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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Have you seen the WBW 2011 Theme Yet?

The top story on breastfeeding this past week is U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin's "Call to Action" that everyone can help make breastfeeding easier. The U.S. Surgeon General recognized that there are many barriers to breastfeeding but women "shouldn't have to go it alone. Whether you're a clinician, a family member, a friend, or an employer, you can play an important part in helping mothers who want to breastfeed."
As reported in TIME Magazine, breastfeeding is not just between the mom and baby - rather, it takes a village to help moms succeed in breastfeeding. This is why I strongly believe that breastfeeding education and awareness should be directed not just towards moms but to everyone else surrounding them!
Best for Babes' founder, Bettina Forbes, recognizes that moms don't need pressure, judgment or guilt but rather, the removal of "booby-traps" or the institutional and cultural barriers that surround moms everywhere they turn.
The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action couldn't have chosen a more appropriate theme for this year's World Breastfeeding Week 2011 - "Talk to Me! Breastfeeding - a 3D Experience"
WABA recognizes that there is a need to consider another aspect of breastfeeding support - communication, which is a 3rd dimension to time (pre-pregnancy to weaning support) and place (home, community, health care system support).
Communication is an essential part of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding. We live in a world where individuals and global communities connect across small and great distances at an instant's notice. New lines of communication are being created every day, and we have the ability to use these information channels to broaden our horizons and spread breastfeeding information beyond our immediate time and place to activate important dialogue.
Aside from that, WABA believes that the "3D" aspect includes "cross-generation, cross-sector, cross-gender, and cross-culture communication" - sharing of knowledge and experience. Indeed, breastfeeding is not only an experience between me and my child - the child that I am breastfeeding today will also breastfeed future generations! I can also attest how my husband is able to dish out breastfeeding advice which he has absorbed from our consultations with several consultants and counselors and from listening to my rants and raves about breastfeeding.

This is going to be an exciting August 2011 for World Breastfeeding Week!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Magic of Breastmilk

Last week, an almost-toddler nursing mom raised formula/pediatrician concern with me. Her son who is turning 1 at the end of January came from his last pediatrician's check-up. According to the pediatrician, her son did not gain weight since September but had above-average weight for his age group. Her son also increased in height. Her pediatrician told her that her milk was no longer nutritious and that she had to supplement with formula. I was appalled by the doctor's comment. I had thought that they at least studied the composition of breastmilk during medical school but apparently, I was mistaken! And even worse - I guess they didn't take up breastfeeding or breastmilk either during their specialization in pediatrics!
Kellymom has a comprehensive compilation on the composition of breastmilk. Tanya over at Motherwear blog recently posted the composition of donor's milk. The Attachment Parenting Blog also has a detailed post on the composition of mature milk. I wish I could print out all these notes and articles and give it to the doubting pediatrician.
Further, not only does breastmilk change while the baby grows but even during the feeding session itself, breastmilk changes in contents from skim (foremilk) to fatty (hindmilk) and likewise, throughout the day as it was found that the milk has day-specific ingredients that stimulate activity in the infant, and other night-time components that help baby to rest.
But for me, a top benefit is that my breastmilk is composed of a variety of tastes, depending on the food I ate just before nursing. In November 2010, I came across this article about how exposure to flavors takes place both in utero and through breastfeeding. While pregnant and breastfeeding, I tried to keep a healthy diet by refusing softdrinks and sweets (must not have worked as Naima is such as sweet tooth like her dad!!). I'd like to think that my continuous eating of vegetables contributed to Naima's easy acceptance of new foods in her diet. We started her on solids shortly after she turned 6 months beginning with avocado. Her yaya kept track of her intake for the first year which I'm sharing as a slideshow below. Looking back, I'm quite happy that her yayas were dedicated in trying new recipes and checking out the baby food cookbooks I had for Naima.
From simple, single dishes, Naima's palate has expanded to a variety of cuisines - Japanese, Chinese, Western and even raw food! Check out her meals below:


All thanks for breastmilk (oh and an inspired cook!)! :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Treats for Mommy

Remember my post last year about cookies to help your milk supply? I'm happy to report that there is now a local version! Not only that - both cookies and muffins made for lactation are available!
Mommy Treats is the brainchild of Paola Noelle Loot, a first time mommy who wanted to increase her milk supply. She wanted to use non-pharmaceutical galactagogues, tweaked some recipes, tested them on fellow mommies and came up with yummy, milk-increasing goodies!
We all know how bitter malunggay (leaves or tea) can taste but these goodies are yummy!! I am officially on the road to weaning but couldn't pass up the chance to try these goodies (and break my diet!).
The lactation cookies come in 6-piece packs and in three flavors - oatmeal with choco chips, oatmeal with white choco chips and oatmeal with raisins!
According to Paola, each 5-peso coin-sized cookie is packed with natural galactagogues such as fenugreek, brewer's yeast, flaxseed and oats! Exactly the stuff I put in my morning oatmeal at the height of my nursing career! But trust me, Paola's cookies taste a lot better than my morning oatmeal.
Meanwhile, the Muffin Bites come in 3-piece packs, in three flavors: banana oatmeal, banana walnut and carrot walnut. These muffins are packed with fenugreek, brewer's yeast plus oats (for the banana oatmeal muffin).
Paola recommends eating 5-6 cookies or -4 muffin bites per day to help increase milk supply. Each pack of cookies or muffin bites cost P60. She also sells a week's supply at P399 (7 packs) or 2-week's supply at P749 (14 packs). You can also choose to purchase a month's supply at P1,349 for 28 packs - this will be made in 2 deliveries, 14 days apart.
I previously shared a recipe on how to make lactation oatmeal cookies. However, my cookies look nowhere as great as Paola's plus, I'm definitely not a cook! I had the chance to try the cookies over the weekend. However, since I'm on my weaning journey, I focused more on the taste, rather than the effect. The texture of the cookies are excellent - chewy and generously filled with raisins/choco chips. The cookies do have a slightly funky taste - which according to Paola comes from the brewer's yeast and fenugreek combined. Moms who take fenugreek can attest that it is quite bitter and have a maple syrup smell.
The cookies are also quite visually appealing - perfectly shaped scrumptious cookie bites. My favorite would be oatmeal/choco chip - which is the least sweet among the three as I'm really not much of a sweet tooth. The 5-peso sized cookie bites is perfect as you won't be quite overwhelmed by the funky taste and you can easily finish the recommended 1 bag of 5-6 cookies per day.
Mommy Treats is still on soft launch (they opened on 11 January 2011) and Paola has been inundated with orders! She said she will be introducing more goodies so maybe she can include vegan and sugar-free treats on her menu. Check out her products and avail of her soft launch discount of 10% of orders for the whole month of January 2011! Let me know how you like them!

*Photo of Muffin Bites taken from the Mommy Treats website.

*Disclaimer: I received a week's supply of Mommy Treats cookies for review. However, since I'm trying to wean Naima already, I only tried a couple of pieces per flavor for purposes of this review. The rest of the cookies went to my sister who's preemie baby is now 1-year old and still nursing! ;)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Orlando Bloom's Little Man

I've swooned over Orlando Bloom ever since he came out in The Lord of the Rings! He is now a new dad to Flynn, who was born on January 6, 2011 at 9lbs, 12 oz. to him and model Miranda Kerr. I'm excited to read that Miranda is nursing Flynn and what's more, their very first birth announcement includes a breastfeeding photo of Flynn! Read about Miranda Kerr's breastfeeding experience on her BLOG.
*photo taken by dad, Orlando Bloom and posted on Miranda Kerr's blog

Monday, January 17, 2011

Review: For Baby's Boo-boos


photo by Stan

More and more moms are becoming conscious of what they put on their babies. Early on, I try to use all-natural creams and salves on Naima whenever she has boo-boos. There are now several products in the market but I've chosen to use only three. IndigoBaby and ByNature because I know the moms behind them and Ilog Maria because I've been to their store and I believe in the owner/founder. Here's a quick review and rundown of our usage of these salves and creams.

photo from Indigo Baby's website
1. Indigo Baby - Jar of Hope (P380 - 30ml)
Jar of Hope was the very first ointment I purchased for Naima. Indigo Baby calls it a "gel" and it does have a gel-like consistency. Purchased my first jar from Monica at one of the Rockwell bazaars. Back then, she told me that she used it for teething and I was skeptical. I didn't want to be putting unknown stuff in Naima's mouth.
According to Indigo Baby's website, their Jar of Hope First Aid Gel is a bestseller and is made of "blue chamomile essential oil". This is not only for babies' use but also for mom and dad - burnouts, stress, insomnia, fussy babies, insect bites, motion sickness, inflammation, rashes, cuts and wounds plus teething. Finally, Indigo Baby attests that "blue chamomile is the most haling of all chamomiles due to its azulene content."
The gel smells really good and is very easy to apply. We've used it for insect bites, inflammation and rashes and it does its job pretty well. We used it mostly when Naima was a baby (e.g. 4-12 months old). However, Naima's yaya noted that since the gel was very mild, it was good for minor cuts/bruises. For major ones, she prefers BN's Salve. We didn't use this for teething though but mainly for diaper rash. Naima got diaper rash because we used wipes on her a lot! On the other hand, my niece Anya had no diaper rash at all because yaya just used cotton with water to wipe her. According to Indigo Baby, to prevent molds, you should use a small spoon to scoop out the gel to avoid contact with your fingers (which may have contaminants leading to molds). We store the Jar of Hope in the refrigerator to lengthen its life and to make it solidify a bit. When stored at room temperature, I found the gel to become water-y.
You can purchase Jar of Hope directly from Indigo Baby.


BY NATURE Baby Salve
photo from By Nature's website
2. By Nature Baby Salve - P200 for 20g
This product came out when Naima was more than a year old. But this has quickly become our favorite boo-boo balm. What I like about this product is that the bottom label lists down specifically all the ingredients contained in the salve - "organic sunflower oil, organic avocado oil, organic grapeseed oil, organic virgin coconut oil, organic jojoba oil, organic shea butter, beeswax, pure lavender essential oil, pure blue chamomile essential oil, calendula extract, aloe vera extract and vitamin E." By Nature's Darlene recommends this salve for diaper rash, insect bites, eczema, dry patches, small cuts and booboos. She also recommends this as a lotion for babies (expensive given that a small jar costs P200) or evening moisturizer for moms. The jar is quite compact and unlike the Jar of Hope (with a big jar), the Baby Salve can easily be slipped into the diaper bag.
I haven't used this myself but Stan also swears by it. Every time he has a nick or cut, he immediately asks Yaya where the Baby Salve is to use on himself. My yaya also likes to use this on Naima's cuts (she has plenty - now that she is an active toddler) and says that the salve causes the cuts to heal quickly. There is no need to refrigerate. Although Darlene calls this a "salve", the Baby Salve is quite creamy. And you just need to put a thin layer for it to work - quite economical! We are almost finishing our first 20g jar which has been with use for more than 1 year now.
You can purchase the Baby Salve from By Nature's authorized resellers.


photo from Ilog Maria's website

3. Ilog Maria Propolis Ointment
The most economical of all is the Ilog Maria Propolis Ointment - which actually has a salve-like consistency. Ilog Maria recommends that their ointment be used for skin irritations, infection rashes, itches, insect bites, infected wounds and burns. Listed ingredients are propolis gold and beeswax in an olive oil base. Other users attest that it doesn't only stop the inflammation but actually soothes the itchiness of insect bites and it also helps stop "singaw" or canker sores.
Yaya uses this on Naima, mostly when she has bruises as the ointment helps soothe the inflammation. It is also very helpful on burns, as experienced by our cook. Although we don't refrigerate this, the ointment has a cooling effect.
Like the Baby Salve, the jars are quite small (even the big jar!) so you can easily slip it in your diaper bag. Plus the Propolis Ointment is much more cheaper than the Baby Salve or Jar of Hope!
If you purchase directly from Ilog Maria's website, the big jar (45g) costs P192.50 only, while the small jar (25g) is P110. You can also go to Ilog Maria Farm in Silang, Cavite where purchase prices are cheaper. Meanwhile, if you need the ointment ASAP, one of the Manila stockists is fellow LATCHer, Judy and you can purchase from her store in New Manila.


Verdict:
For babies 0-12, go for Indigo Baby's Jar of Hope - it is very mild and you can't go wrong - although it is quite expensive.
For toddlers, keep both the Baby Salve (for cuts/rashes) and Propolis Ointment (for bumps and bruises). However, if you can only buy 1, I'd go for the Baby Salve.

*Disclaimer: All products were purchased. None given for review and I'm not carrying any of these products in my online store.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Challenges to the 6-month breastfeeding recommendation

Early this morning, I was tagged in FB by my good friend and fellow breastfeeding mom, Nikki to an article from the Guardian, entitled "Six Months of Breastfeeding Alone Could Harm Babies, Scientists Say" Needless to say, I was alarmed and really bothered by the article! However, reading through the article raised several red flags. First, "the paper acknowledges that three of the four authors 'have performed consultancy work and/or received research funding from companies manufacturing infant formulas and baby foods within the past three years.'" Second, I'm no nutritionist but I was amazed that the authors suggested that the moms give babies fresh food, including MEAT for iron. Okay, so some moms wean early (e.g. as early as 3 months) - but I know none of them gave MEAT as the solid food. According to the authors, they advised babyfood manufacturers because they were specialists in child nutrition - but doesn't this conflict with their own disclosure that they received funds from baby food/infant formula companies? How do you deal with this conflict of interest?
I posted this article to the LATCH yahoogroups this morning and just now, Velvet shared this reply from Francesco Branca, Head of Nutrition at the World Health Organization.

WHO's global public health recommendation is for infants to be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health. Thereafter, infants should be given nutritious complementary foods and continue breastfeeding up to the age of 2 years or beyond.

WHO closely follows new research findings in this area and has a process for periodically re-examining recommendations. Systematic reviews accompanied by an assessment of the quality of evidence are used to review guidelines in a process that is designed to ensure that the recommendations are based on the best available evidence and free from conflicts of interest.

The paper in this week's BMJ is not the result of a systematic review. The latest systematic review on this issue available in the Cochrane Library was published in 2009 ("Optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding (Review)", Kramer MS, Kakuma R. The Cochrane Library 2009, Issue 4). It included studies in developed and developing countries and its findings are supportive of the current WHO recommendations. It found that the results of two controlled trials and 18 other studies suggest that exclusive breastfeeding (which means that the infant should have only breast milk, and no other foods or liquids) for 6 months has several advantages over exclusive breastfeeding for 3-4 months followed by mixed breastfeeding. These advantages include a lower risk of gastrointestinal infection for the baby, more rapid maternal weight loss after birth, and delayed return of menstrual periods. No reduced risks of other infections or of allergic diseases have been demonstrated. No adverse effects on growth have been documented with exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, but a reduced level of iron has been observed in developing-country settings.

The authors of the paper criticized BabyMilk Action who challenged the findings of their paper and said that BabyMilk Action only chooses to quote their papers when it supports breastfeeding. See below and click this link to read BabyMilk Action's press statement on this matter. Really, is there anything else better than what Mother Nature gives?

WHO breastfeeding recommendations under attack from industry-funded scientists.

Press release 14 January 2011

The BBC, the Guardian and other media are carrying stories about a new review which published in the British Medical Journal today. Three of the four authors of this study, Mary Fewtrell, Alan Lucas and David Wilson, receive funding from the baby food industry. Prof Lucas in particular plays a key role in advising the UK baby food industry, and has opposed the WHO recommendation for many years. In 2003 he went so far as to appear for the defence when one of the largest baby food companies, SMA Wyeth was successfully prosecuted for illegal advertising by Trading Standards.

www.babymilkaction.org/press/press31july03.html

http://www.babymilkaction.org/update/update33.html#2

http://www.babymilkaction.org/www.babymilkaction.org/update/update29.html#2

http://www.babymilkaction.org/www.babymilkaction.org/update/update23.html#11

Baby Milk Action expects this new study and the media coverage it is generating to be used by companies in their attempt to weaken national policies and legislation requiring complementary foods to be labelled for use from 6 months. In the UK, baby food companies are already labelling complementary foods for use from 4 months of age despite Government policy recommending 6 months exclusive breastfeeding or formula feeding.

When looking at this data the following points should be borne in mind:

  • the four authors are not attacking the recommendation that breastfeeding continue alongside complementary foods or the WHO recommendation of breastfeeding into the second year of life and beyond.
  • this is not a report on new data - it is observational only.
  • WHO’s policy arose from a review of 3,000 studies on infant feeding.
  • Keeping recommendations under review is good practice and randomised controlled trials in progress; this paper is pre-empting the results of these.
  • The study implies that delayed introduction of solid foods may be linked to increased obesity - this is total conflict with the studies which show that early introduction - particularly of sugary foods is an important factor behind the obesity epidemic. Breastfeeding may actually help in the development of taste receptors.
  • The argument to introduce solids at 4 months to prevent coeliac disease and allergies was summarised by ESPGHAN in late 2009 and was considered by many to be flawed. see our press release: http://www.babymilkaction.org/press/press23dec09.html
  • the UK Scientific Committee on Nutrition (SACN) and the Committee on Toxicity (COT) are reviewing the evidence on solid foods and coeliac disease. The draft opinion is NOT FINAL BUT Is on the SACN website with the Agenda papers for next week's SACN meeting. See paper SMCN/11/01 downloadable fromhttp://www.sacn.gov.uk/meetings/sub_groups/maternal_child_nutrition/1901...
  • SACN use international growth charts to describe the optimal pattern of infant growth in the UK (UK-WHO charts). These are based on studies of babies in 7 countries around the world and no significant difference was found between their growth profiles. The proposal from the four scientists that babies are treated differently depending on where they live conflicts with this research evidence. The mean age at introduction of solids to this cohort of breastfed infants in the WHO studies was 5.4 months (or "..about 6-months").
  • The UK policy is to introduce complementary foods at around 6-months and progress responsively, in line with individual babies' progress and acceptance. Not all babies need solids at the same time: in every aspect of infant development there is a wide range of normal. Very importantly the introduction of the new policy in 2003 has been associated with a marked reduction in the numbers of mothers giving solids very early (i.e. before 4-months). Since it is widely accepted that very early introduction carries greater risk (particularly of coeliac disease), the UK policy could be considered from this perspective a success.
  • The practice of ‘baby-led weaning’ is becoming more widespread, where babies are allowed to play with appropriately prepared solid foods and decide for themselves when to eat. Experience in this area suggests that babies naturally start to ingest complementary foods at around 6 months of age, when various developmental factors (hand-eye coordination, mastication ability etc) come together. This may be an evolved natural behaviour that has been lost through the practice of spoon feeding prepared paps. Further research is required in this area.
  • Marianne Monie, Chair of the nationwide Breastfeeding Network, made an important point about the risk of swine flu: “The evidence supports introducing food when a baby is developmentally ready at around 6 months. Introducing food or infant formula before that time increases the risk of infections. Questioning the wisdom of the six-month guideline at a time when babies are at risk of catching swine flu is unfortunate, because exclusive breastfeeding reduces the risk of secondary infections that can be serious enough to need hospital admission. Parents should not feel pressured into rushing their baby onto solid food. Waiting until around six months gives another two valuable months of additional protection against chest and stomach infection."
Thank you, Velvet, for sharing these articles!

Update: 1/15/2011
Click HERE for UNICEF UK's response.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Classes and Meetings for January 2011

Pregnant? New mom? Start the year right and join a breastfeeding class or meeting! There are several scheduled for this month!

La Leche League's Ortigas Meeting was held last Saturday, 8 January 2011 at the Podium Mall. Missed posting before that because it was Anya's 1st birthday that day and it was a hectic week! But don't fret! There will be another La Leche League meeting in Makati through Abbie's Breastfeeding Club either on January 22 or 29. Will update this post once I get the final date/venue.

This weekend, L.A.T.C.H. will be holding its first breastfeeding class for the year! It will be from 9am-12nn at the 4/F of the Center for Patient Partnership Building, The Medical City, Meralco Ave., Pasig City. I will be there to talk on "Back to Work" (what else?!) with other fellow L.A.T.C.H.ers. Other topics will be breastfeeding benefits, myths and what to expect during the first 2 weeks. A must-join is our break-out group - this is unique to LATCH classes. Counselors split up the class into smaller groups to discuss the specifics of latching and positioning. We also have Dr. Christina Bernardo (a pediatrician who is studying to be an IBCLC) to answer questions. Classes are free.

If you are QC-based you might want to attend the Breastfeeding 101 Class of The Breastfeeding Club over at The Medela House. Abbie Yabot, certified Philippine Lactation Counselor holds a series of monthly classes starting this month. The Breastfeeding 101 Class will be from 8am-10am and will cover the basics, advantages tips and early troubleshooting. To register, email MedelaMoms or text 0917-5614366. There is a fee of P500 for the 3 classes.

On January 22, 2011, Cher Anonas of Plume will be hosting her own breastfeeding class in Renaissance 1000. The class will be from 1:30pm to 5:30pm and is free. Participants are asked to bring food for the group. For details and to register, text 0917-898-2437 or email Cher.

Spread the word and join the classes!

Update: 21 January 2011
La Leche League Makati (that used to meet in Rustan's) will be holding its first meeting of the year this Saturday, 22 January 2011 (10am-1130am) at the Starbucks, Bonifacio Global City. It will be at the Starbucks with the drive through in front of MC Home Depot (see map below). At this meeting, you can meet with several breastfeeding mothers AND a Philippine certified breastfeeding counselor who can help you with your breastfeeding issues/questions. Open to pregnant and nursing moms! Do text Abbie at 09228292268 to confirm your attendance. See you there!

View Larger Map

Friday, January 7, 2011

Challenges of Weaning

One of my goals this year is to completely wean Naima off the breast. I had originally planned to breastfeed until Naima was 2 years old. However, after her second birthday, all attempts at weaning were met with tears (on her part) and frustration (on mine). Keeping in mind that weaning might be going to fast for her, I decided to put off actively weaning her and just wait and see if she will be able to wean on her own.
Before I knew it, she was nearing three years old. A couple of months before her third birthday, I talked to her about weaning and she said she will stop when she turns three. We even had a countdown to her third birthday. But still no luck. The night after her third birthday, weaning was still unsuccessful and Naima said she wanted to wait until after Christmas to stop drinking milk from Mommy. Come Christmas time, she got sick so active weaning was not an option then.
Stan and I plan to have our next baby in mid-2012 -which means if things go as planned, I will be pregnant sometime in the second half of 2011. I do want to completely wean Naima before I get pregnant which is why I'm actively trying to get Naima to stop breastfeeding before then.
Between 2nd and 3rd birthday, Naima still nursed as soon as I arrived from the work. For the past 2-3 months, she has dropped this nursing session and only nurses before bedtime and during then night (when she wakes up). I've asked for suggestions how to convince Naima to drop her nighttime nursing sessions. Several suggested that I rub ampalaya or chili on my nipples while others suggested putting band-aids. Putting ampalaya is not an option since Naima has just recently learned how to eat ampalaya with eggs and I'm not about to turn her off this vegetable. I don't want to try chili either because it will also be mahapdi (sore?) for me. So, I decided to try toothpaste.
The first weaning attempt was on Wednesday night and it was a disaster! We just came from a family dinner in Greenbelt and Naima got to bed late - about 1030pm. I put toothpaste before I went to bed. I asked Stan to stay with us in bed for support. Naima had no inkling that something was up. She latched on and screamed! She knew it was toothpaste and kept asking me to wipe it off. I totally felt guilty and told her that when she turned 3, milk turned into toothpaste (argh!!). It was a cry-fest and in the end, Stan asked me to wipe off the toothpaste and Naima nursed through the night.
We tried again last night. We were in bed at about 9pm and I was ready with toothpaste again. This time, even before latching, Naima matter-of-factly asked me to wipe off the toothpaste. Again I told her that mommy's milk turned into toothpaste already but I think she knew that I was lying. This time, I did not wipe the toothpaste off so every time she tried latching, she would wrinkle her nose and say "icky". She kept asking me to change the toothpaste back to milk and I kept telling her that mommy will have milk again when we have a new baby. Then she said she wants a new baby NOW. There was still a bit of crying - but not as bad as the night before. She kept rolling all over the bed and trying to lie on top of me, until she finally fell asleep without nursing for the first time ever!
Was it a success? Hmm.. it took us about an hour to get her to sleep. She also still woke up to nurse at night but it was only once since the other times she woke up, she kept remembering the toothpaste and will say "no milk, toothpaste" then just go back to sleep. But the bad part about the process was that she wet her bed again after almost 8 months! Naima was potty trained a little past 2 and a half years old so weaning must have really affected her!
I've read through several blogs, articles and websites on weaning. Cry-it-out is not an option for me (nor is it for Stan!) so I'm not sure if mother-led weaning will work. (Want to know what is the difference between child-led/mother-led weaning? Read this.) I'm wondering if I should still actively pursue weaning or wait for Naima to be ready? During the day, Naima will say that she will stop drinking mommy's milk. But at nighttime, I'm talking to a different Naima. I didn't realize that weaning was going to be this difficult!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gifts of Breastfeeding

The theme for last month's Carnival of Breastfeeding was aptly, "the gift of breastfeeding". However, I wasn't able to submit my entry in time to participate. I still want to write something about it because Naima was a Christmas baby and after 3 years, I've come to realize how breastfeeding is a gift she has given to me and not only something that I gave to her.
I shared my early breastfeeding experiences during a May 2009 Carnival and as I'm reading through it again, I can't help but be grateful that despite the challenges and hurdles, I was still able to continue breastfeeding Naima to date.
The best gift of breastfeeding would be the gift of good health. As a baby, Naima was generally healthy and quickly recovered from coughs and colds and had no major illness. As a toddler, she has gotten more susceptible to various germs, especially when she started going to school. But I believe that the breastmilk she received has helped her recover faster from these illnesses.
Breastfeeding has also given me the gift of time, patience and the chance to bond with my daughter. I have to admit that I love keeping busy and can easily do a million things at once. My husband and I are a perfect match since he takes things slowly and easily why I rush to complete everything if possible. If Naima was formula-fed, I would probably have endorsed her to yaya while I do some other things. Nursing Naima has allowed me to stop, relax and spend time with my baby. Breastfeeding is our quiet bonding moment time - allowing me to explore and enjoy the miracle that is Naima.
Finally, as Melodie over at Breastfeeding Moms Unite puts it, breastfeeding is the gift that keeps on giving. Moms who have had a great breastfeeding relationship end up passing on advice, tips and support to other moms who are encountering early difficulties. I received great support and advice from friends who had successfully breastfed their children. Through this blog, I hope to pay it forward and pass on the good vibes that breastfeeding has brought to me, Stan and Naima. I am always happy to read comments and emails from readers saying how this post is helpful and how they have likewise shared advice to other friends who are about to start their breastfeeding journey. Breastfeeding gives moms confidence and the ability to make a huge difference in another mom's life.
Year 2011 is all about changes and challenges for us. At past 3 years old, I really want to wean Naima. Our first goal was to wean at Christmas but then she got sick. Now, she promises to wean when she enters "big school" in June. I'm all for child-led weaning but I do want to have some breastfeeding-free time before we have our second baby. Crossing my fingers that 2011 is the year! What is the best gift of breastfeeding that you have received?
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