What No One Told Me About Being a SAHM

I used to be a working mom. I went back to work full time when my oldest was 12 weeks old. I dutifully pumped my breastmilk three times a day, spent every moment not at work snuggling this ever changing little boy, and dreamt of the day I could quit my 9-5 and stay home with him. I worked from the time he was 3 months old until he was just over 3 years old. My high risk pregnancy gave me a taste of SAHM life, but I became official after resigning from my job following the birth of my youngest. 

The transition to staying home wasn't a smooth one for me. I had a real sense of pride from earning paychecks and getting praise for a job well done. When you're at home, there are no paychecks and praise can be sparse. Perhaps it was the move to a new city or my PPD and anxiety, but I had a difficult adjustment period. I was finally living my dream, but found myself wishing for the life I once had. Here are a few things no one told me about being a SAHM.

Being at home can be lonely

The only interaction I got during the day was from my children. Unless we went to a grocery store, I wouldn't speak to another adult until my husband got home from work. It didn't change until I found a mom-centric exercise group. Working out outdoors and being around other mothers made it less lonely. There were occasional playdates and the dance of making a new mom friend. I am glad to have Facebook to keep in touch with old friends, but for me, it isn't a good substitute for face to face interaction. Finding a local moms group through Meetup, Facebook, or a religious organization can help ease the loneliness. 

Deadlines are now nap time and lunch time

Rather than deadlines for large and expensive projects, I was dealing with sleepy or hungry (usually both) kids. Both are challenging in their own way. It helped me greatly to figure out a routine, even if nap time was a ballpark rather than an exact point. Just as I'd stop my work to go to a meeting, I'd make sure I was close to home when it got close to nap time. If that wasn't an option for me, I'd make sure I had my baby carrier to help him fall asleep. Routine helped a lot, but it was important to be flexible.

Multitasking is still the name of the game

Making sandwiches while on the phone with the pediatrician, breastfeeding on the couch while reading my oldest a story, folding laundry while doing a puzzle, and even more. As mothers we never stop doing more than one thing at once. Despite the juggling act, I tried hard to set aside a little bit of time to focus on just my oldest child. We would do something just for him and he would have my undivided attention - no laundry, no phone, no little brother (this was only accomplished during nap time).

Make time for yourself

This was a big one for me. My therapist told me that we as mothers tend to pour from our cup for everyone else. By the time we get to us, our cup is empty. When our cup is empty, that's when we lose our cool with loved ones and can start to feel down. Self care is vital for me: it helps me focus on myself instead of everyone else. It doesn't have to be a day at the spa, little things can make a big difference in the long term. A glass of wine and my favorite mindless TV show after the kids go to bed, a solo grocery store trip (two birds with one stone!), or even a few extra minutes to put on makeup help me fill my cup. Cultivate a hobby, join an athletic league, pray or meditate, or take a hot bath. Do whatever you need to honor yourself and your current place in life. 

Now that I've been a stay at home mom for about 18 months, I have found my groove. We have a good routine, I'm able to meet up with mom friends, and I can take a few minutes for myself every day. While the initial period wasn't easy, I am grateful for the opportunity to watch my youngest grow. Rather than miss out on his milestones, I am present to see them. I call him my BBF - best baby friend. Even though there are some not so great days,  I love my new role. If you're adjusting to life as a new stay at home mom, remember to give yourself some grace. It is an adjustment and will take some time. 


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A Letter to Myself as a New Mom

Dear New Mom Me,

Congratulations on that sweet baby BOY! Looks like our gut instinct was right the whole pregnancy. I know he came early, but he's perfect. Sniff his head, count his fingers, kiss his tiny baby feet. Marvel at how much he looks like his daddy. Put him to your breast constantly. Are you ready for your world to be turned upside down? To balance out the craziness, you will love him more fiercely than you ever imagined possible. Get ready to cry over how much you love this tiny 6 pound 3 ounce being.

The first few months are going to be hard. Breastfeeding will seem insurmountable, but you'll do it. Your marriage will suffer, because someone else's needs will be put ahead of your husband for the first time ever. Rest assured that you will get through it. You need each other more than ever, keep communicating. Give each other grace, a big hug, and butt squeezes. All of it will help, and you will get through this stronger and loving each other more. He's your partner on this wild ride called parenthood. You'll laugh together, cry together, and love together.

Going back to work is going to suck. I'm sorry, there's no other way for me to put it. You will cry over how much you miss the baby. You will worry about missing his firsts, that he'll love the babysitter more than you, that he's missing you. Your time together will be so precious. His whole face will light up when he sees you. You are his mama, his whole world. He will not forget that.

You'll go through a period where you're irritable and paranoid about leaving the house. You'll talk yourself out of every social event you're invited to and lash out when questioned. Your husband will urge you to call a therapist. Do it. It will help. These feelings will come up again after your next child is born, but they will seem overwhelming because they're compounded with other major changes. You're not alone. It will be okay.

Remember that the children's hearts are big and very forgiving. For right now, there's nothing that a big hug and some ice cream won't fix. Have a dance party every night if you can. Realize that you will not be your old self ever again. You'll have to figure out who you are now that you are a mother. You will be a newer and better version of yourself.

Motherhood is hard, but worth it. So worth it. Just give it time. You're a great mom.

My Breastfeeding Essentials for a Baby Registry

This weekend we visited a big box baby store in search of a baby gate. Our curious one year old needs to be corralled while we baby proof our new house. I peeped into the breastfeeding aisle to see what this particular store carried and was taken aback at all of the items in front of me. It has been about 5 years since I had to create a new baby registry that included so many products.

After seeing a few pregnant mamas looking overwhelmed at the options, I thought I'd put together a list of what I consider breastfeeding essentials for a baby registry. Please note that the list does not call out any specific brand names, only item categories.

  1. A pump? A very common misconception is that all breastfeeding mothers need breast pumps. If you won't be away from your baby for extended periods of time, you may want to consider not getting a pump at all. Go down to number 4 on this list.

    If you'll be heading back to work, contact your insurance company or local WIC office if you have Medicaid. Since most US insurance plans are now required to provide moms with a new breast pump or cover the cost of pump rental, you may want to pass on adding a double electric pump to your registry. Instead, consider adding a manual pump to use as back up.

  2. Pump parts and storage bags. If you'll be receiving a pump from insurance, consider adding spare parts to your list. If you're going to be pumping on a regular basis (like at work), you can expect membranes and valves to wear out. In fact, many pump manufacturers recommend replacing parts every few months. Save yourself some stress and some money by adding these to your registry. Don't forget breastmilk storage bags!
  3. Bottles and their accessories. If you plan on using bottles, realize that your baby may not like the particular brand you get. Some babies are very selective when it comes to bottles. A sterilizer, drying rack, and bottle brush will make it very easy for your partner to clean the bottles ;-)

  4. Nursing pads, soothing pads, and balms. I've found reusable nursing pads to be much softer than disposables. I'd recommend adding several sets to your registry, as they can get misplaced. Soothing balms helped me immensely during the first several weeks of breastfeeding. I also recommend adding heating and cooling soothing pads. They feel wonderful when your breasts are engorged.

  5. The cover. The age old (breastfeeding in public) question: to cover or not to cover? The only answer to that is to do what you're comfortable with. I started breastfeeding in public using a cover. Juggling a hungry and floppy newborn and my gigantic breast were difficult enough without worrying about accidentally flashing the place. Once baby was older and we had our latch down, I was able to ditch the cover and nurse by layering my shirts. I used a nursing cover like a kid uses training wheels on a bike. Anyway, if you'd feel more comfortable with a cover (whether it's just for the first few months or forever), add it to your registry.

  6. Breastfeeding pillow and stool. A nursing pillow was key for me during the early months of breastfeeding. It helped me bring baby to breast and the nursing stool helped make sure I wasn't leaning forward in an uncomfortable way.

  7. Breastfeeding underthings. I lived in camisoles for the first several weeks. They provided support, coverage, and I would throw a t-shirt on top of them when going out. I had easy breast access and they were very comfortable.
    Consider adding a sleep bra to your registry rather than a traditional nursing bra. A nursing mother's bra size can fluctuate quite a bit initially. Sleep bras are typically sized S, M, L, XL, and are very stretchy.
    If you plan on returning to work, add a hands free pumping bra. Many moms cut small holes into an inexpensive sports bra, but who wants to disrobe from the waist up when you're pumping at work?

Did I miss anything? Let me know what you'd add to this list in the comments!

Breastfeeding the Second Time Around - 9 Months

I've been breastfeeding Rohan for 9 months now. It has been a much different journey than my breastfeeding relationship with Ethan. Some things have been easier (no weight gain issues!), but others have been harder (hello lip and tongue ties). Here are nine things I've learned breastfeeding the second time around.

Rohan and I in early February 2015. This is how we nurse.
I love his chubby little hand holding on to mine.
Photo by Valerie Cannon Photography

  1. Each baby is different. Ethan used pacifiers and took bottles very easily. Rohan spits out pacis and grudgingly takes a bottle from his dad. I could go on and on about their differences. Sometimes it's hard to believe they're brothers!

  2. It's hard not to let the negatives of the first experience bleed over into the second. My main issue with Ethan was a very slow weight gain. I didn't do a great job keeping track of his diapers the first few days of life and that got us into a bit of trouble. After Rohan was born, I fed him every 2-3 hours and never went more than 4 hours without a feed for the first several weeks of life. I watched those diapers like crazy. While I could have relaxed more than I did, all of my hyper vigilance paid off: Rohan was a half pound OVER birth weight at 2 weeks!

  3. Thank goodness I know what I know. Studying to become an IBCLC has helped greatly during the last 9 months. I know what what to expect, and how to handle things when they don't go as expected. I noticed R's lip and tongue ties while we were still in the hospital and was able to nurse accordingly. I contacted an IBCLC once we got home for confirmation and to make sure things were going well.

  4. Older siblings may be curious. Ethan was very curious about the baby drinking mommy milk. So curious that he asked to nurse. I believe his exact words were, "No, I don't want it from a cup. I want to drink it from your boob!" I was curious, too - I wanted to see what he would do! I let him climb up, but he didn't want to latch. He's been asking all kinds of questions about my pump and how long Rohan nurses. He also asks me to tell him about when he used to drink mommy milk.

  5. Baby knows best. Just as with Ethan, we've been taking all of our cues from Rohan: when it's time for a nap, when it's time to eat, everything. That includes when to start solid foods. At six months, R never seemed interested in solids. He didn't watch us eat, try to grab food, or make chewing motions with his mouth. He started showing an interest around 7.5 months. After a puking incident with a piece of avocado, we decided to wait a little longer.

  6. The overnight feeds aren't the worst. The 3am feedings haven't been too bad this time around.  I don't know whether it's the fact that I won't be breastfeeding ever again, or being able to stay at home with the boys. I don't mind them as much this time around. When we breastfeed during the day, I'm often distracted by big brother, or silently willing him to finish so I can move on to the next thing. At night, I get to breathe him in, kiss his hands in my face, watch his eyes grow heavy with sleep, and know he's done when he lets out the contented sigh.

  7. I still need support the second time around. I lost my breastfeeding group when we moved from DFW to Austin. While things have been going really well for us, I miss being around other breastfeeding women. Sure, there's a lot of online support, which is wonderful. However, there's something about women feeding their babies together that creates camaraderie and support. No one quite understands like another breastfeeding mom.

  8. Nursing rooms are not evil. E was awesome at nursing in public. He'd latch, get what he needed, and that was it. He was efficient and focused. Rohan is a very distracted nurser. He wants to see the world around him, flash me a smile and giggle, talk a little, and then get back to eating. Nursing covers and scarves turn into a game, so they're not an option for us. I've taken to nursing him in the car or utilizing nursing rooms when they're available. They're also great for corralling E while I nurse the baby. I'm a firm believer in a mom and baby nursing where and how they're most comfortable. At this point, nursing rooms work best for us.

  9. I love breastfeeding, but I don't always like it. Rohan has just started to show an interest in solids. We've got 9 months of being exclusively breastfed, without formula, water, or foods. Have I mentioned that he prefers to drink from the tap rather than take a bottle? That's a lot of touching. There have been times where I am just done. I'm done being his pacifier, done being his primary source of comfort, done being his all you can eat restaurant. There are nights where the thought of anyone touching me is more than I can bear. The last few feedings of the day are done through gritted teeth or I hand him off to Dad once I notice he's getting sleepy. Luckily the feelings go away after a few hours.

  10. Each baby is different. It's so important to remember that I had to mention it twice! We've been doing things so differently this time around. Sometimes I feel like a first time mom. It has truly taught me to forget my expectations.
With things going as well as they have been going, we will make it to a year very easily and most likely making it to two years! This experience has had its challenges, but it is by far one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.

[CLOSED] Giveaway: Undercover Mama Nursing Shirt


One of my biggest pet peeves with many of the nursing tops I owned were the size of the cutouts or slits. Many of them were tiny and would interfere with baby's latch. He'd get a mouthful of fabric instead of a mouthful of breast. Half the time I couldn't pull my breast out fast enough for E. A screaming baby + a flustered mom is not a good combination!

Thankfully, I discovered Undercover Mama nursing shirts. I would wear them with a nursing bra under my regular t-shirts and was fast enough to handle Mr. Impatient. There was no mouthful of fabric for him either. Since I could wear them with any shirt in my closet, my style was no longer limited to nursing tops! The best part was that my back and belly could stay covered while I nursed. I even wore them to work to pump!

Haven't tried Undercover Mama nursing shirts yet? Here's your chance to win a basic Undercover Mama in the color of your choice!

This giveaway ends at 12am CST on Friday, 11 October 2013. Open to residents of the US and Canada only.

Winner will be announced here and chosen through the Rafflecopter tool below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: I was not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. Open to residents of the US and Canada only. Winner will be contacted by Undercover Mama at the email address provided. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter.

The Magic of Mama's Time Outs

I've been 32 for about 10 days now and it hasn't been sunshine and puppy dogs. Thanks to the nutrition class I recently started, I've had another ball to juggle, time has had to be shuffled and reallocated, I'm stressed about homework and video lectures. I've been struggling for the last few days. I've cried and I've yelled and I've given myself (or have been given) several time outs.

Someone put Mommy in a corner, please.

You know the symptoms. We know the symptoms. You've asked your child(ren) to "please stop doing that because you will get hurt/it will break/the dog doesn't like that" about 1700 times in a 3 minute span. You've tried reasoning and explaining and distracting them, but it doesn't work. Someone's standing on the coffee table/jumping on the sofa/trying to color the dog. You feel your pulse in your ears and a heat in your face and holler, "THAT'S. IT."

Or something like that.

It's at that point where I turn on the TV or put E's game on the iPad or tell his dad to watch him and go into another room. Sometimes I take the dog with me. All I need is a few minutes to reevaluate the situation. Is he acting up because he wants me to stop cooking/cleaning/farting around on FB and pay attention to him? Is he bored? Am I still in work mode? I think hard for a few minutes. Or sometimes I just lay on the bed under the ceiling fan and close my eyes. But I come running out if I hear a yell or crash.

I've been getting time outs from my husband. "Nay, go take 5," he'll tell me as he swoops in do whatever it was I abandoned in a fit of blind rage. Even if I insist I'm okay, he tells me to go away. Sometimes when I come back, there's a glass of Malbec waiting for me. I like him.

It's not perfect parenting (but what is?), but it works for me. It helps me diffuse and step away from the situation. In the few minutes I need to gather myself, things aren't as bad as they were before I stepped away. It helps me yell less and parent better. There is a need to stop and focus. Or not focus on what's going on and just stop. There is a lot of magic in Mama's Time Out.

Do you give yourself time outs?

We All Have Secrets...

This week, during the moms breastfeeding group I help co-lead, we talked about the guilt that some moms feel because they're unable to do everything around the house. A number of mamas confessed to clean folded laundry that never gets put away, frozen skillet meals, and doing the bare minimum in order to spend time with their kids and/or maintain their sanity. It seems like everyone did something they weren't particularly proud of in order to get by. In fact, I came up with a list of my own confessions.
    Naya's Dirty Little Secrets
  • We sometimes often let E watch TV while he eats dinner.
  • E's room may turn into a guest room because he sleeps in our bed despite having a beautiful convertible crib.
  • PF Chang's and/or Bertolli's skillet meals are a weekly staple.
  • I don't always buy organic fruit, and when I do I get it from a grocery store, not a coop.
  • The love seat in our living room is used to store clean laundry. Some is folded, some isn't.
  • During fall/winter, we use our CrockPot pretty frequently because we're too tired to do any real cooking.
  • I frequently give myself a "time out" when I start running out of patience with E. All I need is some peace and quiet without whining.
  • We ate out every night over Labor Day weekend. This is not unusual weekend behavior for us.
  • I still nurse E to sleep. It's just easier for everyone.
  • We haven't had company over in months because our house is kind of messy, and we're okay with that.

Not to blame Pinterest, but who has the time to do all those DIY projects while hanging out with their toddler dressed really nicely with nail art on their perfectly manicured hands? While it has tons of great ideas, I can feel pangs of guilt because I don't do 99% of the cool toddler activities, fab DIYs, or make the delicious recipes that I pin. I'd rather play with blocks than meticulously cut pipe cleaners or wield a hot glue gun. Truth: I've only done 3 pins, and 2 were for hairstyles involving ponytails.

The lesson here is that no mom is perfect, and very few have it together. Most are doing what they can to get through the day. Someone recently told me, "Kids don't remember a perfectly clean house (or a chevron-striped wall in their living room). They remember spending time with their parents." Don't guilt yourself over not finishing items on your to do list. It's okay if you can't balance it all. I can't either. Chances are most of your mom friends are doing the same thing!

Share your dirty little secrets in the comments!

Breastfeeding and the Working Mom

This week's Breastfeeding Blog Hop topic is "Do you know the laws that protect you as a breastfeeding mother?”

If you're a new mom going back to work, there are now laws in place to protect you. Under President Obama's Affordable Healthcare Act, a company with more than 50 people is required to provide non-exempt (hourly) moms a private place to pump that's not a bathroom. She's also allowed to take as many unpaid breaks as needed to pump during baby's first year of life. More information is available on the Department of Labor's website.

Notice that the Break Time for Nursing Mothers law only applies to non-exempt employees. This covers many women, but not all. People who receive a salary, like teachers, are not covered by this law. While most teachers I know are given the time needed to pump, there are others that resort to pumping in their car or bathrooms. Imagine making a sandwich in the bathroom, with people peeing and pooping next to you. Pretty damn gross.

Related: The ACA also covers breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling!

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011 was introduced in both houses of Congress last year. Passing this act would mean federal protection would extend to those employees that are exempt, including teachers. Please write your local representatives and urge them to sign it. The US Breastfeeding Committee has made it really easy. Enter your zip code and automatically email your representatives. I'm not even going to talk about the lack of paid maternity leave. It kinda speaks for itself...

It's really important to ensure that breastfeeding moms are supported at work. Earlier this year, a Texas mom was fired after asking for a room to pump milk. The US also ranks last in breastfeeding support, according to Save the Children's State of the World’s Mothers Report 2012, released earlier this year.

While there have been measures taken to help support a breastfeeding moms in the workplace, there is still a long way to go! If you're interested in speaking to your employer about setting up a nursing room or supporting breastfeeding moms, start by reading The Business Case for Breastfeeding. It's a program "designed to educate employers about the value of supporting breastfeeding employees in the workplace."

Has your employer been supportive of you pumping at work?

Interested in more of my posts about work and breastfeeding? Click here.

The Breastfeeding "Diet"

This week's Breastfeeding Blog Hop topic is Dieting While Breastfeeding

"Breastfeed and lose 500 calories a day!" "Nurse the pounds away!" "All you have to sit there!"

Um, not quite. While I did lose a good amount of weight in the 12 weeks I stayed home with E and nursed exclusively, it all came back when I went back to work. I was no longer nursing on demand all day long - I was pumping instead, which doesn't remove milk as efficiently as a baby, which means I wasn't burning calories because my body didn't have to make as much... yeah. It's a vicious cycle! The one size smaller work slacks I excitedly bought were becoming difficult to button. I put them in the back of the closet and realized I'd need to work harder to lose weight.

Look at the size of those grapes! Those are some big ass grapes!

Being back at work meant that I was exposed to all kinds of temptations: vending machines with sodas and snacks, the occasional catered lunch, and the dreaded service anniversary celebrations. Those are always filled with cupcakes and I would always get the red velvet. I succumbed to the siren song of junk food and was back at my don't-want-to-look-at-the-scale pre-pregnancy weight.

I tried to implement changes in my diet, but being one of two working parents of a newborn is exhausting. We would eat out way too often and it hurt our wallets and waistlines more than anything else.

Then our work started offering Weight Watchers meetings at work. I didn't even have to go anywhere! WW is great. It taught me to change the way I eat. As cliched as this sounds, it's more than a diet, it is a lifestyle change. I'm able to eat what I want, within moderation. More attention is paid to portion sizes and quantity than anything else. It's not about denying yourself milk and Oreos the indulgences, but making sure you don't go crazy.

WW also accounts for nursing mothers; whether you're nursing exclusively or supplementing with formula or solids, you are allowed extra points per day. Since a breastfeeding mom should have a minimum of 1800 calories, I felt that the WW plan fell within the parameters. I was losing weight safely, in a way that was not detrimental to my milk supply.

Half of losing weight is diet. The other half is exercise. I've started my Couch to 5K program and will be signing up for a 5K in September! I'm really excited. I haven't seen a huge drop in the numbers on the scale since I've started, but I can feel the difference in other ways. My energy level is up, I don't get as tired, and my clothes are fitting a little differently too. If I keep this up, I may be able to pull out those work pants from the back of my closet!

Have you dieted while breastfeeding?

Eighteen Months

Dear Ethan,

18 months ago you came into the world and turned our lives upside down. You are growing stronger and smarter every day. I love watching you learn how to do things, whether it's crawl, walk, dance, a new word, or a new sign. At this rate you will be smarter than me by age 2!

Minutes old. Photo by Keri Duckett Photography

You've shown me just how selfless I can be. Things that once seemed important to me don't even register on my radar. I'm humbled by how much I've grown since you were born. I'm blown away by the love I felt for you since you took your first breath and it brings me to tears to know my parents felt the same about me at that same moment in their lives.

Thank you for giving me the easy labor you did. You earned me the name Super Birther. Even though you were 3.5 weeks early, I have been waiting for you my whole life. Thank you for not coming out while I was transitioning on the toilet. I'm glad you didn't want to be a toilet baby.

Please don't hate me later in life because I have to go to work every day. Know that I never stop thinking about you and wish I could stay home and play with you all day long. Daddy and I are doing the best we can to give you a great life.

I know that we didn't have the smooth breastfeeding start I imagined us to have. I'm sorry you were hungry and I didn't know any better. I think back to those moments and feel physically ill that I did that to you. I don't think those feelings will ever go away. But our breastfeeding experience really ignited a fire in me. I realized just how much support a new mom needs and I want to be that support for every nursing mother I need. You've given me something to strive for after I thought the drive was gone for good. It will mean that I will be away from you sometimes, but I'm doing it because you showed me how important it was to me.

Thank you for still nursing and not biting me with all your teeth. My favorite part of the day is coming home to you, you saying, “Hi Mama!” and then wanting to nurse. I wish you would sign milk instead of sticking your hand down my shirt. Oh well, I can get over it. I'm happy to keep nursing until you decide you don't want it anymore. I never thought I'd be that mom, but here we are.

Know that I love you regardless of who you marry, what you do with your life, and where you end up. I am your mama and I will be your biggest advocate and champion until my last breath. The last 18 months have been incredible. I don't have any words to describe them. Maybe you'll know if you decide to become a dad. I can't wait to see what the future holds for us.

All my love always,

Breastfeeding in the News

This week's Breastfeeding Blog Hop topic is Breastfeeding in the News

For better or for worse, breastfeeding has become a topic of conversation for many people. From the infamous Time magazine cover to the ladies of The View spreading false information about breastfeeding, it seems to be on everyone's lips. Everyone has an opinion on it and they're often polarizing. I'm not going to voice my opinion on the Time cover because it has been said a million times by every other mom out there.

Just a few days ago, Save the Children released its State of the World’s Mothers Report for 2012. The United States came in last for breastfeeding support. It was posted several times on Facebook and was usually followed with the question "Surprised?". Sadly, almost all the answers I read said no, nursing moms were not surprised at this ranking.

To me it was sad, but not surprising. We live in a country that prides itself on being the best in everything, yet we have the lowest paid maternity leave out (as in NONE) of all industrialized nations, breastfeeding moms are paid less over time, and only 141 out of 5754 registered hospitals in the US have WHO certified as Baby Friendly. The Break Time for Nursing Mothers law doesn't apply to half of working moms. Lets not forget that we chastise mothers for nursing in public and extended breastfeeding has been likened to a form of child abuse. No wonder we are last on the list. We have a lot to work on, America!

Here's a good place to start: read about the Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2011. It expands the current Break Time for Nursing Mothers law to include all nursing moms. The current laws only protect non-exempt or hourly employees. Passing the BF Promotion Act would entitle salaried nursing moms (teachers, admins, engineers, etc) to the same protected break time and ensure that they would not get fired or be discriminated against for breastfeeding. Because that already happened earlier this year.

This started off as a post, but quickly turned into a rant. As a breastfeeding mom, I'm really sick of the stereotypes and false information. I want to set people straight by educating them and supporting existing moms. I don't want my future daughter to have to deal with some of the issues breastfeeding moms are dealing with today. Yes I realize how trite that sounds, but if you know me even just a little bit, you will know that is really how I feel. I'm trying to "be the change I want to see in the world."

Odds & Ends

Last week, my friend Mae came over and we took some beautiful pictures. E is still nursing, but not nearly as much as he was a month ago. I think we're starting to wean. I've said this a bunch of times yet here we are at 17 months of nursing.

How I've been putting E to bed for 17 months...

I'm fully entrenched in the Certified Lactation Educator and Counselor class and loving every minute of it! While I am learning a lot, I'm also surprising myself with what I already know. I can't wait to share this knowledge with others and teach what I have learned. So that being said... I think I'm going to have to take a break from this little blog.

Between working full time, being E's mom, D's wife, taking this class, and trying to maintain a teeny tiny bit of sanity, I won't be able to update this blog as much as I'd like. There are lots of balls and I can only juggle so many at a time. It's only temporary, I have about 5 weeks left of the class. I will be active on Facebook and Twitter, so you're welcome to keep up with me there.

Thanks for understanding and I hope you stick around!

Businesses in Tarrant County That Support Breastfeeding

Are you a working pumping mom in Tarrant County, Texas? Do you know someone who is? Please help out the Texas Breastfeeding Coalition - they are trying to find businesses in our communities that support breastfeeding in the workplace.

The ultimate goal of this project is to develop an online searchable resource to showcase creative solutions for supporting employees who are nursing their babies, with a special emphasis on employers of non-salaried employees and challenging work environments. The resource will be available in Fall 2012.

If you know of a business (and it could be your place of employment), contact me with the following info:
1) Name of the Business
2) Contact name
3) Phone number and/or email address.

Coalition members will then follow up and perform a telephone screening and a site visit to obtain photos.

They are looking for success stories from businesses of all industry types (i.e., manufacturing, retail, education, construction, religious, healthcare, etc).

Please email naya (at) lactivistinlouboutins (dot) com if you know of a business and would like to help!

I Dumped the Pump

This week's Breastfeeding Blog Hop topic is
Loving Your Child From Afar (Working and Breastfeeding).
I wrote this post almost a year ago, the day I decided to stop pumping at work.

Today marked the end of something really important to me: I turned in the key to my pump room at work. I haven't pumped at work in about 10 days. E is still nursing, but refuses to take a bottle or sipper of my milk when I'm not home. He drinks from the tap exclusively. I haven't had any engorgement issues (thank goodness), but I feel full by the time I get home. Coincidentally, tomorrow will be the one year anniversary of me returning to work after my maternity leave.

This was the "key" to my breastfeeding success. Har har har.

    I wouldn't have made it this far without some help. I'd like to thank:
  • My loving husband for his support and for washing and sanitizing the parts for over a year
  • My Medela Pump in Style Advanced for encouraging me (or as my friend Kacie calls it, "laying down a dope beat") by saying "Make Milk! Make Milk!" while I pumped and for not letting me down, even when it made a weird knocking noise for a week.
  • My insurance company for reimbursing me 75% of the cost of the pump.
  • PumpEase for making an awesome product I could count on day after day that allowed me to both compress my breasts and play on my iPhone while pumping.
  • The following iPhone apps for keeping me entertained: Facebook, Twitter, Words With Friends, and Kindle.
  • My friend Alanna for lending me her power cord when I forgot mine at home. Yes, this did happen once.
  • President Obama and government officials for including Break Time for Pumping Mothers in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
  • My supportive employer.
  • Fenugreek and Mothers Milk tea for helping me increase my supply when it felt low.

In a way, I'm glad I'm done pumping. I hated the feeling of being milked, but really liked the sensation of the let down. Is that weird? I hated washing and sanitizing those parts. I hated taking the time out of my day to pump, usually because it threw off my whole work rhythm.

However, I loved that I provided E with my milk when I wasn't with him. It's very bittersweet. I have a small stash left in my freezer that will get donated, along with the opened pack of breastmilk storage bags.

The last 32 ounces

I'm trying not to think of what this means. It's inevitable, at some point E will not want to nurse anymore. I'll leave it up to him to decide when that will be. Saturday will be 15 months of nursing, with almost 12 of those happening while I worked. That is something I'm very proud of. Until he decides he's done, I'll enjoy the time we have together.

[edited 3/1/13]: E and I continued to breastfeed for an additional 6 months, until he was just over 21 months old. For more posts related to working and breastfeeding, click here.