Monday, August 27, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different....

So I showed you fun projects.. now for some less fun more Mommy oriented projects. I have two. Both are flea killers. Yep that's right I am going there... fleas... woot! IPM for the win! So The first thing is a so simple it seems insane treatment for fleas that can be sprayed right on your dog. You take a lemon and slice it thin. Boil it in water and let it sit overnight in the fridge. 
You end up with a sort of lemon tea.
So now just pour it into the spray bottle and spray liberally on your flea covered dog. 
The science behind this? Well quite simply lemon juice is a natural flea killer and will kill the fleas on contact. Since lemon juice won't harm your dog you can spray them as often as needed. 

So now your dog is free of fleas but what about your house? You can just spray the lemon solution around your house and actually spraying it on furniture is a great idea. Yet what about deep down in those carpets? 
Well we use a mixture of baking soda and ground cloves as a normal carpet refresher, and have for a long time now. However with the addition of one ingredient you can make it a flea killing powder. That is borax. 
By adding in some borax to your powder mixture you can create an awesome deep down carpet cleaner that will kill fleas. I made a container special for this since I don't want Borax in any of our dishes. I took an old yogurt container and with a hole punch made it a shaker. 
So what is the science behind this? Borax dries out the exoskeleton of the fleas and kills them, not just the live ones too but the eggs as well. Just sprinkle it on all your carpets, wait about 30-60 mins and then vacuum up. I did this as well as the lemon treatment on our furbaby yesterday and I haven't seen him itch once since or felt a flea jump on me since. Happy Cleaning!

A Few Fun Projects

So yesterday Bug and I decided to have some fun making Moon Sand. It was after I decided to post about it that I realized I never actually posted about our discovery bottles that we made way back in February.... So I decided to post about both fun kid projects at once.
Let's begin with Moon Sand!
Moon sand has two ingredients.
You start with 4 cups of flour and then add in 1/2 a cup of baby oil. I think you can use any oil but since we never touched the stuff when Bug was a baby I have a lot laying around that I use to polish chrome so when the recipe I found said baby oil I figured ok... let's try it this way first. Which reminds me.. I need to polish my bike chrome....
Anyway.... once you mix the two ingredients together you get this.
It has the consistency of wet sand without the sticking to everything. It is super easy clean up.
Bug had sooo much fun and this kept him busy most of the afternoon.

Now onto Discovery Bottles!
We made these back in February and Bug still uses them all the time. I think we may make a few more soon.  You can make all sorts of different kinds.
First we cleaned and de-labeled some big clear bottles. 1 liter bottles work best.
Bug helped me decide which types of bottles we wanted to make and helped make them with me.
We ended up making three different kinds. The yellow one is filled with water and corn syrup which makes the beads float to the top. If you tip it they shift. This teaches buoyancy. 
The dark blue one is half blue water and half oil. When you turn it from side to side you get a tidal wave. This teaches density. The last one is filled with light blue water, sand and sea shells. This teaches about the sea floor. You can fill them with letters, numbers, glitter, animals, rice, etc etc. 

So there you go! Moon Sand and Discovery Bottles! Have fun!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Just Another Gorgeous Fall Day!

Yes I said Fall! Why do I say it is Fall? Well despite the 90 degree temperature today, the days are getting shorter, the nights cooler, the air crisper, the harvest is coming in and the Farmer's Market is alive with frivolity.

That is one of the best things about Fall, the quiet, calm, almost ho hum Farmer's Market of Summer becomes a buzzing place full of stands that almost fill up the park, hot dog vendors and even live music to watch. There are crops a plenty even on the worst of drought years.

Today at the Farmer's Market, for a mere 7$ I walked away with a lb of organic green and yellow beans, two peaches the size of my son's head, and about 8 large pears.   There was a band playing acoustic music and a small crowd sitting on the ground to watch.

After we had done our shopping we settled down to watch. I pulled a peach out and handed it to Bug I munched on green beans and crocheted.

It was so nice to simply spend a late morning with my son frolicking around the Farmer's Market, eating fresh picked yummy things and listening to a delightful band play over the sound of my crochet hook swishing through yarn.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Backyard Apiaries: The Best Fight Against CCD

 So I have written many articles so far about CCD, or Colony Collapse Disorder, in this blog. Today though I am going to focus on what is probably the best chance of fighting back against CCD. That is The Backyard Apiary.

I interviewed one backyard apiary keeper Matthew R., who had this to say. "We noticed the first year that our garden produced a lot more veggies, the bees are very active in there! We live in town and they do not bother the neighbors, my kids and I walk back and inspect them almost daily without gear on and do not get stung. I do suit up when I am going to be working in the hive though. Despite the drought, which is the worst I have ever experienced, I am going to have a awesome draw off the hives this year!! I can't wait!!!I had a hive die last year during the winter, I believe the queen was old and they didn't make it through the winter, I found no sign of disease. I highly recommend a backyard hive, the benefits from the added pollination and the honey you harvest will not only be profitable, but also helps with allergies. If it wasn't for backyard beekeepers, and believe me, there are more than you can imagine, pollination would be so extremely bad that food production would drop drastically and grocery prices would increase tremendously."

Thank you Matthew R. I agree because everything in the research I have looked into showed  that CCD is caused by a mixture of pesticide contamination, genetic engineering and filler foods which when combined over the last 20 or so years have created a species of honey bee that is susceptible to almost any disease it comes across. These bees have almost no immune system. However the more backyard apiaries there are the better the chances become of breeding enough healthy bees to get stocks up. However unless commercial beekeepers or commercial farmers get on board it will never fully defeat CCD. In just the last 2 years the loss numbers have doubled from 30% to 60%.
So you are reading this and you decide... "I would like to start a backyard apiary". Well how do you go about that? According to a website I found called Backyard Beekeeping, there are steps you can take to keep bees even in a city. They recommend having a fenced in yard. This forces the bees to fly above people's heads and allows for them to be out of the sight line of neighbors who might not like a ton of bees flying at them. They also recommend a bird bath or other water source, as bees need to collect water. They also say that to help swarm control you can make sure all your queens are under 1 year. This will allow for a strong hive but with a young queen they are less likely to swarm. The last thing is just to make sure there is enough good fresh food for the bees, such as clover, fruit trees, fruit and vegetable flowers etc.
So if you have any inclination to be a beekeeper (as Eddie Izzard says "I want to be a bee keeper.. I want to keep beees!") I think you should try it. To keep a small hive doesn't cost much and can be very rewarding in many ways to you, as well as helping stop CCD. Plus it may even become a source of income for your family. Matthew R.'s honey will soon be available for sale at a store in their town. I will update you on what store that is so that you can support them if you live there.
So there it is... bees are so very helpful to us, they hold our future in their tiny hands (feet) and  a backyard apiary is the first step to helping protect them from CCD.

Harvest Season in Full Swing!

This is going to be mostly a picture post of all the produce coming out of my garden and that I have started canning for winter. Enjoy. I am going to start a series of these... displaying other Green Mommies produce and canning this Harvest Season.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy National Thrift Store Day!

So today is National Thrift Store Day. I love thrift stores, in fact so much of what I own came from one. Most of Bug's clothes, toys, my collectibles, our comics, our clothes, even some furniture.... all from local thrift stores. So what are the Green sides to thrifting? Well for one... you are reusing old clothes rather than throwing them out. That is less clothing and waste in landfills. Also by buying second hand you are showing retail stores that you do not need so many new clothes which stops them from buying so much. Also older clothing is usually made from real materials (not always the 70's and 80's were a it on the scary side) but a lot of it is cotton, wool, flax, etc and so by buying more natural fibers you are also saying we want natural to retail manufacturers. On the money savings side, buying used just makes sense. Why spend 20$ an outfit at Walmart or 30$ an outfit at JCPenny's or Sears or 50$ an outfit at a high end store when you can find the high end store clothing for usually 10$ an outfit. This is doubley true for children's clothing. Kids outgrow thing sometimes before they even get to wear them once. Why not buy used? As for the fun part... thrift storing can be like a treasure hunt... why would you not love that. when you walk into a store you know that even if it is the last one on the rack, there will be more coming, or that you could get one from another store or online. At a thrift sore though.. if you don't snatch it up the minute you find it... well then next time.. it may not be there. That adds to the fun. The last benefit of thrifts stores is that so many of them are charities which use their profits to help a specific group or cause. Two of the ones in our town go to help the animal shelter and the poor and needy.
So what is your favorite thrift store? What have you found there?
My all time favorite Thrift Stores here in town are North Country Neighbors and Best Friends Thrift. The Kids Closet and CORC Store are also great ones and places to find all sorts of great things.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Mommy Competition and Disbelief

I swear my posts will very soon return to more Green Mommy related topics like knitting a cloth diaper or growing your own aloe... or all the other topics I have been neglecting but lately my life took a turn for the dramatic and I took a step back from a lot of the Mommies in my life. I felt I needed a way to talk about the topic in general.
Why is it that as Mother's we feel the need to question everything that another mother says? If a Mother says she co sleeps... it is questioned. If she breastfeeds to 4.. or only breastfeeds a few weeks either way it is questioned. If she cloth diapers it is questioned.. if she doesn't it is questioned. But the questions that get me the most is when other mothers think you are lying about when your child hit a milestone. I have been writing this blog since Bug was 9 weeks and yes there has not been a lot of it about his milestones but believe me I can go back through my FB over the last 3 years and write down exact dates of when he hit every bloody milestone... and even often am asked for video proof and when I give it... still the snarky comments and the questions. "Really he did that???" "He looks a lot older than 9 months" "He was talking when???" The funny thing is among most of my friends with kids Bug's age he really was not ahead of anyone on anything. He hit milestones right around when all my other friend's with 3 yr olds hit theirs. Still there is so much competition. I do not understand this.... what reason would I have to lie. Does his walking at 9 months make me a better mother than you? NO! Does his talking at 7 months make me a better mother than you? NO! So why would I lie. I kept very careful track of his milestones for one very specific reason... he is my first and only child. Bug was almost 10 lbs at birth and already had the attention and dexterity of a 2 month old baby. Honestly I think this accounts for his hitting most milestones a tiny bit earlier than some kids. He just was already well done at birth. Bug was a big kid. He hit almost 16 lbs at his 2 months check up and almost 18 lbs at his 4 months one. By 3 months old he wore a size 12 months, by 5 months old he wore a size 18 months and by 9 months old he was between a 24 months and a 2t and wore a size 6 shoe. Now at just under 3 yrs old he is 40.5 inches tall, wears a 4-5 and a size 10-11 shoe. He is the size of the average 5/6 yr old. I truly do think that is why he advanced so fast.
So why is there this attitude of competition and disbelief this need to question absolutely everything other mothers say simply because maybe your child did not hit those stages at that point. Why do we judge other mothers for being too progressive, not progressive enough, too green not green enough, too this, too that.... I for one am done!!! My child is 3. 90% of the mother's I get this from all have children under 18 months. I get it. I used to be you.. caring about every little moment of every day wondering when that next milestone would get reached... when they would smile, when they would laugh, when they would eat, if they would get enough to eat. Then they learn to reason. Really reason... and speak at a level of reasoning. Suddenly the milestones you are more focused on are learning to write, read, count, add, subtract, be kind, share, play well with others. You have so much to teach them you can't be worried about at what stage and when. You now have to make sure they are learning to be truly good people. It is stressful enough trying to really raise a child (not a baby.. you care for a baby you raise a child) without having other mothers tell you they think you are lying or attacking you because you didn't use natural food dyes once.. or because you did or did not do something as perfect as they did. I can tell you when Bug was born I had almost 0 support, teaching, training, or knowledge. I learned everything from books and websites.. there were no chat rooms or groups or fb clubs... I had no one to ask for advice. That is part of why I started this blog. I wanted to be able to give other women the help I never got. I have spent 3 years now sharing my journey, offering advice, promoting green products and WAHM's and otherwise celebrating being a Green Mommy. One thing this blog has never been about, nor have I myself been about, is judging Moms. I may disagree with them or argue back if they attack the things I believe in but I do not disbelieve them or judge them.. because we are all doing the same job.. and let me tell you.. it isn't always easy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Change of Topic: What to Expect When You Are Expecting

If you read this blog then chances are you are already a mother, but maybe you are not or maybe you have friends who aren't ... well this post is for you (or them). This post is a change from my normal topics but still has a little something to do with being a Green Mommy.
So the stick has a plus sign (or two lines) .. anyway it's positive. You are overjoyed! You start telling friends and family, and your husband/significant other. You two jump up and down and kiss and hug. Happiness all around! So then you make an appointment with an OB (or preferably a midwife)... and start the wait... that long wait to birth.
In the meantime what do you do, well if you are smart you start learning all you can about parenting, breastfeeding, co sleeping, parenting techniques, diapering, potty training etc etc... head spinning yet? And if you are like most women you start planning your dream nursery and making lists of all the things you will need for baby.
Now here is what this post is all about. What to expect? What should you expect or rather (as a lot of women do) demand... of friends and family? The answer is nothing. No one is going to donate money to help you get a birth photographer (because honestly not many people can afford one for themselves let alone pay for someone else to have that honor). No one is going to buy you top dollar baby stuff unless your relatives are filthy rich and in this economy that is probably not the case. What you should do is not expect anything, that way it is a surprise when you do get a few nice items.
When I was pregnant we were given only our crib/dresser/changing table set, travel system, toddler bed/crib mattress, and a few small items brand new. The rest all of it was used. 90% of his clothes right up to now have always been second hand. All his toys with the exception of a few from birthdays or Christmas have all been second hand. Even his starter diapers were all second hand. We have made a point to either except used items or buy used items because reusing and re-purposing is always better than buying new. We also then turned around and always paid it forward giving away as much as we got.
Our dream nursery, that was hand built, and crafted by me. It took months of hard work but I did it all. Over the years we have added to it, changed things, and had an ever evolving child's room out of what was a nursery.
I suppose it just bothers me when I see these first time Mother's to Be talking about how much everyone owes them, or how much they DESERVE, simply for having a baby. It isn't always first timers either. I knew a girl who had an entire pink nursery for her first daughter, bought for her by friends and family (I even gave her a bunch of clothes and a butterfly lamp for it) all brand new things. Then 9 months later she got pregnant with number 2, finds out it is also a girl, and decides that for both girls to use the same stuff would be horrible.... and can not be done... so her friends and family buy her all new stuff this time in purple, because she asked them to. She also would not take anything used because "It's been used by another child". I know this because I offered her a bunch of Bug's old stuff. Sigh.
So I guess this more ranty than normal post can be summed up in this. Be grateful for what you do get, do not demand people get you certain things unless they are in your registry, be reasonable with any requests you do have, and most of all do not EXPECT anything. Do what you can for yourself and be happy with what you have. If you want something and you don't have the money to buy it... make it. That has always been my motto and it has served me well.

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

This is my son age 35 months, cutting and pasting together a picture all by himself. This really is the face of AP. Yes you can show pictures of co sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing etc. But the end result is this. An independent self aware kid who is creative, intelligent and not afraid to try new things. 

How The Other Half Lives: The Truth About AP vs "Traditional" Parenting

So last night a blog post was brought to my attention from the blog "Waiting For That Special Little Miracle". I have read what this blogger has written in the past and her posts are usually pretty scattered. One day she blasts AP the next day seems to support it. I am ok with that I suppose.. people need to come to things in their own time but her post last night did get a bit under my skin.
Here is what she wrote, " Attachment parenting. I hate it; well, 90% of it (only thing I agree with is baby wearing, and even that is to a certain extent; not until they are two...). Extreme; and wasteful energy spent on catering to your child(ren). Co-sleeping=dangerous! Extended breast feeding=excessive and emotionally damaging. No "discipline"=have you seen kids in our society now days?! They are lacking discipline and running over everyone! Honestly....I was spanked, I slept in my own bed, and I didn't suck at my mother's tit until I was three, and I am a healthy, intelligent, well mannered, well rounded, and well behaved individual. There is a fine line, and I think what everyone needs to do as a parent is come up with what works best for them. My child will have time outs, and they will have spankings (as a last resort). They will know to respect their elders, and they will know the consequences if they don't. Sorry...just really had to get that out. I'm sick of people who do attachment parenting trying to shove it down others' throats like they are better than everyone else because they do it." 
Aside from the writing, which reads much like an online slam diary instead of what is supposed to be a heartfelt and informative blog, there is the matter of what is actually said here. Let's break it down. I will first say that this blogger has never actually had a child. She is currently about 23 weeks pregnant, so she doesn't actually know what she will do as a parent. None of us do before we actually hold that baby in their arms. The 1st thing I take issue with though, is she seems to think baby wearing to 2 is insane. So I would like to know what her cut off is, or what she thinks constitutes baby wearing. A child well past 2 even into 3 or 4 still has tiny legs, and can not walk as far or fast as an adult and tires easily. My son has been walking unaided since around 9 months yet at almost 3 yrs old he still enjoys our ring sling and I enjoy using it because when a child is tired you WILL end up carrying them, why not in a sling?
The second thing is co sleeping. Now you all know how I feel about co sleeping and how much research and posts on the subject, but let me say it once again, Co sleeping when done carefully meaning either bed sharing or in a co sleeper next to the bed, is known to reduce the chances of SIDS as well as  reduce infant stress levels, increase helpful hormone levels for both baby and Mommy, and skin to skin contact while sleeping can help colic and calm baby's stomach. Any case I have ever read of a baby dying during co sleeping always then mention (usually in a quick passing so as to lay most of the blame on EVIL CO SLEEPING), the parents were always either on drugs, drunk, co sleeping on a couch, on some sort of sleeping pills, or otherwise impaired. We co slept with our son from the first night we brought him home. He at almost 3 now still co sleeps with us often and ends up in our bed every morning.
Extended Breastfeeding is the third thing she talks about. I won't go into too much on that since I have written over 10 or so pro breastfeeding posts.. but I will just say Breastfeed as long as you want. It doesn't damage your child. There has never been an ounce of proof to back that up.
The forth point she makes is that she is under the impression that because AP parents do not spank or smack or hit or beat their children that their children are not disciplined. Sure some AP houses might employ less than normal discipline but most of us have no issue saying "NO" often. My son hears No a lot. He hears it when I say "No that is hot don't touch", or "No you can't have that toy in the store that you are asking for." what he almost never hears is "no don't do that" when referring to jumping in a mud puddle, playing in dirt, cutting up yarn or paper, creating something.. even messy, or helping me cook or in the garden. He also rarely hears "No I don't want to or no I don't have time for that." We make time because we have all the time in the world.. but he will not be little for much longer. As it is he is almost 3. I can make time. What he does hear a lot though is "how can we do this better?" or "You know where that goes, why don't you go and take it there?" That last one is usually said when compost or recycling is put in the garbage instead of where it belongs.
After all of that though she then says that AP parents cram their beliefs down everyone's throats. Here is where I take the biggest objection! I titled this post "How the other half lives". I wasn't doing it simply doing it for clever word play. Most non AP parents do not realize how the other half really lives. They think they have an side of it but the truth is in the 3 years I have been a parent I have never ever heard an AP parent "cram" any thoughts down someone's throat. I have however seen firsthand the opposite. I myself  have had close friends and family say all of the following over the last 3 years. (I will add I know anti-circumsicion and cloth diapers aren't part of AP persay but they are part of our lifestyle).

"Cosleeping will kill your baby so you are retarded and a bad mother"
 "You shouldn't breastfeed passed 6 months there is no point"
"Aren't you done breastfeeding yet?" (keep in mind we only made it to 9 months)
" Here are some disposables because you will want them when you come back to earth and realize you don't want to use cloth"
"Go do that in a bathroom (breastfeeding)"
"AP parents are bat sh** crazy"
"You look like a cow or slave woman when you breastfeed"
"You co sleep????? what is wrong with you!"
"I only breastfed a few weeks but that is all the baby really needs and besides I had to go back to work I didn't have all that time like you do". (1 I was a full time student while my son was a baby.. and 2 I know loads of full time working Moms who EBF) (Heard that one from at least 3 people)
"Cloth diapers aren't as great as people think... they are just as bad for the planet" (This particular one after I proved her wrong she admitted she just felt bad because she was too lazy to use cloth.)
"Why would you use cloth diapers... they are unsanitary and gross"
"Start them CIO early  or you won't ever get any sleep" (My kid has never CIO and slept through the night almost from day one)
"AP parents are weird and they think they know everything"
"If you baby wear that long he will never walk" (He walked on his own at 9 months and started walking while holding onto things at 6 months)
"Why would you carry your kid in a sling when you can just push them in a stroller?"
"God commands us to circumcise you are going against the bible"
So you would think with hearing all of that I would be a crying wreck in a bathroom somewhere having been beaten down so badly for my beliefs. Perhaps I would have if I hadn't spent almost my entire pregnancy as well as at least part of every day since doing mass tons of research and learning through experience and doing what felt right to me as a parent.
So I will end this little rant of mine with a few words of wisdom from a truly knowledgeable source. My son! In answer to the question "How do you feel about riding in a sling, being breastfed, having had cloth diapers, eating organic home made food, and always being close to Mommy and Daddy?" He had this to say, "You are a really good Momma, I love you." In the end that is what matters... that our children feel they have been given the best start in life possible and that they feel properly attached to us enough to feel comfortable leaving the nest someday. In the end no matter what you choose to do as a parent you should always go into it having done as much research as possible because someday your child will either say "You are a really good Momma"... or they won't. I know my son doesn't feel that way because we buy him lots of toys or take him on expensive trips or don't discipline, because we don't do any of those things, he feels that way because we care where the food he eats comes from, that he is properly loved and cared for, and nurtured when he needs it. He feels that we truly love him, because we show it in everything we do. THAT IS ATTACHMENT PARENTING!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fighting The Good Fight: Powder Mildew on Squash

So amidst the hubabloo of the last week crunch to Bug's big 3rd birthday party, my wonderful organic gardens were afflicted with a blight... my wonderfully producing squashes suddenly stopped producing... and the vines seemed to be rotting in the ground, the leaves covered in a powdery white substance. 

Before I knew really what was happening it had spread to the pumpkins, the zucchini and cucumbers. So I knew I needed to fix this FAST and of course needed an organic solution. So a few quick google searches turned up a solution. Nine parts water to 1 part milk... in a spray bottle.Sprayed directly on the leaves and stems of the squashes will kill the powder mildew. 
So I started doing one dose every two days. After 6 days my squash is almost completely mildew free as well as beginning to regrow new vines and leaves. Suddenly what was a quickly dwindling squash crop is suddenly flourishing again. I plan to try this on our strawberries too tomorrow and a few other plants that look like they may be getting the same affliction. Most of the things I found said this works better as a prevention than a cure but so far it seems to be working.. you just have to spray it every few days, instead of the once a week for a prevention. 
I haven't found anything though on the science behind this. From my own science background... taking a shot in the dark I would the lactic acid may be a natural fungicide, or that perhaps the lactobacillus bacteria in the milk eats the mold.
So if in the hot, humid summer we have had this problem has hit your own organic garden.... go ahead and try this easy and fast cure.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

World Breastfeeding Week Breastfeeding Awareness Walk

So this Friday was the World Breastfeeding Week Breastfeeding Awareness Walk. The local walk here in town was put on by our local WIC. There were over 30 women or so.. along with a ton of kids. We had a blast walking around town, carrying signs and waving at cars honking support. I sold 3 hats to walkers so there were at least four kids sporting boobie caps, Bug included. So without further ado.. here are some pics.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Breastfeeding Week: August1-7

So this week (started yesterday) is BREASTFEEDING WEEK! That's right ladies! It is the time of year we celebrate the amazing thing that is our boobies.. for their actual purpose... to feed our children. 
I thought I would start today with some local things that are going on to celebrate. we are doing a breastfeeding walk tomorrow morning.

I also am selling boobie hats for 10$ only this week. 
My kids hats normally sell for 15$ but for this week they are 5$ off. I have a goal of selling 10 because that is how much money we need to finish paying the car insurance this month. So far I am halfway there.

So now I would like to talk about what breastfeeding means to me. What our walk with breastfeeding was like. I knew I wanted to breastfeed well before Bug was even conceived. Our birth story though as I have written about before was less than ideal and that is putting it mildly. My child and I were separated for a long time somewhere between 30 mins and 2 hrs... I was out of it so my recollection of how much time had really passed is fuzzy. After slicing and dicing me in a coerced c section I was pumped full of morphine, percocet, and ibuprofen. I know they gave me a few other things too, as well as the spinal... so to say the least I was on so many drugs that I personally fell it was dangerous to bf in the first place, yet I was assured it was fine. I was finally handed my baby and was not gently showed how to breastfeed. I remember just nodding and agreeing but inside screaming "give me my child you witches!!!!" I just knew what to do.. I didn't need or want their help and their gruff harsh help would not have helped any struggling mother anyway so I do not know who they thought thy were helping. We were handed a breast pump (a cheap hand held) and bottles, we were also given 2 cans of formula. I was really wondering by the end of our stay if anyone left that hospital a successful breastfeeder. Had I not been so determined I may have not succeeded. Bug however latched perfectly the very first time. There was no pain, no fear.. we both just came together and knew how to do it. He fed all day and night the second day and my the next morning my full milk had come in. The nurses would take him away from me for hours at a time and were not bringing him back to me for feedings.. I didn't know enough to ask then but I now know they must have been feeding him formula. I realize now I knew not much. You can study all the books and websites you want but you still are too shy and too fearful to mess up with your first child to second guess anyone, least of all midwives, doctors, and nurses. This knowledge now has only served to reinforce my desire for a home birth.
Once we were finally home and my sweet baby boy was under my protection we took to breastfeeding like a fish to swimming. I was pretty fearless about it too. I did cover up a lot in the beginning but only with a receiving blanket. After awhile though I stopped caring and breastfed openly and unashamedly despite several nasty encounters. At the time I did not have many Mom friends and most of the ones I did have formula fed from day one... so it was an uphill battle to say the least. I had no help or support to help guide us. Still though we did it... month after month we made it through. Even when I went to school we still nursed. I would nurse 2 times in the mornings and then first thing when I got home... trying to take a few classes per day as possible to make sure he didn't have to use a bottle much. To me breastfeeding was joy, just pure joy. We co slept and so I got to go to bed every night holding my precious child in my arms and feeding him milk from my body. It was he most important and beautiful thing I ever did as a parent.
Sadly a around 9 months he went through a feeding strike. He started walking, talking, and eating non pureed foods all at the same time... right around 8 months so after a few weeks he just stopped wanting to nurse.
I know now that I could have worked through it, I could have started nursing again later on once I realized the truth, I could have even relactated months later.... I did not know any of those things at the time. Now that I do it breaks my heart. We did not make it to a year. Yet my issues with breastfeeding have taught me so much, and also helped me help many other mothers who HAVE made it to a year and passed. I know now that with our second child I want to go no shorter than 18 months. That is 9 months longer than Bug... 2xs the amount of time we made it with him. If I can make it to 18 months I will be so happy. Still though to be able to have felt the joy of breastfeeding for even one day was a blessing. I can't wait to do it again.

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