Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week

This week is World Breastfeeding Week.   Two years ago when I was pregnant I would not have even begun to imagine that I would be celebrating World Breastfeeding Week in 2017 while still breastfeeding Frankie.  What an amazing feat! Breastfeeding for nearly two years!  I am celebrating because breastfeeding isn’t an easy journey, and these two years haven’t always been picture perfect.   It can be tough, challenging and very tiring but those are all things worth celebrating when you know you have supported a little person through the most important growing years.

(The feature photo is of me with Alex when he would have been roughly eight weeks old.  This is while staying at the beach, Summer 2013, I look very tired!). 

Throughout these two years I have definitely become more pro breastfeeding, but more than that I have become pro breastfeeding education and support.   Sadly there is so much inaccurate information out there, whether is from old school doctors and nurses, outdated Plunket advice or just regurgitated information from other mothers it really needs to stop. Oh, the stories and old wives tales I have heard, it’s not helpful and it is not supportive of mothers and their babies.

Breastfeeding can be hard in this day and age of ‘INSTANT’.  Babies don’t always do instant, they work on their own time and it doesn’t often align with adults schedules.   But in saying that breastfeeding can also be very, very easy and incredibly enjoyable given you have the right support.   Both my children have been different to breastfeed.  Alex was so hungry that he cluster fed for hours in the first weeks, this is one of the things I found very difficult. However we made it through, but I know it would have been easier if I was aware of the support that was out there, and if advice and information given to me before having a baby was more realistic.

 

20614795_10154539553526599_453612749_n (1)
Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2016.  Frankie at 10 months.

 

Frankie had a tongue tie that was thankfully noticed while I was in the maternity ward but because it was not suggested that we follow this up and I was not aware of what else I should do, we had some ongoing issues that may have been sorted sooner than the nine months later when we self-referred ourselves to a chiropractor that specialised in newborns and infants.

Over past few years, I have found many online support groups and lactation advice. These groups have been my saviour many times over and I know that they have helped so many other mums out there throughout the western world.  I have also read a number of books that have also helped me understand what is perfectly normal for newborns and young babies and children. (Note that these are not your usual mainstream parenting books)!

So my advice for anyone mum who wants a positive and supportive breastfeeding journey.   Seek the right support.  Don’t read old school or mainstream parenting books, they are not helpful.   Seek out support groups either local or online.  Online groups can be especially good for late at night and when your family may be busy working.  Always follow your gut feelings, if something doesn’t seem right ask for help.

Below are my go to online support pages.

The Milk Meg – Meg is a lactation consultant who blogs about breastfeeding.  She is also the author of the best selling book  Boobin all day Boobin all night.   She has a Facebook page and website site with loads of information.

Pinky McKay – Pinky specializes in gentle parenting styles that honour mothers’ natural instincts to respond to their babies and empower a positive response from infants and toddlers without what Pinky terms ‘normalised abuse’. She says, “babies and toddlers are people too and they deserve empathy and respect, not ‘training’ through techniques such as rigid routines, controlled crying or spanking. This allows children to respond positively to their environment and to develop appropriate boundaries through mutual respect and strong family relationships.”

Grubby Mummy and the Grubby Bubbies – This is a supportive blog and facebook page for breastfeeding and gentle parenting.  Carley also runs a group that is supportive of normalising baby and infant sleep.  This is a safe place for mums who don’t want to sleep train.

The Natural Parenting Magazine – This magazine is the only baby/parenting magazine your will ever need to read.

Breastfeeding Support – La Leche League New Zealand – New Zealand support page.  You will be able to find local groups via this page in your own region.

Breastfeeding Support – La Leche League Hawke’s Bay – La Leche League support group for Hawkes Bay.  This is an active and supportive group and will direct you to the right information.

Happy World Breastfeeding week mums, whether you have breastfed in the past or a still breastfeeding now, let show some support, normalise breastfeeding and keep on Boobin.

To celebrate World Breastfeeding week on Friday and Saturday there will be events across the country for The Big Latch On.   Please check the poster below if you are in Hawkes Bay and Check out your local La Leche League pages for events in your area The Big Latch On.

20258389_494865034193913_6584499268105966725_n

Might see you there!

Becks xx

 

Advertisements

When To Start School

About the time I started writing my Kidsplaynz blog, I was also starting on a journey of finding out about alternatives to starting school at five years of age.  The idea of children still starting school at five years has plagued me for so long, and especially since I have discovered the wonderful world of play, loose parts, homeschooling and unschooling.   It’s led me down paths I would have never even thought about; it has made question everything I have previously learnt about learning and it has opened me up to a whole new world of ideas and peoples philosophies.

However, although I have changed and my mind has been opened, I forget that the rest of the world has not and New Zealanders are still very much programmed to think the day our children turn five they should be off to school.  So much so that some children will have their birthday on a Tuesday at Kindergarten and Wednesday they are sitting in the school classroom.  Do parents not think that maybe it would be good to give their children a week off to transition?  As adults, most of us do that when we change jobs or go on maternity leave etc.  It’s a big transition going from usually a very nurturing environment to the school system.

One of the things I have learnt very quickly is that going against society makes others upset.  I have never really been a person to conform, but I think I have always gone about it quietly, I have never made loud statements, or dressed differently, had blue hair, tattoos and piercing that “say hey look at me, I think differently to the rest of you”. So in a way to feel judged all the time or have people think you are judging them because you are going against the grain is a new experience and it gets tiring.  But also it makes me question myself and my beliefs constantly.   Conversations will usually start with someone asking us “What school are you sending Alex to?” and then me saying “I don’t think I will start Alex in school until he is 6 years old” and generally people will give you that look…”Oh, you are one of those people!”   they then quickly go on to say how they could never hold their child back and that they are quite ready for school and how they have been able to say their ABC’s since they were 3.5 and they can write their name backwards, you get where I am going with this.

The thing is I don’t question that Alex would fit into school at 5 years of age and follow along like every other 5 years old.  What I question is, while he would sit in school for 6 hours a day, what is he missing out on?   What is he missing by not being able to play all day at Kindy and what would he be missing out on at home with us his family?   Answering that question makes the decision easier, I know well and truly he will be learning more life skills in an extra year out of school than in school.

 

20182537_10154498890666599_1536224949_n
Quote – Flow Issue 18

 

I am writing this blog this week because I have cemented my decision in myself, it has been a hard one as you see above, going against the grain of society is way up there, but I found that talking to a few people who have been there and done that and had no regrets, has confirmed that parenting with your heart is alway the best option.

I also wanted to write this in case one other person who reads this is struggling with the idea and is lost and needs to have their thoughts confirmed may do so.

I am fairly blessed to have a supportive family, who I have been able to openly talk through the process, they have read the books and the research, they have asked questions and made me think about the pros and cons.  I have a supportive Kindy environment who encourage parents to keep their children in Kindergarten until they are 6 years of age, so I know Alex will be happy in that environment after his 5th Birthday.

I think as parents and teachers we need to get past the competition and pressure we place on our children in all aspects of life from education to extra curricular activities, learning is not a race nor a competition with the next person.  Learning is a personal journey and one you want your children to enjoy.

Becks

Further reading and Pod casts:

Free to Learn – Peter Gray

The Sacred Urge to Play – Pennie Brownlee and Kimberley Crisp.

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2595176/what-3-to-7-year-olds-need-to-learn-nathan-mikaere-wallis

https://www.ted.com/speakers/sir_ken_robinson

 

 

 

One Bag at a Time – Plastic Free July

Today is the Start of Plastic Free July. Yes, another month to give up something!   However, with the effects that plastic is having on our oceans, it’s a really good reason to start using reusable alternatives instead of throw away one-time use plastic items.

Did you know?

‘Every minute, the equivalent of a rubbish truckload of plastic goes into our oceans, it never decomposes and will remain there forever. If nothing changes, by 2050 all the plastic in the ocean could weigh more than all the fish. Plastic impacts on an entire ecosystem, marine life get caught up in it, eat it and live in it. It also has a direct impact on our health, acting as a sponge for toxins which can end up in our food.’  Quote – Ocean Rescue

Next time you are out walking in a park or the beach just take note and see how much rubbish and plastic is just left on the ground or has blown there in the wind.   It really is quite phenomenal.     Now that my children are a little bit older, I made the decision that if I want my grandchildren to enjoy a beautiful planet to explore and have adventures, I really need to start taking some action and reducing my plastic footprint and while I am doing this, hopefully, my children will learn by watching and doing, and it will become normal to them to not use throw away plastic items.

My personal challenge started a month ago when I took on the challenge to stop using plastic bags as part of a competition through a Facebook Page I follow, I thought it would be a good start on Plastic Free July too.  My goal was to start changing the way I shop, thinking about my purchases and making sure I always take my reusable bags.

With a few hiccups along the way I can honestly say my month has gone fairly well, I never set out to be perfect, but to change the way I do things so that it becomes a normal way of life and not something I just did for a few weeks or months.  We really have to change our thinking and that is a process, not something that just happens overnight.

A Few Points To Think About When Going Plastic Bag Free:

  • Get a good stash of reusable bags, the best bags are the ones that can be thrown in the wash when they need a bit of a scrub.  Put them back in the car when you have put away your groceries.
  • Always carry a small reusable bag in your handbag. Then you will never be short of a bag
  • Get some courage, you will be tested.   Plastic Bags are so part of our everyday culture that you have to stand up and say “No Plastic Bag thanks”.   Generally, retailers will pop your items in a bag, even if you just have one item!
  • Ask for meat to be wrapped in newspaper.   Even when using reusable bags, check out staff will still bag your items up in plastic.  You need to ask!
  • Produce Bags – I don’t often buy vegetables and fruit at the supermarket but when I did, I needed produce bags.   I bought some from both Onatah and Rethink Produce Bags online, perfect for potatoes and Kumara, right through to Apples or a Cabbage.
  • Find other ways to reduce your plastic consumption.

 

19458320_10154422733511599_783513433_n
Rethink Reusable Fresh Produce Bags

In my opinion, I think the only way we are going to combat this problem is governments and councils need to push going plastic bag free or putting a plastic bag tax on retailers, this would then will be passed on to consumers, this should be made more expensive every year.  Sounds tough, but it needs to be made costly because many people will just keep blindly using plastic bags.

My next challenge is to tackle my coffee addiction and to not use take away coffee cups.  Last week I made a purchase of a Keep Cup – Brew Glass Coffee Cup.   I thought if I was going to use a reusable cup I needed something that I was going to enjoy drinking out of, so a little bit more expensive than your average reusable cup, but well worth it because it is really nice to drink from.  So over the next month, I will be taking on the Coffee Cup Challenge and hopefully, over time it will become normal and just part of my everyday life.

KeepCup
My Glass KeepCup #salutetheuser

There are plenty of ways you can reduce plastic in your everyday life, it’s just thinking about what you can do differently. Over the next month, I thought I will post some different ideas for making changes and showing you how easy it is to make the switch.  If I can make the switch I know plenty of others can as well.

What do you do to help reduce your plastic footprint, I would love to know your hints, tricks, and ideas. Thanks for reading and if you want to see more of our adventures check out Facebook or Instagram.

Becks ♻️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grateful for my #mumlife

Reading a blog recently had me thinking.  A mum was talking about how she hated the monotonous routines of being a stay at home mum.   Many people agreed with her, sympathised and laughed but there was one lone comment below all this, it was a comment from a working mum who said.  “I wish I had that monotonous life, going to work means I can’t pick up the kids from school, a week of maybe not seeing them because I work late, a week of stress and not having time to cook good meals, time for homework, time for playing, and the list goes on”.

It made me think how I am so grateful for my #mumlife, how grateful I am to have this time at home with my children.  I am so grateful because if it was a few years ago, I too would have been the busy, tired and stressed mum who had no time with her children.

Even though some days my children drive me bonkers, and I text my husband near the end of the day and all the text says is ‘Beer’.   And when he arrives home he will have a beer and a kiss for me and he knows to go and take the kids to play for a bit and let me get on making dinner and drink my beer in peace.   Thankfully those days are fairly short lived, those times when there is a mountain of muddy clothing to be washed, floors to be cleaned, clothes to be put away, groceries to be done,  nappies to be changed I still can’t help but think I am really lucky, because someone or many people only houses away probably wish they could be at home with their children too.  So on those days, I remember to be grateful.

  • I am grateful I get to spend days with my children.
  • I am grateful I don’t have to keep deadlines and schedules and routines.
  • I’m grateful I don’t have to endure work politics.
  • I am grateful my children have muddy clothes because it means they have spent their day in nature.
  • I am grateful that time for us is childhood time, not clock watching and rushing from here to there.
  • I am grateful that they have food, clothing and a warm place to sleep because some children don’t.
  • I am grateful I get to bake biscuits with them even when it takes so much longer.
  • I am grateful I get to make pinecone birdfeeders, kites, paint rocks, find the end of the sellotape because it means they are here with me.

This time I have with my children won’t be forever, at some stage I will have to go back to routines, schedules and work politics.  But I cherish my days now at home, carefree and messy, crazy and sometimes frustrating, but I never want to be one of those old people who say with sad eyes and regret, “make sure you enjoy the time with your children because those days may be long, but those years are way too short”.

Becks  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Kind with that Judgement

This morning two Social Media Pages I follow have been the target of public abuse from readers or people who don’t follow them but feel it necessary to abuse them anyway.

One page is a mum who advocates breastfeeding and heart centred parenting in a non-sugar coated way, the other is currently running two charity drives in Hawkes Bay.  Why you ask would someone want to abuse them?

Why?  Because both have the common theme, they are out there on social media and in life, doing it.   Trying to help bring awareness and change to our communities, both are helping other mums, other parents, other families.  Both have helped me in some way or another and also many others I know.

Sadly though not everyone likes it when people stand up and say they want to make a difference, or when someone wants to follow their dreams, gets positive feedback and encourages others to join in on the journey.

One of the many reasons I started blogging was to create change, I know that seems like a big gun hoe thing to say, but when trying to find the information about Free Play, about starting school later, and everything I wanted for my children, I found it really difficult.

When I first started my blog, I had well-meaning people say to me that I was going to get a lot of judgement for what I am doing, they even said I should tame down some of my posts and what I was sharing. Why? Because people won’t like it!

It’s interesting though because once I started blogging about play and sharing information on my own platform, I started finding other parents who were doing the same, who were delaying schooling and letting their children play.  I was finding my tribe and that is what happens when you share on the internet, when you do something different,  you find your tribe.

At the end of the day we all judge, it’s how the world works, it’s how we make decisions on how we want our life to be.  Humans are all different, and we will never agree on everything, what a boring world it would be if we all had the same thoughts and lived the same way.  We don’t have to like everything that is posted on the internet, however, we do have a choice on how we react to our judgement of it.  We can use that judgement to put others down so we can feel all powerful for getting it off our chest, or we can take that judgement and use it to better ourselves, making positive changes to how we live our lives.

On days like today when I hear about a wonderful person that is abused for doing good in this world a quote from Margaret Mead comes to mind.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. Margaret Mead 

And at the end of the day if you feel that passionate about changing something in our world the best thing to do is go out and do it! You will be amazed at what comes back to you tenfold.

Becks 

Ode to a Tree

Last week we had to say goodbye to a beloved friend, this friend was a tree.  A tree at my son’s Kindergarten.   In the past I was never one to get sentimental over trees,  I even remember giving my poor work colleague grief when they cut down the Pine Tree on One Tree Hill in Auckland many years ago, she was tearful in her grief and back then when I was a young and free 20-year-old, I could not understand why.

However this week, the news that a tree was to be cut down at my son’s Kindergarten was heartbreaking.   This tree was the centre tree in the forest, and among its branches, two swings hung, one an old school tire swing and they other a knotted rope swing.  Alex and the other children would spend hours, upon hours playing here.   I have photos and videos of Alex on both these swings, gaining confidence as he has grown and progressed over the past year.   He would often lead me out into the forest to watch him run around in circles gaining speed and then jump onto the tyre, laughing hysterically,  or he would leap off the bench near the rope swing – holding tightly onto the rope while saying “Did you see that mum”.

It’s funny how sometimes you just take for granted that something such as a tree will always be there, you don’t think that you will outgrow the tree, and if it did, you will see it wither and die before you which I guess makes the pending absence of it easier.

So last Thursday we said our goodbyes, I looked up into the lofty branches above and thanked our tree for its strong limbs that had held children on swings, for its shade that it had provided through hot Hawkes Bay summers,  for beauty, comfort and stillness.

On our return to Kindy this week, there was conversations about the tree, how would we swing?  Alex exclaimed he would just pretend to swing by jumping off the stump.    This morning though the teachers had moved the wood rounds cut from the trunk into the new clearing into a circle.   The children now discussed what they could do with the rounds, what would they become, launch pads for rockets, tables, a place for morning meetings and conversations.   It was interesting to see how the new area had come alive even though their beloved swing had gone, and it just goes to show how children live in the present moment.  Not dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, just here, in the present.   A lesson us adults could learn from.

Becks

*Photo – thanks to Kimberley Crisp.

Putting Down my Phone Camera

Resolutions!     I have never really been into making New Year resolutions because I figured if I wanted to change something, I could change it at any time, not just at the start of the year.  However last year I made a new years resolution to “live greener” it was a broad resolution but ultimately I wanted to be more conscious of what I was dumping onto our planet. I also wanted it to be a sustainable change, that I would be able to continue and not give up in a few weeks because it became “too hard”.

So this year again my resolution was to not give up something but to try and do something different.   So this year I am ‘putting down my phone camera’ and ‘picking up my real camera’.  I figured if I was writing a blog about Play and recording memories of my children I needed to be more present and observant in what they are doing.   Like so many parents (if you want to admit it or not) these days, we use our cell phones far too much in the presence of our little ones.   When we have our faces glued to our cell phones we actually miss out on seeing and observing our children playing, and this is the play where there is no adult intervention, they start playing make-believe, they change loose parts into massive constructions, they line objects up from smallest to largest. You will see how they interact with a baby doll or a teddy. You will see that they can climb a tree without your help.  These are the special moments that you don’t want to miss and these are the moments that you can capture on a camera because you are still present in the child’s play, but removed enough that they play naturally.

So it began, I started taking photos with a real camera.   It’s only a few weeks in, but already I have noticed how much more I have learnt about my children.   I love following their lead and I am more conscious of what they are enjoying and not moving them onto something else.   It also makes you realise you don’t have to take photos of them doing everything and that sometimes bringing the camera into the equation is going to be intrusive.

If you want to take a challenge or a February resolution, give it a go, put down your cell phone camera and start using your real camera.  I’d love to hear your feedback and see your photos.  #kidsplaynzusingmyrealcamera