Musings of a crunchy, domestic goddess

Just another mama musing about her kids, Attachment Parenting, activism, photography, and life in general

Julian, 6 months May 23, 2007

Filed under: Ava,Breastfeeding,Julian,Pictures — amygeekgrl @ 9:12 am

Julian, 6 months - 5/23/07

May 23, 2007

Dear Julian,

Happy half-birthday, buddy! Today you are six months old.

It is hard for me to believe that six months have already passed since your amazing entrance into the world. And yet, at the same time, it feels like you have been a part of our lives for so very long.

You’ve changed so much in six months. You no longer look like a baby. You look like a little boy.

You smile, flashing us your delicious, darling dimple. You laugh often, especially at your big sister Ava, and more recently, at your favorite stuffed animal – the wolf blanket Aunt Carrie got for you. You sit up by yourself, roll over and are quite the little backwards scooter when you are on your tummy.

You are a very content baby and cry only when something is really bothering you. You recently started making the cutest “bbbbbbb” sound through your lips when you are really tired and trying to go to sleep.

You love to suck on mommy’s chin, chew on daddy’s nose, and grab fistfuls of Ava’s hair.

You drool like crazy and we constantly have a bib on you, but there are no signs of any teeth yet.

You love your mama milk, and, with the exception of a small piece of cracker Ava tried to feed to you a month or so ago, that’s all you’ve had so far to help you grow big and strong. We haven’t been to the doctor lately, but I think you are around 20 lbs.

You recently moved into Ava’s old Marathon convertible car seat (I think it was a bit overdue) and are riding in style and comfort now. And Ava graduated into a Regent car seat.

Julian 2 1/2 weeks old - Dec. 2006 Julian almost 6 months old - May 2007

The one thing that’s remained constant from your birth until now is your big, beautiful blue eyes. I find myself gazing into them often, especially when we are outside and the light reflects brilliantly in them. They amaze and entrance me.

I’m looking forward to watching you continue to grow and learn these next six months, as you approach your first birthday.

Thank you for choosing me as your mama, Julian. We couldn’t have asked for a better addition to our family. I feel so blessed to have you in my life.

Julian, 6 months - 5/23/07

I love you,

Mama

 

 

The great Nestle boycott May 19, 2007

Filed under: Activism,Breastfeeding,Health,Valuable Resources — amygeekgrl @ 1:52 pm

Perhaps you’ve heard about the Nestle boycott before, but never really understood why it is going on. Here’s an article – Eye witness evidence of Nestlé malpractice on eve of demonstration – with links to several other sites/articles on the topic.

Nestlé is the target of an international boycott because of its aggressive marketing of baby foods. A newspaper article and new film reveal how Nestlé continues to undermine breastfeeding, breaking international marketing standards, where laws have yet to be introduced and enforced.

See also, Formula for Disaster – a five part UNICEF documentary series available on YouTube.

This eye-opening documentary reveals how the marketing of powdered milk has caused fewer mothers to breastfeed in the Philippines – including those who can ill afford artificial milk and suffer its harmful consequences. The milk companies’ formula for profits is a formula for disaster.
Part 1 of 5
Part 2 of 5
Part 3 of 5
Part 4 of 5
Part 5 of 5

From UNICEF – Rally for breastfeeding – Mothers demand truth about infant formula

Over 100 formula feeding mothers and their babies protested in front of infant formula manufacturers’ offices, claiming milk advertisements have deceived them into giving their babies infant formula instead of breastmilk.

“My message to the milk companies is to stop deceiving those who buy infant formula,” says Nadine Sylvano, mother of five children. “They say that their milk is good for children’s brains, will make children healthy, stout and give strong bones. But it’s not true.”

Also check out Baby Milk Action

Baby Milk Action is a non-profit organization which aims to save lives and to end the avoidable suffering caused by inappropriate infant feeding. Baby Milk Action works within a global network to strengthen independent, transparent and effective controls on the marketing of the baby feeding industry.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.5 million infants die around the world every year because they are not breastfed. Where water is unsafe a bottle-fed child is up to 25 times more likely to die as a result of diarrhea than a breastfed child.

That is why a marketing code was introduced in 1981 to regulate the marketing of breastmilk substitutes. Companies continue to violate its provisions. Find out how Baby Milk Action works to stop them and how you can help.

Baby Milk Action is not anti-baby milk. Our work protects all mothers and infants from irresponsible marketing.

There is even more information available on Wikipedia.

…Knowledge is power….

 

Updated to add: Thank you to Julie for reminding me to get a list of Nestle’s products, which are included in the boycott. According to NestleUSA.com, here is a (very LONG) list of their USA brands. (The Nestle UK brand list can be found here.)
* 100 GRAND®
* ADDITIONS™
* AFTER EIGHT® Biscuits & Mints
* ALBERS® Corn Meal and Grits
* ALPO®
* ALPO® COME ‘N GET IT®
* AQUARI-YUMS™ cat treats
* BABY RUTH®
* BACI®
* BEGGIN’ STRIPS® dog treats
* BENEFUL® dog food
* BIT-O-HONEY®
* BOTTLE CAPS®
* BUITONI®
* BUITONI® Risotto & Foccacia Bread Mix
* BUSY BONE™ dog treats
* BUTTERFINGER®
* CARLOS V®
* CAT CHOW® cat food
* CHEF-MATE®
* CHEW-RIFIC™ dog treats
* CHUNKY®
* COFFEE-MATE®
* COFFEE-MATE™ LATTE CREATIONS™
* CROISSANT POCKETS® brand sandwiches
* CRUCIAL®
* DELI-CAT® cat food
* DOG CHOW® dog food
* FAA™
* FANCY FEAST® cat food
* FRISKIES® canned & dry cat food
* GOBSTOPPERS®
* GOOBERS®
* GOOD START® Infant Formulas
* HI PRO® dog food
* HOT POCKETS® brand sandwiches
* KIBBLES AND CHUNKS® dog food
* KIT ‘N KABOODLE® cat food
* KITTEN CHOW® cat food
* KLIM®
* LA LECHERA® Sweetened Condensed Milk
* LAFFY TAFFY®
* LEAN CUISINE®
* LEAN POCKETS® brand sandwiches
* LIBBY’S® Pumpkin
* LIK-M-AID® Fun Dip
* MAGGI® Seasonings
* MIGHTY DOG® dog food
* MILO® powdered beverage & ready-to-drink
* MINOR’S®
* MODULEN® IBD
* MOIST & MEATY®
* NAN® Infant Formula
* NERDS®
* NESCAFÉ®
* NESCAFÉ® Café con Leche
* NESCAFÉ® CLASICO™ (soluble coffees from Mexico)
* NESQUIK®
* NESTEA®
* Nestlé Healthcare Nutrition
* NESTLÉ ® JUICY JUICE® 100% fruit juices
* Nestlé FoodServices
* NESTLÉ® ABUELITA®
* NESTLÉ® CARNATION® INSTANT BREAKFAST®
* NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Malted Milk
* NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Milks
* NESTLÉ® CRUNCH®
* NESTLÉ® dessert toppings
* NESTLÉ® European Style™ Desserts
* NESTLÉ® Hot Cocoa Mix
* NESTLÉ® Infant Formulas
* NESTLÉ® MIlk Chocolate
* NESTLÉ® NIDO®
* NESTLÉ® SIGNATURES TREASURES®
* NESTLÉ® SIGNATURES™ TURTLES®
* NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Candy Bars
* NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Morsels & baking ingredients
* NIPS®
* NUTREN®
* NUTREN® GLYTROL®
* NUTREN® PULMONARY (formerly NUTRIVENT®)
* NUTREN® RENAL (formerly NUTRIRENAL™)
* NUTREN® REPLETE®
* NUTRIHEAL™
* NUTRIHEP®
* OH HENRY!®
* OOMPAS®
* ORTEGA®
* PEPTAMEN®
* PERUGINA® Confections
* PIXY STIX®
* POWERBAR®
* PRIA®
* PRO PLAN® dog and cat foods
* PURINA ONE®
* PURINA®
* PURINA® ESSENTIALS™ cat treats and dog treats
* QUALITY STREET®
* RAISINETS®
* RENALCAL®
* RUNTS®
* secondnature®
* SNO-CAPS®
* SPREE®
* STOUFFER’S®
* SWEETARTS®
* T BONZ®
* TART ‘N TINYS®
* TASTER’S CHOICE® instant coffee
* TENDER VITTLES®
* TIDY CATS®
* TRIO®
* VETERINARY DIETS™
* WHISKER LICKIN’S®
* WONKA® products
* YESTERDAY’S NEWS®

 

 

New home birth resource May 16, 2007

I just wanted to let you all know that I have started a new page on my blog devoted to information about home birth. You can get to it by using the link at the top of the page in the right-hand corner called “home birth resource.”

On it, I will post news articles, statistics, birth stories and more all related to home birth. I hope to add to it on a regular basis, so that it can be a great resource for anyone contemplating a home birth or just looking to learn more.

I was thinking about doing a similar page on breastfeeding information, but I just don’t have the time to commit to that right now. I’m amazed by how many articles are written about breastfeeding. I might tackle that project later.

I’m hoping to redo my blog in the semi-near future and have a lot of ideas floating around in my head on things I’d like to do with it. Stay tuned. :)

 

Mother’s Day May 12, 2007

Filed under: Ava,Breastfeeding,Julian,Mothering,My life,Pictures — amygeekgrl @ 10:48 am

Happy Mother’s Day (tomorrow) to all the mamas out there. I hope you have a wonderful day celebrating you! You deserve it!

Since it is the eve of Mother’s Day, I want to share two pictures that are very special to me as a mother. The first is of Ava nursing when she was 2 days old, and the second is of Julian nursing for the very first time. (A big thanks to my midwife for snapping that picture. I wish I had one of Ava nursing for the first time, but I don’t think that I do.)

Ava - 2 days old Julian’s first nursing

When I look at the picture of Ava and I, I feel warmth, love and peace. When I look at the picture of Julian and I, I feel love and pure joy.

Nursing my children has been one of the most amazing experiences for me. When I am holding them close as they are nuzzled up to my breast, I feel like they are perfectly safe and secure. All is right in the world and nothing can touch them as long as they are in my embrace. I love that feeling.

It will be all too soon that they start venturing out to do things on their own.

Ava is starting a preschool/enrichment-type program in a few short weeks, and while I know she is ready and I am too, part of me wishes I could always keep her safe in my arms. Yet I know I must set her free to grow wings of her own.

And Julian bonked his head for the first time this week when he toppled over from a sitting position and into the exersaucer. I wish I could protect him from all of the bumps and bruises he will get in his life’s journey, but I know those bumps and bruises will help define who he grows up to be.

Becoming a mother has been such an amazing, life-altering experience. It has it’s ups and downs and is loaded with challenges, but it’s such a privilege to watch these little people grow, learn and love. Every day is special. Every day is something new.

I love this quote by Elizabeth Stone…

“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body.”

I feel truly blessed to be a mother.

 

That’s my girl May 11, 2007

Filed under: Ava,Breastfeeding,Humor,milk banking — amygeekgrl @ 8:40 am

While we were shopping at the sale last night (more on our finds later), Ava found a toy workbench with lots of tools on it. Jody saw her lifting up her shirt and putting something on her chest. He wondered what she was doing, but didn’t think much of it. Later, she came over to me and said, “here’s some milk for Julian” handing me an invisible cup. Still later, she handed an invisible cup to our friend Dax to give to his baby Trajan.

I hadn’t seen her putting the tools to her chest and Jody didn’t hear her say it was milk for Julian (but did see her give the “milk” to Dax – which he “drank” himself, hehe), so it wasn’t until later that we were both talking about it that we put the pieces together and figured out she was “pumping milk” for the babies. :) Leave it to my girl to turn a workbench and tools into a breast pump. Love her!

By the way, the pumping for the milk bank is going better for me. I’ve taken your advice (thank you!) and pumped while nursing. It goes much faster that way. Oh, and I’ve been able to express more milk the past couple days, so it seems my supply is meeting the demand of pumping each day. I feel so fortunate that I can do this. :)

 

An evening with Ina May May 8, 2007

Ina MayAs I set out driving Friday night to hear Ina May Gaskin – called “the mother of authentic midwifery” by Midwifery Today – speak, I was filled with nervous excitement. When I was about 10 minutes out from the church in Lafayette where the event was taking place, a friend of mine called me to say she was saving some seats for me and other friends of ours and she was able to get pretty close to the front. I felt like a teenager going to a rock concert. Third row seats! We got third row seats to see Ina May! :)

As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw moms with their children in baby slings or carriers, groups of women without children, as well as some couples all making their way towards the entrance. I pulled in a spot, got Julian from the backseat and into the Ergo carrier when I overheard a woman a few cars down from me say, “I’m so glad I remembered to bring my book for her to sign.” D’oh! I never even thought to bring my copy of “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.” Some groupie I am, eh?

With only five minutes to spare before the talk was supposed to begin, Julian and I hightailed it into the building, quickly saying hello as we passed a couple of women I know from our AP group on the way. I couldn’t wait to get inside.

We made our way to the front of the registration line and we were greeted by my midwife K with a big hug. I wanted to stay and chat with her, but there wasn’t time and she had a lot more participants to check in, so we agreed to try to meet up after Ina May’s talk to chat. My excitement and anticipation grew.

Once inside the church, I spotted my friends waving me down in, yes, the third(!) row, right in front of the podium. I may have skipped a little as I made my way towards them and settled down in my seat with Julian.

We chatted for a good 10 to 15 minutes before Karen Robinson, the president of the Colorado Midwives Association (CMA), came out to welcome everyone to the event, speak a bit about the CMA, and then, the moment we were all waiting for, introduce Ina May Gaskin.

The applause began immediately and Ina May walked in to a standing ovation.

She began her talk with a bit of history both about herself and about the history of birth and obstetrics in the United States. While I have read and heard before about how women used to be treated in hospitals (drugged to the point of being unconscious while their babies were extracted from their bodies using forceps, etc.), it gives me the heebie-jeebies every time. She told us how her first birth was in a hospital, where, despite her belief that she could’ve given birth naturally and without pain medication, she was drugged and her baby was taken out using forceps.

She spoke about the path that lead her to become a midwife, as she began attending births while traveling across the country (on hippie buses) with hundreds of others who were following Stephen Gaskin on a five-month-long speaking tour across the United States. 11 babies were born on the buses during the Caravan. She has attended more than 1200 births to date.

She talked about Sphincter Law which is described in detail in her book “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth.”

“The Sphincter Law recognizes the cervix as a sphincter along with the other excretory sphincters. These sphincters function best, Gaskin points out, in an atmosphere of privacy and familiarity.” –Midwifery: the Revival an Old Profession

So it is difficult for a woman to give birth in a hospital with nurses and doctors shouting “PUSH!” or making threats of “you’d better get that baby out soon or you’ll have a c-section” etc. Just as it would not be easy for any of us to shit (yes, she said shit! and ass too for that matter) on command. If you are sitting on the toilet, trying to take a crap and someone walks in on you – what happens? You stop crapping until you feel safe and no longer vulnerable. Same thing can also happen with birthing a baby.

She also talked about the mind/body connection, though I don’t know if she used that term. She described how she has witnessed a woman get stuck at 7 cm (or whatever) for hours on end with no apparent physical reason, only to later discover that this women’s mother died in childbirth, so this woman was afraid she would die too. Once the “secret” was out, however, the woman was able to dilate to completion and have her baby. She ran into something similar in another situation as well. But (and this is my own rambling here) had something like that happened in a hospital, how many doctors would stop to wonder what could be causing this woman’s labor to stall or would they threaten the woman that if she didn’t dilate by such and such time, she would need a c-section? Yes, I believe things need to change in the obstetrical world.

She talked a little bit about Ricki Lake’s new movie, “The Business of Being Born,” as she is interviewed in it. She mentioned that it received a standing ovation at the Tribeca Film Festival and that Ricki had recently been interviewed about it on “The View.” Someone asked how can we see the film and she recommended we start calling our local movie theaters to ask them when they will be getting it. Let them know there’s a demand for it.

At the end of her talk, she took questions from the audience. Questions were asked about VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean), breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccinations and breech births. I don’t recall all that was said since we were going on two hours of Julian being a happy camper in my lap and he was starting to get squirmy.

I know she said that she believes breastfeeding should continue as long as it’s mutually satisfying to both the child AND the mother. If mom isn’t enjoying the breastfeeding relationship anymore, she doesn’t believe in continuing to nurse out of guilt. She is currently in the process of writing a book about breastfeeding.

She doesn’t believe in routine circumcision, but has seen many circumcised boys in her years as a midwife, and even acted as a mohel for a while.

I didn’t get to hear a lot of what she said about vaccinations, since it was about that time that I decided Julian and I needed to move from our third(!) row seat and stand in the back, where I could sway with him and keep him contented. I recall her saying that she felt some vaccinations were OK, but she believes in starting them later than the recommended age. And that there were others (like chicken pox) that she wouldn’t recommend.

After I had Julian tucked back into the Ergo and we were swaying at the back of the room, someone asked a question about her thoughts on breech births (i.e. should they be automatic c-sections?). This, as some of you who have read Julian’s birth story* know, is a topic very dear and close to my heart. If you have a breech baby in a hospital with an OB, you are pretty much guaranteed a c-section. Of course midwives still perform vaginal breech births and believe that a woman should be able to choose to have a vaginal birth. Ina May helps educate midwives in her conferences (and through her videos) on the knowledge and skills required to successfully assist women having breech babies. In fact, one of the sessions from the following day’s midwifery conference was focusing on breech and twin births. “Vaginal birth of breech and twins has become a rarity for more and more OBs. Therefore the skills needed to assist in these types of vaginal births have begun to disappear and women are losing their right to choose a vaginal birth with twins or a breech.”

After that question was answered, Ina May wrapped up her talk and gracefully exited the room as everyone applauded with much gratitude.

Many people milled about for a while chatting with each other, meeting with Ina May or Debby Takikawa (the director of the movie “What Babies Want” narrated by Noah Wyle who was presenting at the midwifery conference held that day – by the way, it’s a great movie and you should definitely see it if you ever get the chance), etc. after the talk concluded. Yours truly was among them. I chatted with some friends for a while before realizing that Ina May was still around and signing autographs. I wished that I had my book with me, but since I didn’t, I asked her to sign a brochure from my midwife’s practice. She did.
“For Amy
Ina May Gaskin”
I talked to her briefly and told her a little bit about Julian’s birth, as he slept away in the Ergo. It was pretty darn cool to talk to her face to face. I knew she had had a busy day and another one ahead of her the next day (and still more autographs to sign), so I didn’t want to keep her for long. I thanked her and headed back over to my friends. We reminisced about how we used to get all excited about going to concerts or getting autographs from celebrities, etc., and there we were elated to hear a midwife talk and get her autograph. ;) Times have certainly changed.

I must add that I also wished I had taken my camera with me, when I later saw Ina May pose for pictures with a few women. I guess I now know what to bring along with me to my next midwifery rock concert event. ;)

It was a wonderful evening and a great privilege to meet Ina May, a woman who has done so much to further the midwifery cause and offer women a choice, a very safe choice, when it comes to birth.

———————————————————————
I’m sure I forgot something from the evening and if anyone who was there wants to chime in in the comments with anything I overlooked, please do so. It really would’ve been nice to take notes, but there’s no way I could’ve kept the pen and paper out of Julian’s mouth. ;)

Salon.com has a great article about Ina May called, The Midwife of Modern Midwifery from a series called “Brilliant Careers” in the June 1, 1999 edition for those of you who’d like to learn more about this amazing woman.

*If you haven’t read Julian’s birth story and would like to, please e-mail me. It’s not currently on my blog.

 

My first few ounces May 6, 2007

Filed under: Activism,Ava,Breastfeeding,Health,milk banking,Valuable Resources — amygeekgrl @ 10:01 am

breastfeeding baby

Yesterday morning I sat down with my Lactina breastpump (on loan from the Mothers’ Milk Bank) and pumped my first few ounces of breast milk to donate to the bank.

Ava has been very interested in learning about the whole process of mommy pumping for other babies who’s mommies don’t make milk, and wanted to watch me pump. I thought it would be distracting to me to have her watch, but it turns out she had quite the opposite effect. Jody kept her downstairs for a while as I was getting set up and I could hear her asking if I was pumping yet. Once I’d been pumping for about 5 to 7 minutes and was feeling a tad frustrated because my milk wasn’t letting down (even though I was looking at baby pics of both Ava and Julian on the wall for inspiration), I told him to let her come upstairs. It certainly couldn’t hurt at that point. A minute or so after she walked into the room and started talking to me, my milk let down. Yay! I should have known that having her or Julian (who was napping at the time) in the room with me could only help.

I was only able to pump 2 oz. on my first try, but I am hoping that as I get into the routine of doing it daily (and up my water and oatmeal intake), I’ll be able to produce more. That’s the beauty of supply and demand. :)

Thanks again to Jennifer at The Lactivist for mentioning a couple months ago that Denver’s Mothers’ Milk Bank was having a severe shortage. Without that knowledge, I don’t know that I would’ve been motivated to look into it and start donating.

If you are interested in donating your breast milk, please read this article and contact a milk bank in your area. Many sick or premature babies and their mommies thank you.

————————————————–

I have to add that seeing Ina May talk Friday night was amazing. I hope to find some time in the next few days to write all about it. I wish I was able to take notes while I was there so I don’t forget anything, but with my bouncing baby boy on my lap, that wasn’t exactly a possibility. ;)

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.