Update: Fibroid in Breast and My Ultrasound

I wrote a blog post last week about my upcoming appointments and my worries concerning those appointments, due to a Fibroadenoma that I am very sure had to do with taking hormonal birth control. Just writing to update, after my ultrasound appointment on Friday.

That in and of itself was a bit of a roller coaster ride. I was sent to the hospital’s advanced imaging center, right next to the oncology ward. A reminder of how serious this type of stuff is. The things we put in our bodies, the cancer and illness and concern it causes…

When I found the advanced imaging center, I was greeted by an all-female staff. All warm and friendly. I waited 5 minutes to be checked in and afterwards was led to their secondary waiting area, where I was told about what I needed to do to prepare for the ultrasound. A nurse’s assistant led me to a changing room with a set of locking lockers. I was instructed to disrobe from the waist up (shirt, bra, jewelry), and if I’d put on deodorant handed a wet wipe and instructed to wipe it away.

 

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This is the gown I put on for the ultrasound procedure. It felt more like a flannel, short sleeved kimono and I kept wanting to bring my hands together and bow to the people I greeted.

The gown I put on had one button at the top, and a tie that came together from the side and the front , which would make it discreet and easy access for the procedure. When I was finished changing (and putting a photo on Facebook) I re-entered the secondary waiting area and filled out my family history report for cancer, hospitalizations, heart failure, number of live births, miscarriages, birth control usage, etc.

After I was finished, a nice ultrasound tech came to the waiting room and called me back, into the ultrasound room. Noticing my belly, she helped me ease onto the table and lay back. That was nice. I’d only really had help laying back or getting back up from a care provider twice. Every other provider just watched me struggle to get up. Anyway. She enters in my information for the scan (height, weight, DOB, expecting, etc). Asks if I’m ready for the ultrasound and helps me undo my gown. Puts the warm ultrasound goo on my areola, where the lump is.

The ultrasound starts and I can’t help but get an ominous feeling in my stomach and thoughts swirling in my mind “This is where women get bad news.” “This is where they have follow-ups from previous bad news, and are hoping for good news.” The tech is talking about what she’s seeing on the ultrasound and while I was thinking these things, I could hardly hear her.

After the initial ultrasound, a doctor came in after examining a few ultrasound pictures and examined the fibroid himself under ultrasound. He said the fibroadenoma was the biggest he’s seen. It actually took up two ultrasound frames on the screen to fit it all in. He really wasn’t very nice. I could hear the condescension in his voice when I told him how long I’d had the lump and also mocked for getting pregnant again. But he still yielded good information so I kept an open mind.

His recommendation was to wait for surgery after I have the baby. Because considering where the mass is at, it’s sitting right at an area with a lot of vessels and my milk ducts. They don’t know if they would need to take my milk ducts or not in the procedure. This was news I did not want to hear. The surgeons in this valley won’t perform on a pregnant woman because of the anesthesia. This is understandable. But at the time, I was half-crushed. I was so dead-set on not having to deal with mastitis and infection and clogged ducts this time that it didn’t dawn on me that: if I waited for this procedure, I might develop a clogged duct and mastitis when introducing the breast to my daughter, but I can still get through breastfeeding her with it, even if only for a few months. This would mean I would have a higher chance of breastfeeding her normally, without having to worry about low supply if I had the fibroadenoma taken out before having her.

I was so stuck on this one thought of PREVENTING getting sick that it bogged me down for almost a whole month. It didn’t occur to me to just wait and at least try to stick it out until she’s on solids. My worry wasn’t a total waste. It gave way to relief, when I found there was another way I could go about it all. And how can we know how good happiness or relief feels if we don’t experience sadness or grief, right?

One Thing Women Don’t Think They’ll Have To Worry About….

…until they do.

In this day and age, when everything is a hazard to your health, your health is never an exact guarantee. I believe women in particular are more exposed to more health hazards. We put things in our scalp, on our skin(sometimes SEVERAL different things), put things in and around our vaginas, and ingest things that are said to be good for us by medical establishments, for various reasons.

I am now a victim of commercial and mainstream consumption. I have a mammary fibroid from hormonal birth control. Called a Fibroadenoma. It most often occurs in women 35 years and older, but also in women that take hormonal birth control and once the fibroid is there, it is exacerbated and grows most when pregnant, breastfeeding or during menopause.

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In my case, I noticed a small pea sized lump in my breast in October or November of 2010 a couple months after starting the Ortho Evra birth control patch. It did what it was “supposed to do”, but it also caused an abnormal growth in my right breast. I didn’t think anything of it, until after I became pregnant with my second son in February 2011 and it began to grow. I tentatively asked my nurse practitioner and she said she didn’t know.

When I delivered my son in November 2011, my milk came in 3 days later. Everything happening normally. Until I developed a clogged duct, where the fibroid sat, right at my areola and I developed mastitis. It took a week to resolve itself and until then, it was very painful to breastfeed. Toe-curling pain at every latch.

The fibroid stayed about the same size for the 23 months I nursed my son. But when I became pregnant again in October 2013, it started growing once again rapidly. Now, at 28 weeks pregnant, it is about the size of 1.5 golf balls and I’m very worried about my upcoming breastfeeding relationship with my little girl that will make her appearance in June or July.

Ultrasound image of fibroadenoma
Ultrasound image of fibroadenoma

I had my provider look at the lump and we’ve scheduled a mammary ultrasound for the end of next week and I will see a doctor in the next two days. The future is very uncertain as I know wether it is removed or not there will be a lot of pain in the near future. I am pushing for removal before the baby comes to avoid another clogged duct and an even worse mastitis infection.

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Removed fibroadenoma

Removal might also mean that my milk ducts in my right breast will be severed, as the fibroid is right at the surface of my breast where the areola is. Normally, when they are removed they take extra tissue to ensure they’ve gotten all of the growth. It’s attached to or around a milk gland or duct so I know that will be removed as well, so having it sucked out by a needle isn’t an option.

I’m very unsettled by the thought of needing this removal and not having adequate supply for my daughter and very unsettled by the thought of being turned away for a removal procedure because I know what not removing it will lead to.

What are your experiences with this, if any? One with low supply due to any type of tissue removal?

Just a video of me explaining this whole ordeal:

And a video, showing what a mammary fibroid looks like on the outside:

Why I Chose To Co-sleep/Bedshare

There’s been quite a lot of talk about co-sleeping and bedsharing lately, so I thought I’d share some of my experience and some of the knowledge I picked up along the way.

Well, in all honesty, I didn’t choose bedsharing or cosleeping, my 2nd child made that decision for me. Let’s start there, leading right up to my daughter’s decision that bedsharing would be best for us.

My husband, our brand new daughter(our 2nd child together) got home after two sleepless nights in the hospital.(funny, I thought you were supposed to rest in the hospital) I’d probably gotten about 6 hours in those two nights. First night at home and I was exhausted just wanted to crash out already. It seemed she knew the exact moment I would drift off to sleep as she would start that newborn fuss and cry. This went on until 5am and I was delirious with lack of sleep and oh so frustrated.

We made our way upstairs where I decided to nurse her laying down. “Maybe I can put her to sleep with me beside her and just move her to her bassinet and….*SNORE*” We were both out like lights and sleeping like angels. I woke up 3 hours later, amazed that I hadn’t been woken once with her fusses and she was still sound asleep. I was in awe that my daughter knew exactly what she needed. Though, at the time, I figured it was just something she wanted rather than needed, but my husband and I were both content sharing our bed with her. My husband loved it and had done it with his previous spouse and older daughter.

I never imagined I would be a co-sleeper or bed sharer. Babies didn’t belong in their parent’s beds! What about rollovers! What about SIDS! Bedsharing and co-sleeping are possibly the most beneficial infant sleep practices that can be done when done safely. Key word: safely.

This means:

very little coverings, preferably a light breathable blanket or sheet

minimal pillows

firm surface

no persons under the influence of drugs, alcohol, sedatives or new medications with baby in the bed

Just to name a few. Those are the basics. Mothers that aren’t inhibited by intoxication tend to instinctually know where their babies are within the bed and are aware that their baby is beside them.

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In his article on the benefits of co-sleeping, Dr. Sears says this about co-sleeping:

Babies sleep more peacefully

Keep more regular and stable vitals (heartbeat, breathing, temperature)

Decreases risk of SIDS(Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

Better emotional health

Safer than crib sleeping

Not mentioned in the article, co-sleeping or bedsharing can be a benefit to mothers who breastfeed. Baby and mom don’t have to full wake up during a feed. The mother can respond immediately to her baby’s needs.

Another piece by Dr. Sears and the work he’s done and been included in shows proven scientific evidence that bedsharing and/or co-sleeping is better for baby, especially in the early months of the infant’s life, stating:

“Our study revealed that Lauren breathed better when sleeping next to Martha than when sleeping alone. Her breathing and her heart rate were more regular during shared sleep, and there were fewer “dips,” low points in respiration and blood oxygen from stop-breathing episodes. On the night Lauren slept with Martha, there were no dips in her blood oxygen. On the night Lauren slept alone, there were 132 dips. The results were similar in a second infant, whose parents generously allowed us into their bedroom. We studied Lauren and the other infant again at five months. As expected, the physiological differences between shared and solo sleep were less pronounced at five months than at two months.”

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While co-sleeping can decrease the risk of SIDS, the risk of suffocation when co-sleeping or bedsharing is not done safely is very real. It’s imperative parents are clear-headed and not intoxicated by any type of drug or alcohol when entering the bed with their infant. No heavy coverings may be in the top area of the sleep space, though they may be at or below knee level. The number of pillows are to be kept at a minimum of one per adult, which must be kept at head/neck level. The infant may not use a pillow as this is a suffocation risk.

Parents must take precautions to prevent baby rolling out of bed. Although this is unlikely as baby likes to be next to mom, it can happen. Some parents will take their beds off of the frame to make it closer to the floor, just in case so it’s not as far of a fall.

Try to keep baby on the opposite side of you than your partner. While you are instinctually aware of where your baby is, as a mother, fathers don’t have the luxury of always knowing that baby is right next to them and can roll over on baby.

A large bed is most comfortable. A queen or a kind sized mattress is usually best for a family of three sleeping in the same bed.

Some parents also find it beneficial to have a co-sleeper attached to their bed. They are either manufactured, which is what most parents prefer, or hand made. Pictured here(right side of the picture) is one that was made by a friend’s husband. (This was before their baby arrived, so they still have their large cover on their bed.)

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Some parents may also prefer to side car their infant’s baby crib next to their bed, as another of my friends did with her daughter in this photo.

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The possibilities and benefits of co-sleeping and bedsharing are endless when done safely and mindfully, just like with other parenting choices. Share your co-sleeping experiences or photos with us on our Facebook page!

When You Aren’t Connected To Your Pregnancy

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This discussion is often not talked about and avoided and I wanted to write a post about it to sort of break the silence it’s brought to a lot of mothers and mothers-to-be.

Pregnancy. Expecting a new baby. What could be more exciting than having a little life growing inside of you? What on earth could possibly make a lot of women happier? Well, the reality of it is…… sometimes women aren’t happy or excited to be expecting. This might be an unplanned pregnancy. She might have never pictured herself as a mother. She may have had previous traumatic pregnancy experiences. She may not be in a stable environment. She may have even been raped.

The truth is, not everyone is going to be happy about having conceived a child. And society’s projection onto women is that it’s supposed to be a joyous experience and anything outside of that is not normal. It IS normal to not be excited about a pregnancy or not feel connected. And feel even more alienated when they’re invited out shopping for the baby they’re not excited for.

I know that for me, my last two pregnancies were unplanned and I was not excited. I was on birth control, I was not in an ideal situation and definitely not looking at all to add more children to my life. I had planned on having two children and only two. Nature had other plans and now we have #4 on the way. I remember being very angry when I found out I was expecting my 3rd. And then very sad when I found out about our 4th. Both took a lot of time to get used to. I projected a happy mood and spoke of plans, but on the inside my heart wasn’t in it.

I feel where I lacked in attachment to my pregnancy and growing baby(with #3) I tried to make up for by researching best outcomes and how I could get those outcomes. Which turned out great in the long run. I found my instincts in parenting(attachment parenting), I was very successful at breastfeeding him and bonding with him chemically, I had a natural delivery with him, so I got all of the oxytocin rush and hormone. My not bonding with him during my pregnancy turned into a beautiful thing because I ended up giving him a beautiful first two years of his life.

Mothers are often alienated when they voice feeling this way, as if they’re some sort of monster. “Oh my gosh, how could you just not love your baby?” It’s not that simple. It’s complex and the mother might not even understand why she feels that way. It’s best to just come forward understanding, compassionate and caring. This isn’t easy for her.

Here are some other mothers’ and mothers-to-be’s experiences on the matter.

Heather writes about what helped her quell prenatal detachment:

“Ultrasounds helped with my first. Being able to see her and know she was really in there. Feeling her move and focusing on the idea that there was a baby doing that (which was still kind of an abstract concept to me).”

A mother, who wishes to be anonymous talks about the alienation she feels about her current(3rd pregnancy):

“…With this baby depression has set in early. Its not that i don’t love my kids with all my heart, but I am having a hard time feeling bonding with the baby in me. When people find this out, they assume I didn’t want this baby and immediately assume I was going to abort her or give her up.. Then they go into how i should have been more careful.. It really hurts my feelings because society makes you feel like you should always be excited. But it was the same with Baby H too. Once i actually gave birth to her I immediately felt a bond.”

Have you experienced prenatal detachment? How did you stop it? Did it get better as time went on or did it continue after baby was born at all?

Open Letter To Trolls

About these trolls first:

These are not your normal everyday comment trolls on Facebook or random blogs. These trolls are programmed to “seek and destroy” anyone who doesn’t have it all together.

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Trolls from Trolls With Wooden Spoons are people that really do have a sense of entitlement to pass guiltless judgement on anyone that they happen upon, no matter their situation, no matter their efforts to change the thing that they’re bitching about in the first place. They lurk EVERYWHERE that there might be a natural parenting discussion. They have an aversion to “the woo”, which is what they call crunchy parenting and you often see flame posts and screenshots of their obscene sessions of discrediting and bashing the natural parenting community. They are a parasite!

So this leads me to my letter(and excuse any expletives, if there are any):

Dear Trolls,

I don’t know who you think you are to pass any sort of judgement on people who don’t have their lives in perfect order. While you claim to “only be brutally honest” and “help people out whenever you can” I call BULLSHIT. You are not JUST brutally honest, you twist situations around to make it the person’s fault and tear the person down, and keep them knocked down. How does that help someone? How would you expect anyone to want to want help if that’s the sort of “help” they’re getting?

Not everyone will have their lives perfectly in order and I don’t know any good person that would treat someone this way that has been in the same situation as the person they’re bashing. It’s not just not right, it’s unfair. Wrong on so many levels!

Would you want people saying the same stuff about YOUR daughters? Would you get outraged and call it internet bullying? That’s what I call it. Bringing someone’s past back to haunt them over and over? Tearing them down with insults every chance you get? Yes, that’s cyber bullying. You are all bullies, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, pretending to “just be here to help”. I see no helping in the way you speak about other people WITHOUT their knowledge. How is that “helping”? Claiming to just be there to help people they think are troubled, but yet, most of the people you talk about don’t even know you’re talking about them and how fucked up you think their life is?

Guess what! YOU DON’T KNOW THESE PEOPLE OR THEIR FULL SITUATIONS! Best thing you can do for your sick sad minds is to focus on your own lives because they’re obviously not that great if you can spend so much time being c**ts about people you know nothing about.

Regards and Happy Holidays!

Daughters and Their Fathers

I think about this almost daily, as a now grown female, not having a positive male role model in my life. I think about daughters having a healthy, happy father everyday, as I see my husband play and adore and laugh with my daughter.

I recently read a piece by Joyce McFadden, Psychoanalyst, author of ‘Your Daughter’s Bedroom: Insights for Raising Confident Women’ and felt compelled to write about my thoughts on the importance of a father or 2nd parenting role model(maybe a 2nd mother? ;) ) in a girl and young woman’s life.

I grew up with an absent/abusive father. When he wasn’t gone driving truck on the road, he was high on drugs. I saw my mom get hurt physically by him, I feared his voice, his hands and his belt. “Wait until your father gets home” was my mother’s mantra when we were children. What a wonderful way to see a father. Someone to be feared, because he ruled with an iron fist…. or belt, what have you. I didn’t cut ties with him until two years ago and it was very freeing. Free of the holds his abuse had over me.

Girls shouldn’t have to endure that. They need to be cherished by their fathers, and as Joyce McFadden mentions in her article “not locked away until she’s 30″. Our girls need to be loved and respected, but they need to be given the freedom to make their own mistakes with the guidance and love of both parenting models.(if both are at her disposal) Young women need to trust their bodies and love the way they look, no matter what. Imagine being ashamed to look good to someone else because that enlisted security precautions by your father. “Lock up your daughter and get a shotgun! She’s got a boyfriend!” No. All you’re teaching her is that you can’t trust her, she shouldn’t trust herself, she can’t trust any boy, and that she is a VICTIM to the world.

Joyce Mcfadden goes on to name 3 things that fathers can do to ensure they are raising a daughter that can trust herself, her father and others she becomes close with. Those three things being:

1) Respecting her body and its capacities.

Meaning: Don’t avoid using correct anatomical terms of her body and don’t be ashamed of her maturing body’s process.(menstruation, etc)

2) Being close isn’t just when she is just a child.

Don’t become absent when she begins to mature into a young woman. It is so tempting for men to shut their eyes, plug their ears and yell “lalalalala” when the mention of their daughter maturing comes to subject. They can’t fathom the loss of their daughter’s innocence after the pre-pubescent years. They can’t imagine that their daughter might become a spectacle of young boys. Fathers remember when they were teenagers themselves. So the first instinct is to lock her away and strictly police any boy they might see near her. (I lovingly call this “shotgun complex”) Your daughter NEEDS to know that you’re by her side, even in the new body she has, that she will have for the rest of her life. Make her feel confident and let her trust herself.

3) She needs to be shown who the right guy is.

Can’t say enough that a young girl or woman will date a guy who is like or resembles her father the most. I was raised by abusive men, and I’ve dated abusive men. Men who remind me alot of my dad. My husband shares my dad’s first name. Pay attention to how you verbally address and view women around her. Or in general. Remember, these other women are also someone else’s daughter.

In conclusion, since it’s nearing 2AM here, I will finish with Joyce’s last paragraph of her article.

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“In my research, one of the most common things daughters said about their fathers was they wish they were more communicative. So, take the risk on behalf of your daughter, and open the door for the two of you to talk about sexual matters. Don’t worry if you’re nervous — in fact, cop to it. Tell her you weren’t raised to be comfortable talking about sexuality, but that you’re going to forge ahead because you never want her to ever question your regard for her wellness and happiness. She won’t care if you fumble through it at first. Let her know you understand her sexuality will be an important part of who she is throughout her life and that you want her to always be comfortable in, and proud of, her body.

Let her know she should be treated with the respect she deserves, and that it’s your honor, as the first man in her life, to set that bar high.”

WARNING: OB/GYN’s & *ahem* MED-wives With Attitudes

A compilation of sad and scary quotes from the people we’re supposed to trust with our babies’ and our lives:

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Wouldn’t it be great if people in the maternity field had this sign slapped onto their backs? So many women end up with these “special” OB’s or as I like to call some midwives “MED-wives”(midwives that are just as entitled and medicalized as OB’s). I’ve seen quite a few doozies over the last couple days, of women being ridiculed, put down and some of these providers were just plain stupid! I had fun putting these together and interacting with the people that shared their stories with me. Some of them may be a trigger, so if you see something you don’t like, please scroll past.

Darcy Anne heard this being said to her sister in law:

“I sat there and listened while my Sister In Law’s Ob told her that if she had a homebirth, she and her baby would die. Sister In Law said “So will you let me try a VBAC in the hospital?” OB said no. Sister In Law said “Fine then, I’m having a homebirth. Goodbye.” She had a beautiful VBA2C at home, 12 hours of labor.”

After being told someone else’s pregnancy results, saying she was pregnant, Korie says:

“An OB I saw told me I was selfish and my baby was doomed because I wouldn’t consent to a pap smear.”

At a practice where she was very briefly seen,  Kristyn said that she was told this by an OB/GYN:

“”I LOVE C-sections, I LIVE for C-sections……*pause*……but vaginal birth is nice too.” This was one of the OB’s with the midwife practice at the hospital that I saw briefly.”

Amanda had this said to her when she went to the clinic sick one day:

“This doctor asked me “uhh are you pregnant??” And then said “Do you even know how babies are made??” I wasn’t even pregnant!”

Kelli T was grieving when she heard this:

“I was in the midst of a miscarriage and there was a doctor that was sharing space with my ob/gyn who is a fertility specialist. I was laying on the table crying and she asked me what was wrong. I said that I didn’t want to lose my baby. She proceeded to say that it was God’s way of telling me my baby was going to be retarded. She achieved her goal of stopping the tears but i’m sure she wasn’t ready for the firestorm that followed that stupid statement. Needless to say, she was gone shortly after. I’m still amazed to this day that she thought that that statement was calming.”

Kelli Delgado heard this gem while in labor:

“When I was in labor with my first child, I expressed my concern to the OB that being in the lithotomy position compressed the pelvic inlet, resulting in less room for the baby to pass through (which, by the way, is standard anatomical knowledge). He looked at me and said, “This is why I wish pregnant women wouldn’t try and study up. No, being in the lithotomy position actually widens the pelvic inlet. You just need to stop breathing and push harder.””

Said to a fit and healthy  Kelsey H.  by a MED-wife:

“I need you to log your diet for two weeks so I can make sure that you’re giving adequate nutrition to your baby. Also, you’re due for the flu shot soon so you can keep that baby protected!”

And another from said “med-wife”:

“You really should consider circumcising this baby. After all, your first son is already circumcised and there are many benefits to the procedure.” When my friend questioned the “benefits” she started searching her office for papers (which didn’t turn up) and said, “Oh, there are benefits, trust me. I have some literature on it, I just need to find it. I’ll give it to you at your next appointment.”

Heather was looking to get a c-section when she heard this from her OB:

“Do you want the calender to pick out your csection date?”

Said to Aleta :

“Your baby is going to be too big, so we are going to have to give you a csection.” (Mother refused, baby came when doctor was out of town and no c-section required. Son came earth side 7lbs. 9 oz. At 39 weeks and 4 days)

When Aleta walked into the hospital in active labor and 4 cm dilated, her nurse tried to hang pitocin on the IV rack: “What is that?”
“Oh nothing, just pitocin. It’s standard for first time moms.”

While Terri was receiving an ultrasound, the OB informed her he/she would be using an internal ultrasound for the procedure. When she was apprehensive, her doctor said:

“If you can take a penis, you can take this!”

Said to  Heather A. prior to her required c-section:

“Can you hypnobirth your way through a c-section?”

“Someone like HER is basically guaranteed to have a cesarean section!” – OB to Heather K. when asked what the chances were that a first time mom with no pregnancy issues would need a true emergency cesarean.

This is the state of our maternity care in the U.S. and I know COUNTLESS women who have turned a blind eye because they just don’t believe it could be true that doctors could do that to someone they are supposed to care for. All I can do is present this information in a public place and hope someone who doesn’t know will have an open mind and change their thinking.

What has been said to you by a care provider?

Perineum by Materna Medical

Body by Vi is to fitness as Perineum by Materna Medical is to…. stretched perineum?

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Let me tell you what I mean by this. A company called Materna Medical has come up with a “labor device” to stretch the perineum slowly because they claim that the baby stretches everything too quickly and causes significant damage to the pelvic floor. While it’s true that injury can occur during the birthing process, it is rare that there is irreparable damage or damage that requires actual surgery. Most of it, such as tearing, is natural during birth. Here are some of the injuries they claim is so common in undisturbed vaginal birth.

The OB/GYN or Midwife insert this labor device in the first stage of labor. So they are asking women to come in during the beginning stages of labor for this thing to actually be “useful” in their eyes. Anyone that knows anything about laboring naturally and planning a hospital birth knows to wait as long as they can, so as to avoid interventions. 

This Materna Medical Laboring Device seems to be the new “first” in medical intervention. The first in a slew of more interventions to come, if the doctor convinces mom to have pitocin, an epidural and eventually or most likely a c-section or episiotomy. 

One of the biggest problems I see with this device is that it would NOT be needed if women were off of their backs during labor and during the pushing stage. The lithotomy position is widely used in hospitals because it’s more convenient for doctors to be able to see what is going on during the birthing process. What they fail to acknowledge is that this position closes the pelvic opening by up to 33% and this is what causes more significant damage and could lead to even more intervention, such as vacuum or forceps removal.

Yet another problem I see with this device is that since it is not FDA approved, they are using it on women in other countries to avoid being prosecuted or sued for damages. It says right in the first  paragraph of this page that it is not FDA or TGA(therapeutic goods administration) approved.

Maybe they should use less time and energy by studying normal birth instead of wasting it on devices that will be another lawsuit commercial in the next couple years. If more women were off of their backs in the labor room or weren’t even IN the labor room, we would not see injuries as significant as these. Researchers and doctors would not feel the need to create such absurd “devices” to prevent these injuries.

Women need to be more educated on first their RIGHTS as a patient. She cannot be told what to do or forced to do anything(be on her back) and she should stay home as long as possible and exhaust her other pain management options before consenting to an epidural so she can still birth in other, more natural and effective positions.

Weaning Levi: The Grief and the Relief

I wanted to wait at least a week to write about this, just to make sure Levi was done breastfeeding, but my heart is so full, I need to let it out.

I want to start by saying nursing my almost 21 month old son has been such an enlightening and beautiful journey! I have learned so much from him and from my peers during this time. It would be difficult to include all of it in one post. But I wanted to compile what I documented of our nursing relationship and what I have learned.

I had Levi late November 2011. The first couple days were rough, as he was in the NICU and he was hooked to several cords and wires. I hand expressed colostrum to syringe feed him the first day and the 2nd and 3rd days were spent ensuring he got a wide enough latch. We were discharged on the 3rd day, right after my milk came in, in full force.

My milk came in so strongly that I developed clogged ducts over the next week. It was so painful, I, even as a strong breastfeeding advocate, almost decided to call it quits to avoid the pain of breastfeeding with a clogged duct.

We made it through, of course, and he never had a bottle or drop of formula.

When he was almost 6 weeks old, we helped organize and participated in our local Target Nurse-In.

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My daughter, Casey, at the Target Nurse-In. Levi and I are in the top left corner.

I continued breastfeeding Levi, and advocating women’s rights, working with Michelle Hickman and many many other wonderful women, including Bettina Forbes and Danielle Rigg from Best For Babes, Jennifer from Family Friendly Business and Paala from her wonderful blog Paa.la and so many more!

This will be a bit pic-heavy, but this is all that I’ve documented of my breastfeeding relationship with Levi.

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This was a little ad campaign that I did around the time of the Target Nurse-In. I think Levi was about 7 weeks here.

Levi at 7 weeks, right before Naturo-Mommy blog/page was born!

Levi at 9 weeks. We struggled with a lazy latch for a time, because he liked to sleep while nursing and my supply was large, but we got over it.

Levi at 3 months. All that chunk was from my breast milk!
Levi at 3 months. All that chunk was from my breast milk!

He loved nursing so much that he would fall asleep with his face buried in my cleavage…

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I loved when he would gaze into my eyes as he’d nurse. Such a deep and powerful connection there.

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Four months old, looking into my eyes
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Eight months old, taking a nursing break from a camping road trip.

While we were pulled over at the gas station, I was almost accosted by a stranger who “didn’t want to see that” but my husband stepped up to the door and started talking to me. So the threw me a dirty look instead.

Nine months old and playing while nursing. I actually got banned from Facebook for a few days for this video.

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Eleven months old, support for a call to action by Breastfeeding Peaches of Georgia to help change legislation.

As soon as Levi turned 11 months, I started to become very nervous about breastfeeding and the holidays. Even more so, because Levi would just be turning one around Thanksgiving and my family is squeamish about full-term breastfeeding. So I wrote about breastfeeding during the holidays, in hopes that it would quell my fears and anxieties and help others that were feeling the same way I was feeling.

Sure enough, when I started nursing Levi after I ate Thanksgiving Dinner, my sister threw a jacket over Levi. To which he threw a fit and then everyone turned to see, when before they didn’t even take notice.

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Christmas marked just over 13 months of us breastfeeding & I was amazed at how far we’d come.

Although I was proud of our accomplishment, there was a nagging voice in the back of my head, egging me on to wean. See, Levi liked both breasts out so he could nurse on one side and twiddle the other. The twiddling drove me so mad that it made me not want to nurse. I tried for 6 solid months to get him to stop. A few months ago, I came to a place where the twiddling hardly bothered me anymore and I enjoyed nursing him again. It was almost as though my body was trying to tell me that this wasn’t going to last much longer, so I needed to embrace what was left of it.

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And since my daughter only saw me feeding a baby with a breast, she would nurse her baby dolls. This made me so proud!

When Levi was almost 15 months, I found a photographer to that would do portraits of me nursing. And I am so glad to have had that opportunity to capture him still as a small child and still breastfeeding.

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There was another call to action in March, when Facebook started going on the fritz with deleting breastfeeding photos again. Several people were banned anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days for these violations. So FB vs. Breastfeeding was created and a nurse-in ensued and at the time, I could only show my support through photos:

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At 16 months, he was most comfortable sitting up and nursing.
At 16 months, he was most comfortable sitting up and nursing.

This is around the time that the twiddling started to not bother me anymore. I’m not sure what happened, but I was very glad because I didn’t want to be done nursing but I didn’t want to feel like I was enduring the sound of nails on a chalkboard, either.

This is also around the time that my camera broke and my cell phone got turned off, so I really didn’t take any pictures after that.

This is the last photo I took of us nursing in late July. He’d just woken up from a nap and needed a little snuggle-milk.

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It’s hard to believe he hasn’t nursed in 3 days. He used to not be able to go more than 5 hours without breastfeeding. I imagined that I would need to help him along with weaning around 2.5-3 years old. He tugged at my shirt and whined and cried whenever I would try to disctract him from the breast if I didn’t want to nurse him at that time. This was happening just a week ago.

My breasts got extremely engorged for the first two days. He was nursing a couple times throughout the day and I always nursed him to sleep for nap time and nighttime, so I still had a considerably large supply at almost 21 months.

The first day, I continued to try to offer the breast in hopes to curb the fullness in my breasts. But he did the same thing every time. Biting and crying. He seemed to be in pain whenever he tried to nurse. He wasn’t the only one crying, though. I was so full that the stretchmarks on my breasts were no longer faded and it was painful to touch my breasts at all. I wouldn’t be able to encourage a letdown until the 2nd day and I started to accept that he may not want to nurse anymore. I put cabbage leaves in my bra to start the drying up process.

Today, I’m not swollen and sore, but I’m struggling with not having that closeness with him anymore. It was so sudden, so painful. While I’m sad, and missing the connection and chemical bond, I am finding relief in his independence. This mix in emotions is so confusing and I wish I had prepared myself more for this. I would like to just be content in his choice to be finished. I am, however, happy with the memories and the knowledge breastfeeding him has given me.

I made it past many milestones and overcame things I didn’t think I could overcome and helped to make a difference in my advocacy work. If it had not been for Levi, I wouldn’t have all of that and I feel so blessed and honored to have had that connection with a little person so special as him.

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Naturo-Mommy: Introducing and Explaining Naturo-Mommy

Naturo-Mommy is a safe-haven for parents seeking information without fear of criticism or ridicule for choosing differently. Naturo-Mommy’s biggest goal is parents making informed decisions based on reliable data and proof.

We at Naturo-Mommy believe we can educate enough people on more natural parenting and living that we can create a revolution for a healthier population and better generation. We not only rely on scientific evidence, but we rely on our fans for feedback to gain a better perspective and more information to attain our goal. Thank you to our readers, viewers and fans!

Elimination Communication: Naturo-Mommy on Elimination Communication

Elimination Communication is a practice where parents do not use diapers on their infants or young toddlers. Parents that use Elimination Communication watch their child’s cues as to wether they need to ‘eliminate’ waste and respond to those cues by putting them over a sink or an infant potty to catch the waste. Elimination Communication can be used anywhere, anytime, although people do use different degrees of techniques. Such as only using diapers at bedtimes or when you’re out and about or just going diaperless a couple hours a day. But you can definitely be successful if you are vigilant and have the time to put in for it.

Why Midwifery??

I’m writing this post as an assignment for a class I’m taking. This is where I collect my thoughts and then disperse them, so that others can relate to me. Enjoy!

Midwifery:


Why am I interested in midwifery? Why do I think it’s for me? How did I find out about midwives? After having two very medicalized and invasive(but not surgical) births, I knew I wanted a different way to have my third child. I knew even before I conceived my youngest that something had to be different. So, I started looking into more natural and alternative births.

This started when I was 32 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child. I started looking into natural techniques and took a hypno-birthing class. I was interested in natural birth, but I didn’t seem to have my mind wrapped around what a truly natural birth was. The idea of it was great, but the pressures of being at the hospital and having the drugs was overpowering and I caved.

When I found out I was pregnant with Levi, my youngest, I knew, for a fact that I would not have him in the hospital and I would not have drugs. Call it what you will, but my intuition kicked into high gear from that point on. I researched endlessly about birth and precautions to take to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy and delivery.

By my third trimester, I knew I wanted to be a birth professional. Wether it be a doula, midwife or OB nurse, it was going to happen. All of my research led me to one conclusion: that the state of maternal healthcare in the U.S. was in horrible shape. Women’s needs are disregarded and are coerced and even forced to do things they did not want to do, all in the name of a healthy baby. It never mattered to these healthcare professionals HOW the baby came into the world, but if a live baby was delivered, they’d done their job and that was good enough.

This is not true. All a mother wants is to have a healthy, happy baby. This is why they are swayed so easily to do a doctor or nurse’s and midwife’s bidding. My mission in becoming a midwife is to educate women about their bodies. Not just in childbirth, but their overall health, to live a long and fulfilling life.

To me, midwives are the ones meant to care for women. When a complication arises, this is the Obstetrician’s job. To treat the complication and resolve it. Low-risk women do not need to see an obstetrician, because an OB’s training doesn’t cover an uncomplicated pregnancy and labor. Because obstetricians deal with complications, most will warn any low-risk mother about something happening so that they get what they need.

If a labor is taking too long, better put her on pitocin! If she’s feeling too much pain from the pitocin, better get her that epidural. The epidural stopped her contractions, better up the “pit”! Well, now the baby is in distress, we better give her a c-section! This is the famous phrase that women in the natural birth community like to call “cascade of interventions”.

Obstetricians and OB Nurses are not trained in the normal physiology of birth. In their world, women are pumped full of drugs, laiden with wires and IV’s and stay in bed until it’s time to push or the mother or baby show signs of distress, leading to c-section, in 33% of births. As well as laying flat on their backs, pushing to a 10-count.

Midwives are trained in the natural physiology of birth. Gravity is nature’s best friend. A laboring mother needs peace and calm and resolve and positive affirmation to give birth. This is often not facilitated in hospitals. Often times, there are doctors and nurses coming and going. All of these strange people, in a strange environment(hospital), touching you and inserting things into you, sometimes against your wishes. This can cause longer labors, and will stall a labor, leading to the mother to be convinced that pitocin is needed.

This is what I want to change. I want women to be in tune with themselves. I want them to feel empowered and to feel joy as they come closer to meeting their baby. I want them to know their bodies. I want them to know their rights as a patient. I want them to be able to cure a condition, instead of trying to cover it up with drugs (i.e. high blood pressure, onset of pre-eclampsia, extreme morning sickness). I want to give women the power to choose the birth that they want, because they know what is best for themselves. Because this is something I did not have with my first two children.

I feel midwifery is something that would be a good fit for me because I am compassionate, and have respect for peoples’ wishes when they express a need for something. I am always eager to learn something new, even if I know a considerable amount about the subject. There is never a shortage of knowledge in the field of childbirth or care for women and I know I would flourish in that environment.

Knowledge is power and I want to give women the gift of the knowledge that their bodies are just as they should be. They are not broken. They are not ill. 40 weeks is not their expiration date. Women, as complex as our bodies may be, are made this way for a reason. We were built to create life and bring it forth. Birth is a big deal and I see it as my duty to let women know this.

Naturo-Mommy’s Guide to Achieving a Natural Birth

A guide to achieving a natural birth                                        Note: All pictures are used with permission

Most women that choose to do attachment parenting or have had traumatic birth experiences in the past are in the process of educating themselves on pregnancy, labor and birth. Birth is one of Naturo-Mommy’s goals and passions to educate women (and their partners) on their bodies. The more you know, the more in control you’ll be over your labor. Knowledge is power, if you’re in the presence of a care provider that wants it their way. I’ve decided to take it upon myself to write out some things that have helped me and those around me achieve a natural birth.


Choosing A Care Provider

It’s always very important to choose your care provider very carefully, if you choose to get prenatal care. It’s not wise to settle on just any care provider, if you have more than one to choose from, because you just don’t know what their bedside manner is like or if they’ll try to push you around. Always look up online reviews of the doctors or midwife you are choosing. If you don’t see much good about them, steer clear!

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Birth Attendants

One thing that I want to make clear is that midwives and OB/GYN’s are not the only birth attendants you can have at your birth. There are women who specialize in support, compassion and advocating for your needs during labor, when you or your partner cannot. She is a doula and a doula can be very invaluable, and act as a loving, patient friend during a difficult time during labor, whether it be trouble with you, your baby, your doctor or nurse pushing things on you that you don’t want. She is there and will help. Your doula may also specialize in post-partum care, and this can include helping you care for yourself, helping with breastfeeding and even placenta encapsulation, which we’ll get to later.

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Birth Plan

Say what you will about birth plans, but they can be just as valuable as a doula. If you want to be left alone during labor, write it down. If you don’t want fetal monitoring, write it down. Make sure to share your birth plan with your provider a few weeks in advance so you can talk about it in future visits and your wishes won’t be announced last minute and surprise an unsuspecting Obstetrician. I made this mistake with my youngest. “Oh my! What’s a fetoscope? I’ve never seen one.” “You want delayed cord clamping? I don’t do that.” “You’ll have to ask the nurses about doing minimal monitoring.” You don’t want to be in that spot of explaining yourself on several topics in one setting. If you plan on having a few people at your birth, it might be a good idea to tell your care provider in advance as well.

Here’s a good birth plan template


When Labor Begins

Notify your provider when you know you are in labor. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to run off to the hospital or have your midwife and doula rush over to your house. Just go with the flow and time your contractions, if you like. Find a good groove and listen to music or meditate. If it’s at all possible and you have an established chiropractor, go get an adjustment so everything is aligned perfectly for labor! Take a shower and eat. It might be a good idea to eat something that’s sure to give you an energy boost, since your body will be doing a marathon. Eat some nuts or some noodles and definitely keep your sugars in check with some fruit, so you’ll be a little less likely to feel sick later on. Do things that keep you content and relaxed while in early labor. This is not an emergency, this is a joyous, exciting time, when you’ll meet your baby.

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It’s Intense, What Do I Do?

Your contractions are getting close together and becoming too much for you to handle. If you’re choosing to go to the hospital or stay at home, it’s important to tell your care provider how labor is progressing and what your game plan is and ask for tips on pain relief. Here are a few things you can do:

 

Shower or bath: Some people refer to water as nature’s epidural. While it doesn’t take away all labor discomfort, most women who use water for contractions find immense relief.

 

Pressure on hips: If someone is with you, have them press on your hips during contractions for counter-pressure.

 

Sway & rock: Find someone or something sturdy to lean forward on and sway those hips! Not only does it keep those muscles loosened, it helps baby come down more. You can also get on hands and knees and rock back and forth or sway your hips in that position as well.

 

Vocalizing: Vocalizing is a very important part of pain relief in labor. Some women do it more than others or are louder or more… colorfuwith their vocalizing words. I have found, through experience and asking around that one of the better vocalizing techniques to keep you more relaxed is to keep your throat, jaw and eyes relaxed and mouth in a wide “O” position during contractions. “Aaaaahhh’ing” through contractions will intensify them more. A good, long, low “ooooohhhh” does wonders! And if you need to curse or scream, DO IT! haha

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Being in water during labor is known among the natural birth community as
nature’s epidural and helps relax mom.

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The Staff Is Harassing Me About Interventions

You’ve arrived at the hospital and you’ve given your birth plan to staff. There is at least one nurse that doesn’t look at the birth plan or chooses to ignore it. She keeps asking if you want drugs, if she can check your cervix, the list goes on. It’s very important that you make your wishes clear or have someone there to advocate your needs. Whether that be a doula, your partner, family or friend, as long as they’re your rock as far as what you want and need. Only YOU get to choose what happens to your body and your baby. Nobody else. Another thing that a nurse or doctor might get you to NOT do in labor is EAT. Eat whatever you want, whenever. Your body needs fuel to facilitate labor! And of course, if you’re at home, no one will stop you from eating. ;)

Edited to add: Don’t feel like a failure if you do end up needing an epidural. It happens. I know a few mamas who’ve been way too exhausted to continue labor without one and just needed a bit of rest, or actually having a swollen cervix because their body wouldn’t quit pushing at 8 or 9 centimeters. There’s a place for epidurals, but they are an abused intervention. It’s a great option, though, for the reasons I explained above.

 

 

Different Positions to Bring Baby Down & Pushing

This is another area where you’ll need a strong advocate. A lot of doctors and nurses don’t like a patient that won’t “be good and lay down”. I know that’s not the case for ALL, but it happens more than you’ll care to know. I’ve heard of women being FORCED to be on their backs. Get in any position that is comfortable for you and ask for whatever you need. Hip pressure, help getting to hands and knees, swaying your hips and holding onto someone. You want to keep those hips open for baby to descend. When it’s pushing time, you want to TRY to stay off your back unless that’s what you feel is right. Being on your back closes up your pelvis by 30% and baby will need to go under your pelvis and UP and out, so you’re essentially working against gravity instead of with it. More effective positions for birthing are upright positions, such as: Squatting, Birthing stool, or full upright standing. You can also use positions that don’t involve being upright. Hands and knees is always great. Side-lying with one leg up is good for a wide pelvic opening.

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Good upright, squatting form, supported by partner. Both effective and intimate.

 

In The Event That A C-Section Becomes Necessary

You can get a spinal block, which is when the anesthetic goes INTO the spine, whereas an epidural is right outside of the spine. You can get the epidural, of course, or you can be put to sleep. Anything is possible when it comes to spinal pain relief, because sometimes it doesn’t work. In which case, usually in an emergency, they’ll put you under. If you’re awake, you still need your lovely family, friend, or whoever to advocate for your needs in this vulnerable time. Explore your options for what you’d like when baby is being born, because it’s not just cut and go. Bonding is still crucial, even with c-sections. And even if you end up with a c-section, do not feel like a failure. Your body isn’t broken and you can always try for a VBAC later or a gentle c-section if that’s what you’re comfortable with.

 

Aftercare

Everything that happens after the birth is crucial to yours and your baby’s bonding as well. Even if you end up with a c-section, you might try immediate skin-to-skin so that the two of you can bond chemically through touch and sense of smell. The oxytocin coursing through your body is there for a reason. That wonderful love hormone! Having baby close for even the first hour is very important. Baby does NOT have to leave your side, unless showing signs of distress. If baby is fine, which is usually the case, baby stays with you, with the cord attached until it’s done pulsating, nursing, looking at each other. Never allow traction to be applied to the cord to expel your placenta. This can lead to hemorrhaging. Let it come on its own. Make sure you and your little family are left to relax and bond, whether you’re in hospital or at home.

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Breastfeeding immediately after birth helps the uterus
contract down and release the placenta.

 

(Admin Lizzy with her youngest- home birth)
(Admin Lizzy with her youngest- home birth)

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Birth group mama (who chose to remain anonymous)
Birth group mama (who chose to remain anonymous)

It’s very important to educate yourself on natural techniques, such as the ones described. Side effects of medications offered to you in the event that you need them and also things such as delayed cord clamping, skin-to-skin, keeping your placenta for encapsulation or a placenta print, etc. I hope that this helps even a few mothers cope with labor a bit better. My biggest hope is that women make more informed decisions and not be forced into something they aren’t comfortable with because their doctor is bullying them. Informed consent is important. Knowledge is power.

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Advocacy & Activism: Why gentle Advice and Guidance is Better Than Fear-Mongering

Written by: Becky

Advocacy and activism- You might ask why I am writing this and what is my point in comparing the two? What’s good or bad about one or the other? What’s the beef? Why the negative connotation? I’ll tell you.

 

We all know that children don’t come with how-to manuals. We all know that people give unsolicited (and unwelcome) advice. “You’re holding her wrong.” “You’re holding him too much, don’t spoil him.” “He’s still breastfed? Time to wean!” “WHY aren’t you breastfeeding?” One of mommy’s biggest pet peeves, yes? We want to figure it out on our own and when we want to know more, we will search it out by asking a friend or taking to our friend Mr. “Google” with his copious amounts of helpful links. Right?

 

The problem with advice given by well-meaning parents or care providers is that it’s difficult to determine if they want to push an agenda or are really trying to help you. I call this advocacy versus activism. 

 

This is solely my experience and my opinion based on my experience. Although they are on the same level in many ways, there is a huge difference between advocacy and activism. Meaning one similarity is that we are all out there, trying to make a difference. On the other hand, advocacy encourages gentle advice, love and encouragement. Putting your information out there at home plate, instead of searching people out. Activism (which I am COMPLETELY guilty of in the past), I have found, is fraught with people driven by fear, resentment and anger. There are many injustices that need to be rectified in this world. They will all be resolved with time and love. Fear-mongering and the pushing of agendas scares people away. Activism is alarmist. Advocacy is gentle, loving and understanding. There is no black and white. There is always space between those lines for a bit of gray.

 

 

Advocacy promotes drawing out the circle of influence out through awareness, whereas activism often focuses all attention on negative feedback and attacking instead of reaching an equal solution.Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 1.33.27 AM

How do I define an activist vs. advocate?

 

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Here is an example of what I mean. Which statements are you more likely to follow along with or ask more about? Which do you think is lactivist and which do you think is breastfeeding advocate?

 

Breastmilk and Formula

 

“You’re formula feeding? That stuff is POISON! Why didn’t you get donor milk? You probably didn’t try hard enough to breastfeed.”

OR (if you choose to say anything at all)

“Don’t feel ashamed or feel like a failure. It sounds like you tried your best with the support you had. I know you’re a good mom and have your baby’s best interest at heart.”

 

And so on and so forth with the rest of the “mommy wars” topics. My position in all of this? I’m an advocate. I do slip up at times when passion takes over and push my beliefs. But it’s not who I want to be as far as making changes in the parenting world. I strive to make all options known to parents that are interested in knowing. Nothing is more rewarding than giving advice to someone who asks and hearing a success story or a simple thank you for the gentle and understanding information I’ve given.


This is Naturo-Mommy’s philosophy: A safe-haven for parents seeking information without fear of criticism or ridicule for choosing differently. Our biggest goal is parents making informed decisions based on reliable data and proof.

Naturo-Mommy’s Monthly WAHM Product Review- Featuring: Baby Monsters Boutique

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Thank you for viewing our second monthly WAHM Product Review! We at Naturo-Mommy are thrilled to see that requests to be featured in our monthly WAHM Product Review are coming in. We want to see you on our page and we want to see your business grow!

 

This month, we are featuring a BRAND NEW WAHM Product! We are proud to introduce Christina, of Baby Monsters Boutique. This little operation started out like many WAHM businesses. It was a hobby for Christina that filled her time and as she made things for her adorable girls.

 

Her hobby quickly blossomed into requests from friends and then a full fledged small business venture. Baby Monsters Boutique specializes in adorable tutus and headbands for little girls.

 

As you know, when we do reviews at Naturo-Mommy, we have a product sent to us to use for review. We were sent a Patriotic (4th of July) Tutu along with a red crocheted headband with a beautiful fabric flower clip attached.

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I received the tutu and headband only 3 days after request. (this was from California to Montana) They were packaged neatly and were undamaged upon opening.

 

These accessories were tailored for a little girl and not an adult size, so I decided to have my 3 year old daughter do a little modeling for me.

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My daughter LOVED putting on the tutu and headband. She said she was “a sparkly princess.” These were easy to put on, (even for a wriggly 3 year old.) The headband came custom with the fabric flower clip that just slid into the crocheted latices of the headband. Everything was secure, snug and fit perfectly for her size and the age I ordered for.

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We had loads of fun taking pictures for this review as well. I will show a few more of her (just because she’s so darn cute) and move onto the conclusion.

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Isn’t she a peach? Just love her to death!

 

Alright! In conclusion, this product is well thought out. Not only can you order tutus, but a headband with accessory. Bonus for moms who want an extra pretty for their little girl! The order was shipped in a timely manner and was undamaged upon opening.

 

Shipping is INTERNATIONAL with EXACT shipping fees included in the total of the purchase. She welcomes custom orders. Orders can be made through their Facebook page and email (babymonstersboutique@yahoo.com) until arrangements are made for a larger clientele base.

 

For more information on being featured in our monthly review, please email us at naturo_mommy2@yahoo.com or message us on our Facebook Page.

 

 

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder- This Means You

Every woman has her own perception of beauty. But for many, they have the media’s perception of what beauty is or what we’re told beauty or perfection is. And it starts at a very young age. One web article that comes to mind, written by Lisa Bloom titled How to Talk to Little Girls, expresses that the media’s impression is put upon girls at a young age. Even before the media can REACH them, when adults gush about how beautiful or gorgeous those bows and dresses are on them. One quote from the article: “In my book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, I reveal that 15 to 18 percent of girls under 12 now wear mascara, eyeliner and lipstick regularly; eating disorders are up and self-esteem is down; and 25 percent of young American women would rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize. Even bright, successful college women say they’d rather be hot than smart. A Miami mom just died from cosmetic surgery, leaving behind two teenagers. That’s another post in and of itself.

 A dear friend of mine, Chelsea, (who has expressed she does not wish to be anonymous) wrote a very touching, raw and truthful post about her struggles with body image, placed on her by the media. One of many victims to society’s portrayal of beauty. I learned a thing or two about body image and about myself after reading her heartfelt words. (And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry while reading them) She’s smart, funny, so fun to be around and doesn’t take any bull from anybody. She’s an amazing mother, daughter, wife and friend.

I can go on for days on this subject, but her words say it all. Hence, why I have only written 2 paragraphs.

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  I am a woman. I am 22 years old. I have unruly, naturally brown hair that is subject to change from blonde to purple depending on my mood. My eyes are blue. My complexion is scarred from acne, and constantly reddened by slight rosacea. I am five-foot even and somewhere around 205 pounds—my scale is not accurate, that seems to be the average. My breasts are not the same as before I had children, and neither are my hips; both have been widened and the skin is not firm. Stretch marks line my hips and stomach, which is strong, but not firm. My thighs rub together when I walk and I am constantly on the hunt for a pair of jeans that won’t wear out there for the next few years. It’s a pipe dream. I have no pinky toenail on either of my feet.

       When I was a child, I wasn’t small, except in height. I was bullied by my peers about my weight and acne, among many other factors, to the point that at ten years old, I told my mom I wanted to die. When I was in middle school and high school I struggled with my weight, eating disorders, miracle acne cures and ‘the swimsuit for all body types’. They never seemed to provide one to flatter my body type. I would spend hours in front of my bathroom mirror, praying for the strength to be better, to do better, to eat less and exercise more. I took my pocketknife to my skin. I strived to be perfect, like the models in magazines. Firm stomach, tiny waist, thin arms and thighs. Stop biting your nails. Makeup, makeup, makeup. Cover the imperfections. My entire high school experience was unhappy as I strived for an impossible goal. The worst part was I was too good at acting. Some of my friends noticed the little things. The big things stayed buried so deeply, I didn’t even realize I wanted someone to see them.

       I was lucky. I never hurt myself physically so badly that I was hospitalized or anything. However, so many women aren’t lucky. They get in too deep and can’t get themselves out. This past July, Fiona Geraghty hanged herself in her parent’s home because she was bullied by her own classmates about her weight. She was bulimic. Prior to her death, she was sent for therapy. After only four therapeutic sessions, she was released back into the caustic environment that served to push her to suicide. The average length of an inpatient stay is 83 days. Even that, experts say, is often well below how long many girls need to stay, and is often dictated by money. Imagine that? Less than three months to undo months, sometimes years, of damage to self-esteem.

       When I researched the information about Fiona, I was led to a website. In this heartbreaking article about this beautiful young girl who died as a direct cause to her feeling like nothing because of her body, I found fourteen links to articles where celebrities’ bodies were the main focus—how sexy and skinny and toned they looked; and I only went down as far as the article itself went—about a third of the way down the page. The links went on for much longer. What does that say about our true feelings on the subject? The truth is, it’s like putting a band-aid on when you’ve cut your finger off.

       I have been with my husband for almost five years now. In that time, he has done everything he can to take away the timid, shy, insecure parts of me and teach me how to be strong and confident in not only my body but my actions. Now, I’m not saying that the right man can fix everything—that’s just bullshit, excuse my language. I was just lucky to find someone that could help me be strong enough to face my fears and be better for them. What’s that saying—you can lead the horse to water but you can’t make him drink. My husband convinced me to trade my Vogue and Women’s Health magazines for craft magazines to expand my creativity. He stood behind me in the mirror and showed me how instead of ugly scars that marred my stomach, my stretch marks were symbols of the strength I had inside of me to carry and give birth to our children, and how each one was beautiful. He complimented my strong thighs each time I carried a load of groceries up the 27-step-high staircase to our apartment. He held me close as he whispered how he loved my curves.

       About a year after having my first son, I began to fall back into old habits. It lasted three months before I became pregnant again and my husband voiced his concerns about what he thought he may have been seeing. I vowed, never again. I threw myself into research, looking up ‘how to feel good about yourself’ and the like. Everything looked like those hand-outs you get in Health class about body image. Every body is beautiful, every body is unique and no one is better than anyone else for how they look. Once again, I have to call bullshit. Every girl in those classes rolls their eyes and continues to write notes to their friends about how their female P.E. coach looks like David Hasselhoff. I stayed stagnant on how I felt about myself for about a year. I didn’t like how I looked, but what could I do about it? I joined a gym; that lasted about a month before the insecurities of being in exercise gear and being ‘jiggly’ in front of fit, beautiful, tanned women got the better of me and I retreated with my tail between my legs. Then I ran across a book I’d had for ages, but never really opened, called The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form. There I found Titian’s Venus with the Organ Player. A beautiful, detailed, romantic painting, featuring a woman who by today’s standards would be considered obese.  I knew right then that I would make it my goal to look at myself as Titian looked at the women in his paintings.

       From there, I discovered a young woman purely by chance, called Gabi Gregg; a big girl with a big attitude and an even bigger love of fashion. You may recognize her as the ‘fatkini girl’. She’s a size 18 who is proud to show her body and wears what she loves, even if modern-day etiquette claims that she isn’t allowed to. My biggest desire is to have her outlook on how I love my body.

       I walked a long, hard road to get to where I am now. Every day I read a post on Facebook about so-and-so going on another diet, or hear my friend’s 12 year old daughter—12 years old!—say she’s fat as she simply grows from a child’s body to a young woman’s body, or see a commercial about how HCG—which is basically glorified anorexia—can get you that dream body. Our culture is so obsessed with how we look, we will give up our health to be what society says we should be. As women, we starve our bodies to look like prepubescent girls. We take in UV rays, we accept cancer into our bodies so that we can be tan. We spend thousands of dollars to let doctors take knives to our bodies to alter them in surgeries that could kill us. We cake makeup on our faces to look the ideal of perfect when in reality, every man I’ve asked hates it when women wear makeup. Can anyone tell what is wrong with this picture?

       I ask everyone to please, please, consider what I’m writing here. I’m not saying makeup and hair dye and clothes and nail polish are bad. I myself love to play with funky-colored hair and eye-shadow. I love buying new clothes. But there is a severe difference between doing those things for fun, and doing them to play into the media’s hands. Don’t let yourself believe that your only worth is how you look. Don’t let yourself believe that you aren’t worth what she’s worth because she has ‘better’ breasts or a ‘better’ stomach. Don’t even let yourself think, ‘I wish I had her…’ fill in the blank. Don’t judge your value on society’s perception of beautiful. If you have glasses, so what? If you have crooked teeth and they function just fine, you don’t need braces. If you gain weight, then you gain weight. It’s not the end of the world. Every woman is beautiful exactly how she is. I want you to look up pictures online. Use the terms ‘real women’ and even ‘big women’ if you’re a big girl. You think long and hard and decide which example you want to be.

       Mothers, fathers, please. Teach your daughters that the real worth of a woman is the strength inside her to rise above what anyone says she is incapable of. Her worth is in her capabilities and her love, her compassion. Mothers, if you see a woman on TV, or in the store, or in a magazine don’t ever say ‘I wish I could look like her’. Girls look up to their mothers as the model of perfection inside and out. If you say something negative about your body, your daughter will think that something is wrong with hers. Don’t tell her she’s getting chubby or she needs to cover up a flaw or ‘you’re too big to wear that’. Instead of letting her read fashion magazines and the like, let her explore her individuality by encouraging her to do the things she loves—if she likes horses, get her books about them; if she has an interest in martial arts, let her check out a dojo. Never tell her she doesn’t have the patience or attention to do something she’s interested in. Give your daughter support and love above all else.

       Thank you for reading my little rant. This is not everything I have to say on the subject, but all that I could think of in such a short time span. Please take what I have to say to heart. Check out the links. Look up pictures. Find your own role models, based on what they stand for. And above all else, never ever let someone else dictate how you should love yourself.

 

Sources:

 

 

 

 

 

Very First WAHM Product Review: Paperless Coloring Book!

We are proud to announce that we are launching a monthly Work At Home Mom product review. If you have items you repurpose or make to sell, please send Naturo-Mommy one to try so we can give you a good review and you build your reputation!

 

For our first product review, we are featuring Nix the Paper’s pocket sized paperless coloring book specially made to save paper and save your walls from being colored on when the kiddos run out of paper to color on. *thumbs up!* If you go to their website or Facebook page, you can see the selection of fabrics you can choose from for your coloring book. I chose this awesome rockstar fabric. These coloring books also come in a standard coloring book size, for a fair price!

 

Okay, so this is the beautiful book that was sent to Naturo-Mommy owner. It has a snap clasp to keep it closed and an elastic strip for easy and convenient carrying.

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This size comes with 3 oil pastel crayons that come out of fabric and off of walls with an easy wipe, if your child gets more “creative.” It also comes with a surged square of terry to wipe the pages clean once you or your child are ready to start over on the pages.

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The pages are made out of chalkboard fabric, that is surged to prevent fraying. This book comes with three pages. The larger size comes with more pages and more crayons. You can see how clean and wonderfully the crayons draw onto the fabric.

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Wiping down the fabric with the terry….

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Perfectly clean! Good as new! You can see on the left side of the book it has a fabric pocket to hold the crayons and cleaning cloth for safe keeping as well.

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My daughter is 3 and absolutely LOVED this book! When I tried it out, she was extremely jealous that I was coloring and not her. She loved that she could start over whenever she wanted with a quick wipe of the terry cloth. (you can see my son’s hand coming into the picture. He wanted that crayon!)

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Loving drawing with this new book!

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I think we have a satisfied “customer” on our hands.

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Conclusion: Overall, this product is well thought out, cute and fun. I was happy with how easily it could be cleaned with the cloth. It IS machine washable if absolutely needed. It is not recommended to continuously machine wash it, as it won’t last as long. I ordered one for my 2 year-old niece for a stocking stuffer at xmas and she’s in love with it!

Please check out Nix The Paper’s other products on their website and Facebook page! I can guarantee satisfaction.

For more information on being featured in our monthly review, please email us at naturo_mommy2@yahoo.com or message us on our Facebook Page!

Alot More Than a Nurse-In!

What started out as a peaceful day, mall-shopping with her family, turned into an unpleasant encounter after Brittany Warfield started feeding her baby from her breast on December 27th. She was covered, hiding any possible skin from view. A manager from a Hollister Co. store came out of the store, yelling at her to stop and move and that she “couldn’t do that there.” After informing him of the laws, he told her to move because of her stroller, which he claimed was blocking the entrance. (and it wasn’t)

 

Today, there was a nationwide nurse-in(even extending into Canada!), of all the Hollister stores within malls. At 3PM, women all over the United States and part of Canada plopped down beside Hollister entrances and breastfed their babies. It wasn’t so cut and dry for all of the locations that held nurse-ins, though.

 

In Concord Mall of Wilmington, Delaware, there were 3 mothers that were approached by mall security, telling them that what they were doing was indecent exposure and that “if they exposed themselves again, they would be removed.” A cop showed up, asking if there was any problem. He left without issuing any citation because the laws states that they could breastfeed anywhere they were permitted to be, which the security guards were not educated on.

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After all was said and done, no one was written tickets, no one had to leave. But it still had to be said that these women were harassed! Since these nurse-ins formulated from one Facebook event page, this incident was reported right back to the page. The mall’s Facebook Business page was pulled up and a few mothers (myself included) wrote our thoughts down on their wall. I was able to get screenshots of what was said by one mother and what the mall then responded with.

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Only 4 minutes later, Michelle, the mother that posted, captured this photo of all the comments before they started getting deleted by Concord Mall.

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The person in charge of the mall’s Facebook page then starts writing expletives, shocking hundreds of people, after seeing it saying, “It was an eyesore” and “Hope you guys don’t mind if I suck my wife’s breast in public.”

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These actions were not only distasteful and uneducated, but they were downright unprofessional. Being labelled a non-breastfeeding friendly establishment is not a good thing! After this fiasco, the mall deletes their Facebook page and insists that there never was a Facebook page, despite proof of there being one and having a widget on their website for their Facebook page.

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Now there is most likely to be another nurse-in for the mall instead of that Hollister store because they were not educated on laws, had no policies in place to protect breastfeeding mothers, they insisted these women be punished by being given citations for indecent exposure, there was no apology and when the incident came to light and the mall saw, they not only did not apologize, they made lewd, uneducated comments about their wife’s breast and the act of feeding children. Concord Mall of Wilmington, DE, we wouldn’t be so upset if you would educate your staff and be professional and if you wouldn’t lie and try to cover it up.

 

Even if you lose a bit of face, people will respect you again if you apologize and right this horrible wrong.

Breastfeeding in the Holiday Season: TEN WAYS to Eliminate, Educate & Elude Confrontation

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The holidays are a wonderful time to get together with family and friends. The warmth and cheer and the good food are enough to fill a person’s heart with contentment to advance into the next year in a good way. I, for one love Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. And for those that don’t celebrate these holidays, there is Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ashura, among many others. Breastfeeding can be daunting in and of itself. A lot of women don’t  have the courage to do it in public, around strangers. Breastfeeding around family members who are unsupportive or unfamiliar with it can be even more daunting. One reason being, that you know them and you have to face them on a regular basis. Or, at least, once a year.

 

You may be confronted by family members with rude comments or dirty looks and feel the need to leave the room to avoid these confrontations. If you feel most comfortable being in another room, by all means, do what you feel suits you best. But for a lot of breastfeeding mothers, they may not want to leave the room and miss the festivities. Which, in a lot of cases, you may be there longer than one feed for your baby or child and this can cause a lot of missed time with family and friends.

 

If you feel you may be confronted at these gatherings, there are many ways to go about avoiding them or standing up for yourself and your baby to make your holiday stress free and family friendly. I have asked some mothers to share their experiences, breastfeeding during the holidays. Here are a few:

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Jessica writes:

‘My youngest son was born in March, so by the time Thanksgiving came around

that year, he had already passed the “recommended” ’6 month cut off’. I had never been shy about nursing in public, and

my family knew that well. I would proudly lift my shirt anywhere and

everywhere. Thanksgiving that year, I’m at my aunts house, trying to eat my

food, get my then 3 year old to eat anything I could get him to try, and my

8 month old was hungry.

 

I put him in the ring sling and situate it so no one could really see anything other than his

head, just out of respect for it not being my home. My uncle got up and left, came back

and grabbed his children. That made other family members take notice and they all got up

and left. Then designated my aunt to come in and tell me how inappropriate

that was to “whip out a tit” at the family table. And how no one felt

comfortable eating in the same room as me, if I could please go eat alone,

in another room. I smiled and said no, and continued eating. After that, I

didn’t speak to anyone. I made an extra plate to take home and packed up

and left.

 

By Christmas I thought it was settled. We arrived at Christmas dinner though, and

the first thing out of their mouths was asking if I brought a bottle so I wouldn’t flash people

again.

 

I wish I could say that my story has a happy ending, but it never happened. I went on

to breastfeed my son fora total of 29 months. My family is still very unsupportive of

breastfeeding but I don’t let it bother me, and I have no plan on adjusting my “behavior” for

their needs, as my job is to fulfill my child’s needs.’

 

Lisa says: ‘”You’re STILL breastfeeding? Isn’t he going to become too dependent on you?! (said of my then 1.5 yr old)…”‘

 

Jennifer writes: “My husband’s parents came up for a belated Christmas this past January. At the time, my daughter was 5.5 months old and still exclusively breast fed. I didn’t think anything of nursing her in the living room with my in-laws in the room. Apparently, this made the step dad uncomfortable, but we didn’t know that until a couple days later when my husband’s mom called to tell him. They expected me to go into another room to nurse my baby, in my own house. My husband was appropriately outraged, as was I. His mom even went so far as to say, and I quote, “I don’t appreciate her whipping out her breast in front of my husband.” As though I was trying to seduce a man twice my age by feeding my baby. Since then, the relationship has been strained, at best. It’s unfortunate that people are so narrow minded and prudish about the act of breastfeeding, but I refuse to alter the way I feed my children simply for someone else’s comfort, especially within the walls of my own home. I’m still breastfeeding my daughter, now 15 months old, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon.”


There is also attire you can wear, so that if it’s not practical or comfortable to cover, you can go uncovered without showing much. When in public, I do not cover because we are not comfortable that way. I wear a tank top under a shirt and pull up the t-shirt and pull down the tank top. Of course, there is nursing attire, but if you’re on a tight budget, like me, you work with what you have. There is often little to nothing shown when I use the shirt-tank method and we’re both happy that way.

 

 

While these situations are often unavoidable, there are ways to diffuse them. Here is a list of 10 things you can do or say, if you are comfortable:

 

1. Using a cover is always an option, if you and baby are comfortable.

2. You may use this time to educate family members or friends. Just a short blurb about the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding or extended breastfeeding.

3. You may say things like “That sounds like it worked out for your children, but this is what works for our children and we are happy.”

4. Get the support of another family member or your spouse beforehand to intervene, so you have an advocate.

5. Laugh and make a joke about how you promise not to wave your nipple like the breastfeeding banner without a child attached.

6. If they mention that there are children in the room & they don’t know what to tell them, offer to explain to the children what is happening so the parents don’t have to try to answer their questions.

7. When talking about breastfeeding, remember to smile and sound light hearted. Hopefully, putting off the defensive stance your family member or friend may have.

8. If you’re asked why you haven’t put it in a bottle, explain that you (and these are just examples) a) can’t pump b) baby won’t take a bottle c) you couldn’t pump enough for baby for the holiday gathering d) you forgot your pumped milk

9. If they offer solids, say that you’re worried about an allergy or tell them that it is not recommended by AAP or WHO to introduce solids before “X” months or that they can’t have (insert name of food) until “X” age.

10. Your baby may have teeth and this also may prompt comments about solids: “Your baby should be eating food since he has teeth.” “You’re breastfeeding AGAIN? Here, give him this.” You could say: “No thank you, we haven’t introduced that into his diet yet.”

 

I hope that giving these examples and experiences have helped you go into your holiday season a little less stressed and more confident in your choice to breastfeed your baby. Happy Holidays!

Best For Babes Creates a “911″ for Nursing Mothers!

(Originally posted 10/4/12 on blogspot)

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Best For Babes Foundation has created a hotline for women who breastfeed in public, who happen to get harassed in some way by a business owner or manager, or are in some way not protected by law. When you call the hotline, the incident is recorded with detail and dates. This hotline is necessary, because some women just don’t have the support to have the big voice to change things that need changed. Another is so there is recorded proof of incidents for businesses that have caused breastfeeding mothers grief and for legislators to change state laws (like in Idaho and Georgia). Let’s not forget the working mom, who may need to pump at work! I have heard countless stories of mothers not provided a place to pump because law does not require it. A friend of mine is still in high school and is breastfeeding. She needs to pump during school hours, but is afraid that her need to pump will result in resistence from teachers, as she had trouble even getting her assignments when she was on bed rest during her junior year in high school. Every breastfeeding mother needs to have this number in her phone, so she knows she has support and will be heard. This is a nursing mom’s 911!

http://www.bestforbabes.org/announcing-1-855-nip-free-the-best-for-babes-nursing-in-public-harassment-hotline

 

Above is a link to information on the new hotline. Check it out, pass this along. Too many women stop breastfeeding or won’t attempt to, due to harassment and lack of laws protecting their RIGHT to feed their babies the way nature intended. Please get this out there.

 

UPDATE!

Best For Babes launched their hotline last week. Since the launch, they have received several phone calls, reporting their experiences. This is NOT a made up problem. Women don’t go “looking for” negative attention when they feed their babies in public. Women have a voice now, through BfB. There is strength in numbers and we all need to work together to normalize breastfeeding. Here is a link to their progress with the hotline after just one week:

http://www.bestforbabes.org/nip-hotline-news-8-harassment-incidences-in-first-week