Breastfeeding Tips. The Cold Hard Truth…

Breastfeeding Is Hard!! Breastfeeding Tips. The Cold Hard Truth...

It’s hard to believe that simply feeding your baby can be such a hot topic among moms. Everyone has an option or breastfeeding tips. Also the pressure placed on Moms is unbelievable.

Breast is Best!

Fed is Best!

Formula is Best!

The never ending battle is on.

I follow a few Mom Vloggers on Youtube and one mom shared her experience breastfeeding on her channel. It got me thinking that if more mom’s shared their experience, how awesome would that be for new moms? So I felt I needed to share my story.

When I was pregnant with my first, I had a lot of pressure placed on me from my now ex-in laws to breastfeed. I was made to feel like they had all breastfed their babies, while washing cloth diapers in the river, in the middle of a snowstorm barefoot. So since I had a 1 year maternity leave, and nothing to do, I should have no issues. I mean breastfeeding is what all GOOD Moms do, I wanted to be a Good Mom right?!?

Honestly no one  had breastfed in my family. So I had no exposure to it growing up. So how hard could it really be?

OMG! It was hard! It was terrible. I hated it. What was suppose to be a close bonding experience quickly turned into a nightmare. I felt used.

Looking back now, I realize I was suffering from postpartum depression. I had a terrible, traumatizing induction, labour and delivery. Let’s be honest, considering that I got pregnant at 19 years old, and should have had a healthy pregnancy being so young, it was anything but healthy.  This all wore me down.

I mostly remember being alone during this time. My baby needed to nurse so much, but because I was shy, I was often in a bedroom nursing. I desperately needed to be with people, yet I was locked away in a room with a child I felt was just using me.

This was affecting my bond to him. I didn’t want to hold him, he might want to nurse. I didn’t want him to keep using me. This was all really new to me and I was really struggling to share my body with someone like this.

After 3 weeks I had enough and couldn’t do it anymore. I remember calling the public health nurse and asking her how to stop breastfeeding and switch to formula. I could tell she really did not want me to do this. She told me to replace one feeding with a bottle of formula for a week, then after that week replace another feeding. I told her that was going to take forever, she had no sympathy and said if I didn’t want to get mastitis(infection of the breast tissue) this is how it needed to be done.

At this moment I was beside myself, I couldn’t do that! I wanted this over now. So I called my doctor and he got me in for an appointment right away. I told him what was happening and what was suggested to me. He told me that wasn’t necessary and I could just switch one feeding nurse him, the next breastfeed him. After a day or two do 2 bottle feedings and one breastfeeding, then just stop. Following this advice I weaned him in a week.

My now ex-mother in law worked at the daycare centre in our local town, she slandered me to my friends who had children there. I was so selfish she told them. Implying that I was a bad mom, because you know GOOD Moms breastfeed. My family on the other hand completely supported my decision, so for that I was so grateful.

After all this I swore if I ever had another child I would not even try breastfeeding. I was going straight to formula.

Then a month shy of 7 years later I had my next child.

Over this time I had been exposed to more moms who breastfed their children. It actually started to become the norm. After some research my positions softened up on the subject. My oldest dealt with a lot of allergies and I wanted to do everything in my power to help my youngest to avoid this experience.

I made a deal with myself. I’d commit to it for 3 months. From what I read online after the first 3 months, typically breastfeeding becomes easier than bottle feeding.

The first few weeks were tough. My son was 5lbs 15oz at birth and 5lbs 8oz when we left the hospital. His mouth was so tiny that the newborn soothers I had brought for him were way too big for his tiny mouth. Luckily I made connections with this wonderful nurse’s aid, she snuck into the NICU and got Little Z a preemie size soother. But because his mouth was so tiny, it made getting a perfect latch difficult. So it was a bit painful to nurse for the first little while.

I think it was my second night home, I remember crying on the couch in our living room on the phone with the breastfeeding support line at 5am. My son had started breastfeeding at 10pm and at 5am was still nursing. He would not allow me to pull him away from the breast. When I had to stop to use the washroom he would scream until he was put back on the breast. As any mother knows he cry of a newborn rips at your soul. Finally he stopped and allowed me to put him down. I found out that this was quite normal as he was helping my milk come in.

However things were different this time around. While feeding him while we were out I no longer felt isolated. While I would leave the group and move to another room, I didn’t lock myself up in a room. Welcoming people to come sit with me and keep me company. I know I could have just nursed where I was. It was less distracting to be in a smaller group.

I remember one of hubby’s little cousin’s who was about 6 at the time asking to come with me when I went inside to feed the baby. I covered him up when we sat on the couch and started nursing while we talked. Then suddenly she asked me, so when are you going to feed the baby? She thought I was going to feed him with a bottle. I told her I was feeding him. “But how?” she asked. Just as she asked her mom came into the house. I told her I’m sure her mom would be happy to explain it to her. Her mom explained I was feeding the baby like cats feed their kittens with their body. That was enough of an explanation for her.

As expected nursing became easier and easier. The thought of the added hassle of washing bottles, buying formula, mixing formula, and actually having to get up in the middle of the night and mix a bottle first seemed like such a hassle. It was so much easier to reach over and feed him while we were still both half asleep.

3 months turned to 6 months. 6 months turned to 12 months. My ultimate goal was to nurse till he was 1 years old. Thing is when he turned 1 I could not image stopping. Then I read the World Health Organization(WHO) recommends that children be breastfed to 2 years old and beyond. So that became my new goal.

I want to recommend though that you are careful what you refer to nursing as with your child. When my youngest was about 16 months my friend showed up to pick something up a few minutes after he had woken up. I was holding him at the door chatting with her and suddenly my son started tapping my breast calling and yelling “BOOB!!! BOOB!!BOOOOB!!!” He was not interested in our conversation, he was hungry and he was hungry now! So make sure you call nursing something your comfortable with your child screaming for in random places.

At around 17 months, nursing got hard again. My son started biting me. I’m not talking little nips, he drew blood. Everyone around me it was ok to quit. But I couldn’t, the boob was the answer to many problems.

  • You’re tired? Here’s a boob.
  • You’re hungry? Here’s a boob.
  • You fell and hurt yourself? He’s a boob.
  • You’re sad? Here’s a boob.
  • Something scared you? Here’s a boob
  • You’re grumpy? Here’s a boob.
  • You’re bored? Here’s a boob.
  • I want to sit down and I am tired of chasing you around. Here, have a boob.

I was not ready to give up something that made my life easier!

So I called the La Leche League Breastfeeding Support line. The coach who called me back was so helpful. She was full of many breastfeeding tips. This was so encourageing me so much. She told me how awesome it was I wanted to work this out even though my son was already past a year old. I was also given me some great ideas, like dream feeding.

What is dream feeding? Dream feeding is when you feed your child when he or she is already asleep.

We figured that the bites were happening because he was now discovering his environment and got excited when something new came in in sight. He also was sensing my apprehension and anxiety and that is why the bites were continuing. So I started waiting till he was napping or asleep for the night and I would feed him then in the dark. Nursing was so second nature to him, he did it with ease. This allowed me to relax while nursing again, and my anxiety levels decreased. Eventually the biting completely stopped.

Then he was 2, and neither of us were ready to stop nursing yet. This was shocking to me, while I accepted that other moms breastfeed past 2, I never expected to be one of them. Each to there own, but I had felt at this point that is enough. I guess I didn’t really understand breastfeeding and the bond that it created.

We continued nursing till one night 2 months before his 3rd birthday I put him down to bed and he didn’t ask to nurse. When I sat down I realized that he didn’t ask and I forgot to offer. Then I thought about it more carefully and realized, he hadn’t asked in a long time, I was just offering.

Maybe he was ready to wean? I was so torn. Were we ready? I went straight to the local Facebook attachment parenting group I was part of at the time. I explained my story and asked for advice or extended breastfeeding tips. The response was pretty much the same, they felt he was naturally weaning and I should accept that. There seems from others experience to be a sensitive window when they are willing to self wean. Other mothers talked about missing that window and now their children are 4 and not wanting to wean, and mom is done. It has become an ordeal for these little ones. Now I’m sure this is not the case for everyone, but I wanted this breastfeeding relationship to end well, so now was the time.

I honestly cannot believe the differences in my two experiences. Who knows though, if I ever were to have another child (WHICH I WON”T!! Just making that clear lol) it may not go as well as it did with Z. I have know babies to self wean at 6 months old, never able to latch, etc.

Do I feel guilty about formula feeding my oldest? Originally I did, But not anymore. It was what was best for us at the time. He was fed, he was held, he was cuddled. I held his bottle(then cup at 7 months old) for him till he started daycare at 11 months. I was a single working mom. I’m not sure I would have had the energy to nurse as long as I did as well. Maybe I could have. But like I said, I’m not ashamed.

Feel free to watch my youtube video on my experience, and share your experience. Your breastfeeding tips, opinions and comments are also welcome below.

How I Allowed Myself to be Shamed At The Dentist For Breastfeeding My 2 Year Old.

Mommy War Extended BreastfeedingAs a child growing up I loved going to the dentist. Honestly I don’t know why, but I was always excited to go, while the rest of my family dreaded the appointment.

As I grew up I knew that was the field I wanted to go into. So when the time came to go to college, I happily signed up at the local community college to become a dental assistant. My plan was to get my feet wet, and make sure this was the field I wanted to get into. If it was then I could invest more of my time into becoming a dental hygienist or a dentist.

Well I worked as a dental assistant for 6+ years. However after those year I decided that this wasn’t the right career for me. I was burnt out. So I let my license go and opened my own daycare. I’ve never looked back.

Fast forward to last week. It had been a while since my last cleaning. Yikes! I was due. Now throughout my whole pregnancy and while breastfeeding my gums have been very sensitive and bleed easily, due to hormone changes.

I was chatting with my hygienist about the conditions of my gums and she asked me, “How old is this baby you’re breastfeeding?

Oh no… The load question.

“He’s two and a half. ” I answered.

“Ohhhhh…. well.” I could see in her eyes she was judging me. ” I could not image breastfeeding a child with teeth.” she said with an almost disgusted tone.

“Well his pediatrician says the new guidelines are to encourage mom’s to breastfeed till 2.” I replied.

“Well that must be new.” She replied. “My son is 3 and I never heard such a thing.”

This is where I’m disappointed in myself. I started making excuses as to why I was still breastfeeding.

“Well, he’s allergic to milk, so its just easier this way.” I told her. When in reality I don’t believe cows milk is not the optimal food for our children. But I didn’t want to get into that with her. I just wanted this conversation to end.

“Well have you tried soy milk? she answered back.

“Well he doesn’t drink coconut milk or almond milk. However he loves water and raw smoothies. I don’t want to feed him soy milk because I read that its not great for little boys.”

“Really? I’ll have to look into that.” She said. It seemed like this was something she was willing to believe. “My Sister in Law is a immunologist and she said after a year there is no more benefits to breastfeeding.”

“Well it certainly can’t hurt. ” I answered back, with a slightly insulted tone in my voice.

“Oh no no!” she quickly answered “I’m sure it doesn’t.”

She continued my cleaning and after a few minutes of only the sound of the ultrasonic scaler she said. “I breastfed only till my son was 6 months, but then I dried up.”

I spit my extra saliva into the saliva ejector and then said. “That is awesome. You put your best effort into it and I’m sure your son got lots out of it.”

And then there was no more breastfeeding talk.

I can’t help but wonder if the reason she was so judgemental at first about extended breastfeeding, was because she was insecure about how long she breastfed for.

A mother who breastfeeds for 1 year is not better than one that only breastfed for 1 month or did not breastfeed at all.

Mommy Wars.

I’m disappointed in how I allowed myself to feel shamed and started making excuses. But at the end of the conversation I am happy I was able to praise her on her breastfeeding experiences. Hopefully that will help her see I did not think I was better than her.

One thing I wish for 2015 is this. I hope that these Mommy Wars can stop. Breast vs formula. Cloth Vs Disposables and so on. Yes it is one thing to get the information out there. But there is no need to shame people who do something different than you. Nor should anyone allow themselves to feel ashamed if someone doesn’t agree with you.

I know this is a long shot. But a girl can wish….

Local News. My story about pacifier safety and the Mommy Wars

Well last night I was on the evening news. No I didn’t break the law or anything like that. I was telling my story I shared on Facebook that went viral. 

It was the beginning of August. My family and I were at our local Superstore doing our Sunday grocery and it had taken a bit longer than usual. We heard over the loud speaker that the store would be closing in 15mins, so we hurried to the tills to pay for our items. While we stood in line I realized we would not have time to stop for soothers before the other stores closed for the night. Here in Winnipeg most stores close at 6pm on Sundays. So I left hubby and the kids in line and I ran to the baby sections to grab some soothers. The only orthodontic tip soothers they had available that night were the PC brand. So I grabbed a pack and ran back to the till.

That night I got back home and washed them according to the package and of course inspected them for defects. Z used them that night and the next day would a hitch.

The problem happened the next day at nap time. As usual I get all my daycare kids ready for nap. I had changed and pottied Z first so I put him in his playpen with the soother and blankie. I had quickly checked it like I do everytime I give it to him and it was intact. Then I took the other children to their beds for nap. 

When I came back upstairs to grab Z to do our usual little lessons and story before nap, I found him struggling. I looked down on the floor and there was the base of the soother, but no nipple. Luckily I was able to get it out of his throat by flipping him over and giving 2 strong smacks to his back. When I took him to his room I went and looked at the soother he had used the night before and it was separating from the base as well.  

When my hubby got home I took my son and the pacifier to the store I purchased it, since it was a store brand. The manager on duty was shocked and was just as angry as I was. He suggested I call the number on the package and he would have the store manager call me when he got in the next afternoon. 

The head office contacted me first. They made arrangements to pick up the soothers via Purolator to send to the manufacturer for testing. Shortly after I spoke to them, the store manager called me back. He was glad I was being taken care of by head office, and that was who he planned to contact.

Weeks later I got a phone call from the company. They said it was because my son bit it off and no fault of the product. They were going to send me a $25 gift card to cover my refund and whatever was extra was in good fate. I tried to explain that my son had never done this to a soother before and not since. I didn’t believe he bit it off. ESPECIALLY in all of 5 mins. This was a new soother, not one that was months old. I asked to speak to higher ups, but was told that they would tell me the exact same thing. So I told the woman that I would have no choice but to go to the media. We ended our conversation. 

So I went to my computer and turned to social media. Luckily I had taken photos of the soothers before I sent them to the company. I wrote what happened and how I was treated by the company. Honestly I am not out for money. I didn’t even care if I was refunded for the soothers. I just didn’t want another child and parent going through what I had. But the fact they just felt $25 was a good enough bandaid for the situation was a slap in the face. What that what my child’s life worth them.

The what ifs haunt me. 

-What if I just put him to bed and not in the playpen to wait for me to be read to read stories and do lessons? 

– What if I froze and he choked to death?

-What if this happens to another mother who is not trained in First Aid CPR?

So I turned to social media on the Friday and made my post. I posted it to my wall, and 2 local groups and asked them to spread the word. I also posted it on the Loblaws website. I don’t think I fully understood the power of social media. I saw it was getting shared and I was satisfied. If I could warn a few moms about this that is all I wanted. 

 On Monday I was getting ready to take my son and daycare kids for a walk when my hubby called. “Did you give my work number to a reporter from CTV names Beth?” I told him of course I didn’t. Then my Facebook messenger went off. It was a woman from my Daycare Providers group on Facebook. She had received this message to her Kijiji ad.

Hi, I am contacting you from CTV News in Winnipeg. I am looking for a woman in Transcona who has a home daycare called Monique Dupuis. She had a big problem with pacifier she purchased recently. Hoping you can reach our to me as soon as possible if you know this woman or how to reach her. My phone number is(phone number). Thank you! Beth Macdonell | Producer & Reporter CTV Winnipeg |

I went into my Other folder on Facebook and found her message. I messaged her back and told her my hubby and I would be happy to talk to her that night and give her his cellphone number. Honestly my hubby is a better speaker then I am. Heck thats what he does for a living! But she wanted the interview with me and asap. Hubby and I decided that I would do it alone once all my daycare kids were down for a nap. 

Before the interview I checked to see how many people had shared my picture. I honestly thought it was shared maybe 200 times. I was shocked to see if was at 6,000+.

After the interview was over I noticed I had missed a call from the company. But my phone was acting weird and it appeared they had not left a message. When I called the number back I needed to have an extension, so I figured they would call back. 

That night 30mins before the 6pm news, Beth called me and said they needed to polish the story and it would not air that night. I was a surprise because a girlfriend had told me she had seen me on the preview for the evening news before Dr.Phil.  

That night while I was waiting for Wes to finish piano lessons, I noticed a missed voicemail. It was a rep from the company I called them back and left a message, but obviously at 7pm no one was in the office.

The next morning a rep called me. We spoke on the phone for 20mins or so. She went on to apologize for the incident, and if I felt attacked by the last rep to contact me. They do not blame the baby. They were speaking with quality assurance teams as well as the manufacturer to see what had happened and what to do to prevent it. They told me that soothers were very regulated and they had to pass 10lbs of pressure to break it. When I asked her then how my 23lbs child could produce such pressure she had no answer for me. Apparently I was the only person to report this issue, and so they feel the product as of now is safe. I told her if it happens once its too much. I was able to get her to pass my information onto the vender to contact me. Whether they do or not is another story. She also told me she was passing on the additional details that I provided to her that were not in the original report to share with the quality assurance team. At this point I felt I have done about all I could. I informed her I had already spoken to the media. But now even though I’m not 100% happy with the results of the conversation, I feel a bit more like they are taking a few more steps and I don’t feel like they are blaming the victim, my son. She told me she still wanted to send me the gift card for the refund and she was going to send me a gift basket full of their line of clothes for all three of my children. Not to sweep it under the rug, or minimize what had happened. But as an apology gesture from their family to ours. 

That night the interviewed aired. I was surprised when hubby yelled out, “Turn on channel 5!” His coworker had seen the preview for the story. My phone started going off. “Is that you on TV?”

Overall I’m really happy how the interview turned out. But it was only 3mins long so how could they get the whole story. I guess that is why I am writing this. I feel a bit slapped in the face that the company still seems to stand by that it was Z’s fault. But the word is out. The doctor said that parents should use one piece pacifiers. Basically saying indirectly, don’t buy this brand. As of right now the post I shared on facebook has been shared 12,497 times, meaning AT LEAST that many people have read my warnings. Plus my story was played on the 6pm, 8am and 12pm news feeds. My story is out and I feel I can back off knowing I did what I could do to get the word out. Life goes on.  

 You can watch the interview HERE.

Pacifier Safety Tips:

Check your child’s soother/pacifier every time you give it to them for holes, rips or signs of wear.

Change soothers/pacifiers every 2-3 months.

Never tie a soother or pacifier around your child’s neck

Finally use a ONE piece soother. They are less likely to break off like my son’s did.

 Since the incident, I found some nice solid one piece pacifiers that I trust for on son. In the past when he was a newborn we used Avent Soothies or Gumdrop soothers. Thing is once he was a few months old I switched to and orthodontic tip soother and I wanted to stick with that. Then I found the Munchkin Latch soother. However it just seemed too thin for my liking. I’m sure there is nothing wrong with it, but after our experience I wanted something I could feel 100% confident in. Then I found the Born Free Bliss one piece pacifier. Now this is a heavy duty soother with the right tip!

I made one mistake throughout is whole process, I went and read the comments on Facebook and on CTV’s website. Oh yes, everyone has an opinion and it seems to be to blame the victim. I was reminded of all the Mommy Wars talk. It seemed several of the commenters thought Z is too old for a soother. Oh my image if I told them he still nurses 1-3 times a day and I still babywear him.

Each child is very different. My oldest came off the soother the day his 2 year molars came in at 25 months old. He needed it to keep is fingers out, otherwise he’d stick them so far back he would make himself vomit. 

Z is 28 months old. But he is still very oral. As a former pediatrician dental assistant I see a slight over bite from it, and so does his dentist, but overall it hasn’t altered the development of his palate. His occupational therapist agreed with us that it was a good block to keep other things out of his mouth. And the 2 speech therapist we have seen don’t feel it is affecting his speech as he has a HUGE vocabulary and clear speech for his age. 

There were no age limits on the package of soothers or I can assure you I would have followed the guidelines. However for all these people to immediately attack my family with their ideas that all children should be off soothers “when they can put them in an out themselves”, “1 year old”, “as soon as they cut teeth”, and so on shame on you. Each child is different, and each circumstance is different. When I read about babies who have chemical burns from diapers or wipes, I don’t troll and say, “Oh well they should be in cloth diapers and that would have never happened.”

I know when I was pregnant with my oldest, I had very clear ideas how I was going to raise my child. Out of diapers by 18 months, no soothers EVER, I was going to breastfeed till 1. Then he was born and shit got real. My son was potty trained a month after he turned three because he has severe digestive issues. The day we got home from the hospital he started sucking his thumb, thumb habits were harder to break then soother habits so I sent his father out to buy some soothers. I breastfeed for 3 weeks before PPD took over and I could not handle it anymore. 

At the end of the day. Please learn from my story. If your little one doesn’t need the soother all the power to you. If they do, please find a solid one piece soother and inspect it every time you give it to your child. Also brush up on your First Aid/CPR, you never know when you will have to use it.