Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Month in Our Life: October 2009

October was a busy month for us!

New words include ball, balloon, vacuum, belly button, and up. Doggie now refers to all animals, not just dogs. Agua now refers to water, herbal tea, ice, and snow - smart baby to instinctively know these things are just different forms of water! The word for help has changed from "baby" to "all done," which at times leaves me feeling confused. And my baby counts to 2 twice in a row in Mandarin whenever he wants me to count things with him or read his favorite book, Freight Train (because we always count the wheels on each page). But there still is no word for me, his mama. On the other hand, the words I started to practice this month were "no tantrums." My baby understands most of what I say and loves searching for and "fetching" the Ergo, his Baby Legs, mama's boots, the blue bag, etc. So fun!

Favorite activities these days include sweeping, vacuuming, going for rides on suitcases, turning around in circles until he is dizzy, running while being chased, sitting on my shoulders, copying everything I do, and most of all "talking" on phones! He has even managed to (accidentally) make a couple calls and send a text message on different clients' phones. Anything works as a phone: remote controls, toy boats, even a crumpled up paper towel!!

Here is a picture montage of our month:

First haircut:
Before - After - The Proof


At the office:
Vacuuming - Suitcase ride


Copying mama:
Putting on shoes - Clipping his toenails


Cuddling with our friend and her cat:
(the only one he doesn't call doggie)


Mama's birthday hike with our hiking buddy at Garden of the Gods:


Celebrating fall:


Celebrating fall with snow!?!:



And a quick video of a remote control-becomes-a-telephone:
video

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas are an easy, quick, tasty way to enjoy the aromatic and medicinal properties of herbs. Loose herbs are more potent and much, much cheaper than store-bought tea bags. They're also more fun! When brewing tea with loose herbs, use 1-2 tablespoons of herb for each cup of water. Herbal tea dosages are as follows:
  • Newborn - 2 years: 2-3 teaspoons tea. Alternatively, a nursing mama can drink an adult dose just before breastfeeding, and the herbs will be transmitted to her baby through her breast milk.
  • 2-6 years: 1/4 cup tea
  • 6-12 years: 1/2 cup tea
  • 12 years - adult: 1 cup tea
To brew a quart of flowers or leaves:

Place 1/4 cup herbs in a quart mason jar.


Pour just-boiled water over the herbs and cap the jar.


After 10 minutes, strain the herb mixture through a wire mesh colander.


Enjoy!


To brew a quart of bark or roots:

Measure 1/4 cup herbs.


Place herbs and 4 1/2 cups water in a pot on the stove. (The extra water allows for a bit of evaporation.) Bring to a slow boil and simmer for 30 minutes.


Strain through a wire mesh colander.


Enjoy!


To make a single cup of tea:

Fill one half of a tea ball with herbs.


Place tea ball in a cup, wrap the chain around the cup's handle, and hook the chain to itself to keep in place. Pour just-boiled water over the herbs and let steep for 10 minutes.


Remove tea ball and enjoy!


For a cup of tea to go, place 1 tablespoon of herbs in a tea filter bag. Pour just-boiled water over the herbs and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bag and enjoy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Responsive Breastfeeding Part 3

A few final thoughts on why I practice responsive breastfeeding:
  • Sometimes I'm parched and drink a quart of water in a few gulps; sometimes I take tiny sips over the course of a few hours. I don't drink water on a schedule, so why should I make my baby drink on a schedule?
  • Sometimes I'm hungry an hour after eating a big meal; sometimes I'm not hungry for hours. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night ravenous; sometimes I don't feel hungry when I wake up in the morning. Sometimes I eat a lot; sometimes I eat a little. I don't eat my meals and snacks on a schedule, so why should I make my baby eat his meals and snacks on a schedule?
  • Friends and family don't give me hugs and words of comfort on a schedule. God doesn't comfort me on a schedule. So why should I provide my baby with the ultimate means of comfort on a schedule?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Responsive Breastfeeding Part 2

I love this article written by Nancy Campbell. It is reprinted here with permission from Above Rubies. (You can find other great articles at www.AboveRubies.org.)


Why does my baby want to suck all the time?

I was full of great intentions as I set out to nurse my first baby—well over forty years ago! My mother was by my side to encourage me in the way she thought best—to feed my baby on a four-hourly schedule. But sadly, this way brought me heartache and frustration. Every time my baby woke before the four hours were up, I paced the floor in agony waiting to feed him. My heart ached while my baby cried. I was a desperate mother. And I ran out of milk! With such a little amount of sucking, there was no way to keep up a good milk supply. By the time my baby was three months, I was well on the way to weaning, plus feeding him as many solids as I could to fill him up. I felt a failure!

I still did not understand what was happening and thought I just didn’t have enough milk supply to feed a baby. Our next babies were twins and I nursed them for eight months. I could easily have nursed them longer, but weaned because we had to travel to a family wedding. It is sad to think about it now. I confess with great grief in my heart that although I loved my precious babies with all my heart, I realize now that because of my ignorance, they were not mothered sufficiently. They expressed this by self mothering. The two boys sucked their thumbs and my precious little girl sucked her bottom lip. They did this because they did not get their sucking satisfaction from me, their mother. As they grew into childhood, they banged their heads on their pillows or against the bed head to go to sleep.

All babies are born with a great sucking need. If this need is not met, it will show itself in some way in the child, if not when they are little, when they are older. Many mothers satisfy this need by using a pacifier. But God intended the mother to meet this need. A pacifier is a mother substitute.

God designed a mother to meet the total needs of her baby through the breast. This cannot be done through scheduled feeding. My mother nursed me for nearly a year on schedule (I was one of the few babies that kept nursing that long without my mother running out of milk) but because she did not satisfy my sucking need, I sucked my thumb. In fact, it was such a need in my life that I didn’t stop sucking my thumb until I was a teenager!

It was not until my fourth baby that I was forced to make a change in my way of mothering. This baby was born screaming and screamed all night and every night. Some babies are born with a greater need for comfort, assurance and sucking than others. He was one of them. He would not have survived physically or emotionally on continued scheduling. I desperately began to research and realized that it was the sucking stimulation of the baby on the breast that produced the milk supply and that if I let him nurse as much as he wanted, I would have plenty of milk

But that was only part of the solution. His needs were greater than physical! I found to my delight, that as I nursed him freely and as much as he needed me, he became peaceful and contented. I even took him to bed with me (which I had been told was taboo, and that I would either roll on him or he would be totally spoilt!). Taking him to bed with me and letting him nurse as he wanted in the night was the answer to all my problems! This change in mothering style set me free! Instead of being frustrated, mothering became a breeze. Whenever my baby was fretful, I didn’t worry about what to do. I put him to the breast. I enjoyed motherhood with new delight.

But now I was in a dilemma! I was enjoying life, but the old wives’ tales haunted me. I certainly wanted to do it God’s way. I cried out to God for direction. He was faithful and revealed His truth to me through Isaiah 66:10-13. In this passage God likens Jerusalem to a nursing mother. As we read the passage we see God's plan for nursing mothers. We do not even see the word ‘food’ mentioned. Instead it talks about satisfying, consoling, delighting and comforting. The revelation hit me. Nursing is not an alternative method to bottle feeding. It is total mothering! It is ministering to the total needs of the baby, whether it is for hunger or emotional security.

This “freeing” way of mothering blesses mother and baby. Not only does the mother meet the needs of her baby through sucking, but God provides natural contraception. It takes a lot more sucking than scheduled feeding provides to hold back ovulation.

We are in a time of restoration. God is restoring us back to His ways for family. Many families have been, and are continuing to be convicted of their selfishness of stopping the children God wants them to have. They are returning to God’s heart and His desire to fill this earth with the godly seed. However, in coming back to God’s way, we cannot come back in only one area. We must come back in all areas of understanding. When we get the revelation of trusting God for our family size and yielding our fertility to Him, we need to do it His way. If we continue to schedule the feeding of babies, menstruation will return early and therefore the possibility to conceive. It can be overwhelming for a mother to conceive a baby every year.

I do not believe that this God’s ultimate plan. He has provided natural contraception for mothers through the continual sucking of the baby. Studies prove that mothers who nurse this way will have their babies about every two years. Some may commence menstruation at six months, but others not for two and a half years. The average is 14.6 months. The spacing is even longer in more primitive societies who freely nurse their babies day and night.

I will concede that it takes time to learn to totally mother. Many first-time mothers are not ready for this because they have been conditioned to selfishness and to always meet their own needs first. I was like this when I first started out, but gently God taught me and with each baby I learned to give more freely to my baby and forget my own needs. My fourth baby led me into this beautiful way of mothering. I gave more with my fifth baby who weaned at three and three-quarter years. I gave even more freely with my sixth baby who weaned at four years. Nursing this way did not hinder me from ministering to the rest of my family. It enabled me to mother them more fully too. I was still able to minister to the needs of many people as a pastor’s wife, open our home in continuous hospitality and commence the ministry of Above Rubies which touches the lives of hundreds of thousands of women in over 100 countries of the world.

My last three babies had no need of self mothering. They did not suck their thumbs, fingers or use pacifiers. They did not need cuddly blankets or any mother substitute. They were totally satisfied at the breast. I know that my fourth baby, who as my learning baby into this new way of life, was saved from much heartache. I know he would have been a very difficult child to handle if I had not learned to meet his deep emotional needs in those early years of nursing.

Many may still rebel at giving themselves so freely. “What about time for me and my own interests?” they cry. God’s principle of “losing oneself” applies in every area of life, including motherhood. Jesus said, “He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep pit unto life eternal.” (John 8:25) You will never lose by losing your own life for someone else’s. You will only lose by keeping it to yourself. Many mothers think that it is their right to have a night’s sleep and that they should not have to feed their little babies at night. But what is a little sacrifice when you are doing the most important task in the nation? Sacrifice can be expected when you are involved in a career that has such far reaching influence. You are nurturing a child who is eternal and will live forever.

May God lead you into His perfect will and into the liberating joy of nurturing your baby that God has wondrously designed for you.

Nancy Campbell
Above Rubies
Primm Springs, Tennessee

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Responsive Breastfeeding Part 1

God created the means for mamas to naturally obtain a temporary period of infertility after the birth of a child: responsive breastfeeding. The hormone prolactin not only tells mama's body to make milk, it also suppresses ovulation. This allows mama's body to focus on nourishing baby before getting pregnant again (and then needing to nourish an even smaller baby in the womb). Because prolactin clears quickly from the blood, the key to keeping prolactin levels high (both for a good milk supply and for suppressing ovulation) is to nurse frequently - at least every 2-3 hours during the day and 4-5 hours during the night. As prolactin is the most concentrated between 1:00 and 6:00 in the morning, middle of the night nursing sessions are incredibly beneficial. In order to gain the maximum benefit from this natural contraceptive, mama must practice responsive breastfeeding:
  • Respond to baby's cues by nursing whenever baby wants, without restrictions on frequency. (Nursing baby in a sling, wrap, or carrier is super helpful when mama is out and about or simply needs to get things done around the house!)
  • Respond to baby's cues by nursing as long as baby wants, without restrictions on duration.
  • Respond to baby's cues by nursing in the middle of the night, without restrictions. (This is a piece of cake if mama and baby sleep in the same bed together!)
  • Respond to baby's cues by allowing baby to meet all his sucking needs at the breast. Use the breast for comfort instead of a pacifier, and use the breast for nutrition and hydration instead of a bottle. Do not supplement with water or other liquids during baby's first year, and introduce solid food no earlier than six months. Between 6 months and 1 year, baby should get at least 75% of his nutrition through breast milk - food should not replace breast milk, but rather should be in addition to breast milk as baby's caloric needs increase. Between 1 year and 2 years, baby should get at least 25% of his nutrition through breast milk.
Mamas who practice responsive breastfeeding are period-free for an average of 14 1/2 months. My baby is 15 1/2 months and I started my period today for the first time in almost 25 months!

Furthermore, responsive breastfeeding is 98% effective at preventing conception in the first 6 months after baby is born. This is as effective, if not more effective, than artificial birth control methods.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chamomile

Chamomile is my favorite children's herb - a lifesaver thanks to its calming properties.

History

An English garden and domestic medicine staple for hundreds of years, chamomile famously appears at the end of the children's story Peter Rabbit. (Peter Rabbit's mother gives him chamomile tea after his harrowing adventure in Mr. McGregor's garden.)

Egyptians believed chamomile could cure malarial-type fevers, and so dedicated the herb to their gods.

Nowadays chamomile is known as the "plant's physician" because gardeners believe the health of a garden is related to the number of chamomile plants scattered throughout.

Healing Properties
  • Analgesic - relieves pain by calming nerves
  • Anti-inflammatory - reduces inflammation
  • Antispasmodic - relieves convulsions, cramps, muscle spasms, and nervous irritation
  • Bitter - promotes digestion
  • Diaphoretic - promotes perspiration, thus detoxing and lowering body temperature
  • Diuretic - increases urine flow
  • Emmenagogue - promotes and regulates menstrual flow
  • Nervine - relieves pain, sooths nerves, supports the nervous system

Chamomile is effective against such conditions as poor appetite, poor circulation, colds, colic, digestive problems and gas, drug withdrawal, fevers, the flu, headaches, hysteria, indigestion, insomnia, irregular menstrual flow, sore muscles and muscle cramps, nausea, rattled nerves, pink eye, stress, and urinary tract infections. It is also used to lighten hair.

Description
Chamomile is part of the sunflower family. Referencing the herb's distinct apple smell, the word chamomile comes from two Greek words meaning "ground apple," and the Spanish name manzanilla means "little apple." The tiny white or yellow flowers contain the plant's most potent healing properties.

Preparation
Everyone can use chamomile, including babies and pregnant and nursing mamas.

My favorite preparation is tea. Simply brew a cup (or quart) of tea and enjoy as needed!

To treat pink eye, brew a cup of tea with two tea bags, place a tea bag over each eye, and rest for a few minutes. Alternatively, brew a cup of double strength tea, soak two cotton balls in the tea (one for each eye), squeeze some tea into the corner of the eye, and use the cotton ball to clear the goop. Apply chamomile tea to the eyes every hour (or if mama is breastfeeding, apply breast milk to the eyes every two hours, and apply chamomile tea on the "off hours").

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Month in Our Life: September 2009

This month my baby picked up quite a few new "copycat skills" from watching me. Last month his favorite activity was taking caps off bottles, then putting them on, then taking them off... This month he decided to try his hand at drinking from the bottles. He swallows about 1/3, chokes on 1/3, and spills the other 1/3 onto his belly. His second favorite word is "augee" for water (agua). This is not to be confused with "audu" for all done or "audu" for more (perhaps the latter having originated from again). As far as I can tell, the difference between the two "audu"s is the length of the vowels - all done is longer than more. Basically, this means he would have been better off learning Japanese as a first language! He has also added to his vocabulary "baby" for help and "mama" for mama's milk (still no word referencing me - perhaps he doesn't realize we're separate people). He also tries to copy me counting in Mandarin. And his favorite word - the one he says first thing upon waking, last thing before falling asleep, in the middle of the night, and hundreds of times each day: "doggie." Here's a picture taken earlier this summer of our roommate Shooter, the dog that started his fascination:


Other notable new skills/interests include:

The shred basket at the office


Brooms


Wheelbarrows



Picking out his own clothes


Picking flowers


Blowing his nose
(super quick video)
video

Climbing up and down steps
(watch the video at the bottom to see this in action)

video

And worms!!