More on PPD and Q&A on breastfeeding in front of a 3-year-old

Jillian wrote me to add to Friday's post on PPD after weaning:

"I wanted to add to your "trifecta" of massage, omega-3 and exercise.Add: High potency B vitamin pill, like a B100 or Stress B. Consider adding 500-1000 mg of magnesium citrate pills per day as well.

Many women who have been pregnant and nursing, and on birth control as well (!), have become borderline deficient or downright deficienct in B12 and B6, among the Bs, as well as in magnesium. B vitamins are absolutely required for the body to make serotonin. Low serotonin=depression. Many women who suffer from PMS are B vitamin deficient as well. You can google or pubmed this stuff, but I looked into it extensively. I also found my PMS, cycles and moods to improve considerably with a B100 (on top of my high potency multivitamin) daily, plus 500 mg mag citrate.

You can safely take a B100 on top of a multivitamin that provides tons of B, because B isn't absorbed that well. It's what makes your pee green when you take vitamins, actually."

Very good to know. Thanks, Jillian.

And now a question from Anon:

"I can't seem to find any info on the subject of breastfeeding in front of a 3 year old. Do you think it is it healthy to my 3 year old's psyche to let him see me breastfeed his baby brother?

We are expecting in November and I never thought this would be an issue but my husband thinks it is weird that I still bath with my toddler and now he thinks it is "unhealthy" to let him see me nursing the baby. My son is now noticing that my anatomy is different to his and is starting to be curious about it and it kinda freaks my husband out a little. I weaned my son from the breast at around 13 months so I doubt that he remembers anything about nursing. I just wondered what you thought about it."

I can appreciate that your husband might have some qualms, because our society is so geared to thinking of the breasts as sexual and not functional. But he just hasn't thought it through logically: If it caused psychological damage to watch a baby being nursed, then every older child of a nursing mother across the world would be psychologically damaged either from having watched it or from being sent into another room every time the baby nursed (talk about a recipe for sibling rivalry!). Moreover, there are tons and tons of kids who were still nursing at the age of 3 and have no psychological problems. So your husband can turn his worries from nursing to all the other stuff that's going to happen when the new baby comes in November.

(This is the point at which I plug the book Siblings Without Rivalry by Faber and Mazlish. If you're having another child, if you do absolutely no other prep, read this book. If you already have more than one child, read this book. If you have siblings, reading this book might help you understand your relationship with them better and could help you improve things between you. If you're an aunt or uncle or interested adult in the life of siblings, read this book.)

On a related topic, it's very healthy for your son to learn, in a factual way, about the differences between boys and girls. His noticing that you and he have different parts is great, and any factual, age=-appropriate explanations you give him are going to help him. It's also going to be healthy for him to learn all the normal things about babies--how they're fed, that they pee and poop, that they cry and need to be soothed, etc. It's all giving him more information about the way humans work.

It sounds like your husband may be very concerned about the inappropriate sexualization of your son. That's a really valid concern, especially in our society (Bratz, anyone?). But withholding factual information about basic differences will actually backfire by making him more vulnerable to information coming from other sources. A kid who knows the facts and has all his questions answered honestly to his age level is going to be much better equipped to live in a world that sends some really confusing messages about our bodies.

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