Thursday, April 28, 2011

Summer Splash At The Children's Place

I was recently invited to attend a media event for my favorite clothing store for kids, The Children's Place, at a local mall here in Miami. Although it's only April, it's really been summer here in the Sunshine State for a while and so we'd already packed away the jeans and long-sleeve Ts and busted out the shorts, sandals and tank tops.

Everyone knows that The Children's Place clothing is really quality stuff. And when they have a sale, they have a SALE. Beofre being invited to the event I was in the store stocking up on stuff from their Spring collection, like linen button downs for $3.99 a piece and polos for $4.99. So I knew that armed with a generous gift card I was going to be able to do some serious damage in the store.

The Summer collection seemed like it was made especially for me, as it is full of plaid shorts in various colors, graphic Ts, polos and lots of bright blues. I tend to dress him so that he looks like a "little man" and many of his outfits are very similar to Daddy's. I grabbed up every pair of plaid shorts I could find in a 4T, as well as these super cute skull shorts.

Miles' new summer wardrobe basically looks like this:

I was *thisclose* to grabbing up some adorable baby girl stuff but since we don't know the sex of the new baby yet, I stuck to shopping for Miles. But seriously, HOW CUTE IS THIS?!?!

In addition, I also grabbed a pair of sturdy brown sandals that have become Miles' faves and a cute pair of plaid shoes that he wore over the holidays. We are officially set for summer here! Have you checked out The Chidlren's Place's summer collection yet?

Disclosure: As stated above, I was provided with a gift card to shop at the store. Opinions, as always, are my own. No one else would want them.


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Last Time That Never Was

Welcome Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This month's theme was extended nursing and we've got a variety of posts on nursing toddlers. Be sure to check out the links to all of our participants at the end of this post.

I have been actively trying to wean my son since he was 18 months old, as gently as possible. There were nursing sessions that were replaced with a cup of milk or juice. There were long trips away for work where my breasts tingled when no one was there to drink the milk. There were days we were so busy, going going, learning, playing, where nursing never even came up. There were many times I had to jump up out of my comfortable spot on the couch, our usual nursing place, and redirect our energy. My hope was to be done by age two. I was happy to give him my body for this period of time, but knew I wanted to take it back for myself soon.

I read about wonderful weaning parties, where children got to celebrate their last nursing session with a cake and presents. I thought we would do that, too. I imagined us having a conversation about how he was growing up and was a big boy and how on his second birthday we would nurse for the last time. I pictured fat, hot tears rolling down my face as I snuggled all 3 feet of him in my lap, kissed him on his forehead and breastfed him one last time. I would try hard to remember every detail, every sound, every smell, so that I would always have that memory of the last time.

But two came and went and there were falls and bruises and cranky nap times and too-early morning wakings and we nursed. There was boredom and sickies and we nursed then, too. We nursed and we nursed, once a day, once a week, until we didn't and the "last time" never was. I don't recall when it happened or where we were, but I know it was around his third birthday. No tears, no party, no cake, no presents. Just one day we nursed and one day we no longer did.

I sometimes regret that I don't have a memory of the last time, but I do have have three years' worth of wonderful memories and I'm glad that when the time came we were both ready to be done.

Please be sure to check out all of the other submissions in this month's Carnival!

Mamapoeki from Authentic Parenting: Extended Breastfeeding?
Mama Alvina of Ahava & Amara Life Foundation: Breastfeeding Journey Continues
Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it
Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama: A Song for Mama’s Milk

Judy @ Mommy News Blog: My Favorite Moments

Tamara Reese @ Kveller: Extended Breastfeeding

Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler

Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding

Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough

Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler

Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl: My Hopes for Tandem Nursing

Elisa @ blissfulE: counter cultural: extended breastfeeding

Momma Jorje: Extended Breastfeeding, So Far!

Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes
The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama

Sarah @ Reproductive Rites: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding

Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things

Dr. Sarah @ Good Enough Mum: Breastfeeding for longer than a year: myths, facts and what the research really shows

Amy @ WIC City: (Extended) Breastfeeding as Mothering

The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?

Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding

TopHot @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes

Beth @ Extended Breastfeeding: To Wean Or Not To Wean

Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings:  Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding

Amanda @ Postilius: Nursing My Toddler Keeps My Baby Close

Sheryl @ Little Snowflakes: Tandem Nursing- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Zoie @ Touchstone Z: Breastfeeding Flavors

Lauren @ Hobo Mama: Same old, same old: Extended breastfeeding

Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding

Jona ( Breastfeeding older twins
Motherlove Herbal Company: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Guest Post: Our Unassailable Bond

I'm pleased to present a guest post today from K. Emily Bond, Writer, Editor, Researcher and Blogger Extraordinaire! 

Through blood and tears, breastfeeding fortified our unassailable bond

Once upon a time, pre-baby when my life was one big ball of crime writing ambition, I had a literary agent who told me, “I was not someone who had to have a kid, you know what I mean?”

I can’t resist the impulse to fact-check. The preceding was an estimation of what she said to me in my heavily pregnant state—and I don’t need to remind you how reliable our memories are 40 weeks into gestation.

Basically she was conveying that “maternal” was not a state that came naturally to her. Breastfeeding on the other hand, the most primal of maternal acts, caught her by surprise. This, I remember her saying pretty accurately: “The thing I miss most is nursing.”

I didn’t get it at the time. Her kid was a teenager whose best friend’s dad was a famous rock star. Clearly, a lot had transpired since she weaned: first steps, first words…first VIP passes to the MTV Music Video Awards. How could nursing be the thing she reflected on or even missed the most?

Now, six months after my son and I have weaned, I’m starting to get it.

In the beginning…

For me, nursing was an exceedingly difficult physical challenge. I had a C-section, for starters, and at one point during the birth had been put on antibiotics. As such, my body and son’s mouth became a Petri dish for sharing candida: the dreaded oral thrush. Ouch.

For weeks, I endured bleeding, cracked nipples, piercing razor-like pain that shot through my breasts like daggers each and every time my son latched on. Taking a shower was an event I dreaded because I knew at some point water would have to come in contact with my tender nipples. And, truth be told, every time my little bundle of discomfort—sorry, joy—wanted to nurse, I’d cringe: “Oh, no…not again!”

Those initial months…well, they sucked. And, oy vey, could that boy suck—with the ferocity of a Hoover, or a character out of Twilight.

Come hell or high water, though—or in this case, cracked nipples or bleeding—I made a commitment to my son and to myself to keep on nursing. And we did, boobs in tact.

What saved our nursing relationship in the end was La Leche League International, Nystatin, dietary changes (more leafy greens and yogurt; less refined sugars and carbohydrates) and these:

Yes, I spent much of my babymoon looking like a 50s pinup girl, but breast shells were essential in helping my body heal so that I could start enjoying nursing.

A nursing revolution…

Nip slips never bothered me. It didn’t matter where I was or how shocking it might have looked in an Ikea aisle, house of worship, pancake house or shopping mall. If it was time to nurse, the boobs came out. I got the occasional comment, sure. But nursing was too precious of a bond to be cut short by a guy who said stupid things like, “You need to give that baby a biscuit,” with his pregnant wife in tow.

My attitude was, “if you don’t like it… stop looking.” Perv.

In retrospect, I did perhaps take some perverse pleasure in shocking dudes like that. I felt like a revolutionary demonstrating to the world how natural it is to integrate nursing into your daily life. It was a bit, “look at me – I can nurse and shop for groceries at the same time!” but it was true…with a good baby carrier, anything is possible.

To demonstrate what an avid outdoor nurser I was, check me out on the city bus:

And, at dinner:

I don’t think I look like that much of a weirdo or even, at second glance, that much of a revolutionary.

End of a nursing era…

Nursing was non-negotiable, a decision I am so proud of making. Also non-negotiable, my end date. By the time my son turned two, I’d been regretting that decision for two months.

Perhaps regret is not the right word to use. It felt right to stop nursing. At twenty months, I was getting fatigued. We’re a co-sleeping family and the nighttime nursing was becoming a serious issue. His teeth, too, were a problem. Those early physical pangs started coming back, which I took as my body’s way of telling me it was time to put the boobs back in the holster. Honestly, I wanted my body back, too. Over the course of a few weeks, our nursing came to an end.

Guess what? I was floored by how sad that made me. The warning I had received so long ago in that tower in midtown Manhattan from one of the toughest women I’ve ever met came back and punched me in the gut.

My son and I had forged an unassailable bond through nursing. It’s how we got to know each other. How I conveyed to him for the first time that, as his mommy, “I will never give up on you, even if it makes me bleed.”

That, however, is a lesson he might not fully comprehend until he becomes a parent himself. Just as I didn’t comprehend how much love my parents have for me until I became a mother. That’s a subtlety that’s revealed itself over time, though. In my brief narrative as a parent I have received three big, concrete lessons, weaning being the most bittersweet of all.

The first one I learned from my C-Section: acknowledging my mortality. The second from nursing: mother boldly and fearlessly. And the third: trusting when it’s time to let go.

I sometimes check in with my son to see what he remembers about nursing. For instance, when he wanted to nurse, he would pat my breasts three times and tug at my clothes. Now, when we joke, he pats my breasts three times and dissolves into a cloud of laughter. He remembers…he knows. It’s unassailable, that bond.

Díga(Mama), a.k.a. K. Emily Bond, has worked for lots of newspapers, magazines and online media gigs including O, The Oprah Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, iVillage and more. She's now a WAHM living la vida social y real from her little corner in España.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Erykah Badu breastfeeding daughter in music video

Here's a video of Erykah Badu in the studio singing "Fall in Love." It appears to be a "making of" video and Erykah's boyfriend Jay Electronica and daughter Mars make an appearance. We also see Erykah nursing Mars several times. Enjoy!

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Not a public thing to do?

Just a few minutes ago, I was getting my daily dose of D-list celebrity/reality TV gossip by reading one of my favorite blogs, Reality Tea. I'm woefully behind on my Google Reader because of a crazy hectic week at work so I'm a bit late to reading about the drama on the set of a commercial shoot for Bravo TV. Apparently Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi was "mean" to some of the Housewives chicks and didn't pay any attention to them during the shoot. Mostly I'd laugh at this and move on, but a comment from Padma's co-host Gail Simmons caught my eye.

Gail was asked her take on the snubbing by the NY Post and had this to say:

“We didn’t know a lot of the women [who were there]. It’s not like we work together on a regular basis. I met a lot of people on the set for the first time. It’s not like we’re holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya.’” Gail added, “I don’t think I spoke to most people, either. You are there to do a job. She [Padma] was with her child. I would think that anyone could understand that, and she’s still nursing, which is also not a public thing to do. What’s there to complain about? It’s not high school. We’re all professionals.”

It's not high school and everyone is a professional but yet the idea that one might nurse her child in public, or even while at work, can't be fathomed. Why is nursing not a public thing to do? While I am thrilled that Padma is still breastfeeding her daughter Krishna (who is 14 months old) why is this something that needs to be hidden? Are Gail's views skewed because she's not yet a mother? Is Padma more cautious because she doesn't want photos of her nursing to be made public? Seems doubtful as she is a formal model who has posed nude.  I can't answer those questions but I also couldn't help but roll my eyes at the quote.

We've still got a lot of work to do, especially when it comes to Bravolebrities.

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