is not until at least 24 months old that regular night waking decreases naturally.
  • Due to developmental leaps, it is common for night-waking to increase between 6 and 12 months.

I hope that some of this information eases some of the common worries regarding, and provides a clearer picture of, normal infant sleep patterns.

Morning Sickness

If you are in your early months of pregnancy chances are you are experiencing some degree of morning sickness. Despite it’s confusing name, morning sickness can strike any time of the day (or linger all day as was the case with my pregnancy). Take comfort in knowing that morning sickness is actually a sign that you have a healthy and well-implanted embryo. Nausea should subside by about the third month of pregnancy. Until then, try some of the following tips to make it through your day:

  • Recognize your triggers: Try to pinpoint what triggers your nausea and avoid these things as much as possible. Common culprits are perfumes, coffee, cooked meat, and body odors.
  • Avoid an empty stomach– Most women feel worse when they are running on an empty stomach. Keep some snacks by your bedside table to nibble on before you get out of bed.
  • Stick to the foods that agree with you– It can be hard to eat enough when nausea is involved. If the thought of cooking food makes you want to curl up into a ball (as was the case with me), consider sticking to a raw foods diet for the first few months.  Cold foods are sometimes more tolerable that hot. Smoothies are a great way to pack nutrients into an easy to eat and digest treat.
  • Avoid large meals – eat several smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large meals. Try to always have easy-to-grab snacks on hand.
  • Acupressure – I don’t know how i would have made it through my first pregnancy without the use of acupressure sea bands.These wrist bands provide continuous pressure to an anti-nausea pressure point.
  • Add anti-nausea foods to your diet – Foods that naturally calm the stomach include fennel, ginger, and peppermint. Tea is a great way to enjoy!
  • Get Plenty of Sleep – Being tired can make symptoms worse so be sure to get enough sleep at night and make time for naps!
  • Drink Water – Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
  • Snack before bed – Enjoy a protein dense snack before going to bed for the night.

I hope some of these tips help you get through the first trimester as comfortably as possible. If there is anything else that has helped you during pregnancy please share!