4/30/2010

"Isn't he a bit OLD for that?"

Question:
My 12 month old has lactose sensitivity and my pediatrician said to keep nursing him and try milk each month to see if it still upsets him tummy. Is it really beneficial to nurse babies longer than 1 year? Some people nurse for 2 years, some 6 months. When do the benefits start to decrease? Will they really be smarter if they're nursed a year, or 18 months? I've always quit by 1 but now I want to know if I should keep going.
-Toni, mother of 7

Answer:
The short answer- Yes, the benefits to your baby from breastfeeding are real. The long answer: The World Health Organization's recommendation is, “Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.” Although, it is true that the composition of your breast milk will change as the months go by, these changes happen to compliment the development of your baby. For example, Colostrum is produced during the first week after your baby is born. It is FULL of antibodies and has less fat and sugar than mature milk (milk that will come later). This is to help build your baby’s immune system to give them a good strong start in life. Mature milk is constantly changing as your baby’s needs change. After 6 months, mature milk is not enough to completely sustain your baby because developmentally that is the time to start introducing solid food.

But, even though the composition is constantly changing, the benefits of breastfeeding are constant. Even after one year, the benefits to continued nursing are great for you and your toddler. Breastfed toddlers are sick less often (because of the antibodies that only your breast milk can provide) and develop fewer allergies. According to "KellyMom" (see link below) a breastfed toddler (12-24 months) receives from your breast milk:
29% of energy requirements
43% of protein requirements
36% of calcium requirements
75% of vitamin A requirements
76% of folate requirements
94% of vitamin B12 requirements
60% of vitamin C requirements

And if this wasn’t enough, breast feeding reduces the mother’s chances of breast, uterine, ovarian and endometrial cancers as well as protects you against rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.
For information on the studies, look here:
KellyMom
iVillage

I am a huge advocate of breast feeding, but having said all of this, when to wean is a personal decision. Only you can decide what is best for you and your baby. I have really tough pregnancies and then when I am nursing, I drop weight like most women gain it during pregnancy. For my own health, I quit nursing between 9 and 13 months. Don’t make a decision based on what the norm is. (many women stop nursing before 12 months). Often, the norm, is not the best thing for you and your child.

To summarize, the benefits of nursing never end and when you wean is a decision you need to make based on the needs of you and your child (and family)and only you (and your doctor) can decide when is best. Happy nursing.

And really, is there an image more precious than this?



Whaddya think?

4/27/2010

Is Your Love Life SPICY?

Because I'm not afraid to talk about the subjects everyone else wishes they could...

It’s no secret that men and women think about sex differently. Men think about it more often and are more likely to be attracted to physical features while women are more likely to be attracted to a relationship. If a woman wants to have sex, she simply undresses. If a man wants to have sex, he better do the dishes, put the kids to bed and lay the rose petals out.
You have just enough time to find what works for your marriage- and then come the kids and SLAM! your sex life goes out the door. That increase in libido that a husband is thrilled to find in his wife in her 2nd trimester sneaks out the door in her third and hides as if her life depends on it while she's nursing her new little treasure. But, even after that, there is a list of reasons why its, "Not tonight honey", which only drives a wedge between the tired couple, pushing them farther and farther apart.
I believe that sex is a beautiful expression of love between a husband and a wife that has been trashed and turned into something casual, dirty and ugly in our over sexualized society. I believe that a healthy, sexual relationship is vital to the strength and closeness of a marriage. I believe that not only is this most intimate part of our relationship something that can take time and effort to work at (especially after children) that we SHOULD spend the time and effort to strengthen our sexual relationship with our spouse.
My husband and I "date" on a regular basis (2 weeks ago we went go-cart racing!) and we talk- about everything. That's where we start. We have learned that even though how we look at sex is different we both want it in our relationship and we both want the other person to be happy with our sexual relationship (I bet his cheeks are getting pink). We look for ways to make each other happy and want to spend time together. In my marriage- that means letting my husband know that even though I have all these kids hanging off of me, I AM still interested in sex. And for him- it means letting me know that I am the most wonderful and beautiful woman he has ever seen.

I want to know: What do YOU do in your marriage to keep your sex life spicy? Whether you have young kids, are empty nesters or even if you have not yet be able to experience the joy of kids, on a PG rated level (PG-13 at the MOST), tell me what you think and what you do to keep your sex life vibrant and fresh. If you want to remain anonymous on the blog, email me at anothertolove@gmail.com and I'll post it.

I reserve the right to remove any comment deemed "too spicy"

Whaddya think?

4/23/2010

Its Not Black or White

I recently overheard of an unwed mother who said that her choices were black or white. Either she had to have an abortion or raise her child as a single mother and be forced to keep a relationship with her child’s father for the rest of her life. I would like you to know that her choices (and your choices) are not black or white; there are a variety of colors in between. There are thousands of families, just like mine, longing to adopt. Adoption of today is far different than the adoption of yesterday. No longer are babies taken from their mother, and then given to strangers, never to be seen again. The birth mother has the absolute say in choosing the family her child will grow up in. She can choose from a wealth of hopeful adoptive parents, hand select, and meet, the family she chooses. Then, after placement there is an array of options on how much contact is had after placement; ranging from weekly visits to letters and cards. Adoption has many colors of the rainbow that gives you the opportunity to allow your child to grow and flourish. Your child has a right to life and you have the right to choose the course. Even if my family is not a good fit for your child, please visit www.itsaboutlove.org and consider whether adoption is right for you and your child. There you can browse profiles of families who are hoping to adopt. If you would like to know more about my family, you can read more at anothertolove.blogspot.com.



Whaddya think?

4/15/2010

Let's Talk About Sex

Question: My kids are getting to be that age. How and when do I need to start talking to them about sex?
-mother of 4

Answer:
We live in an over sexualized society. There is sex on TV, in the arts, in the movies and even talk of it on the elementary school bus. I personally have written to my local news channel twice because they have shown unnecessary, provocative photos on the 6:00 news (while saying how horrible the picture was that had been texted back and forth amongst middle school kids- HELLO??!! You just showed it on the news!!!!) Our children become familiar with sexuality at a really young age. Maybe I am a bit old fashioned, but I think our society has taken this amazing and beautiful thing and turned it into something that is at best cheap and at worst dirty and hurtful. I would like my children to be able to share this experience with one person (their spouse- call me old fashioned if you’d like), who they cherish and love, and are able to receive the full, amazing effect that it can have between a loving, married couple.

So, let’s start with when. Think about the age you think it is appropriate to talk to your child (every child will be different based on their level of maturity) and then start 2-3 years sooner. You want to be the first person to talk to them; before they hear it at school, on TV or from their friend’s big brother. The goal is so that they are completely comfortable talking to you so that when they do hear something, you will be the person they ask. If you are uncomfortable talking to them, they will be uncomfortable talking to you. If you have to, stand in front of the mirror and give yourself “the talk” a couple of times.
I actually sat my 8 year old down and gave him a more in depth conversation about the mechanics of the birds and the bees lately and realized that I had waited a bit too long. He was already uncomfortable talking to me. But, I plugged through, determined to fix the situation. In the course of our conversation, my 5 year old plopped down next to us and I had a decision to make: do I keep talking and let my 5 year old hear, or do I stop, thus teaching each of them that it is a taboo subject. So, I kept going. I was amazed that my 5 year was completely comfortable talking with me about sex. He was still young enough not to know that most people were embarrassed talking about this. So, for my 5 year, he was not too young to hear of the mechanics of sex, and with my 8 year old, I had waited too long.

Now, to the how. You need to talk to them in phases. With all of our kids, we sat down with them on a regular basis starting at 3ish and told them about good and bad touches and private parts. Use correct terminology; they need to know it’s called a penis and a vagina. Show them basic pictures of male and female anatomy. (I’m happy to send links if you’d like) and let them know that NO ONE has a right to touch there if they don’t want them to and that only certain people, at certain times can touch them there with Mom or Dad’s permission.
I was afraid that if I began talking to my kids about sex too early that it would awaken in them a sexuality that had not yet been awakened. So- don’t sexualize sex. They can know quite young the mechanics of how babies are made and then it can be left at that for a while. They don’t have to know about orgasms or oral sex, etc for quite some time. My kids know at 8 and 5 that the penis enters a vagina and delivers the sperm which penetrates that egg and voila! A baby can come. We used pictures from a children’s encyclopedia to explain the process. As time goes by, we’ll move on to the next steps; theoretically before they hear it from their friends. My kids know this is a family subject and that they should not talk about it with people outside of their family. But, still, you should be prepared to be embarrassed- just in case they tell their Sunday School teacher or babysitter.

Bottom line: If you are asking these questions- NOW it the time to start the talk with your kid(s). How old and mature they (and you) are will depend on how much you tell them now. But, they are smart kids and they have a right to hear it from you. Being the first to give your kids this information also gives you a chance to shape your children’s attitudes about sex. For our family, this means teaching that sex is something special and loving, never something to be taken lightly or done casually.

Whaddya think?

4/12/2010

How Many Sweaters Do You Need?

Back when my husband was in Law School at Duke, Coach K (their well-loved Men's basketball coach) was offered a position to coach an NBA team with an eye-popping high salary, and he declined. His response was that he loved what he did and he didn't care for the high salary. He actually said, "How many sweaters do you need?"

It was a phrase that really stuck with me. A few years back, my husband was given two job offers, one with a sweet salary and lots of hours and one with very reasonable hours and a very comfortable salary. We thought for some time about which job to take and that phrase kept coming back to me, "How many sweaters do you need?" Ultimately it came down to the fact that my children needed a father more than they needed more toys.

Our economy has taken a huge hit over the last few years because people can't stop buying their toys. Our cars are nicer, our houses are bigger and we spend WAY too much money on material things. The people who should get paid the big bucks get pennies and people who are in the 'right place at the right time' get billions (literally). Here are some facts I've come across lately that have left my eyes popping...

*Our city is currently renegociating its contract with our waste management company. The 'Teamsters' (aka garbage truck drivers) union is threatening to strike if their demands are not met. They have great benefits and a starting salary of $74,000 a year (yeah, you heard me- you can have a GED and no college degree or skill and start at $74,000 a year). They want a salary increase of 17% over 4 years (that's 4.25% a year) and no increase in their cost of benefits. SERIOUSLY??? Come on people, you drive a garbage truck.

*Stephenie Meyer, (the author of the Twilight series- which I love) who had a whacked out dream and wrote it down, made $50 million last year (according to Parade Magazine). Now, she does have a college degree and she did work hard at pursuing her dream, but really, I have whacked out dreams all the time. Maybe I should be writing them down...

*Mark Zuckerberg, who is the co-founder and current CEO of Facebook (and I do love facebook) was reported by Parade Magazine to have made $3 Billion last year (yes- that is billion with a B). SERIOUSLY?????? I don't think I could spend $3 Billion. Let alone want to. What a waste. Of course, I'm sure most of that was in the increase in his stock and he didn't actually get to spend it. But, still. OH MY GOSH. He will be 26 years old next month.

*The average elementary school teacher, who lead our future, makes $41,000 a year. They have Bachelors or Masters Degrees and they shape and carve our future every day. The average high school teacher makes $47,000. And according to wikipedia this is a great "improvement" from 10 years ago.

*The average salary of an active duty United States Marines (you know- those guys (and gals) over in Afganistan and Iraq who are getting shot at and missing the births of their first born babies so that you can fly in a plane without it being turned into a torpedo or so your kids can go to school without the real fear of it being blown up by a terrorist) is $49,000 a year.

Call me crazy, but doesn't this list seem a bit, I don't know, skewed. I know that those of you who know me well are thinking about my nice car, my big house and my designer bags. But, my car, is paid for- I saved up. My house is well within my means- I saved up. And my bags- all bought second hand or on major clearance. I don't have a tv that cost more than $200 and my cell phone was $50.

But, I guess that's the great thing about America. Its all about choice. Whether to go to college? How big of a house do you buy? How much debt to have? Whether you have a iTouch or a cheap cell phone? Of course, it is those Teachers and Marines that ensure you keep that right to choose.

How many sweaters do you need?
Whaddya think?