Tag Archives: natural parenting

Self-Confidence Was Born With My Daughter

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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It took having a baby to realize that my self-esteem issue was fabricated and instilled within me rather than something I was born with.  My daughter would cry out with such urgency the first few nights she was out of my uterus because she knew that if she cried it would be answered.  My daughter taught me how to become a confident mother because I let her.  I let her by listening, watching, and just being without judgment, without bias, without experience.

Sleeping J

I didn’t read a lot on caring for a newborn besides the basics of how to bathe them, how to diaper them, and how to feed them.  I believed that we all have natural instincts and we can learn how to parent the way our child needs if we are open to it.

After a few days of disarray I started to understand the grimaces, winces and squeaks that my daughter used as cues for when she was getting hungry.  I learned the grunt that meant she was uncomfortable or needed a new diaper.  I started to understand that my daughter had enough confidence in herself to tell me what she needed and when I got it “right” my confidence in myself built by leaps and bounds.

J sleeping on mama

So often I hear mothers talking about being manipulated by their infants and that they don’t want to “give in” to the cry or a “bad behavior”.  But, when you give in to your child’s needs, when you give in to what you feel is right rather than what you’ve been told is right that’s how you build your parenting confidence.  There is never a right or wrong way to do things when it comes to parenting because it’s ever evolving over time and the growth of your child(ren).

My daughter taught me to be a confident woman because that’s what she needed.  I became the perfect mother for my daughter because she still loved me even if I didn’t get it “right” the first time (or two).  She taught me about who I am instead of who I thought I was.  I am comfort, I am nourishment, I am shelter, I am home, I am peace, above all – I am mama.  And no one can replace me or my confidence in my new role.  I thank my daughter for the changes she caused within me to become who I am today, her perfectly imperfect mama.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: 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:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 11 with all the carnival links.)

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Getting Over “Extended” Breastfeeding

My daughter is starting to cruise around the house all by herself now, it’s amazing.  On Thursday she’s going to be a year old, unfreakingbelievable!  But, *gasp* I’m “still” breastfeeding

Unfortunately, my youngest sister-in-law, B, has a daughter, A, that is about 4 months younger than J.  I say unfortunately because it seems like everything is a competition and everything I do is scrutinized against how B is doing things.  I really try to avoid getting wrapped up in mommy wars and I try to let people’s comments or pressure to change the way I’m doing things roll off my back (Pass the bean dip!) but I feel like it’s going to get worse over the next few years.

The latest is “Well, B is only going to breastfeed until A is one…”, “You’re still doing that?”, “When are you going to give her milk?” or “When are you going to stop?”  My answers: Oh, that’s cool.  Yep, still doin’ it!  She’s drinking milk right now… and she’ll stop when she’s ready.

My daughter is only a year old.  She nurses for nutrition and for comfort which she is obviously ok with and I’m obviously ok with so why does it matter to you?  What’s the point of asking these questions?  Why don’t you just tell me what’s on your mind instead of beating around the bush?

So, you know what?  Next time anyone asks me when I’m going to stop or if I’m still doing that I’ll simply ask why.  Really, why do you want to know?  What’s it to you?  Yes, my daughter can eat regular food but she still has a need to breastfed just as your son/daughter might need their bottle, pacifier, thumb and/or to be rocked, swayed or bounced. 

Breastfeeding offers amazing immunological and nutritional benefits plus it’s the perfect time for connection after being separated all day when I’m working.  Not to mention children who breastfeed for an “extended” amount of time also benefit from fewer allergies, they’re well adjusted, possibly smarter, AND mother (and daughter, if you have a girl) can benefit from reduced risk of MANY cancers.  (Get the fact sheet here.)

When kids have needs they express them and I believe in “giving in” to those needs not suppressing them with what I’m being told that they should or should not need.  If my daughter has a need to nurse, I let her.  Not because someone told me that was right or wrong but that’s what feels right to us.

I want to know why everyone has such an issue with “extended” breastfeeding because really, is it “extended”?  What is considered “extended”? 

In my eyes my daughter has a need and urge to nurse, so I let her and I’ll continue to let her until she and I are ready to stop.  I think a better way to look at it would be continued breastfeeding.  When is this magical time that it becomes “extended”?  I’m not extending anything and I don’t think my daughter is; we’re simply continuing to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding is natural.  Breastfeeding is normal.  Breastfeeding doesn’t become “extended” it just continues until the need is gone.  So, when you ask me why I’m still breastfeeding I’ll ask you why you’re still breathing.  Oh, because you need to?  Well, my daughter still needs to, too.

What are your experiences with “extended” breastfeeding?  When do you think it crosses over to “extended”?  Is it because of social pressure that you think it is now “extended” or personal beliefs?

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