Thursday, May 27, 2010

Breastfeeding Photos

Katrina of Musings of a Redhead is a photographer and she's putting together a project called "At Mother's Breast" with pictures of breastfeeding children. She's in Salt Lake, so the day before our move, she took these.

I'm excited to order some! I haven't done maternity pictures yet, so we'll probably order some of these so we have breastfeeding-while-pregnant pictures at the very least. :)

If you'd like to be a part of the project, she's willing to travel an hour out of Salt Lake, but only for a short time because she's expecting in a month and a half.

This one is my favorite:
It was windy the day we took these pictures and Margaret's scared of the wind, so it was a feat to get her to smile. I like that you can see her latch in the one above: her tongue is still over her bottom teeth just like it's supposed to be. My much-darkened pregnant areola is pretty noticeable too. Such is life!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Waterbirth Question

I have a question for you waterbirthers out there:

What position did you birth in and why did you choose it?

I spent a lot of Margaret's labor on my hands and knees because it relieved the back labor. When I got to the pushing stage, I was alternating between standing and squatting to help her move down. I did lots of standing in between contractions. I was in a squat/kneeling position when she was born. There was a pause between her head and shoulders, which is normal. Contractions stopped and I gave a couple of pushes, but she didn't budge. Then at some point (next contraction, perhaps?), her shoulders turned and she came out a little more (to her belly) and then another push and she was all out.

Anyway, I've been watching youtube waterbirths and reading waterbirth stories and it surprises me how many women sit reclined in the tub. For me, that felt too much like the lithotomy position- and the times I attempted to recline just emphasized the back labor and I did NOT like that so I didn't do it. So it surprises me that people choose that position. Is it helpful? Is there a difference if a midwife is there? I ask because I have a friend who did birth in that position because her midwives wanted to be able to "see better" and she thinks her tear is because they wouldn't "let" her change positions at that point. But then there are waterbirths with no tearing in that position. I suppose it all depends on how mom and baby fit together.

So waterbirthers: hands and knees? squatting? reclined? a mix? And Why?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Inquisition Monday

I'm going to try to catch up on Inquisition Monday questions from a month ago over the next couple of weeks, so you all get another church and breastfeeding post.

K La asked, "I recently read that breasfeeding in public only recently became an issue. In the 20's and 30's it was normal for women to breastfeed in public, in front of men and in front of strangers. What changed? Do you know if the church has said anything about breastfeeding in public? Do you know if women in the church breastfed in public in the 20's and 30's?"

We'll start with what I don't know: I don't know about Church breastfeeding culture in the early twentieth century. My guess is that it probably wasn't a big deal, so there really wasn't a "culture" around it. Jennifer James has a blog through that shares photos of women breastfeeding in America in the twentieth century. As you look at the dates on the pictures, you can see that breastfeeding was pretty nonchalant early on. Then it became an issue. There are probably lots of reasons for that. I think some of the big ones are

1) Near the middle of the twentieth century (WWII, Cold War, etc) a lot of America was focused on how science has advanced us: Look! We can blow up whole cities and leave them maimed for generations! Formula was touted as a great scientific advance- and it was, considering prior to the twentieth century the choices were breastmilk or death. But now, most babies could survive on processed food and suddenly, you don't have to be lowly and dirty and breastfeed your baby like the poor people. You can feed her the best science (read: men) has to offer (which is obviously better than anything that comes from a woman.)

2) Feminism. I think feminism has been great, but some people don't. In the 20s, women were wearing shorter dresses, cutting their hair short, and acting... not like "ladies." By the time the 60s came around, in the Church, as evidenced by the new BYU Honor Code, there was emphasis on women being "ladylike" and wearing skirts and not being "wordly." Suddenly "modesty" became a theme in talks and while women used to wear sleeveless dresses to Green and Gold balls, it was now looked down upon. For a good review of how modesty has been discussed in the Church over the last half of the twentieth century click here. I think over that time, wearing sleeves and covering cleavage became a way for Mormons to separate themselves from the culture around them and emphasize their "peculiarity," to use a common LDS term.

3) As for non-Mormon culture, well, why would you "burden" yourself with breastfeeding when you can easily make a bottle? And in the meantime I think through advertising, movies, etc., women were more sexualized in order to gain some "control" over these crazy, suddenly aggressive, direct, and educated women.

There are probably lots of other reasons, but in all, it's not just Mormon culture that has an issue with breasts. It's a bigger American issue.

As for the Church, this is what I know:

In official Church publications, breast milk is mentioned as the best food for babies, breasts are "intended to nourish and comfort children," and you can see a picture of breastfeeding in the Book of Mormon Reader.

Here it is at the top left of page 31. I put the toy car in for size. The linked Internet picture is kind of small.

As for the Church's more cultural face, I've seen nativities with Mary breastfeeding the Christ Child displayed publicly in the Church History Museum. With further inspection, I learned that the nativities on display that year were lent to the Church by Walter Whipple, a professor at BYU for display over the 2008 Christmas season. I've also read (can't find the link- sorry) that the Salt Lake temple used to display a painting which depicted breastfeeding. I've also been told that the Cardston, Alberta Temple displays a painting which has breastfeeding women as part of a crowd of people around Christ. I've looked for a link to a print for that, but haven't found one. If anyone in Alberta has a chance to find that picture and send me the artist or title of the painting, I'd be very interested in that! *****

So, as far as doctrinally and how the Church presents itself, it is very breastfeeding friendly. Issues with breastfeeding are issues with individual members, not the Church. I don't believe the Church has ever made a statement about breastfeeding, and I don't believe they will- and not for lack of asking on my part and many other moms I know. I really wish they would because fear of breastfeeding in Church is something many LDS moms have confided in me about. And I believe fear of public breastfeeding does contribute to early weaning. I think babies and toddlers can feel their mom's anxiety about it and will stop because of it. I also think a mom's anxiety about breastfeeding in front of family, friends, or strangers will lead her to push nursing sessions further and further apart until weaning just happens.

I think it would be an interesting project to gather up information about breastfeeding in the Church in the 1800s and early 1900s, though I don't know if much would be found. Maybe it'll be something I tackle one of these days.

****Mallory, in the comments found this link to the image (titled 3 Nephi Chapter 18- it's the fifth one down), but it's really small and you can't really see anything. I tried to find a larger picture online, but couldn't.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Anger Management

Despite being pregnant, I've had amazing patience with Margaret and nursing her through the teething. By some miracle, my nipples haven't been very painful the past two days. I still like having my breasts to myself occasionally, though. So this morning, after Margaret nursed from both sides a couple of times and wanted to switch sides yet again, I insisted that right now these are Mommy's breasts and she can have some later.

She did not like this at all. She tugged on my shirt and I repeated, "Mommy's breast. Margaret can have a turn later." So she started slapping my chest. It wasn't painful slapping, but I thought it probably should be re-directed, so I tried to give her words and show her an appropriate way to express her anger.

"You're mad at Mommy. You can hit this pillow, but not Mommy."

I then demonstrated by slapping the pillow in the same way she was slapping me.

She looked at me incredulously, then patted the pillow while whispering, "Soft."

My reaction? Laughter. Apparently she has been paying attention when we ask her to be soft.

My post was featured in the Gentle Discipline Fair!
Visit to see the monthly fairs and other great Gentle Discipline resources.

Gentle Parent - art by Erika Hastings at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mini Life Update

I was going to do a How to UC/UP post today, but yesterday was so crazy I didn't have time to get a video done.

You see, Margaret is STILL teething. Still. These molars will give her a break for a week or a few days and then try to come in at full force. Yesterday was probably the worst day. When she woke up, she felt warm to me, but not overly warm, so I figured it was just the blankets. She was very tired all day and insisted on going to bed a few times. We did go to LLL and she was clingy there until the end when she insisted on going home, but also insisted on not going towards the car. Screaming ensued the entire two block walk to the car. She fell asleep in the car, only to be woken up in my attempt to bring her inside

She refused food and drink except for the breast all day. Her fever stayed low (around 101), but was present. Clingy, nursing, feverish child. I tried everything to get her to eat and drink. While I know she was getting some colostrum from me, that's not enough for a 2 year old. I knew she was dehydrated because at 2:30, I realized she hadn't peed since she woke up in the morning. At one point, she relented to eating yogurt. As for drink, I tried everything- even getting out the bendy straws to make it more appealing; this caused more frustration because the straws wouldn't stand in whatever position she expected it to. In the end, I had to spoon-feed her water to get her to drink.

She wasn't contagious or anything, just feverish from the swelling in her mouth. Today she is her usual self and the fever is gone, but the teeth are still not through.

So I didn't film my vlog for today. What I did learn yesterday is that if her teeth aren't all in before the baby comes, I might go mad. I had to hold her every minute of the afternoon to help her sleep and nurse her. When McKay came home, he was able to give me some by myself time, which was wonderful. But I can't take care of a newborn AND a clingy 2 year old. I can't. This is why we're looking into postpartum doulas. Margaret isn't like this every day or even on any regular basis, but with the chance she'll have days like this in the future, I'm calling in reinforcements.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Year of No 'Poo

**Your regularly scheduled Inquisition Monday will return next week!**

It has been one year since I have used shampoo on a regular basis. At first, my hair was a greasy greasy mess. It's now much more manageable. Well, either that or I've just gotten used to the greasy mess.

Over the course of the year I have used shampoo about 5 times- mostly when I went to go get my hair done. Going from washing with shampoo daily to every couple of months or so has definitely cut down on my plastic bottle usage. In fact, I'm currently using a small glass jelly jar to hold my baking soda, so at least in that arena, there's no more plastic at all. I am still using a plastic spray bottle for the vinegar solution, though. Overall, I'm feeling much better about my hair's carbon footprint.

My routine depends on how my hair is feeling. I probably wash my hair every 2-5 days depending on how I'm feeling. Sometimes I only use baking soda, sometimes I only use vinegar, sometimes I use both, and sometimes neither. I think cutting it short has really helped me keep my hair under control. I'm currently growing it out to my ears, but I probably won't let it go longer than that. I like the ease of having short hair and McKay likes the neck access.

My biggest problem with No 'Poo was our hard water in Utah. Utah has some of America's hardest water. California's water is much softer. We've only been here for a couple of weeks, but I'm curious to see how the softer water will affect my hair as time progresses. I'm hoping to have less buildup and so I won't need to wash it as often. I've already noticed that I can go longer without washing my hair.

Margaret is also a No 'Poo-er, but I do use shampoo on her every couple of months just like my hair. I've found that the vinegar spray is a pretty good detangler for her crazy toddler hair.

Here we are yesterday. I wish I had her hair! So perfect!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What Self-Care is like

Except for the round ligament pain, this pregnancy has been pretty smooth sailing. This week, however, I've had to do a little bit of "extra" self-care.

On Sunday I noticed that my ankles were swelling a little bit. I was still able to wear my wedding rings and it didn't hurt, so I didn't do anything.

Monday they were still swollen. I could still wear my rings, but since I never had ANY swelling with Margaret, I figured I should do something. So I peed in a cup and tested my urine.

Everything was fine. I was expecting to see protein show up, but nope. What did this mean? It meant I was was having regular pregnancy swelling. Strangely enough, just like spilling protein in your urine means you need more protein in your diet, retaining water means you need more water. So I increased my water intake. I also made a more dedicated effort to exercise. And the next day? The swelling was gone.

I have had swelling since then, but I'm pretty sure it's because my dedication to exercise didn't last all week. It was really chilly yesterday!

So that's a mini look at what doing your own prenatal care is sort of like: you notice a problem, determine how big of a deal the problem is and attempt to fix it with diet/exercise/water. If the problem is persistant, you can get help if you feel you need it. Because my swelling was minimal (just my ankles and usually only in the evening) there wasn't a need to do much. I just need to keep up with a consistant exercise routine and drink my water.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Real Food

"I'd like to bear my testimony. I know real food is true."

So this move has taught me a lot and one of the most important lessons has been: it's worth it to pay the extra to have nice food.

We "moved" into our apartment two Fridays ago. It was just us and we couldn't unload the van, so we slept on an air mattress. We ate some food storage. Saturday we unloaded the van and Sunday we went to church. All through the weekend, we lived on leftovers from our food storage meal. Monday morning, I set out to find a post office by driving aimlessly around the neighborhood (the lot of people without GPS, Internet, or a decent phone book). Unfortunately, I never did find a post office, but I ran into a grocery store and decided we needed food.

Because we had just spent money on a moving truck, gas to get two vehicles across Nevada, and paid rent plus the deposit the weekend before, I decided, "Just this once, I'll just buy the cheap stuff so we can live until we get the Internet and I can find a real store."

So that's what I did. And I regretted it.

First, the produce was HUGE. While that's supposedly a sign of our wealth as Americans, I saw it as a "This produce was genetically modified and doused in chemicals to make you want it" guarantee. Yes, we are in California and the produce is supposed to be awesome, but this was way beyond that. This food was on steroids.

Second, the eggs. I'm used to buying happy cage-free eggs. I went with the hens-smashed-up-against-each-other kind this time. When we brought them home and cooked them up, it was immediately noticeable that they just don't taste as good as eggs from happier chickens.

Third, the meat. I can't tell you the last time my ground beef had so much grease. Yes, we tried to strain it out, but it was impossible to get it all. And I got a stomach ache from it.

Fourth, the yogurt. Margaret loves yogurt. We usually buy yogurt with few ingredients. In fact, I forgot that the cheap yogurt had HFCS and Red #40. I brought it home before I realized this. It didn't even have real fruit, just fruit juice. If you've made the effort to juice the fruit, just put the fruit in! Of course Margaret was so excited to have yogurt, that I relented and let her have some. And if I thought teething and moving were a bad combination before- well, it just got 100 times worse. Never again. Plus, it tasted gross and not like yogurt at all.

Fifth, I don't think I've ever been in a store with so many Nestle products before. And it's not that there were lots of Nestle, but that Nestle was the only choice. While walking down the baking goods aisle (we needed flour), I noticed there were 2 brands of chocolate chips: Nestle and the store brand. And there were 5 kinds of Nestle chips; I had to really search to find the store brand. I didn't buy either because at this point, I was upset at both Nestle AND this store.

Never shopping there again. Yesterday I went to a different store. None of the yogurts had Red #40. The organic produce section was huge. The eggs and meat came from animals that could actually walk- and did! And you could find fair trade options for the organic produce- something that Utah rarely had.

There's a farmer's market not too far from our house and there's a CSA that drops food off at Pixar. I'm very excited to eat real local food in the future. It tastes better. It's just better. Yes, I spent twice our grocery budget yesterday, but it was worth it. It's worth it to have good food for Margaret. And to have good food for my pregnancy; the extra that we're paying in groceries makes up for the fact that I don't have $300 ultrasounds or office visits. Eating good food does more for my pregnancy than an ultrasound ever would.

So yes, I believe in real food. It's yummy. Amen.

Written after having happy eggs, happy yogurt, and happy bananas for breakfast.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to UC: Blood Loss

Even if you give birth in the biggest, baddest hospital in the world, no one is sitting there at your vagina with a beaker to measure your blood loss. How do you know how to an educated estimate of blood loss? By practice! Don't worry, you don't have to bleed yourself to death to find out how much is "too much." You just need some liquid.

My demonstration is limited in that I just used water with food coloring. This means my "blood" is very translucent and not very thick. Real blood is VERY red and you can't see through it, so it looks like there is more than there is. Also, because my "blood" here is very thin, it spreads out differently than real blood would. There are ways to make your experimental blood thicker. You can use a corn syrup base to make it thicker and add some milk to make it more opaque. I would have done that, but I didn't have a chance to get to the store for corn syrup.

The first picture is 2 cups of "blood," or about 500 cc. This is how much blood a 100+ pound person can donate every 8 weeks. In general, a healthy, 100+ pound person can give up 2 cups of blood, drink a few glasses of juice and eat some cookies and then drive home without any lasting side-effects. You probably could stand to lose some more before actually passing out. Before I got pregnant this time, I was donating every 8 weeks in addition to regularly (every 2-3 hours) nursing Margaret. I've been giving blood for a few years now and the only time I got close to fainting was when I donated at 9 in the morning. Sure, I had a large breakfast, but it didn't really have time to digest and get into my system before I gave blood. Still, I didn't faint, but I did have to down a lot of fluids. Obviously, some people can handle more or less blood loss with different effects. Many sources consider the loss of 500 cc of blood to be hemorrhaging, but I'm not sure if I would consider that hemorrhaging for myself since according to that measurement, while not pregnant, I "hemorrhage" every 8 weeks for the American Red Cross.

Below is 4 cups of "blood" or approximately 1000 cc. This is what is considered severe hemorrhage after giving birth. While you are pregnant, your blood volume increases by up to 50%. So you can probably loose an extra 50% of blood in addition to the original 2 cups (or 3 cups total) without much problem. As above, some people can handle different amounts of blood loss with different effects. Because I have regularly given blood in the past with no loss of consciousness, I feel safe in guessing that I can probably lose 3-4 cups of blood while giving birth, given that I get juice and cookies afterwards, of course. After that, I would consider the blood loss to be severe hemorrhaging. But you really should go by how you feel and make sure you keep eating and drinking through labor. It's easy to forget that.

This is 4 cups of "blood" in our bathtub. If you'd like, imagine some splashed on towels outside of the tub. Liquid can definitely spread itself around and still look like a lot. And remember, this isn't as thick or as dark as blood really looks like. Equivalent blood loss would probably look a lot more alarming.

Watch me pour 4 cups! This time I didn't have the bathtub stopped up because I forgot.


This is where I'll give birth. This was actually one of our "pros" in renting this apartment. The other one we liked really didn't have a place for birthing.

Now, as almost every parent knows, you can give a child a half cup of water, or a quarter cup, or even an eighth cup, and somehow it gets everywhere and on everything. Here is 4 cups of "blood" on our floor. It's green because I didn't want to ruin any of our towels and we happen to have a green towel. Some has already been soaked up by the towel because I wanted to stop it from spreading to the baseboards and getting under the wall and such. I should have started pouring the "blood" from further away so you could get a better idea. Also, if I were to dip my foot in it and walk on a towel or chux pad, you'd be able to see that a little bit of "blood" goes a long way in looking like you killed 2 or 3 alien goats in your kitchen.

To prevent hemorrhaging, I'm currently taking liquid chlorophyll. As I near my due season, I'll add floravital to my routine to build my blood supply and iron levels. I may eat a piece of placenta at the actual birth if I feel it is needed. There are also herbs you can take. I've read contradictory things about cayenne. It's good for treating shock, but I don't think it's effective for stopping excessive bleeding.

And since I mentioned shock, let's talk about that. I, personally, think it's a good idea to treat a woman who just gave birth for shock. Get out your first aid book and a blanket and elevate those legs! Shock occurs after lots of blood loss. We actually treated me for shock after I had Margaret. While I didn't lie down with my feet elevated (I wanted to encourage the placenta to come out), I sat down on the couch and Margaret and I were under a blanket to preserve body heat. After all, you spend 9 months with an extra heater in your abdomen and suddenly- it's not there anymore! Now you've got to heat yourself by your own lonesome again. Once the placenta was out and examined, I took some cayenne for shock and drank fluids (grape juice, electrolyte drinks, and split pea soup in my case). I needed the salty soup and electrolytes to balance out the water in the juice. I probably could have lied down once the placenta was out, but I was just so oxytocin-ed up that I didn't want to.

I'd definitely recommend doing this blood splash experiment at home. Just give your toddler 2 cups of water and see how far it travels. Plus you'll have a better idea of what 4 cups looks like than what you get in my pictures.

If you are a member of Laura Shanley's unassisted birth forums, there's a thread of similar pictures where someone used a thicker concoction with corn syrup and milk and also added chux pads into the mix. It's probably much more informative than my post.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

These are the last two pictures of us in Provo. Our batteries died right after taking them, so we weren't able to make them look better. As you see, I was all ready to go to San Francisco: flowers in my hair and everything.

This is Margaret nursing for the last time where she took her first breath and nursed for the first time. And I'm all slouched and stuff because it's hard to be pregnant and nurse a two year old on the floor at the same time.

Friday, May 07, 2010


Hi I'm back.

I started off at 1000+ items behind in my google reader, and I'm down to 337. If I don't comment on your awesome blog posts from this last week, forgive me.

In the words of Inigo Montoya-

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Our trip was long and intensive. I might blog about it or just leave all the details for your imaginations. It included snow chains in the Sierras, staying a night in San Francisco (very nice place!) and finding an apartment in 2 days. I spent the last 6 days unpacking, cleaning and sitting around for Internet. We called the ISP last Saturday and they couldn't come out until today! They don't deserve the $99 installation fee.

Still on my list of things to do:
Buy a couch.
And a desk.
And a set of table and chairs for the kitchen (we've been using a cardboard moving box).
And a bike for McKay.
Get Margaret into a routine again.
With library story time, perhaps?
And a regular playgroup?
Join a CSA (sadly, we don't have a yard)
Get a new driver's license and register to vote in CA.
Register the car
Get car/renter's insurance out here.
Get health insurance.
Balance the checkbook (eek).
Buy a bigger car seat for Margaret so the baby can have hers.
Check out that yarn store 2 blocks away! (Yipee!)
Prepare for the baby.
Blog a few posts that have been sitting in my head for the past week.

Oh- and I just discovered that people consider 36 weeks to be 9 months*. I always went off the actual months. Margaret's "due date" was March 8, so I was 9 months on March 8, 8 months on February 8, 7 months on January 8, etc. Have I been doing it wrong? Was I pregnant for almost 11 months with Margaret, then? That doesn't make any sense to me. Of course, this is all null and void for this pregnancy with the seasons. :) Good-bye confusing months!

*I'm not 36 weeks, btw. That would put this baby due BEFORE the solstice and this baby is due in the summer, which is clearly AFTER the solstice.