Preparing Your Older Child for the New Baby

September 14, 2008 | 2 Comments

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I remember hearing horror stories about older kids and their jealousy towards the new baby in the house. One friend of mine even said her daughter tried to suffocate her baby with a pillow! Henry 2-months
Creative Commons License photo credit: Phil Scoville

I can’t imagine how that must have felt. It was also totally foreign to me because I didn’t have any trouble at all with my toddlers trying to hurt their new sibling. I never even saw any signs of rivalry or upset at all.

I think it’s because of some of the things I did during the pregnancy and in the first few hours, days and weeks after I gave birth.

Here are some of those things. I hope they help you if you’re about to go through this!

Sell them on “big brother” or “big sister”.

Speak in positive terms to them about what it means to be a big sis or big brother. Really play up the importance of their role and help them to feel special and needed. You will want to discuss how they can be your helper and how much you need them because after the birth you will be sore and tired.

You may want to assign them a specific task, something age appropriate. For a younger child, fetching diapers for you might be a good one. With my babies, I invited the older toddler to come and join us during diaper changes to involve them. We would chat and I would let them help any way they could, and it was a pleasant time. Help your child to appreciate how much you need their help.

Don’t plan any other major changes.

This would not be a good time to introduce any other major changes into their life, such as potty training, different sleeping arrangements or any other similar changes. You don’t want to overwhelm them nor add any added stress to their lives or yours.

If your toddler is still nursing, there is no reason to stop during your pregnancy or even afterwards when the new baby arrives. Many moms have found that tandem nursing (breastfeeding siblings who are not twins) is very rewarding and a wonderful way to ease the transition for the older child.

When they are assured of your place in their lap, they are not as likely to be jealous or resent the new baby. I found this to be absolutely true with mine. My toddlers were all still nursing when their siblings were born, and it was wonderful to help them adjust. I shared my story in the link above.

Talk to them.

Children understand more than we think. So, spend some time talking with them about the big event. You can tell them about what will happen when you go to have the baby, where they will be staying, and what they can expect. If you are having the baby at home or in a birthing center, you might want to consider allowing them to be with you at the birth. Children who are close by the mother during her labor are more likely to view the new baby as “ours” instead of an alien intruder! Some parents have found it helpful to read books that talk about getting a new baby in the house. These often explain how new babies need constant care and feeding.

It’s also helpful to share the story of their own birth with your toddler. Young children seem to love to hear the story of their birth! Talk about how it was such a happy day for you because you finally got to meet them. Tell them details, and let them watch birth videos if you have them, and allow them to go through their baby books and pictures.

Involve them in the pregnancy.

Take your older child to prenatal appointments if you can. This helps them to start bonding with the unborn child. This is a lot easier if you’re getting care from a midwife, who will welcome your other children and allow them to listen to the heartbeat or play with the stethoscope and other equipment! My kids always had fun when we visited the midwife for our appointments.240 - Checking In
Creative Commons License photo credit: eyeliam

My oldest son even cut his two baby sister’s cords when they were born. I have pictures of him all decked out as Obi-Wan Kenobi, complete with light sabre, when his first sister was born. He was so protective of her and called her Padme for the first few months of her life. ;)

Get help.

Going from one to two (or two to three, and on and on!) is a wonderful time to ask friends, family, Grandparents and others for a little help. While you and the baby are resting, could someone play with your toddler, arrange a playdate or take them to the park for a couple of hours?

A little extra one on one time with a beloved adult can make up for the fact that you are going to be giving the toddler a little less attention for awhile. This is a time for Dad to step up too. While he does need time to bond with the newborn, this can be a time of growth in the older child as he embraces Dad as someone who can also meet his needs.

Watch your language.

When the baby arrives, be careful how you phrase things. If your older child asks you for something and you can’t help them because you’re caring for the baby, don’t “blame” it on the baby. Say something like, “My hands are busy now, but I can play with you in a few minutes. Why don’t you come snuggle next to me and I’ll read you a story?”

Another tip that some moms have found helpful is to talk up the older child to the baby. We moms love to go ga-ga and talk goo goo over our babies, but why not brag on the older sibling? “Ooh look at what big brother is doing! He’s building a block tower and it’s sooooo tall!” This can make the older child’s heart swell with pride. I heard this tip from a mom I admired, and when I did it, I could see the older child’s face practically beaming. Of course, the baby can’t understand a word you’re saying, but that doesn’t matter!

If your child does express some negative feelings towards the new baby, do not deflect it or try to change their feelings. It won’t work! It’s insulting and we know how WE feel when someone does that to us. Instead, mirror them by saying something empathic, like “It’s tough having to share mommy with the new baby sometimes.” You don’t have to agree with them, just empathize. When we do that, they feel safe sharing their feelings, and are able to process and work through them better. But if we can all bent out of shape they feel misunderstood and frustrated, which doesn’t help matters.

There’s one thing that some people who come to visit your new family may do that you need to watch for. This always made me cringe every time I observed it! They overreact every time the older children touch the baby.

Another thing to be careful of when it comes to visitors is this: Don’t let them focus 100% of their attention on the new baby. People do this too, and they don’t mean any harm. But imagine how it feels to the older child when everyone around him is completely besotted with “baby this and baby that”. They don’t even ask him questions except to say, “So how do you like the new baby?” LOL!

If your guests or family members do this, tactfully steer the conversation around.

Clueless Aunt: “So, little Johnny, how do you like the new baby so far?”

Little Johnny: “Um, he’s ok. I guess.”

You: “Auntie, did you see the picture Johnny painted? It’s over there on the refrigerator. Johnny, would you like to show Auntie your new picture? Maybe she can get your paints out and you can draw a new one for her to take home to Aunt Joe.”

You might want to even ask family members and friends to bring a small gift for your older child when they come visit the baby. If they’re not cool like that, stash some presents or treats of your own, and whip them out when baby has a gift to unwrap.

Babies just aren’t that fragile!

It’s more important that your older child bond with the baby, and much of that takes place through touch. Train and teach your older kids how to hold and touch the baby. With a toddler, you may have to guide his hands or tell him to touch “Soft, like a butterfly.”

Don’t freak out whenever the older kids come around the baby, or they’ll come to resent him. You don’t want them to feel like useless, clumsy clods around the “precious” baby. It’s very hurtful to them. There were so many times that my older kids jostled the new baby like s/he was a sack of potatoes, and the baby never even woke up most of the time, much less minded.

Babies like stimulation and they find their big sibs extremely exciting! I noticed that my babies would turn their heads and follow a sibling around the room with their eyes. I made a point of saying this out loud to my older kids. I also reminded them that the baby KNEW them already because of hearing them for so many months in the womb.

They were really impressed by that. :)

Another thing alone these lines is, allow your toddler or older child to see and spend time with you as soon as possible after the birth. Don’t let other family members, including your husband if he’s overzealous, prevent them from reconnecting with you. Especially if you’ve been away at a hospital birth is this true. Don’t make a big deal over the new baby. Let them hug and kiss YOU and then notice the baby (who ideally should not be in your arms for this little reunion).

Don’t feel guilty.

It’s very common for moms to feel guilty about displacing their older child. I know I certainly felt this way when I was pregnant with my second child. I grieved for what I felt was a loss, and I was worried about my older son - as if he was losing something instead of gaining!

Remember that children have been dealing with the arrival of siblings since the beginning of time! They will be just fine, and will gain a playmate and perhaps a lifelong friend. Be positive about the transition and your child will likely pick up on your emotions.

Practice babywearing.

A baby sling or carrier can be invaluable for several reasons. For one, you can have your hands free in a sling, meaning you can play with a toddler almost like baby’s not there, where s/he naps peacefully. You’ll always have a free arm to pour a glass of milk, get a snack, offer a hug, a boost onto the swings, or to hold a book to read a story. Kids don’t mind so much the arrival of a new sibling as they mind the demand on your time. If you can still do most of the stuff you did before, it’s all good. walking in Garnethill
Creative Commons License photo credit: PhylB

Be prepared for your own emotions.

Nature has set things up so that your priority is to your newborn infant, and that’s as it should be. A lot of times we are surprised by the ferocity of our own feelings of loyalty to our new babies. It’s not that we don’t love our toddlers, because we do.

But during the early weeks, don’t be surprised at your feelings. You might see your toddler differently and are a little afraid that you’ve fallen out of love with him!

Don’t worry! These feelings will subside, and you’ll soon be seeing your toddler through normal eyes. A little extra sleep helps too!

Some recommended resources:

On Mother’s Lap

This book helps young children to see the “expandable” quality of a mother’s love.

The New Baby

I loved reading this book to kids #2 and #3 before and after baby #4 came along. They loved it too.

Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too

A wonderful book to teach you all about empathic listening and dealing with kid’s strong emotions.

Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond

A must read for a mom who is nursing while pregnant and wants to know “what to expect” afterwards.

Maya Wrap Baby Sling

This was my favorite all time sling. The unstitched style of the tail and no padding make it great for getting a truly hands free hold.

What was your experience with helping your older child make the adjustment to a new baby?

Challenges of Being a New Mom

September 13, 2008 | 8 Comments


Creative Commons License photo credit: mahalie

During our pregnancies, especially with our first baby, many of us spent a lot of time imagining what motherhood would be like.

We saw peaceful scenes in our mind like rocking our babies in a recliner while they effortlessly breastfeed.

We imagine the things we’ll do while baby sleeps the hours away. We wash and fold (and refold) baby clothes and get the baby’s things ready. We daydream about our little one and how we’ll care for him.

Often, we’re quite unprepared for the reality of the experience of new motherhood.

While having children is a blessing, the postpartum period is one of huge adjustments. In fact, there probably is no other experience that is more life altering than the entry into parenthood!

Our expectations are often quite different from the reality. Many new moms experience some or many of the following challenges:

Fussy babies - Having a colicky or fussy, “high need” infant can shatter a new mom’s confidence and cause major stress. When your baby cries for hours at a time, it can put strain on your relationship with the baby’s father and undermine your emotional well being.

Often there is little that can be done for a fussy baby other than holding him and waiting for him to outgrow it.Some babies will feel better if they nurse all the time - this was certainly true of my oldest. A baby sling can be a lifesaver for fussy babies. Research shows that babies cry less when they are “worn” close to the mothers body.

Mood swings - The baby blues is a very common experience for new moms in our society, and there are many theories as to why so many moms experience this phenomenon.Contributing factors may be: the stress of such a massive life change, sleep deprivation, the physical demands of childbirth, lack of proper support, and hormonal adjustments.

After I had my first baby, I would have persistent thoughts of tripping near an open window and throwing him out. It was a little scary, but the feelings subsided, especially when I got some more sleep.

Certainly it is wise for a new mom to lower her expectations of herself. Getting out of the house for some socializing, exercise, and sunlight can be a huge help. Good nutrition and avoiding sugar and caffeine are also smart moves. Read more about breastfeeding and postpartum depression here.

Relationship difficulties - Some new moms become resentful of their partners. While a mom’s life changes drastically after the birth of a new baby, a dad’s life doesn’t change so much. His apparent freedom can be the cause of negative feelings. If you read the magazines at the checkout counter, Angelina Jolie seems to be suffering from a little of this.

Good communication skills are important here. Moms can tell their partners what they need, and affirm his place and importance in the family. Letting him care for the baby on his own to learn his own style is a good idea.

Bonding issues - When moms read about the bonding that is so essential for baby’s development, they’re sometimes stressed or worried if they don’t feel an instant connection with their new infantsHe likes it. Bonding is different for each mother/baby dyad.

Some moms experience an instant feeling of deep love for their newborn infants the moment baby is put into their arms. For others, the feeling develops over time. There is no right or wrong way to bond.

One thing that helps a mother develop a deep attachment to her baby is to wear him close to her body in a baby sling. Babywearing helps baby adjust to postpartum life gradually, leading to less crying. A happier baby means a happier mom. It’s also easier for mom to get things done around the house, increasing her sense of accomplishment.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ja-nelle

Breastfeeding challenges - Breastfeeding can be a wonderful experience, and for some mothers it comes easily. Others experience difficulties.I will never forget when my big sister asked me if I planned on breastfeeding. I told her, “Of course!”. She said that after the first few weeks things would get easier, and that it could be a little tough right at first. She said this while latching on her own 6 month old at the breast. I was so ignorant - I remembered thinking, “What’s the big deal? You put the baby on your nipple and they drink!“  :)

Painful breastfeeding can increase the risk of postpartum depression, but successful breastfeeding decreases the risk. A mom who is experiencing pain should get help immediately. Often all that is needed is a slight adjustment in positioning or latch to stop the pain.

New moms need support and information to have a happier postpartum adjustment. Talking with other mothers can be extremely helpful. Thankfully there are many mother’s groups that a new mom can reach out to in order to get the community she needs. Groups like La Leche League, Holistic Moms Network, Attachment Parenting International, and others.

What about you? How was your experience of being a new mom different from the reality? How did you cope with the transition?

Recommended Resources for New Moms:

* The Hidden Feelings of Motherhood

This is an amazing book that every mother should read. Written by one of my favorite authors, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD. It examines the feelings commonly felt by new moms in our culture and how to help yourself during the transition.

* The One-Armed Cook: Quick and Easy Recipes, Smart Meal Plans, and Savvy Advice for New (and Not-So-New) Moms

This was my favorite cookbook after my 4th child was born. Everything in its pages can be created with only one hand! Written by attachment parenting enthusiasts and foodie moms, this cookbook will make it possible for you to feed yourself again. I promise!

* 25 Things Every New Mother Should Know

Martha and Bill Sears have 8 kids between them. He’s a Pediatrician, she a nurse and La Leche League Leader. Think they know some secrets about surviving postpartum? Oh yeah. This one is easy to read in snippets while you’re sitting in the nursing chair.

And finally:

* Porn for New Moms: From the Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative

Save the hate mail ladies. Wait until you check it out. :) Because laughter is a great cure for the new mom blues!

Confessions of a Baby Sling Junkie

August 28, 2008 | Leave a Comment

by Lexi Rodrigo

I confess: I have owned 6 baby slings. I say “owned” because I’ve thrown away 1 and given away another, so now I have 4.

Creative Commons License photo credit: *clairity*

Why would anybody need 6 baby slings? If you have to ask, then maybe you’ll never understand. Or maybe you just haven’t experienced the joys of babywearing.

My first ever baby sling was an Over the Shoulder Baby Holder (OSBH), a gift from my sister in the States. It saved my life. My baby then would not stay asleep if you put her down. So in the sling she went and I happily went about my day with her asleep in the sling. I enjoyed taking her out shopping because she would sleep and sleep in the sling, the rocking motion of me walking keeping her in a deep slumber. The sales clerks would remark at how well my baby slept.

Then came baby #3 six years later. I’m convinced global warming is true, because this time the OSBH became much too hot for tropical weather (whereas I have a picture of baby #2 in the OSBH while we were at the beach). I could strip the baby down to his diapers but I would still be drenched in sweat. So I bought a very lightly padded, pure cotton sling. Ahh, what comfort!

And then I heard about solarveil slings. Living in a tropical country back then and making frequent trips to the pool or the beach, I just had to have one. It was wonderfully cool and dried up quickly. Plus, it gave my baby sun protection.

But when baby #3 started getting squirmy and wanted in and out of my arms frequently, I knew it was time for a pouch. I’d read that it was easy to pop baby in and out of the pouch because you didn’t have to adjust it. Besides, a pouch had less fabric than a sling and so would be even cooler and much easier to pack in a bag. I sewed my first pouch, but my baby soon outgrew it.

So I went on a hunt for an adjustable pouch. There aren’t many, but they do exist. I investigated pouches with buttons or snaps. I chose the kind with velcro. I thought it would be great for DH to be able to wear baby, too, but he preferred to simply carry the baby in his bare arms. My adjustable pouch was great for when the baby, by now a toddler, wanted my attention while I was making dinner. I would pop him in the pouch, swing the pouch behind me and have the little tyke watching over my shoulder. He’d be contented and we could eat.

Then the toddler started getting too heavy for me. I have a bad back to begin with. I read that a wrap carrier and Asian-style baby slings were good for Moms with bad backs because they distributed the child’s weight evenly across both shoulders. Of course, I had to have one, too. To cut down on costs, I sewed it myself, following instructions I found on the Internet. I made a hybrid mei-tai carrier with long straps like a wrap.

It was comfortable on my back, but it was extremely difficult to put on and take off. It took me several minutes to tie all the straps together. If I wanted to carry baby on my back, I needed another person to make sure I didn’t drop the baby. I’ve seen videos of women doing this all by themselves, so I know it can be done. However, I didn’t trust myself. And then when the baby wanted down, I fumbled for a long time with the knots I had tied so well to keep baby secure. What’s more, it was hot! I gave that carrier away.

Now I’m left with 4 baby slings. With baby #3 turning 2 soon, I hardly ever carry him for extended periods any more. He has truly gotten much too heavy. I’m packing away the slings. No, I’ll probably donate them or sell them on Ebay, because I don’t think there will be a baby #4.

It’s been a sweet time, my babywearing days.

To grab your free natural parenting newsletter and receive more babywearing information, visit http://www.natural-moms.com.

Mushie Tushie Eco Friendly Baby Clothing Line Launches

July 17, 2008 | Leave a Comment

MUSHIE TUSHIE, AN ECO-FRIENDLY BABY CLOTHING LINE, LAUNCHES 

Wayne, NJ, July 10th, 2008 - Three women today announced the launch of Mushie Tushie, an eco-friendly retailer providing cute and functional organic clothing for babies. 

“Making our clothing eco- friendly was our number one priority, ” says Molly Sugarman, co-founder of Mushie Tushie. “Not only are our materials better for the environment, but the organic cotton and water-based dyes are much healthier for baby’s gentle skin.” 

This launch will include two product lines; Monthsies, a set of onesies marking baby’s first year milestones, and 1sies: Holiday Edition, a line of onesies decorated for baby’s first holidays. All of the onesies are made of certified 100% organic cotton, and printed with water-based low impact dyes. “We wanted to provide all the designs in one place, an offering we hadn’t seen before. These make perfect gifts for new moms and babies.” 

As Mushie Tushie grows, they hope to expand their product offering, always keeping to their promise of making cute and healthy clothing for Mushie Tushies everywhere. 

For additional information, please visit www.mushietushie.com or contact Molly Sugarman at info@mushietushie.com

Frugal Friday: Natural Product Discount Alerts

April 11, 2008 | Leave a Comment

PhotobucketAmazon is offering some nice discounts on natural and organic products in April, including:

Save $2 on Neti Pots (and if you don’t know what in the heck a Neti Pot is, find out cause they come in real handy during allergy season. Read about this Neti Pot system.)

$10 off Natural and Organic personal care products

Save $20 on Eco Friendly Cleaning products

Save $10 on Rechargeable batteries (this is nice because rechargeables require a bigger up front investment, but boy I love them! You know how kids go through batteries!)

Save $20 on NatureMade supplements

 AND Cute Baby Shoes has a special 50% off coupon code! It is: secretsale

Just go here to shop (before April 12!) and get half off your order. Cute Baby Shoes offer soft soled leather shoes for babies and toddlers - and they are true to their name. ;)

ONE MORE:

GAIAM is offering $10 - $20 off your order. This one expires April 17th.
Gaiam.com, Inc

You’re welcome. :-)

 

Review: Weston A. Price Foundation Membership

April 9, 2008 | 7 Comments

Well. I just spent 45 minutes writing this review, then hit “save and continue editing” and the article disappeared. Of course, I should have hit “save and continue editing” before I had been writing for 45 minutes.

Nutrition and Physical DegenerationSo you had better read this post and appreciate it dadgummit!

I read  Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price 3 years ago and was blown away. You know my overall philosophy of nutrition is a bit jaded, right?

But reading this book changed me a lot. It also made more sense than anything I had ever read before about nutrition.

Dr. Weston A. Price was a Dentist. He started to notice that his patients who were experiencing tooth decay and other dental problems often had chronic debilitating illness. So, in a quest to find out the secret to health, he set out to travel the world.

Dr. Price traversed the globe - he studied isolated peoples from the Swiss to the Gaelic islanders, from Inuit peoples in Greenland to Polynesians in the South Seas. He became fascinated by the fact that these folks - as long as they were eating their native diets - had no dental caries nor did they suffer orthodontia ills. They lived healthy lives into old age with no chronic illness, and the elderly stayed sharp in mind too. He also noticed that the women had a much easier time of labor and delivery.

Despite the fact that these folks had no toothbrushes or floss and had certainly never seen a Dentist before, they had broad, beautiful smiles with almost perfect teeth! While I wouldn’t necessarily vouch for their morning breath, the fact remains that they seemed immune to dental issues that plagued even “healthy” people in industrialized nations - Dr. Price’s contemporaries.

Dr. Price was determined to find out why this was so. So he began to study their diets. What he found was that as long as these isolated people kept eating the traditional foods, the effect remained. When they strayed (often as a result of “white man” diets thanks to the missionaries - white flour, white sugar, jams, candies, canned fruits and smiles.jpgveggies) they suffered quickly. The next generation would be born with crowded teeth, small jaws, maloclussions and they even became less physically attractive (how’s that for motivation to eat better? Prettier kids!).

While the diets of these people were extremely varied, they had several things in common. Some of these commonalities were:

  • An emphasis on animal foods. There were no vegetarians anywere to be found. All the cultures placed a very high value on animal protein - fish, meats, organs, eggs, dairy products. They went to especially great lengths to be sure that children and women in their reproductive years had these foods.
  • Lots and lots of fat. Whether is was coconut oil and palm oil or raw, nonhomogenized butter and milk, these peoples ate a large percentage of their calories as fat.
  • Specially prepared sprouted grains, naturally fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, kim chi and the like, and cultured dairy in the form of kefir, buttermilk, cultured butter.

There were a few other similarities but these were the most important. Here is a quote from the website that puts it succintly:

When Dr. Price analyzed the foods used by isolated peoples he found that, in comparison to the American diet of his day, they provided at least four times the water-soluble vitamins, calcium and other minerals, and at least TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins, from animal foods such as butter, fish eggs, shellfish, organ meats, eggs and animal fats–the very cholesterol-rich foods now shunned by the American public as 902652_cows_in_field.jpgunhealthful.

These healthy traditional peoples knew instinctively what scientists of Dr. Price’s day had recently discovered–that these fat-soluble vitamins, vitamins A and D, were vital to health because they acted as catalysts to mineral absorption and protein utilization. Without them, we cannot absorb minerals, no matter how abundant they may be in our food.”

 That last sentence was a bit chilling. To think that as a mom I could take great care to feed my kids well - but missing one important element, they would not get the benefit!

Shortly after, I purchased Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats, still one of my favorite cookbooks. The rebel in you just has to love the title! It’s far more than a cookbook though. It’s a research guide, home arts reference, nutrition book and more. It’s also kind of the official cookbook of the Weston A Price Foundation - its author, Sally Fallon, is the founder of WaPF.

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the ideas of the late Dr. Price. (They’re also the folks behind RealMilk.org) I joined two months ago and am enjoying the quarterly journal, Wise Traditions, immensely. It’s far more than a magazine - this is a publication you STUDY, not read. I’m still working through my first two issues. I “read” them with pen in hand so that I can make notes to help me remember things I’m learning and can refer to in the future. And I enjoy the letters from readers all over the world immensely - they’re full of great tips and inspiring stories of people who have enjoyed tremendous health changes as a result of changing their diet to a more traditional one. I’m also very impressed with the depth of research that obviously goes into the articles. They delve deep and take a bit of work to get through.

When you join WaPF as a member, you also get a handy-dandy Shopping Guide to keep in your purse when you go to the store. It helps you make better food choices and recommends specific name brands.

Another neat thing about the magazine are the resources and advertisers in the back - they’re carefully screen to be “WaPF” friendly. They don’t just accept any advertiser willynilly. So you can feel good about supporting these small, local farmers who use sustainable methods to produce organic products.

It’s scary what’s happening to our food supply in this country - the megamonopolistic food conglomerates who control (according to industry experts) 98% of the food industry are making our food cheaper, faster and cardboard-er every day. They don’t care about your health or your family’s health. Eating their food is making us fat yet simultaneously malnourished. We’re slaves to our cravings and to the hundreds of additives (some of which are put in there just to trick our brains and taste buds into craving more) that are surreptitiously put into these fake foods.

It’s enough to make a mother mad. ;)

There is a lot more I could say about Weston A Price, and I am planning a series of articles to publish on this blog on the topics of raw milk, cod liver oil and grass fed meat. But for now I’ll just share two things about the WaP style of eating that have been pretty huge for me.

  1. For one, I’ve had stomach problems all my life. While a lot of this is due to stress (I put all my stress into my stomach!), I also have had issues with dairy products. Drinking one glass of milk would have me hurting.

    Not so with raw milk. I can drink it all day long and never have the first stomach pain. It makes so much sense to me. Just as human breastmilk has enzymes to help baby digest it easily, raw milk contains the enzymes that make IT easy to digest. I love it and have been drinking it for several years now. Raw milk also works wonders on my cravings for sweets (probably because of the fat content).

  2. Secondly - soaked grains. I’ve had issues with low blood sugar and hypoglycemia since I was a kid. I don’t do well with wheat at all, but I can eat oats… but they would trigger episodes of low blood sugar. I could eat a bowl of oatmeal in the morning and be shaky and weak 30 minutes later.

    However, when I soak my oats overnight (with an acid medium - such as a tablespoon of whey or sour milk in the soaking water), I can go all morning without getting hungry or feeling ill. I’m convinced that the reason for this is because since soaked grains are far easier to digest - and the body can get the full benefit of the minerals and vitamins due to a long soaking process that disables the phytates (enzyme inhibitors), I’m simply getting more nutrition from the same bowl of oatmeal!

coconut and coconut oil benefitsI have already sung the wonders of coconut oil… for one, it keeps me regular. And that is a huge blessing. ;) It also seems to help with my joint and muscle aches. My mother has fibromyalgia, and I’ve suffered with aches and pains since I was in my early 20’s, but the coconut oil seems to keep me lubricated… probably due to the antioxidants and healthy fats.

Check back later on this week for more about other tenets of the Weston A Price style of eating. And I encourage you to look into making a tax deductible contribution and joining WaPF.

 

Attachment Parenting International Announces New Parenting Education Program

April 2, 2008 | 1 Comment

attachment parenting internationalLast year on the show, I was honored to interview Lysa Parker, cofounder of Attachment Parenting International.

Attachment parenting was a word I heard a Mom say over 9 years ago at a meeting for parents who had taken Bradley Method childbirth classes. I thought it sounded so strange, but then I realized it embodied what I believed and what I had been doing with my young baby: cosleeping, nursing on cue, responding to baby’s needs, wearing him in a soft cloth carrier, etc. 

API has some exciting stuff going on right now to help parents learn and keep the principles of attachment parenting and I’m happy to help them spread the word.

What Is Attachment Parenting International?

API is a non-profit organization that promotes parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents. Some of the changes they would like to announce include:

  • A newly redesigned web site and new logo at Attachment Parenting.org;
  • Attachment parenting worldwide support forums;
  • Parent Education Program - a comprehensive series of classes for every stage and age of child development from infancy through adulthood;
  • A new book based on API’s Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting by API co-founders Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson which is expected to be available this summer;
  • A series of podcasts, webinars, chats, and forums with API Advisory Board members and other supporters of AP. Future events are scheduled with Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. James McKenna, and Kathleen Kendall Tacket. Check out the events page for more information.

These are just a few of many exciting things going on at API. I hope you’ll stop by and check it out for yourself.

Just When I Thought It Was Safe to Read Parents Magazine

March 21, 2008 | 9 Comments

My incredible waste of paper Parents magazine arrived in the mail yesterday. As I’ve said before, I didn’t subscribe to this publication. It was a incredible waste of trees gift from a well meaning friend. I thought there was hope for them after last year’s “Green” issue, but apparently not. I’ve thought of asking them to stop sending the magazine, but their dumb parenting advice is such great blog fodder. ;)

Their latest bit of bad journalism was an op-ed piece on cloth diapering. First they start with the usual refrain,

Cloth diapering is too haaaaaarrrrdddd!…”

Oh, whine me a river. Birth is hard. Parenting is hard. Relationships are hard. Life is hard sometimes. Get over it already!

While I do give the guy props for at least trying cloth diapering, I’m so very disappointed in his very (in my opinion) biased and inaccurate depiction of what cloth diapering is really like.

Parents magazine seems to have a real prejudice against everything involved with natural parenting. Of course, I’m sure that has nothing to do with the fact that their advertisers with the deepest pockets are formula companies, does it?) Breastfeeding is TOO hard. Don’t try to make it work. Natural birth it TOO hard. Don’t try to endure the pain (nevermind it serves a useful biological purpose and is better for you and the baby). Nighttime parenting to TOO hard. Don’t answer your baby’s cries, buy earplugs. Do not get me started on the circumcision article they published awhile back.

Women are too weak to endure the pain of birth, remember? My personal view was that if I couldn’t get through a few hours of pain to birth my kid, how was I going to get through its adolescence?

But then they got really stupid. They started attacking the environmental superiority of cloth over disposables. That’s when I got irritated.

The piece referenced a British study that claimed that cloth diapers were not more eco friendly than disposables, but anyone with any common sense could poke holes in this “scientific” study. First of all, they didn’t look at the way cloth diapers are typically used. (Did you know there is a study that said that single use disposable coffee cups were more eco friendly commuter mugs? I’m not kidding.)

Every parent I have ever known who used cloth diapers did some or all of the following:

  • They bought used cloth diapers (some or all of their stash)
  • They sold or gave away their cloth diapers when the kid was potty trained (instead of tossing them in the trash)drying cloth diapers on the line
  • They used their diaper stash for a second or third or fourth (or more) baby
  • They used their old cloth diapers as cleaning rags
  • They made or bought cloth diapers sewn from recycled flannel baby blankets

That one thing (the almost infinite reusability of cloth diapers) blows this study out of the water because it didn’t take that factor into consideration.

Many cloth diapering parents also hang their diapers out to dry (using the bleaching properties of the sun). Most cloth diapering parents also don’t rinse every diaper (flushing afterwards would point to more water use). Even if they only rinsed the poopies, they don’t do it until the poopies are solid (around 6 months) and by then, the baby is only pooping once or twice a day anyway, meaning one or two extra flushes a day.

And if you wanted, you could time your own potty usage with changing baby’s diapers. I always did this. When I changed baby, I would go afterwards so I only had to wash my hands once after all was said and done.

You see, there is this little invention called a Washing Machine. It works remarkably well for removing all kinds of soiled clothing and I highly recommend it! ;)

I love the quote on page 128 that says:

“Maybe, I thought, the disposable diaper is one of those inventions, like toilet paper, that the Western world just can’t live without - no matter the environmental impact. After all, if we really wanted to, we could wipe our own butts with cloth and throw the cloths into the wash every night.”

Ooh, what kind of freak would do a thing like that? ;)

Another issue that was never even mentioned in the article is the health and safety superiority of cloth. I blogged before about being praised by my baby’s Pediatrician for using cloth, because, to quote him, disposables contribute to asthma and are bad for baby’s skin. Cloth diapered babies experience less rash and less yeast infection, and also tend to potty train several months before disposable diapered babies. There is also a concern with our little boy’s privates being wrapped up in hot plastic for the first two years of his life (or longer).

None of this was mentioned in the article. Then at the end, this little jab:

“And while I think it’s extremely important to make sacrifices for the environment, I need to be sure that my sacrifices are making a difference - especially when the thing I’m sacrificing is the most important time of all: time with Isaac.”

Oh please! Now the author gets to feel superior as a parent because he does two fewer loads of laundry a week than me. Yes, I admit it. I had to take my attention off my babies (who were usually strapped in a sling while I did laundry) to do those two extra loads a week. Poor things! The emotional pain and suffering they must have endured. ;)

I came across this “Project Educate Parents” thread on Diaper Swappers. It’s worth a read if you want more info on why this argument is so very sillbig cloth diaper butty. Here’s another great article tackling why cloth is so much easier on the environment. Read some of the comments from cloth diapering parents to the article online.

All I’m sayin’ is, if you don’t want to do cloth diapers, at least be honest about it and admit you’re too lazy or grossed our by dealing with your kid’s poop and would rather pass along TWO TONS of biohazard waste and plastic in the landfill (per kid). Don’t come up with junk science and incredibly silly excuses already.

But, you can always make up for that by taking their recommendation to buy a diaper bag made from recycled materials. LOL!

Vax Makers Under Investigation, Belgian Parents Face Jail

March 17, 2008 | 1 Comment

948669_blue_syringe.jpgVax makers under investigation - French authorities have launched a formal investigation against two vaccine companies in reference to the Hep B vaccine.

Did you hear that Belgian parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids with the polio immunization may face jail time?

Belgian polio prison

You know my favorite part of this article? This part:

“Dr. Steve Cochi, an immunization expert at the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…  

He said that unlike other medical problems, in which rejecting treatment only affects the individual, refusing a vaccine for a transmissible disease like polio puts others at risk as well.

Most of the time, polio outbreaks do spill into the general population,” Cochi said.

(Emphasis mine all mine.)

Does this statement make any sense? If the polio vaccine was responsible for ending polio in this country (the facts show it wasn’t, and most cases of polio in the 1990’s in this country were caused by the OPV, the live polio vaccine), then wouldn’t unvaccinated children only be a danger to themselves? How does polio “spill into the general (vaccinated) population unless it doesn’t work?

“It is commonly believed that the Salk vaccine was responsible for halting the polio epidemics that plagued American children in the 1940s and 1950s. If so, why did the epidemics also end in Europe, where polio vaccine was not so extensively used?” — Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D.

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, I may not be a smart woman, but I know what junk science is!

 

Mommy Brains

March 11, 2008 | 2 Comments

662734_moms_love.jpgEvery Mom has noticed this phenomenon I call “Mommy Brains”. Forgetting a word you’re looking for, leaving the house without your wallet … I always assumed that some of this is probably just the amazing amount of stuff that moms have to keep up with moment by moment.

That, and a bit of God-given amnesia. How else could you explain that a woman could go through pain for hours to birth a baby, then the moment he’s born forget it instantly? (Some even go so far as to turn to their partner and utter, “Let’s do this again as soon as possible!”)

Turns out there may be something to this whole Mommy Brain thing. Researchers have found that Momnesia is real, and due to several factors, including plummeting estrogen levels, sleep cycle changes, and change in focus (mom can notice when something is “off” in her infant before anyone else can).

I am finding that I have a hard time finishing sentences lately. It bothers me a little because I used to consider myself to be a good conversationalist whereas how I feel somewhat insecure because of my inability to find the right word quickly.

What about you? Have you had a funny (or not so funny) Mommy Brain moment? Has Mommy Brain gotten better for you as your kids get older?

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