Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reasons I'm glad I will be breastfeeding beyond 1 year

Weaning - The posts, blogs and questions on message boards regarding weaning have seemed profuse to me lately.  "When is the right time?" "What do you substitute with?" "How do you cut out nursing sessions?" "What if they won't give up the bottle?" "What do you do if you end up with engorgement or a clogged duct, etc?"  I'm glad that I've made the decision to allow W to self-wean (which he has started and is doing splendidly with, thank you) I don't have to worry about which nursing session to drop, W will choose.  I don't have to worry about substituting something for nature's perfect food, W won't drop all nursing sessions until he is receiving adequate nutrition from other sources.  Have you ever had a craving for a ham sandwich?  Probably because your body needs/craves protein.  Babies work the same way. If W needs milk, he will have a craving for it.  I have already seen times when he wants adult food specifically or wants just to nurse.

Illness - No one wants to see their child sick.  I've seen W ill more times than I would like.  But I always have the ability to sooth him.  Warm liquids for a sore throat? Check!  Electrolytes and high water, low sugar content for dehydration? Check!  Snuggle session with Momma to make it all better? Check! Release of endorphins to help you sleep? Check!  (Let me just say that none of the typical drinks: sprite, Gatorade, pedialyte, juice meet all of the aforementioned criteria).  Even when W is 18 months, 24 months, etc. I will still have the ability to meet his needs when he is sick.

Weight Gain - Baby is a year old, so it's time to make the switch from bottle to cup, right?  What if your child isn't good at drinking from the cup and winds up like W most days with more water on his shirt and the floor than in his mouth?  What a waste to have milk or formula all over the floor and the fear that your child will come in 'underweight' at their next well-visit.  Not to mention the possible dehydration that could follow.  And what about that 'need to suck' that babies are instinctively born with and sometimes take more than a year to outgrow? Since we won't be weaning from the breast W will still get his fix instead of relying more and more on the pacifier.  W will start taking EBM from a sippy this summer but as he has mastered the art of reverse cycling I won't be surprised if the mid-day milk is the first to be dropped and subbed for water or natural juice.

I feel so blessed that I had the education, support and opportunity to breastfeed my son. And we will not be 'nearly done' with his first birthday rapidly approaching.  We will be 1 year and counting; I will continue to provide him with nutrition and support as long as he requires it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pampers believes... And scores a few tiny points with me.

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


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Subby

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Your 3-month-old: Week 4

Dear babycenter,

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Baby Center: Your 10 month old, Week 1

Baby Center, you made my week!!  For once I don't have some silly parenting advice to blog about.

Topics of note:

"Overheard in the June 2010 birth club: 'I have a clogged milk duct...'"  So excited to see that other moms of 10 month old babies are still breastfeeding!  Go Moms!!

"Your life: Avoiding Baby Toting Injuries"  Although mostly about how to pick up your baby and hold them properly on your lap, I was pleased to see that the advice for 'toting' your baby was to invest in a good backpack carrier and not to invest in a good all-terrain stroller.

Ok, and one silly topic - Baby Center poll "Is your baby cuter than other babies?"  97% say 'Yes'  Of course they do! All babies are adorable, some are especially adorable.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Those thoughtful formula companies

Dear Enfamil -

Thank you for the recent gift you sent me in the mail.  I suppose that since I never unsubscribed from your mailings (It was great to give the more than $100.00 in coupons and free samples for your infant formula to a friend for her adopted son) you figured that I was a loyal user of Enfamil products.  So naturally you would send me information on the Enfagrow Premium Toddler Formula for babies 10-36 months.  But after this I am going to have to call your 1-800 number and tell you to please stop sending me these mailers, they just incite my lactavist rage. 

A few notes on your mailer:

1) "Enfagrow (tm) PREMIUM (tm) Toddler or Milk?  You decide." 

mmm.... how about this?  Can you please stop referring to Cow's milk as 'milk'?  It really should be referred to as 'cow's milk'.  We call milk made from soybeans 'soy milk', milk made from rice 'rice milk', milk made by humans 'human milk'.  Why do cows get to be special and have their milk just be 'milk'?

So on this question - I choose 'milk'!  (of the human variety of course).  By the way, no place on your information packet do you say that 'breastfeeding is best'.  Yes, I understand that very few women are still breastfeeding at 10 months and U.S. medical professionals only recommend breastfeeding to 6 months (and after if desired).  But you should still be required by the FDA to disclose that formula is a 'substitute' for human milk, not just a food choice. 

2) Selected nutrients: DHA, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin E

Ok - your DHA supplement has no daily value established.  Why?  Because the FDA has decided that your additive has no nutritional value and they can't even prove that it makes a difference.  The only DHA that has been proven to make a difference in brain development is natural DHA found in human milk. So please stop marketing your formula on this fact.

As for Iron, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E - don't most pediatricians recommend that formula fed babies are put on a multi-vitamin to fill in the gaps in your product?  So why would you want to load kids up on vitamins that can actually do some harm when you have too much?  And really, nearly 50% of the daily vitamin C dose in one serving of your formula?  How many servings should a 10 month old be getting? High doses of vitamin C can lead to abdominal cramping and even kidney stones!

3) Instructions for preparation and use

"...store in refrigerator at 35-40 degrees F for no longer than 48 hours. Ah!! Finally some light is shed on the situation.  So this is why people think that human milk can only be stored in the fridge for 2 days.  I'm so thankful that when I prepare a bottle for my baby to eat while I am at work it can stay in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 6 months or more!!!  Yet another way that breastmilk saves you money - no throwing out old bottles because they are 'expired'  - simply dump into a milk bag and freeze for later use (or donation).

4) The fine print

You are using my name (acquired from a third-party list, ie: you bought my name and address) to send me FREE gifts, discounts and baby advice.  Yes, you are sending me FREE (if unwanted) gifts.  And you are sending me discounts - on products I don't buy.  But baby advice?  Telling me to 'decide for myself' if I want my baby to have cow's milk or infant formula isn't advice.  And teaching me how to properly prepare infant formula isn't advice. 

What you have given me?  A great blog post.  So, thanks again Enfamil!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Had to Share A Beautiful Blog Post...

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

Breastfeeding is Best - And Here Are Your Prizes!

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

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

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On a Discussion Board Post

Post: Okay ladies, my DD and I have almost made it to the one year mark EBF! And neither of us have any intention of quiting any time soon. But this is where my question comes in...I know there are lots of benefits in continuing past a year, but what are they? My hubby thinks it's "weird" to continue after she turns 1, so I really need to find some good solid info to show him why it's a GOOD thing! I will be doing some research on my own, but if you have any advice or info to share, I would really appreciate it! I can handle other people not appoving of my choice to continue, but I would really like my husband's support to continue at least! :)

Lactavist and Supermom Rebecca: Enough said!! So happy to see some people fighting for what they know is the right thing to do.  My favorite advice on this topic comes from Dr. Sears (I must meet this man someday).  http://www.parenting.com/article/ask-dr-sears-extended-breastfeeding----handling-the-criticism

Breastfeeding Ad Campaign Ideas

Formula too expensive? 
Try this great substitute: 
Human Milk 
(Studies show that Human Milk is better for babies than leading infant formula brands and cow's milk)

Food Labels

As I read the side of my Rice Dream rice milk carton my eye caught "NOT FOR USE AS AN INFANT FORMULA" in large, red capital lettering. 

Seriously? This concept makes my heart hurt. I understand that infant formula is expensive.  But rice milk is practically water! Sure, it's tastey and healthy, but not for the rapidly growing body of an infant. All I can say, in the nicest way possibly, to anyone who may be considering using rice milk, soy milk, cow's milk, condensed milk, Karo syrup (or heaven forbid powered potatoes) as a substitute for the outrageously priced infant formulas is "Could you at least consider breastfeeding?"  If you missed the boat and your baby is several weeks old now, think about re-lactation, it's completely possible. Or, use donor milk.  I have freezer full and I'm not even trying to stockpile.  There are so many resources out there for you, you don't have to jeopardize the health of your baby.

Baby Center's 10 Signs your baby has allergies

Dear Baby Center,

Thank you for the recent email with 10 Signs your baby has allergies.  For once, this was a timely email.  W (and I) have been battling a stuffy nose for about a week.  As there are no other symptoms aside from the stuffy nose and slight headache, everyone has been saying "You both must have allergies." But clearly, as a baby generally does not develop seasonal allergies until 3 to 4 years, it is not likely that "It must be the pear trees!"  We could be dealing with dust allergies as we have been outside at the ball park with dust and dirt flying around (and as a mom of a young child my house is not dust-free).  It could also be that after 6 months of exposure to the Nanny's cat W has finally developed his father's pet dander allergy. Of course, that wouldn't explain why I also have a stuffy nose.  A cold it must be then!

I am obligated to mention that although I appreciated pages 1 and 2 of your article I was more than disappointed with pages 3 and 4. When answering the questions "How can I prevent my baby from allergens" and "What can I do to prevent my baby from getting allergies in the first place?" you didn't even mention that exclusive breastfeeding and delaying solids until 6 months or later have been shown in studies been associated with a reduction in allergens.  (Of course this is controversial, probably because of formula lobbyists and the lack of funding for breastfeeding research). 

Your expert quote:
"Someday we'll be able to look at genetics and really know what a child is destined to be allergic to and what to do about it," says Virant. "But the reality is that, right now, there's nothing that predictably helps." 

Supermom and Lactavist Rebecca: "At least try breastfeeding exclusively and not giving solids until 6 months or later - besides the possible benefit of a reduction in allergies, we know that neither are detrimental to your child's health.  Do them a favor - breastfeed."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Your 3-Month-Old, Week 2

Dear BabyCenter,

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

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

Monday, April 4, 2011

solid food, multiple languages and more!

Dear BabyCenter: 

Thank you for this week's update topic "Is your child ready for solid foods?"  According to your article, I can introduce solids to my baby anytime between4 and 6 months even though the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months.  A few questions for you. 1) if you say between 4 and 6 months does that mean I can't introduce solids after 6 months? What will happen?  2) If the AAP recommends waiting at least 6 months to introduce solids, why are you still telling moms that they can start solids earlier?  Is it because a bulk of your advertising (ie income revenue) comes from Gerber?  BTW - you know very well that DS is 9 months old, why are you just now sending me solid food articles?  According to your advice we should have started solids at least 3 months ago.

Dear People magazine:

Thank you for your recent blurb on celebrity babies who speak multiple languages.  It was so nice of you to not only show that celebrity's babies are smart, but that they are 'better' than 'average' babies because they are multi-lingual.  It was also very responsible of you to not explain why these babies are multi-lingual.  All research shows that if you speak several languages to your child from birth they will naturally grow up being able to speak each language they are exposed to.  So no, it does not shock me that Heidi Klum's kids speak German or that Selma Hayek's daughter speaks Spanish or that Celine Dion's son speaks French (he is Canadian after all and most Canadians speak both English and French).


Knoxville has an 'attachment parenting' group.  A place where you can get together and discuss the advantages and challenges to loving your kids.  Can't go on that overnight party weekend with your friends because you can't leave your exclusively breastfed 9 month old behind with a stranger and he isn't welcome in the hot tub?  That's ok.  Come and have fellowship with people who are like minded - baby wearing and breastfeeding encouraged.  Sounds like I need to line up the next meeting time!