To Speak or Not to Speak? -Gimme your opinions and SOUND OFF!

Believe it or not, there are times when I'm unsure whether or not I should say something. Yes, shocking, I know but really, there are situtaions in my life where I have to wonder whether opening my mouth is going to be WORTH the outcome. Usually, yes, it is because I don't care if people don't like me for the fact that I share information (fact based, scientifically supported information). A favorite quote of mine:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt

It is *so* true. You can't feel guilty because someone tells you that there is information that PROVES that breastfeeding is a superior infant choice unless you LET that make you feel guilty...and why on earth would you? Because you'd rather NOT know so that you can CHOOSE not to do it? I'm not sure, I honestly can't imagine (and remember, I have done it all and formula fed my other children, but when I learned more, I didn't feel guilty and start a mommy war, I took that information and did better). And this is, of course, just an example. Obviously formula exists for a reason and I would love to see it improved, regulated more strictly and, of course, for more breastfeeding information/support/breastmilk donors/etc were available.

But this is taking us FAR away from the point of my blogpost. :)

Sadly, you'd think the only things parents would argue about would be infant feeding, discipline, perhaps toys/devices and maybe sleeping arrangements. You might be surprised to know that another hot button issue in the momosphere is carseats. Yea, carseats. And not just the "Evenflo vs. Graco" type debate but people who ACTUALLY get offended when you tell them the LAW on infant/child carseats/restraints. (For carseat laws go here This lists the most basic information and needs to be read carefull and should also be cross-referenced. Also remember that MINIMUMS aren't the safest.)

While at Target this weekend, a woman was pushing her cart in front of me. She had with her a toddler and an infant, perched on the cart in his infant carrier. The straps on the carrier were so loose they were sagging, hanging off his shoulders and the chest clip was down by his groin. Now, it is likely she loosened this and pushed the clip down as soon as she got him out of the car (although that's a little scary too, considering he was teetering on top of the cart...) but I couldn't help but wonder, "What if he was in the car like that? What if she doesn't know (or worse, doesn't care) that it's incredibly dangerous?" and as I followed her (incidentally, we were just taking the same route through Target for about 5 mintues) I just couldn't muster up something to say to her. I didn't want to come off as rude, know-it-all, condescending etc. Part of my problem was trying to figure out HOW to say something to her. What would I start with? How would I broach that topic without her feeling totally defensive or insulted. And that wasn't my intention, by any means. And so, I contemplated so long that she took a different turn and then, it was too late. Still kicking myself for that one.

And what would have happened? Likely, she would have either told me she loosened it as soon as they got out of the car; told me to f*ck off and mind my own business (ouch); thanked me for my concern or said she didn't know and (hopefully) put it in effect. I sadly must admit I let that second possibility affect me too much and for whatever reason, I let it make me a bit nervous.

Hopefully next time I won't let my nerves get the better of me, after all, it really was a matter of life and death if her infant was riding in the car restrained (I use the term loosely) like that. And so my question to all of you fellow mommies is this:

What would you do in this situation and have you ever been in a similar situation where you felt compelled to say something? Did you? How did that go?

I think this could be a great discussion and, of course, needs to be kept civil and respectful. So sound off!


Weaning is such sweet sorrow...

When I was pregnant with my third child, Alex, I had set my mind on breastfeeding. I knew that my lack of success with my other two children was due to a lack of knowledge on breastfeeding. After all, just because it's natural doesn't mean it comes to you (or your baby) naturally. Yes, all babies are born with the basic need, tools, and know-how to breastfeed, but there is a lot of interference at play in today's maternity wards, and it can and does affect breastfeeding.

I figured in order to have an enjoyable and successful breastfeeding relationship this time around, I would need to arm myself with some basic understanding of what makes a good nursing relationship. Most women will tell you that the first few weeks are tough, but after that, it's smooth sailing. But many times, "tough" doesn't even begin to describe those first few weeks of nursing, as I experienced with baby #1.

My first source was nursing forums on the web, like different breastfeeding groups on the mothering site Cafemom.com. I learned a lot from these women, but many of them didn't seem to be too hell bent on nursing. There were many posts on weaning for convenience, supplementing, and bad advice that even I, as a so far unsuccessful nursing mother, noticed was bad. I was lucky enough to get a copy of "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" (a new edition has just recently been released with more updated information and witty writing style). This book was GREAT. I feel I owe my breastfeeding relationship with Alex to La Leche League. I read every chapter in that book that would pertain to the beginning of my nursing relationship.

At the moment of Alexander's birth in to this world, I accepted him on to my chest. We gazed in to each other's eyes and I attempted to latch him on the breast. Nope, he didn't want anything to do with it. However, after a little time had passed, he eagerly found his way and latched on. But I popped him right off.

One thing I had learned was my cracked, bleeding nipples with my first child, Maggie, were *not* normal and could have been avoided. Pacifiers and a lack of knowledge on how a baby SHOULD latch led to me suffering because of her poor, shallow latching during nursing. When Alex began his first breastfeeding, he was doing it wrong. I removed him from the breast, and we attempted again. As we would continue to breastfeed over the next few days, I continued to correct his latch when it wasn't perfect. I knew how to and what to look for, because I had made sure to learn before hand. It's hard enough adjusting to a new baby, much less a new baby and two toddlers *and* learning how to breastfeed! Having the information before all that stress made this whole nursing thing a ton easier.

Once we settled in to it, our nursing relationship took off. I knew I was going to breastfeed, but I was so happy to have been able to make it that much easier. My plan was to let Alex nurse until he weaned, an age that varies widely across the globe, and even across the country. Most children in the US wean between ages 2-3, but it's hard to tell as extended or "full-term' nursing isn't very common (or accepted) in the US and many women feel societal pressures to wean, even before the recommended and encouraged age of 1.

I must admit, I really didn't think he would nurse past 2. Age 2 was my goal. It is the minimum recommendation from the World Health Organization and the benefits of breastmilk don't stop...ever. I knew his health, and mine, would be optimal for as long as he continued to nurse. But again, I didn't know exactly how long that was going to last.

His 2nd birthday came and went, and "nursies" were one of his favorite past-times. I was happy to continue nursing, afterall, he was hardly sick and suffered no ear infections in his first 2 years of life.

Around age 2.5 I started to encourage and enforce certain rules. If he threw a fit, demanded to nurse, or pulled at my shirt, he was not going to nurse. He would have to wait. If the fit continued, he was not getting it. Just as with anything else, I disciplined him for bad or inappropriate behavior and his attitude toward nursing was no different. I also attempted to night wean him, as I noticed he was losing his suckling reflex (a sign that your child may be ready to wean) and it was getting painful to nurse at night.

I was not at all prepared for him to stop all together, and even these attempts at "regulating" breastfeeding were hardly successful, though I didn't give in or up.

Around the age of 2 years and 10 months my friend was visiting. Alex announced to her that he "had nursies for the last time.". It was so matter of fact and we both laughed at how funny the statement was. He responded with "Yup, I'm a big boy now.". At that moment in time, I did not believe anything he had said. He had been going to bed without nursing, and was maybe nursing once at night, but he still asked during the day. Some days it was only once or twice, others it seemed much more than that, but it didn't seem near done.

Sure enough, that *was* the end of it. As much as I was feeling ready for it to be over, I was surprised at how I felt once it WAS over. I think, in part, because I had expected to know the last time he was nursing, to remember it. To end the last 3 years with some sort of big "Hoorah!". But no, he had decided he was done. Perhaps, in part, to my gentle encouragement that we needed to go about things a little differently.

I do miss it every now and again, just because the bond was so wonderful and we were able to make that quiet, calm connection in the middle of a hectic day, but all in all, I am happy. It seems a little odd now, to have had this relationship for so long and now it's gone. He has become quite the snuggle bunny. I love it, because now we can just cuddle and he doesn't decide to start demanding to nurse, as if that was all I was good for. Instead, I get hugs, kisses, "I love you, mommy".

Yes, it's sad to think he has nursed for the last time, and I don't even know when that was, but I really like this "new" relationship. I hope that by nursing him until he and I were both done has served him well. I'm happy to have made such a turn around and he has taught me so much about mothering. Now, I can look forward to continuing to grow in our relationship, and to nursing the next baby until he/she is "a big boy or girl". :)


I Am a Human Toilet: Repost

This is a blog I wrote back in 2008. I find it funny, reading it over again but the reason it's even on my mind is that I get the most RANDOM "ads" posted on it. I reject them all but some of the stuff is really weird (like, freaky weird). I'm debating deleting the originally blog so I don't have to moderate anymore inappropriate ads but until I decide for sure, I thought I'd share it here.

Enjoy :)


I am a human toilet.

Being a mother comes with many other titles. You learn them as you go. You become a homemaker many times, a chef, a designer, a manager, a hostage negotiator, and many more things! One title I never thought I'd bear was that of "human toilet" but alas, my fate has been sealed...

I was first introduced to my new job duty with my first child. I was still breastfeeding Maggie and so she was having that seedy, mustard looking poopy as she wasn't on solids or anything yet. Well, I was a young, single mommy and we shared a room at my mother's, so I didn't have a nursery and I usually just changed her on my bed. As I carefully removed her poopy diaper and folded it ever so nicely, I figured she'd be fine diaper free for a sec (after all, it was all in the diaper, right?). Well, I wasn't prepared for what happened next! As I lifted her legs up to put her new diaper on, she projectile pooped ALL OVER ME! I was not only a new mommy, I was a young mommy, so this was not something I was AT ALL prepared for!! I was covered in seedy, liquidy poop! I changed clothes, sheets and finally her diaper and jumped into the longest, steamiest shower ever!

Now that I had experienced this, I knew you were never safe, not even for a moment, from the poop factor! I was always prepared with a fresh diaper to slip right now after the dirty one. I would even make sure to unfold it and prepare the tabs prior to removal of the soiled dipe!

I made it 5 whole years without ever experiencing a poop drench again! That is, until last night...

The baby beast was sitting on my lap, bouncing and cooing about, when I heard the puttering warning sounds of diaper doody (yes, that's a purposeful typo). As he ever so joyfully filled his drawers, my brother and I continued our conversation, that is until I felt wet...very wet. I figured he probably leaked a little and so I lifted him up and O.M.G. I was COVERED in his poopsie! I had no clue how it had made it's way from his bowels to my pants (and shirt, and chair...) because he had not a "drop" on him!!

I laid him down and went to clean up (I've learned now having 3 kids, that hot steamy shower I had the first time...was the last in a LONG time...). Once clean and changed I came back to solve this mystery. The beast was kicking around and laughing, not even phased by the mess in his drawers, but there was still no apparent leak!

Upon further examination, it was clear where the mess had seeped from. Somehow, and without leaving much of a mark, it had leaked out from between his legs, the crotch area, and nicely settled on moi. When I opened his diaper, there was barely a skidmark inside. He had, in fact, covered me in all of his wonderful poopiness.

I finally came to terms with the fact that on top of being a program organizer, a maid, a magician and a performer, I was also a human toilet.


Setting Boundaries

I love the *idea* of letting my children explore and experiment with things, permitting they are appropriate and safe. However, I find that the *idea* of letting them do this and the reality of being able to allow it often collide...and explode.

I wish I could allow them to be crafty and NOT CARE that there was glue and glitter and marker all over the kitchen, but I have a house full of 7 people to maintain...plus, who wants to waste money replacing things that get damaged?

I wish I could laugh as they chased each other around the house, SHRIEKING with delight and making my ear drums ring, but, unfortunately, I do not enjoy migraines...plus you can only take so much medication before you're doing more harm than good!

I wish I could let them get FILTHY in the dirt playing outside, catching bugs and picking their nose, but I can't help but tell them to "Keep away from there, in case there's black widows!" or " Please keep those DIRTY fingers out of your mouth...and your sister's!"...plus, I really like to avoid unnecessary exposure to germs and deadly pests, even if SOME germs are a good thing.

I wish I could NEVER have to yell or raise my voice at my children, but if I never did they'd never hear me over their own chorus of cheers, chants and tears...plus, I hear yelling a little keeps you from going off the deep end completely.

I wish that I could say I loved breastfeeding ALL the time because it's only beautiful and wonderful and joyous, but then I'd be not only a liar but discrediting myself and the other moms when they are going through a BAD or DIFFICULT phase...plus, let's face it, after 2.5 years sometimes you just want to say no, because you can.

I wish that I could let my house stay in a constant state of toy mess and not get frustrated at the massive piles of trucks, barbies and stubbed toes that result from it but, I enjoy NOT stubbing my toe to a bloody nubbin and having a neat and organized house that doesn't automatically scream "KIDS LIVE HERE" when someone walks in the door...plus, who really enjoys having bloody nubs for toes?

I really do wish I could live up to the *idea* of that kind of mom, but instead, I'll keep doing my best to reach that point and not cry if I miss it by an inch...or a mile...plus, who REALLY wants to be *perfect* anyhow?


Placenta Encapsulation-Phase 2

I posted the first part of the process yesterday and I really hope you learned something you didn't know about placentas and encapsulation of them. After going through this process now, I am eager and excited to help another mama out by offering encapsulation for her. I hope this was useful to you and please, feel free to share this blog with mother's you know to spread the word on the benefits of placenta pills and help someone learn the process.

Step 11

STEP 11:
After removing the placenta from the oven and letting cool, break larger pieces by snapping them. Pieces should be about 3/4 in.
Step 11-1

Step 11-2

STEP 12:
Step 12
Place pieces in grinder (Mr. Coffee works great, but remember, you must only use this grinder for placentas so you'll need one separate from your "regular" coffee grinder). Note that some pieces may not grind down. Larger calcifications or clusters of hardened vessels will simply stay intact, that's ok. Just discard this larger chunks.
Step 12-1

Your ground placenta should look like this:
Step 12-2

STEP 13:
Pour all the ground placenta into a bowl or onto a deep plate.
Step 13

STEP 14:
Step 14
Take the two parts of your capsules (we used organic vegetarian gelatin capsules, sizes 0 and 00. 0 seemed to work best for me and is a little smaller.) and scoop them towards each other in the freshly ground powder, making sure to seal tightly. Place in "resting place" on paper towel.
Step 13-1

Step 14-1

STEP 15:
Discard any excess capsules that came in contact with the powder as well as any excess powder that you couldn't encapsulate.
Step 15

STEP 16:
Wipe down the pills to remove any loose powder, grooved paper towels work great. Then place in jar/bottle/bag to give to mama. Store in fridge or freezer.
Step 16

We were able to yield 122 good size capsules from this placenta. Mom takes about 3 tablets 2-3 times daily for general use or up to 8 a day if using to stave off post partum depression.

Step 16-1

A huge thank you to the lovely Jessica J. for teaching Doula Faye and myself this art of placenta encapsulating. I am happy to offer this service to anyone who might be interested and we'd love to spread the knowledge, know-how and fun of this ancient art.