I am a warrior. I am a strong woman. A role model. I smell worse at times than a men’s locker room. My hair is a mess. I haven’t showered in days. Today I forgot to wear a bra. I carefully make a cup of coffee, and promptly forget about it. My clothes are permanently stained. My glasses have tiny fingerprints on them. I have poop on my shirt. I have perfected the wardrobe change, just not on myself. I am a cheerleader. Soon to be chauffeur. I will be a referee. I am a chef. I feel like I’m always running on 50% battery. I smile. I cry. I forget everything. I sway at all times. I have very strong beliefs. I trust myself. I stand up for myself. I cry in the bathtub. I trust my baby. I believe in gentle parenting. I act like I have a screw loose. I can be snippy. Loving. Irritable. Joyful. Pissed all at once. I am a wife. I am a mother. I could be your sister. Friend. Next door neighbor. I could be that woman you rushed past in the aisle of the grocery store. I am you. I am a fighting machine with scars I am proud to bear. I am that woman with a slightly squishy tummy. I am living the dream. I am a warrior. I bare my breast to feed my child, with no shame. I look at you, silently daring you to say something rude. I practice my comebacks in the mirror. Remember that woman you saw with curlers still in her hair, rushing her children to school? That’s me. I am a first aid kit. I am a confidante. At times I am the most hated person in the world. I can change a dirty diaper with my eyes closed, one hand behind my back. I am you. You are me. We are a sisterhood. An elite club. We are warriors.
Lets talk herbs. Lets talk cookies. Teas. Pills. Many women believe, falsely might I add, that they have a supply issue. Before we dive into this lets debunk some common myths when it comes to supply. Firstly, not feeling a let-down; whether you felt one for months or not at all is definitely not indicative of a supply issue. Many mama’s jump to the conclusion of having a low supply after they stop feeling let-downs. If your baby nurses often you do not necessarily have a supply issue. It is totally normal for your baby to nurse upwards of ten times a day. If your baby prefers one breast over the other, no need to worry. It is normal. Try switching positions. You are bound to find one that works. When you have a baby that is fussy at the breast. Breathe. Take a moment. Let your body relax, your milk will flow easier if you do. Strip. Topless. Let it all hang out. Strip your baby down to a diaper. If you can, get in the bath. Warmth and water will relax both your baby and you. Before you jump to using supplements, try nursing a little extra each day. Pump your life away. Stimulation is the key. Make sure you are eating enough, and staying hydrated. There are a very slim percentage if women who truly have a supply issue. Many women believe they have low supply after their breasts regulate themselves. I myself thought I was drying up. But the fact is that as long as your baby is hitting milestones, having an adequate number of dirty diapers, and smiling. A smiling, happy baby is always a good sign. I firmly believe that most mothers pre-diagnose themselves with low supply, meaning they try to prevent it. Readers beware, overuse of these supplements can CAUSE low supply. Many can also irritate both your digestive system and your little one’s as well. Please consult with a professional before starting any herbal supplements. One if the most popular is Fenugreek. Fenugreek can be extremely helpful, it depends on who you ask. It is used to treat a variety of ailments alongside stimulating supply. It is not recommended for use if you have asthma. Again, only use this short term to up your supply, nobody wants to smell like maple syrup all the time. Many women take it three pills at a time, ten times a day. To figure out what works for you, I suggest seeing a LC. Mother’s Milk Tea is another common supplement used. You have to drink copious amounts for this tea to work. This also can cause digestive issues.
My biggest piece if advice would be, before you panic, see a LC. They can properly aid you regarding your supply. Calm down. Breathe. De-stress your life. Take a bubble bath. Stimulate. Snuggle. And lastly, seek out supplements. Because many times, there isn’t a true problem before use of supplements, but afterwards is a real doozy.
More to come…as always. But how many of you have heard of The Farm. No, not cows. Midwives. There are many things I will change when my second child comes around, my doctor will be one of them. That’s a whole other post though. This is a post about exciting news. I recently found myself in contact with one of the midwives on the famous farm, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. She invited me to take some of their classes when I am able to. And may even be letting me interview her. How amazing is that?! I couldn’t be more excited.
My husband is my breast friend. He supports me when I don’t support myself. He lets me soak his shoulder in tears. He listens to me most of the time, and when he has tuned me out, he pretends quite convincingly We banter back and forth almost constantly. He gets frustrated with me, and I with him. We love each other through it all. I would never, in my wildest dreams, have predicted just how much our relationship would change as we transitioned into parenthood. I won’t lie, the first few weeks took a major toll on us. Both individually and as partners. We were tense. We were exhausted. I felt lost. How could I love, and take care of him if I didn’t even have the energy to take care of myself? In a word, hopeless. Slowly a bright light began to shine in the darkness. We began to laugh with each other again. To gently make fun of one another. Even though I didn’t know it then, he was my rock. I counted on him. I still do. My respect for him multiplied day by day as I watched him take care of the life we had created. Our Hattie. I realized I was beginning to fall in love with him in a new way. My love deepened. The ferocity in which I love my little family is almost physically painful. While I grew into a mother, my husband, my breast friend, stood by my side. He held my hand the whole way. I don’t know if he realizes how incredibly thankful I am for him everyday. I tell him I love him, but those words only go so far. They don’t accurately describe the pull, the attraction, the way I feel for him. Love is a powerful thing. Through him, and Hattie I have found myself. They push me to new heights. They give me courage. Without them, and a few others, I wouldn’t be writing this today. I would live on, without him. But I dread the day I may be forced to do that. I feel like the richest woman on the planet. I have everything I could possibly need, and then some. I am grateful for you. I treasure you. I am proud of you. I hope you know I fall in love with you more each day. I look forward to smelling your morning breath, seeing your bed head. I look forward to the way you annoy me on purpose. You are the puzzle piece that fits with mine. Together we have stumbled onto something that others only dream of finding. I love you, I always will. And thank you. For our daughter. For supporting us, both financially, and emotionally. For being you. For playing your music a little too loud. For marching to the beat of your own drum. For inspiring me. For never giving up. You are hands down the best man I know. For being that crazy, wacky, handsome, intoxicating self that you are. I thank you.
“Breast feeding, it’s the tits.”
You find out you’re pregnant. Hooray! Tears, joy, bliss. A variation of emotions run through your feeble mind. And then terror. So you research until your mind is bleeding from the facts. It’s leaking out of you. You research some more. You ask your doctor a million questions that they never fully answer. So you research more. So on and so forth. That special day comes. And along with that the most horrendous pain imaginable. You see your baby. The most beautiful baby you’ve ever seen. This is your baby. Best job ever, that’s what they say. You can’t wait to get started! You’ve done your research. You’re totally prepared. Ready. Yeah right. The first night flies by. You tell your partner, wow, how lucky are we? Our little one slept through the night. We had to wake the baby to feed her. The second night rolls around. Your baby screams her head off. Your baby settles down enough to fall asleep, but only in your arms. Holding your baby is something you’ve been dreaming of for months. Approximately nine. However, holding your baby means you can’t sleep. All that research tells you that cosleeping is dangerous. That your baby will suffocate. That you will roll onto your baby. All your research says that the safest place for your baby is in her own bed. Far from your loving arms. So you struggle to stay awake. Each time you nod off you wake in a panic. The nurse comes in to take your vitals, offers to take your baby to the nursery, so you can sleep. Perhaps she offers to feed your baby formula if you’re breastfeeding. If you refuse she may tell you to plop your baby in the bassinet next to your bed. You try to explain that you can’t, that when she is laying down she is screaming her head off. The nurse tells you to let your baby cry. She says that your baby will cry herself to sleep. So you try this, nurses know better than you, right? After a few seconds of this you scoop up your bundle of joy, she’s back in your arms where she belongs. This means you can’t sleep. Your partner is snoring away of course. Daybreak finally arrives. You haven’t slept a wink. You’re exhausted. You’re discharged. Suddenly you think this motherhood thing may not be all it’s cracked up to be. You get home, all you want to do is fall into bed and sleep for hours, days even. You feel broken, both physically, and mentally. Perhaps you have help at home, someone to take the baby. You try to sleep, the thing you want most to do, and yet you can’t. Paralyzing fear keeps you awake. All that research you did is biting you in the ass. All you can think about is SIDS, your baby eating enough, post-partum depression, you name it you fear it. The last thing on your mind is a shower. Your former life has shattered. Sleeping through the night seems lifetimes ago. You get irritable. Everything your partner does feels like it’s in slow motion. You cry at the drop of a hat. Tears pour out of your eyes at an alarming rate, simply because you ate the last piece of pie. When you have a moment between dirty diapers, spit up, and feeding your baby you breathe. You realize you’ve been home for a day, yet it feels like a year. You realize it looks like a bomb has gone off in your house, dishes have piled up, the trash is overflowing. Even your pets look haggard. Your hair has a combination of spit up and poop caked in it. Lastly, you realize your nipples hurt. They feel like they are on fire. Your shirt smells like sour milk, the thought occurs to you that it might not simply be spit up. You take your first shower. Standing under the blessed hot spray of momentary freedom you look down and examine your bruised and battered body. A delightful war has gone on within your body. Your breasts, so engorged they look like the most solid of implants, leaking with that liquid gold they call breast milk. Your body marked with a map of bright red stretch marks. Your scars. Your stomach sags, like a deflated balloon. All in all you’re a mess. You wash your hair three times, simply because you forgot you did it before. You dry off. The towel feels like sandpaper on your sensitive nipples. Never again will you find your breasts a sex object. They are simply a food source. They are your magic wand, for when your baby latches she sleeps peacefully. Content, she sighs, smiles a milky smile, and poops. You curse whomever told you that breastmilk poop didn’t smell. It invades your nostrils every time you change a diaper. Maybe the same person told you that breastfeeding was easy. No. It would be easy to give your baby a bottle. You begin dreading putting your baby to your breast. What you had so looked forward to, your body is rejecting. Your nipples crack. They bleed. Your baby pulls on them as though they were rubber bands. Snapping them each time she latches. It hurts. You latch her on. She pulls of screaming and flailing. You latch her a second time. This time she suckles briefly. Just long enough for you to have a let-down. She rears her head back, rejecting your nipple. Milk sprays in five directions. It soaks her hair. Drips down her face. Soaks your shirt. You cry tears of frustration. Someone, perhaps family, a friend, a stranger on a breastfeeding page mentions a Lactation Consultant. You briefly remember seeing those words on a paper you left the hospital with. You shuffle through page after page until you find what you’re looking for. Contact information. You doubt yourself. It’s only been a week. You cautiously dial the number. The encouraging voice answers. She tells you things your research never did. She tells you how to deepen a latch. How to up supply. How to regain your sanity. Perhaps she encourages you to seek out a safe way to cosleep. You remove the heavy blankets, extra pillows, the baggage you’ve been carrying around for what feels like an eternity. You cautiously use the tips she gave you. Some work. Some don’t. Sleeping in a family bed still scares you. But you’re beginning to trust your body, your soul. The attachment you have to your baby. Your baby sleeps heavily next to you, only half waking to eat. You doze off with your heart next to your chest. You are one. You wake up slightly refreshed. The sky seems clearer, the grass greener. You begin to trust yourself. Slowly but surely you begin to respond to your baby’s cues. You feed her on demand. You snuggle her close when she cries. You begin to feel in control. You trust your body. You are after all, making the liquid gold your baby needs. You trust your baby. Your baby in her own way, tells you everything you need to know. You begin to rely on your instinct. What feels natural to you. You shower more often. You are beginning to feel a bit like the shell of your former self. You smile. Your baby smiles. That poop on your shirt, spit up in your hair. They are your new perfume. Your shirts always seem slightly damp from the leak of your breasts. You realize it no longer hurts so much to feed your baby. You call your Lactation Consultant and fill her in. She congratulates you. She gives you a bit more advice. Slowly but surely you fall into a pleasant routine. You throw that research you did out the window. You start looking up things like attachment parenting, baby wearing, breast feeding. You find other mama’s like you. You form bonds with them. Before you know it, your life is a new normal. You feel confident in yourself. In your parenting. You’re nothing like you thought you would be. Parenting is nothing like you thought it would be. It is so much better. Somehow while bringing another person into this world, you truly find yourself. You are finally a mother. You are a breastfeeding badass. You are proud of yourself. Empowered. You are one with your body. One with your baby. And there are two words that sum this amazing feeling up. Love. Trust.
Crunchy Hattitude is going on a road trip! We are going to MommyCon Philadelphia. Where we will learn a bunch, meet a ton of badass mama’s, and have some crunchy fun! We will leave behind our resident crunchy Daddy, kitties, and doggie. If you can go as well you should! MommyCon is August 11! If you can’t go, rest assured we will tell you all about it!! We will be attending seminars on baby wearing, cosleeping, breast feeding, and many other awesome topics! We will listen to Abby from the Badass Breastfeeder. We will NIP with great pride! We will keep you updated as we learn more!
What makes a mother doubt herself?
Is it society telling her she isn’t good enough? Is her partner belittling her? What makes us women feel insignificant? Why do our instincts make us want to crawl under a rock and hide? When things get rough as a parent we have no choice but to power on. We slap on a smile and a happy face to take care of our families. When things get hard we hold it in until we explode. Perhaps that explosion is tears soaking in a bathtub with a glass of wine. Maybe it is hiding in the pantry for two minute silently screaming while under the pretense of searching for breakfast. For me my breakdown is a scramble of word on a page. Words that somehow explain exactly what I’m thinking when even I myself don’t know. When a mother doubts herself I feel it proves the strength of the love she has for her children. Without doubt we don’t better ourselves. Doubt can ruin us if we don’t use it as a catalyst. Self doubt drives me forward. It powers me to be a better person. When another person doubts me, whether its family or that stranger that gives me an odd look while I NIP it propels me. It propels me to new heights. No matter if its your own self doubt, a family member scoffing at your beliefs, a stranger saying something rude about breast feeding let it move you higher. Let it cement your beliefs. Let it make you stand up for your rights. You are the voice or your child. You are the voice for yourself. You are the voice for a million other mama’s out there. Many are afraid to accept their doubt. Afraid to push past it. That’s why your support is so important. Take a day and thank the mama warrior in your life!