Friday, August 28, 2009

Kid Picture of the Week

Have a great photo from this week? Post it on your blog and add a link in our comments! We are big into superheros right now. I love to indulge my boys in this sort of thing, so we made masks yesterday:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thoughts on Thursday

Happy Thursday everyone! I'm up to my ears and eyeballs in boxes packing this week! We move house on Monday and it's been quite a challenge packing with two busy boys around (I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of their toys!).
Last week I talked about a situation when a child hurt my son at a public playplace. The parent was oblivious to this. I wondered how you all would handle it. The responses were varied (and I'm so pleased at how many people stopped by and took the time to respond!) The majority of you (60%) are a lot braver than I am and would speak to the parent about it. I'm just so bad with confrontation I guess. Good for you though! That really would be the appropriate thing I think. I am just scared of getting into something with people. That's just me though!
Onto this week's topic:
This is a 'hot topic' and I know can get some people's gears up. I was thinking about bed sharing with your kids. My husband and I didn't intend to share a bed with our children at all. It is something that happened out of necessity to sleep. Both our boys have crawled into our beds at one point or another. Our oldest has been out of our bed for a few years now and our youngest still will crawl in around 2 or 3 in the morning at times. It seems like this is North America's big no-no. Yet, many people swear by it (just like rocking their kids to sleep - guilty!). I read a post by an older parent recently who stated she rocked, cuddled and slept with all 5 of her now grown children and they all turned out well. Other people are turned off completely by this. They believe it is wrong. Babies sleep in cribs on their own and that is that. Where do you stand?

Do you bed share with your baby?

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Clever Thoughts -- Read Good Books to you Kids

Mama culture these days is big into nutrition. We are encouraged to watch what we eat while we are pregnant, breastfeed, serve whole foods to our toddlers and preschoolers, and avoid fast foods, hydrogenated fats and processed everything with our older children when ever possible. Ironically, food marketers have caught on to this push, and now offer "trans fat free" Coco Puffs and candy made with "real fruit juice". McDonalds reminds us that their chicken nuggets contain "protein". On a bad day, these processed, pretend healthy foods can be easy to give in to. We can say to ourselves, "Well, at least it contains real fruit" as we hand Jonny his third package of electric blue fruit snacks to keep him quiet during rush hour.

In a similar way, we are encouraged to do all kinds of strange things to boost our child's brain power and early literacy skills. Flashcards with giant photos of apples and red triangles are made of chunky cardboard so we can start using them with our 6 month old (does chewing a book count as an early literacy experience?). Books of computer generated, flat characters with badly rhymed couplets teach our toddlers about counting and opposites. Television characters of every description appear in "learn to read" books that are really just brief summaries of an episode of their show. Kids eat these books up as fast as the fruit snacks or fries, and we can think "Well, at least they're reading something."

But are they reading something that will encourage a healthy enjoyment of literature in the future? Will it help them develop an awareness of word and language play? Will it give them an appreciation of plot devices, character development and story structure? Will the pictures encourage their enjoyment of colour, line, form, movement and expression in art? Will the book feed their minds and souls, or will it simply fill up their empty tank of literacy experience with garbage?

You might be thinking, "There are no picture books that can do all that!". I beg to differ. If you look at many perennial favorites -- the books our parents read to us and our grandparents read to them -- you will find books that develop more than just early literacy skills. They develop an enjoyment of playful language, vivid characters and fast moving, interesting plots.

Take a Dr. Seuss classic like Green Eggs and Ham for example. It contains two quickly drawn but distinct characters - the grumpy, pessimistic naysayer and the ever hopeful and enthusiastic Sam-I-Am. It contains all kinds of repetition, rhyme, and language play. Its plot is basic but contains a conflict (will he eat the eggs and ham or not?), a rising action (the various animals and vehicles are added to the words and pictures), a climax (the train careening into the boat and everything crashing), a reversal (he likes the eggs and ham) and a conclusion. Seuss' simple line drawings contain all kinds of expression and action and silly sight jokes to be found by the attentive viewer. This book introduces children not only to literacy (the ability to read words on a page), but to language play, plot structure and simple comic devices.

I love reading books like these to my boys. They giggle and laugh at the same places every time. They repeat the phrases over and over. They insist that I read these books to them for weeks at a time. They sit and look at the pictures and point out subtle details of expression and action to me. It feels good to read them to my children again and again, just like it feels good when you can sit down and serve your family a home cooked meal.

So do yourself and your children a favour. Don't buy into the hype of prepackaged, processed reading materials. Search out good books for your kids. And read them together whenever you can. And if they occasionally want to snack on a horrible summary of the latest Spiderman movie, let them indulge. You know that generally, most of the time, their minds are well fed.

There is a great list of Twaddle free books over at Simple Mom. Check out her top ten favorites, and then scroll through the comments for a huge list of authours other people (including me) love.

What is your favorite Good Book to read to your child?

Everyone Loves A Giveaway

I found a great giveaway on one of my favorite mommy sites today! So good I almost don't want to share the news with you :o) Raising my 4 Sons is offering a giveaway of See Kai Run shoes. These are fantastic shoes for little ones ( Entries need to be in by 1st of September so don't miss out!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not Me Monday

I did not let stress get to me this week. I certainly did not let a certain 4 letter word slip out in front of my 2 year old, when just one more thing went wrong. He certainly did not immediately repeat said word. Because I very carefully guard my mouth at all times so only kind and loving things emit from it :o)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kid Picture of the Week - new weekly meme!

I know it's a cliche - "A picture is worth a thousand words". If you don't believe it, take a look at the one below. It's my son, last Saturday. Do you have pictures like these hanging around your photo albums? If so, we invite you to participate in our new Friday feature - Kid Picture of the week. While I'm still trying to figure out Mr. Linky, please leave your link in our comments box. I'm looking forward to seeing what treasures you have :o)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thoughts for Thursday

So it appears that I am in the minority according to last week's poll. Most people (76%) do find out the sex of their babies before they are born, the rest are people like me. Very interesting, I think.

So onto today's topic and it is another one of those what do you do with other parent's type poll. It is based on a real life situation that happened to us last weekend. Our boys were playing in the McDonald's playplace. Yes, we keep an eye on them in there and it's a good thing too. Our oldest (he's 5) started crying in pain. We called him down and sure enough another boy had grabbed him on the face and pinched and pulled (leaving large scratch marks down his cheek). I guess my son had been playing with one of the cranks up there and the other boy wanted it now and wouldn't wait his turn so he reacted physically. My son was pretty good about it considering and calmed down fairly quickly. He then went to tell the boy that he didn't want him to do that and that he was hurt.

I could see my husband go through those emotions that all of us go through when something like this happens which is anger and wanting to confront the parent (who was oblivious and continued to let her child play), but he maintained his cool and worried about our son.

So what would you do? This isn't the first time I've seen parents be completely oblivious to the behaviour of their child in a public play space. Do you say something. Lose your cool with them? Speak to the child yourself? Let it go? Something else completely? I'm interested, let us know!

How do you handle it when a parent is completely oblivious to the behavior of their child in a public play space?

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Clever Thoughts -- Tame vs Civilized

Do you remember Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handy? I'm dating myself, I know. But I thought I would make Tuesday our day for slightly less irrelevent Clever Thoughts. I am known for beginning lengthy monologues with the phrase: "I have a theory about that, actually . . . ". So I thought it would be fun to post some of those, along with ideas and activities and occasionally products that are, well, clever.

I have a cat. She is generally referred to by others as the "Do you still have that evil cat in your basement?" cat. Her name is Beckett (serves me right for naming my cat after a reclusive, postmodern playwright). She lives in my house, and she is tame -- she can not catch a mouse, and she would survive in the wild for about 10 seconds. But she is definitely not civilized. She hisses and growls at everyone but me, and only really pays attention to me when she is hungry or when she wants to sit on my sewing.

My children, conversely, are definitely not tame. When they arrive at the park, most of the other parents are taken aback as my two boys tear around the park, ignoring the equiptment and yelling, "I'm BATMAN" and making shooting noises. They like to wear stripes and checks in contrasting colours at the same time. They tend not to give the "right" answer to questions, or do the playgroup craft in the proper order (they do the cutting and gluing before the colouring). They climb big rocks by themselves and run up and down the sidewalk in front of our house relatively unsupervised. They are just a little bit wild.

But I am trying to teach them to be civilized. To respect others and treat them with kindness and compassion. To think about how their actions effect their friends and family, and society as a whole, rather than just doing what is best for them. To respect authority figures and obey the rules of the house. To follow the rules that matter -- the ones that allow us all to live together well -- but not to conform simply for the sake of conformity. To gain the self confidence that comes through overcoming adversity and acting virtuously. I would like to teach them to be the sort of people who make civilization work.

Really civilized people are not always tame -- they stand up when others fall back and hide in the crowd. They speak out when something needs to be said, but no one has the courage to say it. They take risks and rise to challenges and reject mediocrity. They stand out and, like Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia, they might not be safe, but they are good.

How would you define the difference between tame and civilized?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Not Me Monday (by Jill this week)

I definitely did not eat half a box of Kraft Dinner (macaroni and cheese) right after doing my prenatal workout this week. I would never have such processed poisons in my house, nor would I ever feed them to my unborn child. And it was not the only workout I got in all week long.

I did not confiscate the telescoping mop handle from my two year old because he had taken it off the mop and was swinging it at his older brother. Furthermore, I did not then lose the handle and use it as an excuse not to mop for three days, leaving a squashed grape skin on the floor.

I did not let my children watch the same episode of "Word Girl" on an endless 10 min. loop while I washed the dishes from the day before, nor did I, the next day, let them watch an extra episode of Dora while I finished a blog post.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mama Burn Out

You might have noticed that I haven't been around this space much lately. I've been leaving most of the work to Kris. This was due to some serious burn out. This has just been one of those years in our life as a family where it was one thing after another. It seems like when a family has one of those years, it is often the mother that is left trying to hold things together.

Of course, you can only hold onto so many things before something starts to slip or drop. Usually the thing that drops for me is the good habits that keep me healthy. I stay up late, I forget to shower, I don't drink enough water, I can't seem to find the time I need to refresh myself. Instead of doing the things that would actually help to improve my state of mind I do things that will just help me to feel good right now and get through this moment. I surf the internet instead of washing the dishes. I eat chocolate instead of grabbing a piece of fruit. I let my kids watch more tv instead of taking them out to the park or phoning up a friend with kids. I yell at my children once they are already into mischief, instead of stopping their behavior as soon as I see it starting. I do everything wrong.

The more I make the wrong choices, the worse I feel about myself. And the worse I feel about myself, the more I feel defeated by life. And the more I feel defeated by life, the harder it is to think positively and problem solve well, or to deal with my children in a positive and proactive manner.

I am feeling better now, after getting a lot of free time to sleep and just be during our vacation, thanks to my husband and the fact that this was the first vacation I haven't been breastfeeding in about 5 years.

So the question is, when things get tough, how can you keep yourself from falling into burn out in the first place? I was talking with another one of my mom friends about this, and we came up with a couple of ideas:

Hire a regular babysitter -- if you and your husband are both maxxed out, hire a babysitter to give you a break once a week. Even two hours of child free time can be enough to get you through the week

Make a self care checklist to go through when you are feeling particularly aggrivated -- I find that often when my temper is about to flare at my kids, it is because my needs are not being met. But a list of 10 things that stop me from being irritable can help when I am beyond reasoning. For instance, my list might include:
    eat a snack
    have a shower
    wash your face and get dressed
    change your location
    find something funny about the situation
    drink some water
    get some exersise
    play with the boys for 10 min

Get your sleep -- even if it means you don't get time to read a book and check your email. Sleep will help you to think clearly and that will help everyone have a better day.

Do the necessary before the fun -- I am one of those people who is easily bored by routine. I have to remind myself that the routine tidying and organizing and cleaning I do is necessary to help us have a good day the next day. If I go to sleep without finishing the dishes, it means I have to wash them after breakfast when I should be playing with the boys for a bit, or taking them to the park. If I don't get the laundry cleaned and folded, we will be scrambling to find Andrew pants for school in the morning. If I get the necessary things done, our days will run more smoothly and will be able to be more in the moment

On the other hand, take some time to recharge -- Find an activity that feeds your mind and soul. Then find a way to do it. I need to be creative, so I have my sewing machine in the corner of the playroom. That way I can get a little sewing time in during the day while the boys play (most days I can get 15 - 30 min of sewing before the fights start). If you need to read, bring a book to the park and see if you can get a few pages read while the kids are busy playing.

Create regular breaks for everyone throughout the day
-- there's a reason why coffee breaks and lunches are enforced in the workplace. Our ability to reason and respond well goes down hill if we do not take breaks. Sit and have a snack with your kids in the morning instead of rushing around while they eat. Enforce a quiet time in the afternoons where the kids are quiet and relatively self sufficient while you take a break.

What do you do to take care of yourself and stay out of burn out?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thoughts on Thursday

I'm moving the Monday Mama Musings to Thursdays (and therefore have to change the name). I quite enjoy participating in the 'Not Me Mondays' but still wanted to do this. Last week's poll involved nursing your baby in public and the results showed that those who nurse, are comfortable doing so in public.

Today's parenting post is a topic I've seen quite often around parenting message boards. When you were pregnant, did you find out the sex of the child ahead of time? This is an interesting one to me. I didn't realise how many people do find out beforehand. My husband and I liked the not knowing (because we'd know soon enough). I also have known a couple of people who found out, only to find out that they were told the wrong sex (it really does happen). I'd hate to get ready for a little girl just to have to take everything back and buy new for a little boy. Okay, so you know my bias, but I think I'm in the minority these days. Let's see :o)

Did you find out the sex of your child before they were born? (or plan to)

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Not Me Monday

I did not feed my children ice cream sandwiches before supper on Thursday. I also did not feed them ice cream sundaes a few hours later. I did not forget about supper altogether until my son asked shortly before bedtime.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

10 things I know because I have boys

I know how to set up a Thomas the train figure 8 set
I know the difference between a back hoe digger and a front loader
I know that Jaques Plante was the first goalie to wear a hockey mask
I know that underwear can double as a bathing suit at any given moment
I know that dirt, sand, and mud are not really a big deal
I know that tackling each other is just another way to say 'hello'
I know certain parts of the male anatomy are very, very stretchy (and as of yet have not pulled off)
I know that being loud is a very important part of life
I know that firefighters, police officers and paramedics are not just heroes, they are really, really cool
I know that when you are outside, washrooms are optional

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Night Training

Potty training and night training are two completely different things. My oldest son has been potty trained since he was 3 and a half, we've been working on night training ever since. I really didn't know where to turn for advice on night training. Jill was no good, her kids just do it naturally and she has no idea how that happened. Another mother I know told me not to worry about it her son is 8 and still wears pull-ups at night. Oh great, I really did not want to be buying pull ups for that long!
We'd been working at training in pull-ups with ups and downs and it all came to a head a few months back. Our son was getting ready for bed at a friends house. The other kids his age happened to see that he was wearing a pull up under his jammies. That did it. Peer pressure. He did not want to be seen as wearing a 'diaper'. Up until that point he believed pull-ups to be different than diapers. From that night on he would only wear underwear to bed.
Well, one does not stay dry instantaneously. As I began to do a lot more laundry, I figured there had to be a better way. So I did some reading. It relaxed me a lot. It told me that boys were harder to night train than girls. Most boys aren't night trained competely until they are 6 (if they are still not by then you need to talk to your doctor). My son was 4 so I felt he wasn't so far behind. There are few things that we do now to guarantee that he will be dry all night.
1st - his last drink of the day is 6pm. Nothing after. He hates this, but knows that until he wakes himself up to pee he has to stick by it.
2nd - We both (my husband & I) wake him and take him to the toilet in the night. Our son is a pretty deep sleeper so he needs this help. I go to bed somewhere around 10-11 at night and make sure to get him up at this time. My husband usually turns in around 1 and he gets up him up then too. So far it works. I really don't know how long we'll have to keep getting him up like this but you can't argue with success. The happiness in his face when he first started waking up dry was priceless. He was so excited and so proud! "I'm dry!" he declared.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Not Me Monday (on Tuesday)

Not Me Monday is a meme hosted by

I did not leave the sandbox lid off the sandbox right before a rainstorm. My 2 year old did not get into the sandbox after I told him to stay away from the muck and cover himself in sandy mud. He also did not throw the mud at his 5 year old brother right before bedtime.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday Mama Musings

Good morning Monday. As mentioned in yesterday's post it is World Breastfeeding Week so today's musing is breastfeeding focused. I'm including both a poll and a plea to comment today! Please, please leave me a message :o) I'm really and truly interested in your answers!

First to last weeks poll, it appears that most of you are blessed with family nearby when searching for a babysitter - lucky you! We did find a new sitter, we know her family a little bit and she came to volunteer at our church's summer kids club. She did a great job with the boys and I'd definitely hire her again :o)

Back to this week's topic. For those nursing mommies (and those no longer nursing), are you comfortable nursing in public? What places have you felt most welcome to nurse your baby? Do you have a favorite place to go? I know I frequented the kids section at Chapters bookstore (great when you have a busy toddler too that can play with the Thomas table) and the public library had some comfy seats with Breastfeeding friendly signs in it.

Are you comfortable nursing in public?

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Below is a poem written Dr. Suess style that I love. I first saw it in the office of the mother-baby clinic at our hospital. I'm glad I could find it online to share with you :o)

Little ones can squirm and pout
make a fuss and scream and shout
When hunger hits without a doubt,
Sit right down and whip them out.

I would nurse them if they cried,
I could nurse them far and wide,
Here and there or Up or down or on a chair.
For this fine milk is very rare!!!

Would you nurse them on a train?
Would you nurse them on a plane?
Would you nurse them in a car?
Would you nurse them in a bar?

Yes, on a train, yes on a plane.
Yes, in a car, yes in a bar.
I would nurse them here or there.
I would nurse them anywhere!

I would nurse them in a booth,
On the stairs or near the roof.
Anywhere my boys cry out,
I pop the nummies in their mouth.

I can serve it by the ounce,
I can serve it while I bounce.
In a bottle or in a jar,
I can serve from near or far.

Would you, could you nurse in church?
Would you on a shaky perch?
Would you, could you, in the stands?
Could you nurse them with no hands?

I would, I could nurse in church,
Even on a shaky perch.
In the stands, with no hands,
I'll nurse my babies on demand.

Would you nurse them at the store?
Would you nurse them on the floor?
Would you nurse them on a ship?
Careful not to show your nip!

Would you nurse them while on skis?
Would you nurse them on your knees?
Would you nurse them in a tree?
Mummy milk's SO GOOD, you see.

Would you nurse them by the stream?
You could nurse them while you dream.
Can you nurse and clean the house?
Can you nurse and chase a mouse?

Can you nurse and cook a meal?
Mummy's milk is the real deal!
Would you nurse them while you sleep?
How about while you sweep?

Could you nurse them in a sling?
Would you, could you, while you sing?
How about upon a swing?
Mother's milk is just the thing!

Would you nurse them at the park?
Would you nurse them in the dark?
Would you nurse them with a Boppy? (*brand of breastfeeding pillow)
And when your boobs are feeling floppy?

I would nurse them in the park,
I would nurse them in the dark.
I'd nurse with or without a Boppy.
Floppy boobs will never stop me.

Can you nurse with your seatbelt on?
Can you nurse from dusk till dawn?
Though they may pinch me, bite me, pull,
I will nurse them 'till they're full!

Can you nurse and make some soup?
Can you nurse and feed the group?
It makes them healthy, strong and smart,
Mummy's milk is the best start!

Would you nurse them at the game?
Would you nurse them in the rain?
In front of those who dare complain?
I would nurse them at the game.
I would nurse them in the rain.

As for those who protest lactation,
I have a perfect explanation.
Mummy milk is tailor made
It's perfect food, you need no aid.

Some may scoff and some may wriggle,
Avert their eyes or even giggle.
To those who can be cruel and rude,
Remind them breast's the perfect food!

I would never scoff or giggle,
Roll my eyes or even wiggle!
I would not be so crass or crude,
I KNOW that milk's the perfect food!

We make the right amount we need,
The perfect temp for every feed.
There's no compare to milk from breast---
The perfect food, above the rest.

Those nursing smiles are oh so sweet,
Mummy milk is such a treat.
Human milk just can't be beat.
I will nurse, in any case,
On the street or in your face.

I will not let my babies cry,
I'll meet their needs, I'll always try.
It's not about what's good for you,
It's best for babies, through and through.

I will nurse them in my home,
I will nurse them when I roam.
Leave me be lads, leave me be ma'am.
I will nurse them, Mum I am.

Learn more about World Breastfeeding week:

Sunday, August 2, 2009

World Breastfeeding Week

I have discovered that today marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week. In honour of that I'd like to tell you a story. I have permission of my friend Anna to relate this all to you.

As I just mentioned I have a friend named Anna who lives in Slovakia. Thanks to the wonder that is Facebook we've been able to reconnect a bit over the past few years. Anna is the mother of 2 lovely little girls.

Shortly after her second child was born she posted a status about her daughter not gaining weight. I didn't want to intrude, but I had also been there with my second baby and wanted to offer help if I could (as well as help can go when you live on 2 different continents).

I kept our messages to each other. They went something like this (with a little bit of editing):

Hi Anna,

First, congratulations on the birth of your new little girl, I've been one of those silent lurkers on your blog site following along.

Your status caught my eye tonight, and I wanted to share what I hope will be some encouragement.

When my son was born last year, we went through a lot of worries about his weight, he kept dropping weight after we left the hospital and did not gain. It was a mystery to me because it seemed that I was always nursing him.

I worked with a lactation consultant nurse quite extensively and she really helped me out. She discovered that although it seemed that he was always nursing, he was really only nursing for short periods of time and then falling asleep (a vicious cycle really). As well there were a few issues with getting a good latch on and she taught me how to latch him and hold him properly so he would get a good feed. I did have to take some time to pump and supplement with extra breast milk when I fed from one side that was slower than the other as well with a feeding tube.

It was a lot of work and heartbreaking work because you think these things are supposed to be natural therefore easy...but he did start to gain weight and eat better, and here we are a year later ready to celebrate his first birthday.
Now I don't know if you are breastfeeding or not. I have no idea what resources there are in Slovakia for new babies and moms. But I hope that if you need help for your little girl you can find it. If you are nursing her and would like some tips, I know of some good websites that have good information to help.

I just felt compelled to share because I know how sad and scary it is when your baby isn't gaining weight. I hope that helps you some. I'll be praying for your daughter as well.

Take Care,

She replied:

Hi Kristen,

such a timely message from you! I've cried soooo much in the last 2 weeks! With my first daughter, a similar thing happened... she dropped weight significantly and after 3 weeks, I started supplementing with formula and then only ended up being able to breastfeed for 4 months before there was no milk.

I was determined it'll work this time with this baby. Well, it appeared to be going so well but she did lose weight and since we've been home, 2 weeks now, she did not gain. My doc said we have to add formula to my breastfeeding... I saw her again yesterday and she is insisting we need to start doing something for her health.. of course I want my kids to be healthy and well but I am so worried that once I intro formula, there will be quick road down to my breastfeeding. I am so discouraged. I really thought it'll all go well.

As you said, my daughter too is very sleepy, I think still due to her jaundice, so she falls asleep, she is pretty weak and thus can't suck properly. I am also convinced she is not latching on right and that's part of the problem. Finally, I tried expressing yesterday to see how much there was in one side while I offered her the other - and I discovered I have pretty low supply - about 20 ml in one! I was so disappointed. I've been trying to tell the nurses and the doc that I think she has a problem with latching but no one is helping. The lactation consultants do exist here I've heard but it's very new and rare and I don't have an access to one... I am so desperate for help... I've been looking online and found some stuff but I mainly need actual physical help - teaching herhow to latch on, how to suck and walking with me through the process.

Sadly though, I think now she might actually be hungry as i guess not enough milk forms due to her non-proper latching and so as the doc insists, I might need to add formula. She wants us back on Thurs but said we need to test her with a formula bottle of 50ml to see if she'd drink that... she also took some blood and thought she might be iron-deficient...

It's very frustrating and so discouraging all for me... I feel so trapped and don't know what the right thing is to do.

If you do have some good websites, please pass them along.

Thanks again for contacting me, Kristen, it's good to be able to chat and even just to get it out of me, too.

Thanks for prayers, too! Boy, do we need them!! (I've not even gotten into telling you about how difficult life is right now with our first, she is dealing with jealousy issues and we've seen our sweet little wonderful girl turn into something she never was before... but that's another topic, it's just adding to my grief...)
Sorry I vented so much...

PS So are you still breastfeeding your son?

Wow! So much information to tackle. With a second child you have both the worries of getting the baby off to a good start, but also the sibling rivalry that develops from the first. Here's what I wrote back:

Don't worry about venting, I did a similar thing with my friend Jill when I was going through this (she has 2 boys the same ages as mine) need to share with someone who is going through the same thing. And as well, I had the jealously issues with my first, and guilt about that too, so I hear you there.

As for online help, there are some breastfeeding support groups on Facebook.
I belong to Canadian Breastfeeding Mommies

I got some good help there with pumping milk.
and attachment parenting
which covers everything from breastfeeding to babywearing

There is some great information on the La Leche International site
It has country links...if there isn't anything for Slovakia, try Canada resources.

Here are some sites that help with latching (how to instructions and videos)

I found that I had to really take control of my son's head and that breast compressions were very important to get him to suck properly.
Here's what I did for success:
1: sit comfortably, get a pillow to help set up baby
2: tuck baby's lower arm under her (so that she isn't flailing about...swaddling both arms in works well too)
3: cradle her so that you end up holding her head so that you have control of where it goes
4: take hold of your breast with your other a few drops of milk, rub the nipple across her lips
5: when she opens her mouth wide, shove the breast in (repeat until she is latched on)
6: then take your hand to start compressing...a proper compression, you grasp your breast and squeeze down and forward (kinda forcing the milk out) and hold for a few counts, release, and compress kinda start to get in a rhythm with your baby (don't do what I did at first which was compress, compress, compress all quickly, the holding down is an important part of it)
-make sure that she eats for a good 20-50 minutes

If she starts to fall asleep here are some wake up baby tips (your husband and older daughter can help with some of these):
1: start undressing her
2: blow on her head/neck
3: tickle her feet
4: get a cool cloth and gently rub it on her

A good breast pump is important right now too.
Pump often so that if you need to supplement, you can supplement with breast milk first. Remember that pumping is never as effective as a baby's suck so it will be less than you think.
I found the best times to pump were 1) on the opposite breast than he was eating while he was eating, 2) about an hour after he ate, 3) first thing in the morning

A piece of advice that helped reassure me was this: If you need to supplement, 90% breast milk and 10% formula is better than no breast milk at all...allow yourself that grace. Her's health is the most important thing. What my doctor was worried about (and why she sent me to the breastfeeding clinic) was that my son would just keep falling asleep and falling asleep and she wanted him to wake up...he needed to get his iron stores up.

Also, if you do introduce a bottle, try breastfeeding first and then finish with the bottle (that way you always get good nipple stimulation which is what helps keep up your supply)
If introducing a bottle replaces a feed...pump to replace that feed for the same reason.
I know one mom who purposely introduced a bottle when her baby was quite small so that she could get a break at night (take a bath, have some alone time) turned into a real nice time for her husband to spend with their daughter.

As for your older daughter...because that issue is important too!
Here's some tips that worked with my son.
Give yourself grace in these early days. I kept him in part-time daycare until my second was 2 months old, so I could get some sleep. Take people up on offers to help and get them to take her out for a bit, or, get your husband to take her on some daddy-daughter dates...for a muffin, or to the park, or the library or where ever.
When my second was newborn, my first's TV time went up a bit (I was always very strict about only an hour a day until then) This time isn't forever and sometimes a kids DVD is just what the doctor ordered.

Use the time you are feeding baby as a quiet special time for all 3 of you. Get out the puzzles, get out the storybooks. Have your oldest turn the pages as you read and all 3 of you camp out on the bed. Coloring, play-dough are great too.
Friends of mine with little girls found that their oldest having a baby doll to take care of helped with the transition. We didn't get our a baby doll but he did start carrying around his stuffed sheep like a baby. (including holding it under his shirt so it could eat :o))

My husband reminded me that it would benefit our second to see me doing something with our first, so I took time to put the baby in the baby swing and do something with our oldest each day (it's exhausting I know). We would make cookies (something he and I did every Wednesday anyway) or I'd put baby in the sling (baby carrier) and kick a soccer ball with our first...just so he knew that the baby was not taking his place. I'd also talk to him about who he was and how special he is to us. My mom got us a great book called I'm a Big Brother (there's an equvalent sister book)
that we used that was great to help.

We had noticed that friends of ours really used dad to take over when mom was busy with the baby so we tried the same approach, not so easy when dad is at work I know.
We still battle with sibling rivalry now and then and we've learned that we can never leave the 2 of them alone together. Unintentionally, pre-schoolers can really hurt their baby siblings, because their brains are developed only to react, not think and act. Our oldest gets quite upset when baby will hit him to get him to stop crying...which of course makes him cry even more. So if my husband's not home and I want a shower, I put baby in his crib, and settle our oldest with something before going in.

Equally important, take care of yourself! Get sleep whenever you can! You are no good to either of them when you are exhausted...
I know, it sounds ridiculous: Get the baby eating for close to an hour every 3 hours, and breast pump, and see to the needs of a demanding , jealous pre-schooler and still take care of yourself...and not feel exhausted and stressed and guilty...supermom! The thing that kept me going was knowing that this time doesn't last forever and you will get through. With our first I didn't know that you get through it...with our second I had the benefit of having gone through the first 2 months with the oldest and knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel. 6 weeks seems to be the magic number.

I know this is a lot of information, but I hope it helps some. I also know that good breastfeeding support is hard to come by (and we're supposed to be so advanced...) We met up with one of my husband's cousins in England last summer who had a 3 month old. She was so upset that she was formula feeding her baby. The nurse there told her that she couldn't breastfeed properly so she had to start using bottles. When we talked more, it sounded like she had similar issues, but no support to get her through. Another friend of mine here in Canada was told to start using formula because her baby woke at night to eat when he was 4 months old (which is perfectly normal) and so her supply dropped and she wasn't able to follow through the way she wanted to either.

The best place to get breastfeeding support, if you don't have a proper breastfeeding nurse is usually from other breastfeeding mommies. We've been there, we know. (and don't listen to those who say, but it's so easy...because it isn''s easy once you get going and know's not to get going properly...)

I just remember that Jill knows a lady who is an exclusive pumper...her babies bottle feed, but bottle feed breast milk (I can't imagine having that much supply, but God created us beautifully)

As for our boy, he did get the hang of it and did gain weight. I still do breastfeed him (he's turning one on Thursday), but not exclusively. I'm in process of weaning, but still in debate on when to cut him off...our first was already weaned by this time (11 and a half months is when he stopped). I actually had a difficult time introducing our second to a bottle when I went back to work last fall. (I waited to long to introduce it-I would have started when he was about 6 weeks old) The first week was terrible (my husband brought him to me at work a couple of times because our son refused the bottle) La Leche helped us out there too to get him to take it. He was bottle fed breast milk for the first few months and slowly introduced to formula. I don't pump anymore...I don't have the fact I only breastfeed on one side now, because my slow side slowed down more and more gradually that he stopped being able to get the milk as fast as he wanted it.

When I had first started to breastfeed him, we discovered that the right side was slow...what the nurse had me do was use my pumped milk and then take some into a syringe that was attached to a feeding tube and slip the feeding tube into his mouth when he was on that side (kind of like adding an extra duct to his feed) so that the would realize that he was getting milk from that side too. I only had to do that for a few days until he got the hang of it.

Oh I remember that so well, I was so tired and frustrated, I thought it this didn't work, to heck with it...I'm bringing in formula. I also remember the breastfeeding nurse suggested putting breast milk into a small cup (like a medicine cup, shot glass size) and teaching baby to drink from need to put a receiving blanket around baby because it can get messy, tip the cup a little and apparently, they can lap it up like puppies...who knew?

You can also find out how much your daughter is taking in by getting a test weight. Get her weighed before she eats...feed her, then weigh her again...the difference is the amount of ounces that she is getting in.

Remember too that formula isn't a's to assist you in getting your daughter to be healthy. Use it if you need to and forgive yourself for it.

If anything I hope this helps you at least know you aren't alone!


We continued on with updates for a bit and the good news is that Anna and her daughter stuck with it. She did have to supplement with a little formula, but her daughter is now over a year old and just a beautiful little girl. I went on to nurse my son until he was about 17 months.

I think Jill said it best when she wrote about breastfeeding basics a few months back. Breastfeeding is a lot like sex, perfectly natural, but it can be awkward and a learning process at first.

A great online resource is
They have everything that you would ever want to know about breastfeeding your child (including online tutorials and podcasts with lactation consultants).



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