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.