Tuesday, March 1, 2011

building strength, courage and conviction

every day, i'm building stength, courage and conviction (with the help of my "village").  and i hope to begin to think of every day and every situation as an opportunity to learn and, when appropriate, to pass on the knowledge that i gain.

at this point, i feel i should issue a bit of a warning about the blog topic that follows.  this is something that i am very passionate about and while i'm sure there are many who disagree with my opinions, i believe them to be right for us.  if they are not right for you, i respect that.  please do the same for me.

before 2008, i never really thought of myself as a person who questioned authority (though, i suppose my stepfather would disagree with that statement) or looked for the alternative approach.  i think that it all started when a friend of mine introduced me to the film, "the business of being born" (http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/).  i wasn't pregnant at the time, nor was pregnancy really on my mind.  but, i watched it anyway and i'm pretty sure right then and there my life changed.  there it was, in my face...western medicine isn't always necessary. though, i still appreciate it for the times that it is, there are alternatives.

ironically, within a few months, i was pregnant.  :)  i knew immediately that i wanted whatever that "something else" was.  i flipped open our laptop and "googled" midwives in the santa monica area.  cue "sacred entrance" (now called "the sanctuary birth and family wellness center" - http://birthsanctuary.com/).  anthony and i went to an open interview and we knew we were "home".  little did i know just how much that google search would define who i am as a woman, as a mother and as a friend. 

three years later, it is safe to say that most of my closest california friends are fellow sanctuary mothers that i met through the "new" mom's group (we now have formed our own satellite mom's group).  some of my biggest sources of guidance are the midwives that i worked with there that have since gone there own ways (connie, beth, amy, jake...you are all so beautiful and amazing).  my chiropractor and my sanity-saving lactation consultant are from the sanctuary too (maura, kimberly: i honestly don't know what i would do without you)!   anyway...so, that was the beginning me finding my voice as a mother.  now, i'm learning how to use it.

over the past year, we have gone to all of the traditionally timed well-baby appointments...so, we've seen the ol' doc a fair amount.  in the beginning, i had few qualms with the care that they were providing (though i must say, the nurses are a little sassy).  up until now, i've been able to listen to what the doctor has to say, sift through it and take what i want and feel is medical advice and leave behind what i feel is parenting advice that i don't believe in.  this all came to a crashing halt yesterday.  we went in for nolan's one year check up and to start the vaccine process...bleck (that's going to have to be a separate blog).  apparently, although he both gained weight and grew in height, it was not at the rate the doctor desired.  so, it went like this:

dr: "limit nursing and introduce cow's milk"
me (yes, i actually said this): "really?  even though my milk is made specifically for my baby and cow's milk is made specifically for a baby cow?"
dr: "yup...it's time (while tapping at the growth chart), he's not a baby any more"
me: "inaudible grumbling"

it wasn't even really until later that night that i realized how upset i was by this whole interaction.  by the morning, i was ready to never return.  i felt unsupported.  i felt pissed.  i felt like there had to be another option.  yes, i realize it may sound to many like i'm over reacting here, but i don't feel that to be the case.  i am constantly trying to do what is the absolute best for my boy.  and i'm not going to be pressured into something if i don't feel it is right.  i'm not saying that cow's milk is bad.  i am, however, saying that my milk is better.  i'm not saying that i'm never going to introduce him to cow's milk.  but, i'm certainly not going to replace breastmilk with it.

so, this morning i went full force trying to back up my gut.  after speaking with my lactation consultant, researching online and in books here at the house and speaking with friends (who have done other research and have other dr.'s opinions), i'm feeling stronger than ever in my decision.  here is some of the most interesting information (at least to me) on this topic that i came across today as well as some that i already knew: a mother's milk actually increases it's fat content after she has been lactating for over one year, the more frequently you nurse during the day, the higher the fat content of your milk will be, a mother's milk has antibodies in it that help build the immunity of your baby that aren't present in cow's milk, nursing actually decreases the chance of obesity in your child's adult life and nursing reduces a mother's risk of various forms of cancer.  some amazingly helpful links for additional information are: 101 reasons to breastfeed http://www.notmilk.com/101.html - nutrient by nutrient why breast is best http://www.askdrsears.com/html/2/t020800.asp - is cow's milk necessary? http://www.askdrsears.com/faq/fn1.asp - and general breastfeeding info can be found at http://www.kellymom.com/index.html & http://www.llli.org/

i feel more confident than ever that we are on the right path for us.  we will not be replacing my milk with that of a cow and i will not be reducing the amount that nolan nurses.  if he would like to do so, then we will deal with that when it arises.  but for now, he is going strong...and so am i.  we will try to up his food intake and make sure we're getting lots of good, healthy fats, calcium and protein!  now, i just have to take all this knowledge and passion and have the courage to stand up for what i believe.


  1. Hey Kim - so appreciate this article! Really paints the picture clearly. When I saw your mention about cow's milk on the mom's group page, I had a feeling there was more to that interaction.
    My pediatrician, who is generally very respectful and whom I love (not at all easy to get in with her, but I do have another recomendation which i will share asap - we are still in boxes and the name is in a book somewhere...) Anyway, she was much more gentle on the issue, suggesting that "Eliana doesn't "need" to nurse and I can introduce cow's milk." Mildly annoying, which I basicly ignored and just kept on doing what we are doing. I can so imagine a pediatrician tapping on the chart. YUCK! A bit traumatizing indeed. Good for you to take that experience and go and do a bunch of research and get all- well, to use your word-SASSY!!!
    Just to share my understanding, I think the World Health Org (or was it American Academy of Pediatrics?) definately recommends nursing well into the first year. I am sure La Leche League has something on this. And probably MamaEve, who is a major lactavist if memory serves, has a blog article about this, too. Hope that helps a bit.

    Love your blog, looking forward to seeing you and your wonderful, smart, beautiful and healthy boy who is doing great on the Nursies and will be fine whenever - if ever - you introduce cow's milk (!) soon.

  2. This is great. You are a wonderful mama and writer and you've presented this so well.

    I'm glad to be sharing this experience with you and all the other mamas. It's really inspiring and encouraging to witness and learn as intuition develops and each person's strengths and gifts are revealed.