Thursday, August 9, 2007

conference impressions

The conference already seems so far away. I am very glad that I was able to go and feel especially lucky that my mother was willing to come along and entertain Stefan. I think that the sessions that affected me the most were the Spirited Child and Anatomy of the Lactating Breast ones. I keep thinking of the ultrasound videos from Peter Hartmann's talk. I definitely want to look at the textbook that he is working on once it is out.

I am also looking forward to our area conference. Conferences are energizing!

Friday, July 27, 2007

home safe and sound

We're back! We arrived pretty late Monday night. Mom slept over so she wouldn't have to do the long drive to her house after traveling all day. Niels wanted to sleep in my bedroom so she got to sleep in his bed, which is much more comfortable than the foldout couch, I think.

Adjusting back to post-conference life is always a challenge. Those executive level rooms really spoiled me, I think. I miss the maid service and prepared breakfasts, of course, but also the free bottles of water and evening chocolates!

Speaking of chocolates, I never located anyone else in the chocolate exchange and ended up just giving mine away to people who sat near me at sessions. I left the remaining pieces in the Tech Room for the Tech Leaders to enjoy. They worked hard!

A couple of days ago I ordered Raising Your Spirited Child, the accompanying workbook and Sleepless in America, which is on clearance at Amazon, if anyone has been thinking about getting it. They all arrived today. I definitely need to read them all and put them into practice with my spirited boys!

I'm very glad that we went, and that we didn't get sick, like so many others seemed to. I am looking forward to our Area conference in October.

Monday, July 23, 2007

anatomy of the lactating breast

Peter Hartmann's lecture after the luncheon was amazing. The ultrasounds of nursing babies are incredible to see. When I get home I will check for some links to post. I believe he has some of his videos online.

What I really liked was his visual demo of what it's like to insist that a baby nurse every three hours instead of every one. His lab has determined that each milk ejection reflex brings 35mls of milk to the baby. If a baby is 7kg and an adult is 70 kg, 35ml to a baby is like 355 mls to an adult, or one can of Coke. Now imagine drinking three cans of Coke every three hours rather than drinking one can per hour!

And now, I need to call the car company and make sure that we are getting picked up when I think we are and then we'll head off to the airport and head home!

Last night I was trying to remember how many days we've been here. It's amazing how much information I've absorbed (hopefully!) in the past three days. It seems like such a long time and it's really not all that much. Whew!

chemicals in milk

This morning's session was entitled "Environmental Chemicals in Breastmilk." I learned a few things about which chemicals have declining amounts in milk (DDT, for example) and which do not: PBDEs, the flame retardants that are still in use today. The most useful part for me, though, will be the statments from various epidemiological studies that the speaker had in her slides about the levels of chemicals vs the other benefits of breastmilk. One statement came from a document on the WHO site entitled Fourth WHO-Coordinated Survey of Human Milk for Persistent Organic Pollutants in Cooperation with UNEP. The statement is as follows (I included their recommendation as well):

WHO can now say with full confidence that breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood. On a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for six months is the recommended feeding mode for the vast majority of infants, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.

Even though there are environmental chemicals in milk, studies still find benefits of breastmilk to infants and mothers. (Although, there is that "benefits" language again. We won't talk about that again.)

I'm off to try to get Stefan to nap (maybe?) and then to my last session, the CE lunch with Peter Hartmann about the anatomy of the nursing breast. I think I'll have a chance for one last post after that, before we head off to the airport.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

today's sessions

My morning session was Raising Your Spirited Child with Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I hadn't actually registered for this one and was debating getting up to be in a session by 8am at all. I'm so glad I did! I have listened to two of her books (Raising Your Spirited Child and Kids, Parents and Power Struggles) on audiobook but seeing her in person was so rewarding! I learned a lot about my kids, about myself and even about my relationship with my husband. I think I need to go back and listen to her books again and try to put more of it into practice with both of my kids. My favorite thing that she said was: Persistence is the number one predictor of future success. Both of my kids are definitely persistent. I need to find a way to work with it so that they can use it to their advantage in the future.

Next, I attended a session post-partum depression with Kathleen Kendall-Tacket. I knew I wanted to see her speak because I saw her at our Area conference a few years ago, on a totally unrelated topic. She presented studies about how inflammation causes depression. It was very interesting!

The last session was the CE lunch with Linda Smith. She is the one who got me riled up about birth. My last post was more about breastfeeding when I initially composed it in my head but hearing her talk about birth got my adrenaline pumping. Linda Smith is definitely one of my favorite speakers. She's an uppity woman, and I mean that in the best possible way!

Now, I'm heading out for a bit with my mom and Stefan and then I think we're going to get dinner and try to have an early night. We actually leave tomorrow, early evening, so we have to check out in the morning, before I got to a session and then lunch and then, hopefully we can get to the airport smoothly.

big thoughts on breastfeeding

Last night as I was nursing Stefan down to sleep I started to wonder what is it that invigorates me about coming to a conference. I think the introduction to the Jack Newman book that I bought summed it up for me: breastfeeding is not better breastfeeding is biologically normal. Breastfeeding is what our species is meant to do. I could say the same thing about natural birth. In fact, I will! Natural birth is biologically normal.

There are, of course, cultural factors that affect both birth and breastfeeding. For breastfeeding we have a culture where breastfeeding moms get kicked off of planes, we have a society that makes it difficult for mothers to actually choose to be home with their babies more than a few weeks after birth, we have a medical system that encourages birth interventions which do affect breastfeeding relationships. All of that changes how women nurse and birth, but that doesn't change the facts. The fact is that breastfeeding is biologically normal. Babies are born with stomachs built for digesting breastmilk. Breasts are made to make milk. Mom's hormones make her want to hold and be near her baby.

Formula wants to be breastmilk. Every "improvement" they make to formula is to make it more like breastmilk. It is a tool to prevent babies from starving but it is not equal to breastmilk. It can't be. There is no way that science can duplicate the wonderful substance that is breastmilk. Just no way. That doesn't mean that women whose breastfeeding relationships are sabotaged are bad mothers. It does mean that the medical establishment often doesn't give women full and correct information and does things to them during birth that a woman might not consent to if she knew what it meant for her breastfeeding relationship.

Okay, I'm done with my soapbox. I just wanted to remind myself (and perhaps the few of you reading this) that there are some things up for debate, but the biologically appropriate behavior of our species is not one of them. Humans are mammals, humans make milk, human babies need to be carried and nursed and cuddled!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I meant to post about slings, since last conference I was very talkative about them and even bought one. There are fewer ring slings this time, more wraps and neither of the types that my group sells (Maya Wrap and Zolowear). I was actually tempted to bid on a wrap in the silent auction, but I held back. My baby is now 18 months old. I mostly carry him on my back, which I do a lot, but I can't imagine wanting to carry him anywhere but my back or my hip, I certainly can't justify buying a wrap for that. Right? RIGHT!

I have been looking around at everyone else's slings and beautiful carriers. It's very cool to see them all. I am also seeing tons of Ergo Carriers. So many cuddled babies. It warms the heart.