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Archive for November, 2009

Not Me Monday 11/30/09

November 30, 2009 9 comments


Welcome to Not Me! Monday!  This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I like to think of myself as a rather reserved, respectable, controlled individual so I, of course, was NOT doing the total happy dance when I saw that Birthing Magazine had highlighted one of my blog posts on their Facebook page.  How unbecoming that would be!  I most definitely did NOT get butterflies in my tummy and a smile stretched across my face from ear to ear.  I was in NO way filled with total joy knowing that a periodical thought enough of something I wrote to mention it to their readers.  That would be so immature and in no way within my character.  And because of this you know that I didn’t call my husband and my mom to tell them how awesome I am.  Nope, not me.  I am the picture of cool, calm, and collected.  Oh, and in case you didn’t see it… 😉

Birthing Magazine Feature

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Categories: Not Me Monday Tags: , ,

Wordless Wednesday 11/25/09

November 25, 2009 1 comment

Welcome to another “Wordless Wednesday” Post!

How is he only 3.5?

M playing video games at Fry's

M playing DJ Hero at Fry's

M playing Guitar Hero at Fry's

M playing Guitar Hero at Fry's

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Categories: Family, Wordless Wednesday Tags: ,

Holiday Weaning

November 24, 2009 7 comments
Santa Nursling from EnchantedDandelions

photo courtesy of EnchantedDandelions

A phenomenon has been observed by many breastfeeding supporters… holiday weaning.  The holidays are a time full of events, obligations, cooking, cleaning, visiting, shopping, etc.  What about mothering?  It is so easy for mothers, even brand new mothers, to get caught up in obligations and to-do lists.  Pressure from themselves and family end up ensuring that they aren’t nursing often enough and encourage them to supplement with a bottle.

How do we let this happen?  There are many common reasons.

  1. Offering bottles while tending to to-do lists (shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc)
  2. Offering bottles while with family so that they can feed the baby, hold the baby
  3. Offering bottles while with family so that mother doesn’t have to nurse in front of family
  4. Delaying feedings while busy, etc
  5. Offering bottles so that mother can drink alcohol
  6. Mother not getting adequate rest and fluids
  7. Older children can become distracted and not request to nurse as often

New mothers, at least those that feel they can function, often feel driven to take on just as much as they had previously and the holidays make this desire more pronounced for some.  However, if there has ever been a time to sit back and let everyone else do the work, now is the time!  Did you know that just offering one bottle can affect your supply if you are not also pumping when that bottle is being offered?  Many La Leche League leaders have observed that the new mothers in their monthly meetings often dismiss the idea of “holiday weaning” when it is discussed.  Then, after the holidays, those same women often return and share their stories of finding themselves on the brink of sabotaging their nursing relationship, all without meaning too!

image provided by @crunchynurse

So, how can you avoid this accidental weaning or even just a dip in supply?  It is simple, put mothering first this holiday season.  Offer your baby the breast often, sit and relax as much as you can.  If you are going to be around family that doesn’t support breastfeeding, prepare yourself mentally.  Enlist your spouse to be a barrier.  Excuse yourself and nurse in a separate room if you are more comfortable.  Don’t be afraid to take your baby back if he or she is being held by others.  Remember, your baby needs to eat and you are one with the food.  Babies can also easily become overstimulated during the holidays, so the break to nurse will be good for them for that reason too.

We all love our families, right?  But that doesn’t mean that they are perfect and never offer uninvited advice on your parenting!  Have a code worked out with your spouse that tells them if you are tired, or uncomfortable.  That way they can help excuse you without making a scene.  Family gathering can be difficult anyways, but add to that a new mother and a new baby, you have a perfect opportunity for unwanted advice or hurtful comments.

So, before you sign up to make that pie… and potatoes… and green beans… oh and the turkey (or even host the whole darn thing!) think about it first… what would you like your holiday to look like?  Stress and time away from your precious baby?  Or would you rather be snuggled up next to a fire or a tree and nursing your little one?  There will be many more holidays to come, maybe these first few years can be about you being a new mother and less about you being a hostess.

La Leche League makes these recommendations to help you avoid inadvertently weaning your baby during special occasions:

  • Let friends and family members know that you cherish your breastfeeding relationship. Don’t present it as a problem. For example, when aunts or grandmothers want to help, give them a task—not the baby.
  • When family members ask to feed the baby, tell them, “Thank you, but I’m breastfeeding,” and smile.
  • Use a sling or other carrier to keep baby close to nurse.
  • Work around nap times and other times when baby is sleeping.
  • Avoid long car and plane trips if possible. If it’s unavoidable, make sure to take plenty of time for nursing breaks.
  • Choose clothing that provides easy access to the breast for the little nursling.
  • Shop for gifts online or from catalogues. Keep “real life” shopping trips short or take plenty of breaks to breastfeed.

(This list is from How to Avert Nursing Strikes during Special Occasions)

I hope that anyone reading this will keep it in mind during their own holidays, making sure they aren’t falling victim themselves and also support their family and friends so that they do not either.  After all, breastfeeding truly is the BEST gift you can give your little one!

Also, if you take any great holiday nursing pictures, let me know!  I would  love to feature them on the Breastfeeding Imagery page of this site!!

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Bringing back diapers

November 22, 2009 19 comments

I wish I didn’t have to write this.  I am so upset and disappointed in myself.  If you read my last post you already know the back story to our toilet learning process with M.  It has been very frustrating because we have gotten mixed signals.  He will work with his preschool teacher on sitting on the potty, but not us.  He likes wearing big boy underwear, but won’t potty in the potty or anything else, including diapers at school.  And finally, he ended up hitting a wall on Friday.  It was like the holding it in thing at school was just physical training for the main event.

On Friday, as I mentioned in the last post, he had an accident at school at about 9am and then didn’t go the rest of the day even though he had a diaper on.  Well, here is the kicker… he went to bed that night without going potty, woke up dry, and was dry the whole next day.  Friday night he woke up at 1:30am wiggling and whining.  I tried to tell him to just go in his diapers, let it out.  I tried rubbing his tummy, etc.  He fell back to sleep, but did the same thing at 2:45am, 4:30am, and 6:00am.  Between him and A’s snoring, I only managed 4 hours of sleep.  I had to be up for a work retreat that morning so I headed out.  I was stunned when I got a call from A asking if I had changed M’s diaper before I left because it was still dry.  We agreed to have A talk to M and tell him that we are not going to work on the potty stuff for a while and that it is totally fine for him to use his diaper.

My mom picked him up later and brought him to Brown County where I was so they could spend the day and then stay the night at the hotel with me.  I kept calling to see if he would finally let loose.  By 4 pm he still hadn’t and I was freaked out.  He was still begging to change his diaper even if he was dry and would sometimes do the pee pee dance.  At this point I asked A to call our doctor and see what we should do.  His text back made my heart sink!

“Not good baby.  We need to take him to the ER.  He said it is unheard of that a 3year old could hold it for close to 24 hours.  It doesn’t happen.  If he hasn’t had a wet diaper then something else is up. It’s not a UTI either.  He said, with a UTI he would automatically have spasms and it would be coming out even if it hurt when it did.  He said we need to get him to the ER to have an ultrasound done.”

Now, please keep in mind that by this point it had actually been 33 hours since he had peed!  And a full 2 days since a bowel movement.  I read this in my retreat and was instantly in tears.  Being me, I had been talking to everyone about him so they all knew what was going on when they saw my face and heard me say ER.  I remember hearing one person say “Hold it together Crystal cause it won’t do him any good”.  I gathered my composure, grabbed my mom and M and we set out for the ER in Bloomington.

I was very thankful that it was a slow night there.  We got right in and they started gathering information.  They took us to a room and brought in a special bladder ultrasound to measure the amount of urine in his bladder.  We had to restrain him for this because he wouldn’t lay still.  I felt so horrible just because I knew he was scared.  At least I knew they weren’t hurting him.  After it was done, which was very quick, I picked him up.  Suddenly I felt warmth radiating from his diaper and I shouted “He’s peeing he’s peeing!!!”  Sure enough, he let totally loose as we all (even the Nurse Practitioner) did the pee pee dance.  I think it was a mixture of the relief of not being restrained and the slight vibration of the ultrasound tool that did it.  I was so relieved.  It was a miracle.  They basically laughed and said he should be fine.  The doctor that came to see us just before we left said that there is always one that will prove you wrong (about the other doc saying he couldn’t be holding it) and that that was some determination (you’re telling me!!).  He also mentioned that his own grandson is 4 and just became daytime potty trained.  I got what he was saying… don’t worry about backing off, it will happen.

When we got back to the hotel he began insisting that I change his diaper even though it was dry.  After 3 hours of this, (at 1am!) I decided to make the 2 hour drive home, just to change the scene if nothing else.  I am glad I followed my gut.  About 30 minutes into the trip he peed and pooped.  He then slept the rest of the night.  He did the same thing in the morning, but each time the insisting was for shorter amounts of time before he produced something.  So, I feel we are on the right track now.

Can you believe this?  A 3.5 year old so persistent and stubborn that he would withhold urinating for 34 hours!?!?!?!  I told you he is MORE!  During all of this I was a mess of guilt and frustration.  I was crying to my mother that I felt so bad but was doing all I could do.  There are just no books for a kid like him.  The only books that talk about strong-willed kids talk about discipline or just living with them and understanding them.  No one talks about the other things, like the weaning off things, toilet learning, sleeping alone, etc.  There are no guides for parents like me.  I looked at her and said “They don’t make a book for him!”.  She looked at me and said “Maybe you are supposed to write it”.  Wow… what an amazing and scary thought.  So, maybe I will one day.  Until then, I will share these experiences as openly and honestly as I can here.

We have decided to remove the underwear (unless he requests them) and just stick with diapers, forget the potty, and just let him be.  We told him that he can tell us if he ever wants to try, and after a few weeks will begin the discussion again.  But for now, we are taking a total break.  There is nothing like the ER for a wake up call.  It doesn’t matter when he does it, just that he does it in a way that builds him up as a person.  It has to be on his schedule and his pace.  No one else matters.  And until he is done, when people ask us if he is potty trained, I will be confident in saying that a trip to the ER puts it all in perspective so no, not just yet.

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EDIT: This post has been featured by Annie from PhDinParenting and Jennifer from Blogging ’bout Boys
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A whole new weaning… Diapers be gone!

November 21, 2009 12 comments

Oh where do I begin?  I just posted this to my twitter: “i have no idea what I am doing with this potty learning with my STUBBORN 3.5 boy. this is such a battle and I don’t want it to be.”  “NOTHING is working!!! He is so ready, but it is a power struggle. I am just done! My gentle parenting side isn’t finding anything works”  “Even “No Cry Potty Solution” says “sometimes you just have do it” just like when he used to fight teeth brushing and I had to hold him down”  “I hate hate hate that I can’t be the mommy I want to be!!!”  Can you sense my desperation??  Within moments I had 17 responses (can I tell you how much I LOVE my tweeps!? A shout out to them at the end…)

In order to really understand and offer advice, I need to give you the whole story since every kid is different.  So, get ready to know M better than you ever thought you would.

M is amazing!  I am about to talk about a lot of things that might seem negative and that is hard for a mommy to do, so I want to say that first.  I love and adore him and I am constantly amazed by him.  (here it is…) Buuuuttttttt, there are many parts of his personality that make him VERY difficult to parent.  Everything with him is an extreme.  M is just MORE.  He is MORE persistent, MORE stubborn, MORE independent, MORE active, MORE whiny, MORE clingy, MORE needy.  He is the poster child for “strong willed”.  I LOVE Dr. Sears, but I have a hard time when he talks about working with your child’s natural desire to please, because that part seems to be missing with M.  He is fairly defiant.  If you want him to do something, he is VERY likely to do the opposite even if he KNOWS he will receive a negative reaction.  Discipline with him has been just as difficult as potty learning because of these traits.  He seems to LOVE negative attention!  You can’t bribe him usually, everything just has to be on his terms.  He is also a perfectionist!  He wouldn’t let anyone but me, (not even A) see him on his new tricycle when he was 2.5 until he knew he had it down pat.

I learned VERY early that, because of these traits, potty learning would need to be handled carefully.  We did everything we could to make this an easy experience for him.  We have talked about what our bodies do, what our pee and poop are, how bathrooms work, etc.  We have allowed him in the room while we go, read many books, we have potty seats and a chair that he picked out.  We have sticker boards in each bathroom.  We have gently offered to take him to the bathroom and made it very non-pressure.  This has all been over the last year and a half.

He knows what he is supposed to do completely, so his issue isn’t preparedness with that. We have also had his friend from next door potty in front of him and encourage him (she is 6 months older).  He does say he is scared of the potty.  I don’t know why or where it came from.  He has never been afraid of the flush (still isn’t).  He told me one time about alligators in it.  So A got a book M has that shows how things work (love Usborne books!) and showed him how it worked.  We even took off the back of the toilet and showed him and we showed him how no alligator would fit in there.  He hasn’t said any more about that but still says he is scared.  I think he uses that sometimes as a resistance.

There have been a few short spurts (the most recent back in July) when he showed interest.  We would embrace it and encourage him gently.   In July, he would sit on the potty while I read book after book.  He never made any “deposits” and after a few days lost interest.  We took it as a sign he wasn’t ready and backed off to avoid any power struggle.

He started going to a daycare/preschool 2 days a week in Oct.  He is with 7 kids (ages 3-5) and is the only one not totally potty-trained.  I thought this would offer great encouragement.  He does sit on the potty there, several times a day.  He doesn’t like it but he does and counts to 30 with the teacher.  He even takes off his own pants and everything!!!!  But, never gets anything deposited.

2 weeks ago his teacher asked us to bring underwear for him.  He had an accident the first day and cried, but was proud of himself for being in big boy underwear (he even told me “I have accident just like my potty book!”).  At this point he would be diapers with underwear over them at home and during naps at school and then just underwear the rest of the day at school.  The next day he just didn’t pee all day!  They went ahead and left him in his underwear and when we got home and he was playing he had an accident and cried.

After that he started holding it for a LONG time… even WITH his diaper on.  At home we were still doing a diaper with underwear over it since he wouldn’t sit on the potty.  Well he would constantly be asking us to change him.  We think he would feel the need to pee and then hold  it and ask us to change him.  We tried to help him identify this as the feeling that means he needs to sit on the potty but he won’t do it at home!

Then this week came along.  He is only peeing 2 times per day!!  He is just holding it for a long time diaper or no diaper, until he can’t anymore.  He even went 3 days without a poop!!  So, we feel like we need to really get moving on this at home because it scares us.  He doesn’t want to go in his pants or diaper, so we HAVE to get him started on the potty!!!  His teacher felt that Weds. might have been too much pressure (when he finally did put a few drops in) so today she went to underwear with a diaper OVER them.  She said he was a so much better and was all involved with the day.  He even went to the bathroom himself, but still no deposits.  If he is so willing there, then why not at home or grandma’s?

So, how do you get a VERY stubborn 3.5 yo boy on a potty he will run from?  Hell if I know!  I had a total break down tonight and held him there.  It was awful. I am not proud of it and hated myself for it, but I am so freaked that he won’t potty!  (He only went once today at about 9am!!!!! And he didn’t poop all day.)  Of course it didn’t end well.  After I gave myself a time out I talked to him and this is what I told him… “When you were little you didn’t want to brush your teeth, but you had to or they would hurt.  So when you wouldn’t do it, mommy had to hold you down and do it anyways.  I didn’t like to do that, but I had to until you learned that you needed to do it.  This is the same thing.  You don’t want to use the potty, but you have to or your tummy will hurt.  So, until you decide you are going to do it yourself, I will have to take you to the potty and keep you there.  I will stay with you and snuggle you, but we are doing it no matter what, even if you cry.  So, I am going to count to three and then take you in there, sit you down and count to thirty.”  Then I slowly counted to three and carried him into the bathroom. He fought at first, but then it went well and we snuggled while I counted.  Nothing happened, but at this point I just need him to get used to the potty first, right?  Once he is getting used to it, he will be more relaxed and then try letting things out.  right?  After that, we let him pick a sticker and put it up.  He seemed a lot better, but I still feel lost.

So, please, ANY advice?!  We have done all we can.  Am I doing the right thing now??  Here is a list of all the things I can think of that we have tried:

  1. The big Lego when he made his first deposit, no matter how small
  2. Putting his diaper over his underwear (he just shuts down if you take diaper totally away for a few days it seems)
  3. Being consistent with what is happening at school
  4. let him pick his potty seats
  5. I even promised an iTouch when he stays daytime dry for a week (cheaper than diapers!!!!)
  6. sticker board for any attempt
  7. lots of praise for any try
  8. cheerios in the bowl
  9. pick out his own big boy undies
  10. books and conversations that he leads
  11. Been very positive about any accidents, etc
  12. tonight I assured him that being a big boy that uses the potty doesn’t mean he can’t snuggle or sit on our laps or be carried
  13. Made a big deal out of any attempt
  14. I even called my family doctor who I trust tremendously. I spoke to his nurses and they said to take the diapers away.

So, please, if you have a VERY VERY strong-willed child, I need any advice you have about ANYTHING!  But, seriously, please help me.  I have struggled as his mother since day one because his needs do not fit well with my personality.  I don’t get to be the mommy I always thought I would be because he needs something totally different.  It is hard and there are so many times when I feel completely unprepared and unqualified.  I wouldn’t trade him for the world.  I just need to keep learning how to be his best mommy.  So, please help me with that!!!

Thanks everyone!  And a special thanks to @jet_set @butterflysnbees @StayAtHomeMaven @Crunchynurse @LLeighMartin @Momalom @arlenetorres for your support and thoughts on Twitter!  If you are not following these folks, you should be!!

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Response to PhD in Parenting about Nestle

November 18, 2009 6 comments

A blogger that I really admire and many of you follow too, Annie at PhD in Parenting, played a major role in the Twitter storm surrounding the Nestle Family blogger event.  How did one woman make such a big splash?  By standing up and asking her fellow bloggers one question really.  She asked them how they “feel about supporting a company that puts profits ahead of the lives and health of babies.
What followed was a fantastic series of questions presented to Nestle, which they, in turn, “answered”.  I use quotations because I can’t really say that double-speak is an answer.  She has provided the full text of this conversation on her blog and is finally nearing the end.  As she prepares to respond to their final message she is seeking comments from her fellow bloggers and I decided to offer my thoughts here.  Here is what she posted:

As a follow-up to the Nestle Family event and a lot of the misinformation and doublespeak that Nestle passed along to the bloggers, I decided to send them some follow-up questions.
The last question on the list was:

Moving forward, what steps do you plan to take to use social media and engagement with bloggers to get input into corporate policies and practices? Or are you looking to social media simply as a cost effective marketing tool?

Nestle’s answer to this question was:

We are always looking for ways to engage in meaningful dialogue with consumers and others interested in Nestlé. Certainly, engaging in social media will continue to be one of many ways we try to do that. We welcome ideas from you and your readers. We hope you’ll visit us at http://creatingsharedvalue.org to share your comments, opinions and questions.

I should also add, for context, that Nestle deleted its @NestleFamily twitter account and has directed people to send their questions to @nestlecsv instead.

What do you think?

What do you think of Nestle’s answer? What do you think of its track record surrounding the Nestle Family event? How do you think Nestle should be using social media?

So what do I think?  Is it possible for a company that has made no real attempt to offer true, honest, and verifiable answers to make any positive use of social media?  Is it reasonable for me to even think they could or should?

It is obvious to me that any corporation worries first about their bottom line.  If it hurts the stock or value, it isn’t good for the company.  But shouldn’t we be holding corporations to the same ethical standards that we hold individuals to in this world?  If a doctor or any person knowingly manipulated another human being in a way that caused them death or serious illness there would be an outcry against them.  We have become more upset as a nation about a man stealing life savings from people than we have about a corporation peddling formula to women who can’t afford it and can’t prepare it safely, knowing that after the free trials are gone, so is their own milk supply.  So, is it realistic to think they will change?  The skeptic in me says no.  But, is it OK to sit by and not say anything?  My whole heart says, NO!

I think that Nestle has proven through their interactions with this blogger that they are not interested in any form of “meaningful dialogue with consumers and others interested in Nestlé”.  Actions speak louder than words!  They are very willing to assign someone to communicate their talking points and attempt to save face, but not to have a true dialogue.  If they were really willing to sample the blogging community for input, they would have taken this opportunity and run with it. Instead they pulled the @nestlefamily  twitter account, as it was overrun with negative comments.  I truly believe that their involvement in social media will continue to be a safe and protected display of their company.  They will not ask difficult questions or offer real insight.  They will continue to spin the realities of what they are doing and pass blame and responsibility elsewhere.  And all the while, children will continue to die.  It will require governments to step up and create meaningful and supported legislation to get this company to do what they should be doing in the first place.

So, Annie, to answer your questions… Will Nestle use social media the way I think they should?  No, not at all.  They have proven that.  I think this event was evidence that Nestle is only interested in their bottom line, not in the lives of their consumers or the world they have such a large impact on.  I think that their answers were contrived and I agree that they were mostly double-speak and missed the heart of most of the questions.  I think that they will continue to use social media as only a marketing tool, not a platform for effective dialogue.  I think that they will continue to pretend that this unrest and boycott don’t truly exist.  And the saddest part for me, is that I don’t know how to change any of it.  I can choose not to support their company (which is very difficult when they own so much) and encourage others to do the same.  However, for me, the biggest change I can make is working towards a movement in our world that empowers women so that they do not need Nestle to do for them what they can naturally do themselves.  By supporting breastfeeding worldwide, by giving to causes that raise awareness and provide resources, I can make a difference.  The fewer women that use the formula that is pushed on them, the fewer babies that die.

So, I may not be able to change the culture of a company, but I CAN and WILL play a part in changing the culture of the world!

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Wordless Wednesday 11/18/09

November 18, 2009 4 comments

Welcome to my first “Wordless Wednesday” Post!

M and Daddy - 3.5 yo

M and Daddy - 3.5 yo

M - 3.5 yo

M - 3.5 yo

M - 3.5 yo

M - 3.5 yo

Categories: Family, Wordless Wednesday Tags: ,