Category Archives: baby advice

Natural Art: Breastfeeding

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Lost art sculptures of the Mother Mary, destroyed by the Catholic

Church in the 1600’s have become a part of an art study grant by

a University of Dayton Religious Studies assistant professor. As

someone who loves art, I wondered why religious sculptures of

the beloved Mother Mary would be desecrated? It turns out they

were specifically ones where Mother Mary is breast-feeding the

Baby Jesus. This fascinates me, I will look forward to reading her

research and the 2016 release of her book publication.

The assistant professor, Neomi DeAnda is rediscovering the beauty

in the sculptures that are available in the depiction of this natural

act of providing mother’s milk to Jesus. I like this sentence given,

“Mary, the Mother of God, nurtured her Son to be the Redeemer of

Humankind.” (I inserted capital letters, making the words emphasized

where I felt the reader would take notice.)

Ms. DeAnda’s art grant award of $40,000, is to help her in her research

and a gift of time to study the different sources she will need to find

examples. Her book will be titled, “Theology of Breast Milk:  A Latina

Perspective.” The Louisville Foundation would be where you could go

for any future support of writing about art and literature, possibly of

religious content. “She is pulling together publications, art, personal

narratives, and popular devotions to examine the topic of breast-feeding

in the Bible and throughout church history.” (Source, University of

Dayton, “UD Magazine.”)

I like that Neomi DeAnda gives her reasoning for this subject matter

as important and current to our society today,

“My hope is that it will lead to good discussions about women breast-

feeding today and what it means practically and spiritually.”

My experiences with this were varied, depending on which of my three

children I was breast-feeding. My first baby, oldest daughter Carrie,

was a fussy baby. She had ‘colic,’ according to the pediatrician. I tried

to do this, was able to feed her three times a day and twice during the

nights, until I had to go back to teaching. Then, unfortunately, my milk

seemed to ‘seep out’ or leak when I needed to be nursing her, which was

not easily scheduled. I did have my lunch hour to go across the street,

where my babysitter lived. This was probably her ‘best’ and most filling

time that I accomplished daily. She was born on March 29th, so I ‘hung

in there,’ with my mother-in-law supporting me, until summer break.

Then, I really was able to double up, get her more filled up, which helped

my self-esteem. I managed to nurse Carrie, until she was a little over 6

months old. At the incredible age of 6 months, she absolutely ‘floored’

me!

I went to get her out of her crib after a nap and Carrie was standing up,

holding onto her crib rails. I promptly pushed her back onto her bottom,

saying firmly, “No, not yet!” She continued to do this, crawled to the

coffee table and did the same thing. I have photos to prove this, too.

My Mom said it was ‘paybacks’ since she and Dad have photos of my

doing the very same thing, at six months’ old. Anyway, Carrie was not

able to sit still, lie under my shirt, in public places after that. She was

way to ‘hyper’ or curious. She would ‘sip’ for a little bit, then stop, pull

my shirt up and smile at people. My Dad was used to my doing this,

but I was embarrassed when she did this over the holidays with my

father in law. I started weaning her, although I now know I could have

‘pumped’ and given it to her in a sippy cup. She was using her cup,

instead of a bottle with meals. In the ‘old days,’ I would feed her rice

cereal mixed with pasteurized apple juice for breakfast, mashed sweet

potatoes for lunch, and for dinner, I would put our stew, other foods

into  the food processor and make a ‘dinner’ out of it. We still had a

month of my nursing her at bedtime, before it all dried up.

Anyway, hope that the men who are reading this either skipped it,

recognized their wife or daughter in this, or just plain like to know about

what we women go through, all in the name of Love!

I love my Mom, but she was rather negative about breast-feeding. She

was told by her having eczema, that she should not breast-feed. This did

not help me, since she was using the glucose bottles that they gave me

for Carrie, at the hospital to keep her from crying. This made her tummy

full, which meant she did not suck hard enough, did not stay with it long

enough those first few weeks. Once Mom went home, I was able to do

fairly well, as mentioned back to work… I support this natural way of

feeding your baby, but wish to remind you to check any and all sources

of suggested foods. I found out the ‘hard’ way that babies don’t do well

with onions nor spicy foods! My sister-in-law was for years a La Leche

League leader. She still has women calling her, since she has such a positive

story to share. Good pointers. She was not around, my younger brother had

not met her, when I had my babies.

My second baby, my son “Sweet Baby James” otherwise known to this day

as Jamie, was a great nursing baby. My Mom allowed my mother-in-law to

come for his first weeks of life, while she took Carrie off to my parents’ house

for fun and goofy games with my Dad. The pictures from this time include

Carrie in a paper grocery bag, in a box, in a baby swimming pool and the

bath tub. My parents were ‘lucky’ and had retired at 55 and 58 years young!

Jamie continued nursing until 9 months old which I ended when he used

his teeth and I did not have the heart to squeeze his cheeks or give him a

‘tap’ to stop him from biting. My next baby, Felicia, nursed until over a year

old. She was the most laid back, plumpest little ‘punkin’ dunkin’ you ever

could imagine! I had learned not to feed her solids early, also not to allow

sugar or glucose water bottles to come home from the hospital. I was a ‘pro’

at the art of breast-feeding and was one who became a few of my friends’

coach on the subject. I loved eating dairy products, including yogurt, ice

cream and cottage cheese. I ate a wide variety of vegetables and fruits,

plus I did like chicken, fish and some red meat. I continued to take my

pre-natal vitamins, a plus for baby’s brain power. To this day, if you saw

her baby photographs, you would swear Felicia was the Gerber baby!

The sculptural art of Mother Mary nursing her son, Jesus is such a

wonderful testament for motherhood. In the Catholic faith, Mother Mary

is revered and treasured. I know there are some Christian faiths, I used to

belong to one of the evangelical churches that found it to be a ‘sin’ in such

respectful love of Mother Mary. Somehow, I could not stay with this faith,

because it haunts me, truly does, that this Mother knew she was given the

gift of the Son of God, (in some faiths) and had to also know the pain and

suffering he would face, as he grew up and had to lay down his life on the

cross. If you are Jewish, as my nephew in law is, you still know that Mother

Mary existed, that she did have a son and she did lose her son to this painful

death. Jerry knows this, since the Jewish ones were told this story, just the

fact that he is not considered God’s son is part of their religion.

Everyone I have ever met, who has traveled into other countries, enjoys

and photographs the beautiful, magnificent churches around the world.

It doesn’t matter what you believe, it will always be art. The fact that Neomi

DeAnda is looking into the destruction of art, hoping to uncover more than

a few pieces, in paintings, sculptures and written documents of this special

and natural process of feeding a baby is commendable.

Lara’s Blue Rose

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When Lara ‘graduated’ from her Schulz Elementary School, to

head off into what is now Willis “Middle School,” I talked to her

about finishing well in fourth grade and how proud of her I was.

The family all were very excited about her test scores and the way

she had handled school thus far.

If you grew up in the period where sixth grade was the year you

advanced to Junior High School, that is the way it when my

children, ages 28, 32 and 34, were young. They went from

fifth grade ‘graduation’ to Willis Middle School, where it was

sixth through eighth grades. Then, the last child, only stayed in

middle school for sixth and seventh, advancing to Dempsey

Junior High were she went to eighth grade. Have I confused you

yet?

What grade does your small town or big city school system

“change up” or move on, passing from elementary to a different

school?  What label do they give to the next level of education?

 

Lara’s birthday celebration was held in June, reaching the ‘big’

milestone of a ‘two digit’ number: 10! I gave her clothes for her

birthday and a craft kit to make a variety of jeweled and braided

bracelets.

 

Recently, Lara found my latest name pictures that I had drawn,

used pen and ink then ‘coloring’ in the letters, decorative items

and the little children in the pictures, with watercolor. She asked

me about the one I had done for a past friend, a mother of three

children now.

She wondered if the baby was going to like it, when she grew up?

This comment came due to the fact the baby was in a basket. She

noticed this was different; instead of my usual design that includes

an active child or a resting child. I like to make the child around 4

or 5 years old, since that is about when they will notice the framed

picture on the wall, with the letters of their name included in the

design.

I had not wanted to make Lara sad, but I told her the baby was in

“Heaven,” that she had died last year. I went on to tell her how I

came to make this picture for someone I really knew much better,

in the past.

I ran into this woman, who once a long time ago, in her high school

years, had decided to volunteer at a nursing home that I worked at

as an Activities Director. This young woman, Michelle, became quite

involved with the program. I became involved in her life. She was

living with her grandfather, but she liked when we had lunch in the

summer months and for us to run by the hospital to see her mother,

Fay, who worked at the little coffee shop there.

Along with my picking her up and dropping her off, for after hours

events and trips, we went by my house one day. I ran in and asked

my oldest daughter if she had any dresses Michelle could wear. Our

nursing home was ‘strict’ and as long as we were in the building,

we weren’t allowed to wear pants. The Director of the nursing home

also liked the female volunteers to wear skirts or dresses, too. I only

had my son, Jamie and one other young man, volunteer in the four

years I was in activities. They were asked to wear khaki pants or

dress pants, plus a collared shirt. No t-shirts allowed!

I also rummaged through my closet and allowed Michelle, to check

out a variety of clothes, then we bundled these and Carrie’s up into a

garbage bag, for her to go home and try on.

 

When I ran into Michelle at Mingo Park, I hugged her, as I always do.

This is a habit to greet all the many young people that have come and

gone from my life.

I had been pleasantly happy and amused when my coworker, Felda,

had often mentioned that she had a ‘best friend’ she met at Goodwill,

who was named “Michelle.” (Never using her maiden name, just her

married last name.)

Soon, I “met” her at the parties held by my friends and coworkers

from the Philippines. They insist we call them Filipino and they love

us to try their foods. Michelle and I have sat together at the baby

shower for Zach, his Christening Party and also Felda and Jason’s

house-warming party. I take my grandsons, who share a babysitter

with Felda’s kids, if they wish to go. Recently, my M & M girls have

chosen to attend Kridia Dawn’s birthday party and other functions.

 

We were in ‘touch’ but Michelle had never shared with me about the

loss of a baby, until we were at the park in early July. She and her

husband were with their 3 children. They were running around with

my two grandsons, Micah and Skyler who were also having fun on

the playground equipment.

 

Michelle showed me pictures of a healthy baby girl, full term, who

weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz. She was named, “Katie Mae.” She had fair skin,

like her sisters Lily and Anna. Also like her blonde brother, William.

The children had held their new baby sister, last summer. Michelle,

who started to cry throughout this visit, told me that Anna had

kissed her sister many, many times. Lily was happy to help get

diapers and bring her blankets. William had held the baby for a

minute then had asked to have her given back to her mother.

The baby cried a lot after she came home from the hospital with

her mother.

Lara was absorbed by all of this, she and her brother Landen, had

been a ‘family’ once with a Dad name Kevin and their mother,

Trista. The parents got divorced, my son met Trista when Lara

and Landen were preschoolers and married her.

Lara has been a wonderful ‘big sister’ to Jamie and Trista’s girls,

the M & M’s. This, along with two more brothers, from her Daddy

Kevin’s second marriage.

Lara wanted to know why the baby died?

It is hard to explain, but Michelle says the baby got a red rash on her

second day home from the hospital, she worried and called the doctor’s

office. The doctor’s nurse called back to suggest a different formula.

She suspected an allergic reaction. The parents went out and got new

formula, this time the 2nd night at home, was filled sadly, with the

baby’s shrieks.

They bundled their children into their clothes, wrapping little Katie

carefully up.

She just seemed ‘tender to the touch,’ Michelle explained.

At the hospital, they were in the waiting room for quite some time,

but once inside one of the E.R. rooms, the intern was very kind

and blood was drawn. He thought it may be an allergic reaction

but was concerned about the way the baby was shrieking, not

wanting to take the bottle, the redness and rash was bright and

splotchy. He prescribed a baby’s antibiotic, sent them home.

There would be a call the next day, the diagnosis possibly of a

blood disease, a different prescription to pick up.

The baby went to sleep quietly, eerily, after first being held by

each parent. Katie looked solemnly into her father’s eyes. Next,

Michelle held her carrying her to bed. She says Katie “searched

her face.” She remembers Katie studying her eyes.

There are many photographs, but the one that stands out most

to me, is heart-wrenching. They managed to capture Katie looking

straight into her Daddy’s eyes. It was a profile image, which is so

precious.

This was her third night at home.

Michelle nodded her head when I exclaimed,

“Katie is looking at him like, ‘Why can’t you make me feel better?!'”

This was the last picture they took of Katie. She died on her

fifth night of life.

(The coroner found cause of death to be, “Undetermined.”)

 

Lara wants me to make her a new name picture, it has her

name in ‘cursive’ with a blue rose above it, with cheerleading

pom pom’s on the sides, a football with Cleveland Browns

written below it, with an ice cream cone, one scoop of mint

ice cream and one of vanilla. She was adamant about the blue

rose.

I will share what I found out about blue roses. I want you to

know, all of you literary people, that I right away visualized the

scene in “The Glass Menagerie,” where Laura is called, “Blue

Roses,” by the brother and by the visiting ‘gentleman caller.’

This is due to her having pleurosis, which I thought was ‘pleurisy.’

Wikipedia says Tennessee Williams’ real life sister was named

“Rose” but did have ‘pleurosis.” I remembered the blue roses’

reference from that 1944 play.

Then, I looked up the way that genetic engineering has created

blue roses. In the past, blue roses were ‘made’ by putting white

roses into blue food coloring or sprayed by a blue vegetable dye.

 

I had made pictures in the past years of Lily, William and Anna’s

names years before. I delivered Katie’s to Michelle’s family, on

Sunday night. The three children, Katie’s sisters and brother,

wanted me to see their bedrooms and their toys.

In the picture I made, I had added a pink rose above Katie’s head

on her little blanket and one on where the blanket crossed her

chest, there are blue forget-me-not’s in the grass and a white

bunny lying by the basket. There are tall sunflowers and tulips

in other places on the picture. I had included a sun bonnet, with

purple violets hanging on one of the tall letters.

I mentioned to Michelle and Kevin, quietly, that I lost two babies

before they were born, one at 4 1/2 months and one at 4 months.

My children and I had a tradition that I started the year the last one

died, which includes reading a special book to and putting an angel

ornament on the Christmas tree for each of their 2 ‘lost siblings.’

I told them once I had been to hear a country gospel group, The

Greens, sing at Ohio Wesleyan University, in Gray Chapel.

One of the sweetest songs I heard that night was called, “There’s

A Rocking Chair In Heaven.”

We nodded, words left unspoken.

We hugged.

Fun Updates

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I am going to give you two updates on my coworkers and friends. I think

you may recall the filipino baby shower that was lovely and the best ever

fun time at a baby shower. Also, you may recall my friend, Anna, who was

trying to keep the three men named Ron alive and kicking in her dating

scenery! Here are their stories!

My coworker and friend from the Phillipines had her son over the Fourth

of July! I was so excited and told her about George M. Cohen, and his own

birthday song, “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy!”  Her daughter, Kridia, is a

great first grader and has taken very well to the new addition to their family.

Felda says she is exhausted!  Her baby son is up all night, sleeping during the

day. I told her my big piece of baby advice that most people think I am crazy

to volunteer.  Wake the Baby UP! Yes, let baby be crabby during the day, while

you have those few ounces of energy and strength.

I would give my babies a wet, cool washcloth bath and change their diapers.

After only one hour of naptime, they would be awake and NO putting them in

that swing until you are utterly worn out and try to wait until bedtime, too.

Keeping babies on your time clock is not so hard. I did nurse my babies a lot, but

then would tickle their toes if falling asleep!

My friend Anna has a very exciting palatte of men right now! She has dropped two

of her three Ron’s. Her only Ron left lives up in the Cleveland area, (Medina, Ohio)

and he is willing to drive down on a Thursday evening. He took her to the Funny

Bone at Easton where they ate and laughted a lot! They he turned around and drove

on back home and was able to make it to his work on Friday!

Anna is also dating a chef who took her to several impressively expensive and

delicious meals. She was very pleased with his choices, some that she would never have

known existed in the central Ohio area. This man is named Frederick and she is not

nicknaming him Fred or Erick or Rick. I somehow would probably find a way to change

that but maybe I would find he would not be asking ME to another date due to playing

around with his name!

Lastly, not in the introductory funnel paragraph nor in my little tags. My personal news

is, my oldest daughter found a man for me! We have had only one date, I followed all

the rules my brothers taught me, too. (Did you notice that Anna’s brothers didn’t tell

her the one about not going to expensive places nor did they tell her to bring cash to

offer to pay? Hmmmm…. !) Anyway, we have a second date planned to go to the

movies. This will probably break the brother rules laid out in my last post… But it is

such a bargain! At our local Strand Theatre in Delaware, Ohio there is an over 55

discount card! You get a movie ticket, first run movies, any time any seating, with

a medium drink and a medium popcorn: all for the grand total of $7.00!!

So, again, cross your fingers, hope that I can be a “good” date and make it to a third

date with Len or Lenny. Yes, if you are reading this blog, I used your real first name!