Extended Breastfeeding and Where I have Been

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Sorry that I have been away for such a long time now. I am in college studying American Sign Language. I have been devoting all of my time to my studies and my babies. However, I think I am able to find time to maintain my blog as well, now that I have gotten adjusted to my school schedule. After a year long hiatus, I had a hard time getting back in to the swing of school, my homework, my kids homework, my 3 year old’s lack of schedule, and my nursling’s demands for attention.  Okay, now that the apologies and explanations are out of the way we can get down to the nitty-gritty.

Extended breastfeeding. When does extended breastfeeding start and regular breastfeeding stop exactly? I thought extended applied to nursing past the WHO’s recommendation of nursing for a minimum of 2 years. Then you are extending the amount of time you breastfeed past something. Still breastfeeding at 14 months seems to be extended for a lot of people, though.

Has my baby changed in some way that makes her too mature to receive the benefits of this perfect nutrition that only I can provide her,which she needed so badly in those early months? I don’t think so. But, many around me do.

Since the beginning of our nursing relationship I have heard many comments about breastfeeding. Most of those comments were ridiculous. For instance, did you know that ky baby will be too clingy, never sleep through the night, suffer vitamin deficiencies, become spoiled, and be less healthy than her formula counterparts? Oh, you didn’t know that? Neither did I! But, I have heard all of those things over the past 14 months. By the way, none of the above statements are true!

She is smart, independent, joyful, extremely healthy, and the cutest baby in the entire universe! She does not “sleep through the night”, but she does not wake either. We bedshare, and she wakes long enough to find her milk (me) and she is quickly back in dreamland.

So, yes we are STILL nursing. No, I am not planning on weaning her. Yes, she may want to breastfeed until she is five, but I doubt it.  Finally, it is working for us, and we are going to keep going until it isn’t!

Avoiding My Blog, Shame on Me!

I haven’t wanted to write anything lately. I have thought about writing; however, as I put my fingers to the keys, all that comes out is whining. I don’t want my blog to be a place where I whine about what I don’t have, or how everything is just too hard. No, that is not what this is supposed to be. I want my blog to be a place women can turn to and realize that they are not alone.

Anyway, I feel like I must get a few complaints out in order to move past my blog avoidance. Feel free to click away now.

First, I am broke. My family is suffering from a severe deficit. I know a lot of people are in the same boat right now. I don’t claim to be any more broke, bad off, or poor than the next gal. I am , however, sick to death of people that are not in my situation trying to put themselves here. You can’t sit there as a mother of two, reading your Nook telling me that you know how I feel. No, I am sorry you do not. I have given up cable to pay my power bill. I am skipping lunch to make sure I have food for my five children. I am wearing broken down nursing tank tops because I can’t afford a nursing bra! You don’t get it unless you are here. I appreciate the sentiment, but I don’t want your pity.

Second, I don’t want to hear about your over-indulged children’s ridiculous Christmas lists. Please, your kids have more than they need, want, or use so stop telling me about the huge Christmas you are planning. I don’t care. Your kids don’t even deserve it. How many times have you already threatened them with Santa witholding gifts if they don’t behave? Then, they don’t behave and Santa still comes. Really? I just can’t listen to it. This attitude is in part because I am too poor to spoil my children this year, but also is a reaction to the commercialization of our children. Because you spoil your kids, mine expect it. I am forced to feel guilty that I can’t give my children a plethora of unneeded toys because of people like you! (Not you guys, obviously, my blog readers aren’t guilty of this!)

Look, this is the season of giving. But, those of us that can’t afford to give at the same level as some of you find this season to be the season of not measuring up. It is hard. I wish we could get back to handmade gifts being genuinely appreciated.

Rant over, and I am sorry.

Because I’m Bigger Than You, That’s Why!

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Discipline is a controversial topic. Like many parenting responsibilities, deciding how to teach a child the difference between acceptable behaviours and wrong doings is often difficult.  However, one thing is certain: any parent trying to teach his or her child will be confronted with advice from well-meaning people, whether he or she solicits it or not.  Parents are then left to choose between spanking or not, time out or in, and mainstream or alternative styles of parenting under the watchful eye of do-good advisors.

The problem with discipline is that no one style will work for all children. The problem with advice is that no one person is meant to instruct all other people in how to “train” their children. The problem with all of that is by the time you are figuring all of this out chances are that you are at the end of your rope with the whole situation, and you still have a kid that needs some sort of guidance.  So what is a parent to do?

First, if you are looking for a blog instructing you to spank your little one then click away now because that is not what you will be getting here. I believe that there is a fine line between a spanking and a beating, and in the middle of a spanking it may be hard to stay on the right side of that line.

I honestly believe that parents need to listen to their instincts. Most people who spank say things like, “I wish I didn’t have to do this,” “I hate hitting him or her I just don’t know a better way,” and “this is harder on me than you.”  Let me assure you that it is not harder on the hitter than the hittee!  There is emotional trauma and physical trauma being perpetrated on a child by the very people that are supposed to protect them. So, while you may not like what you are doing, you are not being damaged by your actions.  The fact that a parent would need to say the above excuses tells me that said parent’s instincts are screaming out against the discipline style.

I am not a spanker. I don’t want to teach my children that the best way to gain compliance is through intimidation and physical harm. I would rather my children act in socially acceptable ways because empathetically they feel that it is the right thing to do. For instance, I don’t want them to share a toy because I threatened to spank them if they didn’t. I want them to share because it feels good to make people smile.

I was spanked. I wasn’t abused, and I can count on one hand how many times my dad took the belt out in the name of training my sisters and myself “up right”.  However, the though of that belt stifled my will as a child. I no longer felt safe to be me. I grew up more withdrawn than my peers, and to this day I find it difficult to maintain friendships.  I associate this difficulty with my inability to trust people, which, in my opinion, stems from the breaking of trust that occurred after my first spanking.

Even if you don’t believe the spankings are doing any lasting harm, you can’t deny the hypocrisy of it all. How can we teach children to be kind while being cruel? To not hit after we strike them. To not yell after we scream in to their tiny ears.  How can we justify these things?

First, people find strength in numbers. Many people describe proper discipline as something which includes physical action. Phrases like, “snatch them up”, “bust their ass”, and ” tan their hide,” are common in my area. Really? That is how you want to treat the tiny being that you carried inside you for 40 weeks? I personally find it hard to purposely, and with out necessity, inflict pain or discomfort in my tiny beings.

I have been confronted with criticism over my lack of spanking.  My own mother has said that I do not fully discipline my children. Yes, she has gone as far as to compare my children with my sisters children and say that mine are unruly.  However, I cannot agree with her judgement of my parenting.  How can you compare a family which consists of five children with one only having two children? Obviously, we are louder because there are more voices. We create confusion, but only because there are so many of us travelling in so many different directions. I just believe that there are too many differences to make an accurate comparison.  Furthermore, spanking does not mean full discipline.  Spanking is a punishment. Discipline teaches a child. Discipline does not have to include punishment.  Therefore, I repeat there is no comparison!

I must admit that I do not know the best way to discipline a child. I believe that discipline should be gentle. I believe that children should be guided to making good choices through love and empathy. However, I don’t know how to do that.  I know that my children are all different. No matter how many times I punish my oldest she does not listen but if I talk to her about a problem she seems to understand and I see change in her behavior.  Also, my fourth child, a headstrong and active the year old, does not respond well to threats. Telling him that he will be sent to his room if he does that again seems to invoke some rebellious spirit in to him. Seriously, his grin widens and he is compelled to repeat the action. He functions much better with diversion techniques.

All of my kids learn differently. I am one parent, but I am learning how to parent five children all differently.  Obviously, I have rules and consequences, but when it comes to getting the rules to be followed I have been learning to adapt my style based on each child’s individual needs.

I will be forever learning as I travel through this journey called parenting. I see that every judgement I made about children and parenting styles before I was a parent was unfair, unjust, and uneducated. Now, I know that I know nothing about parenting. I have to keep learning about my kids and their needs.  However, I know that hitting is not the way to be the parent I want to be.

When Love Hurts

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I love my nine-month-old baby. Like all mothers I feel that my baby is the most gorgeous baby I have ever seen. I mean look at her! She is breathtaking!  I love to hold her, rock her, and play with her.

I love nursing my baby. I get all ga ga when she smiles up at me while nursing. My heart melts when she rubs my chest until she slips in to dreamland. Our moments spent nursing will forever be some of my most cherished memories.

Yes, I am totally in love with this beautiful baby.

However, I do not love being bitten, pinched, kicked, slapped, and squeezed! No, these things are not fun. Yet, every nursing session is now filled with any number of combinations of those very things. 

As I sit staring in my nursling’s eyes I am filled with shock as a leg comes flying up and kicks me in the nose! Before the sting of the kick wears off I feel a hard pinch on my not so firm arm (you know the flabby part that made an appearance a short time after you got out of your twenties).

The biting was one thing. I looked it up and realized that this was probably a phase, and most likely had something to do with teething. I did a few times of taking her off the breast, following a bite, and refusing her the breast for about fifteen minutes. All of the sudden the biting stopped. I honestly doubt that my efforts to “train” her had anything to do with it. Her bottom, front teeth broke through, and the biting phase was over. Yay!

That was easy.  After the biting stopped my confidence was renewed! I knew we could tackle her behaviour, and get back to peaceful nursing sessions. So as not to confuse my sweet baby I decided I would approach her lack of nursing etiquette one issue at a time.

Okay, no matter what I try the only thing she doesn’t do while nursing is bite me.  I am covered in scabs on the back of my arm and my chest and neck! I even tried putting socks on her hands for her feeding. Ha! Have you ever tried to get a baby to nurse after you put new “toys” on her hands? Not going to happen! I had to take the socks off so she would eat!

As usual, I consulted http://www.kellymom.com, and as suspected there is a section devoted to unruly babies and their terrible booby manners! Okay, that is not the title of the section, but maybe it should be! Anyway, many of the recommendations are centered around distracting the baby. That makes sense. If she is busy playing with something then she can be attacking my exposed skin.

So, I have decided that I will start looking in to nursing necklaces. Many are quite cute so if it doesn’t stop her from hurting me at least I will have a cute new necklace.

No matter how this sounds I still love nursing my baby.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Like any other stage in a child”s life, there are challenges associated with nursing a baby as they transition in to toddlerhood.  No longer do I worry about my milk supply, or if the baby is latching on correctly. No, now I worry if I can get the baby to sit still long enough to get her required calories. Luckily, we cosleep so she makes up for the shortened nursing sessions at night.

I’m going to do some shopping around, and try to find a nursing necklace that fits my tight budget, and that will hopefully get us through this new phase in my baby’s life.

I will let you all know how it goes!

Let’s Play a Game

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A game sounds fun, right? I bet your wondering what kind of game we will be playing here tonight. Well, it is a guessing game. The winner of this game will get a wonderful prize! Wanna know what it is? Yes! Okay, the winner gets the ever-lasting image of excrement in places it should not be, and the relief that knowing it wasn’t your house or child that did what mine did today!

I bet you’re really curious now. 

Today’s game is called: Guess Where My Son Pooped!

I will give you three choices
1) in the toilet
2) in the back yard
3) in the toy box

What’s that? Oh, you don’t know my kid so you are not sure of what he is capable of. Okay, let’s use the process of elimination (no pun intended, but that made me laugh) to figure this out.

In the beginning, I mentioned that the winner would receive an image of poop where it shouldn’t be so toilet is out.

The back yard is next. Hmmm, while its not my preferred place for my three year old to take a dump, I would have to accept it as okay since I let the dogs do it. I’m going with his reasoning here!

Looks like we have our answer! For those of you that guessed the toy box, ding ding ding you got it right! My son took a big, fat, vegetarian, lentil-fed toddler poop right in the middle if his toys!  How’s that mental image coming?

How did he manage such a feat? Well, in my hopes of potty training my 3 year old we have been doing naked time. A lot of naked time. Since, when we put underwear on him he pees in them immediately, but makes it to the toilet occasionally naked it seems like the logical choice.  However, he has held his poop until the evenings when he gets a diaper for bed. Until today.

I know that convincing children that going number two on the toilet is often challenging. In fact, with my three older children I had a few misdirected pooping incidents; however, they were not vegetarians.  No, their diets were not made of mostly high fiber foods, so clean up was not quite as bad. This was bad.

I have to admit that I threw away many of the toys involved in the incident. I kept only those toys that seemed easily sterilized.

Maybe I am over reacting. I don’t know. How about you? Had any poop mishaps? Or, perhaps you have experience with potty training an extremely strong willed child? I’m open to advice.

Teething Sucks

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Oh help me for I do not know how much more I can handle!

Okay, that is a bit dramatic.  Don’t worry I assure you I am not going to hurt myself or my baby.  I am just having a hard time dealing with the screaming monster that has taken over my child’s body for the past few weeks.  My sweet Lady Bug has never been an “easy baby”.  On the contrary, she has been more of a high needs baby since day one.  However, we have been having a much easier time as she has gained some mobility. With crawling came a whole new baby. 

Rather than spending her days screaming, she would spend time moving around on the floor looking for new and exciting things to play with.  Her favorite things are, as to be expected, not hers.  She likes string, things the dogs have chewed up, and pretty much any choking hazards you can think of.  Ah, the joys of chasing a mobile baby.  At least she wasnt crying all of the time.

Unfortunately, just as she was finding a more content way of being our whole world changed as her top front teeth started to emerge.  Now, she cries most of the day.  When she is not crying she is making strange sucky faces, and even stranger sucky sounds.  She is miserable.  I have tried teething toys, frozen rags, self feeders packed with cold banannas, her Sophie the Giraffe, and even the dreaded Tylenol all to no avail.  Many of the items are so hard to clean that I really dont even want to use them because the few minutes of peace we get are just not worth it.

Don’t get me wrong, I know this is much worse for her than it is for me.  She is in pain.  She is not trying to cause me stress during the day.  However, no matter how many times I tell myself that I still cant stop wishing she would just be happy!  I know that is wrong.  I feel guilty for even thinking it.  I am just so tired.

Her sleeping schedule, if you want to call it that, used to be pretty reliable. Lady Bug would nurse to sleep between 8:30 and 9:00 pm, and wake just enough to switch boobs every two hours. This was working for us. I don’t get undisturbed sleep, but I am not getting out of bed so I’m not complaining. But, that has flown out the window! Now, she actually wakes at night. Switching boobs is no longer enough. She needs me to soothe her, sway with her, and cuddle with her.

I am not a bug cuddler at 2:00 am. Actually, my cuddle instincts don’t kick in until around 6:30 am. That’s right I said it. When my baby is looking to me for comfort in the wee hours of the morning I can’t help but to think, “okay kid that’s enough! You’re hurting and km tired let’s call it even and go back to sleep!”

I actually caught myself, the other night, offering her a hundred bucks to go to sleep. She didn’t, which was good because that would have really sucked! Like, what does a nine month old need a hundred slacker for? She’d probably blow it all on cardboard boxes and notebook paper. Since, she’s always trying to eat ours and we always take them away from her.

Back to the sucking of seething. So, for any moms that don’t know, teething on its own can be a rough situation, but there are also a few complications that come along with teething that really push the whole experience into the next level of suckage!

First, there is the drool! Shirts get soaked. You put a bib on to help sop up some of the drool. Great, now the bib is soaked! Crap, how did drool get on the couch? Seriously, drool is everywhere. But, it gets worse!

Excess drool can cause diareah. Great, now the baby is a walking, or crawling, science experiment with liquids evacuating her body from both ends. But, wait it gets worser!

With runny poop comes red butts. That’s right the teething rash is bound to show up ay some point in this process! So now your beautiful baby is a crying, dripping, squirmin
g poop shooter with a rash. And you, poor momma, are doing your best to keep up with it all on no sleep when all of the sudden the worstest (yes, I know these are not real words!) Thing of all happens.

Baby, whose gums are sore, decides it hurts too bad to nurse! Now, not all babies decide to grab out their picket signs and babble, “teef hurts I no nurse” while crawling back and forth through the living room, but some do. The absolute best thing you can do at this time is remain calm! This can be a peaceful protest! Your wee one is hurting but will come back to the breast!

Nursing strikes are pretty common around the time that teeth start making an appearance. You can check out these tips from kellymom.com. My Lady Bug has not started protesting the boob yet, but if she does I’m ready!

Honestly, teething sucks. It sucks for parents and the children going through the ordeal. However, we will all make it through this stage and be stronger and more grateful for the quiet moments than we were before!

Just think, after that first little tooth breaks through, only 19 more to go…

A Vaccination Decision

Some of you may remember my blog post discussing my fears about vacciniating my youngest daughter.  Well, I have reached a decision regarding vaccinating my child.  Yes, after hours upon hours of research I have decided to delay vaccines indefinitely.  I know I will be subject to harsh criticism for this decision; however, I am the only person that can make these decisions for my child.  I have decided to inform myself, as much as possible, and have weeded through countless internet sites, made judgements regarding the validity of claims made by both pro-vaccinators and anti-vaccinators, and have finally decided that while vaccines MAY save lives they are not without risk.  I am not willing to allow my child to be a guinea pig for pharmaceutical companies or a source of profit for a greedy pediatricians.

Wow, I can feel the hatred simmering in the readers of this post.  While I think I am hitting a chord I must continue.

Greedy pediatricians?  Isn’t that a bit harsh.  Yes, it is. Not all pediatricians are greedy.  Many pediatricians are life savers.  But, I can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that many of the people pushing vaccinations the hardest are those that stand to profit the most from them.  Even if money is not their motive, some pediatricians are using vaccinations as a factor in judgements about parents.  In today’s world, pediatricians are threatening to force unvaccinated children out of their practices.  How can someone who has taken a oathe to “do no harm” leave defenseless children with out access to regular care?  Many areas, mine included, have a limited number of pediatrician practices, and as those practices squeeze the children of informed parents out where will these children go?  I wish I had an answer to that question because I am looking for an office to take my baby to as we speak.  Honestly, don’t we employ our child’s pediatrician?  Aren’t they supposed to be working for us with their job description including helping parent’s to keep their children healthy?  Unfortunately, it does not seem to work that way.  Pediatricians, pharmaceutical companies, the government, and society’s norms are running the healthcare industry and if we, the parents, go against the recommendations we, and our children, are deemed unworthy of care!

I didn’t make this decision on the belief that vaccines, the makers of vaccines, or the admisterers of vaccines are bad.  Understand that before you launch your angry comments at me.  I have always vaccinated my children.  I feel that I have become more informed, and it would be a waste of my education to ignore my interpretation of the data I have studied.  My instincts have been telling me to avoid the vaccinations for a long time, and until recently I did not have enough knowledge on the issue to make an informed decision regarding them.  However, I have read so many stories of parents who have lost children due to vaccine reactions that every time I think about scheduling her well-baby exam I panic.  After all,  I won’t let my baby have meat, sugar, or cow’s milk but aborted fetus is supposed to be A-O-K! um, no! 

Oh, you didn’t know that was in some vaccines?  Well, the CDC, in reference to the MMR (Mumps Measles Rubella) vaccine,  says :

      The rubella vaccine virus is cultured in human cell-line cultures, and some of these cell lines originated from aborted fetal tissue, obtained from legal abortions in the 1960’s. No new fetal tissue is needed to produce cell lines to make these vaccines, now or in the future. Fetal tissue is not used to produce vaccines; cell lines generated from a single fetal tissue source are used; vaccine manufacturers obtain human cell lines from FDA-certified cell banks. After processing, very little, if any, of that tissue remains in the vaccine.

So, maybe aborted fetal tissue is not actually contained in the vaccines themselves, but they are grown in the tissue.  Okay, the thought of injecting something grown in a dead baby into my daughter just doesn’t appeal to me!  Furthermore, the fact that it was acquired decades ago does not make it any better!  I am not talking about abortion here. I am grossed out by how they grow the vaccine!  Much like the making of hot dogs, or any other processed meat food, I try to avoid those things that make me gag when I think about them.

In addition to the secrecy (well, it’s not really a secret, but they sure aren’t advertising the ingredients) regarding the ingredients of these vaccines, when was the last time your pediatrician gave you the full run down of all of the side effects or possible complications?  No, not the fever that may or may not happen after the shots.  I am talking about risks like asthma, diabetes, coma, and death???  How about you try to ask your doctor about these things.  My guess is your friendly pediatrician will become harsh, distant, and short with his or her explanations.  That is, if you even get that far before they berate you, and compare you to an overly fearful, paranoid mom!  Not only should you get your child vaccinated, but you should do it without question! Doctor knows best, you know! 

Another disturbing fact, that surrounds the vaccine controversy, is what do you do if your child does die after a vaccination?  First, you should contact  VAERS to report anything you even think is a vaccine reaction! Unfortunately, what you think is a reaction will most likely be ruled, by the coroner, as something else.  Often times, these deaths will be reported as SIDS, natural causes, or some other malady not related at all to the vaccination your child received.  Furthermore, even if you could prove that the death was as a result of a vaccine, you can’t sue the company that produced it.  That’s right on  February 22nd, 2011,  the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bruesewitz vs Wyeth that vaccine manufacturers are immune from lawsuits that claim a vaccine was defective or caused harm! You can, however,  receive compensation from the National Vaccine Compensation Program.  So, if your child dies as a result of a vaccine, even if the company who produced the vaccine knew that it could kill children,  you may be able to receive as much as $250,000.00.   That’s it.  The company does not have to accept liability for their wrong doing, and you get a check that, no matter the amount, will never make up for the child you have lost!  How can I inject something in to my sweet baby when I know that the people who have made this substance have no fear if the substance was faulty? Isn’t some of the reason companies follow the rules because if they don’t they will get in to trouble?  So what happens when you take away all risk of getting in trouble?  I don’t even want to know!

A common statement, directed at those who choose to delay or not vaccinate their children, is that they are putting herd immunity in jeopardy.  That we, as parents, are being selfish in not vaccinating our children.  After all, the reported risk of reaction is so small that the benefits of vaccines out weigh the risks. Well, my response to that is best put as this analogy. Lets say we are all standing on the side of a mountain.  The only way to get off of this mountain, and save our herd, is to jump off the cliff.  Well, almost of the cliffs on this mountain have ledges under them that will allow us to safely jump and walk down the mountain.  But, not all of them do.  We can’t see over the edge, and the risk of the edge crumbling means we must send a lightweight child to the edge to jump and tell us if this mountain indeed has a ledge.  There is a really small chance that there is no ledge.  In fact, we are almost certain that there is a ledge.  seriously, the chance of there not being a ledge there is like 100 to 1.  Would you let your child be the one sent to the edge?  Me neither! 

The children of United States are subjected to so many vaccinations that you would think we would have low infant mortality rates, right?  Wrong!

In an article for the National Vaccine Information Center Barbara Loe Fisher points out:

According to the most recent National Vital Statistics Report, more than 26,000 American babies born alive in 2009 died before their first birthday, which gives the U.S. a very high infant mortality rate of 6 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. In 1960, America ranked 12th in infant mortality among all nations of the world. In 2005, we had fallen to number 30. Today in America, there are more premature babies than ever before and more full term babies die before their first birthday than in most European countries.

30th is not good enough for me! I would expect to find such poor statistics about infant mortality coming from less developed countries, but not from the U.S.

So, let us look at just how many vaccines our children are forced to under go in their early years.  The CDC offers parents this really cute chart to use as a reference.

 

 

 

 

When you consider that many of these vaccines are combined injections (there is more than one vaccine in that single needle) you can see that babies are getting a lot of germs injected directly in to their bodies.  They say a baby’s immune system is not mature until they are two, and yet we feel like it is a good idea to pump a wee one full of germs?  I don’t think so.

Okay people, put down your pitchforks and think for just a minute about how you would feel if your rights to decide what color shirt your child was allowed to wear would make you feel.  You would be pissed right?  I mean, hey its your kid your decision, right?  Exactly!

I am not anti vaccine.  I am simply waiting until I feel like my baby can handle it.  Maybe that will be when she turns two.  Maybe she will be 20.  I don’t know.  As of now, I don’t feel right about letting them put those substances in to her body.  I hate that her pediatrician will not allow her to come in to the office if I don’t let them vaccinate her.  I am livid that parents and law makers think they have the right to tell me that I don’t have the right to make this decision! 

What do you do?  Vaccinate, delay, avoid?

WTF is Me Time

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Motherhood is a 24 hour a day job. Really, it never ends. From the time you roll out of bed until the time you crawl back in it a mom is working. Even after you are snuggled in the warmth of your blankets you are always ready to be called back in to action. Maybe a hungry baby awakens you from dream land, or perhaps it is a toddler needing one more hug or a sip of water. No matter the reason you must always be ready.  It is a thanks job, as well. Unless you count the thanks yous that are immediately preceded by the word, “what do you say?”

The constantness of it all often means mommy starts feeling a little frazzled. Following the frazzled feelings are often recommendations, from well-meaning bystanders, for “time for yourself.” Furthermore, you may here things like, “a happy momma means a happy baby,” or “you have to get some me time!” I know these people mean well, but “me time” is not a luxury that all of us can afford.

When should I schedule my me time, I wonder. Should it be after Lady Bug’s morning poop, or right before Wee Man wants his breakfast. No, that won’t work. Let’s try for lunch time. Maybe I can find a minute in between nursing the baby and pulling out the arm load of toys Wee Man tried to flush down the toilet. Crap, looks like early afternoon is out. Okay, maybe when daddy gets home. That’s it I will just have daddy watch them and I will get that me time. Well damn, is it still me time if I am listening to all of the kids crying outside of the door that “daddy is meeeaaannn!” And they nnneeeddd me? Oh well, I need to nurse the baby anyway so I’m not staying in my room.

First, me time, in my opinion, should be spent doing something you want to be doing. It shouldn’t he hiding behind a locked door, with your fingers in your ears chanting “I can’t hear them screaming” repeatedly.  Honestly, that is just added stress.  Second, I never heard my mother complaining about needing to have her own time. Have we gotten so far from family that we look at our time spent with them as moments getting in the way of what we wish we could be doing?

Sure, sometimes I have those “give me a break,” thoughts. I think we all do. But, when I go to walk out of the door I am bid farewell by the tears and screams of my two youngest children. Oh, how they beg me not to leave them. Should my me time be at the expense of my babies who can’t tell time and have no idea why I would need a break from them. After all, they never say how tired they are of me, or how badly they need to get out of the house.

Please, don’t misunderstand. I am not one of those parents that claims to not get stressed out by the day’s events here and there. I am also not complaining and then saying that their little smiles make it all worth it. As a matter of fact, when I walk in the bathroom to find the toilet over flowing and my son’s toys, which are circling the bowl, his little smile is the last thing I want to see! When I work my tired butt off to clean the house and the kids trash it immediately, I don’t care about those little toothy grins! I just want my house clean again.

No, I get over it. I just hate the idea of me time. Who made this up? Probably some one with a nanny or something. I don’t use the bathroom alone. I share almost every plate of food with someone. I run around exhausted with a baby on my boob, helping kids with homework, and entertaining my toddler simultaneously. It sucks sometimes. It is hard sometimes. Every once in a while I find myself mourning my pre-kid life. But, having children was my choice. Raising my children is my job. I love my job. I love my kids. One day they will be too busy for me. One day they will have school, friends, and activities to entertain them, and I will be but a source of funding and support. I think I will schedule my me time then.

I was going to be done with this post/rant but I wanted to add that I am talking about regular just “I am sick of these damn kids” me time. If you are depressed, really in need of help, or feeling desperate take a minute for yourself. If you need help, ask for it. Do not feel like a bad mom because you need a break! A sure sign of a great mom is being able to recognize when its all a little too much and getting the help you need!

I’m a Member of the Club!

When I used to think about having a successful nursing relationship with my children I would get very upset. I had encountered so many problems when I tried to nurse them. I had no support, and at the time I didn’t know who to reach out to. Each time my dream of breastfeeding crumbled, and I always thought I would never get in to the club.

The club isn’t a real thing, I know. Well, maybe there are clubs, but the club for me was imaginary. However, I do think it would be great if there was a club like in my imagination. I pictured women sitting in groups talking while their babies were nursing. In my mind they laughed often and enjoyed content babies. It was something that I never thought I could be a part of.

Fast forward through all of the hardships, a tubal ligation, and an unsuspected fifth child and here I am nursing my eight month old with no problems. Not to jinx it or anything, but we have had a pretty easy time with nursing. My little Lady Bug has latched perfectly since birth. She has adjusted well to my forceful let down, and has been gaining weight like a champ since day one! We are looking forward to a long time spending cuddle nursing moments together.

The best part is I am, at long last, in the club! But, wait where is my circle of moms? Where are my laughing ladies with content babies? I don’t know anyone else breastfeeding right now! My club stinks!

I realize, now that I am successfully nursing my baby, that the exclusive club, I imagined for so long, was only a dream. Honestly, if Lady Bug had problems with her latch, weight gain, or anything else I would have been on my own.

I have researched a lot since is started nursing my baby, and even thought about becoming a breastfeeding counselor or midwife.  I have a longing to surround myself with like-minded women.  I want to share my story of  making the switch from formula to breastfeeding, and how much better the latter can be!  I have tried to surround myself with virtual friends who can be a support network for my baby and me, if needed. But, I still don’t have anyone in my club.

I decided to reach out to people through writing a blog. I thought maybe someone could learn something from my experiences with raising my children. Yet, I am still alone in my club. Formula feeders tend to look at my like I am crazy when I nurse my baby, and they almost always offer their reasons for not Breastfeeding. I promise people, I am not judging you, nor am I asking for your explanation for the way you feed your baby. I get the impression from these women that they are thinking that I think I am better than them. Even if that’s not true, no one is inviting me to playdates, or mommy dates for that matter.

Okay, so my club can’t be a mix of formula and breastfeeding women. It seems like we are on opposite ends of the mommy spectrum, and as much as I would love to invite all of the formula feeding mammas I know over for coffee I just can’t deal with it all. While I don’t think I am better than them, I know the nutrition my baby OS getting from me is better than theirs and I am not going to defend myself constantly. Wait, what I mean defend myself? All of my formula feeding “friends” seem to think that Breastfeeding is too this or that. You know the comments so I don’t need to write them all.

Alas, I am still alone in my club.  I know that there are meetings through the La Leche League, but I thought it would be more like a group of women that just naturally gravitated toward one another because of like interests not like a group that you go find.  I am thinking about going to a La Leche meeting, though.  It may be the only way I can find a local group of women to relate to. I just have to get over my fear of walking in to a room filled with people I don’t know. I feel late for the party and I don’t want everything to stop and all the people to stare at me as I walk through the door. I know they won’t its ky silly imagination making things up again.

Vaccines: Thumbs Up or Down?

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I gave birth to my daughter at home.  I made an educated decision to bring her in to this world with out the interventions I would encounter at the hospital. I took the “risk” to have a vaginal birth after a cesarean because I believe that birth is natural, beautiful, and safe. I did this because I believe the benefits of birthing at home out weigh the risks in a normal, healthy pregnancy.

I did a lot of research before I came to the decision to birth at home.  I weighed the pros and cons. The pregnancy felt long, but when the day finally came to bring my baby in to the world I knew I made the right choice.

As I said, I did a lot of research during this pregnancy. I learned more about pregnancy, birth, and parenting than I learned through out my four previous pregnancies. I am amazed at how narrow my focus was before my fifth pregnancy. I never really questioned what the doctors told me. Now, with my new wider view I am seeing clearly. Unfortunately, just because you can see clearly doesn’t mean you understand everything you are looking at.

I never researched vaccines. I knew that the number of people claiming that vaccines had harmed their children was on the rise. I was aware of the vax/antivax debate. But, I was never a part of that. I knew, with out a doubt, that my child was going to receive all of her immunizations. No, I am not “that mom” I am not going to put my child’s life on the line by exposing her to the dangers of measles, mumps, whooping cough, or chicken pox. Okay, I had chicken pox and it wasn’t so bad, but they say it can be deadly. I am not going against they. From what I hear they know what they are talking about. So, off to the doctor we went to get my baby her shots.

I dutifully held my baby down and allow them to jab her with a needle and inject….inject….wait! What the hell are they injecting. My mind began racing as she screamed her little lungs out. When her face turned some alarming shade of red I stroked her hair and reassured her that I would never hurt her, and this was actually being nice to her. I doubt she believed me. However, she won’t remember it and, thanks to those quick jabs she will stay healthy.  So, we left. I still felt like crap. It was awful watching her sleep thinking that at any moment she could succumb to one of the reactions I remember hearing about.

Two months later, it is time for her four month well-baby visit. She was so cute that day. She smiled and cooed for every one in the waiting room. I think her cuteness distracted the other parents from my three year old who was taking full advantage of the fact that the floor was so easy to scoot around on while laying on his stomach.  Maybe not, but she was pretty darn cute. The wait was horribly long that day. As we sat there in the in the office I was having flash backs from the previous appointment. I wanted to run. I imagined myself grabbing my son, and, like lighting, exploding through the exit with a such a flash those other parents would be blinded and confused. More accurately though, my chronic clumsiness would have probably caused me to trip over my boy while nearly dropping my daughter and diaper bag as I tried to escape. So, with fleeing not a viable option I started thinking I would just decline the shots.

HA! That’s what I would do! Just decline. How hard can it be to say no when they put the syringes on the table.

Hard. I ended up allowing them to inject my daughter with vials of unknown ingredients yet again. All of my other children survived, and so would she. Right?

The second we got home I started researching vaccines.  It was exhausting.  I was consumed by the information available on the internet. Then came the time to schedule her six month appointment. Unfortunatly, I was really busy and couldn’t schedule it right away. That is cool though, the delay allowed me to read more about vaccines and really get a handle on my decision.

Weeks passed and I still had not found the time to take her to the doctor. Every time I thought about scheduling it I suddenly became very busy.  My understanding of the great vaccine debate was not getting any clearer. The weeks turned into months, and now my baby is approaching nine months of age, and has not seen the doctor since she was four months old.

I honestly don’t know what to do. I know that her pediatrician is mainstream, and the group does not look at vaccines as a parent’s choice.  They also do not agree with homebirth. I have contracted switching to a new pediatrician, but I don’t know of any offices where I am likely to get anything but the same treatment, so I have simply avoided the whose situation.

Thankfully, my breastfed baby has never had an illness.  I have had no real reason to seek out medical care for my baby. However, I would love to have measurements to tell my family how much she has grown.

So, here is where I am with the vaccine debate.  First, I know that many pharmaceutical companies are motivated by profit; therefore, the health and well-being of my baby does not concern them. Second, I know that many pediatrician are also motivated by profit. So, while they may have concern for my child, they certainly won’t speak out against a product that keeps the patients rolling in every other month for the first year of life.  Third, the only person my child has to protect her is me, and my decision in whether or not to vaccination could have deadly consequences.

Let’s say, for a moment, that I decide against vaccination her any further. Now let’s say an outbreak of some vaccine-preventable illness happens, and while ky fascinated children don’t catch it they bring it home from school. If she caught said disease and died I aid take full responsibility.

On the other hand, let’s say I do vaccination her, and she has some terrible reaction and ends up with seizures, permanent disabilities, or dead! Again, I will take full responsibility for not choosing the correct path.

I have no doubt that vaccines have saved lives.  I have seen pictures of children in iron lungs because of polio. I am aware that the risk of vaccine reaction is said to be low. However, no one can tell me of my child will be part of that small percentage off children that will react negatively.  I gave birth vaginal.after a cesarean based on my knowledge that the risks were small. Yes, only a small percentage of women, will have complications during a vbac. But, I also knew that avoiding the unnecessary interventions made my chances of a healthy birth great! So, why can’t I just accept that the risk is small and get her damn shots?

I was thinking, since breastmilk is designed to protect infants from illness, I would simply delay her vaccines until she weans, and then we would start slowly with single dose vaccines.  I don’t know how practical that is, but I do believe that my milk will keep her well for now, and by delaying her vaccines I can allow her immune system to mature.

I am not looking for a great debate here. I am looking for insight. Why did you choose to vaccination or not? Did you feel an altered or delayed schedule was safer? Why or why not?  Please, keep this civil. I will not allow any posts that I feel are attacking other posters for his or her beliefs on this matter. All parents should have the right to decide what is best for his or her child.

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