Category Archives: Parenting a Toddler

Homemade Nipple Butter aka: My Boob-Milk Manifesto

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The countdown is on and baby-time is drawing near. This is about the time I find myself nesting, preparing our space for a new tiny human and that includes getting the boobs ready for constant feedings.

My homemade Nipple Butter!

My homemade Nipple Butter!

I remember what it was like the 1st time ( geez over 5 yrs ago now!)  trying to figure out that latch and it was NOT fun to say the least. It totally sucked!  I didn’t realize it at the time, but due to my son’s shoulder dystocia and the stress associated with being separated for the first 8 hours, we had a very hard time getting the nursing thing down.  For one thing, my milk took 4 days to come in and the poor little guy was clenching his jaw tight when trying to latch those first few weeks, offering everyone around me free lessons in epic-pirate quality cuss-outs.  I tend to cuss like a sailor in normal daily conversations, but with the added element of aching breast and sore nipples,  I could probably make black-beard blush.

I know DJ, I know...

I know DJ, I know…

I remember thinking that the pain my breasts endured was worse than the actual birth    (and due to certain hormones kicking in, that was probably true!)  Once things got really bad and I was dealing with like ALL the things…. All that stuff they tell you to watch out for on those well-meaning but shallow nursing pamphlets:  engorgement, clogged milk ducts, bloody nipples and a fever… yeah, I had that.   I sought out and received support from a lactation consultant (totally covered by insurance which my broke-self was very thankful for!) and after a couple sessions, nipple cream, and just putting my boob milk on the boo-boo nips, everything was in much better shape and we nursed mostly pain-free for several years.

I am not one to force or even talk up long-term nursing. I didn’t exactly plan it to nurse that long myself, it just sort of happened and it wasn’t stressful for either us so I went with it.   I am also not one to that can be easily embarrassed about most things in general and I am not one to look away when someone (and most of the time it was other women!) gave me dirty looks while nursing in public.

Let my boobmilk go!

Let my boobmilk go!

I remember returning the look right back- with a “dont make me squirt ya in the eye with my boobmilk” stare-which btw should totally be an emoticon…

yeah, kinda like that...

yeah, kinda like that…

Over time I cared less and less about pulling the boob out for feedings. I found it particularly interesting that after months of encouraging my son to say “num-num” as a way to nonchalantly request boob-milk when in public that he would instead shout “Boob!” While also tugging at my shirt.

Well done child.

Whatever decorum was left had surely deteriorated at that point so f**k it!

BOOB it is.

I strongly feel that nursing should happen for as long or short as mom and baby deem right…But that lady on the Times cover ain’t got nothing on me.

who cares what this lady does with her boobs, get over it America...

who cares what this lady does or doesn’t do with her boob? Get over it America…

People thought that was controversial? Hows about putting a Palestinian mom nursing her Black pre-schooler on the cover…?!  What then…?!

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oh man, shit's getting real...

oh man, shit’s getting real…

Aaahh, but I digress…

So I am a boob-milk believer.  I loved learning about it, the health and emotional impacts on both mom and baby. The unique chemical makeup.  I became a boob-milk scholar, learning everything I could and sharing it with others.  I could write a book on the differences between whale and human milk and everything in-between… I was a lacto-scholar. It was super interesting to me… then again so are things like glacial deposits, historical cemeteries, post-industrial rivers, and birding…We all have our ticks.

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Why Nipple Butter?

Issues with Lanolin:  A study published in the September 1992 issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” found that lanolin samples contained several types of pesticide residues, and the contamination level varied significantly among batches. Also, I just wasn’t really feeling the texture of it, it didn’t feel very good on my skin.  I decided to hit up the mighty Pinterest and low and behold there are various homemade nipple butter/cream recipes to try out!

This recipe is a combo of couple different ones I eventually settled on:

Ingredients:

2 parts coconut oil

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2 parts shea butter

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1 part beeswax

beeswax

beeswax

2 drops lavender essential oil

lavender

lavender

2 tablespoons of Calendula infused olive oil

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Where you can order ingredients:

mountain rose herbs: https://www.mountainroseherbs.com

or, if your a local: Farmacy Herbs: http://farmacyherbs.com

images-8 How to:

step 1: Melt the coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax in a small sauce pan over low heat

* It is best to shred/ cut up the beeswax before adding in, which melts it down easier.

step 2: pour in the lavender and olive oil

step 3: pour the entire mixture into 4 oz jars (any desired container would do, but I prefer glass)

step 4: let in cool from anywhere between 1 hour to overnight!

My completed Nip Buttah

My completed Nip Buttah

Uses and benefits:

beeswax: protective to skin, wound healing, antibacterial, humectant (moisture retaining)

shea butter: anti-inflammatory, chemical-free moisturizer, healing

coconut oil: skin-softener, absorbable fatty acids, the lauric acid can kill bacteria, viruses and fungi

lavender essential oilimages-4

Calendula:

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* So many possibilities! It’s exciting to try out new variations for next time including using coco-butter or different essential oils.  I plan on branching out and trying a whipped all over body butter  (among other goodies) for next time!  Check out my growing Pinterest board on all things DIY: http://www.pinterest.com/nsamih84/health-and-beauty-diys/

Next time: My version of “necessary” baby gear and what I am packing in my labor/hospital bag and who knows what other nonsense!

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Middle School teacher confessions: Parent Night

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One of the things I appreciate about my teaching job is location, location, location.  It’s one my neighborhood middle schools and since I live only 5 minutes away from where I work, I often run into my students.  They are often much more surprised than I and I can’t blame them.  I remember the very few moments I ran into my teachers and feeling really confused and out of place while I thought ‘what? This person has a life outside the school?’  I am sure it is much the same for them, especially when they see me with my son, Ali.

 

This week alone, I ran into my students at the public library down the street and on the way to school at the bus stop.  I am sure the school year will be filled with these run-in’s, or at least I hope so.  I think it’s really important that young people get to see and interact with role models who are like them; who went through similar life circumstances and struggles.   I know it was very important for me to see myself in others as a young person.  This was for many reasons; I was an only child, an immigrant to the middle class burbs, a female of color in a mostly white town, one of very few Muslims in the fear ridden era of 9/11…the list goes on and on.  I still remember the first time I ever came face to face with another Palestinian woman artist.  I was 21 and recently returned from my study abroad in Cairo.  I left Egypt reluctantly ( the first time in 14 years I got to interact with fellow Arab-Americans) and I came back to a rough and lonely RI winter. Brown University hosted Suhair Hammad, a Palestinian spoken word performer/ poet/ writer/ artist.  I cried after every piece she performed. I felt like she was talking to only me.  When I approached her at the end of the performance, I was in total awe that I was in the presence of someone who ‘got’ me, who understood what it was like to live in my skin.  Of course she wasn’t as enamored with me… she was a seasoned performer who meets with and interacts with tons of other arabs all the time. Not to mention she grew up in Brooklyn, home to a pretty large Arab American population, not my lil ol’ Johnston RI. So, I am pretty sure meeting a fellow Arab wasn’t as life changing to her at that point…

Time goes on, but that is something I remain sensitive about; the realistic role model…the relevancy to a young person.  This takes on an entirely different level when I start to talk about teachers of color in a mostly minority community…where over 90% of the teachers are middle class and white, most do not live in this hood, and most do not have English as a second language… although most are great, understanding, kind teachers, they remain rather untouchable as living, breathing examples of role models to these students who are growing up in a much different (and constantly changing) world.  Although slow, I am seeing the shift; more and more teachers are emerging from these very communities and it’s making a difference.

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Tonight was Parent-Teacher night at my school and it turned out that it was parent night for everyone…even the teachers.  Nothing like bringing a three year old to work to bring everyone feel a little cozier!  Thank goodness for one of my students who, as a big brother himself, jumped right in and took over for me when I needed to speak to parents.   As soon as we arrived, Ali decided this particular 12 year old was going to be his new best friend. This student was one of three boys, raised much like Ali by a young single mother.  I knew I liked this mother before I met her because he started off the school year by complaining to me about how much his mother makes him read and write.  He is one of my better readers because of it. I saw myself reflected in her and I hoped she saw the same.

We are all so, so connected…