Google+ Authentic Parenting: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

‘Perfect’ Parenting, ‘Good Enough’ Parenting and Other Crap

When you spend some time online on Parenting oriented fora, it seems like there’s a race, a compare game... Who can do the neatest crafts, who gave up most for their kids, who does the most extreme new wave parenting. Parents are constantly weighing themselves off against another, online and off... Sometimes the verdict is in their own advantage, sometimes they feel less then the other, they feel guilty...

On perfect parenting

First of all, there is no such thing as perfect parenting, we all have good and bad days, we all have things to learn. A parent who doesn’t learn anything along his or her journey isn’t a good rolemodel either. It is important for your child to know that you are human, and fallible and the way we deal with our mistakes is a great learning experience for your child.

Perfection is simply not human and should not be something we aspire to, in parenting, or anything else, for that matter.

So what does one aspire to?

Good enough parenting 

Some claim that ‘good enough’ is simply enough... Personally, I find this a strange concept. Enough by whom? Yourself? Society? Your child? Often it sounds to me that this is just an excuse for slacking. Good enough is like throwing the baby out with the bath water: we can’t be perfect, so let’s just stop trying.

Shouldn’t we be trying to be the best parents we can be? I repeat: the best we can be, with all our flaws and errors. With all of our trials and mistakes? Isn’t that where greatness lies? To try, to fail, to try again and eventually come out better?
Shouldn’t we try to be great parents? There’s a great stretch of road between good enough and great. And isn’t most good parenting about the journey instead of the destination.

Now what if we all tried the best we can, with the knowledge we have, and commit ourselves to growth. Wouldn’t that be an ideal growing environment for our children? A life in which we strive to have balance, where we don’t eradicate emotions because they’re bad or not ‘peaceful’, where we take it one day at a time, where we let go of the guilt and hold on to the happiness. Where we treasure what we have and mourn what we lost? Where we nurture not only our kids, but ourselves too... Imagine the time and effort we win if we stop comparing and start caring. What worlds will open up if we don’t have to measure and weigh?


Monday, July 30, 2012

The True Meaning of Life Learning

The past 8 months have been really hectic in our household… You might have noticed from my blogging - or lack thereof. In this time, we have had a baby, bought a house, lived in three different countries and about 7 different houses and took about a gazillion planes. Now we've finally settled in Liberia (well almost, real settling takes time!). I've never been the 'activity' kind of parent. We sort of go with the flow and tend to find activities at the spur of the moment. I go through phases of interest, where I suddenly take up knitting or sewing or crafting. My daughter is the same, so we follow our waves of interest.
I've always felt a bit guilty about this, not being the organizational kind of parent, not providing great craft activities. Especially when I take a virtual stroll along the great kid's craft blogs out there. I do feel like less of a parent.

Since we've been in Liberia with only the suitcases we could bring in one plane trip, and they mostly carried baby stuff… I had been really anxious about not 'doing' enough with my 4 year old daughter. We weren't doing any crafts or creative activities. I've mostly been busy unpacking and getting to know the place and caring for the baby (who had two malaria attacks since we've been here). I felt like the worst parent ever, like I really left her hanging there.

But I've come to realize something in these months; it is life learning. And sometimes life is just this: unpacking and getting to know the place. Learning isn't all about crafts and activities, it's about the things that happen in natural living situations. And I haven't been neglecting her, we've just been finding the way in which our new life with a new family member fits us.
Learning, if it's not interfered by artificial school structures, is a thing of flow… Sometimes you have to take time to find new routines, to adapt. But that's all part of the school of life.

And while I was busy fretting? My daughter learned a mouthful of English by communicating with the staff. She played with all of the puppies, she discovered new turf. She hardly has time to watch her movies or read her books, because everything is new and exciting and also a little bit educational.

I've learned that I shouldn't spend my time fretting over what we're not doing, but rather enjoy what we are doing. I shouldn't try to measure up to other parents and be what I am not. Sure they can be an inspiration, but there's no need to feel bad because that's just not me. Well… hopefully I'll remember that next time.


Friday, July 27, 2012

The Health Benefits of Having Pets

Welcome to the July edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Pets and children.
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 are sharing their thoughts and experiences with pets and children! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


In this carnival, the sheer fun of having a pet shines through the posts. But having a pet is not only a fun or even an educational experience, it is even beneficial to your child's health. In this post, I will explain exactly how having a pet boosts your health.

It all comes down to the immune system, and pets are a definite boost here.

Image: Daryn Barry on Flickr
The dirtier the better
In todays germicide bactericide uber clean homes, there is little room for dirt. This tendency towards squeaky clean causes us to underuse our immune system (and stressing our immune system due to the toxins ion the cleaners, but that's another issue altogether), overreacting on the tiniest invasion.
Pets can help us in this department, as they tend to leave things less clean than you intended. Your pet's constant wandering between the outdoors and your home brings in dirt, bacteria and lots of germs. Your child being in continuous exposure to these small quantities of germs gets an immune system boost and will ultimately be better equipped when flus and colds are turning your block.

Being exposed to a variety of animal life reduces your child's chances of developing allergies later in life.
Sound contradictory? It isn't. An allergy is a reaction of your body on an otherwise not harmful substance just because they don't recognize it. So if you want to avoid allergies: exposure, exposure!! And the earlier the better. (It may be smart to even start this during pregnancy).
Even children with allergies benefit from having pets, as all healing therapy for allergies involve the gradual reintroduction of the allergen.

Mental Health
To everyone who had a pet growing up, it's pretty obvious that having a pawed friend is wonderful for your mental state. A pet is often a child's closest friend and confidant.
In fact, pets reduce stress, lower blood pressure levels, and decrease loneliness.

Exercise and fresh air
Having a pet can be a great invitation for your child to spend more time outdoors: playing, walking, roughhousing. Your child is outside and exercising, something we can only applaud in our largely sedentary Western World.

If you have pets in your house, what is the biggest health influence you have noticed on your kids?
APBC - Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic ParentingVisit 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:
  • A Pet's Role in the Home School — If a house isn't a home without a pet, how can you imagine homeschooling without one? Erica at ChildOrganics discusses the many benefits of home schooling with pets. .
  • Toddlers and Whiskers, Co-existing as One — Mama Duck at Quacks and Waddles explains how to introduce new pets to toddlers and babies
  • Children and the Death of a Pet — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama offers suggestions on how to help children work through the loss of a pet. She includes a variety of books to support both parents and children during this tender time.
  • 10 Reasons to Be a Foster Family for a Pet in Need — Christy from Adventures in Mommyhood: Mommy Outnumbered gives her top 10 reasons to consider fostering a pet until a forever home can be found.
  • Preparing Dogs for New Baby — Jennifer from Mother of the Pack gives advice to new parents for preparing their dog(s) for a baby
  • Children, Pets and Death — Lauren at Hobo Mama has walked with her son through the untimely death of their cat, a fascinating and troubling journey.
  • The Health Benefits of Having Pets — Laura from Authentic Parenting tells us exactly why having pets is beneficial to your child's health.
  • Romeo, My Healing Dog — Bianca at the Pierogie Mama writes about her loveable old dog, Romeo, who at one point she had to give away but a few years later he was placed back in her life when she least expected it.
  • 6 Tips to Help a Child That is Afraid of Dogs - Ariadne at Positive Parenting Connection is sharing helpful tips and using play to help children overcome a fear of dogs.
  • The Value of Pets - Caroline from Stone Age Parenting writes about how pets have brought so much more than happiness to her life and how she has learned to appreciate and respond to the needs of animals and of humans.


Monday, July 23, 2012

First (Play) Date Jitters

Guest Post by Marisa

As a member of a local moms group, I am lucky enough to meet new parents regularly. I bring my daughters to play all the time in parks, but every now and then we are invited to a play date. The idea of play dates are lovely - a more intimate setting for children to play while the other parent (usually a mama) and I get to chat and know one another a bit better. While the concept is enchanting, the reality of it is that first play dates make me a bit nervous.

A new play date, in my experience, can be either the start of a new friendship or the end of one. I've experienced both.
More often than not, play dates are a learning ground - the time and place to see another parent in action, ask questions, and maybe even talk about the choices we make.

Every now and again, the play date can go another direction. Differences in parenting decisions feel amplified without the buffer of a larger group.

Often one unique decision or less common practice produces questions about other aspects of our parenting decisions. I, too, give more thought than I should to potential (and experienced) situations. How will the other parent react to my child if boundaries are crossed? Will the TV be on, and how do I politely manage that?  It's not only possible, but likely that I may be judged, advised, or questioned regarding the choices I've made.

Yes, I could avoid play dates with parents that are different than me, but then I think I would miss out on some really great relationships. I've learned enough to know that everyone is in a different place on this parenting journey and that I can learn something by the path others have chosen - even paths that differ greatly from mine. 

So, as a lighthearted means of trying to calm some first date jitters, I decided to take some first date tips (which were found on howstuffworks website, written by Maria Trimarchiand consider their suggestions in my play dates.

10. First (Play) Date Activities
I live in a small community, so first play dates usually happen at home or the local coffee shop. A place where moms can chat and children play safely works great.

I try to be flexible, so if the TV is on I make no mention of it, knowing that I am unfamiliar with this family's routine and broader context. I hope for the same from people that visit us and get more art experiences than they are usually prepared for.

9. Plan Ahead
I try to know when their child naps, eats, and other specifics of that family's rhythm.

I have a friend who enjoys a one hour max play date, and another prefers it to go on until the children fall asleep.

8. Be Confident and Comfortably Dressed
I am mama to an infant and a toddler, so I am always dressed comfortably. Check.

7. Put Your Phone Away
I may be guilty of this one. I've noticed that when the children are playing, it's easy to be tempted to check on things when you haven't had a moment to yourself in a while.

6. Have Some Conversation Starters
I have a tendency to talk about my children and parenting - go figure. I have a friend who likes to talk about everything but, which can be a challenge for me. I haven't tried to think of conversation starters before, so this could be helpful to me.

5. Be a Good Listener
Easier said than done when infants and toddlers are moving around at breakneck speeds, but I try.  With the number of children much lower than our weekly play group, I can finally prove that my attention span is longer than that of a goldfish.

4. Be Honest
As I mentioned earlier, I think this is the root of my nervousness. 

In my previous work as a teacher and supervisor, I was expected to be "lovingly honest" with the parents. This is still how I engage with other parents - I aim to be myself, and kindly explain my choices if they are questioned or doubted.

3. Watch Your Body Language
I think its important to be yourself. I try to remember that while I’m chatting the children are still present.

2. Be flirtatious

I think a meaningful adaptation of this might be to just be nice. Sounds obvious enough, but I've experienced a first play date where someone needed to let off some steam. May I advise to save that for someone you know a bit better or longer?

1. Relax
It's only a play date after all.

How do you go about setting up  play date for your children? Are you always on the lookout for  a new friend or do you prefer a more familiar crowd?

About the Author
Marisa is mama to two daughters, a passionate 2-year-old and a not-to-be-left behind 1-year-old. She blogs about the everyday decisions behind art experiences and learning through play at Deliberate Parenting.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Attachment parenting for a happy few

This way of parenting my family has chosen seems only natural to me. In fact, we already did most of the things we practice before I even knew there were terms for it, let alone an entire community. But the non-violent, peaceful attachment parenting ways are not for everyone. That’s all too clear if you consider how few parents are in fact attached parents (in Western society). I had been wondering why so many people reject what comes so naturally to us. How this detached parenting can persist when it’s beyond reason or instinct.

So here’s what I’ve come up with, feel free to add to this in the comments below.

I think this might be the biggest reason why people steer away from attachment parenting. A lot of the discourse out there warns against the so-called dangers of attachment parenting. Every couple of months, another news topic pops up about ‘another co-sleeping death’ without mentioning the circumstances. And then there’s the false idea being spread that an attached child will never be independent. And so on… A lot of these ideas come from seemingly trustworthy sources, like governments, nurses and doctors; our own parents… so it’s quite normal that young parents are at least a bit confused.

Consumption society
Frankly, it doesn’t take a lot of stuff to be an attached parent, so you can be sure that this kind of parenting will not be promoted by companies which very goal is to be profitable.

Self reflection
Peaceful parenting makes you confront yourself all the time. Maybe this comes more naturally to others than to me, but I am always wondering why I do this or that, why I react this way, how I can avoid triggers etc.

Breaking with ‘tradition’
Even though detached parenting is a fairly recent evolution for mankind, being an attached parent will often mean you have to break with the way you were raised and the way your parents were raised. This in itself may already be a big step to take for some people, considering it is in fact acknowledging that the way you were parented as a child was inherently flawed.

Conscious parenting
Non-violent parenting is certainly not a thing for the mindless. Trying to avoid violence, scolding, punishment and reward, saying ‘good job’ etc, means you have to think about what you are doing and saying.

Taking the road less travelled
As I stated in the introduction, there are yet too few attached parents, so in choosing this course, you are ultimately setting yourself off against the way of the masses. And while for some this might seem a nice idea, for others this is just too scary a step.

Image problem
Attachment parenting, and a lot of the things it brings along (like baby wearing and cloth diapering) has a serious image problem. For a lot of people it is right along there with astrology, the esoteric, tree hugging, ghost whispering and other alternative dreadlocky things.

Criticism is something all parents come across, but attached parents even more so. ‘You’ll never get that kid out of your bed’, ‘Isn’t she to old for breastfeeding’, ‘You’ll spoil her if you carry her around all the time like that’ are just a few examples of ignorant remarks we deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes these remarks even come from the people closest to us. It can be a lot to bare, especially at times when we are tired and insecure. I’m not the one to go out of the way of a fight, but when each day is a fight for the smallest thing you do, it can become too much for some people.

At the end of the day, if there are no or only few of your friends taking this path, it can seem very lonely. Some people get so much negative reactions that they go underground, decide not to speak about their parenting choices, decide not to nurse in public anymore... and wind up feeling like there’s nobody on their side.
Yet all these reasons aside, when you look into your baby’s eyes and see all they want is to be held and loved, for you to nurture them and give them security, it all fades away and you just feel like this is the only way to go. So for parents still deciding, or a little lost, seek out information and join a community, there are a lot of ways to connect with other attached parents, IRL or virtually. You’re always stronger in numbers, and it’s nice to speak to people who think alike.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Call for Submissions: Carnival of Authentic Parenting July 2012

Authentic Parenting and Positive Parenting Connection, will be hosting the July Carnival of Authentic Parenting on July 27th. 

This months topic:  Pets and Children

There is something so special about the bond of a child and their pet. Do you have a pet at home or wish you did? Pictures of your children with their pet? A nice story to share or tips to make life with children and pets work well? For the month of July we would like to hear all about your experience as a child or parent with pets in the home.

Submission date: Monday July 23rd.
Carnival date: Friday July 27th.

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 May 20th 2012. Once you have emailed your submission please fill out the submission form:



Sex Ed for the Preschool Child

Guest Post by Libby Anne

Growing up, I never had any sex education at all. I was homeschooled, and raised in a very conservative environment, and the subject was never broached. It wasn’t until I got to college that I felt I could actually look for answers to my long-standing questions. And it wasn’t until I was in college that I felt comfortable enough in my body to even learn about my own body parts.

My daughter Sally is only in preschool, but I already know I want to do things differently with her. I don’t want her to grow up to be as ignorant about her body or issues of sexuality as I was, and I want to lay a good foundation for information and understanding now. I don’t think sex education needs to wait for some artificial “talk.” Rather, I think it should simply be a part of life. And for Sally, that’s what I’ve been working to make it.

What follows is a list of how I’ve been approaching Sally’s sex education so far:

1. I answer questions honestly and openly Sally took me aback the other day by finding my vibrator. I had thought it was thoroughly put away, but apparently not. She held it up, a curious but wholly innocent look on her face. Mommy, what is this? So many other women would have simply freaked out, taken the vibrator away, and told her she wasn’t supposed to see that, or else told her nothing at all. I didn’t, though. Without registering that anything at all was amiss, I said the following: That’s mommy’s vibrator. When you are all grown up you can have one too. Here, let me have my vibrator and I’ll put it away. As Sally handed me the vibrator, I knew that I was setting up lines of trust – and barring the door against shame. If I’d responded differently Sally might have thought my vibrator was something shameful, or she might have become curious about this forbidden object and, knowing she couldn’t ask me, looked elsewhere for answers. Now I’ll readily admit that Sally didn’t ask what my vibrator was for. But I think I could answer honestly and appropriately even if she did. For example, several weeks ago we were watching a movie and there was a sex scene. I don’t try to shield Sally from those the way I try to shield her from violent scenes. Sally turned from the movie to me in confusion. Mommy, what are they doing? I thought a moment and then replied: They’re having sex. Sex is something grownups do. When you’re a grownup, you can have sex too, if you want to. And that was it, I’d given her enough to satisfy her. I didn’t traumatize her, or attach guilt or shame to sex, or shroud it in secrecy. My goal is to always be open and honest, and my hope is that if I do so Sally will grow into a teenager ready to come to me with her questions or troubles. 

2. I equip her with knowledge Mommy’s baby come out through her privates, her cervix get bigger, bigger, bigger, BIGGER, baby come out! Sally has shocked several of my friend with this narrative, which she accompanies with hand motions miming my cervix widening. Doctor help mommy’s baby come out! Have to go to hospital. The truth is, as I’ve gone through my pregnancy with my second child, I’ve involved her every step of the way. I’ve talked about my uterus and about the fetus and the placenta, and also about how the baby will come out through my vagina. She knows about contractions and about my cervix. And teaching her all of this has been completely natural, not something formal or stilted. Information about puberty has come naturally too. You see, Sally kept asking me why she couldn’t have “a baby in her belly” too, and I finally told her that it was because she has a little girl body, not a woman body. I pointed out the differences between our bodies and told her that’s because she has a little girl body and I have a woman body, and I told her that when she goes through puberty she would get a woman body. She was thrilled. I go through puberty? I get woman body?!? I have nurse too? She calls breasts “nurse,” not surprisingly given that I nursed her until she was nearly three. Anyway, she recently spent time with a cousin who is twelve and is starting to get breasts, and she completely horrified her poor cousin by pointing to her chest and saying: Sarah, you getting nurse? You getting a woman body? You going through puberty? I’d like to point out that I hadn’t prepped her to say that. We hadn’t talked about how her cousin was going through puberty at all. That was all her own observation, and she’s only in preschool. Kids are smarter than most people give them credit for. What I love about the knowledge Sally is gaining is that it has come in extremely natural ways. I don’t want to have to sit her down and give her “the talk” in some formal and fake setting. These things are a part of life, and “the talk” should be as well.

 3. I teach her about her body without shame Sally knows all of her body parts, from her hands to her belly, her back, and even her nostrils. I’ve made a game of it during bath time, drilling her over the body parts she knows and teaching her new ones. I’ve even taught her her private parts - her vagina, labia, and clitoris - alongside everything else, making no differentiation. I didn’t see any reason to teach her about all of her other body parts but skip those parts as though they’re some sort of secret, something we don’t talk about, something to be ashamed of. Sally knows a bit about male anatomy too. When she sees her daddy naked (i.e. right after a shower), she comments on his penis. She doesn’t have one, after all. So we talk about how daddy has a penis but Sally and mommy have vaginas and clitorises, etc. And again, all this is with done without anything to induce shame or guilt or feelings of secrecy. The other day Sally discovered her private parts for herself. She was sitting in the middle of the living room naked, waiting for her pajamas to come out of the dryer. She was examining her body, curious, and had found her vagina. Mommy, I have a hole in my privates! The tone of her voice as she proclaimed this discovery was both excited - I found something new about my body! - and worried - is this normal? Yes, honey, that’s called your vagina. Oh. I have a ‘gina. What’s this? That’s your clitoris. Oh. I have a ‘gina and a clitoris! And with that, Sally fell over on the floor laughing, pleased with her new knowledge. And I couldn’t have been happier. The truth is, I didn’t know I had a clitoris until I was nineteen. That’s when, in college, I finally decided to learn about the body parts I had been taught to cover up and ignore for so long. It is my goal for Sally to know her body, understand it, and own it - and all without shame.

 4. I make sure she knows her body is hers When I teach Sally her body parts in the bath, I tell her that her body is hers, nobody else’s. I tell her that she is in charge of who touches her, and how, and no one can force her to let them touch her if she doesn’t want them to. Her body is hers. And I think she gets that. She even repeats it back to me: My body is mine? Not anybody else’s? Yes, I tell her, yes, that’s right. And then I sometimes run down a list, making a game of it: Is your body mommy’s? No! Is your body grandpa’s? No! Is your body Joey’s?(a friend from preschool) No! Is your body yours? YES! She knows her body is hers, and I back her up on this. If it’s time for her daddy or I to go to work and Sally doesn’t want to give us a hug or a kiss, well, then we don’t get a kiss. And let me tell you, it sucksto send your child off to daycare without a kiss or a hug. The thing is, I don’t want Sally to think that kisses or hugs – or any other sort of physical contact – are things she should be able to be forced to give. I want her to learn that she chooses when to say “no” and when to say “yes.” I want her to know that no one should be able to force or guilt her into physical contact she is not comfortable with. Hopefully, someday, if a boyfriend pushes her for something she’s not comfortable with, she’ll know how to say “no.” And in the meantime, hopefully she’ll know that she can say “no” to a sexual predator should she ever have a run-in with one. And even more than that, hopefully she’ll be comfortable in her own body and the knowledge that it is hers.

Conclusion I am a firm believer in children’s rights, and a firm believer that children are far more competent and capable than we give them credit for. Rather than belittling Sally or treating her as “only a child,” I choose to see the capacity she has already and her potential to develop further competence if I only give her the opportunity. Sure, there is something to be said for being age-appropriate - I’m not teaching her sex positions or anything like that! - but there’s also something to be said for forging a relationship based on trust, communication, and reliable information. I hope that I am setting Sally up for a future of open communication, a future without shame and guilt, and a future where she knows that she and only she controls her body. I know Sally’s only in preschool. I know she has a long way to go, but it is my hope that I am laying the foundation now for a self education and a self awareness. I want to give my daughter what I never had.

About the Author
 Libby Anne grew up a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist a feminist and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, the importance of feminism, and her adventures in positive parenting. Libby Anne is a graduate student in the humanities and shares her life with her husband, Sean, and her two young children, Sally and Bobby. Check out more of Libby Anne's writing on her blog, Love,Joy, Feminism


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: Picnic on a Cloud by Lu Hanessian on Blogcritics.

In “Picnic on a Cloud” by parenting author Lu Hanessian (BennickBooks, New York), a mother follows her child in a wild fantasy that takes them into the clouds, swimming in the Amazon and to ancient Egyptian caves. Even though lunch was ready and mom could have been cranky about his daydreaming--and not jumping to obey when she calls for him--she isn’t and instead chooses to follow into his imaginary world. They have a fun filled afternoon and at the end of the day, Ben dozes off... probably still dreaming of picnics on a cloud.
Aside from being a fun story on the magnitude of children’s imagination, the book urges us parents to lay aside the daily chores and rhythms and follow our child for a while. It inspires connection between parent and child through means of imaginative play. To make the reading last just a little longer, parent and child are invited at the end of the book to answer some questions to fuel the child’s imagination, as little Ben fuels his jetpack on his trip among the clouds.
The big-eyed slim nosed characters in the watercolor drawings by Tanya Leonello remind me of the characters of The Incredibles, Pixar’s blockbuster from a while back and one of my daughter’s favorites. Page full colorful drawings are rhythmically interlaced with fragments of text - just about enough for a young child. A fresh little story for daydreamers and cloud lovers.
Visit for more information about the book and learning resources on play, imagination and connection, or like the page on Facebook.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Adding Another Language to the Mix

We recently moved to Liberia with our two children. My daughter - now a little over 4 - has been raised bilingually French/Dutch and had picked up a couple of words and catch phrases in Lingala when we were living in Congo, out of sheer necessity.
Now, we came to a primarily English speaking nation, a language which my daughter had been in contact with only by watching DVD’s in their original language. I had the feeling she understood some English already, and she did grasp a couple of words like “dog”, “bunny”, “one, two, three”, but her grasp of English ended there.

It has been amazing to see her evolve - linguistically. We had thought it would take a while before she would want to communicate, maybe immersing herself first, in order to unravel words out of sentences, but quite on the contrary, from day one, she came to ask us for help to communicate with the staff. She’d say: “I want Peter (the gardener) to move the table”, and I would give her a phrase to reproduce.

We’ve been here for a month now, and I hear that she is really trying to incorporate as many English words she can. She still mainly babbles in French to our personnel, but she’ll add the words she knows to the mix.
Amazingly, she must also really listen when we speak, because I hear her adding words and phrases I didn’t spoon feed her.

She’s also teaching the staff French and Dutch, as she’ll translate words in several languages for them to understand her. I’m so excited to see her language evolve and wonder what will be the end product, as she learns from people with very distinct accents, vocabulary and use of grammar (Dutch, Indian, South African and Liberian). Quite funny to hear this small white child say: “Gie ma brotha”.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book Review: No Biking in the House without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene

Article first published as Book Review: No Biking in the House without a Helmet by Melissa Fay Greene on Blogcritics.

When I first received an email with the story suggestion for a book titled: “No Biking in the House without a Helmet” I was instantly intrigued. A story with such a title should be a good match for the semi anarchistic way in which we raise our children - well, at least that’s how most people view the way we parent.
Reading the pitch for the story got me drawn in even more.

Image: Amazon
Melissa Fay Greene’s book tells the tale of a big family (again, seen from the general public, as four children doesn’t strike me as a particularly large family any more), getting even bigger through international adoption.

Now adoption is a theme close to my heart, as we’ve flirted with the idea time and again. Should I really read this?

After having read the book, the answer is a definite yes. “No Biking” bares it all: the good, the bad, the ugly and the particularly magnificent of large families and international adoption. Don’t mistake this autobiographical work for a “how to” on international adoption, if you are looking for this kind of information, you’ll need to look further. Yet it is a honest and humane insight into one family’s journey.
Melissa isn’t afraid to share the hardship and the joy her family encountered while adding children from Bulgaria and Ethiopia, how it affected every member and how her adoptive children adapted to American family life.

Even though I don’t agree with every aspect of Melissa’s parenting, I read the book in one trait with great joy and the occasional tear. The book is well written, the anecdotes Greene shares are nicely chosen, all together definitely a book I recommend to people who want to read more about adoption and large families.



Monday, July 16, 2012

Simplicity Parenting

written by Sam

Parents are one of the most highly targeted groups in terms of marketing and selling “stuff.” From even before conception, there are products we can purchase to aid us in our new venture. Throughout pregnancy we are asked “do you have everything you need yet? Are you ready?” Which usually means, “Do you have enough stuff?” rather than “Are you emotionally ready for this journey?” Of course, we then worry that we don't have enough, we haven't bought enough toys, nappies, furniture, we should get round to decorating the nursery with a colourful and adorable theme...

How have we become so confused? An expectant mother need not stress over not being able to afford that beautiful wooden cot from that expensive department store. Your true needs are actually incredibly simple. In fact, a quick look around the other mammals of our world will show you just how simple they are. A safe, warm and dry place to sleep and to live, access to healthy and varied foods, fresh air, clean water, bodily eliminations, sex, and freedom from disease are the things we humans need for basic survival. Add to those, love and community, acceptance of self and by others, freedom, individual passions and intellectual stimulation and you have the ingredients to not only survive but to truly thrive. Evolution sets us up for success. It enables us to procreate and parent our children all by ourselves. Evolution has not factored in to our needs catalogues, credit cards, flashy rattles and vibrating teddy bears. The very fact that our species has survived for all these years, while others were dying out should tell us that we were doing something right.

The reality is that our babies do not need things, they need you. An attachment to a blanket, teddy or muslin is much more serious than it looks. It is so common that many parents just laugh it off and talk of weaning them off of their comforter. But this bond to a comfort item, signifies a far deeper issue. A child needs to form strong attachments and if you stop them from attaching to you by setting limits on how much comfort you will provide, how much you will carry or cuddle or feed them, then they will turn to material possessions to fill that need. This will lead to them developing in to an adult who finds joy in things rather than people.

And what about discipline? It is a big issue in our culture – the number one parenting complaint being “our children don't listen to us!” We need to see the connection here, parents who enforce independence and separation, from sleep training, to sudden or early weaning from the breast, from time outs, to unrealistic expectations, are going to struggle maintaining that strong connection that is necessary for your child to respect and listen to you. If you have an unbreakable bond, if you are consistently on your child's side, if you treat their needs with respect, then they will reciprocate.

How to get back to basics.

  • Replace singing bears with cuddles and songs from mum. 
  • Get rid of the dummy and let your baby comfort suck on natures pacifier at the breast. 
  • Forget the vibrating rocker or bouncy chair instead, provide your baby with the movement and stimulation they desire by wearing them in a sling or carrying them in your arms. 
  • Ignore the baby entertainment centre, If you have an active life and include your baby in all of it, wearing or carrying them, they will get all the entertainment they need. 
  • Turn off the TV and the computer and get outside. It may take a while for older children to figure out how to entertain themselves in this new environment, but persevere. Once they start finding their imagination they will fall in love with the possibilities! 
  • Nursery's and cots are not a necessity for family life. Instead why not welcome your children in to the family bed? 
  • Stop buying convenience packaged food, they are expensive and unhealthy. Instead simplify your diet. Start simply, with buying more fruits and vegetables. 
  • Most family homes house a mountain of toys, most of which don't hold a child's attention for more than a few minutes. De-clutter and be ruthless about it, replacing the mountain with a few simple, open ended, good quality toys, preferably made from natural materials. If you have been guilty of overcompensating and overbuying, spoiling your children with presents, now is the time to stop. 
  • Replace this with the one thing children really do want, time with you! 
  • Replace rewards and punishments for positive role modeling, discussion and focusing on building a strong connection with your children. 
  • Disregard strict routines, instead concentrate on getting to know your child and their signals, enabling you to be baby/child led in your parenting.
About the author:
You can find Sam at Love Parenting, a site dedicated to providing inspiration and information to people wanting to find more peace within their parenting, uncover their passions and grasp life by the horns! Sam writes about natural and attachment parenting, non conformity and living like your really mean it amongst other subjects. Find her on facebook or twitter.


Friday, July 13, 2012

There is Always an Alternative to Spanking

Physical punishment does not help raise well behaved children – it hurts AND it puts children at risk for developing mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse and more later in life.  

Although most parents will reach a point of exasperation, feel at a loss of what to do, or simply follow what they experienced as a child, it simply is never OK to hit, swat, shove or spank a child.  Does it happen a lot? Yes, it does. Do parents tell themselves it is justified? Sure.  But, really and truly there is always an alternative to spanking.  Even if we cannot see it, in that moment of fury, disappointment or despair, the alternatives are there.

Maybe you believe that you were spanked and therefore it’s perfectly alright to spank your child, after all you turned out just fine.  Children shouldn’t turn out just fine, children shouldn’t be negotiating the tricky  path that it is to grow up with artificially and unnecessarily  created trauma and disappointment. Life offers plenty of obstacles without the added assault.  Children should be guided and supported so they can thrive, not recover and say they survived. 

Maybe when you get really frustrated, you cannot see any possible alternative, and I get that. I’ve been in that red zone of total fear and anger before.  When I get really frustrated, I try to remind myself that this whole parenting stuff is a process, things cannot possibly be solved with one swat or spanking. There simply isn’t a quick fix or a magic solution.

Some may say a child will never learn life’s lessons unless they are spanked. Children are smart and capable, let's give them some credit! Children learn hundreds of things without punishments. 

Babies spend somewhere between 12 and 16 months learning to walk. They find their feet, they learn to roll, they pull up to a standing…it’s a process.  Learning about right from wrong, boundaries, social skills, language…it’s just like that, it’s a process. As parents we can accompany our children, give them guidance and model the way.

It’s not easy. It can’t be easy. Life is far too complex and amazing to be easy. It takes patience, waiting, lots and lots of waiting, more patience and yup you guessed it, more patience. There will be trials, errors, a lot of emotions with bound, rise and fall. There will be disappointment, sadness, happiness, frustration... There does not need to be added pain.  

If you choose to spank your child, you are making a choice. What would happen if the next time ask yourself: Is it work the risk? What is my reason for spanking? Is it to teach a lesson? Can I choose to teach my child in a different way?

If my child is being disrespectful, I can show respect, model what I expect in return. If I keep my hands to myself, count to 100, show other ways to handle my frustrations and speak with empathy and understanding. I can take a break and cool off. I can find someone to help me. I can simply walk away. By doing that, I am showing my child real life skills. Skills that she can take with her for life to use anywhere under any circumstance.

For every choice we make there is always an alternative. So If we must teach a lesson to our children, why not choose to teach a lesson of love, compassion and understanding?
Our children will make mistakes, they may make bad choices. We can make better choices, we can lead the way, we can ask for forgiveness, forgive, look for alternatives, provide solutions and most of all, we can be the safe and trusted placed our children need us to be.

So, no matter what your reason might be for raising your hand, please remember there is ALWAYS an alternative to spanking.

Peace & Be Well, 

Ps- Join me at the Positive Parenting Connection page on facebook for daily ideas, inspiration and resources!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Six Symptoms to Help Expectant Women Identify Periodontal Disease

Written by Carolyn 

When I was pregnant with my son last year, I thought I was doing everything right. I was eating a balanced, nutritious diet, attending bi-weekly yoga classes to prepare my body for labor, taking all of my vitamins, and attending all of my medical visits, including all prenatal checkups. I mean, I gained some weight, yes, but I wouldn't say I gained an unreasonable amount for a pregnant woman. In my books, and according to my OBGYN, I was doing everything right.

Image: walknboston on Flickr
Unbeknownst to me, I wasn't. The check up that I needed the most, but forgot completely about was with my dentist. In fact, I cancelled and pushed my yearly dental checkup back and figured I could just deal with it after my delivery. What I didn't know then was that my dental health was actually putting my baby's health at risk, and not only that, it would lead to costly cosmetic dentistry later on to fix the damage that could have been easily identified had I kept my appointment.

What is gum disease?
Periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, presents itself in our mouths as a chronic bacterial infections (i.e., gingivitis or periondontis) when sticky plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth. This plaque is full of bacteria and will actually attack the tissues that surround the teeth, such as the gums and bones, when left untreated. Once the plaque attacks the healthy tissues in your mouth, it will cause the gums to become inflamed (commonly known as gingivitis) and could result in tooth loss if left over the long term. If infection resides in an expectant mother's gums, it's not long before the infection will spread from the mouth, through the bloodstream, and to the fetus in utero.

The link between pregnancy and gum disease
According to leading medical research from the Journal of Periodontology, there lies a strong link between gum disease and issues during pregnancy. For example, expecting women who have gum disease (also called periodontal disease) are more likely to have pregnancy complications, specifically low birth weight babies. In fact, studies link bacterial gum infection to the unexpected contraction of the uterus, leaving pregnant women with gum disease with a 57-percent chance of delivering a low birth weight baby and a 50-percent risk of a preterm delivery. What makes matters worse is that gum disease is extremely common, effecting more than 35 million Americans. So the chance of already having gum disease when conceiving is very high for U.S. women. The problem worsens because the majority of pregnant women and women in general, have no knowledge of the risks associated with gum infections and pregnancy.

Take the time to educate yourself about gum disease
Now that you're aware that periodontal disease (or gum disease) can affect the health of your baby, further education is important. An expectant Mother can identify gum disease by the following symptoms:
  1. Red, inflamed, or tender gums
  2. Lasting bad breath
  3. Loose teeth
  4. A foul taste in the mouth
  5. Receding gums
  6. Gums that bleed during and after flossing or brushing
About the author
Carolyn is a former Dental Hygienist turned stay-at-home-mom and writer on topics concerning cosmetic dentistry and oral health. As a mother, Carolyn is committed to raising a family in an organic, pesticide free home, and so when she can't buy organic, you will often find Carolyn rooting in her large garden for the ingredients to make her own soaps, cleaning supplies and nutritious, organic meals and remedies.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bullying and Forgiveness: Everyone Deserves Grace

Guest Post by Mandy Jones

My 8 year old son Hunter just recently completed (endured?) a long, difficult, exhausting, and often stressful run of the show “Beauty and the Beast Junior” at a local theater. He made new friends and created great connections within the theater community that are sure to lead to bigger, better roles in the future.

As a family we nearly lived at the theater during the month of June. Overall it was a wonderful experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything. There was a lot of drama that came along with this particular show. I suppose one could say that is par for the course when it comes to theater. But I have a decent amount of theater experience and the amount of drama involved with this show seemed... outrageous.

From cast members dropping out mid-run to kids being called nasty names to their faces, it seemed that everyone was being affected by the long nights, double shows, and spending too much time in close proximity to these new family members. Despite being the second to youngest cast member, Hunter was no exception to this rule. The drama began to directly affect him. I learned just how much when he arrived home on the Friday night of week two and announced that a boy in the cast had strangled him and had slammed his head not once but twice into the poles in the dressing room.

Wow. Seriously?

I was so perplexed. Surely he was mistaken. Why would anyone do such a thing? Maybe he was confused and this was not what actually happened. But when I sent a text to a fellow cast mate questioning, he confirmed that it had happened and that Hunter had done nothing to provoke it. He was simply sitting there. Minding his own business. Immediately I began exchanging emails with the director who insisted that he'd take care of the situation immediately. At the theater the next day, the executive director and the producer had been brought in to discuss the matter.

This was no joke.

They were taking this quite seriously. And they were probably going to ask the child to leave the cast. I knew that this child loves theater as much as Hunter does. And for all I knew theater was just as much of a saving grace to him as it was for my son. I didn't want to be the reason that this child had the one positive thing in his life taken away from him. I told them that if they chose to remove him that was their decision and I supported it... but I wasn't asking for it and I wasn't demanding it. I just wanted my child to be safe. And I wanted him to feel safe. While the child was asked to not return that weekend, he did come back the following weekend. He was not allowed to be in the dressing room unless he was changing clothes and he wasn't allowed to be near Hunter unsupervised. This rule was enforced consistently.

The boy bought Hunter some candy and apologized “at least three times” and insisted that he had only meant to be playing around. And he was nothing but nice to us during the remainder of our time there. At the cast party, I noticed the two boys playing and laughing together like old friends. On the way home that day, Hunter told me that this boy “ended up being a really nice kid.”

I am thankful that my son had a chance to practice forgiveness. I am thankful that I had a chance to make a kind and loving choice. I could have gone into the theater demanding that he be thrown out of the cast. But instead I decided to offer him grace. And I'm so glad that I did because my son now has figured out what it is like to love someone even after they have wronged you. What a valuable lesson to learn. I'm so glad he has had a chance to learn it so early in his life.

About the Author:
Mandy is an unschooling, extended breastfeeding, homebirthing, placenta-eating, gentle parenting mama of three. She is daily searching for new ways to add authenticity to her life. She loves bright colors, sitcoms, and blogging at  A Bona Fide Life. Photo provided by guest author Mandy Jones.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Anti-Bias Parenting

Guest Post By Sarah MacLaughlin, Author of the Award-winning Amazon Bestselling book, What Not To Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children

When I was a teacher I learned about this very cool idea—The Bias Free Classroom—I even had a guidebook: The Anti-Bias Curriculum by Louise Derman-Sparks. Examining biases was for some reason totally attractive to me. Questioning your assumptions is such a perspective broadening exercise. I loved the idea that some of our beliefs about the world, and ourselves, were held so dear that we were completely unaware of their existence. Isn’t there a saying about asking a fish what water is, and they don’t know, because they’re swimming in it? I wanted to recognize the water. That meant paying much closer attention.

So, what is the water? And just to be clear: I’m not saying the water is bad. I am only saying that the water is worth noticing. Several cultural structures to examine, or re-examine, as the case may be, are listed below. Also, some thought provoking questions and comments to start the un-layering process.

Belief: Children should develop independence as soon as possible. Our culture is obsessed with independence.

From a very young age, whether subtly or overtly, American children are taught that individualism is of the highest importance. We say things like, “You did it all by yourself,” and “You’re such a big girl,” and, “Only babies do that” to children frequently. Many years ago, my mind was completely blown at a diversity training that showed a video of the complete normalcy of adults spoon-feeding five-year-olds in some cultures. What makes you uncomfortable about depending on other people? What would our society (and our parenting) look like if we referenced a more inter-dependent model?

Belief: Boys are completely different than girls. 

But in my work with hundreds of toddlers and preschool children, “masculine” and “feminine” traits are widely dispersed among various children depending on their temperaments, not necessarily their gender. Girls spit, shoot guns, and play with trucks. Boys cuddle dolls and dress up as fairy princess. The media, with its never-ending blue for boys and pink for girls marketing strategy, has weaseled its way into almost every facet of life (think toothbrushes, cereal, and bicycles). This means that children are sent strong messages from (as the ad execs like to call it) the cradle to the grave—messages that they get loud and clear. Those messages will become their water if we don’t intervene.

Do you offer non-gender conforming toys to your children? Do you use biased language? For example: Assuming that doctors and firefighters are always men. (I self-correct when I catch myself in that one. It happens more often than I’d like to admit.)

Image: Antigallery on Flickr
Belief: Children should be kept as safe as can be. I read one of the recently written articles about over-parenting that included a photo of a mother standing next to a bubble-wrapped boy. That hit home.

I can so relate to wanting my child to always be safe. And it is so not going to happen. It was a revelation to me when a friend described an incident in which she carefully assessed her young child’s climbing, told him it was possible he would get hurt, but then refrained from stopping climbing. She did not stop the fall or the resulting minor injury from happening either. (She also didn’t scold or lecture him when he got hurt. She likely said, “You were climbing and you fell. I’m sorry that happened. Are you okay?”)

Children, like all people, learn from their mistakes. Trying to keep them safe always can create undue stress and anxiety. For us—and for them.

What would it look like if you were calm and supportive of your child’s age appropriate risk-taking? Could you be a safe harbor for them to land in and feel the pain and disappointment that comes when things don’t go well? (See my post Safety First for more exploration of this topic.)

Belief: We should be happy. We want to be happy. We want our partners and children to be happy.

I hate to say it, but happy is not realistic. It’s not sustainable. We are just not built for all-the-time-happy. We are wired for a myriad of emotions—a range from the deepest sadness to the highest exaltation. None of these feelings are unwanted. All of them help us stay grounded in ourselves.

Emotional honesty, intelligence, and literacy might be better goals—emotions help us get back to a regulated state when we have lost our equilibrium. Dr. Edward Hallowell wrote a wonderful book called The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness that explores the concept of happiness vs. joy, and how what we value gets conveyed to our kids. It’s a great read as a jumping of place for discovering things about not only your parenting, but how you were parented as well. What messages did you receive about happiness, achievement and success? What messages are you sending?

Now you have looked at some dearly held social constructs and started to unpeel the many layers of the onion. Since you have come to recognize that you are swimming, what new possibilities do you see?

Special Giveaway! 
Please comment on this post about some of the biases you've noticed in the way we parent today. Your comment enters you in the eBook Giveaway -- to win an ebook copy of What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children, in the format of your choice: PDF, epub, or Kindle format. Sarah will be giving away one copy at each blog stop and will announce it on the comments of this post tomorrow. Be sure to leave your email so we can contact you in case you're the winner!

Other stops and opportunities to win during this Blog Tour are listed on Sarah's blog .

Also, you can enter at Sarah's site for the Grand Prize Giveaway: a Kindle Touch. Winner will be announced at the end of the tour after July 15th. Go here to enter.

About The Author 
Sarah MacLaughlin has worked with children and families for over twenty years. With a background in early childhood education, she has previously been both a preschool teacher and nanny. Sarah is currently a licensed social worker at The Opportunity Alliance in South Portland, Maine, and works as the resource coordinator in therapeutic foster care. She serves on the board of Birth Roots, and writes the "Parenting Toolbox" column for a local parenting newspaper, Parent and Family. Sarah teaches classes and workshops locally, and consults with families everywhere. She considers it her life's work to to promote happy, well-adjusted people in the future by increasing awareness of how children are spoken to today. She is mom to a young son who gives her plenty of opportunities to take her own advice about What Not to Say. More information about Sarah and her work can be found at her site and her blog.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Does Attachment Parenting Mean Shying Away From Strollers, Swings and Bouncy Seats?

Babies need touch and closeness to thrive. Listening to moms heart beat nestled in a carrier, sling or wrap provides tremendous comfort.  Yet, sometimes moms need a break too, and dad could be at work, grandma lives far away, there is another child in the house…regardless of the reason, there will be a time when parents may really need free hands and will be looking into an alternative to baby wearing.

Now, I love baby wearing It was indispensible for me with all of my children, but I also happily used other gear in order to keep baby close yet safe.  There  are some parents that strongly oppose strollers, swings and bouncy seats, and the thing is, I don’t think that the gear is necessarily the problem. I think like most things in parenting, it is the way parents choose to use certain methods or gear that could lead to potential problems.

For a baby that spends hours strapped into a stroller, bouncy seat, swing, cries ignored, devoid of touch, comfort, contact, play opportunities, then yes, this gear could be detrimental to the babies’ development.  But there are also times when having something like a bouncy seat or stroller can be beneficial.

When my second baby was born, I had two dogs and one happy active toddler in the house, no immediate family members that lived close by and handsome hubby traveled extensively for work. To say I was being divided in every direction would be an understatement.  When I showered in the morning, I always set up baby in a bouncy seat right by the shower and my tot with a pile of board books or building blocks nearby.  The bouncy seat was just what I needed. My little baby was right where I could see him, if he cried a little bit, I could sing, make eye contact, smile and comfort him but it also meant I could take care of myself in order to better care for everyone else.

Strollers are another one of these baby gear things that gets questioned a lot surrounding attachment parenting. Despite loving baby wearing and using that most often, I have always used strollers, and I think again it becomes a matter of balance. When my first was born, he loved when I used a carrier and would happily fall asleep. Later however, baby wearing was the last way he would fall asleep, it would lull him just enough to be drowsy but he would resist with all his might and become exhausted. I often joked that the milk smell was just too tempting…anyways, a nice stroll in the stroller, some fresh air, listening to me talk or sing and he would calmly and contently fall asleep. Our stroller had the option of baby facing mom and it was simply the best for both of us. We were connected but a little bit of space is just what baby needed.  

So should new parents that are looking into connected, attached style parenting shy away from strollers, swings and bouncy seats? I think the key is aiming for balance, and following the babies lead. If a baby is not content to get into a swing or bouncy, not showing a natural curiosity to learn and explore, and is only ever transported from here to there in a stroller and/or generally unhappy when placed in one, then evaluating just how much touch and face time baby is getting as opposed to hanging out in baby gear is probably warranted.  

Babies love being connected, baby wearing is a great way to do this, but proving a safe place for baby to play and explore, a safe place for baby to sit and observe, giving baby a new perspective from where to see things seems perfectly alright too.  Plus, if the gear is providing helpful ways for a parent to take care of herself so that she can meet the babies needs then by all means they can be really helpful to have.

Do you use any baby gear?

Peace & Be Well,



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Natural Ways to Go Into Labor

Written by Greg Newby 

While there are not and over abundance of ways to get pregnant, there are many natural ways to go into labor. Many women go past their due date, especially during their first pregnancy. It is a common occurrence, but the lack of comfort and eagerness to have the baby send many women looking for ways to go into labor. As with any medical procedure, it is pertinent to speak with a doctor or midwife for recommendations to induce labor. These procedures are not suggested until 37 weeks or after. Prior to 37 weeks, the baby is still developing and benefiting from being in the womb.

Natural Ways to Begin Labor
Doctors can induce with medicine when the mother has been carrying the baby too long or for medical reasons. Most women prefer to try natural labor instead of having a medical procedure. If there are concerns, ways to get pregnant and ways to begin labor should be discussed with a healthcare professional before they are tried.

Having Sex Stimulates Contractions
 The most natural way to begin labor is also one of the most common ways to get pregnant, just have sex. Sex is challenging during the last trimester, but many women find that it stimulates labor. The body’s natural orgasm helps the uterus contract and begin labor. As with anything, moderation is the key. Too much sexual activity can bring on the birthing process too soon.

Pay Attention to the Nipples
Some women agree that having their nipples stimulated is an easy way to begin contractions. This can entail anything from rubbing the nipple to gently sucking. When nipples get caressed, they release oxytocin in the body. This chemical causes uterine contractions and early labor.

One of the easiest ways to induce labor is walking. A common sight in any maternity ward is the mother walking the halls with a support person by her side. While it is not helpful to get tired out by walking long distances, a walk down the street or in the woods helps the baby position itself for arrival. Standing upright places pressure on the cervix. This pressure also releases the desired oxytocin. It is recommended to walk throughout pregnancy for exercise and enjoyment.

Labor Acupressure 
Light massage is another way to bring on labor. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture in that it focuses on pressure points. By giving a light massage instead of needles, a therapist induces labor. It is performed with hands and thumbs on pressure points. Some partners even take courses to know how to apply the right type of pressure. Midwives are experienced in this as well.

Other Ways to Go Into Labor
The tricks above have helped many women to successfully go into labor. Many other methods that are rumored to work, but may not be as proven. Some women bounce on exercise balls or blow up balloons. A famous trick is to eat a lot of spicy foods to induce labor. Watching a movie that makes women cry has also been rumored to work. In short, there are many methods to try.

About the author
Greg does work for an Dr. James Richards--An OBGYN providing treating for conditions like UTI Dallas women may be experiencing.


Monday, July 2, 2012

What I Would Say If I Met Pre-Baby Me (rerun)

Originally posted as a guest post at Dirt & Diapers.  

This is a list of things I know now that I wish I knew before I started expanding our family, things every mother to be should know. It’s not that these women aren’t motivated to make an effort for their baby-to-be, it’s that this info is just not out there. Or at least not in the places they are looking. If you have a pre-baby friend, share your wisdom, without scaring them off. There’s no need to wrap motherhood in a veil of mystery.

Image: Dreamstime

  1. Analyze yourself, define your triggers, the things that haunt you from your past, especially your upbringing and childhood. Children are amazing at triggering old emotions, deal with them now and start with your children a whole person.
  2. When it comes to your birth, don’t choose the easy way, don’t be bullied into something you don’t fully support. You can’t overdo your and your baby’s birth, put in an effort to explore your choices and choose an option you feel comfortable with.
  3. Seek out real information. Mainstream parenting and pregnancy magazines are NOT decent information, they play into whatever sells ad space best. They bare false information and spread old wives tales.
  4. Find the mother in your environment you relate too most, the mother you would like to be, the mother you aspire to, talk to her. Make her your friend. Have her share all her wisdom with you.
  5. If you’ll be having a baby together, make sure you’re on the same page, that you have the same desire to learn and grow. That your family project looks similar, if not the same.
  6. Babies don’t come on your schedule. Don’t plan your life around them, don’t try to decide how many you will want or when you want them. They will come as they are.
  7. Yes, there are times you will be exhausted, but you will be able to deal with it. You are strong and you are not alone.
  8. Don’t listen to pregnancy and birth horror stories. Seek out beautiful birth stories. Birth is not a initiation in pain, it is a becoming, a beautiful, breathtaking, life-changing, earth rocking event. Birth is not war with your own body, it’s an exploration of it’s power and it’s mystique.
  9. Enjoy your pregnancy, don’t be fear mongered by ‘well-intended’ doctors, women have been having perfectly healthy babies for ages before they came to meddle.

What would you tell yourself? What do you tell your childless friends?