Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend AP Round-up: Oct. 23-29

I've decided to do a weekly attachment/natural parenting link/article roundup, as often as I can manage it. Throughout the week, I come across lots of fantastic articles, studies, and videos that support natural parenting, and I'd like to share them with anyone who might be browsing through my archives looking for good reasons to love their child.

The Human Baby
"A human baby born today, to any parents anywhere in the world, would have no trouble fitting into a hunter-gatherer society. He evolved to do so. On the other hand, any baby born today in modern society does not fit our world, nor would any baby born in the past fit it either. Babies (and mothers) have not changed in their reproductive biological or genetic structure; it is society and mothers who have changed in their response to, and in their attitude toward, babies. We no longer value and support mothering or the babies' critical need to develop in relation to a tender, nurturing mother. We have deviated from the nurturing aspect of reproductive biology by changing the baby's "someone"."

Why Holding Your Baby May Save Her Life
"Who needs warmers and all of that equipment in normal situations? Mom is nature's perfect warmer, and baby learns smooth respiration and heart rate from lying on mom's chest! Allowed to move freely, baby even can latch on and begin breastfeeding on its own."

Watch Your Language
"Try this on: You have been crippled in a serious accident. Your physicians and physical therapists explain that learning to walk again would involve months of extremely painful and difficult work with no guarantee of success. They help you adjust to life in a wheelchair, and support you through the difficulties that result. Twenty years later, when your legs have withered beyond all hope, you meet someone whose accident matched your own. "It was difficult," she says. "It was three months of sheer hell. But I've been walking every since." Would you feel guilty?

Women to whom I posed this scenario told me they would feel angry, betrayed, cheated. They would wish they could do it over with better information. They would feel regret for opportunities lost. Some of the women said they would feel guilty for not having sought out more opinions, for not having persevered in the absence of information and support. But gender-engendered guilt aside, we do not feel guilty about having been deprived of a pleasure. The mother who does not breastfeed impairs her own health, increases the difficulty and expense of infant and child rearing, and dismisses one of life's most delightful relationships. She has lost something basic to her own well-being. What image of the satisfactions of breastfeeding do we convey when we use the word "guilt"?"

Breast Milk Study Furthers Understanding of Critical Ingredients
"Bryan said colostrum has significantly higher concentrations of nitrite and significantly lower concentrations of nitrate than both transition and mature milk, which he believes may be nature’s way of providing nitric oxide to the newborns whose gastrointestinal tract is not yet colonized by bacteria that convert nitrate to nitrite. Nitrite-rich colostrum overcomes this deficit, he said."

Spanking Is (Still) Wrong
"So we have one more result supporting the recommendations of groups like the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics against spanking, which they define as hitting that is done with an open hand and does not cause injury. If everyone is agreed, then, why the continuing parade of research? Because parents are not getting the message."

CIRCUMCISION: A surgery looking for a disease
"In order to combat the media attention given to claims of benefits to male genital mutilation, I’ve put together these posts, articles and citations that show the “behind the science” mis-steps that have been taken in trying to find a ‘quick fix’ for the AIDS tragedy in Africa."

One-Quarter of the Foods Kids Eat Contain Pesticides
"Researchers checked children's non-organic fruit, vegetables, and juices for 14 different varieties of pesticides. They found that more than 25 percent of the foods kids consume on a daily basis contain detectable levels of pesticides. A snack of carrot sticks may provide youngsters with a hefty dose of nutrients they need, but some of them come soaked in a pretty toxic marinade."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Learning to explore

One of my favorite haunts locally is the Science Museum Oklahoma (previously known as "the Omniplex," and honestly? that's how most oklahomans still reference it). It's a hands-on science museum with displays ranging from the history of flight (from the Wright brothers to modern-day space exploration) to the science of gymnastics to how earthquakes happen and how your teeth and mouth work.

One of their newest additions to the museum is the young children's area, and I've been taking our little ToddlerBeast (yes, i admit it... he's no longer my BabyBeast) into that area each time we go to SMO. I've had to struggle to sit back and let him explore on his own, rather than trying to take him by the hand and show him each area. It has helped that we have a new membership to SMO, so it doesn't matter if we don't get our "money's worth" each time we go in, because we can go as many times as we'd like.

So, in my sit-back-and-relax mindset, I followed the toddler as he made his way to the first area of interest: an old tractor.

Apparently, the tractor was a popular piece of the children's play area, because in the ten minutes he was pressing buttons and pulling levers, three different kids wandered in and out. He was so intent on what he was doing, his normal reaction to strange children (stare at them in alarm and escape when possible) didn't come into play. He just kept pulling levers.

Next on his to-do list was the phone display.

He is very occupied with phones... cell phones and house phones. Any time he hears a phone, he mimics holding one up to the side of his head and starts babbling. Of course, he's used to phones without cords, so playing with the SMO phones - that were practically rotary phones - left him a little... umm... troubled.

Once we ventured out of the children's area, he only had one stop in mind: the giant hot air balloon that, at the push of a button to start the burner, floats slowly up to the top of the ceiling then drifts back down to its starting point.

Eventually, though, even the balloon no longer held his interest, and he began manhandling the stroller tray, opening and closing it with great interest.

Shortly after that, though, the toddler meltdown began and we left SMO to head back home.

Since I've been going to SMO since my own childhood, it was a struggle to not drag him to all my favorite exhibits... but when I go to SMO for him, I have to remind myself that it is his adventure. My job is, as Maria Montessori said, to follow the child. When I can sit back, and allow the ToddlerBeast to be himself, he ends up showing me things I never would've noticed on my own.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekend AP Round-up: Oct. 16-22

I've decided to do a weekly attachment/natural parenting link/article roundup, as often as I can manage it. Throughout the week, I come across lots of fantastic articles, studies, and videos that support natural parenting, and I'd like to share them with anyone who might be browsing through my archives looking for good reasons to love their child.

Where’s The Evidence? 10 Ways Modern Obstetrics Ignores Evidence
"But what about the physician’s comment that modern obstetrics is based on science? Could this be a case of the Emporer that has no clothes? Modern obstetrics is riddled with accepted procedures that demonstrate how wide the gap is between practice and evidence."

You’re STILL Nursing?!
"I mentioned that I was breastfeeding in case any of the tests or prescribed medication they might give me would affect my nursing or milk content. I assume at that point she looked at my chart, saw that I gave birth 21 months ago, and said in tone that might have been appropriate if she just realized I had a Siamese twin hidden under my shirt, “You’re still nursing?!”"

Nursing For Comfort
"Friesen-Stoesz feels breastfeeding is made more difficult when we put arbitrary limits on it: “Comments like ‘he’s only nursing for comfort’ are based on ideas about schedules and how often a baby should nurse that just aren’t valid.” That’s especially true in the early weeks, says Bickford, when milk production is being established and frequent feedings are important to signal the mother’s body to produce enough milk."

Chasing Nature
"For more than a hundred years, industrious mothers, doctors, pharmacies, entrepreneurs, and corporations have been trying with varying degrees of success to perfect a manmade formula that mimics human milk. But human milk has been evolving for over 200 million mammalian years. Undaunted, the chemist rises from his chair and continues his pursuit—chasing nature but never catching up."

Induced Lactation
"For both adoptive mothers and mothers of surrogate babies, breastfeeding is about more than the milk - it's a way to connect at a deeper level with your new baby and contribute to his growth beyond the pregnancy. Although it will require time, motivation, perseverance, tenacity, and patience, breastfeeding your baby can be tremendously rewarding."

Should Children Drink Milk?
"The Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine, headed by Dr. Neil Barnard, cautions against the near universal custom of giving children pasteurized homogenized cow's milk, as it is associated with juvenile diabetes, allergies, and mucus conditions."

Can a mother's affection prevent anxiety in adulthood?
"According to the study, which followed nearly 500 infants into their 30s, babies who receive above-average levels of affection and attention from their mothers are less likely than other babies to grow up to be emotionally distressed, anxious, or hostile adults."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Taking a toddler to the park

If there's one thing I've learned about living with a toddler, it's that he and I are both happier if he's outside. Inside, I'm constantly chasing him away from things he shouldn't play with (whether its because they're choking hazards or just too easy for a curious and industrious toddler to destroy) and it feels like he and I are at odds all day long.

Not so when we're outside. The only limits I put on him outside is that he can't stick random things in his mouth (unless I approve them) and he isn't allowed to kill himself. That's it. If he wants to run around, he can run around. If he wants to hit rocks and clumps of grass with a stick, he can do that. If he wants to scream, he can scream.

This way of being especially easy to live by in a large, open park where he's a fairly safe distance from cars. Then, we can really open up and just let him go.

The rules are simple: we follow him and let him make the choices of what we're going to do. We don't try to drag him to any playground equipment or do anything that would stop him from just enjoying himself. He'll find the things he wants to play with all on his own.

We can't always give him complete autonomy, so when the opportunity presents itself, it's truly nice to let him make the choices for awhile.

The crux of this being that we don't let him out of our sight; that's the rule for when he's playing outside, especially in strange or open places. Luckily, he's usually content to drag us around with him.

That's his new thing, actually; grabbing hold of one or two of our fingers and dragging us from place to place, pointing things out to us as we go in case we've missed seeing them.

It's a chance to relax and let him be in control for awhile, something that every toddler needs.

What have you done this week to allow your little ones a chance to be their own person and make decisions for themselves?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Breasts and censorship

When should breasts be censored? This question has been on my mind lately, because there doesn't seem to be any clear-cut answer. Our society both lionizes and villainizes the human female mammaries. With two such opposite reactions to them, how can we say in what situations they're okay to be seen?

For example, take this picture of singer/TV personality Heidi Montag; does exposing this level of cleavage mean she should be censored?

If you think so, apparently you're incorrect; that picture graced the cover of Us Weekly magazine in May 2010:

But then again, magazines seem to be able to get away with putting just about anything on their covers. We've become immune to the images of cleavage and even bare breasts. If their readership will still buy the magazine, the editors have no problem asking women to bare it all for the sake of popularity and fame.

But we all know magazines are not the place to go for a look at the real world, right? After all, Photoshop has insured that the only way to be perfect is to be digitally retouched.

So magazines are not our source for what to expect as far as breasts are allowed. What about social media sites, where real women and men flock to connect and share photos and information? That would show us a slice of real-world humanity, right?


This picture is the profile image for the group I love Sluts.

So does that mean there is no real censorship of breasts anymore? Apparently, it does... unless, of course, you happen to be breastfeeding.

Believe it or not, this image of breastfeeding activist Emma Kwasnica was removed from Facebook because it violated their Terms of Use. What part, exactly, does the image violate? If you can tell me, I'd be very appreciative! Here's the message they sent Emma:

"You uploaded a photo that violates our Terms of Use, and this photo has been removed. Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence, or other violations of the Terms of Use. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children who use the site.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page at"

How, you ask, does the image of Emma nursing her toddler differ in its "nudity" versus the image from the "I love Sluts" group? The theory most women who've been censored by Facebook (and there are many) ascribe to is one of sexuality hindered; after all, in the "I love Sluts" image, women are doing what they should be doing: titillating men and inspiring fantasies. In Emma's breastfeeding photo, the inclusion of a toddler on the breast makes titillation much harder (although, apparently, not impossible... but that's a topic for another day).

So women are censored for exposing their breasts, but only when a nursing infant or toddler is included. This rule seems arbitrary... not every breastfeeding photo is censored, and some of the least objectionable (where no breast is exposed at all and the infant could be sleeping across their mother's lap) are culled simply because someone out there takes offense and reports it to the Facebook higher-ups (for great examples of photos that aren't in any way offensive other than the inclusion of nurslings, look at the first couple of photos here).

So what does it mean for our society when breasts are used to sell magazines (and cooking oil, and skin-care products, and shower gel, and snackfood, and pretty much anything else you can think of) but are censored when employed in their evolutionarily intended purpose of feeding infants?

It raises the question that if a women dolled herself up and took a photo of herself breastfeeding with plenty of cleavage exposed, and then posted two versions of the photo to Facebook - one that cuts off at just cleavage exposure and one that shows the full-length photo with the nursling - would both photos be censored, or only the one with a baby? What do you think?

So what's to be done? In a world where women are regularly kicked out of public places for breastfeeding, where photos are deleted from a social networking site, how can we fight back? By normalizing breastfeeding.

Nurse in public. Don't be afraid of what someone might say; most states have laws protecting breastfeeding mothers.

Publish photos of yourself nursing your babies and toddlers. If they get deleted, put them up again. If your account gets deleted, fight back (believe it or not, Emma Kwasnica's had her account deleted and reinstated multiple times for violating the Facebook Terms of Use... by posting breastfeeding pictures).

Talk about breastfeeding. Talk about it to coworkers, to family members, to friends.

But most of all, don't allow yourself to be censored for doing what is biologically correct for both you and your growing child. They don't have a voice to fight back; you do.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Weekend AP Roundup - Oct. 9-15

I've decided to start a weekly attachment/natural parenting link/article roundup, as often as I can manage it. Throughout the week, I come across lots of fantastic articles, studies, and videos that support natural parenting, and I'd like to share them with anyone who might be browsing through my archives looking for good reasons to love their child.

I'm posting a bit late this week... somehow, Friday was much busier than I expected, and I worked all day Saturday (although this won't be going on for much longer; I'm officially counting down the weeks until I can go back to devoting myself 100% to keeping the house and toddler from collapsing like a flan in the cupboard).

What is Crotch-Dangling? Why can't my baby face out?
"Most parents enter babywearing at the same place--structured carriers that they can buy from the local Walmart or Target. While it is wonderful that these products can introduce new parents to the joy and benefits of babywearing, most of these products are not made with baby and mother's health and comfort in mind."

A New Way of Seeing Children
"A child's rambunctiousness in public embarrasses parents, because our society expects children to remain silent and to behave as though they are mature adults - a most unrealistic and uncaring expectation. Expecting the impossible can of course only lead to disappointment and frustration for both parents and children. Just like adults, children feel most cooperative when treated with kindness, understanding, and faith in their inherent good intentions. No adult feels cooperative when treated in a threatening, angry way by a spouse, employer, or friend. In fact, we feel hurt and resentful when treated that way, and far from cooperating, we often resist or retaliate. Why then do we expect children to respond with good behavior when treated with anger, threats, or punishment?"

Birth from the baby’s perspective
"Picture this… A mother sits holding her newborn son on a postnatal ward during visiting time. One of her visitors reaches forward, grasps the baby by the head and pulls him out of his mothers arms leaving him dangling by his neck. Can you imagine the reaction of the mother and those around? Yet no one raises an eyebrow when this occurs during birth."

Study shows that infants feel and remember circumcision pain
"A study led by Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) researchers has demonstrated that not only do male infants feel pain during circumcision, they remember that pain six months later when they receive their routine vaccination. The results of the study, led by Anna Taddio, a graduate student supervised by Dr. Gideon Koren, head of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology at SickKids and a Professor of Paediatrics, Pharmacology, and Medicine at the University of Toronto, are reported in the March 1 issue of the British medical journal Lancet."

Several nations banning flu shots for babies
""The vaccines appear to be causing a pattern of neurological disorders affecting children and teens across the planet," said a report in India's Bharat Chronicle."

So, how *do* you recognize sucking vs. swallowing?
"On Monday I wrote about the importance of recognizing sucking and swallowing in figuring out what your baby is doing at the breast. It's how you can figure out if your baby is eating or nursing for comfort.* I think that this is more helpful than the common advice to wait until your baby comes off the breast on his or her own."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weekend AP Roundup - Oct. 2-8

I've decided to start a weekly attachment/natural parenting link/article roundup, as often as I can manage it. Throughout the week, I come across lots of fantastic articles, studies, and videos that support natural parenting, and I'd like to share them with anyone who might be browsing through my archives looking for good reasons to love their child.

Mothering Special Report - Attachment Parenting
"Check out this Mothering Special Report on Attachment Parenting for a host of articles, resources, and expert advice on the subject. Look through the following information and browse around the site to find all the special AP content."

Good Nutrition: Nestlé is part of the problem, not part of the solution
"The problem with this scenario is that Nestlé is one of the companies pushing unhealthy food. It is hilarious that Nestlé underscores the problem of french fries, when its Gerber Graduates meals contain more than twice as much sodium as a medium order of French Fries at McDonald’s."

Tips for Biting While Breastfeeding
"...(according to studies and meta analysis by the AAFP, WHO and multiple national lactation/pediatric/health counsels) babies need their mothers' milk until they are at least 24 months of age for normal, baseline growth and development - physically and mentally."

Cosleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Human Babies Do Not and Should Not Sleep Alone
"The term cosleeping refers to any situation in which a committed adult caregiver, usually the mother, sleeps within close enough proximity to her infant so that each, the mother and infant, can respond to each other’s sensory signals and cues. Room sharing is a form of cosleeping, always considered safe and always considered protective. But it is not the room itself that it is protective. It is what goes on between the mother (or father) and the infant that is. Medical authorities seem to forget this fact. This form of cosleeping is not controversial and is recommended by all."

I was pregnant for 10 months
"Jack, my third child, arrived last month, 20 days late. My first two babies were 15 days late. But a day shy of week 43? That is virtually record-breaking – and, some would say, slightly mad. For the last week I barely left the house. I knew what I was doing and was happy with my decision. But I didn't want to hear what anyone else had to say about it."

Induction of labour: balancing risks
"In comparison to other mammals, humans have the most variable gestation lengths. This suggests that other factors such as environment and emotions (eg. anxiety) also influence the start of labour. This would make sense considering what we know about the function of oxytocin. It is also something most midwives are aware of – a stressed out mother is more likely to go post term than a relaxed and chilled out mother. Having said that, post term is probably the normal gestation length for many women regardless of what is going on. Creating anxiety and stress around due dates and impending induction is probably counter productive to labour."

No Such Thing as Too Much Love: 'Spoiled' Babies Grow Up to Be Smarter, Kinder Kids
"Now another group of studies, led by Notre Dame psychology professor Darcia Narvaez, confirms earlier work suggesting that children who get more positive touch and affection during infancy turn out to be kinder, more intelligent and to care more about others."

Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills
"But during the second half of the 20th century, Chudacoff argues, play changed radically. Instead of spending their time in autonomous shifting make-believe, children were supplied with ever more specific toys for play and predetermined scripts. Essentially, instead of playing pirate with a tree branch they played Star Wars with a toy light saber. Chudacoff calls this the commercialization and co-optation of child's play — a trend which begins to shrink the size of children's imaginative space."

Circumcision & Human Behavior: The emotional & behavioral effects of circumcision
"He found that children who had undergone operations experienced an increase in anxiety and various fears, including night terrors, fear of physicians, nurses, and strange men. The oldest age group exhibited greater hostility and aggression. Levy compared their behavior to that of soldiers who suffered from what was then called “combat neurosis,” and now recognized as post-traumatic stress disorder. Anna Freud (1952) pointed out that operations on the genitals, such as circumcision, would cause “castration anxiety.”"