torsdag 29 oktober 2009

Full term Breastfeeding

Full term breastfeeding is also called Natural weaning, Extended/Sustained breastfeeding or nursing.(1)

I've decided I want to do this.
It's just something that... grew within me. And with me reading my twitter-stream(2) and interacting with the amazing parents I follow, from all over the western world my knowledge and appreciation of this way of breastfeeding grew.
My first goal is getting to 12 months, and since I've already reached 7 months and two weeks with BB I've only got 2,5 weeks and 4 months after that. At one year BB will one of the 17,4% (15% in my part of the country. 16,3% in my city) of Swedish babies who are breastfed at one year. Beyond that there is no official statistics.(3)
My second personal goal is 2 years. This is about the time when I will hit the age of full term breastfeeding. Since there are no statistics, we don't know how many Swedish 2 year olds are breastfed. We don't know how many mothers do full term breastfeeding.

So, I'm looking for support. Both in the main-stream parenting-forum I sometimes visit, and in a more alternative, Baby wearing, forum. I might already have some leads.

A lot of things can happen. I know that. But if I don't even decide if I want to do this I can't even begin to make strategies of how I can support my and BB:s breastfeeding relationship. I've started telling people. That I plan on doing this, that it's intentional, that I both know, and know of mothers who have done this. I can always ask my Persian co-workers. A lot of them have experience.

Do you have stories or advice for me?

tisdag 20 oktober 2009

Hazardous cosleeping environments and risk factors amenable to change - Swedish reactions

I wrote about how baby sleep is viewed in Sweden in my aptly named post:
Baby sleep in sweden, how much and where

Well, there has been a controversy. I have a subscription to the newspaper GöteborgsPosten (The Gothenburg Mail). On monday I didn't have time to read it so I leafed through it today. There was an article on SIDS(1). Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. I read it. There was something odd about it. It just didn't sit right with me. I re-read it.

(a scanned image of the article)

The article says that the decline in infants dying from SIDS is because of Swedish parents being good at complying with the advice from the MVC (mothers' care central) and BVC (Children's care central). It goes on saying that letting the baby sleep on it's back, having a smoke free environment and using a pacifier have been the key advice to bring down the number of SIDS. 1991, 140 children died from SIDS in Sweden. In 2007, it was 13.
Then they interwiev Bernt Alm, a head physician in children's care who wrote the advice on avoiding SIDS on the website But they don't tell you this. They just write that he's "one of those behind the advice". They then chronicle the discovery of the risks of smoking, and sleeping on the stomach. Then it happens, they say that "so called cosleeping" increases risk. We have the same word for cosleeping/bedsharing, and I think they mean bed sharing in the article. Article goes on saying that the advice to not smoke and how to position the baby is easy/matter of factly to give but that other questions can be sensitive and has to be dealt with in private, like bed sharing.
It just makes it sound so dirty, so wrong, like something you aught not do.
Bernt then gets to say his piece and gives advice on safe cosleeping, like he came up with that (could be the way the reporter writes it). BUT there is still this feeling of "if you still INSIST on cosleeping".
However, it was pretty much James J MCKenna's advice.

So I sent a mail to the reporter, since she included her e-mail adress. I kept it nice.
But to have some links to give her I first checked the web for reference and found out about this:

From the website for the British paper The Guardian: Half of cot deaths linked to bed sharing (3) and the later published rectifying piece: The truth about sleeping with baby (4) could this be the cause of article in Monday mornings paper even though she never mentioned the study by Peter Flemings group? Might be. I read the official blog of the The Swedish Nursing Mother’s Support Group(5)(6) and found out that the Swedish paper Svenska Dagbladet had made a particulary gross misinterpretation in their article based on the study that Peter Fleming was part off.
The website for the Swedish news show Rapport had first headlined their article with "The Baby sleeps safest in it's own bed"(7) (Baby sover säkrast i egen säng) but after the critiques started flowing they rewrote the article into Baby should't sleep with drunken parent (8) (Baby ska inte sova med full förälder), something Fleming stated he felt was the conclusion of the study he participated in.
But Svenska Dagbladet did not rewrite or restate their article. Instead the reporter, Inger Attestam, wrote a statement(9) where she stands her ground, claiming that she was in the right. I read the trackbacks and the comments section and peoples reactions are that she's being arrogant, taking her own interpretation of the research in favor of that of the researchers themselves. In her statement she even says Peter Fleming has gotten "cold feet" in his interview with the Guardian.

Her original article was also named The baby sleeps safest in own bed (Baby sover säkrast i egen säng)
(10). What breaks my heart with it is that it was illustrated with four pictures of four families. The last picture says:
Maria (seen with her sister Sara on the left) and her son Filip, three months: -Filip is first placed in his own bed, but after  breastfeeding at midnight he's allowed to sleep between the parents. We know he's not supposed to be too close. He's got his own blanket, so he won't get overheated. At first we were a little scared, but the Children Care Central recommends sleeping near your child. Off course, we will change Filips sleeping habits after the new study.
So the way I see it, they were happily doing safe bedsharing. And from now on, just because someone misinterpreted a study, Filip will have to sleep alone.

Here is a link to the study if you want to read it:
Hazardous cosleeping environments and risk factors amenable to change: case-control study of SIDS in south west England (11)

The Swedish Breastfeeding blogg Amningsbloggen contacted James J MCKenna and he guestblogged: Infants should never sleep alone(12) (Spädbarn bör aldrig sova ensamma)

When I once more look at the offending article from the Monday morning Göteborgsposten, it seems mild in comparison and I hope that there will be a response from the reporter tomorrow, since I sent that mail to her with my concerns


fredag 11 september 2009

"Open Preschool"

Today was different. BB turned 6 months. We didn't make the goal of exclusive breastfeedinf since we have been doing baby led weaning and for two weeks and she's tried advocado, banana, parsnip, carrot etc.

Me and BB went to what would literaly translate into "Open Preeschool" today. In our part of town there are two of them. We live in concrete suburbia (1), Biskopsgården (2) and the "Open Preeschools" are at two different squares: Friskväderstorget & Vårväderstorget.

Open Preeschool is better described as an open/free communal day-time activity center for families with children 0-5 on a drop in basis. You decide when you want to go there, and you only stay for as long as you want to and partake of the activities that suit you and the child you bring the best.

At this particular one you could take part in cooking groups, they often had baby and toddler music-time, a pediatric nurse from the health center comes to visit once a week, there is a room for sewing, one for playing and they have a LOT of exciting, learning toys. I found the toys to be very ungendered. There was a computer in their "quiet room".
They also engage the visitors in Nordic walking (3) and had just bought new poles.

They had a regular staff of two women, aged about 55 who told me they grew up around here and both started working at the preschool near my house in the 1970:ies. There was also a woman there who said she used to "Fika" there to train her swedish. The coffee was 2 SEK,
0.28 dollars, just so they could buy more. You could bring any food you liked and cook or heat it in the kitchen if you wanted to.

I had called in advance and they told me they currently had no visitors because of Ramadan (4)
BB was excited, a looked around in amazement at the big, well lit rooms. Then they prepared a soft playmat on the floor for her and picked out some age apropriate toys for her to gnaw on. I sat on the floor and talked to the women about organic meat, free range animals, farming, the politics of food untill BB became hungry. Then I just pulled up my dress and nursed her sitting on the sofa. No one battered an eye. The staff had passed my test.

Then we went home, she fell asleep in the Patapum babycarrier and when she woke up we nursed and had some lunch, which for her meant some majskrokar and pieces off advocado.

It'll be interesting the next time, or after Ramadan to meet the other parents. Half my collegues are from Iran, but most of them are secular, even if they d celebrate Ramadan & Eid ul-Fitr  (5). I expect some to be christian, some to be secular muslims and some to be different kinds of muslims. I've seen some rastafarians around too, and on wednesday I swear I saw an older Pastafarian (6) woman.

So it's free and anonymous (you only tell them your first name). You are responsible for the children you bring, they wont normally baby-sit, since it's not day care.

In sweden, the goverment doesn't provide day care for children under one year since we get parent money and are supposed to look after our own children. For those who have family or friends they trust they are used only as baby sitters occasionaly, some very rich people use nannies & au pairs, and since a recent tax reform it's become possible to get nanny-service through some companies and get a tax reduction on it, but that is a subject for a totally different post.

With lots of love.... Karin.


lördag 5 september 2009

Giving birth, about my birthing experience.

In March 2009, I gave birth at a baby friendly hospital(1, 2) - since 1998, all hospitals in Sweden but one was baby friendly. I remember leaving the maternity ward and having an ice-cream and a cup of coffee in cafe of the woman’s clinic with my family and seeing the plaque:
“This is a baby friendly hospital and at this café everyone is welcome to eat! Please respect breastfeeding mothers!”
It felt good. I sat down and nursed. A few people passed. They smiled. Another mother complimented my grip, saying she wasn't able to do "that" (eat and nurse at the same time) until her first baby had been much older. My BB was 2 days old and beautiful.

But I'm fast tracking.
I had a medicated birth, I'm the first to admit.
My baby had been in breach position to and fro in the last weeks before she was born in week 41 +2 and my blood pressure had been a tad high during those last weeks. I'm also overweight. I had planned on working until week 38, but after an intensely stressful day in week 36 I called my boss and said I'd take my maternity leave from then on and went home to wait. And wait. And wait. February the 28:th came and went. My mother had her first four children about two weeks earlier than her due date, and my grandmother said it was the same for her, but pointed out the last two were twins and therefore didn’t count. So I had expected not to make it to my due date.
It was Sunday evening around 6 pm that I felt my first contraction. I never had one before. I never felt any of my Braxton Hicks contractions so this was my first feel for labor. We waited, and they didn’t die down. We timed them online and they were irregular. So we called in to the labor ward. “It’s not very busy here said the midwife. You can come in if you want to.” Me and my partner got into a cab and had a smooth ride over. Somewhere between 10 pm and 11 pm the same midwife I talked to on the phone said “If these contractions has actually dilated you, you are in for an easy ride.” I nodded. She asked if I wanted her to check. “Yes please”
She had big hands.

Almost nothing had happened. We went home, a bit giddy. When I stepped through the door at home the world rocked. I wanted to pee so BAD but my body just locked in a contraction that made me laugh, jump around and be in agony at the same time. “Ineedtopee!!!”

We spent some time at home, I think my partner had a nap between 1 am and 3 am, then we had some fish fingers and pasta and I spent some time in the bath while my partner timed my contraction from when I screamed “NOW!” and put my head under water until the next “NOW!” It just kept coming, wave after wave of intense pain, starting in my back, reaching around my belly. We called in again before 6 am. Said I wanted to come in again, that I wanted pain relief. “Eat breakfast and come.” Was the answer. We were there at 6.43 am Monday. My first Midwife was named Solveig Jansson.

At 7.20 am the cervix was 2 cm long and I was dilated 1 cm. I was hooked up to the fetal monitor. I had actually thought about not using one but now I was absolutely fascinated by it. My contractions came with about 3-6 minutes intervalls. My baby's heartbeat was 130, and my own was 80. They informed me that I was in the latent phase but that I could stay for the doctors round. I don't remember meeting the doctor and I actually think they just let me stay because me contractions were so painfull.
I came of fetal monitor and most of the time I spent walking around, saying YESsssss… a low husky voice whenever contractions would grip me. At 11.20 am I was open 3 cm, and the cervix was 1 cm.
At some point I was asked if I wanted my membranes ruptured and have my babies heartbeat tracked with a scalp electron instead and to my surprise I yelled “YES!” and just gave this BIG SMILE. I was alone with the nurse, don’t remember why since my partner almost never left my side. It was such a great relief to have my membranes ruptured and the water come out. I told her thank you. She looked surpriced. After the scalp electron was placed I wasn’t hooked up anymore but roamed freely.
For pain relief I used:
  • Nitrous Oxide inhalations: I started with a 50/50 mix with oxygen at 11:40 am monday. At first it helped, but I have mixed feelings about it. It made me funny in the head and I think some of my weird thought was because of it. Midwife said I spoke of chipmunks and Danish people. I overdosed quite a lot and have bouts of amnesia that went on for hours. Had I been able to control myself I would have less side effects.
  • Acupuncture: It worked, but not a lot. I liked it.
  • Bath: I took a bath 5 pm but it was HORRIBLE! Hated it. Hated getting naked, hated getting in, tried to drown myself in it, hated getting up, being wet. Not doing it again during labor this bad. Don’t know why I insisted on trying it. I was desperate.
  • I had sterile water injections placed under the muscle in my back to alleviate the back pain. I liked this too. The time was 10:30 pm monday.
  • Positive thinking helped a lot, thinking how the pain was leading up to something, getting results.
  • I also had a epidural(3), more about that below.
At 3 pm I had my next midwife, Christina Johansson, since Solveig had to go home. My contractions came at 4-5 minutes intervalls. She has written in the journal that the head was somewhat jammed (but in medical speak) and above spinae.
Then, at 6.30pm I had given up and had the epidural. I had written in my birth-letter that I was open to having the Epidural but I wanted to be the first one mentioning it. And I did. I begged for it as soon as I was open enough. Swedish midwifes has to have a doctor order the epidural and an anestheisiologist come down and place the cathether. It took a while to get into effect. At first it took away all of my pain. This kind of epidural is called a Sufenta-Eda 5ml/h, a "stand-up-Epidural" designed to allow the mother to be able to move around. The drugs used are typically bupivacain(4) and fentanyl (5)
One of the nurses asked me to pee and I headed for the toilet. I couldn’t so she gave me a cathether. With the pain subsided I had a hospital dinner, I think it was fish and potatoes.
Well, you can guess what happened. Contractions slowed down & I was put on a ocytocindrip at 8 pm. We started 10 units of Syntocinon in 1000NaCl at 20ml/h at 8pm and cranked it up to 60ml/h at 9.15pm (the midwife told me we could “back down” if it became to intense). I met my next midwife, Magdalena Göthberg, at this time. She brought a student, Annika Strand.

And there was the PAIN again! All the Epidural gave me was time to eat. My back labour was back with a vengeance. I think this was around 10 pm monday so at 10:30 I had the student, supervised by the midwife, place the sterile water injections. They told me it would feel like bee stings, a fitting description.
At 11.05 it was noted that my epidural cathether was causing a bleed. Maybe this was the reason it no longer helped? It was fixed by the anestheisiologist at 11.50pm but he said it was working. He also gave me an extra shot of painkillers into the epidural pump but I never felt any effect.
I inhaled my Nitrous Oxide, screamed for a birthing chair and was gone. When I returned several hours had passed. I tried asking people what was going on, they didn’t understand that I had NO MEMORY of the last few hours. It was time to push, it took me 25-35 minutes of pure POWER, but I was too weak to change position so I gave birth lying on my back with my legs in the scaffolds.
And when I pushed one last time, my baby girl came out and the world turned NORMAL in the blink of an eye. It was ok. I threw away the breathing mask and reached for my child. We had asked for them to wait with severing the cord until after it stopped pulsating and they respected this. Delaying the cutting of the cord is new in Sweden but has spread rather quickly. You can also donate blood in the cord to the umbillical vord blood bank but then you often cut it immediately.

onsdag 2 september 2009

The breech

My baby had been in breach position to and fro in the last weeks before she was born in week 41 +2 and my blood pressure had been a tad high during those last weeks. I'm also overweight. I had to come in to the midwives office so that she and a colleague could use an old ultrasound to examine what was up, and what was down. We we're actually wrong once, mistaking a butt for a head. First time around we gave it a week and she turned by herself, but by the next appointment she was the wrong way around again. I think this was in week 37. We talked and I was asked if I was willing to try external cephalic version at the labour ward, made by a doctor. I was informed they only have a success rate of 6/10 and that many find it “highly stressful” mostly due to the cortisone-injection that is so huge the heart starts racing. Also, they said some went into labor, so I had to be prepared.

My alternatives was the reversal, waiting it out & maybe having a breech birth or having a scheduled c-section. I opted for the reversal and my partner took time off from work. We were scheduled for the next morning at 11 am and he fasted with me at home in sympathy. We got there early, as instructed and I changed into hospital gowns and were hooked up to a fetal heart monitor. A nurse arrived with her student and the student felt through my stomach and they did an ultrasound. The student stated the baby was in breach and then the nurse agreed after doing her own check up. Then we waited while the heart monitor whirred. My partner fell asleep. They were going to give me the cortisone next so they put a needle in my arm.

Then the doctor entered, she was Norwegian and had a funny dialect, stating she was going to give the baby a gentle “push” which in her dialect became the Swedish word for “fuck”. I giggled.

She looked confused. Then she started the ultrasound, wanting a good look at the baby before they injected me with anything since they we’re worried how I’d react to heart palpitations. She looked puzzled. “But this baby isn’t in breech position!”

She called the nurse & student and showed them the screen. The student flushed. The “head” she had felt with her hands and seen on the screen was once more a butt.

They removed the needle in my arm and it began to bleed quite a bit and so I was given a unreasonably big bandage on my arm.

Everyone apologized and I said it was a nice (unmedicated) adventure and then me and my partner broke our fast with a nice steak lunch.

Now, if she had stayed in breech and I had opted for a vaginal birth this would have been important. She had to weigh more than 2 kg (4,4 lb) and less than 4 kg (8,8 lb). They would have x-rayed my pelvis to see if she would have fit through. They would also have tried getting me a midwife that had done many breech births since it’s become more and more uncommon to try a vaginal births with these. 9/10 babies in breech position are delivered by a caesarian.

torsdag 6 augusti 2009

Corporal punishment of children in Sweden

The right of the swedish parents to spank their children was abolished in 1966. A proper ban was made march 15 1979 and upheld in parenting act of the swedish law by July 1:st 1979.

"Children have the right to care, security and a good upbringing. Children shall be treated with respect for their person and integrity and shall not be subjected to corporal punishment or otherwise demeaning treatment"

This clarifyes that the law regarding assault in 3 chapter 5 § in the penal law also covers the corporal punishment of children. Sweden was the first country to do this.

Corporal punishment in school was abolished in 1958 when the new school law passed.

In 1965 53% of swedish adults were in favour of the use of corporal punishment as a diciplinary tool. In 1994 the number i favour had dropped to 11%. The usage of corporal punishement of children is today is very low in international comparison.

We can se a continuing fall of the acceptance of corporal punishment in the 21 century but at the same time there has been a rise in the actual assault on children from 2000 to 2006. This rise, however horrifying is small, and it is possile that it will fall once more and isn't a break in the trend. And worse is that the percentege of children subjected to aggravated corporal punishment has been hovering around 3-4% since the 80:ies. The same numbers subjected to aggravated corporal punishment in the US. However, that kind of use of violence is hardly ever swayed by changing societal attiudes but requiers specialised help. (1)

Since Sweden passed its ban on corporal punishment in 1979, 22 other nations have followed:

1983: Finland; 1987: Norway; 1989: Austria; 1994: Cyprus; 1997: Denmark; 1998: Latvia; 1999: Croatia, Israel; 2000: Germany, Bulgaria; 2003: Iceland; 2004: Romania, Ukraine, Hungary; 2006: Greece; 2007: Chile, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela(2)

We've also had showings of "Supernanny" and such shows here in sweden but the methods depicted there (Time out) are discussed and not very popular at times. Some of thos methods could work for the moment, but some are just plain behaviouristic....

And is it not far better to see your child as an individual, needing individual means?

For additional reading there is this booklet that the organization Children’s Rights in Society (BRIS) distributes for free.

It tells seven tales about young and older children and mothers and fathers who sometimes loose control and do not understand why. The stories are told from different points of view, and contain very insightful conclusions and useful advice.(3)

Does your country allow the corporal punishment of children? If it does, is there a movement to change it? How do you feel about it?




söndag 2 augusti 2009

Baby sleep in sweden. How much and where?

Me and my man have been bedsharing with our baby since she was born. Neither smoke, my man is a teetotaller and has never had a sip of alcohol in his life and I'm abstaining. We're practising safe bedsharing.

About 1971 the term sudden infant death syndrome was coined. During the eighties the numbers of deaths from SIDS rose alarmingly when it was recommended that babies slept on their stomache. During the ninthies the recommendation changed, you should place your baby on it's back and ever since the death toll from SIDS have been lower. 1990, 93 babies died from SIDS (0,143% of born alive infants) in 2007 it was 8 (0,015 of born alive infants). Changed recommendations about smoking probably also had an effect on this change.(1)

When my mother had her first four kids it was recommended that the baby slept on its stomache. When she had her last two the recommenation had changed. She and my dad bedshared with my older brother in the 70:ies when he was an infant. Neither smoked.

For the first nights after she came home from the hospital with me she placed me in a basket on the floor, but I didn't sleep very well. She then moved me into a nursery one door closer to the kitchen, and I think into a crib. I slept and slept and slept. She said I slept for almost 8 months, getting cranky if if they tried keeping me awake for more than a feeding. When I got to 8 month I became more awake and sociable. I have pictures of myself bedsharing with my parents in the eighties and I remember coming to the family bed after waking up as a toddler and being welcomed.

When I got older there was always a matress under the bed for usage after nightmares. I think I used it more than any of my siblings. I also coslept with my younger brother at times when I was extra troubled.

My mother tells me she doesn't remember sleep, sleeping and sleeping arrangements as something you discussed. It was up to every parent. But I know she read the book Barnaboken (The Childbook) by Anna Wahlgren. Anna Wahlgren is a mother of nine and also has connections to the Scientologist.(2) Wahlgren is still active and her views on baby sleep and her methods are widely discussed. She wrote a book about it (3). I don't know what my mother thinks about Wahlgren today. I can't condone her methods myself.

I've spoken with friends and some bedshare, some have the crib next to the bed with the side taken of or the crib in the master bedroom. Some use nurseries next to the master bedroom. Almost every one own a crib, not everyone uses it. It's very common to put the baby in a crib during the evening and then taking it to the family bed after it wakes up for it's first or second feeding during the night.

I own a crib and have placed it in the livingroom with a new ergonomical matress from IKEA. It's very seldom used. My daughter has taken to falling asleep in the family bed for her naps, with me or her dad at her side untill she's fast asleep. She's almost five months old and will soon be a bit to we will have to take the legs of the bed.
I get the impression that bed sharing is becoming more common but also that some are afraid to do it bcause of SIDS.
It's also become more common for people to get Respiratory Movement Monitors like the babysense. (4.) They usually reason that it is better to be safe than sorry. But most RMM:s can only be used when the child sleeps in it's own bed, so I would guess those babies sleep on their own.

When your percieve that your child has trouble sleeping many are recommended the "five minute method" that in many ways reminds of Richard Ferbers "The progressive waiting approach" but where you check in on the child every 5 minutes for as long as it takes but don't give the child bodily contact or any comforting behaviour. It was design by Berndt Eckerberg (4) and his wife Britta during the 70:ies and 80:ies. Also this method is controversial today and many parents describes how their children cried until vomiting and got hysterical when seeing the crib. This is the cause of a "pareting war" in sweden between those calling it borderline abuse (me, for instance) and those parents who feels it has saved their sanity.

I've made a pledge myself to NEVER condone the use of this method or recommend it in my line of work. I would rather be OUT of work!

I feel that healthy babies will sleep as much as they need to and that they can fall asleep in a crib, in a family bed or on the TV-couch, whatever works for them.
I prefer nursing my baby to sleep, either lying on my side in bed or in my lap on the couch. This is not controversial but sure, some wonder about my "me-time". Me-time seem very important to people.
I belive it's important to have realistic expectations of your baby or toddlers sleeping patterns. A breastfeeding baby needs to nurse at night for months, you yourself need to nurse at night to keep your milk going. My hormones help me and I'm not tired during the day as long as I get enough sleep.
But when someone says "My baby sleept through the night!" they are usually congratulated.
I'm okay with that, but it shouldn't be something to attain at every price. Most babies don't sleep through the night. And that's normal.

onsdag 29 juli 2009

The narrow norm of swedish breastfeeding (and some about my mom)

Many parts of this post i built upon this post by the swedish "Amningshjälpen" The swedish nursing mother support group.

It`s about how narrow our norm is.
They give this rundown:

You SHOULD breastfeed. When the baby is between four and five months old you should start solids. By the six months mark you should only breastfeed morgnings and evenings, but not during the night. A few month later you should stop breastfeeding.

Now, after writing this I feel like calling my mother. After all, she's had six kids.
Ok, talked to mom.
She said that when she had kids in the 70:ies and 80:ies there was a was no such thing as not breastfeeding. You HAD to breastfeed. No choice. At three months you could start solids.
My older brother gained until 3 months...and stopped for a whole month. He then had formula and "Välling" A bit like gruel). The whole process of breastfeeding and supplementing was stressfull and she came to the decision not to do it again.
But she still breastfed him for a year.
When I came I breastfed exclusivly for a month, and she supplemented until 3 months. Then I was weaned and had Milkotal and "Välling". In the eigthies there was a trend with whole meal "välling" but none of her children tolerated it. She said over the phone that we all breastfeed for about 3 months, with the exception of my older brother. She didn't have the possibility to increase her supply by marathon nursings since there was more and more kids around the house. My mother felt like a "bad mom" and that she felt like the propaganda expected her to breastfeed for "years and years".
I never knew this, I learnt it tonight, because I called my mother to ask. I never asked before.

So she felt supressed by the norm.
On the other end, thos people who breastfed for "years and years" feel equally supressed. I rarely see other women breastfeed in public and I move with a rather liberal crowd, larpers. But then again we, Swedish larpers, have reached the first generation to not stop larping when we have kids so it will probably be a more common sight in the years to come.

The majority of mothers in my motherhood support group that I met online breastfeed. We've sat outdoors breastfeeding without a care in the world. I don't know how we would have reacted if someone had chosen formula without a "good" reason.
We are talking about solids now that they are 3-7 months old. I've made a statement that I'm gonna wait for my daughter to become 6 months, but since I have supply problems we will see how that goes.

I've unwittingly hurt someone who was forced to resort to formula. She knows she had to, and I was extremely inconsiderate in those early days before I knew her well in my pro-BF rants. In that case, I was the insensitive propaganda.

I never see anyone breastfeeding a toddler in public. I don't think I've ever seen it on TV. The midwife at my parenthood lectures talked about WHO:s recommendation of breastfeeding until 2 years of age. Talked neutrally. She didn't call it extended breastfeeding, or full term breastfeeding. Those who breastfeed beyond the first year I think do it in their homes, discreetly. Sometimes I think it's seen as a problem. And I am sorry to say that I've been a part of propagating that norm until I learnt more about attachment theory and the natural human breastfeeding age.

What do you think? Do you want to know more on the subject or should I write about birth in Sweden or infant and toddlers sleep in Sweden next?

måndag 27 juli 2009

Amning - Breastfeeding in sweden

Today I write about breastfeeding in Sweden. The statistics are taken from

Statistics – Health and Diseases
Breast-feeding, children born 2000
The National Board of Health and Welfare
Centre for Epidemiology

In sweden, 92,6 of all children born 2000 were exclusivly breastfed at one week of age. That's 82 920 children. Only 1,7 percent were not breastfeed at al.
In my city, Gothenburg 90,5 % were exclusivly breastfed at one week.

At the two month mark 80% of the swedish children and 77,9 of the children i Gothenburg were being exclusivly breastfed.

At the four month mark 68,3% of the swedish children and 65,5 of the children i Gothenburg were being exclusivly breastfed. This is where I am at now. I'm a part of the 65,5 percent. I have hopes of getting to the six month mark of exclusive breastfeeding.
At that age, 33,4% of swedish children born 2000 was being exclusivly breastfed. 26,1% of the city kids.

In sweden the recomendations for starting solids were 4 months in 2000. It just recently changed to 6 months old due to WHO recommendations. But when I went to parenting class they undermined WHO:s message by saying it didn't really apply to sweden...
I think I'd rather go with WHO on this one.
The old recommendation I heard came from a leaflet distributed by Semper, a private company. But a lot of midwives have worked with this recommendation for a long timeand not really cared about the changes.

At the BVC - Child Care Central they still give info about solids a four months old. But they did not push us. And they were focused on how we could make our own baby food, and that it should be organic due to pesticides.

I have to go to work soon, it's monday. But I will write more on this subject. We havent even touched the narrow norm or extended breastfeeding.


söndag 26 juli 2009

Föräldrapenning - Parent money

My thought behind this post is explaining how we make a living trying to raise our child in the Swedish system. Our goal is to share alike.

For each child born in Sweden the parents have a right to stay at home for 480 days.
60 days have to be used by me, and 60 days have to be used by the child's other parent. If these 60 days aren't used by the other parent, I can't get at them.
180 days are possible to gift to the other parent.
Off course, we don't get full pay these days. The lowest amount one can get is 180 SEK (about 23,20 USD) a day. This you get even if you haven't worked a day in your life. Then there is tax, about 23%-30%. I had been working part time and met the requirements for raising my daily amount to 244 SEK (31,45 USD). Some of our days paid to stay at home will however still be at 180 SEK.

I had plans to work almost full term, but after having a stress reaction at work I went home four weeks before my due date. During this time I collected 244 SEK, mon-fri each week. 5/7 days a week.
My real delivery date ended up on march 10:th and from that date my partner had 10 extra paid days which he could use simultaneiously as me. He used these to get two weeks of work. Then he used vacation days. We both stayed at home for six weeks. Me on maternity money, he on vacation pay.
My partner then returned to work half days on wednesdays and whole thursdays and fridays. Monday, tuesday and half wednesdays he collects paternity money and since he's worked full time at a better paid job he gets more money.
I work a few hours some days, seldom more than four in a row. Then I go home and breastfeed, and then return to work some more. I get paid by the hour doing this. I work outside the home, doing social work, but am never far from home. If my child should need me I can be home quickly if I can just wrap things up where I'm at. My partner just needs to call.

When parents share alike like we do there is a Jämställdhetsbonus (equality benefit) that is paid as a tax reduction the following year. You become eligible for this reduction when either partner has used hos or her 60 days. So the equality bonus only applies if you share more alike that the system requiers.

The child also gets money, 1050 SEK a month (135,33 USD) just for existing. This money is paid to one of us as long as we share custody of the child, but when I get it I give 525 SEK to my partner.

So. This post had a lot of numbers in it, and I don't know if it makes any sense. But everyone is welcome with questions about this post or questions I can use for inspiring other posts.