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Posts Tagged ‘Breastfeeding’

Mommy wars...very much in the news.

I have never really dwelled much on the external and internal ‘mommy wars’ that most of us moms experience daily.

Though lately, these ongoing cold wars have been hard to ignore.

In the past couple of weeks SAHM(stay at home moms) were criticized when Mitt Romney‘s wife came under fire for being a SAH privileged mother who could not relate to working moms, who were in the workforce because they had bills which they could not pay if they did not work.

SAHM are accused of not working…or at least not balancing a job outside the home. Working mothers are seen as more fiscally aware. It is women against women in this seemingly never ending battle.

This is not the only ongoing ‘mommy war’.

There are several other mommy wars being waged… the breastfeeding moms vs. the formula feeding moms…the attached moms vs. the not so attached moms…the cry it out sleep training moms v.s the co-sleeping moms …women against women.

If these wars aren’t enough, now there is a book on the real and virtual shelves examining another woman’s war.

It is the internal war that moms face in the age of too much information and the pressure bombarded upon themselves from all that information.

It seems moms are warring with each other trying to be  “natural” mothers …cloth diapers, elimination communication, breast-feeding until their child is in school and so on. These moms seem to be warring within themselves as well… the natural mom vs. the feminist mom.

” If we absorb a message that to breastfeed on demand, to protect one’s children from all dubious chemical exposures, and to take on full responsibility for their physical and psychological health at all times are crucial to our children’s well-being, then does that message also push women away from the work force, and back into the realm of home and family?

Motherlode Book Club: Elisabeth Badinters The Conflict. Has Motherhood Replaced Sexism in Oppressing Women? – NYTimes.com.

It is the war to end all wars, the one ‘to have everything and do everything not just well but perfectly well’.

Elisabeth Badinter’s book, “The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women,” is guaranteed to feed that fire. Not only does she believe that the best course of action for any woman, no matter what her maternal status, is to stay in the work force, but she also argues that the women who have chosen to do otherwise have essentially been sold a bill of goods.Influenced and deceived by the modern natural-parenting movement — with its labor-intensive breastfeeding, cloth diapering, and requirement that infants be properly stimulated and nurtured at all times — mothers “choose” to stay home because if they do not, they cannot meet the standards of this new ideal.

via Motherlode Book Club: Elisabeth Badinters The Conflict. Has Motherhood Replaced Sexism in Oppressing Women? – NYTimes.com.

One of the worst failures of feminism has been its tendency to alienate men. Ms. Badinter sees men as the victors and women as the victims of this trend, but women are the perpetrators and both mothers and fathers are losers.

via Book Review: The Conflict – WSJ.com.

Are we mothers and women so conflicted about our roles that we are victims of our own internal war?

Are we being undermined by Modern Motherhood?

I am one of those  women who tried to have it all…I thought as a nurse I would be able to accomplish this because I would always be employable. For numerous reasons that was the case … due to relocating three times, caring for my own family…caring for my elderly mother, and caring for my own health needs. Reasons beyond my control took me out of the workforce on and off for the last thirty years.

I was also not a warrior feminist. I fully supported women’s rights but not to the point of alienating men.

I worked primarily with physicians, who were mostly men in the early 70’s. In fact I married one, whom I met in the workplace. It was a different world at that time in NYC.

Fortunately, back in my day…in the NYC academic hospital settings nurses and doctors were encouraged to work in a collegial atmosphere so it was not necessary, at least in my eyes, to draw territorial lines and assert myself as a feminist. It was simple…I needed to be the best professional nurse I could be and respect in the workplace followed.

Now I know this was not the case for most other women in the workplace at that time…I did not have to look far to find women who were suffering. My mother was a single parent and never experienced equality in the workplace…which was one of the deciding factors in my decision to become a Bachelor’s degree prepared nurse at a time when they were few and far between.

I was very young…our country was at war (Vietnam) and there were anti-war protests everywhere…it was a time when you had to pick your battles.

Today the ‘mommy wars’ disturb me immensely because I see women fighting among themselves and thus weakening what could be a very strong alliance. I guess I am older and hopefully somewhat wiser.

Can we not as women accept other women’s choices and focus on the real issues at hand?

Wouldn’t a change in attitude serve our children just as well and enable us all to be ‘natural moms’ and feminists in one way or another?

Just some thoughts…

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Today is my birthday…I have learned so much in my life and there is so much more to learn.

As I reflect back…there are things that I would have wanted to know before I had kids.

But I can’t lie, in many ways I am glad that I had to learn through experience and by sharing with my mother and by remembering the ways that my grandmother dealt with parenting issues since she was my ‘mom’ when my own mother was working.

Anyway, I post this today in celebration and thank you to all who have made this a Happy Birthday!

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Having Kids | The Stir.

I read the above post today and I really did not enjoy it…maybe it was the language that was used ….perhaps, it was just that I did not relate to what this mom had to say at least, not in the way that she chose to say it.

What I can relate to, is the fact that looking back there is plenty that I personally wish I had known before having kids of my own.

But then again…may be knowing too much would have take away some of the joys that come with learning new things too late to use them in your own life but not too late to use these nuggets of knowledge with your grandchildren.

Here is my list of “Wish I Had Known…”

  • Having a baby would change my life forever and ever…for me this was a good change.
  • Two children are more than double one and three is exponentially more than three and so on….
  • Two babies in diapers is TWO in diapers ….two in diapers cannot be that difficult is not a true statement.
  • Having kids close in age  is not necessarily  better…they will not necessarily be very close to each other nor friends.
  • Children are all different when it comes to toilet training
  • You can help your children to self-soothe themselves to sleep.
  • You should not establish a bedtime habit with your kids that you won’t want to continue until they graduate from high school.
  • You do not need to carry around guilt for a lifetime if you did not breast feed.
  • Pregnancies and deliveries are all different …
  • There are really good reasons to have to have a c-section.
  • Temper tantrums can be diffused…read “The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp.
  • Do not be the one to hold your child when they get ‘shots’ or any invasive procedures…be present only as support for hugs  and kisses afterwards.

to be continued….

I could go on indefinitely.

However, the more I learn makes me realize how ‘simple’ my life was 30 years ago without the internet. It makes me appreciate the importance of my own mother’s understanding and help.

It was enough knowledge then…it had to be…

What things do you wish you had known before having kids?

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Lately, I have been writing a fair amount about childhood and obesity.

This is a problem that begins early in a child’s life.

Back in the day, there was a saying,“a fat little baby was a healthy baby”. We know so much more today about weight and health to realize how far that statement is from the truth.

I am not suggesting monitoring a baby’s feedings and dietary habits as we would our own adult intake of fat and carbs. But regular visits to the pediatrician during the first year of a child’s life will help track his/her growth and development related to his/her nutritional intake .  Discussions about feeding schedules such as when and what solid foods to introduce  can help parents along the way so that formula or breast milk still remain the major source of nutrition during baby’s first year.

For the first 6 months breast milk or formula is normally the sole nutrition for your child and it remains the major source of nutrition for a child’s first year of life.
Clearly monitoring your child’s growth and development along with your pediatrician will determine whether your child is getting sufficient nutrition.

HealthyChildren.org – Feeding & Nutrition.

I came across an interesting study from the American Academy of Pediatrics of a group of infants and their transition to a variety of foods during their first year.

We found dramatic transitions in dietary consumption that occurred among infants during their first year. The transition from a diet of virtually nothing but breast milk, infant formula, or both to a varied diet of foods from all food groups began for most infants at ∼4 to 5 months of age and continued throughout their first 12 months. Infant cereal was usually the first food other than milk or formula given to infants and remained the most common supplementary food until infants were ∼8 months of age. Fruits and vegetables were introduced at a median age of 5 to 6 months, and meats were introduced at a median age of ∼8 months. By 1 year of age, more than half of the infants were consuming a diet that included not only cereals, fruits, vegetables, meats, and milk products but also foods high in sugar or fat but low in nutrient density.

In this study, we identified several infant feeding practices of concern, including substantial formula supplementation in the hospital, early introduction of solid foods, late introduction of meats, and feeding of high-fat/high-sugar foods to infants. Because of their frequent contact with infants and their parents, clinicians have a unique opportunity to advise new parents about recommended infant feeding practices. By being aware of these infant feeding recommendations and communicating them to parents, clinicians can help start children on the road to a healthy lifestyle.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/122/Supplement_2/S36.full

Even though I was a Masters educated Maternal and Child nurse when I brought home my first daughter, I did not have a clue as to how to increase her formula beyond the first week of her life. Thankfully, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami had given me a “mimeographed” booklet about feeding during the first year of a baby’s life. I kept that dogeared booklet very close at hand since I dared not rely on my own mother or extended family…at the time, they seemed as clueless as I was.

During a recent Google search I located an excellent resource for infant feeding from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Palo Alto, CA  “Feeding Guide of the First Year”. 

The guide divides the first year into two parts (4 to 8 months) and (9 to 12 months) and then subdivides these ages. It also provides a complete list of food items as well as measured amounts. Baby’s tiny stomach cannot hold that much solid food and breast milk or formula will still be his main source of nutrition.

  • breast milk or formula provides you baby all the nutrients that are needed to grow
  • your any is not physically developed enough to eat solid food from a spoon
  • starting your baby on solid food too early increases the chance that he/she may develop a good allergy
  • feeding your baby solid food too early may lead to overfeeding and being overweight.

The first year of life is a year of unbelievably rapid growth and development…a baby needs the proper nutrition to keep up with all the physical changes that are taking place.

More growth occurs during this period of life than any other time in your child’s life.

Amazing isn’t it?

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THURSDAY, March 1, 2012 MedPage Today — Every infant should begin life with six months of exclusive breastfeeding, followed by another six months or longer with other foods gradually added to the childs diet, according to an updated policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

These statistics are stunning…take a look at the link below:

via Breastfeeding Is Health, Not Lifestyle Choice – Pregnancy 101 – EverydayHealth.com.

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Noteworthy Wednesday!

This is my most read post in 2011…since “Tiger Mom” is now published in paperback and it is the one year anniversary of the commotion that it set off I am reposting this for you perusal.

Enjoy.

Why Caucasian fathers are superior.

“So it should come as no surprise that I am better at parenting than most humans (and all animals, except bison and unicorns). The reason? I’m a Caucasian male.

The Caucasian culture does not accept mediocrity. You name it, we excel at it. Whether it’s playing hockey, or watching hockey, or dancing (the polka), or finishing last in 100-metre races, or suppressing the civil rights of minorities, Caucasian males do it best. We also raise the brightest children.”

Seriously, this is such an amusing piece that responds to the “Tiger Mom”  uproar. I thought we had read just about everything but apparently not so.

Given all the commotion that Tiger Mom has generated, I think that it is time to consider some balance. Parenting is something that is too important to actually laugh about.

It seems there are as many beliefs about the right way to parent as there are parents. It is my belief that anything taken to extremes is never really a good thing. There are exceptions to almost any “rule”. To be excessively rigid in your parenting style could pass this rigidity on to your child or create the opposite stance on your child’s part. Neither of these responses is what I personally would want.

There are many aspects of attachment parenting that I like and I probably was an attached parent and am an attached grandparent although I did not “co-sleep” nor did I breast feed.

My personal parenting guidelines came from Erik Erikson’s stages of development. I tried to parent so that my children successfully completed Erikson’s  stages of development.

I also tried to model behavior for my children. They experienced how important it was for both their grandmothers to die having completed their final stage of life at age 89. They both died with integrity and dignity.

Parenting never really ends.

For me, it is about teaching your children how to have love and empathy and be able to develop their own skills to live each stage of life.

With that said please read this “caucasian father’s” editorial reaction to “Tiger Mom” and laugh if you like…it is pretty humorous!

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If you are wondering like I was yesterday if the “Nurse-In” at Target was successful…here is the answer.

No apology from Target and that is exactly what I expected…if you apologize it is an admission of “wrong doing” isn’t it?

Large corporations are not in the habit of admitting wrong doing…ever!

I wonder if moms are satisfied with Target’s statement … was there enough media coverage on 12/28 ,,, personally, I don’t think so.

If the attitude towards breastfeeding anytime, anyplace is to change…there should be some prominent media coverage to bring this issue to the forefront. Let’s face it, most of us are not breastfeeding so this affects only a small segment of the population. In reality however, it affects the health and well-being of children…so the affects are extremely far reaching.

Should this not be of more concern to the public at large? Any opinions out there?

What needs to be done?

Did the Target nurse- in get results? | BabyCenter.

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NOTEWORTHY WEDNESDAY!

Breastfeeding is a natural way to feed babies…

it is a healthy way to feed babies…

for some moms it is an easy transition after delivery and for other moms it is difficult and takes time and patience to get into a rhythm with their babies.

Whatever the case…moms should be encouraged to breast feed and be able to breast feed anywhere.

That apparently was not the experience of a Texas mom who was “harassed” by Target employees when she chose to breast feed in an aisle at a Target store. She was asked to go to a fitting room to breast feed.

Now, my personal choice would not be to sit down in an aisle at Target to breastfeed but a fitting room would not necessarily have been my choice either. Perhaps, a table in their food court would have been more my style.

Now…today, moms have organized through Facebook and are scheduled to “nurse-in” at selected Targets this morning.

What will be the outcome of such a protest?

I am sure there will be some who are “appalled” that moms would do such a thing.

It is time to support breastfeeding moms…the research is in and the American Academy of Pediatrics has made their statements.

Even if you do not support a “nurse-in” it is time to give the thumbs up to those moms who do and it is time to let Target and others like them know that customer service is more than a counter in the front of the store.

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Co-sleeping...

Common sense certainly does enter into the equation…but some of us are gifted with more common sense than others.

It would be nice to think that there is a clear answer to what is safest and best for baby when it comes to eating, peeing and popping and sleeping.

Formula feeding…breastfeeding ….Cloth diapers…”pampers”….diaper free (elimination communication)….cribs…co-sleeping?

So many decisions so many discussions without any clearly right or wrong answers.

What ever you choose for your child…make sure you make the choice based on “common sense” for your lifestyle and what will work best for you, your family and child.

Do your homework…it is important for your child.

Cosleeping is not the devil.  Is it dangerous?  Yes.  But so is sleeping in a crib.  Pack and plays are death traps. Do we still use them?  Of course.  The key is common sense.  Something we sorely lack in this world.

There are safety measures you have to take no matter where your baby sleeps.  To put your baby in a crib you have rules. Common sense rules like no heavy blankets, pillows, toys, bumpers, gaps in the mattress, bars of a certain width, etc.

Cosleeping has safety rules too: do not drink or smoke before bed, sleep on a firm mattress or futon, no heavy blankets or pillows, don’t sleep with the baby if you have sleep apnea or if your bed is too small, put your mattress on the floor, etc.

So is cosleeping dangerous? Yes, if done without care or thought.  So think.  Use the mind that the creator (whoever she/he is) gave you and think about what you are doing with your babies.  Don’t blindly follow trends or advice from ads plastered on bus shelters.  Do research and make informed decisions with a big dollop of common sense tailored to your own little family’s needs.

via Common Sense and Cosleeping | Tales of a Kitchen Witch.

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Although World Breastfeeding Week is over this post is so worth reading. Enjoy.

After trying for many years I had my first child at age 40. I was determined to do everything right. High on that list was breastfeeding. I was prepared for it to be challenging, but it turned out that my son and I were the perfect nursing pair. He did a great job of latching on and sucking, and I did a great job of producing “liquid gold.”

When my son was eight months old I developed a breast infection. Many nursing women have them — they are painful, but no big deal. I felt a lump that seemed like a clogged milk duct. But when the infection went away, the lump stayed so I scheduled an appointment with my physician.

via Cheryl Greene: World Breastfeeding Week — You Can Still Be A Great Mother, Even If You Can’t Breastfeed.

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This is “World Breastfeeding Week”…we know that breastfeeding is “Best for Babes” but not every mother feels that she can adequately breast feed and not every woman wants to breast feed. This being said there are many ways we can encourage women to breast feed and do so successfully.

The following article talks about ways that hospitals can encourage a new mother to breast feed. Many good points are made here…but ultimately the mom will be taking her newborn home after a very short stay in the hospital and the home atmosphere and home support will be the true test of success.

What we need is a “doula” of breastfeeding…a compassionate, educated, non-judgemental mom who is willing to help mother and baby get established in their breastfeeding routine together. This is not an easy task. There is no room for a fanatical breast feeding “doula” who imparts her successful breastfeeding stories and inadvertently guilt to the new breastfeeding mom. This relationship in my opinion can make or break a breastfeeding experience.

Hospitals can only do so much and since hospital experiences are so short  for the new mom in many cases, it is my belief  that for many reasons  hospitals will never provide the support that is needed  for success in breastfeeding.

A new mother’s ability to continue  breastfeeding is influenced by what she  experiences and how much support she receives during the first hours and days after birth. Breast milk is “the perfect nutrition,” says Frieden. It provides antibodies to help newborns ward off illness until the immune system can produce their own, which doesn’t happen until the infant is 6 months old.  Mom’s milk also provides important hormones that help baby regulate how much it needs to eat. Plus, studies have shown that breastfeeding reduces diarrhea, ear infections and bacterial meningitis, as well as cutting the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes and asthma, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The CDC report says breastfeeding for nine months reduces a baby’s odds of becoming overweight by more than 30%. For babies to get all of these benefits, the AAP recommends that infants should be fed only breast milk for the first six months of life and moms should continue to nurse while they start introducing solid foods until the baby is at least a year old, longer if mom and baby still want to.

In response to this report, the American Hospital Association tells CNN: “Breastfeeding is a personal choice and hospitals will follow the wishes of the mother, be it to breastfeed or bottle feed. There are numerous reaso

ns for the results and those include that hospitals can’t always accommodate a single room for maternity care and some mothers choose to send their babies to the nursery.”

There are of course other ways to help mothers continue to breastfeed. One came earlier this week, when the Department of Health and Human Services adopted recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which will require insurance companies to pay for breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling, without any cost to the insured (aside from her regular insurance premiums of course), starting in August 2012.

via Hospitals need to do more to help moms breastfeed – The Chart – CNN.com Blogs.

“Best for Babes” is a wonderful organization which is totally on the right track in trying to assist the breastfeeding mom and baby. We need more involvement like this in order to promote successful breastfeeding. Here is the mission of “Best for Babes” for those of you who are not familiar with this organization.

The amazing health, economic and environmental benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for six months or more are well-established.  Moms know this — they want to breastfeed. But sadly, very few of those who start or plan to start make it past the first few days — they struggle and suffer unnecessarily and give up, understandably, long before they intended to.  Too often, it’s not their fault!  They are being set up to fail by the very people and places that are supposed to help them — by the Booby Traps– the many cultural and institutional barriers that prevent them from achieving their personal feeding goals.

BFB’s mission is to help turn this situation around by bringing the power and influence of a consumer-driven, celebrity and corporate-backed, mainstream independent nonprofit –the Mother of All Causes –to bear on this issue;  to help create permanent  culture change that embraces, celebrates and supports breastfeeding and moms!  As a nonprofit foundation, we serve and complement the heroic, long-term efforts of the existing breastfeeding community and we lend added value by being able to harness and leverage the collective power of celebrities, corporations, foundations, the public sector, advertising, the medical community and the media.

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