Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tips on Writing Your Story for To Three and Beyond

I've started to receive story submissions for the book, and I'm so excited. From the emails and stories I've received thus far, there seems to be a running difficulty: "Where does my story fit?"

I understand the need to want to tell your whole story, as each one is so precious. That's how I got started on this whole project! I wanted to tell the world, "Hey, this is not disgusting or gross. This is beautiful. It's a miracle and a gift. Why should we shun it or throw it away?"

First, let me say that I welcome multiple submissions from each author. If you want to write stories about decision, about family difficulties, and about weaning and submit them all, feel free. I'm going to choose the stories that are the most compelling and that together represent the broadest range of experience that I can.

On that note, let's talk about focusing your story and why: the why first.

My vision for this book, as I presented it to the potential publisher (I'll let you know when that is official!), is that the book will be like a support meeting (think La Leche League for full-term breastfeeders) in a book. I want a mother to be able to pick up the book at any moment along her journey and be able to flip right to a story that fits in with her experience or something close to it without necessarily reading the whole story of every mother represented by the book. Alternatively, I want that mother to be able to hand the book to a friend, spouse, or family member and say, "Here, read these stories. See, it's not just me. I'm not crazy, and I'm far from the only one who feels that this is the best thing for me and my child." or "These parents went through close to the same thing that we are going through!" Thus, the need for focused and delineated stories is clear.

My first tip to a writer asking which part of her experience to write about was to think about the part of full-term breastfeeding that made her feel the most passionate, the thing that made the biggest difference. Write about that first; focus on it. Your story doesn't have to start at the beginning (the decision) and end at the end (a.k.a. weaning). You just have to share with us a meaningful part of your journey. When that's done, feel free to write about the next thing and submit multiple stories if that's what you desire.

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments, and I'll be happy to address them as best I can.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I'm taking off for a few days with my kids, but I look forward to continuing this conversation on long-term breastfeeding when I return. I hope you all are working on your stories. I can't wait to read them!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Limit Setting

In my years as a La Leche League Leader, a mother, and writer, I have found that as parents, we have many, many different approaches to limit setting in different situations.

There are parents who strictly regulate their children's days, setting limits for most activities, so that children know exactly what is expected of them and what is allowed and okay.

On the other end of the spectrum are parents who feel that children should find their own limits, be allowed to explore the world more freely, and discover on their own where their limits should be.

In all actuality, most parents probably fall somewhere along the curve between the two.

When it comes to breastfeeding a child after they've turned three, the story is no different. Some may assume that because you've allowed your child to nurse until they have turned three that there couldn't possibly be any limit setting in your household, but I have found that this is not always the case. In fact, some mothers have found that limit setting was exactly what they or their child needed. Some families, however, have found the freedom of no limits on nursing to fit their lifestyle better.

What have you found to work best for you and your child?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Promoting Acceptance of Long-Term Breastfeeding

I'd like to start a dialog on this blog. I'm putting this book together to support nursing mothers, but it won't be published until the middle of next year or so. In the meantime, let's talk about long-term nursing, full-term breastfeeding, or whatever you want to call it.

Let's start with a very important question, a question that gets at the root of why we need a book to support us in the first place.

What do you think we as mothers can do to help promote acceptance of extended nursing among society and our families and friends?

Is it all about nursing in public or supporting each other in private? Do we need to take it one step at a time or do we need to make a giant push? What can we learn from other groups that have worked to get their needs and rights respected? Unfortunately, our babies and children are not in a position to fight for their own rights, so we must often do it for them.

What should we do?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Call for Stories

Would you like to contribute to this book? Your story could help other mothers looking for information on full-term breastfeeding.

I am looking for stories for the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1. Stories of Decision: How Did this Happen? (or How Did We Go from 3 Weeks to 3 Years?): The Decision to Continue Breastfeeding: This chapter will include stories that describe the decision to continue breastfeeding. Did the mother intend to practice natural or child-led weaning from Day 1, or did her feelings evolve in some way? I intend to choose stories that reflect different pathways to this decision.
  • Chapter 2. Stories of Joy: Expected and Unexpected Advantages and Moments of Joy in Long-Term Nursing: The title is pretty self-explanatory. I want to include stories here that really back up long-term nursing from a mother’s-eye view and perhaps the child’s-eye view as well.
  • Chapter 3. Stories of Challenges: Difficulties Encountered in Long-Term Nursing: This chapter might include stories of divorce, illness, grief, schooling, societal expectations, and other situations that might make long-term nursing more difficult and will be limited to situational challenges and difficulties with those outside the family.
  • Chapter 4. Stories of Family: Support and Conflict with Spouses, Partners, and Other Family Members: This chapter will include stories of how mothers and children were supported or discouraged by spouses and family members in their journey.
  • Chapter 5. Stories of Daily Living: How We Made It Work Every Day: This chapter will include stories of things such as birth order, nursing in public, nursing and working, tandem nursing, sleeping arrangements, parenting styles, and setting limits that allowed mothers and children to continue breastfeeding until they wished to stop.
  • Chapter 6. Special Stories: Long-Term Nursing when Mother or Child Has Medical Issues or Special Needs: As described, this chapter might include stories of older mothers nursing, nursing through illness, nursing a child with autism, and other challenging situations where the decision to continue breastfeeding might have been an advantage or a disadvantage.
  •  Chapter 7. Stories of Support: Resources that Helped Us Make It Through and What We Would Tell New Mothers: This chapter is meant to shine light on the great people and places that helped mothers through when they weren’t sure they were going to make it. The stories might be about a special friend, a family member, a La Leche League group or Leader, and so on. It will also include one-on-one stories such as “I’d like to tell you that these days won’t last forever...,” “It was better than I ever imagined” and so on.
  •  Chapter 8. Stories of Weaning: When the End Finally Arrives: This chapter will include personal stories of how weaning happened in different nursing twosomes. I intend to include as wide a range of different perspectives as I am able.
  • Chapter 9: Stories of How They Have Grown: This chapter will focus on first-person stories of grown nurslings (lets say, ages 16 and up). These stories might cover the following topics: How long did you nurse? Describe what memories you have of nursing and what kind of feelings you have toward that time in your life. In general, what positive or negative affects has nursing had on you as you’ve grown older? How do you feel the nursing relationship affected the relationship you have with your mother (or both parents)? Has nursing affected the way you interact or your relationship with other children and/or adults? Please describe. Do you feel nursing for as long as you did made it harder or easier for you to be independent and self-sufficient? Or did it have no affect? Please provide any stories or comments that you would like to share regarding nursing and how it has affected you as a person. (ADDED MAY 10, 2013)

Each story should be 1000 to 1500 words in length. I will be able to accept six to eight stories for each chapter, depending on their length.

When you send your story, please be sure to include your name and location exactly as you would like them to appear in the book if your story is accepted. Also, please include an email address and phone number where I can reach you.

All stories may be sent to and should include the subject "Story Submission." Also, please indicate in your email the chapter for which your story is intended. You can also direct questions to this email address.

Due dates for these stories are OCTOBER 15, 2013 (UPDATED 8/12/13)

Please share this post far and wide among your friends and in breastfeeding and birth circles so that we can get as wide a sample of experiences as possible for this important book.