Monday, April 26, 2010

APing Older Kids

I haven't posted forever. Part of that is that this pregnancy kicked my butt the first little while. I forgot how sick and exhausted a pea sized little person could make you!! The other part is that I'm not sure where I fit in AP right now. When I think of AP I think of babies. Not so much older kids. I've been trying to think of ways that I practice AP with my older kids? Well, I home school so they are with me most all of the time... But they each have there activities, gymnastics, taekwondo, piano...I don't stay there with them always.
I'm not sure...I mean I'm super affectionate and try to be as available to them as much possible no matter the age, but I'm not sure that's really an AP practice.

As I was looking around on the web I found these 10 principles in THIS ARTICLE
Communicate your love to your child in word and deed each and every day.

Listen for the feelings behind your child's verbal communication and respond to those feelings in an accepting way.

Show respect for your child's unique ideas and opinions.

Discuss mutual goals and plans with your child frequently. Go over the next day's schedule at bedtime. Make sure everyone knows where they will be going, what they will be doing, and what each person's responsibility will be.

Notify your child personally when plans change suddenly.

Continue to touch your child affectionately with hugs, pats on the back, sitting together to read, etc.

Model and teach courtesy, patience, kindness, thoughtfulness, honesty, loyalty, responsibility, fairness, and forgiveness.

Give your child age-appropriate responsibilities at home.

Recognize, acknowledge, and praise your child when he makes an effort to do something good -good school papers, obeying parents, helping at home. Make a big deal out of it!

Avoid destructive expressions of anger such as insulting, sarcasm, shaming, yelling, or spanking the child. Use Discipline with Dignity

I think I do most of those things most of the time, so I guess I am still practicing some AP ideas with my older kids also.
So, what do ya think??

Monday, April 5, 2010

Restaurant Calls Police on a BF Mother

I found this article today and was appalled. Now I know there are two sides to every story, but from what I understand the press is really trying to spin it in the restaurant's favor. So sad.

You can read the mother's side of the story

And you can read a great retort to the restaurant

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beth's mommy instinct story

I love my two year old, I really do.  When I was pregnant with him I was so excited to hold him and get to know him.  Before he was born I read a lot.  I knew I would breastfeed, I didn't like the sound of cry it out, I would wait six months to start solids and on and on.  I also thought I would vaccinate on schedule.  But that just did not feel right.  I distinctly remember when I was reading about vaccines and I would just start crying because I did not want to do that to my baby.

Jay did not receive any shots until he was an older infant (6+months).  Even then they were quite spaced out.  Jay's first birthday came and went and I realized that he has not ever tried to speak.  At his 18 month birthday he had zero words and a few signs.  I asked for a referral for a speech evaluation.  The diagnosis was devastating.  Verbal apraxia.  Basically the brain is unable to send the right message to make the mouth work.  Well, I was not sure if that was the case.  I got a second opinion who is not sure if it is apraxia or not.  We will have to see.  She did let me know about Early Intervention services.  I am so happy we started him on those.  He is a lot more verbal, though I think I am the only one who can understand him most of the time.  His signing vocabulary has grown.  He is happier and more confident.

After my second son I thought I would have him on a delayed vaccination schedule, but actually have felt comfortable with sticking to the doctor's schedule with a few tweaks here and there.  I realize that maybe there was a very important reason to delay Jay's vaccinations.  Who knows?  I am just glad I followed my mommy instinct with this issue.

I have also learned to respect other mommies in their decisions.  I offer my advice as nicely as I can, but if they want to put their baby to bed at 11:00pm that is fine with me.   This comes from having way too many people say "Einstein didn't talk until he was three, you don't need to start your boy in services" whenever they would hear that I am getting Jay some help.

I hope this post makes sense, it has been rattling around in my head for a few days. 
My sweet and wild two year old

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Fascinating Read

Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent

I came across
this book recently and I must say, it is one of the most interesting things I've ever read. Meredith F. Small is an anthropologist who explores ethnopediatrics, an interdisciplinary science that combines anthropology, pediatrics, and child development research in order to examine how child-rearing styles across cultures affect the health and survival of infants.

She seemed to validate many things that I have felt in my gut about parenting. I highly recommend this book!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cloth Diaper Store

I am working on a babywearing post but I just realized I never "pimped myself out"

Here is the link to my store. I need to restock soon! I am running a special on the babyhawks still for $20 off!

They are the most awesome carriers EVER! We still use ours and Tyler is 22 months!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Happy 5 Month Old

Devin is five months old already. Where is the time going? How can you look at him and not want to spend every second of the day just squeezing his chunky body? Oh he is the sweetest thing. This time is fleeting so I am trying to savor every minute of his babyhood.

CIO Thread

I frequent a parenting message board on Baby Center. I don't know why I visit this board because I always end up walking away wanting to hurt someone. Here is a thread that was started yesterday about CIO. What are your thoughts?

The CIO Method- An Interesting Perspective

This post is taken directly from What an interesting way to look at it!

There was a time, not so long ago in my life, when I was nearly as helpless as a baby. It was a dark time in my life, when it should have been a radiant one. I was pregnant, and joyously happy about it, but my body was not. I was sick, and not in a "oh I don't feel so hot" kind of way. It was a "if I didn't have big things to live for, I'd want to die" kind of sick. Some of you may have experienced this too. I could literally not even hold down a sip of water or a nibble of food. Eating made me throw up. Not eating made me throw up. I would throw up stomach bile. Anyway, the point is that I was VERY weak. At 4 months pregnant, I weighed less than I did when I was 16 (and everyone called me stick girl back then). My clothes were falling off of me, instead of becoming tight. Every few days, I would be able to hold down maybe one meal's worth of food. In case you are wondering, it is called Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and it typically does not respond to medical or natural treatments. We tried anything that wouldn't be harmful to the baby, and nothing worked. Despite the physical misery, the emotional scars I suffered at the hands of a loved one were far more profound.

I grew so weak that I could rarely leave the bed. I needed support just walking the 10 feet to the bathroom. I needed a shower stool and help getting clean. Just raising my arms to wash my hair was an immense strain. I relied heavily on my husband.

My husband was loving during the day, but things would change at night. He would leave me in the bed, tell me it was time to sleep, shut off the lights, and walk out. I would say "But honey, I'm not ready to sleep yet" but he would ignore me. It was confusing. Sometimes, I'd be having a day where I felt I may be able to eat or drink something, and I would call out to him, asking for something. Again, he would ignore me. Sometimes he would poke his head in, but it was only to tell me that I needed to go to sleep and I was "fine". I had times where I grew very depressed. On top of being sick and miserable, I missed my husband's loving arms. Sometimes I just needed to be held and comforted. Still, he would ignore me. I began to wonder why my needs were valid during the day, but not at night. At times, he would leave the room far too cold or warm. Sometimes I desperately needed to use the bathroom. Sometimes the pain all over my body became unbearable. Sometimes I was just very scared and lonely. Alas, no matter what I felt or needed, my husband ignored me.

I longed desperately for my independance, and loathed needing another person for even the smallest things, but for the time being, there was nothing I could do but ask for enough help to at least keep myself and our baby alive. I was so hurt and confused. I would weep bitterly, alone in the dark. One night, I overheard my mother in law talking with my husband. She said "Just let her cry. She has to learn. Don't let her manipulate you, she doesn't really need anything. Keep it up and you'll win eventually." Win? What exactly was he going to win, and at what cost?

Eventually, I lost all trust in my husband. I would lie there in bed, hungry, hot, cold, hurting, and/or just plain sad and lonely. I stopped asking for help. I later heard my husband boast that he had finally "trained" me. So now I was an animal. Why did he get to decide what needs and feelings of mine were valid, and which were not? Why was it okay for him to be my husband during the day, to love me, talk with me, and help me, but at night time all my needs were expected to suddenly cease? I would never be able to fully trust or open my heart to him again.

In the darkest time of my life, my most beloved person failed to be there for me. My needs were small, things that would take very little time or effort, but were of great importance to my physical and emotional health. I was neglected. You may even call it abuse. Fortunately, it was a brief time in my life. Unfortunately, there are countless more victims of this kind of neglect, and even worse. They are even more helpless than I was. They are babies. Sweet, innocent babies. They have parents that love them fiercely and truely, but fall victim to beliefs and advice that (usually) inadvertently put babies on a level even lower than animals. Books and well-meaing friends or family tell tired new parents to "just let her cry". This is often referred to as CIO (cry-it-out) or "controlled crying", although the already twisted concept of controlled crying is often further misunderstood and warped and becomes "I let my baby scream for 2 hours and eventually she threw up and wasn't the same for weeks after".

Helpless babies are expected to cease all "neediness" once a certain time on the clock comes around. Their God/nature-given intincts to cry and express real physical AND emotional needs are ignored or written off as manipulation or just plain not "real" needs. Why? If a sick adult or an elderly person were treated in such a way, they would suffer in deep ways and the person responsible for their care could even end up in prison.

Why are babies treated as less than human? Why would we WANT to teach our children that we won't be there for them? Why should we get to pick and choose which needs are "real" and which ones are not. Why should our job as parents simply end at night? Just because they've been fed and changed doesn't mean they are "fine". All they have is their instincts. For all they know, a predator could be lurking and waiting to eat them! They are programmed by God/nature to want to be near us for their own safety and for their proper development. We know that human contact is essential to the developing brain of a baby, but we deny their natural pleas for such contact. We lock them in the dark and even though we may sing, pat them, and say "you're okay, sweetie", when we walk out of the room and leave them in the dark alone they may still be cold, hot, uncomfortable, in pain, or just plain scared or lonely! Why is that so wrong? "Cry it out" or "controlled crying" is just neglect with a different name.

Scientists everywhere know the short and long term consequences of these so-called "methods", and they are vast. Most parents also instinctually know these things. Some parents listen to those instincts, and others listen to people like my mother in law who say "Just let her cry. She has to learn. Don't let her manipulate you, she doesn't really need anything. Keep it up and you'll win eventually." These people usually mean well. They aren't setting out to harm a child, but that doesn't change the fact that they are. Argue with me all you want. Say "I let my baby cry it out, and he/she is fine". I don't believe you. I believe you broke your child like an animal. I believe they gave up. They didn't magically learn to "self-soothe", they just figured out that you suck at being a parent at night time. YOU will be old some day, or you may find yourself in a helpless situation even earlier than that. See how you feel if another person tells you what to feel, when to feel it, and how to express it. See how you feel if they ignore your feelings and only meet the needs that THEY deem valid. See how you feel if you are treated like less than an animal, someone that must be trained. Someone that must lose, so they can win. A baby has far less capacity to understand these things, so the next time your little helpless one cries out, remember that they cry for a reason. Even just wanting to be held is a real NEED. If you've ever seen what happens to those babies in foreign orphanages that never get held or talked to, you'll realize the incredible importance of human contact. It's so simple.

I could go on for days with even a million more reasons, but I will leave you with a few resources, and a simple piece of advice. Next time you hear "Just let him/her cry", think twice. You'll never regret being there for your child.

Edit: It was mentioned that I condemned CIO/sleep training without offering alternatives. I guess my links below were missed? Anyway, I'll add some more ;-)

Pinky McKay does an excellent job of summing up the very real damage that "controlled crying" can do. This is a must-read on the subject! Enjoy.

Dr. Sears is another great resource. If you have a baby with sleep problems or just want to learn more about babies and sleep in general, give it a look!

The No-Cry Sleep Solution:

TONS of great articles about sleep:

Anyone please feel free to share more! I'm pretty tired at the moment, but its hard to find time when I am both well-rested AND have the time to write :-P

***ALSO! This is very important. I want to make it very clear, for the sake of my friends that may be rather concerned now, that the above story is only half-true and was given a different spin for the purpose of making people think. I was unfortunately very sick and helpless, but my husband would NEVER neglect or abuse me in such a way. I did want to make people think though. If any other helpless person (sick, injured, elderly) were treated in the ways described, people would be disgusted. The fact that babies are often "trained" in such a manner proves that babies are still viewed by many people as lesser beings with invalid needs and feelings, even though the care-taker probably doesn't realize that is what they are doing.

I would also like to add that when a parent is near their breaking point and has to put their child down in a safe space and leave the room briefly for the sake of gathering their sanity, that is VERY different. This is essential to preventing a mental break in the parent and possible harm to the child. Do not feel guilty if you've found yourselves in moments like these. It is an entirely different situation than it is to leave a child crying, screaming, even vomiting alone in the dark on a regular basis for "training" purposes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Babywearing Guidelines

I just saw this link on Facebook and wanted to share. Warning: it is a bit sad. I was actually not aware that baby's chin shouldn't touch his chest, so that was good for me to read.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nursing a Toddler

Nursing toddlers benefit NUTRITIONALLY
  • Although there has been little research done on children who breastfeed beyond the age of two, the available information indicates that breastfeeding continues to be a valuable source of nutrition and disease protection for as long as breastfeeding continues.
  • "Human milk expressed by mothers who have been lactating for >1 year has significantly increased fat and energy contents, compared with milk expressed by women who have been lactating for shorter periods. During prolonged lactation, the fat energy contribution of breast milk to the infant diet might be significant."
    -- Mandel 2005
  • "Breast milk continues to provide substantial amounts of key nutrients well beyond the first year of life, especially protein, fat, and most vitamins."
    -- Dewey 2001
  • In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:
    • 29% of energy requirements
    • 43% of protein requirements
    • 36% of calcium requirements
    • 75% of vitamin A requirements
    • 76% of folate requirements
    • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
    • 60% of vitamin C requirements
    -- Dewey 2001
  • Studies done in rural Bangladesh have shown that breastmilk continues to be an important source of vitamin A in the second and third year of life.
    -- Persson 1998
Nursing toddlers have FEWER ALLERGIES
  • Many studies have shown that one of the best ways to prevent allergies and asthma is to breastfeed exclusively for at least 6 months and continue breastfeeding long-term after that point.

    Breastfeeding can be helpful for preventing allergy by:
    1. reducing exposure to potential allergens (the later baby is exposed, the less likely that there will be an allergic reaction),
    2. speeding maturation of the protective intestinal barrier in baby's gut,
    3. coating the gut and providing a barrier to potentially allergenic molecules,
    4. providing anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the risk of infections (which can act as allergy triggers). 
    Extensive research on the relationship between cognitive achievement (IQ scores, grades in school) and breastfeeding has shown the greatest gains for those children breastfed the longest. 

    Nursing toddlers are WELL ADJUSTED SOCIALLY
    • According to Sally Kneidel in "Nursing Beyond One Year" (New Beginnings, Vol. 6 No. 4, July-August 1990, pp. 99-103.):

      "Research reports on the psychological aspects of nursing are scarce. One study that dealt specifically with babies nursed longer than a year showed a significant link between the duration of nursing and mothers' and teachers' ratings of social adjustment in six- to eight-year-old children (Ferguson et al, 1987). In the words of the researchers, 'There are statistically significant tendencies for conduct disorder scores to decline with increasing duration of breastfeeding.'"
  • According to Elizabeth N. Baldwin, Esq. in "Extended Breastfeeding and the Law":
    "Breastfeeding is a warm and loving way to meet the needs of toddlers and young children. It not only perks them up and energizes them; it also soothes the frustrations, bumps and bruises, and daily stresses of early childhood. In addition, nursing past infancy helps little ones make a gradual transition to childhood."
  • Baldwin continues: "Meeting a child's dependency needs is the key to helping that child achieve independence. And children outgrow these needs according to their own unique timetable." Children who achieve independence at their own pace are more secure in that independence then children forced into independence prematurely. 
Nursing a toddler is NORMAL
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that "Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child... Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother... There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." (AAP 2005)
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that breastfeeding continue throughout the first year of life and that "Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired." They also note that "If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned." (AAFP 2001)
  • A US Surgeon General has stated that it is a lucky baby who continues to nurse until age two. (Novello 1990)
  • The World Health Organization emphasizes the importance of nursing up to two years of age or beyond (WHO 1992, WHO 2002).
  • Scientific research by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD shows that 2.5 to 7.0 years of nursing is what our children have been designed to expect (Dettwyler 1995). 
MOTHERS also benefit from nursing past infancy
  • Extended nursing delays the return of fertility in some women by suppressing ovulation (References).
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer (References). Studies have found a significant inverse association between duration of lactation and breast cancer risk.
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian cancer (References).
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of uterine cancer (References).
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of endometrial cancer (References).
  • Breastfeeding protects against osteoporosis. During lactation a mother may experience decreases of bone mineral. A nursing mom's bone mineral density may be reduced in the whole body by 1 to 2 percent while she is still nursing. This is gained back, and bone mineral density may actually increase, when the baby is weaned from the breast. This is not dependent on additional calcium supplementation in the mother's diet. (References).
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of rheumatoid arthritis. (References).
  • Breastfeeding has been shown to decrease insulin requirements in diabetic women (References). 
  • Breastfeeding moms tend to lose weight easier