Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding’

Toddler and Tandem Babywearing

Since the birth of her brother, my 2.5 yo has been wanting to be babied (big surprise).

I tandem nurse her and wear her, as does my husband, as much as possible. The babywearing has offered a sweet closeness that I missed. My babywearing journey has been full of unexpected twists and turns.

Just as when my daughter was little, my BabyHawk and Kozy Carrier mei tais have been doing the trick for nursing baby and walking around. (She needed walking around to sleep, but my son is an easier sleeper it seems.) The mei tais are so quick and easy and adjustable for short carries. However, I stopped wearing her in them when she was bigger and could fit the ERGObaby. I did wear her up through my sixth month of pregnancy in my Boba.

On a whim, I tied my Didymos woven wrap on and threw her in it. Without a diaper even. I was surprised how comfortable and easy it was. I am not yet skilled at tying wraps, so I think I could do better. (I also need help with ring slings, although I’m not a fan of one shoulder weight.) Still, it worked.

That's her "smiling."

One random day a few months ago, I got out the frame backpack carrier from the closet. As soon as she saw it she wanted in. I, of course, had baby, but I was excited that my husband could wear her in that. My daughter expressed my excitement when she said “me and baby are in the sling together!”

The frame carrier was great when we took a train adventure just for family fun a few weeks ago.

Daddy has the shoulders for this thing, but I find it comfortable, too.

Recently, I thought I’d try her in one of my mei tais just to see because it’s so easy to put on (especially since I’m already wearing it a lot for baby). It was so awesome! I just swung the body around to the back and had her climb in.

Wow, comfortable. Just have to watch those long legs...

The back carry was super easy since she can understand getting in and can cooperate from her vantage point. I found the weight distribution with her on my back comfortable. I loved that it was easy to get her in and easy to get her out (which she wants sooner than she did as a baby). Plus, I don’t have to change carriers for my children. Same carriers, same diapers…a streamlined life!

So, yes. I was completely surprised and excited to find that I have a full range of babywearing options back in effect with her. Wouldn’t have expected that with a toddler when most folks stop babywearing. It’s almost the most versatile stage, though, it would seem. Just goes to show you.

To end, then, speaking of late stage babywearing, I’ll leave you with this post from a mama wearing her “baby” through to age 11 and beyond! Rock climbing adventure? No problem! An inspiring and uplifting must-read….

Wear your “babies” proud, mamas, papas, grandparents and all caregivers!

Sunday Surf: Vasectomies, Art-play, Wetnursing and More!

Just a few links I’ve gathered in the last few weeks on health, children, breastfeeding and birth. Many are reposted from Facebook feed because they are just that good!

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Health

Vasectomy from Momma Jorje

One family’s experience of a preferred option for long term birth control for some.

BPA-free Canned Food Options

Must know information on which companies make a point of having safe cans.

Crunchy Betty 

Found her through someone’s post on honey (only) as a face cleanser. Her blog seems jam packed with great ideas for a “more healthy, money-saving, chemical-free life.” Crunchy Betty says, “Food on your face? It’s just the beginning.”

Child

Babies Are Born with “Intuitive Physics” Knowledge 

Yes, babies are born knowing yet more than we thought….

Applying Pigment to a Surface from Teacher Tom

“Art-play is the process through which we understand.” Love the ideas, love the photos.

Breastfeeding

Do Interruptions Interfere with Early Breastfeeding

53 interruptions in the first 12 hours….seems over the top. But this made me wonder how having more than one child may affect early breastfeeding.

The Return of Wet Nursing  

Money for milk? Who would have thought? This brings up all kinds of strange wonderings…

Birth

Homebirth by State 

A map of homebirth percentages in 2009 by state. Fascinating trends.

Dads at the Core of the Experience: Pregnancy guest post by Empowered Papa on The Feminist Breeder

A series about what dads can do during pregnancy, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding. What a genius idea! This is the first of the four….

I Am a Tandem Nurser!

I joyfully shout this inside my head.

I had already shifted my focus to being a tandem nurturer. I partially came up with this term for myself through processing my sadness and disappointment that I probably would not be tandem nursing my children. After realizing the probable source of my daughter’s nose obsessionforced weaning caused by my pregnant body’s refusal to make milk, I wondered “Am I still a breastfeeding mama?” I feared that my nursing relationship with my daughter was ended without me even knowing when.

How many weeks (months?) had gone by without her asking to nurse?

I found myself choosing clothes without having to consider if I could nurse in them or not. I knew I would be thinking about nursing clothes again because of the baby, but I wondered often if somehow I would be able to be a tandem nurser after the birth. I worried that when my milk came back that my daughter wouldn’t have interest, so I was hopeful when she started getting curious from watching all the birth videos. One time before the birth, she asked to nurse, and I found that my aversion was less intense. Despite these positive signs, I questioned whether she would remember how to latch. (She wasn’t that great to begin with.)

The day baby came, I happily nursed when she asked (and made sure to take pictures in case it never happened again), but my worst fears were realized — she couldn’t latch!

She didn’t seem to remember, and when I tried to help it made things worse. My milk didn’t really come in for a week, which didn’t help either. (I think that maybe happened because I wanted to leave baby in the light treatment for jaundice so I didn’t get to hold him much, which stimulates milk production.) She asked to nurse once or so a day, and I still felt a bit of agitation. I was also frustrated and fried (emotionally and literally) from the 24-hr light therapy and the strain of staying positive about baby’s health. I began to think maybe we were both trying, but it just wasn’t going to happen.

Enter the milk.

When my milk came in, I cried inside…again, for joy. I felt relief from worry that I wasn’t going to be able to feed my newborn baby well. Some of my joy came from renewed hope that with actual milk coming out (and forcefully) that my daughter would somehow begin nursing.

My daughter blessed me for my perpetual hope by nursing!

It happened over a few days. I had offered her those few times when there was no milk, so now I knew to just keep quiet and let her do her thing. The first time I offered her milkies when my milk had come in was after baby had nursed both sides pretty well. She latched a bit better than before and even swallowed once, where before she just left her open mouth on there or closed her teeth too much. The second time I offered her milk from one side after baby had nursed one side and I knew the other was full. She continued to latch decently, swallowed a few more times and even got a little lip/mouth motion going, but she wasn’t truly nursing.

The third time, the charm, my daughter latched well, sucked gently and swallowed regularly — she was nursing!

I had gone in and offered milkies when she woke from her nap, and she seemed glad to say yes. I was quietly ecstatic, practically holding my breath to make sure I didn’t break the spell and make her stop. We nursed for about 10 minutes. Such a long time for us! And I had to end it because she was beginning to lose her interest and latch. I decided setting limits were ok, since I felt confident we could build from here. I asked her, unable to contain my excitement, “did you get milkies?” My heart felt joy when she said yes. We got up to leave the bedroom soon after.

As we walked down the hall, holding hands because she wanted to, she said in a cheerful, little voice “I like milkies. I feel better.”

Crying ensued. I practically skipped with her down the hall. I am nursing my newborn son. I am now nursing my two year old daughter. I am grateful for however long this lasts.

I am a tandem nursing mama!

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Resources (Of Course!)

Sunday Surf: The Real Deal

Usually I cheat and make Sunday Surf on a theme to provide information. Today is the real deal. These are just articles and things I’ve looked at that I think are worth sharing:

Building a Table (from Palumba)

From Conception to Birth

Trying to Conceive Naturally: What Are the Next Steps? (Natural Parents Network)

TTC (trying to conceive) is a hard place to be. I didn’t explain in my miscarriage post, but trying to conceive after that felt like a whole to do. About the only thing that actually helped was acupuncture. (I had an extra long cycle that got cut down by about a week, and regulated my hormone levels a bit, I believe.) Still, I did the thermometer, ovulation kits, herbs and more. In the end, I got fed up and gave up trying and that was the time we conceived my daughter. Interestingly, it also happened to be one year to the cycle of my lost baby’s conception.

This is a great NPN post sharing the range of options available to those TTC .

Please Sign Here, You Have No Rights (Birth Without Fear)

Technically, you can go into a hospital with a napkin that says “I consent to

Mother and Baby: Positioning after Birth (Delayed Cord Clamping: Cord Clamping Information and Research)

[Excerpt:]

“I do wonder if more women gave birth without interference (or out of water maybe), would we be more accustomed to seeing mother-directed third stage of labour – where women might have a short rest before attending to her baby – and have a greater appreciation and understanding of physiological fetal-to-neonatal transition?

It is instinct in some mammals to rest in the first 30s-1m or so after birth – leaving the baby undisturbed during placental transfusion. Do we have these same instincts, to be above our babies, to gaze at and touch our babies, to watch them breathe and check the cord…before lifting our babies up?

Child

Palumba

I found this company after looking for solid wood tables for my daughter. They are pricier than plastic counterparts (or DIY, if you can/are interested in making your own things). All of their products are beautiful, however, so they make a good suggestion for folks trying to buy you stuff that maybe you don’t want…..like grandparents. This stuff is built to last and inspire the imagination. Here’s more about them:

“We specialize in organic, natural, sustainably built, handmade children’s items created from all natural materials. Palumba’s offering of safe, non-toxic childrens toys, musical items, art supplies and clothing are all dedicated to the natural home.

Best of all, 80% of our toys are made in the USA; the rest are crafted in Fair Trade Cooperatives. All of our toys are made without any toxins or unsafe parts. They are all of heirloom quality, hand crafted and sustainably made with care and integrity.”

Understanding Brain Development in Young Children

Some recent research on how the brain develops, how it is constructed and periods of brain development (language, physical, emotional and so forth). Of course the point is that children’s brains are laying the wiring down in the first years. Here’s the conclusion:

“The development of a child’s brain holds the key to the child’s future. Although the “first years last forever” in terms of the rapid development of young children’s brains, the actual first years of a child’s life go by very quickly. So touch, talk, read, smile, sing, count and play with your children. It does more than make both of you feel good. It helps a child’s brain develop and nourishes the child’s potential for a lifetime.”

Idea List for Toddler/Preschooler Activity Bags (Intrepid Murmurings)

This post is an absolute gold mine of ideas for keeping little hands engaged and exploring — easy, quick and packed full of potential! Seriously, every one is something doable, creative and fun!

Finished Chair!

Parenting

Best of 2011 from Natural Parents Network Volunteers

Take the time it takes to surf through these links — awesome stuff! These piqued my interest:

        • Why Do Children Have More Food Allergies Than Ever Before? — I don’t want to give things away because it’s an important read….
        • An-depth and informative post about the menstrual cup option, specifically the Diva Cup.
        • A bittersweet post about an (abrupt) child-led end to a cosleeping relationship — of course this made me want to stare at my daughter in the middle of the night and hug her close, especially with another baby on the way and our solo time in bed ending….
        • 80 Uses for Coconut Oil gave me lots of ideas of what to do with the super good stuff I got from a local guy at our coop. This stuff is good for you–all of you!
        • The Best First Food for Baby made me understand why my daughter might have eaten the way she did on our baby-led solids journey. Fascinating!

One Teacher’s Approach to Preventing Gender Bullying in a (1st Grade) Classroom

One of my former students brought this to my attention. It made me think about all the ways in which my environment as a parent trying to raise my daughter is gendered from before birth. Try finding a “girl” shirt that doesn’t have ruffles or puffs or shiny bits or flowers. Even Melissa and Doug has a toy in a “friendship” set (pink and flowery) and a “vehicles” set (primary colors and all vehicles). This article took a glimpse into the classroom to see how these gendered realities are affecting children and their relationships.

Don’t Fix These Toddler Struggles

Loved this post because it not only normalizes the struggles that toddlers have but gives confidence and encouragement to caregivers to trust children and their natural learning processes. What seems like a problem to the adults isn’t necessarily problematic to children…

The Tandem Mommy (Mothering.com)

As someone hoping to see if the tandem experience is for my daughter and I (and baby #2), this post felt like a real, honest and helpful post. As always, the comments are good to go through as well.

Sunday Stream-of-Consciousness: I don’t want my family to eat SAD

Inspired by the Aums “stream-of-consciousness Sundays” here is what I wrote in a spare 15 minutes:

Chicken McNuggets in their “natural” state

(ETA: pre-2003 when McD’s started using all white meat chicken)

I grew up eating pretty SAD.  This is the acronym for “Standard American Diet” and it does make me sad.  It makes me sad that it is based on industrial and completely unsustainable (and unethical) practices.  It makes my body feel sad because it doesn’t provide what it needs to work optimally and make feel good.

Before I was pregnant, I had briefly been on a “healthy-carb” diet prescribed by my holistic doctor due to PCOS.  It was hard not to eat so much of what I was used to eating – chips, snacks, pasta.  I felt extremely limited in what I could eat and I felt sick all the time.  (This is when I found out that it was really morning sickness, since I was pregnant!)

While researching gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia, I heard about the Brewster diet, which basically stated if you eat a diet very high in protein (-100 grams a day), you will not get pre-eclampsia.  (They also have lacto-ovo and vegan diets!)  It worked for me; it was honestly the healthiest I had ever felt in my life!  I ate so much food – raw milks and cheeses and yogurts (totally legal in PA), free-range eggs and grass-fed meats and butters from the local farmers’ markets and lots of beans.  I squeezed in some veggies and fruit and a bit of bread and oatmeal and I was full!  It was a joy to eat so many healthy fats that I had always heard were so “forbidden”.

After I gave birth, I continued my education and learned about traditional foods through the Weston A. Price Foundation and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  They recommended lots of good oils (fish, coconut, ghee) which we started incorporating into our diets more regularly, as well as the eating of fermented foods (pickles, sauerkraut and kefir are all favorites around here).  We tried to start cooking with more traditional recipes and experimented with eating soaked grains/beans and sourdough/sprouted breads replaced our old favorite, generic whole-wheat.  When Beanie started baby-led weaning, we let him try (almost) everything!  We held off on grains until he was about 15 months, since babies take longer to create the digestive enzymes for grains.   At 27 months, he still nurses many times a day (and night!), but his meals still center around healthy fats, protein, veggies and fruit.  He is an adventurous eater!

I have recently embarked on what I hope will be our final journey to health and healing for our whole family:  the GAPS diet (related to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the Body Ecology Diet).  It seems daunting, but I am hoping it will heal my many gut issues (mainly eczema and allergies) and help my husband and son as well.  I look forward to sharing our journey and resources with you as we move forward.

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” -Hippocrates

Sunday Surf: Alternative Parenting Info for Family and Friends

Holidays and celebrations usually mean family get togethers and all that comes with those situations.

For many, this is a joyous time when perhaps people who rarely enjoy sharing the same space have a day or more to “live together” in some ways. What happens when the small family unit chooses to live differently than the family at large? For parents who subscribe to alternative/gentle/positive/natural/attachment whatever you call it parenting, the coming together of different styles of raising children can cause tension and frustration. Some families also have a hard time over the phone or the internet.

A few things I think cause trouble are a lack of compassionate understanding of the various “sides” and feelings of judgment and defensiveness that block communication. This happens for everyone, but it seems that the hows, whats and whys of a less typical type of parent are less known (and also, therefore, respected?). I know I wish that my family could read some of the articles that shape my parenting choices.

What follows is a rough draft of my dream list of 10 blog posts to give someone a sense of where I am currently coming from as a mother. (Yes, I reserve the right to change and learn and grow.)

***Last minute addition!***

I just found this post on the 10 RIE principles of caregiving, and it addresses all the main issues I’ve been trying to raise with my own family. I may even share it with said family…….

10 Articles to Help Understand My Parenting Aspirations

Am I (still) a Breastfeeding Mama?

It never occurred to me that being a breastfeeding mother (or not) could be a difficult thing to determine. Either you are breastfeeding or you aren’t, right?

Well, I’m finding it hard to answer that question: Am I a breastfeeding mama?

From the beginning my goal was two years and then we’ll see (which led to a desire for child-led weaning). I wrote about the major shift in my breastfeeding status that came at 18 months here and gave an update here. Things just didn’t go as I thought they would. In fact, they went downhill right when we were getting into a great groove.

So it came to be that I found myself one day wondering aloud when the last time I nursed my child was. This got me wondering if I am still breastfeeding. I started to think about some what ifs….

Am I a still breastfeeding mama if:

  • I can’t remember the last time I nursed her? (Although since I started telling her the baby is going to need lots of milkies she started to be more into them and asked to nurse one night last week.)
  • When I did nurse her last I didn’t want to?
  • There is no milk in the milkies?
  • I no longer offer and put her off when she asks?
  • My daughter no longer asks for milkies? (Is she weaned or isn’t she? See above update from last week.)

All these last months of the pregnancy, I have had a hard time nursing her and have felt some relief at her not wanting to nurse. At the same time, I feel sad and hope that she will nurse again when the milk comes back. Then again, I’m not sure how I will feel once the baby comes. It’s enough contradictory thinking and feeling to make my mind a mess.

Then today, on expressing these feelings, a friend said that she wouldn’t consider my daughter weaned because she, like me, is pretty sure that my daughter will want to nurse when my milk comes in. That made sense to me, and I’m not ready to consider her (us) weaned. It still seems so gray to me, not the black and white I thought it would be.

What do you think? When is a child weaned (particularly in the case of pregnancy)? When does a mama stop being a breastfeeding mama?

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