Wednesday, July 31, 2013

World Breastfeeding Week 2013! Day One: Support.

I've been meaning to write about breastfeeding as it is extremely important to me. As you might (or might not know) today is the first day of world breastfeeding week. It runs from the first of August to the seventh of August. So I figured now would be as good a time as any to write out my thoughts about breastfeeding and maybe tell you about my journey. Maybe I can offer some encouraging words and offer some sort of support for those who need it most. I'm going to share with you some of my personal struggles and the solutions I've found to help get past whatever I was going through. 

(When I thought about what I wanted to share, I realized I have so much to say. I have had such an incredible journey with not only good, but bad times as well. I'd like to split this up into several posts throughout the entire week.)

For the first day, I'd like to write about breastfeeding support. World breastfeeding week helps bring attention to the support a mother needs throughout her breastfeeding journey. I'd like to start by saying I never consciously chose to breastfeed my son. I never really saw anyone breastfeed their child, except maybe once when I was younger I vaguely remember my mom nursing my sister. (She nursed for a few months before running into complications.) However, I didn't think there was any other way I would feed my child. I guess I just figured there was no other way, besides breastfeeding. Without support, it's easy to get overwhelmed and turn to finding an alternate way to feed your baby.

 From personal experience, I know that support is one of the most important parts of breastfeeding. Without the support of my husband, I might have actually given up on breastfeeding. I'm not going to sugar coat it and tell you that breastfeeding is the easiest thing I've ever done. In the beginning it hurt, it hurt so bad that I would curl my toes when my son latched. My nipples were sore, cracked and at one point bleeding. It wasn't only painful, it was hard. After we came home from the hospital we were on our own. There was no one there to help me make sure I found a comfortable way for not just my baby to nurse but for me to be comfortable as well. I also had so much milk, I remember waking up one night drenched in my breast milk. My milk basically shot out of my boobs even before my son latched on. I remember one night  he woke up to nurse, we were both so tired still. I scooped him up and brought him to bed so we could rest while he nursed. (I kept him in a bassinet beside our bed to make nursing at night easier!) For whatever reason I just could not get the right position for him to nurse in and my milk was coming out way too quickly for him to keep up. He kept choking on my milk every single time he latched on. My heart broke over and over each time I had to unlatch him and pat his back to make sure he was alright. I remember laying there with a crying newborn and crying myself because I didn't know what I was doing. My dear sweet husband woke up and tried to calm the two of us down. He even got out of bed to search on Google for good nursing positions and found one that actually worked for us. I believe it was something about me laying down so that my son had to work against gravity to get my milk out. It worked so well, we were all able to get some sleep. This, my friends, is the greatest support a nursing mother could have. Not only was he willing to get up out of bed to help me figure out a nursing position, he always made sure I had water to drink while I was nursing. (If you're a nursing mama, you know just how important it is to drink water, even while you're nursing.) I'm not sure I would have made it to two years of nursing without the encouragement and support from my husband. So here's to you, Craig. Thank you for being the most supportive person through my breastfeeding journey. It hasn't been easy and I'm sure you can't count the number of times I've complained about my boobs hurting because I had too much milk in them.

My hope is that every mother (whether it's your husband, boyfriend, partner... whomever) has the best support system there for her when she's struggling with her breastfeeding journey. Even if she's not struggling, she deserves someone there to cheer her on and to let her know that she is giving her baby such an amazing gift. It's amazing what one simple comment can do for a nursing mother. The encouraging words of love and support will pick me up on even the very worst days. 

What is/was your support system like? Are you currently struggling, but feel that you don't have someone to support you in your journey? Leave a comment and I will offer words of love and support and help in any way I possibly can. You are not alone, mamas.

Don't forget to check back each day to see a new topic on breastfeeding!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

#SummerCloth Twitter Party July 25th with @vivaveltoro!

If you love chatting on twitter with other cloth diapering mamas, you'll want to join this twitter party! There are some great prizes, so head on over to Viva Veltoro's blog and RSVP!

Here are the details you'll need to write down somewhere so you don't forget!
  • What day: Thursday July 25.
  • What time: 9-10 pm EST
  • What's the hashtag: #SummerCloth
  • Who's hosting: @vivaveltoro

There are also some special panelists as well:
@thriftyniftymom@InquisitiveMom@JennyMcClamroch, @zephyrhillblog, @MyCDStash

So go check out all the details on her blog and RSVP. I'll be attending and hope to see you all there. Follow me and chat with me: @katieamfender

Saturday, July 6, 2013

It's Not all Fluff & Rainbows: Cloth Diaper July Blog Hop!

I'm participating in July's cloth diaper blog hop with and here is what this month's topic is:

"This month’s topic is the fact that cloth diapering isn't always fluff & rainbows, unicorns & sparkles; most of us have had some sort of hurdle with cloth diapering. I want to know what hurdles you encountered, and how you overcame them."

Cloth diapering isn't always fun, we all know that. So here are a couple of hurdles I've managed to overcome with the support of my husband.

When I first made the decision to cloth diaper, it didn't come to me easily. I struggled to come to a yes decision. I loved how cute they were, but I was a first time Mom and I hadn't quit my job yet to be a stay at home mom. I actually had no plans at the time to quit, that came up later. I thought about it for quite a long time and finally convinced myself. I actually think it was easier to convince my husband than it was to convince myself. After making the decision to start cloth diaper, I had nothing but support from my mother and my husband. There were some in my family who were skeptical when I told them about cloth diapering because they thought it was the old fashioned rubber pants and pinned diapers. After figuring out what style of diapers we wanted to make up the most of our stash, we purchased enough diapers to start our journey. 

As our little guy got older, I noticed a huge problem. He kept leaking throughout the night. It was extremely frustrating because we bed share, so in the middle of the night I'm trying to take care of wet sheets and a baby who is soaking and crying because he just wants to nurse and go back to sleep. All while being extremely tired myself. This has always been a huge struggle for us. We didn't want to purchase special nighttime diapers because we didn't want to spend even more money. I got to the point, however, where I was so sick of not being able to fix our pockets to work as nighttime diapers. We ended up purchasing a fitted diaper. I was in love! So anytime we had a little extra money to spend, we bought a fitted diaper to make sure we had enough to last until I washed diapers next. I then discovered my love for prefolds (Thanks to being a diaper tester/reviewer for my local cloth diaper store, The Green Nursery.) and absolutely loved them for overnight as well.

Finding a nighttime solution was probably one of the biggest hurdles I've had to overcome in my cloth diapering journey. The other was my wash/dry routine. When I first talked to someone about cloth diapering, she suggested using All Free and Clear. I was rather excited because I could just use that on my diapers as well as my laundry and it wasn't very expensive. I didn't use it on my diapers long because I absolutely hated it. I wanted to use a powdered detergent, so I switched to Rockin' Green Hard Rock. The only other thing I had to do was get down a great washing routine and I'd be set. I tweaked it here and there and finally figured out what worked best for me. I start with a cold rinse, then a hot wash with detergent- making sure I let the washer fill about half way before adding the diapers, then I do a warm wash with no detergent. This helps ensure that my diapers are rinse thoroughly enough. Drying is obviously a lot easier. If it's sunny I try to get them out to dry, but I end up doing diaper laundry at night while my son is winding down and getting to bed for the night. So I throw my inserts in the dryer and hang my shells and fitteds on the drying rack for the night (and sometimes for a few days by the time I get to them. Ha!) I need something bigger than a drying rack though, so I can line dry them all. 

Our cloth diapering journey has had more good times than bad, but sometimes the bad can make you want to give up. My advice is to talk with other cloth diapering moms. Some may have had the same hurdles that you're currently dealing with and may have some great advice to help get you out of your cloth diapering funk.