Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Breastfeeding fine art offends Photobucket

Apparently, Photobucket.com has a problem with fine-art images of women breastfeeding. I tried using the site for my most recent post featuring this painting from promom.org:


Apparently it violated their terms of service. I guess it's a good sign that breastfeeding has become so normalized in my life, at least, that I didn't even worry that someone and/or a nipple-seeking computer might find it offensive. I just thought it cogent to wonder how closely spaced indeed her kids are!

I have it uploaded to Blogger's servers now instead -- we'll see what happens to it now. So far, they haven't deleted my breastfeeding art post, so maybe we're safe.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pregnancy scare & child spacing

So, last cycle I had a little scare. Well, more like a panic. I was 5 days late. I'm regularly 29 days like clockwork, and have been since my cycles returned, so I spent 5 days dithering and obsessing and wondering and avoiding taking a pregnancy test.

But, then, there she was, and I had those mixed feelings of relief and disappointment that always come at the end of a pregnancy scare when a new baby wouldn't be so bad a thing -- but mostly relief.

Along with a determination to buy some spermicide.

This is veering into a tangent, and might be tmi, but I think it's good to talk breastfeeding and birth control. Sam & I use condoms, which I think is a good choice for a breastfeeding mama -- no effect on milk production or the nursling. We can't use the spermicidal kind because of sensitivity issues to nonoxynol-9, but I found out there's another form, oxtoxynol-9, that might work for us, if only I could find any! If anyone has an idea, please let me know.

Anyway, as so often happens, coincidences occurred. Just around the time I was panicking, several online friends found out they were unexpectedly expecting another round (one was having unplanned twins!), and I had come across this Baby Center article "Are You Ready for Another One?" just before I was late. My answer was a resounding "no" and smug satisfaction that I was holding out so intelligently, and then...I was reminded that accidents do happen.

From what I've read in Our Babies, Ourselves and other anthropological studies that I can't seem to reference right now, I think 3 years or so between births is the historical human norm. Most people around me, though, seem to space their children no more than 2 years apart, which would mean -- gulp -- I'd be pregnant right now. Maybe it's Mikko, maybe it's me, but I am so not ready for another one right now.

many babiesFrom the Baby Center article:

Here's a rundown of the research on ideal baby spacing:

• Timing pregnancies less than 18 months or more than five years apart could raise the odds of the second baby being born prematurely, at low birth weight, or small for gestational age, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. With too short an interval, researchers theorize, the problem may be that a mother's body needs more time to recover from the stress and depleted nutrients of the first pregnancy; with longer spacing, the problem could be that fertility gradually declines after a woman delivers.

• Waiting 18 to 23 months after the birth of your last child before conceiving another seems best for the new baby's health, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Doctors found that babies conceived less than six months after the birth of a previous child are 40 percent more apt to be born prematurely or underweight. And those conceived more than ten years after the prior sibling face about double the risk of preterm birth.

• A similar study at the University of California in San Francisco found that the ideal interval between babies is 24 to 35 months. Babies conceived sooner had a higher incidence of low birth weight.

• The best time is either when your first is under 1 year or over 4 years, in terms of the children's relationships with their parents, sibling rivalry, and their own self-esteem, according to Jeannie Kidwell, a professor of family studies at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Children under 1 don't have a sense of their exclusive status yet so they're less apt to resent a newcomer, she says, and those over 4 have had time to enjoy attention from Mommy and Daddy — plus, they now have a life of their own.

Sam & I are planning on waiting at least 4 years between babies, although this week we were thinking having an only child is a valid choice. Or, you know, being child-free. Sigh. More on that later.

In the reader comments to the above article and on The Continuum Concept listserv, when the subject of ideal child spacing was gently raised, parents who have chosen closely spaced children adamantly defend their position, and I can see the potential benefits. Theoretically, the children might be friends, you get childrearing "over with" (something that, again, sounds like a benefit this week), and for women like me who are on the mature side, reproductively speaking, spacing children out too far might run someone into fertility issues.

That said, immediately after I witnessed the blessed start of a new cycle, I read the anguished emails of several mothers of two under two who were at the end of their ropes and feeling overwhelmed by trying to care for two babies. So any disappointment that remained from "losing" that pregnancy evaporated.

My reasons for spacing on the long side are both for Sam & me and for Mikko and the presumptive second child.

  • I want my body to have recovered fully from a somewhat painful pregnancy, anemia, and blood loss during the birth. I still have residual back and joint issues from carrying a 12-pound baby, and I want to make sure I'm back in fighting form when I put myself through that physical endurance fest again. I loved being pregnant, but I'm enjoying not being pregnant right now -- not having all those health constraints on me and being able to ride roller coasters. Ok, just joking on that last one, but that's an example of the rules and restrictions that come along with pregnancy -- fine if you're choosing it, a little obnoxious if it's unplanned.

  • I enjoy each new step toward independence that Mikko is taking, and I don't feel like starting all over again just now. I want to wait until the idea of a newborn sounds fun again!

  • We're not sure if our landlady will let us stay in our one-bedroom apartment if we have four inhabitants. It's not against the housing codes specifically, but she could argue it either way. I hate moving, and I really hate moving when I'm pregnant. Been there, done that.

  • This is a stupid reason, but Sam & I thought it would be fun(ish?) to try for a girl using one of those disputed conception methods. Worth a shot!

  • But, most importantly, I want Mikko to have his babyhood in full. I don't want him to have to wean before he's ready because of low milk supply issues in pregnancy. I want him to be able to co-sleep as long as he needs to instead of being kicked out or over due to safety concerns of a toddler and infant sleeping in the same bed. I want Sam and me to be available to him in these early years and (try to) enjoy each stage.

  • I like the idea of siblings playing together, but I don't place too much importance on it, from my own experience. My brothers and I are spaced far apart, as are Sam and his siblings, but we both feel that we would not likely have been best friends with our siblings regardless of spacing -- growing up, we were just too different in terms of temperament and interests and, perhaps, because of gender. Now that we're grown, we feel close to them all.

So, that's the plan. Now we'll see if I'm on time this month...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My nursing necklace

I managed to get some morning light -- not an easy task on an atypically rainy (really!) Seattle summer week -- so I could photograph my nursing necklace.

nursing necklace

Did I mention I also couldn't find my beading wire? So I used some thin cord instead, which limited me to beads with wide holes. But then, since I didn't have enough spacers, some of the wide beads I wanted to use slipped right over the double row of silver seed beads I used instead. And then my beaded loop was crazy long, so I twisted and secured it with the round ring part of a necklace fastener by squooshing it with needle-nose pliers. (I couldn't fit a crimp bead in in the small space.)

So it's all quite improvised, but once I make it out to a store where I can pick up some more supplies, I think I'll go ahead and try another!

Thanks again to Tammy and Angela!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Twiddling leads to a nursing necklace

Mikko has started twiddling in full force -- tweaking and picking at one of my nipples while feeding from the other. It would be one thing if he used a flat hand and just caressed or gently held it, but he uses one fingernail to dig into it, and I can't stand it.

I had found this post with instructions for making a nursing necklace at Jewelry and Beading through a couple other posts from Breastfeeding 1-2-3 ("How to Make Your Own Nursing Necklace" and a safety follow-up).

At the time, the twiddling hadn't yet gotten extreme. I looked around at some etsy and eBay stores online for nursing necklaces that work-at-home moms were selling, but I didn't so much relish the thought of wearing a plastic, babyish-looking one, and some of the more sophisticated styles were out of my price range. I have enjoyed beading in the past, but when to do that now with a grabby baby around? I put the thought aside for another day.

That day is now. Mikko has gotten so determined to maul my breasts that he will forcibly remove clothing (mine) that is in the way of his poky little hands. I'm bleeding and sore.

And so...I opened back up the link for the beading pattern, and I miraculously found my bead stash in the closet on the first try. I waited for Mikko to fall asleep, and I made myself a whole nursing necklace, in just one evening, in between pausing to watch something exciting in the Olympics.

Mine is definitely not as pretty as the one Tammy Powley put together. I was too impatient to wait to go shopping for extra beads, so I had to make do with what I had. I was nearly out of spacers, and I had only a limited supply of interesting large beads. I also got a little carried away with the length of the loop, forcing me to keep the length of the rat-tail cord so short that I can barely yank it over my head without pulling my ears off. That said, it's pretty interesting looking and doesn't scream "nursing necklace," and it definitely intrigues Mikko. I found it's long enough for me to drop down into my d├ęcolletage and just bring out for when I need it.

Next time I'm by a bead store, though, I'm going to search out beads that promise lead-free, since I don't know about the safety of this one and I keep needing to keep Mikko from putting it in his mouth.

I'll have to keep you posted on whether it works for its intended purpose -- the pinching fingers have calmed down for a few days.


UPDATE: See the picture here: My nursing necklace