Baby, Baby, Baby

We are so close to Bellamy’s arrival.  Her official due date is on April 25th, but little contractions have started for my wife here and there, so who knows if we will make it that far!  Both of the other kids had to be induced, so I am praying that this time things will just be able to move along naturally.

The biggest change for this kid (other than the fact that she will have two siblings running around) is that we are going to cloth diaper.  I had no idea how confusing that it was going to be.  There are so many different types, styles, ways to wash…HOLY MOLY.  I felt totally lost about it until I found http://www.fluffloveuniversity.com and it has been a life saver!

The site also has a number of facebook groups that are populated with super helpful mommies!  No one has side eyed me for being a dad, which is nice also.

Such an exciting and stressful time!

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Winter Winter Chicken Dinner

I would like to say that life here in the country is ticking toward Spring, and I guess it is, but we have had some of the coldest weather this winter in the past couple of weeks.  The kids enjoyed the biggish snow, but the Wife and I could certainly do without it.  It was obvious we live in Virginia since the other day it was 70 outside and I had all the doors and windows open in the house, while we were simultaneously in the middle of a Winter Storm Warning for the Sleet that was to come in mere hours.

Spring in our house, though means baby chicks! I was at Tractor Supply and couldn’t resist them. Of course that was just what we need…an almost 4 year old, an almost 2 year old, and an almost newborn plus some baby chickens!

Speaking of a newborn…we are weeks away from welcoming Bellamy into our lives.  We are thrilled, scared, excited, apprehensive…all of it. No matter what though, she is coming! I hope the kids are preparing themselves because things sure are about to change.

How The “Nipple Nazi” Made It All Ok….

This is the Second in the series about Breastfeeding in honor of World Breastfeeding Week.  As a reminder, this is my Wife’s personal story and she has graciously agreed to let it be shared here.  This website is about inclusion and support, and because of that any and all negative comments will not be approved.

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In retrospect it seems horrible that we called our Lactation Consultant “The Nipple Nazi” but it isn’t a name we came up with.  In fact it was what pretty much everyone in our medium sized town called her.  (She probably knew about it and didn’t care, because she was not ashamed of her passion when it came to helping new Mom’s feed their babies.)

Ever since we had brought Asher home, he was unable to latch.  We saw our Doctor, various nurses, and Mecalah consulted with her friends who had breastfed.  She used spacers on her nipples that made her look like her breast were out of some Sci Fi movie in order to encourage Asher to latch.  Mostly, though, she pumped. She pumped and pumped and pumped.  Almost every time she pumped she would try to get Asher to eat himself, but he never could get the hang of it.

Since I had no Paternity Leave (which is a topic for another day), I had to return to work rather quickly.  Which left her at home to struggle during the day without me there to support her.  Let me clarify that I know she didn’t NEED me in order to successfully breastfeed, but having a shoulder to cry on and someone to tell you it is all going to be ok is never a bad thing.

When she told me she had made an appointment with The Nipple Nazi in order to get some help I was kind of freaked out because at this point Mecalah was pretty fragile.  To feel like a failure when it came to feeding your child on top of the postpartum hormones that were raging…well I can’t imagine what a fierce internal struggle she was going through.  “All I do is pump!” she would cry.  “I feel like I’m not even getting to enjoy being a Mom because I am constantly hooked up to the machine.”  I lavished her with encouragement but I was getting worried for her.  I wanted to her to be able to enjoy these first weeks, not cry through them.

The day of the appointment came and I feel like I prayed all day. My Mom was in town to help with the baby and was going with her, and although I knew she would back up Mecalah, she was also intimidated by the reputation of woman we were going to see.

Mecalah texted me about an hour after her appointment time and told me she couldn’t wait for me to get home and that she was so happy with what happened at the meeting.  I knew in my heart that the consultant must have figured out a way to get Asher to latch, after all what else could have lifted my wife’s spirits so much?

I got home and Mecalah was upstairs with Asher, so I rushed in the bedroom.  I picked up my son and told my wife to tell me all about it.

“I’m giving up!” she told me.

Huh?  What had happened at this meeting?  My wife had been so determined to get Asher to latch that she went to see someone called The Nipple Nazi and now she was giving up?

She went on to explain that, although her consultant was unendingly pro-breastfeeding, that she explained there were are some woman that it will just not work for.

I can feel the internet getting up in arms about this.  After all this is a pro breastfeeding post during World Breastfeeding Week and I am saying to give up?

No, I am not telling YOU to give up.  I am saying that for my wife, after talking to countless medical professionals and consultants and nurses and friends and loved ones and strangers on the internet that, in the end, what was BEST FOR HER was simply to pump for as long as she could.

And that is what she did. And our son is healthy. And happy. And loved.

But, surprisingly, the only people who have made my wife feel like a failure are some of the people who are the most outspoken advocates of breastfeeding.  They have told her she didn’t try hard enough.  That she should have stuck it out.

To her, they are telling her that she should have sunk deeper into a depression, which is turn would not have bonded her with our son, but driven a wedge between them.

We support breastfeeding moms.  We think that you should be able to feed your child anywhere you want without covering up and that no one should bother you.

But we also support the right for Moms to be happy and do what is best for them and their children.

So this week, remember, that you should set aside judgement and celebrate the fact that Women’s bodies are an absolute miracle.

The Pappy and his family support you!  Not because you do or do not breastfeed, but because you are a Mom.  And that in itself makes you AMAZING!

She cried when she breastfed…

This is part one of The Pappy’s series about breastfeeding.  This is an important topic that is emotional for my family.  I, of course, talked to my wife before sharing our story, but we know we can help others.  If you have something you would like to share with my readers about breastfeeding, I encourage you to send me a message at thepurposefulpappy@gmail.com.

 

As my wife and I prepared for the birth of our first child we didn’t talk a whole lot about breastfeeding beyond the fact that she planned on doing it.  Although I made it a point to educate myself as much about birth and what she would go through as I could, I didn’t think too much about breastfeeding.  I took for granted that it would be easy for her.  I will admit something that in retrospect seems dumb, but I thought because she had big breasts it would be easy for her.  I guess in my mind her cup size indicated that she would have tons of milk which would in turn mean that Asher would be able to drink to his hearts content.

Our birth experience was long and emotional but beautiful.  We had a Doula who held our hands from start to finish and my wife was a tiger!  In the moments after Asher was born I think I forgot that my wife had any vulnerabilities because I had just seen her thrive under what were unimaginably painful circumstances.  I was in awe of her and I knew that she could do ANYTHING, so I never thought twice about the moments soon after birth when she would go to nurse our son.

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We cleared the room and with our Doula at our side she placed our son to her breast.  It was a beautiful moment of bonding between the two of them.  Asher, though, didn’t latch.  We didn’t worry though, and knew we would try later.

While we were in the hospital my brave wife tried. And tried. And tried.

We asked every nurse, every doctor, our Doula, and lactation consultants.  Asher never seemed to be able to latch.

My wife cried a lot when he would try and fail. No fail is totally the wrong word.  There was no failure involved.  She would cry a lot when he would try and be unable to latch.

She pumped in the hospital and on the way home we stopped and rented a hospital grade pump from a lady referred to as the Nipple Nazi.  We were afraid of her fervent commitment to breastfeeding at the time, but in a week or two we would be so very comforted by her encouragement.

Mecalah pumped day and night it seemed, all the while working with our son to try to latch. I spent a lot of time laying next to her on the bed holding our small son while she filled little bags full of milk.  I felt kind of useless during this time because I wanted so bad to be able to help her, but aside from breaking down the breast pump and cleaning it, followed by transporting her milk to the freezer I felt powerless.  So did she.

Long story short, we tried many things, but Asher never latched.

As I look back, I see many things I did right and some things I could do better. I look forward to sharing both with you.