Milk and Sugar Blog

6 Practical Ways Partners Can Support Breastfeeding June 07, 2016 11:18

6 Practical Ways Partners Can Support Breastfeeding

 

Being supportive of breastfeeding is more than just smiling and nodding when the mother of your child says she wants to breastfeed your baby.

Even though it may seem like breastfeeding is “her job” because, well, she’s the one who is lactating, YOU also have a stake in the breastfeeding relationship. As her partner and the co-parent of this baby, it should matter to you how well your baby is nourished during his early stages of growth and development. You may not be able to make the milk, but there are plenty of practical ways to support the woman who is breastfeeding your child.

 

Partners have a stake in the breastfeeding relationship. It should matter to you how your baby is nourished.

Tweet: Partners have a stake in the breastfeeding relationship. It should matter to you how your baby is nourished. via @milkandsugarco

 

Here are six practical ways partners can support a breastfeeding mom:

  1. Make sure mom is hydrated.
    It seems simple, but when a new mom is dealing with the constant demands of a newborn (and possibly older children as well), it’s easy for her to forget to pour herself a glass of water and take the time to drink it. But hydration is essential for the breastfeeding mom and it’s easy to understand why. Her body is trying to make milk (a fluid, of course) so it needs stores of fluid to draw from. Instead of simply reminding her to get something to drink, why don’t you pour her an ice cold glass of her favorite beverage and set it near her while she’s nursing. Liquid in, liquid out.
  2. Make sure she has something to eat.
    A lot of moms get incredibly hungry as soon as they sit down to breastfeed their babies. Just like with hydration, it’s easy to understand--those calories in her breastmilk need to come from somewhere! Offer to bring her a snack or even a meal that she can eat while she nurses. Make it something that’s easy to eat with one hand so that she’s not staring at her plate until baby is done eating.
  3. Keep her nursing space clean.
    Usually moms have a particular place in the house that is their favorite place to sit and nurse their babies. It may be a favorite recliner, the glider in the nursery, or a comfy corner of the couch. Sit in that spot and look around: what do you see? Does the room feel peaceful or is she staring at a pile of laundry, a dirty carpet, and minefield of toys? You should be chipping in on many the chores around the house, but even if you JUST make sure this one room is clean so she’s not staring down a mess at every feeding, you will be doing her a big favor by contributing to her calm. For BONUS POINTS, make sure her “nursing station” is always stocked with things she might need at hand while nursing the baby, like snacks, reading material, the remote control, and more. (Check out this handy armchair organizer storage solution.) Extra bonus points if you leave a sweet love note there for her.
  4. Ask her how you can help at night.
    Every family’s night situation is different, so I can’t offer concrete advice here, but know that it’s important to have an honest and open discussion with her about how night feeds could be easier. And you’ll need to be flexible as needs change over time. Make sure to check in with her periodically. Realize that even if she’s staying home with baby during the day, she’s working too. Her body needs sleep to recover from the physical work of nourishing and caring for your baby, which means you may have to get less sleep than you’d like.
  5. Give her space.
    Mothering is intensely physical in the first year, especially for nursing moms. It’s easy for moms to feel “touched out” and want some time and space to themselves. Don’t take it personally. Support her need to have calm alone time and trust that if she gets the self-care she needs, she’ll be a better mother and partner.
  6. Learn about breastfeeding and be proactive.
    Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. There is a lot to learn if you’ve never done it before, and there can be new challenges with each baby. A new mom has a lot to take care of and a lot of new information to deal with in the first few weeks with a new baby. If breastfeeding is a challenge, help her find a lactation consultant or schedule the visit and be there with her at the appointment. Be a supportive and attentive listener so you can help her remember all the breastfeeding information coming at her. You’ll also get a greater understanding of the unique challenges she may be facing, and could get more practical tips for how to help her.

I hope this list shows you just how important your role is in supporting the new mother you love. She is doing incredible work helping your growing baby to thrive, so anything you can do to support her will have a direct effect on your precious baby and a positive effect on your relationship as a couple.



New Mom's Survival Tool: Armchair Organizer May 28, 2016 16:45

 

New Mom's Survival Tool: Armchair Organizer


It's hard to know what life will be like or what you will need postpartum if you've never had a baby before. 

Before I had my first son, I had no idea how much time I would spend postpartum camped out in my recliner. Between a baby who nursed around the clock and healing stitches down there, I wasn't up and about very much. Getting out of the chair was more difficult than I had anticipated, so I wound up having everything I needed crammed onto a tiny side table beside my armchair.

It wasn't the best solution. It was cluttered. It wasn't always easy to reach the thing I needed. I knocked stuff off regularly. And it didn't look good when I had guests over to see the new baby. 

This time around, I have a simple but brilliant solution: the armchair organizer by Milk and Sugar.

Armchair Organizer - Remote Control Caddy

It has two deep pockets and two shallow pockets to keep a variety of new mom necessities handy, such as:

  • phone
  • iPad
  • remote controls
  • book
  • magazines
  • breast pads
  • nipple butter
  • pacifier
  • burp cloth
  • water bottle
  • hand sanitizer
  • snacks
  • extra diaper
  • journal
  • pen

The organizer simply drapes over the arm of the chair and you can tuck the long end between the arm of the chair and the seat cushion to keep it in place.

Now mom has everything she needs on-hand without having to disturb the sleeping or eating baby she's rocking! An armchair organizer is perfect for all postpartum moms, but especially for those who are healing from a c-section. 

After my baby is born, I'm going to use one for my living room recliner, but I'll have another on my glider in the nursery, since there are no tables nearby. That way I'll have everything I need right by my side for those middle-of-the-night feedings, too. 

You can also use the armchair organizer instead of or in addition to your nightstand. Simply tuck it between the mattress and boxspring or bed base and you have some bedside pockets to store things in. 

The best part is, even though you might get one of these for when the newborn arrives, it comes in handy during pregnancy or even when baby is older. It's perfect for small spaces, decluttering, crafts (any knitters or crocheters out there?), people with mobility challenges, or just keeping track of where the heck those remote controls went to.



Rough night? How the ONEder Cover saved my morning. February 16, 2016 11:40

Child sleeping in dog bed

 

This was the scene next to my bed this morning.

And I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the first time.

Yes, that’s a dog bed. 

My son has always had trouble sleeping, but at nearly three years old, I thought we had pretty much cracked the code on sleep. Then he started refusing to nap. Then he started waking up at 3 am and refusing to sleep for hours. And the two together get him caught in a cycle of not enough sleep that is really really hard to break.

Last night he woke up at 3 am and had a very, very hard time getting back to sleep. I cuddled with him in his bed for a little bit, but he didn’t drift off to sleep. After an hour he was still awake and insistent he wanted his daddy, so we let him into our bed and he snuggled between us for a little while, sucking his thumb but keeping his eyes wide open. As I started to drift off to sleep, I heard him declare that he was going to sleep with the dogs and felt him slide off the end of our bed. I peeked over the edge of the bed as he climbed into the dog’s vacant bed and began telling the dog about his Valentine’s Day card.

We all settled and drifted off to sleep. Next thing I know, the morning light is beginning to stream in and my son is still nestled in the dog bed with his Valentine tucked under his arm.

And it’s 8 am. We have a half an hour to get ready. In preschooler time, that’s five minutes.

I got us ready as efficiently as I could, trying to keep him contained to his bedroom while I got him dressed, brushed his hair and helped him brush his teeth. Once he was dressed I sat him down at his little table with a quick breakfast to eat while I finished getting myself dressed and taking care of the dogs.

I had a ONEder Cover handy and was able to throw it on him as a bib while he began eating. When I came back to check on him, my son had spilled his milk all down his front, but thankfully the ONEder Cover caught it all! His clothes were completely dry.

ONEder Cover convertible nursing cover on toddler as a bib or smock

Preschooler wearing the ONEder Cover convertible nursing cover as a bib with the bottom snapped up to form a pocket.

When I use the ONEder Cover on my son as a bib, I leave the bottom unsnapped so that instead of forming a pocket, the fabric at the bottom rests on his lap. This catches the biggest culprit of mealtime messes for him: drinks that drip on the way to or from his mouth. As he perfects drinking neatly from an open cup or milk carton, the ONEder Cover saves his lap.

Thank goodness he was wearing the ONEder Cover, because I was able to simply remove the ONEder Cover and get him out the door without having to change his clothes! If he had been wearing a regular toddler bib, we would have had to change his pants. (Which, let’s be honest, would have involved digging through a laundry basket to find a fresh pair and chasing him around the house while squealed with delight at how fun it is to have mommy chase him.)

Although we were still a few minutes late to school, we made it there quicker and with a lot less fuss than if he’d been wearing a shorter bib or if I had to wrangle him into one of those toddler bibs with sleeves.

The ONEder Cover isn’t just called a multipurpose item as a marketing ploy. This cover honestly IS a lifesaver when you’ve got young kids. Even if you never use it as a nursing cover, this is something you’ll want to keep handy at every stage of childhood. Especially if your nights and mornings are anything like mine.



A Valentine's Day Giveaway: Sweetheart Armchair Organizer February 12, 2016 17:21 1 Comment

I'm spreading some love this Valentine's Day by offering you a chance to win this sweetheart armchair organizer! Anyone with a baby knows how helpful it is to have everything handy when you're sitting in your chair. Keep everything at hand with this pocket organizer that goes over the arm of your chair and keep on rocking that baby! 

Contest open to U.S. residents only. Winner will be chosen on Monday, Feb 15, 2016.

Sweetheart Armchair Organizer Giveaway from Milk & Sugar

Sweetheart armchair organizer, remote control caddy, sofa caddy, Milk and Sugar Baby

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 Comment

Today's encouragement February 04, 2016 10:58



What I wish I had after my baby was born... February 02, 2016 10:58

What I wish I had when my baby was born

 

I didn’t have the easiest postpartum experience. There were some unexpected complications.

My son had a tongue tie, meaning that he wasn’t able to suck strongly enough to get the milk he needed. As a result, he was nursing constantly during the day, never seeming to be satiated. If he was awake, he probably wanted to eat.

The day after we found out he wasn’t gaining enough weight, we discovered I had appendicitis and needed to go in for surgery. My husband’s two week vacation time was up. Great timing.

My mom helped me take my son to the doctor to get his tongue tie corrected the week after my surgery. I spent a lot of time breastfeeding him, helping him gain weight and correct his latch, sitting in my recliner.

A couple weeks after my surgery, I slipped on the stairs in our townhome and banged up my tailbone pretty badly. Once again, I spent most of my time lying down on the couch or in my recliner because it was painful to get up and down a lot. I moved everything I needed for the day into the living room and kept it as close to me as possible to eliminate any unnecessary moving around.

We had one side table next to the couch and had set up a TV tray next to my recliner to hold all the things I needed to keep handy: a drink, snacks, lip balm, feeding tracker, nursing pads, burp cloths, hand sanitizer, my phone, parenting books, magazines, remote controls, and more. That little table filled up fast! And when I was lucky enough to have someone bring me a meal while I nursed my son, there was a shuffle trying to figure out where to put all the stuff so there was room on my tray for food.

I just stocked a product in my shop that would have helped me immensely in those postpartum days: the armchair organizer!

Armchair organizer, armchair caddy, remote control caddy, sofa caddy, sofa organizer

The armchair organizer has pockets on one side and a long tail on the other that tucks between the cushions of your chair or sofa to keep it in place. It has large and small pockets for different sized items.

You can keep a tablet, magazine, book or even water bottle in the larger pockets, and your phone, snacks, nursing pads, nipple butter, chapstick and hand sanitizer in the smaller pockets. Have one in the living room and in the nursery and you’ll always have what you need at hand when you’re rocking your baby!

Just like with the ONEder Cover convertible nursing cover, one of the great things about this product is that it’s useful beyond the baby days. Use it as your remote control caddy when you’re no longer using it for mama and baby items, so you’ll never have to hunt down the remote between the cushions again! 

The armchair organizer is great for moms at any stage and makes a perfect and thoughtful baby shower or new mom gift. Fill it with goodies for the new mom and make her postpartum time easier!

Click here to see the armchair organizers currently in stock.

Peace and love,

Amber



Moms, Put On Your Oxygen Mask First December 10, 2015 14:36

Moms, Put On Your Oxygen Mask First

Mary Huston of the Birthing Boutique The perfect mother is completely self-sacrificial. She's supposed to put her children first in all ways and still be fulfilled and capable. Or at least that's what culture tells us. But is that actually what's best for mom and baby?

Today's guest post is from Mary Huston, doula and owner of the Birthing Boutique in Denver, Colorado. If you're in the Denver area be sure to follow The Birthing Boutique on Facebook


 

As a new mom, how are you feeling? There are so many emotional and physical challenges and changes every time you have a baby. I constantly see posts on Facebook from moms who seem like they are just drowning; they are exhausted, lonely and struggling. I have totally been there… and continue to go there. Self care is something that is continual.

Some moms experience the challenges more intensely than others. It also depends on your child and what kind of demeanor they have. Some kids are just more challenging; maybe they don’t sleep well, don’t eat well or they cry a lot. Even with the world's ‘easiest’ baby parenting still has it’s challenges.

My question to you is:

Is your oxygen mask on first? It may sound selfish for me to tell a mom to take care of herself first above her young child or helpless infant. I know if I were in a plane crash my very first thought would be of my children sitting next to me. We have this natural desire to see our children be well. But think about it. If I put the oxygen mask on my child and then I pass out or die then my child is alone. They will have had that one instance of help from me; but who is going to nurture, love, care for and protect them for the rest of their life?

As moms we have to take care of ourselves so that we can be around for the long haul, physically and emotionally, to continue to parent and love our children. (tweet this)

If you are drowning it’s really difficult to parent well. Taking care of yourself is an essential step in caring for your child. It cannot be skipped! Imagine your child has the most amazing preschool teacher or pediatrician. You want them to be healthy and happy so they’ll continue to offer those services to your child! Right now your child has THE MOST AMAZING MOM. What are things you can do to make sure that you stay happy and healthy so that you can continue to pour into your child?

When you take care of yourself you are making an investment in the best provider and nurturer for your child. You are doing the best thing you possibly can for them. So when you’re done reading this, evaluate how you’re really doing. If your baby is taxing you in one area (for example; not sleeping) then either find a way to take care of yourself in that instance OR balance it out by ‘putting on your oxygen mask’ in another area. If you’re up all night with a crying baby,maybe you can go see a movie the next day. Be creative. Find ways to fill up your tank.

Do you need a good night of sleep? Ask for nighttime help that will give you more shuteye.

Do you need to see a therapist?

Do you need to get a massage?

There are lots of ways to take care of yourself; so start doing it! A happy and healthy mom is absolutely the best gift you can ever give to your child.

Share your ideas. How can you start investing in YOU?

 



When Traditions Stop Being Fun December 07, 2015 11:49 4 Comments

When Traditions Stop Being Fun - Milk and Sugar Blog

Last year I thought that if my son didn’t get a picture with Santa every year from birth, I was a bad mom.

Because of that belief, I dragged my toddler son to a store way too late in the season, only to discover a line with an estimated wait time of an hour and a half. I looked down at my toddler, weaving between merchandise displays, getting perilously close to breaking something, and thought: NOPE.

He wailed and buckled as I tried to lift him and carry him out of the store. As I wrestled to strap him into his car seat an overwhelming feeling of failure fell over me.

There would be no other opportunities to try again. No pictures with Santa this year. Our tradition was already broken.

I confessed my feelings of failure to my friends on Facebook and was amazed at the amount of reassurance I got. Friends I highly respect confessed they’d never done pictures with Santa. Of course I would never consider them lesser parents because of it, so why was I being so hard on myself?

This year I had to face the perfectionist mentality again, but for a different “tradition.”

Last year we had a blast going to a tree farm and picking out our tree with some dear friends. The kids loved running among the trees, seeing the machines that shook dead needles off the tree and watching trees be baled for transport. We got adorable pictures of ourselves and our little ones with a backdrop of evergreens. It felt like a beautiful holiday tradition and I had a fantasy that we would continue it every year.

Then this year rolled around. I’m pregnant and I’ve been sick a lot and cold most of the time. Our friends got a tree from a lot. The weather has been unusually cold and rainy.

So we went to Home Depot and bought a tree.

It wasn’t picturesque or romantic. But did we get a beautiful tree? YES. Did my son have a great time? YES.

My son still marveled at all the trees to choose from, and when we were examining a prospect to see if it was just right, he put his little hand on it and declared, “This is our Christmas tree.”  As it was trimmed, an employee gave us hot chocolate and my son slurped it down while marveling an inflatable dinosaur ridden by inflatable elves. While we waited for the tree to be baled, we stepped inside to get warm and he admired at all the sparkly decorations and the pre-lit fake trees.

He had a great time and there was overall no stress involved. Isn’t what’s most important about holiday traditions that everyone actually enjoys them? (Tweet this.)

This year I’m rethinking my expectations for traditions.

I listen to this amazing podcast called the Mom Hour and their most recent episode was about how to “maximize magic and minimize stress” during the holidays. It’s a down-to-earth conversation between two experienced moms and it helped me breathe a sigh of relief. They made one point in particular that stood out to me: you don’t often know something is a tradition until after the fact.

I wasn’t allowing room for the magic of Christmas because I was trying to meticulously plan it instead of letting it happen organically.

So this year I’m focusing on my attitude and being open to the experiences of the season. I’m leaving room for the unexpected to happen. Who knows? Maybe something I never could have planned on will become one of my son’s favorite Christmas memories. All I need to do is be present.

I’m wishing you a magical Christmas season, moms. Let’s all enjoy our children and focus on the fun.

Peace and love,

Amber

4 Comments

Failing at Natural Parenting: When plans go awry November 05, 2015 14:41

Failing at Natural Parenting:  When your plans to breastfeed, cosleep, babywear, or cloth diaper go awry

When I first found out I was going to be a parent, I read a lot about “natural parenting” that resonated with me. I liked that they used words like “gentle” and talked a lot about bonding with your child. I studied it all while pregnant and already had a plan for what I would do when my baby was in my arms. I knew I would breastfeed, cosleep, babywear and cloth diaper.

But “natural” doesn’t mean easy. It definitely was not what I expected.

With breastfeeding, I expected to be nursing a lot. Everyone says newborns eat frequently. However, I wasn’t prepared for my son to be constantly attached to me. I could barely get a fifteen minute break to shower. At his two week doctor’s appointment I learned that he wasn’t gaining enough weight. A lactation consultant diagnosed him with a tongue tie, meaning he wasn’t able to draw enough milk from the breast. She told me to pump after every feeding to make sure my milk supply didn’t drop. After we fixed my son’s tongue tie, he was finally able to feel satiated after feeding, but it was like he was making up for lost time. He was suddenly gaining weight like a champ but he still didn’t like to go very long between feedings.

Although I worked to keep my milk supply up with supplements and pumping so I could continue breastfeeding him, there were many times when I felt exhausted and “touched out” and I wished I could just get a break. And I felt guilty for that. I knew there were women out there who were probably doing the same things as me but it wasn’t working for them.

How could I be a “natural parent” and wish my son would take a bottle?

Then there was the sleep situation. Or, I should say, the lack of sleep situation. With breastfeeding happening so frequently, it made sense to have our son in our room with us, and often my son wound up falling asleep while nursing in our bed. But as he got older, he started becoming more restless at night and more demanding of me. I had to sleep in a particular position: on my side with my legs extended straight so his little feet didn’t touch them, or he would kick me until I moved them. If I rolled away from him he would pull my hair to get me back. I woke frequently, had incredible back pain, and desperately wished he would sleep in his own bed. But my husband and I would spend hours trying to get him to sleep on his own, only to have him wake an hour later and repeat the cycle.

After nine months of poor sleep, I wished we had never started cosleeping with him and feared I would never get a full night’s sleep. I felt like my husband and I were prisoners to our child. He couldn’t sleep without us. I knew he didn’t know how to self soothe because every time he awoke he needed one of us to hold him until he fell back asleep. We tried to use gentle methods to sleep train him, but if we were nearby and he was awake and we were not holding him, he only got more angry at us and became so worked up that sleep was not going to happen. After trying all the gentle methods I realized that the only way he was going to sleep on his own was to let him cry it out.

How could I be a “natural parent” and let my baby cry it out?

Even though I knew that this was what my son needed, I felt awful about myself because of the attachment parenting advocates that say such scary things about what “cry it out” does to children. Even though I knew I had exhausted all my other options and my gut was telling me my son needed some self-soothing skills, I still felt like a failure. I worried that my son would distrust me and have attachment issues. I worried that our bond would suffer.

Today, however, I can tell you that sleep training worked and it was absolutely the best thing for my son and my family. As soon as he started being able to put himself back to sleep, he was a much happier baby during the day. Even happier than when he was cosleeping. It was clear he was getting better quality sleep. My back pain improved and it became easier to make it through the day.

Even though I tend to lean toward natural parenting methods, I want to encourage moms  to do what’s best for THEIR unique children and family. I believe it’s a relatively new trend for moms to feel like they have to pick a label and ascribe to a certain kind of parenting. To do that puts a lot of pressure on yourself to live up to someone else’s standard.

Part of growing as a mother is learning to trust your own intuition and knowledge of your baby. (Click to tweet this.) The Internet has given mothers an endless supply of opinions on parenting and it’s easy to fall into the trap of listening to everyone else’s voices but  your own.

Trust yourself, mama. Take a breath. Silence the noise of everyone else’s opinions and ask yourself what’s right for your family. (Click to tweet this.)

Peace and love,
Amber



Using the ONEder Cover when you cut your kid's hair September 24, 2015 00:00

Toddler getting hair cut wearing the ONEder Cover convertible nursing coverTHE HAIR
My son was born with a head of dark hair. At about 6 months we noticed the first curl, and from there his head bloomed a full head of curly locks. At first I was afraid to cut it, after hearing so many people say they cut their babies’ hair and it never came back curly. So I started cutting his hair by just taking a little bit off at a time, just to trim off the unruly ends.

I feel comfortable cutting off more of my son’s hair now. Like any toddler, he’s impatient about getting his hair brushed. I cut it just long enough that it will curl, but short enough that I can quickly run a brush through it. (I literally have to count to ten while brushing so he will tolerate it. If he knows it will be over at “10” he’s more tolerant.)

THE PROCESS
When I cut my son’s hair at home, I sit him down on a towel on the living room rug and (shamelessly) turn on a kids’ show to keep his attention. If he sees me pull out the comb and tries to get up and move away, I press pause on the TV and explain to him that it will come back on if he sits down for his hair cut.

I won’t claim that I do an expert job. I learned the basics of how to cut hair from YouTube. But thankfully his curls disguise most mistakes.

THE ONEDER COVER

What does the ONEder Cover have to do with hair cuts? The ONEder Cover makes a great cape! I used to drape a towel around his neck, but he would try to push it off or it always seemed to bunch around his neck instead of giving me room to work. The ONEder Cover is something that he’s already used to wearing so he doesn’t fight to get it off at all.

The ONEder Cover completely covers his shoulders, so none of the hair falls on his clothes. It’s also a smooth surface, so hair is easy to shake off when you’re done. And because it doesn’t completely cover in front like an all-around barber’s cape, he still had his hands and arms free to eat a snack while I cut his hair. (TV + snack = double distraction)

Who knew a nursing cover could be so handy?

Be sure to check out what’s in stock in the shop!

Keeping Tidy in the Kitchen with a Toddler September 14, 2015 03:00

Toddler stirring batter wearing the ONEder Cover breastfeeding cover as a smock

My daughter LOVES baking. Brownies, cookies, muffins - if it's sweet she'll help make it and gobble it up!

But baking with a toddler is often quite a messy experience.

Before discovering the ONEder Cover, I would take off her clothing and she would help mix ingredients sporting just a diaper. This was often followed by a bath, as she would end up with flour, sugar, milk or eggs all over herself.

As much as I loved baking with her, at 30 weeks pregnant I became too tired to deal with her mess. And then we were given a ONEder Cover and our baking messes were contained!

Toddler girl wearing the ONEder Cover as a smockMy daughter wears the ONEder Cover as a toddler smock when we bake, so her clothing is protected. A normal apron wasn't absorbing the liquid messes she would make, and with the bottom snapped up the ONEder Cover catches the crumbs and she can even store her dirty spoon, spatula, or whisk in it like a pocket so we don't get batter drips across the floor when we go to load the utensils in the dishwasher.

I love how versatile the ONEder Cover is, and that I can use to for both my newborn as a nursing cover, and as a bib or smock for my toddler!

Testimonial courtesy of Justine, mama of a sweet toddler girl (pictured) and a brand new baby boy.



Normalizing Breastfeeding: The new mommy war? August 06, 2015 09:25

Normalizing breastfeeding: the new mommy war?

 

I’ve read a lot about breastfeeding since becoming a mom, and especially since designing a product for breastfeeding. One of the trends I have noticed online is a big push toward normalizing breastfeeding, which means encouraging mothers to breastfeed in public without a cover, even posting pictures (#normalizebreastfeeding) on social media, with no shame.

I, personally, am wholly in support of women being able to breastfeed wherever they want and with as much or as little boob exposure as they are comfortable with. But I think we need to be careful not to turn this into another mommy war.

If you defend the right to breastfeed coverless by making fun of covering up, you're also taking a jab at women who prefer to use a nursing cover.

If you defend the right to breastfeed coverless by making fun of covering, you’re also taking a jab at women who prefer to cover.

Tweet: If you defend breastfeeding coverless by making fun of covering you’re also taking a jab at women who prefer to cover http://bit.ly/1MSqzjL


Don’t get me wrong, I think using a cover can be cause for some hilarious (usually in hindsight) scenarios. Once babies become more investigative with their hands and easily distractible, there are bound to be comical moments. Babies are funny. What I see sometimes, though, is not people laughing at the funny things that happen while breastfeeding, but at the fact that it’s done with a cover.

This satiric video called “4 Reasons Women Should Never Breastfeed in Public” (which I actually love) by Kristina Kuzmic, is an example. There’s one scene in which the mom is dining at a restaurant with a nursing cover draped over her head. While the video certainly drives home the point that breastfeeding is natural and necessary in public and shows you the baby’s perspective of why covering may not be desirable, it could make a mom feel like she is being deemed ridiculous for wanting to cover up.

You may be saying, “Oh, women need to stop being so sensitive about everything.” And you are right. We should be confident in our choices and in who we are. But…

The reality is that even strong women can feel fragile in motherhood.

The reality is that even strong women can feel fragile in motherhood.

Tweet: The reality is that even strong women can feel fragile in motherhood. http://bit.ly/1MSqzjL

 

When you enter into motherhood, there is not one book to follow that tells you how to raise the delicate, fresh new being you hold in your arms. There are thousands. And then there’s articles on the Internet. And everywhere there is conflicting advice. So it’s pretty much up to you to decide the right way to raise this new person into a healthy, kind, strong, happy and well-rounded individual. No pressure.

This is the reason for the mommy wars: we all so desperately want to raise kids right and we’re all terrified we’ll do it wrong.

It’s natural for moms to look at each other and seek validation for the choices we’re making. Deep down, I think we’re all trying to solve the “nature vs. nurture” question and hoping that we’re nurturing right. When we see others who are making the same choices as us, we breathe a sigh of relief. When we see others who are making different decisions, we weigh the scales again to make sure our choice carries as much weight as we thought it did.

The truth is, some moms feel more comfortable breastfeeding in public with a nursing cover. And it doesn’t mean she’s ashamed of breastfeeding. It doesn’t mean she’s ashamed of her body. It doesn’t mean she’s against another mother NOT using a nursing cover. It just means that’s what feels right for her, that’s how she wants to feed her baby.

I’m not ashamed of my body, but I preferred to use a nursing cover. When my son was hungry in public, I just wanted to feed him, I didn’t want to be part of a movement to normalize breastfeeding or make some kind of a statement. And I know a lot of moms who don’t use nursing covers feel the same. It’s just about feeding the baby.

That’s the fine line with normalizing breastfeeding, isn’t it? When does it go from just feeding the baby to making a statement?

Maybe sometimes it’s both.

Maybe the statement is “I’m just feeding my baby.”

Is breastfeeding in public making a statement? Maybe the statement is "I'm just feeding my baby."

Tweet: Is breastfeeding in public making a statement? Maybe the statement is


But while defending going coverless, we should be careful that the statement is not “I’m a more evolved human than those Puritan moms using a nursing cover.”

What I love about the ONEder Cover is that it’s a nursing cover that works for the covering and coverless moms. It’s a product that doesn’t participate in the mommy wars.

I started out my breastfeeding journey using a nursing cover, but when my son was around four months old, it no longer worked for us because he didn’t like being covered. So I ended up not using a nursing cover because he didn’t like them. But honestly, I would have preferred to be covered. I wish I’d had a ONEder Cover.

For those moms who start out using a breastfeeding cover and then decide not to use a cover because they are more comfortable without one, the ONEder Cover is great because it’s more than just a nursing cover or a scarf: you can still use it as a bib, a burp cloth, wearable baby blanket, or a smock to keep clothes clean.

Moms who end up not being able to breastfeed at all or as long as they’d like can still use the ONEder Cover as well. It’s not going to be something they have to get rid of or relegate to storage for the next baby.

I’m not going to end the mommy wars with a nursing cover, but my hope is that my product sends a message of support to all moms, no matter what they decide is right for them in regards to breastfeeding.

Covered or coverless, breastfeeding or not: you're doing great, mama. 

Much love,

Amber



The ONEder Cover and Sensory Play July 26, 2015 10:00

The ONEder Cover and Sensory Play

Play is serious learning when you're a kid. Sensory play engages children's senses: smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch. Engaging with the world using their senses encourages babies, toddlers and children to be curious, to investigate and to explore the world around them.

Pinterest is loaded with ideas for sensory play at home. Just search on Pinterest for "sensory play" and stand back while your screen explodes with color and enough pictures of goop, foam and sand to make any neat freak feel a little sweaty.

But, hey! If you've got your ONEder Cover handy, you've already got the perfect size washable smock for your kiddo to wear while he digs his hands into those wet, sticky, slimy or gritty concoctions!

One of my favorite outings with my toddler son is taking him to the children's museum. We're lucky enough to have a great one in our city, and of course the first place my son darts to is the water table. On our most recent trip, we happened to be arriving at the water table at the same time as a daycare group, who were snatching up the waterproof smocks. My son was intent on getting his hands in the water and I had no time to wait for access to a smock, so I whipped my ONEder Cover out of my bag and threw it on him as he started to play.

Playing in the ONEder Cover at the water table at the children's museum

I wasn't sure how it would hold up to all the splashing and direct water contact compared to the waterproof smocks. There is no waterproof layer to the ONEder Cover, just absorbent ones. But I was pleasantly surprised that the super absorbent materials that make it great for catching spit up and wiping drool as a burp cloth for babies made it absorbent enough to soak up any water my toddler son came in contact with. His shirt underneath was completely dry!

The materials of the ONEder Cover are designed to catch and hold moisture. The back of the cover is plush cotton velour, which is the more sophisticated cousin to terry cloth. (It's made using similar processes, the fibers are just brushed to a different texture.) In between the cotton front and the velour back is a layer of cotton diaper fabric. If it's designed for diapers, you know it's got to be good at catching and holding moisture.

This experience exemplifies what I love about the ONEder Cover: it's completely multi-functional. The old nursing cover with a strap that I abandoned to a box of baby clothes a long time ago could never be put to use like this. Even though my son is now over two years old and weaned, I can still keep this "nursing cover" in my bag whenever we go out.

While babies might quickly outgrow nursing, they don't quickly outgrow being messy. If you're going to a restaurant or to the park to play, you'll still find it handy to have a bib or smock that will keep them clean—and is cute to boot!

 



Let's face it, moms: we need a better nursing cover. June 16, 2015 14:32

Let's face it, moms: we need a better nursing cover.

I am not ashamed of breastfeeding. But that doesn’t mean I welcome an audience of curious onlookers while my son screams and I try to awkwardly dig my breast out of my shirt. It's not exactly glamorous. Though I don't mind people seeing my son actively eating, I'm still not quite comfortable enough to just let my nipple hang out while I try to adjust my son’s position or he becomes distracted by a nearby child, or trees, or the fact that I have teeth.

I had a beautiful nursing cover I carried in my diaper bag for a while. But the idea of the nursing cover was better than the reality.

In theory, it was the solution to my desire for privacy and would prevent my son from distraction. The marketing photos showed a mother sitting nursing her baby with the large square of material perfectly draped around herself and her baby. The strap keeping the cover secure around her neck was perfectly adjusted and the material bowed out so she could make deep, meaningful eye contact with her serene infant.

I wanted to be that elegant mother (boldly wearing earrings... dangly earrings!) who could go out and carry on a thoughtful conversation with friends over coffee while her baby peacefully, discreetly nursed under beautiful fabric.

Cut to my reality: I’m sitting across from some friends in a coffee shop when my son in my lap begins pawing at and drooling on my shirt. I place the cover’s strap around my neck and realize it’s too long, but I can’t simply pull the strap tighter without fiddling with the D-ring buckle. I contort my fingers trying to feed the strap through with one hand. When it’s finally tighter, I throw the cover around my son, who immediately starts waving his arms trying to get it off. I lay him across my lap and get him focused. Once he realizes milk is coming, he settles for a moment and gets latched. With my free hand, I grab hold of a corner of the fabric so he won’t sweep the cover aside with a simple wave of his arm.

I can now return my focus to the conversation going on at the table.

A moment later, my son’s arm shoots up through the gap at my neck meant to allow the loving eye contact I expected from the cover’s advertising. He grabs the neck strap and begins to pull, yanking it left and right, cutting it into my skin. I lose concentration on my friends' conversation while I figure out why my son is trying to strangle me with the nursing cover. I pry open the vice grip of his tiny fingers, only to have his hand smack my face. His needle-like fingernails suddenly dig into the inside of my lower lip. I gasp in pain and release his grip, then lift my chin up to get my face beyond his grasp. His hand waves back and forth, trying to reach my face through the gap. As he flails, the top of the cover is pulled lower and my chest becomes increasingly exposed. The table’s conversation halts while my friends pause to take in the ridiculousness of the scene.

I wish I’d had the ONEder Cover!

The ONEder Cover is a product I designed for babies like mine. Babies who are wiggly. Babies who are curious. Babies who want to nurse everywhere. And for mothers! Mothers who want a cover that can actually keep them covered when and where they want. Mothers who also want a cover that can be still be useful when they stop breastfeeding (or stop using a cover). Mothers who want to streamline the diaper bag and have fewer things to pack before heading out of the house.

My mission with my new company Milk and Sugar is to support mothers. That’s why the ONEder Cover is the flagship product.

The ONEder Cover is the only nursing cover that can be used beyond breastfeeding, even surpassing childhood. It gets its name from being the ONE cover you need to have on hand, because it converts into:

    • a nursing cover 3+ ways (unique design makes it almost impossible for your child to expose you during nursing)
    • a super absorbent burp cloth that won't fall off your shoulder
    • an infant and toddler bib
    • a wearable blanket for stroller rides (no kicking blankets off onto the dirty ground!)
    • a protective smock that fits children and adults (perfect for working moms trying to get out the door without dirtying their clothes, and also great for little chefs helping in the kitchen)
    • a high chair, booster seat and infant seat barrier for the comfort of your baby--or to protect against messes

The ONEder Cover is a truly versatile product with uses almost as boundless as your imagination. When you stop breastfeeding, whether it's at 2 weeks or 2 years, you'll be able to find another use for this cover.

Thank you for your support, friends! I’m so excited to begin this journey and start offering moms products that will truly make their lives easier.

All the best,

Amber Elbon

Founder, Milk and Sugar
Inventor of the ONEder Cover