Thursday, April 19, 2012

An ending, and a beginning.

Over the past year this blog has taken on some many face lifts, and changes. I feel like its lost its identity. :( Unfortunately for Mind Full Mommy its time to say goodbye.

I however have made a new brand that will be able to grow with my daughter, and family. Please head over to my new blog Raising Bean and take a look around!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baby Sign Language

So my mother in law was staying with us for Easter, it was great having her here! I'm lucky in the fact that I love my husbands mother, and she doesn't drive me any more crazy than my real mother does. While she was visiting she asked if we were doing Sign Language with our daughter, I said no that I had thought about it, but hadn't done anything about the possibility. She talked, proudly, about how my brother in law, and his wife's son (who's exactly 6 months older than our munchkin) knows 'please' and 'thank you' really well. My brother in law, and his wife were in my sign language class in high school. So I did the only logical thing, I texted my sister in law to ask her about it. When they started, how long it took, what she thinks of it. She raved about how it's really helping my nephew with the frustration cause by his lack of verbal communication. They started when he was a year old.

So we're starting it! I taught my husband the words we use the most.
Mama
Dada
Kitty
Doggy
Please
Thank You
Water
Thirsty
Milk
Hungry/Food
More

We're definitely behind the curve when it comes to the starting age, but I'm really excited to give her some sort of means to tell us what she needs, before her verbal skills progress. I've also read that infants who do sign tend to excel with verbal communication and have a more expansive vocabulary than those who don't. They just seem to pick it up, and absorb everything faster. Now we've just got to remember to sign the word, every time we say it! Time to make signing second nature again!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My Breastfeeding FAQ

So, I wanted to sit down and write about some of my frustrations with breastfeeding, but I decided I should probably talk about the typical breastfeeding things first, so you can fully understand where I am at with our breastfeeding journey. So here's my little personal breastfeeding FAQ.

Why did you choose to breastfeed?
I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, or at least attempt to. I can't remember once thinking about formula feeding, to be honest. If you asked me when I was 16 I wouldn't have been able to give you an answer as to why I wanted to, I just knew I wanted to. If you asked me while I was pregnant I would've told you, because "breast is best" and its free, and helps you lose weight quickly!

However, lets say I was pregnant again and you asked me this question... I would start by telling you that breastfeeding is just the natural way to feed your child. All mammals breastfeed, it's just how we were created. Naturally, we make the best food for our own children. Not to mention that breastfeeding reduces the risk or developing certain types of cancer, breast cancer being one of them. Most importantly, I'd explain that I breastfeed for the intimacy, and bonding that comes from it. I grew up a fairly unattached teenager, and don't remember showing much emotion throughout my childhood. Crying showed weakness. I was worried I wouldn't be as attached to my child as I thought I should be, because while she was an "inside" baby I think I loved her because I knew I was supposed to, but not because I truly did. I was hesitant to bond to her. Breastfeeding helped me bond with her in a way that I could never have dreamed possible. I know I wouldn't feel as connected to her as I do if I had chosen to formula feed. Some days I feel sad that my husband can't feel that same connection with her, because it truly is amazing, and a deeply woven connection.

Did you ever worry about your supply?
All. The. Time. Occasionally I still do. The first two months my daughter was a cluster feeding fanatic. From 2-9pm (we called it her "witching hour"), she literally would go from nursing on one side, to the other, and back again. I was lucky to catch a 15 minute break!  I really thought I had no supply and was going to have to supplement. She would fuss if she wasn't on the boob. Although this can be confused with colic symptoms, it's not colic, it's completely normal newborn behavior. Thank goodness for my friends, aka my support system! They kept reminding me that as long as she was having enough wet diapers, she was getting enough milk. They also reminded me that cluster feeding is 100% normal, and fantastic for your supply while you're still establishing it.

After being introduced to Kellymom.com, it became my breastfeeding bible. I would spend the entire time she was cluster feeding on there pouring over every page, time and time again. Reassuring myself that everything was okay. My daughter was thriving because I was producing enough for her. Once I started pumping and realized I had an over supply, I stopped worrying. I do give her obsession with cluster feeding in the early weeks 100% credit for my awesome supply. I still occasionally worry that I may not be producing enough for her, but I think that's more of me having normal mommy worries than anything else. I've been very blessed with my supply, and I thank the lord every day that I haven't needed to supplement at all.

What did you do when your daughter wanted to nurse and you were out in public?
I nursed her! A baby's gotta eat, right? I'm not one of those moms who's going to let my baby girl cry. I'm all for nursing in public, it took me a while to get comfortable with it. I would nurse her in the back seat of our car, or a changing room, where if I fumbled while we were figuring everything out it wasn't a huge ordeal.

I'm a big believer in nursing in public, but I'm also very modest. I cover us up every time I nurse her out and about. I may be comfortable with nursing wherever, not every one is though. I respect that.

Does it hurt? The first few weeks it does. My daughter also had a poor latch, and I ended up with a huge crack in one of my nipples. Ow! I'd say after the first month my nipples became rubberized, and she figured out how to latch properly, so the only pain at that point was from the huge crack (my poor nipple!). Now it's the occasional pain from the occasional bite. Once your nipples get used to the suck suck sucking, there's no pain.

How did you deal with the pain?
Lots and lots of lanolin ointment! I also had a prescription for All Purpose Nipple Ointment (APNO) which is heavenly. The one thing that helped ease the pain from the crack the most was soaking it in water salt water, and then letting it air dry. If I ever have another child, I am going to be doing that soak from the beginning. Best. Idea. Ever! Many Many thanks to my friend Summer for that tip. It was seriously a nipple saver.

How can I be successful at it?
My advice for this question is just to keep at it. It wasn't easy for us at all, but I kept at it. I had a great support system, and I didn't give in to my negative thoughts. I didn't pump, or give her a bottle for the first three weeks, so she was literally attached to me all the time. There were times where I'd have to unlatch her, to relatch her to try to get her to have a better latch. There were times I had to relatch her multiple times in order to get a good latch. There were also times where she got frustrated from all the relatching. Every time I'd say I'm sorry to her, and rock her for a minute and then let her try to relatch again. I just kept at it, and that's why I think I was so successful with everything we went through. Now is keeping at it going to work for everyone? No. But it's worth a shot right?

Monday, March 5, 2012

"Look, Ed, That's Girls Wearing Her Baby!"

Why yes, yes I am. I never got side eyed in the city for wearing my kid, but now that I'm in a more country setting I'm seeing more and more people stare at us as I walk by wearing my daughter in one of her carriers. I can't recall seeing one other person wearing their child out here, to be honest. So as I've been talking about it to strangers more often I thought I'd talk about it here too.

First and foremost I wear my child because it's the natural thing to do. In more primal cultures you don't see the mother carting around their newborns, or infants, in a car seat. They're wrapped up snug, close to mom. Always. The fact is that here, in the US, on average our babies are held around 2.5 hours a day. Yeah, you read that right. Don't think it's true? Think about it, you put him in the car seat, carry him to the car, drive, go into the store in the car seat, back to the car, drive home. An average trip to target for me takes about 60 minutes. That's an hour for one store, that you haven't touched your baby. Longer, if you're making more than one stop. Then at home, lots of parents put their infants in their swings, bouncers, or bumbo so you can make and eat dinner, and you probably hold them for half an hour before starting the bath and bedtime routine, and unless you're bed-sharing, he'll be untouched most of the night. So right there is about half the day of an American baby, who's only been truly held, not counting transportation from care seat to swing to whatever, for 30, maybe 45, minutes. It's not natural to not hold your baby all the time. It's a new cultural thing.

Another reason I wear my baby is positioning wise, it's better for her body (especially in newborn age) than sitting her in her car seat, or stroller for extended periods of time. **You do need to be careful, not all carriers are good for your baby's positioning. Your baby's legs naturally go into a froggy position. Knees up above the butt. This supports the natural curvature of the spine properly. You can only achieve this appropriate position by having your baby face you, tummy to tummy. Facing out gives improper positioning for them, and can put stress on their spine, and their hips.

I also wear my daughter facing in because if she becomes over stimulated, she can turn away from it. She can turn into me for comfort. If she was facing out, or in a car seat, that would be impossible to do. She wouldn't be able to relieve herself from the over stimulation. I also love my Ergo for the reason that it has a hood I can put over her if she's getting over stimulated, or falls asleep, or it's super sunny... And my Mei Tai is great for around the house work.

I love baby wearing! I also love the fact that when I'm wearing my child, people are less likely to touch her, they'll grab her toes but that's about it. I have this huge issues with people shoving their germ fingers in my daughter face. Blech! Anyways, getting off the point. There are so many pros to baby wearing, and very little cons, if you have a carrier that supports correct baby positioning. Not to mention walking around carrying a few extra pounds helps you burns a few more calories then you would not wearing your child. So give it a try! Borrow a friends carrier, if you're not 100% sold on the idea. You never know, you may love it as much as my daughter and I do!

Monday, February 27, 2012

When to Wean?


Okay, so when I started breastfeeding I thought anything over 1.5 years was too old. I've been reading and researching about natural weaning and such since she was about 5 months old. In primates (which we all know are the closest related to humans) they wean anywhere from whats equivalent to human years 4-7 depending on the species of monkey.

In the USA babies tend to wean between 1-2 years. Is that because of how humans have evolved? Or just how society views it? I don't know. I haven't gotten that far into my research. It could just be the cultural normal, so somehow subconsciously that's when we make it happen. I tend to wonder if going about introducing solids is done "wrong". (Not really wrong, but I'm at lack of a better term..)

In the BLW book it's advised to nurse/bottle feed within an hour of feeding solids, so that the milk or formula stays the main for source, and solids are used to fill in the space, or like a dessert type of deal. I've been wondering, during our own solid journey, that if a lot of early weaning (whether before a year, or compared to primates) is because we're so excited to share "real food" with them that we fill them up on solids first, then use milk/formula as dessert. I've been wondering when I'm supposed to stop offering milk before solids, after a year? Why the sudden switch then? I don't know. What I do know is that I find myself wondering about it more and more as we approach my daughter's first birthday.

I was talking to my husband, a few weeks ago, about everything I've been reading, and my thoughts on long term breastfeeding. I told him at the time 'I'm thinking of 2, maybe 2.5, unless she weans herself earlier." He then proceeded to tell me, that anything past 2 years old is weird. That really bothered me. Partially it was the social stigma he has to extended breastfeeding, and partially because, well, as far as I'm concerned he doesn't really get a say in my daughter's (and mine) breastfeeding journey. That's our thing.

A friend of mine posted the link to a blog post about extended breastfeeding, Why I'm still nursing my child at 48 months. That mom is only nursing when her daughter wakes up, and when she goes to bed. Is that going to be me and my daughter? I don't know. There are a lot of variables that could occur between now and then. She could wean on her own, I may get pregnant and then breastfeeding becomes harder to maintain, so she'll probably wean than if it even happens, who knows what could/will impact it. What I do know is that if my baby girl still wants to nurse to sleep when she's four years old I'm okay with it. If she wants to nurse in public.. that I'm not okay with. Not because it would bother me (it wouldn't bother me at all) but because I don't want her to have to deal with the weird looks adults, and other kids would give her. Or the teasing that may be associated with it.

My conclusion on this matter is that my daughter will wean whenever she's good and ready. Whether that's within the next 6 months, or 4 years from now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baby Led Weaning.

This isn't something that I have talked a huge amount about before, but since I'm going to be talking about it more often I thought I'd give a quick summary about it.

First, I hope you're liking the changes I've been making. There's are few more minor ones to come. I've got to tweak it to perfection. In case you haven't noticed, a change that has happened is the Recipes for BLW (Baby Led Weaning) tab at the top. I'm going to post the recipes I come across, and try out, that are fantastic for BLW babies.

Now with BLW babes can eat basically anything Mom and Dad eat. It's still recommended to avoid, peanuts, peanut butter, honey, shellfish, etc until a year. Food to avoid will also depend on if there are any known family allergies. Okay, luckily there are no food allergies in our families. So last night for dinner we had pancakes, and sausages since it was Fat Tuesday! Baby girl got her own pancake, I cut it lengthwise into 4 pieces for her. Think stick! You want the food long enough so when they hold on to it there's still some sticking out of the other end that they can put into their mouths and gnaw/suck on.
(eating a piece of pancake)

You don't want to start before 6 months of age, because they're intestinal track is still developing, and it's quite ready for any solid food until around that age. **We completely skipped purees! She only got them when I would heat up soup for dinner. That happened twice!** You also want to avoid cooking with salt, their little bodies aren't able to handle sodium yet. Plus, it's healthier anyways, so really it's a win win! So the first few times they get food to play with, they're most likely just going to smear it around, play with it, and maybe put it in their mouth and taste it. The beginning is all about tastes and textures, the babies will eat only a minimal amount of food. Cook their vegetables longer, so they're mushy! Later they'll start getting pieces to chew and swallow. Then you'll freak out about choking! Don't worry though, they have a great gag reflex, so 99% of the time if they sound like they're choking by the time you get to them to fix it, they've already gotten the piece out of their throats. You'll learn to relax about it the gagging after a few times. Not once have we had to Heimlich our daughter, and she's gagged a few number of times.

For us, BLW was 100% the right choice for us. If you think it sounds like something that could work for your family, I highly suggest to read the Baby Led Weaning book. The best part is that there's a Kindle version!! Whoo! And if you've already started purees, don't worry you can do a mixture, or switch over to BLW only.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Exciting Things Are Ahead!

I'm going to give this blog a big facelift, inside and out! I'm really excited about it. It's going to be less of my day to day, and more of a focus on Attachment Parenting. Growing up attached, activities, DIY crafts/toys with and for the kids. Along with kid friendly, BLW appropriate meals.

I'm really excited about this change, I think it's going to be exactly what I need, and this blog needs. Less rambling, more focus! So stay tuned, I plan to be working on it throughout the next few days. :)