November 27, 2013 at 1:00 PM (Announcements, Miscellaneous, Vanessa)
Tags: 31 Party, My 31 Gifts, Thirty One
One of my dear friends is a consultant for My Thirty One and I’m having an online My Thirty One Party. Id like to extend the invitation to anyone who would like to come and mingle and check out her fabulous things!
I’m super excited about this party. I’ve known Stacy for just over 5 years now. I’m actually quite surprised that its been 5 years.
If you aren’t familiar with My Thirty One, its a company that specializes in Totes, Hand Bags, Purses and various other organizational items to help keep your busy life in order. The best part about it is, it isn’t your average ordinary patterns and styles that everyone else is lugging around. These bags have a unique style all of their own.
If you have any questions or would like to place an order with Stacy Meehan, she can be reached directly thru her My Thirty One website.
If you are interested in joining our Facebook Event (if the link doesnt work, feel free to message me and I will sneak you in thru the back door lol) and hanging out for a little while, chatting and checking things out, we would be delighted to have you with us. Stacy will be available to assist with any questions or help you set up your order.
The Facebook Event closes on Dec 7, 2013 but you can still place orders after the 7th thru Stacy directly or her website!
November 26, 2013 at 1:09 PM (Education, Vanessa)
Tags: Abort, Abortion, Aunt Dot, Aunt Dottie, Aunt Flo, Blood Cramps, Carcinogenic, Chlorine Free, Cyst, Cysts, Diva Cup, Endometriosis, Fertility, Heavy Bleeding, Infertility, Instead Cup, IVF, Lunette Cup, Menses, Menstrual, Menstruation, Mia Cup, Miacup, Miscarriage, Moon Cup, Ovaries, Ovary, Ovulation, Pads, PCOS, Period, PMS, Pregnancy Loss, Reproductive health, Sterility, Still Birth, Stillborn, Tampons, Unbleached, Uterus, Womens Health
What exactly is Dioxin? In a nutshell, its stuff you seriously don’t want to expose yourself, your children and pets to but your home probably has more of it than you know.
Dioxins are produced in small concentrations when organic material is burned in the presence of chlorine, whether the chlorine is present as chloride ions or asorganochlorine compounds, so they are widely produced in many contexts. Dioxins can be produced by backyard burning barrels, medical waste and metal smelting. But thats not the only place they occur.
Dioxin Chemical Index
They are also found in Baby Diapers, Baby Wipes, Tampons, Feminine Pads, Panty Liners, White (Bleached) Coffee Filters, Bleached Paper Products which includes toilet paper and paper towels, facial tissues and tea bags.
The Role of Dioxin in Cancer. (About 1/3 of the way down the page) is a fantastic sourced bit of information on how Dioxin effects humans in short term and long term from reproductive to carcinogenic effects.
Dioxin Public Enemy Number 1
World Health Organization (WHO) On Dioxins
FDA Acknowledges Dioxin in Tampons
FDA States Trace Levels of Dioxin in Tampons pose no risk to Tampon Users
The Keeper on Dioxin
One study found that 80 percent of the monkeys exposed to dioxin developed endometriosis, and that higher levels of exposure caused the development of more severe forms of the disease. Two of the monkeys in the study died due to endometriosis. Source for The Monkey/Dioxin Endometriosis Study
Dioxins Linked to Infertility Women with higher levels of dioxin in their blood when they tried to get pregnant took longer to conceive than women with lower levels, researchers report in a followup study.
Dioxin Linked to Sterility
You can help reduce your exposure to Dioxins thru sources such as Tampons, Pads and Diapers and it is fairly easy.
Buy Dioxin Free Disposable Tampons
Buy A Reusable Diva Cup. You can Purchase One Online or Find a Retailer near you.
A Diva Cup isn’t your only option for a reusable menstrual cup. There are actually several options available from a variety of manufacturers. Moon Cup, and a Miacup and Lunette Cups. Be sure to check the sizing guide for each company before purchasing your cup. Prior to my hysterectomy, I was a cup user (Diva) and while I was a bit of a skeptic when I actually commited to buying one. It only took one cycle to become a fan of the product.
Menstrual Cups also come in disposable cups as well such as the Instead Cup.
Tom Organics Disposable Pads, Tampons and Liners.
Little Angel Dioxin Free Baby Wipes
Green Your has several options for Disposable, Chlorine Free, Dioxin Free baby Diapers. We used Cloth Diapers on our trio. I know there are a million and one options for cloth diapers and there are a million and one reasons why each person picks something different. If you aren’t familiar with modern day cloth diapers, I assure you that they aren’t your grandmothers old school ‘diaper pin’ diapers that need rubber pants to be worn over them. My personal preference was pocket diapers (PUL Lined) with removable inserts because I am quite abusive when cleaning my kids diapers and I could abuse the inserts more by washing them separately from the pocket itself.
You can often purchase Unbleached (Brown) coffee filters in most stores and even purchase reusable Gold Mesh Coffee Filters or buy them online. Dioxin Free Coffee Filters
Be sure to share this with your friends and family to help educate them about the risks and sources of Dioxin exposure and what they can do to reduce their intake of this harmful toxin.
If you have links and other valuable sources for Dioxin Free products or Educational Information, we’d love your feedback!
November 25, 2013 at 12:14 PM (Food, Tutorials, Vanessa)
Tags: Cream Filling, Food Storage, Homemade Twinkies, Hostess, lassic Twinkies, Marshmallow Cream, Marshmallows, No High Fructose Corn Syrup, Recioe, Twinkie Cream, Twinkies, Zombie Apocalypse Food, Zombie Apocalypse Prepping
This is a fantastic 4 ingredient recipe for Twinkie filling.
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (or Margarine)
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Marshmallow Cream
1 TSP Vanilla Extract
Room Tempature Butter and Marshmallow Cream are the easiest to work with. You can even got the extra mile and make your own Marshmallow Cream too.
Beat all ingredients with electric mixer until completely mixed and fluffy.
Fill Pastry Bag and inject into cooled Homemade Twinkie
November 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM (Food, Tutorials, Vanessa)
Tags: Classic Twinkie Recipe, Cream Filling, Creme Filling, Famous Recipes, Homemade Twinkies, No High Fructose Corn Syrup, Twinkie, Twinkie Maker, Twinkies
We all have to admit that at one time or another that we’ve enjoyed a Twinkie or two (or 7 or 8). When I was a kid Twinkies didn’t taste like they do now. When I had a Twinkie as an adult, I was very put off by the taste and even the texture.
Recently I came across the old school, classic Twinkie Recipe in an Impulse buy at the Grocery Store. A Twinkie Maker. What a find! And I’m not talking about a boxed cake recipe either. I scored the Twinkie Maker Electric Cooker for $20
1-1/2 Cups Flour
1 TSP Baking Powder
1/2 TSP Salt
1/2 Cup Softened Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Egg Yolk
2 TSP Vanilla Extract
3/4 Cup of Milk
Cream Butter and Sugar together in a large Bowl. Add Eggs, Egg Yolk and Vanilla to the Creamed Sugar and mix well. Once completely mixed add Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and Milk and mix together until well mixed.
I have an electric Twinkie Maker but you can also use Something like this instead.
In the Twinkie Maker I sprayed my mold with Olive Oil and I cooked mine for 7 minutes. If you are pan cooking, you may need to adjust your cook time. Cook at 350° in a traditional oven until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
When they have completely cooled you can fill them with Twinkie Marshmallow Fluff Filling.
Stay tuned…this isn’t the only awesome junk food cooker I picked up.
November 22, 2013 at 12:10 AM (Crafts, Tutorials, Vanessa)
Tags: Air Freshener, Christmas, Cloves, Diffuser, Diffusing Reeds, Essential Oil, Essential Oils, Fragrance, Pine Cones, Thanksgiving, Vaporizer
We’ve all walked into a store sometime after Halloween to have the delicious smell of that bag of cinnamon scented pine cones fill your senses.
If you live in an area where you have access to pine cones, make your own!
What you need:
• Pine Cones
• Cookie Sheet
• Essential Oil
(You have lots of options for Holiday Essentual oils such as Cinnamon, Cloves, and even Orange)
• Paint Brush
Gather your pine cones and arrange them on a cookie sheet and bake them at about 175 for about an hour. This will dry them out and make them open up fully. It will also eliminate any creepy crawlies that might be hiding out in one.
Once they have cooled, lay your foil on your work surface and take your paint brush and put a few drops of your essential oil into a glass Paint your Essential Oils onto your dried pine cones. (shot glass works well. Using Plastic is not a good idea, including disposable plastic or foam…someday I’ll share my experience with plastic and Essential Oils which ultimately lead to the carpet in the living room being removed. Ooops).
Find a pretty glass bowl and display them somewhere around your home for a great natural room air freshener. (Or an ugly bowl and hide it behind your couch whatever you prefer to do).
Some great combinations could be Orange and Cloves or Cinnamon and Cloves…or just keep it one continuous scent throughout the house.
Doing it yourself with Essential Oils means you don’t have to worry about questionable chemicals being used to spice up your home.
November 21, 2013 at 4:02 PM (Crafts, Freebies & Printables, Tutorials, Vanessa)
Tags: Art, Birthday Bag, Card Stock, Christmas Bag, Crafting, Gift Bag, Gift Giving, Gift Wrap, Gifting, Gifts, Kraft Paper, Package, Painting, Paper Crafts, Paper Folding, Scrapbook, Scrapbooking, Shopping, Stamping, Tissue Paper, Tote, Valentine's Bag, Wrapping Paper
We don’t do many traditional holidays in the traditional sense that most people do. We do alot of ‘DIY’ Gifts and Decorations, so naturally we make our own gift bags too. Its just funner that way.
My oldest daughter is 11 and attends public school. Last year we ended up staying up very late to get the project done on time (February 13th) and I decided that we would get a head start on it this year. The extra time would allow us to make her Valentine’s Exchange really awesome!
These bags are pretty small. Approximately 3 inches wide X 4 inches tall and about 2 inches deep.
You will need:
• Craft Paper or CardStock
(You can use Scrapbook paper, however your bag will be more delicate)
• Hot Glue and Glue Gun
• Material you want to use for Handle
(Ribbon, yarn, string, rope, paper handle)
• Items you want to decorate your bag with
First, cut your paper to size. Mine is cut 10.5″ x 6 inches.
I colored coded the folds to reduce confusion about which fold I am talking about. Making this bag is way easier than it sounds. Once you cut your paper and start folding your creases and glue your bag sides together, the rest will probably all make sense.
Yellow Band: is the outter edge of the paper.
Green Band: is the top edge of the bag when it is assembled. The distance between the top edge of the bag (top yellow band to the green band is 3/4ths of an inch)
Blue Band: is the bottom edge of the bag when assembled.
Teal Band: is the side corners of the bag when assembled.
Orange Band: is a fold that allows the bag to collapse flat (folded). There is one fold inbetween the Teal Corners on each side of the bag.
Teal/Red Band: this is the Corner (Teal) of the bag, but the Red indicates that this flap of paper will be tucked under and remain unseen when assembled. This strip is 1/2″ wide from red line to the edge of the paper (yellow line)
Section Measurements from Left to Right, then Top to Bottom.
Top Strip: 3/4ths of an inch
Body of the bag: 4 inch
Until you are confortable in deciding which way to crease your paper you can fold towards you and crease your paper then fold away from you and crease your paper so that you can make your paper bend either direction. Once you assemble a bag or two you will be able to skip on folding the paper both directions.
You can decorate the outside of your bag once you have creased your folds. If you are using rubber stamps, its much easier to decorate it now. I usually get hasty and end up missing this step and kicking myself later about it.
If you feel more comfortable, you can use masking tape to hold your bag together instead of glue if you need assurance that you are gluing in the right spots.
Glue the small flap on the far right (teal/red line) under the edge of the under side of the opposite side of the bag. Now you have a square
Fold down your top edge (Green Band). don’t glue it.
Fold the bottom of your bag so that the visible portions of the fold make a triangle. When you look inside your bag you will see matching squares (about 1″x1″) Hot glue the bottom (outside) of the bag.
Making Bag Handles (2 Options)
• Two Handles. Use a paper hole puncher and evenly space two wholes all the way thru the upper part of the bag (be sure it is punched into the part where the green band flap is, this will give your handles/bag more strength). Push your bag handles thru the holes and knot on the inside of the bag.
• One Handle. Flip the upper flap back up and find the center of the side of the bag (this will be on the Orange Band line) and hole punch the center. Push a string/ribbon thru the hole and knot it toward the inside of the bag. Dab a bit of hot glue under the flap and seal the flap back down.
If you’ve already decorated your bag, You’re done!
I don’t typically mark my bags with pencils. I usually keep a template (manilla folder or card stock for each size of bag) and use them as a template for cutting my paper into shape and to show where the lines go so its faster and easier.
Hope you enjoy!
November 15, 2013 at 3:30 PM (Crafts, Tutorials, Vanessa)
Tags: Clips, Clothes Line, Clothes Pin Crafts, Clothes Pin Magnets, Clothes Pins, Cord Keeper, Cords, Gardening, Hanger, Hanging Laundry, Labeling, Labels, Laundry, Starter Pots
Being that I don’t own a clothes dryer, I tend to have lots of clothes pins. Sometimes even being used for all kinds of things other than what they were ‘designed’ for, which means I usually have more in my house than I do on my clothes line.
Anyone who has used clothes pins knows that they are not capable of giving you a truly strong hold on anything but they have loads of practical uses and even more possibilities in the art/craft department.
The above pictured clothes pins have been wood burned and get used in the kitchen as bag clips, bread clips and to close packages.
1. Bread & Chip Bag Clips
2. Holding your nose during diaper changes
3. Yarn, Twine, Ribbon Holder (keeps it from getting tangled and makes it easy to unwind what you need and nothing more)
4. Clipping Papers Together
5. Fridge Magnet (Hot Glue a Magnet on the back)
6. Holding Shirts & Pants on the Hanger (great on slippery material or on items that don’t have those nifty little strings inside to help them stay on a hanger)
7. Crafts (endless ideas)
• Cute Halloween Clothes Pins
• Super Cute Washi Tape Pins doesn’t even need to be Halloween themed.
8. Marking Starter Pots for the Garden (I start alot of my Garden Plants in Plastic Mouth Wash Cups and clipping a labeled clothes pin on the cup makes it easy to keep track of what is what. They can also be saved for the following season too)
9. Labeling Cords Behind the TV, Computer, Entertainment Center. (I like to place a pin on the cord near the plug on the Surge Protector so I know which plug goes to which device in the event I need to pull a plug)
What do you use clothes pins for? We would love to hear your ideas!
November 14, 2013 at 11:05 PM (Crafts, Toddlers, Tutorials, Vanessa)
Tags: Bird Feeder, Bird Seed, Bird Watching, Birds, Black Oil Sunflower Seeds, BOSS, Fall Activities, Kids Crafts, Pine Cone, Pine Cone Bird Feeder, Pinecone, Projects, Projects for Kids, Wild Bird, Wildlife
Growing up, making Pine Cone Bird Feeders was one of my favorite things to do. My mom routinely bought large bags of bird seed because she enjoyed the birds but pinecones were not indigenous to our geographical area. Often, friends who lived in areas where pine cones grew would save them for us.
Now I find myself getting excited all over again when I see pine cones in the stores (unfortunately these are cinnamon scented pine cones and have been treated with chemicals and should not be used for bird feeders).
They are super easy to make, even for toddlers. You can use big ones or small ones. Keep in mind some pine cones have a sharp tip on the ends of each leaf, be sure to check if yours has these. If they do, a nail file, sand paper or even a pair of scissors should be able to take this point off.
You will need:
Pine Cones (as few or as many as you want…I’m a ‘more is better’ kinda gal, myself)
Bird Seed (Wild Bird Seed or Black Oil Sunflower Seeds)
String (to hang it)
Scissors (to cut string)
Popsicle Stick (to smear PB on)
Its easiest to cut your string and tie it onto the top (the more narrow portion) of the pinecone. Be sure to give yourself enough string that you can tie it to a patio eve or a tree branch. If you have a hook under the eve of the patio you can create a loop on one end of the string to hang it.
Smear peanut butter on each ‘leaf’ of the pine cone. Its a good idea to put your peanut butter on a plate since pine cones can be dirty and you dobt want anything ending up in your jar. Each leaf doesn’t have to be covered with peanut butter from end to end, but the more surface covered in peanut butter means to more seeds that will stick to the pine cone.
Once your pine cone has been coated in peanut butter, roll it in the bird seed and hang it.
Once the birds have eaten the seeds you can reuse the pine cone again and again.
If your pine cone isn’t getting much attention from the birds, move it to a new area.
November 6, 2013 at 10:24 PM (Education, Food, GMO's, Vanessa)
Tags: Certified Organic, Cloned, Conventional, Fruit, Genetically Modified Organisms, GMO, GMO Produce, GMO Seeds, GMO's, Monsanto, Organic, Pesticides, Round Up, Vegetables
I really don’t like to admit when I’ve had a stupid thought about something or when I have been very wrong about something. Who really enjoys being wrong? I don’t. I’ve had my fair share of not so bright thoughts and ideas. Some just down right ridiculous even (we aren’t going there today). But when I am wrong, I do my best to fess up and admit it. Maybe in a round-a-bout way at times. Maybe like I am doing right now even.
I have to admit, there was a time when I really didn’t get what the big deal was about Organic vs Conventional or GMO foods was. I wash my fruits and veggies, so if there was really any pesticides left on them surely I would have washed it all off. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly work like that.
In the recent past I have begun to buy only organic produce or growing my own organic produce for reasons aside from the pesticides factor.
This weekend I bought several bunches of Organic Spinach. Since fruits and veggies are free grazing foods in our house, I wash everything so its ‘ready to eat’. I am on a Juicing Kick and I have been running all sorts of fruits and veggies thru the juicer or blender and its nice having things ready to use. On one of my juicing adventures with a bundle of spinach I thought it sounded like there had been some dirt on the leaves when they were juiced. So my next bundle of spinach got a better wash than the first one did, essentially a second wash. Not that my first bundles wasn’t washed well, we just have a thing about eating dirt since it isn’t one of the important food groups. I thought I did a pretty good job washing them but since they were organic I wasn’t overly concerned. I washed them the same way I would wash conventional produce, under running water.
The washing of my second bundle kind of surprised me. I typically washed under running water and this bundle was no exception (it was washed when I brought it home). The second bundle I threw in a crock pot crock and filled with water. I stuck my hand in the pot and grabbed the unwrapped bundle and swished it around 5 or 6 swishes and the water was filthy. It was brown. When I dumped the water there was infact dirt in the bottom of the pot. Quite a bit of dirt. So, I decided to clean out the pot and rewash again because I was curious how much more would come off my already washed spinach. I thought I’d share my findings with you. (This wasn’t the original bundle that went into the crock, I didn’t have enough insight and didn’t think that it would yield results worthy of a picture, so this is bundle #3 from the same organic bunch of spinach. What? I like spinach! Bundle #2 and #3 washing in the crock had identicle results).
Seeing how much was left behind on a second and third wash left me to question thoughts I previously had about washing my produce would clean of all pesticides and pesticide residue.Ive now come to the conclusion that probably didn’t happen. We ate the pesticides. I’m sure a good number of people wash their produce in a manner similar to how I was washing my produce.
For some people, enlightenment snaps on like a light bulb. For others, the light bulb needs to be screwed in before it can be flicked on. This was my moment of enlightenment over the fact that the vast majority of pesticides are not removed from produce before its consumed (aside from the factor of what percentage is absorbed into the food and could not be removed regardless of how much elbow grease is used to scrub them).
November 5, 2013 at 7:36 PM (No Category, Sasha)
Tags: quotes, Tecumseh, thankfulness
“Live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and of service to your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.
When your time comes to die,
be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”
– Tecumseh (Shawnee Chief, 1768-1813)
October 30, 2013 at 12:39 PM (Crafts, Freebies & Printables, Tutorials, Vanessa)
Tags: Art, Feebie, free, Freebies, Halloween, Paper, Paper Crafts, Printables, Scrapbook, Scrapbooking
I know I’m cuttin it close to Halloween considering Halloween is tomorrow but some of these things are just far too cute not to pass on!
20 Free Printables from Tip Junkie. I’m thinking the “Treat Banner” might be a great idea for holidays other than Halloween too.
Adorable Felt Monster Bookmarks from Spoonful. These are fun and easy even for little hands to put together.
12 Halloween Printables from The Tom Kat Studio including the super cute Creepy Cupcake Mix for “Boo-ing” your neighbors.
Several super cute ideas for Lollipop Covers, Labels and Wrapping Paper Printables and Ideas
I better get crackin’ I’ve been volunteered to supply bottles of water for my daughters school Halloween Bash and they need to be relabeled…
October 28, 2013 at 1:44 PM (Crafts, Freebies & Printables, Tutorials, Vanessa)
Tags: Art, Crafts, Crafts for Kids, Day of the Dead, Dia De Los Muertos, free, Free Printables, Freebie, Freebies, Halloween, Paper Crafting, Paper Crafts, Printable, Printables, Scrapbook, Scrapbooking, Skeleton, Skeletons, Sugar Skull, Sugar Skulls
As many know, I LOVE anything Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos). I’m particularly fond of any type of creative, unique, bright and colorful exibits.
I just came across a neat little paper crafting project for a Printable Day of the Dead Paper Box from Dont Eat The Paste I hope you enjoy!
We will be giving this a try using card stock paper instead of standard paper.
October 25, 2013 at 1:36 PM (Generally Crispy Products, Tutorials, Vanessa)
Tags: Cold Process Soap, Glycerin, Handmade soap, Hot Process, Lavender, Lye, Melt and Pour Glycerine, Organic Soap, Saponification, Soak Making, Soap, Sodium Hydroxide
This is one of my favorite bars of soap. Well, one of my favorite favorites anyway.
I usually use a soap mold which is a mold that I made specifically for 50 oz oil recipes. The mold holds approximately 73 oz total. If I made a soap that has a few more oz than this mold will hold I will pour my additional soap into a silicone 1×1 inch brownie bite pan and when its ready, Ill pop it out and give it to someone as a sample. So don’t stress if your mold holds 72 oz and its a 73 oz recipe. No need to discard anything.
You can make this a very simple bar or you can make it more intricate. Its all up to you and your comfort level.
You will need to gather your Soap Making Supplies and set up and line your soap mold with freezer paper.
ALWAY RUN SOAP RECIPES THRU A SOAP CALCULATOR INCLUDING RECIPES THAT I SHARE, because I am not exempt from typos either!
16.50 oz Distilled Water
6.5 oz of Lye Crystals
Pour your Lye Crystals into your Distilled Water. ALWAYS start with your water in the pot first and add your Lye Crystals to the water. Do not add Water to the Lye Crystals this will cause it to Erupt, similar to a Vinegar/Baking Soda Volcano. An easy way for me to think of it is by thinking of it like a clogged drain. With a clogged drain you would add the Drain Cleaner to the water. You need to stir your Lye and Water to prevent the Lye from forming a hard Crystal mass on the bottom of your pot.
40 oz Olive Oil
5 oz Coconut Oil
5 oz Castor Oil
Your oils will needed to be heated to 105° to heat the oil and melt any hard oils. Tracking your temperatures is important.
Your Lye will need to be cooled to 105°.
Once your Lye Mix and Oil temperatures are close to 105° (oil and lye mixture temperatures need to be within 5° of each other) you will pour your lye mixture into your oils and begin stirring them together.
Hand Stirring can take upto an hour. Using a stick blender can speed this time up dramatically. I use a stick blender.
If you do not plan to add anything to this, you can mix until trace (when it starts to look like Pudding) and pour it into your mold. If you plan to just use an essential oils as a fragrance, add it now. For this recipe, you can add 3 teaspoons Lavender Essential Oil and mix it well to incorporate the Lavender Oil thru all of the soap.
You can add Lavender Powder or Soap colorant to your mixture. When I add powders to my soap I will separate a small bowl of soap out of the pot and mix my powder into that soap until its well blended and there are no remaining chuncks or dry parts. I continue to stir the soap in the pot by hand to keep it from solidifying to a point where I cant add the powder/soap mixture back into the pot. It all depends on how you want to see your finished product look.
I will go over Layering and creating ‘Pencil Lines’ in Soap in the near future so watch for that!
October 25, 2013 at 12:53 PM (Tutorials, Vanessa)
Tags: Bath and Body, Cold Process, Eczema, Essential Oils, Handmade soap, Homemade Soap, Hot Process, How To, Lye, Melt and Pour, Melt n Pour, NoAH, Organic, Organic Soap, Recipe, Recipes, Saponification, Skin Care, Soap, Soap Making, Sodium Hydroxide, Tutorial, Tutorials
People frequently ask me about getting started in making soap and what they need. So I have compiled a simplified list of things you will need, things that made it easier for me, things I look back and wish I had and none of the “extras” I thought I needed, but didn’t. This is for Cold Process Soap
You will need:
2 Stainless Steel Pots
You may not want to use pots from your everyday kitchen pans since you will be decommissioning these pans from being used for food preparation the moment it comes in contact with Lye or Soap Mixture.
Long Handle Plastic Spoons
You can get a pack of these at Walmart for around $1. These will need to be reserved strictly for soap making. Wooden spoons will absorb your Essential Oils and Fragrance oils leaving your spoon smelling good and your soap relatively scent free.
Stick Thermometer (Like a Candy Thermometer-Like the one in the picture).
A Meat Thermometer will not work since you will need to be able to read temps between 32°F (to calibrate your thermometer) to 190°F.
Small Stainless Bowls
These will be used for dividing your soap for adding additives like Clays, Powdered and Ground Substances.
Roll of Freezer Paper
This will be used to line your molds to prevent your soap from sticking to the mold and help make releasing your soap from PVC Tube Molds if you choose to use Pipe Molds. Look for it near Ziplock Bags.
Eye Protection (Just trust me on this one, Lye in your eye is not something you want to add to your ‘ BTDT’ list)
A Soap Mold
Most of the recipes I will share will be a 50 oz Oil Recipe (about 73 total oz) and fit into a home built mold that is 15 inches long x 3.75 inches wide x 2.5 inches tall. These are the inside mold measurements. If a recipe has a little extra that doesn’t fit into the mold I will pour the remaining into a brownie bite mold. If you want to build a smaller box you can do it by following THESE CALCULATIONS.
A Mitre Box
This will help you to cut straight, even bars of soap. Soap cuts similar to a block of cheese. Ideal at the top and a really thin (or thick) uneven bar at the bottom. Cutting with a knife is truly a great way to make a nice bar of soap look bad. If you are going to spend the time and money to do this, do it 100%.
A Soap Cutter
You can use a wire cutter or a blade cutter. I have both and prefer using the blade cutter. My blade cutter is a sharpened dough scraper.
A place to store your Soap while it cures.
I line my shelves with freezer paper to keep them clean and prevent particles from one soap bar transfering onto another soap bar.
And of course, you will need ingredients.
I order my Lye (Technical Grade Sodium Hydroxide-NOT FOOD GRADE) From AAA Chemicals. AAA Chemicals also carries a variety of Carrier Oils, Fragrance Oils and Waxes.
A great assortmemt of Soap Additives and Supplies can be ordered from Soap Molds N More. You can buy additives in quanities of as little as one oz upto as much as you need for a reasonable price. She carries suppies for Bath Bombs, Soap Fragrence and Essential Oils, Waxes and Soap Colorants.
October 25, 2013 at 11:06 AM (Education, Freebies & Printables, No Category, Sasha, Toddlers)
Tags: books, free, homeschooling, kids, kindle, read, reading, unschooling
I look for books to help incorporate with things we talk about, do projects with, and include in our outtings for my unschooled 3 year old. I tend to get pretty creative, as most parents must to tie all of these things together into fun learning for our littles.
How have you incorporated books with projects, outting, etc to help with learning for your kiddo?
I have included a bonus at the bottom for you to help guide your in your teachings.
Happy Free Book Friday Crispy’s!!!
All in a Jam (free)
Brick ABC (free)
The Mother’s Day Gift (free)
Supper Suprise (free)
Octopus 50 Fun Facts (free)
Hugo The Island of Empathy (free)
Learn to Count with Cedric the Shark (free)
I Know A Cat (free)
Silly Like (free)
Let’s Go to Sleep Little Sheep (free)
Learning Numbers (free)
The Real Story of Stars (free)
Learn to Count (free)
*Bonus* One For Mommy:
Gifted Education Strategies For Every Child (free)
These books are free only today, October 25th, 2013.
October 23, 2013 at 1:59 PM (Food, Vanessa)
Tags: Fall Cooking, Fall Harveat, Holiday Cooking, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Muffins, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Recipes, Recipe, Recipes, Thanksgiving
I’ve been making this bread for years now and its always a hit. The first loaf is devoured before I can even finish removing the other loaves from the pans. I make this in 6 loaf batches because we have a large family, but the recipe is easily halved or 1/3rd. I experiment with all sorts of variations and haven’t screwed up a batch yet, so have fun with it.
2 Cups Shortening
6 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Brown sugar
6 Cups of Pumpkin Puree*
2 Cups Water*
1.5 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1.5 Teaspoons Baking Soda
3 Teaspoons Salt
3 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1.5 Teaspoons Cloves (Powder)
1.5 Teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
10 Cups Flour
Well Greased Bread Pans. I grease them with Shortening. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes, then check it to see if its done. If not, I increase baking time by 5 minutes. Checking to see if its done in 5 minute intervals.
Yes, I know you are supposed to do your wet and dry ingredients a certain way, but I rarely do. I throw the ingredients in my bowl in the order I listed them and mix it with a hand mixer.
You can add upto 2 cups of Raisins, Nuts of your choice, Cranberries (dried are fantastic). If you add more than two cups of goodies, it gets difficult to cut the bread. I haven’t experimented with any fresh fruit as of yet, its all been dried.
* I use baked pumpkins that I have scraped from the shells and run thru the blender until they were a smooth, thick pudding texture. I’ve also used baked and Pureed Apples (kinda like applesauce), carrot pulp from the juicer, Mashed sweet potatoes, Mashed cooked squash. You can really make this into something unique based off what you like.
* I have also used other variations for water. I have used Apple Cidar, Plain water and Carrot Juice mixed in, Pumpkin Juice, Apple Juice and Water. I’ve even used 100% Apple Cidar inplace of the water. I usually mix it but wanted to see how it would turn out. Its always been fantastic.
I hope you enjoy this bread as much as we do.
October 12, 2013 at 12:07 AM (Education, GMO's, Healthy Eating, Sasha)
Tags: Bioengineering Food, Cloned, DNA Altering, Genetically Engineered, Genetically Modified Organisms, GMO, March Against Monsanto, Modified Organisms, Monsanto, Poisoned Food, Seeds, Toxic Crops, Toxic Seeds
October 12th is a day known for many things, one specifically might be World Food Day. Today is a day that many around the world will participate in a March Against Monsanto.
What is Monsanto you ask? Well, by internet search: Monsanto Company is a publicly traded American Multinational Chemical, and Agricultural Biotechnology Corporation headquartered in Creve Coeur, Missouri.
What does that mean, and why would people March AGAINST Mansanto? The belief that GM foods can adversely affect human health, with some of the protesters asserting that such foods cause cancer, infertility, and birth defects. GMOs are also believed to harm the environment, and play a major role in declining bee populations.
Protestors would like for Monsanto to not only label GM foods because as consumers, we have the right to know what we are eating, but to also STOP wreaking havoc on our environment.
For more about GM foods, and how to get involved, you can visit March Against Monsanto
Interested in seeing what GMO Crops Seeds have been treated with and why it matters? Yes, the actual seed packets for crops grown by big names such as Del Monte. You can see them >HERE
“In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.”
August 14, 2013 at 8:54 AM (Breastfeeding)
Tags: Breastfeeding Public Breastfeeding, Nursing in Public, Nursing NIP
Every now and then I run across something that tends to give me a chuckle or two. At first, I am going to admit that I did roll my eyes when I started to read this, thinking I knew where it was going. Glad I stuck around long enough to actually see where it went.
August 10, 2013 at 2:45 PM (Education, GMO's, Healthy Eating, Vanessa)
Tags: AAAbco, Abbott, Abbott & Cobb, Bella Tuscana, Carcinogenic, Cobb, Contamination, Crops, Cross Pollination, Danger, Del Monte, Environmental, Farmers, Fungicide, Genetically Modified, Gladiator, GM Seeds, GMO Seeds, GMO's, Honey Dew, Honeybee, Honeybees, Hybrid, Keep out of reach of children, Lady Belle, Ladybelle, Monsanto, Monsanto Seeds, Nunhems, Organic, Part of Bayer CropScience, Poison, Pollination, Pollutant, Pollutants, Precision Seeds, Sandia, Seedware, Style, Summer Dew, summerDew, The Global Specialist, Thiram, Toxic, Toxic Seeds
We are all hearing about Organic Food. Monsanto is a name recognized in households everywhere. Yet so many people don’t understand what kind of risk and impact (contains graphic images) that eating GMO/Pesticide laden food has. I admit, I kinda didn’t ‘get it’ myself for a long time. I figured I was eating fruits and vegetables and those are good for you…so what’s the big deal??That brings me to one of my all-time favorite quotes… “Time is a great teacher, unfortunately it kills all of it’s pupils”.
My husband grew up in a small farming community. On a recent visit he was talking about planting our garden and a someone gave him a sack of (commercial) seeds to try. He told my husband “Don’t touch the seeds with your hand”.
Maybe this will help put a lot of things into perspective. It did for me.
The next two images are of a package of seeds produced by Abbott & Cobb, Inc Seedware. Images are front and back of package.
The next two images are seeds labeled Nunhems and Part of Bayer CropScience. Images are front and back.
Thiram Toxicity Information Thiram has been used to treat the seeds contained in each packet.
This packet of seeds is labeled Nunhems. This package was received opened.
These seeds have been treated with Metalaxyl-m (Mefenoxam), Fludioxonil and Azoxystrobin
And Good Ol’ Del Monte…(Thiram)
We also know companies like Monsanto have spent astronomical amounts of money to keep laws preventing required disclosure and labeling in their favor, all while telling you there is ‘nothing to see…move along’.
What can you do to help? Eat only food produced organically.
You can grow your own garden from certified organic seeds.
You can shop Farmer’s Markets and buy from Farmers who pride themselves in producing organic fruits and vegetables.
Printable List of Monsanto Companies you can avoid
Comprehensive list of Products containing GMOs
May 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM (Announcements, Education, Vaccinations, Vanessa)
Tags: Adoption, Arizona Laws, AZ, CPS, Foster Care, Jan Brewer, Laws, Medical Exemptions, Protective Custody, shots, unvaccinated, Unvax'd, Vaccine Exempt, Vaccine Exemption, Vaccine Exemptions, Vaccine Laws, vaccines, Vax, Vax's, Ward of the State
A few months ago I posted breifly about something very close to my heart in regards to families who do not vaccinate their own biological children being ineligible to provide loving foster homes for children in protective custody (despite these families are willing to comply with laws and regulations requiring the children in foster care to receive all vaccines outlined in that particular childs case plan/medical records/laws).
Non-Vaccinating families simply were ineligible. There was no exceptions being granted for medical reasons or any other reason that we were aware of.
A small group of friends really made it their mission to change this. And they did.
Here are a few of the articles published about this:
When and Why it Started
Foster Provider Vaccine Requirement Law Changed
This is not just a victory for non-vaccinating families but also a victory for the children who have been removed from their homes. This alone opens up approximately 10% more eligible family homes for children who need a safe, loving home.
So, if you know a non-vaccinating family in Arizona who was previously ineligible to foster a child in need, be sure to share this information with them so they can apply!
May 25, 2013 at 1:30 PM (Announcements, Crafts)
Tags: Disaster Relief, Donations, F5, Ingredients, Missouri, Oklahoma, Soap, Storm, Tornado
If you are in Oklahoma and you have recently received some of our soap, Im sorry that we have met under these circumstances.
Ive compiled a list of ingredients for items which were sent to Oklahoma to the best of my ability. I apologize that I did not label them. I was packing them as quickly as I could so I wouldn’t miss the next mail pick up.
There were two package types, round bars wrapped in white fiber wrappers and shaped bars packaged in small baggies. The shipment contained smooth/creamy bars of soap, Scrubby/Exfoliating bars of soap and Handmilled bars of soap.
*Please keep in mind that we are NOT a Nut-Free home. Many of my soaps contain Oils and Butters that came from Nuts like Almonds, Hazelnuts and Shea Nuts. Some people with nut allergies can have a serious allergic reaction to coming in contact with these oils.*
Soap from above photo
Lotus Flower and Passion Flower Handmilled Soap : Sponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Apricot Kernal Oil, Sunflower Oil, Passion Flower Powder, Lotus Flower Powder, Lotus Flower, Finely Ground Oatmeal, Bentonite Clay, Fragrance.
Rosemary Lavender Oatmeal Handmilled : Saponified (Rosemary Infused)Olive Oil, Coconut Oil (Lavender Infused), Shea Butter, Avacado Oil, Finely Crushed Rosemary, Small and Large Oats, Lavender Powder, Lavender Buds, Rosemary Essential Oil, Lavender Essential Oil.
Lavender Oatmeal Handmilled : Spaonified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil (Lavender Infused), Shea Butter, Avacado Oil, Lavender Powder, Lavender Buds.
Pomegranate Soap : Saponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Pomegranate Juice, Rose clay, Bentonite Clay and Pomegranate Fragrance Oil.
Sandalwood Soap : Saponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Sandalwood Powder, Moroccan Red Clay, Sandalwood Oil, Bentonite Clay.
Soap from above photo
#1. Oatmeal Soap. This was used in a three layer soap (Oatmeal Lavender Soap).
Saponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Oatmeal, Lavender Essential Oil.
2. Guinness Pumpkin Beer Soap. Its made with real Guinness Beer.
Saponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Guinness Beer, Pumpkin Puree from fresh baked white skinned pumpkins, Cloves, Cinnamon, Anise.
3. Vanilla Coffee Soap. Saponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, Fresh Ground Strongly Brewed Vanilla Coffee, Vanilla Extract, Coffee Grounds.
4. Orange Clove Soap. Saponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Cloves, Orange Essential Oil.
5. Lavender Bud Soap.
Saponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil (Lavender Infused), Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Lavender Buds, Lavender Essential Oils.
6. Rosemary Lavender OatmealHandmilled Soap. See Above for Ingredients.
7. Orange Soap. Same as the Orange Clove Soap listed above, without Cloves.
8. Honey Chamomile Soap. Saponified Olive Oil (Infused with whole dried Chamomile Flowers), Coconut Oil, Apricot Oil, Shea Butter, Raw Honey, Brewed Chamomile Tea, Chamomile Flower Pieces (the center of the flower).
9. Lavender Oatmeal Handmilled Soap. See Above for Ingredients.
10. Shea and Almond Soap. Saponified Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Finely Ground Almond Shells (Powder).
11. Green Tea Soap. Saponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Castor Oil (not Castrol), Shea Butter, Brewed Green Tea, Green Tea Leaves
12. Dragons Blood Soap.
Saponified Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Beeswax, Moroccan Red Clay, Bentonite Clay, Dragons Blood Oil.
·Lemon Poppy Seed – Saponified Oil, Shea Butter, Poppy Seeds, Lemon Essential Oils, Bentonite Clay. (Many of these were Bunny shaped)
·Mint Chocolate – Saponified Oil, Cocoa Butter, Organic Cocoa, Spearmint Essential Oil, Peppermjnt Essential Oil, Eucalyptus Essential Oil. (Many of these were small two tone heart shaped).
May 25, 2013 at 1:25 PM (Announcements)
Tags: Disaster, F5, Joplin, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tornado
Care Packages/Boxes for Tornado Victims can be sent Oakcrest Church of Christ. I have personally called this church and verified they can take donations, mail is running daily and someone will be there to accept packages. If you would like to mail a package, you can ship to:
(Please keep in mind that there are other towns nearby like Axe, Newcastle and Luther which also have donation needs as well. I’m not familiar with the area but I will post additional Drop Off/Mailing locations as I find out where they are and I have personally verified address, mail running, care box/donation acceptance)
Oakcrest Church of Christ
1111 S.W. 89th Street
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
They are in need of all types of hygienic supplies like tooth brushes, tooth paste, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, baby items like diapers, wipes, baby bottles, POWDERED baby formula, clothes, batteries, non perishable food, water, pet food.
Things that would be very appreciated by the children who have lost everything in their tiny worlds are Small Toys, Coloring Books, Crayons, Actions Figures and anything you think your child might enjoy having during a difficult time like this.
November 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM (Who we are)
Tags: Best Friends, Christmas, Snow Globes, Vanessa Porritt, Vanessa Porritt Photography
I met Vanessa Porritt several years ago. She is truly a great person. We had quite a few things in common, including a love of hairless dogs (Chinese Crested).
Over the years I have had the privilege of watching her love of Photography turn into something spectacular!
Its been ages since I’ve had family pictures done when I saw her digital snow globes. So long, I figured I had nothing that could be used in a globe, but I was wrong. She turned my Facebook Timeline Cover/Banner into a beautiful picture that I will cherish forever. (You will have to visit her to see it. http://vanessaporrittphotography.weebly.com/snow-globes.html
EDIT: Apparently links are not working, try this http://vanessaporrittphotography.weebly.com/snow-globes.html
I was so impressed, I had to have another. I ordered one using the photo of when Finley (Sasha’s Daughter) and Azari (my daughter) first met. I am absolutely in love with it! *Totally brag worthy*
If your looking for a truly unique, one of a kind keepsakes, this would definitely fit the occasion. And its even within budget. Double SCORE!
Go check out her where she displays her talent and her artwork. http://www.facebook.com/vporrittphotography
To visit her webpage and place and order, you can do that
She turned my Facebook Timeline Cover/Banner into a beautiful snow globe
October 16, 2012 at 12:20 AM (Conflicts)
Tags: Adoptiin, Apologies, Children, Conflicts, Foster Children, Hostility, Love, Making Up, Parenting, Peaceful Parenting, Problem Solving
Growing up, I was raised with a Step-Dad. My oldest son also has been raised with a Step-Dad (my husband) and I’ve said ‘Your NOT my real Dad’ and its been said by my son as well. Today in a private group a mother of an adopted child shared how she has dealt with this and it was such a great way to ease the tension and lighten the mood. I thought I would share (with her permission of course):
I finally found a playful/loving way to address the dreaded “YOUR NOT MY REAL MOTHER!” line that some kids (ok mine) like to say when they are angry, and I thought it might be helpful for someone else. I have a son who uses that line when he is really mad that he has a consequence and that lovely phrase came out of his mouth again today. He was adopted at age 7, he is 9 now, just FYI. Now he had already had his consequence and his talking to for his behavior and fast forward a few hours later after he was completely calm and in a better space. Now this technique could totally backfire if I had any biological sons, but I don’t, I just have two REAL adopted sons. He saw me pull out some crafts that he loves doing and I noticed he was very interested. So I said to him “My REAL son just loves to sit at the table and do crafts with me. If you see him can you tell him to come sit with me?” He knew I was being playful and silly so he smiled and sat down and got busy making crafts. I proceeded to tell him how sweet and helpful my real son is, and mentioned how he had such a nice smile. I like to be a little dramatic at times, so in a very serious tone I said “Oh but you DO NOT want to meet my FAKE son! He gets real mad and says mean things.” He said “I know who you are talking about!” But he played right along we kept the game going the whole day. He asked what was for dinner, I told him I made chili because my real son just loves it! My fake son loves chili too but mostly because it makes him fart. When it was time for bed I asked if I could have a hug from my real son. He came and sat on my lap and I hugged him tight before I sent him off to bed. I guarantee their will be more days like this but I always feel better when I can address it in a way that makes him see how silly that is to say something like that.
Written by: Susan Woodruff
September 24, 2012 at 12:18 AM (Crafts, Pinterest, Tutorials)
Tags: Addiction, Crafts, Hobbies, Hobby, Pinterest, Sewing
Since discovering Pinterest, I think between Sasha and myself…we are truly addicted. Seeing that they even have a droid app, it feeds our addiction nicely.
Come join us and see what we are fascinated by.
Search for Generally Crispy on Pinterest.
August 23, 2012 at 9:59 PM (Vaccinations)
Tags: Adopting, Adoption, Childrens Services, CPS, Foster Care, immunization, vaccinate, vaccinations, vaccines
This is something very near and dear to my heart.
A small group of us are working to change vaccine requirements for Foster Care providers. Currently to be eligible to provide a child in foster Care a safe and loving home, we are required to vaccinate our own children. This petition is geared to help change that. Dozens of nonvaccinating families have been denied because of lack of vaccines. Would you please sign and share this petition to help get things moving in the right direction?
August 7, 2012 at 8:30 AM (Breastfeeding, Guest Writer, World Breastfeeding Week 2012)
This story is not my own. Nevertheless, it is an inspiring story. I did play a major role in it’s positive outcome, so in that respect, I guess it is partially mine.
I was in a study group, and we happened to go off topic, and lead a discussion about nursing other children’s babies in emergency situations (as when mom suddenly needs an emergency procedure and the like). Most of us agreed we’d arise to the situation, and if the friend was willing, would nurse their babies for them.
Shortly after that, I was reading through Yahoo! Answers, and someone posted about what to do for her sister-in-law, who was having a hard time with her baby nursing, her nipples and the babies sucking abilities were just not adding up. I then did a research, and found in a different posting of this poster that she had a 2 yr. old who was still nursing, So I private messaged her, and told her that if she was up to it, her 2 yr. old can try to nurse from her sister-in-law, since he’s an “expert” nurser, and thus help draw out her nipples. Meanwhile, since her nipples are in good shape. I lost contact immediately following the email I sent her, but eventually we reconnected, and she told me it worked! Her son was sooo excited to nurse from his aunt, since they had a close relationship already, and her nipple problem was solved, and the sister-in-law’s baby was able to then latch on without a hitch!!
August 4, 2012 at 6:45 PM (Breastfeeding, Guest Writer, World Breastfeeding Week 2012)
Tags: Baby, birth, birth rape, birth trauma, breast, breastfed, breastfeeding, breastfeeding breastmilk, breastmilk, C-Section, delivery, expressed breastmilk, labor, Nursing, WBW, World Breastfeeding Week
My son is 17 months old and has been exclusively breastfed. I can’t really pat myself on the back for nursing him for so long. I always knew I would breastfeed and that formula was never an option. Making nursing my only option made it so much easier for the both of us.
From the moment he latched on I knew there was no other way for us. I am so thankful an blessed that nursing came easy. The trauma from his birth, my birth rape, and our home birth turned c-section was enough of a challenge that I thought I would go insane. Being able to easily nurse him made that trauma a little more bearable.
I say easily nurse but with all nursing relationships there is a challenge. Mine was my 42G breasts! When I first began nursing I would practically undress to nurse him. I just couldn’t figure out how to feed him, and not suffocate him, without getting undressed. I still have no idea why. Maybe because I used to have nightmares that I had suffocated my nursling so subconsciously I was preventing that. Nursing in public was not an option those first couple of weeks, I was all breast barely covered by the boy.
Trying to hold him so I could see him and nurse him was a bit of a struggle. I wanted (more like needed) to see him to make sure he was “ok” but found the cradle hold made it a little harder. So it was football for us. Eventually we evolved to a sitting/standing nursing position.
As he has grown so has the way we nurse. At night I used to have him lay across my chest to nurse. Now I side nurse or even (thanks to BIG breasts) lay on my back while he nurses at my side. It amazes me how our nursing relationship has changed and evolved just as our mama/baby relationship has changed and evolved.
I can comfort him when he is sick, sad, or hurt. I can feed him anywhere at anytime. I can provide him with the best immune system. I am still AMAZED after all this time that my body can make something so wonderful and perfectly catered to my boy.
I have been blessed that our only challenge has been my breasts. My mother breastfed and so did my mother in law, as well as many of the women in my family. I live in a great crunchy friendly community where our friends are supportive of nursing. And….. I am a red head so the few (2) times someone has commented on me nursing my son they have felt my fury. LOL.
There are days that I wish I could just have a moment to finish something without the boy climbing up my leg to get nurses but I know I would miss it. When I have 14 hours days doing home visits (I am a student midwife) I long to be home with my boy. I pout when I come home and he is asleep without me nursing him. Pretty silly hun? But I guess it is apart of him growing up.
Story By: Meredith L.
August 4, 2012 at 5:55 PM (Breastfeeding, Guest Writer, World Breastfeeding Week 2012)
Tags: Baby, birth, breast, breastfed, breastfeeding, breastfeeding breastmilk, breastmilk, expressed breastmilk, Nursing, WBW, World Breastfeeding Week
My breast feeding journey began a little over 8 years ago as a terrified first time 21 yr old mommy . I gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Super Bowl Sunday 2004 . I knew I wanted to bf him but I had zero support , my boyfriend at the time was totally against it , and my whole family kept telling me how hard it would be and that I couldn’t do it . I grabbed the nurse when I had a quiet moment and she helped me put my baby boy to my breast . I knew I was doing the right thing despite everyone’s opinions . He had a great latch , but was a lazy eater … We survived mastitis , thrush , cracked nipples , I had to learn to pump so I could return to work … I worried constantly about my supply … But we did it ! Just us against the world it seemed . I will never forget the night I realized he was weaning himself . 14 months of the most amazing bond was ending , he looked at me and said mommy no thank you , no ” na na ” tonight . He cuddled into me and I rocked him to sleep . I cried for a week , my milk dried up … And I had Beaten all the odds ! Gage is now 8 1/2 and a joy , he rarely gets sick , and is in the advanced placement class in school !
Current day lol I’m actively nursing my 5 mo new addition . His name is Hunter and is a breath of fresh air This go round is a lot different , I have the support of a man who loves me , and my family has pretty much figured out that im gonna breast feed regardless of opinion ! He was born 3 weeks early as an emergency c-section and weighed in at a tiny 5 pounds … He’s a fighter and latched right on after recovery , I fought with nurses who wanted to supplement bc he was small and won , he never left my side . We left the hospital a day early because I just needed to be home and he left at birth weight , my milk came in with a vengeance and we never looked back . He’s a happy healthy baby boy and has had nothing to date but the milk mommy makes for him . I only hope that his journey like his brothers ends on his terms , when he is ready , whenever that may be .
With all of that said , I’m a firm believer in attachment parenting , and an a avid practicer . Why is it so frowned upon in society to just let children be little ? I don’t see a thing wrong with baby led weaning , If my babies are crying , they need me , and that is just what they will get .
Happy Nursing: Gina
August 4, 2012 at 5:41 PM (Breastfeeding, Guest Writer, World Breastfeeding Week 2012)
Tags: Baby, baby food, birth, breast, breastfed, breastfeeding, breastfeeding breastmilk, breastmilk, expressed breastmilk, Nursing, WBW, World Breastfeeding Week
With my first baby I had flat nipples, post partum depression (which I saw the reality of many months later when the fog lifted), sleep was terrible, and I was terrified of the baby waking knowing that I’d have to attempt nursing again. The doula, health nurses, a lactation specialist, nipple shields, blocked ducts, bleeding nipples and the list goes on. We had so many challenges in the early months, but I was determined to breastfeed, even going so far as to take the free container of formula and giving it to the food bank so that I would not be tempted to use it! It took me three months to be able to breast fead in public and that was with the pillow and the whole get up! It took about 6 months before I was not in any pain breastfeeding.
My daughter breastfed for two years and I absolutely loved breastfeeding her as time went on. I’ve gone on to have two more children since her, and both of my breastfeeding stories with them are completely different. The middle guy latched on like an expert from day one nursed on a park bench three days later and nursed 26 months in total. My youngest had some issues (all of them had a short frenulum – the part between the upper lip and the gum) but with experience I knew how to make it comfortable for us both. He’s still nursing strong at 21 months. I absolutely love breastfeeding! I encourage all my friends to breastfeed and offer to help and because I had such a hard time in the beginning I can totally understand how they are feeling if things aren’t going as smoothly as they would like.
Story By: Melinda G.
August 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM (Breastfeeding, Guest Writer, World Breastfeeding Week 2012)
Tags: Baby, breastfed, breastfeeding breastmilk, expressed milk, World Breastfeeding Week
I had a decent birth experience, but no one ever talked to me about breastfeeding, so I did what I thought all moms did, I gave her formula until she reached one. After that I started researching, because my now husband, and I considered having a baby (Emilee, my DD was from another relationship).
I researched, and researched, and after that, I researched some more. I learned of a whole new world, natural ways to do things, breastfeeding as a normal part of life, and my eyes were opened. I realized a lot of what natural parents do, I already had been doing, even my birth with my first child. In June of 2011 when I found out we were expecting, I knew exactly what I wanted… I wanted to breastfeed until he was in college, if that is what he wanted . Okay, not that long, but my body had different plans.
In March I had a horrific birth, it was not at all what I had ever wanted to happen. After my birth, I couldn’t get my little one to latch. However a few hours of sleeping solved that, he was nursing like a champ. Elijah would take to any lactating mom, and try to latch. I had a full supply, and could have fed 4-5 newborns. I left the hospital the day after I had my son, and my milk was already in, and it was pouring. After seeing the lactation consultant, she suggested I pump as I was flowing like a river, sorry for the image of rivers out of boobs, but it’s a true story. I got a pump, and sat down within 5 minutes on each breast I had 8 oz. of milk, not colostrum, milk. During my pregnancy I started leaking very early, and doctor’s are amazed my milk came in so quickly. I was excited, I had enough that I started putting a stash away, in case something happened, or to donate when the time came that I knew I wouldn’t need it.
Our nursing relationship was wonderful for 4 weeks, Little E had his doctor’s appointment and then I heard them… “He’s not gaining weight fast enough, you need to supplement” I had read tons of information about this, and just nodded my head, and left. I went back to letting him have my milk, but I felt like maybe he was not getting big enough, and started to worry. I ignored my worries, and after another week he was gaining weight wonderfully. We nursed like champs, until he was exactly 2 months and 4 days old.
The Bottom of my hill…. I had reached such a high point, I was so excited, and was adjusting wonderfully to having this relationship I didn’t know you could have with a tiny baby. I woke up for my 6am feeding as per usual, so he could feed quietly before his sister woke up. As I got out of bed I realized my breasts didn’t hurt, as they always did if I hadn’t pumped, or fed him in a few hours. My supply the night before was amazing, he was having problems drinking through my let down, but that was the only issue we had. I had gotten used to expressing into a cup for my letdown to become manageable, and then, I put him to the breast to finish eating, he’d clean out both boobs after this. We laid back down, my husband got up with my daughter, so I could get some rest and snuggles with Elijah.
At approximately 9am, he woke again to eat, my breasts weren’t hurting, and they felt empty. I put Elijah to my breast, I wasn’t leaking like usual, and he rooted, and rooted, sucked, and sucked, but he was screaming by this time, angry at not getting anything. I tried to hand express, and not a drop. I had my hubs make a bottle of the breast milk I had stored, and I hopped in the shower. After 30 minutes of failed attempts I thought maybe I had a plugged duct, as shower normally helped that. Even in the shower, I didn’t leak a drop. I was worried. I got out of the shower, dried off and told my husband what was going on. I had an obstetrician appointment the next day, so at each feeding I would try for as long as Elijah would let me, and each time he’d get nothing, get angry and we’d give him stored breast milk.
At my doctor’s appointment, I heard bad news, I had cysts in my breasts (benign) which was good news, but the bad news of this was that I had no more milk. I was horrified, I was miserable, and I felt like my body had failed Elijah. He deserved the best, and now that I was educated on the best, I didn’t know what I’d do. We couldn’t afford the alternatives, we couldn’t find a milk bank, and we were running out of stored milk. I had just donated an enormous amount thinking it was going to go bad before I could ever use it all, I couldn’t take the milk back from the woman I gave it to, but I was now in need. I had to do what broke my heart. I had to give him formula.
I had a can of if tucked away that I got from the hospital. He drank it, and spit up. To this day, at 4 months, my boobs tingle when he cries, but nothing comes out. He roots at my chest, but I have nothing for him, his sleeping nights have become upset crying spells, and I need to wash the bottles, and make sure I have formula to last us the week.
Since then, the cysts have been taken care of, they are gone, but my supply is gone now. I’m now researching into how to ‘relactate’ but, I can’t find any exact answers or how-to do this. So until then, bottles must be washed, formula must be bought, and tears are being shed.
I know you may have wanted successful breastfeeding stories, I understand this isn’t the greatest, or most exciting story, but it’s my story, and I want all moms to know that just because we sometimes can’t do it, doesn’t mean we are bad moms, it means we tried our hardest, and it didn’t work. IF anyone learns anything from this story I want it to be, don’t judge a mom with a bottle and formula, some of us can’t get donor milk, or pay for expensive raw options, some of us tried hard, really hard and it just didn’t work.
Story by: Jess C
August 2, 2012 at 5:18 PM (Breastfeeding, Guest Writer, World Breastfeeding Week 2012)
Tags: breastfed, breastfeeding, breastmilk, expressed breastmilk, N.I.C.U., Nursing, WBW, World Breastfeeding Week
My story involves twins, N.I.C.U’s, tears, but also triumphs! I had my twins at 20. I asked for no bottles, I was not using them, so didn’t see the need in having any. My mom nursed all of us, that is just what you did, and I assumed it was easy.
I had the twins, full term, perfectly healthy, nursed in the hospital, where they had a few bottles because the nurses said they had to. I got home, and within 3 weeks, nursing was no’t working for us. It hurt, they screamed all the time, I cried, they cried, which made moments long. It wasnt easy. It wasnt what I imagined.
Looking back, I think it was the bottles. I am an overproducer, I make enough milk for 3 babies. But I was giving bottles between feedings, thus, supply and demand was not in affect. I felt I had failed.
Fast forward to my next son. Born 12 months later. During his pregnancy I read all I could on nursing. My baby would have NO bottles, and I would nurse him no matter what it took. That is what my breasts were made for, they had to do it! He was born via emergency cesarean section because he had stopped moving; he had a true knot, and a double wrapped cord. They initially said he was fine. However, I noticed when I would nurse him that he would get pale. They told me I was crazy, but that they would check him out anyway. Sure enough, his oxygen was dropping. The next day his cry became muffled, and his vocal cord was not working. They transferred him to another hospital, and a MRI was performed. He has a ischemic infarction of the brain, also known as a stroke.
He was in the NICU for 8 days. I struggled for days with him, although he wasnt latching right. I was pumping, and they were giving him breastmilk at night when I couldnt be there (12 month old twins at home). A nurse took time out of her day to show me how to hold my baby with the opposite arm, to control his head so he wasnt suffocating.It just clicked. I wish I knew her name, I would thank her, because from that day on, it just made sense. He ate, he latched. Yes, at times I had sore nipples, engorgement ect, but nursing was a breeze. This nurse showed me something no one had been able to thus far!
My next son came almost 2 years later. He was a attempted homebirth after 2 cesarean sections. I labored all night, I felt something wasnt right, and when I finally went in, he had been in meconium for 8 hours. I had a placental abruption, and possibly pre-eclamptic. They say I did, but I am not too sure about that. I had prenatal care, and was checked for it.
I was on magnesium, and did not get to see my son for over 36 hours. My husband went and looked at him to name him because they kept asking me his name. Benjamin David. Three days later they came to me, a group of 10 doctors, and told me they didnt think it looked good. He was on 100 percent oxygen, 100 percent life support, and if he got any worse over the next 12 hours, they would have to transfer him to children’s. I was in a very good hospital, with an excellent reputation. I did not get to touch, or hold my son until he was 10 days old. No pictures, or even talking was allowed in his room. If he heard noise, it would get him excited, and his oxygen would drop. I asked his chance of living and they would not answer me, which I felt was grim.
Miraculously, he started to improve! He had to be weaned off morphine. He had been intubated for 10 days, in which time he had not been eating, so he lost his ability to suck, and had withdraws from morphine. I had pumped up until this point, and I had so much expressed breastmilk they asked me to stop bringing it.
I refused to give him a bottle. If he wanted to eat, he was going to have to learn to eat from me. I sat there with him at my breast for hours to get him to eat. Suck, and swallow was gone from him. I had a lactation consultant come from the hospital, but she didnt give much help.
He was discharged, though we still had problems. I gave no bottles at home, once he came home at 3 weeks old he never once had a bottle, and he has never once had formula, not 1 drop. I called the L.L.L., and spoke to a kind woman who offered me some advice. I was persistent, and I prevailed. He eventually got really good at nursing, and wouldnt stop. He is the sweetest, smartest child, I love him so much! He is my miracle baby!
I have been the women who quit cause it was too hard, and it hurt, but I have also been the woman who fought like crazy for it when it seemed to be slipping away from me. I love nursing. I will nurse every future baby I have!
Story by: Erika Robbins
August 2, 2012 at 8:30 AM (Breastfeeding, No Category, World Breastfeeding Week 2012)
Tags: birth, breastfeeding, breastmilk, expressed breastmilk, IBCLC, IGT, milk donors, milk sharing, NICU, World Breastfeeding Week
I really cannot believe that my little Turkey Girl is six months old today. How has it been a half a year since I gave birth to her on my bedroom floor? I swear my two year old’s first year went much, much slower. We’ll be celebrating Adelynn’s first birthday in a blink. Sigh. It really does all go so fast.
You can read all about the start of Adelynn and my breastfeeding relationship (http://oneyawn.blogspot.com/2012/02/failure-to-thrive.html). It was rocky. I was depressed and stressed. Shane was in Alaska until she was nearly 11 weeks old and Flynn was having a very hard time with him being gone and all the attention I needed to give to his new little sister. I wish I wouldn’t have starved my daughter, but I suppose it was very difficult for me to even realize what was happening. Time was excruciatingly slow when it came to counting down the weeks until Shane returned, but when it came to Adelynn and her weight gain, time was slipping by barely noticed. I can’t even look at pictures of her from a chunk of time in her first and second month without feeling a huge pang of regret and guilt. I just didn’t see it happening in front of me.
I have so many things to be thankful for; a super supportive, understanding, breastfeeding and milksharing friendly family doctor who helped me get back on track (and did her best to allay my guilt), an IBCLC with experience working with PCOS moms (although her knowledge of IGT is limited) and, most of all, 21 milk donors.
The first bits came from a few friends who had some extra bags stashed away in the freezer. Then we started tracking down milk through friends of friends and Facebook pages like Human Milk 4 Human Babies and Eats on Feets. We have driven over 1100 miles on milk runs that have taken us clear across Wisconsin. I have made friends all over the state who are now bonded to my daughter in a way that most can’t claim. All of our milk donors mean something to me, simply for stepping up to the plate and doing something I just couldn’t do for my daughter.
I failed my daughter. I may not have had any control over it, but I still failed her by being so biologically incapable of providing for the life I created. You cannot imagine the heavy guilt that comes with this knowledge.
When I had troubles with my son, I blamed the hospital. I was sure they messed something up in the beginning (he was taken to the NICU after a traumatic birth, I was not brought a pump for 36 hours or offered any real support until discharge three days later). I tried so hard to bring my supply up for him, but I just couldn’t. I hadn’t heard of IGT, though I knew PCOS could negatively impact my supply. I was maybe producing 4-5 ounces a day for him.
I was sure I would do better with my daughter. At this point, I had heard of IGT but was having a hard time finding any information about it or even finding help getting a diagnosis. I followed all the traditional breastfeeding advice after she was born. I was still failing her. And I didn’t even notice her wasting away in front of me. I could blame hardheadedness, but more likely, it was hope with a heavy dose of postpartum depression that got in the way. To be fair, Adelynn spit up, sometimes after just nursing from me, but especially as I added supplementation through an SNS. She would taken only about 3-4 ounces a day through the SNS and usually spit up after her feedings. I assumed she was getting enough.
She had a terrible latch, to boot. Thanks, in part, to a severe upper lip tie, her latch was shallow and ineffective. Craniosacral therapy helped immensely, but I saw a real improvement after finally having it clipped at about six weeks. I fear it was far too late at that point.
I pumped. I took various supplements. I ate lactogenic foods. I spent countless hours (days, really) skin to skin with Adelynn. I massaged my breasts and visualized milk flowing from them. Adelynn never recovered her birth weight. When the supervising doctor at the IBCLC’s office lectured me on the state of my baby’s weight, I bawled uncontrollably. Thankfully, my family doctor had a better bedside manner.
I nearly threw in the towel. My GP wanted me to force feed her. I was to follow up nursing sessions with a bottle and continue to offer until she would positively take no more. Her spitting up (due to reflux, according to the doctor) worsened. I hated to waste the breast milk, especially when I knew some of it was mine. I tracked her ins and outs on a chart and watched as her supplementation went up from 1.5-2 ounces to 3-3.5 ounces. She began gaining immediately. She was thriving and pinking up. I should have been delighted when she recovered her birth weight, but I was only thrown deeper into depression.
This was something I just could not do for my daughter.
I nearly gave up nursing all together, but Adelynn still liked to do it. She would bounce her face off my chest (I would sometimes wake up to it), and nursed happily, though I doubted much was coming through for her. I realized that nursing was more than food. I knew that, I really did, but I needed to really realize it with her. She would pop off the breast and smile at me and my heart would melt. This is what nursing is all about. It’s not just nourishment for the body, it’s so much more than that.
We went to using an SNS or Lact-Aid system for almost all feedings around 14 weeks. I wanted to preserve our breastfeeding relationship for as long as possible, even if it was mostly ‘artificial’. I got brave about nursing in public with the Lact-Aid bag nestled between my breasts under a shirt. I’ve never felt odd about nursing in public, but it was a learning process to use a supplemental system at the same time.
We’ve received so much support through milksharing that at six months old, Adelynn has never had a drop of anything but human milk. She has many milk siblings, some of her milk even came from donors who also donated to Flynn. She has even gotten milk from my niece. I’ve had so many people tell me, “It’s not much, I’m sorry” and hand me a grocery bag full or half full of milk. But if all those people hadn’t given me their ‘not much’, Adelynn would not have been so well supplied with human milk. Every drop is like gold to us.
More than milk though, we have had such an outpouring of support from friends, both ‘in real life’ and through Facebook. Followers on my blog’s fan page (The Crunchy Convert) send me messages with links to posts on Craigslist for milk up for grabs and post offers for milk (we once had milk shipped in from Wyoming from a TCC fan).
I truly wish I could just have normal breasts and a normal breastfeeding relationship with my babies. I long to nurse a baby full term because I know that is what is right. I wish I never had to consider formula because I know just how awful it is. I wish I could complain about endless night nursing sessions instead of getting up to prepare a bottle in the middle of the night. I wish I didn’t have to estimate how much milk to bring with us on an outing.
But I have been dealt a different hand. I don’t want to be a martyr for anything, but, at the same time, I feel that I have been given this humbling experience so that I can share what I’ve learned with others and so I can do my part to not only normalize breastfeeding, but also to raise awareness about things like milksharing and biological causes for low supply.
The up side of all of this is that many women with IGT are able to EBF their third baby. I’m hopeful that with the knowledge I’ve gained with the first two babies and all the resources I’ve gathered, I’ll have a better chance of fully breastfeeding this third baby. But only time will tell and I’m not currently holding my hopes too high, just in case, because I really cannot handle another round of guilt and disappointment like I’ve known over the last several months.
Story By Chelsie T, The Crunchy Convert
August 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM (Breastfeeding, Guest Writer, World Breastfeeding Week 2012)
Tags: Baby, baby food, birth, breast, breastfeeding, breastmilk, Nursing, World Breastfeeding Week
With my first daughter I exclusively breastfed for six months, it was easy– great latch, good eater, good sleeper. I had hoped to continue breastfeeding longer, however I got struck with horrible postpartum depression that just pulled me away. I eventually chose to switch her to bottles. I now have my second beautiful 6 month old daughter, who has always been exclusively breastfed, and I plan to continue for many more months to come. This time around it wasn’t as easy, though. From not sleeping, to having mastitis nearly 10 times, and irregular feedings, I absolutely refuse to give up. I feel it’s the most empowering feeling (next to giving birth) knowing you are the main source of your baby’s life.
Story By: Michelle M.
August 1, 2012 at 8:30 AM (Breastfeeding, Guest Writer, World Breastfeeding Week 2012)
Tags: Baby, birth, breast, breastfeeding, breastmilk, Nursing, World Breastfeeding Week
I was 25 when I had my son, Elias, in 2007. Unlike my friends I could not freakin wait to breastfeed. My mother was an O.B. Nurse and a Lactation Consultant. So naturally, I’d be a pro at it, right?
I mean, I felt this incredible bond with my child. I had this vision of him naked and wet and searching for my nipple to suckle right there after birth. It was going to be amazing! During those blissful first minutes of his life, I was so ready, I ripped down my blue paisley hospital gown, revealing my gigantic breasts to all of my 15 visitors. “He’s hungry.” I explained, eagerly bringing him to my teet.
He was not hungry. Not at all.
I was disappointed, I was so ready, I felt almost rejected. This was the first of many bumps along the road of my breastfeeding journey. I mean, the PAIN!
They tell you it hurts, but it could never explain the soul wrenching pain, the breathing and pushing through those moments that you begin to question it all.
I remember one late night feeding looking down at my son and his entire mouth and face was bloody from my nipple. Mortifying. But despite the pain and the cracked nipples you keep going, it is the ultimate metaphor of motherhood, “sacrifice.” This went on for me longer than anyone else I knew. Looking back I obviously wasn’t doing it right, the latch was off I think.
On that note I had difficulties breastfeeding in any position other than on a recliner or laying down. I have large breasts which made it difficult to do other positions like the football hold. I also initially had trouble learning to sit there. My nesting instinct wanted me up and around cleaning. Breastfeeding really forced me to stop and take the time my baby needed to bond.
But despite my struggles I always persevered. Because it was the choice I made as a mother, and I am a determined, focused mother and I love that little babe!
When he was six months old, I was required to leave town for work. 3 days! There I was at a large training staying in a resort with coworkers. I pumped an dumped every hour, even through the night. Sadly, my milk supply still diminished without that mother-child bond.
So upon my return I set out feeding, pumping, feeding, pumping… Slowly building my supply back up.
Overall, I loved feeding him.
Knowing my body could nourish him and protect him. I got sick many times that year, likely from sleep deprivation. I recall one flu I had, and in between trips to the toilet I would call to my husband to bring our son to me. I would feed him and know that all the magic in my body that was fighting the virus would soon be in him, making his immune system strong.
I remember the last time I fed him, I could see in the mirror across from the recliner that his body was so long. My little baby had grown! It was so bittersweet but I knew in my heart it was the right time for both of us. After 3 cranky days he never asked for it again. In all I breastfed for 13 months. Though sometimes I questioned my abilities. I am so proud of myself and my son, for taking the journey together. It’s a story I love to tell and am grateful to share.
September 12, 2011 at 11:13 AM (Birth, Breastfeeding, Infants)
Tags: birth, C-Section, Complications, delivery, labor, OB, Red Flags, Twins
From time to time I listen/read other peoples birth/labor stories being the birth and baby junkie that I am and wonder how these people got themselves into these situations. I wonder how it is that people missed these blatent red flags that were flapping right in their face.
I often have to remind myself of my own red flags that were so obvious and I missed.
When I was pregnant with the twins, before anyone else knew it was twins, I knew. I was telling people “its twins”. Most thought I was overly hopeful. I think they thought this because I had just experienced a missed miscarriage. I was charting. That was how I knew.
When I went to the doctor for confirmation and an ultrasound was done and he said twins, I wasn’t shocked. I told him “I told you it was”. We talked briefly about my pregnancy and the term “We’ll see how it goes” was used quite a bit. I didn’t see this flag. Later in the pregnancy I would leave his office with unanswered questions. “We’ll see how it goes” seemed to work well in shutting people like me up for a month.
On April 27th 2009 I went to bed not feeling too hot. Afterall I was 35.6 weeks pregnant with twins, what more could I expect? I was up on and off thru the night. In the morning I felt horrible. Ate breakfast (pizza) and threw up (and pee’d myself too) so I took a shower and saw the most brilliant blue and orange fireworks ever…in the shower. I asked my neighbor to take my daughter to school. When she came to get her, she called my husband at work. He came home and talked me into going to the doctor.
When we got to the doctors office, I laid my hugely pregnant self down on the couch in the waiting room. When they came to get me I cried. I just wanted to stay there. Sometimes I turn into a big baby.
They finally got me hooked up to machines that said “your in labor”. Some people dislike these machines. I don’t, they were made for people like me. People who dont know they are in labor and need to be told. I was dialated somewhere around 5. My BP was 186/122 and remained in that area. My urine was +4 protiens. I was rushed off to the hospital OR. I was too high risk for a vaginal delivery. Baby B was breech. I argued that it was possible for her to turn after A was born. I was told no. I didn’t fight too much. This was my doctor for 9 years. He had my best interests in mind.
Baby A arrived kicking and screaming thru my abdomen. Baby B arrived silent. Not a sound. When they moved her from my belly area to the area they would work on her at I saw her breifly. Her face was blue/grey and her arms and legs were black. They pushed a tube into her nose to suck fluids out then put this tiny mask over her face and started giving her puffs of air. Baby B was wrapped up and handed to me while I was being “put back together”. Baby B had a group of medical people surrounding her. I couldn’t see her at all. They kept saying “she’s ok”.
We were wheeled out, we went one way, Baby B and her medical team went the other way. To NICU.
I was told by NICU staff basically it was my fault, my healthy caused this. My OB said it was because she didn’t get that ‘squeeze’ to push fluids out of her lungs. She spent 3 days in NICU. She is just fine now. I still regret not seeing flags that potentially could have prevented all of this from happening. Even more so now, my next pregnancy experienced labor complications that I’m convinced are directly related to this csection. Ill talk about that later.
Hind sight is always 20/20.
September 10, 2011 at 5:40 AM (Birth)
Tags: birth, birth rape, birth trauma, cervodil, cytotech, delivery, induction, labor, OB, pitocin
I woke up from a dream in which was telling a waiting room full of people about the tricks some OBs have up their sleeves. My OB showed up, and I continued by telling them all about the dangers of cytotech, cervodil, pitocin, and what the OBs wont tell you. How they play God; how they should be there in case of real emergencies, not creating them. Trying to strip the membrane of a woman who is 40 weeks 1 day along, and not dilated is a forceful abuse of power. After cervodil, and cytotech, cranking the pitocon so contractions are more frequent (every minute for several hours) is traumatic. Shoving a Foley catheter in a woman’s closed cervix, expanding the balloon on it in order to pry open the cervix, and setting it tautly on her leg in order for it to pull on the cervix, and dilate the cervix, is wrong. “Doctor., even though you were on call, and you were trusted to ‘get my baby out,’ doesn’t mean what you did wasn’t molestation.” I finished, while sobbing, by telling him, “Just because you have a license, a medical one at that, doesn’t mean it isn’t (birth) rape; ‘do no harm,’ you reeked havoc on me, emotionally. Shame on you!”
I woke with tears in my eyes, feeling distressed, and exhausted, but feeling very consciously aware of something: “In one way, or another, I need to face my abusers. “
August 19, 2011 at 8:30 AM (Circumcision, Foreskin Friday)
Tags: baby boys, circumcised, circumcision, circumcision photos, FGM, foreskin, Foreskin Friday, foreskin retraction, genital mutilation, intact, MGM, penis, prepuce
My husband and I come from a long-line of circumcisers. Both of our dads, grandpas, brothers, uncles (ect) have all been circumcised so we really never put much thought into it, it’s just “what you do”. We had our first son in 2001, back then our hospital still did them. I know we signed the consent form while I was in labor. Sometime after he was born they took him and did it, I was unaware. He just came back and I was startled at first when I opened his diaper to find it bloody and gauze covered. But of course knew why. We went home and that was it, it healed and we never had any problems. 5 years later we have boy #2, at this point insurance companies would no longer pay for them to be done in hospital so our pediatrician did it in his office. We could hear his screams for what seemed like forever from down the hall, after he was returned to me it was a good 45 minutes before I could get him calmed down and he cried till he was blue in the face. However, days later he was healed and all was healed and all was well.
3 years later we have boy #3. My views on a lot of things had changed and I was really very much so on the fence about circumcising, however my husband was not. He wanted it done. I had done my research and really felt it was just unnecessary and I remembered all that crying but like many moms I figured dad has a penis, he knows what’s best, right? Our 3rd son was a large baby (10lbs 8ozs), when I called our pediatrician to schedule he had concerns that he might be too big for their equipment, especially since they were booked out 6 weeks in advance for circumcisions (they only do 1 a day) and he would grow a lot in 6 weeks. It seemed like everything was trying to tell me not do this, including my gut instinct. But then 2 days later we get a call and they have an opening for us. So we go in and this time the doctor welcomes us to be in the room for it all. We stay and watch as they give him 2 injections in the side of his penis of pain relief and hook up the bell and walk away for a while. I was surprised because there wasn’t the crying that I remember with our second son, it was fast and really just didn’t seem as horrible as I had imagined. We take him home and change gauze as instructed 12 hours later and it all looks just like it did with the other boys, skin was back and the entire head of the penis was exposed. The next day I open his diaper to change him and notice it looks just like it did pre-circumcision except the skin is beyond tight all the way around his penis. I called the nurse and she says “oh that’s normal, no big deal, as it heals the skin will retract back”. Well, it didn’t. As the days went on it became obvious his penis was not like our other boys. At first it looked like they had cut the wrong skin, as if they had left the foreskin but cut the back skin -if you can imagine. It was really not pretty. I took him to see several different doctors, all who agreed, the cut was done poorly (and unevenly) and on top of that it did not heal right and they labeled it as a “botched circumcision”. The most recent doctor we’ve seen said it could have been so much worse and that we’re actually pretty lucky with this. They all suggested the same thing -wait and see. No point to doing anything until we know how growth will effect it and as long as he is able to urinate the tightness of the skin isn’t an issue, yet.
2.5 years later the skin has grown and it’s not tight like it used to be. To see him you would guess he was uncircumcised however the skin retracts to the point where you can see that he has a complete bridge -meaning the skin has fully fused (healed) around the glands of his penis and the skin is quite uneven. At his age it’s impossible to say if it will require surgery to correct it, we’ve been told that occasionally the skin can “pop” off when they get a little older and have erections/start exploring with things (much like it does with uncircumcised boys) or it could stayed fused; knowing that it healed as a complete bridge the doctor felt it unlikely that it would release on it’s own. He could never have a problem with it and be perfectly fine with it just the way it is or he may find it to be very painful as a teenager and need surgery to fix the bridge. Or he may opt for surgery purely for cosmetic reasons. At this point we don’t know if there was/is nerve damage and should he require surgery to correct it, we don’t know what kind of nerve damage that could cause. You hear of botching circumcisions but you never think it’ll happen to you, until it does. I think all men will agree that their penis is a pretty important part of their body and we’re left with a lot of guilt knowing that our decision to circumcise for no real reason at all could have a great effect on his sex life later on. Not something a parent wants to think they could have essentially ruined for their own child. So now expecting baby #4, should this baby be a boy he will remain intact. We learned our lesson the hard way and now firmly believe that you shouldn’t try to fix what isn’t broken to begin with. Hindsight is 20/20 and I sure wish I could go back and undo what was done, but we can’t so we just learn from our mistakes and hope that telling other parents about our situation could hopefully prevent them from being where we are now.
August 12, 2011 at 10:00 AM (Circumcision, Foreskin Friday, Guest Writer)
Tags: baby boys, circumcised, circumcision, circumcision photos, FGM, foreskin, foreskin retraction, genital mutilation, intact, MGM, penis, prepuce
This weekend will begin my 5th Session at Sacred Mountain Midwifery School. Each month we are given personal homework on top of our regular homework. I was assigned a topic in our circumcision debate. I have to be Pro-Circ. If you know me you will know how hard this has been. Since you don’t know me I will tell you about this emotional struggle I have had.
Growing up I never knew what circumcision was or what it meant. Even after the partners I have had over the years, I was still naive to the subject. It wasn’t until I became pregnant that I familiarized myself with the subject. We did not know the sex of the baby I was carrying so we wanted to educate ourselves on all topics. I came across circumcision photos taken by Patti Romos and my decision was made. The terror on that sweet boy’s face was enough for me.
It didn’t take any persuasion to get my husband on board. He was horrified by what was being done and confused by what was done to him. He vowed never to harm our future sons. We then began educating ourselves with facts and statistics so we would be prepared when family or friends questioned our choice.
Fast forward. My son is now 8 months old and completely whole. Each day I thank my husband for keeping him intact. I have been working on my debate project. Surfing the web for Pro-Circ information and facts. Each day I read it I become sad and discouraged. Reading things like “clinical and neurological testing of the ventral and dorsal surfaces, as well as the glans, and detected no difference in penile sensitivity between circumcised and uncircumcised men.” I became very angry when I read this:
“Separation of the prepuce from the glans during development is completed in the 5th month of gestation [Diebert, 1933]. The foreskin has no role after birth.”
How can I know what I do and present my class with such flawed studies? Such false information? I have become sad and withdrawn. My husband tries to encourage me by telling me “This will just make you more passionate and knowledgeable about intactivism.” I am not swayed and continue to struggle.
Then one night it comes to me. A solution to my emotional struggle came to me as I was watching a video by Ryan McAllister called Circumcision: An Elephant in the Hospital. In the video he compares 3 photos. One of a young boy being circumcised, one of a young girl being circumcised and one of a baby boy being circumcised. They all have the same agony across their faces. Each are feeling the same horrific pain. In that moment I knew how I would approach the debate. I would argue Pro-Circumcision but in my own way.
I will be arguing pro-Female Genital Cutting (FGC) but carefully avoid telling people I’m referring to females. In this I hope they might assume I’m referring to males and then reveal that I’ve been arguing for females the whole time. I am doing this in the hopes that people will see how unnecessary and ridiculous circumcision is on any gender. How though they are different sexes the procedure causes the same harm and disfigurement. I know a lot of people don’t think that FGC and RIC go hand in hand. They argue that FGC is so much worse and horrific than RIC could ever be, I politely disagree.
Each involve cutting of the genitals without consent. Both are done for religious beliefs or the thought that the end result “looks better.” On both sexes this custom remove erogenous tissue and is justified by supposed health benefits. With this I have found that all the fighting and education I am providing about RIC should be extended to the other sex. The extreme forms of FGC are not commonly practiced and the most commonly practiced forms are generally equal to or less severe than male circumcision. Many people think that all female circumcision is the removal of the clitoris, hood and labia and sewing up of the vaginal opening and are very surprised when they find out most of the time it’s just the hood or labia.
We should be working to protect the rights of all infants not just males. Our laws should protect all infants, not just females. I think our country’s views of equal rights need to be reevaluated. How can we protect one and not the other? Our country says by law that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body, even if it means ending the life of a person who didn’t get to choose. So then why are we still not protecting a mans right to choose what to do with his own body? Men are forced to have their penises cut without consent, we do this when they are too little and small to fight back or say “No.”
Studying and preparing myself for this debate has made me more passionate about intactivism but not just keeping little boys whole. I have had my eyes opened to keep all our children whole. Isn’t that what intactavism should be about? Protecting the rights of all children not just one sex or another.
There are some great charts that outline the similarities between FGC and RIC provided here:
August 11, 2011 at 12:17 PM (Circumcision, Guest Writer)
Tags: baby boys, circumcised, circumcision, circumcision photos, FGM, foreskin, foreskin retraction, genital mutilation, intact, MGM, penis, prepuce
Yesterday (March 30th, 2011) marked the 14th anniversary of the United States’ criminalization of female genital mutilation (a.k.a. female circumcision). Although it was never a threat to a majority of girls in the States, a law
was passed affirming their rights to genital integrity, regardless of their parents’ cultural or religious traditions.
This may be the one time in American history when congress defined and affirmed specific rights of female citizens, while failing to ensure comparable rights for their male counterparts.
I will not go into why or how circumcision became so rampant in the western world. I will only address why we as a country should stop circumcising our boys and dispel myths that say we should.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s policy on circumcision
repeatedly calls it an elective procedure
but also stresses that it is a decision that should be left completely up to the parents. (I find this very interesting, because if a parent brought their kids in for almost any other elective procedure, like, say, a nose job, the doctors and nurses would be shocked and dismayed and maybe even call CPS.)
The argument that one should circumcise for hygienic reasons is ridiculous and could just as easily be used to justify female circumcision. Parents can very easily learn how to clean
and care for their intact sons, just as easily if not more easily than learning how to care for a raw post-op penis that spends 24/7 in a dark, damp (and sometimes dirty) diaper.
In a meta-analysis
of statistics catalogued from 1989-2009, results are clear. There is a much greater likelihood of complications, including illness, infection, and death from circumcision than there is from keeping a baby whole and intact. Plainly, circumcising carries more risk than not circumcising
Parents have two options when it comes to deciding whether to circumcise their newborn son; only one is reversible. That is to say, an uncircumcised boy can always decide to get circumcised later in life. Conversely, it is virtually impossible for a circumcised boy to decide to regenerate his foreskin.
I have personally heard doctors make the argument against waiting to let the boy grow up and make his own decision. They say that it is better to do it when the baby is young, so he won’t remember it. However, there are some people who believe that we subconsciously retain memories from as early as in utero. If that is true, then it stands to reason we would retain some kind of subconscious memory of trauma in our first days earthside.
Doctors also like to calm new parents by telling them that circumcision is not painful because local anesthesia is used. If it doesn’t hurt, then why is it so important to do it “before the baby will remember it”? Also, talk to my husband about how much pain is actually still involved when local anesthesia is used. (He had a local for his vasectomy, and said he felt A LOT of pain.)
I think that if we left it up to the boys to decide for themselves, there would be 99% intact males in this country. Why do I believe this? Because every intact man I know, is eternally grateful that he was never circumcised. While I have read or heard hundreds of stories of men who were forever scarred (literally and figuratively) by their parents decision to fundamentally change their sexual organs. And only 1% of intact males are faced with a medical indication for circumcision in adulthood.
Circumcision can cause permanent nerve damage, which may explain why adult males who were circumcised after becoming sexually active, report decreased sensation during sexual contact. I guess the bright side for men circumcised as newborns is that they never knew how good it could be, so they don’t know what they’re missing.
Sex is one of the most basic, necessary, intimate, joyful human experiences we are blessed with in our short time on this rock. Take pride in giving your baby boy the opportunity to grow up to have a fulfilling and satisfying life in every way possible, including sexually!
For more like this visit: Living Simply in a Complex World
August 5, 2011 at 10:00 AM (Breastfeeding)
Tags: Baby, breastfeeding, Nursing, World Breastfeeding Week
I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding. I will be the first person in line to offer encouragement, gentle advice, and snippets of my experiences as a breastfeeding mom. The road has not always been smooth but I have always mustered the strength to persevere. I really do love breastfeeding. I also really love lists. And what better than a post which discusses breastfeeding through a series of lists? I mean, don’t you get rather bored with reading paragraph after paragraph and paragraph? I thought so!
And now…my lists!
Top 10 Reasons Why I Breastfeed My Toddler (28 months old)
- From everything I have read, the general consensus is that breast milk continues to provide substantial amounts of key nutrients well beyond the first two years of life, especially protein, fat, and most vitamins. I want to do everything to protect my daughter from illness and disease and I see no better way to do this than through breast milk.
- Breast fed toddlers and preschoolers are sick less often. I will vouch for that. My daughter has only gotten sick a handful of times and even then, she has been able to quickly recover from the illness.
- I have no idea how mothers of non-breastfed children keep their babes hydrated during illness. When my daughter has been ill and refuses all other food and drink, I can count on her breast feeding to stay hydrated.
- I love the closeness that we share as a result of extended breastfeeding. Our mother-daughter bond grows stronger each day.
- I am beyond happy that I can provide my daughter with a source of comfort that she enjoys as much as I do. I want nothing more than to be able to soothe and relax her through my nourishing milk.
- Selfishly, there are a lot of health benefits for me. I have a reduced risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, as well as osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- It’s eco-conscious. More breast milk = less cups to wash which = less water used.
- My daughter has some eating challenges (not related to normal toddler food preferences) so I know she is getting all of the nutrition that she needs through frequent nursing.
- It is a way for us both to reconnect after a short separation (i.e. a couple of hours with Papa and Grandma) or after a particularly busy or trying day.
- It just feels right and it is what both my daughter and I enjoy. I’m not one to stop a good thing!
Top 9 Ways That Breastfeeding My Toddler is Different Than Breastfeeding Her as an Infant
- Babies tend to nurse peacefully. There is not a lot of moving around. Toddlers are practically trying out for the circus every time they get on the boob. Trying to keep my daughter’s flailing body parts in check while breastfeeding can be tricky!
- Babies get down to business. They are hungry, they eat, the often fall asleep while breastfeeding, and there is no funny business. Toddlers try to nurse and talk, they play the “latch on, latch off” game, they grab mommy’s available body parts, and they are easily distracted.
- Toddlers and babies with teeth can both bite (accidentally or not). It seems to hurt less when a little baby does it.
- You can tell a toddler to relatch if the initial attempt is a poor one. Babies require physical delatching which can be upsetting to them.
- Babies can breastfeed for hours at a time. Toddlers are in and out. They have other things to attend to!
- No one gave me a second glance if I was breastfeeding my baby in public. Everyone stares when I breastfeed my toddler in public.
- I was able to do other things while breastfeeding my daughter as a baby. Not possible now! My focus better be on my daughter and not on my cell phone, laptop, etc…
- I do not have as many worries about breastfeeding my toddler as I did about breastfeeding her as a baby. I always wondered if she was getting enough milk, if she would suddenly dislike breastfeeding, if it would not be something soothing for her, etc… I consider extended breastfeeding to be icing on the cake so it is a lot less stressful now.
- You can pretty much breastfeed in any position and in any location with ease when you are dealing with a baby. Not so much when it comes to breastfeeding a toddler. Her size, tendency to squirm and wiggle, and general cute antics limit where I am physically comfortable breastfeeding her.
The 8 Best Online Breastfeeding Support Sites That I Found
- La Leche League
- The Leaky Boob
- Breastfeeding Moms Unite
- IVillage Breastfeeding Support Board
- Dispelling Breastfeeding Myths
- The Natural Parents Network
The 7 Most Important Foods I Consume as a Breastfeeding Mother
- Water. Yes, this is technically not a food but keeping hydrated is vital to successful breastfeeding as well as the health of the mother. Water is far superior to any other beverage out there. Coconut water is a close second due to its electrolytes and low sugar content as compared to fruit juices and other sweetened beverages.
- Cod Liver Oil. Again, technically not a food but it supplies 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D per day which is critical for breastfeeding moms. No multivitamin can compare.
- Eggs. I eat three eggs every day! Forget what you have heard about eggs and cholesterol. Studies have found that the cholesterol in eggs does not contribute to high cholesterol. Eggs are the most nutritionally complete food available with one yolk providing an entire day’s supply of vitamins.
- Healthy fats including whole milk, real butter, organic chicken with the skin on, red meat with fat, and coconut oil. We have been programmed to think fat is our enemy. Read this recent post I wrote to learn more about fats.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds, organic when possible.
- Lots of wild salmon, shellfish, and fish eggs.
- Homemade bone broth which I will either drink as is, use to make soup, or use to cook rice and other grains in. Bone broth has so many vital nutrients and minerals in it. Hugely important to consume as a breastfeeding mother.
The 6 Foods That I Avoid Like The Plague as a Breastfeeding Mother
- Sugar laden foods of all kinds. I will consume homemade treats so long as I use natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, stevia, or other unrefined sugars. There is no health benefit for your baby and no nutritional value for you when you eat sugary snacks.
- Supermarket breakfast cereals. These cleverly marketed pretend foods are the worst possible way that you could start your day and are top of the list of foods to avoid. They often have a glycemic index similar to or higher than pure glucose syrup. Eating these cereals for breakfast is not much better than having a chocolate bar.
- Low fat and non fat foods. Your baby and your body need healthy fats! See my above link for more information on fat.
- Alcohol and caffeine. I know, more beverages. Some moms fell ok about having these items in moderation. I tried it, felt guilty, and decided that I was going to limit my intake of both. I very rarely have a glass of wine and I steer clear of caffeine. I actually feel great without both!
- Soy products unless properly fermented (as in the case of miso or tempeh). Soy is now known to cause a host of health problems particularly related to hormone development. I steer clear of these now.
- Processed, packaged, convenience foods. Do I need to elaborate? I know that these are quick and easy, just what a new mommy needs in her life, but the nutritional value is nonexistent. Homemade using fresh ingredients is always best. Need some inspiration and support. Try this post.
The 5 Things I Wish I Did BEFORE Beginning My Breastfeeding Journey
- Attended A La Leche Meeting. It would have been helpful to have already created a relationship with our local chapter leader as well as other breastfeeding moms. It would also have provided some insight into breastfeeding that I did not have otherwise.
- Created a supportive network of 2-3 breastfeeding moms who I could call day or night to help me through some of the tougher breastfeeding moments.
- Learned more about some of the potential challenges that can occur with breastfeeding. Therefore, when they happened to me, I would not have been so shocked.
- Looked into online support communities. Although I found these after I began my breastfeeding journey, it would have been easier to already have them in place. One less thing for an anxious, overtired new mommy to do.
- Bought many different styles and sizes of nursing bras and tank tops. It would have been easier to return the ones that did not work than trying to send someone else out to find ones that fit.
The 4 Top Things I Wish I Knew About Breastfeeding
- That breastfeeding is apparently rocket science these days and that I would be made to feel like neither my baby nor I had any “natural instincts” about breastfeeding. We would both need to be “taught” how to do it but in teaching, breastfeeding would become more difficult than it needed to be.
- That it is possible for a baby to have a horrifically strong gag reflex which makes it impossible for her to latch properly. This means that said baby will have to adjust by becoming an efficient “nipple nurser” they very thing every lactation consultant cautions you against.
- That you can get blisters (called blebs) on your nipples from poor latch or an increased frequency in breastfeeding. You can also pop these on your own.
- That the best way to clear a clogged milk duct is to have your husband suck on your breast until it clears.
The 3 Most Common Activities I Engage(d) In While Breastfeeding
- Internet surfing
- Talking on the phone
The 2 Most Comical Locations I Have Breastfed In
- Sitting on the curb of a really busy street.
- Sitting in a pasture watching sheep nurse their babies.
My #1 Relief for Nipple Pain, Cracked Nipples, Nipple Blisters, and General Nipple Discomfort
- Coconut oil! I recently posted 80 Uses for Coconut Oil on my blog. If you are interested in reading more about this godsend then please go check out that post. Now, about those sore nipples.
Coconut oil is really pretty amazing in helping to quickly heal and then protect damaged and sore nipples. I must warn you that it will stain clothing so you might want to give some consideration to the method I use. After breastfeeding, soak a cotton ball with coconut oil. If your coconut oil is solid then scoop a little into a glass container and microwave it for a few seconds to soften it up. It works just fine in either a liquid or more solid state so use it whichever way you prefer. I just scoop it out and plop it on the cotton ball. Place a second cotton ball over the first and then using cloth medical tape, secure the cotton ball (coconut oil side down) onto your nipple and surrounding area. Leave it there until your next breastfeeding session. Repeat. Keep doing this until you and your baby have mastered breastfeeding and/or you are no longer in discomfort and/or your nipples have healed. I still use this treatment!
Did I mention that coconut oil is TOTALLY safe for baby? So, no need to aggravate your angry nipples more by rinsing off other creams. Just rip off gently remove the tape and cotton ball and pop baby on. Voila!
Coconut oil is also great when you have nipple blisters. My approach is to soak a cotton ball in WARM coconut oil, leave it on for an hour, reapply another cotton ball with more WARM oil for another hour, and then pop the blister with a sterilized needle. The coconut oil softens the blister making it super simple to pop (it does not hurt to do this) and it also has already begun sanitizing the area. After popping the blister, rub the nipple with gratuitous amounts of coconut oil and keep clothing and baby off of it for about 30 minutes. This should clear it right up…until the next one.
I hope that my lists have entertained, encouraged, and provided an honest insight into the adventures and journey of breastfeeding. I am proud to have successfully made it this far and hope to continue until my daughter decides that she no longer needs her “milkies.” Natural weaning will certainly be tougher on me than on my precious little one. But until then, I just go with the flow. (Pun intended!)
Jennifer, Hybrid Rasta Mama
August 3, 2011 at 8:00 AM (Breastfeeding)
Tags: breastfeeding, breastmilk, national breastfeeding week
I never questioned whether I would breastfeed, or not, for years I knew I would. Didn’t give it too much thought, couldn’t be too hard, after all its only natural.
I had an (medically unnecessary) induction at an estimated 40 weeks 1day gestation, which lasted 30-something hours, and ended with an epidural that I had previously made clear I didn’t want. So needless to say, breastfeeding when I met my darling Bean was a bit rocky.
I pumped quite a bit at first, due to a poor latch for which the LC blamed, “my large anatomy.” I felt pretty low, and it was not at all how I wanted it to be. One day I was absolutely exhausted with the constant pumping, I grabbed my baby, laid in bed with her at my side, and let her find my breast. Amazed at how it just clicked, after weeks of listening to my pump call me a loser, my bub was breastfeeding like a champ.
I am a fortunate, working mom who doesn’t have to pump often for my nursling. You see, Bean comes with me to work, I wear her, and she nurses as needed. There is a certain amount of irony here though, I breastfeed my bub everyday, all day– except 2-3 days of the year.
One week each year, for the past few years, I leave town for work. Here’s where the irony comes in, I leave on World Breastfeeding Week. Besides the natural mommy guilt of leaving my baby, I spend my time during a (small) portion of WBW listening to that bloody pump call me a loser. All mothers have sacrifices to make, and I am lucky that this one comes, but once per year.
I love my nursling, I love our breastfeeding relationship, I love her milky smiles the most. I am comfortable letting my darling daughter nurse wherever, whenever, and for however long she chooses.
“If human milk has the benefit of lowering your risk of cancer, then breathing air has the benefit of lowering your risk of asphyxiation. Breast is not best; it’s normal.” ~Guggie Daly
August 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM (Breastfeeding, Guest Writer)
Tags: breastfeeding, breastmilk, World Breastfeeding Week
I had a lot of questions when I found out that I was pregnant with twins, none of which was whether or not I could breastfeed. I did a lot of Internet searches, which led me to buying a nursing pillow designed to tandem breast feed twins. All of my preparation did not prepare me for the reality of feeding two babies, both who had poor suck reflexes.
After my babies were born, I quickly understood that tandem nursing twins was going to take time to figure out. Getting the hang of feeding one was easy, when I could get her to latch on. My babies were born at 36 weeks 5 days gestation, and while neither had time in the NICU, they were both tiny and not good at nursing. I started using a breast pump the day after my babies were born and continued to use it every day, multiple times a day, for almost 3 months. I know I would not have been successful at breastfeeding if I had not had a pump available. Neither baby could get enough nourishment while eating directly from the breast, as they would both tire, and fall asleep before their stomachs were truly full
Our pediatrician was not nearly as supportive of my breastfeeding as I felt she should have been. I went into each appointment feeling really good, only to leave feeling horrible, and depressed. Our first month with the babies was spent at the doctor’s office getting them weighed, the doctor kept giving me formula samples because my kids were not gaining as fast as she thought they should, she wanted one of them to be on weight gaining formula. I agreed to use the formula with extra calories, but did not agree to use it as she instructed. She wanted me to quit breastfeeding, and use only the formula. I decided that I would continue to breastfeed, but would supplement every other feeding with the formula after the one baby had been on the breast. At the same time, I started supplementing with pumped milk after every feeding, as well, since the babies were much better at eating from a bottle, and did not tire out before getting the calories they needed. To ensure that my milk supply did not drop, I made sure that my breast pump got a very good work out after most feedings. After a few days of using formula after every other feeding, I decided that I could go to every third feeding. At our next weigh in, my child on formula had gained more weight than she needed. The other baby, who was receiving pumped milk after feedings, had gained exactly what our pediatrician was looking for. That was the first appointment that I left feeling good. I decided from there on out I was going to do what I thought was best for my children as long as I could tell they were thriving. I was instructed to continue feeding with the formula at every feeding. I never used formula again. Instead, I made sure that they got time on the breast, pumped milk in a bottle during the day, and only bottles at night. The bottle of milk was all they needed to continue gaining weight. At our next weigh in the doctor commented on how well the formula was working and told me to continue using it; I neglected to tell her that I had stopped the formula.
We continued to feed both girls out of a bottle at night, and straight from the breast during the day until they were almost 3 months old. At 3 months both decided on the exact same night, and same feeding that they were done with bottles. They were breastfeeding well by that point, and I was tired of not sleeping. To ensure that my supply met their demands, I was pumping after every bottle feeding at night. It was not uncommon for me to get 20 or 30 minutes of sleep in between each feeding session. I was exhausted, though I’m a stubborn person, and knew that I could get through the lack of sleep if I just gave it time. I was getting a little more sleep by the time my twins decided to stop taking bottles, and I was still grateful for the break in midnight pumping sessions. I was able to tandem nurse them by that point, while they still woke often to eat, our nights started to go much better.
Poor latch, slow weight gain, and refusal of bottles were not the only obstacles I faced while breastfeeding. Both kids were spitting up a lot after feedings, their skin was dry with patches of eczema, and they periodically had green bowel movements. Knowing that dairy intolerance’s ran in my family, I quickly realized that I would need to cut dairy out of my diet. I had cut dairy out of my diet once before, so I knew to read all labels as there are dairy products in so many foods. Thankfully, dairy was the culprit, so I didn’t have to look for another food item to eliminate.
I introduced sippy cups with breast milk when they were around 5 months old, as they would no longer drink from a bottle. While they wouldn’t take a lot from the sippy, they would take some which allowed me to leave them for short periods of time without worrying if they were hungry. My kids continued to get most of their calories from breast milk until they were about 13 months old; they loved to breastfeed. We offered them a wide variety of foods that they enjoyed, but they didn’t like anything as much as my milk. I had people asking me often when I planned on weaning them, however I had no plans to wean. The girls were happy nursing, and I was happy to nurse them.
We had changed pediatricians by this time. At every appointment she would ask if they were still breastfeeding, as well as if they were sleeping through the night yet. At every appointment I told her no, but instead of making me feel bad, she would ask if I was okay with that, and moved on. She offered encouragement at each appointment after I would tell her that I was okay with them nursing at night and throughout the day. At 16 months, both kids slept through the night for the first time without waking to nurse, and that was the end of our night nursing. I have to admit that by that time I was more than ready to be done with nursing them at night. Letting them decide they were done made it a smooth transition for all of us. The end of our nursing relationship was closer than I thought.
I personally had not decided when I would stop nursing, I was willing to let them self wean as long as I was still happy nursing them. Just before 19 months, both children self weaned, I was sad. I could still hold and cuddle them, but I missed the nursing bond. I missed watching them tease each other as they tandem nursed, I missed their acrobatic moves and most of all, I missed those nursing smiles. While I missed all of that, I would be dishonest if I didn’t also say that I quickly got over my sadness. I still missed parts of nursing bond, but my children and I were able to fill that time with other amazing activities.
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