Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I cannot imagine parenting without B(.)(.)BS

Sorry for the B(.)(.)BS up there, but it makes me chuckle. Also, I'm new at this idea of carnival posting, so sorry for the technical errors to my current followers! I've decided to have a go at Code Name: Mama's Carnival of Natural Parenting, and the prompt is "I cannot imagine parenting without _______."

I would have never, ever imagined, prior to actually being a parent, that this would be my answer to the prompted question. My pre-parent self probably would have said something like "a good car seat" (I do love my Radian) or "my husband who is so helpful" (and he is and I love him to bits), but breastfeeding has forever changed me.

Growing up, I knew I'd breastfeed, much like so many people know how many kids they want when they grow up (a number that still eludes me). My ideas were different then though. I don't know where my teenage brain came up with the 6 month figure, but it did, and prior to actually considering parenthood that was the magical number that I just *knew* I'd nurse. El. Oh. El.

I'm not sure what I thought happened at 6 months--if babies magically existed on rainbows and unicorn farts or what, but I look back and chuckle at my conviction to do something without having a clue what I was talking about.

Once baby fever struck and we weren't quite ready to reproduce, I invested a ton of energy into reading about parenting. This is when I learned that "you should breastfeed exclusively up to 6 months, then your baby will eat solids, and you should continue nursing until 1 year." Of course this became my new mantra on the subject.

Then Lily was born. And at nearly 2 she still nurses not just for thirst, comfort, and sleep, but for nutrition. Real honest to goodness nutrition. Because otherwise I'd swear she really was existing on rainbows and unicorn farts; she has one of those food-is-for-suckers toddler appetites.

Breastfeeding has forever changed me.

In fact, I am now--as of last week--an accredited volunteer with an international non-profit breastfeeding organization where I will lead local meetings and answer phone calls from nursing mothers. (I'm not so sure about coming out with that information, less it becomes something that defines me in my internet presence, hence the not-so-vague-ness there.)

Nursing puts Lily to sleep for naps and overnight. It keeps her asleep when she stirs during naps and overnight. It comforts her when she's hurt or scared. It satisfies both thirst and hunger when suitable drinks or snacks aren't around. It's a running joke in our family to "nom" on her "baby nursh" while she giggles uncontrollably at the irony and the tickles.

It has become a passion of mine to correct misinformation and support mothers seeking help. I've even found an area group to volunteer additional time with that organizes conferences and dinners for medical professionals to better their knowledge about breastfeeding by bringing in experts from all over the country.

I went through my teenage years bemoaning my too-small breasts. I complained my way through pregnancy about my aching breasts. And now I sing their praises--for their ability to save my sanity, save the day, save the world!


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.

  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things's relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.

  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?

  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can't imagine parenting without her husband's sense of humor - he brings her laughter and love every day.)

  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can't imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.

  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.

  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.

  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.

  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs "me time" in order to be the Mama she wants to be.

  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.

  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer's Daughter doesn't appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn't imagine parenting without his help.

  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.

  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.

  • It's More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.

  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.

  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can't imagine parenting without her breasts; here's why.

  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family's needs.

  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama's next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.

  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.

  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn't even know you needed (and probably don't…).

  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn't survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it's afforded her with her 3 year old son.

  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.

  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren't things at all.

  • I'm No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.

  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without...Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.

  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.

  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.

  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.

  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can't imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it's not a thing after all.

  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.

  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn't easy at first, Knocked Up - Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.

  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.

  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.

  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can't live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.

  • The Necessities! — What "stuff" does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.

  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.

  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.

  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!

  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.

  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.

  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.

  • Why I'm a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship...and made life easier to boot.

  • It's Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can't imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.

  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.

  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.

  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.

  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.

  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin' Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.

  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us...

  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter's perspective.

  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles - come watch her video and you’ll agree!

  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.


  1. I love it! Good for you for finding a passion in breastfeeding! And wonderful for you for being available to women who have questions. Breastfeeding is so closeted in our culture - the first woman I ever saw breastfeed was myself! - that it is hard to know where to turn when the task that is supposed to come so naturally becomes difficult.
    Way to celebrate your superpower!

  2. Isn't it funny how we get these ideas about mothering before we actually mother? It must be the universe's way of teaching us humility ;) Thank you for sharing!

  3. I never had a framework for parenthood, so never imagined myself breastfeeding. I didn't even contemplate it while I was pregnant with my first, although I didn't really consider HOW I would nourish him. You couldn't convince me back then how important breastfeeding would be to me with my two sons - I can't imagine parenting without having this special bond. And I also go out of my way to correct misinformation about it, and encourage new (struggling) BFing Mamas to keep at it - I'm really glad I did. Thanks for sharing your story :)

  4. Oh I agree! Breast feeding has completely defined me as a mother. I love it!!


  5. I totally agree! Breastfeeding has changed who I am, not only as a mother but all around. It's an integral part of how I parent, not just a way to feed my children. Great post (and I love your writing style!).

  6. Hip-hip-hooray for boobies! And thanks to the Carnival for introducing me to your great blog - loving it!

  7. Hooray for B(.)(.)BS! Motherhood completely changed my perceptions of my own and what breastfeeding "should" look like. It is really something we lost as a culture and I hope that with the help of people like yourself we can get back to realizing what normal really functions as in a mother's body.

  8. Gorgeous post - I'm singing the praises of your boobs too! Thanks for sharing your feelings with us!

  9. Exactly my feelings!

    I don't know what I'll do when Peanut decides to stop nursing. Peanut is also almost 2 (born the same month as yours!) and nursing brings so much calm to my life spent chasing a toddler. Even when she's not sleepy or hurt, nursing helps us just relax and enjoy each other. She loves to play while nursing and every time we nurse it's like we're connecting again. Then of course she unlatches and runs for two hours straight.

    I'm loving your writing style and will certainly be back to read your blog again! Yay for the Carnival of Natural Parenting for finding new blogs to read!

  10. I am so with you! Breastfeeding has been so much more to me than I ever thought it would be. I used to think nursing toddlers was kind of weird — and now, of course, I'm still nursing a three-and-a-half-year-old. Go figure! I'm looking forward to nursing the second baby, too, (and getting over this pregnancy discomfort!).

  11. This is awesome! I'm also working on becoming breastfeeding support. Like you, breastfeeding has forever changed me.
    My first weaned at 10 months, my 2nd at 29 months(my milk dried up during pregnancy) my 3rd is now 8 months and will nurse until he's done. I love it!

  12. "And now I sing their praises--for their ability to save my sanity, save the day, save the world!"

    Love it, totally agree with it. Quite funny writing, thanks for joining the carnival!

    B(.)(.)BS rock!

  13. that is absolutely beautiful! I wish I had had the right support when I was trying to nurse my daughter. It's great that you're spreading the love!

  14. I didn't even contemplate it while I was pregnant with my first


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