Mama Knows Breast, Andi Silverman

Mama_knows_breast A breastfeeding book is born... and oh what a little gem it is!

Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding, written by fellow blogger and Breastfeeding Blog Carnival friend, Andi Silverman, has finally made it into my household.

I've been waiting quite some time for this book - not because I need the wonderfully succinct advice it dispenses (my breastfeeding days have only just ended!) but because it went on quite a journey before reaching me.

A few months back Andi offered to send a copy my way. I had shared some of my own breastfeeding experiences with her whilst she was still writing it, although I had no idea if she would use any of them (turns out she did, see page 31). I was thrilled and anticipated with great excitement the arrival of this new breastfeeding help book.

Some weeks passed. Andi emailed me to see if I'd received my copy. I hadn't - so she went off to check her publisher had my correct address. In the meantime I had decided to order a copy from Amazon. It never arrived either. I was beginning to think I'd never get the chance to read it when suddenly, out of the blue, it crashed through my letterbox just two days ago.

As I picked up the padded envelope I noted how very clearly and correctly my address had been written. Then I noticed a fading purple stamp which stated boldly "MIS-SENT TO UGANDA" - Yes, you read that right - Uganda!

Northern_ireland_ugandaHow can Northern Ireland possibly be mistaken for Uganda?

Anyway, I was just glad it arrived in one piece and wasted no time in getting stuck in. Immediately I discovered what others have said about this book is true - it's hard to put down! I raced through it in just a couple of bedtime sessions (yes, I was enjoying it so much I even brought it to bed with me!).

Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding, written by a mum for mums, is set out in short, easily read segments. Andi makes her points concisely, fluently and often humorously; in it she covers virtually every aspect of breastfeeding that a first-time mum needs to know.

From breastfeeding positions to expressing breastmilk, sleeping problems to nursing essentials, this is an indispensable, quirkily illustrated (by Cindy Luu) little guidebook to keep close at hand throughout pregnancy, the early days of breastfeeding and beyond!

As if all that isn't reason enough to buy the book, Mama Knows Breast: A Beginner's Guide to Breastfeeding fits neatly into your average sized handbag!

My Verdict:

Buy it NOW for yourself or any woman you know who is pregnant, breastfeeding or weaning.

Buy it NOW for any dad you know with a pregnant, breastfeeding, libido-waning (yes, Andi even ventures into this controversial area), exhausted partner!

And if you don't know anybody fitting either of those descriptions just yet:

Buy it NOW to sit on your coffee table - it looks much too good to hide away in a book case!

I foresee it becoming the next must-have breastfeeding bible for breastfeeding mums!

Buy it NOW from Amazon.co.uk or from Amazon.com!


July Carnival of Breastfeeding: The Things They Say

Welcome to the eighth Carnival of Breastfeeding, the theme of which, as promised, is "The Things They Say" ie, funny comments other people have made about breastfeeding!!

As usual, we have some great posts, listed below, for you to check out from both our regular participants and new contributors.

Whilst I’ve heard many a funny story from other people about the things their work colleagues or in-laws have said, for my part, it’s most often my children who say the things that make me grin or cringe.

And as a result of breastfeeding both my daughters until they were almost 11/2 years old and with my son still breastfeeding at 2 years, that's perhaps no surprise really!

Here are just a few of their bloopers, those that I can repeat!

Sarah, aged 2, shortly after her baby brother was born: “Mummy, don't you keep Jack's milk in your little cupboard?” (my nursing bra!)

Tara aged 2: “Mummy, when I was a baby didn't I suck milk out of your... brains?” (spoken in front of visitors - with a deafening silence before she uttered the last word!)

Jack aged 2, on a packed train tugging desperately on my blouse, “Mama Juice, Mama Juice NOW!”

Jack standing beneath me as I waited to be served at a local café, suddenly pulled my pop-button blouse completely open before screaming triumphantly, "Mama Juice!"

Tara, speaking in a very loud clear voice whilst in a supermarket a couple of months after weaning, and just as a gentleman strolled past us: “Mummy didn’t you get a lovely new black bra because you don’t have to feed me your milk anymore?”

So far, that’s my lot - but a word of warning to mothers of toddlers, two seems to be the age at which your children will say the most embarrassing things in public... Don’t say no-one told you!!

For more hilarious stories check out these regular contributors to the Carnival:

Tanya from Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog shares how her baby's signing allowed him to pass on some unexpected messages to her during feeds.

Angela at Breastfeeding 123 interviews her daughters and shares a wonderful breastfeeding picture!

Andi from Mama Knows Breast entertains us with quotes from conversations she's had with her little son.

Jennifer at the Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog describes her future little lactivist in the making - her 21/2 year old daughter!

And here's some posts from this month's guest contributors:

Leisa from Down With The Kids tells a great story illustrating how she needn't have worried about how her older child would accept her breastfeeding their new baby.

Dave at Rattling the Kettle shares the memory of a late night conversation.

Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess shares some old wives tales, some of her daughter's thoughts and a beautiful picture of herself tandem breastfeeding.

Renata from Nurturing Notes shares a story told to her by her mother-in-law.


Carnival Time - What I Wish I'd Known about Breastfeeding!

Welcome to the sixth Carnival of  Breastfeeding! This month we have some excellent contributions on the theme of "What I didn't expect when I was expecting..." covering mums' expectations of breastfeeding and the reality.

Here's my contribution and don't forget to check out the other posts listed below!

What I Wish I'd Known about Breastfeeding!

Breastfeed! It was a decision that came easily to me when I was pregnant. I knew I would give it a try and that was that. I never thought to read about it or to ask other mums if they'd breastfed - I just knew it was best for my baby and there was no more to be said or thought about it. Don't get me wrong, I didn't intentionally set out not to research it. I just didn't think to!

Seven years on and currently breastfeeding my third child (Yep, right now as I type!) the fact that I did no research at all seems incomprehensible to me. And considering that I devoured books about getting pregnant, being pregnant and birth choices I feel in hindsight that it was just something I overlooked in all my excitement.

So when my first daughter was handed to me, it was with a strange sense of trepidation that I asked the midwife if I could breastfeed her. And when she didn't latch on immediately I assumed I was doing something wrong. However, rather than seeking medical help, I just kept trying until she did. After all, I reasoned, everyone was busy and it's supposed to come naturally. And later on that day when I was getting a little sore and asked the midwife if I was doing it right she more or less stuffed my nipple into the baby's mouth, told me that I was doing great - and off she went!

Only now,  looking back and remembering that I did persevere makes me realise that I am very strong-willed when I set my mind on something. But it also makes me a little tearful to think that many new mums would have given up at that precise point. And would have felt that somehow they had failed themselves and their babies.

Within days of Tara's birth I was blistering, raw and bleeding - but even this didn't stop me! I dreaded every feed and sat with clenched teeth and tear-stung eyes as Tara latched on and the milk came in.

Believe it or not I simply believed that what I was going through was perfectly normal!

By the time Tara was four weeks old, rather unsurprisingly, I was in the throes of a painful bout of Mastitis, the first of many!

Anyway, to cut a very long story a little shorter, there are many things things I really wish I had known about breastfeeding, if for no other reason than to have reassured me I was not alone in experiencing problems and that breastfeeding shouldn't be difficult or painful...

I wish I'd known that breastfeeding was never going to be an easy option. Yes, it's much healthier for mums and babies and extremely convenient during the night, but on the other hand mum is responsible for all the feeding and breastfeeding can be utterly exhausting.

I wish I had prepared for this side of things well in advance.

I wish I had allowed other family members to help out more. (Instead I tried to do it all, to prove I was coping, which looking back, I clearly wasn't and ended up exhausted, tearful and even resentful on occasion!)

I wish I had sought guidance about how to express milk so that I could get the occasional break.

I wish I had known how important it is to insist upon getting help with positioning the baby so that problems such as blocked milk ducts and mastitis are avoided.

I wish I'd known that breastfed babies get colic too! And that baby massage is great for relieving the symptoms.

I wish I'd known that there are good and not so good nursing pads (that would really have helped!).

I wish I had been much more confident and adept about nursing in public so that other mums would have seen breastfeeding in action.

I wish that I'd known that there are myriad support groups, websites and blogs that offer help and advice to pregnant and nursing mothers.

I wish someone had warned me how strong the breastfeeding bond is! And how hard it can be mentally to quit!!

And I really wish I'd been able to breastfeed for the WHO's recommended two years.

But I did breastfeed Tara for sixteen months... and as a first time mum who truly had very little knowledge about breastfeeding I feel proud that I managed that. I had a great and very sympathetic health visitor, plenty of immediate family support and a fabulously supportive husband who all helped me through the moments when I felt like throwing the towel in...

Breastfeeding, what I wish I had known all those years ago, I soon learnt  by trial and error. As a result by the time numbers two and three arrived I was a proficient breastfeeder.

And these days, as an active member of a local breastfeeding support group and the owner of a breastfeeding website and blog, I hope my own experiences have helped other mums prepare for breastfeeding prenatally and offered them helpful and useful advice postnatally!

So how was it for you? Please leave a comment below and share your experiences!

Check out these great contributions from the regular Carnival of Breastfeeding bloggers on the same theme:

Angela at Breastfeeding 123 tells us about the things she didn't expect about breastfeeding.

Andi at Mama Knows Breast lists the top 10 things she didn't expect when breastfeeding.

Tanya at the Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog recalls how breastfeeding changed her life in ways she never expected.

Jennifer at The Lactivist gives us Nursing isn't Quite What I Expected.

This month we also have the some fantastic contributions from the following guest bloggers:

Shelly at Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mother tells us what she didn't expect about breastfeeding.

Leisa at Down With the Kids gives us "Goodbye Booby", a heartwarming post discussing her feelings about weaning.
Ashlee at  New Mama’s Nest shares her experience of breastfeeding her premature baby.
Heather at The Spice Choir talks about how breastfeeding changed her life.
Melanie from Spit-Up on My Shoulder, writes about why Education is Key. (She is also a postpartum doula who has written a book entitled Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me? True Stories of New Motherhood).
Rixa at The True Face of Birth explains how preparation pre-birth helped her succeed with breastfeeding.


Me and My Boy!

Just the Two of Us! In my last post I lamented the fact that I have started to properly wean Jack. But today, as I was thinking about whether my reasons for doing so were selfish or sensible, I came across a couple of posts from my breastfeeding blog carnival fellow bloggers.

Angela at Breastfeeding 123 has a great post full of night-time weaning tips which I plan on trying out over the next few days. And she got me thinking that if I can stop the night-time breastfeeding then I could still breastfeed Jack during the day until he reaches his second birthday; perhaps then it won't be such a big wrench for both of us!

Meantime I also discovered that Andi at Mama Knows Breast is also contemplating life without breastfeeding once her baby hits his first birthday in a couple of weeks!

So it seems I'm certainly not alone in my weaning plans!

By the way, I've just uploaded some more of my photos to my Flickr  page if any one wants a peek! They have nothing to do with breastfeeding but hey, I am a breastfeeding mum and they are my photos and this is my blog!! :)

Also whilst I'm shamelessly promoting my photos, I thought I'd mention Grumpy Old Man (hubby) has finally posted his five things few people know about him which I tagged him for last week!


Breastfeeding Blog Carnival - Good Advice/ Bad Advice

Welcome to the fifth Breastfeeding Blog Carnival!

This month's topic is one many mums will be familiar with - good and bad breastfeeding advice!

As usual, everyone involved in the Breastfeeding Carnival has worked extremely hard putting together lots of excellent posts, the links to which are at the bottom of mine!

So here goes - enjoy!

Good Advice/ Bad Advice

As any breastfeeding mum will tell you, when you openly admit to either breastfeeding your child or to considering breastfeeding when you are pregnant, the advice from often well-meaning professionals and strangers comes flooding in. You are presented with a colourful array of tales - many of which stem from "this happened to a friend of mine" and so the urban myths take hold.

In my own experience I was very fortunate in that all I ever got was good advice, the best of which was being told by my health visitor to take breastfeeding as a whole on a feed-by-feed and day-by-day basis rather than aiming to breastfeed for a set period of time.

By proferring such words of wisdom the pressure to breastfeed for X number of months was immediately lifted and ironically I went on to breastfeed each of my babies for at least 15 months (still going strong wth number three at 20 months!) as opposed to the initial three months I had been aiming for!

Not all new mums are so lucky though. Just a few weeks ago I reported how one mother with a peanut allergy was advised by her GP not to breastfeed as it would make her baby more susceptible to allergies! Another lady I spoke to in just the last couple of days told me how she was advised to quit breastfeeding by her GP because she had mastitis!

With GP's of all people dispensing such bad advice, who can breastfeeding mums turn to in those early days when they feel everything they do is being judged and that everyone but them knows the answers?

Luckily, there are many organisations and groups just waiting to help. From breastfeeding support workers/ lactation consultants to websites like The Breastfeeding Network and La Leche League there is ample great advice and support available - assuming new mums know where to look of course.

And therein lies the rub...

Because if no-one is spreading the word about such wonderful sources of breastfeeding help, breastfeeding mums feel isolated, helpless and are obviously vulnerable to bad advice.

So I challenge every breastfeeding mother out there, instead of just offering your own words of support why not make a point of mentioning the names of the support workers, helplines, books and websites where professional breastfeeding support is available or which you made use of when you had problems.

Together let us put an end to all the bad advice that is scaring mums off and encouraging them to quit breastfeeding at the first hurdle. And if  your good advice helps just one mum embark upon or continue breastfeeding then isn't that one more success story for us all?

Please visit the following regular contributors to the Breastfeeding Blog Carnival to read more stories of Good/ Bad Breastfeeding Advice:

Angela at Breastfeeding 123 writes about how to get good medical advice on breastfeeding.

Tanya from The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog lists some of the commonly heard breastfeeding advice, good and bad, which bombards new mothers as well as suggesting ways to ensure the advice you get is good.

Andi at Mama Knows Breast suggests way to find a good Lactation Consultant and offers some breastfeeding tips.

Jennifer from The Lactivist writes about her own experience of exclusively pumping breastmilk for her newborn and offers advice and resources for other mums facing the same dilemma.

Please also check out this month's guest contributors:
Jennifer from Black Breastfeeding Blog writes about how her mother came to the rescue when she first started breastfeeding.
The Baby Gravy Train lists some useful things that made breastfeeding easier to cope with during the early awkward weeks.
Micky at Mocha Milk urges mums to learn to weed out the good advice from the bad by trusting their own instincts and seeking advice from reputable sources.
Karen at Cairo Mama confides that her own experiences taught her that breastfeeding is not a test and does not always work out as expected.
Stacie from The Twinkies lists some of the things she wishes she had known about breastfeeding when she first began her journey.
Steph from Random Wonderings posts a beautifully moving piece about her own disappointing attempts at breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Blog Carnival - Submissions Invited!

It's hard to believe it's time again for submissions to the Breastfeeding Blog Carnival.

The theme for March is Breastfeeding Advice.

Was the advice you received on the whole good or bad?

If you are a blogger then you are hereby invited to share your story by submitting a post to the Carnival!

All submissions will be voted on by the other four permanent bloggers and me (ie  Angela at Breastfeeding 123, Andi at Mama Knows Breast, Tanya at Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog, Jennifer at The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog and Sinead from BreastFeedingMums Blog) - and the best of the bunch will be added to the Carnival as guest bloggers.

Contributing to the Carnival is a great way to gain extra visitors and links for your blog. And your blog doesn't have to be a breastfeeding blog in order to contribute - any parenting or mom blog is welcome to post a submission.

If you are interested, please email your submission to me by 26th February 2007 for the Carnival which will take place on 12th March 2007.

Before submission please read the following pointers carefully in order to improve your chances of becoming a guest blogger in March:

    1. Please write your post in a clear and concise manner.
    2. Check your grammar and spellings.
    3. Stay on topic.
    4. The overall quality of the rest of your blog and its relevance to our readers will be taken into account when choosing participants.
    5. If your blog post is chosen, on the day of the Carnival you will be reminded to include permalinks in a summary post to each of the other permanent blogs in the Carnival  (ie. BreastFeedingMums Blog, Breastfeeding 123, Mama Knows Breast, Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog and The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog) and to also include links to the other guest bloggers.

Wishing you lots of fun composing your post!

Good Luck...


Love Is All Around Me...

Hey, it's Carnival Time again and as Valentine's Day approaches this month's topic is appropriately entitled Baby Love!

This month I offer you a glimpse into my life with "Love Is All Around Me" a post which traces my own relationship with my husband from teenage sweethearts to adoring parents.

And don't forget to visit the other bloggers' posts in the Baby Love Carnival which I have listed below!

Love Is All Around Me...

As a child I loved playing with “boys” toys and spent hours racing my little brother’s cars around the house. I recall cycling in the rain daydreaming about how much fun it would be if my bicycle had a “roof” on it.  I devoured books, especially Enid Blyton's Secret Seven and Famous Five series.

Very occasionally I played with a few Barbie dolls - but I was never really a doll sort of girl, in sharp contrast to my little sister who just adored her Tiny Tears and yearned for a Cabbage Patch Kid.

So, my parents, naturally, thought I would grow up to be a career girl and my sister, the maternal one.

But oh how the years change us.

When I hit thirteen suddenly I started dreaming about my future in the sort of romantic way only a teenager can. And in some ways my story was romantic.

When I first met my now husband it was during an open day at Queen’s University, Belfast.  I was as the song goes "only sixteen"; he was seventeen. I saw him strolling across the quad and suddenly knew, "I’m going to marry him!"

I giggled to myself as I hadn’t even spoken to him at that point much less had a date! But we got chatting and by the end of the day I was in love. We met up again the following weekend… and that was the beginning of "us"!

When he went off to university a few months later I was heartbroken as it meant I could only see him at weekends and he wouldn’t be able to walk me home from school anymore!

However,  love prevailed and we stayed together all through college (although I attended University of Ulster, Coleraine) and the intervening years, eventually marrying in 1998.

Our baby girl, Tara, was born in 2000. And nothing in this world could have prepared me for the immediate and overpowering love I felt for her when she was handed to me, ten years after that fateful day in QUB!

Baby Love brought with it so many unexpected emotions. I never doubted I would love my baby but the potency of that love astounded me. I adored her tiny little features, her milky scent, her silky soft skin, her fine blonde hair, her button nose and her bright blue eyes. I marvelled at her absolute perfection every time she breastfed. She was so beautiful, so precious and the most photographed baby in the world!

And as a first time mum, I documented every single milestone, every new tooth, every new word, every outfit she wore, every new sound she made, the nursery rhymes she liked and the toys she enjoyed! I treasured every second I spent with her.

Of course I also had darker moments when I wept for her future life. I imagined us, her parents, dying and her being left alone. I saw her as an old lady with no mummy and daddy to look after her, I worried for all the broken hearts she would suffer as a teenager, all the trials life would fling at her!

My heart physically ached for her when she was ill or in pain.

But each time I whispered into her tiny perfect little ears that I would always love her and care for her and do my very best to keep her safe and happy.

I never imagined that I could possibly feel those same feelings for any other babies I might have. In fact I didn’t really want to think about increasing our family for fear I would have to share my Baby Love with another baby!

However, as time moved on and she began to grow into a busy independent toddler I found myself yearning for another baby to shower with love...

Sarah arrived after a wonderful birth in 2003 and much to my relief my Baby Love swamped me all over again! I was fascinated by the physical resemblance she shared with her big sister and thoroughly delighted in her. The love I had worried about sharing simply expanded to embrace her too. And when Jack joined us in 2005 again Baby Love rippled through me!

I didn’t fret so much about Tara’s future once she had siblings; I knew the children would always have each other.  And I didn’t have time to keep just so many records of developmental milestones the second and third time around …

Instead these days I revel in the joy and love I feel as my three children bond with one another and their relationships with each other blossom.

Now when I look at my children, aged six, three and one, I see the beautiful little people they are becoming, each with a very distinctive personality of their own.

And I also see that they are three very lucky children. They are lucky to have each other to share their lives with, lucky to have four grandparents who dote on them, lucky to have lots of aunts and uncles who delight in them and lucky to have two parents who love one another and who will always strive to do whatever we can for them.

So, I never really took to the whole career girl thing. Sure, I became a teacher but as soon as my fist-born arrived I quickly realised I couldn’t be parted from her, looking after other people’s children. And I acknowledge that I have been extremely lucky to have been able to stay at home with my children for the past three and a half years.

But oh boy, Baby Love - it’s so much more than falling in love. It overpowers you completely and forever! Baby Love is all-consuming and neither Stan nor I can ever imagine that fading; it is a love which entwines all five of us together forever.

What started as our own little love story, spanning our teens and twenties, changed into something so much more when our first baby was born; as the years have passed and our family has grown, our love for each other envelops our family and holds us all tightly together.

And what of my sister, the maternal one?

Well, although she is the doting mama of a darling little boy, her career has thrived alongside her baby love. She freely admits she would feel suffocated by my lifestyle. She enjoys her freedom, her career, her independence. But she also more than cherishes every single magical moment she spends with her little son.

Baby Love; it’s what you make it. What works for one may not work for another but so long as you are happy with your choice then surely that is the most important thing…

Baby Love - Phew!

Don't forget to visit the following blogs for more insights into Baby Love:

Angela from Breastfeeding 123 writes about helping a big brother or sister welcome a new baby into the family.

Andi from Mama Knows Breast shares her review of the book "Babyproofing Your Marriage."

Tanya from Motherwear Blog discusses in her post, "Baby Love:  How my body loved my baby when my mind could not" how it sometimes takes a while to fall in love with your baby if there are other things going on after/related to birth, becoming a mother, etc.

Jennifer from The Lactivist Breastfeeding Blog contemplates how love makes you do crazy things.

Also participating this month we have three new guest bloggers:

Melissa from Booby Juice posts "In Love With My Babies" depicting the happiest days of her life with her boys.

Karen at Cairo Mama details in her post, "Great Expectations and First Impressions:  The Beginning of Love" how loving her baby helps her to love herself.

Colleen from My Baby and More posts her entry entitled "Baby Lust...er...Love" leaving a big question mark at the end!

Please remember, if you enjoy our carnival posts and run your own breastfeeding or parenting blog why not send us your submissions for the next one. Details will follow shortly!


New Year's Resolutions: It's Time for a Change!

The_futureimages

I can hardly believe it's Carnival time again. This time around the booby bloggers and I are having a look at New Year's Resolutions - parenting resolutions to be precise!

This New Year I need to make some big changes. With a six year old at school all day, and a three year old and one year old at home, I've found myself increasingly relying on the television to keep them entertained whilst I try to keep up with all the housework, maintaining my website and updating my blog!

I never intended to work from home when I first embarked on the journey of parenthood. My dream was to take a career break from teaching, spend a few years at home with the children and give them lots of wonderful memories of their pre-school years. I was going to leave them to school, pick them up, help with homework and attend all the parent-teacher meetings, Christmas plays and the such-like.

But the reality has been quite different.

I find myself slowly drifting into working full-time at home and desperately attempting to entertain my bored children, never quite knowing what the day will bring...

Mondays are great because there is always a plan - my husband leaves our eldest child to school, I go to the Breastfeeding Support Group and Sarah and Jack have great fun in the attached playroom!

Afterwards we sometimes go to the shops and then home. We pick up Tara from school and then the children play together after all the homework is done.

As for the rest of the week we sort of just take each day as it comes - which more often than not means me spending too many hours on the laptop whilst the kids pull every single toy they possess into the lounge and turn the television volume to ear-splitting!

So my number one resolve is to plan ahead for each week so that we all know at a glance what lies ahead.

I will try to spend less time working whilst the children are around me and they in turn will spend more time having fun with me, their daddy and with each other. Perhaps we'll go to the park, feed the ducks, visit family, paint and draw together, go for lunch, enjoy a family bedtime story...

Every day will include at least one fun parenting time together as a whole family and one fun thing for me to do with the children whilst hubby is at work.

I resolve to get out more. And to get the children out more. And I will stop turning down my hubby's requests to go out with him. I think we need one evening a week just to ourselves - to go to the movies or out for a pizza together.

I also want to start some sort of an exercise regime. Right now I do little other than run around in the wake of the childrens' destruction, tidying up after them. And although I don't need to lose any weight (breastfeeding has helped tremendously in this area!), I do want to tone up.

My eldest child started horse-riding recently and usually my husband takes her to her lessons. I think it would make a nice family outing each week as the children love horses and we'll all have fun!

I've also realised that because I have three children, I've been using the car a lot more than previously! I think as a family we need to do a little more walking. Excuses are easy come by; it's too cold/ wet, I'm tired because Jack was breastfeeding all night, we're running late...

The excuses must end...

Maybe I will start by walking Tara to and from school more often. Any time I have done so in the past I have really enjoyed the conversations we have, plus she loves having me all to herself sometimes; that would be an ideal way to both exercise and spend quality mum/daughter time together!

I really want to improve our family diet. Far too frequently this year we've been living on convenience food because my husband and I are too exhausted to cook a proper dinner. I absolutely love fresh potatoes and vegetables and how hard is it to cook a bit of bacon or some chicken breasts instead of popping a pizza or lasagne in the oven? And to make it even easier we already have a steamer which can cook whole meals at a time!

Now I know that every year I make resolutions and nearly every year I've forgotten about them by the end of January - but they are usually just for me. So I'm hoping that by including the whole family, and making changes together, we'll be more inclined to stick to them this year.

Add to that the fact that my resolutions are in the public domain and I will feel obliged to carry them out!

So that's my plan for 2007... What do you propose this year?

See what the rest of the Booby Brigade bloggers are intending this coming year:

Tanya Lieberman from Motherwear Blog invites you all to "Take the 2007 Motherwear Pledge."

Angela at Breastfeeding 123 posts on Exercise for New and Nursing Mothers.

Andi at Mama Knows Breast resolves to get organised this coming year, hence her post entitled, "My Resolution -- Get Organized."

Jennifer at The Lactivist contributes her take on New Year's Resolutions with "Three Things I'll Do Differently This Year."

Again this month we have a couple of new bloggers joining our carnival, one of whom is Ellen Rebekah of Momma's Angel who discusses The Second Year of bringing up her daughter.

Our second new blogger is Carrie from Natural Moms who discusses the importance of vocal tone when talking to your children in her post, My Parenting Goals.

Happy New Year!


Merry Christmas to One and All

Merry Christmas to one and all of my visitors! Like many of you, I'm sure, I'm busy preparing for Santa's visit tonight and the Christmas celebrations tomorrow. I'm also just about to go and get ready for the midnight mass (strangely at 9pm!) and carol service at my local church so I haven't time to write much!

But do enjoy your holidays, whatever you are celebrating and I'll get back to you soon!

And for any of you breastfeeding mums out there stressing, here's another chance to read Andi Silverman's wonderful parody of  "'Twas the night before Christmas!"

Have a good one!


Breastfeeding and Birth Choices

The breastfeeding world this week is abuzz with the latest medical findings on epidurals and breastfeeding. Apparently

  • those who have the anaesthetic are more likely to have problems in the first week after birth and to stop breastfeeding early.
  • A chemical in epidurals (Fentanyl) may affect babies (making them too sleepy to get a good latch) or it may be that women who do not have pain relief are more likely to persist with breastfeeding.

Pat O'Brien, a spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, pointed out that although it was possible that fentanyl had an effect on the baby, there may be other reasons why a mother may not breastfeed.

Now I'm not going to get into all of these reasons as my blogging friends have already covered it.  (I've been unable to as I've had no laptop for the last few weeks due to a series of unfortunate events.) However, if you want to find out more I suggest you check out their blogs:

Mama Knows Breast

The Lactivist

Breastfeeding 123

Personally, although I have never chosen to have an epidural (I was too afraid of the possible side-effects after hearing a few horror stories from a nurse friend!), I did have loads of gas and air and a good dose of pethidine during each of my three labours and I still breastfed!

I was determined from the moment I found out I was pregnant that I would breastfeed, no matter what. All three of my babies were extremely sleepy after their births, due mainly to the side effects of the pethidine.

And although all three had problems latching on at the beginning, they improved within about 24 hours and before too long they were pretty much breastfeeding constantly.

What was, and is, important to me is that I had a choice regarding pain relief. I researched my choice and was aware my babies would probably be sleepy if I accepted pethidine and that this may cause a few breastfeeding problems. But I was prepared for that.

I have spoken to several mums who were both shocked and disgusted that I opted for pethidine knowing it would affect my babies, whilst others supported my decision and thought I was brave for avoiding an epidural.

I know mums who've had epidurals and chosen to breastfeed and others who refused to breastfeed at all. What I say is each to their own. Birth choices and feeding choices must be a personal decision; and as long as mums are educated beforehand about the potential risks and benefits of their choices, then their decisions should be respected.

Breastfeeding a newborn can take a while to become established, regardless of whether or not the mum has had medication during her labour; as long as mums are aware of this, then they can decide whether or not to persevere with breastfeeding.

Some will, some won't, but they certainly don't need to be frightened into refusing pain relief just because it might cause a few problems with breastfeeding. Forewarned is forearmed as the old saying goes and I say Amen to that!