Breastfeeding, Motherhood

First Nap – a poem

1 Comment 26 October 2011

First Nap

Fussy, his back arches in rebellion
against the nylon constraints.
A shriek cry that startles me -
interrupting the click-clack
of keyboard sentences to friends.

He needs me.

Holding him I realize
no patting of the back,
no whispering in ears
will do any good right now.

My boy is tired.

We lay down in bed,
my overflowing breast
lays beside his tiny face -
I can hear him gulping.
Remember this rhythmic sound.

Looking down,
I myself am drowsy
in this milk-drunk state.
I have never been as important;
my duty is his survival.

I am needed.

A drip at the corner of his mouth
turn into a stream down his cheek
and that is when I fully realize
he has fallen asleep.

Attachment Parenting, Breastfeeding, Motherhood

The Challenges and Rewards of Night Weaning

18 Comments 25 September 2011

I began the process of night weaning my two and a half year old daughter two weeks ago.

Night weaning is a bitch! Emotionally and physically painful.

However, don’t let this deter you from night weaning. There are, as  I will explain, both challenges and rewards for night weaning.

I encourage the process.

I’ll begin with the why, the  how and move on from there with the details of our experience.

 

Why night wean?

I never thought to night wean Ella until Lucan was born.

I didn’t have a strong enough reason.

Although I wasn’t a big fan of waking up several times a night to nurse Ella back to sleep, I knew cutting out breastfeeding would be tough.

A battle even. Frankly, I didn’t want to face the confrontation.

Ella loves her “mum-mums.”

The first month of tandem night nursing went fine.

I laid on my back and had one child on each side of my body, nursing alternatively or at the same time. I got a fair amount of sleep and didn’t view our routine as an issue.

But then…things changed.

 

Lucan was no longer content to snuggle in the crook of my arm or lay on my chest. He craved autonomy. His go-to-sleep position became laying on his side next to me.

This presented a problem.

Ella began waking-up to my back in the middle of the night.

If I was nursing Lucan back to sleep, or needed to carefully peel my skin from his baby hug hold, Ella would get restless, impatient, and ultimately break-down into a fit of hysteria.

This usually woke-up Lucan.

 

What is a mother to do with two crying babies?

Not a pretty picture. I knew something had to change (and it wasn’t Lucan).

 

The Method:

The first step was talking to Ella about our night weaning plan.

When I explained that we weren’t going to be having mum-mums at night anymore, she inquisitively asked, “whyyyy?”

Good. She was listening.

I answered, “because night time is for sleeping. You can have mum-mums when you fall asleep at night. At night we’ll cuddle and sleep. Then, when the sun comes up, and it’s morning, you can have mum-mums again!”

She may have said okay, or she may have said nothing at all. But whether or not she understood, she heard me, and that’s all that mattered. I didn’t want to spring it on her out of the blue.

The Plan:

Bedtime routine would begin normally – Ella could nurse to sleep.

When Ella woke up, I’d quietly and calmly tell her she could have mum-mums in the morning, then suggest we cuddle.

Good, in theory, but …

Not only did whining, screaming and kicking ensue, so did a head-butt to the mouth, resulting in a bloody, puffy lip (mine, not hers).

Although it was tough, we got through the night without nursing. The key was soothing Ella while not giving in.

The second, third, fourth AND fifth nights were similar to the first (save the head-butting incident).

Ella awoke in the middle of the night 2-3 times, as usual pre-weaning, asking for mum-mums. And each time she was denied, (when I calmly told her she could have mum-mums in the morning and suggested cuddling) she’d break down.

 

To prevent from waking everyone, I would take Ella into the living room.

We’d sit on the couch until she calmed down. I wouldn’t let her back in the bedroom until she could take a deep breath and stop crying. Walking back into the bedroom, I always make sure to hold her hand, saying, “we’ll cuddle in bed honey.”

 

The 3 keys to night weaning success: that mom provides a calm, assertive energy, has patience and acts consistency.

If you’re in it to win it, follow this advice.

  • Without assertiveness, you’ll be wishy-washy and won’t get the message across that you mean business. Make sure your energy remains calm.
  • Without patience, you will nearly die. Seriously.
  • And without consistency, your child will be confused. You can’t tell him/her that you don’t nurse anymore at night only to give in the next night unless you want to fail miserably.

 

Present Day:

Our nightly trials nearly mimicked each other night after night until the pattern broke. Ella woke up just after 1, 3 and 5 for the first five days.

Then she woke up at 2:30 and 5:45.

Then at 3:15 and 6:15…

and then finally, she slept through the night until 6, two nights in a row. Hallelujah!!

If we can do it, you can do it too. Follow your heart, beat to your own drum, and good luck!

p.s. this has been my experience and I in no way feel or mean to come across as “my way or the high-way.” Check out Dr. Jay Gordon for attachment parenting night weaning tips.

Breastfeeding

Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week 2011 | Breastfeeding Photos

10 Comments 07 August 2011

Breastfeeding

Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2011 With Tandem Nursing

2 Comments 02 August 2011

Happy World Breastfeeding Week from Kaitlin Rose of Bring Birth Home.

I am celebrating World Breastfeeding Week by tandem-nursing my 2.5 year old and 1 month old. For more breastfeeding information and inspiration on BBH, visit our section dedicated to the subject here: Breastfeeding on BBH

How are you celebrating? Leave a comment below!

Breastfeeding two children has been pretty amazing.

Ella had been nursing strong while I was pregnant, but within the first two months, I began producing far less milk. She continued to breastfeed nonetheless, and in turn began eating more solid foods.

We discussed sharing milk with the baby. Ella understood one “mum-mum” was for her, and the other would be for her baby brother or sister. I’m pleased to share the results of this conversation held true to plan.

When Lucan was born, Ella nursed more than ever.

First tandem nurse!

She helped my milk come in so fast! Lucan gained near to a pound in a week. And he wasn’t the only one gaining weight.

Ella was never a big eater, and rather picky about the foods she chose to put down. Since drinking more of my highly nutritious back-in-supply breast milk, Ella has gained much more weight. She has cut back eating solid foods almost entirely, but is obviously thriving. The wonders of mother’s milk!

Are you a tandem nurser? How has your experience been? Please share in the comments below!

Breastfeeding, Guest Writers, Reviews

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding | Book Review

No Comments 03 May 2011

book review by Cindy Lerner

If there was one single book that I wish I had read before having my first child it would be The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.

Not only does this book cover
breastfeeding, it will guide expecting moms in how to prepare for breastfeeding, how to…

get the proper support, what role birth plays in your breastfeeding relationship, what to expect in each stage of the baby’s development, sleeping, weaning, solid foods, solutions for working moms, pumping, and special situations (multiples, preemies, etc).

Overall, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding can be described as:

a comprehensive guide to being a mother while supporting each mother’s individual choices and encouraging her to continue with breastfeeding in all circumstances.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League International Book) is so much more than a book about how, when or why one should breastfeed.

It holds the encouraging words that every mother needs to read over and over again.

Whether you get ideas and information from our book, from research, or from talking to other mothers, you know yourself, your baby and your family better than anyone else. Just as mothers always have.

Breastfeeding, Guest Writers

Nursing Love

1 Comment 11 January 2011

a guest post by Sarah Mahar

I never set out to be an attachment parent.

My husband and I simply decided to follow our instincts about parenting instead of trying to be “textbook” parents.

There are many things that have surprised me about parenting. Some have been minimal surprises, while others are things I never would have predicted. One such surprise has been my journey into extended breastfeeding.

Whenever I thought about motherhood, I always knew I would breastfeed my babies.

During pregnancy I did some reading and research about breastfeeding basics, but nothing extensive. When my daughter was born, she had trouble latching because my nipples were fairly flat. After a stressful night where she wailed because she was hungry and I did everything I knew how to do (which wasn’t much) the lactation consultant at the hospital suggested I use a contact nipple shield.

Suddenly my baby loved nursing and she chubbed right up.

We used the shield for 3 months until I decided that it was time to ditch the shield and learn how to nurse together without “interference.” Ditch it we did—and never looked back.

Some moms have a date in mind for when they will wean their babies.

I never really thought about it much—mostly because the thought of weaning filled me with dread.

I loved nursing my little girl. Why would I want to give that up? I kept pushing the thought of weaning off. Eventually I learned about baby-led weaning and it resonated with me. My beloved girl could decide when she was ready to move on from nursing without the trauma that weaning might cause for either of us.

I made the decision to follow my daughter’s lead in the weaning process when she was 8 months old.

She is now a few months shy of three—and still nursing joyfully. I would not trade any of our nursing time together for all the money in the world. Besides the joy that it brings both of us, her continued breastfeeding has had its distinct moments of glory.

When she had a serious infection and refused to eat or drink anything, I’m positive that breastfeeding kept her out of the hospital. If she hadn’t been nursing, she surely would have become dehydrated. There are also the many times that she has hurt herself (being the adventurous soul that she is) and nursing has quickly soothed and calmed her. When she is tired or cranky or sad or hurt, breastfeeding makes the world right again for her.

We have also in the last year added a new element to our breastfeeding relationship.

I found out that I was pregnant (with a son!) last February.

My daughter was nowhere near ready to give up nursing, so we plunged ahead into the new uncharted world of tandem nursing. Tandeming has had its ups and downs, and every day is a new adventure. But every time I look into the eyes of one of my darling nurslings, I know that breastfeeding is one of the most precious gifts that we can give each other.

Extended (and tandem) breastfeeding may not be for everyone, but I love every minute of it and I know that my children do too.

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I am a SAHM to two amazing kids. I am passionate about education parents about their choices in pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. Both of my children were born naturally; the first in a wonderful hospital environment and the second at home in the water. I seek to learn more about my children and myself every day in order to be a better mother, wife, and human being.

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