Clever Cleavage

Meet Zoe!

I really don’t have enough good things to say about her. She is such a fun person with a family that sounds so wonderful I secretly hope that one of my children marries on of theirs, so I can be a part of it, too!

Now the unique thing about today’s feature is Zoe has no children…yet. They are still waiting for their referral. They are adopting a sibling set from Ethiopia.

Please pray for Zoe and that her referral will come in God’s timing (which hopefully is soon! ;-)..)  and comfort and prepare her during her time of waiting….because waiting for 21 months can’t be easy on anyone….It also says a lot about her character.

  1. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with your children.
Well, I don’t have any. I know… weird that I’m showing up here to talk about this, but Jamie asked me to, so blame her.
I’m not a mother yet — my husband and I are in the process of adopting two children from Ethiopia. I did, however, grow up around a lot of breast-feeding… I’m the oldest of ten and my mother breast-fed every one of us. When I was young, breast-feeding was out of style. “Progressive” moms were using formula… you were considered old-fashioned and backward if you didn’t. My mother — never one to follow the crowd — thought this was ridiculous and did it anyway. All of my sisters have breast-fed their children. It was always a no-brainer for me… breast milk is healthier and the best way to nourish little ones.
I also know women who’ve struggled to breast feed for one reason or another and had trouble with low milk supplies, even after seeking advice and assistance. I never presume to know what’s gone into a woman’s decision about this. It’s true that some people are ignorant about the benefits of breast milk or about how to help themselves when it doesn’t come easy — there certainly needs to be better educated and support. But it may not always be possible or feasible for a woman to breast-feed, or to do so for a prolonged period of time.
2. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?
It’s not only good for mothers and babies, but for the culture at large. Public breast-feeding makes it more acceptable, and gives more women the courage to do it. Public breast-feeding also helps restore healthier attitudes about the body and breasts — which are not primarily meant to be sex objects. As to whether one should use a cover-up or not, I don’t really care. Some women are shy about exposing parts of their body in public that are normally covered, and some are not. My view is do what you’re comfortable with and don’t judge others.
3. What is your view of sustained breastfeeding, and why?
I’m a supporter, though I’ll admit that I find it odd to see a 4 or 5 year old nursing… probably because it’s so uncommon in our culture that it catches my eye. I’m also a trained counselor so my antennae go up… I can’t help but wonder if it’s actually about the child at that point. But as a rule, I don’t disagree with sustained breast-feeding. It’s a mother’s decision how long she thinks she should breast-feed her child.
4. What is your view of adoptive breastfeeding, and why?
I’m a big fan — what could be a better way to boost your child’s immune system and give him or her good nutrition, as well as foster bonding and attachment? Especially if a mother is already lactating, this seems like a no-brainer to me.
I don’t see this as a viable option for me, however. I’m a health nut and don’t believe I should take medications to artificially induce milk production for children I didn’t birth. Also, we’ll be adopting two children at once so I know I’ll already be pretty overwhelmed. Instead, if at least one of our children is under two, I plan to find healthy breast-milk from another woman. If I can’t make that happen, I’ll make a homemade formula using a recipe from the book, Nourishing Traditions.
5. Is there anything you find unique about your breastfeeding story with your children?
I’m sure it will be unique to be feeding my adopted children breast milk or making homemade formula for them. I don’t know any adopted parents who’ve done this. (Jamie being an exception.)
6. Is there anything you wish you did different?It will always make me sad that I haven’t breast-fed a child… I certainly would have wanted to.
7.Is there anything you would like to add?

Women can be really tough on each other, which is too bad. When it comes to breast-feeding, we should never assume we know a woman’s experience or circumstances.

Want to learn more about Zoe? Visit her website:

If you would like to be a featured “Clever Cleavage” mom, please e-mail me jamie(at)iamnotthebabysitter(dot)com

Clever Cleavage

Meet Mandi!!!!  Head of a cloth diapering group where I’ve met so many fun moms. She’s also hilarious……


1. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with
your children:
I have exclusively breastfed all three of my kiddos. My first
and second babies both nursed perfectly for about a year, at
which time they lost interest. My daughter is a whole other
ball game! She was in the NICU for 10 days because of meconium
aspiration/ingestion. She couldn’t even digest food for the
first few days, so she had to have IV nutrients. After that,
she couldn’t breathe well enough to suckle, but was given my
colostrum though a feeding tube. Once she could suckle, she was
nursed, and had only my breastmilk in a bottle when I couldn’t
be there (I had a 2-year-old and 4-year-old at home who also
needed me, otherwise I would have been there in the NICU 24/7).
When I brought her home on day 10, she was doing great, but had
a very strong preference for the bottle. She knew how to nurse
but would get pissed (that’s the only accurate word for it)
that the milk wasn’t immediate like it is with a bottle. So
each nursing session for the first day-and-a-half involved 10
minutes of her suckling for 2 seconds, then screaming for 2
minutes, then suckling for another 2 seconds, then screaming. I
was so frustrated, as was she, but I knew if I gave her the
bottle she would never get the hang of nursing at the breast.
After about 10 minutes of this at each nursing session, she
would finally stop protesting, and suckle long enough for the
milk to come down. By the 2nd day she was a pro, but I can see
how easy it could be to say “forget this, I’m giving her the
bottle!” Luckily, I am incredibly stubborn. 🙂 She is 2-years-
old now and still addicted to “buboo.”

2. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?
I think it’s wonderful, and I wish more women felt comfortable
doing it without a tarp. That being said, of course I would
much rather see a woman nursing her baby with a cover, rather
than being too embarrassed and choosing not to nurse at all. I
just wish our culture was one where women never felt like they
had to give it a second thought. I can’t wrap my brain around
how it’s okay for every skank in America to walk around with a
strip of fabric barely covering the nippage, yet people freak
out at the though of a breast being visibly used for it’s
biological purpose of feeding a baby. And don’t get me wrong…
I’m totally cool with skanks walking around half-naked – no one
should take around their right the be skanky. I just hate the
double standard.

3. What is your view of sustained breastfeeding, and why?
I think it rocks out loud! I fed each of my babies until they
stopped on their own (and I’m still nursing the 2-year-old). As
far as why… I guess it just makes sense in my mind.
Anthropologically, we are not meant to be weaned at a year. I
wish my boys would have gone longer. I won’t lie, though, I do
have moments where I just want my body to be completely my own

4. What is your view of adoptive breastfeeding, and why? (you
may skip this if you feel you do not have adequate knowledge of
the topic)
I think any adoptive mother who breastfeeds any amount, whether
already lactating or by re-lactation, deserves some kind of
special trophy! And a spa day! The gift of giving a child a
loving family and safe home is one beyond measure, but to add
to it the many unique gifts of nursing… WOW!

5.Is there anything you find unique about your breastfeeding
story with your children?
My boys are only 19 months apart, so I did breastfeed the first
while I pregnant with the second. Also, I think the odds
stacked against my daughter and I with her NICU stay and her
preference with the bottle in the beginning. I feel very proud
that I can say even with ALL of that she never had any formula.
That’s not to say that someone with the same circumstances who
does end up needing or choosing formula has failed in any way.
It just makes me feel proud, like a conquered a great challenge!

6. Is there anything you wish you did different?
You know, not really. I’ve loved my nursing time and I can’t
really think of anything I would change.

7. Is there anything you would like to add? Feel free to answer
questions you feel readers would like to know from
breastfeeding moms.
Obviously, the ideal would be 100% breastmilk, all the time.
But I always impress upon my students that I would rather see a
mom breastfeed for even ONE feeding a day, rather than NONE.
Ideally it would be exclusive breastfeeding, but even SOME
breastmilk is something to be very proud of in a society with
such low breastfeeding rates. 🙂

Mandi Woolery is a mama to three breastfed kids, as well as a childbirth educator and birth doula in the Inland Empire area of Southern California. Visit her website:


If you would like to be a featured “Clever Cleavage” mom, please e-mail me jamie(at)iamnotthebabysitter(dot)com

Clever Cleavage

Meet Stephanie!

Her family is culturally diverse and sounds like so much fun to be connected to two different countries like her children are.

Here are her thoughts on breastfeeding:

Q.  Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with your children.
A.  I was not raised in a breastfeeding family.  My mother and aunts formula fed for various reasons so I wasn’t exposed to nursing until my teenage years.  From my first memory of watching a mother at church nurse her baby I just knew I was going to give it a try myself.  I figured that’s what my breasts were for so that’s what I’d use them for.  When I became pregnant with my firstborn I made it a topic of research and even took a class offered my our hospital.  I registered for a breast pump and waited for my son to be born.  He was born sucking is lower lip which promptly turned my nipples into a mess.  I called the lactation consultant and we worked on his latch.  Once we worked out the latch we were home free.  He was big eater nursing up to 12-14 times a day for the first 3 months.  Things continued smoothly until I became pregnant again when he was 8 months old.  I was very sick with morning sickness and dehydrated.  My milk supply started dropping and with it my son’s weight.  He ended up losing 2+ pounds and his pediatrician sent him to children’s hospital for tests.  He was put on a strict diet of at least 20 ounces of formula per day as well as whatever he could get from me.  Soon he weaned himself to the formula only (10.5 months).  I was sad because I wanted him to make it to one year at least.  Our second child was born.  She was a lazy eater eating maybe 8 times a day.  For me it seemed like it wasn’t enough after her brother’s voracious appetite!  She was growing and healthy and we continued nursing until she self-weaned at 13.5 months.  I was pregnant again and once again my milk was gone and she was bored.  Now I am nursing our third child, another son.  He was born with a perfect latch but he wouldn’t latch on until one and half hours after birth.  He simply wasn’t interested but once he started eating he was good to go and hasn’t stopped eating since.  At 3 months old he is a healthy little boy.

Q. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?

A.  I nurse in public and am always glad when I see other mothers doing the same.  People need to realize that breastfeeding is the NORMAL way to feed a baby.  I personally do not use a cover but if a mother feels more comfortable nursing that way then more power to her.  She nursing her baby and that is more important to me than the politics of covering or not.

Q.  What is your view of sustained breastfeeding, and why?
A.   I think that sustained breastfeeding is an excellent  choice for some families.  But for me I choose not too.  Not that I’ve had to choose because I’ve always been pregnant before I was ready to actually wean my children.  I think that I’d want to start weaning my child around 15 months because I feel uncomfortable with the thought of ME nursing an older toddler.  Now, I am not uncomfortable with others  nursing their toddler it is just not for me.  It is my hang up.

Q.  What is your view of adoptive breastfeeding, and why?
A.  I have very little knowledge of adoptive breastfeeding.  Right now I’d say that if was to adopt a child while still nursing a biological child I’d certainly offer the breast to my adopted child.  It would help with bonding.

Q.  Is there anything you find unique about your breastfeeding story with your children?
A.  I think that I am just an average mom.  The only things that are unique about me are:  the fact that I am a super producer as I am able to pump 4-5 ounces on one side and I was the first mom to breastfeed in my circles.  Sad but true.

Q.  Is there anything you wish you did different?
A.  I wish I had waited to introduce solids to my first born until 6 months.  I started cereal at 3.5 months.

Q.  Is there anything you would like to add?
A.  The first weeks can be rough but with support you CAN make it.  Contact a lactation consultant, call your mom or girl friends who have experience, and keep at it.  You won’t regret it.  Breast truly is best.

If you would like to be a featured “Clever Cleavage” mom, please e-mail me jamie(at)iamnotthebabysitter(dot)com

Clever Cleavage

Meet Rose! She’s a former classroom teacher, current part-time learning specialist with a Master’s degree in Linguistics. Full-time SAHM.

She has twin infant boys and a 26 month old son!

1. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with your children:

BF did not happen naturally the first time around. I had taken classes and devoured books on the subject, but when it came time to feed my oldest son, I experienced severe pain for the 1st 4 weeks of his life.
We decided to hire a lactation consultant, who came to our home. Best money we ever spent! She referred us to a pediatric dentist who was able to loosen his tight frenulum (he was severely tongue-tied, which affected his ability to latch, therefore causing me horrendous pain). I felt results/relief instantly, and he was able to successfully take in more during each feeding.
I had almost given up, as no one I knew had ever discussed any difficulty with BF. At the time, I felt like a complete failure. Here I was with every BF pillow/gadget available, with a superb rocker/glider, and I couldn’t figure it out, when other women could do so walking down dirt paths with a basket on their heads! Once it got better, I too became a pro. Until teething began…
I always swore that once my children began to get teeth, that it would be a natural time to wean. My son got his first tooth at 3 1/2 months. So much for that plan. Somehow I got through it, and was able to successfully nurse him until he was 15 months. He self-weaned even though we co-slept. Two weeks later, we found out we were expecting what would be our twin boys.
The twins were born at 7lbs, 3oz and 4lbs, 15oz. I was able to BF immediately after the c-section, and am delighted to say my twins have never had anything other than my milk.
The bigger twin, because of a true knot in his cord, hoards nutrients, and this affects his feeding style in a dramatic way. When he is at the breast, his suck is so strong that I often joke that my nipple is all the way down to his belly button! He drinks audibly, with loud gulps. Not sure when he’s going to realize that no one is going to take his supply away from him, but the poor guy eats voraciously every single time. His brother, on the other hand, had huge difficulty latching on (we had to use a nipple shield until he was around 7 weeks), and his weight gain was a concern. I pumped to supplement for him.
We had the same lactation consultant come out and work with us. She is also a cranio-sacral therapist, so she worked on the twins. They are now 11weeks, and doing well. The smaller twin still has a harder time latching, but is transferring milk well.
2. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?
My view: I do it because it’s necessary. Every woman has her own comfort level with it. For me, I use a cover (especially at restaurants and the sort) not because I’m ashamed of my breasts or what they are meant to do, but because I’d rather not have total strangers staring at them. I nurse the twins (and formerly their brother) on demand, so if I had to nurse in privacy, I’d get absolutely nothing accomplished. When my oldest was around 8 months, I stopped using the nursing cover altogether (his choice, not mine. It bothered him!).
Eating is a public thing! We should never make anyone feel that mothers should not be able to nurse their children wherever it is most comfortable for both.
I have not yet tandem-fed in public, simply because I don’t bring my pillow everywhere with me. I’m sure as they get older we’ll figure out that art form!
Our society has such strange hang-ups about breasts. We need to really get over them.
3. What is your view of sustained breastfeeding, and why?
I’m assuming this refers to extended feeding? As long as it works for mother and child, I think it’s great.
4. What is your view of adoptive breastfeeding, and why? (you may skip this if you feel you do not have adequate knowledge of the topic)
I know of two possibilities for this:
Wet nursing is one. My grandmother, who had 12 of her own, helped many of her friends (this was in the 1920s and 30s) who had difficulty breastfeeding by nursing their babies. She was a true milk maid! I think human milk is usually a better alternative to formula, and am glad that milk banks and donor milk exists.
One of my former clients adopted her daughter, and was able, through medication and subsequent pumping, to lactate and feed her. I thought it was a beautiful thing!
5.Is there anything you find unique about your breastfeeding story with your children?
The success at BF multiples, along with having stuck to it the first time around, are things I’m quite proud of. I’ve now become a resource for friends and their friends as well!!!
6. Is there anything you wish you did different?
Wish I’d sought help sooner the 1st time around. Wish people would have shared their stories of difficult starts with me!
7. Is there anything you would like to add?
Having had a rough start to BF, I am happy to be an advocate of its many virtues. While I respect that some women have conditions or circumstances that prevent them from feeding their offspring, I do believe that it is indeed the superior choice. Let me know if you need any more info. Sorry for any typos. I was feeding the twins while I typed.
Also, I sought the advice of my twin BF guru, Lindsey. Without her advice & support, I can’t say I would be succeeding at this.
If you would like to be a featured “Clever Cleavage” mom, please e-mail me jamie(at)iamnotthebabysitter(dot)com

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I’d like everyone to meet Jenny! She is a rock star in the breastfeeding world!

1. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with your children:

My daughter joined our family via adoption when she was 10 months old. I had followed the Newman-Goldfarb Protocols for Induced Lactation ( for the previous 12 months so that I’d be able to breastfeed her. I amazed both my husband and myself when I was able to bring in a significant milk supply by the time we traveled to Ethiopia to pick her up. I knew at 10 months old, there was a chance she would not accept nursing at the breast. In fact, she didn’t. My daughter had been bottle fed since birth and quite possibly had never seen a breast in her life. She regarded mine as if they were alien beings and wanted nothing to do with them. But boy did she love her momma’s milk from a bottle! So for many many months I pumped around the clock and fed her my milk from a bottle, then later in a sippy cup. To make a long story short, just after she turned two years old, and just when I’d about had it with pumping and was considering stopping, my daughter decided to latch to the breast. It took about 3 weeks for us to learn to nurse comfortably and regularly. Now we are nursing pros. Even though my daughter had already been home with us for over a year when she started nursing, it has still been a wonderful part of our bonding and attachment to each other. There is a mutual vulnerability and respect when she nurses. And there’s a one-of-a-kind connection that we both recognize. It’s beautiful. 2. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?

(A quick word about breastfeeding in Italy, which is where I live. People here couldn’t care less where I feed my daughter. I love it! If they see us they look, notice, smile, acknowledge and move on. It’s just considered a natural beautiful thing and not indecent in the least. Living here, it’s become very clear to me how hung up the American society is about breastfeeding in public.)

Breastfeeding in public: As a lactation consultant I have always encouraged moms in this area. I had to put my own courage to the test when my two year old finally started nursing. I chose my “first time” carefully. We went to a park on the military base where I work. Ha! Lucky for me it was deserted. We sat down on a bench in the middle of the playground and I nursed my toddler. We saw only one person the entire time my daughter nursed. I don’t think the person was even close enough to realize what we were doing. Still, it was a bit nerve-wracking and I spent the time furtively looking around, checking for observers. Since then we have nursed at the pool, the park, the food court, restaurants, shopping centers and my office at work. My view is, my daughter deserves this milk, it’s not at all about me and my comfort level. That attitute got me over any public shyness very quickly. When nursing around Americans I do try a little harder to be discreet than when I nurse around Italians or other Europeans. And if I do feel a bit uncomfortable, I just look at my daughter and ignore what’s going on around me. But you know, one thing I’ve noticed is I have NOT gotten any odd looks or comments from anyone, even on base. I know Europe is breastfeeding friendly in general, but who would have imagined a military base could be? How cool.

3. What is your view of sustained breastfeeding, and why?

There is a great fact sheet on Extended Breastfeeding at Kelly Mom ( It lists several benefits of sustained breastfeeding to both mother and child. The most impressive benefits in my opinion are the nutritional and immunoprotective. Did you know that a nursing toddler can get about 1/3 of her daily calories from breast milk? Isn’t it interesting that non-nursing toddlers get sick more often and their illnesses last longer than nursing toddlers? I also really like the practice of allowing the child to decide when to wean. So much of nursing my daughter is about her comfort and security. As her mother it comes naturally to provide her as much of that as she needs. So you can guess by now that I am in favor of sustained breastfeeding. Actually, I should say I am in favor of child-led weaning, at whatever age the child is when s/he decides to end nursing. No age limit.

4. What is your view of adoptive breastfeeding, and why?

Adoptive breastfeeding amazes me. Physiologically I think it is literally incredible that a woman who has never even been pregnant is able to bring in a full milk supply in order to nurse an adopted infant or child. It’s also evidence of the immense well of love, adoration, determination, empathy, and respect that a mother has in regard to her children. It comes from the deepest mothering instinct a woman can have – to protect and nourish a vulnerable young one. You know how touching those photos are of a mother dog who adopts and nurses an orphaned kitten? Or the story of the 130 year old giant tortoise in Kenya that adopted the baby hippo in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami ( Those stories are so moving because they underscore one of our greatest fears, being alone with noone to love and care for us, and illustrate the mutual joy of adoption. While adoptive breastfeeding is a phenomenon most Americans are surprised to learn of, many many adoptive mothers have discovered the healing and bonding powers of their breastfeeding relationships with their children. 5.Is there anything you find unique about your breastfeeding story with your children?

Each mother and child’s breastfeeding story is personal and unique. 🙂

6. Is there anything you wish you did different?

Nope! My daughter learned to nurse on her own time, when she was ready, and she’ll continue to nurse as long as she wants to. This experience has been incredible for our whole family, even my husband and teenaged stepson. My stepson is learning what breasts are really for, that it’s natural and normal to nurse your baby/child. What a healthy thing for a teenaged boy to learn! Breastfeeding is so special to my daughter that she often wants to share her milk with her other parent, her dad. She’ll point to my other breast while nursing, wanting her dad to nurse too (no,we don’t do that, but we think it’s so sweet of her to offer!). Or, she’ll want her dad or brother to sit right next to her while she nurses so she can put her arm around his neck or play with his hair. There are so many awesome things about my daughter breastfeeding. At the very least this has been a wonderful bonding experience for all of us, we wouldn’t change a thing!

7. Is there anything you would like to add?

I am a wife, mom, nurse and internationally certified lacation consultant. I live and work at a US military base in Italy. My daughter is featured on my public blog at

If you would like to be a featured “Clever Cleavage” mom, please e-mail me jamie(at)iamnotthebabysitter(dot)com

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I would like everyone to meet Brandis, a good friend of mine!

1. Tell us about your personal breastfeeding experience with your children:

I breastfed My oldest, Izzy, until she was about 6.5 months old.  It was not my intention to wean her, but something about 6 months of sleep deprivation affects my sense of reason, and I didn’t know then what I know now.  It started out as one bottle in the evening “to get her to sleep longer” (one of the myths that trick parents into using formula…) and in just two weeks she stopped wanting to nurse.  She immediately started having health problems (runny nose, eczema, and diaper rash) and ended up being sensitive to dairy, but by her first birthday was able to drink small amounts of milk with no issues.

Then my second, Oliver, was born and I breastfed him until he was almost 8 months old, although he started having occasional bottles of formula when I went on a trip to Vegas when he was 5 months old.  He had food reactions from birth, first to the food I ate (I had to cut out dairy the first few months) and then to the formula, although since he was only getting occasional bottles we didn’t make the connection at first.  His reactions were far more sever than Izzy’s- he had a croupy cough and bad runny nose for a month before we figured it out and switched to soy (again, I didn’t know then what I know now).  For the rest of his first year his symptoms went away, but not long after his first birthday and being weaned off of formula both kids developed a terribly croupy cough.  I tend to wait out coughs that aren’t accompanied by any other symptoms, and despite the severity of this particular cough, neither kid had fevers or any other (obvious) symptoms.  But a nurse friend of mine took one listen to their coughs and basically told me that if I didn’t take my kids to the doctor ASAP she was going to do it for me.  So I did, and they were both immediately put on a nebulizer.  Both kids were diagnosed with upper respiratory tract infections and bi-lateral ear infections, and since this was not Oliver’s first resperatory infection the word “asthma” was mentioned quite a few times.  (I’m getting back to breastfeeding here, I promise…)

Fast forward nine months- after basically a solid nine months of ear infections and upper respiratory infections we finally discovered my children suffered from food allergies.  As soon as I eliminated the offending foods the symptoms disappeared and they were fine.  But I wasn’t satisfied with that- what caused these allergies?  Are they going to have them forever?  So I did some research, and in a nutshell I came up with some theories as to what happened, and how I could have prevented it (don’t worry, I don’t beat myself up about this much, but I would love others to learn from my mistake).  I could go on about this topic alone for years, but in relation to breastfeeding, were I to go back and do it again, I would breastfeed exclusively (ie no other foods AT ALL- especially no cereal) as long as possible, I would introduce egg yolks as the very first solid food, and I wouldn’t introduce any grains at all until after one year.  And no soy.  At all.  If you’re interested in learning more, pick up Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon or do a Google search on the virgin gut.  Just one bottle of formula CAN hurt.

2. What is your view of breastfeeding in public, and why?

Personally I don’t see why it’s an issue with anyone.  It’s a totally natural thing to do, and expecting mothers to make their babies wait, to pump (which we all know is a PITA) just for outings, or to go somewhere else just because the act makes a few insecure closed minded people uncomfortable.  I personally used a cover when I breastfed in public, but most of the other mothers I know don’t/didn’t, and you almost never knew they were doing it unless you were staring at their breasts… and that in itself is a problem.  The thing that bothers me the most is that no one goes up to the girl whose skirt is so short you can see pubic hair and tells her to cover up, but they say that to nursing mothers.  The problem is that society has over-sexualized not only breasts but the actual act of breast feeding and now too many people consider both breastfeeding in public and breastfeeding an older child to be a sexual act, when in fact is the farthest from it.

3. What is your view of sustained breastfeeding, and why?

My feelings on sustained breastfeeding are actually pretty complicated.  On one hand I think it’s great, and any mother who does it should be commended.  The benefits to the child have been pretty definitively proven (as opposed to allowing a child over the age of one to have a bottle, which I unequivocally disapprove of regardless of the circumstances).  I don’t think it’s “wrong” or “weird” or whatever other closed minded people say about it without knowing what in the heck they’re talking about.

However, in my own situation and based on the values of my family, I would not practice extended breastfeeding myself past probably 14 months.  Much as Jamie bases her belief in the value of extended breastfeeding on her knowledge of anthropology, I base my personal belief that it wouldn’t be the best choice for our family (much as I did with co-sleeping) on Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development.  The first stage is bonding (trust vs. mistrust), which lasts from birth until 12-18 months.  The second stage, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, starts between a year and 18 months, and is the time when the toddler begins to develop a sense of independence.  This is not to say that a breastfed child isn’t going to have a sense of self, and many families intentionally follow practices that teach interdependence instead of individual independence, which is great.  But in our family, we value independence.  Let me restate that- I value independence.  I fully understand that my children rely upon me from birth to meet the physical and emotional needs, but I also need to meet MY physical and emotional needs.  Co-sleeping and extended breastfeeding aren’t things that I feel would lead to these needs being met.

On a slightly related tangent, sometimes I wonder (because us moms overthink these things) if I confused my kids, because I didn’t EBF or co-sleep (at least not past 4 months), but I otherwise practiced baby centered child rearing practices like no cry it out, baby wearing, gentle discipline, etc.  Who knows?

4. What is your view of adoptive breastfeeding, and why? (you may skip this if you feel you do not have adequate knowledge of the topic)

I don’t know that I have adequate knowledge of this topic, but I think that it’s an amazing thing for a mother to do for an adopted child.  The adoption process can be very difficult for both the child and the parents as it doesn’t follow the natural process of otherwise having a child- the change is much more sudden for all involved, and bonding can be difficult (which in some extreme cases can lead to Reactive Attachment Dissorder, which is some scary stuff…).  Breastfeeding is an amazingly bonding experience and can do in a short time what otherwise might take months or even years for the parents and child to establish.  I don’t think any mother should be pressured into trying it, of course, because it can be hard to spontaneously lactate, but I think that the stigma concerning breastfeeding “someone else’s child” (which A- I don’t think is that big of a deal, and B- it isn’t someone else’s child, is it?) needs to be dealt with so that more adoptive parents, particularly adoptive parents of newborns, will consider breastfeeding as an option.  It’s also important to remember that there are other means to speed up bonding that can be used either in conjunction with or instead of breastfeeding, like infant massage (which isn’t just for infants).

5.Is there anything you find unique about your breastfeeding story with your children?

Well, I shared my story above… and the food allergy story is actually becoming a less and less unique one.  I think that many babies who suffer from MSPI (milk so protein intolerance) and colic and children of all ages that are plagued with chronic ear infections, asthma, and repeated upper respiratory infections have undiagnosed food allergies.  That’s why I feel it is so important to get the word out- your child does not have to suffer!  And one of the most important things you can do to prevent these problems in the future is breastfeed at least to a year and delay the introduction of solid foods, ESPECIALLY grains.
6. Is there anything you wish you did different?

I’ve already answered this in number one, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to maintain the virgin gut as long as possible.  Grains SHOULD NOT be a baby’s first solid food, as a baby’s digestive tract is not mature enough to properly digest them and they cause all sorts of problems in the gut.

7. Is there anything you would like to add?

I think I’ve said quite a bit already:)  I would like to repeat my recommendation to check out Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  Some people think I’m crazy for the way I eat and the way I think children should be fed… whatever.  I have healthy kids and I personally feel better than I have ever felt.  And I really REALLY wish I would have discovered this book before I had kids.  So if I can help just one other mom discover this book “in time” I will consider my time well spent.

Want to know more about Brandi? Check out her great blog:

If you would like to be a featured “Clever Cleavage” mom, please e-mail me jamie(at)iamnotthebabysitter(dot)com

Men Can Breastfeed?!

I wanted to end World Breastfeeding Week with a futuristic thought of breastfeeding….kind of.

How do you feel about men breastfeeding?

Not possible? Not true.

There is actually scholarly literature on the subject!

“Male Lactation” by Professor Patty Stuart Macadam of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto (Compleat Mother, Fall, 1996, Volume 43).

Male breasts have milk ducts. Men also produce oxytocin and prolactin, the hormones you need to produce milk. This can be stimulated using lactation inducing drugs, or merely enough nipple stimulation.

The first time I heard about this was a news story about a Sri Lankan man that lost his wife in childbirth. This is what he said about how he started breastfeeding:

“My eldest daughter refused to be fed with powdered milk liquid in the feeding bottle.”

“I was so moved one evening and to stop her crying I offered my breast. I then realised that I was capable of breastfeeding her.”

He started lactating and he is able to breastfeed his daughter. It was clear that he loved her very much, and I was moved by his story.

male breastfeeding has also been studied in other mammals….

So, as our culture changes is this perhaps going to be seen in our own society in the future?

I don’t know, but it IS possible! Who knew!?

Before We Met Samuel

When we received our referral and were devastated when Brian’s plane  did not make it off the runway, leaving Brian unable to make it for court, court closure the following week for two months, and delaying Samuel’s homecoming for FOUR MONTHS- We felt like nothing would cheer us up.

I was browsing around adoption Blogs and found Becky’s Blog. She had blogged about her son, and how he was very shy at the orphanage. They brought in a friend for him to try to calm him down. I read the blog and they were sweetly complimenting his little friend that was building toys and happily playing next to their newest son. The pictures were not specifically taken of the other child because it isn’t legal and they weren’t there to see him, so the angles were not clear.

However, in one photo I noticed a scar underneath the little boy’s eye and I realized that I was looking at Samuel! My baby that I have never met was sitting with this family I did not know.

Samuel- purple polka dots!

See Here and Here

Through blogging and our WACAP board I was able to connect with them! It was such a blessing to be able to speak with Becky about our son and his mannerisms…his likes and his personality…..It got us through those four extra months.

We were able to hear what a special boy he truly is. We were also able to hear from Becky how he was doing well at the orphanage and there was no need for alarm.

We’ve made so many great friends in the adoption community that have been so supportive, and really got us through the inevitable challenges that all adoptive parents face through the process.

So that is a background on Becky. She is a great person and her adorable daughter is obsessed with lemurs! (a girl after my own heart!)

Becky has allowed me to use these pictures for World Breastfeeding Week of her with the Mursi tribe in Ethiopia.

Becky and her husband with a woman of the Mursi tribe breastfeeding her child.