Salt Lake City Based Photographer Timbra Wiist owns/operates Landslide Photography & Photographs the Journey of Motherhood (see bottom of page or sidebar for more info. . .depending on what this blog is choosing to do for the day).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Katherine & Sammy

I tend to photograph nursing families, since that's the premise of my business, "motherhood." SO. . .a few photos snagged during a HUGE adventure of a family photo shoot (last fall we were on Antelope Island for maternity photos, before this little guy came and now we're at a train station in Ogden having a great time playing and photographing the family).







Saturday, July 23, 2011

Influential Parenting

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about how you influence others. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!
 
 
I think that influencing others goes along with nursing in public, even if public is sometimes just in front of a friend. Nursing isn't the only way that I hope I influence mothers around me, I HOPE in front of others (and usually behind closed doors, and sometimes neither of those times am I great at it) that I show mothers around me that I am sensitive to my children, that I view my children as people who are worthy of my time, attention, trust and respect. That sometimes that means bending when others may think I should hold a hard line. And all of that starts with breastfeeding, with nursing a newborn whenever she needs it, with noticing the cues of an older, busier baby who needs to nurse, perhaps when she's hurt, or worried, or feels a little anxious about the social situation. Sometimes that means nursing a bumped up newly walking tot, yeah, even one with a full set of teeth and WORDS, and an ability to tell me when she needs to nurse. . .she's actually ALWAYS been able to TELL me when she needs to nurse, and my daughters and I have built our relationships on a mutual trust that I will notice her needs and tend to them. Did you know that nursing is a NEED for small children, a need to be near mom in the early YEARS is as essential as the actual sustenance provided through nursing.

In a general sense I influence those around me to view breastfeeding as the biological norm, by my willingness to discuss it openly. I talk about breastfeeding in a way that others recognize I view it as COMPLETELY normal. . . to do and to talk about. I don't quiet my voice, I don't try to discuss it privately (unless there is a sensitive situation), I don't shy away from sharing information if someone asks. I FREELY say the word "breastfeeding" which is a little humorous, since before I had children, "breast" was a word that I HATED to use. I had a set of three words I hated hearing or using. . . that was one. Not because of any sort of sexual connotation, I just didn't like the way it sounded as a word. I digress.

I have a close friend who recently told me that I'd really influenced her as a mother, through her pregnancy, from the very rough start of her son's life and through the extra rough "months" long start of their breastfeeding relationship, but I hadn't just influenced her with regards to her pushing through some rough stuff to continue nursing, I'd also influenced her and inspired her as a mother. That is something that does any mama's heart good to hear, and any friend's too! I hope that my influence and inspiration for her, were that of listening to her own heart and following her baby's cues (I know they were). I want to be sure that I never "influence" people to do it just like me, but instead, to trust themselves.

I hope that my mothering, coupled with my natural attitude of not worrying much about what others think (though in the quiet of my own home, I do rant a bit about it), I can influence and inspire other mothers to trust themselves as mothers, to seek support for the things they already KNOW they want their parenting to be about, and to be willing to shun popular opinion, in order to continue building a relationship of trust and respect with their babies, despite what others around them might say or pressure them into, if it goes against their personal parenting philosophies.

Breastfeeding is the building block for a relationship with your child(ren). . . sure, NOT breastfeeding is also a building block, EVERYTHING is a building block. .. what kind of structure are you purposing to build? A foundation built on mutual respect and trust gives a child tools for a lifetime, but a foundation built on "my" schedule, "my" wants, "my" desires, believing a child to be something less than a "PERSON" is a foundation that does not set up our children to succeed. I hope that mothers will see the foundation my husband and I both are working to build with our children and seek to do the same.

I'm bouncing around a bit. As a wrap up I'd like to say "the proof is in the pudding." There was a time when my own family probably felt (and maybe still do) that they did not understand my parenting, my joy over cosleeping, my desire to continue nursing my child WELL past an age anyone in my family had nursed or understood nursing to be important, my hope to homeschool, not that these ALL necessarily go hand in hand, but it's a path of motherhood I never saw myself taking before children. And tentatively they have watched the story unfold, questioning me along the way, sometimes out loud, sometimes to one another, I'm sure, and as the story has unfolded, it has been revealed that my kid isn't messed up. . . so what I'm doing must be a fine job :) And my biggest hope in that, is that my own sister, as she moves into a stage of her life where she plans to have children, will consider that there might be a way of parenting outside of the scope of what she has viewed in her life as a daughter and a nanny. My hope for her, particularly, is that she will FOR ONCE, not try to take the alternate path to the one I've taken :) But instead see the benefits for a child, by considering the same route.
 
 
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Who Wrote the Book of Love?

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about your favorite parenting books. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!
 
 
I have SO little time to read anything new these days. I'd prefer a SOUND book recommendation from someone who knows me, so I don't have to waste my LITTLE reading time on something that just doesn't fit.

Here are some of my personal favorites and very empowering books that didn't make me feel like "I'm reading a book in order to learn how to parent my children," but instead these are books that either 1)validated or 2)empowered me.

A MUST have for ALL breastfeeding mothers, the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. Had it not been for almost accidentally purchasing this book before my first daughter was born, I would not be the mother or lactivist that I am today. I read this book cover to almost cover in the five weeks before my daughter came. I had a hard time relating only because I knew a girl was on the way, but the whole book refers to "he," this is so that mom and baby are never mixed up in the context and it's apparent. I also didn't buy into any of the "beautiful relationship" stuff. . . until I had that baby. And I'm just so thankful I read this book. When we moved back to the US very suddenly, I was like a fish out of water, since we didn't move back to the hometown we'd been in before. I decided I was in a place in my life where I wanted to find other people who were like-minded in their parenting (or could help guide me even further in the parenting I desired to give my baby) as well as in the same stage of their lives. I went to an LLL meeting not quite two months after moving to UT and I've never looked back (and I have made ALL of my best friends here in UT through LLL). If you don't have the time or patience for Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, use it as a resource guide, flip around to topics you like.

Other fabulous reads, as a supplement to Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, I also love the simplicity of Martha Sears' Breastfeeding Book, particularly the beginning section on the deficiencies of formula. I've probably read a pretty outdated version, but love it nonetheless and the principles hold true.

I read a couple of chilbirth books, but none come CLOSE to the amazing and empowering writing of Ina May Gaskin. . . This book, read in the middle of my second pregnancy, was the most empowering book with regards to body image, birth, and just being a woman. I will give it as a gift to ANY woman soon to give birth, because her words are SO empowering that I could never even THINK to come close to giving someone the same type of image of themselves as women, so I'll just let her speak.

Your Amazing newborn is beautiful if for nothing else, lots of photos of BRAND NEW babies! But the information is also stellar.

Adventures in Tandem Nursing and Mothering Your Nursing Toddler are two books I'd never want to find myself without. Mothering Your Nursing Toddler gave me so much support within myself in moments when those around me have given a glance, an eye roll, or even a comment that questions my decision not to FORCE independence. One of my favorite (and this is a paraphrase for sure) sections of the book refers to children who are allowed to choose their natural rate of becoming more independent, and how they become secure adults, however, the converse is true for children who are forced to detach from their parents. This book reminded (or maybe brought to light to me for the first time) that I am raising PEOPLE, not just "children." Adventure in Tandem nursing is just a great read for ANY pregnant mother who is still nursing an older child, and maybe just for any mother who has nursed and is pregnant. . . tandem parenting is equally as difficult, it not more so, when you no longer have the tool of nursing, particularly a toddler, when a newborn comes on scene.

When it comes to parenting, I probably need to reread "how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk". . . I read it when the principles didn't quite apply to the age my first daughter was, but I think I've lost sight of some if it, in the insanity of having two kids who run to embrace one another upon wake up ONE morning and then start kicking each other, whining and crying upon wake up the very next day! :) By the same authors "Siblings without rivalry" is an even better read. The five love languages of children is a MUST READ for all parents who are interested in gentle parenting of their children. And my current read (I don't have a lot of time for reading, so I could be reading this until my 5 year old goes off to high school) is "Hold on to your kids." I hear my own words resonating back to me from the pages, things I've observed about our culture, particularly our local culture here in UT, but wasn't able to really put a social phenomenon with, so again, it's just a reminder that I'm not crazy, that I'm raising PEOPLE, who I want to see into responsible and beautiful and independent, secure adulthood, and still have our relationship FULLY and lovingly intact.

I feel like this is the ENTIRE list of books I've ever read on the subject of birth, breastfeeding and parenting. . .I really feel that getting a good recommendation on a book, from someone who knows and understands your desires (birth, breasfeeding or parenting) helps to weed out a bunch of stuff that doesn't apply and will waste your time and energy by reading through it. I hope these recommendations pique your interest and give you some good food for thought. Happy Reading. Can't wait to read other recommendations.
 
 
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Breastfeeding Rocks

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about the importance of breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!
 
 

This topic is so wide open. There are all the answers I know now, as a support person for breastfeeding mothers. But why was breastfeeding important to me when I made that decision before having a baby? It was really completely utilitarian. And then I had a baby, and I realized, for her, it was all but utilitarian. I loved watching her fatten up, living solely on mommy's milk. Even the night I ate something that kept her up all night, I love that I became aware, immediately, that the foods I choose, effect her. . . and eventually, when she was no longer reliant on my milk for her sole nutrition, I still had to carry the responsibility for choosing foods that would add to her wellness and quality of life. Nursing made me sensitive to my baby's needs and it reminded me to stop and hang out with her a while. I've always been a woman on "the go" and a little reminder from an itty person every 90 minutes or so, to sit down, relax, take in a show, take a nap, nurse a baby, hold her close. . . those were reminders I needed :)

I try to search my memory for anyone who encouraged me to breastfeed, but it was sort of a non-issue, I wasn't looking for reasons not to. I went to a group of ob/gyns in CA and before we were able to see our doctor, I had to go to a "class" with others, all expecting babies about the same time as ours. This class was to give us a rundown of how often we would see the doc, what each appointment would be about and of course to create a payment plan. One of the things that happened during that "class" was that there was an offer to get a free parenting book THAT day, if we were willing to sign up on a mailing list. . . I think it was an Emfamil list. I think we got a book along with a packet of coupons, a little bag and a can. I saved that little can, I took that can with me to Fiji, but by the time my little girl was born, I'd read all of Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and realized that I wouldn't be needing that can, and that I'd just pump if I needed to leave milk behind for any reason. It was few and far between that this was needed, the pumped milk, but it was really easy enough.

I've said it a few time here, but breastfeeding has always just sort of been part of the scenery. It's always been part of the story of my life, woven in here and there. There weren't people who had to talk me into its benefits. If anything, there are probably a couple of people in my life would like to now talk me OUT of the benefits of extended nursing and all the other parenting decisions that have come along with my embracing of who I am and have chosen to be, as a mother. I've heard it before, and I think it's the right answer for me too "Breastfeeding is so important to me, because it's so important to her." (Both of my "hers.")
 
 
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Baby Wearing 5 years strong

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing Photos! Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!
 
 
July 06. . . 4 weeks old. . .Fiji Oct 06. . . first Trip to the US. . . 4 monthsBack Home Oct 2006 . . .one time wonder, daddy does the carryingJune 07 (My sister carrying my daughter, day after her first birthday). . . Gardner Village July 07. . . Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Book Release PartyMarch 08 FINALLY got my mei tai. . .21 months Tried it out in OK
April 08 WAJuly 08. . . 25 months. . . Steve Miller Band Concert (awesome to be wearing her especially after dark) November 08. . . .UH YEAH. . .NKOTB concert November 08 Seattle. . . Just shy of 2.5 years. . . totally asleep
There was pregnant baby wearing in between
September 09 . . . . 4 weeks old. . .my view of a nursing babe in a mei tai at the Zoo same trip. . . Who says the Moby has a suggested weight limit? October 09. . . 3 years 3 months and 34lbs Special Ladybug Mei Tai made by my friend Heather . . . custom for my halloween costume January 2010. . . Carriage Ride in SLCWater "moby" Two Girls. . . two mei tais. . . 50lbs of pure L-O-V-E (3.5 years and 5months) And the babywearing rubs off. . .Summer 2010 October 2011. . . Gallivan Center Monster Block Party December 2011 Lights on Temple Square April 2011 Whitney Gardens, WABaby Wearing Flash Mob practices Summer 2011 :)
 
 
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Tandem Mommyhood

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about your first experience nursing in public. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!
 
 
Until I began writing, I did not realize that this was more the story of my motherhood, how it surrounds breastfeeding my children. You are welcome to stay a while and read it through, it's a bit lengthy.

I guess when it comes to breastfeeding and multiples, I've done it all now. . . :) And I only have two kids. It's been a journey I never would have ever in a million years even imagined I'd have taken, I probably didn't even, in a million years, imagine it was one that COULD be taken.

The day I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I cried. I cried because, the thing that prompted me to take a test, was how sick I felt. . . I couldn't believe I didn't have ANY moments of enjoying the news without already feeling icky and I knew I'd be dealing with that for two more months. I cried because I knew everything would change. My firstborn would no longer be my only baby. I knew it was possible this pregnancy would cause her to wean (she was 2.5 at the time). I cried because things were rought in our house at the time, not necessarily between my husband and I, but because of his job, which he hated, he was always tired and mostly depressed, and I was on my own, even when he was home. . . how would I deal with 3 months of feeling like crap? AND taking care of a toddler? How would I survive months of getting bigger and bigger, and CHASING a toddler? We had so little to do when I was pregnant with my first daughter, and I knew we would not, could not, sit around enjoying this pregnancy, just watching and waiting, as we had the first time around. Everything was different, and I cried! And then I nursed my baby, because she needed it and I needed it. And I took photos of my daughter nursing, because I was afraid that would end too soon.


Little did I know, it would take YEARS for that part of our relationship to come to a close. She nursed straight through my pregnancy. About 3 weeks after I found out I was pregnant, New Year's Eve, she night weaned suddenly and I assumed it was the beginning of that transition. The night weaning was fine with me, she only nursed one time at 3:30am at this point. Okay, it happened one night and then we were back and forth for a few weeks, by Valentine's Day, she was the HARDEST sleeper I'd ever seen. This, a child who would wake to nurse any time I got up to pee or stirred her in bed and HAD to nurse back to sleep, could sleep through anything now. It was sort of a lovely little blessing. I laugh when people tell me how they had to "train" their children to sleep SO THAT they would be good sleepers when they get older. . . it actually causes the opposite affect. My kid is a FANTASTIC sleeper now, she still sleeps with us, and she nursed at night until she was 2.5.

The months went on, soon, she was not nursing to sleep anymore. For nearly 3 years of her life, this was of NECESSITY, I could count on one hand the number of times she's EVER gone to sleep without nursing off to slumber. We began having milkies for "twinkle twinkle little star" and then she'd kiss me goodnight and I'd hold her until she fell asleep. This was a surpising one for me, I'd always heard that those "favorite" nursing times were the last ones little people give up, even after they were almost completely weaned. This was another blessing for my pregnant body, it became difficult for me to nurse on my right side, because I just felt so sick at night and frantically wanted to turn to my left side. We still enjoyed sweet cuddles and I wasn't feeling crazy because she wouldn't stop nursing.

There were times it was irritating, times I'd have to ask her to relatch because it was driving me crazy or hurting me. But we'd built a relationship of sensitivity to one another's needs, between us, and she, little as she was, somehow seemed to understand, to be willing and forgiving as we paved the unwalked path.

By the end of my pregnancy, at term, I'd had stripping and cohosh twice. The second time worked well. But it was my daughter's nursing I would credit with the final move into hard labor. Around 5pm she nursed off to sleep (she was still nursing to sleep for naps and mornings, I found out, were her ACTUAL favorite nursing times, she always wanted to nurse first thing in the morning) it was then that my contractions went into full force, while she slept, I labored at home. She woke, wandered out into the living room and found her mom leaning over a huge labor ball that was on top of the couch. I tried to sweetly say hello and welcome her to the next part of the day, I scooped her up and sat her on the ball, leaned over her little legs and worked through another contraction. She didn't seem upset, maybe a little worried, she'd held my hand late at night once while I puked my guts out in the bathroom earlier in my pregnancy.

Little girl 2 came into our world just 2 hours after this. And after introductions and checking over, we all went to sleep in one big bed, I nursed one, and the other. I was thankful at this time that my little one no longer needed nursing off to sleep, that we had a good night time ritual established and she was easy with it. She would nurse and be held until sleep.

Three days into this adventure of tandem MOMMY-HOOD, my littlest one ended up in the hospital. I wasn't able to nurse her for 20 hours. I had to pump. I became very engorged that same evening, I was also separated from my toddler for the first night EVER. Four the following four days I had a schedule of seeing my older daughter sometime during the day, around the hospital, and then coming home late in the evening to shower, grab things for the next day and nurse my little girl, even if she was already asleep, with my sister in the living room, I'd take her off to bed and nurse her. We both needed it, for reconnect, and I needed it because of the relief, I was thankful she was still nursing. She would fall asleep with me, and because she was such a hard sleeper now, I would leave her, head back to the hospital and she'd wake up with daddy in the morning.

We landed in the hospital a second time four days after discharge, and went through the same schedule, except, at least this time, my older daughter could come into the room to see her sister and I. But I slept four nights away, which was rough on everyone.

For some period of time, after we were finally home and settled for good, I was able to nurse my girls at the same time together, it didn't last long, maybe 3 or 4 months. Around October (only 6 weeks in to my tandem mommy-hood) we had an incident at a friend's house where my daughter was sick (and I didn't realize it yet), she got upset during the party and asked in front of all of my friends if she could have milkies. I shot her a horrible glance, and quickly whispered in her ear not to talk about it again. These friends were already a little weirded out by my nursing so blatantly in front of everyone at the party.

We spent about a week with my older daughter being sick, but she didn't want to nurse much, something I found very strange, since nursing had ALWAYS been the thing she wanted to do constantly whenever she'd been sick. We had a talk one day about whether she'd been saying no to nursing because I'd given her that mean look at the party, she admitted that was why. I had a good cry over that. I realized I wasn't ready for her to wean and CERTAINLY not because her mommy had been MEAN to her about nursing. If she was going to wean, I didn't want the last memory between us to be how I'd shamed her in to never nursing again :( We had a good talk, but I geared myself up for this being the end, she wasn't quite 3.5.

I never thought I'd be nursing a child over the age of 3 (there were times I never imagined over the age of 6 months, a year, 2 years. . .along the journey). I NEVER thought I'd be nursing TWO children at the same stage of my life, unless I had twins, and I CERTAINLY never imagined being sad about weaning my child at this age. But, here I was, gearing up for the heartbreak of weaning and sadness of having made her feel ashamed about something that she loved so very much, that we both loved, together, so very much.

A week later we headed to CA, she was still nursing a little here and there, I'd written a couple of dear friends to tell them the story of the week past and to say I was gearing up for her possibly weaning, they assured me, loved me, said kind things and gave me good reminders about extra cuddles and creating special times. I still had a nursling. . . I still had an itty bitty baby who needed every part of me! This was a strange balance indeed. During that trip I had a little talk with my big girl one day and said "You don't need to talk with Auntie and Grannie about milkies okay?" "Okay." And an hour later, at dinner, she announces to my mom, "Mommy says we don't need to talk to Grannie about milkies". . .CAT OUT OF THE BAG. . .funny moment for all?!

Sometimes nursing two children was very frustrating, particularly because my older daughter still required nursing to sleep for a nap, and I HAD to have her napping!!! But my younger daughter was not a fan of being away from her mother for more than about 30 seconds at any given time. It seemed that whenever my eldest would be fluttering her lids, slowly letting them get heavy, that would be the time my younger would start squawking with her daddy in the livingroom and we'd have to start the whole thing over again. But those moments, those IN the moment frustratations, I stopped feeling those the second one or the other would go off to sleep, and the overall memory of being able to provide two very different, but specific needs for two different girls, is worth it. Nursing my younger was more difficult because she rarely let me put her down for a nap until she was about 11 months old. It was difficult to get in a lot of extra cuddles with my older daughter during the stage when my little one was too big to share a lap but still wouldn't sleep alone for a nap! We've made it through.

It would be another 8 months from that party incident, before I'd have to finally encourage weaning. We began pushing for the "4 year mark." Two days after this little girl turned 4, she got a horrible ear infection . . .again, glad I was nursing her and that I hadn't been "hard core" about the timeline. A friend asked me one day, online, whether that "4th birthday" was "hard and fast?" I had to rethink my feelings on the matter. I decided no, that this would be a year of weaning. For two months she didn't ask to nurse, and then over the next year, every 2 or 3 months she would request it once in a while. I noticed every time we visited family, she would come home after a week of visits and ask to nurse. Sometimes I said no and distracted, sometimes I allowed it. Even now, she's 5. . . she's nursed a couple of times in the past month since her birthday, it wasn't my plan or intention, but I've always tried to trust my child. We have had good, age appropriate discussions along the way about moving into new parts of our relationship, that don't include nursing. It's hard for her, it's hard for me to watch my baby grow up, but she will never outgrow the need for ME, because of the relationship we have established.

On the other side, it has been funny to watch my younger daughter "offer" her milkies to her big sister on occasion. They share a sweet sister relationship that I believe was set off to a good balance because the thing that was MOST important in my older daughter's life, was not "taken" from her as she journeyed into big sisterhood, she was not "replaced" by this little person. They have their sister quarrels, but there is love and honesty and respect growing between them. This was not the journey I ever expected to take, but it is the one that has fit us and served us well. I lamented to myself along the way about how my younger daughter and I, have never had an exclusive nursing relationship with one another, but I just realize that every child has a unique story, and this is hers.
 
 
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Part of the Scenery

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about your first experience nursing in public. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!
 
 
Wow, I can't even remember the first time I nursed in public. I loved being able to wear Alani from about 3 weeks on, because I could easily nurse her without anyone even knowing. It was always a little tricky, but I felt stealth :) I lived in Fiji when she was born, and mothers there complemented me on my ability to nurse her while holding her in my lap, sitting down on the ground, cross legged. I think they liked that an American woman would nurse her baby just the same way they did. I also think that doing it in front of others was important for them because it was like we were all equal, not a mindset that they have frequently. Sometimes I would head out to the porch to nurse her while others were gathered inside, just because I was new at it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I felt uncomfortable about nursing my first daughter in public after about the age of 1, except in certain circumstances, but became MORE comfortable about it again when she was between the ages of 18 months and 2 years, due to the support of those around me. And now, with my second daughter, I don't even bat an eye at the thought of nursing her in public at 23 months old.

I don't remember the first time I saw someone nurse a baby in front of me. I'm SURE I saw my mom nurse my sister, I was 4 when she was born. It's possible I watched my aunt nurse my cousin, I was 11 at the time. It's likely that I witnessed it with ladies at church in my teen years. It wasn't really on my radar. Or maybe it just wasn't impressionable because I never thought to feed a baby a different way and those who did nurse in front of me, didn't pause or hesitate, they just weaved it into their lives, so it didn't stand out as something uncomfortable or different. Which brings me back to why it's so important to nurse in public. . . no glitches, just weaving it in. Then it becomes, to those around, especially the small people, part of the scenery, part of the assumption that this is the way things are, this is normalcy. And they look back through their lives thinking "When WAS the first time someone nursed in front of me? Hmm, I can't remember, it seems like it's just always been!"

I know that I must have witnessed babies being nursed, or at least it being talked about, because in my mind there was no other way that I thought it would be for me, it apparently has always been part of my scenery, I just don't remember when that became the case.
Here's the new bottom code:

 
 
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What's the Online Appeal?

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding and your online communities. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!
 
 
I should probably sit this one out, but I'll make a few comments.

I was never part of any online forum, in fact, I've never understood the appeal, but I suppose in an age where we find most of our community online and not with face to face contact, it makes sense.

I will say, that recently a friend of mine was having a struggle with her daughter, her JUST 2 year old daughter. She went online to find an answer, and she found an answer alright. And then she posted about it online too. I was saddened that she had such lack of support system that she'd go online to an unknown community to seek advice, I was horrified at the action she took, and appalled that finding the information online somehow made it correct and justifiable. Most of all, I was confused why someone would go ONLINE and ask the advice, or read the advice of a perfect stranger, to help her make a parenting decision. To me, this goes against everything I understand and try to instill in mothers I've worked with, "trust thyself."

So, perhaps here I'd like to ask my own question, what is the appeal?

Living in a country, not my own, when my oldest daughter was born, I was SO thankful for the internet, in order to talk with some mamas I knew and trusted, to use them as sounding boards while I walked the road of the unknown, but I would not and could not have trusted those questions, concerns, fears and even the good stuff, to a forum of mothers I'd never met, and likely never would. Again, I'm sure that when we do not have support systems in place, this is a way to seek a support system, almost anonymously, so perhaps that is why it is an appealing means of forming community. That said, I am then, extra thankful today for the women in my life who I knew I could turn to and trust along the way, and that I DID and do have a support system, when it comes to breastfeeding, but also just in my mothering.
 
 
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The Birth of Me: Halfway Around the World

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This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about how birth experiences influence breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!
 
 
I've decided not to rewrite, this is the post I put up last year, it continues to be the birth of me:

The birth of a first child is in essence, the birth of a mother. We have hopes and dreams for our babies, we think we know exactly what kind of mothers we will be and what kind of birth we will have. . . . but until you have experienced birth, until you have been BORN as a mother, it is almost impossible to envision the birth experience you really desire. Second babies have it easy :)

Bare with me as I share some of the details of the birth of my first daughter. They are so important to me and to the prompt because as I mentioned in my previous post, my first daughter was not born in the US. My experience, therefore, with regards to labor, birth and breastfeeding are vastly different from the stories of sterile hospital births I hear about in the US.

Before I was ever pregnant with her, I had intention to birth in a birth center 40 minutes away from my home. I wanted a water birth. However, just weeks prior to becoming pregnant, my husband and I made a decision to move out of the country and gave ourselves a "pregnancy deadline" which would eventually determine her country of birth. Things didn't go as planned, and in the end, we landed in this new country only FIVE WEEKS before our little girl was "due." (we should have been there five MONTHS before).

By the time we arrived we'd seen 7 female doctors/midwifes for prenatal care due to our moving around while waiting on visas. Five weeks gave us very little time to interview doctors and research birth options once we finally arrived. In fact, I'd lived in this country once before and was close friends with a Doula (when I was 19 and husbandless and had NO idea what a doula was, what she did or why she might EVER be important or necessary). And from that experience I knew that an out of hospital birth (though it likely happened all the time among the local people) was not a likely option unless I knew someone who knew someone who was either in the country visiting at the time (a doula, a midwife, etc) or had a relative who happened to have a birth pool and attended births. Unfortunately, I didn't have the kind of time on my side to be able to figure all of that out. The best I had worked out was that a mutual friend put me in contact with another American woman who had given birth to 3 of her 4 children in this country and through her I was able to find someone who fit my ONLY requirement. . . a female doctor! Not a female doctor she'd had experience with, as her own ob/gyn had since retired, but a female ob/gyn nonetheless.

I am SO thankful that the individual who attended to me when I gave birth to my first daughter, was a woman! It's not common, even in the US, let alone a developing country to have a female ob/gyn attending a birth, but I was fortunate that this one request was filled. My beautiful Dr. Litiana Browne, was a confident 60-something year old Fijian woman.

My husband and I had agreed (ahead of time)to some medications during my labor, as well as requesting an induction so that my family, who had traveled 3000 miles to be there for the birth of this first grandchild/niece, would not have to leave without having met our little girl. Had I known what I now know, I would have made different choices. . . but when you know better, you do better and it was, in essence, the birth we chose and planned with the knowledge and information we had (or chose to have). Fortunately, none of this seemed to have had adverse affect on the outcome of her birth or our first nursing experience. My birth as a mother was NOTHING like the stories I hear of here in the States. . . .I was induced by a doctor who did not endorse epidurals and actually said to me "How can you be in control of your labor if everyone is standing over you looking down at you?," (to be clear, I was NEVER interested in one) a woman who (in her 60s) had very few times found need to perform a cesarean. She slept at the hospital all night, waiting on me to have my baby (I was the only woman giving birth in that hospital that night). When I said I needed to push, the nurse did not ask me to wait, she asked to check how far dialated I was, and allowed me to begin pushing (never telling me my "number"). . .while squatting. . . before the Doctor ever arrived. When the Doctor arrived she checked my progress (while I was squatting) then stood in another part of the room speaking in their native language and laughing quietly (not about me. . . just talking, because birth was NORMAL) while my husband sat in a chair behind me, being my rock, and I stood and squatted, and pushed and felt my baby's head crown before anyone else knew her head was coming. A few details are hazy, after I climbed onto the bed and pushed her out with 2 final pushes. . .a head and her body. . .while on "all fours" and I shouted "Do we have a baby?" Despite what I am about to say with regards to how it is taken for granted that a mother WILL breastfeed, unfortunately, Western birth practices have weaseled their way into all sorts of cultures. My baby's cord was cut, before I even had a chance to turn over and see her, she was whisked just a few feet away onto a warming table, she was wiped up and checked over and it was an hour before I think I actually held her. . . though, it didn't feel that long and I don't remember it being that long, my photos are time stamped so I KNOW it was that long. Part of this was due to my needing stitching. But. . . this was the first time I'd ever had a baby, and I didn't know anything about delayed clamping, I didn't take the "immediate skin to skin" stuff I'd read, to heart, and truthfully, I didn't know if I should be responsible for holding a newborn baby while being stitched up.



I had some tearing, but this culture is not interested in numbers, and so my doctor stitched me without telling me "the degree" of tearing and within the first hour I was able to try to nurse my baby for the first time. After my family came to see her and oogle over her and then left (because they had actually been awake the ENTIRE time I had been awake 8am to 6am at this point) I was able to nurse her again. A nurse-midwife (all the nurses were nurse-midwifes) came to check on us, I said "Am I doing this right?" She said "you have a bit of a flat nipple" perked it up for me (a little odd, but seriously, all pretense is gone after giving birth) and that was that. . . my baby latched and nursed happily. . . for the next few years!!!
In part I believe this is because there is a big push in this particular country to return to breastfeeding. Like many foreign countries, when the US says something is good, others follow. . . . many years later. . . .Formula became the norm for many years, however, in the 10 years prior to the birth of my daughter, education (for nurses) on the importance and superiority of breastfeeding over formula and a push to encourage mothers to breastfeed, had become normal practice (again) in the hospitals. There was no question as to whether I would breastfeed my baby. No one offered me a bottle, or was concerned about whether she was eating.
They waited 4 hours to weigh her for the first time. I didn't have to request she not be given a pacifier or formula. I didn't have to request to room in with her. . . in fact, my husband held our daughter while I was being tended to and when I fell asleep after holding and nursing her for a bit, he held her for two more hours, my husband held my baby because a bassinet just "couldn't be located" (there were TWO birthing rooms in this hospital, across the hall from one another. . . the "overnight" rooms were not just for moms, they were for people recovering from surgery and illness too. . .AND. . . I was the only person giving birth in the hospital that night. . . there was ONE other baby in the nursery. . .where could all the bassinets have run off to?). So, until my husband was falling asleep, sitting up in a chair, with our newborn infant in his arms, no one helped him, not even a little. 3 hours after her birth, they brought a bassinet and took her to the nursery (one room away) and 15 minutes later I woke up (I guess even after being awake 24 hours straight and giving birth, when a new baby is taken from the presence of a new mom who is dead asleep. . .she knows it!). We immediately went to the nursery, I needed to gawk at that baby some more, and then they bathed and weighed her and she never left my presence again until we checked out (except for 10 minutes for vaccinations). When I hear about hospital experiences here in the US, I am actually appalled. The sterility, the push for formula, the worry over glucose levels, the shots, the eye goop. . . . (and that's just AFTER baby comes. . . I am even MORE appalled at all the "red tape" moms go through while in labor, all the encouragements to USE MORE INTERVENTIONS).

My second daughter was born in the US, in a water birth, in a birth center, without complication. She latched and nursed within the first half hour as we lay in bed together, we never left one another. Her story is simple. My first daughter took 15 hours to make her way, technically, my second daughter took 5 days :)So. . . in a culture that assumes every woman can and will breastfeed. . . there was no question, there was no option. . .there was just me. . . a newly born mother. . . and her. . . a newly born baby. . . and we were breastfeeding. . .and we were at the beginning of a beautiful journey that I never could have imagined. And I was born. . .
 
 
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

In the Public Eye

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This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about nursing in public. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!
 
 
I was not so bold with my first daughter. Seriously, at 15 months old, I thought people would think I was crazy for still nursing her, I was the person who would try to let her nurse quickly while using a bathroom stall at an event. I actually, probably got MORE bold when she was 18 months old, about nursing in public, than the six months after her first birthday, and this was completely because of the supporty system that began to develop around me. Support is key. . . seeing OTHER mothers around us, nursing their babies without a hiccup or a second thought, is NECESSARY. . .sometimes to show little people who are watching and will grow up to be parents someday, sometimes just to show peers and give peers the confidence to nurse and be reminded it's NORMAL.

Now, I have a second daughter, nearing the 2 year mark, and I feel like she is still such a baby. I can't believe that 15 months felt "big" with my first daughter. I had not yet embraced that I would be an "extended nurser" nor did I live my life with the understanding that TWO is really a minimum recommendation for breastfeeding. After 2 years of nursing my first daughter, I began to find my stride and began to embrace my parenting, my views on sleeping arrangements and nursing as well.

Do I think nursing in public is necessary? YES! People are watching and learning and understanding, no matter what age they are. For my friends who still haven't found their footing, I want them to find confidence in being with other nursing moms. For my daughters, and for the children of others, I want them to SEE breastfeeding, hear it spoken of, to understand the risks associated with not breastfeeding, so that breastfeeding, as an art, is not lost, because it is being seen and it is being woven into our every day lives!

When a child has either 1) not been breastfed, 2) not been encouraged to explore the idea of breastfeeding even in a family where children are breastfed or 3) not experienced/seen younger siblings or other people close to them, nursing, I want to be sure that they see other mothers around them nursing their children, and how natural and normally it fits into the flow of life. That there isn't "stuttering" around it, it's just something that happens while everything else is happening around us too.
 
 
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Friday, July 15, 2011

Maybe means?

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This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about language and breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!






There are so many directions to go with this, and I'd love to just site Dianne Wiessinger's Watch Your Language, but won't follow down that path.

Language can influence so many things in life. I appreciate what a friend once said to another friend, when he'd offended him and then hadn't seen him for a while. When they discussed what the problem had been, the one man said that the words of the other had bothered him, and the first man replied with "Well, I can't know everyone's dictionary dude!"

Sometimes you just have to give it your best effort, to say what needs to be said in an appropriate manner, and realize that part of the responsibility lies with the hearer. If you are on the one side of breastfeeding information, the support side, there is a tendency to over-analyze how every single word will be interpreted and read into. As soon as you have analyzed all the angles and all the ways that what is being said can be internalized as, here comes a third party to hear it all in a completely OTHER way.

Sometimes I'm just a mom, and I realize that people just SAY STUFF, without thinking, that they're just doing their best to support and give information and talking from what they know. Sometimes, the "lay" mom, is just hearing "lay mom" jargon. She's not internalizing and analyzing the way EVERY word was put together, when it comes to ANYTHING, even breastfeeding. She's looking for support and information. Maybe she's looking for wording that will make her feel justified in making a decision that she thinks others will look down on. Maybe she's looking for wording or information to support a decision she wants to follow through on but doesn't feel she has the support for elsewhere. Maybe she's just looking to hear others talk about breastfeeding being normal, so she can feel in good company. Maybe she's listening for all the horror stories of other nursing moms, because she feels alone. Or maybe, or it could be, perhaps she's. . .You could say ONE sentence and fifteen different people would hear it differently.

We do our best, to share the information and understanding we have, with the words that seem right for the situation. The hearer also must take responsibility for what she hears, and why she hears what she hears. My husband, he never tells me "maybe." Why? Because to me, "maybe" means "yes." To my five year old "maybe" sounds like "no" (because it means, not right now), and to my husband, "maybe" just sounds like "maybe." We hear what we want to hear, we take what we WANT to take, so when we are the speaker, we just do our best to say what needs to be said.






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Nursing Photos

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This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is Wordless Wednesday: Breastfeeding Photos! Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!





5 days1 month and that's all I have until she's nearly 2 MILK FACE
23 months3rd birthdayThe day her sister would be born, nursed a nap, I went into hard labor. . . woke up, we headed to the birth suite. . .3 years, 2 months 18 days 4 days. . . after 20 hours of not being able to nurse my baby due to a medical prodecure11 monthsalmost 17 months





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Green Milk

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This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about the environment and breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!


I grew up during a recycle, reduce, reuse campaign. . . it's always been there. I've always been aware of it. I haven't always understood why it's important. I would say that I was already a mother before I really understood how petroleum use is part of the problem when it comes to the creation of NEW materials, and why it is important to reuse what you can. I mean, sure, we reused plastic tubs and got money for aluminum cans, but I didn't understand the WHY for a very long time.

I can honestly say, environment was NOT one of the factors for me when breastfeeding my baby. I understand now, how much I have saved in money, in time, in effort and even in the use of resources, by breastfeeding my babies. I understand now that resources, like petroleum, are used to create cans of formula, and I've not contributed a dime to that production. I am not responsible for the crude oil made into gas that is used by trucks to transport this product to store. Or in need of a plastic bag at the grocery store to transport said item from the store to my home (again, or with the gas to get to and from the store). Nor have I tossed a single empty can into landfills. And maybe this is just a springboard for the other decisions about food I help make for my family. I've never fed either of my children from a rice cereal box, or purchased a jar of baby food. Because most of my children's nutritional needs were met at the breast for at least the first year, and the other foods they ate were generally whole foods I made into puree or froze as baby food, and because this again, has been a springboard of a focus on whole foods in our family, I believe it's likely we create less waste, less packaged foods.

I'm glad that I've made a decision to breastfeed, because it DOES impact the environment in a positive way, and it is a chain reaction, the decision to breastfeed has impacted the way our family eats and makes decisions about food, therefore reducing our waste and our use of resources for the production of certain types of food (including transportation). We continue to grow and change as a family, and one area that is a constant focus is making our diets "cleaner." What cleaner, greener, was is there to start your life out, than to be a breastfed baby?

 
 
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Quiet Influence

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This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about how the mothers before you influenced your choice to breastfeed. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st! 
 I don't think in my whole life I ever wondered if I would nurse my children. I wasn't SUPER exposed to breastfeeding, not that way I assume my own children will view their experience when they become adults (or maybe even as older children and teens), but it was sort of just a given. I was 4 when my sister came along. I don't remember a lot about whether there were bottles or nursing going on. I don't remember any pumping when my mom went back to work, nor do I remember cans of formula sitting around. I know from conversations with my mom, that she nursed me about 6 months and that she nursed my sister exclusively for about 3 months before going back to work, and then in the evenings for some time after that.

When I think of my first discussion about breastfeeding with my mom, I think about my cousin being born when I was 11. My aunt had gone back to aerobics and was working out a lot and my mom talked with me after a phone conversation about how my aunt reported her milk being "sour" since she'd been working out so much. I do NOT know if she stopped working out or stopped nursing :)

After I was married, but before I had children, I remember a friend of mine had her second little girl, and my mom shared with me one day about how this friend had a breast infection. I remember saying that I'd never be so committed to breastfeeding that I'd be willing to go through infections for it! A few years later, this same friend had a third child and one day she and I, along with a third woman, were in a discussion about bed sharing. She explained that often times their middle child still slept with them, I was completely horrified. How could someone get pregnant AGAIN while a toddler was sharing their bed?! Now I know.

When I became pregnant with my first daughter, I'd read things here and there. I was committed to breastfeeding for six months ONLY. I would never nurse her to sleep, because I didn't want her to associate eating with sleeping or vice versa. I would move her into her own room at six months old, we would not share our bed with her. That lasted about 12 seconds! I'd picked up a copy of the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding just before moving out of the US, about a month before she was due. This was a fascinating read, but hard for me to get into. . . I did not see anything "beautiful" about breastfeeding, it was utilitarian. It was not a "relationship" or something a mother "enjoyed" it was just the way you were SUPPOSED to feed your child. . . that also lasted about 12 seconds.

A long time female friend of my husband's wrote one day, just before our daughter was due, to let him know that if I had any questions about breastfeeding or needed any support, I could email her. I never did, but it really stuck with me, that someone reached out to me, the way that I now attempt to reach out to new mothers who might not have a support system for breastfeeding, because it has become SO important to me.

When my first daughter was 8 months old, I visited a La Leche League meeting. I'd passed that magic "six months" I'd always anticipated nursing to, we were sharing our bed, and we were sharing a house with my parents. I think my mom was already becoming uncertain of my decision to continue to nurse until at year! I would come home shocked about children who were still nursing, and we would discuss the lunacy of it, until eventually I became a lunatic too :)

I've written to those ladies who talked with me about bed sharing and breastfeeding, to tell them that I wish I hadn't judged their parenting because I have become THAT parent. The response of "We knew, you weren't a mother yet, we just let you take your own journey" was so heart warming and forgiving. I want to remember that way of allowing people to take their own journey, especially as I watch my only (and younger) sister, moving into a life of marriage and child bearing in the next couple of years. I want to talk about how much breastfeeding means to me and my children, without being too worried about what decisions she will make. I want to give her a book here and there that has given me the tools and information I've needed along the way, while walking my own path. I want to be forgiving IF she is ever able to admit that she thought I was a crazy hippie and she'd never follow in my footsteps.

I am thankful for the women who quietly influenced me to embrace motherhood in a way I NEVER thought I would or intended to. I am thankful for the women who quietly said "I'm here if you have a question" or quietly endured my judgements and mouth agape :) I'm thankful for the mothers who have surrounded me through La Leche League over the past 4+ years as I made discoveries about myself, my child and my ideas of parenting. I am not so good at "the quiet" but I hope that I can quietly influence others to breastfeed and embrace motherhood by listening, offering information when asked, and most of all, allowing them to make their own discoveries as they venture into motherhood, a journey we can NEVER understand until we are THROWN into it.
 
 
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