Does Breastfeeding Hurt Anyone?

I have successfully breastfed all my children. I consider myself very fortunate. I know many mothers that desperately wanted to breastfeed and for several reasons were not able to. They battled guilt, depression, and harsh judgement.

I honestly never thought anything about breastfeeding until I had my first son. I do not even remember Jarred and I discussing it while I was pregnant with Lewis. I made the decision when he entered this world and they placed him on my chest. It just felt right to me.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a naive 23-year-old that thought how hard can it be? Ha! It was exhausting, rewarding, stressful, painful, demanding, but it was incredible. My body was producing everything my baby needed. I cried every time he latched on. Sure my hormones were out of whack, but I was crying from the pain of having a newborn attached to my body. Now I know that means something isn’t right, but at that time I was clueless. I knew it would be uncomfortable and I would be sore, but I was not expecting that much pain. The nurses were not encouraging. They were not supportive. It was not a great experience. I’m not even sure Facebook was around then, so I didn’t have much of a support system. After a week of painful nursing we went to Babies R Us and bought a breast pump. I pumped and rotated sides for two days to let myself heal and we finally got the hang of it. I should mention that I did not have him at the same hospital I had my other three. Not only was I experienced with my second son, but the nurses and lactation consultants at EAMC were fantastic!

I nursed Lewis and Ian until they were 10 months old. Winston self-weaned at 11 months because my supply dropped due to being pregnant with Miles. Miles is a few days short of being 11 months and he still nurses 2 or 3 times a day. I’m okay with that. My husband is okay with that, and honestly I don’t even know if I would care if he wasn’t okay with it. That’s not being mean, that’s just being real. I’ve heard women talk about how they wanted to continue breastfeeding, but their husband was ready for them to stop. I had people asking me when Miles was just 7 months, “Are you still breastfeeding? Isn’t he eating solids now?” Some of those people do not have children, so I don’t expect them to know much about breastfeeding. But some of those were other moms that should know better!

My dear friend and I met for a cup of coffee Sunday and were talking about her 15 month old son. He went in for his wellness check up and the pediatrician asked my friend if she was still breastfeeding. She told him she was and his was response was, “How long are you going to keep that up?” I admit I take things the wrong way sometimes, but I think a response like, “That’s great! Keep up the good work!” or “That’s awesome! You’re doing a great!” would have been more appropriate.

Everyone is different. I know there is an issue of appropriateness, but I feel like that is up to the mom. I have my personal cut-off time where I wouldn’t feel comfortable breastfeeding, but not all moms have a cut-off time. If Miles still wants to nurse at 15 months I’m okay with that. If he wants to nurse at 18 months, who is that hurting? What is the big deal?? If it works for us, that’s what matters. What we do may not work for your family.

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Kristeen (Kris) Knight was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after the birth of her son. This is the photo from the last time she breastfed her son. Kris had a double mastectomy the day after this photo was taken.

It took me a while to build up my confidence to be able to breastfeed in public. I would park in the furthest parking space away from the store to feed Lewis and Ian. Something clicked with Winston. I always used a cover, but I didn’t hide anymore. No mother should ever hide to feed her baby. I want mothers to quit hiding while they feed their babies. I want people, men and women, to be supportive and accepting of breastfeeding in public. Teach your children what our bodies are capable of doing! I would feel more awkward watching a Victoria’s Secret commercial with my son than seeing a mom nurse her baby at a park!

It goes back to what you used to hear from your  mom and grandmother–If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

I wanted to share some pictures of sweet nurslings including my sweet Miles. As demanding as breastfeeding is, one day I will miss it!

 

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Ashley

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Traveling With Kids

We are a family of 6. I can barely control things at home, so it is bound to get crazy on the road! We have to bring the house with us when we go on trips. It doesn’t matter if it is a week long vacation or a two day trip.

We decided to go visit family in north Alabama this past weekend. My husband is the youngest of seven and all of his family lives there except for one brother. It’s about a 3 1/2 hour trip without kids, which means it is a 5 hour trip with kids. I’ve mentioned before that I am Type A, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I make a list of everything I am going to pack. I check it off as I put things in the suitcase and most of the time I still unpack to repack, just to make sure I didn’t mark off anything by accident. I know I know–I annoy myself!

We have rituals to complete before we leave. We get everyone to use the bathroom and we check the doors and windows several times before we head out. It never fails within 2 miles from our house Ian, the five year old, always asks, “Are we almost there?” Twenty miles down the road and we get the first of thousands, “I have to pee.”

It is mandatory to stop midway to walk around and stretch. The boys were getting restless and fussy, so we decided we would stop at a rest area for them to run around for a bit.  As we are watching the boys frolic through the field, my husband was facing me and starts making this face like he had just seen a ghost and said, “Traffic is slowing down out there.” We herded up the boys and took off. We moved 3 miles in one hour. One freaking hour. I was about to lose my mind. The kids were bitching and complaining.

“When are we going to be there?”

“Why aren’t we moving?”

“Why is it taking so long?”

I started out being patient, but Miles needed to go to sleep and everyone knows when the car is moving, babies sleep. When the car stops, babies wake up.

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Just as we were getting settled into our visit, it was over and it was time to load everything up again and head home. Why does it seem to take so much longer to get home?

Anyone with a child knows how important routines are. I didn’t fully understand just how important until I had my first child. My children turn into different creatures when they are out of routine. Rambunctious, whiny, delirious creatures. They have emotional outbursts, they fight like crazy, and they get mean!

We got home Sunday night and started unloading the truck. The boys were already whining about putting away their things. After a lot of encouragement, they got everything done and asked to go play outside. It would get them out of our way for us to finish unpacking, so we said, “Sure. You can go out and play for 15 minutes and then we’ll start getting ready for bed.”

Lewis is a perfectionist like me and I hate it for him sometimes. I don’t think it is always a bad thing, but it is frustrating at times. He spent 5 minutes looking for his boots and he could only find one. It took everything I had to bite my tongue and not say, “This is exactly why I tell you to put your shoes in your closet. You will always know where they are if you put them in same place every time.” I knew that would be like adding fuel to a fire, so I just warned him that he already used up 5 out of his 15 minutes to look for this boot. I suggested he should just find a different pair of shoes. As I expected he panicked, but he found a pair of tennis shoes and headed out the door. I went downstairs to grab another piece of luggage and found him sitting in the floor crying. I asked him what was going on and he yelled, “I can’t get my shoe strings tight enough!!” I have told a few people this, but I guess I will put it out there for everyone to know. I do not like wearing tennis shoes, because it takes forever for me to get them tied equally. I don’t like having one tighter than the other. Again, I know I know.

So he is in the floor sobbing hysterically. I offered to help and he lost it.  I have no idea what he said for the first 2 minutes, because he  was so upset I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. Jarred told him he wasn’t going to get a chance to go outside because of how he was behaving and he needed to start getting ready for bed. He was so delirious. He cried for the next 10 minutes, finally got it together, and passed out within 5 minutes of laying down.

Ian gets overly-tired also, but he just gets whiny. He can take a few minutes to collect himself and he’s all better. Winston, 2, gets very silly and delirious. He runs around in circles, yelling gibberish, and laughing uncontrollably. If Miles, the 10 month old, doesn’t get enough sleep, he wakes up frequently. You would think it’d be the opposite and he would sleep like a baby (pun intended), but he doesn’t.

We missed naps and lost sleep, but we made great memories! We loved visiting with Grandma and Grandpa. The boys had a blast playing baseball in the backyard with Aunt Donna and they enjoyed playing with all of their cousins.

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It is tough traveling with children, but some of my best memories from childhood are while we were on trips. I will always remember playing pick a car, punch bug, and make the 18 wheeler blow their horn. Fun times!!

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Ashley

 

 

 

 

 

Adoore It – Adore your DOOR Giveaway

I have been excited about all of my giveaways, but I am super excited about this one!!  The sweet and talented owner, Nicki, of Adoore It – Adore your DOOR has donated a $20 gift certificate!

If you would like to enter the contest for a chance to win follow these simple rules:

You must like her page Adoore It – Adore you DOOR and my page Mommy Of All Boys.

You must also LIKE, SHARE, and COMMENT on the contest photo on my Facebook page.

She has posted holiday deadlines on her Facebook page. If you order by Nov 1st, she is guaranteeing your order by Dec 1st.

Contest will end Thursday, Oct 30th at 0800 and I will announce the winner that day.

Good Luck!

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Ashley

 

How Do You Discipline?

I got whoopins when I was a child. Not spankings, whoopins. Belts, switches, whatever was easiest to get to.

I turned out to be a good person. I am a Registered Nurse. I married an amazing man and we have built a beautiful family. I also have a temper. I have improved, but I strive to be better.

I didn’t realize how bad my temper was until I had my first son. Obviously I knew I had a temper, but I didn’t think about how much it affected others until I became a Mother. I thought about how I felt when people yelled at me, then I started thinking about how that must make my son feel.  It surely didn’t make me feel good, so I know it didn’t make him feel good.

I noticed as soon as I got frustrated I would start yelling. I couldn’t cope. I couldn’t handle my emotions. I never physically hurt my child, but I yelled at him and that is hurtful. Children make you do a lot of self-reflection which is tough to do. It’s hard to admit things about yourself sometimes, but you can’t change what you do not acknowledge.

We live in the SpankingSouth, as if you can’t tell by me using the word whoopin. A lot of people I know grew up the same way.We made the decision that we were not going to spank our children.

Here are some of our reasons why we choose not to spank.

I do not want my children to be scared of me or Jarred. Just yesterday I read a comment on a Facebook post that stated, “My children will fear me and they will respect me. I fear my Mom and Dad out of respect.” I believe you teach children what respect means by talking to them about it. You show them what respect means. They learn by example, not by getting spanked.

Fortunately, we didn’t experience biting until our third son. So many people would say, “Bite him back.” I have never understood the concept of telling a child not to bite and then biting them. I mean, I get it…you show them how bad it hurts and they won’t do it again. I just don’t know of anyone that has only had to do it once and their child never does it again. The biting stage lasted for about a month. We learned that he would bite out of frustration. He wasn’t 2 yet, so he couldn’t speak well. When he bit, we would sit him in time-out and explain to him that it hurts and we do not hurt people. When he learned how to communicate better he quit biting.

I want them to talk to me about anything. I want them to trust me. I tell them at some point every day they can always talk to me about anything and I will love them no matter what. I can’t imagine them wanting to talk to me about their feelings if I just hit them with a belt or a switch. I used to get angry, sad, and embarrassed after getting popped with a leather belt . I knew my parents loved me, but during that moment I didn’t feel loved.

My kids do stupid stuff. They will get in trouble and do the same thing the next day, if not within 20 minutes from getting in trouble. We use time-outs when they are young. I make them tell me what they did wrong, how it affected others, and how they could have handled it differently. We take away toys  and/or privileges with the older boys.

We recently started using a clip chart. Here’s how it works. They start out with their clip beside good day. They can clip up earning up to 10 cents a day (their idea…I’ll take it) or they can clip down and have to return money from their banks. They really didn’t like that idea, that’s how I knew it would work. The boys helped out so much yesterday. Last night at bedtime they were both still on outstanding, so they each got a dime and put it in their banks. They loved it! I didn’t yell one time yesterday. They were nice to each other and helped each other. They cleaned their room and the play room. They emptied the dishwasher, put up their clothes, and set the table for supper.20141015_085155

I did not write this to be judgmental, I wrote this to discuss different discipline styles. A lot of times people just stick with what they know. They just do things because that’s how their parents did it. I love my parents and they are great people, but I decided to discipline differently. My boys still get in trouble and they still make bad decisions. Not spanking has worked for our family. What works for your family?

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Ashley

 

 

 

Gigi’s Cupcake Gift Card Giveaway

Who doesn’t love Gigi’s cupcakes?!? I know I do!!20141009_082255

All you have to do is like and comment on the contest photo. Shares do not always show up. I would LOVE for you to share the contest photo, but it is not necessary to win. You must “like” my page to qualify.

Contest ends Thursday night at 7:00p.m. I will announce the winner Thursday night via Facebook.

Thanks for all the encouragement!

You guys are sweet!!!

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Ashley

Taking Things For Granted

Every now and then there are stories that put me in my place. They make me realize what a whiny person I can be sometimes. I have stated in my previous posts I am going to get better and I will. I have such a bad habit of being a negative Nancy. When I get mad, I stay mad for a while. I can’t just get over it and that’s not fair to my children or my husband.

It is incredibly easy to take things for granted. I came across this touching story this morning. Grab your kleenex! Their baby boy, Shane, was diagnosed with a terminal neural tube defect called Anencephaly.

Shane was born this morning, Oct 9th at 2:25am. He passed away this morning, Oct 9th at 6:15am. FootHe lived for just under 4 hours. His parents were able to touch him, hug him, and kiss him for just 4 short hours. I remember those first few hours after each of my boys were born. Those precious moments are indescribable. The moment you meet your baby is truly amazing.

I was devastated when the doctor told me Lewis was going to be born with Bilateral Clubfeet. The last thing you want to hear with any pregnancy, especially your first, is there’s something wrong with your baby. Clubfoot is more common in babies born with other birth defects, so I was worried about Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, etc…Fortunately, Lewis was just an isolated case of Clubfeet.

We were so nervous going in for our consultation appointment. The doctor was really nice and we felt a lot better after asking tons of questions. It was months later when we went for our post-surgery check-up, that we realized just how fortunate we were. We knew things could have been worse, but it was tough and also eye-opening to see those children with Spina Bifida and Cerebral Palsy in wheelchairs. As I watched our children run around in the waiting room I couldn’t help but to feel bad. Those children will never know what it is like to run in an open field. Those children will never know what it is like to jump off of a pier at the lake on a hot summer day. Lewis was able to have surgery and wear braces to correct his problem. They don’t have that option. Jarred and I cried talking about it on the way home. What the hell were we sad about? I felt bad for even getting so upset about Lewis’s diagnosis.

Who knew 6 years later we would have another baby born with Clubfeet. Sure it was still tough to hear, but we made it through with Lewis and we knew we were going to make it through with Miles.

Reading stories like this one hurts my heart, but it also snaps me back into reality. I can’t help but to cry thinking about that new mother holding her son this morning knowing that at any moment he would take his last breath and she had only just met him. I can’t imagine what it felt like for that new daddy and their families.

I will remind myself of Shane and his parents often. They are extremely courageous and brave for sharing their story.

 

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Ashley

I Will Get Better

I’m in a slump. I get in these slumps every few months. I knew it was coming. Jarred was out-of-town twice a couple of weeks ago. We are just starting to get well in our house from passing around the “back to school” crud for a few weeks. I worked Wednesday night and went 40 hours before I was able to sleep. I locked myself and Miles out of our house Thursday and had to call a locksmith to get us back inside. It was brutal. I could handle going on no sleep a lot better when I only had two children. My body can’t take it now. I need sleep!! I get so emotional and cranky. I couldn’t stand myself today.

I also call these down times, “I want to move to Huntsville” slumps. It is hard being a parent. It’s harder being a parent with not a lot of family close by. Jarred is the youngest of seven. All of his family except for one brother lives in Huntsville. I have looked at houses in Huntsville twice. Those were really bad weeks. And I just have to put this out there…if I hear one more person complain about needing a break and they just got back from a vacation or just had a date-night without their children I might snap. No, I will snap.

I’ve worked hard at positive thinking, but I have a LONG way to go–as evidenced by this post. My husband is the optimistic one in our house. I say I’m the realist, but I’m really the pessimist. I hate it because I know people like me and they are super annoying. I am annoyed just by thinking about them! So, I have to get better. I promise I will!

Just this morning I came down from rocking Miles to sleep and started tackling my to-do list. As soon as I got one thing accomplished Miles started whining. “Sigh. There goes my to-do list!” Jarred was standing beside me and said, “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.” mom_worry

I have to learn not to worry. So what if there is a pile of dishes in the sink waiting for the dishwasher? Who cares if there is a mountain of clothes that needs to be folded?

Jarred finally had enough and told me I had to go do something. He said, “Why don’t you go somewhere? If you need a break, go. I wanted a break, but mommy guilt is something fierce. All I can think about is all the stuff that needs to be done around here. I feel bad leaving all the kids with him. He doesn’t mind at all and tells me all the time to go have some “me” time. It’s me that talks myself out of doing it.

I decided I was going to do it. I went to Starbucks. I ordered my grande white mocha and waited. It is was so weird being alone. I do one thing by myself every week and that is grocery shop, and depending on what time in the evening I go Ian begs to go with me. I have no idea why that kid loves Kroger so much. This time I was alone and I had nothing to do but wait on them to call my name when my order was ready. I saw the perfect little table with one chair sitting in the bright sun. It was heaven. The weather was fabulous. A perfect fall day. I sat there sipping my coffee listening to the hustle and bustle. Before I knew it an hour had passed, so I gathered my things and headed home.

I walked through the door and Winston ran up to me and squealed, “Mommy!!” The kid acted like he had not seen me in a week. I  squeezed him and kissed his little forehead. I gave Jarred a kiss and told him how much I loved it and I was making it a Sunday routine. He said. “Good for you. You should!”

I needed it. I feel much better and I am thinking it will be a great week! I know it will. I told you I would get better!

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Ashley