Mama Knows Breast

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It seems that we’re done with breastfeeding. The Bear is 13+ months old, and yesterday was the first day in his life that he didn’t have “bubbies.” We were down to one feeding every day, usually around 5 a.m. He would wake up, eat for about 15 minutes, and then go right back to sleep for another hour or so.
But it had reached the point where I felt like a big pacifier. I wasn’t sure he was actually getting anything to eat. It seemed he was just sucking to soothe himself back to sleep. Besides that, his teeth were hurting me a bit, even if I re-did his latch. And so, I think this is it.
I’m happy that we made it to the one year mark that is recommended, at a minimum, by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I know the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for two years, and that many people breastfeed their toddlers. But I’ve decided that I’m comfortable stopping now. It just feels right.
I’d like to sear in my memory the last time I breastfed The Bear. I have a bunch of impressions, but I’m not quite sure if they are specifically from the last time, or simply an amalgamation of the past few weeks. Of course it doesn’t really matter. To me, this will always be what I remember.
It was around 4:30 in the morning. He started to whimper from his bedroom, so I walked down the hallway, making sure to avoid the stroller parking lot, and got him out of the room before he woke up his brother. I climbed back into bed and propped a pillow under my arm that held his head. I know he found my breast in the dark and I barely had to look to see that he latched on well. After a year of practice, we knew our routine by heart. I know he fussed a bit when I switched him from one side to the next, and that I winced when he bit me by accident. I know it was still dark and that I could hear the rain and thunder. Flashes of lightening lit the room periodically. I think I also heard some birds chirping outside our window, but I don’t know if that makes sense. Would the birds have been out if it was raining? And besides, I’ve never noticed a ledge outside our 20th floor window where they could perch.
I know that once his sucking and breathing slowed, and he became heavier in my arms, I stuck my finger into the corner of his mouth and he popped off. He started to cry again, annoyed at the disturbance, and arched his back as I carried him to the Pak n Play in our room. I put him down on his back and he promptly flipped onto his stomach. I stroked the back of his head for a few seconds, whispered sh sh sh, and then slipped back into bed.
Will he remember any of this? No. His older brother, The Bortsky, certainly doesn’t believe me when I tell him that he used to “have bubbies” once too. As far as he’s concerned, “bubbies” are for babies, and he’s been drinking from a Dora cup since the beginning of time.
But isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? As moms, we remember almost everything. The smell of pajamas just washed in Dreft. Rubbing lotion on pudgy thighs. The wailing that kept us up at nights. And certainly, the bliss of a baby that has breastfed and fallen asleep.
Even though The Bear will never recall these 4 a.m. feedings, I imagine, on a certain level he’ll remember that sense of contentment. Those were our moments together. Our moments alone, in the middle of the night. And our moments alone, even when we were surrounded by the outside world on a park bench.
Bye, “bubbies.” The Bear may not miss you, but I think I will. Now I just have to figure out how to wean myself.

Blogger’s Choice Awards– Time To Vote

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And another fun one… I’ve been nominated for the Blogger’s Choice Awards. (The Booby Brigade and I all nominated each other).
The Blogger’s Choice Awards recognize blogs that are having an impact on the blogosphere. Basically, it’s a lot of self-referential nonsense. But amusing nonetheless. Can’t you just picture the award ceremony? How about a “red carpet?” “Hi Joan. Yes, I’m wearing vintage Puma sweatpants and a 2006 Gap t-shirt with a stain from breakfast. My one year old did my hair– apple sauce for gel. It works wonders.”
Anyway, click on these links to vote. I’m in 3 categories and you can vote three times: Best Health Blog, Best Parenting Blog and Hottest Mommy Blogger.
And while you’re on the site, surf around. You’ll find some really cool blogs you’ve never seen before.

I’m Speaking at a Moms Event in the DC-Baltimore Area

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So here’s a fun one…I’ll be speaking at Babies Bellies & Brunch, a “baby shower” event for new moms on May 5th. Here are the details from the event website:
JOIN US for the metropolitan area’s only event boasting the latest trends in chic maternity fashions, infant wear, nursery decor, baby & parenting books, developmental toys, safety gadgets, baby foods, mommy pampering products, baby accessories galore, and more!
FIND everything you and your baby need – all in one convenient place!
Columbia Hilton Hotel
Saturday, May 5, 2007, 10 am – 4 pm
5485 Twin Knolls Road, Columbia, Maryland 21045

I think I’m on a panel about keeping your relationship strong post baby. Not sure what I’ll say yet…so if you have any advice, let me know.

Earth Day and Boston Breastfeeding Nurse Out

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Calling all Massachusetts nursing mamas– get your nurse on. Go to a nurse out to celebrate Earth Day this Sunday in Boston. After all…isn’t breastfeeding the ultimate environmentally friendly food?! Reusable container, no waste, and no production, manufacturing or transportation costs! (For more on how breastfeeding is good for the environment, see this post on The Motherwear Blog).
Here are the details.
Click on this link to the group that’s organizing the nurse out: The South Shore Breastfeeding Club.
Date: April 22
Time: 12- 5
Location: Boston Common near the Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Rain Location: South Station Commuter Rail Terminal

Breast Feeding and What I Didn’t Expect When I Was Expecting

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Welcome, once again, to our monthly Carnival of Breastfeeding. This time we’re writing on the theme…What I didn’t expect when I was expecting.”
So here’s my top ten list of things I didn’t expect about breastfeeding when I was pregnant:
1. I had no idea that that newborns eat every two to three hours around the clock. And, that you start counting when the feeding starts, not when it stops. In other words, if you feed the baby at 9 a.m., you feed again at 11:00 a.m.
2. I didn’t know what engorgement was, how to fix it, and that that it would make me look like a cartoon porn star.
3. I could never have imagined that I’d breastfeed during an OB-Gyn exam. True story.
4. I didn’t know that I could get pregnant while breastfeeding. Turns out I didn’t meet the Lactational Amennhorea criteria for breastfeeding as birth control.
5. I never thought my fear of dropping the baby would actually come true. I could never have imagined falling asleep while breastfeeding and that the baby (10 months) would fall out of the bed. (He was fine, thank God).
6. I didn’t expect to comprehend why sleep deprivation is used as a torture device.
7. I didn’t know that you can donate milk to human milk banks.
8. I never thought I would have to buy a padded bra after I had weaned my baby. I didn’t realize my boobs would need all the help they can get.
9. I didn’t expect to learn how to run a blog all because of my new fixation on breastfeeding.
10. And I certainly didn’t expect to write a book about breastfeeding.
And now…I bring you what my fellow breastfeeding bloggers have to say: The Lactivist, BreastfeedingMums, The Motherwear Blog and Breastfeeding123.
And here are our guest bloggers: Spit up on my Shoulder, Adventures of a Breastfeeding Mother, New Mama’s Nest, The True Face of Birth, Down with the Kids, and The Spice Choir.

New Study Shows Breast Feeding Protects Against Breast Cancer

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My friend Kelley recently found out she has breast cancer. She has a three year old and a baby who is less than a year old. She was nursing the baby when she first detected the lump. Since then she’s had a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, and now chemotherapy.
Despite this, Kelley has a bottomless reservoir of optimism. She’s a reporter at WCVB TV in Boston, and she’s even been providing viewers with updates on her story. There are on-line diary entries and video clips.
When I asked Kelley if it was ok to write this post, she sent me a quote (ever the reporter!) from one of her doctors. The doctor emphasized that breastfeeding can actually reduce the risk of breast cancer:
“On a population level, we’d see a 5 percent reduction in breast cancer cases globally if everyone breast fed. Also, breast cancer in young women is rare, so the vast majority of lumps are benign. A good way to differentiate is a clogged duct should go away. If you are activley breast feeding, it (the plugged duct) should be gone if the baby empties that breast. If you wean, it should dissipate in about two weeks. ”
– Dr. Hope Ricciotti, OBGYN, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Similar news today confirms that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
The most important finding of the new study is that breastfeeding seems to lower the risk of developing breast cancer that comes from having children later in life, said Dr. Giske Ursin, associate professor of preventive medicine at the University of Southern California medical school and the study’s lead author.
“Evidence suggests that women who have children after age 25 can reduce their risk of breast cancer by choosing to breastfeed,” Ursin says.

Please take a moment to read this story, and, for inspiration, visit Kelley’s site.

Can We Be The Greenest Generation?

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I am fairly obsessed today with Thomas Friedman’s piece in the New York Times about the imperative of reducing our dependence on oil. In short, he says, our oil addiction is killing the environment and putting us at risk of terrorism. We have to change. And we have to change fast. Please take the time to read this article. For a preview, read this:

How do our kids compete in a flatter world? How do they thrive in a warmer world? How do they survive in a more dangerous world? Those are, in a nutshell, the big questions facing America at the dawn of the 21st century. But these problems are so large in scale that they can only be effectively addressed by an America with 50 green states — not an America divided between red and blue states.
Because a new green ideology, properly defined, has the power to mobilize liberals and conservatives, evangelicals and atheists, big business and environmentalists around an agenda that can both pull us together and propel us forward. That’s why I say: We don’t just need the first black president. We need the first green president. We don’t just need the first woman president. We need the first environmental president. We don’t just need a president who has been toughened by years as a prisoner of war but a president who is tough enough to level with the American people about the profound economic, geopolitical and climate threats posed by our addiction to oil — and to offer a real plan to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels…
…Equally important, presidential candidates need to help Americans understand that green is not about cutting back. It’s about creating a new cornucopia of abundance for the next generation by inventing a whole new industry. It’s about getting our best brains out of hedge funds and into innovations that will not only give us the clean-power industrial assets to preserve our American dream but also give us the technologies that billions of others need to realize their own dreams without destroying the planet. It’s about making America safer by breaking our addiction to a fuel that is powering regimes deeply hostile to our values. And, finally, it’s about making America the global environmental leader, instead of laggard, which as Schwarzenegger argues would “create a very powerful side product.” Those who dislike America because of Iraq, he explained, would at least be able to say, “Well, I don’t like them for the war, but I do like them because they show such unbelievable leadership — not just with their blue jeans and hamburgers but with the environment. People will love us for that. That’s not existing right now.”

Right now, here’s what we do around this house to do our little part in protecting the environment. I breastfeed (so no bottles and formula containers going into landfills); we recycle; we write checks to non-profits; we turn off the lights when we leave a room and we don’t run the water in the sink for extended periods. Once I figure out who the most “green” candidate is, that person will get my vote. But I’m sure there must be more we can do. I don’t know what yet.
I’d love to hear from all of you what you do on a daily basis to help save the planet. Can we live up to the challenge Friedman poses, of becoming The Greenest Generation?
An unusual situation like this calls for the ethic of stewardship. Stewardship is what parents do for their kids: think about the long term, so they can have a better future. It is much easier to get families to do that than whole societies, but that is our challenge. In many ways, our parents rose to such a challenge in World War II — when an entire generation mobilized to preserve our way of life. That is why they were called the Greatest Generation. Our kids will only call us the Greatest Generation if we rise to our challenge and become the Greenest Generation.

The Cover of My Book

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At long, last, here is a sneak preview of the cover of my book! The fabulous folks at my publisher, Quirk Books, just sent it to me. One more round of edits this weekend, then marketing galore, and a September publication!

I Made the List! The Mother’s Day Central Top 100 Mom Blogs Awards

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Every once in a while an email arrives which catches me totally off guard! That’s what happened a couple of days ago. I found out that Mother’s Day Central picked this blog as one of their Top 100 Mom blogs.
Top 100 Mom Blog.
This was a cool surprise. Especially since it came after I spent the entire night simultaneously throwing up and breastfeeding. (Yes, a stomach bug came to visit me and The Bear this week).
Anyway, The Lactivist and My Baby and More are among my blogging friends who also made the list. Congrats ladies!
And folks, don’t forget, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13. Hint, hint.

Tori Spelling Talks About Breast Feeding

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Here’s the Tori Spelling baby scoop from US Weekly. And here’s what Tori had to say when the reporter asked if she was breastfeeding:
“Yes. It’s hard, but I love it. That’s our time together, and I can give him the one thing he wants: food. Dean took a photo of me nursing, and I was horrified. I was like, “Oh, this poor baby must be so scared of this giant thing coming at him.”
It’s not clear to me from the quote what this “giant thing” is. The camera? Her boob? But I guess it doesn’t really matter. So what I want to know, will Tori breastfeed on her new reality show, Tori & Dean: Inn Love? I don’t plan on watching it, but if you do, let me know what happens.