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Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

wbw2015-logo-m

World Breastfeeding Week 2015 is August 1-7.  As someone who had breastfeeding successes (Things 2 and 3) and epic failure (Thing 1), I fully support a woman’s right to feed her baby–however that works for her. But why is breastfeeding awesome? Well, breast milk provides ideal nutrition for infants with all the protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and antibodies a baby needs. Breast milk is easily digested. It’s linked to lower occurrences of asthma, ear infections, SIDS, diabetes, and obesity. Besides the obvious bonding that happens, breastfeeding also burns extra calories, releases the euphoric hormone oxytocin, and lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers for mothers.

When it works for mother and child, it’s awesome. When it doesn’t go so smoothly, there’s always formula…and there’s no shame in that.

Even though I am no longer nursing, I am interested in World Breastfeeding Week because of the focus on breastfeeding and the working mother. As a pumping mom, it shocks me how little protection and time new mothers have to express their milk at work. As a teacher, I had difficulty carving time out of a busy day to relax for 30 minutes for a productive pumping session. There were always meetings and conferences to attend, papers to grade, e-mails to compose, lessons to plan, and not enough hours in the day. Thankfully, the great Commonwealth of Virginia is doing more to protect those rights.  Our current state laws include:

  • Va. Code § 2.2-1147.1 (2002, 2015) guarantees a woman the right to breastfeed her child on in any place where the mother is lawfully present, including any location where she would otherwise be allowed on property that is owned, leased or controlled by the state. The bill also stipulates that childbirth and related medical conditions specified in the Virginia Human Rights Act include activities of lactation, including breastfeeding and expression of milk by a mother for her child.
  • Va. Code Ann. § 8.01-341.1 (2005) provides that a mother who is breastfeeding a child may be exempted from jury duty upon her request.
  • Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-387 (1994) exempts mothers engaged in breastfeeding from indecent exposure laws.
  • Va. House Joint Resolution 145 (2002) encourages employers to recognize the benefits of breastfeeding and to provide unpaid break time and appropriate space for employees to breastfeed or express milk.

The only two times I’ve been called for jury duty, I was breastfeeding. Guess who didn’t have to go to court? Score for the boob juice.

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I searched for coupon codes, freebies, and giveaways. If you know a soon-to-be mom, consider passing these gifts along, and I’ll update the list as I find more offers.

Finally, here’s a quick round up of my favorite breastfeeding products and resources:

  • Latched Mama: Designed by a local RVA entrepreneur, here you’ll find stylish and functional clothing for nursing mothers. Get free shipping on orders $75+. Love the side-access styles.
  • The Leaky Boob: Blog, reviews, honest advice.
  • La Leche League International
  • Ergobaby 360: I nursed Thing 3 in this many times, and it continues to be one of his favorite modes of transportation at 15-months old. Worth every penny.
  • Motherlove Nipple Cream: For obvious reasons.
  • And if you still want more, here’s my Pinterest board all about babies and boobies.
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Udder Nonsense

WARNING: This post talks about boobs.  Divert your eyes if that makes you queasy.

Milk MeLast night I thawed the last three bags of frozen breastmilk for bottles and packed away my breast pump.  I was kind of surprised at the emotions that came with putting that pump away.  On one hand, I was happy to give the pump the official F-OFF because I seriously hate that machine.  What do I hate most?  Pumping at work while trying to reply to e-mails, grade papers, and attend meetings and conferences; the noise of the machine; cleaning flanges and valves; the expense of special freezer bags; people interrupting me.  And by interrupt, I mean unlocking my door and walking in as if they are invited to the party.

That happened to me twice–by custodial staff and a parent volunteer.  Yep, someone gave a parent a master key in the front office, and she let herself into my classroom.  Never mind the safety concerns there or the sign on the door that clearly said, “DO NOT DISTURB.”  But I digress…

On the other hand, it means Thing 3 is one more step away from babyhood, and that makes me sad.  At 11-months old, he has 10 teeth, including two molars, and I followed his cues to wean.  He’s my last baby (okay, maybe I’m still in denial about that), and we’ll never have those special moments again.  Waaahhhh…

Thing 3In honor of the occasion, I offer this poem to honor the hard work of those mammary glands and my pump.

Boobs being macerated by tiny teeth.

Relax and just let it flow.

Engorged?  Not anymore!

Adding to my

Supply

To keep my baby full.  Meanwhile,

Pulling and pinching my

Udders, I try to ignore.  Now

My lactation has come to a close, and that means it’s time for more

Pinot.

Lame and dorky, I know.

As a side note–I discovered Latched Mama nursing apparel with this kiddo.  Her hoodies are amazing, and she’s a local RVA designer. Check her out!

We will be celebrating Thing 3’s first birthday in less than four weeks!  I cannot believe how fast the year has passed, and he is turning into such a playful, opinionated little boy.

Thing 3 Pantry

“Feed me now!” he says.

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Lactation Cookies

I admit it.  I am a cookie monster.  I have zero self-control when it comes to most sweets, but cookies are my biggest weakness.  (And margaritas–but since I am breastfeeding, it’s more socially acceptable to binge on cookies than tequila). There’s speculation as to whether things like oats, brewer’s yeast, fenugreek, and blessed thistle really help improve milk supply.  Most brewer’s yeast is derived from the fermentation of beer and contains iron, protein, B vitamins, and amino acids; some nutritionists also believe this magical powder can increase energy levels and boost mood.  I bought a canister from The Vitamin Shoppe.  The only thing 100% guaranteed to increase your supply is nursing and pumping often…but in the meantime, why not enjoy a sweet treat?  I tried several recipes for lactation cookies, and I offer my fellow milky moms this mash-up of yumminess. IMG_0746 Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened at room-temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or coconut oil (you can sub greek yogurt for a lighter recipe)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored, unsweetened brewer’s yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips, raisins, coconut flakes, etc.

Preheat oven to 350. Combine water and flaxseed meal in small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Cream together butter, oil, and sugar.  Add egg and mix.  Add the flaxseed-and-water mixture and vanilla and combine until just blended. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and brewer’s yeast.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Stir in oats and your favorite add-in’s (in this batch, I used dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries). Drop spoonfuls of batter onto a greased or lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes. This amount of batter gives me 22-24 cookies.