Flowing With the Unforced Rhythms of Grace

Changing my hair has been a catalyst for some serious transformation and major insight in my life.  I decided back in February, at the start of an extended vacation, that at the end of it, I’d start the process of loc’ing my hair (dreadlocks).  I remember how I kept thinking and saying, “It’s time (for change).”  I had no idea what I was in for.

It’s funny how something as seemingly simple as hair, can affect such major change in one’s life but it does (ask Sampson, lol), and with locs, I hear many, many people echo the same sentiments. Not to sound all exclusive, but starting this journey, I feel I have joined the ranks of a group of people who are in touch with themselves in a very different way.  It’s a new level of inner knowing.

I think, in part, it has something to do with going off the beaten path, especially against others wishes, and coming out stronger than ever.  I experienced this when I started unschooling my then, only child.  I literally had the unflinching support and cheerleading of one person, my grandfather, and he passed a month before I officially took my daughter out of daycare 16 years ago, and began our journey.  Setting off on a new and different path that I’d never seen modeled, changed my life in many extraordinary ways.

When I decided to embark upon my first birth without medication, I caught the same flack.  When I decided to give birth at a freestanding birth center with a midwife for my second birth, then at home with a midwife for my third, I learned something about myself.  I learned how very powerful and capable and strong my body is and I went on to give birth twice more, at home with no midwife, doctor or doula, just my body, baby and family present.  My husband learned how capable and strong he is, as his hands were the very first to touch his sons as they were born.  My children, all present at each other’s births, all learned how beautifully boring but also magically amazing birth can be; they aren’t afraid of it at all.  Lol, people like to say, “Why give birth naturally, you don’t get a medal for it.” Those people have no idea what one gets from such a birth.  No “medal” can compare.  I got so much more.  I gained something that no one could begin to try and take away.  Even with having earned medals from running races, I am not certain where those medals are as I type this, what I gained from doing it is far more valuable to me than the “bling” I gained and still gain from running.

My hair looks wild right now.  It looks rough and “unkempt” and unruly and not only do I wear it proudly and boldly, I absolutely, unequivocally love it.  It mirrors the part of the journey I am on right now. Some days have been hard, filled with tears, anger, and even guilt and shame as God reminds me of things past. He is teaching me through so many entities, to face the ugly truth about things I was once confused or deceived about. He is walking me along a path that I must travel to subjectively realize complete healing, wholeness, and forgiveness. On the harder days this week and last, He gave me my beautiful friends, Evelin, Julissa and Lissandra whose support and love I can’t imagine doing without.  He gave me frequent “kiss attacks” from my 4 year old son and the beautiful closeness that comes with breastfeeding my 1 year old.  He gave me the beauty of having a cousin over for a few weeks and her laughter joined with my other children is so stinkin’ cute.  He gave me my doting husband, who insisted on taking me on dates, surprised me with flowers and a massively loud dance party on a Tuesday night, starting after 11pm. He and our children danced, screamed and had a blast until we were all drenched in sweat.  I would have called the police on us, lol, but Abba knew it was so needed, and no one did.

This journey I am on is very hard but I see so much beauty and freedom in it. I am choosing to flow with it unapologetically. In the past, I’d fought hard against it when the Lord was doing something new in me, for my growth. Not this time. I am done fighting against Him, I can’t win anyway, lol. I will flow with the unforced rhythms of grace and come out more glorious than ever. Many blessings to you, dear reader.

Checking In

It’s been a while since I have written, I know.

When I give birth, I like to take a significant break.  For my last two post partum periods, I have done a 40 day babymoon where I don’t even leave my bedroom for the first 40 days after giving birth.  After that, I go downstairs as I want to, and play going outdoors by ear.  This makes for an invaluable time of recovery, healing, and getting to know my new baby, not to mention getting much needed rest.  My last 3 babies have all slept well at night but because they still wake up to be nursed and changed, my sleep is still broken. This means I am often super tired and anyone who knows me, knows how I cherish my sleep.

Weeks before I gave birth, I started to get really emotional about giving birth because some part of me knew and remembered that once I did, it would be a while before I saw anyone. I made myself feel better with ideas of having company over after I gave birth, but I forgot, I am not a fan of company after giving birth for my birth clients that I attend.  It’s just not the best time to entertain guests.

I always stress to my clients that even I don’t need to come over if they are not up for company and I personally have strict rules (as a birth worker) about snuggling someone else’s newborn.  There’s so much that happens after giving birth- after birth pains, trying to establish breastfeeding, healing from the birth itself, raw emotions, aches and pains that linger, and being exhausted. I personally do not care for an audience during that time.  It’s not the easiest thing for me to do, as I love people.  Also, I like things to be done a certain way, and during this time, I have to take things in stride as my family, when serving me, may do things a bit differently. Even still, taking this time does me a world of good.

It kind of reminds me of how Jesus would steal away for periods to just be with the Father.  I use this time for that too.  It’s me, my Abba, my husband, and children.  It’s about stepping away and getting in the rhythm of my new normal and so much more.

This time around, as bouts of the “baby blues” hit, I started to make even that enjoyable.  As ridiculous, negative thoughts swirled about in my head, I began to thank God for the opposite and continue to make declarations along those (positive) lines, over my life.  I have been resting as needed, whenever it hits me to do so.  I’m also reading one book and listening to another and enjoying both.  I have written out a list of goals.  There are some things that I want to focus on and accomplish now that my son is here.  And my new son? I don’t even have the words…  Suffice it to say that we are all enjoying him more than I can say.

I just wanted to write something to you, my dear reader.  I have started several blog posts during this time that I just didn’t complete for one reason or another but I wanted to let you know that I am well and will be back in the swing of things in a few more weeks.  In the meantime, I’m just enjoying this period all of my birth nerd sisters and I call the “babymoon”.

 

Taking God At His Word

With each passing day, I am closer and closer to giving birth, and for once in my (pregnant) life, I don’t feel ready.  You’d be hard pressed to find another pregnant woman past 36 weeks, pregnant with multiples no less, who isn’t eager for the all infamous “Labor/Birth Day” to arrive but of course, as always, I have to be different.

I wanted to go at least to 38 weeks with this pregnancy and I just feel strongly that it’s not going to pan out that way, not to mention I asked the Lord and felt the answer was, no, I would not go to 38 weeks with this pregnancy.  The thing is, I tend to go before 40 weeks anyway, so it isn’t unusual, I just want to give these little ones every chance to be ready for life outside the womb as possible.  I know all too well how precious every additional day in the womb is for a baby, let alone two or more.

Part of the reason I am not ready emotionally, is my family here in Jersey and New York.  I don’t like the idea of missing various events and gatherings and actually cry when I think of missing them.  I am very much a stickler about my post partum period, staying in bed for the first 40 days and only venturing out when I am absolutely comfortable. With the prospect of two babies, I don’t imagine I’ll be in a hurry to rush out the door and that bothers me.  I have exaggerated, saying I’ll be back in the swing of things after 2-3 years and then cried a little feeling that wouldn’t be too far from the truth.

I also feel very strongly that missing my family isn’t the only reason I am not ready emotionally at this moment.  Perhaps additional reasons have to do with the journey that got me to this point.  Maybe it’s things I’m not so ready to deal with or explore just yet, I don’t know.  What I do know, or Who I do know though, is God.

If God is saying I may give birth sometime next week, not only will my babies be ready, but so will I.  He has told me over and over that I can do this and I believe Him.  I do not and never did fear the labor and birth, which is something I am grateful to not need to work through.  I know that a great deal of the people I miss would have absolutely no problem coming to visit me when I am ready to receive visitors and, I will likely be able to see others during our prophetic retreat in April.

Even though I don’t feel ready now, I can trust God now that all is well and I don’t need to worry about not being ready.  This is an opportunity to rest in Him, to go to Him and talk it out and just bask in His presence and I’m taking it.

I’m setting myself to simply enjoy the rest of this pregnancy and just be in the moment. I will not allow the possibility of my not being ready next week (which isn’t even here yet) dictate how I feel and trust God today.  That’s silly.  What’s exciting to consider, is that God is already in my next week now, so if He says I’m good, I’ll take His word to heart and believe it.

Discipleship At Its Best

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus starts off by saying, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations…”  I am crying and filled with such an immense sense of joy as I type this because for once in my life, in a church setting no less, I can think of 3 beautiful men who are so dear to my heart who are doing just what Jesus said, for me.  These men, in no particular order include, Dennis Arroyo, Russ Painter and Gary Fishman.

These three prophet guys are so very special to me.  They have been my introduction into what Jesus modeled in leadership.  I can sit and just form a puddle of tears around myself thinking about them and what gifts they are to the Body of Christ and me in particular.  They have and continue to give me so much, even without always realizing it.  I really need to get it together, I can hardly see as I type at this point, I keep crying. 🙂

What I love is that none of these men claim, by any means, to know it all, to have perfect theology  or anything of the sort.  They are simply real, honest, pure and nothing short of astoundingly amazing men of God who truly have His heart for His creation.  They don’t try to be in or make spotlights or brands or names for themselves.  They push others to become what and who God has made them to be and they do it with love.  Russ gives you gentle but firm nudges.  Dennis is more than ready to step aside and pass a mic, and Gary, if there’s ever a bus you want to be thrown under, it’s one he’s a part of.  To say that I love them just feels so inadequate and minuscule, but I do, dearly love them all.

They are helping me to grow and learn and be more effective in the part of my walk with Christ that is to be in the “spotlight”.  I am more than happy to sit off to the side, in the background but it’s not the easiest thing to do when you have a gift to sing and speak.  One kind of has to be in the fore front for such things. 🙂 These guys help make that so much easier.

So, Lord, I declare lots of more over these beautiful men and their beautiful families.  More love, more joy, more peace, more strength, more growth, divine health, supernatural wealth, all above and beyond for them.  Go crazy, Abba, like only You can.  Lavish  them millions of times over with all that they selflessly give so many others.  And, let me see it happen, just so I can laugh, cry, and rejoice with them. Thank you so much Abba.  You are truly too much but at the same time, I can’t get enough of You!! ❤ ❤ ❤

Grace to Enjoy, Grace to Endure

You don’t have any idea how much you can endure in life or what you are capable of accomplishing when you have an intimate relationship with God. Like Graham Cooke said, we have grace available to us each day- grace to enjoy what is happening and grace to endure what is happening.

I have done things this weekend with such a strength that I *know* there is no way I can take even a gram of credit for it. I simply made a decision, and my Abba totally carried me, then, my family by blood and The Blood, my tribe, people I can’t imagine living without, came alongside Him and carried me too. I am broken and fulfilled. Heart broken but so happy. I cry the heart-wrenching tears of a mother of many but I belly laugh and mean it with all my heart.

I have lost yet another baby this weekend.  It’s like I am filling Heaven with children.  This weekend was the weekend of what has become a favorite for me- the prophetic retreat.  I was charged with leading worship on Friday night with my oldest daughter and my spiritual father Russ.  I was also given the opportunity to lead a workshop.  Pastor Gary called me saying God showed him a vision of me leading a workshop on prophetic parenting.  What was hilarious was that he also said that he had no idea what that entailed, lol, so it was like, “This is what God showed me.  I have no insight for you on this. Are you in?” Without hesitation, I was so in.  🙂

I am growing to love these moments.  When God nudges me to do something I don’t know how to do or can’t do in my own strength, I simply yield to Holy Spirit, trust and move forward and amazing things happen.  After realizing I was losing my baby, I was of course told that I didn’t have to do anything I wasn’t able to do but with God to lean on, I did it!!  Philippians 4:13 means more to me now than ever before.

I cannot cry and sing, but with God’s strength holding me up, I was able to move forward and worship Him in the midst of my pain, physically and emotionally.  In the beginning, I simply swayed to the music to ease the lower back pain that comes with what I call the mini labor of miscarriage.  As I sang to my Abba, I felt like I was caught up in a swirl of color and love.  There was so much peace there.  The pain of my mini labor vanished in that moment and it was just me and Him. Bliss.

Then, I was able to do it again the next day.  We led worship and it was amazing.  I was able to sing prophetically over everyone and although I have no idea what I said other than remembering singing the word “abide”,  it is an amazing testament to what God can do when we simply yield to Him.  He takes care of it all.  In one moment, I sang strongly and prophetically over the crowd and in the next, I sat on Mama Robin’s lap, as she held me in her arms and I released what I hadn’t yet been able to.  I cried and sobbed and was probably super loud but I did not and do not care.  For me, this is huge.  It was a breakthrough moment that was so important and necessary.

Then I went on to lead two workshops on prophetic parenting.  That too was good.  Again, something that I didn’t know how to do, was done beautifully, with God’s help.When we come to the end of ourselves, He is just getting started. Brokenness is a good place to be in with Him.  A great place.  It’s where the best yielding and trusting can take place.  It’s the place of miracles.  It’s where the supernatural abounds.

Then,  the retreat was over.  I purposefully left without saying goodbye to anyone as I knew I would breakdown and cry.  I just lingered a bit and then left.  We stopped at a store on the way home and while in line, I looked at a young mother and God began to speak to me about her.  She was overwhelmed at times and not sure she was up to the task ahead of her.  She was with her mother in law, infant son and husband.  I looked for a way to speak with her privately and then laughed and said to my Abba, “Look at me, Abba.  I’m still hesitating aren’t I?”  He said nothing.  I said, “Ok, I’m gonna do it, you know I will.  I just don’t know how to do this.  How do I do this?”  He said, “You put one foot in front of the other…”  I laughed out loud and did it.

 

Choosing Family Birth- Originally Written September 2013

Seems like I just can’t find it in my heart to be normal, average or mainstream in my line of thinking- not that I’m complaining, just stating a fact.  I just always seem to find myself on the opposite end of some spectrum or I’ll take myself off the spectrum completely.

A lot of people know I’ve given birth in all of the 3 main places: hospital, free standing birth center and home.  After my hospital birth, I wanted to give birth at home but the birth center became a compromise between my husband, mom and I.   We’d bought and moved into our first house well before I was pregnant again so I was definitely having my homebirth for that one.  My goal since my very first pregnancy was always the same- I just wanted to have my baby without drugs or interference.  I didn’t know all I know now, I just felt that being a woman was qualification enough to get it done.  I wasn’t afraid of pain, I was afraid of the drugs and interventions.  I was ok with what my body brought my way but very afraid and *not* ok with any lasting effects of some medication or intervention on me and my baby long after the birth.  So there.  Not brave or courageous- scared out of my wits!!

Anyway, after having my homebirth and writing my book about my birthing experiences, when asked which birth was my favorite, I felt like a fool because it wasn’t my homebirth that I enjoyed most.  It was my birth center birth.  I couldn’t understand for a while why that was but I had to acknowledge it, even if only to myself.

After doing work as a doula and doing some soul searching I realized why- with that birth- besides leaving to go to the birth center (which was a mere 7 minutes or so away), I got what I always wanted- to just give birth with no drugs or interference.  I labored at home a little over 2 hours, did as I pleased with no one trying to manage or check my progress and when it was time to go to the birth center, I arrived at 5am on July 4th, gave birth at 5:18am and was back home by 9:45am.  Lots of family came over to celebrate the holiday and birth with us.  It was perfect.

At some point it dawned on me that the only way to ensure the kind of birth I wanted and needed, I needed to forgo a care provider.  I’m not against anyone per se, I just don’t want anyone at my birth.

Sharing Birth Stories

A friend and I took our children to a nearby park one morning. While they played we chatted about a myriad of subjects, one was natural birth.

*Sigh* Now, to clear it up right away, when I say “natural” birth I don’t mean the word to be synonymous with vaginal birth as vaginal birth can include all kinds of unnatural interventions. So, natural here means natural- no “additives”- at all. I’ve given birth to all my children vaginally but my first birth wasn’t a natural birth at all.

As the birthing climate changes, more and more people are at least entertaining the idea of natural childbirth. And, a lot of (not all of) the ones who are serious enough to put things into motion are getting just that. These people educate themselves. They hire a care provider that is philosophically aligned with their plans for their birth. They read books, they watch videos like “The Business of Being Born” and “Orgasmic Birth”. They hire a doula to help them achieve their goals. They know what they want and they go after it full steam ahead and a lot of the time they get it. Sometimes, they don’t.

I have a client now who contacted me before she was even pregnant! She told me about her first birth and said it wasn’t at all what she wanted. It ended in a cesarean and she really wants to go for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) the second time around. She researched doctors and midwives who support VBAC’s and really did a lot of leg work before she conceived and she’s now expecting her next bundle in the Spring. Naturally, I can’t wait to see her come into the knowledge of what her body can do. It’s always wonderful to see women give birth in the way that’s most comfortable for them. It makes me feel proud to be a woman.

These women, women much like myself, who’ve had traumatic births and go on to have more enjoyable births love to share their birth stories with anyone who’ll listen. Frankly, I got tired of hearing people talk about how I was crazy for “going natural” and giving birth outside the hospital, so it was one of many motivating factors for me to write a book about my births. (See book here)

But, what about the women who desire a natural birth but don’t get it? What about the ones who didn’t want one to begin with? What about the women who didn’t know any better and simply “got what they got”?

I say, share those stories too. We need to hear them all. We need to come to grips with the fact that a lot of us will indeed do better when we know better. I wanted a natural birth with my first child but I didn’t know that my birth plan would be ignored by the doctor and hospital staff.

When I became pregnant with my second child, I’d done my research and I knew that to ensure the type of birthing experience I wanted, I needed to stay out of the hospital. That’s what I was comfortable with. I knew that there was a possibility with my birthcenter and home birth that something could happen that would require a transfer to the hospital. I was ok with that because I knew that if that happened, I’d have the interventions because I and/or my baby needed them. It wouldn’t be due to someone wanting to take control of my birth.

When I share my birth stories, it’s just that, me sharing my birth stories. I’m not out to make others feel inferior at all. I want to help people. If my stories can help other women have better birthing experiences, I’m thrilled. I don’t want anyone to experience the kind of birth I had with my first daughter.

So please, share your birth stories. Share the good, the bad and even the ugly. We need to hear them all so that we can grow and learn from them.

Top 11 Ways to Have An Unnecesarean

Just itching to have that totally unnecessary cesarean?  Here are some tips to help you get there! Here’s my version of some of the top ways to have an unnecessary cesarean.

11. Pick a caregiver, any caregiver! Better yet, choose a “lottery” practice where you get lots  of different providers.  That way when you go into labor, you won’t have a clue who’ll attend you thus increasing your chances of having one who couldn’t care less about what you thought you wanted for your birth.  If you’re lucky, you’ll get one with very high epidural, episiotomy and cesarean rates.  Cross your fingers!

10. Only take hospital sponsored childbirth classes! If you must take a class, go with the one the hospital provides.  That way you’ll learn how to be a good patient and take what they give ya with a smile- after all, “you don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ no baby!”

9. Stay away from doulas!! Hiring a doula can totally screw up your chances of getting that unnecesarean.   You may end up with a shorter labor and  mess around and have a completely unmedicated vaginal birth.  You’ve been warned!!!

8. Agree to an induction! Don’t even ask if it’s medically necessary-  it doesn’t matter. Lots of people like things a little “undercooked” right?  Plus, your family members can’t wait to meet this new little one!  Don’t deprive them of another day without that sweet wittle schnukums!

7. Go to the hospital as soon as you think labor has begun! Think your water has broken?  Felt a small uncomfortable tinge in your lower back?  Freak out and run, to the hospital!  That way they can get a definite and  early start on the cascade of interventions that are almost guaranteed to get you a ticket on the cesarean express!  All aboard!

6. Say yes to Pitocin! Who ever figured out that this medication originally made for stomach ulcers would induce contractions in pregnant women is a genius!  Not only does it make contractions stronger and longer, your body’s ability to produce oxytocin (which also provides endorphin-like relief along with contractions) is totally inhibited and you’ll be crawling the walls in no time (if you can find the strength).  You’ll hurt so bad you’ll beg for an epidural and be that much closer to getting that unnecesarean!

5. Get an epidural! This is as important as getting pitocin.  You want to be completely immobilized so that labor can have a chance at stalling. If this doesn’t work perhaps it can help you when it’s time to push.  Everyone will scream, “Push!” because it’s “time” and you may not be able to cause you can’t feel a thing!

4. Get an amniotomy as soon as possible! What better way to be whisked away for that cesarean!  The possibility of cord prolapse is increased and the dr can then “save” the baby and be a hero!

3. Don’t eat or drink during labor. Why nourish your body at a time like this? Nah! Starve yourself and the baby, that way you’ll tire quickly and easily.  Remember the goal!

2. Accept a “failure to progress” diagnosis! Now come on, have a heart!  Your provider needs to go home for dinner with friends and family.  He/she shouldn’t have to wait until you finally decide to actually have this baby on your own.  Really, that could take a long time!

1. Just ask! Don’t beat around the bush, just ask for one. You’ll be happy to know that a lot of doctors will happily make your wishes come true!

Disclaimer: One can pretty much come to the conclusion that I’m being completely and thoroughly sarcastic and don’t at all believe any of the above is the best way to safely give birth.  Epidurals and episiotomies have their place but when used routinely, disastrous results can occur.

Please people, inform yourselves.  Arm yourselves with knowledge!

The Truth About Pain and/or Discomfort in Childbirth

I use both words “pain” and “discomfort” because neither word accurately describes what every woman feels.  Some feel no pain or discomfort at all!  I felt sheer pain during my first (hospital) birth.  I wouldn’t classify the sensations I felt as pain with my subsequent births (birthcenter and homebirth) though.  They were very different.  There were many factors involved in my first birth that I believe had a huge impact on how intense things were during labor and birth.  (For my birth stories see my book Empowered To Birth Naturally: One Woman’s Journey to Homebirth , available through http://www.empoweredtobirthnaturally.com )

No one likes pain and/or discomfort.  Pain or discomfort usually signals a problem that needs to be fixed.  The discomfort (or pain) experienced in labor is different.  These sensations are very productive.  A woman does not need to be rescued from it because it actually aids the process of labor and birth.

A woman needs to be able to feel the contractions for a number of reasons.  For one, the brain tells the body to release the “love” hormone oxytocin.  When oxytocin is released and it acts as an endorphin, making contractions a lot more bearable.  Also, a woman in labor needs to be in tune with her body as it knows how to give birth and will direct her movements without her even thinking about it.  Women in labor who are not hindered by interventions will move, walk, rock, dance, sway, get on all fours sit on the toilet and more. All of these things can really help get baby into the birth canal much easier and quicker.  So, her body not only produces it’s own “epidural” but it tells her what to do to help things move along as well.  When it’s time to push, no one needs to tell her.  Her body simply pushes.  When the baby is born and she nurses her baby, more oxytocin is produced and she is not only able to take advantage of the small window of opportunity to bond with her baby after the birth but that oxytocin helps her to contract and expel the placenta.  There’s a whole lot more going on but that’s for another blog.

The woman who is drugged, misses out on quite a bit.  First, she’s given Pitocin- the synthetic version of oxytocin.  It does the job of getting contractions going but the synthtic version isn’t coming from transmitters in the brain,  that “epidural like” hormone to help the woman cope with the contractions doesn’t come into the picture at all.  Pitocin induced contractions are then far more painful (and not as effective) than natural contractions and the woman is left climbing the walls and feeling desparate for relief.  So, she gets the epidural.  This may or may not relieve the pain but lets say it does.  She is still contracting but feels nothing.  That’s great except for the fact that the love hormone isn’t working and she feels nothing.  No love, no contractions, no urge to push, or pee- nothing. Not only can the pitocin can cause fetal distress which leads to cesareans but the epidural can also cause spinal headaches and backaches that last far longer than labor and birth.  Also, a woman given pitocin before birth will need an additional dose of pitocin after birth in order to help expel the placenta.

Another thing about pitocin.  It’s an off label drug.  Ask your provider what the drug was made for and what risks are involved with using it.  Ask to read the label.  One of the side effects happens to be that it can cause contractions but that’s not the use it was intended for.   Unfortunately some providers have been known to order nurses to “pit to distress” meaning give the maximum amount of pitocin in order to cause fetal distress so we can do an emergency cesarean and get out of here.

We need to ask more questions and become more informed in order to ensure our safety and that of our babies.

A Few Sweet Breastfeeding Facts

After birth, the areola is darkened and serves as a sort of target for baby.  It is said that babies see black and white best just after birth.  Darkened areolas help baby locate the breast in order to latch on and nurse.

Babies who are born naturally with no drugs, left to lie skin to skin on mom will crawl up their mom’s belly to nurse.  The areola is darkened as easily seen and it emits a hormone that smells like amniotic fluid.  This attracts baby to the breast and naturally encourages breastfeeding.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3K87l9hNOE

The crawl of the baby heading for the breast and latching on to nurse causes oxytocin to produce and helps the mother expel the placenta naturally.

After birth if baby has a fever, instead of putting the baby under heated lamps, give the baby to mom.  She has transmitters on her chest and stomach that can regulate the baby’s temperature.  Very simple, just let the baby lie on mom.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics one should breastfeed their baby at least one year and then as long as parent and child are happy. http://www.thelaboroflove.com/articles/how-long-should-i-breastfeed-my-toddler/

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding at least 2 years.  It is not uncommon to find in other parts of the world a child 3 or 4 still nursing.  There is still nutritional value to be gained by the child even in toddlerhood. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/When_is_a_child_too_old_to_breast_feedie

There are unique and powerful immune building properties  in breastmilk.  The milk is sweet (yeah, I’ve tasted my milk) and it changes to meet the needs of the baby at every turn.  If mom gets sick, her milk’s composition changes to provide immunity to baby, making it less likely that the baby will get sick.   If the baby does get sick it’s often a far milder version of what the mother has contracted.

There are many medications that can still be taken while breastfeeding. Sometimes, things happen where you must take antibiotics or other medication.  Because a lot of health care professionals don’t know the effects certain medicines have on breastmilk, they err towards caution and suggest you stop breastfeeding.    This is  not always necessary.  The fact is, many medications are perfectly fine to take while breastfeeding.  See

http://www.llli.org/FAQ/medications.html  This article includes several links to more information about medication and breastfeeding.

I wish you a wonderful holiday season!