Mothering http://www.mothering.com/articles Wed, 29 Jul 2015 00:02:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mothering no Mothering http://www.mothering.com/articles/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.mothering.com/articles I Treat My Youngest Child Differently, and I Don’t Feel Bad About It http://www.mothering.com/articles/treat-youngest-child-differently-dont-feel-bad/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/treat-youngest-child-differently-dont-feel-bad/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:18:20 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=87841 I was recently chatting with a friend about typical seven-year-old stuff: Proclaiming everything as “boring.” Getting stuck in small spaces (why would you even think you could fit in there?) How much Mac & Cheese is too much for one day. You know, the usual. We moved on to teaching personal hygiene and I said, […]

The post I Treat My Youngest Child Differently, and I Don’t Feel Bad About It appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
IMG_6047

I was recently chatting with a friend about typical seven-year-old stuff: Proclaiming everything as “boring.” Getting stuck in small spaces (why would you even think you could fit in there?) How much Mac & Cheese is too much for one day. You know, the usual.

We moved on to teaching personal hygiene and I said, “when they start showering by themselves.” She informed me that her son has been for some time. I still bathe my daughter. Wash her hair, sit with her, discuss whether or not mermaids would have gills. (Definitely.) Not doing so seemed years away up until that moment, but her seven-year-old is the oldest child, and mine is the youngest. I realized that I do a lot of things for her that she can do herself. Tie her shoes. Clean up her toys. Stop what I’m doing to make her a snack. I let behavior slide that didn’t with my older children.

Am I babying her, I thought? Yes. Yes I am. But why?

  • It’s tough being the youngest. Most people think the youngest is spoiled. The center of the attention. The favored perpetual baby. But the reality is, the youngest is always struggling to keep up and get noticed. Always compared to their older siblings by relatives and teachers and coaches and neighbors and parents. I’ve had to comfort my daughter countless times when her brothers said she was bothering them or they didn’t want to play her silly games. When she’s felt forgotten or left behind. Am I overcompensating for that? You bet.
  • I’m busier. Her older brothers got more of my undivided attention. By the time she came along I was in survival mode with two active young boys and a pretty significant multi-year sleep deficit. She spent more time in the baby swing than they ever did, got dragged along to their playdates or ball games or activities. When my oldest was five, I was in full-on 24/7 mommy-mode and happy to do so. When she was nearing five, I was beyond ready to have a life outside of my kids. She got less of me, and I know it.
  • Been there, done that syndrome. I had three baby showers for my oldest, one for my middle child, none for my youngest. I could barely get anyone to come by and see her at all. Eh, it’s almost Easter. She’ll still be a baby then. Immediately after my sons’ births I had a crowd of people come by before I even managed to put pants on over my ice pack and medical-grade sanitary pad. And it’s not just other people. I did it, too. She missed out on story time, arts and crafts, playgroups, photo albums, a baby’s first year book. It wasn’t intentional, mind you. I had just done that stuff so much that I sort of assumed I had done it with her. I hadn’t. So if that means I now take her the American Girl store and play actual money to get a doll’s hair done in an actual doll hair salon, and order real, tiny food for a not-real, tiny plastic girl, I will gladly take the shade thrown my way.
  • I’m not indulgent, I’m seasoned. Okay, I’m indulgent, too. But really, by the time number three came along, we really had learned not to sweat the small stuff. And she benefits from having relaxed, experienced parents. We benefit by really getting to enjoy her childhood, instead of stressing about every milestone or phase or germ. It’s nice.
  • I’m sad she’s my last. I will never have another baby curled sleeping on my chest, will never watch a toddler joyfully explore the world for the first time, will never have a preschooler coming into their own with opinions and interests and independence. Maybe I have let those stages go on a little longer with her. I want to savor them. So if I let my seven-year-old with legs like stilts cuddle on my lap while I watch her choice of movie (Super Buddies. Look for that to sweep the Oscars…) And if I put her laundry away, and I still cup her chin and wash her hair and debate the finer points of mythical creatures with her, then what’s the big deal? Besides, the other day she asked me when she can start wearing makeup. She’s growing up too fast as it is.

The post I Treat My Youngest Child Differently, and I Don’t Feel Bad About It appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
http://www.mothering.com/articles/treat-youngest-child-differently-dont-feel-bad/feed/ 2
Legislator Photographed Breastfeeding During Parliamentary Session Draws Global Attention http://www.mothering.com/articles/legislator-breastfeeding-parliament-session-draws-global-attention/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/legislator-breastfeeding-parliament-session-draws-global-attention/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:35:44 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=88169 Victoria Donda Pérez, an Argentinian legislator and human rights activist, helped to normalize breastfeeding recently by nursing her 8-month-old daughter during a parliamentary session. Donda Pérez is the youngest member of Argentine National Congress, and no stranger to political activism. She was born in a detention center in Buenos Aires for “disappeared people” — leftist human […]

The post Legislator Photographed Breastfeeding During Parliamentary Session Draws Global Attention appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
Victoria_Perez

Victoria Donda Pérez, an Argentinian legislator and human rights activist, helped to normalize breastfeeding recently by nursing her 8-month-old daughter during a parliamentary session.

Donda Pérez is the youngest member of Argentine National Congress, and no stranger to political activism. She was born in a detention center in Buenos Aires for “disappeared people” — leftist human rights activists who have been kidnapped by the state — during Argentina’s Dirty War. Her mother and father, political dissidents, are presumed killed by government forces.

One of approximately 500 children of kidnapped and murdered activists, Donda Pérez was given to another family (likely military or government workers, as a way to avoid another generation of dissidents), and was unaware of her true identity until she was 26 years old, after contacting an organization for the children of disappeared people.

After overcoming such a tragic background, it seems absurd that feeding her baby would be at all controversial. But, of course, any time a woman breastfeeds in a public situation, condemnation soon follows. While Donda Pérez has had her share of critics, she has had support as well.

What Victoria Donda Pérez did may seem small, but every act of breastfeeding in the public eye helps to normalize nursing, which is a public health issue. UNICEF estimates that millions of lives could be saved every year if more mothers breastfed.

As many women from the United States know, lack of maternity leave frequently derails the breastfeeding relationship. As the only developed nation in the entire world without paid maternity leave, American women have exceptionally low breastfeeding rates. 2013 CDC statistics show that while 77% of women start out breastfeeding after birth, by 6 months that number has fallen to 16.4% for exclusive breastfeeding.

If we cannot have a decent maternity leave in order to support breastfeeding as well as overall child and maternal health, having a workplace supportive of breastfeeding would be an enormous benefit. Unfortunately, many women do not have jobs where such an option is realistic, but we can thank Victoria Donda Pérez for doing her part to help pave the way.

The post Legislator Photographed Breastfeeding During Parliamentary Session Draws Global Attention appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
http://www.mothering.com/articles/legislator-breastfeeding-parliament-session-draws-global-attention/feed/ 4
Now That I Have Kids, My Sex Drive is Nonexistent: What Should I Do? http://www.mothering.com/articles/no-interest-sex/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/no-interest-sex/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 23:28:36 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=88265 Dear Dr. Claire,

My husband and I have been married for nine years and have two children, a three-year-old and five-year-old. My husband works long hours and travels; I am in charge of the kids from morning until night during the week. When he’s home and on the weekend, my husband wants to have sex, and I have no interest, at all. My husband is getting frustrated with the lack of sex and I’m pretty annoyed with how every time he offers to rub my feet or give me a back rub, it's how he initiates sex. I could live without sex. I am exhausted and just want to sleep or be by myself. How can I get my husband to understand I’m just not interested in sex right now? I’d prefer to sleep.

The post Now That I Have Kids, My Sex Drive is Nonexistent: What Should I Do? appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
Unhappy Couple On Bed

Welcome to our new Q&A series with Dr. Claire Nicogossian. Find more about about this column and how you can submit a question to Dr. Claire at the bottom of this post.

Dear Dr. Claire,

My husband and I have been married for nine years and have two children, a three-year-old and five-year-old. My husband works long hours and travels; I am in charge of the kids from morning until night during the week. When he’s home and on the weekend, my husband wants to have sex, and I have no interest, at all. My husband is getting frustrated with the lack of sex and I’m pretty annoyed with how every time he offers to rub my feet or give me a back rub, it’s how he initiates sex. I could live without sex. I am exhausted and just want to sleep or be by myself. How can I get my husband to understand I’m just not interested in sex right now? I’d prefer to sleep.

-Lost Libido and OK with it.

Dear Lost Libido,

Your days are quite full and demanding. I understand how caring for children and being the sole parent most of the week depletes your energy leaving you exhausted with no energy for anything but sleep.

Libido, or sexual desire, is the willingness and interest to engage in sexual activity. Individuals have different levels of sexual desire based on many things: stress, lifestyle, mental health, hormonal functioning, and individual differences, which is a way of saying “just how you are.” There is a range of what is considered “healthy” for sexual desire. However, when a person has no sexual desire, it usually signals a deeper concern, chronic stress, depression, anxiety or physical health issues.

When couples have different levels of sexual desire, as you describe in your marriage with one person having no sexual desire and the other having moderate sexual desire, the result is tension and sexual intimacy issues.

But you don’t need me to tell you that, you are living it right now. First this is not simply an issue with you. When a couple is having sexual problems, it’s not the “fault” of one person. Instead, it is a couple’s problem.

Based on your description of your life, you have an extraordinary amount of stress and responsibility taking care of your children. I also hear something else though; you and your husband don’t seem to be connecting emotionally.

Are you and your husband emotionally supportive to one another during the week? Do you talk on the phone, skype-how do you both connect during the week? When you do talk with one another, what do you talk about? Is it the children, finances, household tasks, what I call the “reporting” of what happened during the day? It’s important to talk about those details and balance time connecting emotionally with one another. I would encourage you both to set aside time daily where you can talk and share with one another meaningful detail of the day and give/receive support with one another.

I also want you to ask yourself the following question: “What do I need from my husband to reduce the stress of solo parenting during the week?” Find one or two concrete behaviors he can do; for example, maybe he can grocery shop on the weekend and prep a couple of meals for the week when he is away. If this doesn’t sound like something he would be willing to do, then find something he can do or let him decide how he can help alleviate the household demands during the week.

On the weekend, let your husband take over for a couple of hours and take some time for yourself. I’m sure your husband is tired from the week of travel and work, but he’s also has been disconnected physically from the family unit and you have been in charge all week. You need time to replenish and restore your energy. Instead of filling your time with errands or chores, spend the time doing something just for you. I imagine you may choose to sleep in your free time based on how exhausted you have been. But also consider going for a walk or doing an activity you enjoy doing but haven’t had the time to do. Go to a movie, spend time with friends, sit and read in a park, exercise, and come up with other ways restore your energy.

It’s also going to be important to talk with your husband about your lack of sexual desire. You and your husband will have to work together to find solutions to improve sexual intimacy. One “red flag” in your description is that every neck or back rub is the way your husband initiates sex. I see this often in counseling-when physical touch leads to sexual intimacy. What ends up happening is a great deal of frustration because sometimes one partner just wants physical touch without it leading to sex. It’s important for couples to have non-sexual touch. Which means that a neck rub or a hug need to be just that, a physical expression of affection. Let your husband know that you want a neck rub just to be a neck rub. Find other ways to communicate how you both would like to plan and initiate sex.

I want you to work on getting enough sleep. Make sure you are on a sleep routine and getting enough sleep each night. You describe being exhausted at the end of most days. Libido decreases with sleep deprivation, chronic stress, depression, and anxiety. If you address all of the suggestions above and continue to have no sexual desire, I would recommend talking with your primary care physician or seeking the support of a therapist to talk about your low libido and to work on strategies as a couple to improve sexual intimacy.

I hope these suggestions help you.

Take care,
Dr. Claire

About Ask Dr. Claire

Dr. Claire has been writing articles here at Mothering since the winter of this year. She writes self-help articles on her website MomsWellBeing.com and recently launched a self-help column called Ask Dr. Claire found at DrClaireNicogossian.com. If you have a question for Dr. Claire on relationships, parenting, self-care or well-being, please go to Ask Dr. Claire.

Please note, submitting a question to Dr. Claire does not constitute a therapeutic client-therapist relationship. By submitting a question, you agree to not hold Dr. Claire liable for the advice she provides. Dr. Claire may edit questions as needed before they are published on her site or Mothering. Please submit your question at this link and be sure to note if you would like your first name used or prefer to remain anonymous.

The post Now That I Have Kids, My Sex Drive is Nonexistent: What Should I Do? appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
http://www.mothering.com/articles/no-interest-sex/feed/ 0
Please Don’t Make Your Kid Share With Mine http://www.mothering.com/articles/please-dont-make-kid-share-mine/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/please-dont-make-kid-share-mine/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 22:16:26 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=86889 Have you ever been at a play date, or in a public play place when the inevitable happens? Two kids want the same toy. Both moms feel obligated to force their kid to share. After all, that’s good parenting, right? I don’t think so. I write bearing good news: you don’t need to force your kid […]

The post Please Don’t Make Your Kid Share With Mine appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
sharing

Have you ever been at a play date, or in a public play place when the inevitable happens? Two kids want the same toy. Both moms feel obligated to force their kid to share. After all, that’s good parenting, right?

I don’t think so. I write bearing good news: you don’t need to force your kid to share with mine.

Sometimes my toddler will approach a new friend and try to yank a toy out of their hands, which is normal toddler behavior. I intervene and tell my baby, “No thank you; not your turn,” and hand it back to the original kid.

Some parents feel obligated to tell their child, “You need to share!” meaning, “Hand over the toy,” just because my kid decided it was his turn. And when a child grabs a toy from my toddler, there may be an expectation that I will make my toddler share right then and there.

But that’s not how sharing really works, is it? Realistic sharing is more like taking turns. Your baby has their turn, then when they lose interest (which generally happens fairly quickly with little ones), my baby has his turn.

Sure, there are exceptions. If one kid has been hoarding the toy for a while, it might be nice if the parent uses a distraction technique to free it up. And at a certain age (my seven-year-old comes to mind), some respectful taking of turns can be expected and encouraged. Fostering generosity and compassion in kids is important. But coercing a kid to give up a prized possession, whether new found or well-loved, is not the way to instill such values.

Forcing your child to share immediately when someone asks for their toy teaches them to hand over their belongings indiscriminately, even if they’re still using them, even if they’re engrossed in them, even if they’re busy learning. It interrupts their focus and concentration. It puts their needs second, instead of first, and everyone deserves to have their needs put first sometimes. Giving under duress isn’t the same as giving out of the desire to be generous, and it doesn’t help teach children why taking turns and being generous are virtues.

Being on the other end of it, not expecting other kids to immediately share with my kids teaches my children patience. It teaches them that taking turns is important, inspiring an atmosphere of equality, where everyone of every age will get their turn at some point. We can teach our older children further patience by encouraging them to give little kids a turn first, since their brains are less developed and younger children have a harder time waiting.

We can help our children understand the importance of giving, generosity, and compassion as their brains continue to develop along with their ability to empathize. The reason a toddler might have a distress tantrum at the thought of sharing isn’t because they’re spoiled or possessive or materialistic; it’s because they’re children with limited impulse control and emotional regulation. As they get older, we can help them develop empathy by explaining how their actions affect others, by relating their own experiences to those of others, and by modeling generosity in our own behavior.

We can also teach our older kids that sharing isn’t mandatory; for instance, my seven-year-old has a couple of toys he has deemed “too special” to share. This is an approach respectful of personal autonomy, and the truth is, I don’t automatically share either. I do share a lot, but I certainly have possessions that I consider too valuable (monetarily or sentimentally) to hand over to the kiddos. And that’s okay too.

Instead of enforcing a compulsory sharing tactic, know that not all of us parents out there are expecting automatic sharing, and we respect your child’s right to have some quality time with their toy of choice. There are a lot of ways to teach a child empathy— forced sharing does not have to be one of them.

Do you make your kids share?

The post Please Don’t Make Your Kid Share With Mine appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
http://www.mothering.com/articles/please-dont-make-kid-share-mine/feed/ 3
Breastfeeding Isn’t Always Easy: 15 Moms Talk About How They Overcame Serious Nursing Obstacles http://www.mothering.com/articles/overcoming-breastfeeding-obstacles/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/overcoming-breastfeeding-obstacles/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:14:19 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=86473 Everyone seems to know that breastfeeding is the optimal way to feed your baby. But while we tend to gush on about the beauties and benefits of breastfeeding, sometimes we fail to address breastfeeding obstacles. And while breastfeeding is an amazing and beautiful experience, it isn’t always without difficulty. Today I wanted to share with […]

The post Breastfeeding Isn’t Always Easy: 15 Moms Talk About How They Overcame Serious Nursing Obstacles appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
Overcoming Breastfeeding Obstacles

Everyone seems to know that breastfeeding is the optimal way to feed your baby. But while we tend to gush on about the beauties and benefits of breastfeeding, sometimes we fail to address breastfeeding obstacles. And while breastfeeding is an amazing and beautiful experience, it isn’t always without difficulty.

Today I wanted to share with you quotes from real women regarding how they worked at overcoming breastfeeding obstacles. Sometimes, the powerful and empowering things in our lives are not the easy ones, but the ones we work the hardest towards triumphing over.

From the first time mom, to the woman who has breastfed for years and years, and from the first latch till two years in, women do struggle with breastfeeding. These quotes are real, inspiring, and helpful. You are not alone. You can, with support, find the strength for overcoming breastfeeding obstacles.

breastfeeding_challenges

15 Mamas Share How They Overcame Breastfeeding Obstacles

“I tell clients expecting a second (or third) child that breastfeeding can be different with each baby. While the mom may know what she is doing, this new little one may need time, patience and even help to get it right. I struggled the most with my 4th baby and I had already logged 5 years of nursing when he came along.”  –  Maria Pokluda, doula in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area, TX

“My first breastfeeding experience was horrible – like wanted to quit 20 times a day horrible. My son had an undiagnosed lip tie that cause toe-curling pain and my oversupply left everything literally soaked in breast milk. But, I was stubborn – more stubborn than I realized. I knew this was the best thing I could for my baby’s health and kept at it – every day until three months was a battle with myself. Then, things started to change – his mouth developed, my milk supply finally adjusted and our breastfeeding relationship got better every day. Now, I know I can do it no matter what – we’ll figure it out! I’m so glad I stuck with it and didn’t quit!”  – Kate Sorensen,  doula and childbirth educator in Plattsmouth, NE

“Breastfeeding my first baby 11 years ago did not come as naturally as I assumed it would. I had been around breastfeeding mamas growing up and it looked so easy! It was challenging for us but I never thought of giving up. I knew it was best and we kept at it. I wish I had known to seek out help. I think we could have benefitted from chiropractic care and a lactation consultant. We made it through. It got better every day, little by little. He went on to nurse for almost a year. I was very proud of us!”  – Cheryl Amelang, birth teacher and lactation counselor in College Station, TX

“My biggest breastfeeding hurdles were centralized around pumping, work and child care. Open communication with my employer about my needs was major. If they aren’t aware of what you need and their legal requirements to you, they can’t/won’t help you. Communication with childcare was big, too. Whenever they complained that baby was “always hungry and needed more milk” (even though I knew he had plenty) I started sending more bottles with fewer ounces. For example, I switched from sending three 5oz bottles to sending five 3oz bottles. It really helped them keep baby satisfied better throughout the day.”  – Hailie Wolf, doula and childbirth educator in Abilene, TX

“I was the first person in my family to breastfeed. None of my aunts, sisters or cousins has even attempted it so I never had the advantage of seeing it done on a regular basis. Praise God for La Leche League, great care providers and most importantly, a supportive husband who did grow up in a breastfeeding family.

The first weeks were so hard and I shed more tears than my baby. I had flat nipples and Peter lost over a pound the first week and he was small to begin with. It took a while to figure it how to latch properly–I already had caused major damage to my nipples and needed a long time to heal from improper latch and undiagnosed lip tie– and it took practice to learn which positions to breastfeed were comfortable and worked for us.

I am so thankful I had the strength to make it through the first six weeks or so. My support system was invaluable and my son’s overall health and wellness is a direct result of their care and encouragement. My son weaned at 28 months and I am so thankful to have had that experience with him.

Breastfeeding was nothing I had expected and everything I wanted at the same time.”  – Melissa Mayer, doula and childbirth educator, Tampa, FL

“Breastfeeding each of my babies has been a big hurdle. With my first a started to lose my supply and didn’t have a support system in place to help me get it back. This is why I tell my students and doula clients to build your breastfeeding support during pregnancy. Surround yourself with breastfeeding resources and people that will help you during speed bumps. With babies 2-5 I experienced horrible pain and terrible latch due to lip and tongue ties. Three of which needed correction. Having the knowledge that I have of lip and tongue ties number five has finally been the easiest and best breastfeeding experience so far. I knew what to look for was proactive at getting help. Gaining a knowledge about breastfeeding during pregnancy is key in having a good breastfeeding relationship. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt and shouldn’t be a battle. There is support and encouragement all around. You just need to find those people and resources.”  – Andrea Brannock, doula and childbirth educator in Grand Prairie, TX

“My boys are now 21, 18 and 16. I breast fed approximately nine years in my life. The first three months of nursing my oldest son I was cracked and bleeding. We didn’t know as much about lip and tongue ties back then. Looking back over my life – sustaining my children while they grew inside me, working together with them to usher their bodies into the world, and sustaining their bodies on the outside of me through breastfeeding have been some of my greatest privileges and accomplishments.”  – Brandi Wood, CPM, Indianapolis, IN

“I struggled so hard with breastfeeding my first. I had a wonderful natural birth, then felt like my body was failing me when breastfeeding didn’t come naturally. I had taken a comprehensive childbirth class to prepare for birth, but hadn’t really done anything to prep for breastfeeding. I figured it would just come naturally.

My first was diagnosed failure to thrive at 3 months, we started supplementing, I started pumping. We made it to 7 months before switching to formula completely. It was a huge emotional battle for me the whole time. When my second came along I prepared myself more, but also found out that it was my IUD that had caused my supply issues. No one had ever told me it could be a possibility. I still hold a lot of bitterness toward my doctors and the drug companies who claim that it absolutely won’t affect supply. I went on to nurse my second for 2 years, and my third for 22 months.”  – Kim Graves, childbirth educator, Whidbey Island, WA

“I am nursing a soon to be two year old. I assumed we would wean at 12mo but I wasn’t ready emotionally. He may be my last baby and it’s hard to end this part of our relationship. But as he gets older it is getting harder. Teeth, acrobatics, still night nursing, asking to nurse 24 hours a day, getting my hair pulled…..people look at me funny too. I keep going with encouraging words from other mommas. He will not want to do this someday so I can put up with the hard moments. I want him to be healthy on all levels and this is one way I can help achieve that goal.”  – Kristen Powers, doula and childbirth educator, San Antonio, TX

“Tongue ties have been a huge hurdle for us. It went undiagnosed and misdiagnosed by two pediatricians, two midwives, 2 lactation consultants, and our family dentist in our first, second, and third baby. As a mother, be confident that you know when things are right and seek out help until someone is willing to help you! When our fourth was born, because I had so much training between baby three and four, I was able self diagnose, seek the necessary help, and see improving and successful changes. Never give up when your instinct tells your things aren’t right! Perseverance is the key to answers and success!”  – Kristina Seawell, childbirth educator, Central NC

“Breastfeeding was horrible my first time due to lack of support (build your village before babe arrives) and confidence to trust when things weren’t right (mother knows best). It was frustrating second time around because I thought two years into a successful nursing relationship I had it down and this one would be different (each baby and breastfeeding needs are different). My third started out sooo much better as I had filled the previous gaps but then a new issue, gut health, played a huge part and my baby was severely colicky! I was led to believe the puky issues were just “laundry issues”… (support people should not second-guess a mom’s instincts). Last time all of these issues were improving but then tongue-tie reared it’s ugly head.

This time I was equipped with an amazing village, humility and confidence to ask for help, I had the tongue tie revised, I tapped into the best breastfeeding support money could buy and embraced being the mammal I was intended to be. An amazing unhindered family birth, lots of skin-to-skin, a truly restful and recharging babymoon, daily breastfeeding clinic visits to monitor this failure to thrive baby, nipping latch issues in the bud, and time to connect to each other, and we did it! We had A Breastfeeding relationship 2 Remember! I heard once that bottle feeding takes the same amount of time from the first time you do it to the last time but breastfeeding takes more time in the beginning but the time decreases as you go along. Yes- anything worth doing is worth struggle! Reach out, lean in, and connect with your baby. You two are made for each other!”  – Janine Heincker, doula and childbirth educator in Topeka KS

“Oversupply is real and it can be as big a problem as low supply.”  – Courtney Alva, doula and childbirth educator in Houston, TX

“I’ve breastfeed five children so far. The first two I only breastfed for four months. With my first, the nurses convinced me that my son wasn’t getting enough, so I supplemented right off the bat with formula. I wasn’t given sufficient lactation support in the hospital and by the time I got home, he wouldn’t latch on at all. Recovering from a c-section, I had no energy to fight with him and gave up. I was pumping and feeding from a bottle exclusively. My Mom encouraged me to give it one more try so I did, and he finally latched! We only lasted 4 months though, once I went bad to work. #2, I was afraid she wasn’t getting enough and supplemented again. We lasted only 4 months. With #3 I was determined to make it work. I never introduced formula and breastfed for 15 months! I only stopped because he weaned while I was pregnant. With #4 I nursed for 2 years and with #5, 15 months and going strong! It just took some determination and follow through on my part.”  – Caryn Westdyk, childbirth educator in Carrollton, TX

“Mastitis, a nipple bite that turned into a staph infection, and tongue ties have been among some hurdles I’ve faced while nursing and tandem nursing as a working mother to my four children (each to age 3.5 years old) over 10+ years and counting.

One of the biggest pieces of advice I’d give for a mother wanting to persevere isn’t any superhero powers I possess but rather the support system of family and friends around me who helped me gain confidence in myself with every hurdle. Find your tribe. Build a wall of support around yourself. It is possible.”  –Valerie Lopez, childbirth educator, San Antonio, TX

“I would rather give birth naturally 10 times before learning to breastfeed a newborn over again. I’ve done it twice and both times proved difficult with tongue ties, lip ties, supply issues, pain, and many other issues. I told myself that I wasn’t breastfeeding because it was fun, I was doing it because it was best. The fun part would come! Knowing there was a light at the end of the tunnel made the 2nd time easier for me. The first 6-8 weeks are incredibly difficult, but oh, so worth it afterwards! I nursed my first son for 23 months and currently on month 6 with my second!”  – Shazia Lackey, RN, childbirth educator in Arlington, TX

We hope these quotes from women who overcame their own breastfeeding obstacles inspires and empowers you. No matter what is happening, you are not alone. Support from your partner, other women, from education and groups can all help you in overcoming your own breastfeeding obstacles. This relationship is worth it!

Top photo: Mothering Touch / Foter / CC BY

Middle photo: David D

The post Breastfeeding Isn’t Always Easy: 15 Moms Talk About How They Overcame Serious Nursing Obstacles appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
http://www.mothering.com/articles/overcoming-breastfeeding-obstacles/feed/ 0
How My Son Became a Special Olympics Athlete http://www.mothering.com/articles/place-special-olympics/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/place-special-olympics/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 00:09:37 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=86793 By Caurie Putnam for Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers Somewhere in the narrow swath between Olympics and Special Olympics you will find an athlete named Brady. Not Tom Brady or Brady Quinn, but Brady Putnam—my Brady, age 8. Brady was born with a rare genetic, neurological disorder called hyperekplexia. Hyperekplexia means “exaggerated surprise” and that is […]

The post How My Son Became a Special Olympics Athlete appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
untitled-9865-1024x678

By Caurie Putnam for Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers

Somewhere in the narrow swath between Olympics and Special Olympics you will find an athlete named Brady. Not Tom Brady or Brady Quinn, but Brady Putnam—my Brady, age 8.

Brady was born with a rare genetic, neurological disorder called hyperekplexia. Hyperekplexia means “exaggerated surprise” and that is exactly what I received when Brady was born. Upon his first breath he went into a prolonged startle, froze and turned blue. It was the first of hundreds of startles Brady would have every day until he began seizure medication to subdue them.

Anything could make Brady startle—a breeze, eye contact, a barking dog, an errant hockey puck hit by his older brother Brice. It was startling. He was startling.

He was also beautiful and strong.

Despite his medications—typically fatigue inducing—he never seemed to tire. Though he hit all of his milestones late, when he hit them, it was with full force.

I secretly wondered if Brady was the son of mine who inherited not just the startle gene, but the Big Time gene. His grandfather had played minor league baseball, his great uncle was a PGA pro, and his distant cousin was a quarterback for the New York Jets—a member of the elite quarterback draft class of 1983.

Yet, when it came time to sign Brady up for Little League and Timbits Hockey, his other gene—the startle gene and the developmental delays that went with it—overpowered his natural athleticism.

Read More…

The post How My Son Became a Special Olympics Athlete appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
http://www.mothering.com/articles/place-special-olympics/feed/ 0
Beautiful Breastfeeding Shots of Everyday Moms Go Viral http://www.mothering.com/articles/beautiful-breastfeeding-shots-of-everyday-moms-go-viral/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/beautiful-breastfeeding-shots-of-everyday-moms-go-viral/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 22:15:06 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=88001 Photographer and nursing mom Erin White creates gorgeous group images like this one, which she shot in Germany, to inspire new mothers around the world. (Photo: Erin White Photography) By Esther Crain for Yahoo Parenting, reprinted with permission. For such a natural body function, breastfeeding sparks a lot of controversy and mixed emotions: stares from condemning strangers, […]

The post Beautiful Breastfeeding Shots of Everyday Moms Go Viral appeared first on Mothering.

]]>

breastfeeding_beauty_erin_white
Photographer and nursing mom Erin White creates gorgeous group images like this one, which she shot in Germany, to inspire new mothers around the world. (Photo: Erin White Photography)

By Esther Crain for Yahoo Parenting, reprinted with permission.

For such a natural body function, breastfeeding sparks a lot of controversy and mixed emotions: stares from condemning strangers, body confidence issues in nursing moms themselves, and even a sense of guilt if a woman or her baby has trouble getting the hang of it.

Now, one photographer, who is also a proud nursing mom, wants to transform breastfeeding from something considered shameful and often done behind closed doors to a celebrated, empowering, “indescribably beautiful” act.

Erin White, a mother of four who hails from the United States and now lives in Germany, was inspired by a group nursing photo shot by photographer Stephanie Karr that had circulated among the women in White’s local breastfeeding support group earlier this year.

White and the other moms were blown away by the sense of sisterhood, strength, and intimacy the photo conveyed. “A number of women [in my group] expressed interest in doing something similar,” White tells Yahoo Parenting.

breastfeeding_beauty_1

Photo: Erin White Photography

White volunteered to spearhead a shoot, gathering 16 breastfeeding mothers and the 18 babies between them back in May, all posed outdoors in a field in Germany. There’s no judgment or body shaming to be seen. Some moms are topless; some are in their underwear. Some sport tattoos and stand with their blouses draped open. All cradle their babies confidently and lovingly.

That photo became the first in a series called “Women in the Wild,” an ongoing project that has White traveling across the United States this summer and then Europe in the fall, organizing shoots of nursing moms either in groups or solo. The women are regular mothers of all shapes and sizes who volunteer to be part of the project, hoping to spread the message that breastfeeding is something to celebrate.

breastfeeding_beauty_2

Photo: Erin White Photography

“The energy that is present at these shoots is indescribable,” says White. “There is such a feeling of empowerment and sisterhood. Everyone leaves feeling that they have taken part in something transformative. It certainly has been transformative for me.”

The feedback she’s received on her website and Facebook page, where she posts the photos, has been very positive. “One of the reasons I decided to go on tour was because I had so many interested moms,” says White. “I have had some negative feedback of course, some really nasty, mean comments, but the positive emotional responses from mothers are the loudest voices by far.”

The post Beautiful Breastfeeding Shots of Everyday Moms Go Viral appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
http://www.mothering.com/articles/beautiful-breastfeeding-shots-of-everyday-moms-go-viral/feed/ 5
Second Baby, First Homebirth: My Story http://www.mothering.com/articles/a-homebirth-story/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/a-homebirth-story/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 21:16:54 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=87025 As my son nears his second birthday and we have no plans to have another child, I am getting a bit nostalgic about his newborn days and all the joy and sisterhood that I felt around the time of his birth. After having two amazing and very different births, I’ve decided to start a podcast […]

The post Second Baby, First Homebirth: My Story appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
As my son nears his second birthday and we have no plans to have another child, I am getting a bit nostalgic about his newborn days and all the joy and sisterhood that I felt around the time of his birth. After having two amazing and very different births, I’ve decided to start a podcast recording women telling their birth stories in an informal way  — as if telling it to one of their girlfriends. So far it has been truly amazing and inspiring.

birth

Here’s my story:

I was due on July 20th but had gone 16 days past my due date with our first birth so I was expecting another wait. On the morning of the 31st the midwives came over for a prenatal check-up and we did a non-stress test and baby still sounded great. At this appointment I found out that two of the midwives including Cynthia our main midwife (the other two were apprentices) had plans to go out of town on Friday which made me very anxious. Cynthia has about 30 years of experience as a midwife and I really trusted and was comfortable with her. She was only going to Salem which is about 1.5 hours away so if my labor was anything like my last one (34 hours) she would have plenty of time to get there but I still didn’t want her to leave.

That same day in the afternoon I went to the chiropractor and had an adjustment as well as some acupressure that is supposed to help you go into labor. After my chiropractic appointment my mom, my daughter and I went to the garden center to pick out some flowers for the yard and the whole time I was having what I thought were strong Braxton Hicks contractions and just feeling a lot of pressure in general. The contractions weren’t painful at all and just felt like tightening. We went out to dinner and the BH contractions continued throughout.

I put Adelaide to bed around 6pm and my husband, Richard got home around 8pm. When Richard got home I told him I’d been feeling a lot of pressure and that we should go for a walk just to see if that did anything. During the walk the pressure was so strong that I had to stop every now and then and was doing a weird tippy toe walk pretty often but nothing was feeling like labor contractions to me. I should note that I had experienced this strong pressure and BH for a few weeks so it wasn’t really anything new. We walked along the ocean for 30 minutes and then headed home to go to bed.

We went to bed around 9:45pm and Richard passed out immediately and commenced some serious snoring. I put in my ear plugs and fell asleep shortly after. At 12:45am I woke up to pee and as I was sitting on the toilet I started to get a really bad cramp. This was the first time I’d felt pain versus just being uncomfortable. I was still pretty groggy and didn’t think that I could be in labor but remember thinking “oh man I remember this now – contractions really suck and I should probably go to the hospital and get some drugs!” It’s funny how you really do forget the pain of childbirth, I really didn’t have any concept of how painful my contractions had been with Adelaide until I had my first one with this birth and it was totally an “oh yeah, these really suck” moment.

I still didn’t think that I was in labor or that the contractions would start to come in any sort of pattern so I headed back to bed. As soon as I got to the bed another one came and I laid next to Richard, but immediately had to get up on my hands and knees because it was too painful. I remember whining to him “it’s not going away!” I decided to get up and go take a shower because I remembered that after Adelaide’s birth it was quite a while before I got another shower. While I was in the shower I kept having contractions and Richard would stick his hand into the shower to apply pressure to my back and then take his arm back out and dry it off. I even shaved my legs in between contractions!

We both started to realize that these suckers were coming really close together and got the iphone “full term” app to start timing them. When it became clear that they were only 1.5 minutes apart we decided to just send Cynthia a heads up text. Another two contractions later we hadn’t gotten a text back and I said “Call her!” That was at 1:15am. While Richard was on the phone with Cynthia she could hear me in the background during a contraction and said “I’ll be right there.”

Once I was out of the shower Richard started filling up the birth tub and I tried to tidy up a bit but the contractions were coming too fast and too strong for me to really get anything done. I just wanted that pool to fill up so I could get in because I was basically already in transition and the level of pain was *high*. As soon as the pool had a decent amount of water in it I hopped in. It was still a little cool so I told Richard to start boiling water. As he went to start water boiling Cynthia arrived. I’m not sure on the timetable of her arrival but I would guess around 1:45am. Shortly after she arrived I started to feel the urge to push and my low moaning sounds changed to “pushy” sounds. Sometime in there the two apprentices arrived and later told me that they could hear me in the kitchen where they were preparing supplies and knew that I was ready to push.

birth2

I still didn’t feel comfortable really pushing hard because with Adelaide I had had a cervical lip that was in the way when I was already pushing and the pushing caused my cervix to swell a bit and made things harder. So I kind of half-heartedly pushed for a while and then asked Cynthia to check me at 2:45am. She said I was 10cm with no cervix anywhere and at a +2 station. I asked what I needed to be thinking it was +5 station. She said “No +3 is basically the baby is crowning so you really just need to push the baby about 1 more centimeter down”. That was all I needed to hear, it was time to get this baby out.

I started pushing really hard with each contraction and even felt the baby’s head with my finger so I knew the head was right there. Richard had said he wanted to catch so I said “the head is right there” and told him he should get into a position to catch because baby was coming. Cynthia directed him to go behind me (I was currently on my hands and knees in the pool). I felt the “ring of fire” and with one more contraction the head was out and Richard said that at that time he felt a warm gush which was the bag of waters breaking but he thought it was me peeing on him. Awesome Richard.

When Adelaide was born she came out all at once so it was strange for me to have the head out and have to keep pushing to birth the body. It felt like forever and I remember looking up at Cynthia and asking “why isn’t he coming out.” She smiled and calmly said “he will, he’s coming.” Richard says that next one arm came out and then with the next contraction our son was born into his daddy’s arms at 3:03am.

birth3

Richard passed him through my legs and I pulled him up onto my chest. I sat up and leaned against the side of the pool and Richard came around behind me giving me kisses and looking back and forth between our baby and me. Darwin had a strong cry immediately and didn’t require any attention from the midwife so I just held him and kissed him.

It was such a different experience from my first birth and although not nearly as hard, still amazing and empowering. I am loving hearing so many amazing women each tell their birth story as I interview them for my new podcast. I’m learning firsthand that each birth is truly very different.

birth5

The post Second Baby, First Homebirth: My Story appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
http://www.mothering.com/articles/a-homebirth-story/feed/ 0
Redefining MILF: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Performs Hilarious Ode to Moms http://www.mothering.com/articles/joseph-gordon-levitt-performs-hilarious-ode-moms/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/joseph-gordon-levitt-performs-hilarious-ode-moms/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 20:22:06 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=86193 Although not safe for work (and not safe for those without a slightly naughty sense of humor), Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new jam with the Gregory Brothers is a clever, funny ode to mothers everywhere. Gordon-Levitt, a self-professed women’s rights activist, has redefined the questionable term “MILF” as a woman who is a good mom with a “big […]

The post Redefining MILF: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Performs Hilarious Ode to Moms appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
Although not safe for work (and not safe for those without a slightly naughty sense of humor), Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new jam with the Gregory Brothers is a clever, funny ode to mothers everywhere.

Gordon-Levitt, a self-professed women’s rights activist, has redefined the questionable term “MILF” as a woman who is a good mom with a “big fat vocabulary,” and a woman who will someday be a grandma– celebrated as “twice as hot.”

In a culture that frequently judges moms and wants us to hide all evidence that our bodies have carried, birthed, and fed babies, this twist on what constitutes attractive is a breath of fresh air.

Check it out. What do you think?

The post Redefining MILF: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Performs Hilarious Ode to Moms appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
http://www.mothering.com/articles/joseph-gordon-levitt-performs-hilarious-ode-moms/feed/ 0
We’re Giving Away Innovative Breastfeeding Products from Milkies! http://www.mothering.com/articles/were-giving-away-innovative-breastfeeding-products-from-milkies/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/were-giving-away-innovative-breastfeeding-products-from-milkies/#comments Thu, 23 Jul 2015 22:42:10 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=87177 We’re kicking off World Breastfeeding Week a little early this year with a wonderful giveaway of some innovative breastfeeding gear from Milkies! We particularly love the Milkies Milk-Saver — it captures breastmilk from the non nursing breast while you feed your baby, brilliant! Plus, it’s made in the USA. Read more about it below and look for the […]

The post We’re Giving Away Innovative Breastfeeding Products from Milkies! appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
We’re kicking off World Breastfeeding Week a little early this year with a wonderful giveaway of some innovative breastfeeding gear from Milkies!

We particularly love the Milkies Milk-Saver — it captures breastmilk from the non nursing breast while you feed your baby, brilliant! Plus, it’s made in the USA. Read more about it below and look for the giveaway details at the end of this post.

About the Milkies Milk-Saver

milkies-cAsk any mom and she’ll tell you: breast milk is a precious commodity. Women will go to great lengths to ensure that not a drop of “liquid gold” gets wasted.

That’s precisely what makes the award-winning Milkies Milk-Saver such a wonderful invention for breastfeeding mothers. The patented Milk-Saver collects your leaking breast milk as you nurse – allowing you to store extra breast milk effortlessly with each feeding.

Easy to use, simply slip the Milk-Saver into your bra-cup on the non-nursing side before you breastfeed. The Milk-Saver collects the milk that is leaked when your breast milk lets down. You can store this milk and save it for any time it’s needed.

Slim and portable, the Milk-Saver allows you to breastfeed anywhere without the fear of embarrassing leaks or uncomfortable nursing pads. And with its stylish, durable case, your Milk-Saver will stay safe and clean when you’re on the go.

Like you, we care very much about the safety of the products we use while breastfeeding. The Milk-Saver has been rigorously tested to ensure zero chemical leaching and contains no BPA or phthalates.

The only product of its type, the Milk-Saver has received accolades from lactation specialists, pediatricians, and breastfeeding moms the world over. It makes the perfect baby shower/new mom gift – or as a treat for yourself!

Milkies

Giveaway

Milkies has been kind enough to offer a complete assortment of their breastfeeding products as a giveaway to Mothering readers.  One lucky winner will receive the entire $160 package seen below. Find more about each of these products, and Milkies other breastfeeding helpers, on the MyMilkies website.

What You Can Win:

  • One Milkies Milk-Saver — captures breast milk as you nurse
  • One Milkies Freeze – easy breast milk storage and organization
  • One Milkies Milk-Tray – unique breast milk storage tray
  • Two Bottles of Milkies Nursing Blend –  natural breastfeeding supplement
  • Three Milkies Nipple Balms – natural balm for breastfeeding moms

To Enter:

Consider “liking” Milkies on Facebook or Pinterest. Then leave a comment on this post to enter.

For a Second Entry:

Share this post with friends and post a second comment letting us know that you did.

Rules:

US and Canadian residents only, except where prohibited. Two entries/comments per person. Winner will be drawn randomly from all qualifying comments and announced on July 29th, 2015.

The post We’re Giving Away Innovative Breastfeeding Products from Milkies! appeared first on Mothering.

]]>
http://www.mothering.com/articles/were-giving-away-innovative-breastfeeding-products-from-milkies/feed/ 240