TIME’s Breastfeeding Cover – Thoughts from a Breastfeeding Momma

If you’ve been online, you’ve undoubtedly seen the TIME’s breastfeeding cover.  It is a controversial one and it has ALL of the opinions of the Internet coming out – for better and for worse.

The cover, to me, was simply shot for ultimate shock value and to sell magazines (why else would this boy be standing on a chair to nurse?) but I take zero issue with the extended breastfeeding happening on the magazine cover.

I am still nursing my nearly eighteen month old daughter Willow.  It is a relationship that I cherish and could not picture my days without this being a part of it.  She loves it too.  She will walk over to me and sign/say “more” and when I ask, “More what Willow?” she looks at me and says, “More momma.”  At night, she will walk over to the rocking chair in her room, pat the seat and say, “On. Momma, on” and she knows that I will sit down, scoop her up and nurse her to sleep for the thousandth time.

When she falls or gets a little bump, I nurse her to calm her down.  When we were in the children’s hospital and she was in tachycardia (her heart rate was 225bpm), I told the hospital staff to let me nurse her and it brought her heart rate down to normal and potentially saved her from a scary situation.  In short, it’s a situation that I am incredibly happy to be in and to be honest, I can not even imagine navigating parenthood without breastfeeding.

A cover like this one brings out some very interesting opinions.  Opinions that make me really sad.  It makes me sad because I like to think that our society is evolving, is open and is accepting.  However, not all people are.  In the issue of extended breastfeeding, it seems that a lot of people are extremely opinionated and the majority of those opinions are coming from people who have never breastfed, who have never done extended breastfeeding and who simply sit back and apply a label.  Apply an opinion.  Apply a judgement.

I could go on and on in anger about people’s opinions but it won’t change anything.  I simply ask that if you are one of those people who think breastfeeding past the age of one is “gross” or “incestual” or “wrong” and if you believe in silly sayings like, “When your baby gets teeth, wean them off the boob” or “If they can ask for it, it’s no longer acceptable”, take stop for a moment, ask yourself why and reconsider.  Consider alternate viewpoints and think about you and your children (or your family if you do not have children).  Think about all of the things you do in your day, decisions you make for the well-being of your child and ask yourself, “How would I feel if I were scrutinized?”

Wake up tomorrow with the notion that you will be a more loving, accepting and open-minded individual and see what happens.  It may very well surprise you.

Time to Wean From Breastfeeding?

In three days from now, I’ll celebrate a milestone with my wee Willow.  We will have made it to 17 months breastfeeding.  As I write that, I’m filled with a mix of emotions.  I’m so proud of myself yet I’m also a little exhausted just thinking about it.  Breastfeeding and practicing attachment parenting while running a company and maintaining an active social life is HARD WORK!

Over the past 17 months, I’ve nursed my child to sleep every single time (except for a handful of times when I was away from her), I’ve nursed her every single time she hurt herself, I’ve nursed her when she was sick, I’ve nursed her when she needed a little cuddle and I’ve nursed her when she first signed “more” and later asked for mama.

I’ve nursed her on a plane numerous times, in doctor’s offices, in parks, in a movie theatre, in the front and back seat of my car, in Wal-Mart, in a mall, while sitting at my desk working, in restaurants and anywhere else the need to feed my child arose.

I have slathered my nipples in Jack Newman’s breastfeeding ointment more times than I can count, I’ve suffered through “rusty pipe syndrome”, worried about foremilk/hindmilk imbalances, spent hours trying to wake my sleepy newborn to eat, dealt with growth spurts/cluster feeding, navigated through proper latches and different feeding positions, wore nipple shields, pumped for hours and dealt with opinions from strangers on the way I am feeding my child (mostly good, some not so good).

But now, at 17 months, I wonder if we’ve reached our end.

Willow, for the past week or so, has started biting me nearly every feeding.  She seems way less interested in nursing and will only nurse for a few minutes before getting bored and moving on.  The only nursing sessions that she actually does well with are those right before bed.  Otherwise, she’s turned into an “angry nurser” and it’s killing both my spirits and my nipples.

I’ve done all kinds of things to get the biting to stop: I’ve tried removing her before she gets to the “done eating, play now” phase, I’ve unlatched her and told her no while setting her down, I’ve tried pushing her face (gently) into my breast when she bites so that she experiences something unpleasant after she bites but I’m seriously at a loss here.

It used to be that she’d nurse while we co-slept and those sessions were peaceful and always amongst my favourite. Now those sessions are horrendous for my nipples as she pulls back (with my nipple still in her mouth), bites and creates a super lazy latch, which causes problems for me.

So I’m not really sure what to do.  Is it time to wean her?  Is this her way of saying that she’s no longer interested in nursing?  Or, is this just a passing phase?  My goal was to nurse her until she was 2 years old but at this point, I don’t even want to nurse her one more time.  I think I might be reaching my breaking point too (and I know this to be true because writing that phrase six months ago would have induced tears for me… now it almost induces relief).

The only thing I’m worried about is that if I do wean her, how the heck do I get her to sleep?  We’ve only ever nursed her to sleep so I have no idea what I would do there.

Leave some advice, if you have any, in the comments!  I really need to know if this is normal behavior, how to get through it or if you think that she might be ready to just wean from nursing.  Thanks in advance!

The Reality of a Stay-at-Home, Working Momma

I’m an overachiever. Always have been, always will be. It takes a lot for me to raise a white flag and declare that I’m sinking. That I need help. That I don’t know what to do. Admitting that I can’t problem solve my way out of a mess is really, really difficult for me but here I am. I need help.

Today was a difficult day… but before I explain to you about my difficult day, let me first tell you the brief synopsis of who I am in case this is your first time here.  My name is Erin, I own a company (started it when I was 21, been at it for 8 years now), I have a 13 month old daughter named Willow, I’ve been married since 2005 to my best friend and I like to stay active and social.

Okay.  Now that you know who I am, let me tell you about why I am sitting here blogging right now instead of tackling my massive to-do list, e-mailing clients, putting away that laundry I just folded, putting dinner away or… well… any of the other hundred things I could be doing.

I’m blogging right now, instead of doing all of that, because I don’t know what to do really.  I am paralyzed by the thought of my next step and I am feeling so overwhelmed that thinking I’ll ever get out from this overwhelm is a little bit of a fantasy at the moment.

Today was a difficult day.  My nanny, who is also a supply teacher, got called in to supply teach, which left me without her help for the day.  Then, Steve started back on evenings and he had appointments this morning, which meant that I was solely responsible for Willow for most of the entire morning, afternoon and evening.  HUGE props to single mommas everywhere… I don’t know how you do it and maintain sanity.  Before you jump down my throat about, “Wow, you have to look after your own kid for the day?  That’s tough?” let me finish.

I also was up until 4AM the night before working on client work.  I went to bed and woke up at least twice before 9:30AM to nurse Willow.  I got out of bed at 9:45AM.  So, I had 5 hours of broken sleep.  Awesome.

While Steve fed Willow breakfast and played with her, I got an hour’s worth of work in.  He had to get ready to leave around 11AM so I went into Willow-mode, all the while making breakfast, cleaning up the main floor, getting laundry on and entertaining Willow.  I got Willow down for a nap at 1PM so I jumped into work-mode again but she woke up 45 minutes later.  I nursed her back to sleep, jumped back on my computer and got approximately 45 more minutes before she woke up.

Once she woke up, I fed her lunch, played with her for a bit, ate some lunch of my own, got her and I dressed and ready to go out, went to the computer store to get some new RAM for my broken desktop, took her to Chapters to play in the kid’s section, back home for her dinner and I made a macaroni casserole.  Luckily my sister stopped by for a visit and she was able to keep an eye on Willow while I cooked dinner, otherwise dinner probably would have been ruined and in the garbage.

Then, we did bath time and she was tired so I thought YAY, might get a break here, so I tried to put her down but she fought me and kept calling for “dada” but alas, he was at work so I fought her while she fought sleep and eventually, I gave up.  (No, we don’t do cry it out and no, I don’t want to do that but if you have any other ideas about how to get her to fall asleep on her own, I’m all ears and yes, I’ve read “The No Cry Sleep Solution.”)

Downstairs we went at 8:30PM and I put her in the Jolly Jumper to burn off some energy (yes, she still fits in it!) while I answered some e-mails and watched parts of The Bachelor in the background (holy shit, something that is actually for me slipped into my day!) until Willow grew bored of the jumper and then we read books and I played with her and pulled her around in a box (yep, expensive fun right there!).  At around 9:45PM, she started to look sleepy again so upstairs we went for some oatmeal and cuddles and then I fought with her again to try and get her to sleep.  FINALLY at 10:25PM, she fell asleep.

I run out of her room, go to the three laundry baskets of clothes in the hallway, begin to fold one, get halfway through before realizing that they must have sat in the washer too long because they have that “sat in the washer too long” smell so I pick up all of the folded laundry, throw it back in the basket and set it in front of the washer to be washed AGAIN.  I fold the other two baskets of clothes before checking my e-mail again.

However, I took one look at my e-mail and said, “OVERWHELMED!  So, I’ve gotta blog instead” so here I am.  The laundry is folded but not put away, dinner is cooked but still sitting on the counter to be put in the fridge, the baby is sleeping but only for the moment and my work keeps piling up.

I realize that my writing went from past to present to future tense throughout all of that but that’s sort of what it is like in my head right now.

I’m so tired that I can’t think straight but instead of being able to go to bed, I NEED to get some work done because my clients have requests, my team has requests and they are all urgent.  Plus, Willow will more than likely wake up in the next 30-45 minutes to be nursed back to sleep and well, there is no point in just going to bed, is there?

This post is a total vent-fest and I get that there are other circumstances which are way worse than mine but I’m just having a woe-is-me kind of day and the first night that Steve goes back onto evenings is ALWAYS the toughest so… yeah.

If you have any advice for this stay-at-home, working momma, I’d love to hear it!

(Before you provide advice, here are some things you may want to note… (1) I can’t do daycare as I’m still nursing Willow so I need a nanny… we’re looking for a nanny that has a more reliable schedule so if you know of one, let me know.  Yes, our nanny knows this already so if she reads this, she won’t be shocked and appalled… (2) … She’s up so I’ve gotta go.)