Nursing a Toddler in Public

Toddler Nursing – “I Nurse My Toddler Because…”

julie mom

Julie M., author of “Toddler Nursing – I Nurse My Toddler Because” lives in the Midwest with her husband and two daughters. She’s a registered nurse and enjoys writing about her journey of motherhood at Don’t Lick Your Sister.
See more from Julie on Twitter and Pinterest.

I recently came across Wendy Wisner’s wonderful blog. Wendy has a beautiful way of describing motherhood and I was moved when I came across her post I Nurse Him Because, in which she describes the reasons she nurses her toddler son. While the entire post was great, what really struck me was this statement: This is what feels right to us, and many more mothers and children than you might expect.

When I thought about that, I couldn’t help to think how true a statement that likely is. I, myself, have found out mothers I know personally had nursed their toddlers, but at the time, I had no idea. What’s most interesting to me is that I consider myself a breastfeeding advocate, someone who openly talks about breastfeeding and the normalization of nursing. When my children were under a year old I definitely spoke very openly about nursing. It was occurring quite frequently so the topic would naturally come up. I also talked openly about pumping at work, proudly placing my expressed milk in the public refrigerator. I nursed in public, sometimes with a cover but most of the time, without.

When my daughter was under two, I still talked about nursing her but much less often. Maybe that’s just because I was nursing less often? I’m not sure. I might say something about being glad she was still nursing because I was able to calm her down with my milk after having to give her a breathing treatment when she was wheezing. Or I would mention my anxiety about going out of town without my child and not nursing during that time, concerned about how she would do. Once she was over one year old I only nursed at home or at the homes of close family and friends. Never out in the true public but this was mostly because she was no longer nursing when we would be out during the day.

Now, my daughter is almost two and a half. And I rarely, if ever, talk about the fact that she’s still nursing. If it comes up in conversation or if someone asks I will, of course, still talk about it. But not much more than that. I did write about it on my blog in my post For the Last 5 Years but I didn’t even share that post on my personal Facebook page. It’s not at all that I’m ashamed of it. I guess it’s just not something our culture entirely accepts and I have no desire to feel judged for something that I feel is completely natural and normal.

However, the world can’t know it’s completely natural and normal if it’s not ever seen or discussed. So, this post is motivated by Wendy’s words about her reasons for nursing her toddler and my acknowledgment that nursing a toddler is happening more than you might think.

I nurse my toddler because…

  •  She asks. Each night, right before bed. She used to say “mil! mil!” and now it’s “I want mommy’s milk.” Sometimes I will ask her if she would like to just snuggle instead and she says “no, milky.”

    Nursing a Toddler

    Toddler Nursing

  • I can. I am so fortunate to still be able to nurse as I know very well that many women have struggles that don’t allow them to nurse to their goal. I surpassed any goals I may have had and I feel fortunate that I can still nurse.
  • When she falls asleep while nursing she looks exactly the same today as she did on the day she was born.
  • In the busy, loud and distracting world we live in I am able to slow down and connect with her in this way that only I can.
  • She still likes to be held and snuggled a lot. I can’t help but think that if we didn’t have our extra snuggle time together at bedtime nursing she may want to be held even more during the day. She then might miss out on some of that independent play time where she can just be a wacky little toddler.
  • It’s warm and cozy and makes us both happy.
  • In a way, it makes me feel like I am stopping time, if only for a short moment each evening while we are together.
  • I can ask her what it tastes like and she can respond with answers such as bana, pea soup, pancakes (sometimes blueberry flavored) or “just milky.” Whatever she answers, it makes me laugh and she, in turn, laughs too.
  • I can remember a time when her tiny, little body was brand new and her arms, legs and fists were still curled up tightly and her whole body laid right at my rib cage. Now, her legs are long and stretched out alongside my legs and I can see just how much my body has nourished her body.
  • When she gets sick (which has been often) sometimes my milk is the only thing she wants and I am able to hold her close and make her feel better.
  • It’s so much easier today than it was in the beginning: There are no issues with latch or positioning. There are no middle of the night wake-ups. No pumping. I can even go out for an evening and not nurse and there’s no engorgement, no danger of losing my milk supply.
  • It’s about her and me.
  • There’s no way I’m going to look back on this time and think ‘I really wish I would have had less time nursing her, holding her, rocking her.” There’s no way I’m going to have any regrets.
  • She’s not done yet. She’s not ready to be done so I’m not ready for her to be done. We’re just not done.

That is why I nurse my toddler. And it’s completely natural and normal.

You may enjoy reading more on Toddler Nursing, Bedsharing with a Toddler, Breastfeeding While Pregnant, and Tandem Nursing.


Hotmilk-Lingerie-Eternal-coral-Nursing-Bra-mid_small

Hotmilk Nursing Bra Product Review

Hotmilk-Lingerie-Eternal-coral-Nursing-Bra-crop_1024x1024Trying to find a nursing bra that meets all of my expectations seems, many days, like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  That’s why it is a pleasure to get to write a hotmilk nursing bra product review.  I was contacted by hotmilk and asked if I would be willing to sample a nursing bra in return for writing an honest review of it’s quality.  I was more than happy to sample a nursing bra…though I was rather doubtful it would be anything spectacular.  I don’t feel like my expectations are that extravagant; in fact they are quite simple:

  • good quality (will hold up over time and daily use)
  • good price (won’t break the bank or cost more than a pair of jeans!)
  • functional (it is easy to hook and unhook with one hand when nursing)
  • nice (looks good on and provides support), and
  • comfortable to wear.

But finding all of these in one nursing bra has been a challenge over the past 8 1/2 years and 4 children I’ve nursed.  I was, however, pleasantly surprised by the Eternal Coral Seamfree Nursing Bra by Hotmilk. Not only did it meet all of my expectations, it exceeded them with several added perks.  First, let me run through my must-haves in a good bra.

  • Quality – excellent.  I’ve been using it for 1 1/2 months now and it looks the same as the day I got it.  It is not stretched out or loosing it’s shape, at all.  I feel confident this bra will hold up for the duration of nursing a child.
  • Price – It’s price tag is $34.93.  I have to be honest and say that I have bought cheaper and more expensive nursing bras on the market.  I have always regretted buying the cheaper ones (usually within the first hour of wearing them out!).  But this one is just as good as ones that I’ve paid nearly double.  For the quality, I think the price is very fair.
  • Functional – it is extremely easy to latch and unlatch the hook with one hand.  The hook clicks easily in and out – something which I place high value on when nursing in public or when I have a crying baby who’s ready for milk.
  • Nice – This is where hotmilk really exceeded my expectations.  Underwire bras are no good for nursing mamas (they can cause plugged ducts, mastitis, etc.) but I have trouble finding bras that make my chest look good without the underwire.  This bra does not have underwire yet really supports my breasts.  The bra is cute, I love the color (it’s fun and makes me happy), it’s seamless and doesn’t show under any clothing – including a fitted t-shirt, and it’s rather sexy too. And, if you need to wear bra pads to help with leaking milk they easily tuck in the bra and don’t move around or show from the outside. Huge bonus in this area of how well it looks!
  • Comfortable – I’m just going to be honest and say I would rather wear a tank top than a bra most of the time.  Bras feel tight and restrictive and grow more uncomfortable as the day progresses.  That said, tanks (vests) provide little support and do nothing to flatter my chest when I want to dress nice.  But this hotmilk bra doesn’t feel restrictive.  It truly is comfortable – so much so that many days I would forget I was wearing a bra. Another huge win for hotmilk nursing bras! It has 6 hook and eye extensions so that it is going to fit comfortably no matter your size. And I also really like the fact that it is lower in the front so my bra didn’t show through my V-neck tops.

If you are like me and on a continual hunt for the perfect nursing bra, you will definitely want to check out hotmilk nursing bras.

Disclaimer: hotmilk provided me with a free nursing bra of my choosing for review, though I was under no obligation to write a positive review. I do not have any vested interest in this product or company, nor do I stand to benefit in anyway if you choose to buy any hotmilk merchandise.


Bed sharing with our twins - age 2.

Bed Sharing with a Toddler

bed sharing with a toddler

What our bed sharing has become – mattresses on the floor and revolving door for any kid(s) who come to our bed.

Through the past 8 years – over the course of having 4 children and 6 international moves – we’ve had all sorts of sleeping arrangements. From our first child and the traditional – baby sleeps in the crib while tired exhausted, breastfeeding mom gets up for every feed…and then puts baby back in crib – to our fourth child where we never bothered getting a crib at all, we’ve tried it. I’ve written about our last baby and how much easier it was to just put him in bed with us from the very beginning here.

Bed sharing with our fourth child - his bed was ours.

Bed sharing with our fourth child – his bed was ours.

But how do you practice bed sharing with a toddler? We are told by most everyone that bed sharing with a newborn will lead to SIDS (though this is absolutely not true when the Safe Sleep 7 are practiced). At least sleeping with a newborn can mean a better night’s sleep for a new mom. But a toddler? Kicking, tossing, turning, restless sleep…by this point mom’s space in the family bed is usually just a smidgen, squashed in between everyone else.

Bed sharing with our twins - age 2.

Bed sharing with our twins – age 2.

When our family increased from one child to three, we decided to get a bigger mattress. Going from a queen to a king made a huge difference. By the point we took this plunge we had 2 toddlers and a preschooler. Most of the time they would start off the night in their own beds, but any assortment would end up in our bed throughout the night. Having a king size mattress – and one without box springs so it was low enough to the ground they could easily crawl in – really helped us to enjoy bed sharing. It also provided a great, big mattress once our fourth arrived so he could easily call our bed his own.

But once he started rolling around, things became more complicated…especially naptime. We set up a pack n’ play at the foot of our bed so if we weren’t in bed he could still have a safe place to sleep without rolling off. Little did I know he was going to love having his own space. He enjoyed napping in “his” bed. During the night he began tossing, turning, kicking, and pushing after nursing, “asking” for his own space. As soon as I’d get up and lay him on a separate mattress he’d smile, relax, and dose off into restful sleep. What?! Yes, I’m serious. By this point in our bed sharing journey, I was completely happy with having him (and any other assortment of children that wound up in bed with us at night) in our bed. But this little guy wanted his own space. So for a year we kept a pack ‘n play in our room and I’d get up and put him in bed with us when he wanted to nurse, and then return him to his bed at his request.

Though I was nursing lying down and falling back asleep as he fed, I didn’t like the fact he’d wake me up when he was done and push and point to his bed…it required me to get up twice for every feeding. I was tired. So, in an effort to help him sleep well, and to keep me from having to get up and down throughout the night to nurse a toddler, we came up with the idea of putting mattresses on the floor. We were in the midst of yet another move and would only have a full-size mattress for a season. We decided to put our mattress in one corner and his on the other – with a sea of pillow in between. Now, when our toddler wakes and wants to nurse, he actually comes and crawls into bed with me. If he falls asleep afterwards that’s great – it makes for one happy mama! (Sometimes he will roll onto the pillows I have mattress-high beside the bed and make a new “bed” there.) If not, I’ll dutifully take him back to his mattress where he goes right back to sleep. I love that he doesn’t even make noise when he wakes…he’s such a big boy he knows he can just crawl off of his mattress and into ours. I usually wake briefly to feel his sweet body snuggle up to me, but then fall back asleep.

Now our bed sharing has turned into co-sleeping.  I know these days are short and I’m treasuring them all, even when our now “big kids” – all school-age – want to come to our bed for cuddles. One day, all too soon, they will be grown up and out of our home. The musical mattresses game that we play now will become memories I will cherish forever.


ULMas Breast Pads Giveaway!

ULMas Breast PadsAre you a breastfeeding mama?  Then chances are you are an Undercover Leaky Mama too!  We are moms that make milk and need to wear breast pads to keep it from leaking onto our clothing (aka most all breastfeeding moms!).

This ULMas breast pads giveaway is for everyone – whether you are an Undercover Leaky Mama or can share them with someone who is!  ULMas and Nursing Nurture have teamed up to offer a giveaway where TEN winners will be randomly selected to win a pair of heavy absorbency breast pads.  If you love ULMas, then what better way to add a new pair to your collection.  If you’ve never tried them, then winning a pair is the perfect way to see what you think! (Have you seen the cute colors and designs lately?!)  And, if you don’t need them at all, then win them for a new breastfeeding mom…they make a wonderful gift.

There are all kinds of breast pads out there – both disposable and cloth – but they are not all the same.  If you have never tried ULMas breast pads then I cannot encourage you enough to try them out.  They are, hands down, the best I’ve found on the market. (And I don’t stand to gain anything by saying this.)

Here’s 6 reasons why I love these breast pads…then enter at the bottom to win your free pair!!

Thin yet very absorbent!

Thin yet very absorbent!

  • They absorb. A lot.
    Most washable breast pads can’t hold anywhere near the amount of disposables.  Not ULMas; I’d put them up against any disposable for as much as they can absorb.
  • Wicks away moisture so you feel dry.
    ULMas are made of performance fabric so that your skin stays dry even while your breast pad is absorbing milk that leaks.  There’s another added bonus to this fabric – they dry very quickly after washing.
  • You don’t look like a deer in headlights flashing a sign a saying, “Yes, I’m wearing breast pads!”
    These are thin, like a disposable, so you don’t have the “ring” around your breasts that everyone sees and knows, “Oh, she’s wearing breast pads.”
  • Fun designs
    I love the bright, fun prints.  I know this has nothing to do with absorbency but isn’t it nice to feel happy about what you put on?  And, let’s face it, a lot of us new mamas aren’t putting on fancy clothes each day so having cute breast pads is all the more exciting.
  • Helps the environment
    Okay this is true for any washable breast pad.  But it’s an important point.  If you’ve been wavering between disposables and washables, ULMas can help you take the jump into washables.
  • Variety of absorbency levelsyellow winter flowers pink w logo
    Every woman is different.  Most women need breast pads for the first month or so.  Many need them for the first few months.  And some, like me, need them pretty much the whole time we’re nursing. With ULMas, I can have heavier absorbency pads in the beginning and lighter absorbency later on.  Or, I can use the regular absorbency during the day and heavier absorbency at night (though both are thin and can be worn at any point while nursing – day or night).

Where can you find ULMas breast pads?  Well, you can order them online and you can also enter to win a free pair of heavy absorbency breast pads right here. There will be TEN winners!!  So, make sure to tell your friends and share it on your social media networks – there’s plenty to go around.  The contest will run from noon August 21, 2014 – midnight August 31, 2014 EST.  Winners will be notified by email and Twitter on September 2nd.

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Disclaimer:  I do not have any vested interest in this product nor do I stand to benefit in anyway if you choose to buy ULMas breast pads.


Mamaway Seamless Nursing Bra Giveaway!

It’s GIVEAWAY Time for Nursing Bras!!

Mamaway UK is giving away one super stretchy, seamless design, wire-free, incredibly comfy Second Skin Seamless Nursing Bra.  Here’s what mothers have to say about it:

Seamless Nursing Bra

“I love everything about this Nursing Bra. I love that it doesn’t squash my breasts in awkward places.  I love how it gives me wonderful support but without the thick heavy straps.  I love how I get no irritations from uncomfortable seam stitching and that it is basically invisible.”

“This is one of the best nursing bra’s I’ve ever had. It is so soft, comfortable, stretchy and supports your breasts well especially at times when they are the fullest. The wide stretchy band below the bust offers superb support for your breasts. The clips on each side of the bra can easily be unfastened using one finger and fastened single handed. It has three rows of hooks at the back which makes you feel securely fastened. This bra also comes with two pads that can be inserted to transform it into a padded bra. The bra straps are at a good place that they don’t slide off your shoulders at anytime of wear. I have used this bra throughout the nursing period of my first child as well as using it as a normal bra when I have finished breastfeeding. Surprisingly this bra is so durable that it is still looking good as new after so many months! I am now using it again for my second child. I would recommend this nursing bra to anyone who needs a good nursing bra.”under my clothing.”

 

Seamless Bra

Mamaway UK’s Seamless Nursing Bra can be found here or you can enter the Giveaway to win yours free!  Shipping is free within the UK and EU only.  Mamaway’s mission is to help take the stress out of pregnancy and breastfeeding.  They strive to ensure that you and your baby can enjoy that special bonding anytime, anywhere.

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ULMas Breast Pads

ULMas Breast Pads – Review and GIVEAWAY!

 

ULMas LogoAre you an Undercover Leaky Momma? “What’s that?!” you ask.  Do you wear breast pads while breastfeeding?  If you do, then you are seriously going to love ULMas Breast Pads.  Washable and reusable, these breast pads are the best I’ve found on the market.  Here’s why I love this product, and why I think you will too:

  • They absorb. A lot.
    Most washable breast pads can’t hold anywhere near the amount of disposables.  Not ULMas; I’d put them up against any disposable for as much as they can absorb.
  • Wicks away moisture so you feel dry.
    ULMas are made of performance fabric so that your skin stays dry even while your breast pad is absorbing milk that leaks.  There’s another added bonus to this fabric – they dry very quickly after washing.
  • You don’t look like a deer in headlights flashing a sign a saying, “Yes, I’m wearing breast pads!”
    These are thin, like a disposable, so you don’t have the “ring” around your breasts that everyone sees and knows, “Oh, she’s wearing breast pads.”
  • Fun designs
    I love the bright, fun prints.  I know this has nothing to do with absorbency but isn’t it nice to feel happy about what you put on?  And, let’s face it, a lot of us new mamas aren’t putting on fancy clothes each day so having cute breast pads is all the more exciting.
  • Helps the environment
    Okay this is true for any washable breast pad.  But it’s an important point.  If you’ve been wavering between disposables and washables, ULMas can help you take the jump into washables.
  • Variety of absorbency levels
    Every woman is different.  Most women need breast pads for the first month or so.  Many need them for the first few months.  And some, like me, need them pretty much the whole time we’re nursing. With ULMas, I can have heavier absorbency pads in the beginning and lighter absorbency later on.  Or, I can use the regular absorbency during the day and heavier absorbency at night (though both are thin and can be worn at any point while nursing – day or night).

yellow winter flowers pink w logoWhen I had my first child nearly 8 years ago, I found I needed breast pads continually.  I liked the ease of disposables but not the price or what I was doing to the environment.  I researched washables and bought the best I could find on the market.  Compared to disposables, they were thick, anything but discreet, and would leak.  When my daughter was just 4 months old we moved overseas.  There I met a friend who felt the same about breast pads as me. So we handmade some breast pads for our personal use – out of performance fabric.  I always wished someone would put a product like this on the market but no one ever did.  When I discovered ULMas, I contacted the owner and requested a sample so I could see if they were what I thought and hoped they would be.  I was not disappointed!  I am so excited about these breast pads!

Where can you find ULMas breast pads?  Well, you can order them online and you can also enter to win a free set of 2 pairs of regular and 1 pair of overnight – for a total of 3 washable breast pad sets.  There will be 2 winners.  The contest will run from noon April 10, 2014 – midnight April 20, 2014 EST.  Winners will be notified by email on April 22nd.  (This is a great gift to give to an expecting mama too!)

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Disclaimer:  ULMas provided me with a free demo pack at my request.  I was under no obligation to write a product review or sponsor a giveaway in return for the free sample.  I do not have any vested interest in this product nor do I stand to benefit in anyway if you choose to buy ULMas breast pads.


Nursing Twins

Grace & Leo 10-2-12 (133)

Elizabeth lives in Nebraska with her husband and 2 kids, twins Grace and Leo. Her days are spent being a referee, cleaning never ending messes, making delicious meals, and trying not to wish the moments away.  Elizabeth blogs about raising twins, being married to a farmer, and living in the country over at My Glad Heart.

I am still currently breastfeeding and plan to do so until they choose to wean. For me, breastfeeding wasn’t really something I thought about. I just knew that God made my body the way he did for a reason. My boobs were meant to feed my babies. It just made sense. I found out I was pregnant with twins and I started reading anything and everything I could get my hands on about twins and breastfeeding. I thought I was prepared for nursing twins. But I was wrong.

The babies were born on Sept 12, 2012 at 36 weeks via cesarean. While that’s not ridiculously early, they were both on the smaller side. Grace was 4 lbs 7 oz and Leo was 6 lbs 3 oz. They were both jaundiced and everything put together made for 2 very tired and very lazy babies. I think Leo would have been able to breastfeed somewhat from the beginning if he had had more time on the breast and if I had known what I was doing. But it’s hard to give your undivided attention when you have 2 babies to take care of.

Grace on the other hand wouldn’t even open her mouth to eat. When we bottle fed, we had to force the nipple in her mouth or catch her in the middle of a yawn. In the beginning she latched, but she got tired really fast and she just needed to gain strength. So I pumped and bottle fed them. We still worked on latch though, and by 5 weeks Leo finally figured out latching. So I would bottle feed Grace on my lap and I would breastfeed Leo. But Leo mostly hung out at the breast and after awhile I would take him off and he would still be hungry. So I would have to bottle feed him.

gleditedIt would have been easier in the beginning if I had been able to feed them separately, but they always woke up at the same time to eat. I couldn’t give Leo the attention he needed to get more efficient. Grace finally figured out latching at 8 weeks, but then 2 weeks later we all got sick and when she started to get better, she had forgotten everything we had learned. We started over from square one. First she learned to open her mouth, then she learned to take more of the breast into her mouth, then she learned how to suck, and then finally she got it all working together.

They started breastfeeding better, but they never took a complete meal in one sitting. I used to breastfeed them until they pulled off, and then I would immediately get bottles and start pumping. But that never gave them the opportunity to try and get more from the breast. So around month 4 my lactation consultant suggested I get a scale, feed them each session until they pull off and then let them play for 20 min to 1/2 an hour, put them back on, and repeat. Weigh them in between and keep track of how much they’re taking and keep feeding them until they get enough, which for us is usually around 3 1/2 to 4 oz. It worked for us, most of the time. Sometimes they got too frustrated and hungry to eat like that so I would bottle feed them the rest of their meal and pump. Anytime I had to supplement them I pumped, that way I could keep my supply up.

This worked great for a while, but I just go so sick of pumping and supplementing them at each meal. They were both capable of getting a full meal, they just weren’t doing it. So I just quit supplementing them. We basically had to redefine what eating was. I always assumed I needed to get them to a specific number each time they ate. But they didn’t. They were also in the habit of having the same amount each time they ate, so anything less than their usual resulted in screaming for more. I returned the scale and I quit pumping during the day.

Around 6 months I felt confident breastfeeding. We made it past lazy eating, flow preference, and milk supply issues. We had so many frustrating feeding sessions and lots of tears, but when they started eating better, it was so worth it. And honestly? Breastfeeding is so much easier than bottle feeding. No more washing and sterilizing. All I had to do was lift my shirt up and put it back down when we were done. So easy.

I’m so glad I stuck with breastfeeding. I don’t regret the effort I put into this. I have always kind of halfway done stuff. I am constantly starting projects but never finishing them. This is something that I have given 110% and I will never regret that. But I am sad that it was my main focus for 6 months. I was so focused on making this work that I missed out on spending quality time with my babies. But I know that if I hadn’t given this my all, I would have regretted that forever. I want people to know that you CAN breastfeed, even if you get off to a rocky start. You just have to be patient and you just have to stick with it. I go into more detail on my blog about our journey. I want to be honest about our struggles and I just want to be a beacon of hope for those who want to breastfeed but got off to a rocky start like we did.

  • Some advice I have is find a good lactation consultant. Find someone that listens to you and works with you. We went to ours 5 times.
  • Rent a hospital grade pump, especially if you’re building a supply.
  • Don’t overfeed your baby when you bottlefeed. This was something huge to overcome for us. The other thing I can say about this is vary the amount you give them each bottle. We always gave them exactly 4 oz. When they got just under 4 oz, they screamed for more and more. You don’t eat the same thing and same amount for every meal, don’t expect your baby to either.
  • Unless you have an overactive let down, invest in slow flow nipples. We love playtex VentAire bottles. We dealt with flow preference and that was tough to overcome. It’s easier for babies to drink from a bottle than it is from the boob, so you want to make them work for it when they’re bottlefeeding. You know it’s a good bottle when you tip it upside down and nothing drips out of it.
  • Just be patient. If you stick with it, they will get better. It took us 6 months.
  • Understand that breastfeeding isn’t all or nothing. If you feed them 5 out of their 8 meals from the breast, you’re still breastfeeding. If you breastfeed and then have to supplement, you’re still breastfeeding. I don’t think it has to be something that moms feel like if they can’t do it all, they shouldn’t do it at all.