Monday, September 22, 2014
When my little Karebear was a few weeks old I realized she had a lip tie as well as a tongue tie. I asked some local moms where they had went to get their baby's ties corrected and they recommended UIHC's ENT department. It took a few weeks til they could fit us in to see the doctor to do the surgery, and I had to have a referral to that doctor via my daughter's pediatrician. 
The doctor seemed nursing friendly but did several things that I didn't feel right about. They called in interns to assist in the surgery, that had absolutely no idea about what a lip tie or tongue tie was. They weren't helpful to even have in the room. The nurse got a gauze and dunked it in sugar water then shoved it in my daughter's mouth. Nobody had any reason to do that, at least I have no idea why they wanted to do that. They made me hold her while they bent down to do the surgery and it didn't seem ergonomical, I don't understand how they made sure they were in there good enough to get the job done. Scissors and scalpels were used to revise both her class 4 lip tie and class 2 tongue tie. Also, they put this nasty silver stuff on the incision site to keep her from bleeding. They didn't tell me what to do for oral exercises, and they didn't care to check back on her unless there were any complications. I was told to give her Tylenol for pain.
Photo of her at 2 am the night after surgery.
After that, she never would nurse again. Before, she was unable to transfer milk, so I became an exclusive pumping mom. I had been both nursing and pumping prior to the surgery. She absolutely refused to latch since the day she was born. I felt I was forcing her to breastfeed to get her fed. Feeding by bottles helped her gain and was a great way to continue providing her breastmilk. 
You can read some of the stories I've written so far about our breastfeeding experience at these links- http://latchedonmom.blogspot.com/2014/06/breastfeeding-or-pumping-through-it.html & http://latchedonmom.blogspot.com/2014/09/beginning-to-wean-from-pumping-still.html 
So moving forward, we continued having issues. She still had feeding difficulties including choking on milk, milk coming out the sides of her mouth, congestion from milk being expelled into lungs and eating only 2 ounces max at a time. I wondered if she still had problems because the surgery wasn't complete. I just didn't know what to think. We've been through so much! 
I recently met someone while attending the big latch on who had been an exclusive pumping mom for 18 months and got her baby back to breast. She suggested meeting up for a reevaluation with Dr. Mindy Hochgesang in Clinton, Iowa. It was quite a drive but after reviewing her Facebook page, I realized how knowledgeable she was and driven to help babes with tongue ties.  She also seemed to have a very natural approach. I felt she was a clinician I NEEDED to see. One to trust. Hee office got me scheduled to have Karebear seen within only a few days!  You can check her page out below!
 https://www.facebook.com/tongueties
So we went. Today. Karebear had a pretty significant posterior tongue tie that needed corrected. She was literally not able to use her tongue the way it is meant to be used. So we put on the swaddling blanket and laser light protective glasses and it was over in minutes. She is released! No more worries! We will still work on latching as usual. And we are doing craniosacral therapy. Tomorrow is her third CST appointment. 
Things are working out. Things are getting better. I am keeping my head up and working on getting my baby to optimum health! I cannot wait to see the improvement from this release. 
Here is a pic of today- a before and after of the tie!


Sunday, September 14, 2014
My baby definitely likes yanking on my jewelry. When you have a little one it may prove difficult to wear jewelry at all.  I actually assumed I was just supposed to get used to feeling bare without my favorite accessories.  Until I found out that I can still enjoy accessories without worrying that baby was going to break them.  You may have heard of nursing necklaces.  If you haven't, well they are necklaces that are made to give baby something to focus on while nursing, keeping babe content which encourages them to stay at the breast longer.  But they are much more than that!  They are a chance for mom to feel pretty again!  I love the nursing necklace that I received for reviewing purposes from Nursing Necklaces by Liz
These gorgeous handmade necklaces, are made of 100% cotton with Tulip dye, an organic & sodium carbonate fiber reactive dye, and the fabric has been rinsed numerous times, making it perfectly safe for teething babies. Tied inside the necklace are natural wood beads, and the teething ring pendant is also made of natural wood.  
Besides being appealing, the construction is exceptionally durable and also surprisingly comfortable! You can rely on these necklaces withstanding all the tugs and chomps you'd expect from a little one!  I am very fond of all the different color combinations available for necklaces that Liz has made with her hand dyed fabrics.  She also has plenty of patterned fabric choices!  You can see everything she has currently available on her Facebook page or you can also look through her Etsy shop.  Liz is able to work with customers to create a special necklace that's one of a kind and will be perfect for you, as well.
I love wearing my necklace! Isn't it attractive?  I wear it everywhere where I am going to be with my baby girl. It keeps her entertained. She loves playing with it, and even big brother will occassionally wear it when he's helping out with Karebear.  I cherish the moments they have together like this.  See her offering to share the necklace with her brother?  Too cute not to share!

My daughter loves the necklace.  I think any baby, especially the easily distracted baby will take delight in a nursing necklace!  I would give Nursing Necklaces by Liz a 10 out of 10!

Nursing Necklaces by Liz has let me help host a giveaway today!  One lucky person will win a necklace of their choice that's currently available. If you want to win all you need to do is fill out the rafflecopter form below.  Open to US only.  Giveaway will run from 9/14/14-9/28/14! Winner will be announced on this post as well as emailed. You will have 48 hours to respond or I will have to draw a new winner. 

Latched On Mom did not receive payment for the review which was given.  All opinions are my own, written by me.  I have no affiliation to the company, unless otherwise stated. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media. 
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
My daughter has refused to latch and nurse since the day she was born. After successfully breastfeeding my older two children, I didn't expect to have a child that wouldn't or couldn't nurse. I first wrote about our experience with Karebear refusing to nurse here- http://latchedonmom.blogspot.com/2014/06/breastfeeding-or-pumping-through-it.html.
It's been a whirlwind of emotions because I've put so much time into working on latching and exclusively pumping for my baby. I typically attempt to latch before, during and after bottles. I have pumped every 3 hours (6-8 sessions a day) getting about 2-4 ounces per session. Each pumping session takes a minimum of 20 minutes, however spending an hour pumping has happened more than not. It's been exhausting! I've had many times where I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere and wanted to throw in the towel. Well Karebear's going to be one on the 16th and just this last month I decided it's time to wean from pumping. So I have cut one session out, getting 5 sessions per day. I am wanting to get to 4 sessions, so I've just been trying to spread the time out in between sessions. I feel very uncomfortable when I'm at 4 ppd (pumps per day). Weaning from a pump is quite a process! My plan is to be at 2 ppd or less when she's 18 months.
We are still actively working on learning to latch. Karebear has been diagnosed with laryngomalacia, dysmorphic craniofacial features and jaw anomaly by her pediatrician. She had a lip tie and tongue tie revision at a month of age. She now recieves speech and occupational therapy to work on oral muscles. The occupational therapist says her lips, cheeks and jaw are very weak and she has an overactive gag reflex. We have a plethora of exercises we do daily to help with this issue. With all these hurdles, it may seem hopeless to even imagine she could latch but I have felt from the beginning that she can. Her first latch was so perfect. I believe in her and have been helping her find confidence. In my opinion, it's the biggest component to being efficient at anything. You have to think you can. Whenever she puts her mouth anywhere near my nipples,  I reassure her by giving love squeezes, whispering I love you into her ear, clapping hands and shouting hurray, dancing together in celebration. The more reaffirmation she receives,  hopefully the more faith she will have in being able to complete the task.
Today we've practiced. I sort of have a routine. She gets her breakfast in her high chair,  with 3 ounces of breastmilk in a bottle. Then we relax for awhile. She plays contently while I do my morning power pump. Then she seeks mommy for comfort. We start with snuggles, skin to skin- breasts out while she gets comfortable on my lap. I attach the SNS and offer it a few times. My four year old loves the SNS. She's also been a teacher in getting Karebear to latch. The SNS hasn't been successful yet for my baby, but it's an option I think is good to offer her. She usually lasts ten minutes then wants to go play more... after about an hour, before lunch, again I hold her and offer to nurse her. Without the SNS. I also use this time to show her images of babies latching or even play the videos I've made of Karebear trying to latch. This has been the most receptive time for her. She licks and gently sucks. Will not latch but like I said, I boost her self esteem with positive affirmations. Perhaps one of thesedays she will be ready and go all for it. I also offer to nurse her right before bed. She will latch, suck once and release. She has to have the control over it, if I push it only makes her upset. We want happy feelings associated with nursing!
I haven't found anyone that knows what I'm going through. This journey really is my own. The lactation consultants I've been in contact with have offered ideas through messaging but none have been able to come and witness what's going on.  Taking Karebear out of her routine doesn't work, and where we are now is the furthest we've been. I'm hoping that a lactation consultant will find the time to come and help us. Maybe someone will see something we can add to improve the outcome.
I am holding onto hope at this time. Hoping it will just click for her. Like a light switch. Maybe with more therapy we'll see improvement. I also am looking into craniosacral therapy.
If you're experiencing or have experienced trouble getting your baby to latch, what worked for you? I'm open to your input!
Friday, September 5, 2014

Barbara Rivera is a very busy homeschooling mother of 3. She is an artist, a writer, a children’s book author and the creator of the global Empowered Birth Awareness Week (EBAW). Her excitement lies in using the power of social media, art, jewelry, and collective networks to raise awareness about the power of making informed choices during pregnancy, birth and beyond.

Empowered Birth Awareness Week (EBAW) is a yearly event in which individuals and organizations unite to focus their time, energy and resources to create social change regarding the issues which affect pregnant and birthing mothers. EBAW creates a unifying platform to connect all of those who are making a difference this week to “power the wave of change.”

We call on individuals and professionals, to focus whatever resources they have available to them and flood the public this week with conversations, definitions, ideas, images, stories and more about empowered birth choices, both on the internet and on the ground. 

We invite you to join us starting with the Improving Birth Rally on Labor Day, and make Empowered Birth Awareness Week your own. 

Here are 6 ideas:
1. Give a shout out to Empowered Birth Awareness Week using social media. Blog, post or create a meme talking about what Empowered Birth means to you. Talk about your own birth, what did you like about it? What would you do differently if you knew better.
2. Wear turquoise all week! 
This is the color of the Birth Revolution and symbolizes how we are uniting to create a “wave of change,” regarding the transformation of the many problems regarding birth.
3. Choose an organization which is taking action a to improve birth and have a fundraising blast this week! This can be a yard sale, or a lemonade stand. Do something silly! Offer to your friends, family and/or employees the chance to pour a bucket of ice water on you- if they make a donation to your cause! Take what you make that week and donate it to those improving birth. We have listed several important organizations you may want to support on our site. http://www.birthpower.us/EBAW.html

4. Send a note to the person or to the place where you gave birth. Let them know how you feel about your birth with them. How can they improve? How were they amazing? Let them know.
5. Honor a birthworker, a mother, a mentor or a special friend in some way. Find someone each of the seven days of EBAW to thank, and tell them what they mean to you. You can write a blog, send them a letter, or even send a small gift to them as a symbol of your gratitude. 

We all have those people who have been instrumental in shaping who are today. There are birthworkers who have “held the line” for all of us, many time is hostile climates, working hard to ensure that women have a safe place to birth. There are many who have dedicated their lives to keeping mothers and babies whole. 
Thank them this week and add your energetic, “ YES!” to the good that exists in the world. 
6. Please visit the EBAW page to find some more ideas about how you can pparticipate this week!

http://www.birthpower.us/EBAW.html
www.facebook.com/EmpoweredBirthAwarenessWeek


Thursday, September 4, 2014
ImprovingBirth.org is an organization I stand behind because they are working toward improving the standard of maternity care. So many women are not receiving appropriate care. Artificial inductions, acceleration of labor and surgical births are dramatically increasing, which increases the risks of harm to both mother and babe. Not to mention the "rules" that obstetricians and their nurses enforce during labor, like not being able to eat and not being able to move around. Families deserve to have respect about how they feel comfortable birthing and feeling fully informed about the risks that routine maternity care procedures may cause. 
The symbol representing this cause has a pregnant woman holding a flower with a quote by Maya Angelou, "When you know better, you do better." The more information I've learned about parenting choices especially, has allowed me to do better things for my whole family. 
"It’s about women being capable of making safer, more informed decisions about their care and that of their babies, when they are given full and accurate information about their care options, including the potential harms, benefits, and alternatives.  It’s aboutrespect for women and their decisions in childbirth, including how, where, and with whom they give birth; and the right to be treated with dignity and compassion." The rally site (http://rallytoimprovebirth.com/) states. 
This year, the third annual rally on Labor Day was held simutaneously, in over 100 cities across the globe. My nearest location was held at Mercer Park in Iowa City. I was anxious to be part of the rally, since it was my first year and excited to find out more about the organization and it's supporters. 


ImprovingBirth.org really took the time to unite the community with this event. There were many perks for those attending. Many sponsors, including Corridor Birth Alliance, Friends of Iowa Midwives, Iowa City Doulas, Iowa City Babywearers, Johnson County Public Health & WIC, Babytime, Lactation Counselor Rachel Starchman, Niabi Zoo, Iowa Children's Museum, Always Lavender Thyme, It Works, Jamberry Nails and many others participated. There was a raffle to win tickets and baskets and free sessions with some of the sponsors. Also a bag full of informative flyers, coupons and samples was handed out to the first fifty attendees. This event involved the entire family, with a playground and games and bubbles for the kids. It was so nice having the sponsors/other organizations and businesses there, bringing our community together and supporting this very important cause. 
If you are interested in finding out more or helping with this cause by hosting a rally in your area, sponsoring or just advocating you can visit www.ImprovingBirth.org!
Did you participate in the rally this year? Comment where! 


Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Linda Crownover-Inch is a mother to wonderful 3 adult children and their partners, and has been gifted with beautiful 9 grandchildren. She has served her community for over 20 years as a doula, pregnancy massage therapist, infant massage instructor, childbirth options consultant, and eclectic style childbirth educator. www.childbearingyearresources.com

Breaking the Rules by Linda Crownover-Inch

Many times I have heard this said; “Women have been birthing since the beginning of time. No problem, right?” The passage of time has changed the way women birth.

The mere subject of childbirth is likely to spur conversations all over the room. Such as. “Don’t look at me, I’m not having any more babies. Let me tell you about what happened to me when I had my babies. Or “we need to talk about what’s about to happen to you when you have your baby”. When the birth storytelling and vaginal politics begin it rules nearly every conversation within ear shot of the word “pregnant”.

Childbirth in America now includes unconditional agreements in the language we are using to describe how we bring our babies into this world. Unconsciously we tend to surrender to what we are taught and told about being pregnant, how labor will progress, what will happen while we are pushing out a baby, what will happen to the baby immediately after birth, and finally how hard it will be to have a newborn in the home. Commonly, women are subtly told about what kind of birth experience is acceptable. Women hear how they should act, react, or not act at all from their mothers, sisters, friends, obstetricians, midwives, nurses, and many times war-like birth stories from strangers. All this regardless of the era the birth storyteller may have come from.

With this being said, I am not writing today to tell every person in America to stop sharing childbirth information with friends and family. Nor am I suggesting that anyone’s birth experience should be silenced. I am writing today to suggest that it is time to “break the rules” of how we have been sharing childbirth stories and information. Especially when in the presence of a woman and her partner during their vulnerable childbearing year.

Women will go on telling their birth stories to other women. Men will continue to tell other men about the births they have attended or heard about. Grandmothers, sisters, and friends will continue to do the same. We each have an individual version of childbirth in the way we perceive it. Consider how we could inspire a tremendous change in the future of our American birthing culture by encouraging women and their partners to believe they are prepared for childbirth and beyond with simple conversations about the power of cesarean prevention measures, human rights in childbirth, informed consent, informed refusal, the cascade of interventions, risks verses benefits, natural cervical ripening, a birthing month instead of a due date, uninterrupted birth and how hiring a doula can help in supporting the birth process. By changing the language of childbirth we could change the agreements we are exchanging and reduce childbirth fears by normalizing a healthy environment through options during the childbearing year. We can create this positive change when we make a conscious decision to “break the rules” when engaging in conversations related to pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding, and postpartum.

Mothers and partners arrive at the door of labor, birth and postpartum with a variety of life experiences. Trauma experienced in life can knock at the same door during these very same life changing events. It is also important to fully hear the birth fears or traumas of a mother or partner if and when they are willing to share and express their feelings.  Sharing a personal traumatic history with a mother-in-waiting or her partner is not the most ideal way to prepare a woman for childbirth. It will set-up a negative agreement for their upcoming childbirth journey. If you are suffering with anxiety or depression during your childbearing year please know that the way you are feeling is not your fault and you are not alone. The following organizations offer support and information www.postpartuminternational.com or www.postpartumprogress.com.

Let’s “break the rules” through the use of new and gentle language about our own childbearing journey. Together we can make new cultural agreements that assist women and their partners to feel strong and capable before entering the journey of becoming new parents.

Monday, September 1, 2014


Leslie Kung is a 30 year old mother of 3 who double majored in English and Philosophy (a million years ago in college), and went on to become a postpartum doula and birth trauma advocate. She also teaches and leads a babywearing group and a birth trauma support group. Interests include tabletop gaming, sewing, writing fiction and poetry, swords, martial arts, belly dancing, reading (from epic high fantasy series to smutty, terrible romance novels), and her three amazing kids.






Musings of a Mama on Labor Day: Kintsukuroi and Discarding Perfection
image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi

 I love stumbling on words from other languages with no English equivalent. Kintsukuroi is the act of using gold to fix something broken, like ceramic cups, bowls, or plates; understanding that it is more beautiful having been broken and repaired. We have no word for this, and no strong cultural theme to this effect. We live in a disposable and replaceable consumer world. If it’s broken, we throw it out and get a new one. (Not all of us, but probably the vast majority of America). I think that living in a consumer culture makes it hard to really connect and be present in our bodies and with our babies and children as we go through the many changes of pregnancy, birth, and mothering. We don’t acknowledge the changes our bodies go through. We don’t see the beauty in each wrinkle, stretch mark, cesarean scar, and grey hair, or find ourselves worthy of care and repair like the Japanese practice of kintsukuroi. Instead, we are taught to be ashamed of our bodies. We are told to hide those tummies, cover up those breasts while they feed our babies, and to diet away our strong fat reserves--the energy our bodies have stored there for a purpose.

We are sold the idea that birth is just something that happens (not something that matters in the long run), and the definition of a perfect baby is one who doesn’t interfere with the life you had before or the life you want to have now. We are sold the idea that we should want a certain body type and that stretch marks should be erased with creams and treatments. We are sold an idea of perfect mothering that looks like hand sewn dresses and pinterest bento box lunches. We are encouraged by the media to think about how to “get our bodies back” soon after birth by losing weight, exercising, even surgery. We are told that stay at home moms are “out of the workforce,” and those who do stay at home are passed over at dinner parties in favor of the lawyer or the dentist. We are expected to bear the rudeness every time your husband’s boss says, “Gosh, it must be nice to stay at home and have all that time.”

This Labor Day, I would like to raise a toast, in a cup laced with gold-filled cracks, to the mothers who toil every day without pay at the hardest job in the world. This toast goes out to the women who labored and birthed their babies; to those who never got to labor and/or birthed through cesarean incisions; to those who lost their little angels; to the mothers at Walmart trying to manage a toddler tantrum and juggle a baby and groceries; to the moms who get off work only to take their second shift at home with the housework and kids; to the adoptive moms struggling with attachment disorder and ‘are you the nanny’ remarks; to the new mom struggling with breastfeeding; to the LGBT moms of the world dealing with ignorance and hatred; and to the mothers out there who think they are broken, who think they are doing it all wrong, who are sure they are screwing up their kids forever. I picture all of us as a huge, smashed tile mosaic, the cracks filled with gold, every single piece a different color, shape, and design.

Everything you think is wrong with you, everything that has happened that made you cry, and every scar you pick up along the way, picture all of these as cracks you put back together with a line of pure, shining gold. The commercials, products and magazines won’t ever tell you this, but you can’t “get your old body back.” There is no turning back time. New science tells us that every pregnancy, viable or not, that a woman experiences leaves her with embryonic stem cells and slightly changed genetic material. These tiny little bits are gifts of love from our babies, and they have been found in the tissues of womens’ hearts experiencing problems and failure, attempting to heal the mothers’ bodies. They have been found in the brain at the site of an aneurysm, and also in cancerous tissues.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t go back. I might ache more some days than when I was 20, and my stretch marks have their own stretch marks--but I wouldn’t wish to get my ‘old’ body back. This one has the lasting signs of three beautiful children and old scars of experience and wisdom.

Once you take a piece of paper and crumple it up, even if you smooth it back out with your hand, you can never undo the crinkles as if they had never been. Once the paper is crinkled, the trick is to see it as more beautiful than it was before. The lines of light and shadow add interest. The paper is set apart and unique in all the world. So are you. There are millions of women in the world, but none are YOU. As you change and grow and move forward, you only get better. Your hard work in the world doesn’t seem to ever end, though. That’s because you are a mother, and mothers are the ones who build whole societies. Without mothers, there would be no people.

After my traumatic birth experience, I often felt as if I were shattered. I know there are women out there who have experienced trauma, depression, anxiety, abuse and more. It’s hard to see the good in the bad, especially when you are sitting in the dark dark places of your minds. I know you feel like you are alone in that dark place, but you are NOT alone. Feeling broken, having been injured/cut/hurt...that’s the low point in the long journey. You might not see anyone else walking the same path and struggling uphill at the moment, but if you call out, someone might hear you and wait up. Someone might be able to give you a hand up and walk beside you.
As a wounded new mother, I didn’t know that I would one day appreciate the struggles I have come through, and how they have helped me grow and change and ultimately to reach out and help others. As a new mom of one child after a horrible birth experience, I also didn’t know that things could get worse. I experienced my first true post partum depression for the first time shortly after my third child was born. It was bad enough that my husband and a friend took me to the ER, and I was admitted to the hospital for three days. More cracks to fill with gold.

Labor day is to celebrate laborers and workers. So take a few moments to celebrate yourselves, mothers. Breathe in, and breathe out. Let yourself be imperfect and beautiful. Love yourself, and know you’re not alone. Maybe you earn a paycheck, maybe you don’t--but mothers are the ones who work no matter what, even when they are so ill that they can only crawl from the bed to the toilet. They usually don’t get holidays off, bonus pay, or compensation for their duties. The strength of their backs and arms are what create and hold together families, and families are the fabric of society, like beautiful and varied patches on a large quilt. Or like kintsukuroi.
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