Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus

Virgin Mary breastfeeding Jesus
Nursing Madonna (wikimedia commons)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Snapshot (in words) of a CNML meeting

Have you ever thought of combining your passion for breastfeeding with your love of your Catholic faith? Here is a snapshot of what might happen at a CNML meeting.  It is a true account based on conversation at two CNML meetings:

The four or five mothers arrive and sign in.  Everyone chats a bit and then introduces themselves and their children.  The CNML leader reads the CNML disclaimer and official statement and begins with a discussion starter from the CNML Resource Guide or simply waits for the discussion to enfold.

One mom who is pregnant tells everyone that she just weaned her son a few weeks ago and feels sad knowing this is the end of their breastfeeding relationship.  The CNML leader offers ideas for ways to "snuggle" with him, empathizes with her, and comments that since her son weaned so easily - without tears - that he must have been ready.  Another mother cheerfully notes that soon she will have a new baby to nurse :)

One of the mothers mentions that her baby has been spitting up excessively and she believes it is due to a dairy allergy.  She changed her diet and the baby's symptoms have improved.  Another mom asks what her baby's symptoms are and the CNML leader agrees that those are possible signs of food allergy listed in The Baby Book by the Sears family.

A mother asks if she should be giving her baby a certain amount of liquids and possibly cow's milk now that he is one year old and only nurses a few times per day.  The CNML leader lets her know that she will look it up and then sends her a link to an informative online article on the dietary needs of breastfeeding toddlers.

 CNML leader and the mothers discuss how wonderful a king sized bed is for cosleeping and that it is a great in investment.

One mother, who has spaced her family primarily through breastfeeding, asks where she can learn NFP.  The CNML leader offers her a brochure for the parish NFP instructor and shows her NFP International's manual.  Another mother says that her periods returned much sooner than expected even though she was exclusively breastfeeding.  However, her son did start sleeping through the night fairly early on.  The CNML leader describes the seven standards of ecological breastfeeding and gives her a copy of Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing.

A mother shares the story of losing her baby just an hour after birth.  She inspires all the mothers with her great faith in God and faith that her sweet baby is in Jesus' loving arms right now.

One mother mentions how her friend would love to nurse her newborn baby but she has inverted
nipples.  The CNML leader reads from a breastfeeding book about how pumping will help keep up her supply until she receives assistance from a lactation consultant.  Also the book describes how to make a home made nipple everter.  The leader gives the mom her business card to give to her friend, because she is also a volunteer lactation consultant.

A mother asks if there is a certain style of parenting that is uniquely Catholic. The CNML leader recommends the book, Parenting with Grace, by the Popcaks.

At the close of the meeting, the CNML leader hands out gift bags with one decade rosaries and other
items, and the mothers pray a decade of the rosary together.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Prayer Ideas for the Breastfeeding Mother

St. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "pray without ceasing." However, breastfeeding mothers often feel like they have little energy left for prayer after nursing the baby for the tenth time or enduring the tantrum of a toddler.  I have seen it suggested in books that one could set the morning alarm a half hour earlier to allow for a quiet prayer/devotional time with Jesus.  But what if you are NOT a morning person or the baby is teething and you got less sleep than your body needs?

I want to mention just a few simple ideas for spending time with God that moms might like to
incorporate into their days.

The morning offering is a good prayer at the start of the day or even later in the day (if you forget or have your prayer time later in the day such as when baby is nursing to sleep for a nap, for example) because it dedicates all of your daily activities to Jesus.  There is also a Pauline version which I like a lot.

Invocations are another great way for mothers to stay connected to God even if they do not have time to stop for two seconds!  An invocation is just a short little one sentence prayer you offer up in the midst of trying to soothe a fussy baby or while getting dinner ready with a preschooler attached to your leg!  You can find invocations online on various Catholic websites or you can pray your own.

Praying one decade of the rosary is a mother-sized way of taking part in this special devotion.  Fr. Sauppe's Theotokos chaplet, which includes the "Five Mysteries of the Maternity of Mary," offers a  unique perspective on the rosary for nursing moms.  The mysteries focus specifically on the early years of Jesus' childhood including while he was in Mary's womb and his breastfeeding relationship with Mary.  A good time to pray one decade of the rosary is when nursing your baby, taking a shower, or even driving to an older child's sports practice.  Also, many little children can handle praying one
decade at prayer time much more easily than five.  CNML hand makes one decade rosaries as part of its ministry.  If you would like one, drop me a line at catholicbreastfeeding(at)yahoo(dot)com.

If you would like more ideas for enhancing your spiritual life while breastfeeding, see the CNML manual, Getting Started with Breastfeeding: For Catholic Mothers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A New Path

Wow!  I didn't realize that an entire month has gone by since I last posted.  I hope to have more time now to blog for CNML.  Readers, if there are any topics related to breastfeeding, motherhood or Catholicism that you would like me to write about, please drop me a line!  Also, I am happy to post blog entires that YOU write.

Today I want to blog about something personal to me but still related to breastfeeding.  This week, I made the decision to retire from La Leche League (LLL) leadership.  It was a difficult choice for me to make.  I have been attending LLL meetings for more than 15 years and have been a Leader for over 12 years.  Up until recently, meetings have reengerized and inspired me.  I would often come home from them ready to face whatever challenges came my way.  LLL's mothering concepts helped shape the person I am and the mother I am.

Several things contributed to my retirement.  My local meeting has not been well attended lately.  Also, I have been helping with another ministry at my church and the needs have increased.  Also, I want to get my local CNML group off the ground.  However, probably the main reason is LLL's changing philosophy.  That, is at least, what started me thinking about leaving LLL.  

When I first read about the newest policy change, I was more stunned than anything.  However, I felt it would not apply to me and my local group.  Then one night in adoration, this strange thought popped into my head: retire and concentrate on breastfeeding support in other ways.  I pondered the idea for a while and even packed up all my LLL items.  But then I couldn't do it.  I wasn't sure if I was really hearing the voice of God in this.  I again decided that LLL was the place for me.  I kept leading meetings and helped man an LLL table at my town's health fair.  Then again during adoration, I started having thoughts of retirement from LLL and concentrating on CNML.  This time I really felt like God was trying to get through to me.

I know many wonderful women who have decided to continue volunteering with LLL.  I have not felt that God would be unhappy with me, necessarily, for staying with LLL but that I am called to another path now.  It is still hard and scary!  LLL was such an important part of my life for so long.  I am hoping we, in the CNML community, can build that same type of comraderie and have it be even stronger, since it is based on our Faith.

Have you formed a CNML group in your parish yet?  It is super easy!  There is a suggested Resource Guide at the CNML website that you are free to print it out and use as you like.  Check back occasionally because I am always trying to improve it!  I had my first local CNML meeting last week and FIVE ladies attended!  It was so nice to talk about breastfeeding within the context of my Catholic Faith.