24 September 2010

Lots of words in my head or lets talk ASD and boobs

I am not sure I can eloquently put them down on paper (so to speak). I have had a lot of thoughts passing through and swirling about lately and generally it is not when I am near my computer, which means I end up forgetting about them before I can actual record them. I lay in bed at night and create blog posts that rival the best bloggers in the world I am sure but never actual make it on here LOL

So, what has been on my mind? Well, my children usually occupy a fair amount of space. I am continually amazed by them. They are so incredibly different yet they fit together like a well made puzzle.
Beren is very sensitive, shy and unsure of himself. Yet I seem to come to blows with him (metaphorically speaking) so often and feel as though I am harping at him all the time which of course makes me feel guilty and him feel pretty crap. However, he is incredibly challenging at times and his behaviours really push me to my outer limits. I have him on the wait list to be assessed for ASD (suspected aspergers) and have been told it will be some time in December. We have seen the paediatrician and now it is a matter of just waiting it out. I have always suspected 'something' since he was a toddler but tried to avoid the 'labelling' thing. But, since having him home full-time I can see that his behaviour has gotten worse and is affecting him more and those around him. He wants to know why he does certain things and how to control 'stuff' more.
I want to learn how to manage my responses so that I am not creating further stress or damage for him. I am attending a workshop next month for parents of children with ASD and hope to glean some useful information there.

I find that home schooling is much more agreeable than regular school for him and it is nice that other families in the home ed group we attend are in similar situations. This is good for two reasons; I can talk to parents and they understand and can offer advise and secondly Beren is accepted, particularly by the children and doesn't stand out as 'that weird kid'.

As for the home ed front, Nienna has now joined our team and started home schooling full time this term. It has only been a week but I feel she is meant to be home too. Whereas Beren is home because he can't cope with regular school, Nienna is here because she has an insatiable thirst for learning. I haven't really had to set any tasks, (not that we are all that structured) she is very self motivated and loves 'doing'. She is very creative and likes to draw, write and make mud pies :) If anything, she is exhausting LOL She thrives on positive feedback and constantly wants her work assessed and commented on and likes to be challenged.

I must admit I was nervous starting out as to how my stress levels would fare having them both home all the time but as they are at their dad's place for two days a week home schooling it breaks my week up and I am managing really well (hormones permitting).

Other thoughts have been surrounding the latest round of verbal artillery being fired regarding the push to make infant formula available only on prescription. Jennifer James, a health professional in Melbourne has made headlines this week with her call for this to happen, in the belief that it will assist in increasing breastfeeding rates.

Subsequently, the "mummy wars" have escalated to their usual dizzying heights with all out battles over breastmilk v's formula. This is an ongoing debate that will never end just like the cloth v's disposable and they vax v's unvaxxed debates and there is no winner. These battles take place in the public arenas of blogs, tweets and facebook posts.

My thoughts on the prescription thing? Well, I agree wholeheartedly that more needs to be done to increase the breastfeeding rates in Australia. For a reasonably educated, healthy country our rates are disgusting.

"Between the 1995 and 2004–05 NHSs, there was little change in overall rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration. In 2004–05, breastfeeding initiation was 87.8%, and the proportions of infants breastfeeding at 3, 6 and 12 months were 64.4%, 50.4% and 23.3%, respectively. In 1995, the odds ratio (OR) of breastfeeding at 6 months increased by an average of 13% (OR, 1.13 [95% CI, 1.07–1.19]) for each increase in SEIFA quintile; in 2001, the comparative increase was 21% (OR, 1.21 [95% CI, 1.12–1.30]); while in 2004–05, the comparative increase was 26% (OR, 1.26 [95% CI, 1.17–1.36]). Breastfeeding at 3 months and 1 year showed similar changes in ORs. There was little change in the ORs for breastfeeding initiation." Medical Journal of Aust.

During my eight years as a parent I have heard many horror stories of doctors, midwives and child health nurses advising weaning of babies of six months old, recommending formula or supplemented feeding and supporting mothers in their belief that they cannot breastfeed. Many mothers leave hospital believing that they are unable to feed and have to use formula. This makes them feel inadequate and often leads to PND. Now, I am sure there are women who have been unable to feed for genuine reasons but I strongly suspect many would have been able to have a successful and long breast feeding journey if they had been supported by the relevant professionals. Doctors and midwives are not these people! We need better access to ABA /Nursing Mothers, La Leche League and lactation consultants in the hospitals, perhaps a system where they visit the home in the days or so after giving birth along with the health nurse/midwife.

Breastfeeding is difficult, especially if the birth has been a difficult experience and if you don't have the knowledge or support it can be given up on before you walk out of the hospital. This is common when a caesarean section has occurred. It is not uncommon for a baby to not want to feed for a few days after a c/s yet baby and mother are handled roughly with complete disregard for their feelings and then when this fails as baby doesn't want to latch on (who would when totally exhausted and dopey from drugs and trauma) mums are told their baby will fail to thrive and needs formula. Nothing like scaring the wits out of a vulnerable mum in pain, exhaustion and possibly traumatised. How do I know this happens? Well, having had two emergency c/s I have been through the above scenario twice. Fortunately, I was able to say no because I had the support from friends and the father of my children. My babies didn't really feed until day four and then they didn't stop for two or so years! If you knew my kids you would know they certainly didn't fail to thrive.

So, should formula be on prescription? Big call really and I tend to think it is a band aid solution. It will just mean that doctors in the hospitals write a script before the mum checks out. I believe that addressing the issue of support and education from any early age will help increase rates. Teach it in schools that breastfeeding is how you feed your baby, stop promoting formula (why so many brands anyway??), stop telling mums that their baby isn't meeting the growth percentile rates and need supplementing when the charts are based on US formula fed babies, promote books that celebrate breast feeding, dolls that promote breastfeeding rather than plastic bottles and lastly encourage our mothers.

Don't turn a problem into a breast v's formula debate. This is not the issue, these debates make those who couldn't breastfeed feel inadequate, and bring out the 'nasties'. We know that breast is best and that formula does not and will never be able to match it, now lets strive to get more babies to try it!

Yes, there are those who choose not to breastfeed for whatever reason, that is their choice! I don't think it is the best choice for many reasons but again it is their choice to make and no-ones right to judge. However, when I hear/see women who have made the choice get defensive and attack others or use lame excuses I do get pissed off. The least you can do is be honest and say why you chose this option, have the balls to admit to it! (*ducks*)

Oh, and just because we say breast is best, doesn't mean we are saying you are a crap mother, worthy only of the scrapheap. We are simply stating a fact that cannot be argued with. This doesn't mean you have to take offence or feel belittled because that is not what it is about at all!

(p.s. when I was pregnant with Beren I refused to breastfeed.. my partner talked me into feeding for the first six weeks, then prompted me to continue to the three month mark and then the six month mark. After this I was totally hooked! That is support and I thank him for this otherwise I would have missed out on one of the most beautiful experiences a mother and child can ever have).

Now, if you have got this far, thank you! My next gripe is about the aged care service and general treatment of the aged in our community but I think I will leave that for another post :)



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Hanna said...

Hi there! I'm your newest follower from the Friday Bog Hop!! Lovely blog you have here! You can find me at www.bouffeebambini.blogspot.com

Christy said...

I was only able to breastfeed my youngest. It was great! Thanks for joining us on Fawk You Friday!

naomi said...

Hi I am your newest follower from Friday Blog Hop. Come on by and don't forget to follow back :)