Posts Tagged ‘natural parenting’

Which body parts, exactly, make milk?

August 1, 2012

The first time TMD held a crying Coconut, a drop of milk came out of her breast. That is pretty incredible, is it not?

Now, we didn’t choose to have TMD feed the babies because it was an impossible situation. I was completely crippled and she was my full time carer, as well as us being first time parents with two tiny infants we were trying to not accidentally kill in some way.

I hope this third baby speeds to us quickly, and I can’t wait for TMD to feed him/her. I also think we may invest in a pump, or rather beg people to get us one, so that Snort and Coconut can share in the milky goodness. Snort has big problems with dairy, though not technically allergic. And Coconut?

Sister is obsessed with breastfeeding. The other day we were having a quick cuddle before bed, and she latched on to me. Ah, the sweet memories of unexpected nipple stinging. I was in two minds – creeped out because, well, it is a long time since someone sucked my boob and expected nutrition to flow out, but also thinking that if breastfeeding had worked, there was no reason to think she might not still be feeding even now. And it was kind of sweet.

At playgroups and toddler clubs we went to in the past, I was by far the most out there parent. Slings, cosleeping, no crying it out, and very enthusiastically supportive of breastfeeding and cloth nappies. I was the hippy. My kids wore amber necklaces and had their various dolls in little slings. We walked everywhere, them with their own little backpacks like mine, and no pushchairs in our lives since they were around 15 months old. I did not support physical violence as a form of discipline. I was very laid back, but also very responsive to my children’s needs.

But at the home education group we go to on Thursdays? Girl, most everyone there is doing attachment parenting. Amber necklaces are not a signal to hunt for the parent of the other child in hopes of finding a like minded friend, because every fucking kid has them. And you know what else?

I am probably the most mainstream person there. I didn’t do elimination communication. One of my kids is in disposable nappies. And some of these people are exclusively into homeopathy. Or make their own probiotic food. And all the kids appear to be breastfed, including the little three year old who has a mother I love.

So Coconut is seeing a lot of boobs. A lot. They are flying and flapping free everywhere you turn. I guess it is natural she wants to do what her friends do – though it should also be said she has tried to feed from both of us, through our clothes, many times over the years. So does she remember breastfeeding? Or is it a natural impulse? I don’t know.

On a related note, we saw a magic show last November where the guy made milk come out of his elbow. Since that point she occasionally tries to suck her own elbow.

That’s my girl.

Lovely jubbly.

July 12, 2011

I want to move into a yurt. They had one at the music festival and Coconut and Snort loved it, too. TMD and I could totally do it.

What say you? Shall we find a special little glen with sunshine, trees, and a babbling creek?

Natural parenting = happy babies AND happy parents

November 15, 2010

We’ve always followed the babies’ schedule, never let them cry it out, and now? We have two happy, healthy individuals…..who go to sleep by themselves when you put them down. Of course, ‘by themselves’ includes a muslin to suck on for The Boy, and a Bunny to cuddle for The Girl.

Am I gloating? You bet your sweet ass.

So many people were pushing the idea of crying it out on us. Said they’d ‘never learn’ if we cuddled them. I was like, ‘Yeah, they’ll never learn that they can’t depend on us, they’ll never learn that we won’t come when they need us.’ As for never learning to go to sleep? Pah.

Not only that, but they are on a stellar a-1 routine. Not one invented by us or any experts, but created by the babies themselves. And, oddly, it’s the ‘schedule’ that I think many parents want to get their kids on.

The nice thing is, though, because we’ve never rigidly adhered to a schedule and rather let our days be guided by their own rhythms, both Snort and Coconut are really adaptable babies.

I am happy for this.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try to write my nanowrimo schtuff while they are sleeping so I don’t have to do it tonight. My SPD has been very, very bad for the past two weeks, and I think getting an early night’s sleep can’t be a bad thing. The blood is also flying, so I’m hoping my immobility and dependency on codeine to get through the day with minimal crying (on my part) will soon lessen.

Thank you, universe, for my amazing babies. And thank you for supporting me in trusting my instincts with my kids. Ironically, by making our house child-led in terms of routines, sleeping, etc we have ended up with a bizarre dream schedule that we didn’t have to fight nature to achieve.

Hippy parenting, what ho.

(No, I never knew I would be like this before I had kids. I swear.)

Friends: cooler for more reasons than I originally thought!

September 13, 2010

I have seen Friends an embarrassing number of times. Many of those times have been post giving birth to my twins – Friends was a pretty good companion to me through early (constant!) napping, or when things were particularly haywire and I needed an hour of having ‘other people’ in the room with me.

Consequently, I’ve noticed a lot of awesome stuff.


Ben is breastfed by Carol. Not only does Friends show this happening, but there’s a whole episode where it is a major storyline, and people are tasting Carol’s milk and finding it nice! Carol is also pumping for Ben, as Ross is given bottles of breastmilk to feed Ben when Carol isn’t around.

Rachael also breastfeeds Emma. As I type, she’s learning how to latch Emma on. Again, Friends is showing this happen – albeit Joey is there, making sexualised comments.

Cloth diapering

I just noticed a throwaway comment where Rachael says they need to get a diaper service before the birth. If they were planning on using disposables,  I don’t think one would be needed – correct me if I’m wrong?

The lovely @katiespickles on twitter has also said that Ben is wearing cloth diapers in one episode when he is a baby. Rachael is changing his diaper, and he says ‘hi’ for the first time.


Ben is worn in a soft structured carrier. I can’t recall if we see it happen – perhaps once – but the carrier is present when Joey and Chandler babysit Ben. Joey is wearing a giant teddy bear in it. A bit bizarre as Ben is in a carseat, but whatevs.

After Emma is born, we see Ross babywearing her in a soft structured carrier – FACING ROSS!! (@katiespickles thinks it may have been a Bjorn. *sigh* At any rate, she says it is a crotch dangler *double sigh*.) The fact that she’s in a sling isn’t mentioned, which is normalizing. And the fact that she’s not facing out, as most people outside of hardcore babywearers seem to think is correct, is also another biggie.

Lesbian/Transgendered parenting

Obviously Ben is predominantly raised by Susan and Carol, and as the series progresses his teacher asks Pheobe at one point, ‘Oh, are you one of Ben’s moms?’ Throughout Carol’s pregnancy, this parenting triangle is mentioned many times – at doctor check ups, at antenatal birthing classes, etc. Not a negative comment or judgment is anywhere!

The ‘hot nanny’ in Season 10 (‘so hot I cried myself to sleep!’ – Ross) is also a lesbian.

Woah!! @joyfulabode just reminded me of Chandler’s dad. Though it is never directly labelled on the show, I would tentatively label him/her as transgendered, as an umbrella term.

Single parenting

You’ve got Ross, you’ve got Rachael, you’ve got Joey’s pregnant sister. Ross mentions missing milestones in Rachael’s pregnancy, as well as wishing he had more time with Ben.I think Ross is a great example of a single dad – and how great the show shows his side of things, especially with the cross cultural Jewish stuff, too.

On the other side of the coin, you have Monica telling Rachael how difficult it is to be a single parent, and Rachael’s fears make her say yes to Joey’s proposal.

Janice is also a single parent on and off through the show, dealing with dating, divorce, and remarriage. @joyfulabode also points out that divorce has obviously had a big impact on Chandler…who can forget his sad little dancing in the snowy reststop after Ross and Rachael’s break up?!

Monitoring fertility to conceive

Only because I just saw Monica’s dad talking about ovulation and the best positions to conceive in!! You also see the progression of Monica and Chandler trying each time she ovulates. Of course, she does ‘period math’ to figure this out – no mention of the multiple other, more accurate ways to do so…but c’mon. It’s a 22 minute show. (Though @dashoff reminded me in the comments that she uses ovulation sticks as well…and, let’s not forget, so does Chandler!)


The infertility of Monica and Chandler is a main story arc – which I think is awfully brave of the writers and producers, particularly as the show is primarily billed as a comedy. What makes this more complex and appealing to me is that there is a mixture of sadness, hope, and laughter – just like life, there’s a lot of gray between the black and white.

We see them try naturally, consider sperm donors, talk about surrogacy, and then move on to adoption. (Still don’t get why IVF was not an option – but again, no doubt the infertility/adoption storyline was more compelling!)

Pheobe’s brother and his wife are unable to have children naturally, so they have IVF and turn to Pheobe for…


Pheobe carries her brother’s triplets for him. The issues of the pressure of getting pregnant, the expense of the IVF/surrogacy, as well as the harder issues of having to give children your womb held for nine months to another family are covered. I know I can’t be the only one who laughed when Pheobe fell in love with her surrogate puppy, or cried when she said hello/goodbye to the triplets.

Older mothers

Obviously, Pheobe’s brother’s wife (cannot remember either of their names!! Help a sista out!!) is an older woman – and I think that is actually cited as the reason she can’t get pregnant. Her eggs are obviously still good…so I don’t think it makes total sense, but still. The issue is raised.


Monica and Chandler adopt baby boy/girl twins (holla!) at the end of Season 10. This story line covers when/how to tell kids they are adopted (don’t let Chandler do it), the agony of waiting for that call, open adoption, meeting with the birth mother, and forming a relationship with the birth mother.

Natural birthing

There are four births on Friends, for a total of seven kids born over the show. I do not recall epidurals being used for Carol, Pheobe,  Rachael, or Erica – nor any drugs. Rachael does make jokes about drugs, but her entire labour is shown…and a long one it is…with no pain relief.

So natural births for multiples, breech birth, and failure to progress.


Hi, triplets and twins!

We see how exhausted Pheobe’s brother is from caring for triplets – and then laugh along when it takes Pheobe, Monica, and Chandler to babysit. When Pheobe manages to get them all to fall asleep on her own – and the house is wrecked in the process – I know I cheered for her.

I also love the line where Rachael mentions to Chandler and Monica that she’s sorry she won’t be around to see them try to handle twins. I agree!


@katiespickles (the one person who may equal me in my obsessiveness about Friends, it appears!) mentions that Rachael co-sleeps with Emma in the same room, though that could be due to a lack of space in the flat. This one was interesting because I never would have thought of this!

Many thanks to @katiespickles, @1xmum, @joyfulabode, and @sbartholomew for having the Friends discussion on twitter! Lots of talk about Joey’s teddy bear, cloth diapering, and breastfeeding. (And all good people to follow!)

Did I/we miss anything? I know everytime I see the series (yes, every time), I see new things. And I’ve never actively gone ‘parenting hunting’ while watching.

Please do leave a comment if you can think of any other story lines or episodes that deal with these issues that weren’t mentioned – or let me know if we totally missed a huge area!!

Or, you know, leave a comment telling me how cool it is to have spent months thinking about this shit.

Parenting: How we roll.

March 31, 2010

So, some thoughts on how and why we do certain things. You know, our ‘parenting approach.’ I’m going to stay away from wider labels, as I don’t know how helpful they are in the day-to-day of our lives. My choices are not picking on your choices, should they not happen to match. I know there are gazillions of ways to parent, and only on a selective few topics do I really believe that the way we do things is a way other people should try. Most of the stuff is down to each of us as individuals, and I’m not about to shit on your parenting parade.

Circumcision – This is a huge NO for us. We would not consider circumcising Snort; luckily we live in a country where it’s the norm to leave baby boys and their pee-pees alone, but we would have taken this decision regardless. I view circumcision as a violation of another person’s body. He might be a baby, but he does have his own personhood and I’m not about to make irreversible choices that are largely cosmestic.

This seems linked with my idea about babies who are born intersexed – that is, with both male and female genitals. I have known several adults who had their parents make a choice for them when they were days or hours old, and I have never known an adult who was pleased their parents did this.

Sleeping arrangements – Our bed is not big enough for cosleeping, and I don’t know how open we would have been to it in the first place. That being said, when the babies were little that IS what we did – albeit falling asleep while feeding twins in the middle of the night probably isn’t to be encouraged, but we woke up plenty of times with snug little babies in bed. Mainly, though, the babies coslept with each other.

Snort and Coconut shared a crib until they were six months old. This crib was in our room, pulled up next to our bed. The side facing us was lowered, with only about 8 inches of bars above the mattress. By the time they were four and five months old, it took some creative arranging to keep them sharing. By six months, it was a problem. Our room does not have space for two cribs, so they moved into the second bedroom then.

It wasn’t really that bad of a transition, though I think Snort had a couple of wee problems at the beginning. (Coconut sleeps like a brick shithouse.) The past couple of weeks Snort and sleeping have gotten all jacked up, and it is getting to be a ritual to let him in our bed at about 5 am, and occasionally Coconut instead or as well. It’s nice.

Getting babies to sleep – We are not fans of crying it out. I do know many parents do this for valid reasons, but the ones who do it because they want their six week old to go to sleep on their own so they can have a life of their own? Uh, no. I do judge.

Our babies go to sleep between 7-8 every night, sometimes a wee bit later. They fall asleep with us in the lounge – in their bouncy chairs, on our laps, or while being worn in a sling. Once they are asleep, we pop them into their cribs and that is that.Should they wake up in the night – though this is rare – we go to them and cuddle them.

Routine – Apparently I’m a fucked up twin mom, because we do not do routine. I know around 6 weeks I felt desperate and like I should try some routine and began reading lots of scary books. Plus, every book on twin parenting was all about slamming them onto a schedule as quickly as possible.

That’s not how I roll.

As the babies have gotten older, their body rhythms have set a certain natural schedule that doesn’t change  much day to day. Wake up, play, milk feed, nap. Wake up, solid feed, play, usually nap, milk feed. Play, nap, maybe another solid feed. Milk feed, play, then down for the night. Their fourth milk feed happens around 10 or 11, Coconut sleeps through this, Snort wakes up but barely.

Vaccinations – We vaccinate. For us, it makes sense. That being said, we started them a bit late and have had them quite spread out. In our country, you cannot be selective about what jabs you want or not – they are often all mixed in one vial. Our solution to make us feel better is to have two month gaps between each set, which is why they fairly recently finished the course that ‘should’ be finished at four months.

Babywearing – Obviously, we babywear. Not to the point of obsession, but when it is useful. When they were little, ‘useful’ meant the early evening when they went apeshit for no apparent reason. Now, ‘useful’ means out in public rather than a stroller (my body permitting), in the house for naps sometimes, when they are sick and want cuddles, etc.

Feeding (solids) – We do Baby Led Weaning and I have NO hesitations about recommending this as a great option for anyone with a baby six months plus. Though I encourage education – it’s not just about skipping purees, it’s about your babies having choices that are respected. Gill Rapley’s book is excellent.

We chose this as we want our children to know about the real tastes and textures of food from the start. The side benefit is increased development of fine motor skills and problem solving skills. We also want them to develop healthy relationships with food and trust themselves.

We have never given a puree or spoonfed, with the exception of the babies spoonfeeding themselves yogurt or oatmeal. (And indeed, I think me spoonfeeding two babies would be a fucking nightmare.)

TMD and I are vegetarians and have no problem with either/both babies eating meat if they want, but thus far they’ve had a vegetarian (and largely vegan) diet. This is because touching meat would make TMD throw up, and because while I probably could cook it without gagging too much, I would also likely poison the babies as I do not know how to cook meat.

Milk feeds – Our milk is powdered and comes in a can, served up in a bottle. I have written about my struggles to breastfeed in this blog, but probably nothing near the truth of what it was like. I loved breastfeeding; I never had a sore nipple or anything but pleasure. That being said, it did not work. If you want to know more about why, please read this. I was tempted to cross post it here and still may do, but in the meantime click the link.

That being said, we bottlefeed in a way that mimics breastfeeding. I usually only feed one baby at a time. I always hold them. I have never prop fed. I allow them to feed on demand, and in some ways they are living a singleton type life in terms of not being pounded into tandem feeds of proscribed amounts of milk. They drink as much or as little as they choose, when they choose. This is roughly every four hours, but as they eat more, this stretches out.

Rather than dropping milk feeds (which we don’t want them to do at this young age!!) they simply spread them out. Smart. See, you can trust babies to sort themselves out in terms of food…

(though when they were newborn and there were big problems with weight and dehydration due to the aforementioned breastfeeding issues, we were on a strict schedule of needing them to eat every three hours maximum)

Education – I am fascinated by unschooling, but for TMD it is an absolute no. This is fine by me. When it is time, our kids will attend a local school – preferably one with no ties to any religion. Not that we are so attached to Buddhism that our kids can’t experience other sorts, but more than Christian values (please, I do not  mean to offend) can be intolerant, and we don’t want that for our children. You know, and their two mums.

Natural parenting – we do it. I’m not saying I am 100% clear on what that means, but for us it means trying to have a more holistic approach to things. We don’t really give medicine (though would, of course, if it were needed), and would prefer to try other stuff than dosing them up. For example: teething necklaces made from baltic amber. Say what you will, but when our kids wore them every day (there is a cumulative effect, apparently, it’s not a as-and-when type thing) they were happy. Coco’s is now missing and presumably covered in rotting yogurt, and since not using them we have red cheeks, red bottoms, more crying.

I am really a total fucking skeptic, but a total fucking skeptic who wants to believe, you know? And I would rather try to avoid seeing ignoring your baby in an outward facing stroller, spoonfeeding nightmares, and giving them baby aspirin for every little thing as the norm.

Diapers – we use disposables.  There was every plan to use cloth nappies if we were only having one baby, but along came two. We live in a climate where you can’t hang things out to dry, where it is rare to own a dryer anyway, and where we had limited floor space to air dry in the house. When they were newborn, we did three loads of laundry a day to keep up with things – cloth nappies would have been a giant, horrid nightmare. Now that diapering is changing, I am starting to consider making the switch. We’ll see. That being said, I feel little guilt (please don’t stone me) about using disposables because we are actually very very super green in all other aspects of our life.

How I am with them, in general – they make me laugh. I have never gotten angry with either of them. I am quite silly and, uh, unrestrained in my fucking weirdness – but much like people in the real world, it seems to make the babies like me more. I talk to them a lot, I make up inappropriate rap songs, etc etc. I kiss them roughly twenty million times a day, each.

I am also a worrier. I have nightmares of them stopping breathing. I try to be super relaxed about health issues, because really they are super duper healthy, but sometimes reading the blogs of less fortunate babies (and parents) terrifies me to my core.

Twin things – We started a chart in hospital to help with breastfeeding. This is a piece of paper on a clipboard, with a watch on it. We are still keeping track of every poop, every feed, and solid foods – along with notes of reactions they may have. This chart also keeps track of their meds. With two babies, it can be difficult to remember who did what when, and sometimes that is important to know.

People say I am super organized when they come over, even before they see the chart, but really – as a parent of twins, you just have to have these little extra ways to help sort things out. It’s not that I am organized or anal, it is that I have two babies.

Sticky hands – Sticky hands have always made me feel ill. I hate when my hands are el grosso. That being said, 20 minutes ago I thought nothing of sliding my thumbs along the very oozy and goopy passionfruit halves to help loosen the stuff along the bottom for the babies. BLW is making me enjoy and appreciate mess, and that is just about miraculous.

There. Did I hit everything up? How many of you did I alienate?

What it means to be a parent, and how we do it.

March 29, 2010

Been thinking about writing on a certain topic for months – since biscuit-on-a-plate lady, actually. But for now, I’m going to copy a post from my other blog (written last Thursday)  here:

The only other babywearing mama in my town (aside from my wife, of course!) came over today with her lovely baby girl. She brought along some slings for me to try – an Ocah, a Girasol shortie, and a DELICIOUS petrol fishie from Didymos. Unfortunately I was a bit sore so didn’t do too much babywearing at all, though did have Coconut up on my back  while I toted her into the kitchen and then nursery.

Let’s just say I hope said mama gets sick of the fishie because I lust for it. (Yes, Sarah, I am talking to you. Are you reading? Ha.)

I really do like being around other mamas who are into slinging their babies – and everything that may or may not come with it.

We’re talking cosleeping, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, baby led weaning, natural parenting, attachment parenting, etc etc.  I certainly don’t tick all those boxes, but I tick some of them.

What about you? I’m curious about all the people who find their way to this blog. What’s your opinion on amber teething necklaces? On how to wean your baby? What sort of diapers/nappies do you use?

What boxes do YOU tick?

I ask because people always surprise me. Someone I went to school with responded to my facebook status today, in which I mentioned that we were inadvertently becoming cosleepers (albeit not all in the same bed – we don’t fit) as the babies were going through a weird waking in the night sort of thing. She came out of the cosleeping closet and said she’d been doing it three years!

So many of our choices as parents feel right to us, yet can be frowned upon by other people. I wonder why that is. For me, my priorities aren’t to have my babies walking or talking before anyone else. I’m not really into the whole competition scene that so many people get dragged into – though I won’t lie. I sometimes wonder, ‘Why aren’t they sitting yet? When will they get teeth? Oh my god, is Coconut saying “mama” on purpose?!?!’

I care more about raising my twins to be imaginative, secure, and emotionally intelligent kids. I care more about nurturing their self-esteem than my own – which is why I love them exactly as they are, whether they walk at ten, twelve, or fifteen months. I don’t need to show off their mad rolling skillz, because honestly? Who cares??

Other mothers don’t want to hear me talk about how I am clearly raising two super geniuses, and does it do anyone any good? I want Snort & Coconut to always, always feel loved – at their very cores, not just because of things they accomplish.

So tell me. What are your priorities? What sort of parent are you? What choices are you making for yourself, your children, your family?

SPD is your friend and mine.

February 18, 2010

Last night we talked about  me getting disability benefits. Including the little blue badge that means we can park closer to things.

Why? I’ve had an acute flare up of my SPD and can’t walk.

The pain last night was worse than any level of pain I had – even during pregnancy. For those not au fait with my pregnancy exploits, I was firmly shoved into a wheelchair at 32 weeks and told I should have been in one sooner. I was on crutches from about 19 weeks, and in severe pain from about 14 weeks. Good shit.

I am going to be proactive.

I bought myself a ‘teething’ necklace because they have worked wonders for the babies. Absolute wonders. They are something bordering on magic, and it means we have no had to give medication for pain relief of teething. Yay. Snort’s eczema is also clearing because of the necklace. I admit I was very skeptical of claims regarding baltic amber, but I am now a believer. I only hope I can have similar benefits.

I called my specialist physio this morning. She’s away until next week. Left a message and said she needed to phone me back.

I then called Snort’s osteopath – he needed a final check up anyway, so we’re going in at the ass crack of dawn tomorrow to get him checked out (for his head shape). I then have booked an assessment with the woman for myself. My physio has said osteo/chiro would not help me because my pelvis was in perfect alignment, just incredibly flexible. I am hoping she was wrong and that osteopathy will help reduce the pain and increase my abilities.

I also want to start chanting again, with a focus on regaining total recovery from SPD. I realise this entry is making me sound like a fucking weirdo hippy – amber necklaces, osteopathy, chanting – but you know what? If it works, when it works, I won’t give a damn how I sound.

I’m in intense pain and unable to walk at all, but feeling fiercely determined to beat this. It’s making me almost cheerful. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go lay down because sitting up is hurting me like a motherfucker.