Thursday, April 30, 2009

What Someone Hates About Breastfeeding

Great post!!

And so true --the loss of a dress can feel like the loss of femininity, at a time when you're doing the most womanly thing you can do. And no, that's not using your breasts to sell beer and cars.

It's why we are so into the hot part of mamahood. I remember all-too-well feeling invisible as a new mother, and I'm just shallow enough to know that looking good can help you feel good. On a 6-week bedrest with Cameron, I used my precious 10 minutes of vertical time a day to shower and put on something cute.

Here's what I said to the honest mom from Breastfeeding Moms Unite --

I have to say, I chuckled a little bit, remembering that feeling of not being able to wear a dress to the THREE weddings I had to go to with my one-year-old nursling. My whining actually caused my hubby to challenge me to start designing (I’m an actress by trade) and now we’ve had our mom-and-pop biz for almost 11 years. We have lots of hot dresses coming for spring, but let me tell you what I hate the most.

After lactating and gestating from 1996 to 2008 with only a 6-month break in there (and twins were the last nursers), I have gone from a 32DD to a 32Long. Now, I KNOW that the breakdown in breast tissue is actually due to the weight gain and loss of pregnancy, and I wouldn’t trade the convenience, bonding and greatness of nursing for anything. But my new boobies are, well, not as bountiful as nursing ones.

I have lots of hot mama customers say, “I can’t wait til they shrink!” — that was me as well. Be careful what you wish for!

Truly, though, the dress thing bugged me as well. We actually just gave away over 150 of them to Mothering readers, but we still have a little discount going for Mother’s Day. Check out if you’re still craving a dress.

Friday, April 24, 2009

What A Week!!

A week in the life of one hot mama:

Dog goes to ER and then to cardiologist,
At death's door but still here,
Camping with kids and poison oak,
Did a promo for Mothering Magazine readers
that gave away over 150 free nursing dresses!!!
Trying to get out the door to take kids to Disneyland with Grandma ...

I guess I should be easier on myself about posting. :)

That's the theme for the day for all of you ... you can only do so much!!

Enjoy the weekend.

Friday, April 17, 2009

What Susan Boyle Means to Moms (and Dads)

If you haven't seen it by now, you should. A frumpy, middle-aged woman enters Britain's You've Got Talent and claims to want to become a singing star.

I'll wait while you watch ...

Something, eh? Here's the first thing that struck me, before I read her story, or knew who she was or how she got there. She's got to be a mum.

Now, it turns out that she's not. She's a 47-year-old woman who's never been married or dated. But it was not a stretch to imagine that she'd kept that voice bottled up (no, not really, as she did sing at church) because she was busy with the kids and the house and a husband.

The reason so many of us (myself included, every time I watch it) weep openly at hearing that voice soar is because she is us. And the us who are artists or creative or policy wonks who then became mothers have all at some point said, "when do I get to soar?" For some, the answer is, "F- it -- my time is now! See ya later, kids!" Insert name of jet-setting celebrity with a coterie of nannies here.

But a great many more of us pack away our toe shoes and paint brushes and do the great, amazing, relentless, uplifting and wearying work of parenting. A lot of dads put away their ambitions to write, or race cars or play in a band, because of the duty and obligation of providing for their families. But one day, they won't need us 24/7. We'll be free to sign up for a singing competition.

And that is Susan Boyle's lesson for us -- it's never too late. The voice is still in there. The creative impulse still stirs. The stories still come to you in the middle of the night. Ply your craft however it can while your children still speak to you in public, and know that if Susan could wait 47 years to sing like an angel to the world, you can wait another decade or so.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Labor & Delivery

Another great Mamasource exchange:

Q: I'm wondering if anyone has experienced this. I was due yesterday and I started sporadic contractions as of late Tuesday night. Wednesday afternoon (about 4pm) they were pretty much every half hour and then all night last night they were every 15 minutes and pretty strong. I thought I would have had my baby by now but I went to Labor & delivery and since this morning about 9am they have totally slowed down. When I got checked this morning I was at 1 cm. I get a contraction maybe once an hour now. I am trying a VBAC but have a repeat c-section scheduled for tomorrow if nothing happens. Has anyone had the same experience? I just feel like I am not progressing anymore and with all the pain I felt last night, I don't want to go through hours of more pain. I am seriously considering going through with my c-section tomorrow morning if nothing happens tonight. I had a c-section with my 1st child since I was induced and never dialated passed 3 cm. Your thoughts are appreciated!!

A: Congrats on your son and soon-to-arrive daughter. My advice, such as it is, is obviously predicated on everything being fine with your baby in utero, with no signs of stress or reduced movement due to anything other than no darned room left to wiggle around! :)

First, a reminder that for all the advances of medical science, doctors still don't know what exactly causes a baby to be ready to be born. Due dates are actually suggestions, with a two week parameter before and after THE BIG DAY. So although you, your doc and the little wheel said you were due yesterday, your little pumpkin may not feel fully baked.

Now, on to the fun of a VBAC. Even though you have a C-section scheduled, there's nothing that says you can't unschedule it. Sure, your doc would really like an undisturbed Easter/Passover, and sure would you, but that early labour, although it seemed unproductive to you (only 1 cm -- but you were working so hard!!) you may now be fully effaced and baby may be more engaged. I suffered mightily through 12 hours (I counted every one) of labour with my son, during which I only got to 3 or so cm, and in retrospect, I should have kept my butt at home, swam or had a bath, danced or watched a movie -- done anything to ignore the contractions while giving them time to work. It's a bit of a paradox. You can't rush your labour -- and you want to help it along by walking or resting or whatever your body needs.

If you don't have a doula, just take it one contraction at a time. If you're tired and hurting right now, go to bed. You don't have to be awake for the times between the contractions. Maybe baby isn't wanting to be born until Monday (when there'll be a fuller staff at the hospital, by the way).

I have several friends who did VBACs and they were all glad to have had the experience. Labor can suck, because it is, after all, work! But you planned on going a different way with this birth, and you have to give yourself the gift of time to let it happen. Not gonna lie (4 kids -- three drug-free, last two twins) -- every single time I was in labour, I kept thinking, "this is ridiculous ... I can't do this ... what was I thinking? I don't want to get a baby out of my body right now ... let it/them stay in!" All that stuff is going through your head and it's noisy in there. :)

Whatever you do, you do. But you had a wish to labour and deliver. Be gentle with yourself -- and it does help reduce the perception of pain (and thusly, the pain) to say during each contraction, "this brings me one step closer to meeting my daughter" while simultaneously puffing out your belly and opening your mouth. Sounds wacky, but it works. Good luck!! REST!!

The uncertainty of how you'll react during labour is why I always advocate for a good doula. I was lucky enough to have the amazing Seannie Gibson for my last three babies, and her presence, while very much in the background, although very active when needed, enabled my husband to focus on what he could do, and me to let go and get the work done. If you're looking for a doula, start here. And what's the most important thing to do during your birthing experience? Experience it. That means, turn off the playoffs in the L&D room and focus on your partner and your baby (or babies, as the case may be). It's a miracle, every time. With an epidural, during a c-section, or under a tree in the middle of a forest. Pay attention to that.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Prayer For Mothers

A friend posted this on her blog, and I have to say, it's really a prayer for the Capable, but, by definition, that means Moms! :) The genius who posted this is my friend Samantha Bennett, from the Organized Artist Company. She's amazing, and so is this -- enjoy!

A Prayer For The Capable

And as you stand there
On time and
Appropriately clad for the event
With a high-fiber bar in your bag
And extra pens
Let us take this moment to applaud you.

You, the prepared.
You, the accomplished.
You, the bills-paid-on-time and the-taxes-done-in-March.
You, the one who always returns the shopping cart.
While the moody, the irresponsible, the near-hysterical and the rude seem to get
All the attention
Let us now praise you.

Just because everyone always expects you
To do well
Does not make it any less remarkable
That you always do so well.

So thank you.

For picking up the slack
For not imposing
For being so kind
And mannerly
And attending to all those pesky details.

Thank you for your consideration
Your generosity
For always remembering and never forgetting:

That a job well done is its own reward
That the opportunity to help someone else is a gift
That the complainers, the cry-babies, the drama queens, the never-use-a-turn-signals, the forgetful, the self-involved, the choleric, the phlegmatic and the your-rules-don't-apply-to-me-types
Would look pretty silly if they didn't have your calm stability with which to contrast themselves.

So take a minute
To pat yourself on the back
And say, "Job well done."

And as you consider someday
Showing up stoned
Or unprepared
Or not at all

And as you imagine someday being imperious
Or demanding
Or the one with the temper

Hear the unspoken "thank you" from a
Grateful nation that is a
Better, smarter, calmer, easier, friendlier and more organized place
Thanks to you
And your dogged diligence.

You are beautiful.
You are precious to us.
You are the oil on the water, the wheel that never squeaks, the one we all rely on
And while you probably would have remembered to send a thank-you note,
We forgot.

And just because everyone always expects you
To do well
Does not make it any less remarkable
That you always do so well.

And I would tell you to take the afternoon for yourself
Or sleep in tomorrow
But I'm pretty sure you already have plans.

So just take this very moment right now
To appreciate you
And all that you have done and done well
Even by your own high standards.
And remember:
You are beautiful.

And just because everyone always expects you to Do well
Does not make it any less amazing, delightful or delicious that
You always do so well.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Glamourmom & Other Hip Nursingwear News

Wow, we've been crazy busy at One Hot Mama lately. And of course, this rush at work coincides with, wait for it ... Spring Break! But now that the older two are 11 and 8, we were actually able to have them help out for a couple hours yesterday. Woo-hoo! Too bad they already knew about child labor laws and demanded breaks and payment.

So here's a smattering of the new stuff that's come in. There's so much, we can't keep up with posting it, so if you're in the LA area and looking for something to wear at any point in your Mommy adventures, stop by. My fave compliment came from a customer last week who said that we were like a magic closet for a nursing mama. I remember the feeling of revelation the first time I went to the original Pump Station in Santa Monica -- "what, they make pretty clothes that I can nurse in?! Sign me up!" I send people who need breastfeeding support and baby stuff to them (there's a Hollywood location as well) all the time because they're the best at nurturing new moms. We're here to offer the largest selection of fashionable nursing and maternity wear in Los Angeles, and we're the best at making you One Hot Mama.

We're getting so much new stuff that we're bursting at the seams! Some of you know about my love-hate relationship with Glamourmom -- love the versatility, the layering, the ease, but hate the goofy circle cut-outs for your boobies. Hey, you can't have it all. :) I just added a ton of new colour options to our line, so now we have their fab nursing tanks in twenty colours and styles!! So much for not liking their stuff initially -- if I was having a baby tomorrow, I would grab four of five of these tanks and live in them. They really do ease nursing in public and answer the question of what to wear in that fourth trimester.

Coming later this week, great tops from I Love Mom and fab dresses from Fierce Mamas!

Wierd Breastfeeding Question -- Or Maybe, Not So Uncommon

Q: Hi! I am a Norwegian mom and i was browsing the net for some information regarding lactation. Well to tell u in short, I leak milk when doing sex with my partner. Is there any way to stop it? Whenever i feel aroused it just squirts out. And also i have a confession to make -- i dont know how other moms think of it but i always get sexually excited when nursing the baby. Is it normal for moms to feel that way? Please advice soon.
Amanda, Norway

A: Dear Amanda,
Okay, this is a good one. This question points up one of the things that freaks us puritanical Americans out regarding breastfeeding, and that is, if it feels that kinda good, shouldn't it be done with your husband? (We'll address the leaking issue in a minute.)

In fact, I'm not entirely sure your letter is from a real mother and not some devotee of Jerry Springer's episode on lactating strippers. But I'll answer, because I think a lot of moms (and moms to be) have the same question, if not the same feelings.

Breastfeeding, the actual act of one's milk ducts being compressed in order to produce food for one's offspring (gee, hon, it sounds sooo sexy when *you* say it), should feel good, so that we do it. In other words, when it makes you scream in pain, you're likely to toss that newborn away if you're foraging in the bush and there are no formula marketeers in your hunter/gatherer group. It feels especially good for most moms because of their release of oxytocin, which used to give me, nursing my first baby, a buzz not unlike that first wonderful glass of a full-bodied red wine (which you should limit if you're a nursing mama, or learn to pump and dump).

After a decade of nursing (not the same child! Four of them, silly!), I was such an oxytocin junkie that I didn't notice when it was there, only when it was not. When my firstborn cut back from nursing all the time to hardly at all, I got a little weepy. As for the physical, just like in sex, some people feel every feeling quite intensely, others hardly at all. The erogenous zones are, like our faces and personalities, unique. So some women do feel stimulated, while I, for example, feel, well, nothing. (Perhaps I should speak to my doctor). Here's what my favourite breastfeeding expert, author Janet Tamaro (click here to get her book, So That's What They're For) has to say about having, say, an orgasm while nursing: "Don't panic ... Your brain has just secreted a hormone that is telling your body to feel good. This does not make you a child molester, and it doesn't make breastfeeding immoral. ... It's not that likely, so try not to worry about it or let it stand in the way of a comfortable breastfeeding relationship with your baby."

In other words, take that good feeling, and use it on your partner. From your letter, it doesn't sound like you're turned on by your baby, only by nursing. After baby goes to sleep, you can share the wealth with hubby. Which comes to the other part of your question. If you nurse or pump before you have sex, that could help stop the leakage. So could pressing your arms against your breasts when you start to feel letdown. Or you could just go with the flow and have sex in the shower and swimming pool or on a towel to deal with the extra.

You're perfectly normal. (Which may be the only answer you were looking for.) Albeit blessed with quite an abundance of milk. Contact a milk bank and see if you'd be a good donor!

Hope I was helpful!