Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

As my holiday planning began a few weeks ago, it became very obvious that a traditional Christmas tree wasn't going to happen this year.  With a very precocious toddler in the house, nothing is safe.  He frequently carries large objects from room to room, and has a super secret hiding spot we haven't been able to locate.  I could only imagine E pulling a live tree down on top of him, or better yet, relocating the ornaments to the water-filled stand.

However, I'm not willing to forgo a tree altogether.  So after trolling Pinterest for a while (which, by the way, is my new obsession), I came across a beautiful, inexpensive, and relatively child-friendly "tree substitute".  I figure people will say, "Oh!  That's so neat!  How did you do it?"  As a preemptive strike, I've decided to write this short tutorial so you can replicate my tomato cage tree substitute. I refuse to call this a tree because, well, it's just not one.

Step 1: Procure a tomato cage from your friendly local hardware or garden supply store.  (Did you know they come in different sizes?  I didn't, but POSSLQ discovered that fact today at the store.)  Place the cage on your chosen surface, and begin wrapping it with medium gauge wire. I used 20 gauge, because that's what I had on hand.  The wire could be skipped, but I wanted sturdy places to hang ornaments.


Step 2:  Take a picture of the finished wire wrapping.  Look back at your first picture and realize the curtain is in dire need of a washing.  (That's what happens when it rains and the window is open).   


Step 3:  Begin wrapping your cage in lights.  I used white wire, clear lights, but really anything will work.  Use your imagination.  I used 400 lights (4 strands) on a medium cage.  I wanted mine to be dense.  


Step 4:  Finished lights.  Actually, this is only three strands.  I found the last strand after I finished decorating, and went back in to add more lights.  Admire my super adorable tree substitute-decorating helper.  



Step 5:  Add decorations.  I have this rustic, fabric and fiber centered decorating theme going on, so I made some rag garland for my tree substitute.  Then I sorted through our ornaments and only picked out sturdy ones I didn't mind if E carries around.  E spent five minutes trying to hang an ornament, but he didn't quite understand how it worked.  He just kept putting it near the tree and letting go.  It was really cute. 



Step 6:  Steam your freshly washed curtain, trim as desired, stand back and enjoy.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Losing Spoons

When I was growing up, my mother always had this strange obsession with counting silverware.  Something was always going missing.  I remember several times during my childhood when, even with all the dishes clean, we only had three spoons.  After reaching adulthood and becoming responsible for my own flatware, I’ve often thought back to those times when my mom would accusingly ask the whereabouts of her teaspoons.  For nearly eight years, I’ve owned the same service of four, and I still have all the original pieces.  Many times, I’ve felt a sense of pride and outdoing – I’ve succeeded where my mother was unable to, and I can keep track of my spoons.  (Confession: My mother was, and is, such a mysteriously successful woman in all she attempts, it's often nice to feel like I can do something a little better.)  However, it’s recently come to my attention that my mother faced a hurdle I have, hereto forth, not faced.  Now I do face that hurdle, and the fate of my spoons is in jeopardy. 

Enter the toddler. 

E hides everything, everywhere.  He loves to drop things into laundry baskets, trashcans, containers, cabinets, and some super secret hiding spot I’ve not yet discovered.  We recently opened the utensil drawer in the kitchen to discover the DVD remote control, which had been missing for two days.  Earlier this evening, I emptied dirty laundry into the washer and found: two toy cups, a small ball, a knitting tool, an ink pen, and (gasp) a spoon.

For years I thought I was doing it better than my mom.  I owe her an apology.  Children hide things.  They use things in ways we can’t imagine.  They lose things.  For all those years, my mom was right.  Her children were losing her spoons.  My child is losing my spoons.  But the look of delight on his face when we dumped out that laundry basket and all those treasures were found was definitely worth a few lost spoons. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Aspirations

All ladies have great aspirations.  Some ladies want to go into politics, some into the corporate world.  Some aspire to be great artists, or writers, or firefighters.  Some ladies aspire to be mamas.

That's our Annabelle.  She is two and a half years old, and has gone "broody" three times.  She sits and sits and sits on a nest, often only rising once a day to eat and drink.  I've had to gently (and often, not so gently) persuade her back into egg laying.  After all, I have backyard chickens for eggs!  This past time she decided to take a break from laying and start sitting, I tried to nudge her off the nest several times a day, but she was persistent.  More persistent than me.  So I caved.  I let her sit on unfertilized eggs for three weeks, then I went and bought her some babies to care for.

I was a little nervous because these guys are several days old, even though they are just so tiny.  I was afraid Annabelle wouldn't accept them.  Afraid they wouldn't identify her as mama.  Afraid I would end up hand raising chicks again.  And as I've said before, hand raising chicks is fun, in a taking 10 ten year olds to an amusement park kind of way.  It was fun once, but I'll never do it again.

Last night I went and picked up our little babies - three white crested black Polish chicks.  I set the box close to Annabelle and let them peep peep peep for a few hours, then made the switch.  I pulled the eggs out from under her, and replaced them with chicks.  All while holding my baby on my hip.  I left them alone overnight to snuggle and sleep, and hopefully bond.

This morning, I went out to check on them, and found a mama with three little heads poking out from under her.  When she moved enough to let them get up and stretch their legs, she looked at them as if to say, "Ah, babies, I knew if I waited long enough, you would come."  And they looked at her as if to say, "Oh!  We know you!  You're what we've been waiting for since we hatched - a mama."  Then she started chirruping, and they peep peep peeped their way back under her breast.

The whole scene was quite sweet, especially since I could identify so strongly with the hen.  Like Annabelle, I waited a while to be a mama.  And like her, I felt the exact same way the first time I felt my baby move under my hands, the first time I smelled his sweet smell, the first time I held him to my breast.  And the first time he gazed into my eyes, it was like he was saying, "Oh!  I know you.  You're my mama.  I've been waiting to meet you."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Sisterhood

Originally posted at http://beginnersguidetomotherhood.blogspot.com/.  There you can read commentary from my sister and me.

Very few things warm my heart quite like seeing a mama nurse her baby. I am filled with joy when I see a woman who is comfortable nursing her child in public, and I find it hard not to run up and give the pair a hug. Then I think about how I would react if a strange woman ran up to me while I was feeding E, and I usually settle for a knowing (and friendly) smile.

I love when I get these smiles while I'm nursing. Today E was snuggled down in his ring sling, nursing happily (and noisily, as usual), as we perused the farmers' market. A woman peered over her table and commented, "That's how I fed my babies - wherever they were hungry. Good for you!" We proceeded to have a short conversation, finding out we had the same midwife, and E made a new friend in her when he came up for air.

Nursing creates a sisterhood the way mothering does not. Women who nurse their babies are different, but similar. I feel an instant kinship when I find out a woman has held her baby to her breast, and I delight in hearing women (especially when their children are grown) speak fondly of their nursing relationships. This simple act seems to bind women of all ages and experiences together in a way few other things can.

Yesterday I was treated to my favorite brand of "nursing fan," the toddler who remembers being at the breast. As I was sitting in a corner nursing E during W's birthday party, a curious little pair of eyes found us, peeked in a few times, then came straight up to fully appreciate the situation. This lovely little lady fondly remembers the beautiful gift her mommy gave her, and seemed to savor seeing another child experiencing the same gift. It is always a heartwarming moment when a child can identify and bond with another child over something so simple as a meal, and it's a bittersweet moment when I realize that not every child gets this gift. I'm so happy I've made the commitment to give E the best and longest lasting gift I can - health from my milk, comfort and security from being cuddled at my breast, and the fond memory of not being ashamed to feed my child as long as he needs.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dear babycenter, Five months, week 1

Originally posted at http://beginnersguidetomotherhood.blogspot.com/.  There you can read commentary from my sister and me.

Dear babycenter,

Thanks for all the blog fodder. 

First up, your article "7 mommy guilt trips to avoid."  Your Number One guilt-inducer?  Feeding your baby formula.  The paragraph says, "You may feel like you're the only formula-feeding mom in the universe, but this is far from the truth."  WHAT? What woman feels like the only formula-feeding mom in the universe?  I feel constantly isolated for exclusively breastfeeding my five month old; I feel like the only breastfeeding mom in the universe.  


This is a tricky issue for me.  On one hand, I'm an avid breastfeeder.  I do tend to judge anyone who doesn't breastfeed.  But I also understand that some women have legitimate issues trying to breastfeed.  Those women shouldn't feel guilty.  But women who simply choose not to for selfish reasons?  I'm not sure I'm ready to give them a pass.   

Number 2? Using TV as a babysitter.  I can't even go there.  I have serious issues with the TV, even how much television adults in our society watch, so I better not go into how much we think it's "okay" for our infants to watch.  Television is certainly contributing to health problems in our children and adults.  It's negatively affecting our society in so many ways we can't even keep track.  So do yourself and your child a favor.  Turn off the tube.  (And don't call it the boob tube, that drives me nuts).  Go outside to play.  And if you need to get something done, find a way to involve your child, or entertain him without the television.  If I can use my sewing machine with a wiggly 5 month old superbaby in my lap, so can you.

Number 3? Being environmentally unfriendly.  I'm so tired of all the excuses for not being environmentally friendly.  We better start, as a society, being nice to this planet, or we will soon find we have nowhere to live.  Haven't you people seen Wall-E?

Number 4 – Feeding your kids junk food.  I'll give everyone a pass on this.  Unless you are cooking from scratch, you are eating junk food.  All prepared food is junk food, and most shouldn't even be considered "food."  It would take much too long to address the nutrition issue, so check out Fast Food NationIn Defense of Food, and Food, Inc. if you are interested.
Number 5 is leaving your child with another caregiver.  Gone are the days of women in the home, for the most part.  Our modern society has nearly forced us to all have two income homes.  Unless you make some serious sacrifices.  Maybe that's why it's easy for me to say "no TV."  We can't afford it, so we don't have it.  It's not possible for every family, but on one income, our family is making a mortgage payment, a car payment, and a credit card payment.  It would cost us more to pay someone to watch E than a second income would bring in.  So that's definitely one I agree with – women are forced into the workforce, so don't feel guilty about needing a babysitter. 

Yelling at your kids is number 6.  Moms should feel guilty about yelling.  At children, at partners, at anyone.  Screaming and yelling is never appropriate (unless you are at a baseball game).  Your tips about apologizing to your child were good, and I like that you identified stress as a yell-causer.  It makes me so sad when I hear parents yelling at their children for every little thing.  Most parents spend so much time trying to force their children to behave like little adults that they rob the poor children of youthful experiences.  My policy is simple - you only get told "no" if you are potentially hurting yourself, someone else, or another person's property.  Raised voices are for running in the road and putting your hand on the hot eye of the stove.  If parents yell less, children will be much more inclined to pay attention when they hear a stern voice.

The last mommy guilt trip? Not being able to afford all the extras.  If moms feel guilty about it, they should watch Babies.  This documentary follows babies from around the world through their  first year.  They all have different levels of parental involvement, enrichment activities, and nutritional levels.  Guess what?  They all reach developmental milestones around the same time.  Maybe we over-enrich our children.  Maybe music lessons and pre-pre-preschool are overkill.  Let's let our children be children, and see what happens.

Another interesting tidbit this week: Since the "Back to Sleep" campaign was initiated in 1994, more babies seem to be crawling later or skipping it completely.  Hm, interesting.  Maybe because the "Back to Sleep" campaign coincided with the arrival of infant seats and other baby propping devices.  I doubt just sleeping on the back has diminished a baby's ability to crawl, but I bet lack of "tummy time"  (which also arrived on the scene with "Back to Sleep") and being held in an adult's arms has.  The lesson?  Always put your child to sleep on his or her back, but don't overuse your 'baby buckets.' Limit (or avoid altogether) time in swings, bouncy seats, infant carriers, strollers, etc, in favor of carrying or wearing your baby.  Wraps, slings, and pouches are easy, cheap, and comfortable.  Plus they are excellent for baby's physical development. 


 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dear babycenter, Four months, week 3

Originally posted at http://beginnersguidetomotherhood.blogspot.com/, my super secret second blog, of which I am only half the staff.

Dear babycenter,

You've done well in not giving me much fodder for the blog the past few weeks, but this week... In the words of SuperBrother, "you fail epically."

First, the leading three articles in my email include a reference to bottle feeding or formula, but no breastfeeding reference.  In fact, there's not a single mention of breastfeeding in my whole email.  Am I, as an exclusively breastfeeding mother, to be alienated so soon?  Of course, I suppose less than half your readers who initiated breastfeeding are still doing so.  But maybe if we could start to associate an infant with the breast instead of a bottle, we could help encourage women to continue breastfeeding.  I know you want to be inclusive, but as a publication that presents itself as a source of information for new mothers, you have an obligation to encourage mothers to do what is best for their babies.  And research undoubtedly shows that breast is best, hands down.

In your article How Your Baby's Growing, you say, "Even though crying is still your baby's strongest form of communication..."  WAIT.  What?  Really?  If that's true, then my baby only communicates a few times a day, and often none at all.  (Yes, he often goes a whole day without crying.)  My baby's strongest form of communication is body language, thank you.  Crying is not an infant's go-to communication method.  It's just that parents are often not tuned in to infants' subtle signs, and baby has to resort to crying.  And by giving false information like your aforementioned statement, you are only furthering the communication gap between babies and their parents.
A few notes on the past few weeks... 

In 4 month, week 2, you recommended I get my partner involved in baby care.  Seriously?  My partner's been involved since day one.  Actually, he was massaging and talking to our baby during the pregnancy, making sure I had good nutrition and plenty of rest.  I'd say he's been there since the first day one.  Maybe I'm different than most mothers.  Even though E is with me about 21 hours a day, I don't feel anxious when I leave for work in the morning and my two guys stay home together.  I feel confident in daddy's ability to care for E.  If I hadn't had a supportive and involved partner up to this point, I'm not sure we would have made it to this point.  I feel very sad for mothers who are just now going to take babycenter's advice and "get their partner involved."


The week before that, you had several quick clicks concerning solid foods.  I know we talked about this in month 3, week 4, but I'll say it again.  Leading medical organizations currently recommend breastfeeding exclusively until six months of age.  Quit talking about solids.

And finally, a quick sister-to-sister...

Last Mothers' Day, we were just discovering this whole new way of relating to each other.  We'd been in different stages all our lives and rarely able to connect in the way we could when we both became expectant mothers.  Hardly seems possible that it's been a year, does it?  That our relationship is now so changed; our definition of each other, and of sisterhood, has taken been radically altered.  We see eye to eye so very much now, it makes all those years of opposing teen angst seem like a lifetime ago.  I'm so happy to be sharing mamahood with you, and so proud of the mommy you've become.

I thought I was done, but here's "Doctor Moms Tell All."

Q: Can you spoil a baby?

A: Thank you so much, doctor moms, for being spot-on this time!  Babies have needs.  Sometimes they need food or a clean diaper.  Sometimes they need cuddles.  That's still a valid need.  Thanks for  encouraging readers to respond quickly and consistently to their babies.  Children who learn that their caregivers are reliable and loving grow up to be reliable and loving adults.

People often comment that they never hear E cry.  We always respond, "He has very little reason to cry."  We meet his needs before they become unbearably urgent to him.  He has faith in us, so he doesn't have to cry.  He simply has to remind us that it's time to eat, or sleep, or play, or give hugs.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pampers Believes... And Scores a Few Tiny Points

Originally posted here: http://beginnersguidetomotherhood.blogspot.com/



The Superbabies are cloth diaper butts.  The Supermoms feel strongly about cloth diapers.  Very strongly.  So it seems surprising to post a commercial for Pampers here.  But this commercial is surprising.  Good job, Pampers, for being so inclusive.  You're still yucky in the landfills, and we still think disposables stink when they are soiled, and cloth is justsomuchcuter, but good job on marketing.  Plus all those babies are adorable.  Thanks for making me smile.


 Post Script: 
Rebecca: Typically the supermoms don't comment publicly on each others' posts, we simply nod in agreement. However, if there is something we feel more strongly about than cloth diapering it's breastfeeding. So tell me Pampers why you had clips of 2 babies being fed by bottle and 0 babies being breastfed. That's all I ask.

Kristin: Oh, good notice. I did not notice. I was so bowled over by the homebirth scene that I overlooked all else... Shame, Pampers. More boob, less bottle, please.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Subby

Originally posted here.


Parents magazine has an article this month called "Breaking the Binky Habit."  I didn't read it, since my guy isn't a pacifier man, but it did get to thinking about binkies and what we call them – especially when I saw the sidebar about what kids call their pacifiers.  Pacifiers are an interesting "hot button" topic in parenting circles.  Some literature claims they can lead to nipple confusion, other sources say nipple confusion doesn't actually exist.  Some kids have a permanent binkie-ring around their mouth, and some would sooner spit the thing across the room.  Some parents can't stand pacifiers, some can't live without them.  (The supermoms aren't really either group – though one superbaby is a pacifier taker and the other is not.) 
As I mentioned, E isn't a pacifier man.  That's fine with me; some kids are and some kids aren't.  We don't push the issue – he will take one every now and then for baby daddy (who claims E is the worst pacifier-sucker ever), and he recently discovered a new use for it – chew toy.  He grasps it between his gums, then – POP – jerks it out.  Rinse, repeat.  A new game we play at bedtime in those minutes between when story time ends and nursing time begins, I'm absolutely fine, and actually quite entertained, with this new use of the pacifier.
I think, if E were to ever form an attachment to the pacifier that went beyond using it as a chewing toy, we would call it "subby" – the substitute.  I've never particularly liked the term "pacifier," even though it does explain the basic use of the thing.  I also don't like "binkie" or "Nuk," both genericized trademark nicknames.  (That's a term I learned today, isn't it fancy?  Things like Scotch tape, the Yo-Yo, Duck tape, Kleenex, and Port-A-Cath are all genericized trademarks.  Thank you, Wiki, for that little piece of trivia.) 
When you think about it, a pacifier is quite like a substitute teacher.  It's sort of the same but not exactly the same as your regular teacher (or nipple).  It's not quite as well trained as your regular teacher, but it gets the job done.  It generally lets you get away with more than your regular teacher (a pacifier doesn't set you down when you bite it).  You don't get the same one all the time, since there's a pool to choose from.  You might get attached to it, but in the end, it doesn't know you as well as your regular teacher, and the bond just isn't the same.
And on the subject of pacifiers, this terrifying contraption came to my attention yesterday...  Chew on that for a while.  Maybe you won't be as horrified as me.  But it ranks right up there with bottle prop on my list of dumb baby inventions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dear babycenter, Three months, week 4

Dear babycenter,

Thank you for your email this week.  "Your baby loves to reach out and touch anyone and anything she can get her hands on."  Yep, that's true.  But your recommendation that I should "outfit her crib and play yard with fascinating toys" fell a little short.  My baby doesn't have a crib or a play yard.  Maybe instead of outfitting his crib and play yard, you could recommend some toys we can play with interactively.  My guy loves his Lamaze giraffe, for example.  It squeaks, it rattles, it crinkles, and it's bright and shiny and easy to chew on.  We spend lots of time sitting together talking about the giraffe and playing.  I think that's better quality learning time than "spending time in an activity saucer or under a floor gym," your other recommendation for this week.  Seriously.  Maybe you should recommend I play with my child, not provide things for him to play with. 

And the picture of the baby with a cell phone up to his ear?  SERIOUSLY?  Your "telephone talk" game is crap.  There, I said it.  It's CRAP.  How is me holding phones up to our ears and pretending to have a telephone conversation any more beneficial than simply having a conversation with my baby???  I thought you were going to suggest I put my baby on the phone to talk to his grandmother or aunt (which is silly, but I can see some merit there), but your actual suggestion was so much sillier.  

And I know we've said it before, but it bears repeating.  Again and again, until the problem is fixed.  I clicked on your quick link "When can I introduce solid foods?" not because I'm thinking about doing so, but because I wanted to see what babycenter had to say on the topic.  Why, oh why, babycenter, are you still spewing this 'solids introduction between 4 and 6 months' nonsense??  Thank you for following that up by saying that the AAP recommends exclusively breastfeeding until six months, but maybe you should switch those two paragraphs?  Maybe you should address the fact that delayed introduction of solids decreases food allergies.  

You do get some points from me, babycenter, for correctly defining Ferber's method of 'sleep training.'  I appreciate that you give equal credence to the two major methods, Ferber and Sears, as well as addressing the middle ground, and acknowledging that what works for one child may not be the best for another.  Good job, babycenter.  At least on the sleep front.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Breast is Best... And Here Are Your Prizes!

Find the original here.


In the past ten to fifteen years, obstetricians have encouraged women to "try breastfeeding."  Pediatricians have told women that "breastfeeding to six weeks is healthiest."  However, the AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding to six months, continuing until one year of age, and as long as mutually desired after that.  The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding until six months, continuing with "appropriate complementary foods up to two years or beyond."

Why, then, are so many women never breastfeeding?  Why are we being told to offer our babies cereal and pureed foods at 4 months when the leading infant health organizations are recommending otherwise?  Why are we being let to believe that as long as we breastfeed for six weeks, we've done the most important part?
  
The Supermoms (and super-lactivists) have decided a reward system is in order. 
Breastfeed when baby is born?      Smiley face sticker
Until six weeks?                              Silver star sticker
To three months?                            Gold star sticker
To six months?                                Free ice cream at lunch
To nine months?                              Ice cream for a week!!
To one year?                                    Free pizza each week (on Friday. Square pizza with corn, of course)
Let your baby lead weaning?          You get a state of the art, lights up when it rings, super rad, hot pink and neon green phone!
                                                           

Had to Share a Beautiful Baby Wearing Post


The Supermoms are avid baby wearers, and frequently hear what other babywearing mamas hear - "I wish they had something like when my kids were little."  Over at Nine Davids, there's a beautiful series of babywearing pictures around the world and throughout history.  Take a peek.  It's truly breathtaking.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dear babycenter, Three months, week 2

Originally found here.


Dear BabyCenter,

I'm glad you put a tiny blurb on the sidebar of this week's e-mail.  It said, "It's A Fact...  If you're feeding your baby formula, you can expect to pay between $1,300 and $4,000 for a year's supply."
Good to know, but maybe you could have made the blurb more than 2 inches wide, with a font larger than 8pt.  Or maybe your advertisers want it to be small, just like the fine print at the bottom of formula advertisements?  Perhaps you could make a huge highlighted header that reads, "If you are breastfeeding your baby, you can expect to save several thousand dollars in your first year!!!"

Also, thanks for the tips on "how to make peace" with my "post-baby body."  First of all, my body is not "post-baby."  It is "peri-baby" (peri meaning 'around' or 'about.')  My body is about my baby, not after him, thankyouverymuch.  Secondly, maybe among your weight loss tips for post-baby bodies, you could have included some praise for GROWING A HUMAN.  Maybe focus on the amazing journey my body has taken in the last year.  How I shouldn't expect my body to be the same since sheltering and nurturing an eight pound baby.  So there's some suggestions.  But in any case, my "pre-baby" blue jeans fit just fine, thanks.  Here's a weight loss tip from the supermoms – breastfeed.  We promise your jeans will fit faster than you imagined possible.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dear babycenter, Two months, week 4

Written for my joint blogging venture.



Baby Center has a "does your baby sleep with you" poll.  Guess what.  More babies "always" sleep with their parents than "never," but it's interesting how it's almost 1/3 each: always, occasionally, never.


This was interesting -
 Babies who tend to keep their head in the same position, rub it against the mattress, or bang it against the side of their crib may have more hair loss. 

Bang it against the side of the crib???  I'm thinking a baby who does that might have more issues than just a bald spot!!
And...
Dear BabyCenter,
I'm not worried about why my baby has a flat spot on the back of his head.  He doesn't.  But if he did, it's not because of sleeping on his back at night, as you suggest.  It's more likely from sleeping on his back at night, then being on his back in his bouncy seat, laying on his back on the couch beside me while I hold his bottle in one hand and my IPad in the other, then laying on his back under his jungle themed play arches, then napping on his back in his pack-n-play, then reclining on his back in his carseat to the mall, then being snapped into the "travel system" stroller to walk around the mall, then riding home in the carseat with his cool "bottle prop," then going back to bed to sleep on his back.  Did you know, BabyCenter, that the average American baby is only held about 2.5 hrs per day?  Maybe that's the cause of this "positional plagiocephaly."  And maybe the solution is not more tummy time.  Maybe the solution is babywearing.  Carrying.  Cuddling.  Less hands off and more hands on. 


Just a thought, BabyCenter.  Just a thought.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Conversation About Oversupply

An exchange between sisters, which can be found in its original here.


K:

The Australian Breastfeeding Association has a booklet called "Too Much" that talks about oversupply issues.  Imagine if we in America starting giving women the idea that they could possibly produce too much milk, instead of constantly telling them they won't produce enough??

R:

Well… I know that problem first hand. I had classic over-supply and overactive MER. What really boggles my mind is that you always hear about women who 'couldn't do it' or couldn't make enough milk, etc... but women don't shout out, "Breastfeeding was easy for me!" because they don't want to make the women who couldn't cut it feel bad – so a lot of people are only hearing the negatives.

K:

I completely understand what you are saying about women saying breastfeeding is easy – I feel bad when people ask "how it's going," and I can only say, "It's the easiest and most natural thing I've ever done." And when my friends ask about your breastfeeding, and I tell them you are still going strong, they are just like, "Wow. She can produce enough to satisfy your nephew? " And now, people are starting to tell me that I won't be able to keep up with E's appetite because he's so big. I've always been frustrated by how we (American society) constantly tell women their bodies aren't good enough, but now I get super angry by it. Don't tell me I won't be able to feed my child. Of course I will.. He's my guy and my body knows him and his appetite and we are perfect together.

R:

I have always been upset by women who aren't tall enough, skinny enough, etc. etc. and now this also.

But, yes, I can produce not just enough milk to satisfy my 24 lb chubber, I have enough left over for the freezer. Did I tell you about the woman who said, "Are you still nursing him? He's so big, he's going to just wear you away." No, actually, I do just fine, thank you! Yes, I eat everything in sight and yes, I'm about the size that I was in high school but I'm not unhealthy and my body has responded perfectly to him (and clearly he is thriving). It's like telling a pregnant woman to 'be careful, you may not be able to grow that baby' – seriously? We are well-designed.

Don't feel bad about telling people things are going well for you – or for me. I would love for people to know that I'm still breastfeeding at 9 months and have no plans of stopping.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Moby love

Today I washed the dishes, hung diapers out to dry, and cleaned the house. I had a blast. I wrapped E in his Moby wrap and he "helped" me. I love his look of wonder whenever a plate appears magically out of the dishwater. His constant head turning in an effort to see every bird in the yard while we hang laundry. Everything is brand new to him, and he's able to participate in our world so much more because I've chosen to wear him most of the time.

We have very few of the "recommended" baby products - so much of it seems like silly junk to us. But one thing we aren't lacking in is baby carriers. We have more carriers than bottles. E loves to be snuggled right up next to you, and wearing him means my arms are still free. It means he gets to see and experience everything I do. It means he doesn't have to stare at a mobile or plastic toy while I vacuum the floor.

Just like so much of our world, the world of baby-having is filled with STUFF. There is so much that is marketed to new parents as "must haves" that's it a bit overwhelming. Well... more than a bit. I know a certain BIL who nearly had a breakdown in the babybigboxmart because there were too many products to choose from.

POSSLQ and I were very sure from the start that we didn't need all the things associated with raising a baby. We both agree that babies have simple needs: to be fed, to be clean, to be warm, to be able to rest, and to be loved. So with that philosophy in mind, we set off to start our collection of baby stuff.

To be fed... The tools we needed to feed baby were already here. We did pick up a few bottles for when I went back to work, and of course things like nursing tanks and pads.

To be clean... I'm so grateful we didn't spend a heap on baby washes and lotions. E is allergic to everything but Ivory soap, and he gets moisturized with lavender infused oil. We did end up getting a baby bath that fits over the sink. Diapers? We use cloth, and it seems like less work than 'sposies. POSSLQ changes just as many diapers as me, and he likes cloth just fine.

To be warm... Thanks to the generosity of friends, we will probably never have to buy a stitch of clothing for E. Plus mama is pretty crafty - he wears a lot of handmade.

To be able to rest... We have a bed. There's room for a tiny person. Judge us if you want - we like having E in bed with us. And we've felt well rested from day one.

To be loved... Well obviously that's something you don't have to buy. We parent E with what feels right. We pick him up before he cries. We soothe him when he is fussy. We talk and play when he does. We snuggle when he snuggles. He is teaching us how to be parents.

We try to meet E's needs in the simplest ways possible. And he has a need to be right with us most of the day. So the simplest way is to acknowledge and embrace that need. Thesimplest way is to snug him into a carrier and go about my day. When he gets tired, I turn him toward me, and he falls asleep with his little ear over my heartbeat.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Portrait of Love and Joy.


My heart explodes with love and joy each time I look into this little face. Or smell the milk-sweet breathe of my little baby. Or have the privilege of being on the receiving end of his nose-wrinkling, dimple-inducing smile.

Each day is filled with endless feedings - moments when my son and I get to sit down and connect to each other, tune out the world, simply be. Occasionally, POSSLQ looks on and snuggles up with us. It's fifteen minutes every few hours - or every hour - or every 45 minutes - that I have a reason to do nothing other than nurture and grow my child.

Each day is filled with diaper changes - a constant reminder of the favor we are doing our child by covering his bottom in cloth. His skin is healthier, and his world is healthier.

Each day is filled with short naps - times when my little baby demands I hold him, lay him across my bare chest, and simply rest with him. His sleepy coos and nestling squirminess reassure me that I'm helping him on his path to becoming a confident, independent child. I'm giving him a launching pad into the world, and a safe place to return when the world is too overwhelming.

Each day is filled with a million things I didn't accomplish - but they all fade into the background and are forgotten when I hear the happy sigh of my newest love, belly full and spirit joyful, as he drifts off to sleep each night.