Category Archives: Natural Parenting

Three Years and One Month

breastfeedingsummertimeI am sitting in quiet contemplation on this bright winter morning. Much has happened since I last wrote here, the biggest event being, M is weaned. I have been trying to summarize our breastfeeding journey for a while now.  But how does one sum up three years and one month worth of words? Where do I begin?  Do I write about the years or the phases? The ups and downs, or the effort and the ease of it all?  Instead of writing right now, I will continue to process what these three years have meant to me, and simply leave you with one word.  Bittersweet.

*photo taken last summer when M was about two and a half years old.

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Woven

hairA few weeks ago, M and I were at a birthday party.  One of the mothers in attendance wore her little one in a colourful, woven ring sling.  Encircled by the woven fabric of the sling, her newborn breastfed, then slept contently in her mother’s arms for the duration of the birthday party.  I found myself thinking back to when I had purchased my first woven wrap.  I remember how wearing M felt akin to carrying him in my womb.  Since I had carried him for nine months, it was instinctive and instinctual to carry him in arms as I continued to sustain him with my breast milk.  I treasure the time that I spent wearing M and all the benefits that arose from keeping my baby close, especially in the fourth trimester.   Whether you use a ring sling like the one pictured above, or another kind of carrier, it is both reassuring and comforting for the mother and child, to keep baby close.

In the womb he was woven
a child birthed
Within a sanctuary called home
From womb to breast
in the afternoon light
I hold him.

 

 

Weekly Inspiration

bookSince it is Valentine’s day, I thought I would share one of my favourite childhood books entitled The Great Valentine’s Day Balloon Race. I managed to buy it from the library as it was sadly being discarded.   Even at two years of age, M is intrigued with the illustrations.  Here are some other things that inspired me this week:

I just discovered Meredith Gaston, an Australian artist, illustrator and author on Instagram.  Her house and studio space are absolutely sublime and left me day-dreaming about what kind of space I eventually want to settle in.  You can read about the restoration of her cottage, which she and her partner call home, here. (“Country Style” January 2013)

Raw brownies! Um, Yum! I cannot wait to try these, and so simple to make too.

I have been thinking about making some homemade play dough for M.  I would prefer to use natural dyes if I can. Two things that came to mind were beets and turmeric.  Here is a recipe for play dough using natural dyes (includes gluten free) from Mommypotamus.

What about you?  Where did you find inspiration this week?  Was it a place, a thing, or perhaps an idea?

Rentrer

figs2I planted or rather buried little M’s placenta a fortnight ago.  It was a grey afternoon with drizzling rain.  I buried it on the property I grew up on (my Dad still lives there), next to the old chicken coop, under a half dead apple tree.

Perhaps for some, this may seem overly sentimental or even a bit strange.  For me it is symbolic, and intuitive; a ritual I imagine my maternal grandmother’s ancestors performing hundreds of years ago.

After little M was born, my placenta (little M’s really) was put in the freezer while I decided what I would do with it.  As the post-natal-sleep-deprived haze began to wear off after the first month, I began researching things to do with my placenta. One such thing was placenta encapsulation, which is the process of process of cooking, dehydrating and placing  the dried and ground placenta into capsules.  It is best done within the first week,or ideally within the first day or two to get the full benefits.

By the time I got around to phoning someone to encapsulate little M’s placenta, it was a little late at almost three months postpartum.  Since my recovery had been quick and easy (thank you prenatal fitness class), and my milk supply ample, it was only a small loss.  Even before I began researching placenta encapsulation, I had already been thinking about burying his placenta.

Burying little M’s placenta coincided with a downrush of other events in my life.  Circumstances unfortunately resulted in the whole process being somewhat hurried and not as I planned.  Now as I reflect back, I am glad that it happened serendipitously when it did.   If anything, it serves as a powerful marker for a particular juncture in my life.  I am also thankful that I was able to bury it in a place that has much meaning for me.  After all, is the place I once called home.

Practical Babywearing & EC

trusty ergoI think this will probably be my last post on EC and perhaps on babywearing (or toddler wearing if you prefer). Now that I can easily wrap little M on my back, I have come to the conclusion that although wraps are great for our longer walks, they are not my preferred carrier.  The two reasons for this are: the practice of EC and the use of public transportation.

When it comes to taking public transit and doing errands,  re-wrapping an EC’d baby/toddler multiple times, whilst juggling grocery bags is cumbersome and inefficient.  So, for days when I know I will be taking transit and running errands, I always use my soft structured carrier (Ergo).  From a minimalist perspective, I think that a sling and soft structured carrier would have been ideal for us from the beginning.  However, I have found my wraps to be quite useful especially during those times when my son was teething or needing to be rocked to sleep.

uppy walk2In one of my previous posts about EC (you can read about it here), I wrote briefly on how babywearing can be an excellent way for parents or caregivers to be more in tune with their baby.  When I made the shift from part time EC to full time EC, I discovered that my long woven wraps were rather impractical, particularly since I was still learning to wrap.  Since I could use my wrap as a sling, I decided that I would make do with my Ergo and use my wraps mainly around the house or for short walks and sometimes a quick excursion to the grocery store.

short1

In retrospect, I should have purchased a ring sling or a shorter wrap, but at the time I thought that ring slings looked fairly difficult and I did not recognize the advantage of a shorter wrap.   For us mothers who do practice EC with our babies, the importance of being able to take one’s baby out of the carrier quickly, especially when they are younger, is key to making EC workable.

transit1Fast forward to when little M was 17 months old.  I had finally purchased my first “shorty” wrap. I unfortunately found many of the one shouldered carries to be fairly uncomfortable.  With little M being over thirty pounds, the double hammock rebozo carry (as seen in the above photo) is really only comfortable for the first five minutes.  At this point, I will have to both literally and figuratively shelve my shorty wrap.

The point is, when looking at what type of carrier or wrap, one needs to think about lifestyle firstly and then purchase accordingly.  Asking questions such as: do you plan to practice EC or simply [cloth] diaper your baby? Do you take public transit, or own a car or are you part of a car co-op?  These kind of questions,  as well as connecting with other babywearing mamas can help you determine what type of carrier or wrap is best suited for you and your baby’s needs.