I have written before about the fact that in all my days of nursing anytime and anywhere, I have never once received a rude comment. For the most part, I have seen nothing but support for breastfeeding. Unfortunately, last week I received a reminder of the fact that some people are still hung up, confused, or ill informed when it comes to breastfeeding. I was on the phone with a nurse who called me for a telephone consult. I prefaced my question with a bit of background information on Annabelle, which included the fact that much of her nutrition comes from breastmilk. This nurse stopped me mid-sentence and asked, incredulously, “She’s still nursing? At 19 months!?” Of course this could be interpreted as positive or negative, but her tone said it all. She was far from supportive, and it really upset me. This slightly (okay, very) snarky post has been bouncing around in my head ever since. Continue reading
Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.
|Photo Credit: Ray King
Used by Creative Commons License
I have been on a journey to be kinder and gentler to the environment since long before my daughter was born, but her birth and the decision to cloth diaper definitely gave me the extra push I needed to take that journey more seriously. I knew from the start that I would use cloth in combination with elimination communication, but as I researched my options and learned how easy it was to use cloth, I took things a bit further.
Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:
- Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
- Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
- Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
- Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
- Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
- Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
- Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.
- Prior to becoming pregnant, I had been vegan for six years. I continued a vegan diet throughout my pregnancy, and still do.
- I supplemented with B12, when I remembered, which admittedly was not often enough. Since I use nutritional yeast liberally, my poor memory probably didn’t do me too much damage. I took no other vitamins or supplements prior to pregnancy.
- When I learned that I was pregnant, I immediately began taking a vegetarian prenatal vitamin with B12 and iron.
- Because I was vegan, my doctor gave me a referral to see a dietitian. I didn’t feel I needed it, but was not about to turn down a free service or be haphazard about the health of my unborn child, so I went. I learned a few tips for increasing my iron absorption, but otherwise was told my diet was excellent.
- At her birth, I requested delayed cord clamping and cutting to ensure that Annabelle got the full benefits of her iron rich cord blood.
- I continued to take a prenatal vitamin with iron and B12 as I breastfed Annabelle exclusively for the first seven months of her life.
- Because I was supplementing my own diet with vitamin D through my prenatal, and we spend plenty of time outdoors here at 14 degrees north of the equator, I chose not to give Annabelle Vitamin D drops as the AAP recommends.
- At seven months, despite introducing some complementary foods, I continued to take prenatal vitamins.
- As Annabelle’s intake of complementary foods has increased, I have taken care to include foods rich in iron such as hemp seeds and blackstrap molasses every day and I have transitioned from the prenatal vitamin to Floradix liquid iron, which includes B12. I also take care to eat foods rich in iron each day and cook in cast iron often. For added B12, I continue to use nutritional yeast on both her food and mine.
- Annabelle is still breastfed, at least five times per day, usually more.
- Lab work early in my pregnancy revealed that I was borderline anemic. This was not surprising, as my iron levels were never particularly high, and iron deficiency is common among the women in my family – including those who eat meat. I upped my iron intake.
- Labs taken later in my pregnancy and on the day my daughter was born revealed that I was no longer anemic.
- Annabelle was born at full term (40 weeks and 2 days), and at a normal weight (6lbs15oz). She lost only five ounces in the first days before my milk came in, and once nursing was well established she had perfectly normal gains.
- Because of our vegan diet and my history of low iron, I requested that Annabelle’s iron levels be checked at 9 months rather than waiting until a year as the pediatrician normally would have done. Her iron levels were normal.
- At 12 months, Annabelle’s pediatrician requested that we check her calcium and phosphorous and Vitamin D levels. Again, everything came back normal.
- At 14 months, Annabelle is energetic and happy and loves to eat her vegetables. She began walking before nine months, and continues to advance in all of her motor, communication, and self-care skills.
The cultural norm for infant feeding seems to be pretty simple: some women nurse or may express breast milk for their babies, while others feed their babies formula from a bottle. I have yet to meet, in person, a mom who did anything else. It seems that when there are breastfeeding problems, or a mother cannot or does not wish to nurse, the natural solution is infant formula. I’m sure that formula companies are quite pleased that their products are the immediate go-to for the vast majority of moms when breastfeeding is difficult, or is not an option for one reason or another, but this is an unfortunate scenario for infants.
The following excerpt is taken from the World Health Organizations’s Global Strategy for Infant Feeding
“The vast majority of mothers can and should breastfeed, just as the vast majority of infants can and should be breastfed. Only under exceptional circumstances can a mother’s milk be considered unsuitable for her infant. For those few health situations where infants cannot, or should not, be breastfed, the choice of the best alternative – expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat – depends on individual circumstances…Infants who are not breastfed, for whatever reason, should receive special attention from the health and social welfare system since they constitute a risk group.”
- Expressed milk from the mother
- Milk from another healthy mother, at the breast, or expressed and fed using another method such as an SNS, syringe, cup, or bottle
- Infant formula
Also, please don’t be shy — feel free to hit one of the buttons below to share this post and help raise awareness about this important, and too seldom discussed topic.