Monday, April 25, 2011

A Breastfeeding Story - Part Two!

Breastfeeding & Exercise—The Journey Continues

If a Mom is physically able to breastfeed, there are so many reasons to continue nursing for as long as possible. We know human milk is optimal for infants because of its nutritional value and immune-building benefits. It’s also important to note that Mom’s health can improve too. The Federal Government Source for Women’s Health website says, “mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of some health problems, including breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.” Obesity is a growing concern for both adults and children. Plus breast cancer is the second leading cause for death among women ages 30-50. Wouldn’t we want to do everything we could to prevent both obesity and breast cancer?

The Best for Babes organization believes both breast cancer and obesity are “somewhat preventable” by implementing two lifestyle choices: 1) breastfeeding and 2) exercise. Their website says: “For every 12 months of breastfeeding, a woman can lower her breast cancer risk by 4.3%. This is cumulative, so that a mother who has two children and breastfeeds each for 2 years can realize a 17.2% reduction!” And a woman with a family history of breast cancer can reduce her risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer by 59%. In addition, the BFB website states that if Mom is breastfeeding girls, her daughter’s “risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime is lowered by 26%-31%!” In general BFB concludes that, “Breastfeeding’s associated protection against being obese and overweight — major risk factors in adult diseases — buys your baby girl or boy extra protection against developing certain cancers as an adult.” Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to combat disease and encourage healthy mothers and children.

Although Emma’s days of breastfeeding are over. (At least from what I think—I’m wondering if she’ll want to go back to the breast after her twin sisters are born!) I know my breastfeeding journey will continue. And I will continue to learn as a mother. I’m wondering if the twins will mimic Emma’s behavior when it comes to me working part time and teaching my Pilates inspired program for parents: Asobi Sport™ Family Fitness.

During the first day of my Asobi Sport™ classes, Emma wanted to breastfeed during the first half of the class. Dismayed, I thought, “Not now!” But finally, I decided there was no fighting this girl’s appetite. The solution was to let her eat. Thankfully I knew what to do. It wasn’t the first time Emma’s ferocious appetite came at an “inopportune” time. I threw on my BeBe au Lait nursing cover and used the Moby Wrap to position Emma at my breast. Once she was securely latched, I looked up at my group of Momma’s and somehow resumed teaching. I even figured out shortly thereafter I could exercise while tending to Emma’s feeding needs! This was a huge discovery for me.

Not only could I continue teaching, I could share this knowledge with other active Moms. They could learn to improve their postural awareness, strengthen their deep pelvic floor with Kegel Exercises, and build core strength—while they breastfed! My Jia-Yo! Philosophy (exercising while you parent) was developed thanks to Emma’s constant demand to breastfeed. I wanted to show Moms they could meet their wellness goals and simultaneously nurture their child. They didn’t have to leave their child to workout or replenish their energy.

I do, however, caution any Mother who chooses to perform these Pilates inspired movements while they breastfeed to focus on their child’s needs first. When Baby is hungry, the goal is to make sure Baby gets fed. Exercise is secondary. So as long as exercising isn’t impeding a child’s nutritional intake, then exercise can be performed and even encouraged during breastfeeding or bottlefeeding. Ideally, Mom will see Asobi Sport™’s form of exercise as relaxing and replenishing. She can take these moments while seated to focus on deep breathing, Kegel Exercises, and postural awareness. The breathing techniques can even be meditative and calming. While Baby is nourished with unbeatable food, Mom is nourished with oxygen and newfound energy.

Before Mom should try exercising while breastfeeding, it is imperative that a) Baby has a
correct latch and b) Mom’s milk letdown has occurred. In order for Mom to let her milk
release, she will need to relax. The deep Pilates breathing is very helpful to accomplish this goal. She can also sit in Neutral Spine (the natural curvature of our back and the safest position for our spine) and raise her postural awareness.

Of course, if any of my Asobi Sport™ participating Moms were to suffer from a reduction of milk production and Baby isn't getting fed, then we would remove exercise all together. There is never a need to exercise while breastfeeding. It is simply to allow Mothers a way to nurture their well-being while they nurture their child’s—especially if their child is anything like Emma and enjoys taking her time while eating!

I guess if our twin girls do exhibit their big sister’s eating patterns, I at least have a sense of what to do. Of course nursing two at once will be a whole new ball game! If I’ve learned anything about this endurance sport I call “parenthood,” it’s all about staying in the game. And that means going with the flow and being open to learning along the way. I’m excited to combat the risk of breast cancer (for both myself and our daughters) with breastfeeding and exercise. I look forward to sharing our Asobi Sport™ Family Fitness DVD with other Moms so they too can learn how to simultaneously nurture themselves as well as their children.

Sarah, Mom to Emma - 2.5, & Soon-to-be mom of Twin Girls!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Giveaway {Undercover Mama}

Hi all!  I have a fun and fabulous giveaway going on my regular blog.  It is hands down one of the best nursing gear products on the market.  So check out my review - and then head over to Family and Life in Las Vegas - for your chance to win an Undercover Mama Tank!

"Breastfeeding" "Nursing Clothes" "Nursing Top" "Family" "Family and Life in Las Vegas"

I first saw Undercover Mama at the 2010 ABC Kids Expo here in Las Vegas. I was SO impressed. It was another moment of: Why didn't I think of that? At the time Squishy and I were coming to the end of breastfeeding, but I wished I had had one from the very beginning.

So what is Undercover Mama? It is a tank top that turns any shirt into a nursing shirt! It is so easy to use - just slide it on to your bra strap or use the new hook and loop attachment!

"Breastfeeding" "Nursing Clothes" "Nursing Top" "Family" "Family and Life in Las Vegas"

The Tanks come in many different colors, and a wide range of sizes! They are made from 95% cotton and 5% spandex, and best of all, are long enough to keep ALL of you covered while nursing. Whether you tuck it in or leave it out for the layered look, you won't have to worry about your stomach or back showing while you are nursing! I really LOVE the extra length.
  • SMALL 32A/B-34D
  • MEDIUM 34D-36C/D
  • LARGE 36E-38C/D
  • XLARGE 38D-40C
  • XXLARGE 40D-42F
Check out this video to see how it works!

Even though I am not currently breastfeeding - the fact the Undercover mama is so easy to use, allows you to wear more and still feel confident nursing, and that it is so comfortable, Undercover Mama has earned a spot in my Must Have baby products. This also means it gets a rating of EXTREMELY SQUISHABLE! (10/10)

"Review Rating Scale" "Family and Life in Las Vegas"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Breastfeeding Story Part 1

A Breastfeeding Story Part I

Time to Wean

It’s hard to believe that only three months ago on January 8th, I stopped breastfeeding my daughter, Emma. It was her second birthday and we were four months pregnant with twins. I was advised to stop as soon as we learned we were pregnant, especially considering this was a twin pregnancy.

The doctor warned I would need all the energy I could get to ensure a full-term twin pregnancy. Plus, this pregnancy would be different from my first. This time, I would be looking after (more like chasing after) my very physical toddler by day and waking up with her by night. Emma still had trouble sleeping through the night and occasionally I resorted to breastfeeding her back to sleep.

I had mixed feelings about weaning. When Emma was born, I aimed to breastfeed her for a year. I never thought I could go longer than a year. And I certainly didn’t ever think I would want to continue after she turned two! But part of me wanted to breastfeed for as long as she demanded it.

It was hard to hear her whimper “Mommy’s milk, milk!” while she looked longingly at my shirt and slid her hand under my bra. The breast was her source of comfort. I enjoyed being able to feed and soothe her with a simple touch and a complex design of the body. Whenever she fell down or got an “owie,” it was off to the breast we’d go. She never took a bottle, even though I tried. Goodness knows, I tried! My husband’s business travel schedule didn’t allow him to administer the bottle regularly. And when I tried to give her a bottle, she was too smart to take it. She could smell the real deal. Plus, I’ve concluded, if given the choice, babies know there’s no substitute for human touch.

Those first six weeks of learning to breastfeed were tough as I experienced cracked and bleeding nipples. Emma kept falling asleep while feeding. And when she’d stay awake, she became what my Mom calls a “gourmet eater.” She would nibble a bit, pull off, look around, and then want a bit more. Feedings that were supposed to last twenty minutes could sometimes take up to 1.5 hours! That meant feeding her every two hours was like feeding her all day long! And without a bottle, there were very few breaks for me. I had to figure out how to go about my day AND satiate my daughter’s “gourmet” appetite.

To this day, Emma still showcases her “gourmet eater” techniques. Meal times are never quick and easy. Thankfully, having my Mom (who is a Lamaze teacher and certified doula) attend Emma’s birth and stay with us weeks after Emma's delivery helped establish my positive breastfeeding journey. Discussions with my Mom, meetings with a lactation consultant, and reading a wonderful resource that my cousin (who is a Mom and a psychiatrist) recommended, Breastfeeding Made Simple transformed the daunting chore of breastfeeding into a welcomed privilege for me.

Of course I knew when the doctor advised me to wean Emma, it was ultimately my decision. I didn’t need to stop breastfeeding Emma if I didn’t want to. Many women nurse through their pregnancies and even continue breastfeeding both their newborn and toddler post delivery. Of course most of these women aren’t pregnant with twins, running a small business, still unpacking from an out-of-state move, and shooting a fitness DVD. Part of me wanted to continue breastfeeding, but I knew it was time to stop.

Two reasons helped make my decision: 1) I finally concluded this was not the time to be “super woman;” I actually did need more energy to focus on the twin’s pregnancy. And 2) it was becoming increasingly painful to continue nursing Emma as my breasts grew more sensitive with the pregnancy. I always enjoyed breastfeeding (well, after going through the 6 week learning curve) but when Emma’s near two-year-old latch consistently started to feel like a vampire sinking her jaws into me, I decided it was time to stop. So on her second birthday, I pulled the plug.

It felt like the end of an era. (Of course, who am I kidding? Our twins are due in 11 weeks. I know I’m going to be breastfeeding two at once for a long time to come!) However, I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic. Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones. Or maybe I just couldn’t believe two years had come and gone so quickly. Emma was undoubtedly growing up and our time of nuzzling together in the Moby Wrap or on My Brestfriend or under a Bebe au Lait nursing cover was coming to an end.

Breastfeeding had become such a daily routine for us. I identified with other Moms who breastfed on demand, whose children never took a bottle, whose toddler did gymnastics while they nursed, and whose growing child could ask for “Mommy’s milk.” Although I knew it was the right time for me to wean my daughter, I couldn't ignore my sadness. I would have to give up this wonderful source of nutrition for my daughter and excellent natural self-defense for my body. But I guess every chapter has to end. And every Mom has to let go at some point. Part of letting go is recognizing the anticipation of starting something new, whether she's ready to or not.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - coming soon!!

Sarah owner/founder of Asobi Sport Family Fitness - Mama to Emma (2) and twin girls due in June.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Hi All!
We have quite a few new followers here, thanks to the Ultimate Blog Party (not too late to link up) over at 5 Minutes for Mom.  I wanted to take a moment to say welcome.

I hope you will consider sharing your story.  It can be anything you want as long as it is breastfeed related.  We don't pass judgements of any kind her at Simple Gift.

Just send your submissions to simplegiftstories(at)gmail(dot)com.  I look forward to reading your story.

And - if you do share your story - you will get a $10 off coupon to LaDy LaDuke Feeder Frocks!  They are awesome and stylish!

(You are also welcome to include a link to your own blog if you have one, or your facebook page if you would prefer.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2nd Time is Not a Charm

After a successful 15 month run breastfeeding my first child, I expected things to go well with my 2nd... they didn't. I was cracked and bleeding while still in the hospital. I was in so much pain every time I'd try to get her latched on, that I was happy to try a shield for the first time. It definitely helped and I'm glad for them, but they were also the source of so much frustration.
I read and talked to everyone I could about things to try to get off the shields and everyone from her pediatrician to the LC said I should wean off them as soon as possible.
I tried. Everyday, I tried. And everyday I turned into a sobbing mess because she wouldn't latch and I had to turn to a shield again. I felt like I was trapped since breastfeeding in public is not easy, but it's even harder w/ a shield.

I finally after several weeks found an actual encouraging website and realized that if it wasn't for the shields, she would not be getting any breast milk at all and she was growing wonderfully, so what everyone had said about my supply suffering was not happening at all. I would stick the shield in my bra and go- that took care of where I should put it when I'm out and about.
I am quite sure the only real issue with her was a small mouth because at the ripe old age of 3.5 months, she was being silly and unlatching and looking up at me and smiling over and over. I decided that this was a good time to try my daily no-shield latch attempt. To my surprise she went for it! I knew because of a good run with my older daughter that it would be worth it in the end and sure enough it was all worth it.

She's now over a year and we're still going strong!
mom of Macy 1 year and Sadie 2.5 years

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"My Breastfeeding Freak Out."

I breastfed Sully, and to be honest? I kind of hated it.

I know, I know. Breastfeeding is beautiful and natural, and for some women, it's easy-peasy, warm and fuzzy, and makes them feel like they're snuggled in a blanket of marshmallows.

Or something like that.

Yeah. That never happened to me. I could blame the hospital for my poor start. When Sully was born, I asked the nurse if I should try breastfeeding. She responded, "Well, I guess. They're usually not hungry for awhile." Umkay. So I tried, but she didn't show me how. Later, I asked for a lactation consultant to come make sure I was doing okay. She never showed. I left the hospital with blisters (yes, as painful as it sounds), and a huge bruise on my right nipple. Joy. I also found myself seriously engorged and feeding a baby every hour and a half. My boobs were bigger than DDs. I'm 5'3 (erm...5'1ish), and I looked like Dolly Parton on crack. Sully had what his pediatrician referred to as "barracuda latch" which basically meant he attacked my boobs like a fiercesome, toothy fish. Again, every bit as pleasant as the name implies. Breastfeeding hurt like hell for about four weeks.

Sully latched relatively well. Except when he didn't and would root back and forth in frustration. And he ate well. Except when he got tired of it, and he would instead, cluster feed. He would eat for a few minutes every few minutes. Which meant for me, having to go through the pain of latching over and over and over. I would leak everywhere. I constantly found myself out in public with huge wetspots on my shirts despite trying every kind of breast pad to prevent it.

And the pump. I despised the pump with every piece of my being. I realize that many women exclusively breastfeed and never give their babies a bottle. I commend them because ladies, you are stronger than I. I wanted to have a night or two (or maybe a few more) where I could have a couple glasses of wine and then sleep for more than an hour. On those nights, I loved having some milk stored in the freezer, and my mom would help by taking a night feeding. Or she would take Sully on Saturday mornings for a morning feeding while I rested. Thus began my relationship with the Medela Pump In Style. Nothing can prepare you for seeing your nipples be sucked into an unnaturally pointy shape into hard plastic cones over and over. Nothing. The suction was anything but comfortable. Instead of a sweet baby making me feel uncomfortable, I was dealing with a plastic machine and a motor sound. Luckily, I only used this demon contraption once a day or so for the six months that I breastfed.

Today, I bought a new pump. I decided to go with the Ameda Purely Yours after reading a bunch of reviews. Apparently, it's about as effective as the Medela, but it's a closed system, which means milk can't get into any of the motor on accident. With the Medela, milk was sucked through the tubing into the motor and MOLD grew. I just found the mold yesterday and about vomited in my mouth, so it was time for a new one. I fear this machine, but hopefully my experience will be better than last time.

The only reason I continued to breastfeed as long as I did was because I knew it was good for Sully. I also was loving the fact that all my baby weight was gone in a mere twelve weeks. Selfish, no?

I plan on breastfeeding again, and I would love to make it to six months again. I wonder if it will be more difficult for me this time around. If I'll want my body to myself sooner. If I'll want to not view my boobs as a food source. If chasing a toddler and breastfeeding an infant will be more difficult. At least this time, I'll be more informed. I know to ask for help more assertively if I need it. I know of countless women who breastfed at least a year, and many beyond, that I can use as a resource if needed. I know who to lean on for support when it gets really tough.

Mrs. Trophy Wife, Mom to Sully (15mths) Baby Dos (Due Aug 2!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Making it Work For Me

Like many other soon to be new moms, I had made the decision to strictly breastfeed our son. While I have heard good and BAD breastfeeding stories, I was bound and determined to make it work for me.

Our son arrived just recently, January 14th, 2011. As soon as I saw him I was in love. I now understand the want and need to provide everything possible for this little man- this includes breastfeeding. Since baby B was breech, we had a scheduled C-Section, which was a bit scary since this was our first baby. Knowing we were going to have the C-Section I wasn't sure how the breastfeeding would begin, since I would be a little out of it after he was born. This is where our nurse came in.

We were lucky enough to have our baby class instructor as our nurse and lactation consultant- which made both my husband and I much more comfortable with the whole birthing and breastfeeding process. She knew of my want to breastfeed and my concerns about the process. She reassured me she would help me latch baby B as soon as I was comfortable after surgery. And she held true to her promise! Within 30 minutes of being in recovery our baby was latched on and getting his first taste of Colostrum. Again, if it were not for her, I wonder how easy this breastfeeding would have been for me.

As we approached the day of leaving the hospital, I was nervous about several things, but mainly about continuing the breastfeeding process. It all seemed to be going off without a hitch- baby B had been latching extremely well, on his own, since the first time we attempted. I wondered if it would continue to be that easy......

It was that easy, for the first week and a half, but then for some reason he began to fuss and fight breastfeeding. While I generally have a high patience level, this threw me off! I became frustrated and began doubting myself and my ability to successfully make it through this new adjustment period.

Desperate to make breastfeeding work for him and I, I began researching different holds and techniques--finally settling on using the boppy pillow, which was difficult right after surgery because of my incision. With this new technique, we have regained our consistent ability to breastfeed! He seems to be more comfortable and I seem more relaxed again, knowing I am providing him with what he needs.

My story, I am sure, is like many new mothers- uncertain and questioning her abilities to provide the most natural food for her child. With all the questions, uncertainty, pain, struggle, I know my son is receiving the best nutrition possible!

Patricia Mom to Baby B - 1 month