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Why are my milk-producing boobs constantly changing size? Why have my nipples changed color? And what can I do to ensure they don’t look defeated when I’m done breastfeeding?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Solidarity, sister. This largely selfless act takes previously perky boobs and puts them through multiple, daily metamorphoses. During my breastfeeding days, my B-cup tatas would suddenly inflate to DDs in the morning, and after thirty minutes of baby-feeding, they looked like deflated water balloons. Then a couple hours later, they were back in Pamela Anderson territory. As you likely suspect, these size shifts are thanks to the boob-filling and draining that takes place multiple times a day. The constant change does a number on your breast’s skin and tissue — so when a woman weans her baby, she’s often left with a flatter, saggier version of her former chest. But not always! Women with smaller breasts and those with more elastic skin sometimes don’t notice a big change when they’re done breastfeeding. (I get into ways to nurture your bosom buddies in the “What to do” section.)

Now for your nipples. The darkening, which is normal, is caused by pregnancy hormones stimulating pigment-producing cells. The nipples often appear bigger because they’re being drawn out each time baby feeds. These darker, larger nipples can be helpful, as they serve as bull’s-eye “Eat Here” signs for baby. Nipples usually return to their pre-pregnancy size and color (or something close to it) after you wean.

You might also notice those little bumps on your areolas (aka Montgomery glands) plumping up. These bumps secrete sebum, a light yellow, oily substance that keeps your nipples moisturized and clean and emits an odor that attracts baby.

Another thing you can expect from your nipples — for now and forever more — is that they’ll pretty much always be at attention. Months of being sucked train them to stay alert. I enjoy this change, as it gives the illusion that my boobs are perkier than they are.

What to do

While there’s no way to avoid the boob restyling that comes with breastfeeding, there are ways to support your skin and emotional health during the changes:

Become one with organic oil and shea butter. Regularly massaging your breasts with organic oil or shea butter increases suppleness and blood flow. This can minimize stretch marks and help skin bounce back after weaning.

Drink plenty of water. Hydration has a big impact on your skin’s elasticity, which is why you want to drink a minimum of eight glasses of water a day — preferably more.

Eat vitamin-rich foods. The vitamins in healthy foods have a big impact on what’s going on in and under your skin. Here are the vitamins you want to get more of:

*Vitamin A stimulates the growth of new skin cells, which can prevent dryness. It can also curb cell damage and premature skin aging. Foods rich in vitamin A include salmon, eggs, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens.

*Vitamin C helps your skin bounce back from stretching, promotes collagen production, heals damaged skin, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and hydrates skin. As an added bonus, it has cancer-fighting properties. Get your vitamin C on by noshing on citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, and spinach.

*Vitamin D helps skin stretch, grow, and repair. Get your vitamin D with about ten minutes of sun each day and eating foods like salmon, cod, tuna, and mushrooms. It’s also present in fortified foods like milk, yogurt, cereal, and orange juice.

*Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce wrinkles, inflammation, and dryness, and it might minimize the appearance of scars (aka stretch marks). You can get it from sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, spinach, mangoes, avocadoes, and butternut squash.

Exfoliate. Once a week, gently rub your breasts with a dry brush or use a sugar scrub in the shower, as exfoliation can promote new skin growth and increase blood circulation, which can regenerate skin and enhance elasticity. Make a homemade sugar scrub by mixing one-half cup of brown sugar with three tablespoons coconut or olive oil and two tablespoons raw honey.

Talk with your partner about your insecurities. If the changes in your breasts make you insecure, tell your partner, as these feelings might impact your willingness to be naked in front of them. It’s also important for them to know so they can be sensitive about how you’re feeling and can maybe even pump up your confidence with compliments about your amazing lactating breasts.

It’s natural to develop insecurities when experiencing rapid changes in various parts of the body, but you don’t have to navigate the emotions these changes trigger alone.

Honor the shifts as a reminder of the gift you’re giving your child. If you get bummed because breastfeeding is almost constantly remodeling your boobs, shift your focus from what they look like to what they can do. They make milk that’s custom designed for your baby! That’s so cool — and something not all boobs can do. Some women would happily give up their breasts’ constant perkiness for the ability to make enough milk for their baby. While you have every right to feel all the feels about your breasts, I encourage you to bring yourself back to gratitude as often as possible.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Tibetan Pregnancy Wisdom

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-tm5zx-12fa60f

Two ideas Tibetans utilize to create a more meaningful pregnancy experience.

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

And… 

Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

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I feel self-conscious about my massive leaking boobs. How do I make them stop leaking? And how do I stop feeling ashamed of my body? Especially when I’m in public.

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

My boobs were so leaky the first six months of Hudson’s life that I once dripped onto a woman who was pushing a baby out. Yup. I was her doula and had been away from Hudson for about twelve hours. My boobs were bursting. As I held her leg while she pushed, I wasn’t paying attention to what was happening under my shirt. And then I saw something wet drop onto her arm. It was raining, and the old hospital we were in had some leakage issues, so I looked up. But it wasn’t the ceiling, it was my mammaries. I. Was. Horrified. Thank the birthing gods I was wearing a black shirt; no one seemed to notice, and I flew to the bathroom to change and squeeze milk into the sink. Oy vey.

That’s a long way of saying, I get it. I was constantly embarrassed by my leaky jugs, instead of being thrilled they were producing so much milk. This is something many women experience in early motherhood. I’ll get to how to physically deal with the seepage, but I want to start with the shame you might feel when this happens. As I noted in the previous question, it takes a while to stop sexualizing our breasts, meaning we still think of them in “that way” when they start drawing attention, especially when they’re leaking. I have a friend who had DD-size breasts before pregnancy. They were a G after baby was born. She once said, “I can’t go into public. It’s bad enough that these puppies are so massive, but they start leaking unexpectedly. Obviously, I’m not doing it on purpose, but I feel like people are going to think I’m trying to draw attention to them or something. Leaking from anywhere is embarrassing, but this is next level.” Her words hit on many important points.

First, many women I’ve worked with also think people will judge them for having leaky breasts in public. And maybe some people do, but those aren’t the people we should care about. The people we should care about are the little humans relying on those glorious boobs for sustenance, and your glorious self, who has every right to get out of the house when your body is still trying to figure out the whole milk supply thing. You’re doing nothing wrong when you’re out and all of a sudden you have wetness spreading across your shirt.

While it’s easy for me to write that, I understand it can be tricky to turn off the shame tap we’ve been taught to open at the slightest provocation. I turned off the shame by forcing myself to laugh at the situation. Whenever I was in public and my milk volcanoes erupted, I would shrug my shoulders, laugh, and in my own time, change into the extra shirt I always kept in my bag. I was totally faking this lighthearted attitude in the beginning, but the more I did it, the more I felt genuine humor instead of shame. It also seemed to give others permission to brush it off as no big deal, instead of something to uncomfortably ignore.

The second excellent point my aforementioned buddy made is that we are deeply conditioned to associate a leaking body part with serious humiliation. Peed your pants? Thought you needed to fart, but turned out it was something more? Got boogies coming out your nose? All are situations our society has said should produce mortification. Most people are ashamed even to cry in public. I think that’s all whack. Our bodies don’t stop doing body stuff just because we’re outside the privacy of our home. Leaks happen — to every body. Every single person. I encourage you to remember this when you’re met with seeping boobs in public. Remind yourself that what’s happening is the most natural thing in the world, and if you’re able to give yourself the grace to handle it with amusement instead of humiliation, you’re helping us all take a small step toward being more accepting of our bodies. Hey girl, you can be a leaky boob trailblazer!

What to do

And now for the logistics of that soaked bosom — because while we’ve canceled the Shame Game, it’s still not a fun feeling to have a sticky, wet chest.

Know the leaking triggers. Often hearing a crying baby, seeing a baby, or just thinking about your baby can induce a letdown. Knowing these triggers and any others you notice can give you a heads-up about a milky surge that’s on the way.

Press on your nipples when you feel tingling in your breasts. This preemptive measure can dam the milk flow. If you want to be incognito with this motion, just stretch an arm across your boobs and press it into your chest with your other hand.

Feed baby or pump before you go out. Emptying your breasts before you leave the house can minimize the chance of a leak.

Use breast pads. These absorbent boob buddies can soak up milk before it reaches your shirt. Keep a supply in your car, diaper bag, and purse so you always have replacements on hand. Be sure to change them when they’re wet, as your nipples being in a moist, enclosed space for long periods could lead to a yeast infection. (Aren’t we lucky — we can get yeast infections in the vagina and on our boobs!)

Keep tissues and organic wet wipes handy. I was the worst at remembering breast pads, but I almost always had tissues on hand. I would stuff them in my bra when I sensed an impending leak. And because the stickiness of breastmilk was irritating, I would try to have wet wipes on hand. I recommend organic wipes, as the alternative could leave chemical residue on your breasts.

Keep an extra shirt in your purse and diaper bag. Despite all the pads and tissues, you’ll still have moments where the milk reaches the shirt. So keep a patterned or dark-colored (with the exception of grey) shirt in your going-out bags. Avoid silk. I also recommend a cover-up you can throw on until you’re able to change.

Sleep on a waterproof pad that’s covered by a pillowcase. I had to wash my sheets every single day for the first week of Hudson’s life because I soaked the bed in milk nightly. I then wised up and bought a few waterproof changing pad liners. I would cover the liner with a pillowcase to make it less scratchy, and bam, I only had to change out a small liner and pillowcase instead of all the sheets. If it was chilly, I would sleep in a zip-up sweater so I wouldn’t have to pull the covers over my drippy boobs.

Wear a milk saver while breastfeeding. Many women leak out of one breast while feeding baby from the other. Save those precious drops by popping a “milk saver” onto the boob not being used. These are boob-shaped pieces of plastic and rubber, with a hole in the middle for your nipple and a catchment area below it. Once you’ve finished that side, you can pour the collected milk into a container. It can add up to a lot of extra milk!

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

How To Calm the Nervous System During Childbirth

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-6g225-12fa60b

Discover one of the most effective ways to calm the nervous system during birth.

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

And… 

Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Struggling To Bond With Your Baby?

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ffmu6-12fa60a

Tips on how to support yourself as you work to develop a bond with your baby.

To receive more support, get your copy of Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

And… 

Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

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I feel like I should want to breastfeed, but I’m totally freaked out by the idea. Why do I feel like this? What should I do?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

It’s normal to be nervous about breastfeeding, although this feeling is rarely talked about. Most women hear only about how breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, and so great for our babies. While the latter is definitely true, it doesn’t always feel natural.

If you try breastfeeding and find it’s not a fit for your family, you can of course stop. But for many women, there are a slew of “breastfeeding fear sources” that can be unraveled, and often healed, helping them move from fear to gratitude and excitement about breastfeeding. Here are the main concerns:

Shift in the relationship with your breasts: It can be startling when a part of your body that’s probably been sexualized most of your life suddenly becomes a source of food. Some women organically make this shift, while others find it strange to have a little human sucking on a part of their body society has labeled sexual. If you’re in the latter camp, take heart that every woman I’ve worked with who had this block found that once she started, the act felt more natural every day until it finally became second nature. There’s nothing wrong with you if breastfeeding initially feels bizarre. (I dive deep into this topic in the next question.)

Possibility of not producing enough milk: There’s a chance your breasts won’t produce enough milk, because of circumstances like excessive blood loss during birth, limited milk ducts, hormonal imbalances, various medications and herbs, and other factors. While this can be incredibly frustrating and disheartening, a lactation consultant can help you determine why you’re not producing enough milk, and provide effective solutions.

It’s also good to know that the only way to confirm you’re not producing enough milk is baby’s weight. Not being able to get much out while pumping or feeling like baby is not eating enough does not mean your supply is low. Your baby’s pediatrician can help you determine if you need to get your supply up.

Pain from cracked nipples: The first two weeks of Hudson’s life were unreasonable torture for my nipples. I didn’t know he had a shallow latch (because I didn’t call a lactation consultant), so I suffered through bloody, mind-bending pain until my nipples finally toughened up and everything was fine — or maybe he figured out a better latch.

The suffering didn’t need to happen. If I had only asked for support, a lactation consultant could have provided tips to eliminate, or at least lessen, the discomfort. But I didn’t ask because I naively thought it was supposed to be like that — that I had to martyr myself to breastfeed. Don’t follow my lead. Speak up if breastfeeding is confusing or painful.

The newborn being entirely dependent on you for food: It can feel overwhelming to have a tiny, defenseless human dependent on you for protection, booty cleaning, connection, language acquisition, bathing, entertainment, and, well, pretty much everything. But these are all tasks others can help you with. The exception is sustenance — if you choose to breastfeed. This form of feeding is all you. Even if you plan on your partner giving baby bottles of breast milk, you still have to produce that breast milk. It feels like a big responsibility because it is.

I felt buried by this responsibility until I realized it forced me to foster a powerful bond with Hudson. We were together all the time (he was a cluster feeder), which led to us quickly finding a rhythm for our relationship. And because oxytocin was released each time I fed him, I was blissed-out at the end of each feeding. A study published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine even found that breastfeeding can decrease a woman’s chances of developing postpartum depression during the first four months of the baby’s life. But of course, it’s not a panacea. Some women will still develop postpartum depression no matter how much they breastfeed.

The gist: While I totally get the concern of being the sole source of food for your infant, it’s been my experience that the early demands of breastfeeding could provide innumerable benefits for your transition into motherhood.

Others seeing your breasts: I never thought I’d be okay with my brothers, father, father-in-law, and pretty much everyone I encountered in the first few years of my child’s life seeing my boobs — or at least some side- or under-boob. And yet, I quickly stopped caring. There’s an assortment of breastfeeding covers that allow women to get out the milk jugs without anyone seeing, but I couldn’t be bothered. I just got the fullest boob out, my voracious child latched on, and people looked away. However, I would sometimes breastfeed when Hudson was in the ErgoBaby, my all-time favorite baby carrier, which provided ample coverage.

Luckily, I never encountered comments from breastfeeding-in- public shamers, but even if I had, I’m pretty sure I would have just rolled my eyes. Feeding my baby when he was hungry felt like the most innocent, natural act, and I felt no shame.

With that said, you have every right to want breastfeeding to be a more private experience, and there are ways to achieve that. You can utilize one of the aforementioned covers, pop into one of the pumping stations that are showing up in more public spaces, or do anything else that makes you more comfortable breastfeeding.


Becoming nutritionally depleted: As breastmilk is made from your body, it can deplete you if you don’t stay on top of your food and water intake. Typically, a breastfeeding mother needs an additional five hundred calories a day, ideally from nutrient-rich sources.

Much like in pregnancy, during breastfeeding the body takes what it needs to provide baby with the ideal ingredients for health. If you have a surplus of nutrients and are consistently adding to the supply, you and baby will be fine. But if you’re lacking, you could experience postnatal depletion, which could cause exhaustion, poor concentration and memory, and big emotional shifts.

Maintain your vitality by drinking lots of water and eating breastfeeding superfoods like salmon, eggs, avocado, green leafy veggies, sweet potatoes, legumes, whole fat yogurt, whole grains, nuts and seeds (especially chia and flaxseeds), fenugreek, Ashwagandha, and turmeric. If possible, buy organic.

As you can see, many factors can understandably make you hesitant about breastfeeding. But with the right support and techniques, you can get past these blocks and have a successful journey through this amazing aspect of motherhood.

What to do

Know that breastfeeding is initially a struggle for many women. Needing help with this dynamic undertaking is so normal, and it’s often made much easier with the right support.

Hire a lactation consultant. A great lactation consultant helps you solve logistical issues with breastfeeding, figure out the best ways to make the experience more physically comfortable, and resolve any mental blocks. Because not every lactation consultant will be a good match for you, interview various candidates before your baby is born. This allows you to pick someone you’re comfortable with and have go-to breastfeeding support when baby arrives.

Join a support group. Connecting with women who have similar concerns and struggles can normalize your breastfeeding experience and provide a safe space to share your thoughts and receive supportive feedback.

Soothe pain by expressing milk onto topless breasts. Beyond ensuring that baby has a good latch, one of the best ways to pacify painful nipples is to push a bit of milk out of your breasts and dab it on each nipple, as breastmilk has amazing healing properties. Then, go topless for a while, allowing the milk to soak into the cracked skin.

Make healthy snacks and a big metal water bottle easily accessible. Prevent breastfeeding from draining your vitality by regularly restocking it with nutritious food and lots of water. I would get hungry and thirsty almost the moment I started breastfeeding. If I didn’t have water and food within arm’s reach, I felt trapped. Make sure you’re equipped for the multiple daily feeding sessions by having a bag filled with healthy goodies (that no one but you is allowed to pull from) and an always-filled reusable water bottle (metal is the safest).

Remind yourself how good breastfeeding is for you and baby. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by your breasts and babe, remind yourself that breastfeeding can do the following:

*Lower your baby’s risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), childhood leukemia, stomach viruses, lower respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and meningitis

*Decrease their chances of developing allergies or becoming obese

*Provide regular helpings of vitamins, nutrients, and other disease-fighting substances that serve as natural immunizations for your baby the first few months of life

*Improve cognitive development

*Save your baby in the case of an emergency, as it protects them from the effects of a contaminated water supply, helps prevent hypothermia, and requires zero supplies

*Reduce your chance of developing ovarian and breast cancer

Making breastmilk even more amazing is the fact that it’s custom made for your baby. Your milk ducts contain sensors that pick up signals in your baby’s saliva, telling your body what your baby’s unique body requires; your body then responds by creating customized milk. Your body also responds to pathogens you’re exposed to by producing customized milk that helps protect your baby from the pathogens’ potentially harmful effects.


Know that there’s no shame in stopping. If after trying all these sources of support, breastfeeding is still causing more stress than solace in your life, you have every right to stop. While I’m all about the benefits of breastfeeding, I’m more about women doing what is best in their unique situation. If the thought of switching to formula fills you with relief, follow that instinct.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Essential Home Birth Checklist

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-7mg6m-12fa604

A go-to checklist to help ensure you have a healthy and healthy home birth.

And… 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Becoming a Widow When 6-Months Pregnant: An Interview With Mother and Author Ashley Bugge

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-yp32v-12fa600

Hear the heartbreaking story of Ashley Bugge who was widowed at the age of 34 when her husband died in a scuba diving accident. At the time, Ashley was 6-months pregnant and had two young children. Ashley has since authored three books, The Ocean Is Calling, Always Coming Back Home, and A Hui Hou, and is a speaker and polar explorer with Sea Women Expeditions. 

Learn more about Ashley at ashleybugge.com

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I’ve been having the heaviest, most insanely painful periods since having my baby. Is this normal?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Can I start with a rant? Okay, thanks! I think it’s so unfair that after having monthly periods for many years, then growing a baby for nine months, then birthing said baby, we may have to deal with wildly painful periods — sometimes while our vagina or abdominal scar is still healing. Un- fair. And all dudes have to deal with is a slightly lowered testosterone level when they become a dad. Pshh.

Okay, rant over! Thanks for listening.

So what to do about your heavy, painful periods? First off, let’s look at why it’s happening. For many women, a larger postpregnancy uterine cavity is to blame for heavier periods, as it produces more mucous lining that has to be shed each cycle. But we also want to make sure the pain and bleeding aren’t a sign of a health condition. If the bleeding is occurring within the first few weeks after baby is born and is getting heavier instead of lighter, it could be a sign of a partially retained placenta, which prevents your uterus from contracting back down to size. In this case, you’re not having a period, you’re bleeding because open blood vessels in your uterus have not closed properly. Women experiencing excessively heavy, painful bleeding during this early postpartum period should contact their care provider posthaste. (For more on this, see question 65.)

Other health conditions that can cause heavy, painful bleeding include endometriosis, polyps or fibroids, adenomyosis (thickening of the uterus), or an over- or underactive thyroid.

If you’re not breastfeeding and experience what feels like a period about six to eight weeks after birth (sometimes periods start as early as three weeks after birth), it’s probably a period. If you’re breastfeeding, you could go many months before menstruating, as prolactin can suppress ovulation.

What to do

Don’t suffer in silence. Look into the following to find relief:

Have your iron levels checked. Because heavy periods can screw with your iron levels, and low iron levels can lead to exhaustion and other unpleasant symptoms, have your care provider check for an iron deficiency. If you do have a deficiency, they might recommend iron supplements, IV iron therapy, or diet shifts.

Rule out underlying health issues. In addition to having your iron levels checked, ask your care provider to help you confirm your heavy periods are not being caused by conditions like fibroids or endometriosis. If your care provider is not a specialist in women’s health, ask for a referral.

Consider birth control. As many types of birth control reduce uncomfortable period symptoms or can completely stop periods, you might want to talk to your care provider about getting a prescription for one that’s right for your unique needs. However, make sure birth control doesn’t mask the symptoms of an underlying issue by first having an OB-GYN confirm your reproductive health.

Get some exercise. Exercise is a whiz at helping the body manage hormone imbalances, potentially reducing the heaviness of your next flow. Even going on a thirty-minute walk a few times a week can be helpful.

Know that time may alleviate uncomfortable period symptoms. As your intense periods may be caused by your uterus getting used to life after pregnancy, you can likely expect the heavy flow and pain to somewhat subside after a few months, as your uterus and hormones adapt to their new normal.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Guided Meditation: Feeling Calm as an Epidural is Placed

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-bksxc-12e9448

A guided meditation to help pregnant people feel calm as an epidural is being placed. 

Note: Do not listen to this while driving.

And… 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Guided Meditation: Enhancing Your Confidence and Courage for Childbirth

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-939ye-12e9440

A guided meditation to help pregnant people tap into a well of courage to utilize during childbirth. 

Note: Do not listen to this while driving.

And… 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

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I’ve been avoiding sex because I now associate my vagina and breasts with my baby, and I can’t reconcile motherhood with arousal. Is there a way to shift my mind and body out of mom mode so I can enjoy sex again?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

When I was a few months into motherhood, my husband and I had a big fight about sex — and not for the first time. Not surprisingly, he wanted more of it, and I couldn’t get into it. I associated my breasts with breastfeeding, and when I thought of my vagina I could think only of our baby coming out of me. My erogenous zones had turned into mommy zones. This severe shift in perspective suddenly made an act I had always enjoyed feel dirty, and not in the fun way.

To make myself feel better, I started rage journaling (obviously!). During this journaling session I drew what I called my sexuality spectrum. On one end of the spectrum was “using my body to care for a baby” (acts I perceived as requiring 0.01 percent of my sexuality), and on the other end was “using my body to feel sexual pleasure” (acts I thought required 100 percent of my sexuality). I wholly believed the dichotomy of that spectrum was accurate, and it screwed up my sex life for the first year of motherhood. Living by that model meant I had to push through intense mental, physical, and emotional shifts anytime my husband wanted sex, because I’d have to get all the way from one side of the spectrum to the other.

What I failed to realize when I created that spectrum was that the act of breastfeeding and vaginally birthing a baby is a lot more sexual than I realized. After all, my sexuality is what led to me becoming pregnant, birthing consists of the same uterine contractions that happen during orgasms (hence the phenomenon of orgasmic birth, see question 56), and breastfeeding causes nipple stimulation that releases oxytocin, or “the love hormone.” Some women even have orgasms while breastfeeding.

Sex and motherhood mingle a lot more than we realize. But I think that also puts a lot of women off postpartum sex. For example, I have a client who felt aroused when breastfeeding and experienced a lot of shame around that. She then developed negative connotations about anything that caused arousal because it reminded her of what she called the “wrong feeling” when she fed her baby. This caused issues when it came to sex. She used the techniques in the “What to do” section to restructure her beliefs around motherhood and sexual arousal, and eventually found her way back to enjoying sex.

Something else that can turn a new mom off is the shift in identity that she and her partner experience. Our society often paints “good parents” as virtuous, wholesome, married citizens who never curse and have sex only to procreate. Little room is left for arousal, eroticism, and orgasm. I think that’s a shame. Sexual pleasure is an innate, healthy desire — something to be explored and celebrated instead of suppressed and shamed. But that takes work, because many of us have to reprogram our beliefs on having sex as a parent before we can enjoy having sex as a parent. So how do we start that reprogramming and get to the place where we want and enjoy carnal pleasures as much as our partner does?

What to do

Don’t give up on your sex life. Just because it feels awkward now doesn’t mean you can’t transition into a passionate, deeply pleasing sexual relationship with your partner. These tips can help you start that transition:

Look at where your beliefs about sex and parenthood come from. Many times, our blocks around postpartum sex were implanted long before we became mothers. To remove these blocks, take some time to examine where they came from. You could ask yourself . . .

  1. What messages did my parents share about sex?
  2. How did my parents navigate their own sexuality?
  3. What messages have I received about what it means to be a good parent?
  4. What societal messages about sex and parenthood have impacted me?
  5. Do I associate aspects of sex with traits I’ve been made to feel are inappropriate for a parent to have? (For example, do you think dirty talk, oral sex, or masturbation aren’t appropriate
    for a mother?)

Continue asking these questions until you have a solid idea of the forces that impacted your perception of postpartum sex. For there, you can decide what can be thrown out — for example, outdated ideas passed to you from your parents, the media, or society at large. And then, determine how you would like to perceive postpartum sex. Because that’s the thing, you have the right to create your own definition of what sex after birth looks like, and you don’t need anyone’s permission to live by that new definition. Here’s an example of a new definition, “I perceive postpartum sex as a beautiful dance between me and my partner that allows us to bond and to enjoy pleasure. Being a good parent means honoring my need for pleasure.” Here’s to a shift in perspective that fosters unfettered arousal, rolling orgasms, and a shame-free after glow!

Tell your partner how you feel. I can almost guarantee that you that unless you tell your partner what’s actually going on, you not wanting sex will make them feel rejected, like there’s something about them that’s causing you to not want sex. Fill them in on the blocks you’re having, why they’re coming up, and how you want to navigate them. If you don’t yet know how you want to navigate them, ask your partner if they’re interested in helping you in this process. If so, you can read through these suggestions together or come up with other possible solutions that suit your unique relationship. This communication can foster connection and prevent rifts or resentment that might be caused by changes to your sex life. An added bonus is your partner will probably put less pressure on you to have sex when you’re not feeling it.

Ask to lead the way during sex. When you’re first finding your bearing as a mother who is also a sexual being, ensure that sex moves at your pace by asking to set the pace. Move as fast or slow as you want. Tell your partner how you want to be touched. Let them know when you’re ready to be penetrated or intimately touched on the vagina — of it you’re not ready for that. Teach them what kind of touch on your breasts does and does not feel good. While this instruction might seem strange at first, it can help you feel empowered in your sexuality, and support you and your partner in understanding how to please this new version of you.

Take solo “warm-up” time before sex. For many women, the mind needs to be aroused before the body can get on board. So before you and your partner get frisky, slip away to the bathroom or another private space, and start thinking about things that turn you on. You can also pleasure yourself. Take your time, giving your mind and body time to warm up. Then, when your freshly aroused self is ready, go to your partner.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Guided Meditation: Advocating For Your Birthing Rights

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-kxwmq-12e9436

A guided meditation to help pregnant people advocate for their birthing rights.

Note: Do not listen to this while driving.

And… 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Guided Meditation: Birth Affirmations

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-2cztm-12e9430

A series of empowering birth affirmations to help pregnant people prepare and move through a calm, healthy, and happy birth experience. 

Note: Do not listen to this while driving.

And… 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

Uncategorized

Will my vagina feel the same to my partner after a vaginal birth? Will sex feel the same for me?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

After a vaginal birth, your vagina might be a bit wider, which both you and your partner might notice in the first few months after birth. But as you continue to do those Kegels and your vagina settles into its new normal, the changes will be less and less noticeable. In addition, some women experience vaginal dryness as their hormones shift, but this will work itself out after a few months.

Beyond the physical components of sex, you, your partner, or both of you might experience some mental blocks. One of the big ones is feeling comfortable connecting to your sexual side when so much of your identity has suddenly shifted into parent mode. It can be tricky to reconcile these two pieces of yourself. Because of this, it’s normal for your sex life to go through a dry patch in the early months of parenthood. Just take it easy on yourselves, commit to continuing to have sex every now and then — even when it’s awkward — and know that you can find your way back to a steamy sexual connection.

What to do

Go to a vagina spa. I’m kidding. But doesn’t that sound like something that could actually exist in Los Angeles? Until we discover a vagina spa, try these ideas:

Do Kegels. This exercise is a sexual game changer as it strengthens the pelvic floor muscles that surround the vagina, making it tighter. It also increases circulation to the vagina and pelvic floor, which can enhance arousal and lubrication — Kegels are a great way to get you going before sex. To do them . . .

* Identify your pelvic floor muscles by stopping your stream of urine midflow. Release after a few seconds.

* Focus on pulling the pelvic floor muscles in and up, hold for the count of ten, and then fully release to the count of ten.

* Maintain smooth and easy breathing during reps, slowly inhaling with the intake of muscles, and exhaling with the release.

* Do ten sets, three times a day.

Use lube, if needed. Because nothing kills the mood quicker than a dry vagina, purchase an organic lube to utilize until your hormones start providing natural lubrication again.

Get creative with positions. The temporary changes in your vagina could make positions that used to be lovely feel painful; and positions you haven’t tried, the bee’s knees. Go into sex with curiosity, trying out different positions until you find the one (or many) that do the trick. It’s also important to let your partner know you’re going to lead the way with this, as you’re the one who will know when something is working for, or against, your pleasure.

Consider amping up foreplay. If you’ve tried all the positions and none are doing the trick, return to the tried-and-true techniques of oral sex and fondling. Sex will eventually feel good again, but there’s no need to forego pleasure in the meantime.

Love yourself. A transformed vagina, leaking boobs, a shift in identity, fatigue, seriously limited time to get frisky…it can all lead to some bummer thoughts about yourself. Common thoughts I had in the fourth trimester were, “I’m no longer a sexual being, but a bloated baby bottle. I can’t possibly seem sexy to Eric. I feel so gross. Why am I so sticky? My vagina is probably disgusting, but I’m too scared to look.” I was so mean to myself. And needless to say, this meanness didn’t enhance my connection with myself or Eric.

Do as I didn’t, and tell yourself that the mean voice is full of lies. Instead of allowing yourself to fall down the rabbit hole of those damaging thoughts, be gentle with yourself, continually coming back to the knowing that things will settle down, you’ll reclaim your sense of self and sexiness, and your sex life will get back on track. It won’t happen all at once, and that’s okay. Instead of focusing on what’s not working, pay attention to what is — like the fact that you can create, birth, and nurture a new human. And that stretchy pants exist.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Guided Meditation: Journey Through a Gentle C-Section

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-vsgp3-12e941f

A guided meditation to support pregnant people in envisioning a gentle, safe, and empowered c-section birth experience. 

Note: Do not listen to this while driving.

And… 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Guided Meditation: Preparing for an Orgasmic Birth

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ci9x2-12e9417

A guided meditation to help pregnant people increase the chance of experiencing an orgasmic birth. 

Note: Do not listen to this while driving.

And… 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

Uncategorized

Until my baby is vaccinated, I don’t feel comfortable taking them out of the house or exposing them to anyone but my partner and me. Am I being paranoid?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

I don’t think you’re being paranoid. But let’s peel back the surface of your feelings by considering a few things. First, if your baby has a compromised immune system, it’s wise to be cautious about being around too many people until they’re less vulnerable. And if you’re in the thick of flu season or have family members who have been battling a “bug,” it’s best to avoid exposure for you and baby.

If you have a healthy baby, you’re likely fine to go out. This is especially true if you’re breastfeeding, as breastmilk fills your baby with antibodies and other goodies that work wonders at protecting them from harm, at least for a few months. The one “going out” caveat is that you might want to avoid incredibly crowded areas, like theme parks, malls, and cruise ships, for example, as these are the types of environments that can breed the spread of infection.

With that said, consider whether your hesitancy to leave the house or have people over also has to do with your need to integrate with all the changes you’re going through. Becoming a parent is one of the most massive, sudden transformations a human can go through, which makes it natural to want to pause interaction with the outside world until you get your bearings.

Whatever your reasoning, I recommend following your instincts. If you’re yearning to leave the house but guilt over exposing baby to a virus is holding you back, get creative about safe ways to go out. For example, you could go on walks, so long as you have a hard line with strangers trying to touch baby, which strangely happens more than you’d expect — people see something cute and want to touch. You could also meet friends for a picnic at the park or go to an uncrowded restaurant and sit on the patio. Essentially, choose activities that allow you to be outside, without having close contact with others.

If you want people to come over but worry about invisible dangers they might carry into your home, be strict about them washing their hands as soon as they arrive and holding off on coming over if they’re sick. Your pediatrician can also let you know if there are vaccinations you should confirm that others have before coming over. For example, whooping cough was a big problem when Hudson was born, so I and everyone who would be frequenting our house were vaccinated with Tdap before he was born. In addition to all that, you have every right to not allow anyone to hold the baby.


That’s my long way of saying that what you’re feeling is your maternal instincts giving you a strong signal that you should explore.

What to do

After contemplating where your hesitation to go out with baby or have people over is coming from, consider the following actions, as they can provide a welcome sense of security:

Get a recommendation from your pediatrician. If you’re raring to get out but fear keeps popping up, ask your baby’s pediatrician for their suggestion. They can guide you based on your baby’s unique health circumstances and any public health concerns you should be aware of.

For example, I’m writing this during the Covid-19 outbreak; for obvious reasons, this pandemic makes it easy to decide whether to go out or not. But even when we’re not in the midst of a pandemic, flu season and a flare-up of other viruses could cause the pediatrician to advise you to stay close to home for awhile. Regardless of their recommendation, you’ll likely have more clarity after the chat.

Breastfeed. While breastfeeding isn’t a substitute for vaccinations, the milk does give baby an extra layer of protection for about six months after birth. Breast milk does this by providing antibodies that support the immune system and protect against diseases you have had or have been vaccinated for. These antibodies can bind to potential pathogens and prevent their attachment to the baby’s cells. In addition, breastfeeding can enhance the baby’s response to certain vaccines.

Get vaccinated. Protecting yourself is one of the best ways to protect your baby. So confirm with your care provider that you’re up to date on vaccinations, and ask if they recommend any new ones. Many advise pregnant women to get a Tdap vaccine and a flu shot during pregnancy.

Don’t let others touch baby until they’ve washed their hands. Because close contact, touch in particular, is one of the main ways viruses spread, require anyone who wants to hold baby, or even just touch them, to wash their hands for at least twenty seconds first. And remember, you have every right to not allow others to hold or touch baby if you’re uncomfortable with it.

Verify the health standards of the day care facility you use. If your baby will need day care before they’re vaccinated, confirm the health standards of your preferred center by reading their health and safety inspection report. Many centers post these online, and you can also ask them for a copy. In addition, ask them about their hand-washing policy, vaccination requirements and records for those old enough to receive shots, guidelines for keeping a sick child home, and anything else you feel is important. The Child Care Aware website offers excellent resources for finding quality childcare: childcareaware.org/families /choosing-quality-child-care/starting-child-care-search/.

Avoid crowded spaces. As I mentioned before, crowded areas increase baby’s risk for contracting a virus. While the risk is probably pretty low when an outbreak isn’t occurring, if you’re feeling anxious you can enhance your peace of mind by avoiding crowded spaces until baby is vaccinated. For unavoidable sites like airports, minimize baby’s exposure by washing your hands as often as possible, not letting anyone touch them, and minimizing their contact with public surfaces.

Know that it’s okay to want to stay in. If baby’s health is only a portion of your hesitancy to interact with others, and all parts of you resist the idea of going out or socializing, trust that. Honor your need for time and space.

Create a loose script for when people hassle you about your need for space. Because it can be hard for others to understand your request for space — especially when they’re yearning to meet that adorable baby — come up with a go-to response for when you’re questioned. For example, “The pediatrician recommends we keep baby home and away from others for [insert your desired period of time here], and for baby’s safety we’re going to honor that.” Even if the pediatrician didn’t recommend this, I’m all about blaming it on them, as others are often loath to go against the word of a medical expert.

Get your copy today.

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Guided Meditation: Turning a Breech Baby

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-wkjnw-12e9406

A guided meditation to support pregnant people in achieving ultimate relaxation to support their baby in turning out of the breech into the vertex (head down) position.

Note: Do not listen while driving. 

And… 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂

birth podcast, Childbirth, Pregnancy, pregnancy podcast

Guided Meditation: Childbirth Fear Release

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-uy4c8-12e93f6

A guided meditation to support pregnant people in replacing fear of childbirth with hope, trust, and even excitement for the birth process. 

Note: Do not listen while driving. 

And… 

Email me at BaileyGaddis@yahoo.com if you have any questions about pregnancy, childbirth or early motherhood that you would like answered on this podcast 🙂