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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hey Facebook, Breastfeeding isn't Obscene!!!!





These are my photos that were deleted from my Facebook account. As you can see, they are truly offensive and frightening!!!!

The first one- of me nursing my youngest son Logan in the hospital after his birth- in June 2007. This happened right after Karen Speed's original photos were banned. The second photo of me- tandem nursing logan, 6 months, and keira 3 years old, was banned Dec 2008, and my account was closed down for 3 days by the Facebots. My Partner at Natural Mothering Helen has had several pictures deleted as well and has had her account temporarily closed several times. Karen Speed's account was permanently closed down in Dec 2009, and as of yet, Facebook refuses to respond to either her enquiries nor the deluge of emails sent by many of us....asking "Why?"


HEY, FACEBOOK, BREASTFEEDING IS NOT OBSCENE!




Thanx to the hard work and dedication of Paul Rapoport This record of the breastfeeding pictures that Facebot has deleted have been saved in an awesome tribute to mothers, babies and families everywhere.

These pages are dedicated to breastfeeding women everywhere. They provide what is needed in the start of life. Breastfeeding is a very important act in nurturing children, and often a highlight in the life and memory of women.

Please take a moment and stroll through these pictures. Gaze on the faces of these beautiful mothers and babies.... can you possibly think that there is anything "obscene" about these gorgeous photos?!?

Click HERE to go to TERA's photo pages, and enjoy!!

If you have a breastfeeding photo that Facebook has deleted, Please contact TERA and send them a copy to add to the (unfortunately) ever growing list.

Below is the CTV News interview that I did in 2007 When my original breastfeeding photo was banned by Facebook.

video

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"The Language of Birth"

This is an Excellent Blog by Aruban Breastfeeding Mamas. Wendy talks about the need to speak the language to be able to communicate- in every situation in life this is true, but in childbirth it is VITALLY true!!

Beyond childbirth Wendy mentions breastfeeding as well, and this is such an important topic for new mothers. It seems that most new mothers think that breastfeeding will just happen, it's natural, right?!? Oh many will read a book or two, or at least a chapter or three in one of their pregnancy and birth books (if they read anything at all) on the subject of Breastfeeding, but rarely will they go any farther to prepare them selves for the journey than that.

My number one advice to all new moms-to-be is: Join a breastfeeding support group BEFORE baby arrives!! Be it a local informal group of breastfeeding moms who get together every few weeks for support and companionship, or a proper LLL meeting group. Which ever you're more comfortable with. Meeting with and seeing and talking with breastfeeding mothers while you're pregnant can make a huge difference when your own boobie baby arrives. If you've already met a few moms and have built even a tiny bit of a rapport with them, it will make it easier to be able to call on them for help should you need it. Learn the language of breastfeeding. It is vital to know and understand the language of the boob when your hungry babe wants to talk!!! If you can't find a group to teach you the language, then read a book. If you can learn even a few simple phrases in this language, you'll at least have enough of a handle on it to know HOW to ask for help and where to go to get help if you need it!!

The same with child birth. If you don't even know the simplest of phrases, how can you expect to be able to navigate your way through the insanity that medicalized birth can be?

The Language of Birth
You’ve been planning your vacation for many many months. After a lot of consideration you choose a country in which a foreign language is spoken. You’ve invested time in thinking where you want to go, and you’ve spent even longer saving up your money.



The day arrives and you’ve arrived at your long awaited destination. You made sure you had your bag packed well in advance. You have your clothes, something to read, possibly even music to relax you. As you get around this foreign country, slowly but surely you realize you’re in deep trouble… You know nothing of the language. The people speak to you, but you understand absolutely nothing. They tell you they’re taking you to a hotel of their choice, but you are starving and just want to eat, besides, you don’t even want to go to that hotel! But you’re practically helpless, no tolk, much less a dictionary. You figure, ‘ah, I’ll let them take me where they say is good, besides, they are the locals’. In the end, the vacation you’ve planned, and toiled for, all that you’ve envisioned that would relax you, is lost in the frustration of not planning well enough for the language barrier. You get back home, and you say to yourself ‘well….at least I am healthy and alive’




How many women, go through their pregnancies and births, and experience this situation? They painstakingly look for the right name for their child, they do their utmost to get the perfect furniture and the perfect color to match in the nursery. They expend almost all their money and time into the superficial matters of bringing a child into their lives, not anticipating the lasting effects of one of the most important days in their lives that is fast approaching, for which they feel ‘very prepared’ and yet very frightened. Family and friends ask if she’s got her stuff packed and ready. She says yes, she’s got her blankets, robes, socks, a novel to read and not to forget her toiletries. ‘I’ve got it all covered’, she figures.









She never looks up Childbirth Education classes, nor breastfeeding support groups and doesn’t even buy any pregnancy books. She does however look at televised birth stories on tv and learns a lot from them. She learns to fear pain and childbirth that is.




Surely enough, 38/2 weeks rolls around. Her doctor is pressing for induction because her ‘baby is huge, and her hips are simply too petite, besides..your baby is already full term!’ The doctor says she’d be fortunate enough if she could even have the baby vaginally. She shows up at the hospital for her induction, nervous but very excited that the baby will finally be here. She’s not sure what an induction actually is, but she’s put her full trust in her doctor “So what can go wrong?”.



HERE to read the entire blog

Breastfeeding protects from the Rotavirus better than the vaccine

WEll duh!


Breastfeeding Protects Against Rotavirus Diarrhea MORE Than Vaccination
by Linda Palmer




Exclusive breastfeeding reduces Rotavirus diarrhea in Brazil by 90%
vs.
a 40% reduction in Rotavirus diarrhea by vaccination in Mexico.

HERE to read the complete article at Peaceful Parenting

Friday, January 29, 2010

Newborn pain responses to even a heel prick

How many times have we heard people say "Oh, Newborn babies don't feel pain the way we do".....No, maybe it's actually worse!!!

A new study, published in the journal Pain, shows that even a routine heel-stick test can be painful enough for some newborns to trigger an increase in potentially harmful free radicals in the blood.


The findings, published in the journal Pain, do not mean that a single heel stick -- done routinely to test newborns for certain genetic disorders -- will cause harm. But researchers say they do raise concerns about newborns in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), who undergo many painful procedures each day.

The study underscores the need to ensure that newborns have adequate pain relief during medical procedures, lead researcher Dr. Carlo Bellieni, of the University of Siena in Italy, told Reuters Health in an email.

It was once widely thought that newborns essentially do not feel pain from routine medical procedures. Research has proven that belief to be wrong, and guidelines from groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics call on NICUs to do everything they can to limit tiny infants' pain -- including using topical anesthetics and non-drug tactics, like pacifiers dipped in sugar solutions.

But recent studies indicate that newborn pain management is "still far from satisfactory," Bellieni and his colleagues note in their report.

This is concerning not only because of the immediate pain and stress tiny infants suffer, but also because research suggests that repeated exposure to pain and stress early in life may have lasting effects -- including increased pain sensitivity later in life.

For their study, Bellieni and his colleagues measured two markers of free-radical production in 64 newborns having a routine heel stick to draw blood samples. Free radicals are potentially cell-damaging substances that may be generated in response to injury and stress; it has not been clear whether minor medical procedures boost their production in newborns.

The researchers found that, as a group, the infants showed no significant increase in free-radical production from the beginning of the heel-stick procedure to the end.

However, the findings were different when Bellieni's team focused on the 34 infants who showed a high pain response during the heel stick -- as measured by the babies' crying and distress.

These newborns did show an increase in free-radical generation.

The potential consequences of this increase are not clear, according to Bellieni. "Free radicals can provoke brain damage," he explained, "but no study has been performed to measure the threshold above which they may harm the baby."

A single heel stick would not be enough to cause damage, the researcher said. But he added that infants in the NICU may receive more than a dozen procedures a day, which may result in repeated free radical production -- the possible effects of which are unknown.

The findings, according to Bellieni, further the case for better pain management in NICUs......



HERE to read the entire article from The Calgary Herald


.....yet, male circumcision is still performed on tiny babies with barely any pain control at all. And Parents and Doctors seem to think that that is totally ok and acceptable!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!!

Does Haiti Need Our Milk?

Kathy Abbott of "The Curious Lactivist" has vocalized a question that I know many many of us are asking ourselves today. Does Haiti Need our Breastmilk or not?!?


Several news articles have been released stating that Infant Formula is NOT to be sent to Haiti, that the WHO, Unicef and Save the Children are saying that these Haitian babies are in need of breastmilk. After these announcements lactating mothers and milk banks over North America immediately scrambled and came together- pulling in a 1000 oz of fully screened donated breastmilk within 24 hours!! They not only gathered the donated milk, but within 48 hours the frozen liquid gold was on board the USS Comfort- a US ship in Haiti acting as a neonatal unit to many of Haiti's premature and seriously injured and ill babies.....

And yet this shipment was met with snide remarks: “I’m 100 percent sure we didn’t ask for that.” Said Lt. David Shark from the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. He told the press that the idea of distributing human milk was an “unfeasible and unsafe intervention”.


The problem according to Lt. Shark was the “huge logical constraints”. Specifically he pointed out that there was a “lack of cold chain supply, and no clear guidance on ethical issues, breast milk screening, and continuity of supply.” Even Dr. Nune Mangasaryan senior advisor on infant nutrition for UNICEF agreed. “At this point it’s not the recommended way of assisting Haiti. … the systems needed to transport [breast milk] and to deliver it in the country, are not ready at this point. You have to have quite a significant number of freezers, you have to have electricity, and you have to be able to transport it from one part of the country to another. [With the current level of devastation] at this point, donating breast milk isn’t preferable.”

But I have to wonder, if the same helicopter had arrived with a donation of human blood, would the response had been the same? Blood donations also have to be screened, and protected by a “cold chain”. Would lack of freezers, electricity, and transport issues been enough reason for them to turn away two coolers of donated blood? Of course not, there is no viable substitute for human blood. But we live in a culture where infant formula is considered a “safe” alternative to breast milk.

How sad that even the good Dr. Mangasaryan from UNICEF considers infant formula preferable to donated milk. “ At this point what we recommend for them is ready-to-use infant formula, that’s already in a liquid form, meaning no risk of contamination by mixing powdered formula with water, for example. It’s already ready-to-use, and there are certain numbers already available in the country.” It is safe, and it is already available. Why use the real thing when we have a more convenient alternative?


EXACTLY!!!!! So they would rather feed these traumatized, sick and injured babies "Ready to use formula" ..... might I point out to the fine Dr. Mangasaryan that even if the formula is premixed and ready to use.... what are they suppose to do with the bottles after they've been used? How are they to sterilize them? The reason they are using "ready to use" formula is because they cant' guarantee clean water to mix powdered formula- they still need clean water to sterilize a bottle and nipple to get it ready for the next batch of formula for the next baby.

In the mean time, frozen breastmilk is sitting in a freezer on the USS Comfort feeding NO babies while the so called professionals debate ethics about donated breastmilk...... and babies starve across the country. It boggles the mind.

....Apparently we learned absolutely nothing from Katrina.


HERE to read The Curious Lactivists entire article

The science of Breastfeeding on Demand

Peaceful Parenting's latest article on Breastfeeding on demand and the science of breastmilk production.



The Case for Cue Feeding

by Lisa Marasco, BA, IBCLC and Jan Barger, MA, RN, IBCLC





It is now commonly accepted that infants, most especially breastfed infants, thrive best when allowed to feed as they indicate their needs. Breastfeeding is, after all, a dynamic process between every unique mother-baby dyad, for which man cannot possibly do a better job than God in designing how infant feeding should work.

This has not been the general consensus throughout the twentieth century, however. Even in the late nineteenth century, there were those, mostly male physicians, who began to believe that infant feeding should be regulated by the clock. As artificial baby milk became all the rage in the twentieth century, both formulations of this milk and schedules to feed babies came into popularity. These schedules often stretched feedings to 3 or 4 hour intervals, and though they apparently worked for bottle fed infants, they did not work so well for breastfed infants.

During the seventies and eighties, as breastfeeding again resurged through a grass roots movement first sparked by La Leche League, many mothers have returned to demand feeding, finding the most breastfeeding success when following baby's cues rather than the clock. The medical establishment lagged behind, and has followed suit only after its own research was undertaken to prove the wisdom of cue feeding-for breastfed babies.

The Evidence

Production and storage capacity.

Until recently, it was believed that the majority of the milk was made at the time the mother sat down to nurse and/or pump, as a result of the prolactin surge that occurs during feeding. We also knew that some milk was made between feedings, as some of the nonfatty constituents collect passively in the sinuses behind the areola to form foremilk. Knowledge of this process has been changed by the work of Peter Hartmann.

Dr. Hartmann is a researcher in Perth, Australia, specializing in human milk production. In his laboratories, Dr. Hartmann has studied mothers before and after nursing sessions by making topographical-type maps of lactating breasts using video cameras and computer equipment in order to analyze changes. Their accuracy has been assessed at +/- 5%, an excellent percentage for this type of work. Dr. Hartmann has discovered, through this work, that the breast does not make all of the milk at nursing time, but rather is making milk around the clock. The rate of milk production between feedings varies according to the degree of fullness of the breast; the fuller the breast, the slower the milk production rate, and conversely the emptier the breast, the faster the rate of production for replacement.....


HERE to read the entire article at Peaceful Parenting

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Breastfeeding in Emergencies: Press Release

January 27, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*

*UPDATED STATEMENT:

Breastfeeding is the First Line of Defense in a Disaster*



*Washington, DC*--The Human Milk Banking Association of North America

(HMBANA), United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC), International

Lactation Consultant Association/United States Lactation Consultant

Association (ILCA/USLCA), and La Leche League International (LLLI) strongly

affirm the importance of breastfeeding in emergency situations, and call on

relief workers and health care providers serving victims of disasters to

protect, promote, and support mothers to breastfeed their babies. During an

emergency, breastfeeding mothers provide their infants with safe food and

water and disease protection that maximize their chances of survival.



This week, the International Milk Bank Project and Quick International

Courier coordinated a shipment of milk from the HMBANA member banks to

supplement a mother's own milk for the premature, medically fragile, and

orphaned infants aboard the U.S. Navy ship *Comfort* stationed off the coast

of Haiti. This milk will help this small group of infants. In this highly

unusual circumstance the infrastructure associated with the *Comfort*'s

resources allows U.S. sourced donor milk to help fragile Haitian babies.



Donor milk, however, is not a solution for the large number of infants and

young children affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Members of the public

who wish to promote the survival of mothers and babies in Haiti can donate

money to the following organizations: UNICEF, Save the Children Alliance,

World Vision, and Action Against Hunger. These organizations are using best

practice to aid both breastfed and non-breastfed infants.
Members of the

public can be confident that donations to these organizations will support

breastfeeding and help save the lives of babies.



Interventions to protect infants include supporting mothers to initiate and

continue exclusive breastfeeding, relactation for mothers who have ceased

breastfeeding, and finding wet nurses for motherless or separated babies.

Every effort should be made to minimize the number of infants and young

children who do not have access to breastfeeding. Artificially fed infants

require intensive support from aid organizations including infant formula,

clean water, soap, a stove, fuel, education, and medical support. This is

not an easy endeavor. Formula feeding is extremely risky in emergency

conditions and artificially fed infants are vulnerable to the biggest

killers of children in emergencies: diarrhea and pneumonia.



As stated by UNICEF and WHO, no donations of infant formula or powdered milk

should be sent to the Haiti emergency.
Such donations are difficult to

manage logistically, actively detract from the aid effort, and put infant's

lives at risk. Distribution of infant formula should only occur in a

strictly controlled manner. Stress does not prevent women from making milk

for their babies, and breastfeeding women should not be given any infant

formula or powdered milk.



There are ongoing needs in the U.S. for human milk for premature and other

extremely ill infants because of the protection it provides from diseases

and infections. If a mother is unable to provide her own milk to her

premature or sick infant, donor human milk is often requested from a human

milk bank. American mothers can help their compatriots who find themselves

in need of breast milk for their sick baby by donating to a milk bank that

is a member of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America.



For more information about donating milk to a milk bank, contact HMBANA at

www.hmbana.org



Additional information for relief workers and health care professionals can

be provided from the United States Breastfeeding Committee at

www.usbreastfeeding.org

ILCA/USLCA at www.ilca.org or www.uslca.org



or La Leche League International at

www.llli.org



A list of regional milk banks is available on the HMBANA Web site at

www.hmbana.org/index/locations





*USBC is an organization of organizations. Opinions expressed by USBC are

not necessarily the position of all member organizations and opinions

expressed by USBC member organization representatives are not necessarily

the position of USBC. *

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Save the Children Launches Radio Outreach Program in Haiti to Promote Newborn, Infant Health

Save the Children Launches Radio Outreach Program in Haiti to Promote Newborn, Infant Health



http://www.savethechildren.org/newsroom/2010/radio-outreach-program-in.html



Local Broadcasts in Creole Urge New Mothers to Nourish Infants Through Breast Milk; Cautions Against Baby Formula Made with Dirty Water

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Jan. 25, 2010) — The global humanitarian organization Save the Children is supporting efforts to promote breastfeeding among new mothers in Haiti to ensure the protection of the youngest and most vulnerable survivors of the devastating January 12 earthquake.

The agency has translated internationally recognized public health messages into Creole, which are currently being broadcast on local radio stations.

Critical Awareness Campaign Available to Health-focused Groups in Haiti

Save the Children is making these critical communications available to other health-focused groups that are also working with local communities affected by the disaster. Its health staff in Haiti will translate other public health messages over the coming days and coordinate with partners and communities to spread the word about keeping children healthy in the wake of the quake.

Save the Children also is training midwives, health workers and nutritional educators to reach out to pregnant and new mothers at makeshift camps in Port-au-Prince, Léogâne and Jacmel.

"Newborns and infants are very vulnerable during emergencies, especially from diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition. But mothers can take simple steps to protect their baby's health through exclusive and proper breastfeeding," said Kathryn Bolles, Save the Children's emergency health and nutrition director. "Breast milk provides essential nutrients and strengthens a baby's immunity, protecting the baby from other illnesses."

Health Risks from Infant Formulas and Other Supplements

The health messages encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed babies under 6 months of age, and to continue to breastfeed children until age 2.

Mothers are cautioned against giving babies under 6 months of age anything but breast milk — including water, infant formula, powdered milk or solid food — because of the risks from diarrhea, one of the leading killers of children globally, and because of the risk of becoming malnourished, which leaves babies more susceptible to other illnesses.

"Mothers may not be aware of the threats that infant formula and other supplements pose to their babies. Tainted water used to mix the formula and unsanitary bottles or cups can cause a baby to get sick with diarrhea, which can kill," said Bolles. "We hope more Haitian mothers will hear our health messages and be encouraged to breastfeed their babies. We also are suggesting mothers seek out support and counseling from organizations like Save the Children if they are having difficulty breastfeeding their baby."

The awareness campaign also seeks to dispel the myths that may discourage mothers from breastfeeding, among them stress or lack of proper food will cause a mother to produce bad milk or no milk. Instead, mothers are encouraged to breastfeed more often, which will allow them to produce more milk for their baby.

Extremely Poor Survival Rates for Haitian Children Prior to Earthquake

Even before the earthquake, survival rates for young Haitian children were the worst in the Western Hemisphere, with nearly 1 in 10 children dying before the age of 5 from preventable and treatable causes like diarrhea and pneumonia.

Save the Children supports the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations that children should be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life to ensure their most favorable growth and health. WHO, UNAIDS and UNICEF guidelines only recommend "replacement feeding" (breastmilk substitute) when it is "acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable, and safe."

Save the Children has worked in Haiti since 1978 and currently has more than 200 staff in the country.

Please Help Us Respond to the Haiti Emergency by Donating Now

Donate any amount at www.savethechildren.org or by calling 1-800-728-3843 or 1-203-221-4030.

OR DONATE $10 BY TEXTING "SAVE" to 20222 ( U.S. Only).

Learn more about our emergency response to the earthquake in Haiti.

Save the Children is the leading, independent organization that creates lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world. Save the Children USA is a member of the International Save the Children Alliance, a global network of 29 independent Save the Children organizations working to ensure the well-being and protection of children in more than 120 countries. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"7 Ways that daddy can bond with baby....without using a bottle!!"

I love this Blog post!!! It is so true and I hear it all the time: baby is introduced to a bottle way too early so that Daddy can "Bond". It's a crock!!! and here is the proof:


7 Ways Dads Can Bond With Their Baby That Don’t Involve A Bottle


One of the arguments I hear from so many moms as to why they have to give up breastfeeding, is that Dad feels left out. As my other half mentioned in another post, the one thing that Dads have no real place in, is breastfeeding. There are so many other ways to bond with your baby, that feeding is a moot point. And really Mom’s job :)

1. Bath your baby. Better still, bath with your baby. Co-Bathing and showering saves water, and gives you some lovely skin to skin bonding time.

2. Massage your baby. You can learn infant massage from a certified instructor, or from a DVD. Massaging your baby is soothing for both of you, and really beneficial for your tot.

3. Wear your baby – Baby wearing isn’t just for moms. Babies like the sound of Dad’s heartbeat too. Invest in a good quality baby carrier (Such as an Ergo) and enjoy the benefits as your baby sleeps, observes, and snuggles in nice and close.

4. Read to your baby – you can start this inutero :) One of the most beautiful moments after my son’s birth was watching him turn his head to his daddy’s voice, he recognised it from all the chatting and reading to him that was done while he was gestating!

5. Sing to your baby. Your baby doesn’t care if you’re a soprano or a bullfrog. Singing to your baby is a bit of fun, and can soothe them. There are lots of sites with nursery rhyme tunes, and words you can try out with your baby. Or you can do what my husband does, and make up silly songs.

6. Walk your baby. Get the pram (or sling) and get out there and enjoy the big wide world. Explain things to him, chat to him along the way. Babies take in and store everything, so you’re not just talkin to yourself.

7. Play with your baby – it might seem obvious, but just getting down on the the floor, and showing them toys, chatting about things, and simply “being” with your baby is wonderful. As I said, your baby takes in everything, and is constantly learning and developing. Newborns don’t “do” a great deal, but they are still learning all about the world, and their place in it – so show them!

You don’t need to feed your baby to be connected – there are a million and one things that go on during a baby’s day, and you can be a part of all of them. It gives Mom a break, and you can bond with your amazing little creature.

Enjoy!
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HERE to go directly to the web site

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Waiting Game

Is there anything more all consuming, more frustrating, or more emotionally roller coastering than waiting for labour to begin? It doesn't really seem to matter what your personality type is or your spiritual philosophy, or your ability to create a logical hypothesis based on the available data and current weather patterns...... It doesn't' matter who you are or where you're from, once you get to 37 weeks, there is only one big question left:

When will I go into labour!?!?

Whether you're a high energy go getter, or very laid back zenesque "Be one with the universe my child" type woman, whether you're an outspoken tell-it-like-it-is chick, or an "I'll just suffer quietly here in my misery and put on a brave face for the world" type gal.... Once you reach that carrot that's been dangling in front of you for 36 weeks, whether you want to admit it or not, you are capable of thinking of pretty much only one thing:

"Does the baby feel lower today?"

"Was that a contraction?"

"Is that my water leaking or did I just have (another) juvenile accident?"

"If I go for a power walk and drink a litre of Red Raspberry Leaf tea, eat an entire pineapple and finally allow my husband to touch me in that "carnal knowledge" way.... will I go into labour?"


You know it's true. You might want to wax eloquently about the joys of pregnancy and parade your beautiful full term belly for the world to see while allowing the general public to admire your radiant fertility goddess-like glow.... But inside you KNOW you're screaming "ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!"

Ok, lets just face the facts: Pregnancy is just one big "Waiting Game" THE Waiting Game!!!

First there's the "Two Weeks Waiting Game"- we've ovulated, and copulated, and now we count down the days till we can realistically start spending ridiculous amounts of money on every brand of pregnancy test on the market.

Once we've got our BFP , now we spend the first 12 weeks holding our breath waiting to feel "safe" telling everyone and their mother our amazing news. Then it's on to waiting for the Zanadu of the second trimester. That's when everyone assures us that the morning sickness will be a thing of the past, when our boobs will feel happy about being in a bra again, and we can go for longer than 3 hours without trying to find a quiet corner to hide in for a cat nap.

Once you've reached the promise land of the second trimester, you start the next phaze of pregnancy craze. I have energy! I can leap tall buildings in a single bound! I can eat an entire banana split covered in crushed chocolate bars, whip cream and candy sprinkles without thinking about my ass even once!!! I am WOMAN, See Me Roar!!! ....and paint an entire room in 4 hours... before deciding that that colour is absolutely atrocious and running out to the paint store to buy new paint, no! wall paper! No! a Wall size fresco poster! NO!! a venetian plaster kit and enough rags to start my own quilting company!!!!!!!!

And we wait.... to feel that first baby kick. Was that a flutter? Or was it just the egg salad sandwich I ate at midnight? To feel those first movements of our growing baby beans becomes an all consuming passion. Your sister felt the first movements at 16 weeks... why aren't you feeling them? Is there something wrong? OPPS! was that a nudge? Yipeee!!! My first nudge!!! Now we wait for the second stage nudge: the one that daddy can feel. Which is followed quickly by the stage of "Come quick! The baby just moved! No really it did! Can't you feel it? No not there, over here! Wait! Come back, it moved again!!!".... Oh the joys of a mother feeling her little belly beasty doing the back stroke!!

That quickly gives way to the next stage: Third Trimester.

By the time you've gotten to the 30 week mark you're now waiting for baby to STOP doing Karate katas and flying round house kicks. How the hell is it possible for a baby to have enough room in there to completely turn in a circle while using your internal organs as hand and foot holds?!? Really baby, I know that the bean burritos with extra spicy salsa might not have been to your taste, but could you please stop using mommy's bladder as a punching bag- some of us HAVE to sleep!!!

Which brings me back to that week 37 mile stone. You are now officially at "Full Term". You haven't seen your feet in months, your toenail polish has grown out, your legs are hairy, you need a weed wacker for your bikini line, your wardrobe consists of your husbands cast off over sized T-shirts and flannel pajama pants, Rolaids has become your after dinner mint of choice, and you plan your forays out of the house by mapping out the most direct route to the closest bathroom at every stop.

Baby, it's time to be born!!!

The ultimate waiting game begins. And you know, it doesn't' matter if it's your first baby or your fifth, you still hang precariously on every single Braxton Hick contraction, every back ache, every bowel movement. Your homebirth/hospital bag/kit is packed, and repacked. You've rewashed the baby clothes 3 times, and written out your birth plan (and re-edited it 5 times because there's always one more detail that you forgot to add....), you're now sleeping with more pillows than a princess with a pea problem, and have seriously considered getting an adult sized potty to put beside the bed.

Waiting waiting waiting......

This is now the stage where you spend copious amounts of time on the internet researching every old wives tale about bringing on labour and hang out in online forums and chat rooms with other full term pregnant moms, comparing notes on every possible way to get baby out. Sex, spicy food, pineapple, walking, sex, nipple stimulation, sex..... you actually stand in the aisle of the pharmacy with a bottle of castor oil in your hands trying to decided if you're "THAT" desperate to have this baby.

As of today, I'm 37 weeks and 6 days pregnant (not that I'm counting or anything) with my 5th child. Let me give you a piece of advice from an old hand at this baby making thing:

Babies come when they damn well want to. Other than resorting to medical interventions by doctors with tee off times, (that will most likely lead to more interventions and a C/S... but that's a whole other article), you might as well just resign yourself to waiting till baby wants to come out.

Now if you'll pardon me for a moment, I'm just going to waddle out to the pharmacy to stare at that bottle of castor oil....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

"The Chop Shop"

Yet another new Blog that I've just discovered- "Don't get me Started" Rips into birthing in our society with an openness that is refreshing and shocking... But just as true, word for word.


Chop Shop

Nine months along she comes waddling into the lobby. Checks in at the front desk, waits for a nurse escort. Yes her water has broken. Contractions are still far apart, no need to panic. It’s her first baby and she’s nervous. Scared of the pain. Doesn’t know how long this will take. In complete disbelief that she’s going to leave this hospital with a little being in her arms. Terrified of the unknown.

She’s dreamt of this day for nine months. Read all the books about what to ‘expect’ and yet there was no chapter on giving up rights. There was no chapter on becoming powerless.

Once her water breaks, she can’t leave her bed. Once we give you pitocin or an epidural, don’t even think about moving. Psychiatric patients are never put in restraints, never tied down (except for the worst of the worst situations) because it is “cruel and unusual punishment”. But laboring women? Laboring women are put in medical restraints. Pharmacologic restraints. We pump medicine through an IV, shove it into the space in your spine and say DON’T MOVE. YOU CANNOT MOVE. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT FUCKING MOVING.

We don’t care that you hurt. We don’t care that it’s better and safer for the baby and for you to move, move, move. You can’t move. It’s hospital “policy”. “Policy” that was created for the convenience of clinical staff. There is zero evidence saying this is a good idea. In fact, the evidence states quite the contrary. To move, move, move. To shift positions and let gravity help you. To take a walk and have a massage and lay in a bathtub. Actual scientific evidence tells us that this is what women SHOULD be doing. Instead, the medical establishment drips an IV, pushes the meds and takes choice away from women. Every second of every minute of every hour in this country a woman’s choice is being ripped from her.

She lays in pain. Vaguely remembering what she wanted to happen. How she dreamt this day was going to go. She read the books, rented the videos; hell, she read the blogs and watched the YouTubes. There are so many options out there! So many choices! Look at all these different ways I can maneuever my own body to get this baby out of here. Nope.

None of those things happened. Wait. Where are those choices now?

Now she’s medicated against her will. Now she’s lying in a clouded haze. Never told the side effects. Has no idea those meds will depress her breathing, her heart rate, her level of consciousness. Maybe they mentioned the drugs can “cross the placenta” but she was also conveniently told in a moment of horrific vulnerability that the meds will “take her pain away”.

And after a quick nap, it’s been decided. While she was out cold, and the baby’s heart rate slowed and that little swimming baby in the happy amniotic fluid struggles to keep it together, it’s decided. She hasn’t progressed. Not dilated far enough. Not effaced. Sure the meds caused this. Sure the meds we pumped in to her to “stop the pain” pulled the e-break on her labor. The very meds we gave her, we insisted that she take, stopped the body from doing the very natural thing that we’ve been doing for millions of years. The solution? Cut her open! Yay for sugery!

“You haven’t progressed enough. We’re going to have to do surgery.”

That is not choice. That is a directive. That is an order. That is not garnering consent. That is not providing all the options. That is not laying out the risks for surgery and the risks against surgery. It’s a fucking chop shop in there.

We call them “pre-dinner Cs” for a reason. Lord knows that obstetrician wants to get home for dinner so it’s no surprise that she’s induced at 2ish and delivers via c-section by 3ish. Knocked out in another drug-induced haze. Baby ripped out of her belly, placed in a plastic bin like a bag of lettuce at Safeway. Lay her on the mother’s chest? Heaven forbid the baby’s “yucky”. Heaven forbid the baby start breasfeeding, doing that other thing we’ve been doing for millions of years.

Nope. The doctor and nurses have exams to do. They need to poke and prod and shove under a light. Heaven forbid they learn to do an assessment while the baby is in it’s most natural position, with mom.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Every day I walk in to clinical my heart races. I clinch my fists, grind my teeth. Nothing about this experience is what it is supposed to be like. I have never had a being growing inside of me. I’ve never felt a kick or a flutter or a summersault inside of me. I have never expected and waited and read and dreamt of this day. And yet. There I go and stand in disbelief.

And watch from behind a wall of horror as these women are objectified and victimized. There are no options, no choice, no bevy of laboring menu items in which to check off. Fuck, there are more options at a Taco Bell drive-thru than there are in your average laboring suite in an American hospital.

I make no jugements about your own delivery. If you wanted to be drugged and not “feel anything” (*ahem* a ridiculous expectation that the medical establishment shoves into women’s psyhe) or scheduled your own c-section, that’s lovely. Hats off to you. I am not pointing fingers at you and saying we all need to do it the same.

This is about choice.

At our most vulnerable moment. When we are terrified and filled with hormones and emotions and doubt and stabbing, murderous pain. We will do anything.

You know what I would do? You know what I plan to do? I will risk it all and birth on my kitchen floor before I allow any fucking person in scrubs to come near me and take away my choice. To tell me “what is best for the baby” when I know damn well they’re lying. Fucking lying. Lying cause they’re impatient. Lying cause drugs have a higher reimbursement rate. Lying because they want control over my body and this process. I will push out a baby (if I am blessed with that option), in a bathtub, in a manger lined with hay before I trust a sole in the laboring unit in any American hospital.


HERE to go to the original Blog

"Honouring a Woman's Intuition"

Musings of a Montreal Doula has written yet another very insightful blog : "honouring a woman's intuition"

To me, this is yet another prime example of the medical machine's invisible interventions (Which I am currently writing an article on). A woman in pregnancy and in childbirth is at her peak of feminine power, and more in tune with her body than ever before. When she is supported and honoured, she is allowed to hear her body and to act in freedom as she needs to: to grow her beautiful healthy baby and to give birth in a calm and secure environment.

As I posted a couple of days ago, the US Dept of Defence has put together a great "Emergency Childbirth Guide" with the basic premise being "Just leave well enough alone and let the birthing mother get on with it!!" Yet medical professionals in L&D wards across North America seem to be incapable of this- to the point that they will ignore a birthing woman's intuition completely and stick with their own agenda. To me this is one of the most insidious of the invisible medical interventions that overpowers pregnant and birthing women. It is bad enough that most women are forced to conform to the hospital and doctors rules & regulations and are forced through a one size fits all cookie cutter birthing factory, but when even your own voice is taken from you, you are literally stripped down to just another number.

Like Musings of a Montreal Doula, I have listened to so many stories of women who have had very powerful insights into their labours and pregnancies, yet unfortunately most of these have been ignored. Women who've KNOWN that something has been wrong during their labour only to be shushed and treated as a naughty child who's carrying on too much.... only to give birth to a very sick baby that has to spend weeks in NICU.... because no one would listen. Women who've shown up at L&D because they've KNOWN that they are in serious labour, to have medical staff laugh at them and try to send them away "Sweetheart, if you were really in labour right now, you'd know about it!!"... only to give birth 15 minutes later into the startled ungloved hands of a shocked maternity ward nurse.

In pregnancy I see it all the time with so called "Due Dates". A woman has a positive pregnancy test and is sent for an Ultra Sound to date the pregnancy where some Technician Tells the woman when she will have her baby. I can not count the amount of times I've heard women say 'That can't be right"... "I'm at least 2 weeks farther along/not that far along"... and yet even though it is their own body that they are growing these babies in- bodies they've lived with their whole lives.... the doctors invariably go with the U/S pictures "Due Date". This happened to me during my pregnancy with my second daughter. The Ultra Sound technicial grandly announced a due date that I KNEW was at least 2.5-3 weeks earlier than I expected..... hell, not "expected" I KNEW exactly when I had ovulated, and exactly how far along I was. But as usual the doctor chose to believe the pictures. So my daughter was born at "40wks3 days".... weighing 5 lb 15 oz.
I gave the doctor a look that said "I told you so", and he just shrugged. A good friend of mine was assigned a due date with her youngest child that was 3 weeks later than she knew her actual due date was. She told her doctor several times that "this baby needs to come out now"... only to be patted on the head like a small child and told "Oh, every woman gets tired of being pregnant at this stage...." When she went into labour on her "due date" everyone in the birthing room again Pooh poohed her severe anxiety over the health of her baby through a traumatically fast and powerful birth... only to be shocked when her very obviously past term baby was born having convulsions from laying in a stew of miconium thicker than tar. If doctors had listened to her intuition, her baby might not of spent a week in NICU on respirators.

Intuition is a powerful tool, and an empowering tool for women to listen too. Only by listening to our selves and our inner voice and our body can we truly be liberated and empowered to make the decisions that we KNOW are best for us and our babies.


Honouring Women's Intuition

One of the sad things about today's care of the pregnant/birthing/postpartum woman is a lack of respect for her intuition. Many women are considered hysterical or completely blown off for discussing their intuitions. What exactly is intuition? It's about looking inside and gathering information about things and situations not by reason, but by feeling. It is not about being psychic. When we refer to intuition, people sometimes think we're refering to looking into the future, which, unless you truly are gifted with psychic ability, is not generally possible. I think intuition just means gathering information about things which are conveyed in ways more subtle than can be perceived by the five senses. I don't believe, as doulas, we can predict how birth will ultimately play out in the future (try to pin Birth down, and she changes on you...she hates us puny humans trying to "know" her too well), but you can, in the here and now, be able to intuit something about a woman, perhaps an emotional or energetic frequency, that can give you a good or not so good feeling about how that may play out in the field of childbirth. And you can be wrong, which is okay, because nothing is fool proof.. not ultrasounds, amnios, or blood tests (oh my!). ...

...I trust women. A woman in her childbearing year tends to have incredible insight into the workings of her body and her baby. She should be given plenty of space to talk about these feelings freely without fear of being judged as "silly". When you're growing a baby inside you, you are linked to another being more intimately than any other way. It is no surprise that a woman can have very strong feelings about what's going on with her baby. I kinda believe that a baby transmits his feelings to his mom in some cases. I don't think he says, "Mother, I am planning on becoming photographer someday," or "Ma, I will be born with a large birthmark." In fact, many women before the days of ultrasound were unaware they were carrying twins until the day of their birth. I just mean I have seen wild flashes of insight which, in spite of medical disbelief or logic, have been proven right. There are just times a woman tells you something when you know in your own gut what she is saying is incontrovertible...you know it by a strong feeling of resonance with the truth of her words.

Here are a few examples. A really crazy amazing wild woman friend of mine named Michelle, was my doula for the birth of my first child. She had given birth to her own first three children at home in the mountains of Tennessee, one of them unassisted, I believe. When she became pregnant with her fourth child, she had been doing some doula work in hospitals. She told me she thought she'd birth this baby in a hospital. I asked her, "What do you mean? You've had great home births. What makes you want to go to the hospital?" She told me she wasn't sure, just that she had felt really comfortable in a certain hospital she had worked at, and felt drawn to give birth there. She arrived at the hospital in labour, and was very quickly rushed to the OR for an emergency C-section because of severe fetal distress due a real and serious umbilical cord problem. Her son was fine. And her next three children were born at home in the Dominican Republic.




HERE to Read the entire article.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Male Circumcision- more excellent info and blogs by Peacefull Parenting

As usual, Peaceful Parenting has put several together a several great articles on Male Genital Mutilation/ Male circumcision. Facts, Figures, Videos, Pictures and links to studies and other excellent articles.

Male Circumcision is a violation of a childs basic Human Rights. Whether is it done for religious, social, or just plain customs and tradition..... it is a torturous horrifying procedure that amputates a perfectly normal part of a perfectly healthy baby boy.

Would you do this to your daughter?

Babies Voice Their Objections to Circumcision



Cut vs. Intact Outcome Statistics

Dr. Aldeeb encourages action as Switzerland moves toward universal circumcision ban




Circumcision Information Take 3

The Effects of Circumcision on Breastfeeding

Review of research between The National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers and La Leache League International



Jewish Father's Letter to His Son





The Day I Withdrew From Nursing School

by Nicole



"Basic guide to nourishing your pregnancy"

A really lovely blog written by a Montreal Doula, outlining 10 steps to "Nourish yourself", physically, emotionally and mentally during pregnancy and birth. A wonderful read...I only wish she'd written it about 6 months ago!!!



Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Doula's Basic Guide To Nourishing Your Pregnancy

Technically, it takes very little to have a decent birth experience. Most women can squat in a forest and have a baby without any instructions, never mind interventions. Of course, things happen beyond our control, but MOST of the time, the process works fine. I have heard midwife Karen Strange say, "Birth is meant to work when noone else is there," and I believe that is true for the vast majority of birthings.

As a doula, I know for a fact that many outcomes that have been less than favourable have actually been caused by too much meddling with the process...too much doubt, too many attempts to control all contingencies. And I have also sadly seen not wonderful outcomes when there have been no interventions and there should have been. So, knowing as a reality there truly isn't much control over what direction a birth decides to take, there are ways you can increase your chance of a nice, happy birth. No guarantees, but a fighting chance doesn't hurt.

I've outlined a few steps on how to nourish yourself during pregnancy and beyond. Nourishment is a concept that goes far beyond just what you put in your mouth. It refers to anything you "digest" physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

1) Eat well.
Eating well is a very important aspect of prenatal care. It cannot be emphasized enough that good nutrition is essential to creating the best chances for the best outcome. I have seen women heal symptoms from the annoying to the dangerous by adjusting her diet. Your baby's optimal growth is dependent upon the food you take in. Yes, I know, even ladies in very poor circumstances can have reasonably healthy babies, but we're talking about optimal health. It's not hard to eat well....eating organically as much as possible is preferable, but if that is not possible, many find that simple, healthy food is actually a lot cheaper than processed food. Why not give it a go?

2)Exercise gently
Walking, yoga, swimming, bellydancing...these are all ways not just to nourish and tone your body and make you strong and supple for birth, but to help you connect more deeply to your centre. These exercises put you in a more meditative state, perhaps helping you discover areas you hold tension, and help you work through that tension.

3)Receive loving touch.
Massage, osteopathy, shiatsu, chiropractic...all of these things help you relax, aid in balancing and aligning your body, and work out aches and pains. They can also help you with somatic/emotional integration, as what often happens with receiving bodywork is a greater awareness of where unprocessed emotions tend to live in your body.

4)Gravitate towards those you have the best relationships with.
Loving, nurturing relationships are crucial to the wellbeing of the pregnant woman. Laughing with good friends, chlling with your mom, having great sex with your partner, consciously tending to and being tended help you grow your baby in an environment of love. If you're having challenges in your primary relationships, it's important to have a safe space to talk about these issues. If there were ever a time to get on top of challenges in your love relationship, now would be it for you and your partner to actively work on problems, either together intentionally, or with the help of a good counsellor. Things won't get easier after the birth of the baby. Being on the same page and figuring out each other's values surrounding parenting is something that should be worked out.

5)Work with your emotions.
Take inventory of some of the things in your life you'd like to explore, like fears around your changing identity from regular old you into a mother, fears about childbirth, or patterns you've outgrown but haven't found ways to change. Preparing for birth and motherhood is about creating space. When you can let go of some of the emotional energy you may be hanging onto, you have greater access to the resources you need to give birth and mother in a more grounded way. There are many tools you can use to process your emotions, from journaling, creating art, talking to loved ones, or talking to a trusted teacher/guide/therapist.

6)Surround yourself with beauty.
When your surroundings are clean and comfortable, you tend to feel like you have more space within as well as without. The nesting energy of later pregnancy tends to help us with this task. Taking walks outside in Nature and watching movies or things on TV that are uplifting, funny, or inspirational are probably healthier than subjecting yourself and your baby to the chemical reactions that inevitably occur when viewing something violent. Let the smells that suffuse your home be gentle, natural, and yummy, not harsh and chemically.

7)Breathe.
Learning to breathe deeply into all parts of your body to receive life giving energy, then breathing out tension is essential to help you achieve deep relaxation. Learning to focus your breath will help you cope with labour and moments of stress in parenting. Having something for your mind to chew on during labour can be really helpful, and breathing is a great tool. Practice it every day. If you are interested in breathing techniques for labour, you can find many resources to learn them. But practice. I find the most useful breath work is deep abdominal breathing, "ocean breath" of yoga, and vocalization to help release the intense sensations of labour. A great prenatal yoga teacher can be a gem to your pregnancy.

7)Educate yourself properly.
Reading a bunch of things about the birth process that are scary or alarmist doesn't really help you. Instead, focusing on positive stories of birth and breastfeeding will keep you less stressed, keeping in mind that stress affects your hormones, thus affects birthing and milk let down. You already know the unexpected can happen, but delving into all the possibilities just "to know" isn't as healthy as perhaps focusing on the couple of things that really stand out to you as frightening. If this is the case, focus on those and figure out what's bugging you and why. Do some emotional work around it to discover what energy is bound up with these fears. Don't let people tell you their horror stories about birth. Your hearing them will not help you "prepare".

Learning your birthing options is crucial to your education. As it's been said, "if you don't know your options, you don't have any." Your doula or midwife should be able to help you with this, and guide you towards the best resources to give you the most practical prenatal preparation education for birth and mothering. If you are being followed medically, talking to your doctor about your options is important to figure out the birthing terrain. Do a tour of your hospital to find out what sort of resources they have to support your desires. The last thing you want to be is vulnerable to medical interventions you don't want by not knowing your rights as a consumer of medical care. Private prenatal education tends to be more nuturing and helpful than hospital sponsored classes, though great teachers can be found here too if you don't have any other resources.

8)Gather support.
If you are going to give birth in a hospital, quite simply, you need a doula, especially if you are hoping for a low to no intervention birth experience and good start to breastfeeding. Hire a postpartum doula to help you build your confidence and make sure you are nurtured afterwards. Ask friends to bring you food if they want to visit. If you've ever thought about hiring help around the house, now would be a good time. Make sure your doctor or midwife are on board with your desires as much as possible. If your doctor or midwife make you feel small for asking questions, even LOTS of them, or don't honour you with straight answers, you probably don't have the appropriate caregiver for you. So CHANGE caregivers. I help people do this all the time. You are entitled to ask questions, and deserve their time of day. Remember, even if your doctor or midwife are truly too busy to give you the time you need (not because they're mean, but because there is a terrible shortage and they need to serve as many people as possible), a doula or good childbirth educator can help you fill in the blanks.

9)Slow down.
Growing a baby is a full time job, and often women work in worlds that look down upon pregnancy, or are not fully supportive of the physiological and emotional shifts that go on. Working right up 'til your due date is not something I normally recommend, unless your job is something that really nourishes you or you simply cannot afford to take the time off (in which case, make space where you can, at lunchtime or breaks). I know that my pregnancies were a very rich time of creative energy, and I needed time to bring forth those creations. Stopping to communicate with your baby inside, taking time to envision your birth, making space for emotional checking in...these are all important aspects of preparing for birth. Imagine working in a stressful environment right 'til the day you go into labour, your head full of "to do" lists and worries about "abandoning" your work? This could make labour...interesting.

10)Let go.
Now that you've done all your work, let it go. Your birth and breastfeeding experience will unfold as it will. The tools you have used to nourish yourself as fully as you can will serve you well to weather your experience. Knowing you did all you could to prepare yourself body, mind, and soul, you own your birth. You have taken responsibility. You have the resources to cope with all the richness and complexity that is your own unique birth and mothering experience.

Blessed birthing!

HERE to read the original Blog by "Musings of Montreal Doula"

"Hell No CIO!!"

A Continuation of Woman Uncensored's article from last month about Crying it out: "Just let her cry" That I posted Dec 31 09.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

HELL NO CIO!


I realize that my post "Just let her cry" left some things unsaid. Quite honestly, I knew that when I wrote it, but I had to write it late at night and was exhausted both physically and from the strain of even writing something so emotional. I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to write everything I feel on this issue, but I do have some more to share at this point.

It's funny how life works sometimes. Just a couple days after I wrote about CIO ("cry it out"), I had a gut-wrenching conversation with my own mother. We were talking about my teenage brother and his issues, and she ended up launching into her own experience with "sleep training" him as a baby. It was interesting timing, considering she doesn't even know about my blog.

To understand the full scope of what my brother went through, you need to know the other trauma he suffered as a baby. His father would beat our mother right in front of him, when he was only an infant. My brother screamed for hours on end every day and night, and the doctors said he had "colic". His wails indicated extreme pain. Later, we were told it was truly just from the traumatic events he witnessed. It lasted til he was about 15 months old (at which point it just started manifesting in a different way). Up until then, he had been used to being rocked and nursed through his misery. At that point, the doctors told my mother that she had to make him go to sleep on his own, without rocking, nursing, or anything of the sort. According to them, she should be able to just set him down in his crib and he should be able to fall asleep by himself. After the hellish 15 months he had been through, he was expected to suddenly change EVERYTHING in a very short period of time. He was still a broken and scared child, and now he was also to be "broken" of his desperate needs for the loving arms he was used to. Our mother worked all day, so now with this "sleep training" he was to be deprived of her presence around the clock. When did she get to be his mother? When did he ever get to feel her arms around him?

Anyway, my mom went on about the experience. All of it was strictly laid out by the doctor, and my mother was assured that it was the only way he could become a "healthy sleeper" and she would be doing him a huge favor. He was to be laid down awake in his crib, and she was to walk out of the room. If he cried, she was "allowed" to go in after 5 minutes and pat his back briefly. Lather, rinse, repeat. This went on for FIVE HOURS, with my mother weeping as quietly as possible in a heap outside his door in the times she "couldn't" go be with him. Fast forward a few more nights of the same thing, and he "finally learned". My mother expressed her deep distress in the same sentences that she sang the doctors praises. I said to her "I'm sick just listening to this, I can't imagine living through it" (either as the mother or the child!). She expressed more gratitude toward the doctors.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Guide to Emergency Childbirth

So, What I want to know is, if the US Dept of Defence can write up such an easily understood guide to childbirth, Why is it impossible for Doctors, OB's and Medical staff to follow it? What? Do these guidelines only work in emergency situations outside of hospitals? Why does being in a hospital automatically change the rules and change the way that childbirth is viewed and cared for?!


EMERGENCY CHILDBIRTH

What to Do


1. Let nature be your best helper. Childbirth is a very natural act.
2. At first signs of labor assign the best qualified person to remain with mother.
3. Be calm; reassure mother.
4. Place mother and attendant in the most protected place in the shelter.
5. Keep children and others away.
6. Keep hands as clean as possible
7. Keep hands away from birth canal
8. See the baby breathes well.
9. Place the baby face down across the mother’s abdomen.
10. Keep baby warm.
11. Wrap afterbirth with baby.
12. Keep baby with mother constantly.
13. Make mother as comfortable as possible.
14. Identify baby.

What Not to Do


1. DO NOT hurry.
2. DO NOT pull on baby, let baby be born naturally.
3. DO NOT pull on the cord, let the placenta (afterbirth) come naturally.
4. DO NOT cut and tie the cord until the baby AND the afterbirth have been delivered.
5. DO NOT give medication.
DO NOT HURRY - LET NATURE TAKE HER COURSE.


HERE to read the entire Guide to Emergency Childbirth

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Confessions of a sex goddess turned Co-Sleeper!"

ROTFLMAO!!!! I absolutely LOVE this Blog by Woman Uncensored!!! I could of written every word of it myself.

I can not tell you how many times I've gotten into conversations with people (IRL and online) about Co-sleeping and sharing a family bed on the topic of sex.

"But what about sex?!"
"Oh I couldn't do that!! We'd never have sex again!"
"You're husband must hate having the baby between you all the time"

And my usual come back is "that's why kitchen tables were invented!!" ;>P

I mean really? Sex is fun wherever it happens, so why does it have to be limited to the bed or even the bedroom? Sleep sharing gives you an outlet to express your creativity and brings back adventure into your sex life. And if the bed is calling your name, the baby sleeping on the other side of the bed isn't going to complain about the rhythmical rocking motions that she's been use to for the past 9 months any way!

So Rock on!! Bring your inner sex kitten out of the closet!! And if you have to take a 5 minute break during the 7th inning stretch to nurse the baby, well, you can nurse the baby in high heels and corset!! Trust me, wardrobe is not something they care about: PJ's or PVC.... they just want the boob!

Read on, and send me your comments- I'd love to hear from other Co-sleepers!!


Confessions of a sex goddess turned co-sleeper

Once upon a time, I was all about lingerie. Black lace, high heels, and thigh highs. Two kids later... I'm all about diapers, slobbery kisses... AND lingerie! :-) Not at the same time of course, lol. The truth is, I may be an attached mama that loves to breastfeed and co-sleep, but my inner sex goddes is NOT dead! Some people wonder how we can possibly share our bed with a rambunctious toddler and occasionally our 4 year old too, and still have a sex life worth speaking of. To that I say, we're creative!




If you come over to our house, please try not to think about how many times we've gotten dirty on that couch cushion you're sitting on! I also hope you don't notice the butt print on the shower door. I'm pretty sure I erased all evidence of shenanigans from the kitchen counter.

Come on, you don't just do it in bed, do you? Just because we have kids doesn't mean we can't have fun!...

HERE to read the entire article by Woman Uncensored

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Baby Wearing is Da Bomb!"

I loved this Blog by Woman Uncensored- she speaks my language!!

My youngest son is 2 and a half, and way back when logan was about 12 months old Nick and I decided that he was our last baby- 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls.... what could be more symmetrical than that?!? Well last summer the universe decided that symmetry wasn't our game and threw us a curve ball that brought me and the kids home from Africa early: We were expecting a new baby in February 2010.

Having decided that we were finished baby making and given the fact that we were moving to another continent, we gave away EVERYTHING.

Fast forward to this month, I finally decided that I'd better start gathering up baby things. Putting the call out to various friends and family (and visiting my favourite thrift stores), I knew that I wouldn't have a problem with sleepers and undershirts, (though socks seem to be not as easily found, lol), cloth diapers and receiving blankets.... But as I lamented to my partner Helen:

"I need a wrap!!!! and I don't have a Meitai!!"

But you know that you're a baby carrier junkie when you go into the basement and pull out the bin that you have stored those precious baby things that you can never part with and in it you discover: 4 sleepers, 3 special blankets, a bib and a hat or two....... and 2 ring slings, 1 pouch sling. 2 wraps, and enough spare rings, straps, buckles and fabric to make at least 1/2 a dozen meitais/slings!!!!

"Hello. My name is Dani, and I am a baby carrier junkie"

Of course, I still went out yesterday and bought another wrap....

Well! I didn't have one in that fabric and it was a good deal!!!

.....and I'm cutting out fabric today to make my hubby his very own Meitai in black with Star Wars fabric.... or maybe X-Men.....

The stroller is parked in the laundry room, but there's a baby carrier in just about every other room of the house. And my little UFC baby hasn't even arrived yet!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Baby Wearing is Da Bomb



How comfy does my little meatloaf look? She's a newborn here, but about 2 seconds after this pic was taken, she grew so rapidly that people wondered if I'd had an affair with the Michelin Man. Despite her abundant rolls and my wussy back, she and I were always comfy. Baby-wearing is da bomb, I'm tellin' ya! So awesome, it makes me use descriptions like "da bomb", yeesh, heaven help me! I personally used a MetroMamma Wrap, which comes in some super cute "bling" designs (like mine with the wings) as well as solid colors. I must admit, I'm naturally a blond, in addition to being clumsy and uncoordinated, and those carriers with all those straps and buckles were always just too complicated for me to use. I honestly was never able to get one on and baby in it without help from my hubby. Pretty pointless when he's gone at work much of the day! Fortunately, prior to having my 2nd daughter, I'd discovered the wonderful world of baby wearing beyond the ugly store-bought contraptions of confusion!...


HERE to read Woman Uncensored's entire article

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Circumcision is for Weiners!"

I love a woman who tells it like it is!! Woman Uncensored's blog is brilliant and provokes deeper thought and analysis of the whole male circumcision issue through very penetrating questions that force us to look at what our actions say about our children and about our parenting style. ...and I LOVE the sarcasm that drips off the screen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Circumcision is for weiners!

And by weiners, I'm not referring to penises. Nice play on words though, eh? I'm referring to parents who are so afraid of doing their job that they resort to circumcision in hopes it will make their job easier.



"I heard that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV and some other STI's, so I know it was the best choice for my child"

Super. Wow, where do I start? -bangs head against desk- If only I had a dollar for every time I've seen/heard this "reason" for male genital mutilation.

Let's see if I can put this into perspective for you. Tell me how intelligent I sound when I say this:

"I heard that pulling all my child's teeth would reduce the risk of oral health problems, so I'm just doing him/her a favor so they don't have to suffer later"

Yeah, heaven forbid you just teach them proper oral hygiene and treat any problems in a reasonable way IF they ever arise!

Hmmm... sounds kinda crazy when applied to any other body part, eh?.....

...Anyway, here is my big problem with circumcising to prevent sexually transmitted infections: It is a MAJOR cop-out on the part of the parent. "Oh goody, I can just cut off part of my son and skip all those awkward conversations about sexual responsibility. He's free to be a man-whore, hooray!"

Okay, anyone who really gives this more than 2 seconds of thought is going to see that there is no way in hell that a lack of foreskin can insure adequate "protection" against HIV or anything else. It will never come close to the protection that a condom can provide. If your son operates on the assumption that he doesn't have to be careful just because he is circumcised, he's going to be at MORE risk. Circumcised or intact, I certainly hope your son wears a condom with any sexual partner unless they are in a long-term, trusting, monogamous relationship. In essence, when you circumcise your son for the purpose of "preventing" STI's, you are undermining his common sense and morals. You're telling him he's too stupid to be a responsible adult, and that you were too lazy or afraid to teach him how....

...How would YOU feel if someone decided that you might be sexually irresponsible someday, so they removed vital parts of your genitals "for your own good"??? When these reasons are used in other cultures to justify female genital mutilation, we are outraged, and we say that NOTHING can justify doing that to girls/women. Yet we buy into the most ridiculous reasons to have the same thing done to baby boys.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Primal parenting

This is a wonderful article!! An amazing example off all that western society has done to completely screw up birth, babies, and families. WE need to return to the roots of parenting. The roots of birth and babies and the unity that is natural for a family. Where babies are birthed in joy and peace, held close in love, fed their fill, and kept in harmony with the entire family.


A Pygmy Model for Partnership Relations



by Ushanda io Elima





The Efe Pygmies are “wholly non-aggressive,” Jean-Pierre Hallet told me. Could that be true? Since Hallet largely grew up with the Efe in equatorial Africa, and has lived with them for much of his sixty plus years, I figured he might know.
And since aggressive people increasingly threaten our lives, both locally and internationally, his claim seemed worth checking out. Whether or not humans are genetically violent, as some maintain, has significant relevance for we who are peace activists. The root causes of aggression, both interpersonal and international, matter greatly regarding effective strategy for prevention and elimination of human violence. And, while I cannot tolerate false hope, I was feeling a need for first-hand information that could offer genuine hope of a better world for our human family.
My fascination with the African Pygmies began in the 1960s, when I read The Forest People by Colin Turnbull, who had lived with the Mbuti Pygmies for three years. In the late ‘60s I attended Turnbull’s lecture series at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.
In the early 1970s I heard Jean-Pierre Hallet speak about the Efe Pygmies at the University of California in Berkeley. At that time he showed his 1972 documentary film on this indigenous African tribe. Later I read Hallet’s book, Pygmy Kitabu. Hallet has lived with the culturally pure Efe Pygmies from early childhood. He gave startling evidence of the trusting, cooperative, and joyful lifestyle of these forest people.
Thus I was pleased to meet with Jean-Pierre Hallet in his Malibu home. He is six feet and four inches tall, far from pygmy size, and speaks with passion. He lost his right hand while dynamiting Lake Tanganyika for fish to feed a group of starving Africans in South Mossi. Dubbed “one of the most remarkable men of the 20th century,” he is the only white man to become a member of the Bwame Secret Society, and a blood brother of the Lega, Tutsi, and Nande tribes. He is also an initiated Maasai warrior.
Mr. Hallet was born in Belgian, but went to Zaire’s Ituri Forest, where his artist father had been living, when he was only six months old. Hallet told me that, for the most part, he grew up with the Efe Pygmies. He went barefoot, wore a loincloth, and did everything that they did. He still spends time with them every year.
The following account of Pygmy life draws upon my meeting with Hallet, as well as other firsthand reports from him and Colin Turnbull. What emerges is a picture of a culture based on honoring—to use a Native American concept—“all our relations.”

Sexual Maturity and Pregnancy
The Pygmies are well aware of the connection between sex and conception, Hallet explained during our meeting, and sexual relations before marriage are accepted. If a girl becomes pregnant, she always knows who the father is, because it is customary to have only one lover at a time. Should the couple wish to marry, they do. If they choose not to, then many men will want to marry the mother-to-be, because children are most desirable.

Birth

Hallet said he has delivered more than 500 African babies, Pygmy and non-Pygmy. He described Pygmy labor as being very short, natural, and easy, even for a first-time mother. And this is in spite of the fact that Pygmy babies are, proportionally, the biggest babies in the world. For example an 80-pound Pygmy mother typically gives birth to an eight-pound baby, about one-tenth of her body weight. This would compare to a 130-pound woman birthing a 13-pound baby.
When the mother’s membranes rupture, she notifies her two midwives, who then walk with her to the river, one on either side. “At the time of the pain,” Hallet said, “she will walk and sing, sing and be joyous.”
Once at the river, the pregnant woman squats on a flat rock. The midwives hold her on each side, and breath deeply with her in what Hallet referred to as “a tremendous feeling on oneness.” When they feel the time has come, the women hold their breath. “They pause together,” said Hallet, “and then you see the baby coming out.”
One of the midwives briefly holds the baby upside down, washes the upper part of the body to make sure the baby is breathing well, and then returns the child to the mother for nursing. The other midwife works her teeth down the umbilical cord until she finds the narrow part, a few inches from the infant’s abdomen. “This is the place where, if a baby were dropped from the womb of a standing mother, the weight of the child would be enough to break that cord at that point,” said Hallet. The midwife bites this narrow part very slowly, and then gently squeezes the cord with her fingers. There is usually very little bleeding.

To celebrate the birth of her child, Hallet noted, a mother will sing this song:

My heart is so joyous,
My heart flies in singing,
Under the trees of the forest,
The forest, our home, our mother.

In my net I have caught
A little bird,
A very little bird,
And my heart is caught
In the net with my little bird.


During the birth, the father stays away. Birth is considered to be women’s business. After birth, when the mother and baby have returned to their leafy, dome hut, the father comes to them and asks permission to enter. Then the father might clap his hands and thank his wife for their very wanted child.


Newborn Care

According to Hallet, there is no bonding ritual, but there is a bond — “like a fruit to its branch” — a physical attachment for the first year or so. During this year, the baby is “never separated from the mother.” In Hallet’s view, this constant contact is one reason why Pygmy infants rarely cry. Pygmy babies appear to feel good. “They are satisfied in all of their requirements,” he stated. On the rare occasion when a baby does cry, it is only for a moment, because the baby’s need is immediately taken care of. Often this means nursing, which satisfies the baby’s necessity for close contact and attention, as well as for nourishment.
Hallet remarked that the baby is usually carried in front, although sometimes on the back. In either position, Pygmies feel it is essential to maintain skin-to-skin contact, with the child naked against the mother’s bare skin. If clothing is needed for warmth, the mother wraps a clothe around both herself and her child, not between them. This constant skin contact continues for at least the first six months. Thereafter, the mother continues to provide plenty of touching as well as baby-led nursing.
A Pygmy baby continues to nurse for about five years, Hallet reported. If there’s any milk left after the new baby is finished, the breast may go to the baby before, and then to the child before that one, in turn. The priority is always the newly born child.
Hallet said, “Sometimes you’ll see little children playing, perhaps making a bow and arrow. They interrupt their play to go to their mother, reach for her breast and suckle a little bit . . . still finding the warmth of a few drops of milk.”
The breasts of women with many children may be really flat, going all the way down to the waist, commented Hallet. I thought this might result from a combination of breastfeeding along with a physically active lifestyle and no bras. Although such “droopy breasts” may be unattractive from a modern point of view, to the Pygmies it is a good sign, I learned, because it indicates a woman has been feeding a lot of children. Prolonged, child-led nursing also provides a natural form of birth control and child spacing.
The Pygmies do not equate breasts with sexual stimulation, Hallet claimed, and they do not use the breast for erogenous foreplay. The breast is considered sacred, reserved for the child.
The father takes great interest in his baby. He plays, holds and hugs the child as much as the mother does. Men and women equally manifest love and care. In fact, fathers will sometimes hold their babies for very long periods of time. Hallet recalled, “The most beautiful time for a father is when he holds his baby for the very first time. He will hold his newborn with great . . . tenderness. And usually he will cry, because he is so touched by his baby.”
Close physical contact, nursing as often as the child feels the need, emotional warmth, and loving care are among the basic requirements of very young children, according to the Pygmies. Fulfilling these needs maximizes the child’s potential to develop into a naturally sociable and responsible human being who can enjoy a good life.


Childhood

Family members sleep together. The big girls cuddle on the left side of the hut with the mother. The boys line up beside the father, on his right. The youngest child who is still breastfeeding sleeps between the father and mother. Pygmies feel that this is an intrinsic part of life, Hallet said. Since their only blankets are each other, they cuddle and fit against one another’s bodies in a very natural way.
This feeling of closeness carries beyond the family hut. Hallet said that children refer to their parents’ peers as “mother” or “father.” Children outside the immediate family are called “brother” or “sister.” As Hallet’s documentary revealed, there is a great deal of affectionate touching among all of the Pygmies. Babies and small children are held and carried. Older children and adults frequently hold hands or sit with an arm around a friend, or place their head in another’s lap. Anyone feeling the need for reassurance may touch someone briefly or go for a hug. Many enjoy cuddling.
Girls and boys are treated and valued equally, according to Hallet. Marriage involves no dowry or bride-payment, but rather simple exchanges. Most areas of work are not limited solely to one gender or the other. A man will gather food if he passes something tasty and his hands are free. And all the people—men, women and children—play a part in the hunt.
Hallet never saw a Pygmy adult hit or criticize a child. Nor do they tell their children how to behave. When I asked how they control their children, Hallet answered, “They don’t. The children do not need to be controlled. Whatever the adults do, the children do. The woman goes to gather wood for the fire, and the little girl follows and picks up a few pieces too.”
Once he saw a toddler heading straight toward a blazing fire, and called out to alert the mother. The mother calmly replied, “Let him go.” As Hallet put it, the mother knew the child would soon feel the heat and slow down. She trusted nature, including the instinctual wisdom of her child’s human nature. The child might touch a glowing twig and learn about fire without serious harm to either his fingers or his budding self-confidence.
“This is probably the most striking difference between the Pygmies and our society,” said Hallet. “They do not tell their children what to do or what not to do.”


Adulthood

After an easy birth and attentive childcare, what quality of life do Pygmies experience in maturity?
According to Hallet, Efe Pygmies are physically healthy. Living traditionally, they do not succumb to such modern diseases as high blood pressure, heart disease, or cancer. Death is usually due to pulmonary diseases like pneumonia, a result of the constant nearly 100 percent humidity of their forest environment. The second leading cause of death is what Hallet termed “accidents,” such as being crushed by a falling tree.
For simple ailments like an infected cut, the Pygmies have natural medicines derived from various combinations of roots and plant juices. They have a cure for every normally occurring illness, according to Hallet. They either eat the substance, drink it, or make a little scratch and absorb it into the bloodstream much like an injection. Through centuries of trial and error, they know what works and what does not.
The emotional health of the Pygmies is also impressive. Hallet, constantly touched by their goodness, believes that the simplicity, harmony, and serenity that the Pygmies experience are qualities we could learn to incorporate. “They are not afraid,” he said. “They are totally secure.” They have a high level of respect for themselves and others.
Most significantly, Efe Pygmies are free of hatred, greed, and competitive feelings. Physical violence against others is forbidden.
Hallet’s documentary reveals the role that social responsibility plays in a telling scene of conflict between an Efe wife and husband. The argument heats up with much shouting, hands on hips, and dramatic finger waving. Suddenly the husband picks up a stick. The wife disappears from the screen—but soon reappears bearing a club taller than herself. At this point, the women hold back the wife, and the men hold back the husband.
What usually happens when a husband and wife fight, says Hallet, is that they are encouraged. “If a man is about to hit his wife, the others will give him a stick and say, ‘Hit her with this. You are a strong man. You can kill her!’ By this time, the husband already feels a little ashamed. The others group around and call out, ‘Okay! Go! Go for it!’ And then he realizes how foolish he looks. They end up making a joke out of it, a sort of soap opera. Then every body claps, and they are happy.”
Pygmies express all of their emotions freely. According to Hallet, if Pygmies feel like crying, they cry. If they want to scream, they scream. They yell. It is acceptable for a man to cry openly. They pygmies do not suppress their emotions; instead, they say, “Tell the truth. Do not hide it—let it out.”
Turnbull referred to the bright-eyed, open look of the playful Pygmies, and was surprised by the extent of their emotional freedom: they may even fall to the ground and roll around when expressing intense sorrow, or laughter.
Even though Pygmies usually do pretty much what they feel like doing, community relationships do not suffer. As Hallet sees it, a major part of their great personal freedom comes from a mutual feeling of trust. As he spoke I thought, because the innate trust human babies are born with is not betrayed by their caregivers, that trust can continue. According to Hallet, Pygmies concentrate their attention on the betterment of their personal relationships. He said that the entire Efe society had not one criminal, not one rapist, one molester, or one case of incest.
Although a man might think of making love with a woman other than his wife, knowing how that would threaten the root of their sacred marriage for life, he would resist the temptation.
The Pygmies have no chiefs, no courts or prisons. Turnbull wrote that they did not want individual power, preferring shared decision-making.
More than anything else, what forms the basis of the healthy relationships that Pygmies enjoy is respect. For instance, respect is shown in the handling of food, which is shared with all. If food is scarce, the first to be fed are the children and then the elders—those who are the most vulnerable.
Great respect is shown for the elders. In Pygmy society, the elders are “the stars of the show.” According to Hallet, they are the most important people because they have the wisdom, the honor, the beauty that deserves respect. They have worked all their lives. They have given a lot of love to other people. They naturally reap the reward of becoming truly important in the eyes of all others. The Pygmies have a saying: “Thank God if you live to grow old.”
When I heard that I wondered how many of our modern elders feel as honored and grateful in old age.
Pygmies also show respect for their forest environment and resources. “Never cut the tall trees,” they say in Hallet’s Pygmy Kitabu. Ecology is a natural part of their religion.
According to Hallet, the Pygmies believe in one God, one Spirit, one Creator of all life. They consider no form of punishment, no hell or revenge, because they see God as being only benevolent. In The Forest People, Turnbull records the words of a song he heard his Pygmy companions sing: ". . . If darkness is, then the darkness must be good.” So completely do the Pygmies experience a trustworthy world.


The Future: Danger of Extinction

Pygmy lives are now endangered. “It is impossible for them to survive with their traditional hunting and gathering because their forest is being destroyed at a tremendous rate,” said Hallet. In fact, many experts predicted that the Efe Pygmies would be extinct by 1977. In that year, their population numbered 3,800—not yet extinct, although a significant decline from the two or three million who were once the only inhabitants of central Africa.
“The forest, that perfect ecosystem that took millions of years to be established, is destroyed now to less than ten percent of its former glory,” said Hallet.
He repeatedly stressed the view that humanity needs to help the Pygmies survive because they are also the key to our own survival. “The Pygmies are the living evidence of our innate goodness.” In a world threatened by oppression, conflict, and violence, these forest people demonstrate that when we gently birth, nurture, and guide our children, without violence and other repressive controls, we human beings can live together in freedom and harmony.
Nurtured by a community that reflects the loving care adults received early in life, children develop freely in an environment of safety, warm concern, cooperation and shared pleasures. The Pygmies say, “Love the children extravagantly, with all your heart!”


Summary: A Sustained Culture Reveals Possibilities For Humanity

The images and expectations we hold in our minds powerfully influence our children’s development. The picture of “human nature” given by some modern people depicts a human “inheritance” of violent and selfish “instincts.” When we believe that humanity is innately violent or greedy, we fearfully demand obedience from our children, and strive to maintain rigid controls over the emotional responses that we have been taught to fear in our own childhoods. Dominance over others’ behavior, and over our own natural emotions, brings neither inner nor outer peace. Instead, viewing human nature as dangerous has helped to create perilous consequences for the human race.
The image of human nature demonstrated by the living Pygmies offers us the hope of better ways of relating, arising from a more accurate view of our original nature. The Efe Pygmy culture reassures us that we need not assume that human beings are genetically violent or greedy. Therefore we need not teach our children to suppress themselves or to blindly obey others. Pygmy society shows us that when children’s needs (life requirements) are lovingly provided for, they will not grow up harboring unmet needs that may become greed. They will not develop the rage and fear that result from early neglect and punishment, and may be destructively expressed for the rest of some lives.
Startling to our modern minds, it becomes clear that it is unnecessary to teach our children to love. Instead we can trust and support their innate tendencies toward empathy and generosity, which I too experienced while living in Africa and elsewhere. We can safely allow our children emotional freedom, while gently guiding them in appropriate, mutually respectful ways of behavioral expression.
In short, the Pygmies demonstrate that we do not have to war with our children. We do not have to teach them violence by our example when they are small. Instead we can cooperate with them in the graceful unfolding of their inborn integrity and kindness.
What happens in our parenting as we begin to act from this harmonious image of human nature? For one, we find ourselves reviving such ancient practices as natural homebirth, unrestricted breastfeeding, carrying our infants and maintaining close physical contact with them. Rather than punishment, we teach our children by example. In so doing, we are not simply returning to our roots. Rather, in our individual ways, we are weaving a new synthesis appropriate for our times, one that creates fresh possibilities for the whole of humanity.
From the self-respecting awareness of our inherent human goodness, a sweeter, grander version of ourselves will emerge.

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