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.