Maria Lactans

Maria Lactans
Maria Lactans (wikimedia commons)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Breastfeeding in a Small Family

Although I do not currently have a small family, I grew up as an only child.  Plus, I do have mothers with small families who come to my local mothers' groups (including my CNML group).

Just like there are logistical considerations when nursing a child in a large family, the same can be true of smaller families.  If you have a toddler and a baby, the toddler may get into mischief while you attend to your baby. There aren't older siblings around to help entertain him and to help keep him safe.  Some moms find a basket of books, toys, photo albums and books on CD only brought out during nursing times as a great way to keep a toddler busy.  Giving your toddler lots of attention and affection throughout the day should also help reduce mischievous attention seeking behavior during nursing sessions.  Another idea is to have your nursing corner in a room with a door that can close so you can feel confident your toddler will not get into anything unsafe while you nurse your baby.

If you have a nursling and do not have other children because your family is just starting (and ecological breastfeeding is working very well) or due to other circumstances, it can be intense at times to be the primary caregiver.  I remember feeling quite lonely when my oldest son was a baby and a toddler and I didn't have any other children yet. Surround yourself with other like minded moms.  Plan several short outings a week so you do not become excessively isolated in your house.  See if your husband can come home for lunch so you have some adult conversation.  If you do not feel comfortable nursing in public, there are a lot of pretty nursing covers out there.  I am currently making infinity scarf nursing covers (see pictures below) if you are interested.  Email catholicbreastfeeding(at)yahoo(dot)com for more info and other possible colors/patterns available.

What about those questions from strangers about when are you planning on having another baby?  If you have only one child and are unable to have a second child - even though your heart desperately wants another - those types of comments can hurt.  Know that most people are just making small talk when they say those things.  They have no idea about your heartache!  I would imagine it still hurts even knowing that.  I encourage you to find solace in Jesus and the Holy Family.  The Blessed Virgin Mary knows your grief - she watched her only son die!  Talk to her and tell her how you feel.  Also, try to really be present when nursing your child. Enjoy him!  Notice all the blessings of your child and your nursing relationship.  Also, ask the mothers on CNMLchat and the CNML Facebook group to pray for you.  Maybe they have ideas to help you through this challenge you face?  Your local CNML group, too, can be a source of comfort.  As always, you can request a nursing mother's gift bag from CNML - just send us an email.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

CNML Highlights from 2014

Since we just finished up 2014 and are now well on our way into 2015, I wanted to mention some of the good things the Catholic Nursing Mothers League ministry has done for nursing mothers.

CNML had a table at the Breastfeeding Taskforce Conference in Albuquerque in March. We were pleasantly surprised and excited to receive such a warm reception!  We gave out several copies of the books, Breastfeeding and Catholic Motherhood and Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing.  We also gave out Our Lady of La Leche medals and prayer cards, Theotokos chaplet cards, one decade rosaries, and CNML brochures. CNML also donated a copy of The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor to the conference's raffle.

The book, Getting Started with Breastfeeding: For Catholic Mothers, was published in May.  Several copies have been donated to nursing moms, CNML groups and even put in pregnancy/new baby baskets at a church in Amarillo, TX.  The book was added to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church library in Los Alamos and the Archdiocese of Santa Fe library.

Several copies of Sheila Kippley's books and one decade rosary gift bags were mailed or given out to mothers and CNML groups.

6 CNML groups formed!

21 blog posts were added to the CNML blog.

The CNML facebook group now has 345 members with new members being added weekly!  Many moms receive a lot of support from like-minded women through it.

A CNML facebook page was started to provide CNML announcements and to share info related to breastfeeding, mothering and the Catholic faith.

The CNMLchat yahoo group now has 147 members.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Motherhood of Mary

This Advent and Christmas season, with all the Marian feast days, I have been thinking a lot about Mary, her daily life, and my relationship with her.  Lisa Hendey, in her book, A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, suggests talking with Mary as you would a dear friend over coffee.  I had never thought of Mary that way - like a fellow mother who lives in my neighborhood - probably because she is the Queen of Heaven!

There are many differences between Mary's Life in first century Bethlehem, Egypt and Nazareth and my life in the western United States in 2015.  We have many household appliances that make it easier to run a household, a larger selection of food from which to choose, and regular access to transportation, books and the internet to name just a few.  However, I would bet some of the fundamental parts of our lives are the same.  She most likely coslept with Jesus and Joseph and breastfed Jesus when He needed milk and comfort.  She cleaned house, socialized with the other townswomen, cooked meals, and shopped for food. Mary played with Jesus, rocked and sang to Him, kissed His "boo-boos," and taught him things.  Suddenly, my "ordinary" daily routine as a stay-at-home mother seems not so unimportant after all.  Mary, the Mother of God, did many of the same earthly tasks as I do!   

One thing I bet Mary did not do was get distracted from her daily tasks as a wife and mother, and "goof off" doing less important things.  By reading the Scripture stories that involve Mary, reading about her in the catechism, and "chatting" with her regularly, I am reminded of the importance of the present moment and staying focused on what God wants me to do each day to lead my family to Heaven.  Taking the time to savor a toddler nursing session, because I do not know when my daughter will wean.  Getting off the computer to play with my six year old son.  Enjoying the late night cuddles with my cosleeping toddler.  Stopping what I am doing to really listen to my son who is telling me a long, involved story.  I bet Mary did all these things with Jesus, and stayed in the present moment.  Scripture mentions a few times when "Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart."  I would do well to do the same - thinking, praying, and really being present in all those little and big moments.