What’s in a name?

I’ve always heard that you need to stop breastfeeding as soon as baby can ask for. That’s silly because as soon as a baby is born, she asks for it by crying!

But I’ve also never been one to listen to what people say. That’s why I’m still nursing one of my kids far longer than I ever thought I would. She’s my average kid when it comes to weaning. Average as in I’m hoping she’ll wean before we go longer than the world-wide average age for weaning.

What I find amazing is that each of my children have come up with different names for nursing.

My oldest weaned before he could talk (he didn’t talk til he was 2), but the other kids have come up with some doozies!

#2: Beep Beep. At first, we thought she was saying baby and pointing to my nipples. No, she said Beep Beep like a car horn and would smash them with a big grin on her face.  Yes, my boobs look like a horn.

#3 MaBoos Pretty self explanatory, I think. Mom’s Boobs in toddler speak.

#4 Mmmmm She was a sweetie about it. It was just “mama, I want some mmm”

#5 Ha In her little toddler speak, she’d nurse then try to say “ahhhh” except she’d say “haaaaa” And she still calls them Ha.

#6 LuLu Not sure why, but baby girl excitedly says this over and over when she wants to nurse. The only other things she says are CatCat, This and Tickle Tickle.

I am curious to hear what your children have called nursing!

Going the distance

I don’t have a problem nursing babies in public, but sometimes I do find myself nursing out in the van. It’s usually because we’ve been running errands and baby is just not going to wait until I get things situated while we’re out and about. I’ve had a few impatient nursers. Little B was one of those.

Once, we were out in the van following a diaper blow out of epic proportions. It’s been 8 years but I still remember how he used to blow out the diapers. It wasn’t pretty and was one of the big reasons I quickly became a cloth diaper drop out. Little B was at the age where he liked to look and flash a smile exposing my 38 Fs beyond a little dangle.

It was on this occasion that I found myself in the very back of the van nursing him. He unlatched. And my milk squirted out like it was participating in some sort of Olympic distance event hitting the front window! I’m sure if the window hadn’t been in the way, we could have gone another 6 feet.

It’s about this point I started to question my milk supply! Not that I had too little milk, but maybe I had too much!

When I think of women with too much milk, I think of my mother-in-law. She told the story of how when she was nursing, she used to hold a bottle on the side the baby wasn’t nursing on to collect the milk as it poured out of her breast. She could catch a full 8 ounces on the other side! She also told me how she couldn’t even be around another baby in public while she was nursing. If that baby cried, her milk would let down and she’d be completely drenched.

That was certainly not my problem! But it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that milk squirting a good 6 feet straight out of nipples that pointed straight down wasn’t exactly normal.

This problem is actually more common than we’re lead to believe. Most moms worry about not having enough milk, but it’s far more likely baby is fussing at the breast because mom’s milk is coming out like water from a fire hose. Having held on to a fire hose on full blast, I can tell you, it’s not an easy task! I can just imagine that a little baby trying to keep up with a hose on full blast is not going to be happy. The tricky part for some moms is that the milk only comes out full speed when the baby is attached.

Overactive letdown is a very common hiccup in the breastfeeding relationship. Babies are usually fussy and pull off the breast frequently, gulp, gassy, explosive diapers (nice to know that now!), and even experience symptoms of reflux!

The cure? Many mothers like myself have had great success with block nursing. That is we only offer one side at a time unless baby seems really interested. With one of my darlings, I could only switch breasts every third feeding.

As soon as you feel let down, pull the baby off the breast (have a cloth handy!) until the sensation stops. Then put the baby back on.

Gravity is not your friend. Try lying down to nurse.

Also, sometimes what mom is eating can make overactive letdown worse. I thought I didn’t have enough milk so I was eating things to boost my supply. I’ve since discovered that I can’t even eat oatmeal cookies unless I want to drown my babies. It’s very tragic because I love oatmeal cookies.

Overactive letdown usually resolves itself as baby gets bigger and better able to handle the flow of milk.  Even though my Little Miss is 16 months old, she still gets irritated if my milk lets down first. My Terrorist Toddler (who is also nursing a bit) has discovered that if she is “helpful” with breast compressions while Little Miss is nursing, Little Miss will finish much sooner, pull off and not go back on because the milk came too fast! Sibling rivalry at it’s finest!

The power of support

I never sent out to be a breastfeeding advoate. Those who knew me when I was young and idealistic knew I was more of a “spout my ideas off in a contained and controlled format” kind of person. I wrote for the college newspaper and had a couple brief stints working as an actual reporter for real newspapers. I had plenty of ideas, but my ideas were for other people to implement. Never did I set out to actual change the world myself.

But the very act of having a child changes the world.  And I don’t have just one child. I have six. By  many accounts, not only have I changed the world, I’ve lost my mind!

I have to admit that there are many days when I question my sanity in having a large family. But, there are just as many days when I look at them and county my blessings. I name them one by one. I start with my husband’s name and whisper each of my children’s names, as well. I am truly blessed.

While my husband doesn’t always understand why breastfeeding is so important to me, he supports me in my passion. He’d be happy as a clam if I’d just nurse for a year. But, he also knows that it’s not about him, so he keeps his mouth shut. LOL When baby girl went on a 12 day nursing strike, never once did he suggest I give up. He actually gave me good advice! It was like he had been listening all the times I had given advice to mothers and had retained some of the information. I was completely shocked. 😉

This is World Breatsfeeding Week. You don’t have to participate in a large event to have a big impact. I don’t have any big plans myself aside from what I always do: nursing in public, offering support to other mothers, and letting my children see that breastfeeding is normal.  And, that’s really all you have to do.