Dealing with a Forceful Letdown in Breastfeeding

forceful letdown, breastfeeding, overactive letdown, oversupply breastfeeding, breastfeeding oversupplyI remember holding the plastic baby to my breasts, awkwardly perched on the couch of my breastfeeding class, trying to perfect the football hold. Following this single 90 minute class I was obviously a breastfeeding guru, equipped with all the knowledge I needed to nourish my baby.

Cut to me actually having a tiny, living, breathing, screaming, hungry baby. My real child was way harder to wrangle into the football hold than the well-behaved plastic baby I used for practice. No worries. My type-A personality decided that everything would be better once I was home in my chair, with my Pinterest-inspired basket of breastfeeding necessities within arms reach.

Once my milk came in I was like hell yeah, I’m a rock star, I make milk with my body. And I made a lot of milk. Like a cow on steroids. I went through breast pads like a teenage boy goes through Kleenex. I hadn’t stuffed my bra that much since middle school. Nevertheless, I figured all the milk was a good thing, since my baby was excessively hungry.

But she hated it. See, I didn’t know it at the time, but I have a forceful let down. When my milk lets down it’s like Old Faithful erupting. If you are ever going to a Super Soaker party, just bring a lactating chick with an overactive letdown. First off, no one will want to get sprayed with that, second, you’ll definitely win.

Anywho, imagine a newborn baby having a Super Soaker full of milk shot into their mouth. Depending on where you are in your pregnancy/postpartum journey that will either make you laugh or cry. I’m laughing, sorry. Still, most babies obviously aren’t into that and there’s really nothing you can do.

I remember feeling like the world’s worst mother. I read online that my baby would “get used to it eventually”. All I could think about was how I was torturing my daughter in the meantime. She choked, coughed, sputtered, gagged and pulled off my breast. It felt like I was feeding her Mountain Dew out of a broken beer bottle and she reacted accordingly.

God forbid she pull off my breast after a let down and things got out of control. She got shot in the eye, I got shot in the eye and I was screaming for my husband to bring a towel. Everything was constantly wet. Everything. I just kept telling myself to try to make it one more day. foreful letdown, overactive letdown, breastfeeding, funny breastfeeding, breastfeeding memes

And here’s the crazy thing.One more day kept coming and going and before I knew it months had passed. During those months, my daughter truly did get used to my forceful letdown. Somewhere along the road I stopped needing breast pads. The Lanolin is lost in my daughter’s room, and my super useful breastfeeding basket is no more.

There are some great tips on dealing with a forceful letdown, the hardest of which is giving it time. It’s the last thing you want to do. I wish I had some super awesome advice that would make everything better., but I don’t. The thing is, no one really does. We’re all just trying to make it and do what’s best for our babies and our families.

I can tell you this though. It DOES get better. Breastfeeding because painless and easy and beautiful. Even if you’re in the trenches, even if you don’t feel like you can do it one more second, even if you’re ready to give up, just make it one more day. As each of those days passes you’ll become stronger, you’ll heal, your baby will adjust to life outside the womb. And if it doesn’t, you’ll know that you lasted on your breastfeeding journey one day longer than you thought you could.

I’m learning that no one really has answers, but we do have this amazing bond of motherhood. It’s a bond that gets politicized and embattled, but at the end of the day, it’s a bond that shows us we can get through the hard times. That there are women just like us who survived and lived to tell the tale. So here I am, just one of those women on this crazy journey called motherhood here to tell you it will be okay. Just give it one more day.

We Should Stop Calling Them Yoga Pants

yoga pants, ryan goseling, yoga, girls in yoga pantsWe should stop calling them yoga pants. They aren’t pants, they’re a lifestyle. It’s the only stretchy piece of clothing you can leave the house in and still be respected. They are ambition pants. Hear me out on this.

If I wake up in the morning and put on sweats,I’m telling the world I’ll be sitting on the couch under a blanket eating chocolate and binge-watching Netflix. In yoga pants I have big dreams. I plan to attend mommy and me yoga, take the baby for a walk, get all my work done, make a balanced meal, clean the bathrooms. I don’t do any of that, but I feel like I could.

Yoga pants make me feel good about the fact that I haven’t washed my hair in 3 days. My husband gets so distracted by my ass that he forgets my shirt is covered in milk stains. They are mesmerizing. If you pair them with a tank top and a pair of athletic shoes people might think your greasy hair is from working out.

They just make you look ambitious.Women in yoga pants are respected and revered. At least I hope so. I vowed that I would never “let myself go” once I had a baby. Don’t get me wrong, I still dress up and paint my nails, but 5/7 days I look like hell. I’m unwashed, unkempt and a huge mess. I see the judgey stares from non-moms in the store. I’m the girl the vow to never become. If only I had worn yoga pants.

I regret not having serious feelings for yoga pants sooner. Back when they actually went to yoga I didn’t even respect them. They were the most comfortable and convenient thing for me to wear to bikram and they looked good. One time I thought I’d be cool and wear shorts. Yeah, pretty sure more people saw my goods than when I delivered a baby. F’real.

In any event, they make me feel powerful and invincible. Like I can carry 10 grocery bags and an 18 lb baby up the stairs in one trip. Or like I can rearrange the living room while my husband isn’t home. Or like I can lift the stroller into the trunk without scratching the car. 2 out of 3 of those things happened….

Wearing yoga pants is like telling the world that you’re doing nothing, but you’re planning something great and looking good doing it. I get that there are some women who do yoga in those pants, and I applaud them. I used to be one of them. I used to scoff at women wearing yoga pants and sandals. Now, I wear that uniform with a badge of honor.

So to my sista from another mista who is wearing yoga pants and hasn’t been to yoga in two years, I feel ya. Let’s just call them ambition pants. At least you tried pants. Congraulations on not reaching the part of Netflix where it asks if you’re still watching pants. You’ll do better tomorrow pants. Hey, your ass looks fantastic pants. Go get ’em girl.

Things I’ve Learned on my Breastfeeding Journey

BFJWhen I got pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I am lucky that everything worked out and my little girl and I have been going strong for six months.  Although it hasn’t been an easy journey, I am glad I’ve gone on it with her and I’m hoping to continue as long as she wants. I had no idea how much I would learn in these few short months of breastfeeding, but here it is.

Everyone’s Journey is Different 

There are tons of ways to feed your baby. When my baby was born I decided that I wanted to breastfeed. I was lucky enough that she was given to me in the first hour to latch, she latched well, my nipples did their jobs properly and we survived the hardest few weeks. Some people try tirelessly to make breastfeeding work, others don’t try at all. I don’t judge.We are all doing what’s best for our families. So other mommies, I want you to know that I support and  love you right where you are.

I am Forced to Slow Down

I  often fancy myself some 1950’s housewife who has it all together. I picture myself in a cute red dress with my hair curled, the baby happily playing, dinner on the table and a pie in the oven. Except I work from home and take care of a baby all day, so my reality looks much different than that. Still, in my endless quest for perfection, I find myself running around most of the day. Then my baby cries and everything stops. I drop what I am doing, pick her up, cuddle into our spot on the couch, cover her with blankets and stop for  a minute. In that moment, everything else melts away. It’s just me and her on this crazy journey and I am forced to slow down and cherish the precious baby in my arms.

Supplementing is Okay

I am a very “all or nothing” kind of girl. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s awful. When my daughter was born I was told that colostrum would be enough to keep her little belly full until my milk came in. Only it wasn’t, not for her. I was given pre-mixed formula for her to eat after breastfeeding. My baby went from screaming her lungs out to a happy, content baby after the first supplement. I figured I had ruined our chances at breastfeeding, but two days later my milk came in and that was the last time we had to supplement. It’s okay if you don’t meet some arbitrary standard of perfection, especially when it means keeping your sanity.

Covering Up is Controversial

I would really love to have an extremely well-formed and controversial opinion on this, but I don’t. I have always felt comfortable breastfeeding in public and I choose to cover up on most occasions. I have also decided to not cover up when I’ve forgotten my cover, or when it’s too hot or when I just don’t want to. I always try to be respectful of the people around me and be discreet. I know that it makes some people uncomfortable. Here’s the thing though, I’ve never gotten a negative comment. People have always said very positive things or nothing at all. I try to balance making my baby comfortable and making myself (and others) comfortable and so far it seems to be working out for me.

Breastfeeding + Babywearing = Win

You should seriously try it. My husband bought me a Tula for mother’s day and it was seriously the best gift ever. I wear my baby all the time. When she’s fussy, when we’re out, when we’re going on a walk, when I am trying to get stuff done. The best part is she can breastfeed discreetly while I have both hands free. In fact, she’s eating right now while I type. I am also sipping a coffee and texting my mom…because doing one thing would be too easy, right? Anyways, this has made my breastfeeding journey much easier. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a hungry baby, but also a life.

Support Systems Matter

My husband supported me breastfeeding 110%. While he would have supported me if I couldn’t do it, he knew it was really important to me. He was a key player in those early days when my nipples were cracked and bleeding, when it hurt to walk and when people were telling me just giving her formula would be so much easier. I didn’t want to give up, but I might have had he not been there. He was up with me during the late-night feedings, even though he didn’t have to be. He was always at the ready with water, a magazine or a snack while I fed her. When I felt like giving up he encouraged me to press on. He is my biggest supporter and constantly tells me what a good job I’m doing. I don’t think I could have survived without him. A support system is everything.

5 Ways We Save Money As New Parents

5WaysTake a seat, grab a drink (probably alcoholic) and let’s begin. Okay, so the arbitrarily decided upon cost per month of having a baby is $1,000/month for the first year. Since we’re just talking about new parents I’ll stop there. Plus, we don’t have enough time or alcohol to go beyond a year right now.

Friends, we could have had one sweet ass car for that price, but we choose the family track in the game of life. If you have a spare $1,000 laying around in your monthly budget, good on ya. Take your drink, click X in the upper-right hand corner of your screen and head out to the pool, there’s nothing here for you. If not, hang tight, because my 5 months of parenting have obviously made me a child-rearing financial expert.

1. Breastfeed 

Dude, before we start some obnoxious mommy war, let me be clear. These are the things my husband and I are doing that help us save money. I totally get not everyone can breastfeed. There are TONS of ways to save money on formula, too. Anywho we haven’t noticed an increase in our monthly food bill, my pump was free through our insurance and I haven’t needed to buy more milk storage bags yet, so our net cost so far has been $0. It’s great for mom, it’s great for baby and ladies, you have an excuse to chill on the couch looking at Instagram like 100 times a day. Win.

2. Cloth Diapers

Again, not for everyone, but it does save money in the long run. There are some startup costs, but you can even minimize those by buying diapers on sites like Start-up costs can range from $60-300+, but from birth to potty training you could save up to $2,500 using cloth diapers. It cost us about $300 to get started and we bought one-size diapers that will last until she’s potty trained. Our water bill went up $0.14/month, so that hasn’t been a huge factor. We also haven’t needed diaper rash cream or baby powder since we started cloth. Now blow-outs either, and if you’re going to be washing shit either way, at least save some money.

3. Homemade Baby Wipes

Let’s all agree that wipes are one of the cheaper expenses associated with having a baby. You can buy in bulk and get coupons to save yourself some money. But, you’re usually little chemical laden squares to wipe on your child’s ass. My daughter got one hell of a chemical burn from Huggie’s. Not cool. Making homemade wipes costs about $2/month and takes about 5 minutes. You’ll save about $20/month and that adds up over time. (Unless you spend that $20 on Starbucks. Which I definitely don’t do…)

4. Consignment Shops

Here’s how it works: bring all the stuff you don’t use anymore to a consignment shop (make sure it’s in decent condition) and sell it for cash or store credit. Then use that money to buy cheaper (but still awesome) baby stuff and clothes. On our last transaction we brought in a bunch of clothes and random things and got $44, we bought her a bunch of clothes and ended up still making back $12. We were literally paid to shop. What we couldn’t sell we donated to a local pregnancy shelter. Everyone wins.

5. Baby Toys/Gear

Babies come with a lot of stuff. Our small apartment looks like the baby section at Target, but our small space makes us truly consider what we buy. We aren’t getting a jumperoo, a walker or an activity yard. We haven’t bought her every baby toy that struck our fancy. As much as I want to spend gobs of money on my baby, we are trying to use money where it counts. Rather than buy our daughter expensive things she won’t use in the span of months we take her to do fun things or save that money for something better down the road. She will literally play with anything, so I prefer to give her interesting household items to explore rather than a mountain of $40 plastic toys.

Why You Need to Stop Saying I Told You So

itoldyousoThe car was closing in around me. My daughter’s screams from the backseat were ringing in my ears like a boiling tea kettle. I sat in the passenger’s seat helpless, wringing my hands, starring out the window, watching the mile markers endlessly tick by.

My husband and I had ventured out of the house with our one-month-old daughter. We set forth with all the naivete and confidence of new parents, ready to take on the world. I was going stir crazy, but I thought we should stay in. My husband, ever fearless, assured me it would be okay.

Once we got on the interstate the torrent of blood curdling screams began emitting from the backseat. We were stressed, tested and at our wits end. The much-needed journey turned out to be a car ride that felt like an eternity. I sat there holding my head and feeling the words form on my lips “I TOLD YOU SO!”. I let the words fester, eat me up, linger. I let them sink into my soul and make me feel victimized. The suddenly too-small car felt like a cage. I only knew one thing: it wasn’t my fault.

Then I looked over at my husband. He was holding the steering wheel with white knuckles. I watched as his chest rose and fell sporadically as if he was forgetting to breathe. In that moment, I knew it didn’t matter who was right. It didn’t matter who made the decision. I put my hand on his leg and said “I love you” and his grip on the wheel softened. Suddenly the air around us didn’t feel so dense, the cries didn’t seem to be inches from my ears.

Here’s the thing, once a decision is made in a marriage it doesn’t matter who made it. You’re in this together. My husband and I have to make decisions all the time. We weigh the pros and the cons, we talk about what’s best, we offer our thoughts and feelings. In the end, we can only choose one course of action. We go with whatever feels best, whether it’s his idea, my idea or some combination of the two. But when things don’t go according to plan, it can be hard to stay calm.

It’s so easy to say those four words, “I TOLD YOU SO!”. They are simple words that speak volumes. They say I don’t trust your decisions, I’m not on your team, we aren’t in this together. They steal away your spouses confidence in their decisions and make them a passive player in an active marriage. Those words can make your spouse feel alone and unsure. That’s why my husband and I decided not to say it to each other.

Keeping those words from escaping your mouth isn’t always easy. When you’re in the heat of a difficult moment, when nothing seems to be going right, when the car feels too small, it can be easy to say things you don’t mean. When I remember not to say “I TOLD YOU SO!” I remember that my husband is my biggest supporter, my best friend and my team mate. I let the little things go more easily and I empower myself and my husband to make decisions without fear.

We are stronger as a couple and as individuals because we respect each other, our marriage and ourselves. We let mistakes happen. We encourage ourselves to be bold and courageous, even if it means we fail. We help each other through the hard parts of life, being strong when the other can’t. We see our lives as an adventure where we both take responsibility for  the outcomes of our decisions, whether they are good or bad. Together, we’re making memories of mishaps.