Browsing Category



Breastfeeding out and about

Feeding a hungry baby in view of other humans shouldn’t be a thing, but it is. Why? Because…boobs.

And I get it, I’m not a fan of seeing other people’s breasts out on display either, but after having 5 babies who didn’t understand the value of delayed gratification and always wanted their milk RIGHT NOW AT THIS VERY INSTANT, I also totally understand why breastfeeding in public is necessary. I wouldn’t go as far as to call myself a lactivist, because that sounds so bra-burning feminist kind of radical, but I am definitely in favour of mothers breastfeeding anytime, anywhere.

I think I’m gonna start with several important points that breastfeeding mothers would like you to know.

1. We’d much rather not show you our boobs.

Given a choice, I’d definitely pick not showing off my boobs. Ever. But it’s really not about you, it’s about providing basic nutrition to my baby who thinks that breasts are her food delivery devices. Also, breastfeeding a hungry/angry/flailing baby can be like wrestling a bobcat so if you happen to spot some boob action in that split second where I’m not entirely successful at keeping it all under wraps, just know that I’m trying my best to keep them hidden from view here.

2. Hungry babies are basically tyrants.

Hungry babies can’t be reasoned with and they do not care that mommy’s modesty is at stake. They will make their displeasure known by making a terrible sound with their mouths until you give them exactly what they want. And what they want is milk on tap, even when you’re out with no nursing room in sight.

3. Breastfeeding in public is the very last resort.

Nobody starts their day thinking, “okay, where can I feed my baby so that I can be seen by the most number of people possible?” My favourite place to breastfeed my baby is in my comfy room with my soft, soft bed, my pillows (to prop the baby so my arms don’t get tired) and my netflix. Unfortunately, life with 4 other kids doesn’t afford me the luxury of being able to feed my baby at my favourite place all the time. I try to arrange my schedule such that feeding time coincides with comfy room time but babies don’t really care about schedules and they want what they want when they want it. For the record, by the time I get to the point where I have to let out those boobs in public, I would have already exhausted every possible option and this is the very last resort.

So then if you have to be outdoors with a hungry baby and there’s no nursing room to be found, what’s a nice, conservative girl s’posed to do?

I’m glad you asked. After breastfeeding 3 babies, I’ve figured out a few ways to make this process less awkward for everyone involved.

First, let’s talk about nursing covers. In theory, it seems like a great solution. If you don’t want your breast to be seen, cover it up with a piece of cloth, problem solved. Except that it creates a bigger problem because in order for the nursing cover to do its job, it also has to cover the baby’s head entirely. This cuts off ventilation, restricts air supply, and makes the baby feel like she’s drinking her milk and dying at the same time. No baby should have to eat like this. No one should have to eat like this. As it is, my baby sweats through an entire romper when she feeds in a cool, air-conditioned room without a nursing cover. If I have to to feed her outdoors in 30-degree heat under a nursing cover, she will go crazy.

In lieu of a full wrap around cover, I bring along a breathable, muslin cloth to drape over the top part of my shirt whenever I’m breastfeeding in public. If you angle it just right, you can cover the top of your boob while leaving the baby’s head and nostrils exposed so she can breathe. Then just pray that she doesn’t yank it off while drinking.


Moving on to nursing tops. Nursing tops are great because they are specially designed for quick and discreet boob access. If you can find gorgeous, trendy nursing tops, go for it! Unfortunately, this has been challenging for me, so I Macgyver my wardrobe to fashion makeshift nursing tops. You can go with the 2-top layering trick (one up, one down) so you don’t have to choose between exposing your side belly fats or your entire chest. This works with 2 t-shirts, a t-shirt + light cardigan or a t-shirt + tank top. Button down shirts work really well too, as long as you remember to bring along an extra cloth to cover up the parts you want to keep hidden.

When you’re breastfeeding, 99% of the time, the breast will be covered by the baby’s mouth and possibly also a strategically placed cloth. The only time you’re risking boob exposure is during the latching process.

There are 2 common ways to do this:

1. Cover-And-Latch

I’ve seen moms who are extremely skilled at the Cover-And-Latch technique. They’ll prop the baby under a nursing cover, latch the baby without looking, then remove the nursing cover once the baby is in position. I tried this several times and none of those times turned out well because I happen to have babies who hate the nursing cover and will flail like a wild stallion the moment I put one on. Also, with the cover covering her entire face, it’s impossible to know where her mouth is, so I’m like struggling to hold a screaming, flailing baby while jabbing my breast repeatedly at her eye. It was a total disaster. Which is why I prefer method #2.

2. Walk-And-Latch

I’ll walk to a quiet, secluded corner (make sure there are also no cameras or else woo, free show!), extract the boob, latch the baby, cover up with cloth, make sure everything is in position and then continue on my merry way. On a good day, this all can be done in 3-5 seconds.

Finally, practice, practice, practice. Before you do this outdoors, practice it at home until you’re very skilled at it.

There was one time several years ago, back when I was still new to outdoor breastfeeding, I was out with Finn when he got really hungry. I know this because he started making that screaming sound that made everyone around me stop to look. I tried the usual swaddling and rocking but nothing seemed to be able to comfort him – he was in full on food rage mode. So I sprinted to the nearest nursing room, which was two levels up, only to find that it was occupied. And there I was, panicking as I stood outside, frantically bouncing my screamy baby, hoping the mom would miraculously vacate her spot, but she didn’t. I contemplated running off to look for another nursing room (and risk also finding it occupied), or running back to the car (which I had parked 10 minutes away because I was a cheapskate and refused to pay mall parking rates) but none of those options seemed particularly appealing to my angry infant, whose screams had by now escalated into a fit-inducing frenzy.

I did the only thing left to do, which was to head to a secluded corner and feed my baby right there. The quietest bench I could find was occupied by another lady, so I sat down at the other end of the bench, fumbled with the nursing cover and finally managed to latch on the baby. She looked at me the whole time and I was half expecting her to ask me to do this somewhere else but she didn’t. She asked me how old the baby was, and we talked about how breastfeeding is good for raising the baby’s immunity. It was the first time I had a conversation with a stranger while breastfeeding, which turned to to be really nice. She made it feel normal for me to do this and I was grateful.

There are a lot of things about motherhood that can be really hard, but this shouldn’t be one of them.

//On this note, I’m really enjoying these breastfeeding days with this last baby. Knowing it’s the last time I’ll get to breastfeed a baby feels bittersweet, especially since I haven’t had the easiest time breastfeeding all the other babies. But it helps that I get to look at this gummy grin every single time.

Baby Hayley breaks into the widest, happiest smile every time she’s done drinking, which honestly, makes me feel like a rock star. :)

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset


The end of nursing?

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Lately, I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s finally time to call it on the breastfeeding. I don’t know, I’m really waffling on this one. Right from the start, my plan was to nurse Theo for 9 months and we’ve made it.

I was munching on baby Theo’s juicy thighs, and I thought, “hey, well done me!” Pop the champagne and take a bow, I’m out.

Typically, this would be an easy decision to make (no more biting, no more yanking, no more violent spasms of pain!) and rationally, this feels like the right time to wean, but I just can’t shake off the feeling that I’ll regret it. It doesn’t make any sense.

A lot of things about motherhood don’t make sense, which explains why we second guess ourselves so much over all these parenting decisions. On the one hand, our heads tell us that these are the right choices, they make sense, and therefore we should do them. But why does it feel wrong, like my mommy spidersense is yelling for me to override my logical brain?

There are so many reasons why now a good time to wean: he’s a champ at eating solids, he’s taking the bottle well, and he’s been distracted lately, unlatching to smile and talk and play during feeds (so disruptive! but adorable!!).

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Plus the recent episode at the hospital has acted as a sort of catalyst. There’s been a noticeable drop in milk production while he was on the IV drip, coupled with an engorgement/biting soreness situation going on that feels like a mother bear just slashed me in the boob with her claws. At first, I was determined to power through it, because I do not surrender to pain (ok, I got some painkillers and meds from the doctor – I surrender to pain very quickly all the time). I mean, if this happened earlier, I’d do whatever it takes to continue breastfeeding but at this point, maybe I should take it as a sign to stop.

I sort of made a mental decision to wean a few days ago (even went out to buy formula) and you know how when you decide on something and immediately feel that sinking feeling in your gut that tells you it’s the wrong call? That happened.

As I fed Theo knowing that it was nearing an end, I suddenly had a major craving for this to continue forever, to feel the weight of a baby in my arms, to look at his contented little face dozing off as he drank, to inhale his baby smell and stroke his chubby cheeks, urgh, I’m so predictable. What I know for sure is that I’ll miss it so very much when it’s over.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

This is turning out to be a really hard call to make.


The universal truth about breastfeeding

Let me preface this post with some general thoughts on breastfeeding.

1. Breastmilk is wonderful. It’s got all the nutrients and antibodies that your baby could possibly need. It’s also great for bonding, super convenient and free. I was sold on that last part once I saw the prices of baby formula.

2. Breastmilk isn’t an elixir for immortality, no matter what some might say. It doesn’t give your baby magical powers nor does it make them super special. So if you can’t or won’t, it’s ok, your baby will be just fine. I know this because Truett wasn’t breastfed and he’s a perfect specimen of a 6-year-old.

3. I’ve gone the formula route (Truett), the expressing to bottle-feed route (Kirsten) and the straight from the boob-tap route (Finn) and my favourite is hands down the boob-tap. In terms of convenience, there’s nothing quite like being able to pop out your boob to feed the baby. But we made the other methods work so there’s that.

3(b). Closely related to the boob popping is the matter of breastfeeding in public. I’m not particularly fond of flashing my boobs in public and I’d take the privacy of a nursing room any day but I’ve fed my hungry baby in restaurants, malls and public benches on several occasions so make of that what you will.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to the fun part, boobs!

//It’s going to be long so feel free to skip most of it and scroll right to the end where there’ll be photos of boobs the baby!


I often hear mothers talk about how beautiful and natural and easy breastfeeding is and every time I read one of those perfect breastfeeding stories, I start to hate them and their wonder boobs just a little because in my experience, breastfeeding is so very hard.

It’s really, really, really hard, especially in the first couple of weeks. It’s like I have broken boobs and my baby hates them.

I scoured the internet and nobody really talks about how difficult it is to stuff your boob into your newborn’s teensy tiny little mouth so I guess I will.

The first two weeks after Theo was born, trying to breastfeed him was an absolute nightmare. I googled “How to get a correct latch” and “Tips on successful breastfeeding” numerous times a day and probably read every website and forum on breastfeeding. One particular website even had this lovely gem: “All babies love breasts, it’s the most natural thing for them!” and I was all “Oh ho ho, you clearly haven’t met my baby!!” I was even googling “Why does my baby hate my boobs” but those weren’t very helpful either.

Soon, I started watching youtube videos on how to latch on your baby and FYI, I’ve seen more boobs than I ever want to see in my entire life. And they all made it look so easy – Step 1: pop out your boob, Step 2: bring baby’s head to exposed boob, Step 3: baby drinks with a contented smile.

When I tried the exact same thing, my baby was anything but contented and he certainly wasn’t drinking nor smiling. Instead, he was flailing his head and struggling and screaming till he was red in the face. Not pink. Bright lobster red. Like he had just burst an artery in his face. He would push out the boob with his tongue and try to gum them really hard with his piranha gums (OUCHIES!) and swipe them away vigorously with his hands like “WHAT IS THIS?? GET IT AWAY, GET IT OUT OF MY FACE URGHH!!”

It was truly distressing. It destroyed me to know that my boobs were causing him so much tears and I felt like I was failing horribly at providing him the one thing he needed to survive – basic nutrition. Couple that with the general postpartum anxiety and let’s just say that I was in tears a lot as well.

At one point, I was even afraid to offer him my boob anymore because it seemed just looking at them upset him. I’d pretty much given up hope of ever latching him on and I was pumping exclusively to bottle-feed him.

I don’t think I would have made it through those rough couple of days without the husband being so supportive and talking it out with me. He’d tell me not to worry about the feeding and that the baby would be fine either way. On better days, he’s encourage me to just try offering him the boob without stressing over it.

So I did. Instead of forcing it, I’d be all casual like “hey baby, there’s a nice boob right here if you want it but it’s cool if you don’t.” He’d scream and I’d fail over and over and over but then one day, it suddenly just worked. He went from “WHAT IS THIS ABOMINATION??!!!” to “hey, that’s a fine-looking boob, maybe I’ll have me some of that delicious milk…” So he took the boob and that was my first successful latch. The next feed, he’d go back to hating them again but several more failures later, he took the boob once more. And then again. And again. It was one successful latch at a time until we found our mojo.

It took us a long time to get here but today, he’s a boob kind of guy and I’m so glad we get to do this.

baby theo


To wean or not to wean

I’ve been thinking that maybe it’s finally time to wean baby Finn. As in stopping breastfeeding and switching him to formula.

When he was born, I didn’t think I’d be successful at latching him on but just like that, I’ve been doing it for almost 8 months now. 8 months of powering through the depression. 8 months of having my boob chewed on every 3-4 hours. 8 months of special bonding time with my littlest one.

He’s been adjusting to solids fairly well recently and I’m thinking that the time has come to give my boobs (and the rest of me) a break. Letting someone else (babe, I’m looking at you) take over the feeding for a change so I can maybe sleep through the night for once.

Oh, sweet, uninterrupted nighttime sleep, you and me be needing a date real soon.

With Kirsten, I made it to 9 months of breastfeeding and the day I decided to wean her, I popped the champagne and did a victory dance. But that was because I never managed to latch her on and the whole pumping experience made me feel like Bessie the cow. I couldn’t wait to be done with all the tubes and pumping equipment.

This time around with Finn, I’m really torn about it. I still had to struggle with D-MER these past 8 months but being able to hold him in my arms while he drank was a really special experience and I feel like I’m not quite ready to give it up just yet.

And then there’s his refusal to drink from the bottle to contend with. I’ve tried 4 different brands of bottles and he hates every single one of them. I tried expressed breast milk (even fresh ones right from the boob) and several brands of formula but none of them worked. When I have to leave him with my in-laws for an afternoon, he’ll struggle through each feed and wait for me to appear before attacking my boobs like he’s positively starving.

So I made a list of pros and cons like I usually do when faced with dilemmas.

weaning or breastfeeding

You guys have any advice on somewhat painless weaning techniques? See you in the comments. 

breastfeeding, the breast things in life are free

Breast Friends

breast friends

I didn’t think I’d get here but for the first time in like, ever, I’m starting to enjoy breastfeeding. Maybe *enjoy* is not quite the right word here. It’s less of “I’m enjoying my trip to Disneyworld” and more of “I’m enjoying not getting punched in the face”.

I still get the sinking feeling during let down but I’m learning to get that under control by focusing on the fun parts of breastfeeding. Yes, that was fun and breastfeeding in the sentence you just read.

That’s a big deal because for me, breastfeeding is usually accompanied by words like “painful, depressing and OMG WHEN IS THIS EVER GOING TO END???”

But after 5 months of latching on baby Finn, breastfeeding and I are now xoxo BFFs yayy!!

So here’s my list of breastfeeding fun times.

1. Running my fingers across his cheeks while he drinks. Sure, I can do this at other times but this boy is a squirmy one and the only time he’s immobile is when he’s attached to my boob. That’s 20 minutes of unlimited baby cheek access without any squirming.

2. Magical sandman powers. I try not to use it all the time but nursing is the best solution for a fussy baby. It doesn’t matter what he’s crying about – too hot, too cold, too bored, too tired, doesn’t matter, just pop out a boob and BAM, problem solved. He immediately settles down and his eyes roll back into his head like he’s under a potent sleep spell. It’s like I’m the magician and my boobs are…ok never mind.

3. Catching his gaze and being rewarded with a milky smile. Once in a while, my sleep magic doesn’t work and he glances up at me with those heart-melting baby eyes. And he breaks into a gummy, milky smile. And then my heart explodes with too much love.

4. The way he places one hand on my boob and grips my shirt with the other. Which basically says “ALL MINE! Keep off my property.” Strangely, I don’t mind it one bit.

5. Talking. Mostly, I do the talking while he does the drinking. Sometimes I tell him about my day. Other times, I tell him about how awesome he is and how glad we are to have him. And every day without fail, I get to tell him that he’s loved and special as he’s snuggled up in my arms.

breastfeeding, the breast things in life are free

Booby Trap


If baby Finn could talk, his favorite phrase would be “I WANT BOOBS!!” You’d think that it means he wants milk, but no, it’s the boobs that he’s after. Well, occasionally he does want the milk when he’s hungry but he only takes about 6-7 full feeds a day. The rest of the time, he just wants to use me as a human pacifier while letting the milk trickle out of the side of his mouth.

I tried giving him a pacifier and it worked for a couple of days until he realized that hey, this feels plasticky and wrong. So we played the spit-the-pacifier-out-while-I-stuff-it-back game, which I obviously lost because the spitting part is so much easier.

For him, every successful spit = 10 points.

For me, catching it in time = 5 points, aiming it into his tiny mouth = 5 points. If it falls onto the floor = -50 points + I have to go rinse it.

It’s a stupid game.

So, boobs. Thanks to his obsession, the entire area from my shoulder down to my waist is now a demilitarized zone. Unless he’s hungry, he’s not allowed to smell it or touch it or look at it or go near it. Which means I can only carry him facing forward and keep him as far away from THE ZONE as possible. The cradle hold against my chest? Impossible unless I want them to come under attack.

And by attack, I mean that he’ll burrow his head furiously into my boobs and suck on my t-shirt in a frenzy. He’ll be all “2 layers of clothing are keeping me away from these boobs? Imma eat them, nom nom nom…” It’s cute and terrifying at the same time.

Last weekend, a friend offered to hold him for a moment and she made the mistake of going for the cradle hold. My son took it as a cue for feeding time and started attacking her boobs. Even though I’ve just fed him 10 minutes ago and there ain’t no milk from these particular boobs. It was just awkward on so many levels.

I’m going to have to teach him the see-no-touch rule.

breastfeeding, lists you should paste on your fridge, not feeling so supermom, side effects of motherhood

Bobbly Bobblehead

So Truett and Kirsten both go to preschool in the morning and it’s great because by the time they’re done at noon, they come home with a bunch of new skills, tales of their adventures and little nuggets of academic knowledge they’ve gained that day. Like Tru came home last week and declared that he now knows how to clean his own bottom after pooping. I think he tried to clean the toilet bowl as well because I peered in to find half a roll of toilet paper stuffed into it but on the bright side, I’m sure his bottom was extremely clean after going through that much paper.

But then now that they’re in school, they also come home with other stuff like germs, viruses and bacteria. Lots and lots of them. To be precise, about 50 kids worth of them. Which would be fine if we didn’t have a baby in the house but you see, there’s just one problem. The baby is in the house, yo!

Within the first 3 months of baby Finn’s life, he’s already been ill 4 times. And that’s after factoring in a diet of my super-immunity-building breast milk.

The past 2 nights, baby Finn was fluish again and the virus was causing his sleep pattern to regress. He woke up every 2 hours for a feed and each time, he’d flail and struggle to breathe while latched on with his death grip for almost 40 minutes.

In other words, he was pretty much attached to my boob the entire night. Times two.

In my sleep-deprived stupor, I noticed several things.

1. Lying down is the best position to breastfeed. It is also the single most hated feeding postion for baby Finn. He’s all like “THIS IS NO WAY TO DRINK MY MILK AND I WILL NOT STAND IT.” Instead, he likes to be cradled in my arms while I’m sitting upright because he’s a tyrant and a slavedriver.

2. Falling asleep while breastfeeding is very bad. For boobs. The husband can keep his head perfectly straight while sleeping upright but I unfortunately do not possess that particular ability. Once I doze off, my head rolls around like a bobblehead doll and one time, it rolled to the back, causing my boob to be yanked backwards. Instead of letting go of his grip, baby Finn bit down even harder and let’s just say that the yanking + biting combination = a very effective deterrence to falling asleep.

3. Marathon breastfeeding through the night makes me very hungry. And sitting there in the dark gives me a lot of time to think about food. After the 5am feed, I had the most massive craving for a bacon sandwich so I raided my fridge only to find some milk & cereal. Which was nowhere near as good but when you’re starving at 5am, it’s pretty darn tasty.