New mothers so often are not taught the important whys and hows of breastfeeding beyond the simple "breast is best." My advocacy of nursing is not to lay a guilt trip on any mother, but to encourage all mothers to nurse. For moms who have had trouble nursing previous babies, I want to be your noonie cheerleader. You CAN do it! Talk to mom-friends, work with a lactation consultant, visit a LLL meeting, surf the web, and pray! You and baby will be glad you did!
What's Noonie? Noonie is our family's term for breastfeeding, thanks to my father-in-law. Pop Bush is one of the most squeamish men I've met when it comes to breastfeeding, and yet has given us this very affectionate term. My still-nursing 22 month old, Calvin, squeals with excitement "Moo-nee!" with his little voice giving a high pitched inflection at the end. I want to inspire YOU in your breastfeeding and hope you find encouragement among the stories and resources here.
Concerned About Your Milk Supply?
I had struggles with maintaining my breastmilk supply, starting at about 4-5 months. Since I had such an abundant supply and a chubby baby, it really took me by surprise. I now know that it is common for mothers following artificial feeding schedules to have a faltering milk supply at 4-6 months.
Why is this? Why do we see this trend in mothers following artificial feeding schedules (as advocated by Babywise, for example) of having a seemingly good start to nursing and then milk supply problems? One of the prevailing theories that matches my experience is explained in the article Examining the Evidence for Cue Feeding of Breastfed Infants by breastfeeding experts Lisa Marasco and Jan Barger. Pay special attention to the section on Endocrine vs. Autocrine control theory.
In summary, though, your hormones are "imprinted" in the beginning and that effects what they tell your breasts how much milk to produce, even later down the road. (In fact, even the very EARLY hours of breastfeeding impact that--prolactin is very high right at birth. And this is linked to the Corona pictured at the bottom of this page!)
As mentioned before, I'm one of the mothers who used Ezzo's artificial infant feeding schedules with my first two. Johnny was diagnosed "Failure to Thrive" at six months old because he was getting insufficient calories. Until then, while I had been concerned about milk supply and had followed Ezzo's guidelines for checking it, I hadn't realized how very low my milk supply had become. With my second, I still used a routine, but never went longer than 3 hours (except at night) because I thought that not extending the routine would help. While the results were less extreme, I still had milk supply problems beginning about 4 months and struggled until he weaned at 7 months.
Through these experiences, I've found what works for *me* in keeping up my milk supply. For starters, toss the schedule and cue-feed! All current medical research shows that what women have done instinctively through the ages is exactly how God designed our breasts to work. Babies usually find their own rhythm and imposing an artificial feeding schedule does more harm than any supposed good.
If I start getting a little concerned about supply, I make sure-sure-sure that I'm getting enough water to drink and adequate nutrition and rest. When I get busy, these things slip by the wayside.
Also, I make sure I nurse at least once at night. My body NEEDS nighttime nursing to keep up adequate milk supply. Breastmilk production is helped by night nursings tremendously. I've found that if I rouse the baby to nurse right before I go to bed, and if I bring the baby to bed with me for a long nursing session first thing in the morning that I both get plenty of rest and keep my milk supply up.
When things just feel low, I take a couple of fenugreek capsules before bed. I wake up looking like an exotic dancer because of all the milk! If you have hayfever-type allergies, you might want to research more before using fenugreek.
I got off to a rough start with breastfeeding, but breastfeeding has worked out GREAT with my fourth! I hope sharing my experiences will help you gain confidence to overcome the breastfeeding obstacles you may face.
Confessions of a Failed Babywiser
Have you heard about the infant books Babywise, Preparation for Parenting, or Along the Infant Way written by Gary Ezzo? These parenting materials are alluring to many loving parents, but seriously flawed.
Confessions of a Failed Babywiser is an essay about our experiences with "Babywise." It is written both as catharsis and restitution. I regret that I encouraged many parents to use the Ezzo materials and feel compelled to warn against it. I also want to share how level-headed parents can be allured by this program.
There are many other resources online that outline the medical, Biblical and character problems associated with Gary Ezzo and his parenting programs. With this, I hope to offer a personal view of how these materials can negatively effect a family.
Alternate link at Gentle Christian Mothers: Confessions of a Failed Babywiser
New Article Online! July 2003
From birth Johnny Bush "nursed like a champ" and slid right into the Parent Directed Feeding plan recommended by Gary Ezzo in his book "Preparation for Parenting," the first book in the series of parenting books commonly known as "Growing Kids Godís Way." I invite you to read the rest of this article by Cindy Webb in the Tulsa Kids magazine. It includes our story about Johnny's FTT.
I am so excited! An article I wrote won the Grand Prize in the Militant Breastfeeding Cult's summer writing contest. *big silly grin* I was motivated by the artistic noonie t-shirt offered at MBC! I invite you to read Play Ball.
I was recently quoted in an article, when I shared my thoughts on noonie advocacy.
"I was breastfeeding my son in the nursery when a little boy came up and started asking what the baby was doing.† I tried to answer delicately but truthfully, since I didn't know his family well.† His mother was fine with what I said and his questions, but it illustrated to me again how much we are socializing our own children to what is normal.† My sons have grown up with it being normal for babies to breastfeed.† I truly think we will see breastfeeding as much more the cultural norm in the next generation because of the growing awareness of breastfeeding and the commitment of today's mothers to nurse their own children."
February 19, 2000 - I noticed a can of powdered formula in the pantry. It's the formula I bought "just in case" about six months ago when I started taking Russian classes. John had boy duty with all three of our sons, and I wanted something that John could offer him. I took the lid off the formula and it was still 3/4 full. I felt such sense of accomplishment. In a whole year of nursing, I had only bought one can of formula.
When our first son Johnny was born, I assumed I would nurse until at least a year. We had some weight gain struggles around six months that led to immediate weaning to formula. I remember we went through two and a half cans of high calorie formula a week with him for a couple of months.
With our second son Tennyson, I nursed with occasional formula supplementation but no solids until he was seven months old. We were beginning to struggle with him not being satisfied when he nursed. A week later I found out I was pregnant, and we gradually weaned--actually more quickly than I had planned.
Now with Reagan I've been able to nurse a whole year. We exclusively nursed, and delayed solids until he was about nine months old. He loves his finger foods! At a year, I've noticed the transition he's making from relying on noonie for his nutrition, to eating more while lunching with his brothers. I feel motherly satisfaction swell in my breast when I open the pantry and see my can of formula on the shelf. That can of formula is my badge of success.
September 9, 2000 - I started slowly weaning Reagan in April when he was about 14 months old and I was about 2 months preggers. I was just feeling SOOOO touched out. We still nursed first thing in the morning, and some afternoons if Reagan was fussy. By July he was only having noonie every few days, but with our travelling, sometimes it was several times a day. Mid-August was his last time nursing. At first I felt like I ought to be Super Nooniemom, and to do that meant tandem nursing. Honestly, though, I'm thankful he is weaned quite a bit before the new baby is due. I can tell my milk has already changed to be more colostrum-like. Since we plan on moving overseas when our expected baby is still an infant, I am really glad that we had a "successful" year nursing without milk supply problems. It has built my confidence in nursing, and has been reassuring. The water in Ukraine will need to be filtered, and I'm thankful that I won't need to be concerned about formula made with questionable water.
April 2002 - So where am I now in the noonie cycle? Currently Calvin (almost 17 months) is still nursing throughout the day. He easily goes long stretches without noonie--like when I am at my Russian tutor's home and he is with his Ukrainian "Babushka." Calvin is eating a wide range of solids. Our nursing times where I know he is really eating well are first thing in the morning, and when I rouse him to nurse before I go to bed. Throughout the day nursings seem mainly for comfort--especially when he's sleepy. We went through nipple twiddling and biting phases--both of which have subsided. *grin* Neither are fun for me! In the past month, it seems Calvin has been less interested in noonie--though not ready to wean. And to be honest, I'm not ready for him to wean anytime soon. I want him to stay my little baby as long as possible!
June 2003 - In February I was out of town for a week, and Cal (2y 3m) didn't nurse and I didn't get very sore or engorged. I thought we were through. But when I got home, Cal was sick and was eager to nurse. Because of the limited health care we have here, I have been extra thankful for the immune system boosting that breastfeeding has given Calvin. Our nursing times have shortened to mostly when Cal is overtired and cranky--sometimes he'll nurse to sleep, but not very often. I usually find him in bed with us early in the morning for a little breakfast. He's about ready to wean from noonie completely. I've had mixed emotions about this--I've been feeling truly "touched out" and ready to stop. Yet, at the same time, I'm mourning the end of this stage of my mothering and sad to see my baby growing up.
Why the Corona?
- John drank all the Guiness?
- Drug-free birth, but a little booze goes a long way during post-partum recovery?
- Something to do with breastfeeding? Beer at birth MAY help with milk supply! I'm still working on the article to explain why, but it worked for me!
I got a laugh from this, but PLEASE remember to do your monthly self-breast exam. You can even subscribe to a monthly e-mail reminder for your SBE. And being a noonie-mom is linked to preventing breast cancer! I still need to verify the data, but I've heard that if you spend 7 years noonying (non-consecutive) your risk is practically nil!
I don't know who did this cartoon--if you do, please let me know so I can give them credit. Thanks, Serenity, for sending it to me!
My Mom was one of the breastfeeding advocates of the '70s. I remember her nursing my little sister during my T-ball games. Nursing seemed natural to me growing up because Mom did it--I just assumed nursing and homebirthing was what everyone did. When I became a mother my eyes were opened to the controversy surrounding one of the most natural aspects of mothering, feeding the baby by noonie. Thanks, Mom!
When John and I were expecting our first child, we were sent a copy of "Babywise" and the philosophy sections of "Preparation for Parenting" by some friends we respected. These are the popular parenting materials by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo. When we were expecting our second son, we led two Prep for Parenting classes. We really regret our involvement with this material, and have serious concerns about it. The problems we have range from medical to theological. Johnny was diagnosed Failure To Thrive because he lost weight drastically. It took four years before I could admit to myself that the loss of my milk supply was a direct result of following the Ezzo's materials. I believe the material also contributed to an adversial relationship with my children as well as fostered pride that was distructive to relationships in my life. Slowly, I allowed myself to see that while this material claims to be Biblical, it misrepresents Christianity and the Bible.
Please carefully read the information at Ezzo Info and keep in mind that these concerns are brought up by Christians who also desire to raise children to glorify God. If you have further questions or concerns, I recommend visiting the Parents Place Ezzo Debate board and talking with the knowledgable people there.
Have you decided to use materials from GFI? If you still want to use the Growing Families International materials, even after reading through the information about the flaws them, I encourage you to read this article that was written by a "Contact Mom" and praised by Anne Marie Ezzo to help you use discernment and balance in applying them in your family.
Perhaps you've used Ezzo materials in the past and are now changing your parenting. There are support groups for families who are recovering from Ezzo like this Yahoo list FreeFromEzzo as well as this former-Ezzo support board Unprepared for Parenting. (Interestingly, I've found as many recovery boards as support boards related to Ezzo parenting. . .) Studying the character of God and how He parents me, as well as reflecting on the implications of the theology the Bible teaches has had a profound affect in how I am changing my parenting. May God bless you as you love and raise your children to His glory!
- Just becauseWorld Breastfeeding Week and the National Nurse-Out are over for this year, you don't have to go back into the noonie closet! (Or public restroom, as the case may be. . .) This is home-grown, grass-roots activism at its finest. Grab your sling or nursing top and bring your little nursling all around town. Let's help make noonying the norm!
- Noonie is about nurturing. Help nurture pregnant women through this free "click-to-give" website.www.TheBirthSite.com
- Gentle Christian Mothers is a wonderfully encouraging website for noonying and mothering.
- MaryOlsenBooks.com publishes a great board book for babies and toddlers featuring noonie!
- Breastfeeding Moms On A Mission provides support and community for noonie-moms.
- MayaWrap.Com offers some great slings and pouches. I started using a pouch with Calvin when he was four months old and I LOVE it. We've used it more than any single baby accessory (well, except our carseat.) You can request a "gently used" sling or pouch, too. It is discounted, but you don't get to pick the color. It wasn't a problem for me--mine goes with everything! I really can't recommend the MayaWrap pouch highly enough.
- Little Koala has some great noonie art to send as postcards or for wallpaper.
- Mother Nurture Breastfeeding Dolls are a really sweet mother/baby nursing dyad. The noonie and the baby's lips have velcro to help ensure a good latch-on. My neice Thayer will be getting this for Christmas!
- One Hot Mama is very proactive and pronoonie. They carry cute nursing lingerie and great clothes, albeit a little pricey. Worth a visit!
- My First Bible, which has a wonderful picture of a mother nursing her infant as they are listening to Jesus teach. Thanks, illustrator Maria G. Boldorini for portraying a nursing mom in this toddler Bible storybook!
- Elizabeth Lee Designs Great patterns, great prices. If only I could sew. . .
- Breastfeeding.com! has become THE place for online mother-to-mother noonie support and information.
- You know how babies tend to fidget while nursing? The perfect answer to that is this handmade Nursing Necklace available from the Militant Breastfeeding Cult.
- ProMom, Promotion of Mother's Milk is a clearinghouse of activist information and news. Thanks, ProMom, for sponsoring the 2001 National Nurse-Out!
- Moms Nursing Everywhere Today is another website for the consummate lactivist.
- More coming. . . I'm building this site in bits and pieces. . . With three preschoolers and a nursling, I can't do it all at once!
Please share your noonie challenges and successes!
Last Updated July 13, 2003