Saturday, February 27, 2010

Let's talk 'Babytalk'

I am what can commonly be referred to as a "geek." I read. A LOT. So if someone tells me that the letter Q is actually the letter B, I'm going to research it until I can either prove or disprove them.

Because I, as a mother of a nearly-11-month-old infant and also the official Laundry Manager and Chef of the house (and 'mommy' to four small dogs), can manage to research things, I think that it's not too much to ask that magazines, who are claiming to have some know-how, should have to do research, too.

Now, I'm not 100% opposed to Babytalk Magazine. They DO promote breastfeeding. But for the most part, Babytalk Magazine is (a free magazine that is) mainly a vehicle for advertising a lot of unnecessary baby gimmicks.

Recently, they published two articles that bothered me (both were published in the March 2010 issue).

In their first article, "Cravings," under the Bedtime Browsing category, they say that bed-sharing actually increases the risk of SIDS. Okay, look... that is just patently ridiculous. It has been proven through multiple* studies that mother-infant bed-sharing actually DECREASES the risk of SIDS. Most deaths caused by co-sleeping are, in fact, caused by adult mistake and not by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (an unexplained sudden loss of life). If you research safe co-sleeping (which I recommend), then the chances of you rolling onto your infant are very, very low. If you're STILL worried about it, set up a side-car situation with a co-sleeper or a crib, so the baby can still benefit from having his mommy right next to him throughout the night, responding to his cues to nurse.

Their second article, though, has raised a lot of hackles. The Woman from "Woman, Uncensored" has a whole blog post about it, and I definitely recommend you check it out: Dear Babytalk

It's bad enough that they recommend manipulating and infant's foreskin in ANY fashion (which is a huge no-no; would you want someone pulling up your fingernail to clean underneath it? of course not! this is no different), but Babytalk wasn't even truly apologetic for their misinformation. This was the best they managed.

Let it be known right here, right now that the foreskin of an infant IS NOT TO BE MANIPULATED IN ANY FASHION. Not by you, not by your pediatrician, not be a pediatric nurse, not by your midwife. It is attached to the glans (head of the penis) for a REASON, and it will separate on its own schedule when it is ready to do so (usually somewhere between the 5th year of life and the teen years).

Yes, Babytalk is a free magazine, but they should still do at least basic research (Google is your friend) before publishing articles that scream "SIDS!" and "RETRACTION!" to people who may not double-check everything as obsessively as I do.


* Here are just a few pro-bed-sharing studies:
J.J. McKenna et al., "Sleep and arousal patterns of co-sleeping human mother/infant pairs: a preliminary physiological study with implications for the study of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)," Am J Phys Anthropol 83, no. 3 (Nov 1990): 331-47.
S. Mosko et al., "Infant arousals during mother-infant bed sharing: implications for infant sleep and sudden infant death syndrome research," Pediatrics 100, no. 5 (Nov 1997): 841-9.
S. Mosko et al., "Maternal sleep and arousals during bedsharing with infants," Sleep 20, no 2 (Feb 1997): 142-50.
S. Farouqi et al., "Ethnic differences in infant-rearing practices and their possible relationship to the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)," Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol (England) 7, no. 3 (Jul 1993): 245-52.
N. Watanabe et al., "Epidemiology of sudden infant death syndrome in Japan," Acta Paediat Jpn (Japan) 36, no. 3 (June 1994): 329-32.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Natural food

I thought it would be good to warn anyone who reads this blog that next month, there will be daily updates. Why the change, you might wonder. It's because the Husbeast and I have made a commitment to try and go 100% raw for 30 days.

"What is raw?" Well, the raw diet is a way of eating that eliminates all cooked foods from your diet, meaning that you eat fruits, veggies, sprouts, nuts, and legumes... all raw, of course.

"Doesn't that mean eating a lot of salads?" No way! There are thousands of raw recipes (or 'rawcipes,' if you're feeling especially dorky) that can be compared to cooked food recipes. The other evenings, I made "Italian Rawsage" (comparable in flavor to Italian sausage) to take to a raw get-together, and while I didn't like it (but, hey, I don't like Italian sausage, either), the other people at the get-together scarfed down two big plates of the stuff, leaving only one rawsage patty behind (which the Husbeast has for breakfast this morning; to each their own).

If I seem rather unenthusiastic about this diet, it's because I do enjoy my cooked foods. I like pork chops, I love hamburgers, I can down chicken soup like nobody's business. And pastries? Boy, do I love pastries. But I have Lupus, and I've had it since I was 15. So for 12 years (almost 13 now; whoops, now you know my age!) I've suffered with daily pain, and had to deal with Central Nervous System involvement which did cause mild brain damage, and the most random collection of symptoms I've ever heard of: open ulcers inside my mouth, the swelling of the cartilage in my throat, elbows that I couldn't straighten because of the pain, a cyst on my spine that presses on my sciatic nerve... I've had ENOUGH!

All the research I've done into the raw diet seems to indicate that it might be able to heal the body of diseases like Lupus, or fibromyalgia, or diabetes, or cancer. So for the next 30 days, for my sake and for the sake of my Husbeast and Baby Beast, I'll be eating a 100% raw vegan diet in the hopes of seeing a lot of improvement. If I see it, I may continue the diet. But for the month of March, I'll be updating daily with different recipes and how I'm feeling and how things are going.

If nothing else, you'll get to experience the journey of one mommy toward a healthier, more natural life. Or hear confessions of one mommy sneaking a HoHo on day 15. We'll see.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A table for one (small person)

When a large box from Lord Company arrived, I got understandably excited. So did the Baby Beast, but for a totally different reason: huge box in the house? That's just cool!

I rolled it through the house, with the baby trying to manhandle (babyhandle?) it away from me so he could slap it and chew on the corners, but I finally managed to get it opened and unwrapped a pound or so of plastic wrap and an interesting cloth/paper padding and found my absolutely gorgeous wood table and infant chair.

The Baby Beast was surprisingly enthusiastic about his new table and chair once I got them set up. For one thing, they were something new in the house (which is always a reason for celebration; we get a new pot holder and he wants to manipulate it for ten minutes and check all the angles on it); but I think the main draw to him was the fact that here was furniture that was baby-sized! He could stand up next to the table and look over it, and pat it, and drool on it... without being lifted up to it! He could pull his own chair out, and push it around the room, by himself!

This goes along with the Montessori belief that children need child-sized things that they can manipulate themselves. As adults, the world is sized for us. The tables, chairs - really, all the furniture - is sized for large people. To an infant, everything is giant sized and hard to manipulate. Everything feels awkward to them, and they are left feeling somewhat out of place.

High chairs are even more awkward for them, something they have no hope of getting into or out of. Providing furniture sized for them helps them feel less out of place.

Seeing the Baby Beast's obvious enthusiasm for his new table and chair convinced me that it was a wonderful idea.

It has also made baby-led weaning so much easier. Since he's no longer sitting so high up in the air, he isn't doing the typical baby experiments of tossing food off the side of his chair to see what happens. He's been getting into eating with gusto since we've started using his table and chair.

Of course, there is one obvious drawback to him being so close to the floor... he's that much closer to the clean-up crew when he decides he's done.

And he never has any shame about it, either.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The joys of co-sleeping

Have you ever had a co-sleeping night that is Just Not That Restful, and amazingly it is not due to the baby? We definitely had one of those last night, and the blame rests entirely on the poor, much maligned Husbeast.

We are in the process of finding a good king sized mattress to upgrade to (and it's a process, all right; I have SLE, and that means i need a squishy-yet-supportive mattress if i want to be able to move the next morning without immense pain) and that means that there are three in the bed on a queen sized mattress. Now, this worked wonderfully when the Baby Beast was smaller (which was for oh, about a week or two). Now he's 31" tall and 27lb large.

Last night was one of those difficult nights where Husbeast has a case of the twitchies, and they continuously wake both me and the Baby Beast. And since he keeps waking the Baby Beast, the Baby Beast responds in kind - by kicking him in the lower back.

Finally, at around 5:45am, the Husbeast apparently had his fill of this, and he got noisily out of bed and laid down somewhere else. I wasn't terribly concerned about where he settled, because I was frantically trying to convince the Baby Beast that no, really, we didn't need to get up yet (his usual 'good morning, world, here i am!' time is about 7:15-7:30am, and i wanted that hour and a half of sleep).

Our usual wake up time arrived, and Baby Beast and I woke up. And lo and behold, I found the Husbeast... sleeping on the Baby Beast's floor bed. I really should've taken pictures. Next time, I will (oh, yes, i expect it to happen again; how could it not?)