Wednesday, August 10, 2011

a little positive feedback goes a long way! (see warning before reading!) :)

WARNING: this blog post is on a potentially sensitive topic, is rather lengthy and all about mothering (and a little fathering as well)  :)

like many people, i'm moderately addicted to facebook.  in the last week, i have found (via a sweet friend) a few new pages to "like" and now my moderate addiction has kicked in to a seriously out of control addiction.  whatever...they're educational...don't judge.  ;)

anyway, it just so happens that after an evening of reading loads of amazing information on peaceful parenting, parenting effectiveness training-PET, and positive parenting: toddlers and beyond, i clicked back to the ol' "news feed" and read a post from another page that i "like," diaper junction (very useful website for cloth diapering). 

the post read: "do any of you have a LO [little one] over a year old who still doesn't sleep through the night?".  i would say that the vast (like 95% vast) majority of those who responded answered "no".  however, the refreshing thing, to me was that very few, if any, of these women were complaining.  they were simply stating there situations and many were 100% okay with it (i actually fall into this very same category).  there was just a beautiful sense of understanding and a feeling of "wow...we're not alone," giving great strength to one another.  there was one woman who was not in that category.  sadly, (well...sadly for this post, but not for other mamas reading the original thread, i suppose), i just discovered as i went to copy and paste the quotes that the diaper junction has since removed all of her posts from the thread.   boo...that really threw a hitch in this blog plan.  well, i'm going to post my comments anyway because i'm really proud of them.  ha! please keep in mind that a number of other women posted responses and/or continued conversations with her as well.

me (the lady had not posted yet): here is a great blog article that i read about sleeping through the night...with all kinds of links at the bottom of the page for more info. my little man is just shy of 18 months and not sleeping through the night. though definitely tough at times, i think it is all worth it in the grand scheme of things.​9/12/sleeping-through-nigh​t.html

her comment went something like this (i can't say it is a complete quote, but many parts are pretty much word for word): i don't want to offend anyone, but why are all of you nursing your children beyond one year of age?  it doesn't sound any better if you put "months" behind it.  don't get me wrong, i'm breastfeeding my 6-month-old infant, but you can be sure that we will be done before her first birthday.  she has been sleeping through the night since she was 3 weeks (i think she said three weeks...) old.  stop nursing and co-sleeping and your kid can sleep through the night too.  also, it seems like it is the mom who continues nursing no matter what the child thinks and i have a friend who is traumatized by the fact that she was nursed until she was 3-years-old.

here is my response to her first comment (note: i did not actually refer to her as "lady," i used her name, but am omitting it her): @lady: "your comments make me so sad because i fear that some mama will read them when she is in a vulnerable state and take them as fact and not your opinion. there are so very many reasons to breastfeed beyond one year that i can't even begin to list them here. for anyone interested, check out la leche league's website, google "101 reasons to breastfeed," read any number of blogs on 

obviously, a child should not be forced to breastfeed if they have self-weaned...but allowing child-led weaning to take place would avoid that all together. our babes our only young for a short period of time and isn't it our responsibility as mothers to be there for them and to help them thrive to the best of our abilities? isn't that reason enough to "sacrifice" (if that is how you look at it) sleep for a time? i urge you to educate yourself more fully on extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping before judging others' decisions and making blanket statements that by weaning and moving a child out of the parents' bed, a child will sleep through the night. 

also...sleeping "through the night" is a means roughly 5 hour stretches."
*6 people "liked" this comment!*

she responded to me and others with something along the lines of, your child doesn't need breastmilk, there are other forms of milk available because we are a developed country...if you want your child to have breastmilk after one year, you should pump and put it in a cup...and you should think about what you are doing (regarding nursing and co-sleeping) to your kids and how it is going to negatively effect them later in life.

me ( response to her response to me and others): there are many more reasons than nutrition to breastfeed that you don't get from pump it into a cup, including comfort, bonding, security, your toddler feeling that their needs are met and besides that for me personally, pumping hurts and is no longer as effective as it was when my LO was a newborn. my breasts now only respond to le bebe. :)

think about the idea of meeting your child's needs not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically too. doesn't that sound beautiful? think about allowing your child to dictate when they would like to wean from the breast or have their own space to sleep. children yearn for their independence too and when that time comes, the transition is going to be that much smoother. imagine how empowering it must feel to have felt all that love and respect, been ready for change and accepted it, not had that change pushed upon you.

there have been no studies showing ill effects of co-sleeping or extended breastfeeding when it is child-led. in fact, i just saw an article on some major news website, which inconveniently i can't now remember, about the fact that children who bed shared with their parents were no worse off than solitary sleeping infants. yes, it is very important to be conscious about safety precautions when bed sharing, but once that is taken care of it has been proven to even REDUCE risks of SIDS!

i understand completely that neither extended breastfeeding nor bed sharing are right for all families. in which case, i just hope that the transitions are done gently and in the best interest of the LO. every family is different. all i hope for is that before judging others or making blanket statements of the "rightness" or "healthfulness" of something, be educated on the full spectrum of choices and possibilities and not simply base your opinions on societal pressures.  

also...i did not mean to negate the nutritional effects of breastmilk even after the (arbitrary) one year marker. Breastmilk's nutrition FAR exceeds anything lab-created (formula) or other mammal's milk for that matter because it is made specifically to nourish a thriving little human! So, it is not scientific advances or better resources that are cause for encouraging breastfeeding for a MINIMUM of two years as the WHO does, it is simply that breast is best.

that being said, i know many women who would have done and/or did all they could to nurse their little, but for some reason, we unable which case, thank god for formula, cow's milk, goat's milk, almond milk, etc!

and, as an interesting side note: the average age around the world of breastfeeding littles is...wait for it...FOUR! this is a WORLD average...including europe and other developed countries; it is not exclusive to the third world as some may like you to believe because they are uncomfortable.  
 *another 3 people "liked" this one!* 

all the "likes" felt really good, but the absolute best was this comment left by one of the other mamas:
@kimberly lam, that was an extremely kind, respectful response to someone who did not intend to hurt or offend anyone. you sound like a very open, tolerant, educated person. i am impressed by your knowledge as well! :) 

i guess the universe read my blog post from last night about wanting to be positive in the face of frustration and the desire to think things through before speaking my mind, but needing support to keep reminding myself to do so!  

*thanks universe.  
*thanks diaper junction for the thought provoking question. 
*thanks to all the amazing resources that i have available to educate myself.  
*thanks for others who have educated me, especially you kimberly durdin!
*thanks facebook for the ability to share my views with so many others, possibly educate someone else and hopefully provoke a change in ways of thinking.  

and of course... 

*thank you kind ladies for the positive feedback, especially you kind comment leaver!



  1. This is so great! I love reading how you so skillfully imparted knowledge in such a positive, respectful, thoughtful way! I wish all internet debates could flow so nicely!