Sunday, February 19, 2006

First Quaker Meeting & Dummies

Well, we only tentatively planned to go to meeting this morning; given the logistics of getting Barnaby and Amelia dressed and out of the house to a rigid schedule, we took the attitude that if it happened, great, but if not, so be it! Actually, being so relaxed about it meant that it actually happened! Things were helped by the fact that we had an early night last night; we were in bed at 10:00 (Barnbay, Amelia and I in the big bed and Sheep in the spare bed).

I am so glad we went to meeting as we were made really welcome by everyone. It was rather a poignant day though, as Ameila's first visit to meeting coincided with the death of an elderly member (anticipated but sad nonetheless). One of the first ministries was about leaves falling from trees to make way for new buds and even though I didn't know the Friend who had died, I felt a bit choked up at this. After the first quarter hour, Sheep, Barnaby, Amelia and I left (with the other baby, Pippa) and once we were settled, Sheep returned back into the meeting leaving me with Amelia and Barnaby in the children's meeting. This actually worked out well, as it gave Sheep a bit of peace and quiet for himself.

After meeting there was a sale of books (from the Friend who had died) to raise money for the meeting. We bought four of them. There was also a lot of gardening books there (she had clearly been a keen gardener) and I was thinking that it was a pity my sister wasn't there as I am sure she'd have found something interesting.

Today, I was remembering Barnaby's first Quaker meeting. It was the first Sunday after Bush declared war on Irag in 2003 and I was so angry I felt I had to do something and given the lack of protests in Atlanta, going to meeting was the best thing I could think of. I felt that I would at least be likely to be surrounded by like-minded people at a Quaker meeting. So, this must have been Sunday 23 March and so Barnaby would have been 2 months and 13 days old at his first meeting or more than twice the age Amelia is today (She is 1 month, 2 days old today).

After meeting we went to the Centre, to John Lewis, as I wanted to buy Barnaby some new shoes and we also had lunch there. Amelia's second visit to John Lewis! Amelia was very good, even though we'd forgotten to bring her sling, so we hauled her around in our arms. Barnaby was *pretty* good. He almost had a tantrum in the toy department, which we only went to as it is part of the baby-equipment section and I wanted to buy a dummy (pacifier) for Amelia - more on that topic later! - Barnaby started to insist that he wanted a Thomas the Tank Engine train. It looked, for a moment, like it was going to develop into full-blown toddler meltdown, but when I explained that "making a fuss" was a surefire way of guaranteeing that he would NEVER own the item in question, he actually thought better of it (I can't believe that worked!).

About the dummy. I don't yet know if I will use it, as I am not in favour of them (to put it mildly - I really dislike the things), but Amelia does seem to be one of these babies with a strong need to suckle to calm herself (to the extent of making herself sick by drinking too much milk). I found a very good La Leche League article on this subject, which is summed up as:

"Pro: Babies need to suck. Sucking calms and quiets them. Mother's breast is not always available. Pacifiers are a convenient substitute.

Con: Pacifiers are artificial nipples and may confuse a baby, leading to ineffective sucking at the breast. Pacifiers decrease the amount of time a baby spends at the breast, and this may affect the mother's milk supply."

The conclusion of the article is "Pacifiers and comfort sucking at the breast both have their place. There are times when a dummy can stand in for a mother's breast, ease a baby's distress, and restore peace to everyone. Nursing for comfort helps ensure a plentiful milk supply and brings warm feelings to mother and baby. When pacifiers are used judiciously, a mother can have it both ways."

The whole article can be found at, However, I still am deeply unsure about if I will try the dummy with Amelia, but I am beginning to think I might. (I still have a lot of prejudices about them though - Barnaby was forbidden them). If it sounds like I am in two minds about this issue, I am! However, I also don't want to get to the stage that Amelia can only sleep/be calm if clamped to my breast.


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