On that same trip we were at a campground somewhere and baby needed to eat and so I was sitting off to the side and I had a receiving blanket and was nursing her discreetly using a receiving blanket. And some random older gentleman came up when we were there and said: I don’t want to be rude, but I just want to say that you have the most peaceful expression on your face and I just think it’s beautiful what you are doing there.
Laura McClellan has been married over 37 years to the same man (she says she was a child bride). She’s mom to five, grandmother to seven, and an attorney in a large Dallas law firm. After hours she hosts The Productive Woman, a weekly podcast about productivity for busy women.
Background History: Laura is the oldest of 6 kids. The first 4 kids were very close in age. Her dad was a truck driver. Her Mom took care of the kids and worked part time. Laura tells us that they did not have a lot of money, but as kids, she really did not know that. As a family, they moved around a lot. She was always the book work worm, the responsible older kid. She remembers telling her mom that she should have another baby, even promising to take care of it if she did. Around the time Laura was 13, her mother announced that she was going to have a younger baby. Laura always thought that her mother had the 5th baby because she asked for it. Later on, her parents were divorced. Her mom remarried and when Laura was 18, her mother had another baby, who is her half sister, making for 6 kids in the family she grew up in. We talked a little bit about the fact that the “traditional” family as we once knew it, is really not so traditional anymore.
While she loved her Dad, she does recognize that he was an alcoholic his entire life. He was a high functioning alcoholic who thought the grass was greener on the other side. This is why they moved around a lot. This lifestyle was hard for Laura, but she felt her mom As an adult, she has had conversations about this with her mom and talked about what life was like for her. When you are a kid you just don’t think about it. When you are a kid you think it is just “all about me.” However, as an adult, she realized what a challenge it must have been for her mom to be raising all the kids, pretty much by herself. Always interesting when you are an adult and start taking a look at your mother in a different way.
Becoming an attorney: This is not anything that ever occurred to her. This is not a vocation she ever thought she would be doing. However, one of her high school English teachers thought that since she liked to read, loved to talk and loved to argue, that she would make a good lawyer. As a kid, Laura thought that was something only rich kids did since her family did not have much money, she was not even sure about going to college, never mind go to law school. She did wind up going to law school but not until she was in her 30’s and had 5 children.
Was Laura breastfed? – She has not asked her mother, but plans on doing so. She is guessing no because formula feeding and bottle feeding was the norm when she was born.
Preparing for Breastfeeding: Laura was married at 18 years old. Laura and Mike were 20 years old when their first baby was born. She was not living at home during that time, so her mom was not real influential with her at this time, about subjects related to birth and breastfeeding. Her friend Vicki was a few years older and had a child already and became a role model to her about what being a mom was about. Vicki breastfed her baby and Laura just assumed she would also. Laura does love reading and immersed herself in whatever books she could find on the subject of parenting, birthing and breastfeeding. From her reading, she decided she wanted an unmedicated birth and she was going to breastfeed. Every bit of research that she did said that there is no drug that has been proven to be safe for a baby when taken during labor. She did not want to take a drug that was going to cross into the placenta, get to the baby and she just did not want to take the chance. Laura learned other ways of coping during labor other than taking pain medication. Laura was a Bradley childbirth educator and understands and respects all mothers and the choices they make for their labor and birth. She used the methods she learned and she taught as an educator, to help her cope with labor.
Early breastfeeding with her first baby Rachel: The first few days of breastfeeding did cause her nipples to become sore. Her first night home from the hospital, her mom came over to help. Her mom saw her looking at her baby in the crib and her mom was like what are you doing? Laura said that her milk just came in and she was dying with full breasts and waiting for her baby to wake up. Her mom said: well, why don’t you wake her up and feed her? Laura laughs now at how funny it is that she just did not think of that in the moment.
Laura was still in school when she had her first baby. Her husband was in class and she stayed with the baby. When she went to class, her husband stayed with her. She soon found a system, a routine that worked well for her. Because Rachel would spit up a whole lot after feedings, she learned to not get dressed for the day, until she was done feeding the baby. Rachel was exclusively breastfed for 6 months. Over the next 6 months, solid foods were introduced and she gradually reduced her feedings and was weaned at about 1 year.
Funny breastfeeding stories: Laura did have to figure out ways to nurse in public and trying to do this discreetly and still be relaxed. She does remember one specific time that was funny. When Rachel was 5 months old, her family moved cross country. They moved with another family. There were several vehicles and in this caravan. At some point, Rachel decided she need to nurse. Laura reminds us that, there were no car seats and no cell phones and therefore not way of alerting the other cars that she needed to stop. One of the woman, named Shannon, who was in the car that Laura was driving, just picked up the baby and handed her to Laura so she could feed her while driving. It does not seem like Laura skipped a beat as she just nursed her while she drove. Laura does say that the roads were empty and it really did not pose a problem.
Another funny story she remembers: On another trip, she was at a campground and was nursing her discreetly using a receiving blanket. I don’t want to be rude, but I just want to say that you have the most peaceful expression on your face and I just wanted to say I think it’s beautiful what you are doing. I knew that he meant well and thought it was kind of neat.
Laura is a mother of 5 adult children and a grandmother of 7 and she would never think of putting any of the grandchildren in the car without a car seat, however, years ago, this was just not an issue. We talked about how different life was when she was raising her kids, then it is now. The world is very different now. We had a nice conversation about how the issues raising kids that were popular then how they differ now and also how there are some of the same issues. We also talked about that whatever the issues are, as moms, we just worry. I think it is just in our DNA.
Lessons learned: Kids are much more resilient than we give them credit for. What they need the most is to know that they are loved and this takes care of a lot of any ills or mistakes that we might make as parents. We talked about topics such as co-sleeping and how this was just a practical and easy way to get some sleep at night. The one thing she knows about parenting, is that kids that know they are loved, the rest of it is all going to be okay. She tells us the story about doing a group text to her 5 kids and she asked them: I know that your father and I made lots of mistakes when you were growing up, but Is there anything that Dad and I did right? Laura laughed as she told us that at first they kidded and made a few fun and sarcastic comments. However, her son who s 34 years old, is in the US Navy, he made a comment about how they always did things together. They liked that they always ate dinner together and never felt like they were in the way and liked how they always did stuff together.
Productivity is what Laura is interested in: While she started the show with one intention, it has evolved into more of a mindset about productivity, rather than just tools to help with being productive. She talks a lot about encouraging moms to use what approach is working the best for them. What does it mean to be productive? How do I define what is the best way to do things? Laura reminds us that there is usually not just one way to do a task and she likes to offer options.
Episode #120 was her year end show and she looks forward to providing another year of productive podcasts.
This year she launched productivity mastermind groups. These online groups that she facilitates have 5 women, from all over the world as members. The women in the group are of different ages and are at different stages in their life, starting from the young women who is just out of college all the way through the woman who is reaching the retiring phase of her life. These differences really help to bring a variety of perspectives about the many subjects brought up during the groups. Another project that Laura is working on is a goal setting workbook that she hopes to complete this year.
Contact Information: https://theproductivewoman.com/
Twitter handle is @LauraMcMom
Lori J. Isenstadt, IBCLC
Lori Jill Isenstadt, IBCLC is a huge breastfeeding supporter. She has spent much of her adult life working in the maternal health field. Once she became turned on to birth and became a childbirth educator, there was no stopping her love of working with families during their childbearing years. Lori became a Birth doula and a Postpartum doula and soon became a lactation consultant. She has been helping moms and babies with breastfeeding for over 25 years. Lori founded her private practice, All About Breastfeeding where she meets with moms one on one to help solve their breastfeeding challenges. She is an international speaker, book author and the host of the popular itunes podcast, All About Breastfeeding, the place where the girls hang out. You can reach Lori by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her via her website: allaboutbreastfeeding.biz/contact
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