Tag Archives: breastfeeding

What I’m reading Wednesday Vol. 2

Hi everyone!! Here’s the round up of some interesting things that I have been reading:

If you have children under the age of 5, especially more than one, you will really appreciate this one. This blog post was forwarded to me by Missy and it’s so very true. When you hear, as a parent, that things will just get better and to cherish each moment, it’s hard to believe, especially when you are in the Tunnel, but things do get better… The Tunnel of Parenthood

If you are a loyal reader, you know how I feel about girls’ clothing. In short… the classic styles are really pricey and the budget-friendly styles are usually immodest, trampy, campy or just bad. Check out this Epic T-shirt fail by JCPenney.

If you have been reading blogs or just keeping up with internet news, you have known that children really are not longer the accessory du jour. In fact some places are out-and-out banning children from their premises. A mom at Jezebel.com wonders Where, Exactly, Is it Okay to take your Kid? The last two paragraphs are particularly giggle-worthy but spot on.

In Breastfeeding news… there’s trouble a brewin’. If you know the name Nancy Mohrbacher you know that she is an amazing peer counselor, author, educator and IBCLC. But it seems as if LLL is not in agreement with that. Read about how LLL of IL removed her as a leader due to an insurance clause that could have been changed.

Happy Reading!!

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Thursday’s List: Top Ten Signs you might be a (Caffeinated) Catholic Mama

When people hear my blog name, they can’t help but giggle a little bit. After all, it’s fairly descriptive but at the same time, I am pointing to one of my biggest vices, Caffeine. My love for caffeine is such that when I was pregnant with my children, I couldn’t give it up all the way… so I cut back. I used to think of myself as less of a person because of my coffee addiction but then, one Sunday, one of my favorite priests admitted his caffeine addiction as well and then I realized I was not alone. He is much better with his crutch that I am… in fact, I believe he gives up coffee for all of Lent. Wednesdays and Fridays are traditional fasting days and it would be wise of me to consider fasting from my coffee on Wednesdays and Fridays…

A friend posted on FaceBook a list of things that indicate a certain level of Catholicism and it kind of got me thinking, what characteristics are indicative of a post-modern Catholic Mama, like me? So without further ado:

Top Ten Signs You Might Be A (Caffeinated ) Catholic Mama

10. After morning prayers, you sit and make your list of things to do for the day because you have the attention span of a squirrel.

9. When your kids fall and scrape their knee, you inspect the wound and then tell them to offer their physical pain up to those poor souls in purgatory.

8. Your idea of abstinence is unplugging the coffee pot (or hiding the French Press) for a while.

7. You would be aghast at the thought of taking your kids to the market in their PJs but if it means getting to daily Mass on time, they are going in those footies! (that was me in February.)

6. Your baby’s first words are: Mama, Dada, Amen and Coffee

5. Your toddler has no clue what Adoration is but she knows that she should whisper when in there.

4. Your kids play Mass with the food in their kitchen set rather than “cooking” with it.

3. Religious Art depicting The Blessed Virgin lactating isn’t “weird” to your kids.

2. Your preschooler treats “StarWars” as a call and response. (Film: “May the Force be with you.” Little Voice: “and also with you.”)

1. The folks at Starbucks see your red Swagger Wagon after Sunday Mass and they have your order ready when you walk through the door!

ETA: One more… let’s call this #1a: Guest lists to family parties are not complete unless one or more Priests or Deacons are invited!

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The iced coffee that now resides in my ‘fridge comes from The Pioneer Woman. Thanks to Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy and Suzanne for introducing me to this recipe for heaven in a cup. Personally, I sweeten with simple syrup (a 1 part sugar to 2 parts water ratio.) Yum.

Pax Christi!

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Filed under breastfeeding, Catholic, family, funnies, lists, Thursday

How Formula Marketing Came to Be: A Bit of Satire

Scene: The year is 1939. War is raging in Europe We are in a high-rise office over looking the big city. It’s late. There are two men sitting inside, wearing suits and ties and smoking. Because, after all, smoking is cool. 

Man 1: So, so, so! (Slapping Man 2 on shoulder) How’s fatherhood treating you?

Man 2: The boy is great! He’s quite the little man, I’ll tell you. Strong, happy but you know what? He takes up all of my wife’s time.

Man 1: (Guffawing) And that’s a bad thing? Take my wife, please!

Man 2: No, I am serious. Every time I look at her, she’s holding him or playing with him or cooing at him or feeding him. He’s only three weeks old, but it’s as if he’s more important than me! The feeding is the worst part… those used to be my toys. (He looks wistfully out the window.)

Man 1: But she’s still fulfilling her wifely duties, right. After all, that’s her job too.

Man 2: (makes a rude noise) NO. Because whenever I start in on her, that baby starts crying or smacking his lips and she’ll push me off to “comfort” him. And when he finally does go to sleep, she tells me that she’s (takes on a whining tone) “tired” and “doesn’t want to be touched anymore right now.” Fine. I won’t touch her, but I have needs too, dammit! (hits the table with fist.)

Man 1: Wow. That baby’s taking over everything. You can’t even touch your wife anymore. (starts laughing)

Man 2: You know it would be just better if there was a way for her not to feel so worn out. I think it’s all the milk the baby takes from her. He’s sucking on her every two hours.

Man 1: You know, that sounds familiar… hold on there, sport. (takes a drag of his cigarette and walks over to a paper-strewn desk. Begins to rifle through the papers.) Here it is! This was submitted a few weeks ago and I didn’t know where to go with it. It’s for an artificial infant feeding mix.

Man 2: How’s that?

Man 1: According to this, it’s based in evaporated milk and has a bunch of other stuff thrown in. I don’t know the science, I am just supposed to sell the stuff.

Man 1: Who’s it for?

Man 2: It’s supposed to be for mothers who can’t make their own milk, but it’s just not selling.

Man 1: If I could get some of that to my wife, I might get her in bed once in a while. I mean if that evaporated milk stuff is as good as her milk and it can buy me some time with her, I am all about it. When is the ad campaign due?

Man 2: (Takes another drag.) It’ll be tight. I have to make the pitch in 2 weeks.

Man 1: OK, let’s work on this. Because you know that  am not the only man out there cast out like a dog because of the baby. We need to figure out a way to make the regular way of feeding seem inconvenient and lower-class. We need to make this stuff sound futuristic and better because it’s made in a factory. How about this, we spin it so that we “Dads” can get more involved (snorts) because we can “help feed the baby” giving our wives more time for themselves! Do you think they’ll buy it?

Man 2: We’re smoking aren’t we? People will buy anything if you sell it right.

(Scene)

OK, yes, this was a little satire…  but for a little history: From Wikipedia:

In parallel with the enormous shift (in industrialized nations) away from breastfeeding to home-made formulas, nutrition scientists continued to analyze human milk and attempted to make infant formulas that more closely matched its composition.[4] Maltose and dextrins were believed nutritionally important, and in 1912, the Mead Johnson Company released a milk additive called Dextri-Maltose. This formula was made available to mothers only by physicians. In 1919, milkfats were replaced with a blend of animal and vegetable fats as part of the continued drive to closer simulate human milk. This formula was called SMA for “simulated milk adapted.”[10]

In the late 1920s, Alfred Bosworth released Similac (for “similar to lactation”), and Mead Johnson released Sobee.[10] Several other formulas were released over the next few decades, but commercial formulas did not begin to seriously compete with evaporated milk formulas until the 1950s. The reformulation and concentration of Similac in 1951, and the introduction (by Mead Johnson) of Enfamil in 1959 were accompanied by marketing campaigns that provided inexpensive formula to hospitals and pediatricians.[10] By the early 1960s, commercial formulas were more commonly used than evaporated milk formulas, which all but vanished in the 1970s. By the early 1970s, over 75% of babies in the United States were fed on formulas, almost entirely commercially produced.[4]

When birth rates in industrial nations tapered off during the 1960s, infant formula companies heightened marketing campaigns in non-industrialized countries. Unfortunately, poor sanitation led to steeply increased mortality rates among infants fed formula prepared with contaminated (drinking) water.[19] Organized protests, the most famous of which was theNestlé boycott of 1977, called for an end to unethical marketing. This boycott is ongoing, as the current coordinators maintain that Nestlé engages in marketing practices which violate the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

I read something somewhere and it much more succinctly sums up the whole breastfeeding/ formula feeding debate. While breastmilk is superior, Formula is not bad. Formula has helped countless babies over the years who otherwise might have fared worse. Formula Marketing is the problem.

Now, people could say that breastfeeding doesn’t need to be marketed, because it’s always there, but what does need to be marketed is how breastfeeding is a normal activity and not sexual and not deviant. We need to market that if you want to breastfeed your child, and you need help, find help and we need to market where that help can be found.

When I was pregnant with The Bear in 2006/7, I remember on my first office visit walking out with a book about fetal development and formula samples. No information about La Leche League or other breastfeeding support groups, nothing. On one of the later visits, when I made my breastfeeding intentions known, I walked about with the “Just in Case” sample bag with the cute little “Breastfeeding Kit” tag. It was a shoulder bag filled with formula samples… just in case I needed it. Again, nothing on breastfeeding support.

Why do moms fail with breastfeeding? Because they don’t have help and they don’t know where to find help. I chatted with a young mom at the park last week. She had a four month old with her and she nursed baby for one month. When I told her I was a volunteer working with nursing moms, she told me that she stopped nursing because baby would choke, cough and pull off whenever she tried to nurse, so she thought that something was wrong with her milk! (Any thoughts as to what was going on? Sounds a bit like oversupply to me.) Had this mom been with a group of  other breastfeeding moms she might have been able to nurse her baby a little bit longer, maybe even to her goal of six months.

I know that it sounds like a radical departure for a self-professed lactivist, but again… formula in and of itself if not bad. But the marketing sure is. And I am sure that sexually-deprived ad men are not to blame for formula marketing, but it does make for an interesting plot device, no?
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Tomorrow is the last day to enter to win “The Invisible World!” Click here to find out how to enter. I’m drawing the winner tomorrow!!

Pax Christi!

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Top Ten Things to say to encourage a nursing mother

It’s Time for another List!! Part of me is thinking about making Thursday my “List Day.” My post about breastfeeding this week kind of got me thinking about some of the other “booby-traps” that moms run into, and negative comments tend to be right up there. Honestly, I think it’s because people just don’t know what to say to a nursing mom. Here’s an idea: Just talk to her like you would any other mom. The fact that she is nourishing her child with breastmilk shouldn’t sway your conversation (and that applies if she is nursing right next to you or just nursing in general.)

Top Ten Things to Say to Encourage a Nursing (or Any) Mother

10. You are doing great!

9. What can I do to help you out right now?

8. Can I make you dinner tonight?

7. Would you like a glass of water?

6. You been nursing for (2 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 months, 3 years)? Congratulations!

5. Nurse where ever or how ever you are most comfortable.

4. Your baby looks very happy/content.

3. Any amount of breastmilk your baby receives is fantastic for his health.

2. Formula and Breastmilk can work together, it doesn’t have to be ‘all or nothing.’

1. I am here if you need me, even if it’s just to listen.

I know that it sounds kind of counter-intuitive, coming from a self-professed “lactivist,” but I have really been thinking about why I began breastfeeding and why I wanted to help other mother’s breastfeed. I believe that breastmilk is superior to formula but I am also a realist knowing that not all moms will make the choice to stay home with their children (or that it is financially feasible.) So if I mom decides that pumping her milk for while she is away is too much of a hassle and would rather use formula when she is away, that is what works best for their family.

But there is the flip-side, I do believe that more should be done to remove some of the barriers that impede the efforts of nursing mothers. I mean, you figure if a mom wants to nurse her child exclusively for 9 months and goes back to work when the baby is 3 months old, she’s requiring time to pump for 6 months. When that comes up, all of a sudden there are calls about how it’s not fair that this mom has to have:

1.) time to pump

2.) a private location to pump that’s not her car

3.) storage for the milk (optional)

I think back to when I was working (before teaching) and our workplace was smoke-free, when the smokers could go out willy-nilly to have a “smoke-break” in addition to their mandated breaks. Did I think that it was fair that me, as a non-smoker, didn’t have that luxury? No, I didn’t think that it was fair, but to be honest, I was happy that I wasn’t saddled with a nicotine addiction, so it was a wash. But we have to remember, fair does not mean equal.  When I was teaching, I used an easy way to illustrate this: Is it fair that I have to wear glasses while my BFF has perfect vision? No. Should I stop correcting my vision or should she wear corrective lenses so we are equal? No.

When my DDs were little, they both wore a cheeky one-sie that we bought in Chicago. It read:

” Thank You for not giving my parents unsolicited advice.”

I think new parents are so bombarded with advice, that they forget to follow their God-given instinct. Mothering is hard enough as it is and we make it harder by always wanting to either out-do each other by being the “better mother” or by thinking that somehow we are doing something wrong because we are not following the latest expert advice to a “T.”

But I think the best thing you can say to any mother is:

You baby/ children is/ are beautiful and you all look very happy.

And that’s music to any mother’s ears.
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What’s the best or worst advice you received as a new mom, nursing or not? Share below!!

Pax Christi!

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Don’t let appearances deceive you

Earlier this Spring I gave a lecture, along with another breastfeeding mom, to a series of high school classes. The class was on child development and the teacher was a breastfeeding advocate, but having no children herself, was having a difficult time answering some of their questions. So, she contacted the organization that I am a member of and we set up the talks.

I was super excited about the talks because it had been almost 4 years since I had left the classroom and while I love my life as an at-home-mom, there are days that I do miss teaching. Taking the opportunity to it’s fullest, I put on my best “teacher-like” outfit: pencil skirt, black twinset, nude calfskin platform pumps, and pearls. I even had my cutest two accessories with me: The Bear and The Dragonfly. (The teacher was 100% on board with us bringing our kids because she felt it could make a clear point about how mothering is 27/7/365 to the students. I, admittedly, was having trouble finding child care as the first class began at 730a and the school was about 45 minutes from my house.)

We walk in and start chatting with the students and one of the girls says to me: “Cute shoes!” I am a shoe lover and since I am a size 12, I don’t go hog-wild with purchases, but I tend to buy quality over quanity usually because there isn’t a large quanity of 12s out there, so I was very flattered that she noticed my shoes. I thanked her for her complement and she followed up with this comment:

“You guys don’t look like breastfeeders.”

Huh? “Look like breastfeeders?” My curiousity, of course, was piqued and I asked her what a breastfeeding mom looked like. She responded, “Well, kind of like a hippie.” At that point the bell rang and I made a mental note to come back to that, but I kind of forgot. For some reason this exchange popped into my head this weekend and I figured it would make a great blog post/ discussion.

Part of me wonders if some mothers have difficulty choosing to breastfeed because they feel that you have to bring all the rest with it. What is all the rest, you may ask? These are the things that I’ve heard from others, plus some of the things that I’ve incorporated into my own life:

Organic food

Gardening

Attachment parenting

bed sharing/ co-sleeping

homeschooling/ unschooling

cloth diapering

forgoing makeup

Gentle Discipline

not looking fashionable… just looking like a “mom”

smelling like patchouli (I am still not sure what that smells like.)

staying home with the kids

But do you really want to know what you need to make breastfeeding successful? A pair of lactating breasts, a baby and a support system. The rest is just details. While it’s true that breastfeeding and natural living and natural/ gentle parenting tend to go hand-in-hand-in-hand, breastfeeding is not dependent on your knowing what essential oils are best for what use, or where to find the best deals on amber necklaces. People may try to make you feel as if you are less of a mother if you are not breastfeeding AND making your children’s clothing AND tending a garden AND using the family bed AND homeschooling, etc, etc, etc, but one thing to remember is this:

every family is different

Each family makes the best choice for their particular situation and comparing what your family does to what your BFF’s or your WEF’s does (WEF= worst enemy forever) or what the Queen Bee at your kid’s school does will do nothing but keep you awake all night grinding your teeth in frustration. When in doubt, ask yourself these questions:

Am I happy?

Is my partner happy?

Are our kids happy?

Are we healthy?

Are we safe?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then there’s a good chance you are parenting just right. (So, I know that was kind of a trip down the rabbit trail, but it all kind of goes together.)

Back to breastfeeding appearances? A breastfeeding mom looks like any other mom out there, she just has fewer bottles to carry around.

And what does this breastfeeding mama look like?

Everyday Look (if I’m not at the gym)

I’ll admit it. I am all about makeup, doing something to my hair or wearing a fascinator (crafted by moi, of course!) For me, it’s the little accessories that make the outfit. And come July 11, I will have been breastfeeding for 4 years.

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What are your thoughts? Has the breastfeeding culture, without intention, alienated some moms or made breastfeeding more complicated by setting unspoken standards?

Pax Christi!

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Wordless Wednesday: Simple Similac?

Yes, if only feeding a baby could be this simple…

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Pax Christi!

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The Accidental Lactivist

I was chatting with some girlfriends after my Spin class yesterday, and I told them how over the weekend, we decided to, and successfully, night-weaned The Dragonfly. I told them that I was most impressed that it was not as traumatic as I had made it out to be as well!

For those of you who do not know, we are a family that practices extended breastfeeding and bed-sharing, and many of my lady friends, with whom I was chatting, do not. Some still hold onto beliefs that both practices can be harmful to the child’s psyche, either in the short- or long-term, but I like to acknowledge both practices (but extended breastfeeding especially) as some of my most effective parenting tools. And if I may say so, my girls are great! Now, The Bear (DD1) was night-weaned fairly early in her life (we started out child-rearing a little more traditional. She was in a crib and night-weaned before she was a year. With DD2, we changed it up a bit. Part of it is the scientist in me, wanting to see which methodology is more effective, I guess,) so I didn’t know how it would be night-weaning a toddler who could, very vociferously, protest when she disagreed. Friday night, as she was nursing after bath, I explained to her that her “milkies were going night-night, too.” Overnight, we did have frequent wake-ups and attempts to nurse and one little bit of crying, but she was cuddled and was reminded that the milk was sleeping like she was. Around 3am, however, she woke up and would not go back to sleep. I almost caved. I sang, I rubbed her back, I snuggled… nothing. (You might be asking yourself, where is the MIster? Well, he was not traveling, but he snores incredibly loud and, for now, is sleeping in the guest room until we figure out this snoring. My original plan did include MY sleeping in the guest room and him night weaning her, but he gently reminded me that as soon as we returned to normal sleeping arraignments, I would have to address her as well. Begrudgingly, I relented, knowing he was right.) I heard the Mister get up around 4a (we are early-birdies here, in fact I started working on this at 530a) and by 545a, I shuffled out with her and explained the deal. He took her and I crashed for another 2 hours. Saturday night was that much better, no long stretches of wake time in the middle of the night, just a few reminders of the milk being asleep and we’ve just improved from there. It’s Wednesday morning and we didn’t wake up at all last night. But back to the story…

So, I am telling this tale to my girlfriends, and batting away the negativity with my sword of knowledge when one of the ladies (who, for the record is not a “rah-rah-breastfeeding mom,” like yours truly, pipes up. She says, “I don’t really see the big deal. My DD is 5 and still takes a sippy-cup to bed with her to drink during the night, how is that different from nursing at night?”

Well said, accidental lactivist, well said.
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Pax Christi!

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A Song for Mama’s Milk: April Carnival of Breastfeeding

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This month’s theme was “Extended Nursing.” This is an older post that I’d written on the subject but it is still applicable.  Be sure to check out the links to all of the other participants and their thoughts about nursing toddlers at the end of this post. Enjoy and Happy Reading!! – Karianna

The other day, The Mister and I stumbled across the movie “Grown Ups.” What struck me about this movie was not that it was a mindless comedy with a revelation-for-the-good-of-the-family at the end, but that it featured a four-year-old nursing. As I am watching, I am thinking, “This could be fantastic! The beginnings of normalizing extended breastfeeding.” Of course, I was sorely disappointed. The breastfeeding scenes, while few, were met with jokes and ridicule and one ill-mannered four-year-old, demanding “I WANT MOMMY’S MILK!” What?! Is it too much to expect that Hollywood would treat extended breastfeeding with courtesy and respect? I guess that it’s easier to make fun of it since every one else does.

I am the mother of two daughters, both of whom would qualify as “extended breastfeeders.” The Bear will be 4 in July and weaned at 30 months. The Dragonfly will be two in September and is very much in love with nursing. The girls tandem nursed until The Dragonfly was three months old. At that point, this mama was pretty much done with tandem nursing. I asked The Bear if she would mind if Mama’s Milk was only for the baby. She looked at me at said, “Sure! Can I have some yogurt please?” And with that, my nursing relationship with the Bear was complete and, to be honest, she was still just a baby in my eyes.

Breastfeeding is one of my most cherished parenting tools. What do I do if the Dragonfly falls and hurts herself? Nursing makes it all better. What if the Dragonfly is having a rough day? Let’s take a moment and nurse. How about this one? Mama is stressed out and kids are getting on her last nerve? Let’s stop, nurse and reconnect. What if she’s sick and can’t keep solids down? Breastmilk’s got it covered. How about those “picky eating” phases, do I reach for a nutritional supplement? Nope, breastmilk is all that we need. The life of a toddler is all about exploration and discovery. Sometimes that exploration can get overwhelming and discovery can consume many free moments in the day. Nursing allows time to rest and for your excitable toddler to just be a baby once again.

But, extended breastfeeding isn’t culturally accepted or the norm. Why is that? Why is a child considered young enough to breastfeed at five months but too old by nine months? Why do we pressure mothers to begin solid foods at 4 months even if baby is not showing readiness signs? Mothers who nurse past one year or even two years are accused of being too attached to their kids or even worse, abusing them. They are told that what they are doing is “gross” or “twisted” or that breastmilk doesn’t have any benefits past twelve months. Really? Is that where we are in the 21st Century?

One of my favorite moments during the day is when The Dragonfly comes up to me, and says “Muk, peas!” We sit down to nurse, with tickles and giggles to boot. Near the end, she stops, looks up at me and says emphatically, “Done!” Every time it makes me laugh and then she laughs and runs off to resume playing. There is nothing weird or strange about extended breastfeeding. To the child, it is just another way of knowing that they are loved. We may cluck out tongues or look disapprovingly at a toddler or preschooler walking around with a bottle or pacifier, but we don’t ever think that the parent is somehow hurting the child. Why wouldn’t the same hold true for the nursing relationship?

I just finished reading A Song for Nagasaki: The Story of Takashi Nagai by Paul Glynn and there is a moment in the book that really exemplifies the extended breastfeeding relationship. I will warn you though, it may make your eyes well up… especially if you are a parent. (Spoiler Alert! If you are currently reading the book or planning to, you might want to stop reading the blog here. This scene is toward the end of the book.) The book is a true story about a man and his family living in Nagasaki before, during and after the dropping of the A-bomb on the city. The narrator is a father, talking about his daughter, after the bomb killed his wife:

“It is nighttime, and I am in bed in the hut with four-year-old Kayano in my arms. She is drowsy and almost asleep but instinctively reaches under my shirt and takes hold of my nipple. With a shudder, she realizes it is not her mother’s breast, and that her mother has disappeared. Suddenly, she is awake and sobbing.”

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Make sure to visit the other Carnival Participants!

Elita @ Blacktating: The Last Time That Never Was

Mama Poekie from Authentic Parenting: Extended Breastfeeding

Mama Alvina of Ahava & Amara Life Foundation: Breastfeeding Journey Continues

Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it

Judy @ Mommy News Blog: My Favorite Moments

Tamara Reese @ Please Send Parenting Books: Extended Breastfeeding

Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler

Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding

Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough

Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler

Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl: My Hopes for Tandem Nursing

Elisa @ blissfulE: counter cultural: extended breastfeeding

Momma Jorje: Extended Breastfeeding, So Far!

Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes

The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama

Sarah @ Reproductive Rites: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding

Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things

Dr. Sarah @ Good Enough Mum: Breastfeeding for longer than a year: myths, facts and what the research really shows

Amy @ WIC City: (Extended) Breastfeeding as Mothering

The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?

Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding

TopHat @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes

Beth @ Bethstedman.com: Extended Breastfeeding: To Wean Or Not To Wean

Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings:  Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding

Amanda @ Postilius: Nursing My Toddler Keeps My Baby Close

Sheryl @ Little Snowflakes: Tandem Nursing- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Zoie @ Touchstone Z: Breastfeeding Flavors

Lauren @ Hobo Mama: Same old, same old: Extended breastfeeding

Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding

Jona (Breastfeedingtwins.org): Breastfeeding Older Twins

Motherlove Herbal Company: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler

Pax Christi!

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Jesse Tree Day 5: Sarah

Scripture: Gen 18:1-15, Gen 21:1-17

1 The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,[a] do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”

“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”

6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs[b] of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”

7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. 8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

9 “Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he said.

10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13 Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “I did not laugh.”

But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”

1 Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac[a] to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
6 Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 7 And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away

8 The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. 9 But Sarah saw that the son whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham was mocking, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”
11 The matter distressed Abraham greatly because it concerned his son. 12 But God said to him, “Do not be so distressed about the boy and your slave woman. Listen to whatever Sarah tells you, because it is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned. 13 I will make the son of the slave into a nation also, because he is your offspring.”

14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.

15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she[c] began to sob.

17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.

A long time ago, old Abraham’s wife
Got the biggest surprise she’d had in her life.
Sarah and Abraham knew they were old.
But God said they’d soon have a baby to hold.

When Sarah heard this, she let out a laugh.
Could she have a baby at ninety and a half?
But just as God said, right before her eyes,
A son was born! She got her surprise.

(From My Princess Bible by Andy Holmes)

I think Sarah had a reaction that any of us would have when faced with an impossibility, she laughed. We tend to laugh when nervous, laugh in disbelief, laugh to disguise our discomfort, laughter can be a knee-jerk reaction to something that we just can’t process in that moment. Before she was told by God that she would bear a child for Abraham, Sarah decided to take things into her own hands (how many of us have never felt that way…) and decided that Abraham should have a child by her slave, Hagar, at least that way Abraham’s lineage would live on. So.. Ishmael was born of the union between Abraham and Hagar. And that was all fine and dandy until Sarah conceived and bore her son. Once Isaac was weaned (so he was most likely around 3 or 4 years old and Ishmael was maybe 4 or 5) Sarah decided she wanted Hagar and Ishmael out. (Granted, Ishmael was mocking Isaac, but still not cool, in my opinion.) In deciding this she basically gave Hagar and Ishmael a death sentence in sending them away, but God takes care of all of his people. God promised Abraham that out of Ishmael a nation would come as well, because he too was a son of Abraham. We call that nation of Ishmael the Nation of Islam. Judaism, Islam and Christianity are called “Abrahamic Religions” because all three have Abraham as a common ancestor and despite all of the differences we like to bring up, we are all sons and daughters of Abraham.

Ornament: Baby Feet

DSC_0006

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So, I hope you enjoyed today’s devotion. Unless indicated, all devotions are out of my brain, so if you don’t like them, you can tell me. 🙂 I will try to post additional musings as time permits, but no promises. Don’t forget to enter to win an autographed copy of Little Star by Anthony DeStefano. You have until Dec 13! Click Here to see the post where you can enter!

Pax Christi!

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Filed under Advent, breastfeeding, Catholic, family, Friday, tradition

Jesse Tree Day 2: The Fall of Man

Scripture: Gen 3: 1-24

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

4 “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this,

“Cursed are you above all livestock
and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”

16 To the woman he said,

“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”

17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”

20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Ornament: Serpent and the Apple

Today’s Devotion is from Madeleine L’Engle:

When we left the garden we knew that it would be
forever.
The new world we entered was dark and strange.
Nights were cold.
We lay together for warmth, and because we were
afraid
of the un-named animals, and of the others: we
had never
known about the giants, and angels gone wild.
We had not been told
of dwarves and elves; they teased us; we hid
whenever they played.

Adam held me. When my belly grew taut and
began to swell
I didn’t know what was happening. I thought it was
the beginning
of death, the very first death. I clung to Adam and
cried.
As I grew bigger something within me moved.
One day I fell
and the pains started. A true angel came and
pushed the grinning
creatures back. Adam helped. There was a tearing.
I thought I’d died.
Instead, from within me came a tiny thing, a new
creature,
red-faced, bellowing, mouth groping for my breast.
This was not death, but birth, and joy came to my
heart again.
This was the first-born child. How I did laugh and
sing!
But from this birth came death. He never gave me
any rest.
And then he killed his brother. Oh, my child. Oh,
my son Cain.

I watched from then on over every birth,
seeing in each babe cruelty ready to kill
compassion.
For centuries the pattern did not change. Birth
always meant death.
Each man child who was born upon the longing
earth
in gratefulness and joy brought me only a fresh
ration
of tears. I had let hate into the world with that first
breath.

Yet something made me hope. Each baby born
brought me hurrying, bringing, as in the old tales,
a gift
looking- for what? I went to every slum and cave
and palace
seeking the mothers, thinking that at least I could
warn
their hearts. Thus perhaps the balance might shift
and kindness and concern replace self-will and
malice.

So I was waiting at that extraordinary intersection
of Eternity and Time when David’s son (Adam’s
too)
was born. I watched the Incarnate at his mother’s
breast
making, by his humble, holy birth the one possible
correction
of all that I by disobedience had done. I knelt and
saw new
Adam, and I cried, “My son!” and came at last to
rest.

I have nothing to top that.

Jesse Tree Day 2: The Fall of Man

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So, I hope you enjoyed today’s devotion. Unless indicated, all devotions are out of my brain, so if you don’t like them, you can tell me. 🙂 I will try to post additional musings as time permits, but no promises. Don’t forget to enter to win an autographed copy of Little Star by Anthony DeStefano. You have until Dec 13! Click Here to see the post where you can enter!

Pax Christi!

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Filed under Advent, breastfeeding, Catholic, family, tradition, Tuesday