Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh No She Di’n’t!

Oh yes I did! I’m going to talk about people who choose to not breastfeed “just because”. Remember that part of my introduction that says I have strong opinions and if you don’t like them you don’t have to read my blog? Well, this post might just put that to the test.

There are women who, for one reason or another, can’t breastfeed. Some have low supply, some have been given poor information and/or advice and a very (VERY) few are incapable of making milk.

To these women, I say “good job in trying!” You put that baby to your breast and it just didn’t work out right. Make a mental note and try to fix it for the next time. And remember to ask for help from those who know what they’re talking about (*waves*).

Now. I’m going to address those who CHOSE to not breastfeed. They chose this for varying reasons, some of which are: formula is just as good (or maybe even better) than breastmilk; human’s have evolved past the point of needing to nurse their young; breastfeeding is disgusting; breasts are sexual, not for feeding babies.

First of all, we are mammals. There’s no getting around that. We are warm blooded, have live births and NURSE OUR YOUNG. That’s what our breasts are made for.

Second, there is NO WAY a laboratory can recreate what the human body does to perfection. Yes, science has come a long, long way. We are doing and making amazing things. We can transplant organs from one human to another and live normal lives. We can even transplant organs from other animals. We can create nourishment for infants that will keep them alive and growing.

HOWEVER, there is no way we can create something identical to the real thing. Formula was a marvelous invention. Infants whose mothers had died or infants who were abandoned and there was no lactating woman around were now able to be fed something to keep them alive. And it was much easier on their tummies than straight goat’s milk or cow’s milk.

Breastmilk is THE PERFECT FOOD. It has the exact amount of everything a baby needs to not only survive, but thrive. It has antibodies, vitamins, minerals and a whole slew of nutrients that make babies grow. The colostrum (the first milk, before the real stuff comes in) lines the baby’s gut to get the body ready for the breastmilk.

Take a look at this:

Formula just doesn’t stack up, does it?

How can someone choose to deny their child all that breastmilk gives? How can someone choose to give their child the breastmilk of another mammal? Would you expect a mother to nurse a baby cow? No? Then why are people letting their children have cow’s breastmilk? Doesn’t make sense, does it?

In my world (the world according to me ;)) formula would be hard to get.  It might even be via prescription.  Or at least behind the counter of the drug store like some cold medicines are.  All hospitals would have Lactation Consultants, not nurses who may (or may not) have gotten a crash course on nursing.

Are you a bad parent if you chose to formula feed? No, but perhaps a neglectful one.

Friday, August 20, 2010


I miss nursing so much. My son weaned around 3 years old (and still asks at nearly 4, but there's nothing there). When I was nursing him after age two I was ready to be done. I had decided to let him wean himself and those last couple months were pretty long. I was just done. But now I'm not. Not that I want to get him to nurse again at age 4, but I miss our time together. I miss holding him (or more likely fly-by nursings).

Ironically, I have this double standard with myself. I loved that only *I* could give him that, however he wants only *me* to do everything else for him ("No! Mommy do it!"). But I want that time back.  It's one of the biggest factors in wanting another baby.  I can't imagine never having a baby to nurse again.

So, those of you nursing babies (or kids) savor the moments.  And those of you who are so done you're ready to quit, remember this is just a short time in your life, and such an important time in theirs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Spitty Baby: how to deal with a baby who spits up – a lot

Does your baby spit up a lot? I mean A LOT? The kind of spitting up that gets all over your baby, you and whatever is within a 3 foot radius? Do you have to change your baby’s clothes several times a day? Do you have to change YOUR clothes several times a day? I did, and I’m here to tell you how to get through it.

Both of my babies were major spitters. My daughter spit up 30 times a day, easily. She was mostly breastfed, but I supplemented her with formula when I felt like she was spitting up more than I could produce. I used that thick formula that is supposed to help with spitting up. The spit up only came up thicker. We even started solids early, at 4 months, in hopes that would help. Nope, then it came up in Technicolor. I have a great picture of her in mid-spit. My husband just happened to click the camera at just the right time and there’s a freeze framed mini-waterfall of spit up running out of her mouth. And she’s oblivious. The very next shot is of me wiping her chest and face with an annoyed look on my face. That pretty much sums up our spitting experience.

First the disclaimer: gastric reflux is common in babies. Sometimes it is more of a nuisance then anything else, but sometimes it could be very painful for the baby. If your baby spits up a lot and cries when it happens, be sure to contact your pediatrician.

Spitting up is unavoidable. If your baby is a spitter, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Even gastric reflux medication won’t stop it, it will just ease the pain. So, here are some things that helped me, and hopefully they will help you.
  • 1) Breastmilk spit up stinks less. It’s true. So does breastmilk poop. And breastmilk spit up stains a lot less. Formula will not change how much your baby spits up. Your baby spits up because your baby spits up.
  • 2) Baby spit up has a unique smell. It’s sour milk, but different than what you might smell from that milk container that’s been in your fridge for too long. All moms know that smell and are accustomed to it. Don’t be embarrassed if you smell like spit up, or if your baby does.
  • 3) Burp rags. Make sure you get burp rags that are very absorbent. Some good ideas are cloth diapers and terry cloth rags. You can also use some of those soft cotton receiving blankets.
  • 4) Clean baby clothes. If your baby spits up as much as mine did, then it’s not very realistic to change their clothes every single time they get spitty. However, having a clean shirt available to put on the baby once or twice a day will help keep the “ick” factor down. This is especially important when you’re out and about.
  • 5) Clean clothes for you. You’re going to get spit up on you. Carry around an extra T shirt so you can change if you need to.
  • 6) Some people are just grossed out by spit up. Show them it’s normal and natural by handling it. When baby spits up, take it in stride. Shrug your shoulders and silently gripe about it. What bothered me the most when other people were looking at or holding my children is that they would freak out and act like my baby just spit up corrosive acid. It made me feel bad. When they saw that I wasn’t bothered by it, they didn’t react so harshly.
  • 7) This too shall pass. Both my kids were pretty spitty for the first six months, then they started to settle down. The spit up was gone by about nine months. Nine months seems like a long time when you’re living day to day, but soon you’ll look back and think “wow, it’s been nine months already?”
The bottom line is your baby spits up. Don’t let it keep you at home because you don’t want to deal with spit up out in public. Don’t get upset by it. There’s nothing you can do but gather what you learn, pick up some new hints and pass it on. Enjoy that baby, spit up and all.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blogging is new to me, and this Blog Hop is even newer. :)  But I'm trying to get myself more into the blogging world, so I'm giving this a try.

I'm Julianna (as the blog title suggests) and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I have some pretty strong opinions in certain areas so decided I could express them in a blog with out getting people upset at me.  If you don't like what I have to say then don't read my blog. :D

I love talking about breastfeeding, babywearing, religion (or, more importantly, the lack there of) and a medley of other topics, mostly related to parenting.

So thanks for stopping by the Blog Hop. :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What are the Breastfeeding Booby Traps?

Have you been booby trapped?  This is a great article on what booby traps are and how we can avoid them.  Although it's getting better (a tiny bit better), moms are bombarded with formula ads and coupons and free products.  They're also put into situations where breastfeeding is difficult, such as unneeded C-sections and lack of information and education. If you've been booby trapped, or know someone who has, share this article.

What are the Breastfeeding Booby Traps?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Attachment Parenting – it’s not all or nothing

Here's another article I wrote a couple years ago.

Attachment Parenting (AP) – it’s not all or nothing

Attachment parenting, coined by Dr. Sears, is defined as:  a style of caring for your infant that brings out the best in the baby and the best in the parents (  Dr. Sears talks about the seven Bs: Birth bonding, Breastfeeding, Babywearing, Bedding close to baby (co-sleeping), Belief in the language value of your baby's cry, Beware of baby trainers and Balance.
Can you still be AP and not co-sleep?  Do you have to wear your baby all day long?  Can you never supplement with formula?  The answers are yes and no.

Attachment parenting is a tool you can use, not a strict set of rules. Many parents use AP and don’t even know it.  I didn’t know I was AP until I met up with a group of parents who labeled themselves AP.  I did many of the same things they did, but I figured I was just your average everyday mom.
Being AP is building attachments that actually reduce issues in the long run.  Responding to your child's needs as they are expressed teaches you and the baby how to relate.  The child doesn't end up learning the only way to get a need met is the bloodcurdling scream.  As parents, you will learn to trust your instincts and your child's.

But, back to our question: is it all or nothing?  Let’s take the 7 Bs one at a time.

Birth bonding – this is when you get the baby immediately after birth and put him to your breast for his first (attempted) latch.  You are skin to skin.  The baby can smell you and hear your heartbeat. What if you can’t bond immediately?  What if you have a C section or there are complications and the baby needs to be whisked away to the NICU?  That’s OK.  You will have time to bond.  Yes, that first bonding is important, but so is the rest of the bonding period.

Breastfeeding – part of the AP philosophy is the importance of breastfeeding.  Not only is it the best nourishment for your baby, but it creates a stronger bond.  Some moms can’t breastfeed for varying reasons.  Maybe the baby just never learned how to latch or mom didn’t produce enough (or any) milk.  If you bottle feed, you can still bond by holding your baby for each and every feed and look into his eyes, play with his hands and feet and do everything you would have done if he were nursing.

Babywearing – honestly, holding your baby a lot is the key here; baby carriers, like slings and wraps, make it easier on you.  You could hold your baby to your chest all day, but your arms would get tired and you would be limited to what you could do.  With a sling or wrap you can do it all while bonding with your baby. 

Bedding close to baby (co-sleeping) – having your baby close to you at all times, including at night while in bed, increases the bond plus gives mom more sleep.  But, as convenient as co-sleeping is, it can still be a nerve wracking experience at first.  I attempted co-sleeping with my daughter when she was a baby.  We slept together for just a couple nights and I had terrible nightmares for MONTHS afterwards.  I would wake up a couple times a night searching for her, thinking I or my husband rolled over on top of her.  I would frantically rip off the covers of our bed and look between the wall and bed.  It would take several seconds to realize I was dreaming and she was asleep in her crib in her room.  When my son was born I needed that extra sleep, so I tried co-sleeping again.  This time I had no problem with it.  He slept on my arm all night long and would nurse whenever he needed to.  And I didn’t have to get up to nurse him in his room.  Aside from stirring just enough to make sure he latched on, we slept all night long.  The moral?  My daughter is just as attached as my son, even though she and I didn’t co-sleep.

Belief in the language value of your baby's cry – This is an important one.  Your baby is crying for a reason.  He’s hungry, wet or dirty, uncomfortable, too hot, too cold or just needs to be held.  This isn’t one of those “all or nothing” things.  Your baby is too young to manipulate you.  He needs you and you need to respond to him. When you practice AP, you start to learn what each cry means.  I know the difference between the “I’m super tired” cry, the “I’m hungry” cry, the “something hurts” cry and the “I’m pissed off” cry. No matter how AP and bonded you are to your baby, there will always be those times when you just can’t figure out what’s wrong. But at least those times are less than if you didn’t take the time to bond and learn.

Beware of baby trainers – Another part of being AP is knowing that your baby knows what he wants and needs.  He knows when he’s hungry, even if he just ate ½ hour ago.  He knows he just wants to be held, even though he’s been fed, changed and is comfortable.  Now, does this mean you jump at every single cry?  Maybe not.  For instance, sleep training.  Newborns should not be sleep trained. They might need to eat 6 times that night.  You need to feed him 6 times that night.  However, once he turns about 6 months old, you can let him cry for 10 minutes.  That might be all he needs to fall asleep, or back asleep. 

Balance – No, it’s not all about baby.  It’s mostly about baby, but not all.  Don’t neglect yourself or your marriage.  If your partner really is uncomfortable co-sleeping, then consider moving the baby to a side sleeper or his own crib.  If your partner really doesn’t want to babywear, then let him/her hold the baby.  Be willing to compromise, but don’t give up your parenting style. 

The bottom line is bond with your baby the best you can.  Take these seven Bs, follow them the best you can, but know that they’re not set in stone and there is wiggle room.  Enjoy the attachment you create with your baby.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Surving Colic

I wrote this a couple years ago and thought it would be nice to share with all of you.  I call myself the "Queen of Colic" because I really feel like I know a lot about how to deal with it.  Hopefully these tips will help your colicky baby.

Surviving Colic
Congratulations!  You are a new mommy and you have this tiny, beautiful baby.  You’ve been dreaming of this day for nine months.  Probably even longer than that.  How exciting it will be to hold and cuddle that little bundle of joy.  If only that little bundle of joy would stop crying…
Having a colicky baby can be extremely stressful.  You’re dealing with the sleepless nights, having a baby attached to your breast and now a baby that just CAN’T be soothed.  You offer the breast, you rock, you bounce, you swaddle, you swing.  The baby just cries and cries until he finally passes out and sleeps, only to wake up later and do it all over again.
Believe me, I know what you’re dealing with.  My daughter had colic for over three months.  She cried ALL DAY LONG.  My only saving grace (and possibly hers) was that she slept great at night.  I’m writing this to pass on what I learned along the way.  Some of it was advice given to me, but most of it I learned myself – the hard way.
First and foremost know: this too shall pass.  I know it makes no difference to you right now, but the colic will go away.  You will have a happy baby.  Focusing on the future isn’t an easy task.  It’s hard to look outside of what’s happening right now.  It’s basic survival instincts to get through the immediate challenge.  Try posting a sticky note somewhere where you’ll see it everyday.  Write on it “the colic will go away soon”, or something like that.  Put up a calendar where you can mark off each day at a time.  Circle his three month birthday knowing the colic will most likely be gone by then.  Anything you can do to get you through one day at a time will help. 
Secondly, swaddle – REAL tight.  I would joke that I was swaddling my baby just shy of cutting off the circulation.  Most babies really like that feeling of being all tight and snug.  It reminds them of the womb.  It’s very calming for them.  Swaddling is easy.  There are two ways that I’ve used. 
Here are the directions for swaddling using a blanket in a diamond shape:
  1. choose a large blanketlay the blanket out so that it is positioned like a diamond (a tilted square)
  2. fold the top corner down about ¼ of the way
  3. lay the baby down so his neck is lying on the fold
  4. holding the baby’s hand either to his side or on his chest, pull one corner over and tuck it in the opposite side
  5. take the other corner and pull it tight around the baby.  You can tuck the corner into a fold of the blanket to keep it wrapped.
  6. variation: to keep baby’s legs in and close to his body, pull the bottom corner up to his hands before pulling the first corner over
Here are the directions when swaddling using a blanket in a square shape:
  1. choose a large blanket
  2. lay the blanket out so it is positioned like a square
  3. lay the baby down so his neck is lying on the top edge of the blanket
  4. holding the baby’s hand either to his side or on his chest, fold one side of the blanket over and tuck under the baby’s body
  5. fold the other side over and around the baby
  6. take the bottom edge of the blanket and pull it up.  You can pull it tight so the baby’s legs are tight to his body, or you can do it loosely
  7. wrap each side of the blanket around the baby
Both ways of swaddling works well.  It depends on which style is easiest for you.  I have found that it is harder for babies to get out of the squared shaped swaddle.  Babies don’t like to be swaddled forever, so unwrap him a little while after he’s gone to sleep.  Or if after being swaddled he’s still screaming unwrap him and try something else.
The third tip I have to offer is “white noise”.  This is loud (but not too loud), constant noise like a hairdryer, vacuum cleaner, shooshing (“shhh”) or static on the radio.  White noise also reminds babies of the womb.  It’s pretty loud in there with our blood circulating and other muffled noises that make it to the baby.  I had a loud fan in my bathroom that worked well.
Number four is motion.  Swinging up and down or side to side works well.  Large, slow swings are great.  I would dance around the house with my daughter.  It was good exercise for me, too!  Another type of movement they like is little jiggles, side to side.  Just enough to get their heads to jiggle a tiny bit.  Often car rides help them fall asleep with the movement of driving.
Number 5 is join a Mothers Club or some kind of Mommies’ group.  Meet other moms who have dealt with colic or are currently dealing with it.  Share tips.  Commiserate together.  Laugh and cry together and watch each others babies grow up and become happy, smiling babies.
Finally, the last tip I have for you is put it all together.  Swaddle your baby and swing him while running the vacuum.  Or swaddle him and jiggle him while shooshing in his ear.  Remember that you won’t have to do this forever.  He will stop crying, even if for a little while.
If you get frustrated, walk away.  Put your baby in a safe place, like a crib or playpen, and walk away for 10 minutes.  Go where you can’t hear your baby crying.  Go in another room and put some headphones on.  It won’t hurt your baby to cry for 10 minutes if it means you’ll get some sanity. 
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Ask your neighbor to watch the baby for you while you run an errand.  Get away for a little bit.  Call on a family member.  You may feel like you don’t want to burden someone else with this crying baby, but that someone else doesn’t have to deal with the crying day in and day out and won’t have a problem rocking him for a couple hours.
One parting comment: if you really think something is wrong with your baby, have it checked out.  Mostly crying babies are crying because babies cry.  But if your mommy instincts are telling you something’s wrong, then be safe and see your pediatrician. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I breastfed my toddler, did you?

I always knew I would breastfeed my children.  Doing otherwise just wasn't an option.  I didn't think about how long, though.  With my first, Allie, I wanted to aim for 2 years because that was the WHO recommendation

When Allie weaned herself at 14 months I was certainly happy we made it that far, but also a little sad that we didn't make the 2 year mark.

When my son, Zachary came along, I aimed for two years again, not imagining I'd go any longer.  Two years came and went and he was still nursing a couple times a day.  We made it to 36 months and then some.  He will still ask every now and then and I let him.  That doesn't go over so well with the husband, but that's for another entry...

Here's a great article on nursing a toddler:

breastfeeding your toddler

Yes, another blogger

I'm not really sure what I'm doing, but I'll give this a try.  I've been using Facebook as my platform.  Someone suggest I blogj (thanks Jason!).  My first thought was "blog? Me??"  Then after thinking about it I thought "Why not?"  So here I am.  I have a lot of things I like to talk about: breastfeeding, religion (or the lack there of), babywearing, attachment parenting.  I'm sure there's more.  So, enjoy.  I think I'll have fun writing here.