Here’s To the Dad Who Didn’t Gag

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To moms, cloth is cute. To most dads, cloth is ick. This is a tribute to the brave few who can call themselves Cloth-Diapering Dads.

Here’s to the dad who didn’t gag when his wife ditched the sposies, dressed their little one in cloth, and waited to see what his response would be at that first diaper change.

Here’s to the dad who didn’t gag when one day his wife had too many irons in the fire to be able to change that really awful smelly diaper, leaving him to the task all by himself.

Here’s to the dad who didn’t gag when he turned the diaper sprayer on full force and ended up with smelly poo all over the toilet, the wall, and himself.

Here’s to the dad who didn’t gag when he saw the credit card bill with a three-digit-and-some-change receipt to an online cloth diapering company.

Here’s to the dad who didn’t gag when he mistook the diaper pail for a real trash can and unwittingly caught a whiff of what might knock a lesser man to his knees.

Here’s to the dad who didn’t gag when his wife changed a diaper on the bed next to his sleeping body, of which he promptly rolled over and in to.

Here’s to the dad who didn’t gag when his wife forgot to throw a load of diapers in before vacation, causing them to return to a house that smelled much like a cattle yard.

Here’s to the dad who didn’t gag when his wife announced a new baby would arrive with no chance the first one would be potty-trained, thus creating double the diapers.

Here’s to the dad who listens to his wife go on and on and on about cloth diapers. Here’s to the dad who fiddles with snaps, velcro, and ties not simply as a way to humor his wife, but because he also believes cloth is best for his little one. Here’s to the dad who gets a kick out of that big ole fluffy cloth diapered bottom just as much as mama does.

Cloth-diapering Dad, you are a Cloth-Diapering Mama’s dream come true! Thank you!

Amy of Raising Arrows received the greatest number of your votes for The Most Inspiring Blogger in our Blog to Inspire contest.

This has been Amy’s last post. Thank you, Amy. It’s been a pleasure having you as our guest blogger over the last few months.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.

Hold Me, Daddy

Ty and Micah

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Big curious eyes look out from under the longest lashes ever to grace a human being. She looks up and up and up, begging Daddy to notice her. Eyes lock and an instantaneous reflex shoots chubby toddler arms to the sky, while a tiny cherry tomato of a mouth forms the words, “Hold me, Daddy.”

In one sweeping motion, Daddy lifts her tiny frame over his head and back down, snuggly-close to his chest, where he receives the best reward of all…giggles and slobbery smooches.

He is Daddy. He is home. Nothing else matters.

Amy of Raising Arrows received the greatest number of your votes for The Most Inspiring Blogger in our Blog to Inspire contest.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.

Mothering More Than One

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I remember with clarity the day I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I jumped around our studio apartment like a crazy woman. I’m sure the occupants below wondered what was going on! I was so excited and there was no containing it.

The pregnancy and subsequent birth were not quite what I had anticipated, but in the end, I had a healthy, beautiful little boy whose cuteness was only surpassed by his intelligence.

There are still many family sayings that come directly from my eldest son’s toddler-isms. We call grasshoppers “hopgroppers,” and when the sun is shining, we all whine, “Sunny-bright!” just as our little son once did. It seemed as though there couldn’t be anything more wonderful than our little guy. I loved him fiercely.

It was that fact that made me fear having another child.

What if I couldn’t love another the way I loved him? What if our second child got left in the dust because our first was so adorable and smart? How could I possibly give another child the love and attention I was giving my first born?

These, and many other questions, plagued my brain as my body became home to our second child. As she grew, my questions and fears grew too.

That was when I read this quote,

“With your first, you learn the depth of your love. With your second, you learn the breadth of your love.”

When that petite little bundle of baby girl was placed in my arms for the very first time, I realized I could indeed love her just as much and just as deeply as I had her big brother.

A mother’s love is not something that runs out or is depleted as another child joins the household. If anything, it is multiplied.

As mothers, we love each and every child, whether it be one or ten. That’s the beauty of motherhood. . . even when we wish we had more arms, we never need more than one heart.

Amy of Raising Arrows received the greatest number of your votes for The Most Inspiring Blogger in our Blog to Inspire contest.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.

Blog to Inspire: The Bliss of Breastfeeding

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This following post was an entry in our Blog to Inspire contest. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.

Dagmar profileBlog to Inspire entrant Dagmar’s momsense is Dagmar Bleasdale, grew up in Germany then moved to Los Angeles. Now, she lives in Westchester, New York, near her husband’s family with him and their toddler son.

I hadn’t given it much thought before, but the second I learned I was pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed. It was one of the things I looked forward to the most about being a mom. I just had a feeling that being able to deliver the nourishment my child needs to thrive would be an amazing experience, and I didn’t want to miss out on that. I had no one to help me — my mother did not breastfeed my brother or me and did not encourage me to breastfeed. After a wonderful, drug-free birth, my doula helped me to latch on my son, but after that I was on my own. I tossed out the schedule they had given me at the hospital because my son nursed so frequently and was so content that I wasn’t afraid that he wasn’t getting enough milk. I followed my instinct, fed him on demand, and trusted that my body would provide what he needed.

Dagmar breastfeeding day 1

My son was thriving, yet my nipples were hurting so much during those first weeks, I would gasp from pain every time he latched on. But I was determined — instead of giving up, I sought the help of two lactation specialists. The first one didn’t know what she was doing — the second one is the reason why I am still nursing. She diagnosed my son as a lazy baby who didn’t latch on properly. We learned the correct latch and now, three years later, I am still proudly nursing my little man. He still nurses several times during the day and night and has no intention of self-weaning, and I love nursing him so much, I am in no hurry for him to stop either.

I feel most like a mother when I am breastfeeding. I was meant to do this — for my son and for myself.

I feel most like a mother when I am breastfeeding. I was meant to do this — for my son and for myself. I never get tired of giving him the comfort and nourishment he needs and wants, and feeling his little body close to me. And I don’t get tired of encouraging as many moms as possible to start and continue to breastfeed. I had no idea I would breastfed my son this long, but I count it as one of my proudest accomplishments to be able to do this for him. I also had no idea that I would become a passionate breastfeeding advocate, a La Leche League member, and that my desire to connect with other women interested in breastfeeding would lead me to start my blog, Dagmar’s momsense.

After learning how important it is to get the correct information and support in the beginning, and that most problems with breastfeeding have to do with an incorrect latch, which often can be remedied pretty quickly, I started writing my blog out of a desire to help other moms. Breastfeeding isn’t easy for a lot of women in the beginning, but while a new mom might think she is alone in her struggle, her problems are most likely not unique — many women before her have encountered the same challenges. I want new mothers to know that there are many resources and free help available and that they can look to me to be their cheerleader if they don’t have anyone else to support them.

Dagmar breastfeeding toddler

After my wonderful experience with breastfeeding, I want as many other moms as possible to experience that special bond with their babies and the pride they will feel about being able to give their children the perfect nourishment and comfort. I believe most women can nurse their children with the right support, and I don’t want inaccurate information, societal and work-related pressures, or inadequate resources to be the reason why they never try it or stop to breastfeed. I don’t expect other women to breastfeed for as long as I have — I just want them to understand that every day they breastfeed is a gift not only to their children’s but their own health.

Making it through those challenging first weeks has been so worth it, and there have been countless situations in the last three years when I was glad that I am breastfeeding my son. Thanks to co-sleeping and never having to prepare a bottle, I have slept just fine since my son was an infant. I have a very healthy child with a hearty immune system, due in large part to exclusively breastfeeding my son for nine months. When flying overseas with him, he was contently nursing in his Maya wrap and people were astounded about how quiet he was. When he doesn’t want to eat his vegetables, I don’t have to worry about his nutrition because I know he gets everything he needs from breast milk. One more welcomed side effect: the added pregnancy weight came off by itself — breastfeeding is pure bliss!

Read about the Blog to Inspire contest and read posts by the finalists and by the rest of the entrants. Forty-four bloggers reached out to inspire on the topics of cloth diapers, babywearing, breastfeeding, and natural parenting.

Blog to Inspire: Full-time Worker, Full-time Student, Full-time Breastfeeder too

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This following post was an entry in our Blog to Inspire contest. The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of Eco Baby Steps or Parenting By Nature.

Blog to Inspire entrant The Feminist Breeder is Gina Crosley-Corcoran, a 31-year old married mother of 2 young boys, a 4.0 GPA pre-law student (that means she’s smart, yo), and a women’s rights advocate and activist.

The Feminist BreederThroughout the entire first year of my second son’s life, I worked 40+ hours per week outside the home. I also continued earning my pre-law undergraduate degree full-time at night. While just those two tasks alone are a lot for one person to handle, I also ran a part-time cake decorating business out of my home when ever I could get orders. I even maintained my volunteer advocacy efforts and wrote for my blog in the (very little) free time I had.

And throughout all of that, I also breastfed my son. Exclusively. My baby made it all the way through that year without a single drop of formula.

Of course, there are people like Hannah Rosin who would say this is impossible. Those like Rosin say that breastfeeding “is a serious time commitment that pretty much guarantees that you will not work in any meaningful way.” I’m sorry, Ms. Rosin, but I beg to differ.

My first son was formula fed. After an unexpected cesarean, and not enough support, breastfeeding proved to be a challenge I just wasn’t up for at the time. I made it four weeks before throwing in the towel. Everyone told me my life would be easier and I would be happier if I quit breastfeeding, and I wanted them to be right.

But they weren’t right. As soon as I stopped breastfeeding, I wished I hadn’t. The more I saw breastfeeding mothers, the more I wanted to be one of them. Formula was messy and expensive. It took time to prepare bottles and clean them after. One time we accidentally left the house without a nipple and I had to listen to my son scream in hunger for a half hour while we located a store to buy another nipple. That wouldn’t have happened if I’d had my baby’s lunch sitting right there on my chest.

So I made a pact with myself; if I had another baby, that baby would never have formula. And I meant it, too.

I had to return to work at 12 weeks postpartum. I had a supportive employer who gave me plenty of time to express my milk at work (which is actually required by law in my state.) At school, I told my professors on the first day of class that I was nursing an infant, and I would need more than the normal break time to pump for him. None of them had a problem with that, especially because I was (am) a committed 4.0 GPA student.

I would be lying if I said any of this was easy. A week after I returned to work, my supply dropped, and I panicked. Over the course of that year, I spent many hours of my life tracking down and trying every lactation aid on the market, along with acupuncture and other stimulation techniques. Sometimes I felt like all I ever did was pump and transport breastmilk. Often times I even had to wake up in the middle of the night to pump if my stash was running low or if my supply needed a boost. And on the hardest days, I thought it would never, ever end.

But I made a promise to myself, and I planned on keeping it. I know the benefits of breastfeeding to both me and my baby, and I knew how elated I would be if I actually made it that whole first year.

And I did make it. My baby’s first birthday came and went, and six months later it almost feels like that year was only a few months long. My son is even still nursing a few times a day.

Of course, I would never advocate anyone taking on as much as I did in that first year unless they absolutely had to (which I did). But many women do have to, or want to work or go to school, and I want mothers to know that with the right support, breastfeeding doesn’t have to stop you from doing anything you want to do. Breastfeeding is a precious gift to give yourself and your baby, and it most certainly will not prevent you from doing anything meaningful. On the contrary, a mother providing breastmilk for her baby is doing something incredibly meaningful. It is a worthwhile cause.

So if anyone ever tries to tell you that you cannot successfully breastfeed your baby after returning to work or school, tell them you know someone who did do it, and lived to tell about it. Let no one determine what you are capable of except you, and trust me, you are probably more capable than you may think.

Read about the Blog to Inspire contest and read posts by the finalists and by the rest of the entrants. Forty-four bloggers reached out to inspire on the topics of cloth diapers, babywearing, breastfeeding, and natural parenting.