Monday, January 31, 2011

Extended? Really?

Gus and Jack are very close to being one year old.  It's a huge milestone. They will have been on this earth for a whole year.  We're planning a party.  A low-key family get-together kind of party, but a party nonetheless.

Also, I should wean them, right?

Isn't 12 months the magical cut off?  Isn't that when my babies transition from babies to independent kids who don't need to nurse anymore?  I mean, they will be completely different when they're 365 days old instead of 364 days, right?


In my opinion, the term "extended breast feeding" is as silly as the questions I posed above.  If I  breastfeed beyond a year, well, that's only natural.

Below is part of a comment I posted in response to another mama's questions on The Leaky B@@b's  Facebook page.

"I tend to think "extended breastfeeding" is a misnomer. I prefer "natural duration breastfeeding". Most cultures go way beyond one year... who decided that babies in Western countries don't need nursed after 12 months? (Probably formula/baby food companies, but I digress.) The average world-wide age of weaning is between 2-7 years old. The WHO recommends a minimum of two years, and beyond as long as it's mutually desired by mom and baby. 

There is the emotional aspect of it, yes. Nursing is such a handy tool to have. It fixes everything! Fall down and get hurt? Nurse! Temper tantrum from not being able to do a new skill? Nurse. Overtired and overstimulated from a crazy holiday? Nurse! Nursing gives the baby/toddler a secure place from which to figure out the world. Often nursing is a way to "touch base" and realize mommy's still here, all is well. Why take away such a valuable coping tool before the child is ready?

Another great thing about natural duration nursing is that you can be sure your LO is getting vitamins and minerals even when they're going through a picky eating stage. It may not be their ONLY source of nutrition, but your body makes milk especially for YOUR baby, so it's an excellent source of nutrition. Breastmilk most definitely does retain all of it's amazing nutritional benefits after a year. 

Finally, there's the immunological aspect of natural duration nursing. When your toddler is two, and venturing out into the world more and more, maybe to preschool, maybe to playdates, she/he gets exposed to way more germs and viruses. If you're still breastfeeding, you are still passing all your antibodies through the milk. Your toddler is protected at a very vulnerable time. "

I'm actually a little sad at the thought of not nursing my babies anymore, far down the road though that may be.  But that's ok, because by the time they're completely weaned, Jack and Gus won't be babies anymore.  I will let them decide when they're done nursing, naturally.  

I won't "extend" anything, but I will nurse my sons for the duration of their need.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Eating and Learning

I submitted a picture of me with Jack eating/playing to Wordless Wednesday on the Natural Parents' Network, so here is one of me with Gus!  We had so much fun learning about spaghetti :-)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yeah, well...

Yesterday I went to Costco with my mom and the boys to pick up some beef.  (Oh, right, the beef!  I have to go put that in the crock pot... I have an acute case of mommy-brain today.)

Once we whisked Gus and Jack into the store, we set them up in the double-wide shopping car.  They were sitting side by side, neatly strapped in, and taking in the enormity of a big box store with wide and shining eyes.  The smiled at passing shoppers, they waved at and charmed the ladies handing out samples.  Basically, they were just being their adorable selves.

Then, we passed another twin-mama.  Her boys were still in their buckets, set up on a frame stroller.  They were watching the world as best they could, and playing with their bottles.  They seemed a little sickly, sort of pale, but about the same size as Gus and Jack.

The other mama asked if Gus and Jack were twins.  "Yep, they sure are.  How about yours?" And thus was the "Yeah, well" conversation started.

How old are yours?

They'll be one at the end of this month, and yours?

They'll be one in early February.

Yeah, well, mine were born early.

Yep, these guys too.

Yeah, well, they were small.

I know what you mean, mine were pretty small also.

Yeah, well, they had to stay in the NICU for almost a month.

Oh, I remember those days...Jack was in for 21 days.

Yeah, well, they were sick afterwards too.

Yes, my boys both had GERD and were so colicky!

Yeah, well, it was nice talking to you. Bye.


Um... does this happen with all mamas, or just those of us with twins?  I have had quite a few conversations wherein it seemed like a contest to see who had/has the hardest time.  I'm not discounting anyone's struggles, and we had our share in the early months.  But I don't let those struggles define me as a mother, nor how I see my children.  

The most hurtful "yeah, well"  comment happened at a mother of twins club meeting.  I had asked for some tips or advice on how to get Jack to cut back on his night nursing-- at 8 months he was latched on pretty much the whole night through.  Another mom clarified that I was NURSING my TWINS?  I said yes.  Her response was, "Yeah, well... you must be a better mother than me.  I could never do that."


I wasn't after compliments.  Or barbed comments, either, for that matter.  Just some help.  I ended up raising the question at the Le Leche League meeting a few days later.

I tend to let those conversations get under my skin.  I need to learn to shake them off and keep on with my day.  I've got beautiful, vibrant, curious, mobile twins to raise.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

From my children, I have learned

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


From my children, I have learned that I am beautiful.

My body may not conform to society’s standards of beauty, but I know that I am the very definition of beauty to my babies.  I need only see the look on their face when they gaze up at me while nursing to know I am so beautiful to them.  My self esteem is spurred along greatly by using their eyes instead of a mirror to contemplate my physical self.

From my children, I have learned how deep my reservoirs run.

I have always been a sleeper.  I could fall asleep anywhere, stay blissfully unaware of my surroundings through any hubbub, and wake refreshed, snuggled within my cocoon of comforters.  Until I had children, I was a master sleeper.  Since becoming a mother of twins, I have experienced first-hand how being devastatingly sleep-deprived will not kill me, though I might wish for sweet unconsciousness.  I am stronger than I ever imagined, able to survive with less.
From my children, I have learned tolerance.

I have tolerated, and often laughed at, more bodily fluids these past eleven months than I care to remember.  It’s the messy part of being a mama, and there is no avoidance of it.  I also have discovered within myself a vast lake of patience for repeating games, changing endless rounds of diapers, and nursing until I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. 

From my children, I have learned to be gentle.

Using gentle touch with newborns is easy.  Using a gentle voice with near-toddlers requires forethought and determination.  Deciding to parent gently as a universal style demands mindfulness and self-education.  Understanding child development helps me to put every action or need into the necessary perspective to remain gentle.

From my children, I have learned how exquisite selflessness can be.

I eat last.  I shower last, if at all.  I purchase clothing for myself last.  In the hierarchy of needs, I am last.  This is because I am the adult, the mother.  Putting my needs last does not mean those needs are unimportant, it simply means that at this point in our lives, my children need me more than I need myself.  This will not last forever, and I am determined to enjoy the beautiful dependency of babies while it lasts.

From my children, I have learned unfettered joy, and inconsolable heartache.

My babies embody emotion.  When they are happy, their eyes shine with delight and a smile transforms their features.  When they are sad, their faces crumple with confused agony.  My own heart sings with them, and weeps with them as they experience the gamut of human emotions. 

From my children, I have learned to create an environment that nurtures.

Play is not penned in our house.  There are no separate spaces for adults and babies.  Childproofing is a way of life, not an afterthought.  In doing this, I have set myself up to be their partner in exploring their home.  “No” very rarely passes my lips because it doesn’t have to.  We play together, and I do my part in creating the safe space in which to do so. 

From my children, I have learned how to be their mother.

    Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
    Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
    (This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 11 with all the carnival links.)

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Bring back The Leaky B@@b!!

    There was a Facebook page called The Leaky B@@b.  It was a "pub" where mamas could gather to share information, ask questions, and find the support they so desperately needed but were unable to find elsewhere.  

    I went there every day. 

    I first found TLB in August, while I was literally nursing around the clock.  I would settle in with Gus and Jack on the nursing pillow, open the laptop, and find other nursing mamas, even if it was 3am.  My eyes were bleary, and I was typing one-handed, but it felt so good to be able to ask questions, or post a picture of my boys nursing... and get a positive response.  

    It was also the most positive nursing community I could find.  Unlike the others that were militant or derisive, The Leaky B@@b was refreshing with its humor and message of inclusion and education.

    The founder, Jessica, even helped me personally, messaging me and pointing me in the direction of valuable resources I needed.

    Last night, someone at Facebook deleted The Leaky B@@b. 

    I am, quite frankly, heartbroken.  

    I could go on a rant right now about how Facebook is anti-woman, or about how breastfeeding is NOT obscene.  But I don't have the energy.  So, instead, I will pass on the information I have, in the hopes it will get distributed far and wide and loud.  Please visit Bring Back the Leaky Boob or TLB Support on Facebook to get more information and connect with the rapidly rebuilding community.  Or, check out the discussion on Mark Zukerburg's page to add your voice.  

    And finally, please visit The Leaky B@@b's blog to share some love with a mama who supports others in the most incredible fashion.  I'm sure she'd like to hear from you. 

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    Unexpected Gift

     Yesterday was the last day of December 2010.  The temperature was a balmy 40 degrees.  The sun was shining.  It was an unexpected gift, one that we simply had to appreciate.  So, Moviedad met us at the park after work, we walked, then came home to play outside.  It was a great way to end a memorable year.