“Boobs are ONLY for babies! Boobs are ONLY for husbands! Guess what ladies, you are both pretty, so quit screaming about your tits. They’re multipurpose!”
Hi there! If you have ever been a friend of mine on my personal Facebook, liked the blog Facebook page or followed this blog after a certain time, you’ve probably noticed that despite the fact that I talk about breastfeeding with some regularity, I don’t have any breastfeeding photos posted.
That might seem a little weird to you, and maybe you’ve wondered what the deal is. If you belong to one of the mommy groups I am in, have been following me from the beginning of this blog, or were following me since I began the Facebook page, you might remember a few times when I did post a few breastfeeding photos, but if you were to look for them today you wouldn’t find them. There is only one breastfeeding photo of my son and I that could be found online now, and it is a very small or cropped photo.
So why are they all gone? Why don’t I regular post breastfeeding photos to help #normalizebreastfeeding?
The answer is pretty simple to the second question, I prefer to write or talk instead of post a photo.
The answer to the first could be a touchy subject, but I am going to talk about it anyways. The reason you won’t find any past or future breastfeeding photos of me and my son is because my husband asked me not to post them.
When he asked me not to post any, it was amidst thepublicblogger competition and I had already released a professional breastfeeding photo to be used in the promos. It was already too late to take it back, and my husband was grieved about that. I hadn’t consulted him about posting breastfeeding photos (I consult him about everything) because it never crossed my mind. I was being told by other women that it was normal to post lots of breastfeeding photos all the time and any objections that were raised were considered outlandish.
Then my husband objected. Then my husband raised concerns. He didn’t just raise concerns, he was visibly wounded by my lack of consideration for his feelings on the matter. We talk to each other about nearly every decision in life, especially what goes on our social media accounts, so this was out of the ordinary.
I was saddened and confused. One side was telling me it was “my body, my choice” and that any objectors had to be insane and the other was asking me with a vulnerable and genuine heart to please not post breastfeeding photos. The voices of people who I thought were my friends would rally against people like this, like my husband. It was dividing, and everything I thought I knew about breastfeeding and society was thrown out the window.
I went back through my blog, Facebook and mommy groups and deleted the photos I had posted.
The truth was, and is, that it isn’t “my body, my choice” to post breastfeeding photos. My belief in Christ is central to my life, and the bible states in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our bodies are temples and all we are to honor God with our bodies. In order to honor God, I also honor the vocations I have taken on in this world. Namely honoring, loving and respecting the man I swore to when I married him. The man I gave myself to and said I trusted him to take care of me, even if I wouldn’t agree to everything he decided. I think it is important to note, even before I got married, my body was not my own, but a gift from God that I am a steward of and I regret entertaining a different way of thinking, even for a moment.
My husband didn’t make this request to be mean, or to flex some sort of dominating patriarchal muscles as some might suggest. He did it for the benefit and good or myself and our son, whom he has taken on the responsibility to protect. While I don’t intend to go through all his reasons, I will discuss part of them.
Many people claim that breastfeeding isn’t sexual. I would say that they are right, in most instances. With as much sexual abnormality that has been widely condoned by our culture, I don’t see breastfeeding fetishes as being stigmatized for much longer. I’ve heard stories of women being solicited to be nursed by grown men, or be told that their photos would be used for sexual activities. Before I might have considered these scenarios to be rare, but I personally know many women who have told me things like this. The perversion that our society is capable of is nothing to be underestimated.
While I was searching for a photo to use with the term “breastfeeding” for my last post on twiddling while breastfeeding, I was surprised to find that many of the photos were tagged with terms like “erotic”, “sensual” and “sexy”. Breastfeeding photos, guys. This was more than one photographer tagging their photos like this too!
Any doubts that I had heard about the concerns based on sexualization of breastfeeding, whether made by my husband or others, suddenly started gaining a little more credibility in my mind.
After I did a little bit of digging in my analytics trying to find search terms to see if my site had ever been visited by an unwanted search, I was surprised to find that a lot of my audience is male. About this same time, one of my readers began asking me a little bit about breastfeeding.
Turns out, breastfeeding pictures don’t normalize breastfeeding in male eyes as much as you might think. Instead, it makes breastfeeding an exotic unknown, which might be how it manages to be sensual to them in the first place. As we spoke, he confessed he really didn’t know much about how breastfeeding worked. What he did know was that it supposedly felt good.
While it was a little bit awkward, I decided to explain what breastfeeding has been like for me and what it can be like and has been for other women. There are so many different things about breastfeeding that we don’t talk about and even shame other women for, it is no small wonder that the topic is filled with lots of glamorous (or nursing gymnastics) photos, but we don’t really discuss what it is like to the people who would sexualize breastfeeding to begin with (not that I am saying my friend would, but speaking about males in general).
Ultimately my husband requesting that no uncovered breastfeeding photos be put on social media was the right call for our family, and I understand it is a decision that won’t be understood by most.
Am I saying you should live in fear because there are creeps on the internet? No way! I’m not even saying that breastfeeding photos are bad. I totally understand the excitement and wanting to show people the bond you have with your baby! I respect my husband so much and I regret that he was apprehensive in requesting this of me because he thought I would be angry or upset. This topic is just one that I chose to address because our family’s stance on breastfeeding photos is unique and the breastfeeding experience looks different for everyone. For us, it looks like this. 🙂
Hi there! 🙂 If your baby is anything like Bubba, you may have dealt with the dreaded twiddling and have found yourself here trying to find a way to make it stop.
If you aren’t familiar with twiddling, allow me to explain. Twiddling is a term for when your baby is nursing and has a restless hand that wanders (or forcefully grabs) your other nipple, exposed or not, and starts twisting, pinching, scratching or otherwise injuring it. While I consider this normal baby behavior (though not all babies twiddle), it isn’t pleasant and it is a good idea to begin teaching your baby to do something else to mindlessly entertain themselves while nursing. At least, if you don’t want to have damaged and bleeding nipples.
When I started breastfeeding, I was told how painful it would be, but no one warned me about twiddling! It is equivalent to the levels of pain some women experience while breastfeeding a newborn, especially when you are on your period! It is very painful and there have been many times that I have seen red and declared that I was weaning Bubba because I just couldn’t take it anymore!
Wearing t-shirts is a valid option for some mothers, but Bubba is determined and persistent, he manages to wiggle his arm and contort it to get to a nipple anyways. After a long time of dealing with Bubba’s twiddling, we’ve found five “battle-tested” things to help keep him occupied that don’t include awkward grabs for the inside of my shirt and pain. None of these have completely gotten rid of Bubba’s twiddling habit, but they have significantly improved it.
Here are our five things that have made breastfeeding a twiddling baby manageable!
#1 – Twiddle Necklace
Our twiddle necklace has been a lifesaver! I ordered in when Bubba was three to four months old and while it took awhile to get here, it was well worth the wait and money. I chose a light blue necklace that fit Bubba and I perfectly and it is beautiful and practical. I purchased the necklace from Mama Two Fish and although ours wasn’t a custom, you can customize your own necklace through her shop.
Our necklace is shaped like a simple fish symbol and is perfect for Bubba’s baby hand to grab onto. The alternating colors and size of beads captures his attention every time. As long as I remember to wear it, it works 100% of the time. He never tries to twiddle when I have it on. The only downside to this option is that, our twiddle necklace is not for teething so when your baby begins teething you’ll want to make sure they don’t gnaw on it.
#2 – Alternative Stimulation
Instead of your baby occupying their idle hands with twiddling, beat them to the chase and play a game with them! Patty-cake, peek-a-boo and other games are great for this. I also like to show Bubba new things he can do with his hands or fingers like wiggling or bending his finger and holding hands. This works pretty well, unless he is tired. When he is tired he wants to do repetitive motions like twiddling to fall asleep and I haven’t found any game or interaction that satisfies this need of his, apart from the twiddle necklace.
#3 – Redirection
This is a great option if you can handle your baby repetitively playing with a different spot like your collarbone. Bubba likes to poke my nose (I’m supposed to say “boop” when he does this) or play with a toy for this. I will remove his claws from my flesh and then put his hand on my collarbone or give him a toy and he will generally be content for a minute or two. For short nursing sessions, this works pretty well!
#4 – Boundary shaping
This is, by far, my favorite solution to twiddling because it has long-term benefits beyond peaceful breastfeeding. To truly stop twiddling, pinching and other undesirable baby behavior, you have to set boundaries with your baby on what you will or won’t tolerate. It might sound harsh, but I believe it is actually healthy for your relationship with your baby.
For Bubba and I, this looks like me saying “Ouch, don’t do that.” and removing his hand and holding it for a few seconds before releasing it and giving him a second chance. If he continues and does it a second time, I make my voice a little more stern or sad and say “No, stop hurting mommy.” I hold his hand for a little bit longer the second time before giving him a third chance.
If he does it again, I lightly pat his hand to get his attention, look him in the eyes, remove his hand and tell him “No, no more milk for now.” and then set him on the floor for a minute. He usually cries a little and asks to be picked back up.
I give him one more chance and if he is still genuinely hurting me (which stops any letdowns for me so nursing is not possible at that point), I tell him “No.”, remove his hand and put him in his playpen with no toys for a minute or less since he is one.
After that, and our minute of separation, I go on to #5 so that he can still get some milk without me having to endure the nipple abuse.
#5 – Pumping
If your baby is like mine, sometimes they can take a while to catch on at first, and really, what else can we expect for a tiny human that hasn’t learned the ways of the world yet? Bubba generally only has days this bad as far as listening goes when he is very tired, or has had a lot of excitement. I try to extend grace and empathize with him without allowing him to rule the roost or give him any more chances to damage my milk makers!
When we have days this bad, I break our my electric pump, you can find it here on my retail therapy page. I’m generally pretty tense after going through the process of trying to teach Bubba and simultaneously trying not to lose my temper, but I find some good music and then pump a few ounces to give him in his sippy cup. It isn’t the ideal situation, but it can save your sanity and get you through the particularly rough patches when teaching your baby to stop twiddling.
I’m happy to say that setting boundaries with Bubba has been working well and we haven’t had to depend on the other tips as much since we started this. Make sure that if you do decide to teach your baby that you don’t want them to twiddle and they do something right that you praise them! It is important to make sure that they know when they’ve done something right so they don’t feel like they are constantly being criticized. <3
With Bubba I always clap and say “Yay!” when he reaches to twiddle and then stops himself, looks at me and shakes his head. He knows that he isn’t supposed to do it, and the praise reinforces to him that he isn’t a bad baby and he is learning the right thing. 🙂
Thanks for reading, I hope that this list can help you with your twiddler and improve your breastfeeding relationship! Obviously I am not a medical professional, so all of the advice here is based off of my own experience with my son.
New Crunchy Mom
I know this post has been long-awaited. 🙂 I mentioned that we were making a breastfeeding cover in the post Changing Views on Breastfeeding awhile back and it took a bit longer than we expected to complete. My neighbor and I sewed it together but with two babies, it was hard to find the time!
We made it out of a blue fabric that I had initially bought to make into a sling to carry Bubba, but then he got chunky quickly, too much for me to be comfortable with carrying him in that stretchy of material. The fabric is Jacquard and it has a little pattern on it that looks like splatter marks. We made it using some DIY instructions found here! It isn’t an exact duplicate because I ended up not putting in the little tube that makes the cover flare out a bit, I just hold it out a bit while Bubba nurses so I can see his face. We also doubled the material because as we found out while working on it that one layer by itself can be seen through just slightly. Our cover has some jean type material for the neck piece so it doesn’t match completely, but I still love it. 😀
Apart from the fact that making a breastfeeding cover and wrangling two babies (they were interested in the peddle on the sewing machine) while trying to do so is time-consuming, there is another reason it took me awhile to get this post up…It is kind of hard to get a picture of the breastfeeding cover in action when you are the one nursing the baby! 😉 I’ve begged a few people to take some pictures while we use it so that you all could see what it looks like.
Bubba was 10 or 11 months when we started using our cover, but previously had gotten used to a cover that we borrowed when out and about with our neighbor. There were a few people who mention that Bubba might not take the transition well. He was used to being uncovered, and he saw most of his baby friends nursing uncovered (babies can be influenced by peer pressure). He has two or three baby friends that also nurse with a cover so I think that is why we didn’t have many problems making the switch.
We’ve actually had an easier time nursing with the cover than we did without. He is calmer, less wiggly (generally) and doesn’t hit, bite or kick as much. I am grateful for all of that because I had gotten to the point where I told New Crunchy Dad, “It is time to wean!” I ended up breaking out my pump (you can see which kind I have on our retail therapy page) and giving him a sippy cup equal to one of our nursing sessions so that I could get a break from being injured by him flailing. It was so upsetting and frustrating, but now that we are using the cover he is cuddly and will play patty cake under the cover if I offer. 🙂
I love that our breastfeeding cover is homemade, for price and because we were able to customize it. We definitely don’t regret the decision to start using a cover, in fact, I wish we would have used one from day one. It has been beneficial for our nursing relationship and made nip-slips a thing of the past! I call that a win-win 😉
Follow New Crunchy Mom on Social Media! <3
Hi there! 🙂 Bubba and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! We’ve made a few changes in our lives recently in preparation for the New Year, one specifically being us changing views on breastfeeding.
When I was pregnant with Bubba, I didn’t put a lot of research into breastfeeding. It was something I just automatically assumed I would do (little did I know the challenges that breastfeeding can involve). My views on breastfeeding, including what it would entail and how I would accomplish it, have changed a few times since I was pregnant.
Before I delivered, I had planned on using a cover to breastfeeding and I assumed I would have plenty of time to get one before he was born. I had looked at a few online but with so many beautiful patterns and colors to choose from, I hadn’t made up my mind yet. Then he surprised us by coming around two weeks earlier than we had planned.
I quickly learned that people either really care about seeing your boobs, or really care about not seeing your boobs. There really wasn’t much of an in between. Our lactation consulted was not shy at all, while all of the doctors and some of the nurses were incredibly squeamish of my lactating appendages.
I realized pretty early on that the hospital staff was making breastfeeding a challenge because they were always popping in and out of our room. There wasn’t a whole lot of respect given to the fact that the most important thing for me and my son was breastfeeding, and people kept interrupting and disrespecting our time together.
I grew thicker skin in order to make sure my baby was being adequately fed, no matter who saw. I still wasn’t completely okay with people watching, but given that I already felt like the entire hospital had seen EVERYTHING anyways, it wasn’t much of a stretch to give up and just feed my son however we were both comfortable. People weren’t going to go away when I asked or acted obviously uncomfortable, so I felt like I had no choice.
Once we came home from the hospital, I began using receiving blankets as covers. I tucked them under my bra straps and tried to secure them in every way I possibly could, but I learned that Bubba wasn’t a fan of the blankets and was adept at pulling them off.
After a while of wrestling with a flailing baby while dealing with an undiagnosed lip and tongue tie, I decided something had to give. I learned to breastfeed in baby carriers, which helped tremendously and was very discreet.
I made many friends who proudly breastfed uncovered. I tried to fit in and breastfeed uncovered too. While it still made me somewhat uncomfortable, I listened over and over to the reassurances that it is normal, legal and natural. Despite all of this, I wasn’t really convinced that it was the right choice for me.
I began seeing nurse-ins come across my Facebook for companies that had requested mothers cover while breastfeeding and, while in most states this is illegal, I still felt (perhaps naively so) that there might be a more peaceful solution than swarming an establishment with a bunch of hungry babies in protest.
I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I watched as some mothers talked about breastfeeding mothers who use a cover as though the women who used covers were being controlled, manipulated, or otherwise not making an informed decision. While I didn’t mind other people nursing in front of me (and love my friends that do), and certainly didn’t mind nursing uncovered with close friends, I felt like I still would’ve liked a cover in most situations.
I felt guilty for not fitting in on both sides. I didn’t know what I would be told if I said, “Hey, I actually still wish I could breastfeed with a cover.” It seems like a shunning-worthy confession in some circles. While I knew breastfeeding was a hot topic, I had no idea how it can almost be religious for some people. In fact, my own husband was afraid to give me his opinion because of how controversial any opinion on breastfeeding can be. He wanted me to make my own choice.
After a while, I decided to post an inquiry on my personal Facebook asking for opinions and insight, while assuring those who posted that they would not be attacked. The response was overwhelmingly respectful and varied. I enjoyed seeing many different perspectives and the thread really solidified my desire to want a cover and made me realize how much I had been influenced by popular opinion in an area that I didn’t want to be.
Just recently, Bubba and I made some new friends. While on a visit to see them we got to see their nursing cover! It was a beautiful polka dot pattern and to my surprise, there was an indention in the top of the nursing cover so that mommy and baby could see each other, but no one else could see anything.
Our new friend generously offered for us to try it out and it was so nice! Bubba was considerably calmer (leading me to wonder whether overstimulation is what has been causing him to bite) and we could still see each other while nursing. Since hindering bonding had been one of my main concerns about covers, I was thrilled to see that this might not be a concern any longer.
I asked our friend where she had purchased the cover and she informed me that she had made it. She also offered to make us a cover and of course, I was excited about this. So, Bubba and I have already made some sweet new friends to go into the New Year with and we will soon have a pretty nursing cover too. 🙂
I regret that I went against my initial desire to use a cover. I feel better now, knowing that not only do I have a like-minded friend with the same desires, but that I am finally at peace with being somewhere in the middle of uncovered vs. covered breastfeeding rather than being on one “side” or the other.
Have your views on breastfeeding changed since you became a parent? 🙂
After popular demand, our friend supplied us with a post containing a picture of her nursing cover. We will be back later with a picture of ours in action. 🙂
Hi there! 🙂
I have some updates on what Bubba and I have been up to! We hope you all have been doing well and enjoyed your Thanksgiving.
We are having a rough time with nursing right now. He has 4 teeth (yes, four!) coming in at the same time on top. Naturally, neither of us are thrilled with this and it is causing issues breastfeeding.
He latches and gets angry because it hurts, then he bites down really hard and pulls away, grating his teeth on my nipple. I have tried lots of tricks and suggestions to get this to stop, but it seems to be a waiting game until these teeth are in.
We have a strained relationship at the moment because of this. I’m a little resentful because instead of being able to relax and cuddle while breastfeeding, I am tense and gearing up for the next time he chomps into my flesh. Are there job openings for professional wincers? Because I am now a professional.
He seems to pick up on this and gets fussy and upset too. It’s a mess. It’s been very hard for me to not be upset with him because most of the time, he doesn’t mean to hurt me. There is a small percentage of the time that he is kind of testing the waters for a reaction by biting and we have been putting him down and creating some physical space at those times.
We’ve been pretty busy lately and that has been stressful. I think he has this magical baby sense that can tell when I am stressed.
One of the ways I have been keeping busy is by writing two guest posts! It was so much fun and I highly encourage it. Guest posting is a lot of fun and mutually beneficial for both the guest and the hosting blog.
One of the guest posts was called MILF Moment, where I stepped a bit out of character and talked about the first time you are flirted with as a woman postpartum. The other was Purity Rings and Good Intentions where I talked about some of the unintended consequences behind one of the biggest movements in the homeschooling world.
Along with all of that, I have been working on my performance for thepublicblogger.com 2015 Best Performance of the Year competition and the coming episode. It comes out on Sunday night at 9pm CST and you won’t want to miss this one! There are rumors, though unconfirmed, of a Bubba cartoon in the works! 😉
We’ve also been roaming around the interwebs making other mommy blogging friends (Hello new friends! <3 )
I am sad to say that my computer is busted, so I am blogging from New Crunchy Dad’s computer that he has graciously let me borrow. 🙂
What have you been up to lately?
New Crunchy Mom
Hi there! 🙂
We started Bubba on solids just shy of him turning six months old. He was stealing food off of our plates (babies are FAST), pretending to eat dinner with us and showing all the signs of being ready.
Since we have a history of food allergies, we are being extra careful with the spacing and timing of new foods with Bubba. He has been trying a new food after a waiting period of at least four days after the last new food was introduced.
As an extra precaution against Bubba having food allergies like we do, we have been giving him some probiotics (with the pediatrician’s blessing). We break the probiotic capsule and put a little bit of it in a mixture with coconut oil and give this to Bubba before every new food.
I was a little bit sad to start him on solid foods because it meant he’d no longer be exclusively breastfed (EBF). Although, he nurses just as frequently as before and generally tends to want to play with his food more than actually eat it. 😉
But on to the important opinion! What did Bubba think of solids?
At first he was excited…
He tried Winter Squash.
He had mixed feeling about it…
I think he might have some trust issues after this.
Ultimately he got a rash from Winter Squash, so we waited a few days and tried sweet potato.
After some hesitation, he decided sweet potatoes were okay.
In fact, he might like sweet potatoes…
The worst part of eating solids, according to Bubba, is the clean up…
New Crunchy Dad and I disagree. The worst part of Bubba starting solids…
…is the poop.
New Crunchy Mom
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