This has been a really rough few weeks. Oh Lordy! I cannot begin to describe it. But as is usual, I would prefer to express myself in a different way anyhow. Even when the days are drag-down beat-up days, there is still so much I am thankful for.
Let me tell you, let me count the ways; My Boy is so unique and so particularly mine:
My boy is giggly, wiggly, snuggly and bright.
He has joy in his eyes, a spark of wonder–and light.
He can make me smile, even on the darkest day.
I couldn’t have imagined him, couldn’t have drawn him in a more perfect way.
He was designed, formed, planned.
He was created and molded. Gently, carefully by hand.
The days that get rough, days I can’t sleep…
The days I feel weak, like I’ll break down and weep…
On days when the house is a mess, the dog ran away…
Dinner was ruined and I’ve got nothing to say…
I remember the care that first brought him to life, I remember the joy as he first cried and cooed.
I recall how I gazed on his features and form.
His soft skin, his sweet face. How he smelled, looked–I was wooed!
I quickly realized my blessings and cards had been dealt– my new title of “Mom,” made me totally melt.
I would fall in love–such a love-laced heart attack!
Once you enter the world of a mother, you never once look back.
My Boy, you have changed me–because you are mine.
I am never going to be the same as I was, and that’s really just fine.
All my love,
I stumbled on the word “Lactivism” a few months ago, and I loved it instantly.
I am and always will be an activist at heart: the champion of my causes to the grave. I care about mothers and babies and breastfeeding, I care about unborn babies. I care about animals, everyone’s right to eat nutritious and wholesome food, and I also care about education and healthcare, as well as natural remedies and our bodies’ awesome abilities to heal themselves. I strongly believe in protecting God’s green Earth and it’s wonderful bounty! If we were being super thorough, I’d have to keep listing more and more topics because my interests and passions are extensive. But these are the main ones.
There are ways to be an activist, and there are many styles of it. Not all of them work extraordinarily well; not all of them are suited to every person–or will appeal in the least to them.
Since I care deeply about mamas and their young, I care deeply about how they are treated and the rights that they have. I want to be someone they can turn to, a voice in the silence when they think nobody else is thinking about what their mind’s eye is on. I want to be an arm outstretched and a comforting person. BUT I have to know when someone is interested in having me fit that role for them. This goes for breastfeeding. Come on, we all KNOW “Breast Is Best.” Every new mother knows that its what she should do–it’s constantly discussed and held up high, and we all realize that it provides a vast amount of benefits. Unless they are under a rock, they know that breastfeeding is strongly encouraged. But some mamas have a very hard time with it, and some ladies have experiences that make it excruciatingly difficult to breastfeed. As a lactivist, I must know this, own it, and see it for the truth that it is. Not every woman is going to be able to do it.
HOWEVER: I see this, and I have heard other women’s stories, grieved with them that they were unable to do what they had hoped for their little ones. Kind of like what happened to me with my would-be natural waterbirth. I know that their babies are still going to be vibrant and healthy thanks to God’s grace and provision. But I will always practice gentle lactivism. I try not to be in anyone’s face about it. I try to use my actions more than my words in order to practice what I believe in, but not step on other mothers’ sensitive and already possibly wounded spirits. I compare it to my belief in Christ, and my walk with Him. Untold numbers of people have been hurt by the church (myself included) and do not want to hear me preaching to them. They don’t want to hear about Christ or what I have been through and how He’s led and loved me. But they will see it as I live my life, and that speaks volumes more than I ever can with my voice.
So what do I do to practice my gentle brand of lactivism? I make sure everyone knows that I breastfeed. I am not shy about it, and I am vocal when August needs a meal! I will say, “I’m going to give August a nursing!” to my husband within anyone’s earshot. I blog about it (like I’m doing now) and talk about it openly and let people know how well it’s going for me! I have had friends without kids ask me about it, ask if it hurts, etc. I am super honest and open with them, and no questions are off-limits when they are curious and want to know. Too few mothers and matriarchs are leading the young women they are surrounded by, and I won’t do that. I want to show other women what is working for me, so that they have something to go off of when they need to know what will work for them. What I do know about my experience is that I did a TON of reading and researching before I actually had to breastfeed my guy when he was born. I knew the possibilities of what could go wrong, and what I could do to try to counteract them. I read really positive stories about women and their great nursing experiences. I tried to beef myself up on facts and good experiences, because it seems our culture only talks loudly about the bad ones (in every area of life, not just bf-ing)and that can be SO hard for a new mom! I felt the sting of so many women who had wanted to tell me their sob stories and angry stories starting out, and that is NOT appropriate to do to a new or pregnant mom. Seriously, quit it folks–know when to share and when to keep it to yourself. I turned my ears off in many instances and asked the Lord to protect me from their negative effects.
Another way I try to be available to new and expectant ladies is this: I will nurse in public to a certain degree, and have even recently nursed with a man nearby (successfully & discreetly!) and without exposing myself. I was pretty proud–if my baby needs to eat, he’s not going to have to wait until a convenient time! I get grouchy if I can’t have a snack when I need one. Haha. But that’s half the solution. Our culture has so wounded women by sexualizing them on nearly every level, and boobs are included. The breast is a FASCINATING, AMAZING functional part of every woman’s anatomy, and the capable and useful feeling of feeding your child with your own body is even more amazing. Our country in particular has robbed women of this, and we need to take back what’s rightfully ours. We need to be free of the notion that we are hussies, sluts, or whatever other horrible term people will throw at you when you’re breastfeeding in a way that someone else might have an inkling of what you’re up to. The gentle, sweet, and so-perfect act of nursing your little one is so far from the sexualized mindset–I believe so many are not able to understand the place it even comes from. They only see a woman for that side of things, and so they will have a hard time with it.
So, gentle lactivism in my book is one part actions speaking louder than words, one part not being afraid to tell people about my experiences when they are curious, and one part counter-cultural confidence about my feeding my son, and how very right it is.
I thought I would share my view on this, because I think so many women can relate or understand or learn from it. I’m sure we’ve all been given “the talk” on numerous subjects dealing with childrearing and pregnancy–from some wise lady who wants to tell you what’s up. I had numerous women try to do that with me during my pregnancy and I just wasn’t up for it. They were people who I didn’t know very well, and they were quite invasive. So I wanted to share how I go about being passionate with this topic, but not insensitive to others.
All my love,
I love to post photo memories. They capture the emotions, moments, and thoughts so much better than my words–and better yet, they grab hold of a second in my baby’s life and keep it for me for all time. Lately we’ve been doing so much growing, but not so much physically as mentally, emotionally, those little nuances. Things he’s picking up on that we’re always surprised with. August’s got himself crawling, albeit somewhat awkwardly but still pretty effectively. Today he also sat up for the first time spontaneously and without help! What a miracle development is. Truly–one second I’m like, “This will take forever for him to learn! I can’t imagine it happening..” the next my jaw is on the floor & he’s mastered a new skill already. It’s just incredible. From me to you, some of the many faces my little one’s picked up on the way–and I have to say, I’m super proud of my little handsome sweetheart. Within these photos are his surprise, curiosity, concentration, sweetness, playfulness and the list goes on. And really…How kissable are those cheeks!!?
All my love,
I hate to do laundry. My husband & I both mostly hate it, actually. It’s so nice to have those fresh clean clothes, but hanging them up to dry, sorting them, etc… it’s all so mundane. Slow going & not instantly satisfying, as maybe we’d like it to be once in awhile if we’re being honest. So, this post isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense at first! Why in heavens name would we choose to do cloth– when our little one arrived– if we didn’t LOVE laundry!? Well, i’ll give you some tips: We aren’t perfect about it. Nothing is perfect about cloth diapering in our household. And I’m not really OCD about a lot of things, so I suppose it would be more annoying to me if I were, but we’ll get to all of that. A BIG disclaimer: We’re still learning as we go. We like to do that a lot around our house, and I’m aware that it may sound slapdash but it’s how we live. If we find better ways of doing things, we’ll adapt, but this is whats working now. It’s definitely not perfect, and it’s probably wrong in some ways (if you have a way that works better, please let me know!) but too bad. : ) The reason I’m dedicating a post to this topic is because of the few people who have inquired about our CDing methods. Here’s our down-low! Hooray!
Why did we choose to cloth diaper?
At first, the environment.
Here we go. Weeeee! Well, we did a ton of research. In the beginning, we were considering the environment. We aren’t often afraid of being different because we want to create some positive change, so we thought it would be a great idea to do this for the environment. Upon further investigation, hubby discovered that CDs aren’t really that much better for the environment. They are still using up energy when they are manufactured. They still go in landfills–maybe in a delayed way, but they still do. The manufacturing process still uses chemicals, unless you’re a lucky one who has all organic diapers. So, it turned out that they aren’t too much better for mama earth afterall–UNLESS you choose to purchase used ones. Yippee, right?! Buying used is always one of my favorite things, no matter the bad rap people give it. When items have a second or third go-around, it’s great for the earth & for my pocketbook. Total win-win. So, with that said, many of our cloth diapers are not second-hand, because family & friends are amazing & they blessed us a LOT! But, now that August is getting to be quite a bit bigger than his little cute newborn diapers, it’s time to purchase new things… so I’m going the used route on many of them. Awesome. I get to give mama earth a big high five, and keep some change while I’m at it. There are many other reasons (such as comfort, decreased chemical exposure, etc.) why we cloth diaper now, but this was the biggie for our fam.
What the heck?! We have to do WHAT?!
Realizing that CDing ain’t all glitz & glamour.
So as I was contemplating CDing, and as hubby was reading an article about CDing, we realized nearly simultaneously that you have to fling poo. Not only do you fling it (as happens often in the diapering world anyhow, no matter what)–but according to many resources, you must “spray it” or fling it over the toilet. No can do, we said. The buck stopped there. We’re going to do WHAT after our baby does WHAT?! Okay… so this was before he was born, and little did we know how much of this stuff was actually going to be all over us at certain points of the day. However, we still don’t like the idea of trying to spray off everything and get the poo out in order to keep diapers way more stain-free & maintain their long lives. Our solution? It may gross you out, but I don’t mind. I am not big on stain removal for diapers. Who is going to be inspecting the inside of my baby’s prefold or FuzzyBunz anyhow? Probably just me & hubs. So on that note, we simply toss the diaper in the wet/dry bag (which are ADORABLE, by the way, we buy the Planet Wise ones, and we have yet to complain about them in three months or so) and then wash. The wash is a bit intense, but I’ll explain. I do have to add that the prefolds we use to get to looking pretty gross even when they’re clean, and I don’t like bleach, so I sun bleach them. This works really well for me–especially if I wet them down before sunning them! So there you have it, our dirty secret. We don’t spray our poo!
SunnyBuns. DiaperDelights. Fuzzy-something or others. Weird names & too many options! What do I do!?
Tons of options. Tons of features. Choose a few.
We have a stash of a few different kinds of diapers, which you see featured here:
From left to right; (older version) Fuzzy Bunz, Econobum, Thirsties, Flip. How many times can you say that fast?! There are a million gazillion types of CD’s, and it was all so annoying and overwhelming. From what I can tell, they all have things that I enjoy and they also have their downfalls, kind of like most disposables. I enjoy the easy quick use of the Fuzzy Buns, because they have an insert that you stick into the diaper (there is a pocket) and bam–you put it on just like a normal diaper. This one is great to use if you would like your babysitter or family members to use CD’s while watching them. The Flip also uses an insert-type microfiber piece. Both of these are very stain resistent from what I’ve seen, so if you’re big on that–these would be great. The Econobum & Thirsties are both pretty awesome–I love the leg gussets (little things on the sides of the legs to hold the prefold diaper in) on the Thirsties, and the Econobum is very form fitting because the whole diaper is stretchy and so fits to baby.
So what do you buy? I have really appreciated having a variety, and I don’t think you’re going to know what will work until you can try it on your baby. Every babys bod is different, every baby changes differently as they grow. Some were better when he was smaller, others are better now that his little chubby frame has filled out some more. Don’t be scared to do something new. Ask a pal if they have some you can try until you figure out what works. Go with it.
How did you say I wash them??
Tons of methods, once again.
We use Tide. Dye Free, Fragrance Free. I also create my own detergent for our clothes that uses Dr. Bronners, which I got from Passionate Homemaking, but it isn’t enough for the CD’s. Those need the strong stuff to get all the smell out. But lots of people try lots of things, there are even things like Rockin’ Green Detergent that are made especially for CD’s! Amazing. So this is what I do:
1. We wait until we get quite a few dirty ones. 3-4 days, probably, or a little more. Like I said, I’m not OCD!
2. We toss ‘em into the washer, making sure there are no bioliners (liners that help to soak up excess moisture & keep baby’s bum dry, but flushable) or wipes (we use both disposable & cloth wipes!) in the diapers. No biggie if there are, but it can be a pain.
3. We do a cold rinse.
4. We do a hot wash, using tide.
5. We do a hot rinse.
6. We line dry what we can, warm dryer the Fuzzy Bunz & others that specify to use the dryer. We always put our prefolds in the dryer because it helps them to stay absorbent and fluffy. Line drying covers like Thirsties, Flips, & Econobums helps to maintain more life in them.
So that is our basic plan. It is subject to all kinds of changes great and small, and I’m always open to trying a new kind of diaper if it seems to have an advantage. Hopefully this is helpful, and hopefully you think it’s a lot more do-able. Trust me, I thought we were crazy when we were first starting out. Mostly because it seemed like we were in over our heads, and learning all sorts of new things with our first baby. But once you dip your toes in and get comfy, it’s really not too bad!
Oh Yeah… One more thing.
A thought about polarized living:
I know it, you know it. We’ve all seen it. The mom who is a total nazi about breastfeeding–one ounce of formula, ever, for any reason, and your child is screwed (in her eyes)! You must ONLY breastfeed! She doesn’t care what your circumstances are. Or… The family who frowns upon others because they don’t have the best of everything, or the newest gadget with an apple emblem. One old lappy & you’re not cool anymore! There are also the cloth diaper Joneses, and I’m not keeping up with them. One little disposable & you’re a horrible person! They see your child at church wearing a disposable diaper, and they ask you, “But I though you were Cloth Diapering!” Yes.. we are… and he’s wearing a disposable right now. We’re all about being flexible with how we do it, though I really do try to use cloth diapers when I am able. When August goes to his babysitter’s twice a week, there are usually some CD’s in his bag (if we have clean ones) but always disposables. If we’re running late, we’ll grab them. Life calls for being able to change plans, and disposables are always a great backup. We’re big advocates for doing what works. Right now, we often use disposables at night because they just seem to hold more long term (and at night, he mostly just pees a lot). I’m sorry but I’m not going to wake my child from a deep, peaceful slumber because his diaper needs to be changed–so we put him in a disposable. Do what works for you, and remember that others are doing the same most of the time. Sometimes, we just can’t keep up with doing it all, all of the time.
Here are a few resources that might help:
PLUS: Babies look SO cute in cloth! Let me know if I didn’t cover something that you were dying to know, and if you have any burning questions.
I’ve been away, but now I’m back! Time is but a breeze that blows past me these days. Did I really just do another Friday Photo Shoot with my baby?! It feels like I just wrapped one up yesterday– these weeks just go in the blink of an eye! Since he was very small, I’ve tried to make it a habit to do these mini sessions with him, to capture his minute changes, or his huge changes, as they come. It’s been great to have that reminder in my brain, “Oh, it’s Friday! Time for photos with my baby!” And oh, do I ever love taking photos of him. He’s so photogenic, and he seems to know that the camera is there to capture little pieces of his life. Love it. Here he is, my handsome little charmer at 15 weeks!
Oh dear, what a long time it has been. We feel like time moves so much more quickly now that we have a little one among us. Months feel like weeks. Weeks feel like days. And so it goes. Today was a good day. It started off fairly beautifully, with our little man smiling and laughing and cooing. He is amazing us around every corner, making us smile and laugh with joy at each turn. He has these mornings now where he wakes up, eats a good breakfast, and then just contentedly looks around his world and enjoys being with his Mommy & Daddy. He lies between us and smiles, and we just soak it up. At the difficult moments of my days, it’s a special blessing to think back to the morning (however long ago and far away it may seem) and smile at our moments with one another.
So this morning was one of those sweet, sweet mornings, and then it took a turn for the unexpected. Troy was leaving for work, and he was going out the door when he said to me, “Honey, come here… look.” I was a little scared to see what it would be–he had a tone that I don’t often hear. A bit of hesitation, a bit of worry. He grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the door, and what I saw amazed me: A little bunny. Tiny. Just a hint of a rabbit, really. It was lying on our doormat, still as could be, with its eyes closed and ears flattened. We’d never seen a baby rabbit so small, and so very vulnerable. I’m sure a chord was struck within me, having just birthed my own little tiny one. I wanted to help it, wanted to do something for it. So my hubs had to go to work, and he said, “Will you take care of it?!” With the hope I saw in his eyes, how could I not?
I checked around, and eventually after speaking to a few people (via the web, and phone) I finally was advised to take the baby inside because of the ridiculous heat. I did that, and was glad I did because he was looking even more small and tired than the last time I had checked on him. I put our dogs and cat away (who knows… you just can’t be too safe with something like this!) and brought Jack into the house and placed him gently in the bottom of a big rubbermaid with a warm tee-shirt.
I wondered and thought about what would happen to sweet Jack, took a few photos and a video, and then imagined myself nursing him with a tiny little syringe full of “kitten milk,” the pet formula the vet had suggested I purchase. I was terrified, thinking of how I know so little about baby bunnies, and worried to have such a small life on my hands without any knowledge of his needs. Thankfully, I did not have to go through that scenario because I was given the number of a wildlife rehab person in the area. I drove Jack out to her, and handed him over carefully. Whew. What a relief to give him to a professional–someone who knew what he needed! Someone who wouldn’t screw him up with their well-intentioned mistakes (like perhaps, I could have). In those moments, I am reminded of motherhood and mothering: I try and try to know everything I can about my baby, but in the end I have to give him over to the One who is so much bigger, who knows him inside and out. Something I never can do, no matter what. I will never know him as much as his Creator does. Something no mother can do all the way for their baby, no matter how good a mother they are. Whether you’re great at mothering or you’re the most uncertain mother on the planet, God will be a better mother than you are. Comforting thoughts to me, at least. I’d rather know that He is in control of all of that, anyway. Amazing how a tiny bunny can change my life and remind me of God’s goodness. And God knows more than Karp, or Brazelton, or Spock. Especially Spock. Ha!
So, after all of that excitement and life-saving, I was pretty pooped by around 1 o’clock. I was so thankful that my mom had asked me what my plans were for the day, because I really needed some babying. Do you have those days when you need to be taken care of? Most of us would hate to admit it, but you know–it’s so freeing when you finally do. When you sink into the arms of a friend or loved one who understands and cares for you, there is nothing better than hanging up your pride and your big girl pants, and deciding to be vulnerable and allowing them to comfort you.
As a mom, I want to wear my big girl pants often–of course! But there is still a time and place for them to take a rest. I digress. Anyhow, boy am I thankful for my family. There are always ups and downs with family, but you love them just the same. And may I say that they love me just the same, and I am so glad. Mom & I got to have quality time, and she got to have some baby time, too. She loved on him, read to him, and talked to him so much. It brought tears to my eyes to see her enjoying her grandson. My dad was completely enchanted by his grandson, too, and I got to glimpse a bit of what his own fatherhood of myself and my brother must have been like. He kept saying, “What a beautiful baby you are! Did you know? You’re so very handsome.” What a great father. I have been blessed and gifted with two wonderful parents. Mom & I looked at some baby photos of my brother, and I reached into the past with my imagination. How time changes everything. Furthermore, Mom got out my baby diary that she’d lovingly kept, and made us both laugh until we had tears in our eyes because of the hilarity of it all. Would you believe that I was a biter?! And a baby-hitter?! How could I do such things??!!! But I suppose that’s another story for another book.
So I will end this here, and call it a night. Though I know you want to know so badly why I hit a baby when I was two years old.