Saturday, December 26, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Freezes!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . Merry Christmas from the Freeze Family! . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Winter Solstice Celebration

I've always wanted to celebrate the winter solstice, but until this year I kept forgetting! Last night we invited two families over. I prepared vegetable chowder, fresh bread, hot chocolate, and my German grandmother's lebkuchen (spice cookies with a lemon glaze). Our friends brought hummus, raw vegetables, macaroni & cheese, and homemade cider. At the end of dinner, we had a short ceremony where we turned off all the lights except for the candles on the table. We talked about solstice traditions. Zari read "The Shortest Day" by Susan Cooper, and Dio read "Candle, Candle Burning Bright."

The the fun part: the kids' solstice present! I found a strobe light at a thrift store this week and thought it would be perfect. We grew up with a strobe light, and I have fond memories of dancing for hours in the darkness, seeing ourselves move as if in slow motion. The horde of children ran upstairs to the attic to try it out. Besides Dio getting a bloody nose from bumping into someone else, the strobe light was a smash hit.

It had rained most of the day, but we managed to get a fire going with lots of help from our blowtorch.

When the kids woke up this morning, they discovered one candle that I had forgotten to blow out. It was large and deep, which explains why I had missed it. So we accidentally kept a light burning all night until the coming of day. Not sure if I'd deliberately repeat that...but a great way to celebrate the solstice!
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

What a baby's tongue does during breastfeeding

If you've ever wondered why pumping doesn't feel the same as breastfeeding, or why pumping often isn't as effective, then watch this video of a 14-month old baby "nursing" in his sleep with his mouth open:

The tongue "undulates" in a wave from front to back (imagine ocean waves continually rolling onto a beach). When a baby is nursing, she expresses milk with her tongue's movement, combined with some suction and, of course, her mother's let-down reflex. When you pump, you only have suction + letdown. Until breast pump technology radically changes to mimic the natural movement of a baby's tongue, pumping will...well...suck.

Here's an ultrasound image overlaid on an animation of infant tongue movement.

Note: This last video mentioned tongue-tie. Tongue-tie can cause breastfeeding difficulties, but be sure to read Nancy Mohrbacher's article Tongue and Lip Ties: Root Causes or Red Herrings? Too often, she notes, a mother will have breastfeeding issues and attribute them to tongue-tie, when other culprits might be causing the nipple pain or baby's poor weight gain. She notes:
When mothers focus only on tongue or lip tie, other issues may be overlooked and problems can continue for weeks or months....Is tongue- or lip-tie revision the right thing to do for some breastfeeding mothers and babies? No question! But because tongue tie is the root cause of the problem for a minority of babies, it is a terrible place for most mothers to start. When nipple pain or weight-gain issues occur, a much better starting point is to contact someone who can help adjust baby’s latch and evaluate baby’s feeding pattern.
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Monday, December 07, 2015

Welcome to Sweden

I just came across this must-read article about reproductive culture in Sweden: Welcome to Sweden: Notes on birthday condoms, home abortions, and hysterical Americans.

Author and Wisconsin midwife Ingrid Andersson writes about Sweden's approach to sex, parenting, education, and family life--a stark contrast to America's oversexed prudishness, violence, and hysterical opposition to reproductive choices.

Her son's first day at public school was a welcome contrast from their American schooling experiences:
My son’s teacher said he did not need to bring anything apart from his curious, well-rested, breakfasted self. School will supply all his school needs, including an iPad and hot meals made from scratch. His first lunch —eaten over an hour at a round wooden table, sitting on a real wooden chair, in an actual dining room filled with windows and art—is baked salmon in rich cream sauce, dilled potatoes, steamed broccoli, salad with homemade dressing, bread, butter, and organic milk, served in all-you-can-eat buffet style. The kitchen uses 30 percent organic ingredients, locally produced when possible. My seventh grader is disoriented but delighted by trusting adults and an open campus with unlocked doors. (Every morning since Sandy Hook, my son’s school in America was all locked up by the time the kids were reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.)
Reproductive information, birth control, and abortion are discussed openly and frankly and are accessible to anyone:
Any Swedish teen or adult can walk into one of the common health centers and talk confidentially with a counselor or midwife about any personal or social issue or need, including pregnancy. She or he probably will already have been introduced to a youth health center on a school class field trip at age twelve or thirteen.

Youth and young adult health centers in Sweden offer a limitless supply of free condoms, free testing and treatment for chlamydia and other diseases, and free emergency contraception. Pregnant minors are encouraged but not required to involve a parent. Counselors and/or psychiatrists meet with girls and are available to all women. Abortion is free or low-cost and available on-demand up to eighteen weeks of pregnancy. A dating ultrasound is required, and if the pregnancy is earlier than three months, girls and women can choose between vacuum extraction or pill-induced abortion and to complete the abortion at home.

Abortions are performed up to twenty-two weeks of pregnancy, but after eighteen weeks there must be a medical indication and a psychiatrist is involved. All girls and women are encouraged to include support persons. Midwives, who are prescribing professionals associated with health and wellness, support all girls and women through normal pregnancy and birth, as well as contraception and abortion choices.

Records from ancient times to the present day indicate that women tend to prefer coping with unwanted pregnancy privately and using measures within their control, or within a circle of trusted family or friends. Preference for autonomy and privacy is evidenced even when clinic-mediated options are accessible. Thanks in part to research at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet, home abortion is now predictably safe and effective. For women from Stockholm to Nairobi, it has become a first-choice abortion method.

America stands as an exception. For American women, politically driven drug restrictions, costs, and lack of funding for education and support make obstacles to home abortion formidable....

“Publicly protesting abortion or anything related would be seen as hysterical in Sweden, not even the Christian party would do that!” says Ella, a twenty-eight-year-old hospital gynecology nurse who plans to continue studies to become a midwife.

To read the rest of the article, click here:
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Wednesday, December 02, 2015

What did you do when you were #7monthsawesome?

I don't use Twitter much except to repost what I write here. But I had to add to the #7monthsawesome conversation!

(I'm easy to find on Twitter: just look for Rixa.)

Join in if you did something awesome when you were 7 months pregnant!
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