Archive for the ‘breastfeeding’ Category

QLD Branch Conference!

Wow, how lucky am I?

I have had the pleasure of spending the last two days surrounded by passionate, intelligent and gorgeous women. 

I have been attending the Queensland Branch Conference for the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

When I signed up to attend conference I knew a couple of the girls from my local group and a few friends that I had met from the ABA online forum (yep, I’m a geek, I know!) Now, within 48 hours I feel like I have met a team of amazing Mums who I will have the pleasure of working with over the next 10, 20 or 30+ years. They have come from far and wide with all just one thing in common- breasts that have been used for their true purpose.  🙂

Other than that, there is no one thing that defines us. We do not all share the same age, height, colour, age, religion or taste in chocolate (but hey, chocolate is a very sacred private thing, no one choice is wrong. Actually except dark chocolate, that’s just gross)

So I’m wondering, how can a group of strangers with only this in common make me feel so comfortable, so relaxed, so at home? I feel so at home actually that I would like to propose bringing in the men and the older siblings and perhaps converting the conference centre into one, big commune. Maybe I should put that on the feedback sheet?

I am feeling so excited and so inspired by these women and wish every Mum could feel this way when they enter the wonderful world that is Motherhood. The ABA does an amazing job of supporting Mums, from the early day (daze) of that first time your eyes meet your childs and your world becomes so much smaller (and huge-er) at the same time, to the Mum who is up on stage, proudly announcing her sons engagement. For all the parenting stages- rough and smooth, the ABA is there for Mum to Mum support.

A couple of Did You Knows….

  • ABA runs a Counselling Hotline that is available 24 hours a day and is a free call. They can even provide information and advice by email. Some months they even receive more than 7000 phone calls!
  • The conference is so friendly and relaxed that I could even wear my fisherman pants, my out of the house version of pyjamas- score!
  • In 2014 the ABA will celebrate it’s 50th anniversary!
  • For only $85 an expectant Mum and her partner/support person can attend a Breastfeeding Education Class. Not only will they get some invalueble insight and information about breastfeeding but included is a year long subscription to the ABA.
  • The first weekend in October is Baby’s Day Out, a great chance to get out in public with your bubs and show that babies should be seen and heard.
  • The 3-9th of May is National Mothering Week and this years theme is Mothering- Together we do better! What a great chance to get along to an ABA meeting and show your support to other Mums, or get some support from them  😉

For more info on the Australian Breastfeeding Association see

International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is today, March 8th.  I thought it would be nice to celebrate by looking at some inspirational women.

RitaThe reality is that the best and quickest way to decrease population, therefore decreasing environmental problems and increasing standards of living, is to educate future mothers.  The more women know, the more they empower themselves and take control of their reproduction and production.  There are many Ritas who have had the guts and opportunity to educate themselves and develop their own voices, but there are many others who need and deserve help and support.

Benazir Bhutto, Mary Robinson, Mary MacAleese, Corazon Aquino – A sample of the women who have reached high political office.  We struggle to get equal numbers or rights in parliaments, it is inspirational that some women can reach the highest levels.

Marie Curie – Of course I have to have a scientist in here!  She worked with her husband in a little shed doing hard physical labour to process ore and isolate radioactive elements.  There were actually many woman scientists at the time but they were only credited with the data collection and illustration, not the qualifications and theories.  Marie Curie was an exceptional woman who had the good luck but also the tenacity and brilliance to be recognised.

Jane Austen – Such acute insight, psychology and reflection in such an unassuming package.  Read her books.  Think about them.  Marvel how well she understood people, the depth and complexity she manages with seemingly simple subjects.  And above all, enjoy them and introduce her to your daughters.  She’s still around 200 years later, somehow I don’t think Stephanie Meyer will be.

Mothers of children with special needs – Mothering is the most important and toughest job there is.  How much tougher it must be with a child who has extra needs.  How much tougher to try to be fair to other children.  How much tougher to find time to look after yourself and your other relationships.  I have no doubt there is also so much joy and love, I don’t see it as a constant sacrifice.  And I am certain there are bad days and things they don’t get right and things they feel bad about or wish they hadn’t done.  But I am humbled by women who do something harder than the thing I find the hardest – mothering.

Breastfeeding Counsellors – I’m sure they don’t always get it right.  I’m sure there are times when personality is wrong, or they make a mistake, or their answer isn’t what the woman ringing wants to hear, or maybe there is no answer.  But mothers of young children who volunteer to answer phone calls at 2am purely to support other mothers are very special women.  As women we have a tendency to pull each other down or not value each other enough.  Volunteers of all types, and especially volunteers who are there for other women, are inspirational.

Who inspires you?

Please wish us sleep

Tonight, we begin attempt #273 to DO SOMETHING about little girl’s sleep.  Regular readers may notice the change in nickname, which is the problem – she is moving beyond babyhood.  It’s not that I think there is an arbitrary point where she should learn to sleep, it’s that she is now 22 months old and I can count on my fingers the number of times she has slept longer than 2 hours.  I am exhausted.  She’s not even consistent – the extremely rare occasions when she’s slept for 5 hour blocks are generally preceded by a feeding orgy where she might give me 20 minute breaks between 3 or 4 hour long feeds, so I’ve paid heavily for my oblivion.

Of course it’s not really #273, we’ve tried hard to be consistent and give an approach a decent time to work.  We walked many miles during the early reflux nights.  When that passed we discovered she was an extremely light sleeper and would be woken up by things like moving position or someone walking past.  She refused wrapping, but we got a monitor and closed all the doors, avoided the toilet, and discovered that I could feed her to sleep lying on our bed then roll off without waking her.  That’s how the full-time co-sleeping started.

We expected the 4 month monsters, which turned into the 5, 6, 7 and 8 month monsters with no improvements.  Every now and then we would try something like cuddling after a feed but it always ended with hysteria and throwing up, a legacy of the reflux?  Then we rode out the 2 months, or possibly 3 or 4 my memory’s blurred, when she wouldn’t sleep without a boob in her mouth.  Eventually I stopped trying to detach her, made the most of it and caught up with my reading.  It was a major celebration when she let go.

We had a very stressful time with a lot of interstate travel at the height of her separation anxiety (did I mention she’s extremely clingy?), but surprisingly it led to a breakthrough – we got her onto a mattress next to our bed.  At that point, up to 2 hours with extra space in both beds felt like heaven.  I don’t sleep well when she’s sucking, probably because so much of it is comfort sucking, so I’ve never had the luxury of just letting her attach and not really noticing.

Throughout all this we tried dummies many times, lullabies, meditation music, white noise, wrapping, sleepsacks, fans on and off, air conditioners on and off and several variations of light.  I’ve tried pulling the nipple out, patting, rubbing, holding, singing, cuddling and Daddy.  But she’s very simple and very consistent – I want a real nipple until I decide to let it go.  Do not touch me, do not sing, do not cover me with anything, and do not turn the lights out.  And if you’re very lucky it might take less than 40 minutes and you might not have to do it again for a couple of hours.


At 18 months it got beyond a joke so we tried partial night weaning.  I didn’t feed between 11 and 4am and she didn’t sleep.  At all.  At least thats what it felt like after yet another night of going to bed at 2am.  She would wake up (again) sometime between 11 and 1am and then cry, ranging from screaming hysterics to gentle hiccups for 2 to 5 hours.  Some of the time she would sit on your lap quietly, but the eyes didn’t close.  In 10 weeks I got her to sleep without feeding a total of 3 times, one of those I went to bed at 4am, another 5am and the third I fell asleep with her on the couch about 3am, not good.  DH found me and I tried to move at 4am, which predictably woke her up.  DH had a much better record, which was why we persevered so long, and there were those elusive nights when she slept for 5 hours which kept making us think that maybe she was getting it.

Then we went away.  It’s not really polite to stay in someone else’s house and have your baby cry for several hours every night and it makes it rather hard to enjoy the holiday!  So she and I slept in one bed and DH and the big girl slept in another and she actually did quite “well” so long as I was with her and didn’t try to get up, only feeding 4 or 5 times a night. But I’m not willing to spend the next however many months or years with her attached 24 hours a day (remember the clinginess?), 22 months with only the odd half hour here and there free is enough.

Coming back has been disastrous.  She’s jetlagged and will either get up and play for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, or suck for a 4 hour block plus hourly wakeups and she’s back to waking when anyone breathes too heavily.  The big girl is also waking up every night and DH is dealing with her so we’re all exhausted.  I can no longer cope, crying is a nightly event and there are times I’m scared I might hurt her seriously (Note: my idea of hurting her is to hit her.  I know people do this on purpose every day, but I don’t hit my kids.  She is in no danger).  I know I’ve accidentally hurt her a couple of times in a minor way by squeezing her too tight or accidentally digging my nails into her.  And the guilt from it all piles on top of the frustration and the helplessness.

I’m sorry, believe it or not this started as a fairly positive post because we do have a new plan we’re starting tonight, but it’s now 1am and I’m writing because I’ve been trying to get her to sleep since 8.30 (ETA – she slept from 1am – 6am!).  Friday is a good day to start because then we have the weekend to recover if needed.  We’ve put a queensize bed in the big girl’s room and they’re going to co-sleep sideways across it, that way DH or I can fit in too when we are in there.  It’s worked quite well on holidays, and the idea is that maybe with someone else next to her she might be more settled.  And maybe without us coming in and moving around she might not be woken up.  And maybe without me right there she might not want a feed.  And who knows?  Something’s got to work eventually.  We’re going to put big girl in our bed to go to sleep at first and move her in later, until we see how it goes.  If we can get the rest of the night to improve then we’ll look at putting them to sleep together.

So that’s the plan if you’ve got this far.  I’d love to hear comments and ideas (or gasps of admiration that I’m still semi-functioning), although I have to admit I think we’ve tried most of the suggestions out there.  Except weaning off feeding to sleep, and given the complete lack of success of partial weaning and the huge problems it caused with her sister it ranks somewhere below anti-depressants for me on the list of things to try.  And unfortunately, I would happily have gone to a sleep school or paid a professional or even got a Granny in to help many months ago except we live in a remote town interstate from our relatives.

So there it is, I’ll accept any offers of luck but I’d really like people to wish us some sleep!

13 Milestones of Parenting


1. The Emergency Shower…

Yelling “Come here quickly and take your clothes off!” to my husband and watching his face as he realised that it was never going to mean what it used to mean…now it meant getting in the shower to wash our son down after a ‘poo-nami’

2. The Poo Scoop…

Along the same vein as number 1. The horror of realising that your child has ‘number two-ed’ in the bath and the best way to get rid of it is to scoop it straight into the toilet with a bare hand. (Please note: My husband is very open to suggestions of better ways to deal with this situation)

3. The ‘Burmuda Triangle’…

Formally known as ‘the car’, the day you realise that toys, half eaten biscuits and odd shoes have all become part of the Burmuda Triangle in the footwell. Perhaps that’s where all the odd socks are too…

4. The Family Bed…

Anyone who tells you sleeping with a baby will kill any chance of romance needs to think outside of the box. While I know it’s not for everyone, there is nothing so special to my husband and I as waking up to our son’s big morning grin stretching across his face as he sees his favourite people.

5. The Public Tantrum Solidarity Nod…

Ok, I admit it. I used to be one of ‘those’ people in the shopping centre who always thought there must be a better way to deal with tantruming children. Now, I don’t pretend to know what parents should do…I just give a sympathetic nod of solidarity. There but for the Grace of God I go!

6. Time Share Toileting…

The day I left work to begin maternity leave I assured my boss that I would never, under any circumstances, allow a child into the toilet while I was in there. Two weeks later I was eating my words as I sat on the toilet, breastfeeding my baby. Ah, it begins…

Flash forward a year and we are still time sharing the toilet, only now my little boy sits on his potty and sings, until it’s time to press the button, clearly one of the favourite parts of his day. How can I deny him this very special treat?

7. The Public Stripdown…

This may occur if you unwittingly decide to try on clothes in a small change room with a gap underneath the door. Unfortunate timing may mean that your child crawls underneath and you find yourself with a major dilemma…the unwilling nudie run to retrieve them, or the child on the loose. Now I understand why people use strollers.

8. Those first few words…

They give everything away about your family. Smidge’s are:

“Tiggle tiggle” (tickle, tickle)

“Oooh look!” (along with pointing finger, which translates as “Mummy, tell me all about that!!”)

“Pat, pat, pat”

“Kiss Daddy, kiss Daddy”

“Blab-blab” (the new name for the dog. She even comes when called this)

And of course “Ooooh, gentle!”

9. The Mini-Me…

This is the day that you flashback to your childhood, when your own child does something so totally you that the last 25 years just drop away and you are the little boy laying on the rumpus room floor driving a Matchbox car back and forth as you rest your head on your outstretched arm. Grandparents love seeing these ones!

10. The “Oh no, why did I teach him that” moment…

The other day my son lifted his shirt, and with a look of surprise in his eyes, poked himself in the belly button. At that moment, without a single thought in my head. I made a raspberry sound. And now our life will never be the same… Every day since I have woken to the lifting of my shirt, the poke in the belly button and that sound, followed by a hysterical laugh and then the same process repeated on Daddy, then himself, then me again. And 13 month old children apparently have no sense of when and where it is appropriate to lift up your Mum’s shirt.

11. The joy of Christmas…

It’s back. The feeling of anticipation…the endless wait…the magic! It’s all back. Last year Smidge was just 4 months old and I had spent most of the last 6 weeks in and out of hospital, so the magic wasn’t as strong as it already is this year. I love that Christmas is the time of year where anything is possible, that wishes really can come true.

12. The Mummy Lioness within…

I expect every Mum will know what I mean by this one. The day that you have to protect your child. It doesn’t matter that you are the least confrontational person, or have never defended yourself.

I experienced my first Lioness moment the other day when I saw 2 older children hitting my son on the back as he climbed out of a ball pit. I looked around for their Mums, but seeing no-one, knew it was up to me. I calmly picked him up out of their reach and said “Oh dear, we can’t hit babies, we pat them gently” and stroked his back. The little boy repeated “Pat bubba, gentle” And I felt proud of myself. Because as much as I would have liked to freak right out on those rough kids, I know that a Mummy Lioness treats other kids the way that she would like other people to treat hers.

13. Falling in love all over again…

While I sit here, trying to think of a last milestone, my husbands voice drifts up the hallway. He is reading Smidge a story as he puts him to bed. Every few pages I hear a yawn- Daddy’s, not Smidge’s. Even though he has had a long day at work, he still has time to give me a break, time for his little boy who he adores and who adores him so much. And so, even though our life has become all about our son, we have these precious moments where I fall in love with my husband all over again.

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Apparently I’m not just Evil, I’m childish too

This picture tells two stories: of the often fatal consequences of bottle-feeding, and more profoundly, about the ages-old bias in favor of boys. The child with the bottle is a girl. She died the day after this photo was taken. Her twin brother was breast-fed. The woman's mother-in-law said the young mother should breast-feed only the boy, as she would not have milk for two. But almost certainly she could have fed both children herself, because the process of suckling induces milk production. "Use my picture if it will help," the mother told UNICEF. "I don't want other, people to make the same mistake"

This picture tells two stories: of the often fatal consequences of bottle-feeding, and more profoundly, about the ages-old bias in favor of boys. The child with the bottle is a girl. She died the day after this photo was taken. Her twin brother was breast-fed. The woman's mother-in-law said the young mother should breast-feed only the boy, as she would not have milk for two. But almost certainly she could have fed both children herself, because the process of suckling induces milk production. "Use my picture if it will help," the mother told UNICEF. "I don't want other, people to make the same mistake" Photo ACC/SCN, courtesy of Children's Hospital, Islamabad, Pakistan

Thanks to Hoyden About Town for the heads up on this story.

Mummy Bloggers spit the dummy over Nestle’s spoilt milk

To start, I thought I’d dig out this photo for the Sydney Morning Herald, they don’t seem to have been able to find it.  I’m hoping I’ve interpreted it correctly that I can use it.  On to the rest of the article.

“Mummy bloggers spit the dummy”

“Hell hath no fury like a mummy blogger scorned”

Well there’s a nice characterisation to begin with – we’re babies who throw tantrums and over-react (that’s general, I don’t like the Mummy blogger tag and many of the people involved aren’t).  And all in the first two lines.  So do we deserve it?

There was some pretty nasty stuff going around on Twitter from both sides.  But have a look at the actual blogs and listen to the non-bloggers involved in the boycott.  Does this sound like a tantrum?  Or this?  Or even this?   And the fury was there well before Nestle refused to answer questions.  Not doing well so far, Sydney Morning Herald.  Let’s have a look at the rest.

They got something right, Nestle is one of the world’s most boycotted companies, but it’s not just a dirty water issue.  Please don’t get hung up on formula and forget the child slaves or water rights.  And their timeline is basically backwards, implying that there were already large social media protests and Nestle needed a chance to ‘give their side.’ Sorry guys, not quite how it happened.

Nestle set the event up, probably to test the waters using social media for marketing.  Incredibly cheap marketing don’t forget – what is the cost of giving 20 people a weekend away and giving their family some steak compared with a television campaign?  According to at least one of the attendees, they’d never heard of any questions about Nestle’s ethics and it wasn’t what the conference was about.  But the skewed timeline in this report makes it look as if poor little Nestle was just defending themselves against those nasty activists.

No bloggers were interviewed (or at least there are no responses in the article) but Nestle Australia was.

“This just goes to show that the blogosphere is a tough place to try to have a rational argument!,” she wrote in an emailed statement.

“The event at Nestle USA was held to introduce our company to a number of bloggers. It was very successful, which of course absolutely infuriated the small, biased, vocal group whose anti-Nestle opinions are so entrenched that no matter what we do, they will twist it to present us in the worst possible light.”

Well as a blogger and a Mummy*, whom the Sydney Morning Herald didn’t consult in this story, I have a few comments on that statement.

  1. Nestle hasn’t engaged anyone in the blogosphere on the boycott and their marketing practices, but this list of questions would be an excellent place to start. It looks pretty rational to me.
  2. The large, informed, vocal group was telling you they were infuriated way before the event happened.  It’s because of those dying babies and child slaves.
  3. One of the reasons we’re infuriated is you don’t do anything.  You talk, you make statements, you spin.  But you don’t debate.  You don’t answer questions.  You don’t change your unethical marketing practices.  You don’t buy fair trade cocoa.

So here are a few suggestions for Nestle, and if you do them we’ll look at what light is appropriate:

  • Answer those questions from PhD in Parenting.  As soon as you do, I’ll help get your answers out there.
  • Answer some of the other questions you avoided on Twitter.
  • Agree to the 4-point plan for ending the boycott – it’s only four points!  You can do it!
  • Decide that maybe lives are more important than profits.  You’re one of the world’s largest food producers, so you do have the economic muscle to effect change.

And SMH?  I came away from the original Twitter storm thinking the bloggers invited were a bit naive.  But after all, they’re amateurs who just didn’t think that things like child slavery still exist and didn’t think to check out the company talking to them.  And who wouldn’t be flattered – a multinational company thinks I’m important enough to invite?  I’m not a journalist, I’m a mother and a blogger, with absolutely no training in writing or journalism.  But I can manage to do at least a little bit of reading on this issue and discuss it without meaningless, insulting cliches.  I think there is a lesson for both types of media here – bloggers need to realise that with readers comes responsibility.  And journalists need to remember that they are under scrutiny.

*Actually, there are only two people on this earth who get to call me Mummy.  Neither of them has anything to do with Nestle or the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mummy bloggers spit the dummy over Nestle’s spoilt milk


October 7, 2009 – 3:05PM

Comments 4

A baby drinks milk from a bottle in Sri Lanka.A baby drinks milk from a bottle in Sri Lanka. Photo: AP

Hell hath no fury like a mummy blogger scorned

I Am Evil

I am a thief.

I keep child slaves.

I kill babies.

Those of you on Twitter have probably heard about the #Nestlefamily debacle.  It’s made it’s way onto Facebook as well, and of course the blogosphere.  If you’re wondering, very briefly, Nestle offered several Mommy Bloggers a junket, in return they would write and Tweet about Nestle and their products.  Many activists found out about this.  It started polite but degenerated into name calling, racism and extreme nastiness.  There’s a good round-up of it here with some eye-opening comments.

Extremely briefly, for those who don’t know, Nestle has been the subject of a boycott for about 30 years.  They aggressively market infant formula to mothers in third world countries and marginalised groups (read race) in developed nations, telling outright lies and giving free samples.  Then when mothers have lost their own milk they stop giving it out.  That’s how I kill babies.

But wait, there’s more.  You see Nestle is a huge corporation that does more than baby formula.  They also sell things like bottled water, which has to come from somewhere.  In the US, rural communities have been pressured and manipulated and their water rights have been stolen.  That’s why I am a thief.  And chocolate?  Most of the world’s cacao comes from Ivory Coast where many of the farms use child slave labour, children who have been kidnapped or sold by their families.  That’s where I keep my child slaves.

The blogs I have linked to and Baby Milk Action have covered it in detail from a number of perspectives, and I didn’t want to write about it unless I had something different to offer.  But a comment on one of the blogs started me thinking about evil.  My own personal definition of evil goes something like “knowingly hurting other people unnecessarily.” I think we can all agree that Nestle qualifies.

And unfortunately, so do I.

I know what Nestle does and I help them do it, either by buying their products or saying nothing.  And there’s no way I can argue that chocolate is necessary.  How can I do this?

I think it comes down to the personal.  When I read a comment that “the only child slave labour in this house is my kid opening a Crunch bar,” I feel revulsion, and I’m sure many of you do too.  When I see a picture of a Pakistani mother with twins, one healthy, one half the size and dying, I am horrified, and I’m sure you are too.  When I read about these things I resolve to boycott Nestle and all the other products it profits from.  But when someone gives me a lipgloss from The Body Shop (not tested on animals! shame about the babies) am I rude to them?  When my cat only eats Friskies biscuits, I still like having dry food available rather than only meats.  When I get my little girl a treat it’s convenient to have the Peters tub of vanilla icecream rather than the stick she can wave everywhere while it melts.  And so in the everyday details my horror and revulsion and resolve are lost.

Children in Africa, Hispanic mothers in the US, I feel for them in the moment but they are too far away from me personally to permanently impact on my heart.  So I need to make this personal.

I need to internalise it and make it about me, my children, my community.  Maybe then I will be stricter about finding out all the brands to avoid.  Maybe then I will be polite but firm with people who give me gifts.  Maybe then I will start to tell others about this (that’s one of the things I found most shocking – that so many people don’t seem to know) rather than keeping the peace at playgroup.  Being a good person is important to me, maybe the brutal realisation that I am evil is a way I can personalise it and force myself to do something about it.

How is it personal for you?

Because I don’t want to remain evil.  Do you?

Revision! A lovely lady passed on an Australian list to me:

13 Things that are normal baby behaviour!

The range of normal is wide, if your baby doesn’t do these things they are probably normal too and you’re very lucky!  If your baby does all of these, my sympathy but they really do become toddlers eventually.

  1. Newborns feeding 8-20 times a day and averaging 11, NOT every 4 hours.
  2. Feeding every 2 hours.  Or less.  My second fed every 45 minutes around the clock for the first 3 weeks or so.  She still doesn’t manage every 4 hours at 18 months and she loves her solids as well.
  3. Waking up at night until at least 12 months.  ‘Sleeping through’ means 5 hours, not 12, and quite a few don’t even manage that!
  4. Starting to dribble at 3-4 months – they haven’t learnt to swallow it yet, it’s not teething (necessarily).
  5. Getting much quicker at feeding suddenly around 12 weeks – it has nothing to do with supply, they’ve worked out how to do it!
  6. The 4-month monsters at, well, 4 months.  They start waking up and feeding what feels like all night, because the world is just far too interesting to feed during the day.  And if they’ve been sleeping through it’s a rude shock 🙂
  7. Starting to reach for food, keys, pens, phones, … basically anything you have in your hands from around 4 months.  It doesn’t mean they want solids any more than they want to drive, write or talk, they just want to be like you.
  8. Feeding pretty much continuously in the evenings – it’s called cluster feeding, and yes, they can be hungry again already.
  9. Wanting to suck, and suck, and suck, and suck, and suck a bit more.  It’s got nothing to do with hunger or supply, it’s a comfort thing.
  10. Only sleeping in 40 minute blocks.  This is the length of a baby sleep cycle.  While some will go for 2 or 3 cycles, some will only do 1 no matter how much you pat them.
  11. Waking up 20 minutes after you’ve just got them to sleep – there is a dip in the sedative hormones at that time, a top up should get them back to sleep.
  12. Having days, weeks, months when they just don’t want to be put down.  A good carrier is essential for living with koala baby!
  13. Needing help to learn how to go to sleep.  It’s weird, but it’s a learned skill.

You may also be interested in ‘The Human Baby as an External Foetus’ to explain some of it.

(As an aside, see if you can now describe my children’s feeding and sleeping habits :D)

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13 Things I never expected before I was a Mum…


1. I never expected that I would ever breastfeed on the toilet.

2. I never expected that some mornings, my baby would eat his breakfast in his highchair, in the bathroom while I have a shower.

3. I didn’t expect that I could make such a wide variety of noises with my mouth- all to amuse a little boy who likes to laugh at his Mum.

4. I never expected that it could be so wonderful to be woken with an open mouth, closed eyes, dribbly kiss first thing in the morning.

5. I didn’t expect to take half an hour to collect the mail from the mail box, stopping to wave to the mailman, the cars driving past, the neighbours….

6. I didn’t expect that each time we arrived home we would greet the ornamental green metal frog like a long lost friend, including kissing and hugging it.

7. Little did I know that I would value breastfeeding so much that I would express milk to provide for a friend’s young baby and another friend’s sick Mother. What a blessing these breasts have been.

8. Who knew that planning a 1st birthday party could be so fun?

9. I didn’t expect that the first time my little boy got gastro would be on his first plane trip.

10. I never expected to spend a plane trip covered in my son’s vomit but still chatting to the lovely woman next to me. (And I’d like to take the chance to thank her for being so understanding)

11. I didn’t expect that I would become so passionate about parenting.

12. I didn’t realise that my husband could be such a wonderful Father and that I could be so proud of him.

13. I didn’t realise that I could ever feel such love for my family. Thank you.



The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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Doing it for myself

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and we are celebrating at Fusion Parenting. Thank you for celebrating with us!


It’s a comment designed to hurt, embarrass and shame. It’s a comment that is both ignorant and absurd. It’s a comment that also seems fairly ubiquitous – I’ve seen it on blogs, forums, newspaper columns, magazines and from the mouths of people who should really know better, like health professionals. It’s a comment that is aimed at mothers who breastfeed their children beyond the age that ‘society’ has decreed as the ‘norm’ – here in Australia, that’s somewhere around the 12 month mark:

“You’re just doing it for yourself”

What this comment essentially means is that women who breastfeed beyond the age of 12 months are doing it to ‘meet their own needs’ and not the needs of their babies. The implication here, of course, is that there is absolutely no benefit for the child in being breastfed past their first birthday, because apparently everything that’s fantastic about breast milk suddenly dries up the moment they turn one. Now I’ve got a few problems with this comment, apart from the fact that it’s just plain ludicrous. The first and most obvious problem is that they’ve got the age all wrong. We all know, or should know by now, that babies should be breastfed until at least the age of two and longer if desired by mother and child. Leaving that clanger aside, the next problem I have is that it seems as if it’s outrageous to consider that a baby’s needs and their mother’s needs might actually be one and the same – my child has a need to feel safe, secure, comforted and nurtured; as a mother, I have a need to provide safety, security, comfort and nurture to my child. How preposterous to think that both of our needs could be met through the simple act of breastfeeding!

Then the other problem with this statement is that it also sneakily implies that there shouldn’t be any benefits for the breastfeeding mother. That breastfeeding should only be done to meet a child’s needs and mothers aren’t supposed to get anything out of it for themselves. But any breastfeeding mama will tell you that there’s plenty of perks to be had and there are. Lots, in fact. And why should it be any other way? Breastfeeding can be exhausting, demanding and relentless, especially in the first few weeks – the most critical weeks – so, biologically-speaking, it makes sense that it’s a win-win situation for both mother and baby (like more sleep, for example).

At first I used to get annoyed when I heard the ‘doing it for yourself’ comment. Then, I decided that actually it’s quite true (well at least it’s half-true) – I am doing it for myself. I’ve got a 20 month old daughter. We breastfeed together about half a dozen times a day. It’s a beautiful part of our day and we both love it. And I’m really proud of the fact that we have this fantastic breastfeeding relationship and I’m really pleased that I get a few kickbacks for persevering thus far. Basically it makes my life so much easier…so, I’m doing it for myself…

I’m doing it for myself because I don’t want to be getting up at night tending to a sick child – sick with gastro, ear infections, colds, coughs, skin problems, allergies, asthma and whatever else commonly ails a young child. I’m also doing it for myself because I don’t want to be paying for medications or trips to the doctor. My daughter has been sick twice in her life. I happen to think that that’s pretty good going for a child under two. Of course I choose to believe (and the research would back me up here) that the fact that she’s breastfeeding is a key factor here – especially given the fact that she’s inherited less-than-perfect genes from her parents but is yet to show signs of any of our afflictions (including asthma, eczema and allergies). The first time my daughter was sick, she had a pretty yucky cough and cold that lasted a couple of weeks. Because her nose was clogged up it was hard for her to breathe and therefore get to sleep and stay asleep. And less sleep for her invariably meant less sleep for me, making my life so much more difficult. Not to mention my misery in seeing her suffering and miserable. So I am doing it for myself after all.

I’m doing it for myself because I genuinely enjoy the fact that my daughter feels comforted and soothed at the breast. No, she doesn’t run to mummy for ‘milkies’ every time she falls over and bumps her knee, but I know that if she’s ever in real distress, a soothing breastfeed will calm her down and comfort her. And I love that and I’ll continue to offer her the opportunity of comfort at the breast as long as it works for her. So, yep, I’m doing it for myself.

I’m also doing it for myself because it means I get to stress less over how much she eats. If on some days all she’s had are a few crackers and bites of an apple, I know that our breastfeeds get her over the line – they quench her thirst, satisfy her hunger and provide everything that she needs, all in one neat little package. Plus it’s cheaper than food anyway! So, again, I’m definitely doing it for myself.

I’m also doing it for myself because when my daughter is really tired she still falls asleep on the breast instantly, so it takes me 5 minutes to put her to sleep rather than up to an hour. Definitely doing it for myself on that one!

So next time I hear anyone berate a breastfeeding woman for ‘doing it for herself’, instead of getting cranky, I’m going to remember that breastfeeding is supposed to come with plenty of perks for both mother and baby and I’m certainly going to make the most of them while I can!

Breastfeeding Week- an open letter of thanks

It’s World Breastfeeding Week and we are celebrating at Fusion Parenting.  Come back for a new post on breastfeeding every day!


In this, my first Breastfeeding Week since becoming a breastfeeding Mum, I would like to express my thanks to a group of women and men who helped me through the biggest emergency of my life. So below is an open letter to my friends at the Australian Breastfeeding Association…

After a beautiful 27 hour labour my little boy was an absolute natural at breastfeeding. Within minutes he had made his way up my tummy and had latched on for his first warm, milky feed. Before he was born I looked as breastfeeding as something that he and I would learn to do together, but after this, I knew that he would be the one teaching me what to do.

Our first few weeks together flew by with no problems with attachment, supply, nipple soreness….by this time I had attended my first ABA meeting and was an avid ‘lurker’ on the ABA forum. I was very proud of the job I was doing- even with my son’s love of comfort sucking, for many, many hours of the day. My husband and I saw this as a great way to catch up on some favourite tv series- with a fantastic excuse.

But when my son was just ten weeks old I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. Further investigation was required to see if ‘it’ had spread. The tests came back…the cancer was metastatic- it had spread to my lymph nodes and liver. I needed to have a number of major surgeries, and right now! By now, the ‘statistics’ predicted that I wouldn’t see my little boys first birthday. I didn’t know whether I would be there to hold his hand for his first day of school, or even be there to catch him as he took his first step. But there was something I could do- I could give him the best start to life that I possibly could.

And so began my journey with cancer. And with expressing. My first stop was the forum. I logged on and tearfully asked if anyone could help me teach my baby to drink from a bottle. An unlikely source of information about bottle feeding, but I didn’t know who else to ask…and these women seemed to have so much information- and compassion.

This proved to be a defining moment in my breastfeeding journey. Not only did these women provide me with the tips and hints I needed to express, bottle feed and return to breastfeeding but they gave me inspiration, motivation and strength. They didn’t just share information- every message came with love, prayers, and positive stories. Every message gave me hope- something that no doctors could.

My wonderful husband knew that focusing on breastfeeding was giving me hope and purpose and he did everything he could to support me. After my operations he was there with the electric pump, at times having to physically hold it up to my chest so I could express the milk out, ridding my body of anaesthetic so I could get back to feeding my baby. And then he would bring my beautiful baby to the hospital and without fail, Toby would latch on, just as easily as he had that very first night when he was born.

The surgeries performed managed to rid me of all the cancer and since then I have become a ‘regular’ at my local ABA meeting. I am also proudly ‘addicted’ to the ABA forum and consider the women there as friends. These are women who have seen me bare my soul, even though we may have passed each other on the street without even knowing.

I have blessed to meet some of the ‘angels’ from the ABA forum- the girls who gave me the gift of encouragement, to keep feeding my baby and to fight for my life.