Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's More Than Just the Milk

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding thoughts. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

My mom nursed all eight of the children in our family but other than that I grew up in an era where bottle feeding was the norm. I babysat for many families as a young woman and prepared formula and enjoyed feeding those cute babies. I really didn't think more about infant feeding until I was a student in the dietetics program at Utah State University. We had a short unit on breastfeeding. and my eyes were opened. My commitment to breastfeeding was born. My sister Lauren was just ready to have her first baby. I bombarded her with pamphlets and photocopies and statistics.

I graduated from school and left on my mission for the LDS Church in Chile where I saw women nurse their babies without embarrassment or shame. It was just what they did to feed and nurture their babies.

When I returned home I began working for a social program that promoted breastfeeding as part of it's strategy to improve the health of babies and mothers. It also saved the program a lot of money if women chose to breastfeed rather than use formula. I attended a week-long course about breastfeeding. We discussed in detail the composition of breastmilk, how to teach about breastfeeding, and how to help moms with problems. I was committed to helping moms nurse their babies. It was all about the milk.

Breastmilk is what babies are designed to get. It contains the right amounts of all nutrients that babies need. Babies who don't get breastmilk are at a higher risk for so many illnesses and diseases--as infants and later in life--because of protective factors and immunoglobulins in the milk. Moms who don't breastfeed their babies are at a higher risk for certain cancers and other illnesses. Breastmilk changes to meet the needs as a baby grows. Using formula is expensive and puts a strain on the environment. Preparing bottles takes time and effort and is way less convenient than breastfeeding. There are moral issues with companies marketing infant formula in doctor's offices and hospitals and third world countries. It was still all about the milk.

And then I became a mother.

Breastfeeding came to be about so much more.

It is not just about providing the right nutrition or immune factors, although that is important too.

It is about nurturing.

It is about really connecting with my baby.

It is about fulfilling my role as a mother and parenting in a loving way.

It is about looking into my baby's eyes and knowing that although she can't express in words how she feels, she loves me.

It is about feeling full of love and emotion as my baby places her hand on my breast and smiles.

It is about protecting a mother's right to nurse her baby in any place or situation.

It is about feeling empowered to do something for my baby that no one else can.

My journey with nursing has not been an easy one. It has required more effort than I ever thought possible. There have been tears and frustration along the way. Ryan and other friends and family members have supported and sustained me, even when they might not fully understand why it is so important to me. It is worth it. My babies are worth it.

Here are more posts by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Oregon or Bust

We got to spend a few days with John and Cheri and their family near Portland earlier in July. Cheri is Ryan's aunt and we adore their family! We keep saying we'd move to the Portland area if there was a job there, and we'd do it in a minute.

Ryan took the older kids and drove while I flew with Sophia... we weren't sure she'd do too well in the car for so long and all of the stops to feed her would slow us down. She did great on the flight, except for the last few minutes and she cried a lot and wouldn't settle down to nurse. As soon as we could stand up though she looked around at everyone and flashed a big grin at the other passengers. We were glad to meet up with the rest of the family again!

This was a great sign in front of one of the churches in the area. (Don't text and drive!)

A few days before our trip I was getting my hair cut and heard a woman next to me say she was from Portland. I told her we were going there and asked for any suggestions of things we shouldn't miss... she said to go to the coast and see the Sea Lions (which we didn't have time for) but another guy overheard and told us to go to Burgerville and make sure to get a fresh strawberry shake. You know me and my penchant for food... it seems to be the highlight of half of my blog posts.

The burgers were okay... the fried asparagus (seasonal item) was interesting although I don't think I'd order it again (there are so many healtheir, tastier ways to eat asparagus)... but the shakes were amazing!

Coleman couldn't get enough so he was trying to drink from two at one time (he got vanilla--silly boy doesn't like many flavors!).
Olivia loved the strawberry shake. It was very good... so to the stranger in the salon, thanks for the recommendation!

John and Cheri's friends have a beautiful yacht and they let John take us for a ride. We went down the Columbia river into downtown Portland where they had a blues festival going on. We felt like we were in "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" as passed other boats and parked to picnic on the stern while we listened to music. I could get used to that!

McKenzie and Liv

Liv, Cheri, and Sophia

Me and Sophia and her big life jacket

McKenzie, Coleman, Olivia, and Hayley on the bow of the boat. It was fun to ride out front even though I was nervous about the kids flying off or something. I think I've become a bit of a worrier in my old age.

Coleman had a fabulous time even though I made him keep his life jacket on the whole time.

John and cute Hayley at the wheel.

Beautiful Portland skyline.... we parked here for awhile to eat and enjoy the music of the festival. It was a great ride!

On the 4th we went to John's brothers house for a lovely barbecue--their home overlooks Lake Oswego. It was so beautiful there and a wonderful place to spend the 4th of July! Everyone was so kind and complimentary of the kids. It was fun to watch Coleman making conversation with some of the adults: "I'm Coleman... I'm from Utah."
Their yard was gorgeous!

We went on a little walk to find a geocache but weren't able to find it since it was getting dark and we had to hurry back so we wouldn't miss the fireworks.

Coleman learned how to hula hoop...

...and Olivia had a knack for it as well!

I wasn't sure how Sophia would do with the fireworks, especially because they were so close. I was surprised that she slept through the first half and was riveted during the second half!

They kids got to play with sparklers after the show.

Coleman really had a good time!

Coleman and Liv setting up some sparklers with Uncle John

Cheri and John have an amazing property with a full-size soccer field on one side.

Lovely Liv waiting for some soccer action.

Since Ryan got these pop-up goals for the team he coaches (Olivia's team) he's taken them with us just about everywhere. I've been surprised at how much use we've gotten out of them!

While the big kids played soccer Sophia and I tried to entertain ourselves with the camera.

Sophia went for her first swim at their house and seemed to enjoy it even though it was a little bit chilly. Is she the cutest in her little swimming suit, or what?

Thanks for a great visit, Noffz family! We love the Portland area so much and had a great time!

**Where would you move to if the opportunity arose? (Or are you happy right where you are?)
**What restaurant in your town would you recommend to visitors?

It's never too early... let kids learn to love the game (World Cup 2010).

Monday, July 19, 2010

"I Think I Passed This Level..."

Although he has made a quick recovery, Coleman gave us quite a scare last week.

We had a normal day of playing and eating and playing and relaxing. Around 10 pm we put the kids to bed and Coleman seemed perfectly fine. He didn't act like anything at all was wrong (except for asking to say prayers so he could go to sleep, and what kid does that on a summer night?). Ryan said that earlier in the evening Coleman had said that he felt cold.

About a half an hour later we heard some noises but didn't know what it was, so we assumed it was our neighbors outside and went on watching our TV show.

Half an hour after that we heard a big thump and then some other unidentified noises. Coleman is known for being a wild sleeper, so Ryan and I thought that maybe he had just fallen out of bed again, but Ryan decided to go and take a look to make sure he was okay.

We paused our TV show, Ryan went upstairs, and I sat listening for him to laugh it off and come back down. After a few minutes and he hadn't come down yet I started to think we'd have some clean up to do. Ryan yelled down, "I need some help here Lisa" and I have to admit I already was feeling slightly annoyed at the need to clean up throw-up.

I was completely unprepared to find Ryan bent over a prostrate Coleman who had labored breathing, dilated eyes, and was otherwise unresponsive. He felt warm and sweaty so I got a cool, wet washcloth and put it on his forehead. Ryan and I tried to talk to him and get him to respond, but nothing seemed to work. We didn't wait too much longer to decide to call 911. I called, and in my mind I was calm and collected... but apparently the dispatcher couldn't understand what I was saying (I had to repeat our address about five times) and when I tried to explain what the emergency was Ryan finally took the phone from me. I am sure I was much more hysterical than I want to think I was.

Coleman coughed and brought his legs to his chest (which was reassuring to me that he wasn't paralyzed).

911 stayed on the phone with Ryan until emergency services arrived... and I think every emergency worker in our town came (they told Olivia they would have had to stay to clean the station otherwise). I counted at least 8 which made for a very crowded bedroom and hallway. They checked Coleman's vitals and found that his temperature was 103.5. The paramedic said it looked like it was probably a febrile seizure. Olivia said that he had been talking in his sleep before (he was probably delirious with such a high fever--the 103.5 was on its way down so it was likely much higher than that) and explained that when kids' temperatures rise so fast their body can't cope with the high temperature so they seize. He said it usually takes awhile for them to come to their senses but there isn't lasting damage. The seizures take so much energy that it's like they have just run a marathon--they are exhausted and very out of it.

Coleman started to come to a little bit and pulled his finger away in pain when they pricked it to check his blood sugar. He still couldn't talk, but I could tell that he was a little more aware of what was happening.

I consider myself fairly well educated and know that febrile seizures happen quite often... but that knowledge still didn't prepare me for the fear that enveloped me seeing Coleman in a state like that. Add to that our experience with my cute nephew Chance who passed away in 2005 after 3 weeks of unexplained, uncontrollable seizures (that started with a febrile seizure) and I admit I was in a paralyzed state of panic and worry that my Coleman would not make it.

We had called our neighbor Jeremy to come and help give a blessing (his family should be on speed dial for all of the middle of the night calls from our house) but the paramedics said it would have to wait until they were sure he was stable. Olivia was beside herself with worry, just as Ryan and I were. One of the police officers said to me, "Don't worry, it was just a seizure."

I responded, "In our house, there is no such thing as just a seizure."

Ryan rode in the ambulance with Coleman (who told Ryan he thought he was on a train) and Olivia and Sophia and I followed along in our car. I loved that Olivia asked me while we were en route, "Mom, would you like to join me in a prayer?" I loved that she was so ready to take that step and came up with it all on her own. She felt so bad for all the things she had ever said or done to Coleman that weren't nice and vowed to always be kind to him again. I have to admit that I went through the same process--and promised Heavenly Father to be more patient and kind and understanding with Coleman and the other children.

When we got to the hospital Coleman was much more lucid and was talking. The doctor came in and explained what had likely happened and we shared our family history with him. He ordered some tests to see if he could find the origin for the fever and left for a bit. Jeremy had come to the hospital as well and they got ready to give him a blessing. The hook for the IV bag was in their way and as they were trying to slide it over so it didn't knock them in the head, Coleman piped right up and said, "I know what that is... it's to hang your jackets on and stuff." It was nice to have a little thing to laugh at in such a stressful time.

After the blessing we all felt much more calm so Olivia left with Jeremy to stay the night at their house. Coleman turned around a few minutes later and looked at the monitor that displayed his pulse oxygen and heartbeat and said, "I think I passed this level already..." and we finally determined that he thought he was in a video game. (That gives me some stronger ideas about limiting screen time--but again, I was grateful for a little comic relief.)

They took a chest x-ray and did a CT scan of his head. They tested his blood and his urine.

Coleman was a trooper and slept a bit.

He got some awesome socks.

They didn't find any reason for such a high fever and decided it was likely viral. We were told to treat him for 24 hours with ibuprofen and Tylenol, bring him back if he had another seizure that night, or call the pediatrician if he had one the next day. Otherwise, no further follow-up was needed.

We brought him home, started on the meds, and tried to get some rest.

Sophia slept through the whole thing.

Coleman's fever dropped and six hours later he was telling us how he had gotten to go on a train ride the night before and could remember only vague details about being in the hospital at all.

Given our history, we'll definitely have a conversation with our pediatrician.

We are so thankful to all of our family and friends who have been concerned about Coleman and we know that we were watched over.

I think we'll be extra-vigilant about checking out strange noises and treating fevers as soon as possible... and in the meantime we'll cherish every minute with each one of our kids.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Like Mother Like Daughter

Should I be concerned (or proud?) that my three month old is so intrigued by Nutella and any other foods that we are eating?

Don't worry, the RD in me won't let her eat solids for another few months... but I can't promise that I won't sneak a bit of chocolate in once that line is crossed.

Late Thirties Here I Come (Am)

Happy birthday to me! I celebrated my day with lots of yummy food and my sweet family. I appreciated all of the phone calls and cards and facebook salutations!

My friend Camie brought me this yummy giant cinnamon raspberry roll from my favorite Great Harvest.

Alicia brought this cupcake that tasted just as good as it looked!

Ryan and I met for lunch at Noodles & Company (did you know you can sign up and get a free meal the week of your birthday?) while the older kids decorated the sidewalk with chalk with a favorite babysitter.

Ryan and the kids planned a very fun scavenger hunt all around our house--the prizes were gift cards to my very favorite places and Olivia and Coleman were very clever in their clues (for example: "IN the cold and OUT of the house" there was a card for In-N-Out in the freezer; "It's Great and Rhymes with Head" there was a card in the bread box for Great Harvest).

We ate together at Applebee's for dinner (thanks Terri and Bruce!) and finished off the night with our new tradition: Midnight Delight from Cold Stone.

Thanks for all the fun birthday wishes!