why i don't encourage breastfeeding

Why I no longer encourage breastfeeding

Breast is best.

Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best.Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best. Breast is best.

As new mothers, we are bombarded with the slogan of “breast is best”. It’s a campaign to raise awareness surrounding breastmilk and it’s health benefits for mother and child. Breastmilk, in fact, provides all the nourishment that a child will need for the first six months. It is chock full of nutrients that can reduce sickness in a baby while also preventing various illnesses later in their lives. Breastfeeding can increase a child’s intelligence, as well as provide the mother with health benefits such as assisting her uterus to return to its pre-baby shape and reducing her risk of breast cancer.

 

Breastmilk is incredible.

Breastfeeding is incredible.

However, it’s truly not for everyone. Throughout my years as a mom, I’ve encountered many different women. I have friends who have nursed their children for four years, some who have nursed their baby for 6 months, some who tried to nurse and hated it, some who tried to nurse and could not, and some who didn’t want to try breastfeeding at all.

Do you know what all of these women have in common? They’re all caring, compassionate, involved, wonderful mothers whose best interest is always in their child.

There seems to be this certain superiority surrounding breastfeeding. Women get shamed at the playground because they’re feeding their baby a bottle of formula. There is often little thought given to why a mom may be feeding her baby formula. There are a few reasons why she may be doing this:

I no longer encourage breastfeeding

-She doesn’t want to breastfeed

-She can’t breastfeed

-She won’t breastfeed

There are many reasons why a mom chooses not to breastfeed her child ranging from her not wanting to, to her having experienced sexual trauma that prevents her from emotionally being able to to her body simply not allowing it. Regardless of the reason why she chooses not to breastfeed, it is nobody’s business but her own.

I went through lactation hell each and every time I had a baby. I took expensive supplements, ate all the lactation boosting things, and was a slave to the breast pump. I also gave my babies formula because I wasn’t actually able to produce enough milk to sustain their tiny bodies. The choice to breastfeed isn’t always an easy one, nor is the choice to formula feed.

If my opinion is asked specifically regarding breastfeeding I will always highly encourage breastfeeding based on my own personal experience. I loved it. If my opinion is not asked, however, I will not encourage breastfeeding. I once was a major breastfeeding advocate. Whenever I could I would encourage breastfeeding, even when it was clear that a mom did not want to. In recent years I’ve begun to take a different approach. Now, when a mom expresses to me that she’s tried breastfeeding, doesn’t like it, and needs suggestions on how to dry up her breastmilk I don’t intervene. I simply give her suggestions (Oil of Oregano, sage tea, cabbage leaves in your bra) and words of praise and encouragement for the superb job she’s doing as a mom. She’s made a decision that she feels is best for her and her baby! Who am I to say she’s wrong?

We’re all in this together. This mom thing is hard super, ridiculously, incredibly challenging. Moms have enough to worry about with everything that comes with being a parent; nobody needs the stress of judgment and criticism on top of that! Help make sure that all women feel empowered for the way they’ve chosen to feed their babies!

natural period

How to have a natural period

Allow me to begin by saying: there’s nothing unnatural about your period! Your period is natural. Period.

There are, however, more natural ways around going about having your period.

This post isn’t about why we have our periods. I go into that in further detail in this post. 

This post is about how AWESOME our periods really, actually are and the fun you can have with them!

If you’re keeling over in pain from your cramps right now you may not necessarily agree with this, but having your period is a pretty darn amazing thing. It’s a part of the wonder that is the way the female body works. It’s indicative of our entry into womanhood. It’s also a sure-fire sign that you’re not pregnant this month!!

Women have become very creative in the ways that they have their periods nowadays. The products available are endless and they’re suitable for all needs and lifestyles!

Here’s how to have a natural period

There are affiliate links in this post. That means, that you can enjoy some retail therapy while you deal with your monthly blessing, and at no cost to you, I’ll enjoy compensation from the mentioned retailers. 

have your period naturally

Menstrual Cramps

First things first, for those poor ladies I mentioned earlier with the painful cramps, let’s chat about those.

The “Modern Day” in me says take that Tylenol, especially when you don’t have any other choice but to carry on with your day as efficiently as possible. However, the “Hippie Mama” in me says there’s a few other things you can try to have a natural period:

-Heat. Use a heating pad or a hot water bottle.

-Drink some ginger or chamomile tea. Both will help reduce pain and inflammation.

-Keep your body hydrated and nourished. You don’t want to deal with the effects of not giving your body enough. Try and limit the wine and chocolate that you’re craving SO badly right now.

Have an orgasm! There have been studies to show that having an orgasm will double your tolerance for pain temporarily. It’s worth a try, anyway!

-If you experience painful cramps on a monthly basis give acupuncture a shot. Also, make an appointment with your naturopath who can point you in the right direction for some herbs that will work for your body.

Cloth pads

Do you know what’s in the pads you buy from the drugstore? The heavily scented ones that feel like plastic? They’re filled with harmful chemicals that are rubbing up against one of the most important parts of your beautiful body.

A great alternative to disposable pads? Reusable ones!

There are LOADS of retailers that sell magnificent cloth pads. You can order them online at Etsy!

The “ick” factor with wearing a cloth pad is minimal. You can easily designate a plastic container to store them in until laundry day, or you can just toss them right in with your regular laundry!

P.S. A post-partum cloth pad makes a great gift for a new Mom! She can plop that baby in with her mesh undies and enjoy comfort (?)!

Menstrual Cups

These gems are seriously awesome. You know how when your little one finds your box of tampons and proceeds to scatter them all over the floor? I do. For some reason, the massive amount of toys they have never seems to suffice and they must play with whatever they’re not supposed to get into.

Instead of having a whole bunch of tampons that you use every month you can trade them all in for one nifty little menstrual cup. I personally have used the DivaCup and love it! It’s made of silicone, can last for 12 hours, is entirely reusable, and has two sizes; one for women who haven’t had kids and one for women who have had kids or are over the age of 30! It takes a little getting used to and maneuvering to find exactly how to make it fit well for you. I’d do a tutorial on my YouTube channel, but they don’t really condone that kinda thing.

If you’re like me and your insides have been destroyed by having children (thanks for the prolapsed bladder, kiddos!) you may find it more comfortable to actually turn the DivaCup inside out so that it doesn’t fit quite so low.

 

Organic tampons and pads

Okay, so maybe the reusable thing isn’t your jam. That’s totally cool. However, even if you aren’t a hippie you can probably appreciate that natural, organic menstrual products are safer and gentler on your body. Your vagina has done some amazing things and she deserves to have a little love shown her way. You can find different types of organic pads and tampons here.

Organic does cost a bit more, of course. However, consider how often you’re actually buying these things! Do a few things to save yourself some money to put into more natural period products! Plus, you’re dealing with everything that comes with having your period-you deserve a little luxury during that time!

 

Bonus tip: How to have your period HAPPILY!

First of all, let me say that having your period can be a massive pain in the vagina. (I would say “pain in the butt”, but I’ve written an entirely different post about that already!)

Give yourself a break, lady! Obviously, now that you have kiddos your days of laying on the couch and drowning your sorrows in a massive tub of chocolate ice cream while watching corny romance movies is over. That said, you need to allow yourself a bit of time to rest. Fill your kids in on what a period is, or simply tell them you’re not feeling well. Watch a movie with them on the couch. Sneak extra chocolate in the laundry room. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel a little better.

At our house, I have a “Period Dinner” once a month. Thanks to my prolapse issues the first day of my period is ridiculously uncomfortable. Years ago, the first day of my period was dubbed “period dinner day” and since then that’s exactly what we’ve done. We order take out and I get a stress free day. You could always opt to stock up on freezer meals for the occasion, as well, but sometimes take out is just what the doctor orders!

hippie mom again

Little things I do that make me a hippie mom

When you think of a hippie mom what do you see?

Hemp clothing? Birkenstocks? Tie-dye?

That’s certainly a stereotypical idea of what a hippie mom looks like. However, allow me to give you insight into what a modern-day hippie mom looks like:

modern day hippie

Yep-that’s me.

I’m a self-proclaimed modern day hippie mom. That means I drive a gas guzzling van, buy wine from Chile, head to the drive-thru when necessary, and use the earth’s precious resources to entertain my children via Netflix while I sneak Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream in the laundry room. While I do enjoy many of modern life luxuries I also maintain a pretty decently hippie-dippy lifestyle by incorporating a few key crunchy things into our lives.

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Small ways to be a hippie mom

There’s are some affiliate links in here, lovely. That means that I get a commission of whatever you may purchase through this link at no extra cost to you. I’m running low on Patchouli oil, so that commission will help me build my essential oil collection. Namaste. 

Teach your children to be kind to the earth

We talk about environmental issues with our kids. We share with them that we need to take care of our planet because it truly is the only one we have. We discuss waste, reduction, recycling, consumption, and alternatives to things that are harmful to the earth. They will make their own decisions when they insist that they want to buy that must-have toy with their birthday money, but at some point, your lessons may resonate with them.

Buy local

How local? As local as you can, as often as you can. If you have a farmer’s market in your community hit it up. Not only is it a great place for your kids to spend time with other folks in their community, it’s great for them to meet the farmers that have grown the food they’re (maybe) going to eat! If your children have a more personal interaction with their fruits and veggies they may be inspired to eat it. If you don’t have access to a farmer’s market and do your shopping at the supermarket take care of where the produce is coming from. If you have an option to buy apples from the country you live in vs another country, take the choice that’s more local to you!

Use reusable bags

Many places are starting to charge for plastic bags, which is a great reminder not to leave your fabric ones at home! So much of what we buy is already coated in plastic and packaging. Let’s try and reduce the amount of plastic we bring home with us! If Mom brain has struck again and you forgot the bags in the van take your plastic bags to a thrift store. They can often reuse them there. Also, check into some of your local grocery stores and see if they have a plastic bag recycling program.

Hippie mom

Turn off the lights

Be mindful of the resources you’re burning through. My kids are absolutely notorious for leaving every single light in the house on. We’ve started charging them $.05 for every light we have to turn off. Also, unplug anything you’re not using. Your coffee machine will not be offended if it’s unplugged until you use it again for the fifth time that day-no judgment! If protecting the environment’s resources doesn’t motivate you consider the amount of money you’ll save on your utility bills if you are conscious of your consumption!!

Use a DivaCup

Remember how we talk about reducing? It may take a bit of getting used to but a DivaCup is a reusable menstrual cup that takes place of tampons. They’re super effective, easy to use, eliminate the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, and are reasonably priced. Also, there are reusable menstrual pads that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and patterns. Both of these things take some getting used to, but you’ll be reducing the amount of waste to the environment, as well as reducing the chemicals you’re putting on and in your body.

Get some reusable sandwich bags

Seriously, there are some CUTE baggies out there. Your kiddos will be thrilled to pull out their fishy crackers in one of these rad bags. Just remind them that they’re not disposable-so they most definitely should not throw these bags out!

Purchase used goods

I find everything at the thrift store. There are a few items I choose to buy new (like undies) but for the most part, everything is purchased second hand. My kids and my clothes are bought at thrift, consignment, and vintage stores. Our dishes and furniture is all pre-loved. Buying second hand negates the need for production of new goods. Less demand=less things created. Plus, you can find unique, quality items for a fraction of the cost of what it was to buy new. If you are going to buy new try and purchase good quality items that will last for a long time.

Use cloth

Cloth diapers is a commitment. I’m not here to try and convince you to do it because it’s a very personal opinion and entirely situationally dependent. However, there are a few things you can convert to cloth that won’t cause nearly the same level of work that cloth diapers will. Use cloth wipes to clean noses. Use cloth wipes for diapers. Use cloth paper towels instead of paper ones. If you’re feeling really brave, try your hand at cloth toilet paper (just for pee). Let me know how that goes. We tried it once-didn’t last long…

Get a tumbler

Coffee on the go is a very real idea for Moms. However, instead of blazing through Starbucks for your third cup o’ Jo in a paper cup, opt for a reusable tumbler. Many coffee shops will even give you a discount for using one!

Walk when you can

It’s not always possible. However, when you can walk to do your errands you should! Not only will this decrease your gas consumption, it will also decrease your children’s energy levels. It’s a win-win for you, Mom!

 

Are you a self-proclaimed “hippie mom”? What little things do you do that make you a hippie mom??

natural ways to deal with hemorrhoids

Childbirth can be a pain in the butt! This is what you can do about hemorrhoids!

There are few things that a person truly has to see to believe: a UFO, the Loch Ness monster, and the gigantic hemorrhoids that can result from vaginal childbirth.

9 (million- amiright?!) or so months is ample time for a woman to become educated and informed on what her body is about to experience. She will be fascinated by the changes her body will make physically. She will be aware of the aches and pains that are normal while she grows life inside of her. She will understand the process of labor and know the calming strategies for when she delivers her precious baby.

Although, there are some things a woman will not ever be able to learn from parenting books or social media. There are facts surrounding vaginal birth that seem to be avoided by the general public. Nobody seems to want to discuss pooping on the table, how a woman’s vagina looks after birth, and hemorrhoids that are so big they deserve the second name choice you had for your new baby.

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Hemorrhoids…*shiver*

Hemorrhoids often begin to rear their ugly heads when a woman is pregnant. When she’s carrying a child in her body there’s a whole lotta pressure bearing down on her backside.These nasty hemorrhoids often loiter for a few months, making their presence vaguely known here and there. It’s typically not until she’s given birth that they make their grand entrance.

When a woman gives birth she gets to celebrate the life of her child. However, she must also grieve the death of her modesty. She just had the most exposed experience of her life as she pooped on the table (it ain’t no myth) moments before showcasing a baby coming out of her vagina through her splayed legs to the group of enthusiastic spectators. She felt confident explaining to the young student doctor that he, in fact, did not freeze her properly and that she could, in fact, feel him stitching her up. She has no problem taking off her nursing gown to put her baby to her breast in front of the room of visitors.

However, no words can describe the humiliation of having a well-intentioned nurse come to check up on the painful monster that has grown from her anus.   

Her pride and ego will heal quickly once she arrives home from the hospital, but the physical pain she’s feeling in her rear end will need some tending to.

Her doctor has recommended she get a medicated topical cream, but her partner, still in shock from what was seen in the delivery room, did not hear her request to go buy some. She is forced to take matters into her own hands and use things from around the house:

How a woman can heal her hemorrhoids

how to deal with hemorrhoids

-She sits on soft surfaces if and when she sits. That breastfeeding pillow she has is very multi-use.

-She drinks lots and lots of water.

-She tries to get plenty of rest.

-She eats highly fibrous foods in order to avoid constipation and keep things as smooth as possible.

-She took a lot of gear from the hospital when she left. Those uber-comfortable, uber-sexy mesh undies, mondo sized pads, and peri-bottles. She can use that to clean her entire nether region.

-She has a sitz bath whenever possible.

-She soaks a cloth in Witch Hazel and puts it between her bum cheeks to reduce swelling.

-She checks out Pinterest for other home remedies and assesses which ones would be suitable for her comfort level. A nice condom filled with ice cubes up the butt may work for some, but maybe not for her. 

She complains loudly because that provides the most relief possible and because she deserves to do that, dammit!

Due to the sensitive nature of the situation, it’s wise to be slightly cryptic in your advice to the new Mom in order to avoid embarrassment and possible hormonal outbursts from saying the wrong thing (this ain’t no myth either). Unless she explicitly shares what a pain in the butt childbirth was for her you won’t know for sure whether hemorrhoids is a condition that she’s currently suffering from. The pep talk she gives herself as she waddles into the bathroom is an indication, but it’s best not to assume.

Kindly suggest that she takes care of “yourselves” -”[her]selves” being her and her hemorrhoids. Bring her countless glasses of water while explaining that dehydration can cause fatigue (**this will work as a double positive: she will assume that your gesture implies she doesn’t appear fatigued. Go with this. Tell her how beautiful she is at the moment but don’t make eye contact with the bags under her eyes-she’ll figure out you’re lying). Bring her a food plate of dried figs, grapes, and bran muffins for “nourishment” purposes.

Whether or not you’ve had issues with massive growths on your rectum is beside the point. One can only begin to imagine the discomfort that they cause. Be secretly sympathetic while maintaining an element of smugness: you know darn well that this pain in her ass will be nothing compared to her sweet little baby when they grow into a teenager.

 

eco friendly wool dryer balls

How to make Eco-friendly 100% wool dryer balls

If you’re a Mom, you’re probably exceptionally good at laundry by now. You know what products to use and when. You’ve figured out stain removal techniques. You’ve mastered the art of exactly how much time you can let the wet laundry sit in the washer before it starts to smell.

You’re pretty confident in your laundry doing abilities. However, there’s a secret tool you may not have heard about:

A ball.

Okay, I’m kidding a bit here. Yes, a dryer ball is a ball, but it is so much more than that. Dryer balls can be made of rubber, too, but how much nicer looking is wool? Plus, with wool you can find local, organic, felted, scented dryer balls. Rubber can’t give you those things!

There are lots of great things about wool dryer balls:

(Make sure you Pin this so others can learn about the benefits of wool dryer balls!)

eco-friendly wool dryer balls

Are you convinced that you need these yet?

How to make 100% wool dryer balls

What you’ll need:

  • 16 oz. wool roving. Hit up your local wool store or find what you need on Etsy. Don’t worry about buying super expensive wool-merino is not necessary.
  • old stockings. Find these at the thrift store. Don’t use a nice pair-they will not survive
  • washing machine and dryer
  • scissors. Where did those kids put them?!

What you’ll need to do:

  1. Split the roving into 4 piles roughly the same size. You don’t need to be absolutely perfect on this. An approximate will do just fine.
  2. Wind the roving fairly tightly around 2 fingers a couple of times. Take wound wool off your fingers and continue to tightly wind the wool into a ball. It should be about 7” around.
  3. Grab your stocking and pack the ball in all the way to the end. Tie a knot nice and close to the ball, so as to create a casing.
  4. Repeat 3 more times.
  5. Put a couple towels in your washing machine and throw your unfelted dryer balls in with them. Put your machine settings to “Hot” and add detergent. You’ll want to run this cycle 2-3 times.
  6. Throw them in the dryer to dry along with the towels. Once they’re dry, cut them out of the stockings.
  7. If you like, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil onto the ball before you put them into the dryer. It’ll make your clothes smell lovely! Be careful with materials like satin or linen-essential oils may stain the fabric.

Voila! There you have it!

Now you have something to admire while you hide in the laundry room sneaking your chocolate ice cream. Nice job, Mom!!

 

 

social media parent overwhelm

How to avoid parental burn out

Parenthood begins the moment a child enters this world and its parents are tasked with the immensely important job of keeping that child well and happy. With that comes the obvious responsibilities of maintaining shelter, food, clothing, education,  and a loving environment. Of course, with that comes providing the child with extended relationships, extra-curricular activities, and a variety of different experiences while avoiding your inevitable burn out as a parent.

Are you feeling the burn out yet?

There is so much pressure when it comes to raising a child. Parents do what they can to make sure that their child is well-cared for, but also make sure that they grow into productive, respected members of society. As if keeping them alive and well wasn’t enough!

There is a riddling of guilt that comes with these parental duties; Are you doing enough? Are you doing too much? Are you making too many mistakes? Are you doing the right things? The expectations of yourself become crushing. That, on top of all the external demands- household, career, personal concerns, etc-  the role of being a parent becomes incredibly daunting.

Over time, these duties that require so much attention will begin to wear parents down and they will begin to burn out.   Parental tasks are a priority and become so consuming that the degradation of the parents themselves often isn’t noticed until it has reached a crucial point. Parents reach a point of burn out completely; their tasks become impossible to conquer and their ability to manage becomes intrinsically challenging. While it may seem that the hole is inescapable, it’s not. There is hope.

 

How to avoid burn out as a parent

There are steps that parents can take to ensure they are capable of giving their children- and themselves- the proper care they need to be able to be positive parents:

Talk to someone

Confide in someone who can empathize with your situation. Typically, this will be another parent that you know that can lend a supportive ear. Aim for a time when the kids are entertained so that you can have a candid phone call or coffee date. Be honest with your friend, and with yourself. Make sure you’re talking to someone you trust won’t pass judgment. This will ensure that you’re able to be as truthful to yourself as possible.

Take care of yourself

When was the last time you went out with your friends without the kids or did something just for adults? When did you last shoot some hoops or read a book in the park? Take care of yourself. If you want to be the best you can be, you’re going to need to show yourself the same love you show your children. Give yourself time to explore who you are. Yes, you’re a parent, but don’t forget who you were before you became a parent.

Delegate tasks

The burden of your mile-long to-do list is disheartening. Make sure that everyone in the family is pitching in to help. Create chore charts. Establish roles for each family member and make sure they understand and agree. If possible, try hiring a cleaner or another service that will ease the burden of everything that needs to get done.

Pin this so your fellow Mom can avoid burn out, too.

How to not get burnt out

 

Take a social media break

There’s nothing better to make you feel inadequate as a parent than a newsfeed filled with information telling you that you are. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; you just don’t need to be exposed to all of them. Stay true to what you believe in and don’t let outside influences sway how you feel.

Just Say No

You’ve been asked again to chair the fundraising committee for the school. You do it- again- because you feel obligated. Just like we tell our children: Use your words! Taking on extra tasks that don’t immediately benefit you and your family isn’t going to make you a hero- it’s going to make you exhausted and lead to complete burn out.

 

Enjoy lazy days

Don’t feel guilty when you and the kids don’t get out of your pajamas AT ALL on a Saturday. Don’t worry about keeping track of the hours of t.v. they’ve watched. Enjoy some downtime. If you’re feeling tired by the weekend, it’s likely your kids are, too. Do everyone a favor and literally relax!

Seek professional help

If you’re finding that the overwhelm of parenthood is dragging you down into a depression be sure to discuss that with your healthcare practitioner or counselling services. Don’t be embarrassed. You reaching out is indicative of you as a parent; it means that you care enough about the well-being of your children that you’re attempting to help yourself. That’s commendable.

 

Always know that you’re not alone. We are often led to believe that other parents are having a much easier time with parenting than we are, but in reality, the majority of us are all dealing with a struggle. Remember that when you see a Mom or Dad having a difficult time. It’s possible they are on the brink of burn out. Give them a kind, knowing smile. It will make all the difference in their world.