Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Breastfeeding is NOT Obscene

Facebook recently had virtual "nurse-in", protesting their classification of breastfeeding photos as "obscene".    Calling breastfeeding obscene, is well...obscene.

Is this an obscene photo, I ask you?

58

Most people would say it is beautiful....a lovely example of mother and child.  Words like pureness and serenity come to mind.

The question comes to mind though...so what?  So what if facebook doesn't allow breastfeeding photos?  Does it really matter? 

The answer, is YES it does.  It matters a lot. The health and well-being of our nations mothers and babies depend on it.   Every time breastfeeding is thought of as something that should only happen behind closed doors, or something private, or something that needs to be covered up, or hidden then mothers and babies are harmed. 

Fact:  Babies are born to be breastfed.

Fact: Babies NEED to breastfeed VERY frequently.

 Fact:  Humans (and especially women) are social creatures and NEED  friendship and compani0nship with others.

Fact: Mothers learn how to breastfeed by watching other mothers breastfeed.

If breastfeeding is kept private or hidden then it will never be normalized.  Mothers won't learn by watching other mothers, women won't feel comfortable breastfeeding in front of others, and a mother who isn't comfortable breastfeeding around others is much more likely to wean prematurely.

  The AAP recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six-months and a continuation of breastfeeding for at least a year.   The WHO recommends breastfeeding continue until  2 years of age.

In order for most mother/baby dyads to reasonably meet those goals, the mothers needs to feel comfortable breastfeeding as she goes about her daily life.  Breastfeeding needs to be seen as the normal way one feeds and comforts a baby.  Breastfeeding needs to become the norm.  Hence, breastfeeding pics needs to be seen as normal...right up there with the obligatory first Christmas, or first Halloween pics.  A way that proud mothers can share pictures of their babies.

Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is NOT obscene.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Punished by a Baby?

Our nation has just voted a man into the presidential office that believes his daughters should never have to be punished by a baby?  How sad is that....that anyone could view a baby as punishment?   I wonder if he believes that certain babies are more of a punishment than others....like if your baby has a genetic defect, you must have done something really bad.   Probably...considering that he is a staunch supported of abortion rights and studies show that 84% of down syndrome babies never make it to the outside.

The fact is, that of all the women I know who have birthed a baby that was conceived during "less than ideal times for having a baby"..NONE of them view that child as punishment....most would say a blessing.   The same holds true for those whose babies are born, less than perfect.  The only regrets are for the babies that aren't there.

A friend of mine just published this blog post.   I think we should all read it, it is so very true.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Not Back to School

It's that time of year again...(da,da,da,da)...BACK TO SCHOOL....except not for us...we're not going back to school.

In a few weeks our homes school group will have a lovely "Not Back to School Beach Day" While all the other kids are in school, our kids will be frolicking on the beach. While all the other kids are in school, my kids have time to play and read and draw and paint and ice skate and swim and go to the library and the zoo and the playground and the farm and the museum and well... wherever we darn well please.

That is the beauty of not going to school...we aren't bound by schedules and clocks and other restrictions. We can just LIVE life. Sure, we have our "school work"...but guess what..somehow me manage to do in 1 hour what it takes the school system, 4 or 5 to do. AMAZING how that works, efficiency is a wonderful thing!

Yet another beautiful year of NOT going back to school!.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Praying and Ecological Breastfeeding

I was browsing the Kippley's Blog and came upon this post.  They mention in their prayers:

 So may I suggest a Prayer of the Faithful like this:  “For a rebirth of chastity, for a stop to contraception, for a stop to abortion, and for a culture of life, let us pray to the Lord.”  Implicit in that is a prayer that engaged couples will be chaste and that married couples will be generous in having children and use only systematic natural family planning if and when they need more spacing than they derive from ecological breastfeeding.  And that of course implies a prayer that they will do eco-breastfeeding for all sorts of good reasons. 

I thought this was very interesting.  Thankfully we have gotten to the point where "most" faithful Catholics recognize the importance of breastfeeding and at least do so for the first several months.   Actually, *most* Americans in general breastfeed, at least initially.  Studies tell us that the initiation rate of breastfeeding is around 70%, however the duration is still low and at 6 months only 30% are still breastfeeding and only 14% at 12 months.

As Catholics, I think we are called to "do more" than the general population.

The Catechism of The Catholic Church states that

2370 Periodic continence, that is, the methods of birth regulation based on self-observation and the use of infertile periods, is in conformity with the objective criteria of morality. These methods respect the bodies of the spouses, encourage tenderness between them, and favor the education of an authentic freedom. In contrast, "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" is intrinsically evil:

I firmly believe that the teaching of NFP MUST be taught in conjunction with ecological breastfeeding.  Ecological breastfeeding teaches us that "natural child spacing" (that is a child spacing of 2.5-4 years) IS possible.  Since the catechism teaches us that NFP is permissible for the use of "just" reasons (and there is MUCH debate about what THAT entails).  With the use of ecological breastfeeding, the need for NFP is greatly reduced.

So, I join the Kippley's in their prayer....that married couples will be generous in having children and use only systematic natural family planning if and when they need more spacing than they derive from ecological breastfeeding.  And that of course implies a prayer that they will do eco-breastfeeding for all sorts of good reasons. 

 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Healthy Sleep Habits

I recently read this article on sleep.  It got me thinking about healthy sleep habits.  I am actually one of the few people I know who has what I consider to be healthy sleep habits.

I believe healthy sleep habits to be those to of our ancestors, before the invention of artificial lights, and TV's and computers.  In days past, one went to bed shortly after dark and awoke shortly after day-break feeling well-rested without the need of caffeine or other stimulants.  

Healthy sleep means one doesn't need an alarm clock to  awaken,  and they go to bed and awaken at approximately the same time each night.  It is well documented that shift work is unhealthy, but even sleeping later/staying up later on weekends can take its' toll.   I firmly believe in the importance of regular sleep routines.

New research is also coming out on the ill affects of nighttime lights.   The best sleeping environment is a totally dark room which is on the cooler side.   Sleeping in a totally darkened room has been shown to both prevent cancer and help regulate the female cycle.

So, shut off the computer, turn off the lights and go to sleep!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Is Ecological Breastfeeding REALLY difficult?

I was reading another blog  about ecological breastfeeding and came across the comment that ecological breastfeeding is REALLY difficult.    I had to stop and think about that.  Do most people  (who even bother to think about ecological breastfeeding at all that is) really think it is REALLY difficult? 


I am on my third round of ecological breastfeeding.  The little one is barely 3 months old and nursing as I type right now.   Honestly, it doesn't seem difficult to me.  In fact, it seems the most natural thing in the world, and actually almost lazy.  I mean, you really don't have to DO anything.  Babe cries and I get to sit down and pop him on.  I mean what other mothering practice gives one so much leeway to spend so much time just sitting or lying down, and while doing that I can read, type, check email, surf the internet, pay bills online, eat lunch, read stories to other children, home school my oldest, pray, do leg lifts (while lying down), talk on the phone, have conversations with other family members  or do Internet research.


Granted, one generally can't do all those things in the early days of breastfeeding, but with practice one becomes quite adept at MTN (multi-tasking nursing).   It is the same with nursing in public.  While it is awkard in the beginning, with a bit of practice one can become quite proficient at latching a baby on while carrying them in a sling and grocery shopping, or during a meeting or party or at the park or a whole host of other places.  


Over the course of the last 6 years in my breastfeeding career, I have nursed children everywhere from real estate offices to the confessional,  from the classroom (where I briefly took my oldest to work with  me each day as a young infant) to the crisis pregnancy center where I used to volunteer as a counselor.  I have taken my babies to conferences and bible studies and basically everywhere else I go.


If pacifiers and leaving a baby isn't even an option, one learns to adjust in marvelous ways.   Babies are remarkably portable and home is where ever mom is.


Likewise, if one is accustomed to nursing whereever and whenever during the day, it is natural to continue that at night.  After all, what could be easier than waking up at a babies slighted stir, sticking a nipple in his mouth and then blissfully falling back asleep.  Having a baby sleep separately seems like so much more WORK...I mean you would actually have to get out of bed!!


Nursing just seems like the EASIEST way to calm a baby, and soothe him.  Certainly easier than a pacifier which can get lost and dirty and falls out of his mouth and stolen by older sibling to use in their play.


Nursing is certainly easier than preparing baby foods and cleaning up afterwards. When one ecologically breastfeeds, there isn't such an emphasis on "starting solids" and really going through the bother of pureeing foods and spoon-feeding and clean-up....well nursing is just easier (and cleaner too!). 



Babies are born to be breastfed...and even more so, I think they are born to be ecologically breastfed.  It is God's intended way of mothering and nature's way of child spacing.  Of course it doesn't
"work" for everyone, but I really believe that it can work for "most" people "most" of the time .

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cats and Catholics

Last week we adopted a cat and I have come to the conclusion that a cat would make a rotten Catholic.   It's a good thing that animals don't have everlasting, spiritual souls as I can't see cats being heaven-bound.  They aren't very obedient or humble and rather seem almost condescending.  Our new cat is constantly testing the waters, breaking the rules, stretching the boundaries.  If he can't slip through the gate..he just jumps on over.   I can't see a cat being too good at certain virtues, like obedience or humility and if the kitten population is anything to go by, they aren't too good at chastity either.

Nonetheless,  I hate mice and I hate rats.  I'm  also not too fond of bats.  But..I LOOOOVVE Cats 

Cats are still wonderful.  There is just something about those intelligent eyes, the twitching tail, the purr that makes them so endearing.  Having a cat sit in your lap, purring while you stroke his fur is the best therapy and stress-release.  Somehow, while petting a cat, all is well, the world seems all right and problems are managable.

Plus, they perform the most important job in the world....they rid the house of MICE  (see prior post to learn more of my love of mice).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Breastfeeding and Arthritis

Breaking news:   Breastfeeding decreases the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis.

A woman who has just two children and breastfeeds each of them for a year decreases her risk of rheumatoid arthritis by 50 percent," he says. "That is just striking."http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/11/04/health/webmd/main653734.shtml

 

Wow..that is striking!!!  This just further confirms that nor only is breastfeeding good for the mother, NOT breastfeeding is bad.  Just another confirmation that when you start fooling with nature and God's Plan, things get messed up.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mice

Mice are Not Nice

They should be kept on Ice

Or Rolled like Dice

And Put in a Vice

and Boiled like Rice

Mice are Not Nice

But they are better than Lice

Which No One Wants Twice

or Thrice

We must Entice the Mice

to leave.

They're worth killing at any Price.

Mice are Not Nice.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Papal Visit '08

A friend shared me with me this neat story.  

My friend has a friend with a 9-yo son who is legally blind.  Son wants to be a priest when he grows up.  Friend's friend was entered in the lottery to see the Pope in DC, but did not get tickets.  A friend of my friend's friend (got that?) was also entered in the lottery and did get tickets, however, she felt that God was impressing on her to give the tickets to her friend.   So friend's friend and her 9-yo son went off the see the Pope in DC.

Somehow friend was talking to a priest who talked to a bishop who talked to an archbishop who spoke with a vatican official (or something like that) and it was arranged that the 9-yo boy would get a chance to meet The Pope.  So, when the Pope came out, the 9 yo boy was lifted over the ropes and actually met and spoke with The Pope for around 5 minutes.     The Pope blessed a purse full of rosaries and other religious articles that the boy's mother had given him. .  Boy also asked the Pope to "please bless my eyes because it might be hard to be a priest if I am blind"  So, the boy also got a special papal blessing on his eyes.

The boy was then lifted back over the ropes and returned to his mother.     Later on, when the Pope came out he made a special point of coming over to the boys' mother and friends and greeintg them.  As the Vatican offiicial was leaving he told the boy's mother "your son must be very special because he (the Pope) doesn't do that).

A few days later, the boy had his regular eye exam and it was discovered that for the first time since he was born, there was no further degeneration of his eyes.

Neat story!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Birth

Baby Son's birth was the culmination of a long and arduous labor. It was the most difficult of my 3 births and the end was fraught with peril.... being strapped to the monitors,  hushed talk of heart decelerations,  quiet encouragement to push, and the realization that Son had to come out NOW and *I* was the only one who could do it.    It was up to me.   My body had grown and sustained him for 9 months, but was it time for him to leave, to begin life outside the womb and fill his little lungs with air.  It was discovered that his umbilical cord was short, and it was being compressed and stretched as he exited the womb .....that was causing the heart decelerations.   Instead of a rosy pink, he was born gray.  Thankfully, once he was on the outside, his lungs filled with air, he cried and took on a healthy pink color.

I found his birth to be very unsettling, disturbing in some way.  Although everything went well,  nothing went as planned. My other 2 births were textbook, smooth, without problem.  This one wasn't  and looking back, it is quite scary realizing "what COULD have happened"

I have come to realize that life and birth are uncertain. Nothing is guaranteed.  Things happened that were beyond my control, it was out of our hands.  Thank God the outcome was good.

I have come to a greater respect for birth, for the entire process, the mystery of it all, the way things unravel.  It truely is an awesome experience, one I am blessed to take part in, along with the legions of women who have gone before me.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Men

I have come to he conclusion that most men are so smart they pretend to be stuipd.  Let me explain, Hubby likes to tell the story of how when he was a child his mother tried to teach him how to cook.  She asked him to heat milk, and he put the milk in a plastic measuring cup on a hot burner.  Needless to say, that was the end of cooking lessons and he got to go outside and play.  So, the question is, was that incredibly smart or incredibly dumb of him.??? 

This is NOT an isolated story.  My girlfriends are fully of similarr stories of their husband's dumb escapades, which might not be so dumb after all...maybe they are all diabolically clever ideas to get out of work, well thought, planned and executed.

 A women will do almost anything to NOT be thought of as incompetent, hmmm...maybe we should take a lesson from men and rejoice in our incompetence.    Life would sure be a lot easier that way.

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