Wednesday, 31 August 2011

#1 Breastfeeding Must-Have

One of the great things about breastfeeding is that it doesn't cost anything (with the exception of a few optional items ie. breast pump, breast pads, nursing pillow, etc.). However, there is one thing I have invested in that I can't live without. I use it every day and every night, it helps make breastfeeding in public a breeze, is comfortable, washes well, looks great. Drum roll please......

The Glamourmom Nursing Tank!!

Look at this woman, comfortably nursing her baby without any bare skin (it took a great deal of practice for me to be as relaxed as her!) Beautiful, isn't it? This nursing tank truly has helped me achieve this level of comfort and relaxation while I nurse my little guy. And no, I'm not being paid to endorse this product (I just really love it!)

 This tank is very user-friendly. There is a little clasp on the strap that is easy to open and close with one hand and exposes your breast easily. No need for 'hooter hiders', capes or other contraptions that are awkward and draw attention. It is great for layering under tees, tanks or sweaters.

And what's more, the easier  it is to breastfeed in public, the more likely you are to get out of the house, the more sane you will be as a new mom. You can't put a price on that! AND, as an added bonus, breastfeeding will become more mainstream the more we do it, and the more people see it. So in the end, you are doing yourself, your baby and society all a great big favor. (I can justify buying almost anything if I think I'm saving the world in one way or another!)

For the month of August (World Breastfeeding Month), Glamourmom is doing a 'buy one, give one' promotion, donating tanks to women in need so your purchase really will make a difference! But hurry - today is the last day!

Click here for Glamourmom website:

Happy Nursing!

With Gratitude,

Pregnant?? Do You Have a Birth Plan?

This is fantastic - the way birth is meant to be:

Thank you Janine DeBaise for writing this awesome article!

Monday, 29 August 2011

If Only For Today...

Motherhood is filled with guilt and doubt and judgement. Unfortunate, but true. Breast vs bottle, pro-vax vs no vax, co-sleep vs cry-it-out, cloth vs disposable, front facing vs rear facing, circ vs no-circ; the list goes on and on. It seems endless, the things that divide us as mothers. There are discussions, debates and even bullying that result.

But today I want to highlight one thing we can all agree on; we love our children. Love is at the very core of every debate I just mentioned. We are all so passionate because we care so much.

If only for today...

Let us set aside our differences, and focus on the common ground we share; our love for our babies, however big or small.

Let us look at our little ones (or bigger ones) as they are on this day, for they will never be this little again. Take time to notice their mannerisms, the way they waddle or trot or sprint across the floor. The pitter patter of their little feet will only last so long.

Savor the way they smile at you, hug you, give you drooly open-mouthed kisses!

Take time today to wrestle or chase or tickle or dance. Blow raspberries on their little tummies. Giggle, laugh, snort.

These are the days. We will always want this back. When we are old in our rocking chairs, thinking about 'the old days', these will be the days we will remember. In the chaos of family life, in the midst of the hussle and bustle, take an extra minute today to watch your children play. Watch them sleep. Take pictures. Hold them close. Tell them a hundred 'I love yous'. Kiss their little nose and little toes. Blow bubbles. Hold hands. Sing to them.

Tomorrow you can go back to saving the world. For today, savor, love and enjoy your little ones. They won't be little forever.

With gratitude,

All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.
-- Indian Proverb

Saturday, 27 August 2011

peaceful parenting: Doctors Who Circumcise: Breaking the Law in Britai...

peaceful parenting: Doctors Who Circumcise: Breaking the Law in Britai...: Via Men's Health Forum Supporters of genital autonomy have argued that the practice of male genital cutting (circumcision) could be illeg...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Nature's Sweet Perfection

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Gymnurstics: 7 Reasons I Breastfeed My Toddler

     1.   Convenience. The longer we breastfeed, the easier it gets. Unlike nursing my son as a newborn, he is now busy and distracted so nursing sessions are more few and far between. Not to mention, fast! The older he gets, the more efficient he is at nursing. And, of course, the convenience factor of breastfeeding remains: no matter where we go, I always have a quick, nutritious, thirst quenching snack on hand for my child!

2.      Connection. It is the perfect way to take a break in our busy day (morning, evening or night) to stop what we're both doing and really connect with each other. Nothing else matters in that moment but nourishing his little body and soul with my nutritious milk and loving arms.

3.      Health. There is no denying it, breastfeeding is just plain healthy. The health benefits carry on long past infancy! Also, when he’s teething or feeling under the weather, sometimes breastfeeding is the only thing he wants to do.

4.      The ultimate mothering tool! From doctor’s appointments to airplane rides, nothing soothes or settles my toddler better than breastfeeding. I even nursed him during his first haircut! It is perfect for the moments when I need another minute or two on the phone and he wants my attention. I just nurse him for a few minutes and he’s good to go!

5.      Confidence. My ability to calm and nurture my toddler through breastfeeding has given me confidence that I never knew before. We are deeply bonded through our breastfeeding relationship and we both derive great benefits from it. And, contrary to popular belief, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

6.      Instinct. The further on I go on my mothering journey, the more I am learning to listen to my instincts and trust them. I know in my heart nature intends for us to breastfeed, and to do so until my son’s need for it diminishes.

7.      Pure love. Those little baby blues looking up at me while my son nurses make me melt every time. I can see how much he loves that milk and how much that skin to skin contact brings him comfort. And nothing beats the moments when he breaks his latch because he can’t help smiling. These are times I will always cherish and this is a bond that will keep us connected long after he has weaned.

Are you nursing or have you nursed a toddler? I would love to hear why you love(d) nursing a toddler! If you would like to be included in my upcoming gallery of nursing moms & babies, please send your photos to:

With gratitude,

Photo credit: McBaby Photos

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Circum[de]cision; Considering Circumcision? Read On...

"What's done to children, they will do to society."
Karl Menninger, psychiatrist

My heart was racing and absolutely pounding out of my chest, tears streaming down my face. I could hardly breathe. I had to look away.

It was a circumcision video. I decided to watch it after I had debated circumcision with a couple of friends who had chosen it for their sons. They talked so casually about it that for a second I actually thought to myself, ‘well maybe it’s not such a big deal.’ and decided to educate myself.

I had no idea I would become so passionate about the subject, but the more I learned, the more my passion grew. After watching that video I feel like I was forever changed. I needed to speak out. It was even worse than I had imagined. I wanted so desperately to reach through the screen and sweep that baby into my arms before they could do anything to him. He was hysterical, arms and legs strapped down, having his genitals cut. This baby was someone’s pride and joy, in the tender first days of his life, having a healthy body part removed forever. I wept for him and thought ‘why is this happening to our beloved babies during the most helpless and vulnerable time of their lives?’ A circumcision is, for far too many boys, the first genital experience in their lives.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my take on this, as I know it is a very emotionally charged issue. My writing is from the heart and is done without judgment, but rather passion. I am mother to an intact son. I shudder to think of the decision I could have made on his behalf had I not been informed, done my research, and followed my heart. Every single day I am grateful that my husband and I chose to keep him intact. I hope I can inspire even just one person to make the same decision for their son. I am sharing some of the information I have found useful and feel the need to spread around to other new parents or parents-to-be. Knowledge is power.

In male human anatomy, the foreskin is a generally retractable double-layered fold of skin and mucous membrane that covers the glans penis and protects the urinary meatus (pronounced /miːˈeɪtəs/) when the penis is not erect. It is also described as the prepuce, a technically broader term that also includes the clitoral hood in women, to which the foreskin is embryonically homologous [the same]. [1]

cir·cum·cise (sûr k m-s z )
tr.v. cir·cum·cised, cir·cum·cis·ing, cir·cum·cis·es
1. To remove the prepuce [foreskin] of (a male).
2. To remove all or part of the clitoris, prepuce, or labia of (a female). [2]

None of us would even consider taking a baby girl in to have all or part of her clitoris removed in the tender first days of her life. Female circumcision is considered barbaric, unethical, and unnecessary by our North American culture. We are quick to condemn this practice and commonly refer to it as ‘Female Genital Mutilation’. It is removing one of the most sensitive body parts on a female, considered the “key to females' sexual pleasure.” [3][4] Though female and male circumcision procedures are not identical, (given the anatomical differences of boys and girls) they are shockingly similar. It is the position of the Canadian Children's Rights Council that "circumcision" of male or female children is genital mutilation of children. [5]

No national medical organization in the world recommends circumcision. [6]

With that said, why are so many precious baby boys still being circumcised? Some parents are choosing it simply to ‘look like dad’ or because ‘it’s more hygienic’. Many parents circumcise their sons knowing little about the actual procedure and the lasting effects it can have on their child.

If we know better, we can do better.

Dispelling the myths:

“It’s easier to keep clean”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (1999) stated: "…there is little evidence to affirm the association between circumcision status and optimal penile hygiene."[7]

There is nothing hygienic about an open wound being covered in urine and faeces multiple times per day. Cleaning a baby's intact penis? Simple. Clean only what is seen; do not retract. 

“They won’t remember it”

Psychologists suggest there is a ‘critical period’ in a child’s life which experiences during this time can have a profound impact on their lives.

In general, a critical period is a limited time in which an event can occur, usually to result in some kind of transformation. A "critical period” in developmental psychology and developmental biology is a time in the early stages of an organism's life during which it displays a heightened sensitivity to certain environmental stimuli, and develops in particular ways due to experiences at this time. [8]

I just can’t shake the feeling that the pain and trauma of genital cutting done in infancy, a time when humans cannot understand or cope when something negative is being done to them, can somehow imprint on their developing brains and affect them, in some way or another, for the rest of their lives.

Imagine you went to have your wisdom teeth pulled and were administered sedation for the procedure. While you were sedated, they took out your wisdom teeth and also decided to give you a nose job, without your consent, because they thought ‘it would look better’. You don’t remember it being done, but you are left to endure an uncomfortable healing process and an altered appearance. Hard to imagine, right? Ultimately, circumcision is not much different: it is performing a cosmetic procedure on a non-consenting individual. Children will not remember almost anything from their first few years of life. This does not give us the right to do whatever we want to them during this time.

"A whole life can be shaped by an old trauma, remembered or not."
Lenore Terr, M.D., child psychiatrist

“But I’ve heard some babies actually sleep through the procedure”

“But he will look different that the other boys in the locker room if he is not circumcised”

Or will he? Turns out, the opposite is true. Statistics show the numbers are declining in Canada, with 31.9% of boys circumcised from 2006-2007. [9] There are widely varying estimates for the US, but the average number is somewhere around 32% as well. [10]

“But he should look like his Dad”

“The BMA [British Medical Association] does not believe that parental preference alone constitutes sufficient grounds for performing a surgical procedure on a child unable to express his own view.” [11] There is also no possible way to predict how your son will feel about his circumcision later on in his life. [12] When he is older he can make the decision for himself. Like most intact men, however, he will probably be perfectly happy with his complete penis and not even consider having the surgery.

“But what if he has to have it done as an adult?”

This argument is well explained here:

Men who have been circumcised as adults are the only people who can accurately explain what it is like to be both intact and circumcised. Here are some quotes from these men:

"After the circumcision there was a major change. It was like night and day. I lost most sensation. I would give anything to get the feeling back."

The greatest disadvantage of circumcision is the awful loss of sensitivity when the foreskin is removed. . . . On a scale of 10, the intact penis experiences pleasure that is at least 11 or 12; the circumcised penis is lucky to get to 3.

The sexual differences between a circumcised and uncircumcised penis is . . . like wearing a condom or wearing a glove. . . . Sight without color would be a good analogy. . . . Only being able to see in black and white, for example, rather than seeing in full color would be like experiencing an orgasm with a foreskin and without. There are feelings you’ll just never have without a foreskin. [12]

It’s time we gathered our courage and started the conversation with our friends and families on this taboo subject so that no more baby boys have to endure this. Our babies are perfect the way they are born. Beautiful. Pure. Intact.

We are their voice. Let’s gather our courage and speak up.

With gratitude,

There are many videos on the web on genital cutting. This is the one that opened my eyes:

"I believe the time has come to acknowledge that the practice of routine circumcision rests on the absurd premise that the only mammal in creation born in the condition that requires immediate surgical correction is the human male." ~Thomas Szasz, M.D.

Want to know more? Check out these websites:


1.       “Foreskin”. Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. (August 5, 2011).
2.       “Circumcise”. The Free Dictionary By Farlex: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. (August 6, 2011).

3.       “Clitoris”. Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia.  Chalker, Rebecca (2000). The Clitoral Truth. Seven Seas Press. pp. 1. ISBN 1-58322-473-4. (August 6, 2011).

4.       “Clitoris”. Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia.  O'Connell HE, Sanjeevan KV, Hutson JM (October 2005). "Anatomy of the clitoris". The Journal of Urology 174 (4 Pt 1): 1189–95. (August 6, 2011).

5.       “Circumcision”. Canadian Children’s Rights Council. (August 7, 2011).

6.       “Welcome to CRC”. Circumcision Resource Center. (August 7, 2011).

7.       “Circumcision”. Circumcision policy statement. American Academy of Pediatrics. Task Force on Circumcision". Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. Pediatrics 103 (3): 686–93. March 1999. doi:10.1542/peds.103.3.686. PMID 10049981.  (August 7, 2011).

8.       “Critical Periods”. Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. (August 7, 2011)

9.       “Welcome to CRC”. Circumcision Resource Center. (August 7, 2011).

10.    “United States Circumcision Incidence”.  The circumcision reference library. (File revised 1 January 2011) (August 7, 2011).

11.    Circumcision: male genital mutilation. Canadian Children’s Rights Council.

12.    “Men Circumcised as Adults”. Circumcision Resource Center. (August 7, 2011).

Friday, 5 August 2011

Mothering Through Breastfeeding

I’ve used it to calm my son; to soothe, settle, nurture.

I’ve used it as a distraction; at restaurants, airports, special events.

I’ve used it to satisfy his needs; for warmth, attention, nourishment.

I’ve used it to comfort him; when teething, ill, overwhelmed.

I’ve used it to share; eye contact, smiles, tears.

I’ve used it to put him to sleep; at the park, the beach, Grandma’s house.

I’ve used it to teach him about love; and giving, affection, bonding.

I’ve used it as a gift; of health, security, love.

Of all of the mothering tools I have in my arsenal, the most effective and all-encompassing one is most definitely breastfeeding.

When I started breastfeeding, I knew that it was the most important thing I could do to get my baby off to a good start nutritionally. Little did I know, there is so much more to breastfeeding than nutrition! It is a relationship; an incredible relationship where we both give and receive. It is also, hands down, the most effective mothering tool I know and I cannot imagine mothering without it. It has been so rewarding and has given me a confidence that has helped me become a better mother (and human!)

Even at 15 months, the comfort and solace breastfeeding has provided for my son is unmatched by anything else. Trips to the doctor and vaccinations, even his first haircut; my son has been soothed by breastfeeding. He was calmed enough to see that these experiences need not be feared. There have been times when he was not feeling well due to teething or flu that breast milk was the only thing he could keep down. I just kept thinking, “Thank goodness for my milk!” And so we continue, until his need diminishes. Just like nature intended.

 I am a mammal and a mother, so I breastfeed.

With gratitude,

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Adventures in Container Gardening Part II: Enjoying the Fruits (and Vegetables) of My Labor

gardening, plants, nature, parenting, urban farming, locavore, outdoors, vegetables, nutrition, healthAfter 2 weeks vacation, I returned home to a jungle! My container/raised bed garden was a tangled mess of stems and vines, leaves, and yes, VEGGIES! Tons of lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, beets and a handful of beans and peas. Here is some of the harvest along with some more great lessons I'm learning as I go along!

Beautiful beets perfect for boiling or borscht.

When harvesting lettuce, take the large leaves from the outside of the plant and leave the small inside leaves intact and rooted. They will continue to grow and yield more lettuce that if you cut off the entire plant. Once the center (core) of the lettuce starts elongating, it's time to harvest the entire plant as it will start to become bitter.

Beet greens are nutritious and delicious! Add to a salad for a punch of color or saute with onions and garlic and drizzle with balsamic or red wine vinegar for a tasty side dish.

Did you plant too many tomatoes? You can freeze them! Sliced or whole, freeze on a cookie sheet for a day or two then seal in packaging while trying to remove as much air as possible.

Can't wait for your tomatoes to turn? Here is a great post about how different ways to prepare green tomatoes:

After harvesting potatoes leave them on the soil for 30 minutes to 2 hours to dry before cooking.


There is just nothing like growing your own food. It is so rewarding and teaches your kids so many great skills when you include them in the process too. Together you can grow in so many ways!

With gratitude,
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