Archive | August, 2013

Everything But the Kitchen Sink: 10 Things to Put in Your Consult Bag That Don’t Include a Scale

19 Aug

1113495-Clipart-3d-Tooth-Brush-With-Sparly-Blue-Gel-Paste-On-The-Bristles-Royalty-Free-Vector-Illustration1. A change of clothes, especially if you have another consult to go to. And the day you don’t, you will be peed on, pooped on or spit up on.

2. Antibacterial wipes to “sponge bathe” when you get in your car when you get peed on, pooped on, or spit up on and the pee, poop or spit up goes on your skin instead of your clothes, and you don’t want to go into the bathroom of a seedy gas station to use their sink (which you didn’t pack) for water to wash yourself off.

3. A client consent and chart along with an extra consent and chart when your business partner calls you to go see another mom in distress when you thought you only had one visit.

4. And if you forget your chart, you can use the notebook of blank paper that you have also packed in your bag, along with the extra pen.

5. An extra phone charger, because believe me, when you are headed into the boondocks with a dead phone, which equals no GPS, a small amount of panic rises until you find that seedy gas station that sells cheap phone chargers.

6. A mirror to check your teeth, because you don’t have your sink to brush your teeth (remember you are packing everything but the sink) when you are on the run and snacking between consults on the trail mix you also packed in your bag because you know you won’t have time for lunch.

7. Breath mints or gum to cover up your stinky breath (because you don’t have your sink to brush your teeth after the snacking you are doing between consults because you don’t have time for lunch).

8. Deodorant in case you run out the door and forget to put it on because walking from the house to the car in the Texas heat barely gives you enough time to apply before you start stinkin’.

9. Cash for the time you forget to put your debit card back into your purse and it ends up in the wash because you put it in your pocket because you had to stop for gas due to the 250 miles you had already traveled the day before.

10. Socks without holes because when you take your shoes off before going into a mom’s house you notice your big toe is sticking out of your sock and you have another client to see.

And you thought there were only going to be ten…

Number 11 and most important…your sense of humor… for when you get peed on, pooped on, or spit up on and forgot a change of clothes, when you smell spit up on your arm and forgot antibacterial wipes, when you forget your chart and your blank notebook and have to ask your client for paper, when you are late to a consult because you are stuck in the boondocks without GPS, when you realize when you get back into the car you have a raisin stuck in your teeth because you forgot your mirror, when the snack you brought is garlic flavored and you forgot gum, when you have to keep your arms as close to your side during your visits because your armpits are sweating because you forgot your deodorant, when you have to call your husband to bring gas because you forgot your extra cash when your debit card did not end up back in your purse, and for when you have to apologize to the second client for your hole-y socks because you forgot your un-hole-y socks.

What do you find you need for your consults?


Take Off the Gloves: It’s Not The Boob Bashers Vs. The Lactation Snobs

13 Aug

boxing ring“In one corner, we have Fanny Formula-Feeder,

and in the other corner stands Betsy Breast-Feeder.”

Ding, ding, ding!  Who will you bet on? 

Who will get the KO and leave the other walking down the path of shame?

Sounds very corny, I know…but isn’t that what we as moms are doing? 

Duking it out over each other’s pregnancy, birth and parenting decisions?

Technology has enabled us to share our opinions with virtually the whole world.   Perhaps two of the hottest topics of discussion among women of childbearing age all over the world are how you feed your baby and breastfeeding in public.  These may be as common as such topics as your due date, your baby’s gender, and whether or not you will have an epidural.  Moms flock to Facebook pages and groups seeking advice on all their parenting decisions from pregnancy to preschool and beyond.  Unfortunately, there will always be those who seem to cast judgment on moms who choose options that are different from their own.  Often, instead of encountering support, moms come across discouraging comments leaving them confused and unsure of their choices.

Moms who made the decision to formula feed from birth feel they are being judged.

“Why didn’t you at least give breastfeeding a try?”

Moms who made the decision to exclusively breastfeed from birth feel they are being judged.

“You know you’ll get less sleep.  Your baby will just use you as a pacifier.”

Moms who tried breastfeeding and then switched to formula feel they are being judged.

“Breastfeeding was tough for me in the beginning, too.  But we hung in there and made it work.”

Moms who choose baby-led weaning feel they are being judged.

“You haven’t weaned that baby yet?  There aren’t any benefits past a year.”

Moms who decide to pump exclusively and feed breastmilk in a bottle feel like they are being judged.

“Bottle feeding breastmilk isn’t the same.  Babies don’t bond with moms the same way that babies fed at the breast do.”

Moms who decide to cover up while nursing in public are judged. 

“Covering up sends the message that it’s not appropriate to nurse uncovered.”

Moms who decide not to cover up while nursing in public are being judged.

“No one wants to see exposed breasts in public; cover up.” or “Can I show you a more private place to feed your baby?”

Regardless of whether statements made are fact or not, words, spoken and/or written, can have an enormous impact.  “Well, we have the choice whether or not to be offended and can choose to ignore,” you say; however, first-time moms early in their experience are vulnerable and may be teetering on the edge.  Confidence levels are shot, decisions are second-guessed.  They may hole up in their homes to avoid scrutiny and depend on the internet for socializing. ( I wonder if there may be a correlation here between isolation and post-partum depression?)

I don’t believe comments are made maliciously.  Often moms are simply voicing their struggles, seeking to justify their decisions, and looking for support without condition.

How a mom feeds her baby is a personal decision.  Isn’t that what our culture encourages?  Choice?  You don’t know the whole picture.  You can’t see the whole picture on social media sites like Facebook.

Bay Area Breastfeeding & Education wholeheartedly supports breastfeeding as nature’s way…what our bodies are made to do.  But we aren’t the momma, and the baby is not ours.  Leah and I are advocates for more moms breastfeeding and more babies getting breastmilk; however, we work for the whole family and moms and their goals.  Our practice is evidenced based, and we provide accurate information.  It is then up to the mom to make the choice.  The BABEs pride ourselves in meeting moms where they are on the breastfeeding spectrum.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  There will be be no judgment cast on moms who decide to exclusively breastfeed or exclusively pump and bottle feed breastmilk or moms who breastfeed part-time and formula feed to meet baby’s need or moms who formula feed exclusively.

So, are you a boob basher or a lactation snob?  Strive to be a Mommy Advocate instead:


Respect other moms’ choices.

Realize that words can make an impact.

Provide support to all fellow moms regardless of their decisions.

Be confident in your decisions.

Realize you are making the best choice for yourself and your whole family.

Remind yourself that often you don’t know the mom personally and can’t see the whole picture.

Choose to offer support without condition.

This doesn’t mean we back down from our convictions and opinions.  This doesn’t mean we ignore or water down the facts.  We can be radical in a way that is respectful.  Let’s spend our time being Mommy Advocates and finding ways to educate families prenatally instead of spending time arguing amongst ourselves.  Breastfeeding support should start before pregnancy.

 What are some other ways you can offer unconditional support to moms?

Jenny’s Story

5 Aug
Jenny and Mia

Jenny and Mia

I always knew I would breastfeed my baby. I believe breastfeeding is how our babies were meant to get nourishment – of course if there was a reason I couldn’t then I was willing to accept that, but I come from a long line of very maternal women so that, coupled with my dedication I knew we would make it.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how difficult the first month is. One would imagine that if we are equipped to feed our babies and that is how they are meant to survive then it would be a no brainer right?

Well I was one of the more fortunate ones, one of my dearest friends had a daughter a few years before me and insisted we use her birth doula – and that is where the knowledge began to flow. One of our birthing classes was dedicated to the BABEs and it was more material than I ever thought would be needed. I was grateful, I felt as though I was now armed with information, and that alone can be a savior.

As my pregnancy progressed I was feeling ready and calm and excited to be a mother. The 36 week ultrasound arrived and we found out our little girl was breech – I always knew she would walk to the beat of her own drum but didn’t think it would happen that soon! I started to fear, since I had never even had a tooth pulled up to this point, and I was now facing major surgery. I was worried about breastfeeding and latching and all those other fears that I never thought about. All I knew were two things – whatever we had to do for my baby to arrive in this world healthy we would do, and we were breastfeeding.  Armed with knowledge and commitment as well as an extremely supportive OB, I asked my birth doula to help me latch the second we came out of surgery.

Mia arrived in a hurry ready to meet this world. I was able to hold her within minutes while they stitched me up so we started right away with skin to skin. Our doula was waiting in the recovery room and swooped in to latch Mia on, and we were in business. Or so I thought… all I can say is breastfeeding the first month is HARD! The first few days are a blur – I was recovering from major surgery and I had a tiny baby and huge boobs. The BABEs were called immediately for an in home consultation. She latched well, but I positioned her poorly due to my immobility in the beginning, so my nipples got pretty damaged. I stayed positive and dedicated. Once we got home Mia decided she didn’t like my left nipple so for a while I would always offer both but she only ate the right, and I pumped the left every time she ate the right – sometimes every 2 hours. Then of course she damaged my right nipple and thankfully took the left but then I pumped the right every 2 hours for about a week.  Through it all we persevered. Mia is now five months old healthy and happy and taking both boobs. I have a stash of about 200 ounces in the freezer, and I am back at work pumping as much as she is drinking while at daycare.

Breast feeding is about devotion and awareness- if you want it badly enough you two will work through it. I make lactation cookies, drink 5 liters of water a day and have mother’s milk tea. I still wake up once at night to pump if she sleeps through, but I know this is the best start I can give her along with love and affection. I still worry all the time about being back at work, but feeding my child the best possible trumps all. Every day is different and some days are hard still, but I just take it one step at a time and look at the bigger picture.

My dear friend just had her first baby less than a week ago in France, she texts me constantly for advice which I gained through my experience and through amazing support like the BABEs. I like to explain the first month this way – though you imagine that you and your baby will just know what to do, in reality, you two are meeting for the first time, you haven’t learned each other’s manner or personality and that takes time. Breastfeeding is a relationship you build with your child – be patient and positive and loving and open you two will find your own unique way to nourish and love.