Confessions of a lazy breastfeeder.

I have something to confess. I am a lazy, lazy breastfeeding mama.

Case in point. My three and a half-year old daughter still nurses at night.

Which means 2-3 times a night she gets out of her bed, walks to our room, crawls in to bed with me and nurses for anywhere from 1 minute to 30 minutes depending on how sleepy I am. And since I am usually quite sleepy, it's closer to the half hour mark than not.

I know she doesn't "need" to nurse at this time, I know I "should" have night-weaned her months/years ago, but I didn't.

Oh, I have tried, more than a few times, really I have, but two happy sleeping people always seemed to be more important to me than one crying and then fitfully sleeping baby and one miserable mama.

I am also quite the lazy breastfeeder in other ways. If Princess L gets hurt, either physically or emotionally, the quickest way to soothe her is with a quick pit-stop at the boob. If she is bored, she will come over, tell me I smell like "boobie-breasts" and ask if she can nurse. 95.7% of the time I will oblige her in her requests to nurse where and when ever she wants.

Now, given that my daughter is three years old and we do communicate quite well, we do have some breastfeeding rules. We don't nurse at my in-laws place anymore (out of respect for my MIL, who has never said anything directly to me, but I just know that she is not comfortable with us still nursing). I also often place a time limit on nursing, especially when it is one of those "I'm bored" moments. And L knows that I don't want everyone to SEE my boobs and will now cover them with her hand or my shirt if we are nursing out in public. You know, 'cause she is a considerate little nursling like that.

The past few months have been quite the upheaval for our family with selling our old house, packing, moving and then unpacking and settling into the new house. I am pretty sure that nursing has provided Princess L with A) some much-needed Mama time and B) a sense of normalcy amongst all the chaos. It has also given me a moment to stop during our busy days, look at my beautiful girl and really appreciate her and all her little quirks as I stroke her super soft hair and just breathe her in.

Last weekend I thought we were near the end of our breastfeeding relationship. And we still very much might be. In the past week she has stopped asking to nurse before bedtime. This was exactly the way weaning happened with Little C. Just before his third birthday, he stopped all nursing except his morning nurse and cuddle, and then the day after his birthday we were done. (He still comes in for his morning snuggle though and it is one of the best moments of my day!)

Weaning Little C just didn't seem as bittersweet. I was tandem nursing at that time and L was just over 14 months old, so my mama milk was still in high demand. This time around it is different...

When my girl finally stops nursing, so too will I. There are no more Natural Urban Babies coming into this house, my body will no longer nourish a child and my >5 years of breastfeeding will come to an end. That is a long freakin' time to be making milk for my babies and yes, I am damn proud of it. I feel that it is one of the major accomplishments in my life!

So you know what, I am going to continue to lazily nurse my child, still not bother with any kind of 'night-weaning' and let her have her 'booby-breasts' when and where ever she wants if that is what makes her happy.

Because it IS coming to an end...

And I am not very good at good-byes.

Not to the breast milk, nor to my beautiful breastfeeding boobs either!

{BIG Sigh....}



Gentle Discipline - AKA 'Damage Control'.

I have a toddler and a pre-schooler. Discipline is a daily, if not hourly, part of my life. So when I heard that the Attachment Parenting Edmonton Society was bringing renowned Canadian speaker and author, Judy Arnall, to Edmonton to speak about gentle discipline, I bought a ticket to the event immediately.

Because I need help.

I don't spank my kids, but I have smacked hands and I have tried time outs, reward systems, 123 Magic and my biggest tool-my voice. Yes, I am a yeller. And now, both my kids are turning into yellers.

It typically goes down something like this. Mommy lets herself get to the point of anger and then yells at preschooler to do/not do something, preschooler sees this and then yells at toddler to do/not do something, toddler yells back at preschooler because she is frustrated and them Mommy yells at everyone to just STOP YELLING!!

You see the problem here right? VERY bad modeling of the desired behaviour. And trust me I see it too, I see it as it is happening and I don't know how to stop it!

At least I did not know until tonight.

Judy does an amazing job of breaking down kids into age groups and the reasons for why they behave the way they do and then gives some very simple and basic tools and rules for how to deal with said behaviour.

I have ordered her book (and a few others that she recommended) and until it gets here, here are a few of the take home points that I got from tonight's presentation.

  • Discipline means self-control and THAT is what we need to be teaching our kids.
  • You can't solve the problem, whatever it may be, until everyone is calm! Most of all YOU.
  • Children often need a parent to help them calm down, this is called a 'time-in'. (So, all the time I have been sending C to his room until he calms down--not really the best idea!)
  • When you learn to handle your anger, your children will see this and learn to handle theirs. **This was a big A-Ha moment for me!
  • Don't punish a toddler for having a tantrum, they are thinking it through and working it out the only way they know how.
  • From age 0-3 our job as parents in basically Damage Control. As in control the environment and control the situation, but never the kid. At this age they do not 'get' the rules or have any sense of self control.

And her lists of tools to use for each stage of the game:

  • For Babies 0-12 months - Use substitution, distraction, redirection and and prevention to handle discipline.
  • For Toddlers - Plan ahead, give attention, use positive commands, allow child his/her space, model the behaviour and in the end learn to accept it-it really is just a phase.
  • For Pre-schoolers - Use 'time-ins' and stay with your NO. Gives choices, make it a game, pick your battles and try to connect with your child first and then redirect them.
  • For School Age Children (where Judy says most of our parenting work really gets done) - Use 'I' statements, as in "I feel frustrated/sad/upset when you.....", model the desired behaviour, use active listening and acknowledge their feelings, clarify expectations and know when to walk away from a power struggle.

The biggest take home message for me tonight was that it all has to come from me. I am the one who needs to be calm in order to discipline my children effectively. Judy's last slide of the night said that the best discipline tool ever has good modeling and comes from a place of love. That any teaching we do sinks in only after everyone is calm and that this gentle way conveys unconditional love and sets us up to have honest, open and respectful relationships with our kids for a long time.

Tomorrow is a new day and I am going to go at this with a totally new mindset. I am going to try to be zen mama, I will find my calm before I attempt any kind of discipline (so this may mean some 'time-outs' for me) and hopefully we will start to see some changes around here, in terms of the yelling at least!

I'll keep you updated and let you know what is and what is not working for us!

Stay calm Mamas (and Dads), even in the stormiest of times.


Happy New Year Everyone!

So, it's a new year, a new decade and yes, I am a year older (my birthday is January 1st).  I am not sure how I feel yet about being two years away from 40, but so far it is OK.  I mean, really, isn't 40 the new 20??  Or is that just in Hollywood? I have not made resolutions this year. I would call them more like life commitments.  I started doing Bikram (hot) yoga a few months ago and have fallen madly, deeply in love with it!  I have rheumatoid arthritis and had always assumed that I could not do yoga because of my joint limitations.  Well, thanks to a friend who dragged me to a class, I am a complete convert.  And the heat (it's between 95-105 degrees Farenheit) and 50% humidity just help to loosen up all my joints.  I wish I had started doing this years ago!

Life commitment #1 - Bikram Yoga at least 2 and hopefully 3 times a week.

Now onto number 2.  And this one involves baby #2 as well.  I am sure a lot of you feel like this, that baby #2 just does not get the same level of well, pretty much everything that baby #1 did.  I have been feeling like this lately with DD.  With my son, I did so many mommy and me activities his first 2 years and he had quite a few friends all the same age as him. With my daughter, I feel like she is not getting the same level of exposure to these kinds of activities or to kids that are her age, and so I am going to change that.  We started our library 'Fun for Ones' program today and we start swimming lessons for both kids in February.  Our local community league also has a Tot time weekly and we are going to start attending this to--hopefully we can all make some new friends!

Life Commitment #2 - Increase the amount of activities geared towards my daughter and find some new friends for both of us!

I am finding that as I am getting older, I don't want the next best thing as much as I used to.  I want to simplify my life, reduce my eco-footprint as much as I can and just find joy and peace in the simple things.  I find that I am purging drawers, closets, storage rooms, toys, etc... constantly these days.  We really just have too much 'stuff', which I am sure is the case for a lot of people.  And in doing all of this, I hope to teach my kids a lesson about giving as well.  Most of what is purged in our house goes to Goodwill or our local women's shelter.

Life Commitment #3 - Reduce the amount of excess 'stuff' in our house and our lives, re-use what we can and/or give to someone else to re-use and rejoice in the simple joys that everyday can bring.

I am sure that I will continue to add to this list, but I think it is a good start so far.  I hope that everyone else has a chance to make their own life commitments and that each and every day is a good one (even for a few minutes)!

Cheers all, Natasha~