Friday, July 31, 2009

Words of Affirmation

So, I actually already knew this, having read The Five Love Languages (actually, I think Shrike read and summarized it for me, and I listened to the audiobook of The Five Love Languages of Children), but Dr. Facebook has confirmed that my "love language" is "Words of Affirmation:"

Mark Twain once said “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Verbal appreciation speaks powerfully to persons whose primary Love Language is “Words of Affirmation.” Simple statements, such as, “You look great in that suit,” or “You must be the best baker in the world! I love your oatmeal cookies,” are sometimes all a person needs to hear to feel loved. Aside from verbal compliments, another way to communicate through “Words of Affirmation” is to offer encouragement. Here are some examples: reinforcing a difficult decision; calling attention to progress made on a current project; acknowledging a person’s unique perspective on an important topic. If a loved one listens for “Words of Affirmation,” offering encouragement will help him or her to overcome insecurities and develop greater confidence.
I've never realized it before, but now that I think about it, one of the things I enjoy most about blogging is the affirmation that I get from my readers.

When I write about something I'm struggling with, everyone from Shrike and other family members to complete strangers leaves me comments of support, and I find that incredibly helpful.

As I said earlier, I also talked about this anemia thing on my baby lead weaning forum, and I wanted to share what some of the mummies there had to say - both in terms of support and advice. (I hope I'm not going to get in trouble for reposting these comments!)

Whozat, repeat after me 'I am a fantastic mother'. You only need to look at your FB pictures to see what a perfect little family you three are, and how loved Peeper is by both her Mummies.

Neither of my children have ever had their iron levels tested. I'm pretty sure that they'd both be on the low end, as non vegetable eating vegetarians The point I'm trying to make here is that you weren't worried about Peeper before you went to the docs and got the blood test, the levels are only slightly low, so really you shouldn't be worried about her now. Give her the nasty vitamins, I'm sure by the next blood test she'll be fine.

You are a great Mummy, so is Shrike, and Peeper is a very lucky girl to have you both. Don't beat yourself up about the iron thingy, there'll be plenty more things that make you feel like the worst mother in the world ever soon enough {{{{{hugs}}}}} from me.


ok, first of all, back off yourself.

it is not true that all deficiencies are caused by a lack of nutrition. sometimes, it's caused by a lack of absorption. also, it could be caused by a max-use in the body, meaning that she may need more iron that usual.

your assumptions about breastmilk and even non-fortified foods are sound, and obviously she's just under or a little lower than they like, and it's not as if she's in a danger zone. so, you've done well.

but, to get things up higher, i would do a few things just to help out. i mean, it can't hurt to do these things

here is what i would do (instead of vitamins, personally, but with vitamins is ok too):

1. as a BFing mother, i would increase my iron.

BM does adapt to provide everything a baby needs (including increasing iron, and other nutrients as the child's need increases), but it can only give as much as *your* body can put in it. you may not be getting enough in your diet to pass along, particularly if you are menstruating again.

this leads to

2. i would begin to cook in an iron skillet ASAP.

this increases iron in everything that you eat. the iron (as ferrous salts) from the pan gets into your food and there you have it--instant vitamin enriched. it works wonders.

3. increase iron rich foods.

most fortified foods use ferrous salts which are very accessible. vitamins that we take often use this a swell. but in our foods, we have heme and non-heme iron that we're dealing with.

as a vegetarian, i know one can get more than enough iron without meat, but most of it is non-heme iron. this does require the vitamin c to help absorb it, and so you're doing right in that for sure. vegetarian sources of heme iron include dairy products and eggs. obviously, meat is rich in heme iron, so it wouldn't be a problem to increase this.

aside from this, i would increase the fat content of meals overall for myself (as a BFing mother, we need more fat than we often think we do), and i would also increase the fats for the baby. adding fatty foods like olives and avocados can do wonders for nutrient absorption in general.

good luck! soudns like she's doing great and will continue to thrive under your excellent love!


aw man, now you've given it to me...

dd2 was prem, but i cannot make her take the vits. they STINK. based on this i might try to give her some iron, though, it's a bit nicer. called 'sytron' over here, maybe you could ask a pharmacist?
interestingly, dd LOVES red meat, absolutely goes mad for it, so i've always hoped she was taking care of her iron thing by herself.

sometimes i'm just glad we don't have the money in this country to go looking at babies' blood... my dh was prem nearly forty years ago, he never had any of this fussing and he's a fine specimen of manhood.



You have no way of knowing that things would have been any different had you chosen to wean with purees. I have bumped along borderline anaemic all my life - some people just are like that.

You sound like you have some good practical plans to ensure she gets more iron in her diet - and yes - she will very soon take off with the eating thing which will help. Lentils are also a great source of iron so crack out the lentil burgers and the Lentil Cheese wedges!


I just looked at your blog and wanted to say how gorgeous and peachy she looks. She'll be fine. I'm sure it's really down to her birth circumstances and it's only on the low side and US paediatric system is known for running expensive tests which may flag up borderline cases. Good in some ways, but it unnecessarily fuels mothers' guilt.

I can only say I share some of your pain. My baby girl (incidentally born on the same day as yours, and my birthday too, and at 35/6 weeks) was tiny (5lbs) and although she put on a good amount of weight to start with that tailed off a bit and she's dropped two chart lines. I have persisted in ebf but deep down think to myself "if only you put her first instead of your ridiculous principles, you could have topped her up with formula and she'd have put on a decent amount of weight".

F*cked up logic, but I still think it.

She's lovely, ditch the guilt and enjoy her.


And just to prove that I don't get all my advice from the interwebs, Dr T had this to say, when I directed her to my "Anemia" post:

Whozat!! I hope in the time since you wrote that post and read responses, etc., that you have release even more of this particular (irrational) mother guilt. Believe me, I get it. We're programmed (and reinforced) to feel that way, and it is healthy to ask those questions like is there anything I could have done differently. However, this is not worth ongoing obsessing over!! Thankfully the vitamins exist, she doesn't mind them, and the level at which she's low is marginal! SHE'S FINE!

There are so many issues in parenting, and certainly you could drive yourself absolutely nuts with *perseverating* over each decision ad nauseum. It's just so not necessary, and takes energy from other areas that are more important! WE've got to find a way for you to RELAX on some of this stuff.

LIsten to everyone around you who cares and respects your choices: You're a GREAT mom!!!

And while examining and making thoughtful choices is part of what makes you great, you can back off on the re-examination about 10-fold and still hit the "great mom"
mark!! ;-)

Take care.

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