Thursday, June 28, 2012

I love P!nk ...more

P!nk is one of my favourite contemporary singers - I love her music, her style, her attitude.

When I found out she was breastfeeding her baby Willow, I loved her even more :)

So when she tweeted this photo ...

... my delight was predictable!

I have followed her on Twitter since I first joined, hearing her first-hand tales of touring Australia.

I tweeted her today - how wonderful would it be to have this photo in the ABA breastfeeding calendar I am organising? Our wonderful calendar - this year graced by Miranda Kerr breastfeeding her baby Flynn

(photographed by Orlando Bloom, our family's favourite elf) - is such an important visual tool in celebrating the beauty of breastfeeding - and the normality of breastfeeding.

P!nk also fits the criteria, don't you think?

You might like to let her know you like my suggestion

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why we still have to promote breastfeeding ....

... and why it isn't to make women who couldn't do it feel guilty.

Every time a media story comes out promoting a new (or often, not really new) reason why breastfeeding is "best"  normal, you can bet your life the comments thread will fill within moments with stories of mothers who wanted to breastfeed, but didn't, for all sorts of reasons. These can take the form of sadness but most often take the form of anger. I have even been on the receiving end of phone calls and emails attacking me and/or the breastfeeding association for causing guilt and distress to women by doing/reporting research which concludes risk from formula. For the record, it isn't actually me doing the research, nor is it ABA or any other breastfeeding support organisation - in fact, a lot of the studies done into breastmilk are funded by formula companies, desperate to know what is in it, in the hope they can replicate it (not always successfully - fish oil-flavoured formula apparently didn't taste so sweet, despite providing long-chain fatty acids!)

Yet, if we accept that everyone on the planet must, by now, know fully-well that breastmilk is what babies should be fed from birth - why is anyone still trying to convince people about it?

Simple - not everyone does know. Many still think they are making a choice about infant feeding, a choice between two products - human milk and infant formula. They think it is a lifestyle choice. Or perhaps, they don't even know this is about two distinct things: I have spoken to expectant parents who think formula is breastmilk in a tin. Yes, really. Others who think the word "formula" means something scientifically constructed from scratch, who don't know they have been feeding their baby modified cows milk from birth.

The term "uneducated" doesn't just apply to those who cannot read or write. If nobody has ever explained infant feeding to you, if every baby you have ever met has been fed some white liquid in a bottle, how would you know what it actually is? If you cannot read the print on the tin (you know, those big words in a tiny font), then you aren't going to find out from there. And if you or your family have grown up in a country where infant formula is promoted on billboards as being best for your baby, alongside cute pictures of healthy infants, how would you know it isn't, actually?

So yes - the educated woman reading the news or the blog post, the one who knows exactly what her baby didn't get because she didn't breastfeed, is going to respond with sadness or anger. Meanwhile, the woman who cannot read, who doesn't have a computer, is reliant on those who support her to be up to date. It means her community need to understand what she needs from them to breastfeed successfully - which starts with her making an informed decision that she will breastfeed.

To make an informed choice, you need information. And before you get too smug about living in a first-world country, take a moment to check out the wonderful presentation on this site - some third-world countries put the first-world to shame. And if you are wondering how this all came about, be sure to note all the references to formula promotion.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Moving Melbourne

It was just before 9pm Tuesday night. I was tucked up under the doona, meds taken, fur-babies snoozing by my side and watching the 20th anniversary Foreign Correspondent program. Husband in family room, son in bedroom. Daughters in respective overseas locations.

Then the Earth moved.

And kept moving! We get the occasional earth tremor, a novelty as we don't get "real" earthquakes in Australia - well, once in Newcastle years ago, but apart from that, just baby tremors. The ones we get here are usually centred down in Gippsland and we get an odd rumble. We have had a handful over the past couple of years and once, the glass storage jars in my scraproom rattled, which was very exciting.

But last night, it went for so long - technically 40 seconds, but everyone agrees it felt much longer. There was rattling and groaning and rumbling. I do what I do in this situation - stay seated with my jaw dropped and yell out to whoever is home "Did you feel that?" Except the one time when I was at work alone, then I just said the same thing on Facebook ;)

And that's obviously where I turned last night, after my husband admitting it had scared the sh8t out of him and son came tumbling out of his room (where I suspect he had been asleep - not an early night, rather the opposite in his universe!), I opened my tablet - and in that short time, my news feed was FILLED with variations on "Did you feel that?"

What blew me away though - apart from just how close we all are to our devices at such times - was the fact people were reporting it from areas well away from us on the Mornington Peninsula. Like the outskirts on the north-west of Melbourne. And Shepparton. Albury - over the border in NSW. And Canberra???

This wasn't our usual tremor. And while we were updating statuses madly, we were also Googling and sharing at a rate of knots. It was a 5.4 earthQUAKE, centred down in Gippsland beneath infamous Moe and felt (as we already knew) in all the places listed above and more. It took the news sites AGES to catch up with my news feed - on a day when we were all coming to terms with huge cut-backs in the daily news print media.

And before you could even draw breath, the memes began to roll through our news feeds:

I personally think the Earth shifted on its axis because Melissa had arrived in London only a few hours earlier!

Oh, and that stuff about animals knowing when a quake is about to happen? I think they need to be awake - which Frodo was as soon as it happened, staring into space wondering what the hell THAT was. But Molly continued to snore through the whole event and after. Another career ruled out for her.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Checking in ... as they check out

The past few weeks have felt fairly unproductive for me, although when I tally them, maybe not so to others! But my winter go-slow has hit and my body is restricting its cooperation as it seems to each  year - fibromyalgia flares up in response to the cold, MS flares up in response to the fibro, meaning a double-whammy of fatigue and lack of energy for things like aqua aerobics and yoga ...

And just to add to the mix, my suspicions have been proven accurate - the acute pain and isolated numbness I get in my right hand is a form of RSI, affecting the ulnar nerve and aggravated by gripping tasks ... like knitting, crochet, holding books, steering wheel, computer mouse, kitchen utensils, pens, pencils, paintbrushes and other art/craft tools - in short, most of the activities that keep me sane! And how to ease the inflammation? Why, limit all of the above and more!!! The physio was so sympathetic when she identified this addition to the pain and numbness I get from the MS and fibro - distinct from but targeting similar areas. I was just resigned - my body is only half-way to its use-by date but I can't imagine it lasting the distance at this rate!!!

But in better news, my family has gone global: one daughter and her husband took off to Bail last week and other daughter heads to the UK tomorrow! Bali and its heat and humidity doesn't really appeal to me, but I would happily hop aboard the flight to London. We studied a map of the UK together this afternoon and I pointed out all the places I would love to go ... and there weren't many left! i shall think of this trip as an advance party and look forward to the day we two can do a longer, more detailed trip. As we are both mad British history buffs and love so many aspects of the life and culture, we have always dreamed of exploring it together. So ... one day.

Anyway, before the jet-setting commenced, we girls did our annual TWO walks around Albert Park Lake with Molly - once for the RSPCA, the other for MS.

PS - I sometimes get asked where the men are: the simple answer is, they aren't interested in our girly adventures: Rod has cycling commitments on Saturdays and Sundays and Kieran needs a really good reason to be exposed to daylight ;)

Friday, June 1, 2012

The community that Jane built

It began simply enough - a quick sketch as part of my 29 faces challenge
She was feeling a little overwhelmed, so a friend popped in to see her and the new baby
It was good to talk things over with an experienced mother
And then another friend popped in with a casserole for dinner and did a load of laundry while her own baby slept in the meh tai. She was from the ABA breastfeeding support group and remembered how challenging those first days were.
When another friend read on Facebook that visitors were welcome this afternoon, she popped around too. They had met at the ABA breastfeeding class a few months ago and were both excited to be having their babies so close together. She watched, fascinated, as the baby did exactly what they had seen on the video in class.
Mum came in after putting away the groceries she had bought and was happy to see her daughter surrounded by friends.
When the new father finished stacking the dishwasher, he came back to watch the baby start to feed again. He couldn't get over his amazement that the baby knew exactly where the nipple was and how to move her body to get to it.
Even the cat was there to offer his support, though nobody seemed to notice ;)
The End!

This past few days, my Facebook Friends have played along with this drawing and - interestingly - all their suggested characters had already crossed my mind to include! Working as I do, with new mothers learning to breastfeed, I wish this idyllic scene was real for them all, but sadly I know it is rare for many. It takes more than a pencil to create a supportive, nurturing environment around new mothers, but we should still aim to make it happen.