Mothering Through Mommy Milk

Milk, milkies, boobie, booba, or in our house, Mommy Milk. I love breastfeeding. I’m a huge advocate for breastfeeding. I have been breastfeeding for the last 3 years and 10 months, continuously, and for the last 7 months, tandem feeding. It isn’t always easy, but I count myself blessed that I have been able to offer this to my daughters. I don’t take it for granted. While I was pregnant with my first, I read The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (authored by La Leche League International), and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more on the topic.

It has made a two hour long flight home, after a busy long weekend, peaceful. It has brought comfort, and nourishment. It has provided antibodies, and greatly reduced illness severity and frequency. And, it has brought two sisters together.

This is how the girls fell asleep one afternoon for their nap. Sweetpea (then 2 months) needed to hold my finger when she fell asleep. Her sister stepped in when my hand was unavailable.

There are MANY benefits of breastfeeding, and this captures a mere 11 of them:

And no, your milk doesn’t lose it’s nutritional value after 6 months, as I so often hear. In fact:

Did you know that the World Health Organization recommends nursing until at least 2 years, and then beyond? Health Canada echoes those sentiments. My intention was to try to nurse until 2 years. Well, lo and behold we both enjoy it so much that we’re still at it at 3 years and 10 months later. I would be lying if I said it was easy. There have been times when I’ve wanted to throw in the nursing pads and give up, but I’m glad I didn’t. At the end of a long day, or when she’s exhausted and nothing else will do, it is so comforting to know that I can be her Fortress of Solitude.

It’s easy, convenient and portable. Here I am at the Brantford Twin Valley Zoo, with Sweetpea (6 months) as she nursed and napped happily.

It’s a lollipop. Don’t worry.

I do appreciate that I can nurse on the go, but this monkey brought it to a whole new level. She was nursing while swinging around! Kudos to you, momma!

A nursing monkey momma

And, as I mentioned above, I am currently tandem nursing. This is when you are nourishing, and comforting, 2 children concurrently. You don’t have to feed them at the same time – that can be quite intense, as you can see on this lemur’s face:

And, naturally, I converted the obligatory “Tree of Life” nursing photo.

Breastmilk is always the right temperature. It is a living tissue, and is constantly changing. On a hot day, it contains more water, to help keep your little one hydrated. It registers your child’s saliva, and creates antibodies for them when they’re sick. It will naturally make them sleepy, especially at night. It is comforting. It changes its properties as your child ages, to provide what they need as they grow. You can’t overfeed a breastfed baby. Breastfed babies tend to be less picky when they start eating solids, because the taste of your milk changes based on what you eat, so they’re used to varying flavours. It has just the right make up for your baby. It’s not called “liquid gold” for nothing. Oh, and it’s free!

And let’s not forget about mom. It helps contract the uterus after birth. It can help with weight loss. You burn, on average, an additional 500 calories a day while breastfeeding. No wonder you’re so hungry! Your rates of breast cancer decrease significantly. It helps you bond with your baby. There is no prep time, especially in the middle of the night.

Again, these are merely a few of the many benefits of breastfeeding. I want to encourage those who feel like they’re along in their breastfeeding journey. We have decided to practice natural term breastfeeding, meaning that we will end when Little Miss (and eventually, Sweetpea) is ready. She’s “still” getting nourishment, and “still” draws great comfort from her Mommy Milk. And until that time, I will cherish our snuggles, because I think we can all agree that they do grow up quite fast.

Did you nurse your little(s)? What was your experience like?

Blessings!

Liz

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Who Needs Toys, Anyway?

My mom (who is amazing, and helps us out whenever we need it) came over on Saturday so that I could hopefully get some cleaning done. Little Miss C (3.5) decided that our roof had a leak (likely inspired by the Berenstain Bear book Too Much Vacation). So, she took every plastic cup, bowl and Tupperwear container we had in the house, and placed them around our living room.

As you can see, we weren’t very far into our cleaning efforts 😀

My mom turned to me and said, “who needs toys?” And it’s true. We don’t have a lot of toys, comparatively speaking. And, because of this, her imagination is allowed to run wild! Next, she created a fort with our freshly washed sheets. Why can’t they use the dirty laundry, right?

And, for the hat trick, she played for half an hour in the dish water – we washed the dishes and the floor!

 

Children don’t need a lot of toys to be entertained. They can, and will, take every day items and see them in a new light, stretching their imaginations, and yours.

What everyday items do your children play with?

Chopped! (Kids Edition)

While at one of our co-ops a couple of weeks ago, Little Miss had the opportunity to try out some nylon knives by Curious Chef. I was so enamoured with the idea, that I bought a set for her. We tried it out the evening we got them, and they were a hit! They are really neat because they will cut through fruits and veggies, but won’t cut skin. Here she is prepping some of the green peppers for our fajitas:

She also chopped up mushrooms and my avocado. She was so eager to continue helping that she suggested making lemonade:

The beautiful part? She ate it. Woot! Because, you know, when children participate in food prep, they are more likely to give it a shot when it lands on the dinner table. (Yes, I said “more likely”. There are no guarantees in life.)

Just like that time we made pizza, and she added all the toppings herself. She never eats the whole thing, but she did this time!

How do you include your children in the kitchen?

A Hairy Situation

A few years ago, I was swimming at a public pool, long before I had children. I had just gotten out of the pool, along with all the other patrons, and I was in the change room. A gaggle of girls were also getting changed, around the age of 7 or 8 years old. I believe it was a birthday party.

In any case, after the girls were dressed, one of the girls started brushing her hair. No biggie, right? Well, apparently it was. Did you know that if you brush just the ends of your hair (you know, when you’re trying to get a knot out of your hair), that it can damage your hair and cause split ends? Well, I learned that little tidbit that day, and so did everyone else in the change room. This girl’s mom started yelling at her, explaining what she was doing wrong – in front of all her friends. She then proceeded to take the brush from her, and do it for her.

What caused me to remember this scene, nearly 10 years later? I was embarrassed and sad for her daughter. We try our very best to practice peaceful, respectful parenting. This one instance (maybe the mom was having an off day?) is one of the reasons why. I felt so bad that she was chastised in front of her friends, for such a silly, insignificant reason.

I want my daughters to have autonomy over their bodies. It’s our job to guide them. Sure, she could have calmly and quietly explained to her daughter why she should brush from the top down, but to demean her, then do it for her, stripped her of her autonomy, in that situation.

It is not uncommon for Little Miss to be walking around in a dress regardless of the weather. I encourage her to wear long sleeves and pants underneath in the winter. Today, a chilly, rainy day, she didn’t want to wear pants.  I asked her if she wanted to check to see how cold it was, and once she had done that, she changed her mind. But I let her choose.

Giving them autonomy over their bodies means that if someone tries to coerce them to do something they don’t want to, they will be more comfortable speaking up, and saying no. It also helps them understand why we dress a certain way for various climates, and helps them in their decision making process, allowing them to become more confident.

Blessings,

Liz

P.S. Here is a photo of Little Miss with her first French braids 🙂 They were, of course, at her request 😉

She Needs an iPad

This past week, Little Miss and I were working at the store – a common occurrence. She was sitting on the counter, playing with our debit machine. She takes one of our business cards, places it in the bottom, where you would put your chip card, and pretends to do a transaction. She has done this completely on her own, mimicking what she sees us do on a regular basis – she was playing.

Someone had come in, and commented that she was bored. “She needs an iPad,” she remarked. Hubby simply replied that she doesn’t, and we all went on our way.

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(Image taken from pixabay.com)

Little Miss doesn’t watch TV. In her two and a half years, we have sat down once as a family to watch a 1/2 hour of television. When someone is babysitting her, she gets a “treat” and can watch a program or two. It’s simply not something we have worked into our daily routine. We consciously chose to not expose her to TV and technology, and our intention was commit to that until she was 2.

I do not judge those who do use TV to get things done. I understand the draw! Or, perhaps you need a few minutes to yourself. I get that! However, if you’re wondering if a TV free toddler is possible, I just wanted to reassure you that it is 🙂

Do you have rules around technology in your household?

Painted Toes

The first post. No pressure or anything, right?

The other day, my daughter (Little Miss) was playing outside (a very common occurrence), and said “Look Mommy, I painted my toes!”

Painted Toes WM

 

We aren’t afraid to get dirty in our household. My heart swells when she digs in and gets dirty. We are very blessed to have 3 older girls living next door to us, who also love to make mud pies, and thrive in the dirt. You can often find Little Miss trying to make “soup”, and if there’s an  opportunity to include water, she dives right in.

So, I invite you to follow us as we embark on an adventure (one of her favourite words), and learn and grow together.

 

Blessings,

Liz