Monday, May 17, 2010

I Believe in Science

So, back in the old days, infant mortality was a lot higher than it is today. Here is data covering Canada from 1921 to 1974. Science advances, generally causing more babies to survive.

(Don't get me started on our growing cesarean rates. That's not supported by science.)

Here's my brief overview on my position, informed by what I understand is the science on...

I am a committed breastfeeding mama. I have just passed my first year of breastfeeding, and hope we continue on for a long time.

Like Arwyn in her post on things we don't speak about, I feel like I need to state that. I'm a huge believer in the benefits of breastfeeding. It's a good thing for the baby, and it's a good thing for mama. Not only that, it's good for the planet, and once you get the early bumps out of the way, it's easy and convenient when it's working. So, I breastfeed because I've read about it and it sounds like today's science supports it as the best choice.

(See The Fearless Formula Feeder for thought provoking and often heart-wrenching stories one when breastfeeding doesn't work.)

I have also adhered to the CDC and Health Canada's schedule for infant vaccinations. I believe the studies I have read about that say that the risk of not vaccinating is much greater than the risk of the vaccines themselves (link below). I've read about vaccinations, and it sounds to me like today's science supports them as the best choice.

Vitamin D Supplementation?
What I've just started hearing about is vitamin D supplements for breastfed babies. Science is saying that most North Americans are vitamin D deficient and should take supplements, including breastfed babies. When I first heard someone say this, I scoffed, thinking to myself the long repeated "breastmilk is the perfect food for babies." But... what if I'm deficient in vitamin D? What if my baby is dark skinned or growing up in a region with little sunlight? Vitamin D deficiency can be very serious.

Breastmilk probably was perfect, before we started messing with ourselves - spending loads of time indoors, not making enough vitamin D, eating weird processed foods. Maybe with a supplement (not a replacement), we could make it better.

So, having read a bit more about it, maybe I would give my baby vitamin D supplements, if I were having a do-over. And of course, maybe someday I will. Because it seems that today's science supports it.

Tongue Tie:
As I've written a lot about, my baby and I had latching problems due to tongue tie. If we were left alone to manage, maybe she would have survived, maybe not. But I have read that in the recent old days, midwives would clip tongue tie at birth. That tongue tie clipping is arguably an intervention in what would have naturally occurred.

Much as today's science supports co-sleeping, an old tradition which I was initially against, but started doing when our baby slept very fitfully after her two month vaccinations. After we started co-sleeping, we all slept much better!

This is an interesting article that covers what they call the war on science in more depth if you're interested. Some people might see being a vaccine supporter and a breastfeeding supporter as contradictory. To me it makes sense, based on what I've read.

Vaccines, breastfeeding, clipping tongue ties, maybe vitamin D supplementation. Some old fashion, some new fangled. All largely supported by today's science showing this is good for babies.

The fact is, naturally, babies don't always survive. Sadly, even with the best that science and mama's milk have to offer, they still don't all survive today. We all do our best to make the right choices for our babies and families.

What scientific findings have intrigued or surprised you lately?

PS: incidentally, since I'm writing about infant mortality, here are two inspiring mamas working to make meaning from the loss of their babies: Kayce and Kristine.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Parenting in Public, the Cover Up

Reading about some "reality" TV show about people's reaction to nursing in public raised in my mind my experience with being asked to cover up while nursing the Baby Piranha.

I was in Texas due to a death in the family, at a restaurant eating lunch alone with the BP.

Lunch had just been served to me, and the BP also wanted to eat. She was only four months old at the time and not wiggling around a whole lot, so there was probably almost no skin showing.

A server (not the one assigned to my table) asked if I would like to cover up, not specifying what needed covering but gestured towards the BP with her hand.

I was stunned and the only thing I could manage as a response was something along the lines of "my right to nurse in public is protected by Texas state law."

The server looked taken aback, and muttered something along the lines of "protecting children who don't know about breastfeeding" and left.

I was alone, feeling nauseated and shaking with anger. I couldn't believe anything as simple as breastfeeding my precious baby could be reason to ask me to cover up. I doubt she felt she was doing anything wrong; on the other hand, I felt attacked and singled out.

I wanted to leave, to go somewhere and hide under a rock, but I figured that would be letting them win. So I stayed, and picked at my lunch half heartedly.

Later, a manager came by to check on my meal. I was sure to let him know how unhappy I was to have been treated this way. He quickly agreed I was in the right and said he'd speak to the server, though in retrospect, I'm not sure how he'd know who it was.

This critique of my parenting in public bugs me. I had someone come up to me out of the blue the other day and tell me the BP's arm was squished in the Ergo. (It wasn't, I'm squishier than I look).

Later the same day, a woman helped me get a bag of frozen blueberries out of a freezer at Costco - out of the blue, as it was - when I was holding the BP's sleeping head with one hand and trying to hold the door open and remove the bag with the other. I'm glad I had the grace to thank her profusely.

I'm reminded of Gina's call to help each other out at The Feminist Breeder. I think she has a really good point.

Have you been hassled for your parenting in public?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Go Read This Instead...

Because I'm too busy to write up my own thoughts, go check out these posts that are resonating with me these days:
  • Annie of PhD in Parenting is in Berlin and finding processed food in Europe are less problematic...
  • and links to the interesting, typically off the handle Fox News coverage of bed-sharing with your baby.
  • Harriet of See Theo Run shares her thoughts on the Angel's Cradle at St Paul's Hospital. I'm glad she brought this up - it's so sad that it's needed but important that it exists, because it is needed.
  • Gina of The Feminist Breeder writes about and gets great comments back on leaving kids in cars.
  • Arwyn of Raising Boychick writes, as always thoughtfully and provocatively, on teaching patience to children...
  • and in an older post, writes about hating pink and rejecting the feminine.
  • The Fearless Formula Feeder shares a provocative story about why one mom did not try to breastfeed her child.
Do you have any favourite all time or favourite right now posts you want to share?

Off to Northern Voice

So we've been in the Lower Mainland since April 13th and we've been having a great time.

The job search continues - I've had some promising leads which I'm following up, and I'm happy with how many places have onsite daycare. Wish there were more of course.

I've several posts bumbling around in my head but it's hard for me to find time to write much when I'm supposed to be taking care of the baby, finding her daycare and finding me a job.

I am going to the first day of the Northern Voice conference tomorrow and looking forward to meeting some of the bloggers I've been following for a long time. I've met a few already - I'm glad to have had playdates with Amber and Harriet, and we had a near miss with Lexi too!

So after the first day of the conference, I'll be gathering with great old friends for a walk in the park, and then probably off to visit my parents in the Okanagan for what's left of the weekend, if daycare interviews don't intervene.

In the meantime, hang tough and be sure to let me know if you know anyone looking for geeks in Vancouver!