Google+ Authentic Parenting: March 2012

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Origins Of The Good Patient Syndrome (rerun)

I have been wondering for a while what it is that makes intelligent people mindless, wordless and powerless in the face of doctors. Once we enter the doctor's office, we seem to be transformed into mindless sheep and it takes a strong will and persuasion, and a lot of self-information, to break that vicious cycle.

As I went on a doctor's visit with my daughter a while back, it became crispy clear. From the moment we are born, we are pricked and prodded by doctors, without our consent, without even someone to explain what is happeninig. And this treatment continues as we grow older. We are touched, padded, stung and all the while our parents tell us it is for our own good, that we just have to lay still for a while, that it will all be over if we just go along with it.
By the time we go to school, we have been transformed into obedient little sheep as soon as we lay sight on a labcoat. We have yearly testing (in Belgium), where little ones have to assume demeaning positions and parade in underwear before their peers.
We have mandatory vaccinations and annual dentist appointments.

All this leaves little freedom for those who do not seek to step out of the main path.

Add to this the 'above them all'-attitude most doctors take when consulting their patients - plus the fact that most of them think all of their patients are ignorant and those who disagree are raving lunatics, braindead hippies or something of the like - and you are in for an extremely disfunctional relationship.
It takes a strong patient and a gentle doctor to make this relation one of exchange and equality.

So don't blame the woman who didn't go against her doctor's decision, she probably didn't know there were other options.
And when someone tells you they didn't breastfeed because their doctor said they shouldn't, get mad at the doctor, not the woman.

Maybe if we understand the origin of these paralyzing feelings, we can act against them.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Books, Have They Become Obsolete?

Welcome to the March Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Discovering through Books
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants have investigated what role books have played in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

As I watch my daughter happily tap on the Ipad I received for Christmas but didn’t get to use, I can’t help but wonder: do we still need books? One cannot argue with the fact that books are much less convenient then their digital counterpart: they take up space, gather dust, create waste and chip into our precious natural resources.
Personally, I read a lot more digitally then I do in print, and I’m an avid reader. I can imagine shifting more and more towards digital reading (if I ever get hold of that Ipad), for numerous reasons, but most importantly because carrying an Ipad is so much lighter than a bag full of books, and it carries more than one bag, and this is an important issue for frequent movers like we are.

Obviously we have quite a road to travel until there’s a digital reader in every house, there’s the issue of cost, and availability of internet, and these are just a couple of factors that would stunt their repartitions, I’m sure we could think of many more.

Image: sleepyneko on Flickr
Still, if we would look long into the future, would we enter a world one day without books? Surely, if the resources needed to make books would become extinct or so threatened that we could no longer use them, we’d cease making books.
But there’s something magical about cuddling up with your child and reading an actual book, about lounging under a tree with a god novel... the crisp of the paper, the smell of the ink...

As any technology, books will continue to exist next to digital readers, they’ll just find their space and maybe new, niche usages. Though from an environmental perspective - with the upcoming of digital readers - it is up to us, the consumers, to spend our dollars wisely when it comes to printed material. Do continue to buy lovely children’s book, and get that novel you so desire, but save some paper by getting your magazines and journals online or in a digital subscription... this way, we’ll all benefit from our natural resources  a little longer.

Visit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


Thursday, March 29, 2012

DIY floral arrangements for kids

Children love flowers as much as adults do. It isn't necessary to order postal flowers or send commercial arrangements to the child when one can create a beautiful, child-friendly arrangement that can be hand-delivered.

Save money

Anyone who has ever sent a floral arrangement knows that it is costly to order flowers from a florist shop. One is not only paying for the flowers, but also paying for the delivery service, the creative talents of the floral arranger and the container. When these factors are added together, itís easy to see why commercial flower arrangements are costly. Create an arrangement, and one can make a perfect, unique floral arrangement for a fraction of the cost. If the season is right and flowers are growing in the yard, one can eliminate the cost of flowers altogether.

Be creative

When people make their own floral arrangements, they can be as creative as they want to be. For example, if the child loves the color yellow, go to the florist and pick out an array of yellow flowers to use in the homemade arrangement. If the child is fond of bumblebees, place a handful of bumblebees in the arrangement. Craft shops are filled with small, beautiful accessories like bumblebees, birds, teddy bears and other items that catch a childís eye. Many of these items come attached to a stick that can be placed in the container along with the flowers.

Cover the vase

Although adults are happy with a simple vase of flowers, children are more apt to appreciate their floral arrangement if the container is interesting to them. For example, a child might love to receive flowers in a Lego-covered vase. Create a rectangular structure out of Legos that is big enough to hold a small vase. Assemble the floral arrangement in the vase, and then lower the vase into the Lego rectangle. Colorful Legos will add fun to the arrangement, and after the flowers are no longer fresh, the child has a set of Legos to play with.

Little girls who like dolls might enjoy a vase covered in a doll dress. Experiment with containers and find one that will fit a medium-sized doll dress. Arrange the doll dress around the vase and use ribbons to attach the dress to the shape of the container. Use a bit of tissue paper in the sleeves of the dress to make them puff out. When the flowers need to be discarded, the little girl will have a new doll dress to enjoy.

Use a child-friendly container

Dump trucks, small wagons, even colorful cookie jars can act as a vase for flowers. Shallow containers, like a truck, can be fitted with a waterproof plastic insert and then filled with marbles. Insert short, flower stems into the container, and the marbles will help to keep the flowers in position. When the flowers are past their prime, the child wonít be disappointed as he or she will still have a truck and some marbles to play with.

Add some candy or cookies

Purchase some small candies, a dowel, some cellophane and ribbon and you can create a candy gift to insert into your floral arrangement. Cut out a large square of cellophane and fill the center with candies. Take the corners of the cellophane and bring them together to form a pouch. Close the pouch with an elastic band to keep the pouch from opening. Attach the pouch to the dowel by slipping the dowel through the elastic. Use ribbon to cover the elastic and tie a bow. If a cookie jar is going to be used as a container, attach a small bag of cookies to the dowel instead of candy.

One doesn't have to be a floral designer to create a beautiful, cheery gift of flowers for a child. Experiment with flower placement, containers or container covers and anyone can have the fun of making a lovely, floral gift for that special child.

About the Author
Patricia Hall works part-time for an online florist in uk and loves to surround herself with flowers at any given point of time. Even in her free time she loves to involve herself with everything flora and fauna.
'To me there is nothing more beautiful and global as the language of flowers - it is the easiest to understand all around the world in the same way. That is one reason why I truly admire flowers for what they represent in some ways - unity of all mankind!'


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Mysterious Disappearance Of Nutrients In Breastmilk (rerun)

After what I told you in 'Nestle and the doctor's office' I'm still figuring out why I should be shocked at the fact that that moronic pedeatrician said that breastmilk does not contain any nutrients when the child has reached the age of two. That the only reason my daughter is still nursing, is for pleasure.

Let's for an instance - just for the fun of it - say we believe this absurd piece of fiction to be true. Let's also try to forget that he must tell these fabels to African women who live in unsanitary conditions and whose children are maybe just as ill as my daughter was when I went to see him. Let's also forget that these women are for the most part uneducated and that they truly believe that what an educated doctor tells them holds true (what else would be the point of visiting a doctor and paying all that money for it if he's just a storyteller?).

I still have some questions however.

  1. Can you tell me exactly when this liquid gold, extremely nutrious substance, the drink of gods - if I may - changes into something less interesting than water. Maybe something comparable to Vodka, since it is apparently only consumed for pleasure.
  2. If breastmilk does not contain anything beneficial beyond the age of two, why then are we told to feed our children fortified growth milk until at least the age of four. Either A) the growth milk thing is just another consumerist fiction or B) they are really onto something and our children are lacking all these added vitamins because - oh dear - they are no longer breastfed by that age.
  3. Third, what the hell is wrong with pleasure? Maybe if we allowed our children a little pleasure once in a while, they will not grow up to be the pleasure seeking, alcohol/sex/sigarette/shopping-addicted grown ups so many of us are.
  4. If this breastmilk does not contain any nutrients whatsoever beyond the age of two, then may I ask what exactly this white substance that flows richly form my breasts is made of. Water? No that's actually beneficial. Milk? Oh no, that's also somethinng we should be giving our children until the age of four (at least - if we believe the growth milk). And if it is indeed Vodka, then it could indeed explain why it puts them to sleep so effectively.
  5. Why would this wonderful substance all of a sudden become a barren useless thing and still be produced. This seems like a highly fruitless process to me, and it seems out of tune with nature.

So if you are a doctor and you are reading this: instead of trying to sell Nestle and Bledina to your patients, tell them something real for a moment. And if you are not informed, read.

If you are a breastfeeding mother, do not believe a word your doctor tells you! Go out and find the information yourself. And if he is trying to convince you of this kind of crap, get another pead!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stress Reducers that You and Your Youngsters Can Do Around the House

Written by Jemima Lopez

With our lives seeming endlessly busy and frazzled, it can be a stress in itself to try to remain calm and collected throughout our days. There's always so much to be done, so much left behind from the day before, and so much we wish we could do. Furthermore, with the advent of amazing smartphones and social media, our lives are feeling busier and faster paced than ever. Part of living a happy and fulfilling life is feeling like the things you do day in and day are rewarding and relaxing. As stay at home mothers, it can be difficult to find ways to unwind when there is just so much to be done. Rather than race around missing out on important opportunities throughout your day, try these stress reducing activities. These daily activities are a great way to slow your day down, enjoy time with your children, and take some time for yourself (while still being productive with your time).

Stretch Out

Image: Lululemon athletica
Stretching is a great way to focus your mind and body and find some time to yourself. At some point throughout your busy day, take a few minutes to sit down and just relax and stretch out your limbs. If you're at home with young children, you can have them join in with you. Stretching is a great way to keep your body limber and lean and is a wonderful meditation activity. It just takes 10 minutes or so to really loosen up your body and let your mind rest for a little while. You can either do this while the kids are taking a nap and the house is quiet or with your kids at your side. Kids will have fun mimicking your movements and it can be beneficial for them as well. Real meditation takes a significant amount of time to master and a longer daily time commitment to stick to. By just stretching out your body and focusing your mind on one small task, you will have a mini meditation session that can be key.

Make Chores a Game
Household chores are something we all have to do. Some of us use daily chores as a kind of methodic relaxation times; some of us hate them. But, there are some ways that we can make our daily chores a fun and stress reducing process for ourselves. I like to create little games with daily chores throughout the day. I will race to finish the dishes before a certain time or color coordinate my folded laundry to make it more interesting. While these little games may sounds silly, little tricks like this really help me forget that I'm doing chores. I'm able to think about something other than disliking the chore at hand. This can also be a great way to involve your kids in your daily tasks and spend some fun time with them. Come up with little activities out of your household chores. Growing up my brothers and I would make a game out of putting away our freshly washed socks. We would ball them up and play basketball with them into our drawer. Whoever made the most in the drawer in one try won. Even small things like this can help turn a stressful activity, into a stress reducing one.

Do Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises can be a great way to reduce stress throughout the day without having to commit much time to it. This is something that you can do while you are sitting at your desk working, watching the kids, driving, or doing tasks around the house. First you take in one deep breath, breathing in air slowly for four seconds. Then hold your breath for four seconds and slowing exhale for four seconds. Sit there for four seconds and then repeat the process by increasing the seconds to 5, 6, 7, and more. Repeat this process as many times as you wish or until you feel fully relaxed. Like stretching, these breathing exercises act as a form of meditation for you. Controlled breathing can help you rest more soundly at night, lower your blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce your anxiety. Try it out.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Gearing Up: Composing A Post-Partum Nursing Wardrobe (rerun)

When you've had a baby, your wardrobe may not reflect your wishes any more, or your shape, for that matter. Especially when you breastfeed, you will have different demands from your clothes then you had before.
Some women can breastfeed in just about anything, I however, cannot. I do not like to get semi-undressed to nurse, and I prefer to be able to nurse whenever and wherever.

I have set out to create myself a wardrobe that will last for future pregnancies, nursing and the additional weight-loss and gain. It seems one hell of a task, and it can indeed be tedious, but it is feasable.

The most important thing for a nursing mother is to have a good nursing bra. If you are bound to wearing grandma style underwear, you are also bound to feel like a slob, and believe you me, that is not what you are looking for. With all the hormonal changes you are going through after birth and the changed body you have to come to accept, you really don't want to go around looking and feeling like a dishcloth.
So nursing bra is key. And there are some real nice ones out there (eg Hotmilk and Cake make pretty ones), which are worth a little detour on your shopping trip.
I have had to wear H&M nursing bras for two years, that discolored from the first washing and that hurt like hell on the underwire and I can assure you that the recent acquisitions I have made in that department are well worth their money. All of a sudden I feel like a woman again. (Until recently, nice nursing bra's were rather hard to come by where I shop in Belgium, but this wonderful new store just opened - called Boobs 'n Burps - so I finally got geared up.)

For tops (or dresses), you don't necessarily need to go to a special store. If you take some regular knitwear tops with a low neckline, this can work fine. Empire style models work best for the little postpartum belly. Do try them on however, and make sure there is easy access to the boob. You will find, once you develop 'the eye' there is really a lot of choice in tops for nursing.

If you want to buy skirts or pants that grow with you, again, these can be found in the shops you regularly visit. Look for models with an elastic, stitched elastic or jersey waistband.

All of this might take some effort in looking for it, but it spares you the frustration of having to buy all new things every time you gain a few pounds, lose some, or when you become pregnant again.

If you are too tired or busy to go out to shop, there are some online stores that have a really good choice:

  • Mamanana gives really good service and the sizing is correct, they hold breastfeeding and pregnancy wear
  • Emami has really fun multifunctional knitwear that will serve for years to come, the fabrics they use are really nice too and they were planning on using only organic cotton from 2010 onward.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Surf

I've teamed up with Lauren from Hobo Mama to make Sunday Surf even more interactive. From now on you can link up your Sunday Surf at the bottom of my weekly Surf, or over at Hobo Mama. The linky will go live every Sunday and you can add your link at any time during the week.


    If you're surfing, add your post to the linky at the bottom of this Sunday Surf. You can do that here or at Hobo Mama, your link will show up on both sites. Make sure to grab the new button either from the left sidebar or the Sunday Surf page, where you'll also find a little blurb about Sunday Surf you can copy for your post. 



    Saturday, March 24, 2012

    A Good Investment---Rerun

    What if I told you I have something you can invest in that will give you a return you couldn’t possibly imagine. It’s the investment of a lifetime; seriously, it’s so great. It’s so simple; there are no required minimums*. This is the kind of investment that you will enjoy so much you will probably want to invest more once you get started.

    You might be asking yourself if this is some sort of SPAM, but read on, this is serious business and an investment every parent should be making.
    This investment is so amazing because it gives you a combined solution to a host of challenges. Better connectivity, trouble shooting, deeper understanding of a complex and ever changing relationship. You don’t even need to prepare that much, spontaneity in this case can lead to awesome results.
    Consider these two quick ideas:
    • Those who engage in this investment on a daily basis report high satisfaction levels.
    • Many experts endorse and have written books on this very thing.
    Are you ready to invest then? I’ll be upfront, you need some time, a little effort and some partners.
    Chances are you already have one, two, three or more investment partners near you. That’s right, you will not invest alone, actually, part of this investment is to forge these partnerships and I can practically guarantee positive outcomes.
    Investing together will boost morale, provide a chance for growth and give you a window into the world of your partners. These are recent testimonials from my investment partners:
    “Wow this is so awesome! I didn’t know that could happen!” – Investing since 5 years
    “Again!” – Investing since 1 year
    “WOW. I want to try that. ” – Investing since 3 years
    Are you ready to know what this is all about?
    This investment is a way to tackle new concepts and make complex connections. A way to give your investment partners a way to collect and analyze data and crunch information that yields retention rates like nothing else. That’s right, high interest yields and it is even considered an educational tool.
    The investment is called: Play!
    Play can be one of the best investments you make in your child, in yourself and your family. You might have thought I’d gone a bit off the rocker writing this but I was just having a little fun. I was annoyed with a few sales pitches this week and had to make something good out them.
    So seriously, playtime it is an investment in your child, their future, their life. Play builds relationships, makes your child feel special and connected. Playing with your child is never wasted time. So go ahead, set aside your “to do” list, for just ten minutes a few different times a day play with your child and have fun!
    Peace & Be Well,
    *Did you know: Play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.General AssemblyResolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989.

    About the author
    Ariadne - aka mudpiemama has three children and two dogs. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. Read more at Positive Parenting Connection!


    Friday, March 23, 2012

    One of those mornings...

    I had a one of those mornings recently. You know, those day when things just seem to be off. My car keys mysteriously disappeared, I spilled my coffee over and the dog tried to steal my toast. Then I stubbed my toe trying to put on my boots with one hand while nursing… Every light was red, every slow moving vehicle ever created by man decided to drive the exact same way I was headed. At the cashier, I realized my wallet had rolled out of my purse and was probably chatting with one of the lost socks and cheerios under the front seat of my car. As I rushed back out to the parking lot…Bella started to cry.

    No…don’t cry now! Not right now! I thought to myself. And in the span of two seconds I had this flash of thoughts. I’m not in “I can take anything that comes my way” mode…I’m frazzled. I’m hurting…stupid door-stop, why did I stub my toe on it…I’m so tired. I’m still spent from the visit to the ER with Nicolas yesterday…It wasn’t Leukemia, Halleluiah, it was not leukemia. I want to cry in relief. I’m breathing. Aha! Just keep breathing.

    I looked at Bella, her big blue eyes were fixed on mine, her little cheeks were red like the strawberries we were supposed to buy. The morning hadn't been all peachy for Bella either. I had rushed her along, I trampled all over our usual wonderful and happy routine. I nursed her while putting on shoes for crying out loud! Bella needed a hug.

    So, I kept breathing, scooped her up and held her close. The crying faded away. “Mama sad face” she said. Too much running around? No answer. “I’m frowning a lot” and I exaggerated a frowning face. “Yups, that mama. sad face.” She said. “Yes, mama has been worried. I am sorry." We went back into the store, paid and went on our way, still hugging.

    On the way home, we stopped at the playground, as Bella climbed I noticed her blond whispy curls blow in the wind. I noticed her beautiful smile. I matched my breathing to the coming and going of the swings. We had so much fun together.

    Once Bella was napping, I tried to center myself and not just move on, but move through my feelings. All of them, the anger, the fear, the annoyance, the total relief...Then, I had a sob – one of those healing sobs. I felt better, much better, ready to handle whatever was thrown my way again.

    Everyone can have one or many of those mornings, sometimes days. From dealing with the toughest health scares, to the less serious yet, annoying days when the car just don’t start, sometimes our emotions start to add up. The circumstances will probably be different, but the true constant for me to deal with the emotional overload is to find the awareness, breathe, and find a good outlet for my anger, frustration, hurt or whatever feeling it may be.

    What about for you?Have you had one of those days? How do you deal?

    Peace & Be Well


    And the Winners Are...

    The winner to the Babee Greens giveaway is Christine M tubbyTelly, she will receive one growing greens Hemp/organic cotton diaper.

    The winners to the EcoAlternatives giveaway are Mor Morotsblommor and Karen Worrall, they will each receive a sampler pack.

    The winner to the Applesauce Crafts giveaway is Abbie Neary, she will receive a 50USD gift certificate.

    The winners to the Myllymuksut Oy giveaway are Jeri Thurber and Dedra, they'll each receive a trial pack.

    All brands have been informed an will get back to you.



    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Dental Care in Pregnancy

    "Every child costs you a tooth." This was a saying in my grandmothers time. It was believed that during pregnancy, the growing baby withdrew the mother's Calcium from her teeth, thus causing cavities.
    Sience has made major leaps and has since discovered that no such process occurs. What does happen is an increase in acidity of saliva, which attacks the dental glaze more than before you were pregnant. That combined with more frequent snacking leaves your teeth prone to developing cavities.
    Hormonal changes affect your gums durng pregnancy, which makes them more sensitive to bleeding, which in turn can lead to inflammation or infection.

    Good dental hygiene is of high importance during pregnancy, because gum disease can affect your pregnancy.

    • Brush after every meal
    • Use dental floss!!
    • Avoid sugary snacks
    • If morning sickness is keeping you from brushing your teeth, try to change your brand of toothpaste a couple of times. Try at least to rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash.

    If possible, you should have a dental check-up before getting pregnant, this way, if you need any work done, you can have it out of the way. It is recommended to plan a visit to your dentist during pregnancy, but make sure to inform him that you are pregnant. The best time for this visit is during second trimester (try to avoid the first trimester and the second half of the third trimester). Stay clear of dental X-rays unless they are indespensable.

    Picture Courtesy of Radiant Guy on Flickr


    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Call for Submissions - Authentic Parenting Carnival March 2012

    Authentic Parenting, teamed up with Mudpiemama's: Positive Parenting Connection, will be hosting the March Carnival on Authentic Parenting on March 30th.

    This months topic is: Discovering through Books In this edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, we would like to examine the role, books and the written word, play in our parenting
    and the way our kids shape their world. For this edition, we are looking for great book
    suggestions, ways to integrate books in our daily parenting practice, fostering authentic literacy. Share with us how reading, books, words are part of your and your child's life.

    Submission date: Saturday, March 24th.
    Carnival date: Friday, March 30th.

    To enter, please compose a new post on the chosen topic and email mamapoekie {at} yahoo {dot} com and ariadne {at} brillweb {dot} net no later than 11PM GMT on March 24th 2012. Once you have emailed your submission please fill out the submission form:

    We are looking forward to another great Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!
    Laura & Ariadne


    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    Beverages For Labor and Birth

    Laboring women get thirsty. So while you are at it, why not drink things that will help you? I researched the ideal labor drinks and this is what I came up with:

    Image: motograf 

    Red Raspberry Leaf Infusion
    Red Rasperry Leaf is a strong uterine tonic and helps keep the uterus working strongly. It will help you deliver the placenta if drunk throughout labor.

    Nettle tea
    Nettle tea serves to prevent postpartum hemorrhage. It is most effective if you drink it throughout your pregnancy.
    Both raspberry leaf and nettle promote the supply of breastmilk, so if you drink these throughout labor, your baby will quickly have access to the liquid gold.

    Chamomille infusion
    Chamomille eases labor pains and relieves tension.

    How to prepare
    Use one ounce of dried leaves for a quart jar. Pour boiling water over the leaves and stir in honey (or the sweetener of your choice. Bare in mind that you will need the energy of a good quality sweetener during your labor.) Let steep for at least 30 minutes at room temperature. Put in the fridge once cooled.
    You can reheat and drink as a tea, or drink cold. A good idea is to freeze a part and stir it every hour, in order to create ice chips, which will offer some welcome relief and refreshment.
    I recommend making the infusions at the onset of labor, not only is it a good activity to keep your mind busy, it will also give you a relaxing cup of tea once the infusion is set. Tell your birth partner to reheat once the baby is born, as you might like a warm drink at this time. You’ll probably be thirsty and the warm infusion will make you feel more comfortable as the adrenaline levels drop. It may even prevent the afterbirth shivers when combined with a warm blanket and well-heated room.

    I prepared a mixed infusion of all three herbs to drink throughout labour, sweetened with honey. Not only was it delicious, but it also really drenched my thirst. I delivered the placenta one hour after Little Buddha was born and had no hemorrhaging issues whatsoever. Contractions were really easy up until my water broke (by then I also stopped drinking, because I was working too hard).



    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Birth Preparation: What I Did This Time Around

    Along the way, I have picked up lots of things and have adopted ways to prepare for birth I did not know about when I was pregnant with my daughter. Back then, all I did was read lots of mainstream parenting magazines and one excruciatingly bad pregnancy and birth book, eat a sugar free diet, stop drinking coffee and sleep lots and lots.
    This time around, I prepared in a totally different way, so I thought I’d share all of the little things I’ve done.


    • I started drinking a pregnancy blend around 24 weeks, which contained nettle and red raspberry leaf (I drank nettle tea off and on at the start of the pregnancy). It’s this one from Sands tea. For the birth, I got red raspberry leaf, nettle and chamomille to make a herbal honey sweetened labour infusion.
    • I was already eating paleo, so diet-wise, nothing much changed, except that I got even stricter (to avoid any possibility of going down the GD road again) and stopped drinking coffee (except for the occasional cup at friend’s houses) - I didn’t drink alcohol before I got pregnant, so that was a non-issue.
    • I took no drugs whatsoever this time around. I treated ailments I had naturally (through aromatherapy and herbal/natural remedies).


    • I did prenatal yoga whenever I had the time (which sadly isn’t often enough with an active toddler running around).
    • I went for walks with my family during the weekend.
    • I also took the occasional dive in the Kasai river

    Mental Preparation

    • I read extensively... but this time great pregnancy books: Unassisted Childbirth (Laura Kaplan Shanley); Birthing from Within (Pam England & Rob Horowitz), Orgasmic Birth (Elizabeth Davis & Debra Pascali-Bonari), Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Years (Susun Weeds). And of course on top of this, the oodles of great blog posts (I’ve shared the best ones on Sunday Surf, so if you’re looking for something specific, you can browse through the previous editions).
    • I asked for support online when I needed it.
    • At about 6 months, I started listening to the Birth Relaxation kit, and read it’s booklet.
    • I researched and wrote about pregnancy and birth a lot - you might have noticed if you’re a regular reader.
    • I took a parenting coaching session to deal with some issues I was going through. Especially anger. While it didn’t resolve the anger issue entirely, I did bite through some things that were making me feel miserable. I cannot recommend this enough.

    I think being creative during pregnancy is really important, specially if one picks projects specifically geared towards the newborn, as it helps in channeling this great anticipation. With my daughter, I knitted and crocheted half a wardrobe and this time around I felt the creative bug too, yet time was not so much on my side. I knitted a bonnet for the baby and made the birth announcements cards by hand.

    What I didn’t do

    • Even though I notched up birth preparation a couple of levels, compared to when I was pregnant with my daughter, there are a couple of things I wish I could have done.
    • start drinking pregnancy brews earlier on
    • get some sort of counseling, since I dealt with lots of anger issues and mental blockages I did not manage to work through on my own.
    • sign up for a group pregnancy program, preferably prenatal yoga, or maybe pilates (sadly, I don’t get to do this, because I spend my pregnancies between two different countries... and even so, neither of them have an array of these kinds of programs).
    • work out more often, ideally go swimming, but I don’t like doing things on my own and this pregnancy I have been alone all the time.
    • have a real-life community. I really missed female companionship this pregnancy. I had none whatsoever and this was really a big issue.

    What did you to prepare for birth? What would you do different?


    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Being Kind but Being Firm: Offering Choices and Welcoming Cooperation (Rerun)

    Kinder, gentler, non punitive ways to parent are mostly based on concepts of setting limits, being kind but firm, being empathetic and connecting with your child. A friend recently asked me; Can you please explain what exactly it means to be Kind but Firm? How can you show empathy but not get walked all over? How can you keep limits and avoid tantrums? I told her these two scenarios where I had recently successfully used choices and cooperation to keep the peace.

    Offering choices with boundaries: Keeping choices within certain boundaries can provide both parents and children with a sense of control over their own actions and helps both reach the same goal.

    Earlier this week, we were getting ready to head to the recycling center. This meant all three of my children needed to get shoes and coats on and load up the recycling items into our stroller. My five year old was not very keen on leaving the house but our schedule for the day was such that leaving within the next few minutes was important to me. To avoid a struggle I offered some choices:
    Me: We are all getting ready to walk to the recycling center; can you please put on some shoes?
    5yr old: I want to stay here playing.
    Me: I can see you are having fun with your playmobil dude. (Showing kindness)
    5yr: Yes, he is on an adventure.
    Me: How about you choose your shoes and put them on (restating request i.e. being firm) and then bring your dude on adventure outside while I load up the recycling? (returning to kindness)
    5yr old: can I wear my rain boots and bring my playmobil dude with us to the recycling? And can I also throw the glass bottles in (at the recycling center he meant), I like to hear them crash.
    Me: Yes. Yes and Yes, I like to hear them crash too. (connecting, sharing enthusiasm)

    Welcoming Cooperation: Involving children with a decision making process is a fantastic way to help them feel part of the solution with less chances of resistance.
    While on a playdate recently, a three year old friend was playing with my three year old boy. Both children wanted to ride a little car at the exact same time.
    My 3yr old to other 3yr old: This is MINE. Get away from MY toy. Lifting hand for hitting.
    Me: Swoops in and gently holds 3yr old hand. Get eye to same eye level and Smiles.
    My 3yr old: I want my car. It’s mine. I am mad.
    Me: I can see you are mad. (showing understanding) Can you be mad but not hit? (encouraging to remember limits)
    My 3yr old: Stomps his feet and asks: That I can do?
    Me: Yes. You may stomp your feet. What else can you do when you are mad? (Welcoming ideas)
    My 3yr old: Run. I want to run a big circle.
    Me: Ok
    My 3yr old: Comes back from running a circle around the garden.
    Me: Can you think of a way to share your toy with your friend? She is very interested in it.
    My 3yr old: I know! She can ride when I run and then we switch.
    Me: Sounds like you found a solution.

    So, have you been able to overcome a challenging moment by welcoming your child's help? How did it work out?
    Peace & Be Well.

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    Friday, March 16, 2012

    Did my child just say §#%! ? Four Positive Ways to Curb Cursing and Profanity.

    When I was about four years old, the mother of my babysitter washed my mouth out with dish detergent for saying a “bad word”. I remember the moment vividly, being told to gurgle and not to dare throw up. To this day, when I smell pine scented dish soap I get a grumbly feeling in my stomach. The mouth washing was supposed to be for my own good – then I was told to hurry along and play nice.

    In traditional punishment-based rearing, what happened to me, this mouth washing, is a common, despite very ineffective way to deal with a child that is exploring with their vocabulary and the power of words.

    Yelling or demanding to know what word a child has just said and forbidding the use of it will probably just peak more curiosity into the power of the word and your child might seek more opportunities to use it. Although there is a link to curse words and aggression, there is also a link to pain relief, happiness,excitement and surprise.

    So if your child is using profanity or bad language, what are some effective and positive ways to deal with it?


    Upon hearing new words, children love to investigate the power, meaning and use of it. Often the way to investigate these words is to experiment using them in every possible environment. Sometimes children will say the same word for several minutes in a row, make up a song with it or use it as often as possible. When it comes to this verbal exploration, profanity or bad words are no different. If you are home, then perhaps just walking away and letting the novelty wear off will suffice. If the words persist than see below on staying in neutral and playing with words for more ideas.

    Thanks to the fine examples handsome hubby has provided over the years, my children on occasion have dropped a few words in ways that were socially inappropriate. I don’t like to hear my children use profanity, but I also believe that words are just words – it is the intent and context in which they are used and the power a society, culture, or family attaches to a word that make a word “good” or “bad.” Since we do not live in isolation and we value good manners at social interactions, we try really hard to model using appropriate language and have explained to our children that some people could be offended by certain words. Additionally we avoid exposing our children to movies, cartoons, books, comics with unappropriated language.

    Stay in Neutral
    As my boys have been going to playschool, they are picking up on some new “bad” words from their playschool companions. Mostly words like “stinky pants” or “goopy poop” but also some words most people would consider inappropriate. Recently my five year old was trying out all the words he has learned. I stayed in neutral, asking in a calm, matter- of- fact way: any other words you know? What else do you want to say? How many more times do you want to say that one? I didn’t have a strong reaction and the interest in saying all the words fizzled out.

    Play with Words
    My four year old said the S word the other day and I said in return “Mitt? Oven Mitt? What rhymes with that? Popcorn or Pit?” He replied right away “Pit. Ask me another rhyme”. So we played rhyming word pairs that were getting more absurd by the minute with leaping frogs and pink zebras and saying the bad words was replaced with laughter.

    Cursing has been around since the beginning of language, it will not likely be disappearing anytime soon either. Understanding why our children are experimenting with language and providing a safe environment in which to do so is a positive and nurturing way to handle it.

    Afterall, tell the truth, have you cursed in the past two weeks? What happened?

    Join me at the Positive Parenting Connection facebook page for daily inspiration, ideas and resources and more on positive parenting!

    Peace & Be Well,

    Image: arztsamui /


    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Six Ways to Improve Behavior Without Resorting to Punishment

    Post donated by Alex S.

    Punishment sets a bad vibe between parent and child.  It forces the former to behave in an uncomfortably authoritarian way, while creating resentment in the latter by reminding kids of their borderline slave status.  Punishments, especially of the corporal variety, are particularly silly when you consider how humans are built to embrace reason and understanding.  When it comes to improving the behavior of a child, such negative means of proving a point ought to be avoided at all costs.  Instead, parents ought to embrace less punitive forms of behavior modification.

    The following six should be plenty to help get you started:

    Image: Lance Shields 
    Look for a simple solution: If your five-year-old has the inquisitive habit of messing around with your iPad when you leave the room, dust-off that old laptop from college and give it to her as a plaything instead of banning her from using your tablet.

    Allow for natural repercussions: Let's say your son never refills the ice cube trays he empties.  Assign every family member a tray and allow for the consequences of his actions to affect him on their own.

    Plan ahead of time: You're dreading that upcoming extended church service with your three kids in tow.  Make sure to include some quiet little toys in their Easter gift baskets for them to bring along instead of expecting them to resist being kids.  A little preparation goes a long way in avoiding punitive responses to bad behavior.

    Negotiate: Sometimes all it takes is to ask your child to take their energy into another room or to settle on a certain number of consumed carrots to effectively resolve a disagreement.  Be willing to compromise with your child.  He or she will appreciate it at any age.

    Communicate: Explain to your child why his or her actions are not acceptable.  Listen to their side of the argument, and take the time to understand why your child is committing these actions, even if the reasoning itself is not reasonable.  Making the distinction between right and wrong apparent at the moment of wrongdoing is critical.

    Demonstrate: Parents have to be prepared to practice what they preach.  Simply showing your child the correct way to do something - such as how to tap a keyboard instead of mash it - will achieve the results you want without all the drama that goes along with scolding and punishing.

    Considering how humans have evolved into the highly intelligent organisms that we are, there's really no reason to have to resort to punitive parenting measures.  Children are fully capable of grasping the concept of right and wrong without being forced into a negative experience, and parents have the obligation to afford them such an opportunity.

    This post was sponsored by Giraffe Childcare Dublin


    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Cloth Diapering Lingo: A List of Terms and Abbreviations

    This post is part of my All About Cloth Series, where I answer common - and not so common - questions about cloth diapering. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered, drop me a line.

    If you venture online to ask about cloth, buy or sell some, you’ll inevitably be launched into a world of strange abbreviations and unknown terms. In order to avoid the feeling that you suddenly need to learn Klingon, here’s a list to get you through the first uncomfortableness, and I’m sure you’ll be abbreviating yourself in no time.

    • AIO: All In One: A diaper system that’s as easy as a disposable diaper. You basically have only one thing to snap or scratch on.
    • SIO: Snap In One: Itty Bitty system where you snap the insert to a cover and end up with something similar to an AIO. Generally there’s more than one kind of insert available, so you are able to adjust your diaper on the level of absorbance
    • AI2: All in two: quite similar to SIO, but with other brands.
    • SS: Side Snaps: This kind of diaper snaps shut on the side instead of the front
    • HL: Holden’s Landing: Brand
    • BG: BumGenius: Brand
    • ME: Motherease: Brand
    • TB: Tots Bots: Brand
    • CD: Cloth Diaper or Cloth Diapering
    • EC: Elimination Communication or Natural Infant Hygiene: Where the parent decyphers the baby’s cues to use the potty from infancy
    • Fitted: diaper in need of wrap
    • Wrap: outer shell in a three part diapering system
    • Cover: see wrap
    • OS: One Size
    • BTP: Birth to potty: same as one size
    • S: small
    • M: medium
    • L: Large
    • ISO: In Search Of
    • EUC: Excellent used condition
    • GUC: Good used condition
    • Wetbag: bag to contain soiled nappies, generally made with a visible or inner layer of PUL
    • Prefold: Square of fabric that folds into a convenient nappy size
    • Pocket: Diaper made up of an water resistant outer and a sewed in inner, which together forms a pocket where one or multiple inserts can be inserted
    • Insert: Rectangular or hour glass shaped fabric to place inside the nappy for higher absorbency
    • Liner: can either be an insert, or a paper liner. A paper liner is an additional layer of soft paper, put directly against baby’s skin to shield the diaper from poo. these are generally flushable.

    Find out all about existing cloth diaper systems. I hope I covered all terms and abbreviations, drop me a line if I’ve forgotten something.


    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Getting Through the NICU

    Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With Special Needs
    This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how we parent despite and because of challenges thrown our way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

    My Little Buddha was born limp, which earned us a pretty rocky couple of first days, which he spent in the NICU and I spent running between a hospital room and his isolette.
    Having a baby in the NICU can be nerve wrecking. It probably isn’t what you’ve expected your babymoon to be. Here are a couple of pointers to get you through this period.

    Picture my daughter took of her baby brother in his isolette
    • Ask to hold your baby as much as possible. All babies thrive from a mother’s touch, no matter how bad their condition. There have even been cases of babies coming back after having been declared dead, just because of their mother’s closeness. Being skin to skin with mommy regulates heart rate and breathing. It also promotes the flow of breastmilk, which is especially important for fragile newborns. So no matter what the staff at the hospital say, no matter what ideas your baby’s doctor has, make a case of holding and touching your baby as much as possible.
    • Be present at exams. Even though some exams may be nerve wrecking and not fun to watch, maybe the nurse will try to convince you otherwise, being present for your baby is very important. Hearing your voice and feeling you near will soothe your baby. Obviously, there are some tests where you can’t be present, but you or your partner will be able to come to the exam room and be there as soon as your baby comes out of the room.
    • Insist on giving your baby breast milk only. Breastmilk is so important for a newborn, especially newborns who struggle at the start, it contains all the vitamins and minerals and antibodies your baby needs. If you’re not producing enough milk, get donated milk from a milk bank or an mom to mom network such as HM4HB.
    • Have your baby nurse at the breast as much as possible. Not only will this promote your milk flow, it will build a deep connection between you and your baby and it is goo dfor your baby’s health and recovery (see the first tip).
    • Be informed!!! Try to find out as much as you can about what your baby is going through and his treatment. Get online and find out even more. Make sure your baby is getting the best support you can get him. Don’t mind about being confrontational. This is not the time to get the Good Patient Syndrome. Ask all the annoying questions and stand your ground. If necessary, get a second and third opinion.
    • Remember: The hospital works for you, not the other way around. If you do not agree with the treatment you and your baby are getting, get another doctor, or hospital.
    • Surround yourself with supportive people only. Now is not the time to be people pleasing? Having a baby in the NICU is hard on everyone in your family, so you don’t have to put up with negative energy. If you’re feeling worn or depressed, call someone who you can really talk to and rely on.
    • Send your friends this list to help you and your family out while you're in the hospital.
    • If you’re feeling sad, cry. Don’t worry about the nurses seeing you or what anyone may think. These are hard times, you are allowed to cry, you are allowed to have feelings and you are allowed to voice them, if you can. You may even find a shoulder to cry on.
    • Spend as much time with your baby as possible. Your baby is probably feeling as lost and alone as you are, after nine months of being secure in the womb. If you can’t hold him, you can read to him or talk to him. But just being present is already a great deal.
    • Bring something familiar into the NICU if this is possible. Having a homemade or familiar item with you will make the isolette seem a little less clinical.
    These are the tips I can give you based on my (negative) experience after my baby’s birth. I hope they are helpful. If they avoid at least one family of going through what we went through (formula pushing, depression, no milk flow, useless testing, hospital induced infection, no holding, daily struggles with the staff...), I will have succeeded. My heart goes out to all families in this situations.

    If you have been in a similar situation, what got your through? What did you find helpful?

    Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
    Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
    (This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 13 with all the carnival links.)


    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Cloth Diapering on a Budget

    This post is part of my All About Cloth Series, where I answer common - and not so common - questions about cloth diapering. If you have a question that hasn’t been answered, drop me a line.

    Building a cloth stash can be a big bite from the budget, sometimes more than one can spend in one go... Yet on the long run, cloth always comes out cheaper than disposables, and you’ll be able to benefit from your diapers for a second child and even a third!
    Now even though you will have a bigger initial cost when trying cloth, there are ways to make the cost smaller, spread your spendings and even get some cash back.

    Image: Simplyla on Flickr
    1. Don’t buy everything at once! Even if you’re not on a budget, this is a smart idea, as you can’t know in advance what your baby will be like. Some go through 12 diapers a day, some only pee 6 or seven times, others are heavy wetters. You can’t know your preferences either, maybe you’ll like AIO’s for outings, or maybe you prefer prefolds or fitteds. Check out the different cloth diapering options first. 
    2. Start with a small stash: as mentioned above, you can’t know in advance what your baby will be like, nor do you know what your washing behavior will be. Some diapers take longer to dry, so you’ll need more...
    3. Subscribe to a couple of brands you like. Subscribing to newsletters, blogs or Facebook pages of the diaper brands you find promising will keep you up to date about when they offer discounts or have sales. They generally notify you about giveaways and contests too. This way you can get at least a selection of your diaper stash on a smaller price.
    4. Research! Cloth diapers come in many shapes, sizes and prices!! A few google searches can find you cheaper brands. They are not necessarily lesser quality. Many WAHM diapers are made with love and attention and cost only a fraction of the big brand ones.
    5. Ask around: maybe you have friends IRL or online who want to get rid of some of their nappies at a small price. Sometimes you can get a big stash this way of either older nappies that will still give you a run for your money or even unused when a friend has bought the wrong size or brand.
    6. Buy used. There are lots of online fora where you can find used diapers at a softer price. Sometimes they aren’t even used at all! Just make sure you make safe transactions. Diaperswappers is a good place for US sales an check out this Facebook group if you’re in the UK or Europe.
    7. Sell what you don’t use. Reselling what you don’t like or use anymore will liberate some funds for new acquisitions. This is a good idea when your child goes up a size, just sell or swap the smaller size for bigger nappies.
    8. Enter giveaways. It might be a long shot, but with a bit of luck, you can win some at your favorite blogger’s giveaways. Take a look at Hobo Mama’s list of natural parenting giveaways or hop over to McCrenshaw for a weekly list of freebies.
    9. Buy onesize. Buying onesize or birth to potty nappies will cut your stash in half.
    10. Use cloth wipes. You can easily make cloth wipes yourself by cutting up a piece of flannel or fleece. Recycle old sheets or sweaters for this purpose. Price: 0!! Cloth wipes will come out a little more expensive if you buy them, but even then, they’re much cheaper then store bought disposable wipes, and nicer on the environment. Plus, knowing exactly what you put on them, nicer to your baby’s bum too!
    11. EC. EC-ing, even part time, will save you on laundry and on the amount of nappies you need. Your baby will also suffer less nappy rash, so it’s really a win-win no matter how you turn it.
    12. Wash only full loads. Again a point where your wallet and the environment go hand in hand. If you don’t get a full load of nappies, you can throw in your cloth pads and towels, they won’t stain or get smelly.
    13. Wash your liners. Paper liners can easily be washed and reused, sometimes a couple of times. I only throw away mine when they’re torn or pooped on.
    14. Make your own. If you’re a bit handy with a sewing machine, you can use one of the many free diaper patterns online to make your own nappies, if you use recycled fabrics (sheets, t-shirts, sweaters...), your diapers will only cost the price of some snaps or velcro and the thread you used. If you’re not that handy, you can still consider making your own inserts (some fabrics don’t even require serging) and cloth wipes.
    15. Get extra inserts. If you have additional inserts, you can use two inserts and reuse the pocket or fitted diaper after a small pee. This way you have to get less diapers and wash less often. Obviously this tip doesn't work if you're using pocket diapers.

    Find out how to save even more money cloth diapering and a selection of brands I like.