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Doing the Breaststroke

Do you remember being a non-crunchy mom and how you felt when those super crunchy women would leave you horror struck by telling you things like:

Photo by Brittany O
Photo by Brittany O

“Yes, I consumed my placenta after birth…”***

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Or…

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 “I no longer buy toilet paper.”***

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I was totally that woman when it came to sharing interesting facts about breastmilk.

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***Placenta encapsulation and consumption and family cloth are both highly beneficial and normal things and are quite common in the rest of the world, while out of the ordinary in the US. Consumption of your encapsulated placenta restores many lost vitamins and minerals to the body and improves health both physically and emotionally during the postpartum period. It can also reduce the risk for developing postpartum depression. It’s one of those things that most mommas scrunch their noses up at until they do their research, which I encourage you to do.***

 

I was the first woman of my high school friends group to have a baby (and the only one so far still) so when I was invited to a bachelorette party kayaking trip for one of my best friends just a few months after my son was born, they got to learn a LOT about breastmilk (and pumping) while we were on the river for several hours.

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Yup. I pumped on the river…in a kayak. I had no other choice! I just brought my hand pump and went to town until my boobs weren’t so engorged and angry anymore. Of course this was especially fun because my friend’s male cousin was on the trip with us, and there were obviously other people on the river as well. It’s one thing to feel comfortable feeding your baby in public without a cover, but it’s another to feel comfortable pumping in public. I had my t-shirt to sort of cover up, but I got a LOT of strange looks.

 

Anyhow, you want to talk about the best way to educate others about breastfeeding, do it in front of them! They saw how comfortable I was with talking about it and asked me LOTS of questions, which meant I was able to share some of my favorite little known facts about breastmilk/nursing while I was kayaking down the river and pumping at the same time- because moms know best how to MULTITASK. Here is what I shared with them:

 

Did you know that breastmilk:

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For baby:

-reduces digestive issues

See this tummy? It’s a happy tummy.

-reduces occurrence of illness in general

-provides pain relief and comfort post vaccinations

-reduces the risk of prevalent health issues later in life like diabetes, asthma, and childhood obesity

-changes automatically in nutritional content as baby’s nutritional needs change with growth or illness (So when baby gets sick, the breastmilk changes to provide extra antibodies to fight off infection and increases water content to keep baby hydrated- how cool is that?!)

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For momma:

-reduces risk of certain cancers like ovarian cancer and breast cancer

-helps contract the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size after birth

-soothes and heals sore/cracked nipples

 

Heals and alleviates quickly for anyone:

-bug bites

-scratches

-pink eye

-sore throats

-stuffy noses

-diaper rash

-cradle cap

-dry skin/eczema

-mouth pain from tongue/lip tie revision/teething

 

My mind was totally blown when I learned about all of the unheard of uses for breastmilk! I was skeptical, as I’m sure most of you are, about whether or not they were valid, but I can tell you that I’ve tried out all of the (testable) uses above and found them all to be true!

Touchdown for breastmilk!

My favorite uses in the beginning (other than for feeding my child, obviously) were for healing my sore and cracked nipples as we were learning how to breastfeed and for speed-healing the scratches Lucas would leave on his face from his constantly growing baby claws. Later on, using breastmilk to flush out his tiny snotty nose and to take the itch out of bug bites instantly were my favorite momma party tricks.

 

And my favorite nursing gear? I know I’ve already mentioned my favorite nipple creams and breast pads when we discussed postpartum care, but here are my other favorite nursing gear selections (keep in mind, I’m a very busty momma, so these suggestions are my personal opinions from my experience and may not work well for everyone):

Milkies Milk Saver – saves milk from the letdown from the breast you’re not nursing baby on or pumping. You’ll be surprised how much this adds up to add to your freezer stash. Plus, it saves you from having to constantly change breast pads!

Basics Stella nursing bras from Target

Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless nursing bras from Babies’R’Us

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Nursing tank tops/camis from anywhere but especially from Motherhood Maternity

Nursing gowns (pajama style gowns for at night or all day long, no judgement here) from Kohls

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an electric pump (most insurance companies will cover the cost of one pump per pregnancy- call them to see how to get yours covered by your insurance, as coverage and available brands to you may vary)

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a hand pump (I used a Medela) for in the hospital when you’re just getting used to pumping and when you can’t plug in your pump (like if you’re floating down the river in a kayak…)

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Pumping at MommyCon in the back of a very crowded conference room.

Reusable breast pads and also nipple cream/lanolin (my recommendations can be found here and Perla’s can be found here)

 

We hope you’ve enjoyed our nursing/feeding series Nursing Tales for the past two months (phew!) and have learned a lot or have been able to share our posts with friends so they can learn and feel supported too.

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We hope you’re ready for October’s series on Babywearing, featuring a huge giveaway around Halloween. Stay tuned to our blog for details on that event and how you can win!

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Information about breastmilk and breastfeeding benefits found at:

Office on Women’s Health

Breastfeeding USA

Best for Babes

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