It’s been unseasonably hot and humid here in Pittsburgh this month. This is made worse by our broken air conditioning system. We were meant to call about replacing it in April, but you know how these things go. So, we sit around and sweat under the ceiling fans and dunk our feet in bowls of ice water.
And still, my baby needs to nurse. His 98.6 degree body needs to smoosh up to my 98.6 degree body and we roast together stickily on the sofa. This week, I’ve been surprised by how little this actually bothers me–and I get cranky in the heat!
It’s just that he loves nursing so much, even at 12 months. He tentatively toddles over to me, looks up into my eyes, and signs for milk. How could I resist?
We latch on and he pauses to sign for milk, again and again, with both fists, as if to communicate, “I just love this so much! This is so great! Keep it coming!”
Personally, I can’t imagine guzzling hot milk on sticky days like this, but he loves it so and has the tools to communicate this to me (thank you, baby sign language!). What a sweet gift, to be able to nurse with him like this.
What are some sweet moments you’ve had breastfeeding? Leave us a comment to share your memories!
After my older son was born, my period stayed away for THIRTEEN MONTHS. During this time, I never worried that I was pregnant or ill because I’d been to La Leche League meetings and heard other moms bragging about their 22-month vacations from menses. I (infrequently) remembered and felt thankful to not deal with this feminine hassle.
I mean, how great is that? A wonderful, non-medicated, non-technological, non-invasive way to keep Aunt Flo at bay after childbirth! Not just dealing with my period, but fertility, too, stayed dormant. My husband loved this benefit, since it made things easier for us. He read and frequently cited the statistic that, “lactational amenorrhea is over 98% effective at preventing pregnancy!”
I hadn’t had to buy tampons since September, 2008.
Life was glorious, as long as I kept on nursing my baby.
And then, my period came back with a vengeance. Things were so prolonged and gross that I met with my midwives–surely something was amiss? Surely these clumpy things shouldn’t be coming from my body for so long? The midwife just smiled and told me our bodies sometimes take awhile to figure out how to cycle again. So I carried on managing my month-long heavy period.
(Incidentally, this is when I purchased and began evangelizing about reusable menstrual cups, but that’s another topic for another post)
We wanted our kids to be about 3 years apart, so I really only had to muddle through about 10 periods before I got pregnant. By spring of this year, I was starting to think I’d never have a period again, a prospect that delighted me (when I remembered it, which was only when other women complained about their periods).
Alas, my period returned a mere twelve months after Felix was born. Less time than with Miles, and this baby nurses much more than his brother. I was hoping for a 15-month reprieve. It does seem to be a more normal period this time. Hopefully my body figures things out without too much of a learning curve, but this means we need to get to business thinking about contraception.
For now, we’ll keep relying on having two sleepless children as our primary means of pregnancy prevention!
Did your period stay away for awhile while you were nursing your baby? Leave a comment to tell us your longest menses vacation!
I’ve been a bit MIA the past week. That’s because I’ve been on and off the phone with the breastfeeding center lactation consultants–my one-year-old has been biting.
The poor thing is teething and is taking it out on my nipples. I was unprepared for this as my older son ever bit me a handful of times. I was able to just smoosh him closer into my chest, he’d laugh, let go, and life carried on. But this guy? Ouch.
He started sort of nicking me every now and again. Ok, fine. I’d say, “Ouch!! Don’t bite Mommy! That hurts me!” and pull him from my breast for a bit before trying again.
He progressed toward clamping down each and every nursing session, multiple times per session. I got so I was afraid to nurse him–sitting very tensely with shoulders up practically to my ears. I had to watch his face every second, waiting for his jaw to tense and signal he might clamp down before I could stick a pinky in there to save my nipple.
(We know that when a baby is latched on properly, he can’t bite because the nipple is positioned too far into his mouth, so a clenched jaw is a telltale sign something’s about to go wrong)
By the time my breasts were bloody, my husband handed me the phone to call some professional help.
The plan we came up with was for me to keep offering the breast when Felix got hungry. I could bear two bites per nipple before I needed to end the nursing session, and after each bite I was pulling him off to look him in the eyes and explain that he was hurting me. Little mime that he is, he took to yelling, “Ouch!” before I could explain it to him.
Not wanting to compromise my supply (because after several days of each nursing session cut short, my body was sort of on the fritz), I chose to pump after getting bitten and my husband fed our son expressed milk while I applied a warm compress to my breasts. It took forever! Setting up the pump, pumping, cleaning my stuff…all this after I thought I was done pumping!
Eventually, I noticed we made it through a late-night session with no biting. Such relief! Then, the first nursing session of the day was pain-free as well. It seemed like he bit me more during his wakeful, active nursing sessions, but before naps and nighttime sleep he drowsily nursed away.
I used Neosporin on my poor nipples, but had to wash this off before nursing sessions, so that took a lot of time as well. What a hassle this teething jag has been!
I am happy to say that, even though the tooth has not sprouted from Felix’s gums, the pressure seems to have shifted and he’s back to pleasantly nursing. I certainly hope to never experience that sort of biting ever again.
Did your nursling ever bite you? Leave us a comment to share how you managed the pain!
If you’ve been following along, I trained for and ran a half marathon last weekend after my friend (and fellow nursing mother) had a prophetic dream that we did it.
Since January, I’ve worked to return to some semblance of my former, very fit self. I shifted my perspective about my workouts and am proud to say we completed the race! I’m prouder to say I registered that very night for a 10k in September, so I know I’ll stick with the workouts. But, first, some observations about the logistics of long runs plus lactation.
I felt so great about my training and shifted perspective–I let go of the idea of running the whole race, feeling ok about doing a walk/run combo–that my main concerns were getting to the start line and managing engorgement on race day.
My son turned 1 two days before the race and we’re starting to introduce cow’s milk while he is separated from me. So, I was neither worried about him starving nor about my supply being affected. I was, however, worried about being uncomfortable and maybe leaking all over the place.
Since his usual wake time is 5am, I felt pretty certain he’d sleep in on race day. This ended up being accurate (obviously!), but before I went to bed that night, I had set up my breast pump alongside my sneakers and running clothes. I sat down and pumped a startling amount of milk at 5:30, got dressed, ate breakfast, and popped out the door to meet my ride.
Never underestimate the power of a supportive mama friend! Becky and I are “Runners of Steel.”
I was right to be anxious about getting to the start. 30,000 people crammed into downtown Pittsburgh, where there is no grid system and all the start corrals were over-full. They also, for some reason, were not lined up alphabetically. It was really a cluster fart trying to find where we needed to be and we only crossed the start line around 7:30.
My body is used to nursing my little booger every 2 hours (yes, even at 12 months), so by the start gun at 7, I knew I was already full of milk. I did not bring a pump with me to the race, though. I chose to rely on adrenaline and a very tight sports bra. And it was fine!
It was actually more than fine. Becky and I ran almost the whole race, only walking through water stations and a few bits of the bigger hills. We finished right around 10:30, just like I’d expected. By then, it’d been 5 hours since I pumped and I was starting to feel it. My baby, though, was home with his grandparents and I realized I underestimated how long it would take us to get out of the finish line festivities and navigate road closures.
By the time I sat down to nurse at my house, it was 11:30 and I was about to burst! I didn’t even shower first, just sat down right in my race funk and put baby to breast. Aaahhhh, relief!
I will share that we ran alongside a mama who was running the full marathon. Heather has a 3-month-old at home and an abundant milk supply to begin with. Despite nursing before heading to the start line, she was full to the bursting point while we were running. Not even a double sports bra was helping her out by mile 20. Since her house was along the marathon course, she dashed home quickly to pump mid-race, and then ran right back out to finish the last 6 miles.
So there you go. Turns out it’s not that big a deal to be away from a nursing 12-month-old for 6 hours while running a race. A bigger deal for a nursing 3-month-old, but not insurmountable with access to express milk mid-race.
Did you complete a fitness challenge while you were nursing a baby? Leave a comment to share your memories of your milk supply on the big day!
This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, the breastfeeding blog hop is talking about mini Mamas–kids of nursing moms who wear and nurse their “babies.”
I love talking about my older son’s nurturing. I don’t like calling him a little “mommy,” mostly because he is very careful to assure me that he is . . . → Read More: Breastfeeding Blog Hop: My Little Nurser
Ever since I started posting about jury duty, I’ve been getting lots of questions about deferrals, getting outright excused, and the difference between those terms. So, for Pennsylvania, and Allegheny County specifically, here is what we know.
Jurors will receive a summons in the mail. The summons will include a questionnaire that needs . . . → Read More: Jury Duty: Deferral versus Excused
The big day is finally here: my half-marathon takes place this Sunday! I’m excited to announce my main problems this week are worrying about getting to the start line (most of the roads leading to/from my house are along the marathon route and will be closed) and…what the heck to do about my . . . → Read More: Race Day Lactation Logistics