Category Archives: Attachment Parenting

Birth story

First published in The Mother magazine, Issue 72, Winter 2016

My watch stopped at 6.15am on 8th March 2013, at the same moment my body told me it was moving into the first stages of labour; the show felt like a plug suddenly unblocking. I hoped for an active VBAC home-birth with my independent midwife, after a traumatic first labour almost three years earlier, resulting in an emergency caesarian under general anaesthetic. I was emotionally and physically ready for labour, vowing to stay out of hospital at almost all costs.

The morning passed peacefully as my surges gradually intensified. I vividly remember nursing my 33-month-old son Ewan, crying silently as he suckled, treasuring this moment knowing it would be his last feed as a single nursling. When my surges became too much, I gently unlatched him. He cried and cried as if sensing a sudden catastrophic change was about to take place.Ewan in the birthing pool Continue reading Birth story

Mothering Through Breastfeeding – the sequel

This article first appeared in Le Leche’s breastfeeding magazine ‘Breastfeeding Matters’, July/August 2015, edition 208. DSCN0679

Caroline tells us about her tandem nursing experience, and how breastfeeding has always felt like the natural choice for her and her babies.

As I write this, my son and daughter’s tandem nursing days are drawing to a close, as Ewan is gradually and naturally weaning from the breast. He is four and a half years old. His younger sister, Tessa, now twenty months, nurses day and night. Words can never do justice to what my life has been like since having children; they have been the most eventful, joyous, challenging, memorable, exhausting and reflective years of my life, filled with laughter and tears. I have learnt to juggle, both physically and emotionally, two growing nurslings. My children have taught me more than I ever imagined, about myself, about breastfeeding and about life. Below I share a little of this enfolding journey, of mothering, of breastfeeding, and how the two converge.

Pregnancy

Nursing remained a place of sanctuary, support and comfort to Ewan throughout his third year. He persisted, even when there was little milk left as my pregnancy developed, seeing this out to the day I went into labour. As Tessa grew inside me, so did the unwelcome feeling of being ‘touched out’. These strong feelings were telling me to push Ewan away. I struggled to come to terms with the first negative feelings around feeding Ewan, which left me guilt-ridden and shocked. This was compounded with the physical challenge of nursing while pregnant, as my nipples became sore and my bump grew bigger. I persisted by placing boundaries on when Ewan could feed and for how long, not feeling ready to completely wean him yet.

I vividly recall Ewan’s last feed as an only child, the day I went into labour. As we lay snuggled up in bed I silently wept, aware the next time he fed would be radically different and that our relationship would alter once the new baby came along. Ewan was oblivious to my tears as he fell asleep dreamily on the breast. A few hours later, my parents came to collect Ewan, leaving me to labour in peace with my husband, and later, my independent midwife. My hope was for a natural home-birth this time, having experienced an emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic with Ewan. Continue reading Mothering Through Breastfeeding – the sequel

The need to name

This article was first published in JUNO magazine, edition 31, Spring 2013 

The need to name: holding a baby naming ceremony 

The need to name

On the birth of our son we were keen to celebrate his arrival in a formal but non-religious ceremony, shared amongst family and friends. My husband and I are spiritual people, who believe our son should be provided DSCF8378the opportunity to develop his own spiritual or secular ideas about life as he grows. A naming ceremony was therefore ideal. It enabled us to welcome Ewan into his community in a unique way whilst including all our guests, regardless of their own belief system. Having made this decision, we began planning the practicalities of the day and exploring its deeper meaning.

Communities seek to name and announce their newest members in a huge variety of ways. A child’s name is significant in many societies. The image of a parent holding its newborn to the sky, sun or moon and repeating his name transcends time, place and culture. It can be that simple, or it can be an elaborate affair, involving the whole community. In the UK it is traditional to hold a Christening, but as we become a more secular society naming ceremonies are growing in popularity. For our family it was a deep spiritual need to present Ewan to the earth, for the world to recognise him. Continue reading The need to name

Our Elimination Communication Journey

Elimination Communication, or EC for short, is an alternative, more natural way of toileting babies and toddlers. It is also known as Natural Infant Hygiene or Baby-Led Potty Training (BLPT).

What it is

It is what most of the world, for almost all of human history, have intuitively practised with their offspring, just without giving it this label. It is about connecting and communicating with your baby, learning their signs and signals for when they need to go, and responding by assisting your baby in relieving themselves. To do this takes a leap of faith, both trusting your baby to communicate their toileting needs to you, and trusting yourself by really listening to your instincts. This means living in the present moment, a real challenge for many twenty-first century parents.

Parenting and EC

We parent in as gentle, natural and conscious way as we can, practising full-term nursing, bed-sharing, baby-wearing, etc. EC is simply an extension of this. I am also attracted to the minimal environmental impact of EC compared to conventional toileting of an infant. I discovered EC too late to really practise it with our son Ewan, who is now 4 and a half, but was keen to try it after our daughter Tessa was born. I did some research on-line and read a few books on the topic to support me, then decided to give it a go.

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Rustic camping in spring 2013, Tessa 9 weeks old. Tessa and Ewan taking a potty break after having lunch. Note the zebra leg-warmers Tessa is wearing to keep her warm whilst on the potty.

Continue reading Our Elimination Communication Journey

Newsflash; Stoneageparent is taking a break

Tessa Rose Cole
Tessa Rose

Stoneageparent has been busy over the last few months preparing for the arrival of our second child. Tessa Rose was born at home on 9th March. We hired an independent midwife, who was wonderful during the labour and birth, without her help my long, posterior labour would have undoubtedly have meant a medicalised hospital birth. Instead I laboured in peace at home in a familiar space. It was the most difficult as well as the most amazing and profound expereince of my life.
Continue reading Newsflash; Stoneageparent is taking a break

Mothering Through Breastfeeding Part Two: Ten to eighteen months

This article was first published in May/June 2012 edition of La Leche League’s Breastfeeding Matters magazine

 

Practising sustained breastfeeding
Practising sustained breastfeeding

I wrote about the first ten months of breastfeeding my son in March 2011. My closing comments were: ‘I am looking forward to continuing to breastfeed Ewan as he grows into a toddler [… ] Like all journeys I am not aiming for the destination but the experience along the way. This journey so far has taught me more than I ever imagined, about myself, my baby, our amazing bodies, our culture, and opened me up to new ways of seeing’.
Continue reading Mothering Through Breastfeeding Part Two: Ten to eighteen months

‘Musings on Mothering’ anthology review

Here is a review of the anthology ‘Musings on Mothering ’, edited by Teika Bellamy, published by Mother’s Milk Books. As a contributor to this anthology, a great supporter of it and of La Leche League, I feel it is time to write some more about it. I have already written an introductory post about this anthology, in a blog post posted on October 2nd, entitled ‘Newsflash; ‘Musings on Motherings’ anthology has just been released’. I hope that by reviewing this anthology more people will feel inspired to read this book and feel comforted by its central message.

The message at the heart of this book is that mothering through breastfeeding is the norm. This is a refreshing and somewhat rare take on this most natural of human behaviours, nursing our young. This is because we live in a society where breastfeeding is a marginalised, misunderstood, shrouded and truncated activity, if it takes place at all, steeped in myths and falsehoods. Essentially it places nursing at centre stage, as the activity from which other mothering behaviours stem, instead of as the more typical mechanisation of nursing, where it is separated from other aspects of mothering as simply a way to feed our babies.

The market is crying out for more books which help to normalise and demystify breastfeeding, basically to position breastfeeding as a normal, everyday, open, accepted and celebrated behaviour which mothers simply do with their young children. Contributor after contributor allows the reader to glimpse a little of their parenting world, helping to lift the veil on nursing, through the beautifully written poems and prose, as well as the wonderfully crafted art and craft work. The anthology cleverly weaves the many pieces together in such a way that a thread of celebration is felt, a celebration of mothering through nursing.

The rich variety of the content and the creativity evident in each of the pieces is to be applauded. The writing fits neatly with the art and photo work, for instance on the same double page spread of Cindi Eastman’s ‘The Answer I Keep in my Heart’, where she explores the reasons she is naturally weaning her son, there is a beautiful photo of a toddler nursing, by Alex Simon entitled ‘The Softest Place on Earth’. The prose and the photo, though from different contributor’s, perfectly complement each other.
Continue reading ‘Musings on Mothering’ anthology review