Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You ask....I answer

I never really imagined that Mummie's Nummies would turn into such a close group of Mummies. Our Facebook Page is pushing 1,000 Mummies and Daddies......and our closed Facebook Group has created some AMAZING friendships. I have gotten to know so many Mummies and I LOVE it each and every day! I have joined in on the excitement of new nummie lover news, big milestones, weaning experiences, happy and sad moments.... not to mention WEATHER related scares! I thought it would only be fair to open up a Q&A of sorts. So I gave Mummies a week to ask me questions... not really knowing what you all were going to come up with.... I was a bit nervous! Please keep in mind that my answers are mine alone...... how I answer your questions work for my family. I am a HUGE researcher, so every decision we make for our family is not made lightly. What works for us may not work for everyone. I am just a normal Mummie, who strives to do the best for her family. If you do not see your question or have another one.... please feel free to comment on this post and I will do what I can to answer yours!

What about your exposure to breastfeeding before kids, & how it formed your opinions/expectations when you were preparing the breast feed your girls?

I was about 19 years old when I first saw someone breastfeeding. I was working at a daycare (props to one year old teachers!!!) and was "visiting" the infant room. One of my co workers was sitting on the floor with a blanket on, talking to another teacher. I asked her if she was "cold", she giggled and said "nope, just feeding Kira." I remember thinking "Wow! That is awesome." (Kinda sad that THAT was my first experience.... but hey what can I say?) I can not say the exact moment when I knew I was going to breastfeed my children.....I can not even tell you that I came across negative reactions to breastfeeding.... I grew up with NO experiences. I remember when I was pregnant with Pooker, I got asked (A LOT) if I was going to breastfeed. My instant answer was "yes, as long as I am able to, then I am." The next question was (almost ALWAYS following) "How long are you going to breastfeed?" I never really thought about it before someone first asked me that. It was kind of odd to me that someone was asking me a question that I never thought about. It never crossed my mind "how long" I was going to breastfeed.... but I felt I HAD to give some sort of answer... so I always answered "1 year." 

While I was pregnant with Kit Kat, I found myself getting asked the same questions. But this time my answer to the "how long" question was ALWAYS "My goal is 2 years or until she is done with me." I am not sure if it was the fact that Pooker and I were 1 month shy of our 1 year goal or if I was simply better educated. But I was very determined to make it to our 2 year goal, with Kit Kat.

Pooker had to stop breastfeeding at 11 months, not her choice or mine. But I will get to that in a second.

What do you do when your baby weans and you miss bf'ing?

This one is a bit hard for me. Pooker never really weaned and neither of us were ready to stop. I am high risk while pregnant, we have lost a total of 3 babies. Our first two lost at 9 weeks and 6 weeks, while our third was lost at 4 weeks while I was pregnant with Kit Kat. (I will get into this in a little bit as well.) So when my OBGYN told me I had to stop breastfeeding (I was cramping, bleeding and clotting pretty bad and we were concerned we would lose Kit Kat like her twin) I was shocked. It never crossed my mind that I would have to stop breastfeeding Pooker. Kit Kat was EVEN planned...... to be honest I never even considered the whole "breastfeeding thing" when we got pregnant with Kit Kat. At that time Pooker was nursing 6 times a day (every day!).... so needless to say it was a HUGE shock to both of us. We managed with a ton of snuggles (although thanks to pregnancy hormone supplements I needed to take.... touching my SUPER engorged and SUPER painful breasts was HORRENDOUS! It brought me to my knees if I brushed up against them!) But within 2 weeks I was no longer engorged and I was dried up. The whole process was emotionally harder on me than on Pooker. I had a pretty good frozen stash built up... so she got through the next 3 weeks with breastmilk/formula mixed bottles....  after the first two days she seemed adjusted WAY better than me! I on the other hand, felt like I failed her horribly. But that was all the nasty hormones talking! I know now I gave her the best 11 months I could, even with all of her health issues. We had 11 solid months of breastmilk goodness! 

Now the thought of Kit Kat weaning is SCARY!!!!! Ask me this question again when she decides she is "done" with me! I might be a horrendous mess! hehe.

Before you were married, did you ever imagine what having kids was like, did you think about breastfeeding them?

I went to school for Early Childhood Education and have worked with children (1 year to school aged) all of my working life.  I thought  I knew what having children would be like. OMG! I was so wrong! It is TOTALLY different when it is YOUR child and not one of your "students."Knowing that your child is the one crying is TOTALLY heart breaking! Knowing it is your child that needs YOU..... you fly in like Super Woman without even thinking. Being a teacher vs being a parents is a bit different. I do not get any "breaks" as a parent. There are no "Hey Sally, I am taking a 10 minute break" or "Hey ladies I am heading to lunch." There is no "pick up time" no "quitting time." You are ON every single minute of the day. So I guess that was my major surprise. But yes, I knew before we got married that I would breastfeed.... even my husband had mentioned it. It was more like "hey when you breastfeed....." there was no question. Although it is weird looking back as we never really discussed it! But I guess that is a great description of us together..... we are most of the time on the same thought pattern.

How long have you known what you would name your kids when you had them?

I am going to let you in on a little secret. Normally I use the girl's nick names when I mention them. (And we really do call them by those names!) But since this question is about their names..... Let's see... we have Joslyn Olivia, also known as Pooker. Then there is Katelyn Isabel, also known as Kit Kat. 

For Joslyn's name.... I had it picked out since HIGH SCHOOL! (No joke!) I was one of the first ones to demo the "Baby Think It Over"doll in my high school. (Even have a newspaper clipping of me holding her!) I named her Joslyn back then. I have ALWAYS been in love with the name... although I spelled it differently then. The "new updated" spelling was my husband's idea. Her middle name (Olivia) means peace. Joslyn was our 3rd pregnancy in 11 months. When we found out she was...well a she.... we picked her middle name as a way to fit what she would bring us.......peace. Her initials are (and yes this was planned) J.O.S (also the first 3 letters of her first name.)

For Katelyn's name.... that was all my husband! I told him he could name her if she was... well.... a her. As we already had a boy name picked out (HA! Don't ask.... that one will remain hush hush) I thought it would be fair to have him have a go since I would not waver on Joslyn's name. Katelyn's middle name is Isabel...... which would make her initials (and yes.. planned as well) K.I.S...... for all the kisses she would be getting!

Both names were decided when we found out we were pregnant..... we did not wait until we found out the sex of the girls in order to name them. It was more fun to say "Hi there Joslyn/Katelyn" when I was on the ultra sound bed, finding out we were having a girl.

Since Kit Kat isn't a "baby" have you ever got negative reactions about "still" breast feeding? How did/do you handle them?

Kit Kat is 28 months old and yes.... she is a Nummie LOVER! She does not eat in public....since she only nurses first thing in the morning and right before nap. BUT with that said... I do sometimes catch negative reactions when people find out that she is "still" nursing. Most of the time it is from some family, but I am the only one who has breastfed for "this long".... so I kind of expected it. When something is mentioned I simply say "yeah, she is nursing two times a day" and when they ask for how much longer, I say "when she is ready to stop." Then if the comments continue I will just smile and say "she loves it" and then that typically ends the conversation (sometimes with a few "icky looks.") Sometimes.... Kit Kat will "go after" other "nummie makers" regardless if they are retired "nummie makers".. to her they should all be in working order! That will get a "OH MY GOSH" reaction.. and when I respond with "she is a bit obsessed"... then the eyes get huge (like buggin' out huge) and a free hand proceeds to cover the boobs. Dude... she is not going to latch on to YOU...... so I am sure you will be fine. I try to educate people when I can, other than that I lay on the "sweet tone" and that will normally stop the conversation. Now I am sure stuff is said behind my back..... but I can not stop that. 

When you nip do you use a cover? Why so or why not?

I used a cover with Pooker... simply for the fact she did not mind it and I felt comfortable. I had turned a baby blanket she got (from her stay at Children's Health Care of Atlanta) into a nursing blanket by sewing on Velcro. I had her name and birth date embroidered on one corner of it and Kit Kat's name and birth date on the other corner. I tried (really tried) to use the same cover for Kit Kat.... but bless her heart she wanted NOTHING to do with it! With Kit Kat we just used her "snuggly" (her little blanket she snuggled with) to shield her... but that was more to shield from the sun as I had to hold it FAR out from her or she would FLIP OUT! I also felt more at ease with Kit Kat. I had more experience breastfeeding her and had more confidence in my ability... so not covering up was okay with me.

To me.... cover or not..... it is totally up to the Mummie and Nummie Lover. Not every child will let you block out their environment. It is in their nature to be curious and observant. No one should be judged, asked to cover or to move. It will be ten mins... 20 mins tops! Just chill out and let the Mummie feed her baby. I promise EVERYONE will be happier in the end!

What do you think of the way most hospitals educate moms after they have their babies?

I can only speak from my experience. When we had Pooker, then nurses and most of the staff was wonderful! They respected our choice to breastfeed and not once did Pooker leave our room or our side. The Lactation Consultant was a different story! She spent 3 minutes with us (after I requested her) and said that Pooker had a poor latch, no sucking ability and we needed to stop breastfeeding and do formula. WAHOO! WAIT.. WHAT??!! My husband and I were left looking at each other in pure shock! His exact words were "Well screw her!" We then worked with the nursing staff and taught Pooker how to suck (by training her with a paci.) But when she was transferred to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at 3 days old, Denise (the Lactation Consultant from HEAVEN!) saved our breastfeeding relationship. She stayed with us for HOURS, gave me her cell phone number and told me to call before I fed Pooker. She gave me the confidence in myself and showed me that I was not harming Pooker. I was so afraid to physically breastfed (I was planning on pumping for EVER the moment she was rushed to CHOA) I thought that she would die in my arms while she was breastfeeding. Denise was a flippin' super hero! 

Now with Kit Kat (same hospital) the nursing staff was once again AMAZING! We stayed away from the LC..... and we even impressed the nursing staff. Many of them came into our room to see the "perfect parents" as we didn't call for help, I only called when I needed pain medicine. Kit Kat never cried, my husband never left the room, and as they put it "breastfed like world class champs."

So in my opinion, it all depends on the hospital and the staff. If the staff is not over worked (which I believe the Lactation Consultant was) then it can make all the difference. I hate to think what another Mummie would have done if the LC told them to "stop breastfeeding and use formula." I have said before that I am stubborn (at times HORRIBLY stubborn) so I was not going to let someone tell me to stop breastfeeding my 2 day old baby. Probably made me want to breastfeed even more!!!

What do you think of nipple shields?

I do not hate them or love them. I used them briefly with Pooker. She literally had no sucking ability. She would not open her mouth wide enough (the staff labeled her "closed mouth") and used her tongue to push anything out of her mouth. The nipple shield helped her learn how to latch on.... and helped my Nummie Makers not hate me! Lord a poor latch is KILLER! I say it is worth trying if it will help. But nipple shields are meant as a temporary device, stuck to that I am think you are golden!

What about pacifiers? What do you think of them?

Pacis, in my opinion,  are fine. In most cases (I say MOST) pacis are harmless. BUT there are some cases where it can cause "nipple confusion." Some professionals say not to introduce a paci until 3 months old. Both of my girls got them within the first couple of weeks. One major factor about pacis (that I LOVE) is it can help reduce the risk of SIDS. Since Pooker had breath apnea... SIDS was a real and horrific threat for us. So anything to help reduce the risk was A-OK with me. 

Do you believe that the birth experience adds or subtracts from the breastfeeding journey?

I think that if you go through ANYTHING traumatic, it can affect anything that follows. That goes for birthing and breastfeeding. For me, my birthing experiences were not traumatic (thankfully) but that does not mean other Mummie's have not experienced it. So yes...... I believe some women who experience a negative birth can be affected in many ways.... their breastfeeding relationship being one of them. But with great support and understanding, anything can be achieved.

Homeopathic/home remedies or over the counter medications?

I actually do both. We try to use as much home remedies as we can... but we also use over the counter medicines. I am, however, learning more and homeopathic remedies.... and they are pretty interesting.

What's your opinion on vaccines?

OHHHHH a hot topic! I think vaccines are good and bad. (Weird answer?) We vaccinate our girls.... but we do not choose all vaccines. We do not get any flu vaccine and we have yet to give the MMR vaccine. We also follow Dr Sears alternative vaccine schedule. Once again...... it is all about the research on the parent's part and their choice. You need to follow what your heart tells you and what you feel is right for your family. But, before you choose....... always do your homework and research.

 If your kids could be multi-lingual, what languages would you pick?

That one is interesting! I would have to go with German (for my husband's heritage), French (for my heritage) and Spanish.

Do you use cloth diapers? If so what got you started? Momma cloth? Diva cup?

I did use cloth diapers (with Kit Kat) for almost a year and I loved it! An old high school friend of mine got me started.  I stopped using them when we moved into our house last year and never went back (I don't really know why..... I think I forgot about them!) Sad really... cloth diapers gave Kit Kat the cutest little Fluffy Butt! 

I do use a Diva Cup! I was introduced to them from The Trophy Wife! I was able to do a review and giveaway with them last year and have loved it ever since! I have not tried Momma Cloth....... I think I am good with my Diva-ness!

I'm gonna ask a personal one I know you have angel babies. How did you decided to keep trying to have a baby with the fear it might happen again? 

Near and dear to my heart. Yes, we have three angels babies. Our first baby, "Lima Bean", was lost at 9 weeks. Her (not confirmed to be a girl) heart stopped at 7 weeks..... but my body kept on going for two more weeks before I began to spot. 4 months later we got pregnant again with "Baby Heart". She (not confirmed to be a girl) could not hang on either and left our home at 6 weeks. Then when I was 4 weeks pregnant with Kit Kat I began to clot, bleed and cramp. We lost "Twin" at 4 weeks and Kit Kat had a hard time hanging in there.... I began having preterm contractions at 27 weeks. The contractions kept going until she was born at 40 weeks and 2 days. 

The fear of losing another is a bit more than I might be able to handle. All three about broke me and I am not sure if my body or my spirit can handle another loss. With Kit Kat we just kinda looked at each other and said "Hey wanna try again?" Well darn it if it took that ONE try (on Valentine's Day nonetheless) and WHAM! But her pregnancy was pretty rough..... so I think we both find ourselves thinking "what if" something happens this time? If we knew 100% the pregnancy would be smooth and we would have a healthy baby in the end, we might feel differently. But I can not right off another Nummie Lover.... I just can't. I joke with my husband and say "Check back with me when Kit Kat weans completely. I might be ready for a new nummie lover." His response is ALWAYS a creepy (or scared) giggle. So I don't really know! :-) 

Weight loss and breastfeeding; any experience?

I lost close to NONE with Pooker's breastfeeding journey. I gained 42 lbs with Pooker's pregnancy and lost 22 by the time I got pregnant with Kit Kat.  But with Kit Kat I lost almost ALL. I gained 29 lbs with Kit Kat's pregnancy. And let me tell you I was ECSTATIC! My trusted OB said "I want you to gain 20 pounds with this one. No more 40 pounds!" So I looked at him (on my last visit) and said "I kept to the 20 pound mark!!! Now can I have a cookie?" He laughed at me and said "I  meant 2.0. not 20ish. But yes.... you may have two cookies." I just loved him!

 **Funny side story: When I was in the THICK of my sickness (with Kit Kat) my OB said he would do an ultra sound to make sure all was well (I was 10 weeks along at this point.) I looked at him (all green and pukey mind you) and said "I love you." My husband groaned and said "Man, she hasn't said that to me in weeks." My OB said "Yeah, well I didn't do this to her" put his arms around my shoulders and walked me out of the room. "So there" was my reaction to my husband as I looked over my shoulder and saw him smiling.**

 But (anyways) when she began weaning, I found myself gaining again! That was a shocker! Some women loss it ALL.... some women don't. Sadly... it boils down to every woman is different...... and every journey is different. And when I say journey.... I mean breastfeeding journey. 

I hope I have answered your questions.... but if I have not, please feel free to ask more!

Sorry this post is so long...... you all had some great questions!


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