Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

On breastfeeding and nourishment August 29, 2009

Filed under: For moms,Mothering role — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 9:44 pm

200px-Breastfeeding-icon-med_svgI have low milk supply.  How do I know?  Through long and laborious efforts, ultimately unfruitful (or at least, with very limited fruitfulness), with my first two infants. Knowing that ‘breast is best’ and striving – in classic type A fashion – to be the best mom possible to my tiny bundles of joy, I poured untold hours into making breastfeeding “work” with my babies.  I pumped round the clock. I took Fenugreek.  I used the supplemental nursing system through which extra food could be fed to the baby while I nursed. I met repeatedly with the lactation consultant. I went weekly to the breast feeding clinic for weigh-ins to track weight gain (or, often, lack thereof). All these efforts eventually revealed that in our particular case – my babies’ and mine – breast was simply not best.  My babies failed to thrive.  Once they were bottle-fed, they did great.

When our newest baby entered the world two weeks ago, I brought all this knowledge into the scenario and knew that breastfeeding would almost certainly be a limited venture.  My plan was to start off on the breast for the first few weeks, see how things went, then start supplementing as soon as it was clear the baby needed it.  When we met with the pediatrician on Friday for her two-week appointment and I learned she hadn’t gained any weight in a week – well, that was that.  Cut and dried, right? Start supplementing the breast with the bottle.  So I did. (more…)


A time to be born August 21, 2009

Filed under: For moms,Mothering role,Pregnancy — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 3:34 am

cfr0099Four days ago our third child was born in her own unique, perfect way that will ever be famous and remembered among the members of our family.  Like every birth, it was an intense and overwhelming experience… one that is not less intense after having been through it several times before but rather, I found, more so.  How can it be that a new human being emerged into the world through my body on Sunday?  It seems impossible that I – that any woman – would have the opportunity to participate in a miracle of this magnitude.  That she’s now sleeping casually on my chest on the couch only makes it all stranger still.

This afternoon as I was nursing our tiny newborn, my husband found one of our three chickens dead in our backyard coop.  As I saw him carry its stiff body through the yard, I suddenly teared up.  The dead hen was such a contrast to our fresh-from-the-womb daughter, I found it overwhelming.  Last weekend was my daughter’s time to enter the world; today was the hen’s day to leave it.  God’s sovereign over both.

“There is a time to be born and a time to die.” (Eccles 3:2).  I had the opportunity to not just witness the birth of my daughter last weekend but to actually facilitate it.  What an unspeakable privilege.  I did not create this wee girl; I have nothing to do with how her cells were formed, how her bones came to calcify within her skin, the sight of her eyes or the hearing of her ears.  I have nothing to do with who she is as a person. All that was – and is – God’s work.  Yet He involved me… intimately.  I get to be an integral part of her ‘time to be born,’ this inception of her life.  Amazing.


Discussing kids in front of them August 14, 2009

Filed under: Communication and speech,For moms — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 4:42 am

I spent time last month with my wise mother and was reminded of the emphasis she places on avoiding childrearing conversation topics while kids are present and potentially listening.  The first time this topic was raised, I was talking to her on my cell phone in the car while my son, then probably 15 or 16 months old, was sitting in the back seat.  “He can understand more than you think he can, and he listens to what you’re saying,” she told me. “Let’s talk about it later, when he’s not with you.”

Discussing issues pertaining to our children is both natural and common for us as mothers and begins from the earliest days of their lives…  breastfeeding, sleep schedules, fussiness, food selections, you name it.  And of course a floppy infant has no idea what you’re talking about.  But my mom’s right; their cluelessness is short-lived.  And the habit of talking about parenting issues in front of one’s child is an easy one to develop – and then forget about, even once the child is cognizant of what’s being said.  Or at least that he is the topic of discussion. (more…)


Pregnant Mary, reconsidered August 7, 2009

Filed under: Books,Mary,Pregnancy — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 9:53 pm

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve spent more of this pregnancy pondering the expectant Mary than either of my previous pregnancies.  One factor is that my son, nearly 4, adores the nativity story and always asks to read it after we finish whatever chapter of the Bible we’re on…  and has taken to asking if his new baby sister will be born into a manger when she arrives.  Quite sweet.  [As an aside, we recently got a copy of the Big Picture Story Bible and I’m loving it, as is he – so much more appropriate to his age and developmental mindset than the others we’ve used.]

Here on the left page is this picture of Mary with an enormous belly wobbling atop a donkey while she’s going into labor…  and then on the right page, she’s reclining on the hard earth next to an animal feeding stall containing her newborn infant son.  Talk about challenging birthing circumstances. (more…)