nips

Should you rub your nipples with sandpaper?

There’s a whole world of crazy stuff that pregnant women are told to do, and rubbing their nipples with sandpaper is high on that list.

The idea behind doing this is to toughen up your nipples for breastfeeding.

I get it.

The minds of the (I’m assuming) men that decided this was a necessary thing do to while pregnant probably had good intentions. I mean, realistically your tender nipples that were once tenderly caressed during passionate lovemaking (yeah, remember pre-kid sex??) will be continually suckled on by a ravenous baby.

Your breasts won’t have any idea what’s coming to them, but guess what? They’ll learn.

There are many things that pregnant women are told to do to prepare for baby. Is rubbing your nipples with sandpaper one of the things you should be doing?

The human body is pretty fascinating. There’s this whole blog post that I wrote about nipples, but I did forget to mention in there that they will toughen as your breastfeeding journey continues on. There will be some initial discomfort as your body adjusts, but it should be minor. If your nipples are super sore it’s not because they’re weak, it’s because you probably need to get some help with your latch. Contact your Midwife, OBGYN, or pop down to your local Health Unit to see a Lactation Consultant. Breastfeeding isn’t always super enjoyable, but it shouldn’t be painful- at least not until your kiddo has those front four dagger-like teeth that chomp down on your nipple when you’re least expecting it and you say words that you didn’t even say during childbirth.

(*I haven’t breastfed for years, but even thinking about this occurrence makes me shiver.*)

So, how do you get tough titties for breastfeeding? You don’t.

What you do is enjoy them while they’re yours and not attached to a small child. If enjoying them to you means rubbing them with sandpaper (you kinky vixen, you) then, by all means, do that, but don’t do it because Great-Aunt Mildred did it back in her day (you know, before women’s rights and extensive medical research).

Have you ever considered going to pelvic floor physiotherapy? You'll be surprised to find out who can benefit from going!

Do you need pelvic floor physiotherapy?

There are a few things that don’t get talked about enough when it comes to birth and motherhood:

hemherroids

– -fundal massage

postpartum mood disorders

-isolation

-pooping while giving birth

-post-breastfeeding breasts

-the feeling of a bowling ball coming out of your vagina as a result of your child destroying your body during pregnancy and birth

That last one, though.

If your pelvic floor was weakened during your childbearing process you know exactly what I’m talking about. If your pelvic floor stayed entirely intact throughout the whole thing you may not be able to sympathize, however, you still need to be aware for future reference and to pass along the following information to fellow mamas.

Who needs pelvic floor physiotherapy?

In short, the answer to this question is: EVERYONE!

Regardless of if you have a vagina or not, you can benefit from pelvic floor physiotherapy. Just as we keep our biceps and quads toned and defined we need to do the same for our pelvic muscles.

I’ve been pretty open about the impact that birth has had on my pelvic floor. I’m not shy about admitting that I’ve peed my pants a time or two when I haven’t been able to cross my legs in time before a sneeze, or when I try to do a physical activity like run or jump on a trampoline.

While it’s fun to make jokes about it it can actually be a lot more detrimental than one would think. Not only was I unable to do….a lot….without my two-year-old pointing out that I had an accident, but as time went on the pressure in my pelvis was causing pain on a daily basis.

I saw my doctor who told me that my high activity level was actually keeping my pelvic floor stronger, but if it got much worse I would need surgery. I decided then that the trip to the pelvic floor physiotherapist that I’d been procrastinating needed to happen NOW!

What is an appointment like?

I went to my first pelvic floor physiotherapy appointment at Kinetic Physiotherapy with Erin in Maple Ridge.

The appointment started with some questions-a lot of super personal ones that I love talking about!

After the fun questions, she did an internal exam to see where my level of pelvic floor dysfunction was. Without getting into nitty-gritty details about things that I don’t understand enough to pretend to be an authority on, she told me a lot about the vagina and co. that I had no idea about (like bladder placement and sensitive points in the vaginal opening).

Once she was done the exam, Erin gave me some super simple exercises (yep, including PROPER kegels-which she explained) as homework to do every day until our next appointment.

I’m certain that many of you reading this are experiencing some symptom/s of pelvic floor issues (frequent urination, pressure in the pelvis, incontinence, bowel issues). I’ve felt that even just from making my first appointment for pelvic floor physiotherapy that my quality of life has improved. Simply knowing that I’m getting some professional help and am on way to having a pee free run or bounce on the trampoline has encouraged me immensely.

I urge you to do the same so that you can get your life back to normal, as well!

mastitis tips

The truth about breastfeeding: Mastitis

Mastitis.

Yep, it is as nasty as it sounds. Alongside things like blocked ducts, cracks, and blisters, Mastitis is a potential medical condition that can occur while breastfeeding.

Mastitis is inflammation in the breast tissue or milk ducts, in all or a portion of the breast. It can be caused by a variety of things, one of the most common being reducing the amount you’re breastfeeding. Yep-you can thank your baby and the massive growth spurt they just came down from (just kidding, you can’t blame your baby, obviously. Blame your partner. )

If you’re reading this you probably have symptoms of mastitis (flu-like symptoms, hard breast, redness in breast tissue, swollen breast) or have been diagnosed with mastitis and are waiting for me to get to the part on how the heck to deal with it. Okay, here goes:

How to deal with Mastitis

If you're experiencing symptoms of Mastitis you can find some relief with these tips, but always be sure to consult with your doctor!

(First thing first, my friend: I’m not a doctor. However, I’m a Mama who’s breastfed 4 babies and has had mastitis. I’m also a Postpartum Doula and have helped other Mamas with mastitis.

The information that I’m about to share with you is based on my personal experience of what’s worked, which is information based on research that I’ve done from reputable sources.)

Get rest

Your body is fighting an infection. You’re going to be run down. You’re going to be sore.

Give yourself some time to rest, drink plenty of fluids, and be kind to your body. Bring your baby into bed and grab a good book! Find someone to take care of any other children you have-right now you need to take care of you!

Feed that baby

You are going to want to continually drain the breast that has been affected by Mastitis. Put baby on that breast as often as possible-start with this breast every time you feed. Try different positions to see which one encourages baby to take the most milk. If your baby isn’t super into feeding as much as you need try some gentle hand expression or a pump.

Heat, heat, heat

Use a hot compress or warmed washcloth and apply it to the affected breast. The best tip, though? Get in the shower (lock the door to the bathroom, eh?), let the warm water do it’s magic, and very gently massage your breast to relieve some of the swelling. (This is a double positive- you get some relief and some time to yourself.

Do one or the other before every feeding to encourage milk flow. Make sure you don’t make your heat source excessively hot, however. You could cause damage to the skin.

See your doctor

Don’t hesitate to see your doctor right away if you have symptoms of Mastitis. Mastitis can get worse quickly and can build into even nastier things, like an abscess.

If you notice that you’re not getting relief within a few hours of the onset of symptoms be sure to book an appointment as soon as possible. Sometimes, antibiotics are necessary to get rid of the infection.

What are the main differences between a cesarean birth and a vaginal birth? There are some but they're more similar than you'd think!

What’s the difference between a Cesarean birth and Vaginal birth?

There are a couple of differences when it comes to cesarean birth vs vaginal birth but they’re more similar than you think!

Some folks feel like they could be pregnant forever. They love their changing bodies, the sensation of their growing baby in their belly, and the fact that most rules don’t apply to pregnant people:)

Other folks, however, are planning an exit strategy for their small tenant for months before they finally make their arrival.

No matter how you feel about your pregnancy the fact of the matter is that your baby will have to come out eventually!

What are the main differences between a cesarean birth and a vaginal birth? There are some but they're more similar than you'd think!

There are two ways that your baby is going to be welcomed into the earth:

Cesarean birth:

An incision is made into the birthing person’s womb and the baby either makes its way out or is pulled out by a surgeon. This type of birth must take place at a hospital.

Vaginal birth:

The baby makes its way down the birth canal and is born out of the vagina. This type of birth can take place at a hospital or at home.

That’s it! Those are your options. Do you know what the coolest thing about both options is? THEY’RE BOTH BIRTH. One is not better than or lesser than the other.

They both require preparation. They both require knowledge and information. They’re both physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. They both are painful. They’re both accomplishments.

They both make you a parent.

I’ve never personally had a cesarean birth. I had two vaginal hospital births and two vaginal home births. For those of you who have experienced both types of birth, I would love to hear your take on the difference between the two!

Birth is birth is birth, my friends. Regardless of how you welcomed your little person into the world your body has done something absolutely incredibly amazingly awe-inspiring. You are an absolute wonder.

There is a whole lot to know about nipples! Here are 9 fascinating facts that you should know before you start breastfeeding!

9 surprising facts about nipples

Most people have at least one or two nipples.

There’s a natural progression in the fascination with nipples as we grow:

Childhood: I’m going to play with these things on my chest and repeatedly say the word nipple.

Pre-Adolescence: Everyone gets a Purple Nurple!

Early Adolescence: Nipples rising!!

Late Adolescence: I’m going to let other people play with these things on my chest.

Adulthood: WTF is coming out of there?

Nipples are fascinating. They’re a lot more than a little (or big) protrusion on your chest/breast. There are a few things you’ll learn for yourself along the way (like the many, many sensory receptors in the nipple) but there are a few things you may not know yet.

Here are some fascinating facts about nipples (you need to know before breastfeeding)

  1. Nipples are erogenous zones for a lot of folks. This means that nipple stimulation can often trigger a sexual arousal response. In fact, scientists have shown that stimulation of the nipples transmits to the brain the same way as from stimulation from the clitoris, vagina, and cervix. Just be careful…a little nipple play can get you into more trouble than you can imagine.
  2. Your nipples can change colour and shape in pregnancy. As your breasts grow and change your nipples do, as well.
  3. Your areola (the area surrounding your nipple) will likely get larger and darker throughout your pregnancy. This is so, and get ready for this, your baby can find your nipple easier!!! How amazing is that!
  4. Remember that first fun fact? Nipple stimulation to induce labour has been an idea that’s been floating around for quite some time. While some folks swear by it, there are others who say that it’s ineffective or causes labour contractions that are stronger than normal. ALWAYS talk to your midwife or OBGYN/healthcare provider before doing anything to bring on labour (no matter how desperate you are or how many go-aheads you get in a Facebook group).
  5. There are lots of different types of nipples. They come in different shapes and sizes: flat, inverted, protruding, or unclassified. Some of these characteristics can make breastfeeding a little more challenging, so if you’re having difficulties it may be worthwhile to talk to your midwife or OBGYN/healthcare provider, or lactation consultant to find out the best way to breastfeed with your nipple type.
  6. Nipple pain is normal…to a point. Breastfeeding shouldn’t cause a whole ton of pain, so again, if you’re experiencing pain that is intolerable you may need to source out some help.
  7. The average height of a nipple is 0.9 cm….unless you’ve breastfed 4 kids. Then, you’re likely carrying around nipples that resemble AA batteries.
  8. Trying to find the perfect lipstick? Your ideal match of lipstick is the colour of your nipple! Now, if only there was a way of figuring that out in the makeup store without being too obvious…
  9. Nipples can leak breastmilk without any extra help. While some folks require hand expression or a breast pump to extract milk, others experience a “free pour”. Using some good quality breast pads can reduce circle stains on the front of your shirt!

Do you have any other fascinating facts about nipples you think should be shared?

Also, if anyone has found their perfect lipstick colour please share how you got it!

how to deal with your preteen

How to deal with your preteen

You suspect your kiddo is becoming a preteen. They’ve become more independent. Maybe they babysit? Perhaps they’re cooking meals? They’re probably spending time with friends and requesting a little more space.

Just when you think things are going to get easier (no more diapers, no more two year old tantrums) you get to deal with some good ol’ fashioned hormones.

You may notice that your kiddo is getting to be a bit more on the moody side these days. To be honest, it’s understandable. You know those times throughout the month when you’re unreasonably angry and sad and happy all at the same time? That’s how a preteen feels all the time right now.

These are some suggestions for how to deal with your preteen. Please remember that I’m no child psychologist or professional child development specialist, but these are what I find works based on experience.

A.sk your preteen if they want to talk

Sometimes it takes a little bit of prompting to get your preteen to talk to you. Definitely don’t push the matter, but opening up the opportunity may be just what they need to be able to get some stuff off of their chest.

H.ave open and honest conversation with them

If your preteen does decide that they’d like to talk be as open and honest with them as possible. They may share some things with you that you’re uncomfortable with; avoid being blatantly uncomfortable. You are their safe space. If you don’t think you can deal with uncomfortable conversation with your preteen try and find someone who may have an easier time.

H.ug them

Your kiddo NEEDS A HUG! Just the offer of a hug may be enough, but often times your preteen will be all over the chance of an embrace. Hold them until they let go- they’ll let you know when they’re done their hug.

H.ear what they’re saying to you

When your preteen is talking to you make sure you are actively listening. They’re trying to communicate with you about their experience the best that they can. Show them that you’re listening by paraphrasing what they’re saying and say it back to them.

Life as a preteen can be hard. Here are some suggestions to help make the transition into adulthood a little bit smoother!

O.ffer your own personal experience

You are your child’s idol (despite the angst currently being directed your way). When you can offer insight into your own personal experience of preteen life they get a little more assurance that a) you’re genuinely empathizing with them during their challenging time, and b) you’re a human being, and not just a parent.

R.emind them that this hormonal shift is normal

While you explain to your preteen that their daily mood swings and physical changes once happened to you, also explain that they happen to EVERYONE! Puberty is a shift that occurs at one point in everyone’s life. All of their feelings are totally normal!

M.aintain communication

Periodically ask if your child wants to chat and always mention that you’re available to talk at any time.

O.bserve

It can be easy to be overbearing when it comes to making sure your kiddo is doing alright. Instead of constantly asking them if they’re okay or offering hugs at every turn keep your eye on them. You know your child and can likely tell when they need a bit of extra TLC.

N.ecessitate breaks for yourself

Ooooh you’re starting to have a bit of sympathy towards your own parents, eh? Living with a preteen is no walk in the park (just ask your folks). You’ll be required to give a lot of yourself to your preteen in this time and it can be draining. Make sure you’re giving yourself some love and attention, too.

E.ncourage your preteen

This hormonal change is but a blip in life. Soon enough, your preteen will regulate and life will be easier. Keep letting them know that it’s going to be okay.

S.eek out resources

It’s probably been a while since you were a preteen, yes? It’s likely you’ve forgotten a lot about what it’s like to be a preteen and you may need to brush up on your latest preteen info. My go-to person for all things preteen is Sexual Health with Sam!

Life as a preteen, and life living with a preteen can be tumultuous. Using some of the “AHHORMONES” suggestions above you may be able to make it a little bit of a smoother transition for everyone.

What did you find helped you with your child?