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Category Archives: The Village

Breastfeeding Health Literacy Survey and Questionnaire

Things are going great in our neck of the woods! How about you?

We are all working hard to get the public supported and educated on birth breastfeeding and more. One of our ladies is part of a food bank that just got started. She will hopefully soon start work on a diaper bank that will include classes on how to use and make cloth diapers!

I’ve been observing birthing classes in preparation to begin some pregnancy and birth classes in the future. That’s something I really want to get started but worry about my adequacy in teaching. I had some pretty quick births and I will have to learn a lot of things that need to be used or may be wanted during longer births.

I do need some help from you all out there, though. I’m trying to do a a quick “Breastfeeding Basics in Less Than 30 minutes” series. We will be starting the class as part of our breastfeeding support group for the Greater Valley area. We will do it once a month for 4-6 weeks. The key to making this work is focusing on the information that is needed most during those quick 30min, or less, lessons. You can help me out by filling out out this survey and then sharing it. Thank you so much for helping!

http://goo.gl/forms/bV1lCg5HoR

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The Story: Giving birth to Me

**On this day, the 3rd anniversary of leaving the hospital with my son, I give you my story. Not the story of his birth but the story of my birth. _

I wish I would have studied natural birth before my last child. He was born within 20 minutes of hitting the hospital doors, while I screamed “somebody help me” (aka GIVE ME DRUGS). The sack never burst, the doctor walked in, sat down, broke my water, I felt better for half a second then the contraction and tada! baby boy. I never planned on a “natural” or “drug free birth”, I had planned quite the opposite.

Earlier that morning at 3:33 am (exact time) I had my first contraction I had refused to believe I was in labor and ignored it. How did I ignore it? My previous 2 births were induced and it didn’t hurt enough or last long enough to be real labor, so I thought. A little over an hour later the pain slowly subsided, what I now know is a very normal part of labor, and I went to sleep.

I was awoken in eminence pain about an hour later. I moved as quickly as I could, I thought I had to go to the bathroom, I thought. I couldn’t go… I tried to call for My husband, but there was no voice, I didn’t want to scream and wake my older child, so I kicked the wall. Then I was sick. John was quickly on the phone with the hospital and they asked to speak with me when he said “she can’t speak” they told him to come in quickly. My sister got there during the longest 10 minutes of my life, and we left her standing in the front yard holding a car seat crying. Apparently it is really hard as a sister to see your little sister in pain, poor thing.

If I had the confidence I have now. If I had read everything I have read about natural birth. If I had spoken to the many proponents of natural birth I have met since then. I think that I wouldn’t have panicked when I realized I was in labor, I would have gather my strength and reminded myself “you were made for this”. Every part of my body and soul wanted to push standing there leaning against the bathroom wall unable to speak. I would have crawled into the garden tub and birthed my baby.

IF I hadn’t heard all my life I had to have a hospital. If I had gone to the Hospital at 4:03 am after 30 min of 30 second contractions at 5 minutes apart I would have had an epidural and a medicated birth. I would have had my mother by my side with my husband. After my birth experience with my son and my journey since I realized that my body was not and is not broken. Thank you God.

Ladies we can change the world one birth at a time. One birth changed my whole life. I’m thankful for each of my births. They each gave birth to me. They have given me the insight to be a better person, mother, and with my sons birth the confidence that has always been missing.

It is so powerful to know I slept through part of my labor with no medication or pain, the mind is a crazy amazing place.

 

How Breastfeeding Taught Me to be Me

How Breastfeeding Taught Me to be Me

mayjunejuly 039This is my story and our family’s journey to and though breastfeeding. The good, the bad, the ugly.

In 2008 I was pregnant with our first child, a son. At 18 weeks we found out that there was a problem. The baby had intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). At 23 weeks 3 days when they found our son had not grown at all in the last month. I was admitted into the hospital, and placed on bed rest.

During our stay a NICU doctor came to speak with us. He asked if I was planning on breastfeeding. I said yes I wanted to try, my mother breastfed my sisters and I for a few months each, and that I knew it was best. He then said that breastfeeding was going to be the biggest deciding factor in my baby’s life that I had control over, because he was going to be very tiny and his entire system was immature and needing every chance for survival. He explained the condition NEC, something I had never heard of, and how breast milk could prevent it. By breastfeeding I could save my baby’s life. Sadly, only a few days later we found that my Son was no longer with us. Part of me died with him. I was induced and 14 hours later on Aug 15th 2008 at 25 weeks gestation my son Joel Robert-Lee was born at 11.5 ounces and 10.5 inches. His cord had become tied.

That NICU’s  Doctors comments on breastfeeding has stayed with me, and will forever.

A very short time later (to short). We found that I was again pregnant. I lived in fear every single day, but thankfully, my pregnancy was mostly normal. When I was 38 weeks pregnant I asked to be induced as soon as possible, because of the fear she would die inside me. At 38 weeks 6 days I was induced. First off, the hospital couldn’t find my test results showing I didn’t have strep B so I had to have antibiotics, then they started my pitocin, broke my water, I had a epidural at 7cm, and gave birth in 4 hours at 11:05 am. She was tiny, the doctor had made a guesstimate that her weight was around 7 pounds, he was wrong. I remember him saying “she’s small”. She was only 5 pounds 9 ounces and 18 1/4 inches.

I was an emotional mess, talk about post traumatic stress. I couldn’t stop crying. I was so sad, so happy, and filled with so much fear. I could hardly hold her, all I saw was my Joel, but I didn’t want to let her go. My husband held her for most of the time before she was taken to the nursery. I didn’t nurse her when she was born, and I wouldn’t be able to for 5 hours, because the nursery nurses took so long to bring her to us. She latched fine, but ended up with jaundice (a “pit.” birth and delayed breastfeeding I’m sure had a lot to do with it).

I had no information, no Lactation consultant, and no one who knew anything about breastfeeding exclusivity. At 2 1/2 weeks we added formula per the pediatrician, because I felt like she wasn’t getting enough food. The pediatrician did nothing to sooth my fears. I returned to work early, because of many things, but I pumped 3 times during work for 15 minutes each. I would breastfeed her and give her bottles. For the first 2 1/2 months I slept in her room in a bed with her and breastfed through the night. Eventually by 2 1/2 months she slept through the night and I could no longer have that time with her. The pediatrician had advised us to use Enfimil AR and that I was to only pump and add rice cereal to each bottle. At that point I stopped the actual act of breastfeeding, and at 4 months we added food per that pediatrician. At 5 1/2 months I threw in the towel. I felt like my body had failed me again.

Then in January of 2011 I found out that I was pregnant again. This time I had to use another Doctor and hospital. I educated myself about breastfeeding. I read and read on low supply and what to do. Then 13 days before our son was due I went into labor suddenly at 3:33 am. I didn’t think it was real labor because it didn’t hurt enough. I had two previous induced births and the natural contractions in my mind weren’t hard enough to be real labor. I went to sleep and awoke again after 6am. We went to the hospital, we arrived at 7:00 (on the dot according to the clock in the car. At 7:19am naturally, unmediated, and very quickly I gave birth to my 2nd son. He was 6 pounds 8 ounces and 20.5 inches long. The nurses cleaned him and took his vitals. Suddenly, they realized and asked “Are you breastfeeding” I answered an ecstatic “yes!”. She apologized and brought my son to me. I held and fed him for the first time, and we connected. He and I laid there I’m not sure how long. I healed during that time. He and I looked at each other and I thought of my other two children. I talked to God. I knew what had happened with my daughter at that point and I remembered how long it took for us to “connect”. I regretted her birth. I had taken it away from her. I didn’t trust Her, my body, or God. Her birth was the first mistake I made in our breastfeeding journey and as her mother. I felt so sorry I could not give her what was best nor had I been able to give her all of me. I made a promise that I was new. I had lost part of me but I found a new part and a much stronger person.

My son was Exclusively breastfed from 3 weeks until 6 months. I and my husband gave some formula around 3 weeks for fear he was hungry. At that point I sought out help, and started to attend weekly support group meetings. I was educated about “The Virgin Gut” of a newborn, and I threw out all the samples that we I had been “gifted”. I met many moms and learned so much. I, also, got a few friends. They were and are blessings.

For my whole pregnancy I had prepared a long maturity leave. I enjoyed both my children during that time. At 11 weeks postpartum I returned to work on the Thursday before thanksgiving. I took pumping breaks every 2 hours for 20 minutes each. the next week of course was only a 3 day week (perfect planning). Things went well and mostly as planned for a couple months.

Then my son and I got sick when he was a few months old with RSV. My daughter had cought it and so lovingly brought it home to share. He quickly wasn’t able to nurse properly and that effected my supply. I started supplementing with my own stored milk with a syringe at my breast. First, I tried fenugreek, then goats roe with the fenugreek, finally I got a prescription for Domperidone. I had enough milk to supplement 3 days while I was at work. By the next Thursday if  it didn’t work quickly I would have to find donor milk, or use formula. I started friday morning, Saturday woke up and nursed and pumped like a crazy woman the whole weekend. By Monday I woke up with the “full feeling” and i knew it had worked like a charm. I used Domperidone from about 5 months till my son was 10 months when his food intake was enough for me to risk slowly stepping down off of Domperidone. Finally, at 10 months I was starting to collect 4-6 ounces of extra milk a week so I began extending the time between my pumping breaks to every 2.5 hours, as well as weaning off domperidone.

I was eventually given the opportunity to donate that extra milk to a beautiful adopted baby girl of a woman in our support group. The mom was inducing lactation and wanted her baby exclusively breastfed, if possible. Later I donated to one other child. I ended up pump at work for 22 months to help provide milk for those other children. I’m still amazed I went from perceived Low supply to real low supply all the way to milk donor. I never thought I would get there.

Our pediatrician, Bless her heart. I think I will call her Dr. “breastfeeding is never complete nutrition”, the same one who recommended formula at 2 weeks for My daughter continued to be our pediatrician. Dr. “BF NcN” tried pushing me to add baby cereal at 4 months. I flat refused stating that the AAP, CDC, and WHO said to wait till 6 months. At around 6 months I would not add baby cereal, but I would add “real” foods. He didn’t need the cereal according to the research I had read. Dr. “BF NcN”s response? “hummph”, yeah cocked her head to the side and poked her lips out and everything. She then stated that if the mothers Iron is low then so is the babies. That the cereal was needed to add that iron that the mother was lacking, and told me I was going to give him rickets that will cause bone defects and anemia that would cause him to be learning disabled. In my head i was thinking “So you are telling me  Human milk isn’t enough for a human? nor is it full nutrition? That I’m a bad mother? or both? I informed her that I had given blood only a week before and that amazingly enough my iron level was great! That when we went to WIC for his 3 month check-in his iron was great, too. She had nothing else to say. Needless to say we didn’t go to the next visit and we scheduled the 12 month appoint with a new doctor. I did make it to magical 12 months. I then set a new goal of 24 months. After pasting that goal the last goal was till he was done. My son nursed 33 months, 3 weeks, and 1 day.

My son is beautiful, strong, has straight legs, and has no learning disabilities. Contrary to what poor Dr. “BF NcN” warned I would cause by exclusively breastfeeding past 4 months.

More than nourishing my children breastfeeding made me a better parent in the end. It set me out on a journey that has given me strength that I never knew existed in me. It changed me forever. I know now that I did not fail at breastfeeding my daughter, I did breastfeed her. What happened is I didn’t meet my goal. I’ve learned to set reachable goals for myself and my children. I’ve been taught that not reaching a goal isn’t failure, but not reaching a goal is a learning opportunity in itself. Life doesn’t always go our way. You have to learn from your mistakes, and those of others, to find a new way.

Support Mammas

For some reason we as women have been bashing each other for the choices we make as mothers. Why? Do you think that it is truly going to help another moms to bash certain choices she has made for her family. We may not always agree with other Moms, but we should support them and educate them IF they are looking for input. Sometimes we must agree to disagree.

Yes, I am sad every time I hear of a mom that quits breastfeeding and I’m honestly slightly angered by one that makes a choice to never nurse her child. That was her choice though, and one that I CAN NOT MAKE FOR HER no matter what her reasoning is.

Yes, I believe breastfeeding is a health choice and not just a life style choice. Many people believe it is only a life style or parenting choice, but I feel it is much deeper.

Yes, I personally quit breastfeeding my oldest child. My oldest was born at a hospital with very little breastfeeding support. I had no lactation Consultants available and they didn’t even bring her to me for 5 hours after her birth. No support was offered to me after I left. We only made it 2 weeks before we added formula and by 5 months I was producing around 5 ounces a day. I didn’t feel like it was enough and stopped. I regret that choice and many others. Starting with choosing an early induction, but that is another post altogether.

Yes, I nursed my son for 33 months.

Yes, I would have nursed him longer If he had continued to request to.

If a woman with a 3 week old baby says she isn’t breastfeeding, fine. She has already made her choice. Do not condemn her. If you see a woman who is 37 weeks pregnant and 3 weeks from giving birth and she says she is not going to breastfeeding, ask her why? See if maybe she has never known anyone who breastfed and is uncomfortable or she feels like formula babies are fatter and there for “healthier”. Maybe all she needed was for someone to say to her why not? Why not try? You can do it. If we can’t get women to at least be comfortable enough try then we will not be able to change the minds of the society of the south.

We all want people to support breastfeeding, but what if we are asking them to support something that they didn’t choose for their family. What we should ask is for them to support our choices as Moms and not to hinder us in our choices. You can always switch to a bottle, but you can’t just “switch” back to breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, formula feeding, exclusive pumping, mixed feeding, donor milk, and full term breastfeeding (nursing to and past 2 years). Just support her as a Mom ladies. You are all Mom enough!

Times and Lives are Changing

bannerfor eastalbsTimes and Lives are Changing

It’s August again and we are approaching World Breastfeeding Week and our National Breastfeeding Month has begun.

Today was our local Big Latch On we had 9 latches many more moms and kids. Our local online support group has over 900 members with many active participants. We have a group of women that have taken a course and become breastfeeding councilors, as part of our hospital working with a grant from NICHQ to become Baby-Friendly. We have around 3 breastfeeding support groups throughout the community, and we will be adding one more to support the valley area by the end if the month. 3 years ago there was no were near this amount of support. Some of the medical personnel in the area is being dragged kicking and screaming but now there is enough strangth to drag them!

This village is coming together around its mothers and babies and I am so proud to be part to this moment in history were we take control of our fears and rawr like tigers… Or trumpet if you choose.