Sunday, July 27, 2014

Punching PPD in the Throat

     Well, that's what I feel like I'm doing anyway. I think I've turned a corner. The past few weeks have been different. I've still been feeling my normal levels of anxiety and irritability, but something has changed. I'm sick of being sick. I'm tired of worrying about my moods and medication and coping skills. I'm just over it. My counselor thinks that is a pretty big step. I'm ready to move on with my life and close this chapter on PPD. I'm also ready to be done with this medication and all the lovely side effects- headaches, insomnia, and eczema. I'm also sick of being told to take Ibuprofen for my head, cortisone cream for my eczema, etc. So I recently took two big steps- I got a new general doctor and a new psychiatrist.

    My new doctor's concentration is in naturopathy and it was a complete breath of fresh air. Our appointment lasted an hour and a half and most of it was me sitting in an armchair chatting with her and discussing different aspects of my lifestyle and health history. At the end of it all, she suggested I look into at least lowering my SSRI dosage to see if it would help with any of the side effects. She also suggested some simple lifestyle changes that I should have been doing all along, but somehow just never thought about. I now try to eat much more regularly throughout the day to avoid blood sugar fluctuations. I also am much more aware of my protein and fatty acid intake and have added a fish oil supplement. I've cut back on caffeine, especially later in the day.

   My new psychiatrist has also been very helpful. She suggested weaning off my SSRI completely. She gave me the choice of either weaning off the SSRI and going med-free, or crossing over to Wellbutrin. Even though Wellbutrin isn't necessarily contraindicated for breastfeeding, it is an L3 medication, so I opted to try going med free first. I feel comfortable with that decision at this point in time. If any of my PPD/PPA recurs, I can always add in the Wellbutrin later. So far I have weaned down to half my original dosage and I should be completely med free by mid-August. The adjustment has made me feel a little sleepy and sometimes jittery, but so far my mood seems to be holding pretty steady.

   I hope all of these new events mean I am "cured" and well on my way back to good health. I am excited about no loner having to worry about the depression and anxiety. I just hope I can get back to where I was pre-Perrin. That is my new goal. But I am also realistic and know that it could still be a long way out. But at least it seems like things are moving forward after quite a long lull.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

7 Tips for Breastfeeding Discreetly

   In a funny twist of the universe, this wonderfully written article has been circulating lately which is not all that dissimilar to this post I have been working on. So, my apologies if you have had your fill of satirical breastfeeding activism.
   However, nursing in public (NIP) has been getting a lot of media attention lately, so I thought I would make this nifty guide for moms whose unruly spawn refuse to only eat in the confines of their own home like decent human beings. One refrain I see over and over again in NIP discussions is "I support moms who breastfeed, but you should at least be discreet about it." Odd thing though- the would "discreet" is actually quite subjective. So what is a mom to do? How do you know if you are being discreet or not? Well, worry no more! I have made this handy little guide just for you. Or, on the flip side, if you are a person who is not breastfeeding but you are worried that the woman tending to her child in the same public space as you is being inappropriate, feel free to check her behavior against this guide to determine whether you should complain or politely calm the fuck down.
   Now, please take note- you are still completely allowed to nurse INdiscreetly if you choose to. In fact, your right to do so is protected by law in almost every single state. However, if you would like to conform to cultural notions of "appropriateness", just keep these tips in mind.

What to Do

1. You can nurse with a cover, if you like and the baby likes. Up sides- you have a cover which seems to be some kind of threshold for some people. Down sides- It's hot. Babies are wiggly. Latching can be hard enough without going in blind. And you don't get to look at the super cute human you worked your ass off 9 months to grow.

I mean, it's only 106 F today. They weren't joking when they said modest is hottest! 

Stop struggling and have some respect for others, sheesh!

2. If you don't want to use a cover, you have the option of just lifting up your shirt. Upsides- This keeps the topmost part of the breast covered, which seems to be the most offensive. Unless of course it's peeking out of a v-neck, bikini top, or lace bra. Downsides- I found out the hard way that the pressure of the shirt on top of your breast can really send an overactive letdown out of control. Use with caution.

3. If you have experienced the aforementioned overactive letdown issues or simply don't like pulling your shirt up, you can always use the pull down method. Simply take your breast out over the top of your shirt. Upsides- easy access. Downsides- Depending on the cut of your shirt, this can be difficult. When Perrin was itty-bitty and I was super engorged, I used a variation of this where I would also slip the strap of my tank top of my shoulder completely in order to get my ginormous boob out.

4. When nursing in close proximity to others, just makes sure they are able to look in any other direction just in case they don't want to look directly at your beautiful cherub (psh, as if). Upsides- this is pretty much always possible. Downsides- It may be difficult if you are sitting directly across from an individual in an orthopedic halo whose eyelids are either missing or propped open and who does not have enough muscle control to move their eyeballs. 

This man is being 0% affected by the baby eating next to him.

  Seems simple, right? BUT WAIT! While you are employing all of these awesome tips, make sure you are also avoiding the following behaviors.

What NOT to Do

5. It's cool if you want to NIP, but you don't have to be all up in everyone's face about it.

6. Try to make sure you aren't just looking for attention. 

7. Don't be an exhibitionist.

So there you have it. As long as you avoid those three behaviors, you qualify as a perfectly decent and discreet breastfeeder! Nurse on, mamas!