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Encouragement For Full-Term & Tandem Breastfeeders

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🌻 These two milk siblings, blood brothers, M and J. Just over 5 years and almost 2 years old, respectively — the former the same age as my nursing journey overall and the latter the same as my experience in tandem nursing. Such tiny numbers really. Hard to imagine we were nothing and growing and birthing and birthed and empty and nourished more than once over in that amount of time.

M and J don’t like to be separated. Though they annoy each other and feel overwhelmed with the art of sharing from time to time, as siblings do, they prefer each other’s close company. J learns a lot from his big brother (like how to get dressed and sing) and M never hesitates to include J in his activities.

Their bond began when J was in my womb, every day growing stronger until one day he’d feel ready for life Earthside. From age 2.5 to 3.5 years, M watched my belly swell bigger and bigger. He knew his little brother was inside ‘swimming in water.’ He knew J could hear him so he spoke to him often. He said “Good morning!,” and “Good night!” every day for months, with a morning kiss and night kiss (and lots of extras in between).

He saw J for the first time around midnight, about an hour after he was born. I was laying in our bed with J on my breast. M gave J a kiss — a real, live, salty, good morning and good night kiss — right on his freshly born little head.

M had the honor of separating his little brother’s cord. We chose a Sacred Severance ceremony involving quiet, meditation, and burning of the cord instead of cutting. M, his dad, and our doula held candles to the cord in gentle recognition of this significant alteration. M was not present for the birth so this was his special contribution to our welcoming of J into the land of lung breathers.

J has known M his whole life. Though M was Earthside 3.5 years longer, it seems he’s known J just as long. Continue reading

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Conversations & More: Genital Integrity Awareness Week

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I just returned from a trip to Washington D.C. for Genital Integrity Awareness Week, which was March 28th-April 3rd. A week full of seed-planting, countless conversations with principled conclusions, minds changed, futures salvaged… This is my kind of activism!

The mission as stated on the web site is to raise public awareness of:

  1. the basic human right to genital autonomy for all individuals, regardless of sex
  2. the damage inflicted by forced genital cutting, of boys, girls and intersex persons
  3. foreskin restoration options for those impacted by forced genital cutting
  4. research based information on intact subjects to a large body of individuals in Washington D.C. – students, educators, tourists, lawmakers, politicians – who take this information home with them to their own circles of influence
  5. the need for congress and lawmakers to grant boys and intersex minors equal rights under law with protection from forced genital cutting

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Is Nursing in a Beautiful Field at Sunset a Natural, Realistic Depiction of Breastfeeding?

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I’ll cut to the chase right now: the answer is both yes and (sometimes) no.

It’s been said that breastfeeding is an art. The art of photography highlights the importance of this honest statement about breastfeeding.

Here we begin to view it as the beautiful, innocent, inherently harmonious and peace-giving activity it is (if we don’t do so already). And we notice it’s more than an activity, really. It’s a relationship.

In this way breastfeeding photos (and other art forms) reflect the many nuances involved in the relationship between a mother and her nursling. One that can’t be negated even when a mermaid costume, computer-generated rainbow, endless fields of lavender, or fog machines help set a more surrealistic scene (I know you’re curious, so just go ahead and Google those already!).

The subject matter is the same regardless of the brand of camera that captured it, or whether natural or artificial lighting was used. What we’re looking at is simply breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding photos are always candid and improvised even if attempts are made to pose. If you watch a breastfeeding photo shoot happen firsthand, you’ll understand the only one directing the scene is the nursling! Continue reading

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What to Consider Before Sharing Your Birth Photos

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Thinking about sharing your birth photographs with friends, family, on social media, hanging them up in your foyer, perhaps printing them in a coffee table book for home visitors to peruse?

Here are a few worthwhile things to consider first.

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22 Beautiful Images of Black Mothers Breastfeeding Their Babies

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Breastfeeding is normal, natural, wholesome, and beautiful. In honor of Black History Month, here are 22 stunning images of breastfeeding mothers and babies of color that prove it.

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Tandem Nursing Video: My 4-Year-Old & 9-Month Old

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Here we are simultaneously tandem nursing my 4-year-old and 9-month-old sons. I rarely nurse them together because it can be overwhelming and aggravating for me — I get touched out so easily.

My husband took a video and I wanted to share it because it is so sweet to watch siblings bond as they nurse together. Holding hands, laughing, stroking each other’s faces and hair…

It is a much different experience than you might believe if you weren’t acquainted with child-led weaning, breastfeeding beyond infancy, or tandem nursing.


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What The ‘Tree of Life’ Brelfies Tell Us About Breastfeeding Moms

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We really want to share our breastfeeding moments.

Nursing our children is incredibly important to us. We’re proud, grateful, sometimes hesitant, always brave. See how quickly we all LEAPED at a chance to share some of our most treasured breastfeeding moments?

That moment when our babies gave us the big ol’ doe eyes, thanking us from somewhere deep in their souls for nourishing them? We couldn’t ignore it. And we’re so happy about it, we want others to notice too.

An innocently cute brelfie (breastfeeding selfie) trend like this should go viral and incite mad passion — even the World Health Organization said so in a UN briefing for this year’s World Breastfeeding Week.

We’ve been patient. So very patient. But we’re starting to get antsy in our nursing gliders and uncomfortable under the paisley tent-covers. It takes this degree of overwhelming social media with Tree of Life brelfies to normalize breastfeeding by tomorrow, when it really should have happened yesterday.

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