This is such a beautiful post about weaning, taken from the blog ‘The Single Crunch‘, written by Kimberly, a work at home mama to two girls. This beautiful story had me welling up as I fast approach this place in my life also. I felt the need to share this story as it is so touching, and I am sure may people can relate to it. This is a topic that is not talked about enough. There is so much focus placed upon the actual act of breastfeeding, and the duration of breastfeeding, but not a lot of attention to what happens afterwards. I would love to hear more about other people’s weaning stories and experiences.
Despite what we are led to believe, our bodies work pretty well. They work in the same way they have done for millions of years. Our bodies have the same innate level of wisdom and survival features that they always have. The same ones that have allowed our species to successfully exist on this planet for hundreds of generations. When you really think about it, Mother Nature came up with a pretty fantastic design (although it may not always seem like it) for pregnancy, labor, birth and breastfeeding. When it all unfolds naturally, the concoction of hormones, emotions, reflexes and innate behaviors that evolve from both the mother and the baby, paint the most perfect picture.
This week has been like no other I have ever experienced.
Last Thursday marked the arrival of our beautiful baby boy, and although it’s only been one week since he made his peaceful entrance in to the world, I now can’t imagine life without him. One week in to motherhood, and yes, sleep deprived, sore, and covered in milk, it is still the most magical experience. I can’t help but stare at him sometimes as he sleeps, wondering what he dreams about, but also wondering how I got to be so lucky.
The birth was by far the most challenging experience I have ever encountered, both physically and emotionally, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The birth pushed me beyond limits I never knew I had. It pushed me through intense moments of fear, doubt, excitement, fatigue, pain and finally intense elation, joy and love. Surrounded by love and support, our baby boy was born at home in our bedroom, without intervention or medication, without being rushed, in exactly the way he needed to be born, which was important to me. I was supported with my amazing husband by my side, and fantastic Midwives who knew us both and knew our desires and wishes, and who I love and trust.
The whole experience has reinforced my belief not only in natural birth, but in nature’s design for life and the miracles our body can perform without instruction. As a mommy now, I know the birth of my son will only enhance my abilities as a Midwife, bringing another level of confidence to my practice, and help me to connect with the women I care for on a deeper level.
The journey was wild, but worth every moment. I look back on it with nothing but satisfaction, joy and love.
That Thursday one week ago, June 28th 2012, I will remember for a lifetime.
I came across an article earlier this week on Honest.com titled, ‘What’s Inside Disposable Diapers?’, which discusses, as you may have guessed, the contents of your average disposable diaper. They revealed that disposable diaper companies have no obligation to state on their packaging what the ‘ingredients’ of their diapers are. Which to me is quite shocking. Why would you not want to tell your customers what is inside your brand?-Maybe because they are full of all kinds of nasties which may be off putting to your consumers?
After a certain amount of their own research, they found that disposable diapers contain:
- Sodium Polyacrylate (SAP) – which is the gooey gel stuff at the bottom of the diaper which soaks up all the liquids, known to be a skin irritant. This substance is banned in many countries, except the U.S. It is a similar substance used in tampons which was linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – disposable diapers emit these compounds which have a possible link to asthma.
- Fragrances and Lotions – made using phthlates, which have been linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity.
- Toxic Pollutants – which can cause hormonal problems.
- Synthetic Dyes –researchers suggest that exposure to synthetic dyes causes 20% of all diaper rash.
- The Bleaching Process itself produces dioxins, known to be one of the biggest carcinogenics known.
With potential skin irritants, diaper rash, toxic shock syndrome, asthma, reproductive, developmental and hormonal disturbances and carcinogenics, why are we exposing our baby’s butts to all these substances? At the risk of sounding even more ‘crunchy’ than usual, I feel very satisfied with my decision to cloth diaper. Not only do you reduce your baby’s exposure to these chemicals, but you also save money in the process!
Did you know that cloth diapering is about one tenth the cost of disposables?
I decided to go with both Fuzibunz and Charlie Banana cloth diapers. They are the perfect combination of both eco-friendly and ultra cute! I decided to go with the ‘One Size’ rather than the sized variety, as it saves changing sizes as your baby grows. They both come with pockets and removable washable inserts. The Charlie Bananas also come with the option of using a disposable insert for those times when washing poopy diapers isn’t always possible, or for example, when traveling.
Obviously, cloth diapering is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, which is why I also love Honest diapers. If you are going to use disposable diapers, I would recommend using ones like this! The Honest Company have developed a range of safe, eco-friendly disposable diapers. They have created them using plant-based materials, making them naturally biodegradable. They state they do not contain: chlorine, perfumes, phthlates, lotions, optical brighteners, PVC, heavy metals or oganotins (MBT, DBT, TBT).
“We believe our babies (and planet) deserve much better diapers”
What will you choose?
I have come to realize over the last couple of months, that I am in fact, a ‘Crunchy Mama’.
It never really dawned on my before. I thought everyone was in to this kind of stuff. However as I’ve sat across the table from unsuspecting family members and friends, watching their horrified faces and raised eyebrows as I go on about my plans for a totally natural birth and encapsulating my placenta, or my desire to cloth diaper and take my baby to work…it got me thinking, that perhaps not everyone is as crunchy as me!
But that’s ok. I’m fine with being a crunchy mama. In fact I am rather enjoying it! I smile secretly to myself as I’m telling my holistic tales while the other person wishes they had never bothered to ask which hospital I’ll be birthing at!
Oh well, I love living in California and embracing this lifestyle!
36 weeks on, and my life is about to change.
Over the weekend a few of my friends threw me a Blessing Way Ceremony, and I have been on a natural high ever since. For those of you who are wondering what a Blessing Way is, it is a traditional Native American ceremony, similar to a baby shower in some ways, but it’s focus celebrates a woman’s rite of passage into motherhood, rather than the focus being on the baby and gifts. A Blessing Way ceremony creates a sacred space where a mama-to-be can draw strength from female friends and family, and share in the joys and challenges of motherhood and birthing which lie before her.
One of the traditions of the ceremony is to have each guest bring a single bead or charm to be threaded on to a necklace. The guest brings a bead which either has meaning to them, or is symbolic of strength, courage, wisdom, motherhood or the baby etc… to bring good luck to the mother. The mother then threads all the beads on to a necklace and wears it during labor to bring her strength, courage, good luck, love and support drawn from all the women who are special in her life.
As I stood before my friends and family this weekend, in a place which isn’t my home, where I am away from many of my friends and family, I felt incredibly honored and lucky to have found such a beautiful, loving and supportive group of women in my life.
I felt an enormous sense of pride and confidence in the path that lies before me. It made me think of all the thousands of women before me who’s feet have worn the path ahead. And although my path may take a slightly different route to theirs, somehow, we all end up at the same destination – Motherhood.
I felt proud to be a woman. Knowing that my body has an amazing innate capability to perform this miracle without instruction. The whole day cast aside the odd fleeting nagging voice I’ve been hearing recently, which I’m sure we have all heard from time to time-the ‘what if’, and the ‘I can’t’, and replaced it with something much stronger, louder and more powerful…
The Beatiful Dr Nancy (Nancy Salgueiro), an Ottawa birth coach, chiropractor and mother of two, has been kind enough to welcome viewers in to her home to witness her home birth…LIVE!!
Years ago, birth was a normal part of life. Women would often witness many births before becoming pregnant with her own child. Women would support other women through birth. But as birth moved out of the home and in to the hospital, we took away the generations of information handed down from one woman to the next. Birth become shrouded and private. Dr Nancy wants to help change the ‘visual blueprint’ of birth as most women know it today. Many women today have only ever witnessed birth in front of a screen in their living room. ‘Reality’ TV shows such as ‘Birth Stories’, or ‘Birth Day’, or births on programs such as ER, depict birth as an over dramatized, medical emergency-people running around screaming and shouting, dad’s passing out, women out of control and hooked up to machines, treated as passive participants in their care, births lasting no more than 30 minutes, series of unlikely emergencies and events and so on, and so on. All these things are great for viewing ratings, but are not good for creating an accurate image of birth. Women are entering in to birth with no real sense of reality of what is going to happen. Less and less people today are attending prenatal parent education classes, and instead, turning to the internet as their source of information. But we all know how the internet works. There are plenty of good sites out there, however there are many many more that are not!
This is an important issue, and one we need to address if we want our image of birth to change to improve our outcomes, and to stop cheating women out of the true potential of birth.
“For me an empowered birth is one where I am the one who makes the decisions for me and my baby. Where I am in an environment of love, support, and respect for the power within my body to successfully birth my baby. Where I can be free to express anything I need to express; sound, movement, fear, love, ecstasy in a place that my expression will not lead to interference from the outside. I believe women have the ability to create an empowering birth experience regardless of if the birth outcome is natural, medicated, or surgical. When women are making the decisions for their bodies and their babies out of education, faith, belief and confidence in themselves and not out of fear or manipulation they will be empowered. I believe in the human body, in it’s power, and in birth’s ability to transform a person, woman, wife, and mother.” Dr. Nancy, Your Birth Coach.
‘If a Doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it’
Dr John Kennell 1998
DONA International Founder
I believe every mother should have a Doula.I believe that Doulas have the power to enable women to experience their birth in a way they thought was unimaginable.
Birth is, and should be an empowering, life changing event. Something that, no matter how many babies you have, will be magical and unique every time. Women remember their birth experiences for life. I believe it is our role and duty, as birth professionals, to make that memory as special as possible.
A good birth experience is not about how you do it, it’s how you feel about it.
The concept of a birth Doula isn’t something new, it’s just now it has a name. Women have always been surrounded by loving women in childbirth. As recent as a hundred years ago, 90% of births took place at home. Women were surrounded by a sisterhood of mothers, sisters, friends and neighbors. Women were supported emotionally, physically and spiritually. It used to be common for women to have witnessed many births before she was having her first baby. This gave her a greater degree of comfort, knowledge, perspective and experience that benefited her in her own birthing experience. But times have changed. As birth moved out of the home and in through the shiny doors of the hospital, birth has become a mysterious event. It has become something that takes place behind closed doors. Women are no longer participating in this lesson of life. Birth has become a sterile and separate environment for both mother and baby, and to a large extent, the partner. We have become shielded from this normal life event. Birth has become an event dramatized by technology and interventions, portrayed as a medical emergency waiting to happen on soaps and dramas, and reality tv series, with the true potential of birth being lost along the way.
Since 1970 in the US alone, the cesarean rate has increased from 5.5% to 30% and rising, with no decrease in maternal or infant mortality. This is true in most countries around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) states ‘there is no justification for cesarean rates to exceed 10-15% in any industrialized country’. Research shows us that continuous support from the Doula reduces the length of labor, reduces rates of intervention and the need for pain medications, therefore lowering the risk for both moms and babies. Research has also shown us the support from a Doula increases a mothers’ satisfaction with her birth. We know that post partum Doulas increase the bonding connection for moms and babies, and help reduce the risk of post partum depression by aiding the transition in to parenthood and providing support and education. It is important to recognize the long lasting powerful effects Doulas can have on women and their families.
‘Psychologically for many women, especially those who have had difficulties in their own childhood, there’s potential for internal re-organization…a feeling of higher self esteem and a greater sense of confidence, feeling good about themselves, and feeling good about the whole experience’.
Phyllis Klaus, DONA International Founder
‘I think Doulas have shown very, very clearly how essential they are for mothers…Doulas usually have a great drive to help other women, think of their needs and have the spirit to stick with the mother’
Dr John Kennell, DONA International Founder
Having a healthy and positive birth experience is far more than simply the method in which you give birth. A positive birth experience has physiological, emotional, behavioral and psychological benefits, not just for mothers, but to society as a whole.
This is an excellent informative video from DONA (Doulas of North America), explaining the wonderful impact Doulas can have on women, families and society, and the powerful results they can achieve.
I need some help!! In the build up to World Breastfeeding Week (1st-7th Aug) I would love to collect as many photos as possible of all you beautiful breastfeeding mamas and babies to add on here!!
Does anyone have any good ones which they wouldn’t mind sharing?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your help!
- Breastfeeding Resource for all Mothers (smiffybaby.com)
- Birth Practices Which Interfere With Breastfeeding (smiffybaby.com)