Normalize Breastfeeding / World Breastfeeding Week 2018

My body feeds / contracts / reacts and breathes // I multiply / I replete / I complete cycles on repeat // I’m from the heavens / I’m from the earth / I’m from the places that you’ve never heard. – excerpt from Celestial Bodies

| n o r m a l i z e  B R E A S T F E E D I N G |

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Photo cred: Mama Niela. Click on the photo for more of her phenom work!

Is it cray to anyone else that we need to normalize something that’s…normal?! So normal in fact that it happens as naturally as breathing. The female body lactates, it’s what it does after giving birth. Yes, I’m aware that some women have issues with breastfeeding, I was one of those women, but my body did produce milk all on its own within days of birthing this big ole baby. For me, it was never a question of if I was going to breastfeed, if I could, I was going to, it’s what I was looking forward to the most, since that’s something I missed out on doing with my first. I did however romanticize the easiness of it. It was hard and really freakin painful. I had no idea how to do it or how much support I would need or that I would need to be taught how to do it. I envisioned birds would chirp around us as deer gathered at my feet and light beams shot out of us the moment his lips attached to my breast in an effortless latch. HAHA! Not quite. Thank Goddess for my midwife, postpartum doulas & lactation consultants (I was seen by 3!) because no one in my family had much advice on the matter as I contacted female family members crying and looking for encouragement only to find out that I was one of 3 out of 23 women in my immediate family to breastfeed. Yup. That’s it. It hasn’t been common, it’s def not normalized and breasts are still overtly sexualized and gross- ew boobs! I am part of a lineage of women who chose to formula feed vs breastfeed. I was a formula-fed baby, so I’m not completely dissing it. I seem to have turned out fine and I have one hell of an immune system. Finding out I was in the minority in my family tho led me to ask why on a larger scale and I began learning that women were sold “convenience” by a big ass *$70 billion industry and lied to about our milk. Women were made to feel that breastfeeding was inconvenient, dirty and that our milk, the one that is chemically altered on the daily to meet our babies needs, is inferior to formula and EVEN COW’S MILK for Goddess sakes! Why would I feed my baby another mammal’s milk if I have the ability to feed them my own…I rant. Scene.

I didn’t realize what a supportive breastfeeding bubble I live in, in Southern California until I traveled to the east coast this spring. I did not expect to feel so out of place, judged and even shunned while nursing my baby.
Here’s a few of the things I heard from my family:
Ugh! He spit up on me! It’s her milk, so gross. (Male to a group of male family members).
Oh god, you’re breastfeeding right now?! (Male. We were in the dark and Baby was in a carrier, but the mere thought of me breastfeeding was enough for him to have to leave the premises).
Could you cover up while we’re here? I don’t think 91yo Grandpa G can handle seeing you breastfeed. (Male).
I thought only my mom did that. (11 year old Female, because she has not seen ANYONE else nurse!)
You can give him some whole milk now. (Female, also a head nurse at her hospital. My son was 7 months old).
What’s your nursing plan? How long do you plan on breastfeeding him? (Male & Female from the east coast to the west coast x100, everyone feels the need to know how long I plan to whip out the titty to feed my baby as if it somehow affects their life).

All of the above and so much more because my son does not like to be covered up while nursing, I mean, would you want to eat blindfolded under an unventilated piece of fabric? This, is why we have to normalize. Our bodies, the female body, the ones that choose to birth, were also created to sustain our babies lives. In fact the World Health Organization recommends “breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.” In Amuuurica, we are dealing with dum dee dum dums in our government that didn’t even want to sign a breastfeeding resolution that basically states “countries should limit the misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes, as a mother’s breast milk has been shown to be the healthiest for children in decades of research.” And yet there’s more, “The resolution was expected to pass easily, but U.S. delegates aimed to remove language that encouraged countries to ‘protect, promote and support breast-feeding’ in an alleged alignment with baby formula manufacturers.” The American hypocrisy-democracy live in the sticky icky green-lined pockets of loyal lobbyists, who they brought WITH them to the damn Assembly in Geneva! Oh and PS., the US threatened other countries into not signing it until they were ultimately foiled by none other than MotherEffing Russia. How fitting?

If I still lived where I was raised, I’m not sure that I would have made it through those first 7+ weeks to my now “lookin hella easy” breastfeeding status. I can do this shit walkin, talkin and chewin gum now, so yeah, I’m a BF-G. To all of the badass breastfeeding Mamas out there, keep posting your beautiful boobies, your stories and the FACTS to support the Mothers that choose to and can breastfeed feel less nervous and more supported! No one should ever be shamed or sexualized (unless you’re into that) when it comes to feeding and connecting with our babies! I will continue breastfeeding (read: breastfeed forever) to normalize it in my own family!

I’ll leave you with this.

“A 2016 study published by The Lancet says breastfeeding could save the lives of 823,000 children and 20,000 mothers each year. In addition, universal breastfeeding could save $300 billion in reduced health care costs and improved economic prospects for children.”

*The Times reported that the baby food market is a $70 billion industry.

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– xOx

 

Pregnancy and Weed

Candles glow // I close eyes for the wishes I blow // Seeds I sow // For the chance to know // Your healing soul // Grow Flower grow.

This week I had the honor of guest writing for the blog, Jane Dope, “a blog by and for women who love Cannabis.” on the super taboo topic of using cannabis while pregnant. In the article, I share my personal thoughts and experiences. Here’s an excerpt:

“I’m a planner and a researcher living a hippie lifestyle. I don’t just put anything into or on my body without proper investigation, so to smoke during my pregnancy was a conscious choice.” 

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to share my story on a female-driven platform for other conscious Mama tokers. I hope that it can bring some understanding to those that may judge us and also share a light with those who feel alone or even ashamed by their cannabis use.

Peep the full story here.

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A gloriously full 10 months pregs!

– xOx

No Shit?! Plunging in on Elimination Communication!

Swirl around and around // Going down down down // Swallowing yesterday // We stand // Free from waste // Creating space // Today’s clean slate. 

And we begin, Day 1. 

I have a hippie friend named Aurora who I love dearly, we share the same passions for being ridiculously Earth-conscious, being comically frugal and being referred to as “crunchy af”! 🙂 She’s my play-wife. Our kids are 16 months apart and Aurora has been hella influential in the way I have incorporated crunchiness since even before baby’s birth (she’s the one that started me on the home birth kick and encouraged my vegan pregnancy!). When Aurora told me that she was doing Elimination Communication (EC) aka infant potty-training aka baby peeing and pooping in the toilet before they can even walk and talk, I KNEW I’d be following her down this yellow brick road.

Last week, Aurora gifted me her 2 year old daughter’s former potty, a two-toned hot pink Minnie Mouse potty complete with a lid (he needs to learn y’all!) and a hand-le that shouts “Hip Hip Hooray!” when you “flush”! This potty is a epitome of our relationship! For one, t’s a hand-me-down so no waste and no having to purchase any new plastic items. Two, it was FREE and three, we’re freakin potty-training our infants, well, Aurora’s on her way out! Before I left with my Disney donation, Aurora advised me to start watching for Ro’s cues before and after he peed and to start sitting him on the toilet after every feeding. Check!

This week, I decided to go next level and went down the internet rabbit hole of EC and discovered a woman named Andrea Olson, author of Go Diaper Free, she seems to have this stuff down to a simplified science. I mean, I’m definitely aware that I’ll be teaching a new human to use a toilet, so it will be hit or miss some days, but this lady has 4 kids and they’ve all been out of diapers before the age of 2, so basically I’m going to follow all of her advice! When I read the statistic that most kids in the world are out of diapers around the age of 1 and in America the average baby is in diapers until the age of 3, I was sold on the idea, I mean duh! For the Earth, for our budget and because I believe that this is possible and I’d rather do it now than later when work picks back up or I have another bebe on the way! One of my favorite lines from her website re: our kids and their poo, [do we] “teach them to ignore their instincts, train our kids to poo and pee on themselves and pretend it isn’t there, give them the huge responsibility to train themselves out of something we’ve trained them into? Do we dishonor the Earth by stuffing Her with poo-filled Pampers?” Right?! Because no matter how they label disposable diapers “Pure Pampers”, they don’t break down and they’re mountains of them in our landfills, full of biodegradable waste. Ugh! Makes me so mad! (Side note: use cloth diapers people!) Andrea also shares that in the 1950s, it was common for babies to be potty-trained by 9 months, moms weren’t gonna hand wash those cloth diapers forever! Hell no! I know I’m not about to. Go to Andrea’s site, she has some outstanding free resources, plus monthly q&as and a fantastic blog! If you’re interested in finding out more, seek her out, she’s also on IG. I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface and I feel confident that if I follow her advice, we will be successful!

TODAY, I decided to start putting babes on the toilet for all “pottytunities” as Andrea suggests AND MY BABY PEED IN THE TOILET y’all!! He is not sitting on his Disney throne yet, he’s still wobbly in his sitting and it’s not comfortable for him, so I’ve just been straddling the adult toilet backwards and sitting him in my lap with his thighs in my hands, penis pointing down while I let him stomp on the toilet lid and rip up toilet paper, it’s his new thing and it totally keeps him occupied while we sit there from 10-20 minutes. His incredible first pee happened on our 3rd time on the toilet after we came in from walking the dog, I took him out of his carrier, (a “pottytunity”!) and we sat down, he peed within 2 minutes! I may have gotten a little on my pants, but WHO CARES?! MY BABY PEED IN THE TOILET! I won’t get too crazy excited, I know there’s more consistent work to do and I am all for it! Ro is 7 months and my goal is to have him out of diaper dependence by 15 months! Can it be done?! Stay tuned!

– xOx

Why I Chose to Home Birth

You are // made from everything // That I am // We are // made from everything // That the stars are // I can feel // Your heart // beat // Within mine // The rhythm // Of a blood that runs deep // thru valleys and peaks… excerpt from 19th Birthday.

See why I chose to birth at home here.

I never thought that I would want a home birth. In fact, I swore I would never not have an epidural when giving birth. Why would I choose to feel pain? That’s crazy talk. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would have anymore kids. However, I did know if I were to have another baby, it would be under much different circumstances than my first. I was 14 years old when I got pregnant and a lot of, like all of, my decisions were made for me. I couldn’t drink (legally), I couldn’t drive (legally), I couldn’t buy cigarettes (you see the pattern here) and I was told exactly what would happen to my body and to my baby without asking me what I wanted or how I felt. I was induced early, I was given an epidural and I placed my baby girl in an open adoption all by the time I was 15 years old. It was rough, for a very long time. As difficult of a time that it was for me, I do want to add that I’m very grateful for the family that adopted my daughter and the closeness we’ve been able to have over the years. They are my extended family, but it still wasn’t my choice. I had no voice during my pregnancy (which I hid for the first 6 months), the delivery or postpartum. Shoot, I didn’t even really know what postpartum was until my recent birth. I am sure that I suffered from PPD, but I shoved it all down, deep deep down into the crevices and numbed it up with substance abuse.

Fast forward to adulthood and living in Southern California amongst the hippies with homebirthers all around and I’m starting to like the sound of this home birthing business, that’s actually not a business at all, (please watch The Business of Being Born, it’s pretty much what sold me on the whole idea at the end). Having a home birth would mean that I had total say over my birthing experience, the environment, who would be present at my birth, I would be in my home from start to finish, with my delicious home-cooked food, my music and the energy that we’d been creating in the space. I envisioned that after my hypnobirthing experience where I breathed my baby down and out through affirmations that my midwife would shower me and put me into bed with a warm meal and a baby suckling effortlessly at my breast. Very romantic, n’est-ce pas? Is that what happened? …kind of…no not really, but that’s for another post. Although it may not have been as romantic, we did have a successful home water birth and I delivered my big ole, 9lbs 2oz, healthy, veggie-made baby boy at 11:11pm on September 18, 2017 and for that I am forever grateful.

– xOx