Tube-feed, Pump-feed, Will I Ever Breastfeed? part two

Will I Ever Breastfeed Regina Knabe

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I’m participating in Mothering.com’s Blog About Breastfeeding event.

Read part one of this story.

Finally, two surgeries and countless procedures later, we were home from the hospital and our whole family was together. We settled down into a routine and that’s when the breastfeeding reality sunk in. When he was first born I kept thinking how many hours had passed without nursing. The hours turned into days. Before I knew it weeks had slipped away. Now months. Months. Is it possible to breastfeed a child that hadn’t nursed or taken a bottle after this long? How much longer would it be?

 

I was still doing oral stim exercises. Also, during all his daytime feedings, I put a pacifier in his mouth and held him at my breast. I hoped that he would make a connection: sucking + at the breast = full belly. It was probably crazy but I did it anyway.

 

We had our first breakthrough at about three and a half months when he finally passed a swallow study. I knew he would pass because his voice was back. This meant he was no longer aspirating. The occupational therapist said “congratulations, you can now give him food by mouth.” Um okay. Is there more? I mean, I know kids don’t come with a manual but I thought maybe with THIS kid I’d at least get a couple hand outs. Something.

 

When it was time for his next feeding (and I still don’t know why I didn’t question the feeding schedule thing having nursed on demand for two and a half years) I happily and hopefully lifted my shirt. Crickets. Nothing. He looked at me like “what’s that.” For the next two weeks I tried everything I could think of to get him to latch onto my breast.

 

  • stroke his cheek
  • pull down his chin
  • shove the breast in
  • hand express some milk into his mouth
  • stimulate my nipple so it would be easier to latch on to
  • put my finger in his mouth and stroke the roof of his mouth
  • put a pacifier in his mouth and once he started sucking switch to the breast
  • and about a million other things that didn’t work either

Nothing seemed to work.

It was time to accept the fact that my son and I would never share the bond of breastfeeding.

I raised the white flag and told my husband that tomorrow we should go shopping for bottles. “Are you sure” he asked. I felt like a quitter, a failure. I thought maybe with a bottle he would latch on better and eventually eat with his mouth in a “normal” way. That was the goal right? Not breastfeeding, eating with his mouth rather than the tube drilled though his stomach.

 

Then it happened. It was a Sunday evening, hubby was bathing the two older kids and my neighbor was over. You know those moments in life in which something huge happens and you remember every detail. You know where everyone was standing and what color shirt you were wearing – everything. Trace, now four months old was getting fussy. I was distracted by conversation with my neighbor. Conversation about how to bottle feed. I was embarrassed that as a mother of three I had no idea how to give a baby a bottle. He got a little fussier, then even more. So without thought, like I had done for two and a half years prior, I grabbed a pillow, sat on the couch, lifted my shirt and put my baby to my breast. Before I could even respond to my own actions it happened. I felt a tiny suckling sensation at my nipple. Could this be real? Both my neighbor and I stopped wide-eyed mid-sentence. I wanted to shout to my husband, but thought better of if. Go! Go get him I softly pleaded – hurry!

 

He rushed in and joined us with tears of joy. “What does this mean?” my husband asked. At first I shook my head no, not really sure what it meant. But quickly smiled, forgive the phrase, but a “shit eating grin” type smile. Oh yeah, we are breastfeeding now baby. Before I could even finish my thought, my baby was fast asleep, too tired to finish.

But this teeny tiny little latch was all I needed, it was on like donkey kong!

 

With no clue how to make this transition, I jumped in the deep end head first. The next day I pushed back his tube feed and offered the breast – nothing, so I feed him with the tube and feeding pump. Later that day, the same thing again – nothing. But I knew it was possible. The next day I waited a very long am-I-doing-the-right-thing hour past his feed time and offered the breast – he latched! He was starving and tired and frustrated but he latched. I let him “try” for a couple minutes then tube fed him because I felt like he was suffering.

 

No one had information for me – friends, family, doctors, nurses, surgeons, occupational therapist, speech therapist, Le Leche, other “heart moms” or even good old google. So I just kept doing what felt right.

 

Everyday for the next several months we made progress. Not all of it forward progress, a lot of one step forward, two steps back. My nipples hurt, this was so different from starting with a newborn. It hurt so bad I almost gave up more than once. How could I consider giving up after coming this far – oh the guilt. He and I were both learning.  He was learning that food came from my breasts, comfort came from my breasts. And while I have no way to prove this theory, I believe he knew that love came from my embrace and my breasts.

 

We made a lot of mistakes. For example, after the G-tube was changed to a MIC-KEY or button (like a little port in which you can plug the tube in to) no one told us that stomach acids would eventually wear away at the the saline inflated balloon holding the button in place and it would therefore fall out. Once, we feed the bed instead of our baby because the tube wasn’t plugged in all the way.

 

He remained on a continuous pump feed at night although I still had to get up and pump. I hated pumping less now because my son was nursing. Wow it felt so great to say that my son is breastfeeding. Once he was completely breastfed during the day, around 8 months, I started to conquer the nights.

Boy did I screw that up at first.

 

I assumed that since during the day he was nursed when he got hungry that he would wake up at night when he felt hungry – wrong. He had been sleeping through the night since birth. Not because he was some rock start baby but because of the continuous feed. So that first night, he slept until five am and woke up famished. He then proceeded to nurse every hour for the next two days. Clearly I had to rethink my approach. So I shortened the continuous feed and nursed later into the evening and earlier in the morning. It was hard work and there were many times I just wanted to plug him in and go to bed. Slow and steady we conquered the continuous night feed until finally, just before his first birthday…

my son was completely breastfed.

 

My son was breastfed. I actually wrote a letter to the charge nurse and neonatologist that rolled their eyes at me and agreed with a completely fake smile when I said we would nurse. I didn’t send it – chicken.

 

Trace nursed for another year while we transitioned into solids. He weaned just before his second birthday because he “dwank aw mine mik.”

breastfeeding success

 

I still feel guilty when I think of how many times I almost gave up. I’m tenacious and goal driven but still wanted to throw in the towel. Every time I wanted to quit my baby just needed a little more time – a week, a day, an hour. Can you imagine that 60 minutes can make such a huge difference for you and your baby.

 

This is our story but there is a deeper message. Maybe for you that message is don’t give up on your baby. Perhaps the message is seek support or give support. Be an example to others but tell the truth. Breastfeeding is not always unicorns farting rainbows. Support your sisters and if one of them makes a choice different than yours, support that too.

 

 

 

~ Regina


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Tube-feed, Pump-feed, Will I Ever Breastfeed? part one

Will I Ever Breastfeed Regina Knabe

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I’m participating in Mothering.com’s Blog About Breastfeeding events.

I ran out of the room crying when the nurse asked if I had any questions. Seriously, who does that? But there I was sobbing and shaking, nine months pregnant with a baby that had a rare cardiac condition called Shone’s Complex. Do you have any questions? They try to prepare you for what’s to come. They had just taken us on a tour of the “regular” NICU although, I’m not sure what’s regular about it. The nurse liaison was now showing us the Pediatric Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (PCVICU). Ok that’s a mouth full, but not even close to the list of “vocabulary” words we would soon learn. All of which meant your baby has a booboo on his heart. Do you have any questions? Shouldn’t I have questions? We walked slowly down the hall. Large sets of glass doors separated us from about a dozen tiny miracles as the nurse explained each baby’s corrective surgery. To be honest, you couldn’t see much baby through all the “stuff.” I know I should have more questions. Like “why is that machine breathing for that baby?” But that wasn’t what I was thinking. As we came to the last patient’s room, my own heart felt weary – it couldn’t decide if it should melt or race and it did a little of both. Then she asked, for the last time that day, “do you have any questions?” I wanted to scream my one and only question, but instead a ran out crying. My Husband met me in the waiting room, swept me up into his arms and kissed my forehead. He held me tight as I whispered through the tears

how will I be able to nurse him with all those tubes, wires, monitors and meds?

 

There it is, THAT was my question. I felt so selfish that all I could think about was holding him and nursing him. Shouldn’t I be thinking about all that statistical data on his shortened life expectancy, future surgeries or how I will explain this to my other two children.  Shouldn’t I be comforting my husband that was also trying to process all of this? This question, at this moment is where our breastfeeding journey began.

 

Trace, which means courageous, was born a couple weeks later. An unmedicated vaginal hospital birth that I fought hard to have. “They” the ones with the blue gloves, took him for assessments before I could put him to the breast. I was sent to a recovery room. I can’t decide what’s worse: being in a recovery room without my baby or the moment when the nurse came in silently, made no eye contact and wheeled out the bassinet that would have held my little one.

 

I promptly called the NICU where he was being assessed and quit matter-of-factly explain that I was on my way to nurse my baby. They politely said “not yet.” I called again… and again. Each time they grew less patient with me until a team of surgeons arrived in my room. Finally, someone that would listen. “I need to feed my baby” I repeated. To which they replied:

we need to save your baby

The Doctors gave our son a zero % chance of surviving without surgery. It was time to refocus my breastfeeding energy.

 

Nothing prepares you! Not the tour. Not the surgeons’ explanations. Not the nurse liaison’s descriptions. Not the nurse that buzzes you into the PCVICU. Not any of the staff that look at you with sad “here comes a new one” eyes. NOTHING! The first sight of “franken-baby” truly takes your breath away.

When Will I Breastfeed post open heart surgery

 

They gently explain each tube, each IV or catheter, the monitor, pumps, medicine, etc. My child was being kept alive by being connected to an entire room. THEN they explain that if all goes well, it will be about a week until I can hold him – A WEEK!

 

Um, how can I nurse him if I can’t even hold him?

 

Bam. Pow. Slap. Hello!

Was I not paying attention? For the first time it occurred to me that I may not be able to breastfeed my baby. So I started asking – how am I going to breastfeed him? and everyone had the same wide-eyed, full-teeth-smile, and answered – “we’ll get you a breast pump!” I felt defeated.

 

I pumped. I cried. I pumped. It hurt. I pumped.  

 

They discharged me and I was lost. Now what? So I “moved in” to the surgical waiting room. It was as close as I could get to my baby and that pump. I slept on two chairs pushed together. I used my peri bottle in the public restroom – how fun (read.with.sarcasm). I spent the next week watching a machine breathe for my son and… I pumped.

 

Once the catheter in his belly button came out (at the excruciatingly slow rate of something like 1 mm per hour) I was able to hold him. I ripped off my shirt, held my baby skin to skin and cried. Finally I thought as tears dripped off my face onto his bloated little body still attached to numerous tubes. Now that I could hold him, surely I could do the one thing that no one else can do for him – breastfeed.

 

I was wrong. Again. When he was able to tolerate food at a little over one week old, I tried to nurse him. The first few attempts didn’t go well. But neither did the first few attempts with my first child, so I didn’t give up hope. He finally latched on – this was better than birth (you birth junkies know what I’m talking about). He fell asleep after only a minute (at best). The nurses explained that “heart babies” can have a weak suckle and get fatigued from nursing. This information didn’t hurt nearly as bad as the tone with which is was delivered.

Was there anyone who believed I could nurse my baby?

 

Each time he poorly latched on for a few seconds or a minute there was something horrible happening – no one knew. The surgery successfully repaired the coarctation or narrowing that was blocking the blood from passing through his heart. But, at a small cost. Unbeknownst to any of us at first, he had injury to his vocal chords. When a person swallows, the vocal chords close to protect the airway. When Trace swallowed, he was aspirating breast milk into his lungs. All I could think about for the last month was breast feeding and now the thing I most wanted to do was hurting my child. There was to be no breastfeeding at this time.

 

Over the next week he made vast improvements from a cardiac standpoint. However, made no progress from a swallowing/feeding standpoint. So he was transferred out of the PCVICU and into the NICU where we would wait for his condition to improve.

 

There are many stories I could tell entitled “adventures in the NICU” or “mishaps in the NICU.” I could tell you how challenging it was to be hundreds of miles away from home. How much I missed my 2 and 3 year old (who stayed with my parents). How my brother and staff were doing a great job running my business while I was away. Or how my husband had to continue to work throughout all of this. I could tell you about the days when I would go sit in my car, in the parking garage with the music up loud and just scream – and resolve by saying to myself “at least he’s alive.” But this story is about breastfeeding. I should tell you about being the first person to ever room-in in one of the largest NICUs in the southeast because that speaks to my stubbornness.

This is a story where being stubborn is a good thing.

 

So we waited. I pumped. My son was fed with a tube that went in his nose and down past his stomach into his intestines. Thereby reducing the risk of spitting up and aspirating it.  We waited and I pumped. I quickly developed a love/hate relationship with the breast pump. I loved that it help get the breast milk from me and to my baby while simultaneously hating that it was between me and my baby. Each time I pumped I knew we were getting further and further away from breastfeeding. How long can a baby go with absolutely nothing in his mouth until he loses his suckle reflex? (I hated that pump).

NJ tube motherhood university

 

Then someone arrived with a less than optimistic answer to that question. The occupational therapists gave us lots of statistics. She droned on and on, I didn’t want to listen. The neonatologist said all of the same things. Another OT came in – how could I escape this tag team of bad news. Maybe this one said it differently. Because this time instead of hearing “it’s likely that your kid will never eat” I heard “babies that don’t have things in their mouths may develop an aversion to eating.” Did you hear that – a ray of hope! Maybe you missed it, let me spell it out: if “babies that don’t have things in their mouths may develop an aversion to eating” then in my mind, babies that DO have things in their mouths may NOT develop an aversion to eating.

Watch out, I’m a Mom on a mission!

 

I learned everything I could, I befriended every employee in the hospital (well sort of). Oral stimulation – that’s how I would teach my baby to breastfeed. I hopped onto “google university” which didn’t look promising. I visiting the OT department. I got hand outs and instructions. I practiced. They said do oral stim exercises a couple times per day, I kept my fingers and pacifiers in his mouth constantly, unless of course I was pumping. But he still needed to heal those vocal chords. By the way a baby with vocal chord injury can’t cry, air comes out but no sound, it’s awful.

 

A couple more weeks went by with no improvement. I grew to hate that damn pump. One day in the pumping room, I was massaging a clogged duct and really complaining. I hate pumping. I’ve been here a month. I have a clogged duct – again. I hate pumping. Another Mother glanced at me as if to say “stop whining.” I was ready to let her have when she said with the most humbled softness to her voice “my baby has been here for four months, pumping is the only contribution I can make to her well being.” Well that put me in my place, I needed to hear that. It made the pumping a little easier, which I would need for what was coming next.

After being out with a breast infection, I came in to this. The nurses did this to hold his pacifier in - ugh!

After being out with a breast infection, I came in to this. The nurses did this to hold his pacifier in – ugh!

 

All of the doctors and therapists agreed. No one knew how long it would take for the vocal chords to heal. It was time to think about a long term solution to my son’s feeding problems. Two words made me feel completely defeated: feeding tube. UGH!  He would also have a surgical procedure called a Nissen. They would take a portion of stomach tissue and wrap it around the base of the esophagus to create a one way valve. Therefore, nothing could be refluxed or spit up and then aspirated. Fine! At least this meant I could take him home. I knew once I got him home things would get better, right?

 After G-tube surgery motherhood-university

 

We would spend yet another week in the hospital after the g-tube (feeding tube) was in place. We were trained on the proper usage, care and maintenance of the feeding pump/g-tube and how much to feed him. Don’t forget the car seat class – really, it’s our third child – just let us go home!

 

I longed to breastfeed this child. I had exclusively breastfed our first two children. Nursing is what I knew. Breastfeeding, for me, is all that is right in the world. It is love. It’s that joyous connection between mother and child that is otherwise inexplicable. Breastfeeding is the thing that only I can do for my baby. It is ours. I refused to think that Trace and I wouldn’t have a nursing relationship.

Read the conclusion of Tube-feed, Pump-feed, Will I Ever Breastfeed? in part two.

 

 

~ Regina


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40 Things No One Told You About Child Birth

40 things no one told you about birth

No fluff, let’s get right to it…..

 

1. No one told me it would feel like the baby was coming out of your butt. -Regina

2. That the cramps after (after pains) would be WORSE than a lot of the contractions during labor. -Kathy

3. The ring of fire is no joke…it felt like I was sitting on a million BIRTHDAY CANDLES. -Angela

4. The first time you stand up after a c-section, you will feel like all of your GUTS are going to spill out of you. -Viva

5. If baby comes out of lady bits, prepare for the reality that the topography of your vulva will be changed for the immediate future. -Tabatha

6. That first poop after giving birth is terrifying. -Ashley

7. NO ONE told me that you bleed for 6 weeks after, i was shocked! -Chelington

8. Wait, you mean the contractions are going to keep going and I have to deliver the placenta too?!? -Meredith

9. No one told me LEMAZE class covered up until they said, “ok time to push” what?? what do I do now. -Michelle

10. The urge to push is like the urge to sneeze, you can’t NOT do it. It just happens. -Angela

11. Nobody told me I’d be afraid to shower after my section! My hubby showered me for 6 weeks! It’s NOT as fun as it sounds. – Jenny

12. Breastfeeding is a learning process for BOTH mom and baby. It is not something most of us automatically know how to do. -Marcy

13. No one told me that as soon as the baby came out during natural delivery the pain would go away almost instantly… Helped me make it thru my second natural delivery better!  -Michelle

14. You bleed a lot more after a vaginal birth. No one goes in and cleans it all out like after a cesarean (this is very important for VBAC moms). -Chylain

15. Nobody told me that peeing afterwards was SUCH a production and that it was easier to just go in a depends. -Angela

16. Depends are your friend. -Julie

17. No one told me that large chunks of things, other than the baby, would fall out of your vagina. -Viva

18. A Semi damp frozen pad is HEAVEN – Jessica

19. For weeks, even months after a csection when your laying down you have to roll to the side and use your arms to push yourself up, so you dont use your stomach muscles. -Chelington

20. No one told me one week after giving birth I would have my husband drizzling honey on my junk to help the stitches heal. ;-/  -Meredith

21. That a bm (bowel movement) will feel like giving birth over and over again. And that rearranging all of your insides will likely mean that they will indefinitely work differently post baby. -Jamie

22. None of my mainstream friends supported the home birth idea, it WAS the most empowering experience of my life, it made me a Mother! -Vicky

23. No body told me I would need pads during labor cuz I might pee during each contraction. -Maggie

24. Afterpains get worse with each baby! Ouch! -Ashley

25. It hurt like a mofo to laugh after my c-section. -Julie

26. Expectations are the kiss of death. -Angela

27. No one told me that I wouldn’t be able to lean over to change my baby’s diaper for days after a csection. -Chelington

28. When your milk comes in, you will leak all over the place.  -Marcy

29. It can take longer than 6 weeks to get your mojo (and your lady bits) back in place. That goes for both c/s and vag deliveries. -Tabatha

30. No one told me how much blood to expect after my first delivery and that I would be squirting myself clean after every bathroom break for a week! -Michelle S.

31. It hurts to breathe after a cesarean. -Chylain

32. No one told me my vagina would swell. I.E. cheeseburger crotch. -Lisa

33. No one told me you CAN NOT wear thong underwear postpartum. -Elaine

34. How incredible it would be without the hospital and the interventions, you really can do it. -Samantha

35. That you could put an ice pack down there, learned that the second time around. -Kaley

36. Adult diapers are perfect for postpartum bleeding! – Tobborah

37. Oh and nobody told me that my post pregnancy CONSTIPATION would require my SO (significant other) to give me an enema. -Ashley

38. Your hair falls out! my whole house was full of tumbleweeds of my two foot long strawberry blonde locks. I’m talking BALD SPOTS! -Chelington

39. Delivering the placenta is the biggest relief. -Stephanie

40. No one told me that your love for your baby was like no other kind of love and that your capacity to love more than one child seems endless. -Regina

 

Which of these can YOU relate to?  

What new things can you add to the list –  in the comments below! 

 

 

~ Regina


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14 Morning Sickness Cures

Morning sickness, although I often wonder why it’s called that because it can last all day and night (I’ve been known to wake in the middle of the night to vomit) is just not fun. I hear some of you saying morning sickness = strong hormones = healthy pregnancy (and I swear I’m not rolling my eyes) that is a helpful mantra.

1. Eating something tiny every hour

A lot of Mommas feel more sick on an empty tummy. Pregnancy metabolism is fast. Many Mommas report vomiting an hour after eating and having nothing in their stomach. So keep a little something coming in frequently.

2. Ginger tea

No need to buy anything special. Just slice or grate fresh ginger root and steep it in boiling water. You can add lemon or apple for more flavor as well as your favorite sweetener: maple syrup, honey, liquid stevia, etc.

3. Lemon water

Not store-bought lemonade high in sugar. But rather, water with a generous amount of fresh lemon juice.

4.  Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and honey in a glass of water

First, not all vinegar is created equally. This is not the cheap plastic bottle you might find at Walmart. You want ACV that is alive not dead. Look for raw, organic, unpasteurized, unfiltered, and with the “Mother of vinegar” (this will look like goo floating around, it’s the beneficial microorganisms). Also, make sure your honey is raw.

1 Tbsp ACV

1 Tbsp Raw Honey

4-8 oz glass of water

Mix these together and drink. *It’s important to drink this before you start feeling nauseous. So make it the first thing you do when you wake in the morning. Also, you can make several days worth in individual mason jars with lids.

5. Nux vomica

Nux Vomica is a homeopathic that helps with nausea. Not only is it very useful for morning sickness, it’s handy to have around when kids have a yucky tummy. Find it at your local health food store in the homeopathic section.

6. Acupressure wrist bands

These come in a variety of styles but they all have a small hard ball that you align to a pressure point in your wrist. You see them sold as sea bands or travel bands. You can find them at your local pharmacy or online and they range in price from $6 to $40.

7. Flavored ice cubes (lemon, ginger, coconut water, etc.)

Many Mommas have success with flavored ice cubes. You can suck on them or chew on them. However, if you find yourself craving ice, this could be a sign of Pica which in pregnancy can be associated with iron deficiency. If you’re craving ice, please contact your health care provided and have your iron levels checked.

8. Oral sex

This is the only one on the list I haven’t tried. A theory clearly proposed by a man actually has a little science behind it – science I will not be testing. Read the full article and test it for yourself (please report your results).

9. Don’t over heat

I’m from Florida so maybe it’s just me, but getting too hot is a huge trigger for morning sickness. So maybe change your 1pm run in the middle of July to a happy and cool indoor treadmill type event. Bring the umbrella and fan to the pool and no matter what stay hydrated.

10. Find a smell you like and smell it

Yes, this is an unusual tip. If you’ve been pregnant you know that you can smell better than a well trained drug dog. A few months ago I could tell my neighbor was doing laundry and my windows were closed! So find something you like (and that could change often) and fill your nose with it.

  • your favorite essential oil in a defuser
  • a 1/2 tsp of your favorite extract in boiling water (mmm vanilla)
  • a candle
  • an air freshener
  • and my favorite a fresh lime cut in half near me (I even carried one around in labor the last time)

11. Reduce stress

Seems to be the answer to all our first world problems. But seriously, listen to your body and find your trigger (mine was when the kids got crazy). Then do your best to eliminate that trigger. May sound silly, but could be a great excuse to avoid talking to your Mother-in-law for a few months.

12. Crystalized ginger

This is ginger root that has been dried then cooked in a simple syrup and coated in sugar. It’s chewy!

13. Hard candies

I saved the best for last! Currently I’m pregnant with baby number 5. I’ve tried everything on this list (except #8, people please). I’ve had various success at various times with each pregnancy. The one thing that has worked best for me was sucking on a hard candy.

  • ginger hard candies
  • lemon hard candies
  • peppermint hard candies
  • sour hard candies – all types
Now you can’t eat candy all day long for months on end. So consider something low in sugar or alternate with another item on this list.

14. Preggie pops

These are very much like the hard candy idea above. The ingredients are: Brown Rice Syrup , Dried Cane Syrup , Citric Acid , Natural Flavors made with essential oils , Natural Colors. Preggie Pops come in an assortment of flavors and are easy to grab and go, try them.
Experiment with all of these until you find what works for you and let us know.
Please share ALL the other things that tamed your morning sickness. And of course we want to hear from the #8 people!

 

 

 

~ Regina


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12 Ways To Find Your Momma Village

Here at Motherhood University we are natural minded. We support living light on the Earth. Therefore many (not all) of these links are in keeping with our natural minded lifestyle. Don’t worry if you’re not “green,” use the info that works for you.

Why bother?

Being in a group of like-minded Mothers is both informative and empowering. It feels good to be surrounded by people that support the choices you make for your family. It’s also great to be around Moms that have been where you are in your journey and can provide you with ideas and info to help guide you. For too many years, decades even, woman were failing other woman by not passing down Motherhood wisdoms from generation to generation. It’s a new day, we are ready to give and receive.

Group Ideas & Resources

1. Le Leche League (LLL) is an international breastfeeding support group.

Things to know:

  • There are chapters all over the world
  • Meeting are free (although I encourage you to join and support the organization)
  • You can attend meeting before you become pregnant, while you’re pregnant, and anytime there after
  • It’s likely that you will learn about far more than just breastfeeding – hang out after the meeting and ask questions about anything: birth, diapering, starting solids, etc.
2. International Cesarian Awareness Network (ICAN) has 3 goals:

1. Support 2. Education 3. Advocacy

Things you should know:

  • There are chapters all over the world
  • Meeting are free (although I encourage you to join and support the organization)
  • It’s NOT necessary for you to have had a c-section to attend meetings  (this may vary)
  • This is an incredible place to become educated on evidence based birth practice and gain the knowledge you need to have a positive birth experience
  • If you have had a traumatic birth experience (or if something just doesn’t feel good), this is a place to listen, be heard, and heal
3. Attachment Parenting International (API) is a non-profit organization that promotes parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents.

Things you should know:

  • There is a TON of great information on this site.
  • Check out the forums and event pages
  • Click “find a support group” to find a group in your area
4. Facebook Groups are a format that I personally love, but can be a little trickier to find.

Things you should know:

  • The “suggested groups” feature seems to come and go – it shows you groups that your friends are in, which helps you find the group that works for you.
  • There are 3 types of groups: open, closed and secret.
  • I prefer “secret” groups because they will not show up in your ticker or search and I don’t wish to discuss things like cracked nipples and when my cycle returned with say my father-in-law!
  • So word of mouth is the best way to find these groups – ask your like-minded fb friends.
  • If you can’t find a group, start your own. Very easy, follow the direction. I recommend some type of written guidelines (create a Doc) to keep things running smooth.
5. Yahoo Groups has thousands of groups to chose from.

Things you should know:

  • Use the search tool to find a group of interest
  • To reduce the amount of emails you receive you can use the “digest” feature or set it up to not get the emails and just log in and check the group directly
  • Try to find a group in your area to take advantage of local meet ups
6. MOPS (Mothers Of Pre Schoolers) Groups

Things you should know:

  • MOPS is an international organization with groups all over
  • During most meetings, childcare is provided (nice break for Mom)
  • MOPS is a Christian Non-profit group
7. Hospitals & Birthing Centers – many have new Mom groups & classes.

Things you should know:

  • Many hospital groups & classes are sponsored by for profit companies. Always ask who sponsors it, their philosophies may not be in keeping with yours.
  • Many classes are free, occasionally there is a fee.

5 More Places To Find Like-Minded Mommas

8. Mothering.com

one of the oldest natural parenting resources, it was started as a magazine in the mid-seventies. Check out their forums with over 100 categories (the due clubs are super cool)!

9. Vegetarian Organizations

This may be a stretch, but if vegetarianism is part of your life style it’s a great place to meet like minded people. Google search to find local groups.

10. Homeschool Groups

You don’t always have to homeschool or intend to take advantage of the meet ups and play groups. Start by finding your state’s main homeschool organization, they will usually have groups listed by area. Example: in Florida, start with FPEA.org and click through to groups in your area.

11. Story Time

Check the schedule at you local library. Also, many book stores have story time. When you attend, start conversations with other Moms about the various activities and groups they are involved in.

12. Your Place Of Worship

Many places of worship have Moms groups, ask yours. If they don’t, inquire about starting one. If you don’t attend a place of worship, ask your friends about theirs.

*BONUS – if all else fails, create your own group!

Keep in Mind

  • It’s always ok to join more than one group.
  • Don’t feel badly if you feel a group isn’t the right fit for you – it’s ok to drop it and move on.
  • Sometime we outgrow groups, that’s ok too.
Now YOU share – where are you finding your Mommas?

 

 

~ Regina


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