Ask IM: When Breastfeeding Gets tough Beyond the Newborn Stage

Ask Instinctual Mothering

I am humbled and honored every time a mom, mom to be, or even the occasional father contacts me for advice or information. It never occurred to me that people would actually value my opinion enough to seek out my perspective, it is a shock every time! But it is truly an honor and a privilege to be able to share my perspective and experience with you all.

I thought it may be helpful to publish the questions I receive on the blog in a series titled “Ask Instinctual Mothering”. Remember, the answers are only my perspective based off of my own experiences and what I have read or researched. I will never claim to know all there is to know about pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding/parenting because I am still learning myself (and have no true accreditation besides a breastfeeding counselor certificate)! However; helping, encouraging, empowering, and sharing information with others is why I’m here typing. It is a true passion and gives me great fulfillment and I hope I can be of service.

I promise to only share real questions from real people and always with their permission (and never their name). If you find yourself pondering something yourself, please feel free to contact me with ANYTHING – even critical feedback! You can contact me through facebook, E-mail at Tmschult@gmail.com, or through the contact form at the bottom of this page.

Okay, enough blabbing. Here is the second “Ask Instinctual Mothering” installment! This was a message I received via Facebook.

When Breastfeeding Gets Tough Beyond the Newborn Phase

Hi Tara!! I hope you are doing great and feeling well!

I’m having a tough time and looking for some help. I’m feeling like I could throw in the towel on nursing my 9 month old. It’s become painful. She just wants to suck all evening and night. My nipples are tender and the one nipple has a milk blister which is painful. I feel like I feel her teeth when she sucks. And she pulls my breast away from her when she is nursing so it pulls my boob. I’m frustrated and yet I don’t want to stop. Any advice? 😢 Does it get better?  Did you ever want to give up? I don’t want to for her sake. I guess I feel defeated right now.

-Frustrated & Defeated

(more…)

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Let’s Talk About Sibling Spacing

Let’s Talk about Natural Sibling Spacing

 

There is one benefit to breastfeeding that I feel doesn’t get enough street cred. It is natural sibling spacing. It’s a topic I rarely hear discussed when talking about breastfeeding benefits. Maybe this is because there is so much misinformation circulating out there about breastfeeding and fertility. I’m sure you have heard one of the following statements at least once if you are a nursing mother: “It’s impossible to get pregnant while breastfeeding”, or in stark contrast “I have a friend who got pregnant 3 months after her baby was born and she was breastfeeding, be careful!”

In a society where the pressure is never off- not even with something as sacred and personal as creating life- we all are asked about our child-bearing plans. If you are married, before you even get back from the Honeymoon, people are asking when the babies are coming. If you have one baby, you’re asked when the second is coming before your stretch marks have even faded. And God Forbid you have two of the same gender- wouldn’t you feel you missed out if you didn’t have a girl/boy?

I am guilty of these questions myself, and I actually am never offended by them when they are asked to me personally (which believe me, I get my fair share). But I am a tragically transparent person, and I realize not everyone is as much of an over-sharer as I am. I know these questions may feel intrusive to some, but I do not feel they are ever meant to cause harm. I think people in general are just curious. Maybe trying to relate, find something in common, talk about something they’re interested in, etc. Or just plainly happy for you and excited for your next life step. But it’s inevitable that they affect our way of thinking. They may have some of us start questioning where we should be in life, second guessing ourselves and our decisions or make us not feel “normal”. But when it comes to sibling spacing, I’ve realized there is a huge information gap of what is biologically normal to what is considered “normal” today. Which of course, I’m not shocked, the way we raise infants in the industrialized society is far from biologically normal. The biggest being of course; my favorite topic: breastfeeding. (more…)

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Stop Judging Me for Being Judgemental

The title is meant to be a joke and not to be taken seriously. I hope you can appreciate the irony. BUT I am angry.

First, a quick recap of what has been going on in the world of Breastfeeding advocacy.

The NY Times published an opinion piece on breastfeeding in October which to sum up basically implied breastfeeding benefits are “modest at best” and breastfeeding advocates need to stop all the “moral fervor” by pressuring women into breastfeeding, because really it’s not that big of a deal anyway and only shaming formula feeding mothers. (Excuse me while I roll my eyes).

Well, let’s just say, this piece did not sit well within the breastfeeding advocacy community. There were dozens of response pieces, my favorite being this one, which really tears this piece apart.

I’m not going to delve into why the NY Times piece was absolutely ridiculous and factually false because many authors have already accomplished this, and if you are interested in seeing some of the responses, I posted many of them on the blog’s Facebook page here.

What I do want to talk about however, is the other topic this media frenzy re-energized. The “Mommy wars” trend (which was actually termed by a formula company advertisement- can we say unethical marketing?). Specifically, the idea that breastfeeding advocates are shaming formula feeding mothers, and that as women we should all “support” each other and not criticize and judge each other’s parenting choices. The hashtag “Fed is Best” started to circulate social media by mothers in agreeance with the NY times piece. Umm, wait a second… Isn’t Fed the absolute minimum….? Wouldn’t our children die if they weren’t fed…..? How is this “best”? Way to aim low America. I understand what the hashtag is trying to imply and even agree, but in my opinion- they missed the mark. (more…)

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Why I’m Not Weaning At One

OMG WE MADE IT!

My daughter turned one year old last month. ONE WHOLE YEAR! She is no longer considered an “infant” by traditional standards, and has graduated onto “Toddlerhood”. We have survived what parents across the world claim to be the hardest year of parenting and lived to tell about it (however, as I am now entering the toddler years, I am not so convinced- hellopublic tantrums). Her newborn self seems almost like a figment of my imagination now; a mere millisecond within hours, that it’s hard for me to believe she was ever that fragile and helpless creature (or that I was ever that scared new mom). I can only describe this past year as being lost at sea, exhaustively treading water to stay afloat, all while being completely captivated by the beautiful sunset surrounding me. I reflect on this past year with awe, wonder, fear, and excitement. I am in awe that I find myself blessed to have this exquisite creation in my midst, I am in wonder of how quickly she has transformed into a thinking, feeling, complex being. I am fearful of how fast the time seems to be going but also excited to see what our future holds as a family (like um…. Christmas!)

Her first birthday also meant that I met my original goal of exclusively breastfeeding for one year (Woo Hoo!) I am proud to be apart of the few 9.1% of mothers who make it to this milestone in the U.S. However, it would be unfair for me to say I made it this far on my own. The truth is I couldn’t have done it without the support of the people around me. I am grateful for my company and coworkers for being supportive when I had to organize my work around pumping 3+ times a day, and giving me a comfortable and private area to do so. I am grateful for my husband, friends, and the caretakers of my daughter over the last year for understanding my goals as a breastfeeding mother and helping me meet them. I am eternally indebted to these people, and I understand that I am one of the lucky ones to have this support.

But now what? I feel like I should be jumping for joy and celebrating the fact that I have overcome the societal challenges to make it this far, but I find I have a new issue. It seems there’s already societal pressure to wean! Didn’t I just become comfortable nursing in public?

(more…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Let’s Talk About Sibling Spacing

Let’s Talk About Sibling Spacing

Let’s Talk about Natural Sibling Spacing

 

There is one benefit to breastfeeding that I feel doesn’t get enough street cred. It is natural sibling spacing. It’s a topic I rarely hear discussed when talking about breastfeeding benefits. Maybe this is because there is so much misinformation circulating out there about breastfeeding and fertility. I’m sure you have heard one of the following statements at least once if you are a nursing mother: “It’s impossible to get pregnant while breastfeeding”, or in stark contrast “I have a friend who got pregnant 3 months after her baby was born and she was breastfeeding, be careful!”

In a society where the pressure is never off- not even with something as sacred and personal as creating life- we all are asked about our child-bearing plans. If you are married, before you even get back from the Honeymoon, people are asking when the babies are coming. If you have one baby, you’re asked when the second is coming before your stretch marks have even faded. And God Forbid you have two of the same gender- wouldn’t you feel you missed out if you didn’t have a girl/boy?

I am guilty of these questions myself, and I actually am never offended by them when they are asked to me personally (which believe me, I get my fair share). But I am a tragically transparent person, and I realize not everyone is as much of an over-sharer as I am. I know these questions may feel intrusive to some, but I do not feel they are ever meant to cause harm. I think people in general are just curious. Maybe trying to relate, find something in common, talk about something they’re interested in, etc. Or just plainly happy for you and excited for your next life step. But it’s inevitable that they affect our way of thinking. They may have some of us start questioning where we should be in life, second guessing ourselves and our decisions or make us not feel “normal”. But when it comes to sibling spacing, I’ve realized there is a huge information gap of what is biologically normal to what is considered “normal” today. Which of course, I’m not shocked, the way we raise infants in the industrialized society is far from biologically normal. The biggest being of course; my favorite topic: breastfeeding. (more…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Stop Judging Me for Being Judgemental

Stop Judging Me for Being Judgemental

The title is meant to be a joke and not to be taken seriously. I hope you can appreciate the irony. BUT I am angry.

First, a quick recap of what has been going on in the world of Breastfeeding advocacy.

The NY Times published an opinion piece on breastfeeding in October which to sum up basically implied breastfeeding benefits are “modest at best” and breastfeeding advocates need to stop all the “moral fervor” by pressuring women into breastfeeding, because really it’s not that big of a deal anyway and only shaming formula feeding mothers. (Excuse me while I roll my eyes).

Well, let’s just say, this piece did not sit well within the breastfeeding advocacy community. There were dozens of response pieces, my favorite being this one, which really tears this piece apart.

I’m not going to delve into why the NY Times piece was absolutely ridiculous and factually false because many authors have already accomplished this, and if you are interested in seeing some of the responses, I posted many of them on the blog’s Facebook page here.

What I do want to talk about however, is the other topic this media frenzy re-energized. The “Mommy wars” trend (which was actually termed by a formula company advertisement- can we say unethical marketing?). Specifically, the idea that breastfeeding advocates are shaming formula feeding mothers, and that as women we should all “support” each other and not criticize and judge each other’s parenting choices. The hashtag “Fed is Best” started to circulate social media by mothers in agreeance with the NY times piece. Umm, wait a second… Isn’t Fed the absolute minimum….? Wouldn’t our children die if they weren’t fed…..? How is this “best”? Way to aim low America. I understand what the hashtag is trying to imply and even agree, but in my opinion- they missed the mark. (more…)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Why I’m Not Weaning At One

Why I’m Not Weaning At One

OMG WE MADE IT!

My daughter turned one year old last month. ONE WHOLE YEAR! She is no longer considered an “infant” by traditional standards, and has graduated onto “Toddlerhood”. We have survived what parents across the world claim to be the hardest year of parenting and lived to tell about it (however, as I am now entering the toddler years, I am not so convinced- hellopublic tantrums). Her newborn self seems almost like a figment of my imagination now; a mere millisecond within hours, that it’s hard for me to believe she was ever that fragile and helpless creature (or that I was ever that scared new mom). I can only describe this past year as being lost at sea, exhaustively treading water to stay afloat, all while being completely captivated by the beautiful sunset surrounding me. I reflect on this past year with awe, wonder, fear, and excitement. I am in awe that I find myself blessed to have this exquisite creation in my midst, I am in wonder of how quickly she has transformed into a thinking, feeling, complex being. I am fearful of how fast the time seems to be going but also excited to see what our future holds as a family (like um…. Christmas!)

Her first birthday also meant that I met my original goal of exclusively breastfeeding for one year (Woo Hoo!) I am proud to be apart of the few 9.1% of mothers who make it to this milestone in the U.S. However, it would be unfair for me to say I made it this far on my own. The truth is I couldn’t have done it without the support of the people around me. I am grateful for my company and coworkers for being supportive when I had to organize my work around pumping 3+ times a day, and giving me a comfortable and private area to do so. I am grateful for my husband, friends, and the caretakers of my daughter over the last year for understanding my goals as a breastfeeding mother and helping me meet them. I am eternally indebted to these people, and I understand that I am one of the lucky ones to have this support.

But now what? I feel like I should be jumping for joy and celebrating the fact that I have overcome the societal challenges to make it this far, but I find I have a new issue. It seems there’s already societal pressure to wean! Didn’t I just become comfortable nursing in public?

(more…)

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