Tag Archives: motherhood

10 Truths about Breastfeeding a Toddler

www.growingyourbabyThis post was inspired by Jessica from TheLeakyBoob’s post on Toddler Breastfeeding – it was great to realise that I was not alone in finding breastfeeding a toddler an emotional roller-coaster; it’s harder than nursing a baby, it’s perhaps more rewarding and it really means you have to defend your position more than ever.

Many see it as crunch time for us … BiP is almost 15 months old, she has been walking for 4.5 months, she now suddenly has 12 teeth, she eats more than I do (seriously) and she can say “Mama”, “Daddy” and “A-BOOB”! Time to wean I hear people say! Well, I‘ve said we’ll wean when we want to before – here are 10 straight up home truths about breastfeeding a toddler:

1 – Your clothes need to be more easy access than ever as your begin to realise just how strong your dermined toddler is to get to the source. Necklines on your tops will be stretched beyond recognition if you do not oblige.

2 – Be prepared for raised eyebrows and the “you are STILL breastfeeding?” when you nurse in public.  You can tell people that it’s actually recommended by the World Health Organisation to breastfeed for 2 years.

3 – To prepare yourself for breastfeeding a toddler you might consider watching wrestling matches for some interesting holds. Exciteable toddlers want to run, jump, talk, laugh and feed at the same time. That’s a lot for one small nipple to handle.

4 – Get ready for the possible social embarrassment of your toddler asking to be fed. I have memories of one little girl screaming “I want BREASTY” in the middle of a supermarket. By now it’s too late to change the word for it – BiP already calls it “A-BOOB” and if I don’t give it to her I get “A-Boob-oob-oob-boob!” No one in our area of France knows what she is saying but I do find it funny and incredibly cute.

5 – The level of cute is so hard to describe. When BiP know’s she’s going to get her “A-Boob” she gasps in delight, sometimes even grabs the side of her head with excitement – It melts my heart. Every. Single. Time.

6 – It’s the best first aid kit in the world! Every toddler falls, some falls are more spectacular than others but one thing is guaranteed, no amount of cuddles, singing, distraction or chocolate will work as fast as the breast at calming a hurt toddler.

7 – Tantrum Free Zone … well, kind of. One of the best way of avoiding tantrums is to create a diversion or a distraction – yes, parenting a toddler seems to involve skills of a magician, a circus monkey and an acrobat. If you see a tantrum on the horizon breastfeeding your toddler can often avoid it altogether.

8 – Breastfeeding your toddler will not make them clingy or “needy”. What’s the big rush to make them super independent before their 2nd birthday anyway?

9 – Contrary to what many say, after 12 months your breast milk does NOT turn to water. The nutritional properties change but as KellyMom reports 448ml of breast milk contains over 60% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C plus many other nutritional benefits.

10 – Running around after a toddler is exhausting! But! Be prepared that every time you sit down your toddler will think that it’s time to feed!  Honestly, if it means I get to sit quietly for a few minutes let’s do it … here’s your A-Boob!

There are obviously so many more benefits to breastfeeding a toddler as outlined by La Leche League International but these are just some personal ones. At the end of the day our children grow up so fast – the bond a breastfeeding mother has with her child, no matter how long the journey is, is so special – for those of us who choose to continue remember, it’s YOUR child and YOUR breast.

What are you thoughts on breastfeeding a toddler? Have you done it? Are you doing it? Would you do it?

Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: JAPAN

Having a baby abroad JapanThis week we go to Japan as part of the series of The Global Differences of Baby-Making to hear Erica’s story. She talks about the cultural differences between her native country Canada and her current home, Japan.  A fascinating story about language barriers, keeping small babies inside and never putting socks or shoes on your baby. Here is her story:


Tell me a bit about yourself. Where are your from? How old is your daughter, and where did you have her?
I’m a mother to one-year-old Stella who was born in Japan, a wife to a wonderful Swiss man, a blogger, a freelancer and a trailing spouse. I was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada, but I’ve lived in seven different countries, countless cities, and a few tiny backwaters.

We are currently calling Japan “home”, and dreaming of our next adventure.

Why did you have your daughter abroad?
We had my daughter abroad because I wanted my husband to be present at the birth. He has a demanding job, and so returning to Canada, or Switzerland, or the US for the birth wouldn’t be practical.

As an expectant mother abroad, how did you feel?
Like many expectant mothers, I felt a mix of emotions: I was excited, impatient and thrilled to become a mother. But I was also incredibly anxious about having a baby abroad.

I got pregnant the week we moved to Japan, so in addition to culture shock, homesickness, and pregnancy crazysauce, I had to find and furnishing an apartment, and figure out prenatal care while dealing with a massive language barrier. Hence the anxiety.

I wanted everything to be perfect and I wasted considerable effort worrying that things wouldn’t be done “the right way”. Finally, two weeks before my daughter was due, I decided to just relax and trust the doctors. That was the best thing that I could have done.

My daughter’s birth was not perfect. Medical interventions were made that probably wouldn’t have been had we been in North America and Stella was rushed to the NICU in a different hospital where she stayed for her first four days. Still, I feel really positive about the experience. My doctor was so helpful, the midwives, despite our language barrier were incredibly kind and patient and more than willing to accommodate my strange, foreign wishes.













What do you feel are the benefits of having a child abroad?
There are many. In Asia there it is normal to take a long period of rest after the birth of a child. I stayed in the birth center for five days recovering from a normal, uncomplicated (for me) delivery. Most women stay at least a week. People were shocked that I took my daughter out for a walk seven days after she was born!

Having a child abroad has taught me to be a more flexible parent. I was fairly dogmatic about my attachment parenting crunchy granola beliefs, but circumstances have forced me to compromise on some of these principles. Seeing so many happy, healthy, well adjusted children who are not raised “by the book” tells me that there are as many ways to parent a child as there are children to be parented, and the best thing you can do is relax, do what works in your family and be kind to yourself.

Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?Pre-natal care in Japan is quite different. Doctors are much more paternalistic. One big difference is the recommended weight gain; mothers are only allowed to gain 6-10 KG in pregnancy, and doctors enforce this strictly. Mothers are even put on diets while pregnant! Let’s just say that the doctors were not too impressed with my 20 KG weight gain!

Prenatal care is also more cautious in Japan. For example, even uncomplicated pregnancies get an ultra-sound at each and every OB visit, and Non Stress Tests are administered routinely in the final three or four weeks of pregnancy. Also, I was instructed to come to the birth center as soon as contractions started and not permitted to labour at home.

In some ways, parenting in Japan is very similar to my attachment parenting style. Co-sleeping is the norm here; breastfeeding is encouraged; most mothers give birth without pain medication; and baby wearing is common. In other ways it is quite different; babies are held less, and are allowed to cry longer. Parents are liberal with television and sweets, and I get the feeling that mothers are less uptight about parenting in general.

The Japanese approach to baby sleep is quite different. Babies are put to bed much later, at about 9 PM and it is accepted that babies wake frequently during the night. I once mentioned that I wanted to try to night ween my very wakeful 10 month-old, and the other mothers looked at me like I was a crazy person.

Also, babies never wear shoes. And rarely wear socks. Even in winter. I still don’t know why.

I love observing and cataloging these differences in child rearing. It is so interesting to see that much of the baby rearing wisdom we hold as fact is actually culturally based.


What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
My best advice is to relax. Find a doctor who most closely shares your approach to prenatal care and birth (you won’t find someone who thinks exactly like you do, but close enough is good enough) and then trust your doctor. Don’t get caught up in the minutia of baby prep, birth plans or small details of baby rearing. Relax an enjoy the process of becoming a parent. You and your baby will be happier for it.


Connect with Erica on her great blog: www.expatriababy.com or on Twitter



Want to share your story? Get in touch: ameena@mummyinprovence.com



Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: United Kingdom

This week we go to the UK as part of the series of The Global Differences of Baby-Making. Deborah has two sons; one born in the UK and the other, in her home country, the US. She talks about the challenges of having a baby so far away from family and friends, the taboo that is natural childbirth and glamour of driving a mini-van. Here is her story:


Deborah and Gabriella with their sons Asher and Levi

Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old are your children and where did you have them?
I’m Deborah Goldstein, freelance writer, columnist for Patch.com and mother to 7-year-old Asher and 4-year-old Levi. I’m a Gemini married to a Sagittarius, which seems to work out ok. My partner Gabriella and I have been together 17 years, and we still like each other for the most part. I was born in New York City, spent most of my childhood in the suburbs outside of Chicago, gave birth the first time around in London and now I’m back in U.S. driving around the glamorous suburbs of New Jersey in my mini-van.

Why did you have your children abroad?
In 1999, my partner Gabriella and I started itching to travel. We decided that we’d move overseas wherever either of us could find work. Her company offered her a job in London, and we lived there for 7 years. We had our first child at the Royal Free Hospital’s birth centre in Belsize Park in 2003. In 2006, Gabriella’s company offered her another job in NYC, so we said, “Toodle pip!” to the UK. Our 2nd child was born at the birthing center at Roosevelt Hospital in New York.

What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
Because our first birth experience was abroad, we had no point of reference. Having given birth in the U.S. the second time around, I’ve looked at birth from both sides now as the song goes. My first child kicked a hole in the placenta at 35 weeks, and my 33 ½ hours of labor followed. I am confident now that doctors would have pushed me to have an unnecessary C-section had I given birth in the U.S. They would not have tolerated such a long labor with a premature baby. Our local hospital St. Barnabas in New Jersey is topping the C-section charts at 49% of all births.


Having a baby abroad UK

As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
You know how you buy an old house to fix-up because it has so much potential, and then you come to the conclusion that potential is really expensive and stressful and you vow never to do that again? But you didn’t know what to expect when you bought that house, and your contractor told you it had such good bones, and your vision of what could be was so very idyllic. We had no idea what to expect which was probably a good thing. Expecting a child for the first time was a similar experience. We romanticized our life with baby and looked forward to becoming parents. Neither one of us ever imagined how difficult it would be to parent without the support of friends or family. Those months of sleep-deprivation made the first trimester of flat-on-my-back morning-noon-and-night sickness look like a doddle.

Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
The medical system in the U.S. teaches pregnant women to be afraid of pregnancy and birth, and doctors convince us to trust the medical establishment over our own bodies. They aren’t completely to blame when insurance companies have got them by the short hairs. Doctors would much rather perform surgery they can control rather than leave birth up to nature. And then there’s the issue of pain. Women in the U.S. will do anything to avoid what they’ve been taught is unbearable pain. Look, I won’t lie and say that it wasn’t painful, but I think the unfamiliarity of that kind of pain is what’s most shocking the first time around. Think about the first time you experienced any kind of pain like stubbing your toe. It still hurts when you do it again, but you are familiar with the sensation, and it’s not as scary. When you recognize what’s happening to you (and one child has stretched you out sufficiently), the pain is not nearly as significant the next time. When I tell other mothers that I gave birth without drugs, they look at me like I’ve got a tail growing out of my ear. Would you believe that it’s easier to tell people that I’m gay than it is to discuss birth? In the U.S., I am fairly closeted about my birth choices.

What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
You are your own best advocate. Do some reading. Trust your choices. And always accept help from others. And, as a wise friend told me regarding the many mistakes we think we make along the way, your children grow up in spite of you.

You can follow Deborah onTwitter and also check out her blog Peaches & Coconuts


Want to share your story? Get in touch: ameena@mummyinprovence.com


Having a Baby Abroad – Global Differences Series: IRELAND

Tahera at home with baby Leila

Tahera at home with baby Leila

Next up in the series of The Global Differences of Baby-Making we are in Ireland.  Here is Tahera’s story about having her daughter abroad, even if it didn’t feel abroad to her. She talks about the challenges of having a premature baby, being away from her family and feeling isolated. Here is her story:


Tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you from? How old is your daughter and where did you have her?
Hi, I’m Tahera Khorakiwala. I’m 30 years old. I’m Indian but I grew up in the Middle East. Initially Saudi Arabia until I was 8 years old and then Oman until I was 18 at which point I moved to Dublin, Ireland for college. I met my husband in college. After graduation we were both offered positions in Dublin and we took advantage of these opportunities to further our post graduate training. We were married three years later and in June 2009 our little girl arrived nine weeks early.


Why did you have your daughter abroad?
Leila was born in Dublin, Ireland for no other reason than this is the country where both my husband and I resided at the time of her birth. I’m not the kind of person to live in one country where I get all my medical consultations and travel to a second country to give birth. I firmly believe that my medical care and the place of my delivery should be the same. Ireland is a pioneering centre setting the standards in modern obstetric care around the world. I had no problems giving birth here. I would do it again.



What do you feel were the benefits to having children abroad?
My child was premature and sick for most of her first year necessitating repeated hospital admissions, multiple surgical operations with multidisciplinary care and medium-term follow up. I’m not sure she would have received this level of care in a country where the healthcare system was less sophisticated or in fact even have survived her birth.


As an expectant mother abroad how did you feel?
I didn’t feel I was abroad. I’ve felt at home in Ireland for a long time now; having said that, it would have been nice to have my family nearby to share the exciting milestones of pregnancy with. In the time the followed her birth, again it would have been lovely to have my family here every step of the way. I must confess though that my family has been superlative in their commitment to my and my daughter’s welfare and they have travelled numerous times to lend support during Leila’s stormy first year. Once Leila had recovered and it was possible to participate in group baby activities, I did feel isolated. There was no one to cushion the daily blows of our situation. People would stop us on the street regularly and comment on how tiny she was. They would point at her and exclaim to each other. We couldn’t participate in many activities that babies her age were participating in because she was so far behind. It was lonely. Sadly while Ireland has excellent doctors and healthcare workers it didn’t have much in the way of community support for parents of premature babies. This is changing now and there is an excellent group called Irish Premature Babies doing some wonderful work.















Did you encounter any opinions that would have been different in your home country with regards to your pregnancy or parenting choices?
I don’t think so. I believe that around the world people are misinformed equally about what it means to be born premature. There is an impression that premature babies are simply small but they will all turn out just fine. This is not true. The possible outcomes for premature babies range from death to long term chronic health issues such as cerebral palsy, medium term health issues such as cardiac defects requiring surgical intervention, short term health issues such as dependence on oxygen in the first few months following discharge to no difficulties whatsoever.

My parenting choices have been governed by her health issues. I do not believe these would have been questioned anywhere under the same circumstances.

What advice would you give other mothers in your situation?
You don’t have to do it all on your own. Help and support can come from anywhere. It may be your neighbour asking if there is anything he or she can do for you. It may be an internet group offering you a forum where you can vent and be heard. It may be your parents or your siblings. It doesn’t matter. Help is help in whatever form or language it appears. You need every single last bit of it you can get. Don’t turn any away. You don’t have to do it all on your own. They may not understand what you’re going through exactly but they still want to help. Let them.



Want to share your story? Get in touch: ameena@mummyinprovence.com



Five Confessions of a Breastfeeding Mother

breastfeeding confessionsI was talking to a friend today about how breastfeeding changes your attitude to your breasts. I laughed at all the things that I have done, many repeatedly, that would have, pre-baby, mortified me and now I just shrug and smile.

Here are my top 5 confessions:

1. Your breasts are now your baby’s, they are food – no one, I mean NO ONE else is allowed to touch them!

2. Despite the no touch rule, you don’t care who see’s your breasts whilst nursing (and yes, you will flash dozens of people during your breastfeeding journey)

3. You will wander around with your breasts free, your nursing bra unclipped and not even care that you can’t remember how long you’ve been like that

4. Your new wardrobe can only be described as “easy access” – anything that can be pulled up/down/to the side easily will be coveted!

5. You will feel your breasts in public (checking which side to feed on next) whilst talking to someone and think nothing of it

It’s all for a good reason and a good sense of humour will take you a long way! What else have you done?