Feeding your baby. Part 1

WARNING! This post is more than a quick fact. It is a bit lengthy in description but please trust me when I say it is worth it.  It is about connection.

Baby’s First food.

Breast milk

Brian Birth 2

Nursing for the first time. Home birth in Key West Fl with Sharon Hamilton. Brian was a breech birth

Books will give you a weight your baby should be for a certain age, This is a guideline and should not be used as a measurement meant to follow ounce by ounce .  People come in all different sizes. Let me say this a different way: Babies come in all different sizes. Babies = People.

If your baby is nursing only from a drug free mother who eats healthy food and they are looking really big compared to others babies or compared to what the book says your baby should be. Your baby is healthy. Period. Do not cut back on it’s feedings. Do not introduce foods to slim the baby down, Your baby is healthy, they are just being a normal human being. Relax.

Likewise if you baby is small compared to the other babies, please don’t jump to the conclusion that you body is not making enough milk for the little one. Don’t start investigating formulas and solid food yet. The same rule applies above.

Do recognize if your babies is dehydrated or not keeping foods down to the point they are not receiving proper hydration and nourishment. Use your motherly judgement on this. Lots of babies are spit up babies but keep plenty down, they are just little gobblers and don’t know when to stop so their body is getting rid of what they do not need.

There are times when a baby’s body is not doing well due to one reason or another and you need a little help from an outside educated source.  Is you baby feverish? Is your baby not latching on properly due to Ankyloglossia, otherwise known as tongue tie or lip tie? Is the soft spot sunken? Does the skin stick up when you gently pinch it? Not many wet diapers?  The last three being signs of dehydration. These are all signs outside help is needed. Seek it.

The human race wants to survive and since nature designed us to feed our babies via the breast, you would be surprised how well the whole system works. Barring all the unwarranted fear that our society has created, mothers love to nurse. And the great news is that your baby loves nursing too. We just need to get women back on board. The best tool I can recommend is this one word.

RELAX.

Relax the mind, relax the arm that holds your baby, relax all the people around you after your baby is born, relax your breath. Babies pick up on nervousness.

Some of you may be saying, easier said than done. I get this. I am afraid of dogs. When I first see them running toward me with hair raised on their neck, my nerves raise. I’m sure the dog see’s this erratic energy field of fear surrounding me. I’ve been told they do and for no other reason then fear, I really do believe they sense it. Now here’s the tricky part, how exactly do I get rid of this fear? Well there are ways to trick a dog that you are not afraid: body posture, loud voice, breathe, never can remember if I’m suppose to look them straight in the eye or not so the last rule is important…always carry a big stick .

There are ways to relax around your baby also (please don’t carry a big stick). Understand that your baby is not fine china, neither is your baby an unbreakable dish; more like your everyday dish set. Hold you baby in many positions, get use to holding her/him. Explore them, look over every nook and cranny. Move their tiny arms and legs up and down. Let them cry for a few seconds if they happen on it. Let them explore their voice. When they are newborn, the cry is really the only voice they have. If it is awkward to get them to latch on don’t freak out if they even cry themselves to sleep. Freaking out is the opposite of relaxing. So hold your baby and focus for a bit on your breath and the breath of your wee one. Feel the energy of your bodies when crying, when just chilling and when sleeping. Notice your breath during each of these cycles. Notice you body tension. Breathe into any area you feel might be holding tight. Tell it to relax. This body part may listen to you or it may not. If not, visualize the muscles letting go but don’t be attached to how they are actually reacting. The same lessons we learned to get us through labor actually help get us through mothering. Learn them and practice them often, they are most effective when you actually use them.  (I’m not being sarcastic, I’m being practical and real.)

Here are a few other helpful tools:

Drink lots of water, try to get a gallon a day down. Use a straw to get it down quicker, have it next to you all the time. Do not sit unless the water is there. Start your morning with water and lemon, or hot tea and lemon. The lemon is a very gentle cleanser keeping your immune system working.

Yoga every day. Yes that right, even if it is just a posture or two. Find ways to incorporate it into your everyday life. Do a forward bend while gently swinging your baby close to the ground,  do plank pose and spinal twist while playing peek-a-boo. Think differently about your practice. The days of an hour long continuous session are not so much an option anymore for most. Don’t abandon your exercise, just shift it to fit into your new life.  You are with the baby almost 24/7 so why not take advantage of this time and create a healthier mind and body that in turn creates a more peaceful relationship with all.

Visualize milk flowing, the power of the mind can work for you.

Have books you have read and trust available when questions arise.  My recommendations are “Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding”, “Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” by La Leche League, “The Nursing Mother’s Companion Guide” by Huggins.

Quickly, see a Hypnotherapist.  They help us undo conditioning that is harmful to us, really almost instantly.

Pay for a massage, have them come to the house if you can. It is preferred if someone could watch the baby for quiet time so you can totally let go. If not still better to get the massage then not. Prepare yourself for the massage before you go so you can take full advantage of this short hour. Do deep breathing while driving there. Tell yourself this is your hour and do not spend it talking non stop. The massage therapist should be let in on this so they can honor the silence. Allow your mind to go to a place of no activity. I know you don’t get much adult conversation, but do not use this time for socializing.  If you do deep breathing here and there and focus on the muscles releasing where ever the therapist are touching, you will get so much more out of this. Close your eyes while getting the massage, trust. Even better, when you release each muscle visualize a color with that area. What ever comes to you. See the color turn into an oil and use that oil color to mentally release.

Have you seen how you have been holding your body when the baby cries, when you sleep and try to nurse if you are co-sleeping, when you are carrying your baby? This is your hour to allow your body to reverse stress and release muscles allowing them to move back into normal positions.

Have happy thoughts while you and your baby are connecting, These days of nursing are so short, soon they will be over never to return again, The oxytocin that is released and the feeling of nurturing that comes from this rush of hormones only happens while you nurse. Try to be aware of this flow of sensation that comes, this is a special tonic that nature prepared so that nurturing, mothering, bonding can occur.

Nature prepared us with this perfect beautiful tonic. Breastfeeding. Now see if your milk does not flow better.

Bio for Jeanie Williamson ~~~ I do not have a PhD in infant nutrition, I am much more informed than this. I am a mother that has a passion to learn  with a purpose for why this is important. I have clocked in enough hours I could have 4 PhD’s but who’s counting. Oh yeah,  society seems to be counting. I may not study under the auspices of a state approved college. I went to the College of Real Life, my professors were my children and my midwife and the midwives with whom I studied, other mothers. Mothering Magazine was my most valued text-book along with Spiritual Midwifery, Special Delivery, Inner Light-Inner Beauty, Learning all the time, Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Continuum Concept and other great resources. My clocked in hours were ever minute I was awake. My outside credit school hours were Childbirth Education Teacher Certification workshops I took and then retook due to sponsoring them, the Midwifery Assistant courses, the infant massage course and Hypnobirthing Childbirth Education certification courses I took, along with all the classes I taught over the last 30 years. My most prestigious professors have been the newborns I have been blessed to welcome into the world along side the mothers that honored me to be with them. 

Captured smiles.

Juma and Raina were subjects of many an artist or photographer.

Juma and Raina were subjects of many an artist or photographer.

Raina

Raina

Artist and photographers, profesional and amateur alike, enjoyed capturing these adorable faces.  Every time we went to the beach or went to town, tourist would ask if they could take their pictures.
Kimberly Boulon returned to art with a portrait in charcoal of both the kids. She entered it in an art show which proceeded to be her first sold piece.

Kat Sowa did a portrait of Juma at the beach. We visited it in her art show at Mongoose back in the late ’90s.

The above pics were taken by Bob. I can’t remember his last name. It is not Nose or Schlesinger.
Steve Simonsen, famous for his many covers on Caribbean Life magazine, used Raina as a model when she was 4 in a beach and underwater scene that he included in one of his books.

Raina was a model again the same year for LLBean. That was a strange experience.

The joy of having wheels at any age.

Look at the view, they had no idea they lived somewhere so fabulous

Look at the view. They had no idea they lived somewhere so fabulous

Ride for the thrill

Ride for the thrill

Ahhhh

The faster the better

So cool

So cool

done riding

Hanging next to our house that we spent years building.

Pandy was our Shih Tzu that played outdoors, slept outdoors and literally was only allowed in the house the day she was bathed. When I read about Shih Tzu it said they are indoor dogs only. We tried that and she was not content. She wanted to play with the kids all day long and was so dirty I left her outside at night which she seemed very happy with. Her and Domino, the cat, kept each other company.

 

 

 

Pillow Fun, or is it?

Big Pillows

Big Pillows

J R

 

These giant pillow from Pottery Barn were a big deal in our house. It was a big expense that paid back in big smiles. Most the time. Eyes wild with excitement, the kids would run and dive, belly flops was more like it. Every time Starbo would see the kids do this he would say, “Hey, don’t let me see you do that again.” Eyes turned down, shoulders slumped as if to say, “Sorry Dad” and then when he left the room they would start right back up. This time I didn’t back Starbo up because I saw no harm in what they were doing. This is how it went in our house. When Starbo was around the kids wouldn’t do certain things but when he left the crazy began, as long as it was ok with me. If I didn’t like it, they wouldn’t get away with it.

The scary part for Juma, really the torture part, was when his older brothers would sandwich him in between two pillow. I would freak out when I saw him freaking out. I would scream, “Stop that right now, you know Juma hates that. It’s torture to him. Don’t ever let me see that again.” You would think I would never see it again but kids can be cruel. They know he spent days at the dentist being restrained in a papoose style board with velcro straps to get his teeth fixed. He had horrible bottle mouth syndrome.

Not sure why he had such bad teeth. He was breastfed for two and a half years, fed healthy food but he did get a bottle of diluted juice once a day and often fell asleep drinking it. My bad and unfortunately Juma’s bad.

I had two choices, put him under and do it all one time or sedate him and do it a few hours each day. I was afraid of putting him under when I read about the rare side effect…death. So dreading it all but understanding the severity of his disease, I opted for the sedation. The drug that was suppose to mellow him out had the reverse effect, taking a very mellow boy and turning him into a hyper maniac. It took four of us to restrain him in a papoose. A nightmare for us all. My poor little baby was crying so hard and I had to convince him to open his mouth for this very patient and lovely Puerto Rican female dentist. At the time it seemed there was nothing else to do, I wanted to pack up an fly home but I needed to be strong. His little teeth were chipped and rotten. Some got pulled and some got crowns. Like this story, it seemed to never end. Three days of it then we had to fly back to Puerto Rico a month later for another day of torcher.

So don’t restrain this boy. Let the fun be had but don’t sandwich my little boy or the memories flood back.

Basket Play Time

Basket Time

Basket Time

Look at the dolly inside the basket peeking out with her head full of red curls so much like the brown colored curls this little baby girl will get some day not so far in the future.  The hand woven basket is from our trip to Jamaica, the New Zealand lambskin was a soft place to lay my little babies bodies. Look closely and you can see the dreads forming on the left side of Juma’s head which will stay there till he is almost five. For these two, playtime was an invention of anything that was laying around. No special toys needed or for that matter were around.

I was a working mom back then. Tiny Jewels, my children store, was a full time job that I did while my day being a mother was also happening. I just fit it in all the cracks and crannies of my day (and night).

Raina’s personal protector-Juma

Juma keeping Raina from harm.

Juma keeping Raina from harm.

Hurricane Marilyn 1995. (LaLa Land, Coral Bay, St John, United States Virgin Islands)

 

That was our shed with a once upon-a-time car port after the winds blew most of it away and split the rest. The yard is full of power cords, blue tarps and lumber. The air is full of generators to run power tools for the repairs. We did not run them for long because the house’s power ran on solar. We even had a Energy Star fridge that our solar panels and batteries were able to keep cold.

Every day these little ones played in this yard. Did they ever step on things that hurt? Rarely. There was the time when Raina stepped on a screw and I learned that you can not pull out a screw, you have to unscrew it. Yuck, I know. A little soap and water, golden seal salve with a band-aide covered with a sock and she was fine.

I love Juma’s hair in this picture. He decided to play barber which explains the scalped hair on his forehead. I cut the rest short to try and match his creation.

Juma seems to have no problem emotionally holding his little sister back. There is no stress on his face because he is confident that he has her best interest in mind. She, on the other hand, looks extremely disturbed by this gesture from her older brother.

 

Summer Time.

The summer family

The summer family

A picture a day in

hopes a reader never goes away.

My new addition to the blog will be a new picture each day from the past along with the story because we all know every picture tells a story and many of you have been asking for mine. I hope you enjoy.

This is my family at summers end. Raina looks to be a few months old and she was born in June of ’94.

Starbo’s boys would come every summer. The youngest, Denver, had not yet made his way to St John. Starbo thought he was too young so he waited a couple more years. Irvin was the oldest and close to eighteen. Jeremy is holding his baby sister. Yello has his arms wrapped around both my boys showing the love they all had for each other. Baba (Ivan) is on floor in front of Jeremy  and Juma is off to the side. I am not sure how I got all their attention one time; how I get them to stop moving long enough for this picture. We must of been getting ready to head into town  which was a sight to see. Raina in her car seat and everyone else pilled into the Toyota 4Runner filling every nook and cranny.

This was our living room in our  five room shack. Two tiny rooms for the four boys in the middle. They shared the same age and the same room. Jeremy and Yello were 12, Brian and Baba were 10. Irvin slept on the very futon that is in the picture. So the living room became his bedroom at night. Raina and Juma slept with their mama and papa. The only other room was the small kitchen. We had no running water, no kitchen table and no bathroom this year. I’ll explain that on another day.

The walls only went half way up and the rest was screen. There was a large roof overhang to stop most the rain from coming in. Books were very important and consumed an entire wall of this tiny home.

We lived in the bush so our living space was very large, acres and acres of land with no buildings surrounding us. Very little time was spent indoors.

Drum/Music class.

Starting up a Drum/Music class with wee little ones in Bonita Spring, Florida.

 

coral bay 57

Homemade costume

coral bay 63

Juma doing the moves

 

African drum class.

Raina ready for the Island National Park play.

Join us with your wee little one every Wed from 11:30am to 12:30pm. Ages infant to 5 years old. (this can sway a bit if necessary)
We will spend 15 minutes of limin’ playtime then 30 minutes of music fun then end with 15 minutes more of just hang’n time. We will have an eclectic cultural experience for the little ones. Theme weeks. The first one will be Africa. So dress up your little one in lions or tigers or any animal costume you can think of. Be creative. Maybe just a tail made out of a sock filled with paper tied onto the waist. If you forget or don’t have time then don’t worry, the first 15 min we can do some quick face painting time. Your child will be immersed in rhythm and laughter which opens the heart and throat chakra spinning all the other chakras in a healthy connection to joy.

Listen, Listen to this adorable baby book.

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Crick Crack

Listen Listen

Listen Listen

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Winter’s gone

Barefoot Books has done it again. They have taken Phillis Gershator’s rhythmic verse’s and Alison Jay’s bright playful images and turned hard cardboard into a book your child digs out of the toy bin every night.  Join your child to celebrate the sounds of the seasons, from summer to autumn, and winter to spring.

The second picture has a young boy laying on the grass watching the sky fly by. This provides an opportunity to reflect and share memories of how time fly’s by with your little one. Thoughts like, “I remember the day you came into the world.” “When you were a baby everyone loved your tiny fingers.”

And who doesn’t want to say, “Crick Crack, babies hatch. Peep Peep, Chickens scratch.” knowing these words tickle tiny ears.

Be sure to visit their Facebook page to see the updates on more fun books. https://www.facebook.com/barefootbooks