2. Choose a theme. Quite obviously, my theme is natural parenting. Not only is this my blog theme but this is also my thang. Your thang might be homeschooling, sewing, vegan cooking, or being the crazy cat lady of the neighborhood. No matter the theme, stick to it and blog on that topic regularly.
3. Pimp your blog. Add your blog url to the bottom of your email siggy, link to your blog frequently on your Facebook page, ask your favorite blogger to add you to their blog roll, list your blog name as your Google name and comment frequently on other blogs, add your blog to every blog roll you can find, participate in blog carnivals and link up to plenty of Mr. Linky's. If the opportunity arises, pimp it.
4. Find a blog community. It was so reassuring for me to find the Natural Parents Network and read other mama's blogs who share my same parenting values. With a bajillion bloggers out in BloggyLand, there is sure to be an established network of bloggers sharing your blog's theme.
5. Obsess over your blog's statistics. Permission is granted. Obsess.
6. Blog frequently. See #6. The more your blog, the more hits you get.
7. If you aren't savvy with blog design, hire someone who is. I'm not. At all. Good thing Catherine of www.catdmoore.com is very talented!
8. Be choosy with advertisers. I'll be honest. I'm still quite iffy about the BlogHer network. I'm advertising products I would never buy and not making enough money to cover my very inexpensive thrifting habit . Yet I like the air of legitimacy it gives my blog. Crazy? Perhaps.
9. Get a thick skin. Even though the only truly ugly comment I've ever received was written by an in real life friend which helped me realize she obviously wasn't much of a friend, I've had plenty of comments that aren't rainbows and unicorn farts.
10. Stay true to yourself. Your readers will appreciate it and you can be proud of to call your blog your own.
1.Just do it. Stop talking about starting a blog and just do it.
2.Blogger or Wordpress? It doesn't matter. Refer back to #1.
3. Worried about the blog name and URL? Don't be. Follow your instinct and own your decision.
4. Accept that your only readers will be your immediate family. Be okay with that.
5. Don't feel the need to write a novel for each post. A single picture makes a lovely blog post and you know your parents will love it.
6.Blog often. According to Google Reader, I publish 2.8 posts a week. I aim to blog at least every other day but some weeks are more conducive to blogging that others. Personally, if I clean a lot, I don't blog a lot. Let's just say my house is usually pretty messy.
7. Can't think of a post topic? Flip through the pictures on your camera. Post a picture and describe the day's event. Done.
8. Decide before your first post to use your kids' real names or to make up cutesy fake internet names. If I were to start my first blog today, the kids would be named Blueberry Boy, Cherry Girl and our non-existant baby would be Kiwi - collectively referred to as "my fruits". And, the blog name would be "Fruit of My Womb". Pretty damn cute if I say so myself! Laura, refer back to #3. Now.
9. No hurt feelings if nobody leaves comments. Not everyone understands that blog comments are the new hug. Hint. Hint.
I'll admit my immediate reaction to Dr. Rick's response and his flippant attitude towards the benefits of b
breastfeeding was to fire back a sassy email letting him know exactly what I think about opinions, his silly radio show and his so-called breastfeeding science.
But, I didn't. I held my fingers back and stewed on it. After all, it is obvious he doesn't care to tout breastfeeding as the best start for Mississippi babies and I know quite well my emails don't mean much to him.
So, I waited.
And, I thought about it. A lot.
And, if you live with me, you can attest that I've talked about it. A lot.
I thought about my mind's recurring theme on biological norms vs. cultural norms and how Dr. Rick is all cultural norm. I thought about how a friend always says she "wants her babies to thrive, not just survive". I thought about my generation's hang-ups on breastfeeding and the guilt mothers carry. I thought about how it is practically impossible to discuss the science and the facts of breastfeeding without offending a population of women. I thought about the cultural disconnect; women know "breast is best" but "booby traps" lay claim to many breastfeeding relationships each year.
And, because everybody loves a disclaimer, women also have the option to formula feed and just like Seinfeld said, "Not that there's anything wrong with that".
In the end, I wrote a short little email and kept my millions of links to myself. I couldn't stay 100% sass free but trust me, it's markedly more polite than previous drafts.
Thank you for your reply in regards to my query of your handling on the topic of breastfeeding during the latest pediatric episode. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics maintains breastfeeding is a public health issue and I believe it needs to be addressed as such, especially considering the dismal health statistics in Mississippi. I encourage you to connect with Dr. Rebecca Saenz of the Mississippi Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic to brush up on your breastfeeding science, especially before the next show on pediatrics.
I finally got a response from Dr. Rick. Let's just say I am as unimpressed with his reply as I was with his original negative reaction to breastfeeding. I have so much to say about his letter that I am honestly left speechless.....for now but possibly not forever :)
Although there are real advantages to breast feeding, the science shows that children who are not breast fed do just fine in the long run. I am very careful about making folks feel guilty about not doing it when it is difficult or impossible. I am sticking with this science on this. Breastfeeding is best, but not essential in the long shot. If that changes, so will my opinion. I know there are other heartfelt opinions on this and i respect them. Hope this helps, Dr. Rick
Mississippi might have the fewest breastfed babies in the country but we certainly have our share of informed and passionate mamas. Thank you, friends, for sending in your letters to Dr. Rick!
Dear Dr. Rick,
With your recent push on focusing on Mississippi's health and specifically our state's issue with obesity, one would expect you to be very knowledgeable and supportive of breastfeeding. The statistics on the health benefits of breastfeeding are outstanding and specifically the significantly lowered rush of obesity and childhood diabetes. The AAP suggests a minimum of 1 year which is lax compared to the WHO's recommendation of a minimum of 2 years. Recently, the AAP released a statement that breastfeeding is not a lifestyle choice but a public health issue. Support at all levels from hospitals to workplace to community to physicians is imperative in improving breastfeeding rates and reducing a multitude of health disparities. At a conference this past weekend, I was pleased to hear a Dept of Health leader proclaiming the benefits of breastfeeding to establish healthy eating habits among our children. I have included a link to a really great Time magazine article of the new AAP statement and it's impact. I'd also encourage you to connect yourself and your listeners with Dr. Rebecca Saenz who is a Specialist in Breastfeeding Medicine in Jackson. Her expertise not only benefits the metro area, but the entire state. She is known nationally and internationally for her expertise in the breastfeeding field and our state is lucky to have her.
Also, since you mentioned that breastfeeding is nearly impossible for working mother's, which it is not, I'd like to take the opportunity to commend our State for having such breastfeeding friendly laws in place. Not only is it written in the books that a woman is doing no wrong by breastfeeding her baby anywhere they have the right to be, but MS laws also provide that any workplace must allow a breastfeeding mother time and place to pump without exception and without negative consequences or penalties. This sets the stage for Mississippi workplaces being highly conducive to breastfeeding mothers. The issue arises in the lack of support elsewhere. Along with it's awful rates of childhood obesity and other health issues, Mississippi has some of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country. (correlation? I think so.)Here is the article I referred to that discusses breastfeeding as a public health issue:http://healthland.time.com/2012/02/29/why-pediatricians-say-breast-feeding-is-about-public-health-not-just-lifestyle/
I have listened to the show for years and there have been times I've disagreed with a statement or two on different topics. But the show this week on pediatrics left me very disappointed. When the caller from Starkville discussed breast feeding I felt like she received quite the brush off from you and Dr. Allyn. Not necessarily her personally but the importance of breast feeding in general. Considering the alarming state of health in Mississippi, especially concerning obesity and diabetes, I would think this would rate higher on your scale of importance. I know how hard you've worked and are currently working to help pull Mississippians up out of the bottom of the barrel in obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure rankings and I would have thought you would have been better informed on the benefits breast feeding has on the long term health of a child who receives it. The statements you and Dr. Allyn made regarding breast feeding made it sound like a lifestyle choice for moms. And while I agree that many many women have difficulty breast feeding for very long and some at all- I think it's inaccurate to say that there are a lot of women who can't breast feed. Our bodies were made by divine creation to feed our children.
It's statements such as yours and the careless attitude of so many health professionals that gives women the idea that they probably won't be able to breast feed successfully-starting out with this type of atmosphere, how can anyone be expected to keep trying even when it's difficult-and it is especially at first. Sure, there are medical explanations for why some women can't breast feed but these cases are few and far between in comparison to the number of women who don't succeed due to lack of support and education. Also, one of the worst things a new mother can do for her breast feeding relationship is try and 'train' her baby to sleep thru the night before a strong supply has been established. Books like the '12 hour sleep in 12 weeks' are the cause of many a failed breast feeding relationship. If you stop removing the milk, your smart body stops making it. Please be careful of recommending such books without this information included.
I have included a few links to articles detailing the benefits of breast feeding for obesity and diabetes since I know fighting these is a passion of yours. The benefits of breast feeding go far beyond these two topics but I'm hoping that referencing two of your interests will have you interested enough to do a little more research and possibly have a show devoted entirely to breast feeding. Most Mississippi women are sadly uneducated on the topic and views such as your statements seemed to portray it-as a life style choice for the mother. Breast milk is the best gift a mother can give her newborn and with proper education and support most women can succeed in providing this lifelong gift to their children. Thanks for all that you do and I hope to hear more on this topic in the future, for the sake of Mississippi's children who so badly need the best start possible.
1. Henry's hair is long. If he would cooperate, I could just about pull it up into a ponytail. Mr. Messy and I think his long hair is pretty cute and after all, you are only little once but I still make sure he knows that he only has to say the word and Mr. Pete will cut his hair. Yesterday's reminder ended with Henry telling me that he wants his hair "long long long long long.....long....long.....down to the ground." Okay, little buddy.
2. Current shoe sizes: Henry, 7 and Liza, 6. And, why am I always so surprised when people ask if they are twins?
3. Liza is a mini-me. My whole life I've heard my parents talk about my need to "do it myself". Well, Liza gives a firm "me" with a thumb in her chest and insists on doing everything herself -- getting dressed, changing diapers, buckling herself in the car, cutting up her apple, peeling her orange, putting her shoes on. Do you have the mental image of all these things a 19 month old can't do no matter her level of determination? There has been a lot of screaming with this new found level of independence.
1. I am sick of the mud. I want my children to play outside with getting covered head to toe in mud within 3 minutes. Actually, it isn't so bothersome with Henry but Liza doesn't like dirty hands or feet. A difficult feat when you are playing in a huge mud pit.
2. I am completely caught up on laundry. My hampers are empty. Can I get an amen from the choir?
3. We strongly suspect Henry is allergic to shellfish due to an ug-lee reaction to a mysterious something in Mexico at 20 months old. The plan is to keep him away from all shellfish until he is old enough to tell us his throat is closing up. I'm a bit concerned about summertime and crawfish boils so we have been talking to Henry about his allergy to shellfish.
Mr. Messy: Henry, what are you allergic to?
Henry: *long pause* Hmmmm, I don't like soup.
Me: Ha ha! 'I don't like soup.'
Henry: Me neither, Mama!
1. I love unloading all sorts of random vegetables into spaghetti for no one but me to know about. It was a highlight of my day today.
2. I'm feeling the need to confess that my 'tv show hating' skills are currently up to no good. Henry watches one of our 3 dvd's everyday during Liza's naptime. And, I understand why people let their kids watch tv. I officially get it.
3. Liza needs me to completely surrender to sleep and fully relax my body in order for her to fall asleep at night. Let's just say I've had a spate of early bedtimes. Early.
Let me make a few guesses -- pull down the curtains, push down every child in sight, figure out how to unlatch and unlock the front door, throw all the fruit from the refrigerator out the doggy door, insist on reading the same dumb book over and over again, break a window on purpose, play in the dirt pile immediately after you swept, chase the dog, chase the cat, chase the chickens, chase the sister, break your favorite lamp even though you told him to get off the bookshelf 135 times, or did he bite you so hard you almost slapped his sweet little face?
None of those?
Then this letter isn't for you.
But, if you know all about being that mom who has the kid who pushes, kicks, bites and just generally plays too rough every moment of the day....please keep reading.
I know what it is like. From the days when you leave the park on the first kick, to the days when you let the kicks slide because you need to be at the park so you don't have to be in the confined quarters of your house with your crazy child.
Trust me. I understand.
So, from one mama of a rough little boy to another mama of a rough little boy, this is my (unsought) advice:
1. Drop the time-out. Instead give him a 'time-in'. When your instinct orders him into his room, take a step back and do something you will both enjoy. Are you rewarding him for bad behavior? No. You are loving your child and modeling the proper way to deal with strong emotions. When he is calm, then you can discuss the poor decisions made earlier.
2. Stay outside as much as possible. This is a no-brainer but very important. Drizzle, snow, heat. It won't stop these boys.
3. Keep your expectations low. Low.
4. Learn about toddler brain research and how brain development affects our toddlers' decisions.
But, let's keep it real. I'm only okay with it because I have no choice. The child simply wasn't ready.
I thought she was ready.
I still feel like she should be ready.
But, she has made it loud and clear she still needs her "mitt" at night.
A boob in the mouth of a sleeping babe is better than a boob in a shirt with a screaming babe.
The plan eventually evolved into me nursing Liza to sleep in my bed with Mr. Messy transferring a sleeping Liza to Henry's bed for the remainder of the night. The first week went well. Not great but it went well. Then we hit a bump in the road. A very bad night. Liza came back in the bed with me for some mama cuddles and mama milk to soothe a very upset baby girl and the next night she remembered the previous. And, she was mad. She knew I was in my bed. She knew the milk was in my bed. And, she was pissed she wasn't there. Then the drama moved into daylight hours when she became hysterical every time Mr. Messy tried to hold her so I could do something our of her immediate sight or if I left the room without first consulting her. The child who has never been neglected for a moment in her life was obviously traumatized by our attempt to night wean her. To me, it felt like she no longer trusted I was always there for her. And, that makes me sad beyond belief.
I gave in.
She is back to nursing all night with a few nights of solid sleep as a respite for me.
Anybody watch last week's 30 Rock? Basically, they created a fictional Leap Day holiday complete with the colors of blue and yellow, a cheesy tv movie and the belief that on Leap Day you are supposed to do all the things you would normally wouldn't do.
Minus the blue and yellow decor and the cheesy movie, that was pretty much how my Leap Day 2012 went. Not only did I attend a rally at the state capitol to promote our bill regulating midwifery in Mississippi but I met my first birth celebrity, Jill Arnold, of The Unnecesarean. I had the opportunity to really talk to her and tell her how I see women's lives directly impacted by her exposure of our country's cesarean rate hospital by hospital.
And, yeah, I totally teared up as I was telling her she is one of my heroes.
But before that exciting event occurred, I finally called into "Southern Remedy", a local radio show concerning various health topics hosted by two doctors. Let's just say I've been irked multiple times in the past but the line was drawn on Leap Day. The topic was pediatrics and Dr. Rick started the hour off by recommending a book about how to train your baby to sleep 12 hours by 12 weeks old.
My comment begins at exactly 14 minutes. Please excuse my frazzled start because my children apparently thought that being asked to be quiet while mama talked on the radio was an open invitation to scream and holler.
If you want to get upset, please continue to listen after my comment ends. Let's just say it was a good thing I had important things to do (i.e. get to Jackson to meet Jill Arnold) or I would have called back in to comment on just about every topic discussed.
The following is my emailed response to Leap Day's episode on pediatrics. I'll let you know if I get a response.
Dear Dr. Rick,
As a Mississippian deeply concerned about our state's public health crisis, I have followed Southern Remedy: Mississippi's Big Problem with great interest. I truly believe you are positively impacting the future of Mississippi by bringing light to the issue of obesity and the ever-expanding web of it's effects.
So, you can imagine my disappointment when you failed to promote breastfeeding as a public health issue, especially since according to the CDC's Breastfeeding Report Card, Mississippi was 49th in breastfeeding rates in 2011. Any discussion of pediatric care should begin with the benefits of breastfeeding for our youngest Mississippians. Mississippi Department of Health states:
Breastfeeding has been shown to significantly decrease an infant's chances of developing a number of harmful conditions, including obesity, ear infections, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal infections, leukemia, diabetes and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding is also beneficial for mothers, reducing the likelihood of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer and Type 2 Diabetes. Additional maternal benefits of breastfeeding include improving the mother and child bond and lessening the likelihood of infant abuse and neglect.
Considering the AAP's most recent release on breastfeeding was just published online on February 27, 2012 and states that "given the documented short- and long-term medical and neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding, infant nutrition should be considered a public health issue and not only a lifestyle choice", I am thoroughly ashamed you did not use your show on pediatrics as a time to highlight the importance of breastfeeding to battle obesity, amongst it's other well-documented benefits.
I would also like to state that many Mississippi women make the choice to provide the biologically correct form of nutrition for their babies even if they work outside the home. Mississippi law states it is unlawful to prohibit discrimination against a breastfeeding mother who uses her break time to express milk and President Obama signed a law in 2010 dictating employers allow reasonable breaks for pumping mothers. With a good pump and emotional support, Mississippi women have no reason to view a job as an end to her breastfeeding relationship with her child.
Please do not allow your personal feelings in regards to reassuring women in your life about their choice to use formula to cloud your judgement while discussing breastfeeding on air. Mississippi babies deserve the best and not only is a mother's milk the best food for her baby, it also has well-documented benefits for the mother too.
So. What can you do to repair the broken lines of communication regarding the promotion of breastfeeding in our very unhealthy state? I would like to see a future Southern Remedy dedicated to breastfeeding. Mississippi is very fortunate to have Dr. Rebecca Saenz and her Mississippi Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic located in Madison. I would love for listeners to hear Dr. Saenz answer breastfeeding questions and give the all-important 'woman to woman' support to callers.
Your listeners deserve to hear the truth about breastfeeding.