Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Surf: Kicking off World Breastfeeding Week

Welcome to the Sunday Surf! Here are some of the best links I've read this past week.

breastfeeding Skinies cami and dress at wedding
A quiet nursing moment during the wedding festivities
We went on our first trip as a family of four this weekend. We kept it small: a road-and-ferry trip to a friend's wedding that brought us about four hours away, and a night in a cabin. Still, it was on bunk beds, so that counts for something.

And here we are, back in one piece! (Or, I guess, four pieces. It's not like we accidentally got melded together on the road.)

Enjoy some links, then!

via on 7/30/11
I was trying to think of what I wanted to say about the new no-kids ban in that restaurant, and then I thought: I'll just wait till someone I like says something clever. Procrastination pays off. This is a parody making a favorite point of mine (that if it were any other group banned, we would all rightly be up in arms about the discrimination), and here's a sarcastic post for further reading: Love 'em both. For those who don't like kids being out in public, I keep thinking: You know, you can choose (usually) not to HAVE kids, but what you can't choose is that you WERE a kid once. So be nice. And that's about all I have to say.

via on 7/29/11
Really thought this guest post on relative adoption from the side of the birth mother was so interesting. Read more from Jorje on the topic at her own blog, too:

via on 7/29/11
Great defense of why asking breastfeeding mothers to "just" cover up when nursing in public is not at all simple or advisable. I was also shocked at the author's own NIP-confrontation story: Check out how covered she is in her picture — and yet she was still asked to move along!

Thank you! Another passionate voice for rear facing kids in cars as long as possible (which is to the limits of the car seat). Cars are astonishingly dangerous for kids. Rear facing saves lives!
If something is shown to be 500% safer than something else, and proven to save 92 out of 100 lives, why would you not do the safer thing?

World Breastfeeding Week

Enjoy breastfeeding-related posts here this week as well as on Natural Parents Network.

Feel free to link up your own breastfeeding posts on our bloghop linky, enjoy the ones listed there, and paste the code on your own blog to encourage the conversation. Happy WBW!

Submit to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaWrite for the August Carnival of Natural Parenting — submissions are due this Tuesday night, August 2, on the topic of Creating With Kids. Tell us how you and your little ones make messes and masterpieces.

Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week with NPN!


I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!

You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

wbw-logo-wWorld Breastfeeding Week promotes breastfeeding awareness and education. The theme for 2011 is Breastfeeding: A 3D Experience.

From the official site:
When we look at breastfeeding support, we tend to see it in two-dimensions: time (from pre-pregnancy to weaning) and place (the home, community, health care system, etc). But neither has much impact without a THIRD dimension — communication!

Let's help communicate about breastfeeding for this year's WBW! Link up your breastfeeding posts below, and visit NPN to grab the code for your own blog. It will update automatically as posts are added!

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Polly parrot: A pirate craft

This post was submitted as part of the July “Families, Create!” Carnival, hosted by Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and Dionna at Code Name: Mama.

9 polly on his shoulder — pirate parrot craftm4yo
Polly want a cracker?

Arr, maties! The theme for Families, Create! this here July be Swashbucklers, and here it be, one day before the end of the month, and there were no piratey craft in sight. Blimey.

I have this, erm, tendency not to do things unless there's a deadline — and then to wait until the last possible moment to make the deadline. So last night I was wandering around the house asking Sam things like, "Do we have any empty paper towel tubes? No?" And then muttering, "Hrm. That would have made an awesome telescope."

A parrot! I (finally) decreed. We could do it out of paper, which we had. We would make a parrot. Just as soon as I found out what one looked like.

macaw perched on hand — pirate parrot craft at seafair landing seattle
Our inspiration, a macaw we met at the recent Seafair Pirates Landing

macaw with wings outstretched — pirate parrot craft at seafair landing seattle

So I needed red construction paper. I made Sam look for it. He was strangely incurious about my pronouncement that I was making a parrot. He later told me, "At first I was surprised you were doing a project with Mikko, but then I figured it must be something for your blog." It probably didn't help that I kept asking him to photograph the proceedings.

Yes, fully shameful mommy-blogger disclosure: I get this ambitious only if there's peer pressure like a carnival involved.

I started brainstorming — maybe I should create a carnival or meme for every task I want to do. Mondays could be "Get Up and Play" days, and Tuesdays could be "Make Music," and Wednesdays could be…um…"Take a Shower and Clip Your Toenails For Crying Out Loud."

1 body and tail — pirate parrot craft mikko m4yo
Fortunately, Mikko's not fussy about from whence the inspiration springs. He was game to start the craft and soon took over directing me. But, first, I cut out the body. I have no artistic skill, and I didn't feel like, I don't know, being accurate or whatever, so I was just winging it. ("Winging it"! Get it? It's a parrot craft! Oh, the hilarity.) You can use the leftover paper pieces for the long tail feathers.

2 eyes and beak — pirate parrot craft mikko m4yo
I cut out a crappy beak and used some discarded foam sticker insides (if you've ever had foam stickers, you know that they have random pieces you have to pull off) for the eyes. Note that it's plural. Mikko wouldn't let me stop at just one side of the parrot. That was far too two-dimensional for him.

3 pulling out ribbon for the tail feathers — pirate parrot craft mikko m4yo
Mikko started pulling out our clearance bin "Gift-Tye Ribbon" to make tail feathers. Sounds good to me.

4 adding gold ribbon feathers — pirate parrot craft mikko m4yo
Then he cut little pieces for shimmery feathers on the body. You can use stickers, coloring, painting, collage, glitter — whatever you have available. Listen to me, acting like someone's going to replicate my eleventh-hour parrot craft!

5 concentrating on gluing — pirate parrot craft mikko m4yo
Mikko concentrates on gluing. It takes a steady hand to wield the purple glue stick.

6 colorful stickers for feathers — pirate parrot craft
You know, robot and safari stickers make colorful feathers as well. Why not! Mikko told me involved stories about the names and characteristics of the sticker animals. ("This one called a 'High Monkey' because it climbs up so high! This purple one called 'Abubu Monkey.'" He sounded very certain of himself, so I'm sure it's all true.)

7 parrot's tail with ribbons and paper — pirate parrot craft
Make the tail long and glamorous. Any pirate would want it that way.

8 parrot completed — pirate parrot craft mikko m4yo

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing a newborn

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing Photos! Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

Continuing last week's collection of newborn photos…

mama babywearing newborn baby Alrik in black mei tai in mirror Pictures, Images and Photos
Trying out the new mei tai

mama babywearing newborn baby Alrik in black mei tai Pictures, Images and Photos

mama babywearing newborn baby Alrik in black mei tai at beach Pictures, Images and Photos

dad babywearing newborn baby alrik anb in mei tai outdoors

dad babywearing newborn baby alrik anb in mei tai profile

dad babywearing newborn baby alrik anb in SleepyWrap
And the Sleepy Wrap

mom babywearing newborn baby alrik anb in Sleepy Wrap

mom babywearing newborn baby alrik anb in Storchenwiege wrap
And very pleased with myself for following the wrapping instructions in the Storchenwiege manual

Babywearing allows us to:

dad cooking in kitchen while babywearing newborn baby alrik anb in mei tai and brother mikkko m4yo 4yo sits in chair
cook food (note that Mikko must sit whenever possible)

dad eating while babywearing newborn baby alrik anb Sleepy Wrap
eat food

Monday, July 25, 2011

Calling for submissions for the August Carnival of Natural Parenting!

We continue to be delighted with the inspiration and wisdom our Carnival of Natural Parenting participants share, and we hope you'll join us for the next carnival in August! (Check out January, February, March, April, May, July, and the full list of 2010 posts if you missed them.)

Your co-hosts are Lauren at Hobo Mama and Dionna at Code Name: Mama.

Here are the submission details for August 2011:

preschooler boy using screwdriver on woodworking project m3yo

Theme: Creating With Kids: Do you like doing crafts with your children? Sewing clothes for them or with them? Putting a garden together as a family? Teaching power tools from a young age? Let us know what you and your kids make together. It can be a specific tutorial, or a post about different things you like to do.

Deadline: Tuesday, August 2. Fill out the webform (at the link or at the bottom) and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CarNatPar {at}

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Surf: Alloparents & who cares about the WHO Code

Welcome to the Sunday Surf! Here are some of the best links I've read this past week.

preschooler boy at chupacabra restaurant m4yo
No real reason for this picture. I just liked it.
Mikko was enjoying himself during lunch at a local Mexican restaurant.

via on 7/24/11
I really appreciated this article about "circumstantial infertility" — people who want to have kids but have no partner or are in other situations where it's impossible. I have several loved ones in the thick of this, and I hope they can find either a family at last, or a way through their grief. I've been thinking a lot about how such people are very definitely alloparents to us, helping us raise our sons even though they're not the biological parents.

via on 7/24/11
Glad to hear the experience of another mama nursing past the two-year mark, as well as the reasonable limits she's now set. It's helpful to see that gradual and gentle weaning doesn't have to be exclusively child-led or parent-led but can be a gracious mix of the two.
I never thought I’d be breastfeeding a two year old. And yet, here we are two years later, and Claire is still nursing. As Lauren says, it just kind of creeps up on you and one day your nursling isn’t

Another (parent) company fails to support the WHO Code. So discouraging that enough companies flout the code that it penalizes the remaining companies and makes it hard for anyone to care about upholding it. Further reading from a retailer: "Victim Of Circumstance???" from Mommy News & Views

via on 7/21/11
How the WHO Code supports mothers and babies by protecting breastfeeding

via on 7/20/11
Yesterday we went to the library & I realized the summer reading program was on. And then immediately started getting frustrated that Mikko lately won't sit still for an entire book. Good reminder for me to value the process & the fun of reading!
My answer is that if the interruption doesn’t happen, it is very likely that learning isn’t happening. We need to translate interruption as the child’s entering the process.


Functionality of the babywearing nanny

I'm so happy to have such a lovely guest post from Amber of Birth Routes about how necessary babywearing is for a nanny — particularly one with multiple young children to care for.

On Thursday, as I was ECing (elimination communication) the 8-month-old in a public washroom, with the 12-month-old flipped on my back in my ring sling — I burst into laughter. I am that woman — arms full of love, attending needs wherever we are. Both smiley happy babies. My thighs likely becoming toned, as I peek over my left shoulder and see little pearly teeth and bright eyes smiling at me as I chant "pee pee, pee pee," then "that's it!"

Also? I would so love to hire Amber! We're fortunate to have my attachment-minded sister-in-law (also a fabulous nanny and the babywearer in the photo there) to alloparent along with us, but the world could always use more like them, yes? (Along with that wish, I wish more of us could afford such blessed help!)

But back to the article — go check it out, my fellow babywearing fans, and give Amber some comment love for the beauty in it.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Functionality of the babywearing nanny

This is one in a series of guest posts by other bloggers. Read to the end for a longer biographical note on today's guest blogger, Amber from Birth Routes. Amber relies on the carriers in her natural parenting toolbox to keep multiple kids happy.

Guest post by Amber from Birth Routes

aunt-ring-sling-16week12As the title states, I'm a babywearing nanny. I'm also a babywearing educator, but attached nanny is my everyday job — and I'd be completely lost without my multitude of carriers. I have 19 to be exact. That is a whole lot of fabric love.

We've recently moved provinces with only 2 suitcases each, and as you can guess, my natural parenting books and carriers took up most of the 2 suitcases — I may have snuck my clothing in with my partner's allotted luggage (and he did nothing more than roll his eyes and lovingly smile). On my list of priority items, my carriers are top of the material possessions for sure.

Babywearing is trendy, and pretty — but also so very functional. I simply do not know how I would "parent" two babies, age 1 and under, without them. You can often find me bouncing around the house while wearing one on the front and one on the back, to get them off to sleep. There is no way I'd be able to go up and down the steep flight of stairs at work while carrying a packed diaper bag without the assistance of a wrap or ring sling. And making lunch, or really doing anything that involves more than no arms would be impossible without babywearing. More and more they are content to play on the floor a bit while I'm doing stuff, but when they are done — the carrier it is for instant happiness.

On Thursday, as I was ECing (elimination communication) the 8-month-old in a public washroom, with the 12-month-old flipped on my back in my ring sling — I burst into laughter. I am that woman — arms full of love, attending needs wherever we are. Both smiley happy babies. My thighs likely becoming toned, as I peek over my left shoulder and see little pearly teeth and bright eyes smiling at me as I chant "pee pee, pee pee," then "that's it!"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Breastfeeding a newborn

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is Wordless Wednesday: Breastfeeding Photos! Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

Some of those first nursing moments with Alrik:

breastfeeding newborn baby alrik just after birth in bed homebirth anb
Just after our home birth

breastfeeding newborn baby alrik anb
The bigger-than-his-head stage

newborn baby Alrik week 5 with mother breastfeeding on beach

newborn baby Alrik week 5 and mikko 4 years old with mother breastfeeding on beach

breastfeeding newborn baby alrik in car anb

Monday, July 18, 2011

The aware parent: Becoming comfortable with crying

The aware parent: Becoming comfortable with crying == Hobo MamaWhen Mikko was a baby, someone in an online group suggested reading The Aware Baby, by Aletha Solter. (See a summary of the principles on as well as an overview of the crying-in-arms approach.)

The basic idea is that sometimes children, even babies, need to cry — without being soothed or cajoled or fixed — just to let out those intense emotions.

As an attachment parent to a high-needs baby, I was dubious. Crying-in-arms sounded awfully similar to crying-it-out to me. Plus, I disliked Solter's implication that comfort nursing was damaging and would result in using food as (inappropriate) comfort as the child grew older or into adulthood. I believed then, and still firmly do, that that is one of the natural functions of breasts and has been used by many cultures, without detrimental effects.

I checked out the book and skimmed it but remained skeptical that I would be able to implement it in an attachment-acceptable manner. How could I let my baby cry and not be letting him cry it out? The idea is to meet any needs your baby has first, but then if crying continues, just be present with your baby — not bouncing or shushing, just gazing lovingly into his face. Hmm, I thought. I wasn't so sure about that. How could I know for certain that my baby didn't have needs still to fix? For instance, what if his need was for being bounced and soothed?

But, gradually, I read posts by people like Lisa of My World Edenwild, who explained to me that "Crying is not bad." And so I opened up to the idea a bit more. I still didn't do anything about it, but I kept thinking of it now and again.

The aware parent: Becoming comfortable with crying == Hobo Mama

Well, fast forward to our combination fourth-birthday party/meet-the-baby shindig for my two boys last month.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday Surf: Baby milestones & parenting philosophies

Welcome to the Sunday Surf! Here are some of the best links I've read this past week.

Or, actually, two weeks. Because I took last week off, what with my in-laws visiting and all. (P.S. They're still here.)

newborn baby with grandmother on the beach
Alrik getting in some Grandma time.

Hee hee hee…sooooo here right now, both with the poop octopus & with the desperate 4-year-old. :)
INTRO: I've been wanting to share a few "real life parenting" moments but I don't have any photos. Everybody hates text only posts. So I drew some really crappy pictures to illustrate. Here goes... -------------------------------------------------------------------- I have a four year old and a one year old. The one year old...

Ok, this cracked me up. I know all about Way Too Much Nesting, but the "milk" and "juice" labels slayed me.

Love this article on not getting hung up on developmental milestones & letting our children learn at their pace (and then sitting back to marvel). Via The Variegated Life: (See the comments there for some interesting back-and-forth between Inder and Rachael about the helpfulness of milestones as well!)
Right now, she has endless possibility in her life. She has the rest of her life to conform to the rules society imposes on her and know the things she's "supposed to know." I will not limit her potential (yet) with these finite rules.

via on 7/11/11
This is something I've been thinking about a lot as my backlog of reviews grows and grows (oops!). When I first started doing reviews, it was so exciting to hear from actual PR companies and get loot. But now I get pitches all the time, and I know now that writing a review and hosting and promoting a giveaway is WORK. Obviously I'm still doing plenty, but to get paid with a product can start making you feel a wee bit used as a blogger. What's your perspective (as a reader or blogger)?

via on 7/9/11
We delayed cord clamping (this time) as well. I'm sad my firstborn didn't get the benefits of all of "his" blood. I read a lot about the placenta and the cord this time around and was amazed (as in this post) at how the blood helps newborns transition to breathing and helps prevent anemia.

You know you are a hippy-mama (or papa) when…

A checklist all in good fun from Loving Earth Mama. I got 16 out of 20 — but only because I still need to buy an amber necklace, hee. How did you score?

Rewriting the baby milestones

I was pleased to welcome a guest post from Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama. Check it out and come enjoy the gentle debate in the comments.

I have mixed views on milestones, because Mikko, while within a normal range for many milestones was rarely average — and sometimes not even normal. I know with many questioners, asking about milestones (is he walking? is she sitting up?) is a benign conversation starter, and for doctors it can be a way to move children into any extra help they need. But I have experience with relatives who ask about milestones only to nitpick and (unfavorably) compare (particularly when it comes to verbal development), and I have experience with doctors fixating on one milestone while ignoring the overall indicators of health.

For instance, Mikko's pediatrician was obsessed with the fact that he didn't crawl — he scooted. He needed to learn to crawl, she told us at every visit, or he would become dyslexic. (This was a misreading, in my opinion, on studies showing a link between dyslexia and having not crawled [a misunderstanding of causality], and on crawling theory potentially helping people with dyslexia.) She ignored the fact that we had hardwood floors (hard on the knees) and he was a very heavy little guy (harder for him to balance himself on hands and knees than sitting). We ignored her and let Mikko bottom-scoot until he walked — and then, wouldn't you know it? — he then learned how to crawl as well. The jury's still out on whether he'll be dyslexic — he seems to be developing well in terms of reading and writing at this age — but I'm not worried either way.

What have your milestone experiences been, and what are your thoughts on people's fixation on them? Join the conversation in the comments over there, and thanks to Charise for sparking it!

Carnival of Natural Parenting

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaWe had a fabulous Carnival of Natural Parenting this week on the topic of parenting philosophies. I really enjoyed hearing our writers' overarching reasons for parenting the way they do. There was a lot of inspiration to go around! Check out the links at the end of the post and click over to the ones that look interesting to you.

I was happy to have Sam guest post for me on the subject of giving Mikko an allowance at four years old. It's been working well so far — read about our little experiment with finances, and feel free to leave your questions and comments for Sam to respond to.