Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I wish upon a star (poem)

I wish upon a star
Wondering where you've gone
You brought joy and light into my life
Now it is dark and without life
I had a moment before you left
With tears I knew you I could not have kept
We shared a love so deep
In just a moment of breath with me
You were gone and I was left to be
The ache in my breast is deep and strong
I wish upon a star because you are gone
Once again we will meet
And together we will be 
But for now I drown in my tears
Wondering why you were meant to leave me here
Alone I sit remembering my fears
When the moment came and you were no longer there

I am not very good at writing. Let alone poems. But for some reason in a moment of despair I was inspired. This poem is a result of that inspiration. Now after writing it I can see it could be used as a loss of a baby or pregnancy. But also as a lost relationship, family member or friend. Just a moment of inspiration from a moment of despair. Hope you enjoyed it and saw it in it's depths.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My journey to cloth

I am the proud mama of three beautiful babes. I had my first when I was 21 years old. We were newly weds and I was not working. My husband would work double shifts and off days to support his family. We had a rough hard start to our married life.

We had discussed about waiting a few years before we had kids, but faith had something else in store for us. Unknown to us we were already pregnant, conceived on our honeymoon. Talking about making decisions. Anyway, I was ready to try and breastfeed and to combine cloth diapering with disposables. I had to at least try it, mostly to try and save on a tight budget.

So after my baby girl was born I tried to diaper her with cloth. I had the "old" style cloth diapers. The ones you had to learn how to fold and pin together to get a good fit. I was so out of my element with this type of cloth diapering.

I dedicated quit a bit of time to researching the "proper" way to use. I talked to my dad and mom who had used cloth diapers with me. But that was no help to me, I just couldn't get it correct. I mean I would fold them very good and to the proper size but when it came to put it on my daughter something would always go wrong. I mean it would pin but when I lifted her up it would slowly slide down her legs! I knew I was doing something different or wrong than what I had learned.

After a few more try's I gave up on this method. We transitioned into full time disposables, not what I had wanted from the beginning but it would have to do.

So after our second child was born I didn't think about revisiting the cloth idea at all! I was not going down that road again. Too much trial and error for me to feel at ease to try again. So we used only disposables with our new little boy. Thankfully he potty trained easily and fast at just over a year old. So the days of diapers came fast to an end with my two babies all grown up and potty trained both during day time and night time.
I was free of diapers forever!!! ............ Or so I thought!

We became pregnant, again, unplanned, for the third time when my son was 3.5 years old and our little girl was just 5.5 years old. We didn't expect it and wasn't looking for it, but it happened; we were pregnant.

I knew from the get go that breastfeeding was *the* only option for us. We did it with the first two, full term breast feeding, and we were going to offer the same for out new little surprise.

After some difficulties I was out of a job, so to try and save again I revisited the idea of cloth diapers. This time it was different. I had already seen adds for cloth diapers when I was pregnant and knew that times and styles had changed. I was lazily thinking how will I handle all that extra laundry but knew I had to do something to save us money. So I got hubby on board and convinced him it was the only way.

Now I was going in, ready to invest into cloth diapers. But I had very little cash on hand to get them, but knew that disposables would become unaffordable very fast. There are a lot of brands out there. And the prices range from just a few bucks to into the twenties and thirties of dollars! Most of the "brands" I fell in love with I so could not afford. With the help of my cousin I found one I could, but it is not the most popular or best known brand. I didn't care, they were cloth and would do the same function as the others. I made the move and got them!

They arrived at my door a few short weeks after. I was the proud owner and soon to be user of cloth diapers: BabyLand AIO (all in one) pocket Diapers. I got 4 each of 5 different colors, so I totaled 20 for all time use. We have red, orange, yellow, green and blue monkey prints. Below is a picture I took after we opened the delivery box. We received an extra insert with our order.

I pre-washed that afternoon all the diapers before use.

I must say that they are easy to use and in my opinion quite absorbent. He can stay sometimes up to 5 hours with one on before it becomes too full to absorb  any more fluid. Not that we usually stay this long before changing him :-). They are easy to clean and don't take that much effort to wash. I wash them all together in one load once a week, see easy. The poopies get washed by hand right away. Here below I have pictures of my surprise modeling his diapers and saving mommy and daddy a lot of $.

These diapers have been in constant use since the day of their arrival to our home. It will be 4 straight months of tough use so far. He crawls all over the yard with these on and they don't stay stained or get scuffed, ripped or teared. They look just as new as the day they arrived. I still inspect them monthly for any signs of wear and tear but am always glad not to find any. We use 1 disposable diaper per night as I am too lazy to wake up in the middle of the night to change a diaper to prevent leeks on our bed. He has started to sleep from 8:30 until 6, waking maybe 3-4 times a night to feed. Well maybe not waking more like blind sleep induced looking, latching and drinking. I pre assemble my diaper stash and fold them neatly. Hoping that someday soon hubby will feel confident enough to give diapering with cloth diapers a try! He is fabulous and fast with disposables, I have to say. But has not yet felt comfortable with the snaps and choices of size that the cloth diapers have to offer.

I am an attachment parent by nature. And now I have joined the cloth diapering world and am loving every moment of it! I say YAY for cloth and saving $ and the environment all in one neat and easy diaper.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Women are like cars .....

A guy daydreams about the car he will someday have. It will be fully equipped and make all his friends jealous.
It will have of course seat belts, CD player and airco.

So one day he finds the car of his dreams! He falls in love and makes a life long commitment to it. And together with this fabulous car he builds his life. But he neglects to encourage the use of the seat belt. And we all know that wearing your seat belt can save your live if you are in a car accident, right? Well why then do we not use our seat belts more frequently? Why do we choose to give it all up to chance? And if something does happen we shrug it off as fate or part of life.

Okay, I'm going to be honest, I'm not really talking about some guy and a car. I'm talking about men and women. And the saying: "I was fed formula and I'm fine ....". Is fine good enough?

Just like when driving we should all wear our seat belts (they are there already, no installation needed, no extra expense) and if we choose not to we should be encouraged on it's life saving use. When we educate and encourage the use of seat belts increase. If you are caught driving without a seat belt do you not get pulled over and ticketed? So why should breastfeeding be any different? Shouldn't we encourage each other to use the standard equipment we come with? And we all know the cost of the "ticket" when we choose not to. It not only costs lost of money to buy but can cause life long illnesses. Again, why take the chance?

Why not use something that is there available and ready to use? And it's user friendly! No installations or minimal instructions needed! Seat belts are easy to use. With a little demonstration a child can strap themselves in. And it never fails you if you use it correctly. All you have to do is encourage it's use.

Again, so why are breast any different? They are there producing milk ready to use. No installation and minimum instructions are needed. A child/infant learns easily how to "use" them. And when their use is encouraged it saves lives.

So girlz lets all use our seat belts and make sure to save the lives of the next generation. Be safe and wear your seat belts proudly!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Beat your kid; seriously!?

How awful!

I was searching for funny pictures of kids crying for an article I was planning to write. But when I put the search words "kid crying" into the Google search engine the first title that came up caught my attention. And I immediately felt sick to my stomach! The title said: Love your kids? Prove it by beating them. Under the title is written: First smack your kid (the 5 across the eyes technique works). Wait a few seconds for your kid to start crying, then smack your kid again to let him know ...... I assume that "5 across the eyes" means that with my palm I hit him across his face, how demeaning! Now I honestly didn't want to find out what it is I must let my kid know by doing such a thing to him but I could not stop myself. I clicked on the website link.

This is the most horrific thing I have ever encountered! Upon opening the website on the top is a picture of a man with a kid raised over his head with the words: Stop being a pussy, beat your kid! I wanted to scream back: Stop being a bully and hug your kid! But then I realized the website can't hear me.

The article starts about how it is "good" to beat your kid. That kids today need a good smack once in awhile. And also that we should send our kids to a psychiatrist for them to pull some bulls*** disorder out of their a** to cover up what bad parents we are ..... Seriously? SERIOUSLY? SERIOUSLY!?!?!?

I could barely read any more, but don't worry their is a lot of crap in this article.

Here is the link to the article. I really could not take anymore. I kind of scanned through the lines and decided I am not going to read crap like this. If you would like to explore the narrow mindedness of the lesser brain of our species, please by all means click on the link I have provided and read with caution.

Not beating my kids is not making them into criminals. It is you who beat that encourages them to feel abused and neglected. I was beaten, whipped, slapped, smacked and abused. I know how belittling and enraging it makes you feel. As a kid you don't "gain" respect for your parents. You learn to secretly despise them. And that kind of rage stays with a child into adulthood. It damages the parent/child relationship. A child learns nothing from this type of treatment only not to trust his parents.

Ancient healing?

I am a nut for National Geographic and any kind of documentary about other cultures or past civilizations. Don't get me wrong I hated history in school but love to see and learn about it from the TV. I guess it's just the way I learn.

One night I forbid my husband to change the channel. I was so into a documentary about Egypt and the medicine that was practiced in those times. I found this so interesting. I was a nurse and I'm a lactation nut. So when these two aspects collided I was fascinated!

The extent of knowledge the Egyptians had about the human anatomy is to be respected. They obviously knew more than we ever can claim we do. With no "pills" and "syrups" to fix illnesses they had medicine.

One of the reasons was because they valued the milk from a lactating mother. They understood it's healing abilities. They knew it was more than just milk.
We still need science to prove to us that the best option is human milk, and all the benefits that come from it. But the Egyptians were much smarter and saw the benefits that it was created for.

When your child has a sore throat what do you give her? I usually reach straight for honey. This has antibacterial properties and the Egyptians knew this too. 

So can you guess what they did? They understood the benefits and healing properties of human milk and knew that honey also had healing benefits, so they mixed them together and made a cream this way! That could be applied to cuts, sores, scraps, and burns. This is not excluding all the injuries that were received on the battle field!

It is recently a study clarified why human milk is so beneficial for our babies. The study found that there are stem cells in human milk. This means that the development and growth of your child doesn't stop at birth (which you already know, because we are not born to fend for our selves at that exact moment, we are not born already as adults). We still need help for our body to "finish" the job where the placenta could not. This is why human milk is so beneficial and this is the same reason why it is such a great cure.

Pink eye? Human milk. Ear ache? Human milk. Cuts and scrapes? Human milk. Even sore throat can benefit from a little human milk.

I do not discriminate in my house. If it's so great for the kids, it is great for hubby too! Now I know that you are shocked and maybe feeling a bit wheezy. You are thinking that you would never go to that extreme. But think about it. He has ear ache, you have human milk. It costs nothing to express a few drops into a shot glass and use a medicine dropper and "drop" it into the ear canal. He will have relief within moments. And if there is an infection, like was the case with my husband the last time around, it will help fight it; naturally.

All my years as a parent and lactation nut I have met only one doctor that didn't believe (or rather just didn't want to promote) in the benefits of human milk. Every doctor, nurse, midwife and pediatrician I have had the pleasure of interacting with have all know and promoted the healing benefits of human milk.

I think this brings new meaning to the words "breastfeeding saves lives". This too was stated in a recent article. It said that if only 90% of women in the U.S. would breastfeed their babies for 6 months a total of 900 babies would be saved and more than $13 billion would be saved in health costs.
We need to find the respect and value that the Egyptians had for the lactating mother. This alone will save our species.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Breast or udder? Which is your pick?

Okay, just a thought. Let's see if your able to catch up.

A calf drinks "cows" milk. A kitten drinks "cats" milk. A puppy drinks "dogs" milk. A lamb drinks "goats" milk.
Seeing a pattern here??

We would never say that the calf drinks udder milk, right? It would make no sense. Try and say it aloud: a calf drinks udder milk. Sounds "udderly" silly, right?

Well why then do we say that a baby drinks "breast" milk?? Yes it is produced by the breast but remember that udders also produce milk, yet it's not called utter milk (as we found out above).

Could this be the connection that makes so much people squirm around "breast" feeding moms and babies? I now believe this is the link.

We associate the breast as a sexual organ (it is not, but society believes it is). We think that it is improper to expose fully or even partially a breast to feed our baby. Because it's a sexual thing, right? RIGHT?!

Well if we substitute that specific word that makes it seem sexual to you dirty and single minded people, we are left with something else (and if this offends you then I strongly advice you to see a psychiatrist and work out your issues). We then can say that a baby drinks *human* milk. Yes, yes human.

Humans produce milk just like cows, cats, dogs and goats. Each produce their own milk for their own young. Each young having different "needs" from their milk. This is why you would never see a goat "buying" a milk substitute made from cats milk. The thought is absurd, right? Made you feel silly? Good, now you start to see where I'm going with this.

Each mammal on this earth was blessed to be able feed their young from their breast. Yet we "choose" not to.
We choose to give our babies human milk substitutes made from cow's milk. Milk that was produced for a calf that needs to grow rapidly and gain lots of weight fast. If you want for your baby to drink cows milk, I would advice to buy a cow and strap that baby fast to a teat on that udder! (imagine a cow "baby wearing", lol)

Cows milk is for calves, breast or better human milk is for human babies. More you, less Moo!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Breastfeeding is "normal"

I was going to start by saying lets take breastfeeding as our normal view point, the start. But this saying and thinking is wrong. Breastfeeding is the "normal" start and view point. It is breast milk substitutes that are out of the norm.

I have yet to see an elephant make a decision not to feed her young, but instead give it processed milk from a giraffe. We don't expect to find it in nature so why should we expect to find it amongst ourselves. When a mother decides to give breastfeeding a try she is in effect doing the "normal", not the right or better or perfect but the normal. We are the only mammals that can make a "choice" on which food type we would like to give our babies. But we think too much in the box.

We think that breastfeeding is all or nothing. When in fact every drop counts. That's because it is made precisely and perfectly (using this with caution, nothing in life is perfect but breast milk in effect is) for each individual baby, it is not hard or a hassle. We forget that the next best thing to directly receiving breast milk from the breast of the mother is pumped breast milk. So second best is pumped breast milk from the mother. Third best is breast milk from another mother either pumped or direct from the breast. And then we have in forth place breast milk substitutes. Saying this I have no intention on bashing those mothers who choose not to breast feed. Those mothers who should in effect make the educated decision on whether to give their precious baby breast milk substitutes. If only we had the resources to have a milk bank so these mothers would be making the educated decision on whether to use a milk bank instead of breast milk substitutes.

We hear always how breastfed babies have higher IQ's, are less sick, have a reduced chance for cancer and different diseases and the list goes on. But in effect as breastfeeding is the normal start point or reference this should be stated that babies fed with breast milk substitutes have lower IQ's, are sick more often and have a heightened chance of developing cancer's and other diseases. Even in the medical field this comparison is in wrong context. For some reason we "assume" that processed milk should be and is the nutrition for babies. But in fact it is breast milk that will always be the nutrition for babies.    

In fact if we look at breastfeeding from another angle you would be able to see how much you "save" because of breastfeeding. Take note how much CO2 (carbon dioxide, a green house gas) is produced by cow's and their manure. Then the electricity, that is processed, and is needed to express their milk. The gasoline, again processed, needed for the truck to transport the milk to the processing plant. The CO2 released from the truck. The electricity and coal needed to process the milk and refine it to make it "safe" for human infants to ingest. The foil and tin that is processed into containers at separate factories. The transportation needed to get the containers. The trees that are used to make the paper that is processed into the label, all using gasoline and electricity and all releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. And we still haven't packaged the milk yet, this is just the prep. Now we need electricity for the machines to work to fill the containers. Plastic for the lid. More trucks and planes and boats to transport the containers to the receiving dock. Here all more CO2 admitted into the ozone layer. Now we are finally getting close. The trucks to transport the milk to the supermarkets. You to drive your car, or take the train, or the metro (all of which use gasoline, coal or electricity) to the supermarket to buy the milk. Then to return back home to prepare it to give to your baby using a gas or electric stove.

Now I don't know about you but I am tired already. But that is just the container of milk. I did not go into detail on the bottles and rubber nipples needed and their own carbon foot print. Not to mention the waste after the milk is finished.

We have adjusted our thinking to accept breast milk substitutes as the "norm" and ignore all the ill effects it is doing to our world. Breastfeeding is the only nutrition for our babies that has no carbon foot print. If this would be the only reason you choose to do what nature intended for us it would be a great motivation.

Do what you were designed to do, it is what nature intended.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Baby wearings bad rep

Recently baby wearing has been exploited in the news. 
They were focusing on the Infantino sling rider (seen above with a newborn in it, notice how the chin is pushed froward onto the chest and baby's head is turned slightly to the side, if the flap was left go the child will have it's face in the side fabric and breathing will be compromised, notice how deep baby is inside the carrier, and notice the c-curve baby's back is forced into; all are deadly for an infant), but failed to mention that fact. They only focused and used reference to "baby wearing", afraid I guess with confrontation. So it seems to everyone (all except those who babywear daily using pouches, wraps, ring slings and mei tai's) that babywearing in general is unsafe.

How many baby's die because of cribs, swings, car seats and bouncers? How much product recalls are their on these items each year? And yet we still choose to use them. But we know that we would have to pay attention and follow instructions and use with caution.

Baby wearing has been around for centuries. It is an art that has been learned in different cultures throughout the world. And in these cultures the infant mortality is next to nothing (considering that mom is breastfeeding).

Baby wearing is safe and beneficial to baby's development. As with everything in life you do have to use some level of caution and common sense.

Baby wearing is an art form that has to be learned properly.

I send kudos to all of you who has reacted to save and protect baby wearings' good name.
Baby wearing is safe and beneficial, bag baby sling are not.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The evolving breast

Throughout evolution the breast was the main source of nutrition for our babies. Breastfeeding was a skill we learned from watching our mother, aunt, cousin, sister even grandmother doing. But for some reason the breast has grown into much more than just a source of nutrition for babies.

It has evolved into a sex symbol.
It has become a place of trust for our babies.
A place of comfort.
The breast has much more meaning than just sex appeal for our men too. It gives them a sense of comfort and acceptance, it make them feel calm and at home.

The breast is much more than just a body part. It is what nurtures our future in so many underlying ways.
"And she placed him to her bosom and nurtured him till his heart was filled" -my grandmother Alma Vlaun.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lazy parenting

I am a lazy parent.
I say this with much regard for myself and respect for my children. I am a lazy parent.

If you were to hear me say this you may think that I leave my kids run wild with no guidance, or maybe I just hand over all responsibility to someone else. This is not the case. I love my children and guide and support them daily. I am always there to catch them if they fall. But I will leave them fall so that they can learn for themselves. I do not deny them their opportunity to learn from their world. And this is why I consider myself a "lazy parent".

I will not create a situation for my children that makes them feel like they are being pushed to do something they would rather not do or are just not yet ready for. I will not make it harder for myself. I will leave them choose their sense of responsibility.

If my child is not ready yet to walk on its own I will not force it by using a walker. This means I will have to pay extra "unnecessary" attention too soon for the safety of my child.
I will prefer to carry my child and avoid the need to cry. I will change, burp, and listen to their cues so as I avoid a cranky overstressed screaming baby which is much more difficult to care for.
I will offer them my breast if they fall and hurt themselves.
I prefer to bed-share so that I can avoid waking up completely and having to leave the warmth of my bed to feed or change them when they need it.
We co-sleep with the older kids just to avoid having to wake up and check on them during the night. We can just open one eye and see everything is well.
I shower with all my children, at the same time! I refuse to bath each one separate, too much time too much water and too much work! Bathing together I can properly teach them by example correct hygiene. And they learn why girl and boys are different, the way God made them.
I will wash only what is necessary for the week.
I will cook large meals and reheat the leftovers the next day.
I will make my own baby food just to avoid leaving the house to shop.
I breastfeed to avoid having bottles that need to be washed and sterilized on a regular basis, not to mention avoid having to boil water and make the formula. 
I will leave my children to their imaginations in our back yard.

I am too lazy by trait to do anything that would make my life harder and more stressed and inhibit the time I could spend bonding and shaping my children into the adults they will grow into. I am lazy, but this does not mean that I have clingy, unsure children. Each has his/her own character and knows what they want and will do what is necessary to achieve it. They have developed a sense of self worth because of my lazy parenting. They can feed them selves and feed me too. They know how to assort the laundry and clean. They are little, strong, dependable people who know where they are in this world. They have no doubt that we will always be there for them and they are secure self reliant beings. 

This is my parenting style: lazy.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Expectant thoughts

One afternoon you ask for a family meeting. You and your husband have been waiting for the opportunity to share this news. After all are present and sitting you announce: "We're pregnant! Baby is expected ....."
This is joyful news for a family. Ideal as it is, not every woman or couple can announce their baby news this way.

After the announcement one of the first things on peoples minds is baby-shower! And what automatically comes to mind when we think on this: fun baby games, layettes, booties, baby toys, ext.

Here I have found the top 10 most given items at a baby-shower:

-Avent Isis Breast Pump
-Baby Bjorn
-Diaper Genie
-Infant to toddler bath
-Bouncy seats
-Baby books
-Sassy toys
-Baby monitor
-Activity gym

Now I personally would eliminate a few of these top pics. Even though considered top pics they are not utterly necessary. All depends on the expectations of the expectant parents for their baby.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Doula bag

After registering for a Doula course I started wondering: what are the tools that are needed and how will I carry them?
Here I have a video that shows how to pack a Doula ready-to-go bag. And also I learned what all I could put into that bag  :-)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Breast is no longer best

Take the time and reflect on the video: Breast is no longer best

Breast is the normal and natural choice.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Mei Tai project

Hubby had his Asian inspired pouch sling. He loved the fabric and style but didn't like how it fit. He wanted something different.

So I researched and planned to make him his own Mei Tai. He was excited about an Asian baby carrier being designed just for him with Asian pattern fabric. I also wanted to sew a Mei Tai for myself but decided it was not necessary for me to make two. I am much shorter than him so it was very important for it to fit him first then I would tie the straps to fit me.

I have years that I haven't sewn anything. But I knew I would be able to make him his Mei Tai. Between taking care of the kids, measuring fabric, cutting and sewing it took me 2 days to complete. But I must add I did take my time with it. I am really amazed at what I can do with sewing machine. The end product is really a work of art. A complete Asian inspired home made Mei Tai.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Emergency baby wearing

There are all sorts of ways to carry your baby. You could use a factory made baby carrier or a cloth style baby carrier. But yet sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we forgot or accidentally left our carrier at home/ in the car. Here I have found some emergency techniques to baby wearing. Please remember to always practice safety when baby wearing, for the sake of your child.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

An attempt to VBA2C (vaginal birth after 2 cesarean sections)

Now that my third baby is almost six months old I have allowed myself to reflect back on all my birth experiences.

My first was an induced labor at 41.4 weeks gestation. The induction was started at about 9 am. I experienced labor pains for the first time and after many hours of laboring the decision was made for me at about 10:30 pm that I can not achieve natural labor and so "needed" a cesarean section. I was 4 cm dilated. The reason has ever since haunted me: failure to progress.

My second time around I silently vowed to deny any medical attention "when the time came". Unfortunately my baby was breach. This and the fact that where I live it is difficult to get a doctor to deliver a breach baby, imagine a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) with a breach baby. Not to mention the bold stamp on my medical records "failure to progress". So my hands tied with my options I unhappily allowed myself to be cut open again. He at the moment of birth ended up into a transverse position instead of breach. He was still comfortable moving and turning around in there when he was aggressively pulled from my body.

After this I slowly drifted into postpartum depression. Breastfeeding difficulties with latching on problems. It seemed endless. And I openly blamed myself but mostly blamed my husband. I felt that if he would have some how supported me more or maybe forced me the out come would have been different.

Cesarean sections don't just scare you physically they scar you emotionally and mentally.I was under psychological treatment for months. And when I was advised to stop breastfeeding I crashed and met my low point. I did not stop breastfeeding but it made it all the more difficult.

With my third unexpected pregnancy I was determined more than ever to achieve my VBA2C. I chose to be attended by a midwife. The only draw back here is in the last weeks of pregnancy you are referred to a Ob/Gyn of your choice. Because we live on a small island the midwives do not attempt VBAC. Whether you achieve a VBAC or become a repeat cesarean section is up to the doctors and how hard you are willing to fight for it.

So I choose my doctor and inwardly hoped that because she was young and new not to mention a woman she would leave me attempt my VBA2C. My luck when I went in for my visit she was on vacation and another doctor was in her place. He immediately  started to prepare the "necessary" paper work for the repeat cesarean section. I stood my ground regardless and told him I will not have a repeat because I want a VBA2C. He blankly looked at me and started the old lecture of the "risks" a VBAC can bring. I gladly told him I am well educated on the risks and know all the facts. He was not glad about it but let me leave with the paper work to VBAC. I felt empowered. I had achieved my short term goal. I will be allowed to VBAC.

I left the office and proudly called my husband to announce my triumph. Upon arriving home I plotted with my sister-in-law how to try and coax my body to achieve a VBAC. I will admit to trying caster oil and some herbal teas. I wanted for my body to dilate without any trouble. I did not want to be labeled "failure to progress" anymore.

On the night of August 19th after a regular evening we settled in to go to bed. My husband fell right into a deep sleep. Within about 10 minutes of him falling asleep I felt my first ever non-medically induced contraction. At the moment I didn't even realize that it was a contraction, I actually thought it was cramps because of not having a bowel movement that day. Well sure enough about a half an hour later I was on the toilet with what you can only label as open bowels. My body was preparing itself. I started having slightly harder contractions. And decided to take a shower and see if that would help me relax or if the contractions would stop so I could go to sleep.

The shower didn't help and the contractions were getting increasingly more uncomfortable. I was so uncomfortable that I decided to wake my husband after just over an hour in labor. I was very uncomfortable at this point, not wanting to sit or lye down. I just wanted to lean on things, just lean and slowly swing my hips from left to right. I was praying in each contraction while doing this pleading with my body and baby for the birth I so longed for.

We finally decided to go to the hospital. Home births are rare, and VBAC are not at all done here. If I had known that after arriving to the hospital I would be held there no matter how my labor was progressing I wouldn't have gone in assuming to get some pain relief and sent back home. I was truly naive. So I was put on my back to be attached to monitors even after I pleaded with the nurses to let me stand or sit. They said it's impossible to monitor a baby that way; sure and I thought I was naive. Well left on my back my discomfort was a thousand times worse than if I had stayed home to ride the tides of the contractions. This led my babies heartbeat to fluctuate because the main nerve supplying the much needed oxygen to the placenta was compressed.

The doctor came and checked me and I was praying, praying for some sort of dilation. He concluded that I was still only 1 cm. I was 1 cm dilated the week before at my 39 weeks appointment. He broke my bag of water and again I was praying for clear fluid. It wasn't. It was slightly tinted with meconium. This led to yet another cesarean section.

It is after the birth of my baby that I found out that caster oil could also affect your baby and urge them to have premature bowel movements. I till this day believe that this is what happened with me. And my own enthusiasm to achieve my natural birth led to my down fall in the end. As of today I am studying to to be a Doula and know that I would be able to encourage other moms to achieve the birth they want, without making the mistakes I did.

If I do have a number four someday it will be a non-assisted HBA3C ( home birth after 3 cesarean).
Yes I do refuse the label "failure to progress" that was given to me :)


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Baby carriers

There are a lot of different style baby carriers out there.

I myself have a ring sling and a pouch sling.

My husband didn't fancy the thought of a sling until he was able to design one for himself. This way he is able to show his distinct style. He loves using his pouch sling Japanese themed.

Daddy with 5 month old Aedan in pouch sling

Now that our baby is getting bigger we are both looking into the Mei Tai carrier. We feel that the Mei Tai will meet our needs more and is more to our personal style. We do love all things Asian inspired.

Please enjoy this tutorial video on how to wear the Mei Tai.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Precocious Puberty

Precocious Puberty: is an unusually early onset of puberty, the process of sexual maturation triggered by the brain or exogenous chemicals, which usually begins in late childhood and results in reproductive maturity and completion of growth. Early puberty may be a variation of normal development, or may be a result of a disease or abnormal hormone exposure.
In some contexts, the term "precocious puberty" is used more broadly to describe the early appearance of any of the physical features of puberty, even if the complete brain-directed process is not occurring.  ~ Wikipedia

Signs of precocious puberty (before 7 or 8 years of age):
-breast development
-pubic or underarm hair development
-rapid height growth - a growth "spurt"
-onset of menstration
-"mature" body odor

During the summer vacation of 1991 I developed breasts. I was eight years old wearing a 34-C size bra. The emotional burden of having breasts in the third grade was challenging.Not to mention the body odor that soon followed. Needless to say I was teased relentlessly at school for my early development.

A few days ago while bathing my 6 year old daughter I noticed slight hair growth on her underarm. This got me thinking. Will she pass through early puberty just like I did? She is now in the first grade, I was in the third.
Because of when a child makes birthday it depends on how they will fall into class in school. I was born in January so I "lost" a year. My daughter was born in August so she gains a year, she is the youngest in her class. How will this affect her in her daily life?

She does know that someday she will develop breasts and she will get her menstruation. I never hid the bodily functions from my children. We are always open with them and the developing process of their bodies. I was just hoping that it wouldn't be this soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Babies expense

Babies are a joy. They are gifts given to  us. We cherish them and raise them with love.

Babies are also big business. There is a lot of "stuff" out there that is just so cute and gives us the baby feeling. We start to see the big picture and how the nursery would look. Start imagining all the little baby things laying around the house. Soon all that baby stuff needs a house of it's own.

And this is how companies want for us to feel. They want to make you feel that you really need every baby gadget that is out there. The crib, stroller, bouncy chair, swing, play mat, play yard and more.

But if you co-sleep you can scratch the crib off the list (unless you want to have the crib in your room). Get a good baby sling or wrap and there goes the need to have the stroller, bouncy chair, swing, etc. Use cloth diapers and cut the cost of disposable diapers too.

My mother told me when I was pregnant with my first child: Babies are expensive. Well I automatically told her they are as expensive as you make them to be. She also asked me how I was going to get everything that a baby needs. I asked her what do babies need. They need love and nourishment and from this they will thrive. To nourish my baby I breastfed her.

Now my mother never breastfed me or my sister. My family has issues with breastfeeding. I am on my third child and still they don't understand the long term benefit. I openly encourage mothers not to be afraid to breastfeed in public. Now I am not comfortable to breastfeed in my own home. I retreat each meal time to the privacy of my bedroom. At my in-laws I am more open and breastfeed anywhere in the home. This is the difference of support.

Regardless of the criticism we co-sleep, sling our baby and breastfeed full term. These "Attachment Parenting" and "Peaceful Parenting" choices we make also end up showing us that those hip and new baby items that most moms express a passion of want for is not necessary for us and our baby and children to be happy. They would have been an extra expense and extra junk just lying around the house not being used.

Babies don't need these things to entertain them for them to be happy, for them to thrive. They don't know that these things are designed for them. Babies are born to recognize faces, your face. They look forward to your interaction with them and your warmth.

Give your baby the best you can. This doesn't mean that you have to spend a lot or have a lot to give the best.
Your baby will love you regardless of all the extra "stuff". You are the best stimulation or toy you could ever give your baby.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cross-nursing and wet-nursing

Wet-nursing: the complete nursing of another's infant, often for pay.

Cross-nursing: the occasional nursing of another's infant while the mother continues to nurse her own child, often in a child care situation.

My first son was six weeks old when my sister-in-law had her baby girl. We were fortunate to be able to depend on each other for baby support and advice. One afternoon she was unable to feed her daughter and she did not have a stock of milk put away. So I decided to nurse my niece. After all they were just six weeks apart in age and she was only three months old at the time. These situations are rare, but they do exist. I cross-nursed for the first time.

When I returned to work after my second son was born, he refused to take the bottle, regardless if it was my own milk in it. For some reason beyond my comprehension he would take the bottle only from me. And this is when my sister-in-law returned the favor. She nursed him. She was breastfeeding her ten month old and my two month old for one whole day.

Cross-nursing is not something to be taken lightly. There is the hazard for infection for mother and baby. The mother who is cross-nursing may experience a reduced milk supply for her own baby. Babies of different ages need a specific composition of milk. Cross-nursing can also affect a baby psychologically. A difference in the let-down, either in the timing or the forcefulness, can confuse and frustrate an infant. In many cases, a baby will refuse to nurse from a cross-nursing mother/ child care provider, especially if the baby is four months or older.

In our family we do not only have cousins growing up together, we also have milk siblings.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tandem nursing; my experience

Breastfeeding is still considered taboo most places you go. Just walk up to people and ask what they think about breastfeeding and you'll get a range of answers, from supportive to disgusted. So imagine what response is triggered in people when they see, or hear about, you nursing your toddler along with your new baby, at the same time! The shock, the horror! Who would do such a thing! Okay, okay being just a little melodramatic here. But in truth this is the response I got from all around me.

My daughter was just over a year old when we found out the good news, I was pregnant and the first trimester was already over! I so missed the cues on that one! I really had no idea I was pregnant. Truthfully I blamed all the little discomforts I did get on the flu, who would have thought. It was my husband who made the connection and encouraged me to take a pregnancy test.

Because the first trimester had already passed, the "danger" of miscarriage wasn't relevant anymore. So when I was advised by my health care provider to stop breastfeeding I found it absolutely ridiculous. He even told me that there would not be any milk production for my daughter, so I have to ween her before the pregnancy advances any further. That's a PHD for you. And I'm suppose to take advice from you to keep myself healthy? Needless to say he is no longer my doctor.

It is possible to continue to produce milk for your first child while pregnant with your second (or which ever order you are in). And it is physically possible to breastfeed your newborn and toddler at the same time. The trick is to the feeding part. The latching on and handling of the the older child, it takes some practice and patience.

Don't get the wrong idea here. By the time my son was born my daughter was 2 months shy of her second birthday. And so she was nursing only at specific times a day. In the morning, before nap time, afternoon snack and before bedtime. These would be the shared nursing: tandem nursing.

I enjoyed nursing them together. She would always play with his hands or caress him on his head. This was their time, special bonding. I avoided jealousy by telling my daughter that the baby was her baby, her brother, and that she should be glad to help the baby learn how to nurse (aka: drink titi). 

She was , and still is, a little mommy. Her "job" was to get the pamper and wipes at changing time, then to throw away the soiled one. When my son was old enough they would share bath time, yet another bonding opportunity.

When my son was about 6 months old I started to dread the tandem nursing, I was getting "tired" of my daughter. This is normal, and some moms do feel "tired" after a certain point. This doesn't mean that I was not loving her anymore, was just tired. So after discussing my feelings with my husband we decided to slowly ween her. And this was the breaking point for us.

It was gentile suggestion for months. But she was already starting to self ween at this point. She was coming on to her third birthday. After the successful weening of my daughter my son soon after weened himself from the breast. I did not give it a second thought. I did not think that my daughter weening from the breast would impact my son so profoundly that he would ween soon after. He weened just after his first birthday.

At the time I was feeling tired and did not look for the support and encouragement needed for me to push through and continue nursing. Now with my second son at five months old I look back and realize the impact tandem nursing has on siblings. It helps them create a deep and profound bond. And it is possible that if one weens the other will soon ween short after. I guess he missed his sister and felt he didn't need more from me.

So if your pregnant and still nursing your toddler and are healthy, go ahead and continue to nurse to your hearts content.

It takes just a little bit of you to make a big impact on your children.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Breastfeeding demonstration (mother support group)

In pregnancy you may or may not give breastfeeding a serious thought. After all it is "natural" to breastfeed, right? This would mean that you may just lightly pass over any information available on how to breastfeed. And even if you are going to breastfeed exclusively there still is a piece missing. The books describe the latch on very accurately. But the illustrations are small and lack depth.

And this is what I did. I read all the books and any information on the internet I could get my hands on. So after my baby was born and I was ready to give her her first meal I did it "text book".
It was uncomfortable!
You see I am of petite stature with a large bust and short arms. The description of the perfect posture for correct latch was not working for me. And I knew that as long as it was hurting that the latch was not good.

So I did what my baby and body was telling me; I improvised the positions. And it was wonderful! The experience that I was missing out on, and what a lot of moms are also, is mimicking behavior. Seeing and learning from experienced moms.

At our monthly mothers support group when I was asked to demonstrate a correct latch on I was happy to demonstrate. Again seeing is learning. So I latched my 5 month old to my breast and he gladly demonstrated a correct latch on. Thanks to one of the board members who politely explained to all the moms who were in attendance. She let them get a once in a life time close up view of a baby nursing. They were inspired, as should be. To see a baby up close happily nursing from his mothers breast.

Don't restrict breastfeeding to the house, bedroom, car, etc. Breastfeed proudly in public and teach the new generation of mothers how it's done! Give them the opportunity to learn. Latch that precious baby to your breast and let him teach correct latch on.

Best food

As I was searching for a rad Breastfeeding Icon I came across this and thought I would share. Love the use of utensils to show that this is the nutrition for our baby's. It is their food.

pictures courtesy of Google search

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thumb sucking VS Pacifier? Which is more damaging to a childs teeth?

pictures courtesy of google search

Thumb sucking:

Thumb sucking is a behavior found in humans, chimpanzees and other primates. It usually involves placing the thumb into the mouth and rhythmically repeating sucking contact for a prolonged duration. It can also be accomplished with any piece of skin within reach (such as a big toe) and is considered to be soothing and therapeutic for the person.

At birth, a baby will reflexively suck any object placed in its mouth; this is the sucking reflex responsible for breastfeeding. This reflex disappears at about four months of age; thumb sucking is not purely an instinctive behavior and therefore can last much longer. Moreover, ultrasound scans have revealed that thumb sucking can start before birth, as early as 15 weeks from conception; whether this behavior is voluntary or due to random movements of the fetus in the womb is not conclusively known.

Thumb-sucking isn't "bad" for the teeth, but prolonged thumb-sucking may cause problems with your child's dental health, including the proper growth and development of your child's mouth.

Sucking is an infant's natural reflex. Infants and young children suck their thumbs or fingers to help them feel secure and happy, and since it is relaxing, it also helps induce sleep.

Prolonged thumb-sucking can cause "open bites" that require extensive orthodontic treatment to straighten out. It may also make the front teeth protrude, which make the teeth more susceptible to injury.

To help your child stop this habit, it is best to use positive reinforcement, including offering praise for not sucking their thumb. If your child sucks her thumb when she feels insecure, identify the cause of the anxiety and comfort your child.

When you decide it's time to stop thumb-sucking (and it's best to try to break the habit before the permanent teeth come in, usually around age 6), talk to your child and create an action plan to break the habit. Pick a stop-date, use a chart or calendar to track her progress every day, and offer appropriate rewards.

Most thumb-suckers stop gradually by the time they are five years old. Nevertheless, many older children will retain the habit, some into adulthood. Thumb sucking in adults may be due to stereotypic movement disorder, another psychiatric disorder, or simply habit continuation where the adult thumb sucker can avoid the social implications by indulging stealthfully or by ignoring any outside reaction.

Pacifier use:

For fussy babies, a pacifier can calm and soothe. However, dental experts warn that once a child reaches the preschool years, a pacifier can become a habit that impedes the development of healthy teeth.

If a child continues using a pacifier past the age of 3, serious dental malformation can occur, says Al Tonn, DDS, Delta Dental's pediatric dentist consultant. The most common malformation is an open space in the front teeth or an overbite in which the upper teeth protrude.

"Unlike sucking the thumb, using a pacifier is a learned response, so it's a little easier to unlearn the habit," says Dr. Tonn, who has had a pediatric dentistry practice in Manteca for 45 years.

Researchers say that many prolonged pacifier users become prolonged thumb-suckers after the pacifier is taken away, adding to a child's risk of adversely modifying the teeth's natural position.

In addition to moving and shifting teeth, the Academy of General Dentistry reports that pacifier users are more likely to suffer from acute middle ear infections.

At the very least, children who use pacifiers past their toddler years may eventually need braces, and that alone should alert parents to the potential for dental problems and expense.

Both thumb sucking and pacifier use can be damaging to a child's permanent teeth if done for a prolonged period. The trick is for the child to out-grow the "need" to suck. So moms and dads rest assured that the advice given to you to offer your thumb-sucking baby a pacifier to break the habit is not entirely correct. On the other hand moms and dads of those babies who use a pacifier rest assured that as a toddler is alright for child to use a pacifier.

Thumb or pacifier always each families individual choice for their baby.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Food coloring and ADHD

pictures courtesy of google search

When it comes to food we live in a colorful world. But what if those dyes changed your child's behavior? Southampton University in England has found a link to food dyes and hyperactive behavior in children. The research does not prove that food colorings actually cause ADHD behaviors but there does seem to be a link. The results were published in The Lancet medical journal in September of 2007.

Susan Jebb, nutrition scientist at Britain’s Medical Research Council, stated, "Such additives are most likely to be found in foods that we would like to see children eating less of – i.e. soft drinks, confectionery and so on – and so it reiterates the general healthy eating messages of encouraging healthier food choices."

While there are many suspected causes for ADHD behaviors, some are easy to eliminate.

  • Eliminate foods with large quantities of dyes.
  • Reduce or eliminate sugary drinks.
  • Plan a consistent routine in the home.
  • Snack on whole foods as found in nature instead of packaged snacks.
  • Look for allergens in the home and see if eliminating them helps.
Another component to ADHD behaviors is structure. School schedules and all the after school participation can raise havoc with home structure. It is difficult to find a home with a consistent suppertime. Schedules are disrupted with
  • Before school practices
  • Scouts
  • Band trips
  • Piano lessons
  • Dance lessons
  • After school practices
  • Ball games
  • Church activities

Routines and consistent schedules make life more predicable for an ADHD child. A child with hyperactive tendencies is easily set off by disruptions in a schedule. Try and build routine into the before and after school schedules at home.

Biological Nurturing

pictures courtesy of google search

The first time your baby is put to your breast and latches on for his first feed is an emotional moment. Sometimes it can take some work. You have those little arms and legs to deal with. And don't forget the "bobbing" and "routing" reflex. It could be daunting to some new mothers. Here is a video describing "Biological Nurturing". It is basically positions you can adapt to help with the latch-on and the breastfeeding relationship. Enjoy the video.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Can I breastfeed my adopited baby?

pictures courtesy of google search

The answer is Yes! Adoptive breastfeeding is possible with good planning and preparation. More and more frequently mothers planning on baby adoption consider this option. To try and establish attachment. This is a personal choice.

There are many ways to prepare to breast feed you adoptive baby. Some mothers start to pump months before their baby's birth to elevate hormonal levels that support milk production. Use of a hospital-grade electric pump is recommended. Pumping frequently ( six to eight times in a 24 hour period) milk production may become evident. Even before infant suckling is initiated. This does not occur universally however. Some mothers do not establish any milk production until they are able to have the stimulation of their baby suckling on the breast.

Once your baby is available to be placed at your breast, you can begin nursing. This is assisted with a supplemental device that is taped to your breast. The devices that are used include the Lact-Aid and the Supplemental Nursing System. Both consist of a silicone tube attached to a milk reservoir. The reservoir is filled with banked human milk (or formula) and sealed. The silicone tube is taped to your breast so the tip of the tube extends about 1/8th inch past your nipple. The tube will be against the breast and milked by the tongue while your baby suckles.

There are some differences between the two devices. The Lact-Aid's milk reservoir is a sterile plastic bag. It's a closed system which collapses as milk is withdrawn. It also works against gravity, which probably increases breast stimulation. The plastic-bag feature makes clean-up easier but assembly more difficult. It is also discrete if worn under clothing while nursing in public. The Supplemental Nursing System has a plastic-bottle reservoir that is easier to fill. You can stand it on the counter and pour the milk in.

Using a tube device on the breast may distract you from proper latch-on technique. It's best to let the tape hold the tube in place and focus on getting a proper latch for optimal stimulation.

Some mothers use medical assistance to establish a milk supply. Metoclopramide and Oxytocin are regularly used.

Studies done on the use of metoclopramide are primarily based on birth mothers with supply problems. But case reports of adoptive mothers' use of this drug is also available. The studies found that the increase of milk production was related to the amount of medication taken. Doses up to 15mg three times a day were used. Mothers are weaned off the drug in a time frame of a few weeks. Use is not recommended for more than four weeks. Unfortunately, many mothers experience a drop in their milk supply when metoclopramide was eliminated.
Oxytocin is prescribed to assist milk flow. Other mothers use herbs including: fenugreek, aniseed, black elder, blessed thistle, caraway, fennel, vervain or vitex. Always consult your doctor before taking medicines or herbs.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pregnancy as a fashion statement?

pictures courtesy of google search


As I was scanning the television one lonely night I passed Lifetime network. Just then a commercial for a new show was on air. The show is about these teenage friends that aspire a pact to become pregnant together: The Pregnancy Pact. My reaction as a young mother myself was of total shock! The show is yet to air, and I will watch it attentively to further inform myself about why young girls would want to make such a decision. Apparently it is based on a true story.

I must say this and a comment from one of my friends got me thinking. Do young girls sometimes think it "cool" or "fashionable" to be pregnant? Or is it "in style" to be a young mother? I am not saying that teenage pregnancy is a bad thing. Some teenage mothers do miracles and achieve so much, as another friend of mine can surely show. I do not know or would I ever be able to comprehend under what circumstance a young girl fell pregnant and why she found herself in the situation of having to face motherhood at a young age.

It is common here, in Aruba, to find young mothers, for whatever reason. Some mothers have a good relationship with the father of their child, others find someone else later in life and still others face motherhood alone. These are facts not fiction. And it is not hidden in our culture. Each teenager knows someone how is pregnant or had a baby. And the hardship that each young mother goes through with trying to raise a child and finish school and probably working part time. And yet still girls are careless, not excluding the guys here.

What is it that drives them not to use protection and be more careful? Don't they understand the consequence of having kids? You are no longer able to go out to that late party you wanted if you don't have a babysitter. You can't pay for a babysitter if you have no money. Don't take me wrong; having children is a blessing and should not be taken lightly. But unfortunately young people fall pregnant and mom and dad are the ones who step in to help with baby.

But again I question: is this why teenage pregnancy is taken lightly, because mom and dad help out? Is this fashionable or an epidemic? Not to mention that sex education is everywhere! Or is it part of the problem?