Dear Women’s Ministry/conference/Church,
Almost a year ago I signed up for a local church women’s conference. It is a fairly popular one day conference that many of the ladies go to from all different churches in my region. My mom and Aunt were attending and I was so looking forward to getting out and being blessed with them. There was only one problem. I was nursing a baby. My youngest daughter was about 6 months old at the time and exclusively breastfed. This means, she did/would not take a bottle (we tried a few times. She wasn’t having any of that) and as a young baby, she still needed to nurse frequently enough that I could not leave her for more than about 2 hours at a time. Maybe 3… but that could be pushing it. After all, nursing infants can be unpredictable. When I called to register I asked the nice girl on the phone if there was a cry room or some place I’d be able to move to if my nursing infant were to become fussy. She replied that she was sure there were places i could go but she needed to double check and would call me back. Now, I know these conferences are like vacations for us moms. We don’t bring kids. There often is no childcare. I knew my older children were not to attend and I had to find childcare arrangements for them and that was fine. but surely I could bring my nursing baby, I thought. I wouldn’t be rude or make people hear her crying. I’d slip out respectfully if she got fussy but how could a baby who still depends on their mother for their food and drink be unwelcome? Hours later I received a call from the same girl, now embarrassed letting me know that a nursing baby was not able to come. No babies. period. I knew this girl was not the decision maker on this issue and was purely the messenger of bad news. I took the news and swallowed it and she asked for my address so she could send my a free copy of the audio of the conference as an apology. I accepted this offer and hung up in disappointment. As it sunk in what had happened and the day went on I became more upset. Hurt even.
While I understand that children are not always able to be accommodated for or welcome to all events, how could my nursing infant caused me to be shut out of a women’s conference?
So this is what I want to tell you all. Anyone involved in church leadership or coordinating events with your religious organization-
A lot of your women are moms. I’m sure you see it all the time. You look around your congregation and think, “Surely, this is the most fertile church in the world?!” There are babies everywhere at church! Us moms are rocking them and bouncing them and shushing them and pacing your welcome areas and filling your cry rooms and checking on them in your nursery and feeding them in your nursing mothers room. We are a fertile people! Blessed. and tired. Very tired and lacking proper adult socialization. We need breaks! We need renewal. We need some time out of our homes being reminded that we are more than just dirty diaper changers and PPD battlers.
So we need your women’s conference! We need it like we need clean water to drink. We are begging for your fellowship and love and motivating message of renewal and strength.
With how many mothers there are, Many of us are breastfeeding moms. Actually about 76.9% of us U.S. moms are breastfeeding our newborns and 25% of us are still breastfeeding when our babies reach 12 months old. That’s a big chunk of your moms. And while some of us have great eaters who will switch from breast to bottle, many babies who breastfeed refuse eat from a bottle so leaving them for hours to attend any kind of lengthy event is not an option for us.
When I turn to scripture on breastfeeding it is also evident that God is not ashamed of breastfeeding. He encourages breastfeeding and he also invited mothers and their nursing babies out to large public events-
“Joel 2:16 – Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.”
Our nursing babies seem more than welcome to this wedding.
And while I am not anti moms leaving their babies for some time to themselves, it just is not my style. I am emotionally and hormonally bonded to my infant. When I am not with my infant, I miss them and my breast become uncomfortably full, and I even leak milk. This is all part of how we are designed to be. We are designed to be with our infants and not separated for long periods down to our core molecular makeup.
I’m not the mother who forgets my baby and can run off for awhile. “Isaiah 49:15 – Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?..“
So lets face it, When nursing babes are excluded from an event, it is not babies being told not to come- it is mothers. The mothers are the ones being shut out. The mothers battling hormone changes and explosive diapers and cluster feedings from growth spurts. Sleep deprived, under-socialized, just coming out of their postpartum fog- moms. Because lets face it, God created us to make our babies our priority. Unless I’m running to the food store down the block to pick up a quick item and running straight home again- my baby is not being left home. My baby is part of me. When she is hungry, my breasts are full. When she is tired, my arms cradle her. When I go to a women’s conference, she comes with me.
So do your church a favor, show love to your nursing mothers. Show them that they matter, that they are cared about, thought about, remembered, included, and wanted with you at your church. Because we do matter.
For more Scripture on Breastfeeding: Click Here
Guest post by Jenny
Because my son was poked and prodded in the hospital so many times, I was reluctant to get his tongue and lip tie repaired. I had low milk supply, he had reflux, it was awful.
I decided to pay the $500 and have it fixed with a cold laser. I regret it to this day. He had already been put through so much pain in the hospital, but I was reassured that the laser correction would solve all our problems. It didn’t 😦 He still had a bad latch, my supply didn’t improve, and he still had reflux.
I regret putting him through that pain for nothing. Next time, I will wait.
Jenny is a first time mom who tried for 6 years to get pregnant. Her son was hospitalized at 2 weeks old for salmonella meningitis. Tongue and lip tie was not diagnosed until he was 4 months of age.
Guest Post by Laura Langham
My son and I struggled with breastfeeding from the get-go. I heard about lip and tongue ties and I suspected he had one from the very beginning, but a fellow mom assured me he didn’t.
We became dependent on a nipple shield, though I never wanted to use it in the first place. I was so desperate to make our nursing relationship last that I kept with it. After about 6-7 months, my son stopped practically gaining weight and even lost a few oz. I had a nagging feeling inside me that it was the tie I had suspected all along.
I took him to his pediatrician and he told me that my son had normal frenulum and insisted so much that I was doing something wrong and starving my child that he reported us to the local child protective services. Their investigation concluded that his claims were unfounded and that we were taking good care of our son, but it led me to some amazing IBCLCs that referred me to an ENT. The ENT’s visit finally came and the doctor confirmed what I had insisted was the problem all along—a tongue and upper lip tie.
Within 2 weeks, we had them both cut through electrocautery, and within 2 weeks, my son had started gaining more than adequate weight. The months of breastfeeding through the ties (and with the nipple shield) did a number to my milk supply because proper suction was never established, but his nursing got so much stronger and more frequent after having his ties taken care of.
About The Author:
Laura Langham is a mother to two amazing children, with one on the way, wife to her awesome husband and a friend to anyone in need.
It’s been 5 months now since my daughters had laser frenectomies for their upper lip ties. Many people have been asking me for an update on how they are doing now.
My 3yr old is in corrective speech and has improved a TON. Her teeth have not gotten closer together as some experienced but there is now the potential for her adult teeth to come in together while pre-frenectomy- the skin to the lip was far too thick between the teeth for that to be a possibility.
My now 1yr old (was 8 months old when she had the procedure done) is doing great! It never again hurt to nurse her for long periods of time like it used to and her teeth have grown in together in a way that wouldn’t have been possible before with the degree of her lip tie.
Here are some photos of how they look now.
For more info on upper lip ties and laser frenectomy- Check HERE
This is an account of our experience finding out about my daughter’s upper lip tie (with the focus on my youngest) and some Q&A on Frenectomy’s. This post also is a guest post on Ask The Lactation Consultant.
When my youngest daughter was 8 months old I discovered, through my 2 year old’s speech therapist, that both my younger two daughters had upper lip ties. This area of the mouth is called the frenulum labii superioris and it is an area I had never heard of being an issue. I was well versed in tongue ties, having known plenty of people whose infants had them- some of which pursued having it clipped while others worked with a lactation consultant to have the latch corrected and left the tie intact. This issue with a lip tie was new to me, though, and it got the wheels in my mind churning about breastfeeding.
Grace was already 8 months old at this point and she was growing and thriving on an exclusively breastfed diet (with a few solids beginning to be thrown in the mix now). Nursing was not excruciating and if her latch was shallow, it was not shallow enough to cause any real pain for me or prevent her from receiving a sufficient supply of milk. Yet, I could not help but think about how whenever she nursed for an extended period of time, there was pain. I would get sharp pains after ten minutes of nursing on one side. I always excused it as her latch getting lazy as she drifted to sleep and I changed sides frequently to be comfortable. I studied for a couple weeks and spent many hours on the phone with dentists, ENT’s, and other pediatric specialists. In the end, We chose to have a laser frenectomy done to release her lip. Since having had the procedure done, many parents have contacted me asking why I chose to have the procedure done, where I went, why I went there, how it was done, and an array of other questions. Here is some of the info I gathered in my time on lip ties and the frenectomy procedure.
What is a Lip Tie?
A lip tie is when the lip is attached to the gums. This can really range in severity and there are degree’s that define how severe of a lip tie it is. It is really common for people to have some kind of lip tie but only when it is severe or causing medical issues (or for older, consenting aged people, perhaps cosmetic issues that they want corrected) does it need to be corrected. What problems can it cause? Problems are mostly seen by the breastfeeding mom. A severe upper lip tie can cause a shallow latch, the inability to flail lip out adequately (incorrect latch), slow growth (due to poor nursing), and pain for the mom while nursing. In addition to this, it can cause a severe gap between the front teeth when the tie comes down between them, tooth decay in the front teeth, speech difficulties from the limited mobility of the upper lip, and problems with it tearing and causing pain in rough play or accidents.
What is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy is the procedure done to correct a lip or tongue tie. Many of you may already be familiar with it from tongue ties but for an upper lip tie it can be a bit more than the “snip” we think of for the tongue tie, especially for the most severe degree where it goes into the palate of the gums. There are two ways a frenectomy can be performed and for young children, most dentists are more comfortable with the scalpel method. When using a scalpel, the procedure is commonly performed in a hospital and the child undergoes anesthesia. The tie is cut out and stitches are used to mend the area back together. Then there is the laser frenectomy (this is what my daughters had done). For the laser procedure the child is just numbed in the area, no anesthesia. The procedure can be done right in the doctors office in under 10 minutes. It is a less painful procedure and easier to recover from and does not leave behind the scar tissue that the scalpel version can cause.
Where Do you go for a Laser Frenectomy?
This is the hard part. Many doctors are not practiced at using a laser on a small, awake child and fear its safety level. I started reading the articles by Dr. Kotlow in Albany, NY who has been doing laser frenectomy on children from infancy through their teen years with no complications and decided I felt confident that it could be safely done. While there are other practices all around the country that perform the laser procedure for young kids, they need to be searched for. His office is very friendly and they are willing to give advice and recommend doctors they know from around the country if his office is out of reach.
Do all Upper Lip Ties need to be corrected?
No. Many people have some degree of a lip tie and it does not cause any problems. The only time it is a concern is when it is causing breastfeeding difficulties or, later on if it is causing other issues. If a newborn has an upper lip tie but mom is experiencing no breastfeeding difficulties and they are growing well, there is no reason to rush out for medical intervention. A frenectomy can be performed at any age so it is fine to wait and just see how it plays out for the child and leave it be if it causes no problems for them. Also, if an infant is experiencing breastfeeding issues, it is always recommended to try working out their latch with an IBCLC first, as it is never pleasant for the parents or baby to go through medical procedures if it is not necessary.
My daughters had the frenectomy performed a month ago and are doing incredibly well. The first week following was harder and they were uncomfortable but healing went well and they were able to eat (and nurse) fantastically. Since having the frenectomy done, I have not experienced pain or discomfort while nursing Grace even once (and I have left her on to nurse in her sleep for long periods of time). Her lip flails out while nursing when it never could before and while it was never horribly uncomfortable to nurse her before, it is 100 times more comfortable to nurse her now. Please note, this info is based on my own research and experience as a mother who has been through this procedure with my children, and I am not a medical professional
How many of us with breastfed babies have gone to a wellness visit to find out our little ones are really low on their growth charts? From how many moms I’ve heard talk about this, I’m guessing there is a good show of hands! And for first time moms, or first time breastfeeding moms, or- heck- even us experienced mom, it can be startling to have a pediatrician look at your baby and think they are underfed! Rest assure, though, if your breastfed baby is low on the growth chart– there could be a good reason for it. Your doctor may be using the wrong chart!
There are two charts widely used in the US. The CDC’s growth chart is the more widely used chart and reflects mostly formula fed babies. Then there is the WHO growth chart that uses Exclusively breastfed babies. It may not seem like it would be a big deal which chart a pediatrician uses but breastfed and formula fed babies grow and thrive differently. Formula fed babies grow more rapidly and growth doesn’t slow down as drastically for them after 6 months of age, while the breastfed baby has slow steady weight gain that decreases even more as they get more mobile. So, when using the CDC chart on a breastfed baby, it’s quite easy for the baby to look like they are having insufficient growth or irregular growth patterns.
The problem with breastfed babies falling on the growth charts is that the moms will often get pressured to use formula very early on. Milk Supply goes into question and pediatricians, who are often lacking in sufficient breastfeeding knowledge, give misguided advice to the mom, like pumping to see how much milk she has or giving formula after each nursing session. Or the pediatrician may quickly recommend a visit to an endocrinologist, where baby will have to undergo intrusive testing, when it may not even be necessary. Even my own pediatrician was giving out booby-trap information and saying that babies urine output had nothing to do with if they got enough milk (which is incorrect)
Many pediatricians also do not take size of the parents and their family genetics into account. I have known mothers who barely skim 5 feet tall and are married to 5 foot 6 inch tall men that are concerned because their doctor said their breastfed baby is only at the 5% line. Typically, tiny couples do not have enormous babies. Many families have told me that their doctors didn’t even take the size of the parents or their families into account when decided that their baby was suffering.
While doctors are being urged to switch to the WHO chart, since breast milk has been universally agreed upon to be the healthier option and should be the standard for infant diet, many doctors have not yet gotten on board since the AAP has not made any updated guidelines specifying chart use. Some pediatricians have begun tracking BMI, which seems to be a balanced way of measuring all babies, whether breastfed or formula fed but it has continued to give parents stress about their child being in a healthy range for their age, since a toddler at 50% for weight and 10% at height will now fall under obese.
Try not to stress too much. Ask your pediatrician what chart he/she is using and what other factors he is taking into consideration before getting worried about baby size. And If you breastfed infants health is in question- please, Go to a Lactation Consultant! IBCLC’s are 10x more trained to deal with and help you with breastfeeding issues, including evaluating your milk supply, over the pediatrician. Good Luck mama!
One thing most parents have to deal with at one time or another is a baby with a cold. A cold is very probable if they are around older kids, attend any kind of child care (even if it is just at the gym or church) but even the stay-at-home babies without much time with other germy kids occasional catch colds. Even for an experienced mom it can be difficult to remember everything to do and what we CAN do for these little booger babies but for a first time mom it can be down right over whelming. So here are some “what to expects” and what you can do to help-
- Breastfeeding Can Become Difficult
This is due to having a stuffed nose. Ever try to drink down a big old gulp of water while your nose is completely stuffed? Or spend too much time swimming under water and have to come up gasping for air? That’s what eating is like now for your nursling. Every second on the breast is a moment of struggling for breath. Moms will notice baby to unlatch every few seconds. This can make nursing really frustrating for mom and baby. Not only is baby having a hard time eating and getting his or her belly full of milk, mom may start feeling a bit on the engorged side. While non of this is fun, it is normal and as soon as baby can breathe a bit easier, he or she should nurse normally again and make up for being a light nurser during that period of time.
– Try nursing baby in a more upright position. Being upright helps open the airways and makes breathing through the nose easier.
– Hand express or use a pump to ease engorgement and keep breast stimulated so these is no dip in supply from the slow nursing days.
– Stay patient and relaxed. Speak comfortingly to your baby. It can be stressful for them to struggle to nurse too.
- Sleeping Becomes Difficult
Again, laying down flat stuffs baby’s nose right up. Frequent night waking can be an understatement of what night time is like with a sick baby. There may also be an increased amount of coughing occuring during the night, as a result of post nasal drip. A sleep deprived mommy and baby is another one of those obnoxious normals when sickness is brewing
– If baby is sleeping in their ow bassinet or crib, the mattress can be propped in an incline to keep baby from lying completely flat.
– If cosleeping, mom will probably find herself needing to prop baby up while craddling him or her in her arm. This can be more comfortable if mom props several pillows up behind herself so she is sitting up a bit herself.
– Another sleep option is a recliner for mom to sit in and hold baby on her chest.
– In whatever room baby is sleeping in- there should be a cool mist humidifier running to keep the air moist, and help loosen mucous in baby’s airways. A few drops of peppermint oil can be helpful too.
– Some parents claim that Vicks vapo rub on baby’s feet with socks over also helps baby sleep and helps breathing.
***cosleeping disclaimer- While I fully support (and practice) cosleeping myself, be safe while cosleeping! Do not place baby on the edge of a bed, chair or otherwise. If parent is too tired to remain self aware of baby while resting together, find another sleeping arrangement, please.
- There Will Be Boogers
Oh the boogers! They will probably begin with just a little clear drip and then can turn yellow or green. Hopefully, they stay clear, though! They will run them, sneeze them, blow nose bubbles with them, get them on you shirt and if it’s really glamorous, you’ll even get some on your breast while nursing. The joys of motherhood.
– Keep the boogers coming out! Out may not be pretty but it’s a ton better than not running out for their health.
– Use breastmilk as saline (Or use a baby Saline). IT can be sprayed right up the nose from the breast (messy but can work) or use some expressed milk and a dropper to get the milk right up there. This is great because not only will it help loosen mucous, breastmilk is full of antibodies that fight illness and infections.
– Suction the nose! While most people are more familiar with the bulbs for nose suctioning, these do not really work amazing and they breed germs. Getting a Nosefrida is the best for clearing out baby mucous! While it can look a bit disturbing, there is a filter in it and nothing actually goes to the parents mouth!
– Keep the humidifier running during day time house too to keep moisture in the air and prevent mucous from drying and crusting and clogging up baby
It is always a little alarming when our little one starts running hot but it typically is not something to worry about. Fever is the bodies way of killing the germs in it. If baby runs a fever for a day or two of a cold, this is just baby dealing with illness properly and efficiently. If fever gets high, baby gets lethargic, or fever doesnt go away after a day or so (or if you have any feeling that baby needs to be checked on) call your doctor
– For low grade fevers that do not seem to be bothering baby- it’s good to let it run its course, but if fever is bothersome- rotating between tylenol and motrin can be helpful (be careful with dosage. If baby has never had it or unsure of how much, get a hold of doctor first)
- Plan For Poop
I’m sure parents deal with enough poop from their babies but now it may become a lot more mucousy. After a few days of lots of mucous, it’s normal to start noticing very mucousy stools. They may be greener, or more yellow than normal and runnier, and way more frequent than their normal amount of pooping. Also, the frequent bowel movements can cause some diaper rash as well.
– Check the diaper often! Even if there is no smell or full feeling diaper, the mucous can change the bowel movements so that it does not give off it’s normal clues that a diaper change is needed.
– Keep all diaper supplies on hand a plenty of them. Diapers, wipes, outfit changes and lotion (or Coconut oil) for any rash that occurs
- Follow Your Gut
As silly as it sometimes feels to bring a baby to the doctor for a cold (I mean, there is not much that can be done for colds but wait them out) If your gut feels there is something wrong or the baby should be checked out, then bring them to be checked out. Peace of mind is worth the copay. If you have a hunch that your baby should be checked on, have them checked on!
**Medical Disclosure** I am not a doctor, nurse, or any kind of health professional. These tips are purely experience based & advice I have received in the past from my own pediatrician and friends- from their personal experiences****