July 7, 2010

Some questions, some answers.

Babywearing + breastfeeding

Extended breastfeeding- how do I do this?

Anne asked me a question today about extended breastfeeding:
...The one thing that was hard for me was the inability to really go away anywhere w/o baby, even for a night or two. (My first had a horrible time with a bottle) I'd love to know how you handle this?

I think a big part of extended breastfeeding and attachment parenting I suppose, for me, is always having baby near. That means I keep my baby with me until I feel we both are able to handle being apart (as well as whoever is watching the baby being capable to night parent as I would .) Recently I left Ivy for one over night (she is 21 months old). I never left Gray until he was older than 2, I just wasn't ready and neither was he.

A big
part of this belief, or desire, is that this is what I want.

Of course I would love to get away, go on adults-only trips, go to blog conferences like BlogHer in New York, but I want MORE to be with my nursing child and family right now
. Call it a sacrifice if you must, but for me it's just a choice.

(I recently sent a best friend a note about motherhood journeys. This is my motherhood journey and it will probably look very different from your own.) (And that's ok. And actually how it should be.)


Babywearing and changing the world- how can we help?


Baby So Smart has put a call out for help to mothers in Honduras. Please take a moment when you can to read about this beautiful and worthy cause.


Have any babywearing or attachment parenting questions you'd like to ask? I will certainly try to answer according to my own humble mothering experiences, in the comments below.


36 comments:

  1. I love the clarity of purpose you have about your priorities and your life.

    But I'll miss seeing you at BlogHer!

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  2. My older 2 are done nursing and I will be bringing baby Violet with me but I will miss meeting you! I otally get where you are coming from. It's awesome to be so clear about what you want in life and be there for your little ones while they are little!

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  3. How do you manage to be an effective AP parent with more than one kid? My youngest two are 15 months apart, (the baby is 11 months now), and it's SO hard to parent him/nurse him to sleep when the second oldest is trying to get to me. And then, trying to take care of the needs of the younger ones, I feel like the oldest gets squelched. I have many, many days where the baby is crying, the toddler is crying, and the preschool looks likes she could cry. It makes me feel like I'm not enough for anyone, but I know that I can't parent any other way. Am I missing something?!

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  4. Jen, sounds like a typical day in my life!! I do my best (and I have to remind myself of this constantly... I am doing my best.) It usually means someone has to wait, or not be tended to absolutely immediately, but I try to balance it out and am amazed at how the older kids get involved.

    Ultimately having many kids to attend to leaves much less time for myself. I'm working through this.

    Steph

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  5. This is where I am with my 23-month-old right now. I'm just not ready to be away from him overnight yet. Accepting that this is my choice makes it easy. I'm glad to be with him now, because he is growing so, so fast.

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  6. Ah, yes... the time to myself thing. I'm not even going to think about that.

    I am glad to read that I'm not alone. And yes, doing my best is all I can do, right?

    Thanks for your response.

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  7. P.S.

    I often imagine the olden days like Little House on the Prairie and big families living on farms, where everyone pitches in, and everyone is taken care of, everyone is loved and knows they are loved, and they are fulfilled. And are a family. It works out. It does. I hope.

    Steph

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  8. I think that is great and I am with you. I just prefer to be with my kids than go away for a while, even though I know it would be a blast.

    I have a 4 month old who nurses, not sure how long we will go at least a year for sure, she cosleeps and the other night i had to have to stay the night somewhere. thank goodness she did well on the bottle that night, cause she never has really had it before. my MIL had her cosleep and made my FIL sleep in a different bed. It was hard and something I dont plan on doing unless I have too but I hate the grief I get for my decisions in life, like cosleeping, no formula, organic foods and not letting her cry even though she is a bit colic. I dont understand why we have to feel like what we are doing is weird. So unless I feel good about a whole situation, she is staying with me.

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  9. That is a beautiful picture of you & your little one. Thanks for the encouragement regarding breastfeeding. My little guy will be one next month & some people make comments that infer I should not be nursing him anymore. It makes me sad. Then I feel this pressure to stop when he turns one...I may or may not...but I want it to be my choice & what is best for him & I.
    You are a beautiful momma! :)

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  10. Also, in case it doesn't seem clear why I don't just take Ivy with me to BlogHer this year, the thought of having an almost 2 yr old with me during that conference makes me want to take a REALLY LONG NAP. I know myself and I know her very well. No way would I enjoy myself and no way would it be fair to her.

    Steph

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  11. That picture is so lovely.

    And I love it when you address not one but TWO topics about which I am unshakably passionate. :)

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  12. Slightly unrelated to your post topic, but...I would love to know what kind of baby sling you recommend for the first months. I have an Ergo and love it, but we didn't start using it until our fourth was around 5 months old. We are expecting our fifth in five weeks, and I want to get her started in a sling early on. I am sure you address this somewhere in your blog, but I am too lazy this afternoon to search (sorry).

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  13. Beth, my very favorite for a newborn is a ring sling (tummy to tummy hold, not cradle hold) but I also always wished I gave wraps a fair chance- I didn't try them as much as I probably should have and they are awesome, inexpensive carriers for newborns, too.

    Steph

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  14. I am a first time mama with a baby (hopefully) that will be here anyday now. I am really interested in attachment parenting and want to study up on it. what resources would you recommend? any good books that i should look into? it's the one parenting philosophy that has really spoken to my heart and i would love to learn more.

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  15. Megan, my best recommendations would be to check out Mothering Magazine (available at most book stores) or mothering.com and also look into a natural parenting group near you. I've never really found books helpful, but being around and watching other "AP" parents, reading blogs about the way they parent, etc helped shape how I wanted to go about it for myself. You might also want to check out the Attachment Parenting International website for helpful info.

    Steph

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  16. I picked up a maya wrap at a consignment sale and have started trying it out w/ my 5 week old. It's an ugly pattern but it works well at putting her to sleep and letting me get stuff done. However, the side keeps sliding in too close to my neck and then it starts pinching. Any tips for getting it to fit right? I promised myself I wouldn't buy the pretty lime sakura bloom sling I've been eyeing until I was confident I'd use it but im getting frustrated :-)

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  17. Amen! This is our philosophy as well.

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  18. I have a daughter born a day before Ivy and I admire you and the way you parent so much.
    I just want to know how you do what you do with nursing this long. My daughter is still nursing strong and most days totally not interested in food. How do you deal with this? Some days I just embrace and others I just want my body to myself!
    I honestly want to and plan to breastfeed as long as she needs but I've been finding myself pushing foods and saying no to breastfeeding to encourage eating and honestly I don't know how I feel about it.
    But I feel self concious about her age and breastfeeding as we approach 2 years.
    Thanks for the open ears it just feels good to let it out.
    Emily

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  19. MacKenzie,

    I'm not sure without looking, but be sure the sling fabric is spread wide and evenly across your back, and that the rings come to where a corsage would be pinned on your chest- not too high, not up on your neck, and not too low. And when you pull the slack through the rings, be sure to pull at both sides to adjust and even out. Hope this helps some!

    Steph

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  20. Emily,

    Oh, sure! Well, Ivy definitely is a good eater of regular foods- she eats meals with us in appropriate portions, but she definitely loves to nurse. I have recently, to get MYSELF back some of the time, started trying to only nurse at night time or nap time. If she wants to nurse, I'll tell her not now, or later. I can only continue the nursing relationship if we BOTH enjoy it, and that means for me sometimes she doesn't always get it when and where she wants, but I do know when she needs it for comfort, etc and definitely go according to the situation. I think you can still encourage her to eat regular foods and also continue to nurse as long as you'd like!

    Steph

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  21. For those interested, just saw Sakura Bloom is having their sample sale right now!

    http://www.sakurabloom.com/categories/summer-sample-sale/

    Steph

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  22. I am nursing. I am going to BlogHER (without him), and I'm not sure how I'm going to make it or what this is going to look like.

    These are just things that are keeping me up at night.

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  23. I'm jealous of your extended nursing. I work outside the home and we nursed at home as much as we could, but by a year she had pretty much lost interest. Poooor me!! ;)

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  24. Steph, I just wanted to pipe up and tell you that you are giving a gift to so many people just by being honest and open about your parenting choices - the challenges and the benefits and the *choices*. Living where I live, I take the AP culture for granted and forget sometimes that there are plenty of mamas out there who don't have AP Mama friends who have been there before them nearby to watch and learn from and bounce questions off of and get ideas from. So you doing this here is lovely and wonderful, as are you.

    Just wanted to say so.

    p.s. Also wanted to chime in that it's possible to continue extended bf-ing even while working full-time.

    At 19 months, Ax is old enough that he can manage a morning nursing and then evening/bedtime nursing even though I'm gone all day. I even left him overnight for the first time last weekend, and we were fine (I did pump once the next morning since I wasn't going to see him for a few hours yet).

    Anyway, just wanted to encourage the mamas who might have to go back to work eventually that you can extended bf even if you're not a stay at home mom, and that you can be away from them for a while (even overnight) and you won't necessarily lose your supply. :)

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  25. I'm doing AP with my son, who is 5 months old. I also have a 2 year old. My question is, how do I make sure my son gets the naps he needs (we co-sleep), during the times my daughter is awake? How did you make this work for you and your children? Right now he cat naps during nursing sessions and gets one longer nap midday when his sister naps. I used to be able to get him to nap in our sling, but he wakes when I try to transfer him now. Any suggestions would be so appreciated.

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  26. I am also a full time working mom and was able to nurse my oldest daughter until she was 21 months and I am currently nursing my 14 month old. I have no time table in my head of weaning, I just know it is in the future.

    But, I am in a different minority here. I do leave my kids for extended time. And not just daycare.
    My husband and I have date nights and my girls get to hang out with their grandparents. My parents. My mom is very like minded when it comes to raising kids and I love the relationships they have.
    There are no issues with the frozen milk Or the cloth diapers. And I get to see my husband. More then see, I get to talk with him, hold his hand and eat delicious food.

    So, here is another mom, another story.

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  27. Heather, the naps thing has been a struggle for me, too. I still "cosleep" to get Ivy to nap, and they are usually cat naps but sometimes longer if I'm lucky. I keep a video monitor on the bed so that I can tend to her (not such a problem now that she's older and can get down fine on her own.)

    Somedays she'll nap on the couch, or in a sling, wherever I can get her to settle and rest. But mostly I try to put her down to nap around the same times each day (in my bed) and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. (I tell the boys I'm putting her down for a nap and need quiet. They've learned.)

    Steph

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  28. thank you ...all these comments helped feel better :) since where I live AP is unheard of nearly I get a lot fo weird looks at times and hubs and I dont see eye t eye on parenting so although most of the time he goes with my AP ther are times when he doesnt think it work and i wonder if I am doing wrong....

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  29. amen sister. it's month ten over here and my parents are horrified that we've never even had a babysitter for a few hours (besides when i'm at work and he goes to his natural attachment parenting babysitter that i love). but i don't WANT a babysitter, i want to be together!

    maybe next year we can both meet up at blogher, i'm dreading a month from now reading about everyone meeting each other. jealousy, i haz it.

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  30. thanks for being so open about what you have chosen is for YOU and not for everyone.
    everyone makes different choices and what is good for one may not be good for another. Thanks for being honest about who you are but not pressuring anyone in particular to do it your way!

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  31. I am an extended breast feeding (22 months), baby carrying, co-sleeping, baby lead weaning, attachment parenting mama and proud! My son is 28 months now and I have still never left him over night on his own! We (I'm) not ready yet! Here in the Uk where I live it isn't a very common way to raise a child, but it's what works for me and my family, and the only opinions I care about are those who love us, and support us is how we raise our beautiful son!! :-)

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  32. I am an avid follower of your blog (love it!) and you/your writing personality reminds me of my 8th grade french teacher! she is all into natural living/parenting and she makes her own hand-painted baby clothes and toys, I thought I'd send some picture samples your way, hopefully you will be able to see them! [http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=114282&id=529281004]

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  33. It's so wonderful to find so many other women parenting in the same way I have chosen to mother my children. I am still breastfeeding my 1 and 3 year olds. I wear my youngest when she's not running away from me (sadly, my babywearing days are drawing to a close). We all co-sleep. And I can't recall a night I've spent away in my 3 years of motherhood. Like you, it doesn't seem natural. I believe mothering is all about following your heart, your instincts and mine have always told me to keep them close in these very precious early years. Thank for creating such a safe place for mamas =)

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  34. Steph, I am so glad you've posted about this. Our choices and our priorities don't have to equal a value judgment about anyone else's choices or priorities, as you've so nicely pointed out. And I am totally with you about bringing a 2-year-old to an NYC BlogHer; sounds way too stressful for my liking! Your time will come--Ivy will grow up so fast. There is no rush.

    I would also like to express that you can be an AP-er, and an extended nurser, and still do the occasional night or even weekend away without issue if your circumstances call for it. I never left two of my kids until they weaned, because I never had to, and it just never came up. But two others have been extended breastfeeders and have been left with Daddy or a close relative for 2-4 nights without harming the nursing relationship at all. all kids are different and some would definitely go on "strike" after being left, but not all. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

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  35. Beautiful post. I always love hearing what you have to say on this topic. I would also add, that it is SO short-lived. My nursing days are over. I once calculated that I nursed my 3 kids for a total of 60 months. That's in addition to the 25 months I spent pregnant. At the time, it was all consuming and seemed never-ending. But now it's gone. It's a drop in the bucket. And I wish I'd realized how fleeting it was and enjoyed it a little bit more. There will be plenty more BlogHers. You will never regret your choice. And I know you know that. :-)

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  36. I love the bit about it being a choice, not a sacrifice. You put into words so beautifully how I feel. I, too, choose to stay at home w/ my tinies...intentionally. I truly just don't want to leave them right now. I prefer to be right here, happy at home.

    I also appreciated your comment about motherhood journeys. There is so much truth in that.

    stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

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