Happy and healthy


We just got back from Ava’s 15 month well-child appointment, a little late (she’s almost 16 months) but that’s ok. She is the picture of health. She weighed in at 27 lbs., 6 oz. (90-95th percentile), and was 32 inches tall (90th percentile).

Dr. S said that Ava is the “healthiest breast-fed baby she’s ever seen.” I don’t know if she says that often or not, but I will take it as a compliment.

I had some concerns about Ava’s bowleggedness (Jody says she runs like John Wayne) but Dr. S assured me that kids’ legs don’t straighten out until they are 4 or 5 years old, so nothing to worry about there.

We also talked a bit about her eating habits (or lack thereof) lately. She gave me a handout on decreased appetite and eating in toddlers which is perfectly normal. I just have to trust that Ava will eat as much as she needs and not force food on her. Easier said than done, but I am going to try to relax about it. She also said it might help to let her eat before she nurses, something I tried doing for a while and then got lazy on, so we’ll get back on that kick again. There were some other tips on the handout that we will try following as well, such as letting her feed herself entirely and giving more finger foods. I just need to accept that mealtime is going to be messy and find some better bibs!

Oh! Also asked about when it’s ok to start giving peanut butter. She said all docs are different, but she thinks right about now is fine. She suggested doing almond butter first (which we’ve been doing for a cpl weeks now anyway) and then peanut butter.

I shared with Dr. S that article I recently wrote about here that states: “The longer a mother breast-feeds, the higher the fat and energy content of her breast milk.” She was very interested in it and thanked me several times. She said that this goes against what they had previously been lead to believe and she really appreciated me bringing it to her attention. Yay! Hopefully she’ll share it with the other drs in the practice and maybe this will help them become more supportive of moms who choose to nurse past 12 months.

Before she examined Ava, Dr. S mentioned that between 15 and 18 months is usually the hardest time to examine kids because they just won’t tolerate it, but she likes to still give it a try. Well, Ava let her do it with no protesting whatsoever. (Yes, I’m bragging.) She said that’s the easiest exam she’s had on a 16 month old in a while.

She asked me if Ava’s watching TV at all. I told her no, but once in a rare while I will use it as a distraction – like I turned on PBS this morning so I could cut her nails. It worked well and she got a couple minutes of Sesame Street. Anyway, she said that was good. (Funny the things doctors latch onto to ask you about, no?)

The other thing we talked about was potty training/learning. She said it’s good to have her potty in her play area, which may make her more likely to use it. She was doing good at going on it whenever I put her on, but has been regressing lately. I’m not concerned. She’s got plenty of time to learn. She also suggested using a small reward for every time she goes on it. She mentioned giving her one M&M or one Skittle or something (What?? Does she not know me at all? LOL I told her Ava’s never had candy.), and then she said maybe she could watch 1 minute of TV or get a sticker or something and that seemed a lot more appropriate to me. :)

We also got Ava’s third DTaP shot today. Even though we aren’t doing the majority of the vaccinations or delaying them (read why here and here), DTaP is one that we felt was important for Ava to have after she turned 1 and her immune system had been built up a bit. Hopefully we won’t have any reactions. I’m not sure if it’s coincidence or not, but the last two times she had vaccinations, we ended up in the ER a few days to weeks later for other illnesses. So of course, I am suspicious, but I’m also hoping it was just a fluke.

Anyway, hooray for a happy, healthy lil girl! :)

—————————

In other happy news, I sold most of my maternity clothes (with the exception of a couple shirts I’m saving) today. I decided to get rid of them since a) most of them are clothes I wore to work and wouldn’t be comfy in around the house and b) I’m a lot smaller than I was when I got pregnant with Ava so they probably wouldn’t fit me if I were to get pregnant again anyway. I’m putting the money away as I save to buy the Olympus Evolt camera. ::insert Amy drooling all over the keyboard here:: ;)

We’ve got some fun stuff planned for the weekend. I think we might hit another pumpkin patch tomorrow (went to one last weekend and it was a lot of fun). Also plan to stop by the community garden for some clean-up work. I’m doing my first maternity photoshoot Sunday morning, then Sunday afternoon Jody, Ava and I are going to a farm for a hayride with a bunch of families. :)
Happy weekend all! :)

Blogger Boobie-thon 2005

OK, OK, I know the title is a bit suggestive. And the contents of the Boobie-thon site are definitely suggestive (the main page is work-safe, but the picture pages are NOT). BUT, BUT, BUT, BUT…it’s all for a good cause.

The Blogger Boobie-thon is in it’s fourth year of celebrating and honoring boobs (of both women and men) while raising money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and this year, also the American Red Cross to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Anyone and everyone (18 years old and up) can submit pictures to the site. Covered boob pics go on the free page and bare boob pics go on the password-protected pay-to-view page. Donors must pledge at least $50 to see the uncovered boobs.

As I said, both men and women participate, including several breast cancer survivors. All photos are posted anonymously. Participants can have their website linked on a participants’ page in random order, but there is no tie to the picture (so no one knows who’s boobs are who’s!).

$8696.30 was raised in 2004. This year’s total raised so far is $6790.40 (last updated 4:35 p.m. EDT on 10/06/05). The event officially kicked off on Saturday, October 1, 2005, and will run through 11:59 p.m. EDT on Saturday, October 8, 2005, so there’s still time to make a donation. Even if it’s $5 or $10, every bit counts.

The Boobie-thon was featured in a WIRED magazine article. From the article: One blogger says

“she still thinks the Boobie-Thon is “genius.””It’s a way to flip it around,” she says. “We take our power back. It’s like, ‘These are our boobs and we’re raising money with them.’ It’s not done in a trashy way at all.”

It should also be noted that

…this is not porn. “Our (website) host does not house pornographic websites on (its) servers, and does not consider our content as such,” Robyn (founder of Boobie-thon) says. “Although some breasts are uncovered on the password-protected site, we do not accept sexually explicit photographs.”

I wish I would’ve learned of this earlier on so that I could do my part to promote it and breast cancer awareness for the entire week.

Help support breast cancer research, education and outreach by making a donation today! No amount is too small! Or if you are feeling adventurous, submit your photo.

Fellow bloggers, if you’d like to put up a link to the Boobie-thon on your site, go here.

What’s that? You want to know if I submitted a picture for the cause? Yes, yes, I did. Three in fact. Which ones are they? Well, here’s a hint – they are (or will soon be) posted in the free section (so, yes, my boobs are covered). ;) Two were just for fun and one includes a PSA about the correlation between breastfeeding and the risk of developing breast cancer. That one I will share with you here.
From the American Cancer Society website- “Some studies have shown that breast-feeding slightly lowers breast cancer risk, especially if the breast-feeding lasts 1½ to 2 years. This could be because breast-feeding lowers a woman’s total number of menstrual periods, as does pregnancy. One study found that having more children and breast-feeding longer could reduce the risk of breast cancer by half.”

Here are a couple articles with information about how breastfeeding can help lower the risk of breastfeeding:
Extra breastfeeding ‘prevents cancer’
Can breastfeeding protect you from breast cancer?
What Causes Breast Cancer?
101 Reasons to Breastfeed

Make a donation today! :) Thanks!

Hmm, I was just thinking about it and I’m guessing they won’t be able to post that pic of me and the babe cuz she’s a minor. Arg. Guess we’ll just wait and see what they do with it. Here I thought I was being so creative. I guess it’s the thought that counts, right?

Update 9:15 p.m. 10/6/05: They used my breastfeeding pic after all. (It’s on page 5.)Yay! :-)

Collection of Katrina sites, stories, articles

It has now been nearly four weeks since the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. I had not yet posted on this topic because I felt ill-equipped to comment on it. I don’t live near any of the affected areas, I don’t personally know anyone who was there. I only know what I see on the news or read on the internet, which I have to admit, hasn’t been a lot because I rarely watch the news and I haven’t been seeking it out on the internet until recently.

Immediately after the devastation, there was talk on several of my message boards – people wanting to help in any way that they could. Many organized relief efforts in their own small ways. One woman volunteered to accept clothing donations and notified others in her area of where trucks accepting donations could be located. Another woman asked for donations and tried to find jobs for a displaced family who would be staying in her city. Another asked for donations for a family that was staying with her sister. A coworker of Jody’s promised to match any donations people make to him before passing the money on to a charity. Another coworker, a dog lover, is making plans to travel to Louisiana to assist with the animal rescue efforts. It’s heartwarming to see people doing whatever they can to help with the efforts.

I can’t imagine being in the situation that so many are. Many lost everything in the storm, including pets, family and friends. My heart goes out to those who were affected.

I can’t imagine being stranded on a rooftop for days, without food or water, while helicopters flew overhead. I couldn’t believe that several days after the hurricane, there were still people stuck in situations like that. How many survived the storm only to die waiting for help? It’s incomprehensible.

I decided a few days ago to start a small collection of informative links regarding Hurricane Katrina. Yes, it’s been nearly a month since the disaster took place, but we can’t forget that these people will continue to need help for quite some time. If you have a link that you feel should be included here (especially regarding any families you know in need of help or donations), please leave me a comment with it. Thank you.

I read today that many people who’ve finally been allowed back into New Orleans are now being evacuated again as Hurricane Rita approaches. I can only hope this hurricane weakens as it approaches land and doesn’t cause any more damage or fatalities.

A very brief collection of Katrina sites/stories.

Want to help?
A Mom in the Swamp – A blogging mama displaced by Katrina
Red Cross – Includes Family Links Registry, online donations, volunteer opportunities
Charity Navigator – How You Can Help The Victims Of Hurricane Katrina
Donate to the United Way

News:
Hurricane Katrina Timeline on Widipedia
Hurricane Katrina and holocaust: Slow response or deliberate extermination?
Pres. Bush admits failure on hurricane response
Barbara Bush says things are working out “very well” for the poor refugees

Local stories:
— Locally, three Great Harvest Bread Company stores donated 100% of bread sales on Sunday, Sept. 11, to Katrina Relief. The stores are usually closed on Sundays, but they opened for several hours on Sept. 11 to sell their two most popular types of bread for $5/loaf to raise money. They made $26,000.
Jody‘s work matched any contributions made by employees. The company was able to send $10,000 to relief efforts.
Out of harm’s way – Family finds open arms in Longmont after fleeing devastation

Help for children (information from the American Academy of Pediatrics):
Resources to Help Cope with Natural and Other Disasters – For children, parents and pediatricians
An Open Letter to Health Care Providers Attending to Families Affected by Hurricane Katrina: The Role of Human Milk and Breastfeeding – Why it’s so important that women who are able to breastfeed do so, especially during disasters. “Human milk is a valuable resource that can not only protect the vulnerable infant from disease, but can also promote psychological health and comfort during stressful times. Human milk reduces pain and promotes more rapid healing after injuries and infections. While maternal health is of great importance, it should be recognized that even the malnourished mother will produce milk of good quality for her infant.” Also worth noting that when there isn’t clean water to mix with formula, breastmilk is always readily available.

Help for animals:
Hurricane Katrina Animal Rescue
Pet Finder: Hurricane Katrina Updates and Links of Interest

People/companies helping with relief efforts:
Lance Armstrong gives $500,000 to relief efforts
Celebs donate to Hurricane Katrina relief
More celebs donate
Roundup of companies donating to Katrina victims
Companies pitch in for Katrina relief

Also, human milk banks are “available to provide milk to Katrina Hurricane victim babies/children with a medically indicated need for human milk and who do not have their own mother’s milk available.” As a result, there is an increased need for donor mothers. If you have a large amount of breastmilk stored and don’t see an immediate need for it, please consider donating.

HMBANA (Human Milk Bank Association of North America).
Our hearts are with the people whose lives have been directly affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Please help us spread the word that HMBANA milk banks are available to provide milk to Katrina Hurricane victim babies/children with a medically indicated need for human milk and who do not have their own mother’s milk available. This will also require an increase in donor mothers. Help us inform interested lactating mothers, especially those in states with milk banks to call their nearest donor milk bank for further information.

Approval as a donor involves a triple screening process beginning with an initial phone screening for medical, dietary and lifestyle factors which might make the donor ineligible, followed by written documentation of their medical history and a signed medical release to be sent to both mom and baby’s health care providers, and last would be the willingess to have blood work drawn. Our screening process is similar to those used when one donates blood. I am most grateful for your assistance in this matter.

Georgia Morrow
Program Director
Mothers’ Milk Bank of Ohio
614.544.5906
gmorrow@ohiohealth.com

For more information visit: Human Milk Bank Association of North America (w/ milk bank locations)

Thank you for reading. And thank you to everyone who has done their part (big or small) to help the victims of Katrina. It’s wonderful to see the goodness in people when they band together for a common cause. Peace.

New study on extended nursing


According to a recent article published on Forbes.com, “The longer a mother breast-feeds, the higher the fat and energy content of her breast milk.”

“This is the first study to analyze the fat and energy content of breast milk of mothers who breast-feed for longer than a year,” said study co-author Dr. Ronit Lubetzky, who is with the department of pediatrics at Dana Children’s Hospital at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel. “There are more and more women who choose to breast-feed for longer time periods, and not many studies about the nutritional value of their milk during this prolonged lactation.”

“This is a nicely done study which looked at a question that really needed to be answered,” added Dr. Ruth Lawrence, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and a member of the executive committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ section on breast-feeding. “I think many people’s general impression is if you continue to breast-feed beyond a year, probably the nutrient value drops, and this is quite different information and very important.”

Read the entire article here.

It’s very exciting to see that there are FINALLY studies being done on nursing past 12 months. I know many cultures have been practicing extended nursing for ages, but perhaps as more and more women do so in the Western world, we’ll see more studies of this sort.

I think it’s especially valuable because many people (including doctors – I know from personal experience) think that after 12 months, there’s no or little nutritional value to breastfeeding and this study proves otherwise.

More from the study:

It’s not clear what the effects of this higher energy and fat content are on a child’s health.

“We showed that the milk of mothers who breast-fed more than a year had a very high fat content,” Lubetzky said. “That contradicts the claim that breast-feeding at this stage has no nutritional contribution. On the other hand, the long-term effect of such a high-fat intake has not been studied.”

“The constituents of fat and human milk are very different than what we provide in formula today. One of the most important constituents of human milk is cholesterol. Formula does not,” Lawrence said. “There are many people who think that probably one of the problems with cholesterol today occurs because infants have not had any cholesterol in the first few months of life; perhaps the body doesn’t learn to deal with it. There are studies that show that young adults have much lower cholesterol levels if they were breast-fed than if they were bottle-fed.”

Still, Lawrence added, this is an area that needs to be researched further.

Lubetzky agreed. “Further studies should analyze this milk fat qualitatively, and try to sort out the influence of prolonged breast-feeding on cardiovascular issues,” she said.

Obviously, since extended nursing is a big part of my and Ava’s lives, this kind of stuff is fascinating to me.

I hope we continue to see more studies and more findings on the results of prolonged breastfeeding, especially in relation to immunities, the avoidance of allergies and the psychological effects. I think there is a lot to be learned.

Here’s another interesting article on extended nursing – Nursing Beyond One Year.

Announcing my new store! :)

I’m happy to announce my new store (through CafePress) – Attached At The Hip – is NOW online!

Attached At The Hip sells primarily advocacy clothing, stickers, buttons, etc. with logos that promote attachment parenting ideals such as breastfeeding, baby wearing, gentle discipline, natural birthing and more.

I also offer some non-AP logos for announcing an expected baby (I’m going to be a big brother/sister shirts) and crunchy/granola attire for mamas and the whole tree-hugging family. In addition, there are shirts for domestic “divas” and “goddesses.”

I’m very excited to get this off the ground and, while I am hoping it will be a profitable venture for me, I am also just glad to be spreading the word about attachment parenting.

The awesome thing is that most everything is handled through CafePress. They take the orders, they print the shirts/merchandise, they collect the money, they ship the product, they handle returns, etc. The bad thing about that is that they make most of the money. ;) But every little bit I make will help. :)

I’m currently offering a special of $5 off any purchase of $50 or more. Use coupon code: B2SALE when you check out.

Please feel free to give it a look-see and let me know what you think. If you have any ideas on how I can improve upon it, I am all ears. :)

Also, CafePress is planning on starting an affiliate program in September so if anyone is interested in linking to my store and making some money off any sales you generate, let me know. :)

Thanks for letting me share.

When did nursing in public become a crime?

It’s been a while since I’ve written about any breastfeeding injustices in the world (not for lack of material, just lack of time). But a few things have surfaced recently in my very own state that have me shaking my head and wondering “what the hell.”

In the Rocky Mountain News:

Five-month-old Nicholas Monroe got hungry Friday while touring the state Capitol with his parents.His mom, 27-year-old Stephanie Monroe, of Rifle, decided that two comfortable-looking couches in the reception area of the governor’s office would be a good place to breast-feed him.

An office receptionist, she says, told her to go somewhere else, suggesting the basement of the building.

The entire article can be found here.

While the receptionist may have been uncomfortable with the woman nursing (though I can’t imagine why since the baby was even covered with a blanket), she had no right to ask the mother to move elsewhere. You see, Colorado passed a state law last year that says a woman is allowed to breastfeed in any place she has a right to be.

How is it that this woman – a receptionist in the governor’s office – isn’t aware that? Beats the heck out of me.

Elsewhere in the state…
In July, a woman breastfeeding her son at Carter Lake was ticketed for “knowingly (exposing) one’s genitals in a public place.” Read the article here.

Since when did breasts become genitals I ask you?! Somebody (the female ranger who issued the ticket) needs an anatomy lesson as well as to brush up on Colorado laws. The ticket has since been dismissed.

One of the things that gets me is that in both instances, it was a woman finding fault with the mother nursing in public (both whom, according to the articles, were doing it quite discreetly). Why are these women to quick to jump on nursing mothers’ cases?

And in national news…
On NBC’s Today Show this week, Dr. Judith Reichman discussed why “breast is best” when it comes to the health of baby and mom.

Dr. Reichman states, “It’s clear that these experts (American Academy of Pediatrics) feel that infants should be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of life. And they also recommend that breast-feeding be continued for 12 months with the addition of complementary food. Finally, breast-feeding for the first two years of life is encouraged.”

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it was a WONDERFUL segment (Kudos to NBC for supporting breastfeeding!!) UNTIL Katie Couric opened her big mouth and said that “But when they can ask for it, they are too old, right?” Chuckle, chuckle. And then said something about thinking it’s “creepy” when children ask to nurse.

Why is it that when children are able to communicate their wants and needs, it suddenly becomes “creepy” to give them what they desire? When kids are old enough to ask for a hug, should we refuse them that? When they are old enough to ask for a drink of water, should we say no? What the hell is the difference?

Wise up, Katie. Do some research and stop interjecting your opinion into stories. It makes for lousy journalism.

By the way, the worldwide weaning average is somewhere between 4 and 6 years.