PARENTING FREEDOM

attachment parenting, homeschooling, gentle discipline
  • .: My Children :.

  • .: Status Updates :.

    Friday, December 21st, 2012 10:23 am

    Hundreds of hurting people visit here every day, most of whom are searching for comfort after loss. Please reach out for emotional support as you begin the healing process. Be patient with yourself. Allow yourself to grieve. Let it out. May God be with you.

  • .: Quotes :.

    "Speaking the Truth in times of
    universal deceit is a revolutionary act."
    George Orwell
  • Encouraging Letter From My Sister

    | April 21, 2012

    My sister and her husband were recently blessed with their first child – a darling baby daughter. My little niece is now about 2 1/2 months old. Yesterday, my sister sent me a very encouraging letter. She gave me permission to share excerpts with you. Here is a picture of Baby M.

    “…I wanted to share some of my mothering experiences with you. I know it is largely due to your example and advice that I’m having such a wonderful first-time-mother experience. And the more I see the struggles of other first-time moms around me and on Facebook, the more thankful I am that I know better and have such a great support system.”

    “I’m so glad you encouraged me to more fully embrace sleep-sharing (once I was ready for it)… Whenever she’s ready to eat at night, I perch myself against the foam wedges with my brest friend. She eventually nurses herself to sleep, and I continue to hold her for a while because she’ll often stir a bit for one more little snack (and because I want to!). When we’re ready to lie down, I lay her right next to me, and she squirms a bit so I put my arm around her back to roll her onto her side so we’re face to face and her bottom is in the crook of my elbow and I pat her back. Sometimes in the night, if she’s not actually touching me, she’ll start to move her arms as if she were going to wake up, then she’ll arch her back and wriggle her whole little body over until she touches me or my arm. Her eyes stay closed, and as soon as she touches me again, she immediately stops moving and goes back into a deeper sleep. I love it! The huge grins she gives me during a 4am diaper change and again when she wakes up for the day are also priceless.”

    “I am now completely confident in myself to enjoy this sleeping arrangement without any worry of not being aware of her in my sleep. I’m now convinced that the last couple months of pregnancy prepares a mother for sleeping with baby, because with that big belly, I couldn’t roll over or move around in my sleep at all without waking up to help move my belly into a different position. So now I still don’t move in my sleep without waking up enough to know where she is, and I have no fear of “rolling over on her” (as everyone else fears) or elbowing her, even when she tucks herself in right under my chin.”

    “And, to make nighttime even easier, she started nursing lying down! So now I don’t even have to sit up or shuffle around grabbing the wedges until morning (because she won’t nurse lying down if she’s fully awake). It’s been great!”

    “I also appreciate your support in encouraging me to keep trying the sling. I probably wouldn’t have given up on it forever, but it was discouraging that she seemed to hate it so much. But now that the weather is warmer and we don’t need big jackets, it’s been easier to start trying to plop her in the sling to go in a store or something rather than lug the carseat. So this past weekend was the first time we went to the mall since she was born. I just carried her in the sling and she was fine! And the other day when we had to go to the dr for dh, I put her in the sling to go in cuz there was no way I was carrying the carseat and dh couldn’t, and she was fine the whole nearly 2 hour wait. She even went to sleep in the sling in the waiting room for the first time! And yesterday, she needed to be held, but I needed to make turkey soup, so I put her in the sling awake, and as I was preparing all the veggies, she soon drifted off! It made me very happy! So I’m very glad to have had your influence of carrying babies in slings and being able to do other things at the same time…”

    Cry-it-out Links

    | April 17, 2012

    Is Your Baby a Good Baby?
    http://lewrockwell.com/orig3/h-carson7.1.1.html

    Children Need Touching and Attention, Harvard Researchers Say
    http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/04.09/ChildrenNeedTou.html

    Hodge Podge of Parenting Links

    | February 11, 2012

    The links are starting to pile up, so I will just put all the parenting related ones here with little or no commentary.

    Study: Breastfeeding Strengthens Children’s Lungs
    http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20120205/hl_ac/10928478_study_breastfeeding_strengthens_childrens_lungs

    “…Breastfeeding strengthens children’s lungs, even if the mother has asthma.”

    That’s because the breastfeeding child will be more attached, more with the mother, and as a result will likely have fewer scare conflicts. GNM says scare conflicts/frights affect the lungs.

    Skip the Strained Peas. Let Babies Feed Themselves
    http://healthland.time.com/2012/02/10/skip-the-strained-peas-let-babies-feed-themselves/#ixzz1m5f5qXWZ

    “Babies who learn to feed themselves early on may develop healthier eating habits and be less likely to become overweight.”

    YEP! Did this with all five babies.

    Suffer little children: US evangelicals are twisting the Bible to say that beating the young is a Christian doctrine
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/jun/08/comment.usa1

    “The Pearls believe that salvation only comes through punishment and pain. God punishes his Son with crucifixion so that humanity might not have to face the Father’s anger. This image of God the father, for whom violence is an expression of tough love, is lodged deep in the evangelical imagination. And it twists a religion of forgiveness and compassion into something dark and cruel… What Jesus said about those who would harm children comes inevitably to mind: ‘It would be better for them if a millstone was hanged about their neck, and that they were drowned in the depth of the sea.’”

    Mom’s Love Good for Child’s Brain
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120130170147.htm

    “School-age children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus, a key structure important to learning, memory and response to stress…”

    How Pregnancy Changes a Woman’s Brain
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111221140633.htm

    “Research suggests that the reproductive hormones may ready a woman’s brain for the demands of motherhood — helping her becomes less rattled by stress and more attuned to her baby’s needs. Although the hypothesis remains untested, Glynn surmises this might be why moms wake up when the baby stirs while dads snore on…”

    “Fetal movement, even when the mother is unaware of it, raises her heart rate and her skin conductivity, signals of emotion — and perhaps of pre-natal preparation for mother-child bonding.”

    Few Allergies in Unstressed Babies, Swedish Researchers Find
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111212092747.htm

    ABSOLUTELY! That’s what allergies are about! They are caused by conflicts. Anything in your environment when you experience a conflict can go on to be an allergy trigger.

    Maternal Separation Stresses the Baby, Research Finds
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102124955.htm

    “Humans are the only mammals who practice such maternal-neonate separation, but its physiological impact on the baby has been unknown until now. Researchers measured heart rate variability in 2-day-old sleeping babies for one hour each during skin-to-skin contact with mother and alone in a cot next to mother’s bed. Neonatal autonomic activity was 176% higher and quiet sleep 86% lower during maternal separation compared to skin-to-skin contact.”

    Be a mother and comfort your child. PLEASE!

    Nursing Past One? Are You Nuts?

    | January 8, 2012

    I remember the first time I saw a mother nursing a toddler. The baby couldn’t have been much past twelve months old, but when the mother scooped her up and began to nurse her, she looked so big! My mother and I exchanged glances and later commented on how crazy it was for her to still be nursing. That was something that was not done in our community. Rarely did mothers choose breastfeeding, and if they did, they only nursed a few months at most. This particular nursing couplet was from out of town. As a young minister’s wife with three little daughters, she didn’t know the rules in our community.

    I never gave a lot of thought to breastfeeding. My brother and I had been bottle-fed in the early seventies, but my baby sister (thirteen years my junior) was nursed, ever so discreetly. Back then, the hospital nurses attempted to sabotage the breastfeeding right off by providing and encouraging bottles of glucose water. For the most part, our community was ignorant on the subject of breastfeeding.

    When I became pregnant with our first child, my husband and I attended birthing classes taught by a lovely pro-life Catholic nurse. She recommended a book called The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding which I read cover-to-cover. I recall borrowing her copy before ordering my own. I was definitely going to breastfeed. And I expected to do so for a year. (On an aside note, this is when I began my journey of self-education.)

    When my baby was born, I faced the challenges of cracking and bleeding, but I was determined I was still going to breastfeed. Even if it killed me. Even if it was going to hurt like that for the duration. I would do anything for my child. Thankfully, by the time he was three weeks old, the nursing was going smoothly. Completely pain-free. Just as it should be.

    Breastfeeding proved to be a treasured comfort because my baby ended up being colicky. In an effort to help him, I began to read everything I could find about babies. Since this was before the days of the internet, I recall that a lot of my research came from books I ordered from the La Leche League catalog. Dr. William Sears introduced me to a whole new parenting paradigm – a world that combined logic and instincts. I soaked up the information in his books and practiced what he preached. Attachment parenting. Awesome. It was oh-so right.

    During my first year as a mother, I read a couple more inspirational and educational books about breastfeeding: Mothering Your Nursing Toddler and Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing. Add in The Family Bed and The Continuum Concept, and you get the small library that originally inspired me to create an attached environment for my babies. The authors, in their wisdom, introduced me to a road less traveled. Since I lived in a community that was unaware of that road, I journeyed forth alone, and immediately began to experience the rewards and benefits of this new direction.

    If you can accept breastfeeding, and understand its biology, then continuing to nurse past infancy is a perfectly normal progression of mothering. When I became educated on extended nursing, I was completely convinced and confident that it was the right thing to do, even if I didn’t know one other mother who ever considered such a thing. Thankfully, for my children’s sake, I am the kind of person who doesn’t need others’ approval when I know I’m right. As time went on, the added bonus of practical experience simply reaffirmed my parenting decisions. I knew, without a doubt, that my toddlers needed to nurse. No question.

    The strength of the nursing mother/child attachment is incredibly powerful. The depth of the connection between mother and child is not just physical, but can become a truly profound spiritual relationship.

    I am very thankful for breastfeeding. I won’t go quite so far as to say I wouldn’t want to have had babies without being able to breastfeed, but I know for certain that not breastfeeding would be much more difficult and would require much more energy. I am so glad I didn’t have to go the substitution route. I can see how not breastfeeding might result in a mother choosing to have fewer children. They miss out on the easy-breezy, chill-axing part of mothering. I don’t know if I could have physically handled getting out of bed to tend to artificially feeding a baby. I don’t know if I would have been able to mother without the natural hormones that induce nurturing: oxytocin and prolactin. What a design concept! God created nursing mothers to feel oh-so motherly toward their offspring. Breastfeeding is worth it just for the natural hormones!

    I can’t imagine choosing to prepare bottles when I can just sit and hold her close. The convenience is incredible. It’s hard to believe God came up with such a crazy, fast-food for babies. And even though it is instantly available, it is also perfectly formulated nutrition. Unbelievable.

    I won’t list all the physical and emotional advantages of breastfeeding here, but please research the topic and pray that your heart and mind will be open to accepting God’s creative gift of breastfeeding. Mammals around the world rejoice!

    Rarely have my babies fallen asleep or woken up without nursing. Why would I bother to use other methods when nursing worked like a charm for all five babies? Breastfeeding is the best sleeping potion available for little ones. And nursing to wake up gives them that extra boost, like an “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!” energizer. Nursing is better than any band-aid. It soothes and comforts. Nursing is also an incredible discipline tool for toddlers. It calms them, provides them stress relief, and helps them refocus, like a good attitude pill.

    One of my reasons for writing about extended nursing is to give you a picture of a typical day in the life of a nursing sixteen-month-old.

    Bedtime is a pleasure. After completing some bedtime chores around ten (like making sure the pets go out and in, and locking the doors), I scoop up my baby and do the “change” and “diaper” baby sign language while changing her. She starts smiling and pumping her little fists (“milky” in baby sign language), we hop onto the king-sized bed, and lean against the comfy foam wedges to nurse. As is her habit, she grasps my hair, excitedly pats my back (murmuring her enthusiasm), and settles down for a good long nurse on both sides. I usually watch TV or look at my laptop. I don’t hurry to lay her down next to me when she falls asleep.

    Since I am still recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, we typically stay in bed a good eleven hours. During that time, she usually wakes twice to nurse during the night. She is more vocal than she used to be in getting me to nurse her (probably because I am lazier), but she still keeps her eyes closed. It is cute to see her rapidly making her “milky” sign with both fists, even though it is hard to see in the dark.

    By the time morning comes, she may or may not want to wake up after a morning nursing session. Same as her mother. We are usually out of bed some time after nine, and head to the kitchen for breakfast. After or during some schoolwork with her brother, she might have a nursing snack between her independent playtime. Lunch usually follows around noon. More play and school, and then she has a nursing session that usually leads into a nap. She nurses another time in her sleep and nurses again to wake up from her nap. Then she is off to play again. Supper is typically between five and six, and she plays pretty hard until about ten. Usually she nurses at least once during the evening, but sometimes she is too busy. She, like her siblings, has more than her fair share of snacks during the day. Her favorites are raspberries, strawberries, and cut-up grapes.

    She rarely has a crisis or conflict that needs a “milky” fix, but when she does, I quickly offer to nurse her, and her discomfort is soon relieved. She learned how to suck her thumb early on, so that helps her recover almost immediately from any baby hardships. At least once every day, she comes to me communicating with her “milky” sign, and is so excited when I completely understand her. Outings, appointments, and activities definitely change the daily routine, and at this age, she no longer needs to nurse when we go out (unless it is a full day trip).

    I often mention one of the most excellent benefits of extended nursing – and that is extended post-partum infertility. The fact that breastfeeding can help space children naturally is a well-kept secret. I think many people view having more than two or three children as highly undesirable, simply because they space their children too closely together. Having two babies at once is hard! Breastfeeding around the clock beyond infancy and sharing sleep will help extend natural infertility. A mother’s ability to cope becomes easier because of the greater spacing between the children.

    An old acquaintance just asked me on Friday how many children I had. When I told her I had five, she nearly fainted and told me she had two, a year apart and could hardly cope. She couldn’t imagine having five. She doesn’t understand that it is a completely different story when the spacing of children is spread out. (I am not saying we shouldn’t welcome all children, it’s just that I believe extended nursing helps to naturally space children in a more manageable, healthier way.)

    Other mothers often wish their babies would sleep through the night, but not me. Instead of a full night’s sleep, I prefer to delay the return of cycles when I already have a baby. And I absolutely prefer to respond to my child’s needs, regardless of the time of day or night.

    The notion that toddlers will never wean is ludicrous. Natural weaning begins with the child’s first bite of food and continues with the mother following the child’s cues to a mutually satisfying completion. Also, contrary to common myths, extended nursing gave me five very independent, secure, and advanced toddlers.

    Nursing past one is so natural and matter-of-fact for me that I can’t believe it is not part of the cultural norm. I guess it is because breastfeeding is just coming back after a couple of lost generations, and also, the stay-at-home lifestyle is not very common in our modern society.

    Parenting can be difficult enough without casting aside one of the most valuable and powerful tools given to a mother of a toddler. Through the gift of breastfeeding, mothers are able to nourish, comfort, and nurture from their very being. I don’t know who benefits more from the nursing relationship, the mother or the child.

    After practicing extended nursing with all five of my babies, I can say with all certainty that I believe breastfeeding a toddler is a very good thing, and thus makes my short list of “Things I Know For Sure”.

    For more on this topic, choose from the following:
    Essay ~ Bible Verses ~ Quotes ~ Blog Posts ~ Books

    Please Don’t Dump Your Baby

    | January 8, 2012

    The Containerization of our Children
    http://www.hippiemommy.com/2010/07/23/the-containerization-of-our-children/

    The Containerization of Infants by Brandi Breitback, MOTR/L
    http://www.modmum.com/blog/baby-tips/the-containerization-of-infants/

    “‘A recent research study replicated a study done in the 1940’s, in which psychological researchers asked kids age 3, 5, and 7 to do a number of exercises…Today’s 5 year olds were acting at a level of 3 year olds, 60 years ago, and today’s 7 year olds were barely approaching the level of the 5 year old (1, 4, 5).’ In the 1940’s, children were reported to walk at 8-12 months of age, now children are reported to begin walking at 12-15 months of age (2). Realistically speaking that is only a generation ago; that’s a huge decline in functional performance in a relatively short time span.”

    “Containerization of infants is defined as ‘confining them to strollers, playpens, high chairs, and car/infant seats for hours at a time.’”

    I had always defined it as “baby dumping”…
    http://parentingfreedom.com/babywearing/

    All five of mine walked by 9 or 10 months. I always say that the more babies are carried, the earlier they walk.

    Hello, Mom?

    | January 8, 2012

    Why Texting and IM‘ing Won’t Replace Actual Speech — It’s Hormonal
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/why-texting-and-iming-wont-replace-actual-speech-its-hormonal/

    “Hearing mom’s voice is actually biologically beneficial as opposed to more passive communication, like texting or instant messaging.”

    “Wired reports that girls who took a stressful test and talked with mom — heard her voice in a face-to-face or phone conversation — exhibited lower levels of stress hormones and an increased level of comfort hormones. In comparison, those who chatted with mom electronically received none of these benefits.”

    Thankful.

    | January 6, 2012

    This is what I’m doing right now…. Sooooooo thankful for my lifestyle…. Soooooo glad I can stay home…. And that my kids can stay home, too…. So thankful to have learned about attachment parenting 18 years ago.

    Thankful

    Thankful

    The Courage of a Mama Grizzly

    | January 4, 2012

    Okla. Woman Shoots, Kills Intruder: 911 Operators Say It’s Okay to Shoot
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/okla-woman-shoots-kills-intruder911-operators-shoot/story?id=15285605#.TwSzdvJjGRp

    Wow. And her husband just died on Christmas Day.

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    The Crock of Self-Soothing: Infants are Supposed to Be Comforted By Their MOTHERS!!!

    | December 31, 2011

    Mothers, Protect Your Babies From Crying-it-out

    Dangers of “Crying It Out”
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/print/81755

    “Letting babies get distressed is a practice that can damage children and their relational capacities in many ways for the long term. We know now that leaving babies to cry is a good way to make a less intelligent, less healthy but more anxious, uncooperative and alienated person who can pass the same or worse traits on to the next generation.”

    “Forcing ‘independence’ on a baby leads to greater dependence…”

    “Ignorant behaviorists then and now encourage parents to condition the baby to expect needs NOT to be met on demand, whether feeding or comforting…”

    “Crying it out “is more likely to foster a whiney, unhappy, aggressive and/or demanding child, one who has learned that one must scream to get needs met. A deep sense of insecurity is likely to stay with them the rest of life…”

    “The fact is that caregivers who habitually respond to the needs of the baby before the baby gets distressed, preventing crying, are more likely to have children who are independent than the opposite…”

    “One strangely popular notion still around today is to let babies ‘cry it out’ when they are left alone, isolated in cribs or other devices. This comes from a misunderstanding of child and brain development.”

    • “Babies grow from being held. Their bodies get dysregulated when they are physically separated from caregivers…”
    • “Babies indicate a need through gesture and eventually, if necessary, through crying. Just as adults reach for liquid when thirsty, children search for what they need in the moment. Just as adults become calm once the need is met, so do babies.”
    • “There are many longterm effects of undercare or need-neglect in babies (e.g., Bremmer et al, 1998; Blunt Bugental et al., 2003; Dawson et al., 2000; Heim et al 2003).”
    • “Secure attachment is related to responsive parenting, such as when babies wake up and cry at night.”

    The article has much more information and some great references and links. Please click through.
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/print/81755

    Grow Up and Be A Parent – Even At Bedtime

    | December 31, 2011

    Why Young Children Protest Bedtime: A Story of Evolutionary Mismatch
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201110/why-young-children-protest-bedtime-story-evolutionary-mismatch

    “Bedtime protest [by children] is unique to Western and Westernized cultures. In all other cultures, infants and young children sleep in the same room and usually in the same bed with one or more adult caregivers, and bedtime protest is non-existent…”

    “When people in non-Western cultures hear about the Western practice of putting young children to bed in separate rooms from themselves, often without even an older sibling to sleep with, they are shocked. ‘The poor little kids!’ they say. ‘How could their parents be so cruel?’ Those who are most shocked are people in hunter-gatherer societies, for they know very well why young children protest against being left alone in the dark…”

    “…People battle their child rather than listen to the child and to their own gut instincts that tell them that any crying baby needs to be picked up, held close, and cared for, not left alone to ‘get over it…’”

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