Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ending the age limit for nursing in public? Yes, please!

Currently, Tennessee state law protects mothers breastfeeding in public as long as the baby is 12 months old or younger. There is a new bill proposed by Sen Mike  Faulk of Kingsport, SB 83, that would amend current laws by removing the "12 months or younger" stipulation.

For the first time in my life, I wrote my State Senator asking him to support this bill.

Breastfeeding mothers feel so much pressure to wean our children as soon as they turn one. Some of the pressure is well-meaning, from uninformed or uneducated people who just don't know any different. Much of the pressure is from people who are "uncomfortable" with the idea of a woman feeding her baby in the way we were created. Some are offended by the sight of a little mouth on a breast.
These same people are okay with advertisements like this or this , but heaven forbid a small (if any) bit of breast tissue be seen while a baby is nursing from it - that would be obscene!

Did you know the United States is the most breastfeeding-unfriendly country in the world? No other nations push their mothers to stop at a year old. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding along with solid foods "up to two years of age and beyond."

From the American Academy of Pediatrics:
Studies on infants provide evidence that breastfeeding can decrease the incidence or severity of conditions such as diarrhea, ear infections and bacterial meningitis. Some studies also suggest that breastfeeding may offer protection against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), diabetes, obesity and asthma among others.
Research indicates that breastfeeding can reduce a mother's risk of several medical conditions, including ovarian and breast cancer, and possibly a decreased risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis in the postmenopausal period. Increased breastfeeding also has the potential for decreasing annual health costs in the U.S. by $3.6 billion.
Those are not the only reasons why breastfeeding should be protected. From the World Health Organization:
Breast milk is also an important source of energy and nutrients in children 6 to 23 months of age. It can provide one half or more of a child's energy needs between 6 and 12 months of age, and one third of energy needs between 12 and 24 months. Breast milk is also a critical source of energy and nutrients during illness and reduces mortality among children who are malnourished.
Adults who were breastfed as babies often have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, as well as lower rates of overweight, obesity and type-2 diabetes.
Did you see the last sentence? Lower rates of obesity and type-2 diabetes.

Tennessee has the fifth-highest rate of adult obesity in the nation, and the fourth-highest rate of overweight youths. Fourteen percent of children ages 2-5 are overweight. Scary, right? I'm not saying breastfeeding would cure the problem - overall diet is a big factor as well. But I am sure protected extended breastfeeding would lead to a decrease in the problem. And yes, it is a problem.

So please, write your State Senator and ask him or her to vote in favor of Senate Bill 83! If you do not know who your Senator is, you can find out here by entering your street address and town. All contact information is provided.

I did it, will you?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Teen moms, twentysomething grandparents?

I love to read the UK's Daily Mail website. (I even recently read an article about local blogger Mamapundit!) Today, I read a headline that didn't just catch my attention; it reached out and slapped me on the forehead and yelled "Read me!!"

29-year old to become Britain's youngest grandfather


It doesn't seem possible, does it? But it turns out he was 14 when he fathered his daughter, who is now also 14 and 11 weeks pregnant with a baby of her own. Sadly, the article gives the impression he is wanting to add to our already way-too-large world population of people who want to be famous by any means necessary and is milking this for all he can. Neither the father/grandfather or daughter/mother are being identified but thankfully she does plan to return to school after the baby is born.

The article got me thinking, though - what about in our country? I have heard the "friend of a friend of my cousin talked to lady in doctor's waiting room" story about a 26 year old grandmother who had her daughter at 13, who was now 13 and pregnant herself. I found a list of the youngest mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers in the world (not surprised to see repeat names - youngest mothers also later in the grandmother, and sometimes great-grandmother, categories) and found a 29 year old grandmother (in 2007) in Illinois. She had her daughter at age 13, in seventh grade. In the article she says she talked to her daughter about birth control, but when they went to the doctor's office to get it she was already pregnant. Now her 15 year old has a baby.

Last week, I read a posting in the "Parenting Tweens to Teens" forum on Babycenter. The mother posting was asking opinions about putting tweens on Depo-provera. Her daughter had started her period at age 10 and she was, in short, freaking out because she knows 'how teens are these days.' For the most part the other mothers had good advice for her, but some could more easily identify with her side of thinking. I wonder how many of them were teen moms themselves?

I have a preteen (soon to be "teen") of my own. E is in seventh grade and almost 13, and has started her period. Do I want to go out and get her on birth control? No way! She hasn't even had a boyfriend! But am I more aware now of the importance of open communication with her? You bet your life I am.
I am WAY too young to be a grandmother.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jwoww and jalepenos (Our country is crazy)

Yesterday I heard two things on the news that are just insane. It's crazy enough that either would be considered "news" with everything that is happening in the world, but then I really listened to what the stories were about.

First, there is Jwoww. (I have never watched Jersey Shore, so I don't know what her real name is.) It seems she is suing her ex-boyfriend to stop the sale of some nude photos and have them returned to her. At first, I thought "That's why you NEVER have nude photos taken!" But then I heard more. When the photos were taken, she was under the effects of anesthesia and not even aware! He posed her nude and photographed her. Such a violation!

Then, I heard his 'defense': The pictures would not damage her reputation because she had considered posing for Playboy.

Is he freaking serious?? So, since she "considered" posing for Playboy at one time, his selling of nude photos he took without her consent should be no big deal? What about the fact that if she posed for Playboy, it would be HER CHOICE. Not his. Hopefully the judge will have the common sense to see that.

The next story was about jalapeno peppers. Specifically, a new variety of jalapenos created just for making jalapeno poppers. They are bigger to hold more cheese. Because even though we can't seem to do anything about world hunger, the homeless, unemployment, or health care, we can make sure our restaurants are supplied with bigger peppers for appetizers. And bigger fried food is better, right?

Oh, please.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Last night I snapped at Emma when she asked me to pour her a glass of tea as I was pouring mine. There really was no reason for me NOT to do it; I had the tea in my hand and was standing in front of the cabinet where glasses are kept. But still, I snapped.

Of course she called me out. "Why are you mad?"

I wasn't mad, though. I apologized (still a bit snappish I'm afraid) and said I was tired. Tired seems to be a common feeling. I snapped because, even though we all worked yesterday (she went to the sitter's house as a helper for the day), since we all came home my husband was sitting down, relaxing and playing a video game. She was laying on my bed watching TV. I fed the dogs, nursed the baby, cooked dinner, fed the baby in her high chair, and all the while I had two dogs following my every step in the kitchen hoping I'd drop a tidbit and Sophie was crying whenever I stepped away because she was tired and in the evenings, all she wants is to be in Mama's arms, and Miss I-just-spent-an-hour-watching-tv wanted me to do something for her that she was perfectly capable of doing herself.

I was tired, and I was getting stressed, and all I wanted to do was sit and rest, relax, and make some more hair clips.

When we finally did sit down to eat all together, I still had to watch Sophie to make sure she didn't give her dinner to the dogs or dump her plate onto the floor or choke. Then it was bathtime and time to get her ready for bed. I wasn't rested yet!

But, I guess that's the way it is for mothers.

Luckily, Sophie fell asleep quickly and the rest of us spent the evening playing a game together until we were too tired to go on and went to bed. We had fun and laughed a lot.

But I have a feeling tonight it will all happen again.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A self-extinguished light

I received news today that a former close friend from my teenage years committed suicide last night. While we were not close as adults, and have only seen each other a few times in the last decade, we were almost inseperable in high school and I considered him one of my very best friends then, like a brother to me. He moved away after graduation, we both changed, and I went on with my life. While my path was anchored in a happy marriage and love, his sadly did not. He made decisions based on what felt good, and sometimes based on what would hurt others, trying to retaliate for or cover up his own pain. He had many issues and needed help.

I know at one point he was getting help, but it never seemed to be enough. I don't think anyone ever stopped caring, but between hiding things from his doctor, lashing out at others, and doing extreme things to get attention, I think so many of us just didn't know what to do with him anymore. Ultimately, he had to want to help himself and no one else could make him get there.

We reconnected again when I was pregnant with Sophie. I was shopping and he worked there. We talked for a long time and he told me about his recent unexpected divorce (his second), how much he loved his kids and how great they were (like any normal healthy dad, complete with pictures), and that he really liked his job, was on a management track, and going back to school. I was very happy for him, and it seemed like he had finally turned his life around and was better.

Ultimately, as with many mental illnesses, it never truly gets better. He needed medication, he needed counseling, he needed to be able to reach out. In our teen years he often reached out by attemting suicide, but in ways it would be unsuccessful. He once called me and took an entire bottle of pills as I listened helplessly on the other end of the phone, miles away. Luckily we were able to get an ambulance to his house in time and he survived. This time, though, it was too definite and too quick. There was no safety net, no one to stop him.
I am heartbroken for his family. His grandmother loved him, his family, his children.... His children were with him when he did it. That is the part I really don't understand. I can't imagine what would have been so bad that he would do such a thing when his children were with him. My heart breaks for them. I truly hope they are given the emotional help they will need so the cycle will end with him.

There is help out there. It seems like no one wants to talk about suicide, but it happens. According to the National Institue of Mental Health, it was the tenth leading cause of death in 2007, and there are 11 attempts for every death that occurs. Clearly, this is an issue that needs to be talked about openly. How many of these people just needed someone to listen, to guide them to the help they needed? Yet it is still a taboo subject for many people. It is treated like either a contagious disease, or like something the sufferor needs to "just get over." It's not that simple!

If you take nothing else from this, at least have some helpline numbers handy. If you see warning signs in someone you know, don't be afraid to share the numbers. Or your ear.

From the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

What Are The Warning Signs For Suicide?

Seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
if you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life