Monday, October 25, 2010

I Will Breastfeed in Public. Darnit.

The funniest (or most tragic) breastfeeding in public moment I had was with my screaming infant in the middle of Krogers. She just would not wait to eat and the grocery list was calling out to me. It stressed me out thinking about sitting in the middle of a busy store filled with strangers to breastfeed. Right before I decided to give up and go home, sneaky mom ingenuity prevailed and I slid myself down a semi-dark hall that was hiding by the bathrooms. Making sure I was down far enough past the bathrooms, I whipped out the lactators and let baby have at it. Her screaming stopped, she relaxed in my arms and became completely content (and I gotta say, so did I).

A sense of pride and accomplishment swept over me as thoughts of 2 more hours of shopping danced in my head! The joy that I could actually finish my shopping list with a content baby, and the pleasure of being able to find a secluded, quiet and totally PRIVATE place to nurse made me feel warm and fuzzy. Either that or the let-down hormones were just kicking in. Leaning back against the wall, totally exposed but cool with it, the "Hallelujah" chorus I heard playing in my mind came to a screeching halt when I lifted my eyes and noticed my worst nightmare. The security camera was on and pointing right at me!! NOOOOOOO!

It was moments like these that led me to invent Skinies. Knowing that breastfeeding my baby was the absolute best I could give drove me to set aside all my personal feelings of being exposed and put baby first. The sacrifices we, moms, make! But I'll tell ya, I absolutely hate the concept of someone other than my husband getting a glimpse. No, I am not ashamed of my body, I just hate being exposed. It's just me. I will breastfeed in public. Darnit. But I'm gonna do it my way! Because of this mentality, I found myself becoming a super sleuth trying to find a way to accomplish this and satisfy my need to be discreet. After six babies, I have discovered a few things that really helped me.

For what it's worth, here's my (mom of 6) breastfeeding in public advice:
  • The most important of all is what is going on in your head. Our minds can play tricks on us especially if we are doing a good thing and others may not think so. Hold your head high! Know that you are giving your baby the best and poo-poo if anyone disagrees!

  • Prepare beforehand. Before you ever go anywhere, think about the possibility that you could have to nurse in public and devise a plan. Where will you go? Are you OK with a bench in the middle of the store, or would you prefer privacy? Remember ~ you have the right to be comfortable. Determine where your comfort level is. You have nothing to prove. Respect yourself and your feelings. It will make your experience much more enjoyable. Consider also that comfort levels may change as your nursing experience grows. For example, a brand new mom who is just getting the hang of breastfeeding may prefer a bit of privacy, and a mom who has been at it awhile may be comfortable anywhere.

If you are fine with a bench in the middle of the store, scout out just where that bench is. That way, as soon as baby calls, you can find your spot. If you do prefer privacy and the store you are shopping at does not have a "breastfeeding room", they may find you a place. You could even call ahead to find out. What will you need? Pack books, toys or snacks in the diaper bag to keep older children entertained. Planning ahead will put you at ease when the moment arises that your little one demands yummies.

  • I preferred to find a private place. Then I could let it all hang out and not worry about being exposed. Plus, the thought of applying nipple cream in front of strangers kind of freaked me out. However, I refused to nurse my baby in a bathroom stall! I tried it once and realized it's just plain gross. My solution: dressing rooms! I actually began arranging my shopping according to which stores had dressing rooms. This was soon after the Kroger incident. :)

In my opinion, dressing rooms are the perfect place to nurse a baby. They are private, quiet and you don't have to worry about being covered. If you have toddlers with you, they can play on the floor while you nurse. In addition, a break from the busyness of a crowded store was like a pick-me-up for baby, toddler and me. It was always an intimate and sweet moment of re-connecting. I found that most store clerks were very accommodating. However, if they give you a hard time, pull a garment off of a store rack and politely say "may I have a dressing room please?" What can they say? ;)

  • If there isn't a private place, nurse anyway! The way I see it, the biggest problem people have with nursing mothers isn't so much nursing, but they just don't want to see a breast. I don't blame them. Even though I could care less about seeing a nursing mom's breast, I really don't want my husband to!

This one is simple to handle. Just keep your breast covered and no one will give a hoot. As a nursing mom 6 times, I felt that other people's feelings deserved respect as much as I deserved the respect of being able to nurse in public.

  • Don't flash skin. This serves a two-fold purpose. 1) It keeps you comfortable knowing nobody can see your belly or breast. 2) People who may not be familiar with breatfeeding will be more comfortable when they can't see flesh. It's really not as hard as it seems. After a couple weeks of getting good at breastfeeding, baby becomes a little pro and can practically latch on by himself. At that point in my experience, my only concern was not being exposed. This is where Skinies came in. It was a cover-up for under my clothes. When I lifted my shirt to nurse ~ everything was covered. The openings are just the right size so that I could unlatch my nursing bra and Skinies would give maximum cleavage and breast coverage.

Even with all the perfect gear, if you do accidentally flash some skin ~ don't stress. Keep your cool. Return back to what you are doing and pretend it never happened. Selective recall is a beautiful thing.

  • If you choose to use a blanket or a nursing cover, practice at home several times a day to get baby use to it. This way, it won't be foreign to your little one and he will relax. Even though they did not like it at first, my babies got so use to having a blanket over them it just wasn't a big deal. Remember ~ moms are teachers. Learning to nurse under a blanket or nursing cover has to be taught. Don't force it. Begin with placing it on only as long as they will allow and work up to using it the whole session. I do recommend getting one with as light a fabric as possible, though. It can get stuffy under there! In my situation, I began by first having baby latch on and then adding a blanket. After we mastered this, I transitioned to placing the blanket over both baby and myself first, then latching on underneath. By practicing all of this at home, stress simply didn't enter in.

We became such pros at it that I remember sitting in church one day nursing the baby when a man in the congregation walked up and started talking to me. He had absolutely no idea baby was even nursing. Yes, my mind went into freak out mode for a second. I figured as long as my body language wasn't screaming "Get back! There's a naked breast under here!" he would probably have no clue. I mentioned nothing about nursing and kept my cool. Sure enough, I was right, he had no idea! Maybe it was because he was a man, or maybe it just looked like baby was napping ~ either way, he was oblivious. Goal accomplished! The practice payed off! I felt powerful at that moment! Hee, hee.

  • Don't make a big deal of it. Your confidence and attitude will go a long way. Humans are funny creatures. Most of the time, they will follow your lead. Being laid back and comfortable will put others at ease. If you are uncomfortable and feel like you are being gawked at, create a diversion. Keep your water bottle close and demurely grab a drink. Pull out a magazine and gently flip through it. The focus of what you are doing will be completely diverted and their minds will transfer from "a woman nursing a baby" to "a woman taking a drink". If you find someone who seems preoccupied with staring, grab your cell phone. Begin flipping through yours, and they may feel a need to check theirs. Or you can fake like you are taking a picture of them. That'll be sure to make them turn away.

If someone still has a problem with your nursing, well, they can get a ladder and get over it! Remember ~ you are doing an incredibly good thing! God created your body to nurse your baby, and if He approves, who cares what anyone else thinks.

  • Lastly: Always, ALWAYS look for security cameras!!


Friday, June 4, 2010

Make Your CAMI a Nursing Cami

Did you know that you can wear Skinies underneath a tank top or EVEN a cami? Yep! If you have a favorite CAMI you love, Skinies is cut to disappear right under it! Just wear Skinies under your bra and your favorite cami over the top for the perfect breast-feeding camisole!

3 Easy steps to comfort:

1. Put on your Skinies.
2. Put on your bra over Skinies (super comfortable).
3. Slide your favorite camisole or tank top on and, voila! You are ready to go!

Now you have a complete full coverage camisole and you can still wear your favorite bra! When you need to nurse your baby, just pull up the outer camisole. Skinies will cover everything for you and help you nurse with confidence!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haitian Babies

If your heart is tugging at you when you think of the devastation in Haiti, I can certainly relate. I am sure that it was not a coincidence at all that just a few weeks before the tragic earthquake struck, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful Haitian man named John. In fact, I believe it was a divine appointment for the both of us.

Through a tender-hearted passion, John told my husband and I about his vision. The two of them take care of 25 orphans in Haiti. He talked about them like they were his own babies - I could sense the love God placed inside him for them. How wonderful that God gave them someone like John to be a father-figure for them! After we parted, John sent photos and as soon as I saw them, my heart melted. They are precious and darling, just like my own. I looked at my husband and I said "Rick, Skinies has to help these babies!"

I knew then that my goal was to grow Skinies so that we could be able to help these little ones. John told of how he has a waiting list of other orphans who need a loving home, but he doesn't have enough money to support them. Sadly, I am sure that after this earthquake, there may be even more on that list. We desperately want to become a source of support for them.

If you sense your heartstrings pulling as well, I ask that you please do not ignore it. Please consider giving a tax-deductible donation to:

Luther and Stella Ogle Foundation
P.O. Box 648
Gatlinburg, TN 37738-0648

Please write "orphanage" on your check. Every penny you give will go directly to the orphans.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another fabulous review of Skinies! This mom blogger says "Don't flash your father-in-law". Too funny! Here's a review that is down to earth and honest, check it out!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pure and Undefiled Religion

Death touched the life of a young girl I love dearly a few weeks ago and changed the course of her world forever. Watching her go through this was almost too much to bear. My mommy's heart ached day and night just thinking about the pain that wrapped itself around her.

I met Emily when she was only a tender, sweet and adorable 5 year-old. She and her beautiful mother moved in right across the back yard and our hearts became connected by our touching lawns. Through the years our two lawns became one big yard as Emily and my girls crossed between homes pretty much daily. When the neighbor kids were asked to go home because we had company, that never included Emily. She even signed Grandpa's birthday card.

It was God who surprised us with this close bond we developed and it seemed planned by Him all along. In the beginning, I babysat Emily because her mommy was a single working mother. We just wanted to help out. That was our plan, but God had a bigger one. He knit Barb and Emily right inside of our hearts and lives and made us feel like family instead of neighbors. I love Him for that.

One of the issues surrounding Emily that pulled at our heartstrings was the tragic loss of her daddy right before she moved into the neighborhood. Barb had been widowed and little Emily (daddy's girl) was left fatherless. We walked through moments with her when she missed him so very much. We reassured her that her Father in Heaven would be faithful to comfort her, and we prayed like a bandit for her and her precious mom through the years.

God showed us all His faithfulness to Emily. He began to show her that indeed it was true - He was a comfort. He became hers. We watched Emily learn to cling on to God as her source and even turn into a little warrior for her mother. She was the preacher of the family and preach she did. Her mom heard the gospel through Emily. Most importantly, she saw a living version of the gospel. I remember Barb calling me one day and saying "Jodie, the change in Emily is like a miracle!"

For eleven years we watched her grow, prayed for her, and loved her like our own. On July 5th of Emily's sixteenth year on Earth, a second tragedy struck her life that I thought would completely shatter her. But I was wrong. Instead of shattering her, she became a pillar of strength that I have not seen before in a human so young. Faith exuded from her and held her whole family up. Her strength made others strong.

The call I received July 5th I will never forget as long as I live. It was Emily. She was hysterical. She told me that her mom and boyfriend were in a motorcycle accident and Bruce was killed. Barb was in critical condition. Within an hour and a half, Barb died. Emily was orphaned. Life as we all knew it was changed forever. Death touched us all and left a permanent mark on our hearts.

Over the next couple of weeks, we watched this young teenager (who is still that sweet little girl in my eyes) grow up in a way no child should ever have to. Death entered her whimsical teenage life and viciously, violently knocked the wind out of her sails. However, just when we thought she was down for the count in the dark dirt of despair, she rose up. When others would need a sedative, Emily grabbed her Bible. She chose the music to honor her mother at the funeral and, of course, it also honored God. She clung on to the hope that Heaven is just another city and we are only separated for awhile. That hope she has spread to others.

It is for this reason that I am writing this blog. I want to honor Emily. I want others to know that in the great big world, there is a sixteen year-old who had the ability to overcome tragedy and become a pillar in the most tragic of any circumstance known to man. If she can - so can we. I now have seen an example. If Emily can get through this with faith burning inside of her heart - I can get through anything.

Emily is just at the beginning gate of this walk through the valley of the shadow of death. In Psalm 23, God promised her that He would be with her and comfort her. I heard it said once that we, as Christians, are the hands and feet of Jesus. He will use our arms to hug her when she hurts, our words to speak peace to her when she worries. On her weak days, we will hold her up - on her strong days, we will remind her where the source of her strength is coming from. Jesus will use our bodies as living vessels to take care of His little girl. According to James 1:27, this is a part of pure and undefiled religion - to look after the orphan.

Maybe you are moved in your heart by Emily's circumstance and would like to be involved in helping her. Maybe you just would like to be a vessel that God uses to take care of a young girl who no longer has a mom or dad to walk through this big world with her. Maybe you are simply interested in partaking in pure and undefiled religion. Whatever the reason, an opportunity for each one reading this is available.

An account has been set up at Fifth Third Bank in Emily's name. This is for her education. The call of God is very strong on Emily and I have no doubt that she will grow up to accomplish great things, so the donation will be well spent. However, even the smallest amount given is seen by God and pleases Him because we are fulfilling what He accepts as pure and undefiled religion.

Please consider giving to the:

Emily Elliston College Trust Fund

There are a couple of ways you can do this:
1) You can go into any Fifth Third Bank and give a deposit to the teller for the Emily Elliston College Trust Fund.

2) You can mail in a deposit to:

Fifth Third Bank
1311 Bellefontaine Street
Wapakoneta, OH 45895

* Put a note in the memo of your check saying "Emily Elliston Trust Fund".


Thursday, June 4, 2009

3,128 Saturdays

My favorite place to be as soon as I wake up when the house is still and the sunshine is peeking in to say "good morning!" is on my couch in the front room of my house. My kids dubbed it the "prayer room" years ago. They knew that is where they would find me each morning. One day, not too long ago, I was sipping my coffee and having a little conversation with God. The verse "Teach us to number our days" (Psalm 90:12) popped into my head. I pondered it for a few and then, feeling somewhat curious, pulled out my calculator to literally number my days.

What I discovered astounded me as it changed me. I was 40 at the time and generously gave myself until 100 years old to live out my days. I decided if I went to meet Jesus face to face at 100 years old, that gives me 60 years left. Here is where it gets scary. 60 years times 365 days means I only have a grand total of 21,900 days left here on Earth! That's it! It seems like such a small number. 21,900 dollars can only buy a car - not even a house. Small number.

It gets worse - when I divided that into the days of the week, my jaw dropped. I have only - get this - 3,128 Saturdays left here on Earth! That is assuming I live to be 100! This number is so small I could easily fit 3,128 squares on a chart and mark them off one by one. This number makes things like dust bunnies and tummy tucks seem like a ridiculous thing to waste my energy thinking about. After all, in a mere 3,128 days, how clean I kept my house and what kind of shape my body is in will be a non-issue. How I impacted my world will be all that matters.

So the question is, with my very few Saturdays left, what do I want to do? 3,128 Saturdays left to kiss my kids and let them know how much I love them, and my hubby. 3,128 Saturdays left to encourage a friend or help someone in need. 3,128 Saturdays left to do something that makes a difference in the world. If I told one person every week that God loves them and can help them, I will have only told 3,128 people when I stand face to face with Him. I best get busy...


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So excited...another post from this wonderful boutique! Skinies makes the perfect gift for that pregnant and nursing mother! A Mother's Boutique is a fantastic place to find Skinies and other goodies for moms. Judy offers impeccable service with first class professionalism! Why not stop in for a visit: