Thursday, April 29, 2010

Noah's 1st Trip to the Library!

Today something momentous occurred.
Noah discovered the library!

My little monkey mostly ran around shouting "AH!" to hear his voice echo in the silence. Haha....
I told him that everyone in there wanted to do just that and to take advantage of it while he could.

I feel privileged that I could show him the library for the first time ever in his little life. One of my favorite places...I hope it becomes his too.

I love days where we get to relax.
We had an awesome time walking in the rain and amusing librarians and buying cheap organic groceries at the discount store.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Food Inc.

If you do anything this weekend, PLEASE, please watch Food, Inc.

Rethink what you eat.


I am shocked. and I shouldn't be at all.

BUY LOCAL! Vote with your dollar!

Assault on the Freedom of Conscience

A wonderful article from Mothering about the current assault on the freedom of conscience that is currently at hand regarding vaccinations (she also speaks to circumcision however, I'm not as familiar with that topic).

"Vaccine Wars" Review

The first two minutes of this Frontline documentary told me where this show was going...... it started with a surgical removal of a baby (as if it were a normal birth process) and continued with its first Hep B shot (highly controversialized and not even done anymore at some hospitals!)

I found it to be very biased against those who hesitate to vaccinate their children..... showing you tube clips as the opposing sides and referencing doctors and gvt agencies for the pro side. Also citing flawed studies ....not showing the whole truth about what is UNKNOWN about vaccinations.  More on the flawed Danish study denying the link between thimersol and autism.

I think we should vaccinate our children but I believe that the government should NEVER have the ability to FORCE anyone to do anything especially regarding the health of their children unless it is a DIRECT abuse case (and not vaccinating is not neglect).

We need to ensure people are taking precautions against disease by supporting breastfeeding, healthy eating and exercise, etc not by forcing vaccinations. This society is so backwards..... we want to do everything the easy, profitable way. Pop a pill, get a shot....

Every parent and every person should look at each "vaccine" as having unique capabilities and dangers and make decisions based on what is known. Unfortunately, not much is "known" 100% when it comes to vaccines and vaccine risks.

Either way, I felt PBS did a poor job balancing both sides of the debate and was very disappointed.

AND so did Dr. Jay Gordon...mirroring my thoughts exactly!! You must read his response to this poorly produced documentary. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Vaccinations are scary.

Instead of being comforted by them, I am scared.
There are polar opposite opinions on which ones are necessary and safe versus which ones are unsafe and never necessary.

There is the NO-VAX camp that opposes vaccinations because of the additives, preservatives and in short, scary stuff they contain. Some agree that vaccines (if they were safe) would be smart to prevent disease but others believe in natural immunity.

There is the PRO-VAX camp which is made of up many doctors, vaccine companies, large organizations, etc. They push vaccines on parents (and the general public) because they do believe in their efficacy and safety and also because they frankly make a LOT of money on them.

Then there are concerned citizens such as myself stuck in between. Do I not vaccinate Noah because I'm scared of the risks the vaccines present? Or do I give him all his vaccines because I'm scared of the diseases the vaccines (supposedly) prevent?

The decision to vaccinate or not to vaccinate shouldn't be based on fear or pressure.

One book I found very helpful is The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears. (I know, I know..I really love those Sears men).

He lays out each vaccine in a clear and concise way. What is the disease it claims to protect from? What are the risks of the disease if caught? What does the vaccine contain? What are the risks of the vaccine contents? He also presents his take at the end of each chapter or vaccine presentation.

I appreciated this SO much. I have been unable to find much unbiased info about vaccinations online. The sites that are pro-vax are usually monetarily connected to vaccine companies and the sites that are anti-vax seem over the top extremist. He may not be *truly* unbiased because he does believe that vaccines prevent disease and ideally feels that all children should be vaccinated BUT he does feel that parents should have choices and options and that vaccinated by the CDC schedule is NOT always the smartest plan especially for families with histories of vaccine reactions, etc.

Before I read this book, I had started Noah's vaccines as normal but then switched to an alternative more spaced out schedule.
Now that I have read the book, I would probably delay all vaccines until 2 years of age and then begin from there avoiding live virus vaccines as well as any containing mercury spread apart by 6 months each.

Another good resource is - they have a lot of research-based unbiased info that I wasn't able to find elsewhere such as the monthly VAERS reports (vaccine reactions database the government runs). Keep in mind that a small percentage of reactions are reported because parents aren't told to report reactions unless of course they are major and even then, many ER's and doctors will just treat them and not report them. :-/

I wish that doctors would not push parents so much. My pediatrician isn't even that pushy but I feel really intimated by her and saying no to certain vaccinations certainly makes her agitated even though she was willing to work with us.

I am considering switching to a Naturopathic doctor - simply because I know they are just as educated but more willing to consider alternative routes of doing things. They also treat the whole person. I'm a big believer in the "whole person"... we aren't just a blood pressure reading or weight or temperature. There are other things going on in how we take care of ourselves (eating, exercise, etc) that affect our health and too many doctors skip those steps.
The one I am considering is also a midwife so she would provide whole care for our family which would be great.

One of things I've learned as a mom is to question everything. You have to advocate for your child's health from Day 1 of your pregnancy. I regret not being informed about different things before Noah was born but now I know more. I wish someone had told me that "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is a bunch of mainstream thoughtless crap.

*** If you have already started to vaccinate your baby and want to switch to an alternative schedule such as Dr. Sears, you can. Check out his blog for more info. 

Ultimately, we are responsible for the decisions we make on behalf of our children. I want to be as informed as possible so I don't have to say, "I didn't know".  Our health care system *should* look out for us and our children but unfortunately, its a corrupt system just like many others and there is a lot of monetary influence that occurs; not to say it is all bad but again, be cautious!

Monday, April 26, 2010


In an ever-elusive search of this gorgeous tomato anatomy print/wall hanging from Anthropologie that I lusted over a few years back, I now and again search craigslist, freecycle, ebay, google everything for Anthropologie tomato. There was a tulip one as well and I would settle for that...but yes, Anthropologie tomato print wall hanging.....I will find you some day.

Regardless, I found a number of incredible tomato wall art items but this may be a runner up for a potential spot in the kitchen.

and at only $30....pair w/a repurposed frame- its a heck of a lot less than the anthropologie dream.

ahh.. I love you.

joy of spring

The sun shined the whole weekend. It was lovely.

My seeds that I started last week sprouted, which is incredible! Also the morning glories are poking out their heads..

Noah and I chased each other around the yard. He was barefoot running in the grass for the first time in his life.

Bryan and my dad put up a new (rather, old, but given to us) wooden swing set with a slide.

We threw rocks into the pond.

I hung diapers to dry on the clothes line yesterday for the first time.

Spring is especially perfect this year because although it's not Noah's very first spring, it is the first one that he is able to discover for himself.  The "plop" of a rock splashing into the pond made him more excited than I have ever seen him. We had to pull him (and the dog) away.... even going to see the "moos' wasn't enough to get him to leave the rocks and water.

It's also awesome because our first family garden is being started this year. My tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage and onions have sprouted....hoping to plant the sweet corn this week. The garden needs to be tilled and then the raised beds need to be made but it shouldn't take long.

Pictures to come!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Top 10 Mommy Musts

1. Ergo Baby Carrier -
hands down most comfy, practical sturdy carrier that will last you from newborn colicky nights to toddler hikes.... I love mine. Worth every, single penny. You can skip the stroller and just buy this. We've only taken our stroller out to the mall or running errands ONCE. It's much easier to keep baby close and happy. :-)

Ergo baby Carriers

2.  Bum Genius Cloth Diapers -


There might be nothing more essential to life (okay, water and food are important too). But. job is reminding me how crucial it is to how you feel, act, think, and ARE everyday. It's also probably one of the biggest frustrations for parents.

Why won't my baby sleep through the night? What can I do to get my toddler to go to sleep easier? and on and on. We've already talked about CIO and how that's NOT a good idea....but what do we do from there? How can we encourage healthy sleep without resorting to sticking the kid in his room and booking it with earplugs? Haha...

Elisabeth Pantley is one of my favorite authors on this issue. Her books, No Cry Sleep Solution and No Cry Sleep Solutions for Toddlers and Preschoolers are super in depth and well written and encouraging! She talks about how the sleeping through the night myth is really just that, a myth. Many children do NOT sleep through the night until much later than societies expectations.  She also offers FREE downloadable booklets on sleep and other parenting issues that have such helpful info in them. She also has a new book on separation anxiety called The No Cry Separation Anxiety Solution - excited for this one! Here is a link to all of her books.
Dr. Dettwyler also conducts research on this and has done some good studies on how sleeping through the night is purely developmental. ( She also has GREAT breastfeeding commentary) Some children STTN at 10 months, some at 3 years... it just depends on the child. Just as you can't force a child to be ready to eat solids or walk or get all 20 teeth earlier than they actually do, the same is with sleep. There are of course things you can do to encourage healthy sleep as well as unhealthy sleep but in general, they with sleep through when they do!

In Noah's case - he has never truly "slept through the night" for 12 hours. I think we've have a couple of 7 hour stretches but in general is he up to nurse or be comforted at least every 3-4 hours (or more if teething, etc). Sleep experts also say that a stretch of 5-6 hours is considering sleeping through the night so many parents have VERY unrealistic expectations of their babies and children. Right now, he wakes to nurse and I think he is ready to night wean and learn how to soothe himself to sleep without rocking or nursing. I am going to tread lightly in this area and take it slow. We haven't started this yet but as soon as his molars are in and he is feeling well, we are probably going to try Dr. Jay Gordan's Night Weaning Plan.

I highly recommend the books and sites above and hope you'll check them out!

"Our children's early years represent the most important and influential time of their lives. It passes all too quickly. But meeting your child's needs during these first few years will pay off in many ways in the years to come." -Katherine A. Dettwyler, Ph.D.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Misunderstood ‘Ferber’ Method

for those of you interested

The Misunderstood ‘Ferber’ Method

Breastfeeding Confession.

Sometimes I wonder if the reason I get so worked up about breastfeeding is because I'm still challenging the views inside myself.

This is definitely true in some respects. It's hard to turn around 23 years of societal influence regarding breastfeeding. I'm still nervous every time I feed Noah in public - which is rare because I try to feed him at home. I'm nervous nursing him anywhere in front of others besides Bryan because nursing a toddler is so rare in the US.

I think I get worked up because I feel like I'm always on the defensive - even when no one says anything to me about it, I worry about what they are thinking.

You would never know that I was nervous about it and if someone asked me something while nursing him, I wouldn't bat an eye.  Yet, that lingering self-consciousness is there.

This is probably why I am so passionate about it. I shouldn't have to feel that way about feeding my baby. Why aren't public places more "mommy-friendly"? When we go out, I have a hard time to finding a chair to sit in to nurse him, let alone somewhere somewhat quiet. (Babies get distracted ya know!). And I'm not about to go to the bathroom and sit on a toilet to feed my child, as suggested by many people to nursing moms (esp. in restaurants).

I know that I am the only person who can allow myself to be insecure but the way society views nursing a toddler and the sheer rarity of it (in public) does not help.

Part of me wants to start nursing him whenever and whereever on purpose, just to make the breastfeeding mom more visible.

If we don't start nursing our babies in public, it will always stay a taboo.

A lovely wordless post about this.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tiny Home

As you all probably know, Bryan and I have a small mortgage in college debt. Literally. We own a home that is the form of two paper diplomas.

Saddest home ever.

I've been having a lot of "house envy" lately. It doesn't help that we live right next to Charlotte, VT where the median home price is probably 600k or higher. We both love Vermont and we want to live here but at the rate that houses are going for these days, it seems a little unlikely.

In search of interesting homes online, I came across Tiny Tumbleweed Houses.. an architect/builder guy who designs homes from 65 sq ft (that's right- 65 sq ft) to 834 sq ft. They are incredible.

I am in love with this idea. Take a look at this couple's Enesti (only 640 sq ft) in Maine.
Very cute. I also adore his largest design, B53, below
At $150-200 per sq.ft for building price, it's still setting you back 100k a least but its adorable and much cheaper than the 300k homes that are falling apart around here.

I'd love to build it with an unfinished basement and then finish it at some point and maybe add on a large sun room/greenhouse down the road. Wouldn't that be great?

Can't wait till we're at the point of seriously considering something like this.

Noah's playroom to be

So we've been cleaning out the attic to clean out this closet so that we make this little landing room into a playroom for Noah. We still need to move the old bed out but after that we can work on making it play-friendly.

I am going to put up a big chalkboard on the halfwall and maybe a nonbreakable mirror. Then shelving at the top of the closet for toys, storage etc.
We're also moving up a bookcase to put on its side on the floor as a place for books, toys, etc.

Then onto the wall decals.....maybe some space or animal themed ones. We aren't sure yet.
Here's some pics of Noah checking out the empty closet.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


I'm having a hard time finding a blog layout that reflects me and what the blog is about... please be patient.


Thank you!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Lyme disease (LD) is an infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a type of bacterium called a spirochete (pronounced spy-ro-keet) that is carried by deer ticks. (from

It's also a disease that is taking its toll on my mother. We don't know how long she has been suffering with Lyme but she is newly diagnosed and started on antibiotics. For her privacy, I won't mention many details but just that, I'm realizing how horrific any type of "chronic" illness can be. (There is an argument going on to whether Lyme is chronic or can be chronic....).

She is going through a particularly bad spell right now (usually when someone is taking medication for Lyme, the bacteria "fight back" so to speak and your symptoms can become much more severe- yet this is necessary to kill the bacteria). Seeing her in pain and knowing that everytime she takes the medication that is supposed to make her better, she gets even more sick, is heart breaking.

It's frustrating that I'm not able to do anything to make this better. I remember her being tired...pretty much my whole life. I know that most mothers of 5 would be tired but this was REALLY tired. Just no energy, depression, etc... its scary to think that she might have been suffering from this since I was born.

Overall, I'm posting just to ask everyone to watch the movie "Under Our Skin"

 The documentary is eye-opening and enters you into the pain, frustration and severity of what Lyme patients are going through right now in our country. Chances are you know someone who has Lyme, and if you didn't before you read this post, now you do.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Never let a baby Cry It Out. 

Cry It Out: The Potential Dangers of Leaving Your Baby to Cry

 Some highlights from the article....

The child stops crying because she learns that she can no longer hope for the caregiver to provide comfort, not because her distress has been alleviated.
According to attachment theory, many babies are born without the ability to self-regulate emotions. That is, they find the world to be confusing and disorganized, but do not have the coping abilities required to soothe themselves. Thus, during times of distress, they seek out their caregivers because the physical closeness of the caregiver helps to soothe the infant and to re-establish equilibrium. When the caregiver is consistently responsive and sensitive, the child gradually learns and believes that she is worthy of love, and that other people can be trusted to provide it. She learns that the caregiver is a secure base from which she can explore the world, and if she encounters adversity she can return to her base for support and comfort. This trust in the caregiver results in what is known as a secure individual. Children who do not have consistently responsive and sensitive caregivers often develop into insecure individuals, characterized by anxious, avoidant, and/or ambivalent interactions. Long-term studies have shown that secure individuals, compared to insecure individuals, are more likely to be outgoing, popular, well-adjusted, compassionate, and altruistic. As adults, secure individuals tend to be comfortable depending on others, readily develop close attachments, and trust their partners. Insecure individuals, on the other hand, tend to be unsettled in their relationships, displaying anxiety (manifesting as possessiveness, jealousy, and clinginess) or avoidance (manifesting as mistrust and a reluctance to depend on others). North American parenting practices, including CIO, are often influenced by fears that children will grow up too dependent. However, an abundance of research shows that regular physical contact, reassurance, and prompt responses to distress in infancy and childhood results in secure and confident adults who are better able to form functional relationships.
It has been suggested in the past that CIO is healthy for infants’ physical development, particularly the lungs. A recent study looking at the immediate and long-term physiologic consequences of infant crying suggests otherwise. The following changes due to infant crying have been documented: increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced oxygen level, elevated cerebral blood pressure, depleted energy reserves and oxygen, interrupted mother-infant interaction, brain injury, and cardiac dysfunction. [-similar to a stroke victims vitals! -] The study’s researchers suggested that caregivers should answer infant cries swiftly, consistently, and comprehensively, recommendations which are in line with AP principles.
CIO supporters tend to view their infants’ cries as attempts to manipulate caregivers into providing more attention. Holding this view can be detrimental to the immediate and long-term health of the baby. In the field of cognitive psychology there exists the premise that our thoughts underlie our behaviour. Thus, if we think positively about an individual, our behaviours toward them tend to be positive as well. Conversely, if we think negatively about an individual, we will behave correspondingly. Consider people in your own life whom you consider manipulative – how does that perception influence your behaviour toward them? It is unlikely that the interpretation of a manipulative personality will result in the compassionate, empathetic, and loving care of that individual. Infants, quite helpless without the aid of their caregivers, may suffer both emotional and physical consequences of this type of attitude.
When faced with a crying baby, it may be prudent to ask yourself the following questions: Why am I choosing this response? Do I want my baby to stop crying because he feels comforted and safe, or do I want my baby to stop crying for the sake of stopping crying? What is my baby learning about me and the world when I respond in this manner? If I were a baby and was upset, how would I want my caregivers to respond?


What is it about rainy days that make you sentimental and sullen? Today has been a little surreal in both a happy and sad way. Noah started to really use "yea" and "no" when I ask him questions. It's incredible just how much he understands. It is partly helpful and partly frightening. When he is shaking his head no, he means it! I'm grateful to know what he wants and how to help ---- soo amazing to have this solidified knowledge instead of just guessing all the time. However, it's scary to realize that he is truly growing up at the tender age of 17 months. Yikes.

He said "no" to nursing today. That was a first. And it hurt. At the same time, it is also a bit encouraging to know that he WILL wean himself eventually. I think I'm going to take the "don't offer, don't refuse" approach to weaning. Today he nursed in the morning and then didn't again until 2 which is about as long as he has ever gone voluntarily. This usually happens when we are out and about and busy. To be truthful though, I'm thankful he is not even close to weaning. It seems like most people can't WAIT to be done with me, it will make my life so much more difficult and also we'll have to learn a whole new way of comforting, etc.

It's been a mentally exhausting day. Before I was a mom, I could just could sit in a hot tub or get a massage and literally have N-O-T-H-I-N-G on my mind. It's impossible now. I feel constantly on edge...not to the point of discomfort and anxiety but just this little person is always in the back of my mind. And today, I've been even more focused on Noah getting bigger and realizing that I'm responsible for his little life. God has been showering me with this deep awareness of the gravity and privilege of motherhood. 
I think one of the reasons He made us able to reproduce was so that we could understand on some level how deeply He loves us. Before Noah, I didn't have the understanding of the world that I have now. Things are more crisp, like you've just stepped outside a sunny morning after a night of rain. Everything is in focus. Somehow motherhood has deepened who I am and my relationship with Christ. I am falling on my knees every single moment because I realize how IN NEED I am actually am. There is nothing more humbling that learning how to slow down, forget yourself and listen to a child.

Thank you ...  I am blessed.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stop Spanking

Stop Spanking

An article in Mothering highlighting a study that shows that 3 year old who are spanked more than a few times a month are 50% MORE likely to be violent by age 5.

It’s not about picking on moms, it’s about breaking down societal barriers

It’s not about picking on moms, it’s about breaking down societal barriers

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hanging On

Oh, at 5 in the morning, the difficulty of this work/life schedule seems very crisis like. My eyes are heavy, burning, my stomach is upset from drinking too much coffee and my body is aching for sleep.

Oh I love you.

This shift is just particularly brutal especially because I am not a night person. However, this is what works for our family at this time so adaption must happen.

I recently posted on facebook about how the day I have a washing machine will be incredible and wondrous and I will cry tears of joy it when it occurs. This prompted a response encouraging me to get actually buy one. The lack of space and money has really prevented this from even being a thought in my mind...but now that its there, I can't stop thinking about the joys of loading up the washer and pressing the button and VIOLA clean dishes in 40 min!

I did contact a lady on craigslist about her portable danby washer.....I'm really hoping that she gets back to me soon...

This weekend we conquered the upstairs attic which is...I mean...WAS...FULL, brimming really, with junk that had been there for 17 years since my parents moved in. I can't believe it's actually empty now. I should have taken before pictures of all of this......
we also cleaned out the downstairs closet and installed shelving. We accomplished a lot....
we're trying to get on our way to having Noah's play room all set up.

I will post pictures today...just to see the transistion because it's fairly amazing.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

All or Nothing Motherhood

All or nothing thinking is what a lot of teenagers subscribe to. "If I can't go to the prom with Jimmy, I WILL die!". It's also what a lot of mothers subscribe to. "My house is a DISASTER, NO ONE is allowed to step though this door!" or... "If I can't have a unmedicated home birth, my whole birth experience will be ruined!" or... "If my child doesn't have straight A's and get into harvard, I've failed as a mother!".

Okay some of those are a little insane. But that's just it. We expect SO much of ourselves and if our children or parenting experiences don't live up to what we think life SHOULD be like, we become guilty and depressed and self-pitying. OR we don't trust ourselves enough to change something that could be changed the second time around.

For instance, I really wanted a drug-free birth. I did my research, I even listened to hypnobirthing cd's (albeit, I fell asleep after 5 minutes EVERY time). When it came down to it, I thought I was prepared to handle whatever came my way. I had a very long labor with all my contractions in my back. I didn't even OPEN my hospital bag. I sat in the tub in the hospital and just tried to deal. When I got to 8 cm after 24 hours....I was obviously going through transistion and the pain just became so unbearable. Someone mentioned medication and I was like...SIGN ME UP. I hit my wall.....I didn't think I could do it anymore. I got the epidural and things were pretty easy after that. The epi did fall out after awhile (even though the nurse who was TRIPPING over my IV and epidural cord said it wasn't). So I did feel a lot of pain after 3.5 hours of pushing. but in the end, I had a HEALTHY wonderful baby boy.

My regrets....1. birthing in a place where I felt scared. I didn't feel comfortable there. I was frightened and annoyed because I couldn't have a birthing tub. The water helped me soo much and I think having a tub would have helped me through the transistion phase.
2. just letting the nurses take over after birth. they took Noah the second night to sleep in the nursery because I was so tired but I WANTED him with me...I woke up constantly in a panic because I didn't have him near me.
3. having too many people in the delivery room. Now that I look back , I should have had just me and Bryan. Having to worry about what other people were thinking/feeling just wasn't good.
4. not trusting my body. I got the epidural because I didn't think I could do it. I was afraid and tired.

Now, I beat myself up about this for a while and now have come to terms with it and I'm fine. BUT because I value natural birth and labor as a beautiful birth process, next time, I STILL want to try to have an unmedicated birth. I could be like, " I will ONLY get the epidural now....what would I have done without it?! ".

But because I don't want to subscribe to this type of thinking where it's all or nothing...or "well, that's what happened that time, surely it will happen again"... I'm going to still attempt what I feel would be a very rewarding birth experience.

At the same time, I now know that if things DON'T go as planned, THAT'S OKAY. It's give and take. We do our best for our children.

The same goes for breastfeeding. or cosleeping. or whatever else you want to analyze. If you don't even TRY to do what you think is best for your baby because you are afraid to fail, you are shortchanging yourself and your child. At the same time, if you've been doing something that you thought was best and it turns out that it just NOT working for your family, then change it! As long as your child is healthy and you are healthy/happy, things will be okay.

I think weighing our decisions based on the "what best for baby" basket and the "whats best for mommy" basket is a good way to look at things. There is also a chart that PhD in Parenting put together which illustrates this point beautifully about how to balance your childs needs versus your own.
See below. Click to enlarge.

If your need to hang out with your friends is coming before your baby's need for sleep or nursing , that's a problem. If your baby's need to go to a play group is being put over YOUR need for sleep or eating....that's also a problem.

In conclusion, motherhood is NOT all or nothing and neither is life. You do the best you can. It's up to you to educate yourself and know the facts when you become a parent. If you are making decisions without learning about WHY or just doing things because "that's how so and so did it", that's not responsible.

We must do the best we can while utilizing all the resources available to us.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Baby Weight

My whole life I've struggled with my weight. When I was 6, I remember being told it was just "baby weight". I'm sure whoever said that to me was like, what the HECK is a 6 year old worrying about her weight for?! My kindergarten teacher told me when I was 17 that I used to try to skip lunch when I was 5 because I thought I was too fat.

That's pretty sad.

Long story short, I've had serious struggles and recovered from them. Now, I'm comfortable in my own skin and happy to be me. This is a huge accomplishment.

However, I still want to be healthy and fit and look great! I've managed to lose most of the "baby weight" from pregnancy but still really need to lose 20-25 lbs to be in good shape. I've been feeling depressed about it lately and each time I renew my commitment to monitoring my calories/exercising, I slack off a week later. (Because of my history, I've screwed up my metabolism and I really DO need to watch every calorie- even when its carrots).

-sigh- This is basically a vent post to get it out there. Anyone want to keep me accountable?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Study: Lack of Breastfeeding Costs Lives, Billions of Dollars

Study: Lack of Breastfeeding Costs Lives, Billions of Dollars
From Elita over at Blacktating:::

A new study says that 900 babies and billions of dollars could be saved every year if 90% of mothers in the US were to breastfeed. The study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics and appeared online today, analyzed the prevalence of 10 common childhood illnesses and the costs of treating these diseases, which can include hospitalization. According to an economist's calculation, the US could save $13 billion per year if we could raise breastfeeding rates. It can be argued that this estimate, astounding as it is, could even be considered conservative because the study only took into account the "gold standard" of exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. We know that breastfeeding continues to provide health benefits for babies (and mom!) well beyond the first 6 months and into toddlerhood if the baby is fortunate enough to nurse for that long.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Melissa Bartick, says that breastfeeding is a public health issue and I think it's obvious that this is true. For so long, whether or not to breastfeed has been couched as a "parenting choice," a message reinforced by the formula companies. Infant formula marketing has been usurping the feminist ideal of choice for forever, as if deciding to use formula was akin to picking the safari print over the froggies for the nursery. If anything, says Dr. Bartick, the benefits of breastfeeding have been underappreciated and hopefully this research study and the coverage it's been getting will finally hammer that point home.

Some people will continue to deny the importance of breastfeeding, though, and of course the detractors are already speaking up. One of those people is Dr. Lillian Beard, who like Hannah Rosin, wants us to instead focus on the "costs" of breastfeeding. She spoke to ABC News and is quoted as saying, "The biggest barrier to mothers continuing to breastfeed seems to be the fact that more mothers are in the workplace. It's a very impressive number," she said of the $13 billion estimate, "but I want to know: Did the study take into account the cost for breastfeeding mothers?"

Oh, yes, THAT's what's important here, right? The relative cost to breastfeeding mothers, not the lives that could be saved or the billions that could be put to better use? "I think this report puts an unfair slant on it," Beard said. "It's not taking into account that for almost two thirds of U.S. families, women are either the co-breadwinner or the breadwinner. Returning to work is germane for the survival of the family."

While I agree that returning to work is definitely a huge barrier to breastfeeding, I also think that hospital supplementation with formula and formula freebies play a huge role as well. For an excellent analysis and break down of the fallacies of the ABC article, please read this blog post by Bettina of Best for Babes.

Funny that Dr. Beard didn't mention these things, right? A quick Google search shows that maybe Dr. Beard has more of a stake in this issue than she'd like to admit. See, Dr. Beard is a member of the "Nestle Family"! She serves on their board and answers questions about infant nutrition for their Nestle and Gerber web sites. This is a woman who has been quoted as saying that Nestle's infant formula is almost as digestible as breast milk. I wonder why ABC left that part out? She's credited as a professor at both George Washington University and Howard University, no mention of Nestle.

If you want to try and spin the story into something else, at least speak to someone who can even pretend to be neutral. At this point, I'd prefer to hear from Hannah Rosin again. At least she doesn't profit off of the sale of infant formula and doesn't have "M.D." at the end of her name.

Latching On

This post is from Dou-la-la

From Anne over at Dou-la-la:::

I'm already eagerly anticipating Formula Fed America (and Babies, too), as I posted months ago. It just came to my attention that another film is on the way: Latching On.

It already looks more diverse than what we saw of Formula Fed America so far (though I'm still excited and hopeful about that). It's a short one, only 36 minutes total, but this could be an asset when it comes to appeal to the general public. I might be up for watching films on the subject that are the length of Wagner's Ring Cycle (or at least the Lord of the Rings trilogy), but I acknowledge not everyone is a weirdo like me.

The timing of finding this is uncanny - the internet is teeming with awesome on breastfeeding at the moment. The latest study about exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months saving approximately 900 infant lives per year in America (as well as saving 13 billion dollars) has gotten mass media attention. Some coverage has been better than others: the CNN story was pretty great. As was the CBC and CBS. The ABC story, however, featured a doctor doing some sadly familiar hedging and waffling about guilt and blaming the workplace for lack of breastfeeding success - and Elita of Blacktating called out that doctor at, like, superhero lightning speed for being a freakin' Nestle shill, of all the unethical things. HELL YEAH, Elita! Caught 'em red-handed. Best for Babes also does a great job critiquing ABC's financial breakdown.

And in another epic blogosphere-to-the-rescue moment, The Feminist Breeder wrote one of her signature glorious rants about the folly of the common defensive guilt response to any such report on the benefits of breastfeeding. I'm having a hard time selecting just one quote, there's so much win to choose from, but for starters:

Breastfeeding. Saves. Lives.

You know what else saves lives? Car seats. So, why aren’t people spitting mad at the NHTSA for saying that? Why aren’t they leaving thousands of comments on car seat articles saying “But I just couldn’t afford a car seat, why are you trying to make me feel guilty?!?!” Well, maybe it’s because our society will admit that car seats save lives, and we’re willing to give them out free at fire stations and hospitals if we have to because it is that important.

So why aren’t we doing the same for breastfeeding? Why won’t they hand out free breast pumps and visits to a lactation consultant when we know it would save lives and money? Well, I think the obvious answer is that there are breasts involved, and people just lose their minds when female anatomy comes up in conversation.

And then there's this:

The CDC shows that 3/4 of women are initiating breastfeeding in the hospital, but only 13.6% of women are still exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months. What this tells me is that somewhere along the way, they gave up on themselves, and the reason I hear most often is, “But, I tried! I just couldn’t make any milk!”

Here is the cold hard truth ladies: You have been lied to.

If only 13.6% of us could make enough milk, the human race would never have survived. And it’s not your fault. It’s the fault of this system that completely fails mothers and babies, and sabotages a mother’s good intentions. Somewhere along the line, some one told you that you couldn’t make milk, and you believed them because we’ve all grown up in a culture that tells women their bodies aren’t good enough for much of anything except being toys for men. Is it easy to make this milk? No, not always — but neither was bringing that baby into the world and your body did a fine job of that. Think about that. Think hard. Your body created an entire human being inside from nothing more than the joining of two single cells. Your body is a miracle worker. So what leads you to believe that, after creating a whole person with organs and tissue and a beating heart, that your body would call it quits when it came time to feeding this thing? The major problem here is that someone in your life probably put their own ignorance ahead of the short and long term health of you and your baby, and you believed them because women are used to feeling shamed.

I want to tattoo this on my forehead. Or at least paint it on my car, or do something to get it across to as many people as I can.

The red-emphasized part above (my emphasis because I think it's another particularly salient point) reminds me of a thought I had recently on the utter irony of rejecting or diminishing breastfeeding on the grounds of its possible interference with their attractiveness to men.

Let's leave aside the fact that breastfeeding has been proven several times (here's the most recent, as broken down by PhD in Parenting) to have z.e.r.o. effect on the appearance of breasts. Think about the nature of attraction, as in literally the very biology of it. There's no denying that we human mammals tend to find certain traits attractive, collectively, and the basis for much of that attraction when it comes to secondary sex characteristics has to do with seeking a fertile mate that will effectively bear and rear offspring, right?

In other words, from a purely biological standpoint, men are hardwired to find healthy-looking breasts attractive BECAUSE they will likely feed their offspring well. So the idea that breasts should be reserved for male pleasure instead of for feeding babies - the very purpose of their attractiveness to males IN THE FIRST PLACE - is not just tragically ironic, it's utterly preposterous.

Latch on to that.