Thursday, December 29, 2011

Overheard at nap time

I think that I have the foundation for the next big reality TV show.  The setting would be in toddler's playrooms, in the back seat of the car and for the highlight of the show - behind closed doors in their bedrooms while they should be napping.  Camera's would follow them around town and catch their ridiculous tantrums and demands in public.  It would be a comedy of course.

I have heard the most ridiculous, hilarious and downright annoying things come out of my toddler's mouth in the last week and a half since we have been home together on holidays.  Today was NO exception and it began as soon as he woke up.

We listened to the usual chatter, the singing of the ABC's and Old MacDonald when he woke up and waited for the cries to come get him. Soon enough he was demanding popcorn and movies and bacon and eggs at a restaurant.  We have been clearly living it up on these holidays and he's been getting spoiled and a little too accustomed to these treats. When Hubby told him no, he cried to me and said, "Mommy, Daddy made me cry." Instantly breaking his Daddy's heart.

At my midwife appointment he repeatedly told me he was hungry and wanted to eat a hang-ga-bur and fries.  Clearly, remembering the meal we had on our road trip the other day. He demanded it until I dragged him inside Tim Horton's and told him that we were getting soups instead at which he yelled out "I want hang-ga-bur and fries!" I dragged him right back to the car and told him that with that behaviour there would be no lunch.  And then the sweet little angel that I know best came back to life and asked me, "Mommy, what's the matter? I am hungry. Please can go we go back and eat lunch?" Oy.

When we got home it was clearly nap time.  He tried every excuse in the book including the need for a cup of milk, medicine, his nose wiped, to go pee. And this is what was heard for the first 20 minutes of nap time: "I DO NOT want to nap. I want to go downstairs with Mommy and make chocolate cookies. I will eat chocolate cookies because I am the boss! No fair! Mommy said NO and that is rude! RUDE! RUDE! RUDE! I will not sleep in my crib. I will cry and Mommy will come and see me. And she will bring me downstairs to watch a movie.  NO, NO, NO I am not sleeping! No fair!"

See how he thinks he has me all figured out? I won this one - hitting publish in silence.

That is until he wakes up and starts calling me "Alicia, because that is your name" again.

Seriously, turn this life into a reality show.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mom's Birth Stories: Third of Eleven

The following is my Mom's third birth story. For a little background, check out my first post about this new series, Mom's Birth Stories, her First Birth Story and Second Birth Story.


Her story is broken into 4 sections: Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery, Breastfeeding and Reflections. I have also provided some of my comments and reflections at the end.

Pregnancy
When I finished nursing my second baby at 6 months I became pregnant that same month with baby number 3. Our plan was to have a third child whenever pregnancy happened following weaning but didn’t expect it to happen right away. The irony is that when the doctor had to figure out my due date he had no period to go by since I hadn’t had one for 15 months. Instead he went by my weaning date and presto! came up with June 10, 1975 as a due date on which baby #3 was born!

Labour and Delivery
I had false labour a week before he was due and spent three days in the hospital waiting for it to start up again. Turned out I needed my doctor’s release but no one told him I was in so finally I asked when he was coming in and he came & gave his consent to let me go. That was depressing seeing all those new Moms and babies and nothing happening to me.

Friends encouraged me to have an epidural so not knowing if this might be my last baby (big joke) I decided to be easy on myself and get one. It took three attempts to put the needle in the right place in my spine and that was during intense labour when I had to curl up. Baby was born shortly after. I didn’t feel any pain, but could feel him being born. There was a moment of panic when they yelled they had seconds to get him out since he was transverse and needed to be turned. I think the doctor just turned him by hand, but I don’t know if he used forceps? Baby was a little blue due to lack of oxygen so he was taken to the neonatal floor for a few hours but they assured me all would be fine after he was given some oxygen. Again the doctor broke my membranes to help with the delivery. Again I was in the hospital for 5 days and husbands weren’t coming in the delivery room yet. Again the doctor cut an episiotomy. The nurses told me I bruised badly and was a little sore but they thought it was brutal. Baby boy's (#3) time of birth was 10:02 am. The labour length was 5 hours. His weight was 7 lbs. 12 ozs. 

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding began the same day.  I'm pretty sure this is when the nurses told me to do demand feeding. "Nurse when baby was hungry." I only nursed him for two months because there was a lot going on like feeding a gang of men who were working on the new free stall barn and housing two hired hands plus hosting two bridal showers for sister-in-laws. The stress and ridiculous work load probably was to blame for me getting my period at that time. I couldn't nurse comfortably with strangers in the home and I didn't know enough about nursing more often to stabilize my hormones so I weaned baby #3 early to better monitor my cycle so as to family plan a larger space before the next baby would be conceived.

Mom's Reflections
The best part was my good health and baby’s health. The worst part was the freezing coming out from the epidural (tingling in my legs ) which I couldn’t move to relieve. I started to cry and my husband said don’t cry now it’s all over but I really hated the feeling so I made up my mind never to have an epidural again! (Not to mention the known risk of being paralyzed for life.). It was exciting to see the reactions of big brother and sister when we brought baby 3 home. At that time we had three all under three years old. They were too young to be jealous and we emphasized that the baby was theirs too.

My Reflections
I wish they would just stop with the episiotomies already! That makes me cringe every time. And still, my Mom was all on her own in the delivery room. She did not have a great experience with her epidural and I can attribute her stories to the reason why I was so sworn off medications during birth before I even started my family.  She said she was very shaky and didn't even feel comfortable holding her baby for fear of dropping him.  It sounded horrible to me and I swore never to put myself through that either.  Spoiler alert: this was in fact her one and only epidural. She said never again and I'm happy for her that she stuck to her plan.

Breastfeeding obviously didn't go as well this time around. I couldn't even imagine the stress she went through at that time with 3 children under 3, hosting and feeding (on strict schedules) 2 hired hands and all of the other events (bridal showers and then weddings). These days women are encouraged to surround themselves with support in order to establish breastfeeding.  You really need to have a "breastfeeding babymoon".  She had the opposite. All three babies drank cow's milk immediately upon weaning. On the farm the milk is much like whole milk, but always boiled first to kill bacteria.

I have to laugh every time Mom says they were planning on having three children originally. We have 8 more stories to go! And, in case you need help in keeping tabs:

Baby #1 - Boy - October 5, 1972
Baby #2 - Girl - February 24, 1974
Baby #3 - Boy - June 10, 1975

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Hourly Photo Challenge 2011

Last year I participated in Miss Fish's photo challenge and had a blast so I had to try it again this year.  Here's a peek at our day...a photo every waking hour. Warning - they are a little E focused, but I couldn't help it!
10:00am - Let's go see what Santa left (he slept in because he is sick with a cold!)


11:00am - The boys didn't want my planned pancakes so I made Rudolph themed fried egg and toast sandwiches instead

12:00pm - Playing with his new train set!
 
1:00pm - Reading some new books.



2:00pm - Home from the park and enjoying the big snowflakes landing our noses.

3:00pm - Colouring instead of napping

4:00pm - Wrapping up the last couple salt dough ornaments that finally dried


5:00pm - Checking out Nanny's Christmas train

6:00pm - Putting in Nanny's basement

7:00pm - Yearly shot in front of Nanny's tree

8:00pm - E's bedtime snack

9:00pm - relaxing in front of the TV.
 

Friday, December 23, 2011

23 days of Christmas fun!


Here is what we have been up to for the last 23 days as part of our #25daysofChristmas list of activities:

1. Attended the Illumination Ceremony on Parliament Hill. E loved it!
2. Watched Rudolph and I was surprised that the abominable snowman didn't phase E as much as I anticipated.
3. Decorated our tree.
4. Decorated the rest of our house.
5. Sang Christmas carols. He's a pro at singing Rudolph now!
6. Made a paper chain with scraps of Christmas paper to hang on our tree.
7. Made cookies - chocolate chip!
8. Wrote a letter and mailed it to Santa. E asked for a beautiful rock.
9. Painted a Christmas wooden door hanger to hang on our front door.
10. Made snowman ornaments.
11. Watched Polar Express in our pajamas and had stove top popcorn (with melted Earth Balance and sprinkled with nutritional yeast, yum!)
12. Watch a personalized Magic Santa video (a few times).
13. Made paper snowflakes and hung them from our curtains behind the tree.
14. Made more cookies - healthy version of these no-bake chocolate cookies.
15. E painted his very own home made wrapping paper (I forgot to take a picture but he used his roll of easel craft paper and painted with brushes, cookie cutters, stamps and his hands - they turned out awesome!) We also made gingerbread trail mix and have been snacking on it ever since.
16. Made even more cookies - peppermint patties - this time dairy free and for a cookie exchange with friends.
17. Made Reindeer Thumbprint Christmas cards for our friends and family.
18. Visited my family and E had a blast with all of his cousins. How cute are these boys? 6 boys in a row born within the last 31 months!



19. Had a Christmas music dance party in the living room.
20. Make homemade banana ice cream topped with berries.
21. Made a gingerbread house and a batch of gingerbread cookies.
22. Sang Christmas carols and visited in-laws for dinner. We also drove around the blocks to check out all the nice Christmas lights.
23. Made salt dough ornaments for friends and family.

There are so many things I had to switch from the original list this year, but we've had so much fun regardless.  In the next couple days leading up to Christmas and the following week of holidays I hope to cross the rest off the list.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

17 weeks

It's been a while since I've written about my pregnancy so I think I'm due for an update.

The first trimester seemed to have dragged on forever, but now I'm looking back and thinking holy cow I'm almost half way there!  I can't really complain about how I'm feeling these days. I've been pretty lucky, although I've felt much more nauseous with this pregnancy than the last. I can't help but compare every little detail of my pregnancies. There are so many things that are different this time. Just to name a few...
  • Food in general just doesn't appeal to me. When I was pregnant with E I wanted to eat everything in sight (other than a bit of an aversion to red meat in the beginning), but this time around nothing sounds good and I don't ever feel like eating anything in particular. I am really struggling with making nice meals because I know when I sit down to eat and get a couple bites into my meal I will be done with it.  This is happening more often than not and it is really unlike me.
  • Gagging. Oh, the gagging. I never had this with E and wow, is it ever an inconvenience! I can hardly brush my teeth without gagging at least three times.  This always makes me feel horrible in the morning.  Smells and even thoughts can set me off too.
  • Baby kicks and growing belly.  I have felt the fluttering sensations for a few weeks now, but last week I started feeling full on kicks from baby. With E I didn't feel anything until 21 weeks so it has come much quicker this time (and I knew what I was looking for). My belly has officially popped, again much quicker than last time.  Oh, how I loved pulling out my stretchy maternity pants!
  • Baby's heart rate has been consistently around the 160's bpm.  E's was always around 120-150 bpm. Maybe it's a girl?
  • I am still much more exhausted and recently I'm having a hard time going to sleep. I don't remember having any sleep issues with E. Headaches are constant lately because of my lack of sleep.
Last week I got a call from my midwife's office that my urine sample showed that I had an unhealthy amount of bacteria in my bladder and the beginnings of a urinary tract infection. I am lucky to have not even known because I didn't have any symtoms, but really glad they caught it. I just finished seven days of antibiotics and hope it worked! I have never had an UTI before, but I know they are common in early pregnancy.

I have to admit, although I am not feeling as great this time around, having a toddler to share this experience with trumps it all. Seriously, how can you not laugh and enjoy these moments while your little boy is walking around with his shirt up telling you he has a baby in his belly or telling you to be careful around his belly so you don't hurt his baby? It has been so much fun with him so far.

In the next couple weeks I will be having another midwife appointment and my 19 week ultrasound (where we will NOT be finding out the sex). I plan to discuss my option of home birth with my midwife further at this time because it is something I am now seriously considering (and have discussed with Hubby) and have many questions about. I'm also looking forward to bringing E and have him listen to the heartbeat in the relaxed atmosphere (have I mentioned how much I love having a midwife this time?).

Also, on the agenda in the coming weeks is some belly shots. I haven't taken one yet! With my first pregnancy I had Hubby take a picture of me every 2-4 weeks and I even made a scrapbook. I'm really slacking this time! Hopefully we can get a nice family shot on Christmas day and build on that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mom's Birth Stories: Second of Eleven

The following is my Mom's second birth story. For a little background, check out my first post about this new series, Mom's Birth Stories and her First Birth Story.



Her story is broken into 4 sections: Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery, Breastfeeding and Reflections. I have also provided some of my comments and reflections at the end.

Pregnancy
When I asked my Doctor what he recommended for a good space between children he said 1 to 3 years.  When my first baby was six months I weaned him on my Family Doctor’s recommendation (standard then) and became pregnant the following month. (My sisters and brothers are all 1 or 2 years apart and my husband’s too so this seemed right). We wanted our children to be close too.

With this pregnancy I started off 10 pounds lighter and didn’t drink as much milk (Doctor said the amounts suggested were too generous) although I had heartburn a lot and discovered later it was probably the tea I drank. I remember he said to eat soda crackers before I got up in the morning and this helped a lot.

I remember feeling like I was pregnant and taking in a urine sample one week and it came back negative. I was pretty sure I was pregnant so the next week I brought in another sample and it was positive so perhaps it was too early to detect it the first week.

Labour and Delivery
My Doctor’s due date for me was February 14 but my second baby arrived on February 24, 1974. My labour length was 17 hours, but it wasn’t all hard labour. I went in on a Saturday afternoon and baby girl was born at 7 am on Sunday. The nurses gave me two Demerol shots spread apart by hours which I think made me drowsy. When I was delivering her I could barely keep my eyes open and when they turned the mirror for me to see I strained to see a full head of dark hair and then closed my eyes again. I heard them say she was a girl which I was happy to hear and I knew that she was born on Sunday which was my favourite day. I was in the hospital for 5 days again as was the practice. I had told my Dad before my second baby was born that I was hoping for a girl and for her to be born on a Sunday. After my Dad remembered what I’d said he commented that I must be doing something right to have both of my wishes come true. We laughed and felt very blessed. Baby #2 (a girl) weighed 7 lbs. 3ozs.

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding began the same day and all went well. I knew more and and so it was easier to have her latch on, etc. I remember when they brought my baby into the room for nursing, another mother had said that there was black haired baby in the nursery that looked native and then she saw it was mine. (Her features were very different than her older brother who was blond as a baby).

Baby #2 was breastfed for 6 months as which time the Doctor recommended weaning.

The weaning went much better (for both of us) because I did it gradually. It was easier and more natural.

Mom's Reflections
The best part of this pregnancy was having very little pain during the delivery. The worst part of this pregnancy was being too drowsy to watch her be born. My doctor gave me a small episiotomy again which healed quickly. This birth experience made me realize that I needed to be proactive in deciding what I was given during labour.

My Reflections
Many of the hospital practices were the same then as Baby #2 was only born 1 year and 3 months after Baby #1.  It still all seems very scary to me that my Mom did not seem to have much control over any decisions made during her labour. After going through these stories and hearing many more over the years, it's no wonder I feel so passionate about woman making their own choices and being informed these days!

I asked my Mom about being 10 days over due and if she was pressured to being to induced.  She said the doctor never suggested induction since they always said 2 weeks either way of the due date was normal.  Rather than growing from this, today's women and doctors jump into inductions way too early these days. This is something that has definitely gotten worse.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Craft: Snowman Ornament

E and I made these craft's the other night as part of our #25daysofchristmas activities.  I actually had all the supplies in our craft box that I had picked up over the last year or so for other crafts.  Here is what we used:

styrofoam balls
ribbon
buttons
popsicle sticks
paint
glue gun
markers
fluffy pipe cleaners

I took care of the hot glue gun parts and E was happy to decorate the rest. He is pretty proud to see them hanging on our Christmas tree.



This family craft was made for the Kids Create! Kids in the Capital December Craft Carnival. It's really easy to join in the carnival and there's still time!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mom's Birth Stories: First of Eleven

The following is my Mom's first birth story, set in 1972 (she was almost 23 years old at the time).  For a little background, check out my first post about this new series, Mom's Birth Stories.



Her story is broken into 4 sections: Pregnancy, Labour and Delivery, Breastfeeding and Reflections. I have also provided some of my comments and reflections at the end.

Pregnancy
Our plan was to have our first child when I had completed two years of teaching elementary school and have my permanent certificate in hand for possible future use. Little did we know then that (my Husband) would start a new job and so we weren’t very prepared financially to begin a family, but begin we did.

We were both so happy to find out that the following month I became pregnant. My Husband wanted me to have a small girl so as to have an easy first birth, but I was hoping for a boy to carry on the family name. During the first couple of months I felt nauseated in the mornings but never to the point of vomiting. 

A scary time was at 6 months pregnant while wall papering my living room. I had been climbing on and off a chair. I started to bleed (spotting) so I contacted my Doctor and he ordered bed rest for three days. My mother-in law came over and told me of her miscarriages (to prepare me for the worst I guess), but it made me worry more. All was well and I learned a valuable lesson on what I should and should not do.

Labour and Delivery
My due date was September 29th, 1972 according to the wheel. I learned later to monitor my cycle and discovered that I ovulated a week later most months so he was right on time as far as I’m concerned. Baby Boy #1 arrived on October 5th at 11:15pm weighing 7 lbs 10 1/2 oz. My labour length was 8 hours. 

He was the only one born in a Catholic Hospital because they moved the maternity ward to the General Hospital by the time I had my second 16 months later. The nurses were great at the Catholic Hospital and seemed to have more time to be with me. Back then, the Father was not allowed in the delivery room. The practice then was to shave the pubic area and give an enema while in labour to prepare for delivery. One nurse held my hand and coached me through the birth like a mother (my Mom had died the year before). I was surprised to see my legs shaking uncontrollably when the doctor asked me to put them up on the stirrups (nerves I guess). The nurse put warmed up flannel sheets next to me (maybe she thought I was shivering?). The delivery was painful and the nurse told me she was going to give me something to relax me. I didn’t know any better at the time and I wasn’t prepared to discuss their reasoning so in my thigh went a needle and some Demerol . I understand it’s banned now? My doctor was accustomed to giving episiodomies so I had a small one (few stitches). It wasn’t too uncomfortable (I think he gave me a local anesthetic).

Hospital stay was 5 days which was standard at that time. I had to have a bowel movement before I was allowed to go home and of course waterwroks had to be working well too.

Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding was introduced on the next day and it went well. Scheduled feedings every 4 hours were recommended and actually worked for this easy baby. While baby was in the nursery and while I was sleeping, he was given sugar water.

Advice given in the hospital: Some babies sleep a lot so keep trying and don’t let baby nurse too long or you’ll get cracked nipples. Do not wash your nipples after each feeding, but allow them to air dry and let your breast milk keep them moist.

Baby #1 was breastfed for 6 months as which time the Doctor recommended weaning.

I didn't know how to do it gradually and he didn't tell me so I quit cold turkey and that was a little sore, but no real problems. I sure was a "green horn" and too shy to ask for more information then.

Mom's Reflections
The best part of this pregnancy was delivering a healthy baby after only gaining 16 pounds and feeling well most of the time with a quick recovery after the birth. The worst part was not being able to share the labour and delivery with my Husband, the pain during the intense labour and delivery and not having my baby in the room with me. I had to go to the nursery and see him through the glass. They only brought him to me for scheduled feedings. 

I didn’t really have a birth plan accept that I would listen to the doctor and not take anything that would jeopardize my child’s health. In later pregnancies I would be more confident to make decisions on my own. This birth experience made me a happier, extremely grateful and humbler person because I had a lot to learn, a huge important responsibility and a lot to look forward too.

My Reflections
Wow, how times have changed AND stayed the same in 39 years! I really enjoyed going through this first story with my Mom and learning everything she has gone through. 

Pregnancy
  • I had to laugh at how kind hearted my Dad was in hoping Mom would have a small girl for her first birth. 
Labour and Delivery
  • I couldn't even imagine not having my Husband or anyone I trusted by my side during labour. I am grateful for the nurse my Mom had that day.
  • I couldn't even imagine going through pregnancy, birth and new motherhood without a Mom to support and assist me with all my questions.
  • Thank god the shaving, enema and episiotomies aren't standard or normal practices in most Hospital's anymore.
Breastfeeding
  • I can't believe they used to send babies off to a nursery away from their Mothers. Mom said it was very stressful not knowing if your baby was okay. It almost felt unreal that she was a Mother because she didn't have a baby to hold. Now,  immediate skin to skin and introducing breastfeeding within the first hour is highly recommended.
  • Sugar water was given between feedings - yikes!
  • We know so much now about on-demand breastfeeding. I can't believe that this 4 hour schedule actually worked for my Mom. She said she was lucky to have a happy baby that stuck to the schedule once she went home. I was lucky to have 2 hours between feedings with E!
  • The breastfeeding advice she received in the hospital is still somewhat relevant today.
  • The Doctor recommended she wean her first son at 6 months old. Now, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until 6 months (at which time solids are introduced) and continued until 2 years old.
  • I had to look up "green horn" which actually means inexperienced and immature. I feel terrible for her that she stopped breastfeeding so quickly (ouch!) and grateful that she didn't have any serious issues or mastitis because of this.
Looking forward to hearing more about how she grew to make more decisions on her own and how she learned from her previous experiences!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Growing Up

{I'm joining Capital Mom today by blogging about a moment from my life based on a theme she has provided. This week’s Monday Moment theme is Growing.}

This past week I experienced two embarrassing temper tantrums in public.

I could blame it on the overcrowded stores during this holiday season, the extra long line-ups at the cash, the jam-packed parking lots, already pressed nerves, tempting toys sitting on the shelves or just poorly timed shopping trips and outings.

The truth is he's just naturally at that stage in life where he is pushing our buttons, testing our limits and looking for more control and independence. He's growing up and we need to learn how to grow with him.

{If you are a Mother of a toddler you should watch this new video titled, "Toddlers: The Hours Are Long, The Years Are Short" by PhD in Paretning. It's exactly what I needed this week.}

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More on Breastfeeding: Let's talk about Booby Traps

I have to admit, I didn't know much about the term "booby traps" when I was pregnant and breastfeeding. I was however, aware of some of the situations and pressures I may find myself in.  For someone as stubborn as me who was completely determined to breastfeed and did not want to consider any other alternative, I was fooled more than once.  

I set myself up to have a successful breastfeeding relationship with E.  I educated myself by reading a lot of the right books. I attended a pre-natal breastfeeding course. I met with lactation consultants at breastfeeding clinics in the first few weeks. I made sure to include Hubby in the process as it is important to have someone close that supports you in your decisions. I took myself to infant playgroups and surrounded myself with other breastfeeding mothers.

I was lucky to have been breastfed and watch my Mother breastfeed my younger brothers and sisters and so breastfeeding has always been naturally normal to me.  Some women don't grow up in this environment and may have never seen a women breastfeed until they attempt it themselves.  This is a huge problem in our culture.

It makes me so sad that women may not be as supported by their family, friends, doctors, etc which may have a negative affect on their breastfeeding relationship. I felt very isolated in the early days with E because I did not have any close friends who were Mothers and my in-laws who live close by are not familiar with breastfeeding. I was lucky to have a Husband to support me, a Mother to call and the perseverance to work though any issues I had.

Breastfeeding is natural, yes. But it is not all roses and unicorns.  Many women face small struggles in the beginning and as difficult as it can be, unfortunately there are many outside sources or "booby traps" that can damage your relationship even more. 

Here are some of the institutional and cultural "booby traps" I encountered while breastfeeding E:
  • When pregnant I attended a baby trade show and signed up for some contests. Instead I "won" free formula samples and coupons in the mail. Little did I know that these formula companies were given my contact details.
  • When shopping at a maternity store and signing up for their "rewards club and newsletter", instead I received more coupons in the mail from formula companies. (I even had a friend who received a complete Nestle "gift" in the mail complete with formula, bottles and a cooler bag. I thought I missed out at the time, until I read more into formula companies marketing tactics).
  • When E was born I had a lack of skin to skin time, therefore missing out on the most important time - the magical hour.
  • In the hospital I had very delayed assistance to initiate breastfeeding with an inattentive nurse and no lactation consultant on staff. This resulted in a lethargic baby, a weak latch and a sleepy nurser.
  • Formula samples were sent home from the pediatrician to "supplement" when slow weight gain was a concern in E's first few weeks rather than a referral to a lactation consultant. (It's a good thing I made my own decision and went to a breastfeeding clinic).
  • After orders from the pediatrician to give supplementing a try, I supplemented my son once after a feeding, which turned out to upset his stomach even more. (After my own research and trouble shooting I discovered his "failure to thrive" was due to a dairy protein allergy).
  • Being the first of my friends to breastfeed they did not understand the importance of breastfeeding in public and extended breastfeeding, therefore making it uncomfortable for me.
  • My family-in-law did not breastfeed and therefore questioned feeding schedules and parenting. "He's hungry again?". "Why fuss with pumping when I can just give him formula?" "You still haven't weaned him?"
  • When I started to wean E from his daytime feeds while I prepared to go back to work after 12 months, the allergist and nutritionist I met with did not approve of me giving him rice or almond milk as a daytime substitute. I was given dairy allergy sensitive formula and tried it for 2 weeks until I decided it wasn't working and that I had been duped into a silly booby trap.  I continued to nurse E in the mornings and evenings and followed my gut and he drank water or rice or almond milk while at daycare.
  • At 16 months, I weaned E after feeling cultural pressure.
As you can see, even someone as determined as myself can get trapped.  You can only imagine how much longer the list above could be for a mother who doesn't necessary prepare herself. If you aren't aware of how these situations can directly affect your breastfeeding relationship you will get trapped into weaning too early or cutting your relationship too short. While I believe it is usually society that fails us, not the mother that fails at breastfeeding, I do tell my friends that they need to prepare themselves to succeed.  Saying, "I'm going to give breastfeeding a try", does not hold up in our culture often.  I was lucky to have had a natural birth therefore didn't have to worry about any medical interventions causing problems to early nursing. I have spoken to many friends who weren't so lucky.  Sometimes these situations can't be prevented and in that case I believe that dwelling on the past does not do us any good.  Looking to to the future and informing others, does.

Here are some more breastfeeding and related posts I have written:

My Top 10 Breastfeeding Tips for New Mothers
Reaching out to a new mother
Breastfeeding Support

And here are some absolute MUST reads about breastfeeding that can also help explain how some of the "booby traps" above could have and did directly affect mine and many women's breastfeeding relationships:

The Truth Behind Common Breastfeeding Myths by Nurtured Child
Just 3 Things Every Expecting Mom Should Do by Best for Babes
What are the Booby Traps? by Best for Babes
Why do moms quit breastfeeding? by PhD in Parenting
We live in a bottle feeding culture by Your Birth Coach

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Breastfeeding Support

Source

If there's one thing I struggle with in my passions, it's my desire to educate and inform others around me and knowing my limitations. I am constantly battling and second guessing myself on whether I should step in and say something when I specific topic I am passionate about comes up or if I should just sit back and let the person figure it out on their own.  It's not that I am an expert in any certain field, but there are things that I am experienced in and knowledgeable about and can only wish others feel the same way or know the same things.  It's like anyone with any type of passion feels, I'm sure.

In saying that, I strongly believe that Mothers need to support each other more. Support can come in many ways.  I may not understand or have any experience in one Mother's struggles or decisions, but I will support her in any way I can. If a Mother asks me a question I will answer it honestly.  My struggle is finding the balance between supporting and educating. I don't want my opinions or knowledge to come off as "preachy", but at the same time there are things I strongly believe every Mother should be aware of and given the chance to know more about.  If a Mother never asks, how do I bring the topic up?  What if they are faced with a situation that I could have warned them about? What if I could help them have a successful breastfeeding relationship if I just spoke up?

My close friends and family know that I am a huge advocate for breastfeeding. It is one of my passions and something I am drawn to and love to support other Mothers with.  If I could, I would go around shouting facts and helpful tips on breastfeeding to new mothers from the mountains tops. I would run through the streets handing out every helpful book, pamphlet, or article on the topic. I would herd Mothers into breastfeeding clinics, La Leche Meetings and Lactation Consultants offices.  Instead I try to help when asked, try to educate when given an opportunity, and blog (thank you blog!) my thoughts, hoping that this information crosses the right people at the right time.

I plan to write more about breastfeeding in my space here on the web.  I am not currently nursing (E weaned just over a year ago), but I will be nursing again when baby #2 is due to arrive in May 2012. I am currently in my element as I support a friend who is nursing her 2 week old and just getting into the groove of things. Ah, I remember those days! I look forward to her text messages and emails everyday.  I'm not sure if there is more of trained or professional future for me in breastfeeding support and awareness, but it is something that I have had in the back of my mind for some time now.  All I know for now is that when I get an email or text message back from friends saying that a small adjustment or tip I suggested made an immediate positive difference in their breastfeeding experience then I go to sleep much happier those nights.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Remember when...

He remembers a lot.  I don't know why it surprises me day after day. He is getting much wiser with age and he has experienced so many new exciting things in his 2.5 years that are worth remembering. In just this past week he has said: 

Mommy, remember when...

We went to the Zeum (Museum) and we saw the dinosaurs?
You go to Couver (Vancouver) and I missed you and I went in Daddy's silver truck and looked all over for you? And I called you and said Mommy, where are you?
Daddy go to Morf Carolina (North Carolina) and I missed him and I was sad and I cried?
I go to Wolfe Island and see Grandpa driving the tractor and the wagon and I play with my cousins?
I go to the restaurant and I see my friends there?
I go to Miller's farm and get a pumpkin and Daddy get a big pumpkin too?
I see the fireworks at the Castles (Parliament buildings) and all the lights?
We put the decorations and the lights on the Christmas tree and when Daddy see it he was so happy?

Yes, I do, I say. I remember all of those things!

I say, E remember when...

Daddy and Mommy didn't have you yet?
You were but only a dream I had and only tiny flutters in my belly?
You were something I couldn't even imagine, a love I couldn't even fathom?

I can't.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

New pictures of my little man

Last month I met up with Claire from Claire Ross Photography to get some updated shots of E. The last proffesional shots I have of him was when he just turned 2 and at 2.5 now he has grown up so much that I wanted to share some new pictures with my family and friends for Christmas.

I feel very fortunate to have met Claire through a mutual friend.  She took our family photos last year and I truly treasure them and have them plastered around my house.  Since then, I can't help but recommend Claire to my all my friends and I have really loved following her blog and Facebook page where I get to enjoy her talent with all of them in their very own pictures.  Claire is one of the most kind hearted women I have ever met and the first thing I noticed with her was how comfortable and relaxed I felt at our shoots. I felt as if we were already friends as we laughed throughout. And being a Mother herself she could easily entertain and find what made E tick.

This time Claire brought along her two adorable children for our shoot and I was really happy that E could play along with them.  It took him a while to warm-up to the camera while he clinged to me, but not long after he was climbing on the logs and rolling down the hills with the others.

Here are only a few of my favourite shots from the day. To check out more, head over and "Like" Claire Ross Photography's Facebook page!


Shy boy


Blue eyes

Loving the slide

Friday, December 2, 2011

A "real" woman giving birth normally

National Geographic is currently holding their 2011 photo contest and there has been a few birth photographs submitted.  These photos aren't new to me - I've seen them before. I love birth photos and are drawn to them. I believe birth is a beautiful thing and when I saw this picture titled, "I Love You Baby!", on Pinterest months ago I immediately pinned it to my board and checked out the rest of the photographers website.

I Love You Baby! by Lynsey Stone Photography
I had never really seen birth photography before this year. The more I see it, the more I think about having a photographer at my next birth. I would have loved to have in-the-moment pictures like this during E's birth. Afterall, it was one of the most life changing and amazing highlights of my life. 

As amazing as I believe these pictures are, I know there are people out there that believe they are disgusting or believe they aren't a great depiction of birth for as many reasons that they can rhyme off. The usual haters. It really bothers me. It bothers me just as much as the people that complain about breastfeeding in public and breastfeeding photography. People just don't know what normal is anymore. 

I came across this article on Babble, titled "One of the Most Strikingly Powerful Birth Photos I've Seen", about the photo contest and the picture above and unfortunately I read through to the comments. Why must people be so negative and judgemental? Especially other mothers?

There are comments stating that the Mother in the picture would be more believable as a "real" birthing woman if she looked more than 20 weeks pregnant and not all skin and bones.  I suppose if she was overweight it would be more believable? Real women come in all shapes in sizes. This one happens to be in great physical shape. Commenter's also question whether the photograph is fake because everyone seems to be in perfect camera position. A sign of an amazing photographer and a normal birth I would say. Haters say that the Mother is not in a "normal" birthing position so the picture is unbelievable.  Lying on your back in a hospital bed is NOT NORMAL!

There are many more hateful comments and thankfully many commenter's correcting the uneducated. Hopefully it will help them realize how truly amazing and normal birth can be. If you click through to the photographer's website and the site listing the birth story you will read that this was a planned unassisted homebirth. 

How "real" can she get?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Christmas tradition we won't be doing this year

Remember last year when we took E to get pictures with Santa?





Yeah, that's certainly not happening this year. 

It's not that I'm completely opposed to the tradition (even though it's a huge money grabber). It's just that ever since Halloween this kid is not a fan of costumes. And he sees right through that man sitting in the big red chair - IT'S A COSTUME. He doesn't want any part of sitting on that stinky stranger's lap and I don't blame him one bit. It's a bit creepy handing your child over to a complete stranger anyways.

If E bought into the whole idea I'd probably be in line at the mall, but after last year's episode I knew it would have to be forced upon if I wanted to do it again. Losing my son's trust and watching him squirm and cry in Santa's arms just for an expensive 4x6 is not that important to me. No thank you.

I had already made up my mind before we had to pop into the mall last week. Children were lined up and I saw a baby crying on Santa's lap and it made me sad. Then E got a glimpse of Santa through the decorations and said, "No, Mommy, no costume!". That pretty much sealed the deal.  We'll be sticking to writing a letter to Santa again this year. We may or may not venture back to Santa's lap in the future, but only if he asks us to.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Toilet Paper Roll Family Craft

E is really into make-believe and puppet-type play these days.  He will frequently come to us holding two toys, handing one over and while wiggling the other toy around ask, "Who are you?".  While I hold a cow and he holds a sheep, we can go from being astronauts to hockey players to farmers to just plain ol' cows and sheep again.  He loves acting out the conversations and I like to try to make them as silly as possible.

I love following his lead when it comes to his current interests.  Puppets are now definitely on his Christmas wish list. But in the meantime, I wanted to find a creative way to expand on this. I've been keeping a lot of recyclables in a big craft bin, including a stack of toilet paper rolls.  The inspiration from this craft came from one I saw on Pinterest. How cute would it be to make believe with little craft versions of ourselves? With only a small list of supplies, you can make one too!

Toilet Paper Roll Family

Supplies:
Fabric or felt
Glue
Scissors
Pictures
Yarn or other embellishments


Our Toilet Paper Roll Family
What do you think?

Thanks to my Mom for letting me raid her bins of fabrics last time I was visiting.  And props to E for some great gluing and wardrobe decisions.  He decided we were all to wear jeans to start.  And he picked Hubby one styling shirt and that brown belt really finishes the outfit.  Cowgirl Mommy is looking pretty in her glue stained silk shirt and E decided he wanted to be dressed in just plain blue.  I was happy to dig out a picture of the dog too. Our family is complete (for now - we'll need to add a baby roll in May).

This family craft was made for the Kids Create! Kids in the Capital November Craft Carnival. It's really easy to join in the carnival - so check it out! It has given me a great excuse to dig in and get creative with E. Stay tuned to Kids in the Capital for my next post, re-capping this month's crafts and announcing December's theme!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 edition of 25 days of Christmas

Andrea at a peek inside the fishbowl got me hooked last year on a 25 days of Christmas activity calendar.  I had so much fun planning it with our little family, but have to admit I was a little over ambitious. This year, with Hubby's work schedule in mind, I'm toning it down a bit.

Here is our list for 2011 in no particular order.

1. Attend the Illumination Ceremony on Parliament Hill on Dec 1st.
2. Write and mail little E's letter to Santa and walk down the street to put it in the mailbox.
3. Have a Christmas music dance party in the living room.
4. Go to another Santa Claus parade. E and I already went to the Kanata one, but we will need to take in another one as a whole family.
5. Decorate our tree and house.
6. Make cookies for our daycare and work friends.
7. Make paper snowflakes and decorate our windows.
8. Make homemade banana ice cream with yummy toppings.
9. Make homemade Christmas ornaments for our tree and for gifts.
10. Watch a Christmas movie in our pajamas.
11. Sing Christmas carols.
12. Paint some gifts for family and friends at Gotta Paint.
13. Purchase and donate a toy for Toy Mountain.
14. Watch classic Christmas TV shows together.
15. Have a candlelit dinner.
16. Walk or drive around to see all the houses lit up with Christmas lights.
17. Make Christmas cards for our families.
18. Have a family Christmas on the farm and get a picture of E and all of his little cousins together.
19. Go sledding down the hill at our local park.
20. Go public skating.
21. Curl up with blankets and read Christmas stories and drink hot chocolate.
22. Make a snowman.
23. Go see a movie at the theatre. I'm thinking Happy Feet 2 and it would be E's first time in a theatre.
24. Watch a personalized Magic Santa video.
25. Make Christmas pancakes.

What family activities do you have planned this month?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Closed

At the top of Whistler Mountain
I'm sorry, I can't be bothered right now.

I'm either sleeping in, gazing at the beautiful mountain views, getting some much needed exercise by walking around the village shopping, eating delicious food and ordering with only myself in mind, or relaxing by the fire in my hotel suite.

If you are inquiring about wifely and motherly duties please try again on Wednesday.

***
I'm joining Capital Mom today by blogging about a moment from my life based on a theme she has provided. This week’s Monday Moment theme is Closed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mom's Birth Stories

If you're new to my blog, you may not have come across the fact that I am one of eleven children. Yes, ELEVEN! It has been a blessing growing up in a large family and the more I grow as a parent myself, the more I appreciate my mother. Because being a mother is not an easy job, as many of us have come to learn.

Our current ages range from 39 to 19. That's 20 years of pregnancies, births and breastfeeding.  She's experienced in many of the things I take great interest in and she's a gosh darn saint if you ask me.

I've written a bit about my views on birth.  Natural and informed birth is something I am passionate about. Looking back at my mother's stories eases my frustration slightly, because seeing how things were 39 years ago really does show that we have come a far way.

The thing that amazes me the most is how my mother endured pregnancy, birth and child rearing again and again with little support. Unlike me, she didn't have a mother to call to ask questions. Her mother passed away just two days after her wedding and never lived to see any of her grandchildren.  My mother was also the first of her siblings to have children.  She had a couple friends and distant family, but she was pretty much on her own.  Unlike me, she also didn't have the Internet or easy access to the many books I read from the library.  She read what she could get her hands on, but what like many people do she relied on her Doctor to guide her. As a farmer's wife, she also did a majority of the child rearing, since my father was always in the barn or the fields.  And don't even get me started with the negative comments she received as her family grew larger. She is a strong woman. I think you get the picture?

Last month, when I wrote about my views on Dr. Nancy's pending live-streamed birth, I mentioned that my mother gave birth eleven times and that it certainly doesn't get easier. After reading through some of those comments I realized that something I've always wanted to learn more about were my own mother's birth stories.  My mother kept a lot of notes and journals for each of her children and frequently goes back to them when I ask questions.  She can easily give me specifics from when her labour started to the date I got braces. She has pages and pages of frayed yellowed notebook paper in her binder listing milestone after milestone. I love her binder. But the one thing that is missing is her overall experience and her feelings and how giving birth shaped her into the woman she is today.

I have yet to write out my full 1st birth story. My goal is to write it out once I get through my mother's stories.  I'm planning to post each of her stories separately because we all know how unique each can be. I've given her some questions and now once she has written out a few stories, I have many more follow-up questions to ask.  I don't want to miss any important details. I can't wait to share her stories and more importantly, write them out for her.

What would you ask your mother about birth? What important details would you want to know?