Category: breastfeeding

My Best Breastfeeding Advice


Breastfeeding was not easy for me, but I’m so glad I did it. I struggled with tongue tie, too much lipase, and recurrent mastitis, but still managed to have beautiful nursing relationships with both kids. Before having the Bear, I thought nursing would be so easy and natural. It is natural, but it isn’t always easy. So many of my friends have struggled as I did with feeding their babies, so I thought I’d share a few things I learned along the way. The journey we went through has given me much grace for others, so please don’t hear any judgement if your choices are different than mine. It isn’t there. Read more about our breastfeeding struggle here and here, and about all I learned about breastfeeding here.


Eleanor Pearl at Nine Months


Our girl’s first year is flying by, and here I am late again with another baby update.  Eleanor continues to surprise us with her mobility and curiosity.  She and the Bear have been completely different in almost every one of their milestones.  I think she is just trying to keep up with her big brother.  At nine months she is pulling up and cruising across the furniture.  She is beginning to use a walker to make her way across the floor.


Mombo Comfort & Harmony Nursing Pillow Review

My sweet Pearl girl and I were so excited to review the Mombo Comfort & Harmony Nursing Pillow, and even more thrilled to give one away to one lucky reader.  Click here for the Mombo giveaway.  If you are expecting a baby and planning to breastfeed, a nursing pillow will be on every registry check list.  I nursed my son for a year and am 4 months into nursing my daughter for at least a year (hopefully).  You can read more about my breastfeeding battles the first time around here, and read all I’ve learned about breastfeeding here.  
With the Bear, I used a nursing pillow all the way through until he weaned.  I suffer from back problems, and using a nursing pillow greatly relieves the stress on my back that breastfeeding can bring.  I use one every time I nurse at home, and take it with me when I travel.  The only time I don’t use one is if I’m out running errands or in public.  

What makes the Mombo different from other nursing pillows?  The Mombo has two sides, a firmer side and a softer side.  We prefer the softer side, but I think the firmer side would be ideal with a newborn.  The Mombo also comes with a battery operated vibrating insert that soothes my sweet girl gently.  I’ve found that for my sometimes distracted nurser, the vibration helps her to concentrate and eat rather than pulling off and looking around.  Hallelujah! 

The pillow and cover are very well made, and the cover is super soft and easily comes off to wash.  If you have a spit up queen like I do, easy washing is key.  I love the gender neutral Mosaic Moonlight cover, but there are several cover options including gender specific ones to choose from.

Overall we really like our Mombo pillow.  The only negative I could find would be the size might be an issue for plus size mamas.  The angle of the pillow fits snuggle and comfortably for me and keeps my girl in place when she’s lounging, but might fit a plus size mama a bit too tight.  I don’t know for sure, but it is something to keep in mind.

 Probably my favorite aspect of the Mombo is that it doubles as a truly supportive lounger.  The Pearl girl is still a supported sitter at 4 1/2 months, and she was able to sit comfortably in the Mombo as you can see below.  Isn’t she the cutest?!
The Mombo is available at Target and retails for $29-39, depending on the cover.  Extra covers are $12.99.  Find your Mombo Nursing Pillow at Target and don’t forget to enter to win the Mombo giveaway here.  

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Kids II. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% my own.   

Everything I’ve Learned About Breastfeeding {5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me} + Our Story

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I’m sharing my personal breastfeeding experiences here on the blog.  I support all moms and their parenting choices, but this week is all about breastfeeding awareness.  Please do not read judgement in to my words.  It isn’t there.  I am currently nursing my second child who is 3 months old and exclusively breastfed.  I nursed my first child for 1 year, with some formula supplementation the first 2 months. You can read about my breastfeeding battle nursing my first child here.   We had a hard time, and I learned a lot.  Nursing is the best for your baby, and it may be a challenge for you.  It is at times a truly beautiful, bonding, precious, and dare I say holy time.  At other times it is uncomfortable, frustrating, and difficult.  It is always worth it.

1) Breastfeeding is best for baby and natural, but not necessarily easy.

I took a class before Bear was born, but had never really seen anyone breastfeed.  I had no clue what I was doing.  Then I had a c-section, which makes nursing more difficult for most moms (and a big part of why I had a VBAC with my 2nd child).  Formula was pushed on me by the hospital because Bear was loosing weight and wouldn’t latch correctly.  Weeks later we found out it was because he had a tongue tie.  Nurses, lactation consultants, and our former pediatrician all blamed me, saying I wasn’t producing enough milk and just wasn’t trying hard enough.  NO one bothered to look in Bear’s mouth and see the real issue until we hired a private IBCLC to come to our house as a last ditch effort.  She saw the problem immediately and explained that it wouldn’t get better until his tongue was fixed.

We saw a pediatric ENT doctor the next day and had his tongue clipped.  He immediately latched on correctly and my breasts started producing more milk.  Because he couldn’t latch he tore up my breasts, because he tore up my breasts I used nipple shields given by an LC, because I used nipple shields my milk production went down, because my milk production went down I was bullied into supplementing, because I supplemented I had to battle to get my production back up.  It was an ordeal.  But worth it.  After we had his tongue fixed I worked hard to get my production back up and we were able to stop using formula at 5 weeks.  He nursed exclusively til 6 months when we started solid food, and continued nursing til 12 months.

When the Pearl Girl was born three months ago, we immediately saw that she was also tongue tied.  We had it fixed on the way home from the hospital by our pediatrician, but had to go back for one more clip by our pediatric ENT.  In the 3 short days it took to get her tongue fixed, my breasts were already torn to shreds.  If this happened to you, a tongue tie could be to blame.  Since we had it fixed she has nursed well and my milk production is great.

2) If you can push through the first 8 weeks, it gets much easier and is completely worth all the hard work.  It will make your life so much easier and hassle free.

You can read lots of great information about why breastfeeding is best for your baby here and here.  It was also the best for me because I never have to heat anything up, mix anything, or tote any food with me.  My milk is always available and always the perfect temp, and in the perfect container.  I’m not able to store pumped milk because my milk contains extra lipase and goes bad when stored.  This means I have to be available to feed my babe whenever she is hungry.  This can be a challenge, but I make it my priority to be there for her.  I did the same with Bear while working.  It was a sacrifice, but totally worth it.  I truly believe that breastfeeding is the reason Bear has only needed antibiotics once in his 2+ years.

3) Breastfeeding can be lonely, but you are not alone.
At the beginning, breastfeeding is a 40 hour + a week job, and it can be a bit lonely, just you and your sweet babe.  You are most definitely not alone.  There is a fabulous breastfeeding community online, in chat rooms, on Facebook, and on Twitter.  Search for the #bfcafe hashtag to find a weekly Twitter chat, and look for your local Le Leche League’s Facebook group.  Many local baby stores also host breastfeeding cafes run by IBCLCs where you can find community and get advice.  If you are struggling and need help, don’t hesitate to ask.  You are not a failure because you need help.  Ask your friends for recommendations on lactation consultants and make sure they are internationally board certified (IBCLC), or call your Le Leche League chapter.  You will be surprised by how many of your friends sought help with their nursling. A breastfeeding hotline run by a formula company is not the best resource for quality information on nursing.  If you need help, check out the resources below.
Breastfeeding Resources:
Best For Babes
Kelly Mom
Info About Tongue Ties
Le Leche League
The Leaky Boob

4) Your breastfeeding relationship may look different from your mom’s or your friend’s.

Many women of our parents’ generation did not breastfeed, many because they believed the advertising campaigns that said science (formula) was better than nature or because they had to return to work quickly after the birth.  My mom told me that she was kind of unique with her natural Lamaze births and breastfeeding.  Your mom or mother in law may think it is weird for you to want to nurse, and other people in your life may not be supportive.  Lots of folks will have advice.  Your best friend may be completely happy nursing on demand 24/7 til age 4, while your other friend is doing all she can to get to 6 weeks.  Both are doing what works for them and their baby.  Some babies eat for 5-10 minutes every hour, while others (like mine) eat for 20-30 minutes every 2-4 hours.  What I do know is this: while a structured routine may work for you, a rigid schedule will make you crazy.  Babies get hungry when they get hungry, just like we do.  If they are used to eating around the same time every day, they may put themselves into a routine.  However, a rigid schedule run by the clock will leave you stressed and baby hungry and mad.  I love a routine.  But not a schedule.  Our basic routine is eat, activity, sleep.  I feed her, burp her, then we do some activity, then she will start to act fussy and it is time for nap.  When she wakes up (at whatever time) I know she is hungry again.  Every day looks a little different.  This is what works for us, but what works for you may look completely different.  And that’s ok.  Trust your mama heart and your mama instincts.

5) Breastfeeding is not a modesty issue, it is a baby feeding issue.

When my first child was born, I just knew I would always wear a cover when nursing in public and would never be one of THOSE women.  Then my first child hated to be covered.  He wanted to see my face the whole time and would immediately throw off the blanket as soon as his little arms had the strength.  Also, I live in Texas and have to nurse in the summer.  If you believe women should have to cover up, I have an exercise for you to try.  Grab your lunch and then try to eat it under a blanket.  You will get really uncomfortable, really fast, even in air conditioning.  My baby feels the same way.  I’m not flashing my boobs all over town, but I will feed my baby whenever and wherever she is hungry, and most likely won’t use a cover.  Most people probably won’t even notice.  If a women feeding her baby offends you, you definitely want to stay away from the mall because those store ads show WAY more boobage than any nursing mama.  The message that it is somehow wrong to use our bodies they way God designed them just makes my blood boil.

Nursing in public is part of the message of World Breastfeeding Week.  When moms feel shamed and discriminated against, it can sabotage a nursing relationship.  Unfortunately this still happens on a regular basis.  Here in Texas the rights of nursing moms are protected, but that doesn’t stop the harassment.  Check out the news story below to learn about the recent Big Latch On event and the discrimination faced by one Texas mom.
Dallas News |

If you are a nursing mom, what is your favorite thing about your breastfeeding relationship?  What is the hardest thing about nursing?

I would love to challenge everyone who reads this to encourage any nursing mamas they know with kind words and support.  If you see a mama nursing in public, thank her for what she is doing.  She will appreciate it.

Link Party Button #milkingit

Best of Bare Feet on the Dashboard: Baby and Pregnancy Edition

Looking back over my Best of Bare Feet on the Dashboard series I realized I left out a crucial category, baby and pregnancy posts from the last 3 years.  We remedy that situation today.  I have so many baby and pregnancy posts I love so I’ll break them up by category below.  Enjoy and please feel free to share the love.  
Cloth Diaper Posts:
The Great Cloth Diaper Trials: 11 Brands Tried and Tested
We do the leg work so you don’t have to.
Choosing Cloth Diapers
Why did we choose them over disposables?
Our Easy Cloth Diaper Routine
Figuring out how to wash cloth diapers can be complicated, so I show you our simple routine. 
Saving Money with Reusable Cloth Swim Diapers 
One simple change can save you up to 90% on the cost of disposable swim diapers.  
Breastfeeding Posts:
*Cute nursing cover by Hope Springs Etsy Shop
Our Breastfeeding Battle Part 1
Our Breastfeeding Battle Part 2
The Big Latch On
Pregnancy Posts:
The Top Ten Things I’ll Miss About Being Pregnant
My Hometown Baby Shower
Maternity Photo Shoot from My First Pregnancy
Frugal Pregnancy Tips
Taking the 3 Hour Glucose Tolerance Test: What is it like?
Weirdest Pregnancy Dreams Ever
Our Homemade Baby Book with Free Printables
A Big Brother T-Shirt to Announce Our 2nd Pregnancy
A Morning Sickness Cure with No Side Effects
My Postpartum Fashion Crisis
The Battle of the Baby Weight
Child Birth Posts:
The Bear’s Birth Story
Trying for a VBAC: Why?
Saving Big Money on Medical Bills
We saved 20% on Bear’s birth bills!
Decorating the Nursery Posts:
Birds in Flight Nursery Mobile with Tutorial
The Bear’s Nursery Part 1
The Bear’s Nursery Part 2
The Bear’s Nursery Part 3
The Bear’s Nursery Part 4 
A Ribbon Mobile for Baby’s Nursery
I hope you enjoyed my Best of Bare Feet on the Dashboard series.  I have so much more planned for this blog and can’t wait to see what the next 3 years bring.  I’m now accepting sponsors AND swapping ads with other bloggers.  Check out my Sponsor page for more info.  Thanks so much for reading!  

Trying for a VBAC: Why?

Our second baby is due at the end of April, and we are hoping and trying for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section).  There are many reasons why we are heading this direction and I hope to share them with y’all over the next few months.  You can read the Bear’s full birth story here to see what our first child’s birth entailed.  If you read that story you will get a little glimpse into why we are now on this journey to VBAC and a normal birth.  This process has been all consuming for me and this blog is my space to express the way I feel about the whole situation.  Many folks have strong opinions about VBAC vs. repeat cesarean, and I hope that whatever your opinion might be you will respect mine.  VBAC is not the right decision for every c-mama, and it doesn’t always work out no matter how you prepare.  Our hope and prayer is that we can have the best birth possible for our little girl.
Why try for a VBAC?
After a ton of research and prayer, we feel it is the best option for the health of our baby and my health.  I want a normal birth because it is the way God designed my body, and He made me this way for a reason.  I struggled with the trauma of Bear’s birth for months afterward, and breastfeeding was a HUGE battle.  I’ve since learned those issues are typical with c-section.  If you have had a cesarean and fought through the emotions of losing the birth you hoped and planned for, you are not alone.  C-section is meant to be an emergency last ditch option when the life of mom or baby is in jeopardy.  There are many occasions when it is completely necessary and in those cases we thank God it is available. Having had a prior c-section is just not always one of those.  It turns out that induction without medical reason increases your chance of a c-section by up to 75%.  My previous doctor failed to mention that when she tried to schedule Bear’s birth around a holiday.
C-section can be a literal life saver, but it does not come without cost.  Any c-mama will tell you that recovery is a beast.  I don’t remember the first few weeks of Bear’s life because of the pain medication.  The only things I could do were sleep and try to nurse.  It was rough, people.  I’m hoping this time around will be very different.  C-section babies have higher rates of asthma and allergies, as well as many other risk factors.  I’ll go in to those in another post.  Even if Mini Bear’s birth does end a c-section because of medical necessity, at least I will know that is a possibility going in and be prepared for that alternative.
I hear a lot of the same questions over and over about this road we are on. Why not just schedule a repeat c-section?  Aren’t you putting yourself and the baby at risk?  What do you have to do to get a VBAC?  I hope to answer those here on the blog over the next few weeks.
You can read more about our breastfeeding battles here: Breastfeeding Part 1 and Breastfeeding Part 2.  The great news is that even though it was a battle at first, we fought through and Bear nursed until he was a little over a year.
Looking for resources and information about VBAC and cesarean recovery?  Try these:
International Cesarean Awareness Network
Birth Without Fear
VBAC Facts
The Unnecesarean

Babywise Works for Us.

Some parents love it, some hate it, but almost everyone who has heard of Babywise has an opinion.  I’ve had a lot of people throw judgemental negativity at me when I say that I’m a fan.  I think most of them probably haven’t actually read the book.  After a Twitter exchange that left me feeling judged I decided to take to the blog to defend our parenting choices, not that I have to.    
I read about 18 parenting books before Fisher was born, among them “On Becoming Babywise”, “Secrets of the Babywhisperer”, and “The Baby Whisperer Solves all Your Problems.”  All three recommend parent led routines for babies.  Babywise in particular is a little controversial, but I think a lot of folks judge the book by the misinformation that is out there.  I was wary of it going in, but had noticed that many of my friends whose children seemed particularly content and well rested used the methods.  I don’t agree with 100% of any of the parenting books I read, Babywise included.  We did not use the methods at first, but were pulling our hair out after 3 weeks of winging it with a baby who was having serious nursing issues and had his days and nights reversed.  We decided it couldn’t hurt to try, and it was like a miracle.
The nursing issues were resolved after his tongue tie was fixed, which you can read all about here.  We used Babywise and The Baby Whisperer’s advice to get Fisher’s days and nights straightened out, and he almost immediately started doing a 5-6 hour stretch of sleep at night.  We never forced anything, but guided him into a routine.  He occasionally fusses as he winds down to sleep, but we don’t let him “cry it out”.  As he grew he eventually dropped night feedings completely on his own.  At about 7 weeks he stopped waking up for the 1 am feeding, then dropped the 4 am around 12 weeks.  The first night he dropped each feeding I woke up freaking out that he hadn’t woken up, but he slept right on through.  Since then he has been sleeping from about 7 pm to 7 am with one feeding between 9-10 pm.  
He is exclusively breastfed and has been since our nursing issues resolved.  He is in the 95 percentile for weight and head size, and 75 for height.  People often comment on how happy and content he seems.  Are we really blessed with a sweet, easy baby? Yes, and we fully realize that.  However, did we make choices that helped him become the sweet, growing boy that he is? Yes.  We do not let him cry it out, but instead listen when he cries and try to meet whatever he needs.  We do not keep him on a rigid schedule, but do use a flexible routine.  It works for us, and for our child.  We also babywear and cloth diaper and make our own baby food, but I’ll talk more about those parenting choices at another time.           
What people think Babywise is about:
strict schedules
crying it out
not listening to your baby’s needs
What Babywise is ACTUALLY about:
routines – eat, play, sleep
interpreting your baby’s cries
listening to your baby’s needs and fulfilling them
If a particular parenting choice doesn’t appeal to you, it is easy to judge that parent and think that they are wrong and you are right.  I do it, you do it, and I did it a heck of a lot more before I had a baby.  I think the key to getting rid of the judgement is realizing that there is no one right way.  There are parenting choices that most can agree are universally bad, but after that we all have the freedom to choose to parent our children the way we see fit.  I hope that your choices are working for you and I respect them, and hope that you can respect mine.  If you want to learn more about Babywise and the Baby Whisperer, definitely read the books.  You can also learn more at Babywise Mom and the Baby Whisperer Forums.    
Have you read Babywise?
Do you love it/hate it?
Do you use it?
If not, what parenting books/methods do you prefer?   

Fisher at Three Months

 Look at that chub.  Don’t you just want to squeeze him?  Our boy is growing so fast.  At three months he is wearing 3-6 and 6-9 month clothes.  He weighs over 15 pounds and had amazing rolls everywhere.  He is cooing and making the sweetest noises when awake.  He loves looking in the mirror and at pictures in books.

 He is probably the only person in the world who appreciates my singing voice.  Jed and I are both totally tone deaf, yet Fisher can’t get enough of our singing.  He even smiles through diaper changes if we are singing.  We are doing mostly cloth diapers at home now, and trying to transition to using them all the time.

  Breastfeeding is finally going well, but know he won’t take a bottle of pumped milk.  We are trying some different brands of bottles to see if that will help.  Fisher can now sit up and hold his head up when assisted.  He loves lifting his feet up and putting them together, and grabbing his hands together.  Outside is his favorite place to be, even though we are still in triple digits.

   He is on a pretty good 3-4 hour routine with a long 8-9 hour stretch of sleep at night.  He is happy most of the time, except for when I haul him too many places or forget when naptime should start.  I went back to work last week, and it has been a challenge working from home with him, but I love getting to be with him.  He is the sweetest boy in the world and we fall more in love every day.

The Big Latch On

Fisher and I participated in The Big Latch On, a worldwide effort to support breastfeeding in public. Our local group gathered at the Galleria mall and the local news came out to film us.  Fisher and I made the video, just briefly.  I didn’t realize they were recording me talking, but I’m excited to be a part of it.

View more videos at:

Our Breastfeeding Battle Part 2

Before I update you on our story, I want to say thanks to everyone who wrote encouraging messages to me after I shared the Part 1 of our breastfeeding battle.  Your kind words helped me to persevere and we are in a much better place now.  Online breastfeeding support has really made a huge difference for me.  In honor of World Breastfeeding Week 2011 I decided to update our breastfeeding story.  Part 1 was written when Fisher was 3 weeks old, and I was really struggling.  Breastfeeding is literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  Things are so much better now, but without a lot of determination, help, and sheer stubbornness I would have given up.
Fisher is now 9 weeks old and feeding every 2.5 to 3 hours.  After our doctor put us on formula/pumped milk supplementing (see Part 1) it took us 3 weeks to ween off of that routine.  We were giving him up to 3 oz extra after every feeding, then went to 2, then to one and were able to use solely pumped breastmilk.  Our lactation consultant came back and weighed him before and after a feeding, and told us he still wasn’t getting enough.  I continued to pump after every feeding so that we could avoid using formula.  This was a really hard stretch for all of us.  Finally at his one month appointment Fisher gained enough weight to be taken off the supplements, slowly.  We dropped the extra oz of breastmilk from 1 feeding every few days until we were left with just the late night feeding before his long stretch.  We dropped that last week and he is doing really well.
Now I just pump after the first morning feeding to add to my stockpile.  I have a big pile of milk building in our freezer!  So exciting…

So many women told me that if I could keep going things would get better around 6 or 7 weeks, and that was so true.  Breastfeeding finally clicked for us between 6-7 weeks, and we are rolling now.  I’ve fed him at the mall, in the airport, on a plane, and he is gaining weight like a champ.  We had a little set back last week when I developed mastitis, but we pushed through and are doing well.
If you are thinking about breastfeeding, know that it will be hard but it will get better and it is so worth it.  Push through and fight for what is best for you and your baby.  I have such respect for all those mamas out there who tried and had to give up, because this junk is hard.  You will get no judgement from me, for sure.  Lots of people have asked me how long I plan to breastfeed.  Before Fisher was born I would say at least 6 months, hopefully a year.  Now I say that I’m really optimistic about today, and the rest of the week is looking good.  I really hope to make it to 6 months and then to 1 year, but I’m taking it one day at a time.

What is one piece of breastfeeding advice you wish someone had told you?