When Your Husband Gives Your Baby a Graham Cracker Instead of Breastmilk

Man and woman arguing in front of baby

I gave my husband very, very specific instructions—a perfect plan, and he didn’t follow it at all. I was so angry!

When my youngest son was nine months old, I had the opportunity for a girls’ getaway which I so desperately, desperately needed! Thankfully, at this point, nursing was still going strong, but that strong nursing bond that I didn’t get to experience with my first two kids, made it more difficult to get away. He would nurse faithfully every morning, before naptime, and before bedtime with a random nursing in the middle of the night--just to keep things interesting. He refused a bottle, which meant that I had to be there every morning, every naptime, and every bedtime as well as in the middle of the night. Up until this point, I was able to easily work my schedule around his feedings and was very proud of that.

But with the girls’ weekend getaway coming up, I didn’t want to say “no” like I usually did to things that conflicted with my breastfeeding schedule, so I had to figure something out. But how would I do this? How would I be able to be gone overnight? What the heck would my husband do if he woke up? He already felt powerless enough the way it was, but he wanted to support my decision to go and be helpful in any way he could. Mamas, you understand…I had to get the heck out of my house and connect with friends and feel “normal” and eat and drink and laugh and tell stories and not be sucked on or yanked on or tugged on or pulled on or pushed on. I needed a break.

I was determined to make it work so I came up with a fool-proof plan. My parents’ house was only fifteen minutes from our getaway, so my husband could take my nursing little one and the older two kids to their house. I could sneak away to nurse before bed and come back. Then, if he got up in the middle of the night, my husband could call or text me and I could sneak away again to nurse and come back. Then in the morning, I could, once again, sneak away, nurse him and come back. I know this sounds crazy, but I was a dedicated, desperate breastfeeding mama who just needed a little time away! It was a great plan.

I even left a bottle and breastmilk so that all the bases were covered. I nursed my son before bed and then off I went…to my getaway! I was giddy. I couldn’t wait. I knew that I was “on call”, but I didn’t care. It was totally worth it. The girls and I had a blast. It’s amazing how just a little time away can refresh your tired mama soul!

When I went to bed, I set my phone right next to me expecting the “honey, we need your boobs” call, but it never came. I fell into a sound sleep. In the morning, the sun began shining on my face and suddenly, I sat straight up in bed realizing that I had just slept through the entire night! I reached for my phone expecting to see text after angry text and missed call after frantic missed call, but there was nothing! I couldn’t believe it! Even if my son hadn’t woken up in the middle of the night (which would be shocking), surely he was ready for his morning milk and snuggle time?? And my boobs were bursting.

I called my husband in a panic.

“What happened? Why didn’t you call me?” were my first words when he answered the phone.

“Nothing. I just thought I’d let you sleep in.” he said proudly.

"Awesome. Did you give him a bottle?”

“No. I gave him graham crackers.”

“WHAT????????????”

Ok—here were the emotions going through my head…he knew the plan…we agreed to the plan…graham crackers weren’t even a part of the plan.

I was so confused and angry and in pain. And to make things worse, my son was so full of graham crackers that when I arrived to nurse him, he didn’t want to nurse to help relieve that pain. And I didn’t bring a breast pump because I didn’t think I would need it because I didn’t think my son would eat graham crackers and be too full to nurse because that WASN’T PART OF THE PLAN!!!

“Ok, someone is going to have to suck on these things right now!!!” I shouted.

“Sorry, honey. I’m really sorry. I thought I was helping you.” my husband said apologetically.

“Always stick to the plan, honey. Always stick to the plan!” I begged.

In an attempt to relieve some pressure, I took a hot shower and tried to express some milk. It was somewhat successful, but I was still angry at my husband. I was angry at having to miss some time with the girls because I had to wait around to try to nurse my son again a little later in the morning after the graham cracker high wore off.

Hours later, my son finally nursed. I was able to go back to enjoy the rest of the day with the girls. And I learned that if I ever needed to be gone for any reason, my husband wasn’t completely powerless. As weird and unconventional as it was, he could always give my son graham crackers. And you know what? From that point on, he did just that. Graham crackers became our new plan.

I know it’s crazy, but the Graham Cracker Incident of ’14, as we call it, taught me four important things…

1. that my husband is a very capable parent and will take care of our son the best he can when I’m not around. His plans can be just as good as my plans.

2. that missing one nursing isn’t the worst thing in the world.

3. that it’s ok for me to get away sometimes and I should do it more often.

4. that graham crackers must be just as tasty and as satisfying as breastmilk to a nine month old!

CHRISTINE LEEB is known as The Real Mom.  She is a speaker, writer, Christian Life Coach, and the founder of 4Real Moms—providing moms with real solutions for real life to help them be the best moms God created them to be. She has 3 beautiful (and exhausting) children and has been married to her husband, Brad, for almost 16 wonderful (and challenging) years.  She enjoys garage sale-ing, brownie eating, friendship keeping, book reading, family tickling, and husband dating. 

Kristy Kemp

My name is Kristy Kemp. I created Breastfeeding Mama Talk back in September 2012. My motivation behind creating Breastfeeding Mama Talk was to be that support system for breastfeeding mothers around the world.

What I'll Tell My Daughters About Breastfeeding

By: Elizabeth Spencer (Guilty Chocoholic Mama)

In the category “Things That Cannot Possibly Be True,” the babies I once breastfed have turned into teenagers. And while it had better be many (many!) years before I have this conversation with my sweet girls, here’s what I’ll tell them about breastfeeding when the time comes.

1. You can be doing everything right, and it still might hurt at first. I certainly do not want to scare or discourage my daughters. Far from it. But I think they need to know that discomfort or pain in breastfeeding—especially initially—does not necessarily mean they’re getting it wrong or that they should give it up. Let’s face it: the breasts are a sensitive part of the body, and unless you’ve lived an unusually alternative lifestyle prior to breastfeeding for the first time, they probably haven’t seen this kind of attention before. Give it some time and care…things will get better.

2. Breastmilk is proof of the genius and creativity of the Creator. Think of all the things doctors and scientists have figured out in the last several thousand years. They’ve cracked DNA code and unwound the whole double-helix thing and probed into cellular activity at the most minute level. But what, exactly, makes breastmilk the wonder it is? They still can’t figure that one out. Probably because they’re not supposed to.

3. Think of the most valuable thing you’ve ever owned. Now understand that “liquid gold” is worth more than any of it. If you decide to pump and store breast milk, those little packages will probably soon surge to the top of your list of “Things Other Than the Children to Grab If the House Ever Catches On Fire.”

4. When you talk to a prospective mate about the possibility of becoming parents someday, be sure to ask what he thinks about breastfeeding. Spoiler alert: you want him to think it’s important and valuable and amazing and something he should and will support enthusiastically.

5. If you marry into a family that considers breastfeeding “weird” or “unnatural,” do not let it discourage you. Look at this as an opportunity to enlighten and inform. Who knows? Maybe you’ll become the family trailblazer on this one, and future generations will rise up and call you blessed.

6. Don’t worry: you’ll know when your milk comes in. Like most new, first-time moms, I worried about, oh, everything. And one of my earliest worries once baby #1 had made her appearance was how I’d know when my milk had really and truly come in. Then one morning I got up, looked in the mirror, and discovered that my almost-As had finally—finally!—ventured into “B” territory. So then I knew.

7. Breastfeeding is one of the first gifts you can give your baby. It’s not just the nutrition, although the complete perfection of that—from complexity to temperature to delivery system—is mind-boggling. But it’s also about the skin-to-skin connection and the bonding and the love-in-action that lays a foundation for so much of what lies ahead. Of all the gifts you’ll give your children over the course of their lifetimes, this is among the first and best.

I can hardly believe a conversation like this with my daughters is already on the distant horizon. But when I need it, I’ll be ready. I’ll tell them these things, and then add the postscript I tag onto most of our talks: I love you.

Kristy Kemp

My name is Kristy Kemp. I created Breastfeeding Mama Talk back in September 2012. My motivation behind creating Breastfeeding Mama Talk was to be that support system for breastfeeding mothers around the world.

How to Stop Being Insensitive By Publicly Breastfeeding

Nipplegate…the Struggle is Real

Public breastfeeding has created a divide between the public breastfeeding moms and those who are opposed to their practice.  Wanting to bridge the gap, I perused the Internet and discovered actual questions from people who are vehemently opposed to public breastfeeding.  Until we address their concerns and embrace compromise, Nipplegate will continue to erode the fabric of our community.

Lactation Liason to the Rescue!

As your Lactation Liason, I am here to answer the most burning questions on your behalf.  I realize that you are capable of speaking for yourself, but the lactophobic community will not directly address you.  Try not to take this personally.  It’s not you.  It’s your nipples.

Again, these are actual questions that were asked.

 

“Why can’t she be discreet and cover herself?”

In the spirit of community, the vast majority of nursing mothers will compromise on this one.  They agree that they will usually keep their breast covered in public.  There are some that would not commit to this, but we find their free spirits to be refreshing.  Surprisingly, most nursing moms found it to be a reasonable request and reported that the ritual of wearing clothes was one they had already been practicing.  They will only take their breast out in public places while their babies are nursing.  Even then, most of them will leave the unsuckled one tucked away.  We hope that you will entertain this negotiation since breastfeeding a baby through fabric is difficult.  In fact, we have yet to have one mother report a successful latch through any of her clothes.  Someone suggested that perhaps covering the baby with a blanket may be the solution.  To gather more data on this possibility, we decided to attempt to eat a meal while covering our heads with a fleece throw blanket.  The results of the investigation determined that this was not practical.  We couldn’t see our food to eat it, the temperature became stiflingly uncomfortable, and it was impossible to connect with people at the table due to lack of eye contact and the inability to hear clearly.  We conclude that the babies would experience the same.

“Is it appropriate for a woman to breastfeed in front of a lesbian?”

I must confess that we did not anticipate this question, but I am glad that you asked.  Before addressing this topic, we felt that we would be remiss if we neglected to present this question to the lesbian community since it is their comfort level that is in question.  Thankfully, lesbians report no discomfort with this practice.  In fact, they seemed to understand wholeheartedly what it is like to have people stare and judge you in public.  They have also experienced shame towards something that was precious to them being labeled as perversion.  Their support was a welcome relief.  Had they responded differently, breastfeeding moms would have been expected to come up with some protocol for identifying lesbians prior to breastfeeding.  The lesbian identification protocol surely would have included shouting “Excuse me, diners of this fine establishment!  Before I breastfeed, I have to know if there are any lesbians present!  Identify yourself, lesbians!”  Luckily, we have dodged that bullet.

“Nursing mothers think that they can just breastfeed wheneverhowever, andwherever they want to.  Shouldn’t we they try to make people more comfortable?”

The answer is a resounding “YES!”  Moms from now on will only breastfeed their own babies in public.  You no longer live with the threat of you or your loved ones being nursed against your will.  I was not aware that this was a problem, and I got full support from the moms.  It was all a big misunderstanding.  They thought that the twisted grimaces on your faces were those of judgment.  I was able to reassure them that you were terrified that they were going to force their nipple into your mouth or the mouths of your kids.  I am grateful that we were able to get to the bottom of this.  You are right.  That does make everyone more comfortable.

“You realize that a man could get turned on by seeing a woman’s breast, right?”

This raises a crucial question.  What do we do about public arousal?  I have encountered this problem a few times lately.  Walking to the restroom at a restaurant recently, a man noticed me and he seemed to find me attractive.  This also happened when I was pumping gas.  It wasn’t a problem as these men were not threatening to me at all.  It now occurs to me that your people are concerned with the public arousal epidemic in general.  Honestly, I cannot come up with a viable solution.  Surely I wouldn’t be expected to avoid restaurants and gas pumps.  The only option seems to be to ban public arousal.  One obstacle to overcome in the ban implementation will be catching the aroused offender.  I checked with the nursing mothers and they said that they don’t notice a swarm of raging erections descending upon them when they are breastfeeding.  It seems that they would notice this.  If the public arousal ban is the course that you want to take, I have one request.  Please wait to implement the ban until it has been confirmed that there will be no more Magic Mike or Fifty Shades of Grey movies.  I don’t think I can afford the citation.

 “Well, pooping is a natural function too.  What’s the difference between doing that in public and breastfeeding?”

We are really glad that you asked this question.  Nobody wants people in our society going around thinking that poop and breastmilk are the same.  See, poop is filled with contaminants that our bodies are eliminating in order to keep us healthy.  It is not meant for people to eat.  If you have been doing that, please stop immediately.  On the other hand, when you pour a glass of milk from the carton and drink it, you are not eating cow poop.  You don’t have to feel badly about that anymore.  We now understand why you keep suggesting that moms should nurse their babies in the restroom.  Now that you know that milk and poop are different, everyone can eat in public- including the babies.  The moms have promised that they will not defecate in public.  The babies would not make the same commitment.

While there are more questions that you have posted in cyberspace, I truly believe that this is a positive start to finding our common ground.  Feel free to enter this conversation and end Nipplegate once and for all.

~This article originally found on Pump Out The Volume

Kristy Kemp

My name is Kristy Kemp. I created Breastfeeding Mama Talk back in September 2012. My motivation behind creating Breastfeeding Mama Talk was to be that support system for breastfeeding mothers around the world.

Home Birth Is An Option Too

By: Kristy Kemp

happy pregnant woman exercising on fitball at home

Are you expecting a new addition to your family but are torn between having a hospital or home birth? From time immemorial, home births have been stereotyped as unsafe and one of the greatest contributors to still births and post-natal deaths. In this article, we shall look at some of the safe home birth facts the experts may not be willing to tell you concerning home births.

How Fast is your Labor?

The truth of the matter is, women have different surges of labor and because we are not equally endowed to live in close proximities to hospitals and health centers, it therefore holds that a home birth is one of the safest options for women who experience fast labor.

There would really be no point of taking a taxi to rush a woman to a hospital when the baby is too close to coming as the ride may put the life of the unborn as well as the mother in great jeopardy.

Extensive Postpartum Care is Guaranteed

A home birth may also be considered safe in the sense that the post-partum care given is extensive as compared to a hospital birth. This is due to the fact that hospital policies pose more restrictions to the mother and her family may not have the liberty of giving her the care she so deserves.

At home, the midwife will ensure she leaves no stone unturned as far as giving the woman the care she needs is concerned. This is because unlike in hospitals where attention is given to many new mothers, a home birth means the woman takes all the attention as it is only her against the whole world.

There is Safety in Familiarity

The art of giving birth is no mean fete and as far as possible, it requires the woman to be around the people she is used to, and a home birth ensures just this. As the woman screams while in labor, she continually gets comforted by the familiar faces around her and this reassures her that she is not alone in the struggle. In the end, she and her baby have a higher survival chance due to reduced stress.

Choice of a Birth place and position

It cannot be denied the fact that health experts understand how and where a woman should have birth. However, true to the good old saying that it is the wearer of the shoe who knows where it pinches the most, we should encourage our women to choose where and how they want to have birth. A home birth guarantees this choice.

Whether a woman wants to do it squatting in a bathtub or lying on a couch, it is all up to her as she indeed is the one who understands what place and position works well with her labor pains.

It is less-costly

Naturally, everyone will expect a home birth to be less-costly as compared to a hospital birth. This is true, especially to those without an insurance policy due to the fact that there is very little involved and the major cost to settle is often that of midwifery.

In addition to this, there are states that have licensed midwifes and giving birth in such states with an insurance policy will even make it cheaper for you. So, how is this connected to the safety, one may ask. Well, it brings the peace of mind as the couple does not have to worry about how the prospects of proceeding with diminished finances after the baby is born.

Kristy Kemp

My name is Kristy Kemp. I created Breastfeeding Mama Talk back in September 2012. My motivation behind creating Breastfeeding Mama Talk was to be that support system for breastfeeding mothers around the world.

Importance of Skin To Skin Contact After Birth

By: Kristy Kemp 

Skin-to-Skin Care with Newborn Baby

Skin contact between the mother and child have been proven through scientific means to be very important.This skin to skin contact has been credited for the reduction of mortality rate from about 70% to about 30%. There are many benefits that scientist have proven all over the world to be the importance of ensuring that the newborn child remains in contact with his or her mother.

Skin to skin contact keeps the baby warmer since the child has not come to stable temperature regulation, the skin of the mother will help that of the child regulate its temperatures. The temperatures of babies are not always stable, and the mother’s breast is essential in controlling it. The mother’s breast temperature can increase suddenly then within a very short time; this happens to ensure that the body temperatures of the baby do not increase excessively or reduce to detrimental levels. The primary reason why children cannot maintain their temperature is that their breathing rate is slow leading to the slow heartbeat. This, in turn, makes the distribution of blood within the skin slow and as we know, blood is responsible for the allocation of the heat all over the body.

Another important factor of skin to skin contact is that it is necessary for bonding. The time immediately after birth is called the Golden period. Between this period the mother and the baby should create a chemical connection with one another. By maintaining the contact with each other’s skin, they will be able to develop a bond which will be inseparable shortly. This is the reason why you find some babies can identify their mothers by just a mere smell.

Skin to skin contact reduces postpartum depression. When mother maintains skin contact with the child, research shows that she will develop a feeling of being happy and comfortable. When the mother does not maintain this body contact there is ground to believe that she will be depressed because she will feel that something went wrong during birth, she will develop a feeling of anxiety and may feel that something might have gone wrong during the birth process.

Skin to skin contact will make the baby much comfortable and lower stress levels of the newborn, thus cry less. Skin contact
between the mother and the child have been observed to reduce the crying rate of children by 42%

Skin to skin contact also helps in making the babies fall asleep easily also for a longer period. This is because skin to skin contact offers warmth to the child. Mothers during this time can be relieved from stress characterized by crying babies.

Skin to skin contact helps in improving the health of the baby. This is because skin to skin contact stimulates the hormones in the body of the child which will, in turn, assist in the growth of villi which are important in human digestion

The contact between mothers’ skin and that of the child is integral for a cordial relationship with the mother and the child.

Kristy Kemp

My name is Kristy Kemp. I created Breastfeeding Mama Talk back in September 2012. My motivation behind creating Breastfeeding Mama Talk was to be that support system for breastfeeding mothers around the world.