28 February 2010

Breastfeeding Part I

It was in the middle of the night when a very authoritative nurse ordered me to the nursing room of the private hospital.  She commanded me to bring my baby and my watch.  
I could tell this nurse was upset about something I did, and while I grabbed my baby and watch, I tried to figure out what I had done wrong! I was a 25 year old and mother to a 24 hour old baby boy.  All I knew about babies was what our sweet ante-natal nurse taught us over 12 weeks in the antenatal classes once a week. Taking care of the newborn was only a small part of her teaching. What could possibly have made this nurse so mad to order me out of bed that time of the night? I realized my baby was crying more the last few hours, but was it something I did wrong?
As I walked into the nursing room with the bright lights and upright chairs, my eyes met with another first time, young mother and her baby (and her watch!).  The nurse was impatiently waiting for me to sit down.   She didn’t beat around the bush and started scolding us because we didn’t know ‘anything’ about breastfeeding a baby and she will not let us go back to bed, until we knew how to breastfeed our babies!
She ordered us to put our watches next to us, were we could clearly see it and to put our babies on our breasts.  The next 10 minutes she ‘showed’ us how to latch our babies and hold them.  Keep in mind we sat in these upright chairs, no pillows for comfort and we gave birth 24 hours ago!  When she was happy that we now had the ‘know how’ of how to latch our babies, she started explaining why we can ‘never’ breastfeed out babies without keeping an eye on a watch!  We had to give the one breast for 5min then the other breast for 5min. Then we have to wind baby and then baby is satisfied and don’t get any more milk until at least three hours later.  Only then she revealed the reason why she was so upset with us.  We, inexperienced mothers (hello, this is my first baby, I’m supposed to be inexperienced!) apparently overfed our babies by keeping them on our breast for hours!!
In the 17 months I breastfed CJ and the 21 months I fed Heidi-Mari, I had many hardships in breastfeeding the way the nurse taught me! When CJ was 15 months old he became very ill.  He would get continual respiratory infections and he would run a constant temperature. Due to the respiratory infections he got a blocked nose and eventually weaned himself because he couldn’t breath through his nose while being breastfed. Heidi-Mari, for no apparent reason, weaned herself at 21 months.
Then I had Josua and the most wonderful midwife.  She came to home visit me every day after Josua’s birth, for 5 days. She would run me a hot bath with rooibos tea in the water, made me a fruit salad, took my new born baby and let me relax in the bath for at least half an hour! She would change Josua’s nappy and at the same time let Heidi-Mari, then 3 years old, change her baby doll’s nappy too, making her feel so special! Wasn’t she an angel? 
With her first visit she couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw me almost fanatically checking the clock while breastfeeding Josua.  In her calm, confident way she explained and demonstrated another way of breastfeeding.  That day marked a radical turning point in my breastfeeding. I had no more hardships with breastfeeding. My babies weren’t crying of hunger any more.  They weren’t overfed any more. I could even tandem feed Andrew and David in 2006, with more than enough milk for both babies! 

There are two main principles with this way of breastfeeding. 
One - feeding on demand. 
Two - feed baby on one breast at a time.  
No timing and checking the clock, alternating baby from one breast to the other, every 5 minutes per feeding and then leaving baby to cry until it is “time” to feed again three to four hours later!
To make this clear I’m going to explain it by hand of a time schedule:  
Lets say my baby has his first feeding of the day around 7am, I will give him the right breast to drink.  I will allow him to drink as long as he desires on this breast alone. At some stage he will either fall asleep on the breast or have enough and stop drinking, or he will empty the breast and just dummy for comfort.  If, in the next two hours, until 9am, he is hungry or restless and need comfort or have the need to suck, showing it by sucking on his fingers, I will still give him the right breast. And no, I don’t use a pacifier.  The breast is my baby’s pacifier.
After about two hours, around 9am, it will be the left breast’s turn to feed on or comfort my baby. Again I will only give the one breast and it will be until more or less,11am.

If baby falls asleep on the right breast, in the time slot of 7am to 9am and sleeps for longer than two hours and didn’t ask for the breast - I will just give the left breast when he wakes up and keep giving the left breast for the next 2 hours as he needs it. 
If you understand this concept, you won’t need to check the clock for two hour intervals, you will just remember to give one breast at a time for more or less two hours at a time. 
What are the benefits for this way of breastfeeding?

My baby receives ‘after milk’ which properly nourishes my baby. No hungry baby, due to ‘weak’ milk. 
Let me explain:  When I give the one breast for 5 or 7 minutes and then the other, baby only get the ‘watery milk’, which is almost like sugar water with the purpose to ‘soothe his thirst’.  This is often considered the ‘weak’ milk, by clinic nurses, and they use this as the reason to motivate mothers to add ‘stronger’ man made formula milk! It is only AFTER 5 minutes, especially in babies who are ‘lazy’ and don’t drink very aggressively, that the ‘after milk’ comes in, which contains all the rich nutrition to satisfy my baby.  If baby drinks only 5 minutes, he does not receive this ‘after-milk’ and will be hungry within half an hour again. 

My baby doesn’t get overfed.
Some babies need a lot of sucking for comfort.  They want to be on the breast the whole day!  These babies just have a higher emotional need and God intend the breast to fill that need.  But if I give this baby two full breasts every half an hour, baby will get overfed, resulting in cramps and winds and reflux.  When you allow your baby to feed on one breast for two hours, he will empty the breast, fill his tummy and then he can suck on the breast, satisfying his emotional need for as long as he needs to.  If he does get hungry again after two hours, a full breast awaits him to feed on.

My baby’s emotional needs are fulfilled by sucking on the breast. No need for a pacifier.

Since the breast is fully stimulated and emptied, it WILL produce enough milk for baby’s needs.  Taken in account that you need to drink at least 3 - 4 liters of water, take a good multi vitamin and Omega 3 supplement (I’ll write more about this in part two).
This way of breastfeeding results in my newborn baby being on the breast almost 24hours a day.  But that is how God intended it.  This way you can bond with your baby and it will be more difficult to ‘just go on with your life’ after having had your baby.
Michael is now 4 weeks old, I’m enjoying every minute with him on the coach in my arms on the breast!  And when I need to tend to the household, I put him in the Ergo (I will write more about that in a posting to come soon: Coping with a Newborn Baby) and he can still be fed while my hands are free. 
The modern feministic society don’t promote 24 hour nurturing of babies.  They encourage you to bottle feed, leave your baby at a day mother and ‘get your life back’!  Dear mother, you as a Mother  are created in the image of God, His image of a Nurturing Mother. 
Whenever we see the name, Almighty, it is the Hebrew word, El Shaddai.  A breakdown of this word is as follows:
EL - the powerful, mighty, eternal God.
SHADDAI - comes from the root word, ‘shad’ which is the Hebrew word for breast. It literally means ‘the breasted one.’
This is a picture of God Himself as a nursing mother - One who longs to comfort us, protect us, nurture us and gather us in His arms.  In El Shaddai, we see the self-sacrificing love of God, giving and pouring Himself out for others. As God sacrificed and gave His very best, His only Son, so we show forth His mother heart when we serve and give sacrificially.

God intended women to be nurturers in the home and nurturers in society. We are little ‘shads’, chosen to reveal God’s mother heart to the world.  We were born for this purpose.  It is our destiny!  As we embrace motherhood, we fulfill our true function as women. 
God gave breasts not only for the beauty of a woman’s body, but for a specific function. To nourish babies! When we breastfeed, we embrace our womanhood and the way God so intricately and wondrously designed our bodies. 

Many will tell you, you’re spoiling your baby if you feed him whenever he wants a feed.  Well what is God’s way of breastfeeding?  Do you know every answer is in the Word of God?  In Isaiah 66:10-13 God talks about Jerusalem and likens her to a nursing mother.  When we read this passage we see God’s understanding of a nursing mother.
“That you may feed and be satisfied with the consolations of her bosom, that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance of her glory.  For thus saith the Lord, ‘behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then you shall feed; on her sides shall you be carried, and be dandled upon her knees.  As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Did you notice the words: “satisfy, console, delight, comfort?”  We see here that nursing is not an alternative way to feed a baby, e.g. bottle feeding versus breastfeeding. No, it is total mothering to meet every need of the child. So the breast is used, not just to satisfy hunger, but also to satisfy, delight, console and comfort.
Over the years I’ve also made peace with my babies not sleeping through the night at six weeks of age!  I just don’t have such ‘good’ babies.  In 1Thessalonians 1:7-9 Paul, when describing himself as a nursing mother toward the Thessalonians’ new Christians, talks about ‘labouring night and day.”  Night feeding isn’t so bad for me, especially since I don’t use a cot, but take my baby to bed with me. When they become to big to sleep in our bed, we just transfer them to a mattress next to our bed on the floor.  
With CJ we had a cot.  At night I would sit with him in a chair, breastfeeding him for his two 5 min intervals, wind him and put him back into his cot. He would comfortably sleep in my arms while feeding and then woke up when I put him down in the cot.  I too, would often   fight through the feeding, trying to stay awake, and desperately longing to go back to bed.  When Heidi-Mari was born, she was a colic baby.  She would cry for hours.  It was such a relief every time she fell asleep on my breast. Then to put her in her cot without her waking up, was almost impossible.  So I made a plan.  I took a mattress and put it on the floor, I put a lot of pillows around the mattress to make sure she won’t roll off the mattress. I would then lay next to her, while feeding her.  When she fell asleep, I would just roll off the mattress, making sure I didn’t disturb her sleep and she would keep on sleeping!  With Josua we lived in a very small two bedroom house and there wasn’t space for the cot so we tried the mattress on the floor again.  This time it was so easy.  With the new way of breastfeeding, I could just lay down next to my baby when he needed a feeding and fall asleep, while he fed until he had enough. If sometime during the night, I woke up and saw he had enough I could go back to our bed.   I could get enough sleep even though I had a baby that didn’t sleep through at 6 weeks!  

Since then we always have a mattress in our room when having a newborn baby.  We only move the baby into his/her own room around 7 to 9 months old.
Dear mother, this is my way of breastfeeding with some extra tips that works for me. I want to encourage you to do what is best and what works best for you and your baby.  But don’t deny your baby the breast only because society is against it, or because you’re trying to do breastfeeding the unnatural way!
Lots of love
PS: Parts of this posting was inspired by Nancy Campbell’s book The Power of Motherhood.

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24 February 2010

Update on the Lues Family

Today is my 100th posting and since it was my birthday on Monday and we took the most beautiful photo’s at a wine estate where we had cake and coffee to celebrate, I thought I’d give a little update on our family!  

We managed to take our first family photo with Michael.

I met Christo on the 16th of January 1987 on a blind date arranged by my aunt - She obviously knew Christo and I very well to know that we would be a match.  Although we only got married 4 years later, we both knew within two weeks we were made for each other.  He is my Leader, the one who loves me more than anyone in the world, keeps me on track when things get out of hand in my thoughts, the one who makes me holy! 
‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also love the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.”
Eph. 5: 25-28
Over the past 23 years I have came to love him more and more, through the trials and tribulations, joyful and happy events we have gone through together.  Our marriage verse was Phil 4.4-7 

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentleness be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
There isn’t another verse in the Bible that describes our life together, any better.  Thank you Lord!
Christo has a health shop, a natural medicine blog and does Live Blood Analysis.  He believes this is God’s calling on his life - to teach and heal God’s people! 
I’m the proud mother of our eight beautiful children! I have home schooled them since 2000, when CJ was 6 years old.  God called me to home school our children during a retreat in the Magaliesberg in April 1999 (Christo already asked me to home school our children years before!) and since that day I’ve never doubted God’s provision and guidance in home schooling our children!
Christo and I never dreamed to have as many children as God chose to give, but over the years God has opened our eyes to His heart for children and we are hoping for more children to influence the world for God, reclaiming God’s light in a dark and deceived age!
In 2005 we as family, became the distributors for the Above Rubies Magazine in South Africa and currently send out 4,000 magazines to 570 families in South Africa and neighboring countries, 2 - 4 times a year. Over the past 4 and a half years I’ve met the most wonderful families through Above Rubies. God also granted me the privilege of bringing the truth about children to dozens of families. 
I love to work with my hands, either in my vegetable garden, doing scrapbooking or making dresses for the girls.

Our first born is CJ - 15 years old!  CJ is my only introvert child and a dreamer. He just loves horses.  In 2009 he brought home dozens of rosettes through his horse jumping and express events.  CJ is also the webmaster of our Home school website.  His favorite learning subject is Science. In 2009 he was twice the co-winner of the Science Question of the Week competition by Apologia.  CJ is my right hand in sustaining my vegetable garden by taking care of the raised beds, my compost heap and doing all the hard physical labour.  CJ also has a natural feeling for preparing the most exotic and delicious curry meals, much to his dad’s delight!

Heidi-Mari, 12 years, is our second child and first girl. She is the only one in the house with the gift of organizing, to her great frustration and to my biggest blessing.  It is thus no surprise that she is my right hand in keeping house for 10 people. She helps looking after the babies, preparing meals, sowing seeds and watering the vegetable garden. She loves ballet and you will most certainly find her sometime during the day, dancing and practicing ballet! Heidi-Mari also has her own blog, filled with craft projects, especially doing scrapbooking and making cards.  Her favorite learning subject for 2010 is baking, learning the principles and techniques of baking cakes and tarts.  She also shares this on her blog.

Josua, 9 years, is our second son, an extrovert full of fun and humor and has a very thankful heart! Through Josua’s birth God started to reveal to us His will for families regarding children. Josua also loves horse riding and received a number of rosettes in 2009!  He can play for hours with his siblings in their tree house, building airplanes out of Lego or making wooden swords. You will also find him in the garage busy stripping an old video machine or watch or something.

This is our little princess Danika, 6 years old, and very eager to start reading this year! She adores her sister and also wants to be a ballerina! She just loves to play cars and Lego with her brothers.  She can climb trees and be wild with her brothers, as well as playing dress up or making cards alongside Heidi-Mari! 

Andrew is 4years old. He was our first child after we surrendered my womb to the Lord. He is our sensitive, spirited child with the very loving heart, who will tell you countless times a day how much he likes his family!  Andrew is also the ‘thinker’ in the family, asking profound questions for his age.  He needs the minimum amount of sleep and takes hours to fall asleep at night! There is a very special calling on this boy’s life!

David Martin is 3 years old, only 16 months younger than his brother Andrew.  He has life, and that in abundance!  Since he was a small baby, we sensed the sweet spirit of David in him! He also has a very strong personality and knows exactly what he wants from life. He  always makes fun of every one and can drive his brother Andrew mad by teasing him. He is also very athletic.

Little Daniel is 18 months old and has very much the same personality as Josua. He is full of fun and joy, always laughing and very content. But he doesn’t sleep at night!

Michael Jonathan is our youngest addition to the family. Born on the 29th of January 2010, weighing in at 4.38kg our biggest baby! He is my easiest baby, so content and happy, currently the joy and object of all attention in the house!
My husband and children are the centre of my life!  I’m in a season of taking care of my family, with very little time for anything else.  I’m very dependant on my Heavenly Father to sustain me during this season of my life and keep my eyes focused on Him alone.  Society is very quick to ask: ‘What about Your time?; Aren’t you getting tired?; How do you keep a balance?”  My time is filled with the joy and adventures of my husband and children.  I don’t want a life outside of them. Yes I do get tired, but when I look into the loving eyes of my children, kissing their sleepy cheeks good night, I know it is all worth it and tomorrow I’ll have new energy again.  God called me to be different from the world, out of balance and He is a rewarder of those who do His will and please Him!
I’m a blessed woman and I would never want a life different from the life I have. 
Thank you Lord for the plans You have for me!
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jer. 29:11

18 February 2010

Motherhood is: Having Purpose and Vision

On Sunday the boys had their first show jumping event for 2010.

Josua did the 30cm and 50cm on Helmit - the horse he always rides at the riding school.

CJ jumped the 60cm and 70cm on Dabby, his new horse. 

Josua did great at the 30cm, and had a clear round for which he got a rosette. 

CJ also did very well for his first show with Dabby, two months into their training together and Dabby’s first show! They got a clear round, but unfortunately kicked a pole in the jump off, but they still got the best overall time, but due to the 4 penalties, didn’t qualify for a place.  

Dabby is only 5years old and still like a toddler - disobedient and wild! He did racing for 3years, before he became Camelot’s horse. CJ is the only rider with enough courage and authority to teach Dabby to jump, not even the instructors want to get near Dabby! 
The 40cm was a fun round involving two riders. One would jump a round on the horse and the other would ride a round on a bicycle and the team that had the fastest time, would win.  At the last minute CJ and Josua entered the round. 
Josua would be on horseback and CJ would ride the bicycle (the bicycle was too big for Josua). Josua went first, but when he approached the second jump Helmit went the wrong way and started running for the fence. Next thing, Helmut jumped over the 80cm high fence and Josua fell off! I couldn't see him get up and just started running towards him! Christo who took photos from the middle of the arena, reached Josua first and signaled that Josua was fine! As I reached him, I could see Josua was in big shock. Some time ago Helmit did the same at the riding school and Josua fell off as well. This time he fell more on his side and not right on his back. Christo insisted that Josua get back on the horse and his instructor was immediately there to help.

Josua got back on Helmut and under lot of encouragement from the crowd, jumped two jumps, in an attempt to win back his confidence.
Since they were the last entry, Josua immediately had to be ready for the 50cm jump. I could see he was still in shock and scared of getting back on Helmit’s back and do the jumps. So we prayed together. I also SMS grandma in Bloemfontein to pray.
By the time it was Josua's turn, I still wasn’t at peace, but what I saw next was so encouraging it made me smile and cry at the same time! 

Josua wasn’t entering the arena alone on Helmit, CJ was leading them into the arena. 

But not only was CJ leading his brother into the arena, he was ready to lead Josua through the whole course.

Now, it is high summer here and it is no easy task to run next to a horse and jump an 8 jump course 12h00 in the day, at 30 degrees celsius! Thanks to CJ's help Josua could finish this round safe and in a clear round and received another rosette! It was such an act of service of CJ towards his brother. 
This incident just made me realize how important it is to build Godly character into our children and teach them to walk in the ways of the Lord, pleasing God as their first priority! CJ didn’t need to serve his brother in the way he did.  But he also was very worried about his little brother and when he saw Josua’s fear, he knew it was in his ability to help his brother, sacrificing and glorify God in his act of service!
How do we build Godly character into our children?  I myself still lack Godly character traits, I’m a sinful human being - I need help to lay down my life and sacrifice for others, especially my husband and children.
About two years ago I listened to a teaching CD by Nancy Campbell - The Flourishing Mother.  On one of these 3 excellent teaching CD’s, Nancy address the purpose and vision of a mother.  After Sunday’s incident I felt a need to listen to it again, to remind me of my purpose as a mother, to remind me of the vision I have as a mother.  
I would like to share some of the ideas with you too:
In Prov. 29:18 we read:
"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
The Hebrew word used for perish in this verse is para` /paw·rah which means “naked” ; “bare” ; “slip through fingers”; “undisciplined”; “by ignoring a opportunity”
In other words, to ignore the opportunity of motherhood. Many mothers let motherhood slip through their fingers.  The majority of mothers today, have no vision or purpose for their motherhood, and therefore don’t see the glory of their homes.

But Motherhood is the most important career in the Universe.  Mothers are determining the destiny of the next generation. No wonder the Devil likes to deceive the woman so much.  He knows the power a woman has – The Power of Motherhood.  Mothers have the capacity to change the destiny of nations! We may be hidden, just there in our home, not rushing out with our briefcase – but the power we have, when we have vision and purpose, is almost always underestimated!
When a mother have vision and purpose she is molding lives for the destiny God has for her Children.  This mother will be molding mighty young men and women full of God’s Spirit, who know how to have power over the enemy.  She is busy to fill the nation with the Light of God’s Gospel, the Salt of the Earth.  There is nothing more powerful than doing that.  Nobody needs to see her, because her works will praise her! 
Do you have short term and long term goals for your children? You won’t always reach your goals, but if it is there, you can work towards it.  

Motherhood is much more than just taking care of our children’s physical needs – feeding, clothing, and teaching them.  Most important is taking care of our children’s spirit.
We as mothers need to know there is a greater calling on mothers today. God commissioned mothers from the beginning of time to mold and nurture the generations.  But in this hour there is a calling on mothers like no other time before. We are living in God’s end time! This generation of mothers are called to be trainers of God’s End Time Army.   A Task like no other task.  Training/ molding/ preparing part of God’s End Time Army! Yes, God need an army and He needs mothers to train His army, to preserve His army!
The Hebrew word for Preserve is teros and it means: “a  watch”; “keep”, “observe” to attend to carefully, take care of; to guard from loss or injury by keeping the eye upon.  
We must watch over our children’s spirit.  First with our physical eye.  You can only keep a physical eye on your children when you love to be with them and around them.  We can’t be our children’s watch dog unless we are there where our children are, all the time, running our fingers through their hearts!

Dear mothers we don’t just have our children and then go on with our lives!  NO! Children are like arrows in the hands of God. Like arrows in the hands of the warrior and God assigned us to train them!  We need to watch over our children in prayer.  Especially in the teen years, watch in prayer.  As you pray, God will show you and you will see what is going on in their lives.  Come into the presence of the Lord every morning and every evening, in prayer and studying the Word. 
Motherhood is not just for today.  Yes we watch over our children today - physically, spiritually we watch over their souls and minds.  We keep out the enemy that wants to creep into our home’s, into our children’s soul.  
But we also look into the future.  We see ahead.
In Zeph. 1 we read:
 “The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah.”
Zephaniah was the Great, great grandchild of Hizkiah.  Hizkiah was one of the good Kings of Judah, (between a lot of bad Kings)  The Bible said: “He did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord.”
And now 5 generations later his grandson was still serving the Lord and he was a Prophet!!!
Mothers, this is the vision we need to have!  After us, our children will still be walking in the ways of the Lord.  And they will continue down the line.  Continuing to be mighty men and women in the Nation’s of the World.  This is my Vision. This is what I pray.  I pray for the children to come.  Godly children that will come forth with the Light and the Glory of the Lord upon them. Not just for now, but for generations to come.  That they will be mighty in the Lord.

Mothers this is a long term vision, a big vision.  
“For the promise is to you and to your children, and  to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
Acts 2:39

Will you begin to see that raising your children is not just for today?  And realising how raising your children today will affect the generations to come, will keep you going, even in the difficult, frustrating days. 
In another two postings I want to share with you, out of the Bible the vision for raising sons and the vision for raising daughters.  
Lots of love
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