Monday, December 17, 2012

Keep calm and Happy Holidays

The holidays are upon us and with the New Year right around  the corner we are so excited to reflect on this dream of ours that is becoming a reality. We have been brainstorming new ideas and of course getting so much closer to finishing and actually printing our book. We would like to thank every single one of you that have followed our journey, contributed to our project and has really made us just beam with joy by all the kind words and support. 

As a small token of appreciation we would love to offer you the opportunity to print out our "Keep Calm and Breastfeed On" 8x10 poster that our dear Heidi made. Taking a moment to reflect on just how simple and sweet these moments can even though the  hustle of the holidays. 

We hope you enjoy and from both Heidi and myself we wish you and your family a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

** to get the printable PFD file simply click on the LINK HERE **

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Breastfeeding problems? Check inside your baby's mouth!

Today we are so excited to bring you another wonderfully informative post from our local friend and lactation expert Emily Heldt who runs Tree of Life Breastfeeding Counseling in Salem Oregon. Sometimes what some people might consider a "normal" hiccup in breastfeeding might actually be more of an issue. Lip tie and tongue tie are a common problem and today Emily will be explaining common signs and steps to treat it. 

Breastfeeding hurts. My newborn keeps biting me - it feels like she has teeth!
My nipples are cracked and bleeding
We have chronic thrush
My baby has a short tongue
I’ve had chronic clogged ducts and mastitis
My baby has reflux, colic, fussiness and gas
My baby isn’t gaining enough weight
My baby sleeps through most of the feedings
My baby can’t latch or can only latch with a nipple shield
There is a clicking sound during feedings
Baby chokes a lot during feedings
I’ve always had difficulty with supply
My milk supply “dried up” when my baby was 3-4 months old
Once her teeth came in, I had to wean because it was so painful
Everybody says things are fine, but something just doesn’t feel right
Do any of these sound familiar? Have you ever examined inside of your baby’s mouth?
All of these things can be linked to a lip tie (LT) and tongue tie (TT), which usually come together. Most of us have frenulums in our mouths, which are pieces of tissue that help anchor our tongue or lip. Having a frenulum isn’t a problem unless it is tight enough to restrict normal function.
LT/TT can be very frustrating and very complicated. What can make it worse is that many providers, including IBCLCs, ENTs and pediatricians may have never heard of LT/TT or may only look for the more classic heart-shaped TT when there are several different types (including posterior tongue ties that can be incredibly difficult to spot) that can cause restriction and lead to problems with breastfeeding. What I often see in my practice are moms who have seen multiple providers, tried various things and breastfeeding still isn’t going quite right. I recently saw a mother who had seen 6 lactation consultants before me as well as their pediatrician who all said there was no LT/TT when in fact her baby had a significant one.
Historically, ties were snipped often right after the birth by midwives or in the nursery without the parents even knowing that it had been done. As we got away from breastfeeding being the norm, knowledge on ties kind of fell by the wayside.
LT/TT can impact each mom and baby differently. Some babies may not be able to latch at all while others seem to do okay for a while. Babies are incredibly smart and can sometimes compensate for their inability to feed well by developing different habits, but often these compensations lead to other problems (lip blisters, easily exhausted at breast, painful for mother, biting, etc.) or they may only be able to compensate for so long until it becomes obvious that they aren’t breastfeeding as well as they should be.
Outside of breastfeeding, there are many things that LT/TT can also impact – speech, reflux, palate development, need for orthodontia work due to crowding or diastema (space between teeth) plus lots more.
So what if your baby has a LT/TT? It is important to know that there is no one magic treatment; however, a procedure where the frenulum is either clipped by scissors or lasered is an important part of normalizing function. My favorite resource to connect families to is the Tongue Tie Babies Support Group on Facebook. This is an amazing group that maintains an up-to-date listing of LT/TT knowledgeable providers who clip or laser frenulums all over the world. They also have files on pre and post treatment recommendations that include supportive homeopathy and bodywork. If you haven’t already, find a local IBCLC who is knowledgeable about the different types of ties who can evaluate in person what the ties look like and how they function, assist with latch, discuss resources in your area and help with suck training.

Thank you Emily for this great post and link to resources that may help a few mama's that are struggling with breastfeeding with little improvement. As Emily suggested if things don't feel right seek local help. 

Emily Heldt, IBCLC is a former doula and homebirth midwife who now works as a lactation consultant near Salem, Oregon. She teaches childbirth preparation and breastfeeding classes for families as well as classes for medical providers on how to better support breastfeeding mothers and babies in their practice. She is passionate about early identification of LT/TT and has recently started teaching classes to help other providers recognize them. For more information, check out Emily's site for Tree of Life Breastfeeding Counseling at or on her Facebook page

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mama Stories *when it doesn't work out*

This weeks mama story was submitted my Lindsay.  

When I found out that I was pregnant, I was so excited to be able to nurse! I knew it would be best for baby AND for me! It’s something only mom can give to baby. SO when it didn’t work, I was really bummed.
There were many factors as to why nursing didn’t go well.

  1.  I had a c-section. Women who have c-sections need a little more time to develop essential      hormones that are needed for breastfeeding.
  2. I had severe trauma to my body. Because my body went through so much, it took 7 days for my milk to REALLY come in enough to nurse Drake.
  3.  Nipple Shield. Drake WOULD NOT LATCH. We tried EVERYTHING in the hospital. The nurses helped me so much, but we all decided, TOGETHER, that I needed the shield. I would nurse him using the shield (granted nothing was coming out) and then pump to stimulate production. Eventually, my colostrum came in (on the third day) and he could get that through the shield. Just having the shield does not help production. It inhibits it. I tried every day to get him off the shield! He wasn’t having it.
  4. . Drake was not a great nurser. It was taking him over an hour EVEN at 7 weeks. I would get done nursing him, have 20 minutes boob-free, then get to nurse him again. It made doing ANYTHING impossible.
I tried everything- extra pumping (which made me insane), supplements, manual stimulation, EVERYTHING. Nothing seemed to help us. We were all really frustrated, lots of tears in our house.
I’m really lucky though. Drake was a great bottle-taker from day 1 and my husband could help feed him so I could pump. I was a REALLY successful pumper. (up to 6 oz at the end of my nursing career). I am also lucky that My husband was so supportive. From day 1, we had to supplement a bit. I was totally fine with that. Some babies don’t get it right away! When I finally realized that I JUST. COULDN’T. DO. IT. ANYMORE, he was amazing. He supported me through it all. I had great family support and friend support.
I stopped breastfeeding Drake at 7 weeks. I continued to pump for about 1-2 weeks. Now I’m close to dry. It was a really hard decision and I feel guilty still, but I had to do it for everyone’s sanity. It was frustrating for all parties involved and it was not helping our case.

Thank you Lindsay for your heartfelt story. It is a great reminder that breastfeeding is an emotional subject and sometimes is doesn't work out. While we are a breastfeeding company we are here to lift and support all moms that are doing the best they can to raise their little ones in the best way possible based on circumstance.

**are you having trouble breastfeeding? Please remember you are not alone contact your local LLL or seek the help of a lactation consultant, good luck mamas**

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mama Stories *off to a rough start*

This weeks story is from Megan. A great story of how sometimes breastfeeding can start off a bit rough but sometimes with a little persistence and a lot of help you can make it through. Keep reading.

My breastfeeding story started on rough path. Everything I wanted with my first breastfeeding experience with my son went the complete opposite. Long story short, I had pre-eclampisa, I was put on magnesium sulfate which caused complications with my son Grant and his breathing. Because of its side-effects, I wasn't able to breastfed him or even hold him as soon as he was born. They took him away and he ended up spending the night in their special care unit. Because of this, they ended up giving him formula against my wishes. I had to pump colostrum, since I couldn't directly breastfeed him. It was a rough night and I ended up barely sleeping because I couldn't see him or hold him. Finally after 20 hours after he was born, I finally had the chance to breastfed him. It was really tough to get him to stay awake. One of the side-effects of magnesium sulfate is it makes the baby really sleepy. Luckily I had a wonderful support system of family members who showed me every trick in the book to get him to stay awake, like striping his clothes off, tickling the bottom of his foot.

I thought I started to get the hang of the whole breastfeeding thing, but when I went in for his first appointment when he was only 5 days old, I felt crushed when I found out his weight went down to 12 oz. He was 5 pounds and 13 oz. (He has a low birth rate as a result of pre-e) and weighed 5 pounds and 1 oz. I felt crushed when I found out he lost that much weight. I know it's normal for babies to loose weight, but losing almost a pound sent some big warning flags. The ended up finding out that he had jaundice, so I had to take him to the hospital again to go under the blue lights. the doctor seemed really concerned about his weight loss, so they weighed him before he nursed and then after. When they did this, his weight didn't change. It made me feel like a failure that he wasn't getting anything. They ended making me supplement with formula. I hated that I had to resort to formula, I thought I would never have to use formula, and hated that I had to give him formula. But his latch wasn't developed and he wasn't getting enough milk, even though I was producing enough. So for about two weeks I supplemented with formula, and Grant ended up getting back at birth-weight. I kept a feeding log, to track breastfeeding him and giving him formula. Then I started giving him expressed pump milk instead of formula. Then eventually I went back to just breastfeeding him exclusively. At times it was hard, we would have hour long sessions. And at times it was very painful, but as I watched him grow, I knew all the pain was worth it.

The other obstacle of breastfeeding for me, was going back to work. When I went back to work, I had over 80 ounces of pumped milk. At work I found it hard to find time to pump, and pumping started to become very cumbersome. Within a month of going back to work, Grant had gone through what I was pumping everyday and what I had on storage. It was frustrating that I wasn't pumping enough to keep him filled. I ended up taking mother's milk supplements, and drinking mother's tea. I still sometimes only pump enough for the day, but I'm just proud that it's been four months of pumping, and I still am sticking with it.

Now Grant is nearly 7 months old, and I'm still breastfeeding. It's funny because sometimes the sitter has to give him formula, on days that my supply is low, and he is still hungry. On those days, Grant refuses to even take formula. He'll start drinking it, and as soon as he realizes what he is drinking, he spits it out and cries. My child is a formula snob. :) What is also amazes me about breastfeeding, is that Grant is now 17 pounds and 4 oz. He has nearly tripled his weight since birth. It was all to sticking with breastfeeding, despite all the obstacles. Even though I didn't get to breastfeeding Grant right away after birth, I had to give him formula, and pump all the time out of my busy work day, it's totally worth all the pain and annoyance. I usually don't stick with many things, like dieting. But I can proudly say I have stuck with breastfeeding, 7 months strong, and I'm still at it. :)

Thank you again Megan and what a wonderful job overcoming those obstacles.  We know that sometimes breastfeeding can be a struggle and often times it sometimes doesn't come at all. We are here to support one another and hopefully these stories will bring a few of us together and relate as well as sympathise for one another.  What we do have to say is if you are struggling with breastfeeding seek help. Find a local La Leche League or a local lactation consultent they may be able to help. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mama Stories *mama of one breastfeeding two*

This weeks story comes from someone you already know. Our very own Heidi Helser. Have I ever mentioned that Heidi might have the best sense of humor ever? Well keep reading and see what I mean and read about her breastfeeding "career". 

Hello all you beautiful breastfeeding mamas!  You may know me already, I am Heidi Helser, President of The Breastfeeding Initiative and owner of Heidi Helser Photography.  But more importantly, I am Ada's mama.  I have a sweet three year old girl who is the twinkle in my eye and the gray in my hair.  

I proudly breastfed Ada until she was 2.5 years old.  I never thought I would breastfeed as long as I did.  It felt right.  I went with it.  I wanted to sleep through the night and I cut the girl off.  I'm not sure who it was harder for.....  

I love breastfeeding.  No, like.  LOVE, love.  I am proud to have nursed for as long as I did.  I'm okay that Ada never stops touching my boobs and calls them her best friends.  I like it.  Except when she does it in Target and people are looking and then it's awkward.  For everyone.  It happened tonight.

I have a few few things that I am proud of that I have done in my 30 years of living.....  breastfeeding being one of them, but more than just breastfeeding my own child.....  I exclusively breastfed my daughter and pumped for another baby for the first 6 months of my breastfeeding career(yes, it's totally a career).  I was so proud and honored to have supplied another human with breastmilk.  It brought me great joy and lots of laughs.  I was really leaky.  I was always flooding my shirts.  I was really impressed with myself when I could nurse my little lady and then pump 8 ounces on both sides.  I liked to time myself to see how fast I could fill the bottles.  What?  That's weird?  It was pretty awesome.  I feel like I could have won a contest if such a contest existed.

Breastfeeding came so easy to me and my supply was HUGE.  I am so thankful for this.  I was so humbled to have supplied for another mama who was struggling.  I know that breastfeeding doesn't always come easy, it sometimes doesn't come at all.  

The breastfeeding connection comes in all different ways and I am so grateful to have my experience and to have shared with others.  

With so much love,

To view more of Heidi's work and to find out how to book a session with her check out her Facebook page HERE

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mama Stories *Send Life Rafts*

What can we say about this next story? Well for starters get ready to laugh because boy does this highlight the fashionable mother's wardrobe some of us need at the beginning of our journey. As Deb mentions in her story motherhood is not always glamorous and we are so happy to have so many of us relate to that statement. Enjoy.

This photo is me on day 4 of mommyhood from January 2012.  My little one latched well from the beginning (we had a home birth with no complications and lots of skin-to-skin time).  My milk came in almost exactly two days after she was born--I remember waking up on my back feeling like someone had placed two bricks on my chest.  Thanks to her healthy nursing, my supply was strong from the beginning.  So strong, in fact, that I didn't know what to do with all the milk!  I had such a heavy let down on the side she wasn't nursing on that I soaked right through every nursing pad I had stocked up on.  I posted several messages to facebook to the effect of: "Please send life rafts--drowning in milk.  Glug glug glug!"  Luckily, we had a healthy stock of flat cloth diapers, built for absorbency and comfort.  For about 3 weeks I ran around with a cloth diaper shoved down the front of my shirt.  All the photos of me from those early days are oddly lumpy!  Motherhood is not glamorous, more like survival instinct.   It took a while for my supply to level out, although it is still very healthy, and for me (and my little one) to figure out how to manage my let downs.  For a while, I used Milkies to catch the extra on the side she wasn't nursing on, which provided me with a store of milk without having to pump.  Now, I only have the occasional morning where she sleeps long enough to wake me up with bricks on my chest.  I love our nursing time together, but I so sometimes fantasize about a day when I can button my pre-pregnancy shirts again!
Salem, OR

Thank you Deb for this story and I am a very happy that you yet indeed did not drown in breastmilk. 
If you are interested in being featured in Mama Stories click HERE to read what we need from you. 

*Also Deb mentioned Milkies Milk Savers in her story if you are not familiar with this product check them out HERE. They are a wonderful local company with a great product. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mama stories *Ashley*

We are so excited to bring you our very first weekly Mama Stories feature. This weeks mama is Ashley from beautiful little pieces blog. She is a new mom (her baby boy Forrest is only a week old) and she is sharing her first experiences with breastfeeding. What better way to start of this series than with someone new to this adventure. Good luck Ashley you are doing great!

My breastfeeding story began while I was pregnant. As a first time mom, I had so much advice from people dictating what I should do for my child. There were so many options as in how to take care of a newborn; what products to buy, what brand name to get, which advice was the best, and it was somewhat overwhelming to get so many different feedback. Among this, I was confident about one thing and knew what I wanted to do when my son was born. It was to breastfeed him, and I was pretty vocal about this. To my surprise, I was met with some negative light regarding breastfeeding. I was told that it was going to hurt, it was going to be difficult, it was too demanding of a schedule, there was some dislike about breastfeeding in the public, some cautioned me that my boobs were going to leak, and it was not going to feel natural to me since I had never done this before. It could have easily swayed me from my decision. Fortunately, I ignored the negative message and remained optimistic that it was going to work out. At the same time, I was not naive. I knew it was going to be a novel concept and may be difficult for me in the beginning. It helped to have several friends that have had breastfed their babies, to read positive stories online about breastfeeding, and have support from a mommy group about this. 

A week ago, I gave birth to my son, Forrest Gray, and he was laid on my stomach while my heart was swelling with love. Who knew that love would have tripled at the sight of a newborn at the delivery? A nurse encouraged me to breastfeed Forrest following the birth. With a bit of help and guidance; my son was able to latch on with no problem, and I nursed him. It was the most empowering moment in my life to be able to nurse my son. The bond I had, at that very moment, with Forrest was a very beautiful moment. 

Even though I have been a mother only for a week and half, breastfeeding is one thing that I feel most confident about. It is a decision that I do not regret making for my son and myself. 

Can any of you remember that first moment, when you laid eyes on your baby? What a beautiful experience. Thank you Ashely for sharing your story and if you wish to read more about her and her beautiful baby boy check out her blog HERE. 

*want to be featured on Mama Stories? Click HERE for all the info on how to submit your story. *