Welcome to the place where you can easily access TONS of FREE Breastfeeding information and GAIN valuable insight on best tips, how-to’s and “ need to know” about all things breastfeeding related. Our guest is Pregnancy Podcast host Venessa Merton.Enjoy the show
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“You have this new baby. You are suppose to be happy. They are healthy and you are just sitting their crying and you don’t know why you are crying and you are upset and it is a challenge and definitely something I was not prepared for. “
Episode 41 Vanessa Merten is a happy wife, mom and host of Pregnancy Podcast. She helps moms and dads navigate the crazy awesomeness that is all about pregnancy and birth and parenting.
I was introduced to Vanessa from Kate Erickson from Kates Take on Entrepreneur on Fire. I have loved her podcast and I wish I had this show around when I was pregnant.
Vanessa tells us she is originally from San Diego, Ca where she lived with her mom, dad and brother, who is two years younger. She comes from a small family with no extended family. Her dad is a serial entrepreneur and stayed home with the family a lot. She spent her childhood skateboarding and playing in the sand and sun. Vanessa lwent to college in Santa Barbara and then came back to San Diego, where she lived with her husband and 1 1/2-year-old son
She always thought she would have been in with a bigthat big corner office, big corporate job. She never though she would be doing anything entrepreneurial at all. Being a parent has helped her see the world and her life through a differerent perspective. It is through being a mom that she has found this passion to help parents navigate birth and all the craziness that all comes along with it. As a younger person, She never imagined that she would be doing the work that she is currently doing.
She got turned onto birth during her pregnancy. During her pregnancy she admits to being pretty obsessed with researching and making sure she made the best decisions for her and consuming all that information and then being able to have a really good birth experience. Being able to stick to her birth plan has been great and being able to help other people where they can do the same thing has been nice. She has enjoyed helping them make good decisions about their pregnancy and birth where they feel good and confident about their decisions and plan for their birth and execute the plan for what they want.
Vanessa tells us that she was breastfed for about 6 months. Her mom was a great support of breastfeeding in the early days. Vanessa loves to research so I was really curious to learn what she did to prepare for breastfeeding. She was given a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding when she was pregnant. Vanessa said that the book was pretty intense as it was a big thick book. She did read the whole thing and felt it was very comprehensive and she felt that it really prepared her. She also took a very intense birthing class and a 3 hour breastfeeding class was included. Between the book and the class, she felt pretty prepared for breastfeeding. Vanessa said that she also really committed herself to breastfeeding and said if she was having any issue at all, even if it were slight, that she was going to seek help right away. She knew that the center she was birthing at had a weekly support group and LLL has meetings all over on a monthly basis. She did not attend any groups during her pregnancy. Vanessa saysthat this is something she would now recommend as establishing those relationships first can be helpful.
She was able to breastfeed shortly after birth. She went home from the Birth Center that same day. Breastfeeding was new and awkward. I got mastitis the first week. It is an infection in one of your milk ducts. It was not very fun. It can get uncomfortable and tender to the touch and you get symptoms like fever and chills and achey almost like you are getting the flu. She did have some knowledge about mastitis, and so at least she did know what it was that she was dealing with. She took antibiotics, kicked it out of her system and never got it again. She spent the first 2 weeks getting use to things and feeling a bit of the blues. She was frustrated with early breastfeeding in that it was going well,the baby was feeding well and gaining well, but she began to feel stuck nursing round the clock. Going to the support group was a huge help on an emotional level to be around other mothers who felt the same way about feeling like this baby was attached to me all the time and meeting other woman who are in the same boat and assured me it would get better.
It may have been a little less intimidating walking into a group with some familiar faces and knowing better what to expect. This is why she thinks it is good to attend a breastfeeding support group before you have your baby. We talked about how helpful it is to go to a group first and how much fun it is for the moms who are already there in the group and how much they love to welcome the pregnant or new mother.
Having the baby blues did take Vanessa by surprise. She really did not think that postpartum depression or baby blues was something she had to worry about. Not having a history of depression and the fact that she was a happy person and happy during her pregnancy led her to believe that this was not something she would ever deal with. However, she realizes now that she did not take into consideration everything that happens with giving birth. The changes in your hormonal levels and sleep deprivation. Vanessa said that she would be sitting there with a newborn baby, who was healthy, but she would be crying and not really understanding why. She did not talk to anyone about it at the time and, of course, now she would handle it differently. It lasted a few weeks, she powered through it. Getting outside helped. The hormones adjusting helped. Getting use to having a newborn helped. She did not talk to her husband about it as she just thought it was not a big deal. Upon reflection she realizes now that she just ignored her feelings. She now realizes that if she talked to her husband about it that he could have been helpful in many ways. She realizes that it would have been helpful just to acknowledge it and talk out loud about it. He may have been able to assure me that this is the baby blues we heard about, you are not doing anything wrong, it is normal and there is nothing wrong with you. That would have been a huge relief. And then he would have been available to talk about options, whether it be a support group, or talk to my health care provider, or possibly counseling.
All this would have been a great step in the right direction. My husband would have been so helpful. He is my biggest supporter and he would have been very receptive to my sharing my feelings with him. Vanessa would like for mothers to educate themselves. She thinks there is so much misinformation about Breastfeeding. The more you educate yourself, talk to other people, support groups and get a good start, the easier it will be. It bums her out when she sees moms not breastfeeding because of poor information they had.
I hear stories all the time of women who say that I wanted to breastfeed but I just was not producing enough milk so I started giving formula. Or my Dr. said that formula was higher in iron and vitamins and so we started my baby on formula. I always like to see woman making informed decisions. If you are going to decide breastfeeding is not the right path for you, that is fine. Just don’t let other peoples opinions make that decision for you. Lori says that one of the things she likes to say are: Don’t let other people decide what you get to do with your breasts.
Words of wisdom would you whisper to your postpartum self: There are so many other moms been through the same early challenges. There are definitely sacrifices, however, the benefits that you are giving your baby are really lifelong. It is so worth it. Hang in there, get some help. You can do it.
Funny Stories – When her son was 6 months old. I researched all the information ahead of time before getting to dealership. We get to dealership, they kept us there a very long time. They tried to up sell us keep us here for a long time. I told my husband if we don’t get the car at this price we are leaving. Her son was getting hunry and she knew she was going to have to feed him, and here we are in the middle of the car dealership. I thought if I whipped my boob out and started breastfeeding, he might move things along faster. so I did and the salesman apparently was on board with breastfeeding because he did not seem to be affected by it and he kept us there another 1 1/2 hours longer anyway. We laughed about how her plan backfired, or at least did not work in her favor.
Confession from the breastfeeding mother: She reveals that while she is thankful for the benefits of breastfeeding and yet she doesn’t really LOVE it. Maybe she secretly loves it because her son is a year and a half and she is still breastfeeding her baby.
Current projects: Vanessa is host of the Pregnancy Podcast which is geared towards giving the listener information to to help make informed decisions about their pregnancy and birth and beyond. Each week is a different topic that we go into deeply. Vanessa also announced a brand new project that she is working on. It is a podcast called 40 weeks in which she gives a 5 minute talk about what is happening at each week during a pregnancy. It has recently launched and is now available in iTunes
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