Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My kid cracks me up!

Nicky just made me laugh again. We were sitting in the recliner togther and out of the blue he says, "Duck!" I ask him why he said duck. And he replies, "Because!" That was the first time he's used that word. He went on to mumble something else but I couldn't understand him. Funny little guy.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Consider Signing this Petition

A message from The United States Breastfeeding Committee:

Dear Friend:

We hope you will take a moment to help put breastfeeding on the agenda of the new administration: to ask President-Elect Obama to place a high priority on breastfeeding as an essential public health issue. There is virtually universal agreement among health care experts that, with rare exceptions, breastfeeding is the optimal method of feeding all infants, sick as well as healthy, preterm as well as full term. In addition to the myriad health benefits provided to mother and infant, breastfeeding provides significant economic and environmental benefits for families, employers, and society by reducing health care expenses, eliminating the need to purchase expensive formula, and reducing absenteeism from work to care for sick infants. Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding.

The United States Breastfeeding Committee has created a petition to the President-Elect, urging him to take several actions to protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.


In the coming months, our leaders will be focused on our economic and financial future. This time of crisis also presents an opportunity to remind them that working mothers are an essential part of our nation's economic security, just as the health of our children is a critical part of our future. A full three-quarters of mothers are now in the labor force. As government and employers cut back in response to the recession, many more families are struggling to cover the rising costs of health care, groceries, and other necessities. We need your support to ensure that in these troubled economic times, all women and families can access the resources and support they need to do what's best for their babies.

Demonstrate your support for breastfeeding by signing the petition now. And please don't forget to forward this message far and wide so as many people as possible get a chance to sign on too. Every signature counts. Sign on here: www.usbreastfeeding.org/obamapetition

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This Makes Me Want To Puke

This stupid ad really pisses me off! It had to have been written by a man who has never even attempted babywearing, because it is SO.OFF.BASE. Anyone who knows anything about babywearing and has done it knows that it is EASIER than simply carrying the baby around. The carriers are actually designed to distribute the baby's weight across more of your body than just your arms! The only time they ever cause pain is when they are being worn incorrectly, like when they don't fit (I've worn ones that were too big for me and that's the only time I've had pain) or weren't put on the right way. In fact, my favorite baby carrier is called the Ergo because it is ergonomically designed. That thing rocks! I can still carry my 28 pound toddler in it on my back.

And the voice and tone of the woman in the ad - how immature and valley-girlish did she sound?! Is that how people see moms? Its insulting!

Not that I use Motrin anyway, but now I never will. A bunch of other moms are up in arms about this ad, too, so Motrin has pulled it from their website but the print ad is already in production. I hope said print ad is less offensive than the tv one. Anyway, you might want to check out the other comments left on this video on Youtube.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Patience During Stalled Labor Can Avoid C-Sections

Very cool research results from UCSF. As a friend pointed out, though, would most hospitals be patient enough to wait out a few hours if a woman's labor stalls? Or would they pump her full of pitocin which would likely cause more mega contractions and stress the baby out and cause a C-section again? Using artificial pitocin is not the break the woman's body needs to turn the baby or get the baby into the right position - in fact, it most likely would completely interfere with those things. Since most hospitals and OB's are totally pitocin-obsessed, I doubt this study will be taken to heart and applied in a way that might help:( But still, interesting stuff and good info for mamas out there who have had C-sections due to stalled labor before so they know what to do during subsequent pregnancies and labors. Or for the preggos or future preggos out there, remember this during your labor. Your body might just need a break during your labor. If your labor stalls and the baby is doing fine, trust your body. It might be working on something:) Read on...

Patience during stalled labor can avoid many c-sections, UCSF study shows
31 October 2008
Source: Kristen Bole

Pregnant women whose labor stalls while in the active phase of childbirth can reduce health risks to themselves and their infants by waiting out the delivery process for an extra two hours, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

By doing so, obstetricians could eliminate more than 130,000 cesarean deliveries – the more dangerous and expensive surgical approach – per year in the United States, the researchers conclude. The study examined the health outcomes of 1,014 pregnancies that involved active-phase arrest – two or more hours without cervical dilation during active labor – and found that one-third of the women achieved a normal delivery without harm to themselves or their child, with the rest proceeding with a cesarean delivery.

The findings appear in the November, 2008 issue of “Obstetrics and Gynecology,” the official journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

While ACOG already recommends waiting at least two hours with adequate contractions in the setting of no progress in active labor, it is routine practice in many clinical settings to proceed with a cesarean for “lack of progress” before those ACOG criteria have been met, according to Aaron Caughey, MD, PhD, an associate professor in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and senior author on the paper.

“One third of all first-time cesareans are performed due to active-phase arrest during labor, which contributes to approximately 400,000 surgical births per year,” said Caughey, who is affiliated with the UCSF National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health. “In our study, we found that just by being patient, one third of those women could have avoided the more dangerous and costly surgical approach.”

The cesarean delivery rate reached an all-time high in 2006 of 31.1 percent of all deliveries, according to the UCSF study. Arrest in the active phase of labor has been previously shown to raise the risk of cesarean delivery between four- and six-fold.

“Cesarean delivery is associated with significantly increased risk of maternal hemorrhage, requiring a blood transfusion, and postpartum infection,” Caughey said. “After a cesarean, women also have a higher risk in future pregnancies of experiencing abnormal placental location, surgical complications, and uterine rupture.”

The ten-year study identified all women who experienced what is known as active-phase arrest during their delivery at UCSF from 1991 to 2001. The study only included women with live, singleton deliveries who were delivered full-term.

The researchers examined maternal outcomes such as maternal infection, endomyometritis, postpartum hemorrhage and the need for blood transfusions. It also examined the infant’s Apgar score, rates of infection and frequency of admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, among other health indicators.

The study found an increased risk of maternal health complications in the group that underwent cesarean deliveries, including postpartum hemorrhage, severe postpartum hemorrhage and infections such as chorioamnionitis and endomyometritis, but found no significant difference in the health outcomes of the infants.

It concluded that efforts to continue with a normal delivery can reduce the maternal risks associated with cesarean delivery, without a significant difference in the health risk to the infant.

“Given the extensive data on the risk of cesarean deliveries, both during the procedure and for later births, prevention of the first cesarean delivery should be given high priority,” Caughey said.

Co-authors on the paper were Dana E.M. Henry, MD; Yvonne W. Cheng, MD, MPH; Brian L. Shaffer, MD; Anjali J. Kaimal, MD; and Katherine Bianco, MD, all from the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

Funding for these studies came from research funds from the National Institutes of Health for Henry and Kaimal. Caughey is supported by a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grant and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The authors have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose.

UCSF is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. For further information, please visit http:///.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Because Sometimes We Parents Misunderstand Each Other

Oh, how many times have I heard other mothers or fathers referencing that "crazy" mom or less often, dad. You know, that overprotective, overly controlling parent who make everything "too hard" or who does "too much." Heck, I know I have unthinkingly made that snap judgment before or heard a parent judge another this way without saying anything. I also have no doubt that others have placed that label on me a few times. I hope this article helps parents understand each other, even if they have different parenting strategies and philosophies from each other, without rushing to snap judgements like placing the "crazy mom" stereotype on someone. We all could stand to be a little more open minded and try to understand each other a bit more instead.

That Crazy Mother
by Peggy O'Mara, Publisher/Editor, Mothering

You know her. She's that woman over there with the unkempt look, the disheveled hair, the strident voice. She's the one who's a little too involved with her child, a little too interfering. Maybe a bit too controlling. She's that crazy mother.

What is it about becoming a parent that turns a reasonably polite, discreet woman into a guerrilla warrior for her child? And why is it that no matter how righteous the cause, whenever we assert ourselves on behalf of our children we must be prepared to do battle with the crazy mother stereotype within ourselves and in the minds of others?

With the current prominence of the Children's Defense Fund and other groups that help children, child advocacy is coming of age. Our statement of purpose for the magazine includes "Mothering is ... a fierce advocate of the needs and rights of the child ... " As a magazine, we can maintain some distance from the issues of child advocacy that we cover, issues in which the child's side of the story often is not well understood or not reported. As parents, however, it takes real strength of character to be advocates for our children, especially at times when we are either embarrassed or angered by their behavior or at a loss to understand it.

Even when we don't understand the behavior of our children, they still deserve respect and advocacy. Our well-meaning but sometimes insensitive friends may confuse us and make us feel crazy when they set standards for our children's behavior or ask repeated intimate questions about their private habits.

Sometimes we find ourselves in social situations that require impossible compliance by our children or are not appropriate for their developmental stage. At these times we may appear crazy and overprotective to others when we shield our children from experiences we judge to be questionable.

Those of us who have been led by our children into extended breastfeeding and family sleeping wonder how something that works so well can be considered so crazy, and yet we feel crazy when we talk about these things to those who don't understand. Sleep deprivation, concerns for social deviation, and fear of child ruination are the stuff of the new parent's initiation. We must do our own thing with our families in order to create the definitions of a new family. We are supposed to be crazy, to be different. As young adults we do things differently than our parents. As new families we do things unique to our union. Those who are willing to be unique in a culture are sometimes looked upon as crazy.

The needs of infants and toddlers are so obvious, and they are so innocent in their demands, that we feel confident responding to them even if others question us. As our children get older, however, we may not always understand their needs quite as easily, or will sometimes have to make decisions that are unpopular with our children, and may make us look crazy, even to them.

All parents face difficult decisions regarding infant feeding, newborn testing, circumcision, diapers, nightwaking, sleeping, vaccinations, and so forth. Some parents also face special medical situations that require the courage to insist on the integrity of the child's emotional experience in the face of necessary and sometimes lifesaving medical procedures.

Successful advocacy rests on holding a position without being positional. And while we don't always feel we can compromise where our children's needs are concerned, we can develop a capacity to insist on our position without insulting others. We can be persistent. And we can have faith in the best possible outcome, in the biggest possible picture for our child, and for our child's capabilities.

We join with others when we protect our children. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child says, among other things, that "All children's opinions shall be given careful consideration, and their best interests shall be protected."

Being crazy is not just for moms. Crazy dads follow in the same tradition. We're crazy any time we take an unpopular position in a group or support someone or something just because of love.
We're crazy any time we stick up for our children without any evidence. I can't always control the events of my children's lives, but now and then I can get all worked up over them with such righteousness that it's awesome. At those times I realize how fierce and irrational my willingness to defend my children is, how animal-like, how instinctual. One feels in this type of attachment part of the greater good.

It's good to be a little bit crazy. A little bit crazy about your child and willing to get crazy for him or her. I'm sure there's supposed to be at least one, maybe two people who think you are the greatest no matter what. Someone who rushes to defend you without knowing the whole story.
Someone who sympathizes even after knowing it. Someone who is crazy about you. The Crazy
Mother's Club is open to both men and women. You can tell the members by the red badge of courage they wear barely visible on the lapel. You can also tell them by a certain gleam in their eye. They are the parents who are willing to get crazy for love.
Excerpted from: Editorial, Mothering Magazine, No. 78,Spring 1996, Pages 6-7.Mothering Magazine: (800) 984-8116, (505) 984-8116

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

March of Dimes Campaign Focuses on Early C-sections and Inductions

Mothers Launch National Petition for Preemies

Last update: 12:01 a.m. EDT Oct. 17, 2008

HOUSTON, Oct 17, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Mothers are casting their votes for healthy babies and asking all Americans to join them in signing the March of Dimes 2008 Petition for Preemies. They're putting public officials -- and all Americans -- on notice that it's time to focus on the growing problem of premature birth, the leading cause of newborn death.

"My wish is for that day when no new mothers will experience the pain of going home from the hospital and leaving their babies behind," said Susan Aboulhouda, whose daughter Catharine was born 16 weeks early and spent 113 days in a newborn intensive care unit. "That's why I've signed the 2008 Petition for Preemies. This plan will help give all babies a healthy start in life." Catharine, now 6, is the 2008 National Ambassador for the March of Dimes.

The 2008 Petition for Preemies was launched here today at the annual Volunteer Leadership Conference, a gathering of more than 600 March of Dimes volunteers and staff from across the country. Sherri Shepherd of ABC-TV's "The View," one of the volunteers, displayed a new national print public service announcement in which she declares, "My son was born 15 weeks early. I'm signing the Petition for Preemies so that other babies will be born full term."

The Petition for Preemies also is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the National Business Group on Health, and more than two dozen other maternal and infant health agencies and concerned business and quality improvement organizations. It can be found at http://www.marchofdimes.com/petition.

"This petition will raise awareness of the growing crisis of preterm birth, which affects more than 530,000 babies each year," said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "It is a true non-partisan vote for babies and will elevate the problem of preterm birth onto the health care agenda of our new president and Congress. We'll let legislators and regulators know how many people signed the Petition in order to help drive policy changes at the federal and state levels to solve this disturbing problem."

The four-point petition calls for hospital leaders to voluntarily review all cesarean-section births and inductions of labor that occur before 39 weeks gestation, in an effort to reverse America's rising preterm birth rate. The review should ensure that all c-sections and inductions meet established American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines regarding medical necessity of elective procedures.

"Some doctors and patients may inadvertently be scheduling inductions or c-section deliveries early because of an inaccurate assessment of the due date," said Roger C. Young, MD, PhD, professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and director of the Division of General Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and a member of the March of Dimes Board of Trustees. "This is a problem because babies born even a few weeks early are at greater risk of serious problems such as respiratory distress, delayed brain development, sudden infant death, jaundice, re-hospitalization and feeding problems."

"Neonatologists and general pediatricians are very good at taking care of premature infants once they are safely delivered, but what we all want is to prevent prematurity from occurring in the first place," said Renee R. Jenkins, MD, FAAP, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "We fully support the March of Dimes petition because it makes everyone aware of the risks and consequences of an early birth and supports successful interventions."

"Two probable factors of preterm birth, cesarean sections and induced labor, are on the rise and may be among the many reasons for this concerning increase in early births," said Karen Peddicord, RNC, PhD, interim executive director of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses. "AWHONN is pleased to support the March of Dimes petition initiative and the joint effort to resolve this serious public health issue."

"Modest investments in infant health will pay off many times over in future health and productivity," said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health. "Employers can play a pivotal role in helping their employees and dependents have the information, resources, benefits and support to have healthy, thriving families. We applaud the March of Dimes for promoting and protecting the health of all children."

In addition to the voluntary review of c-sections before 39 weeks, the 2008 Petition for Preemies also calls for:

-- Expanded federal support for prematurity-related research to uncover the
causes of premature birth and lead not only to strategies for
prevention, but also improved care and outcomes for preterm infants.

-- Policymakers to improve access to health coverage for women of
childbearing age and to support smoking cessation programs as part of
maternity care.

-- Businesses to create workplaces that support maternal and infant health,
such as providing private areas to pump breast milk, access to flextime,
and information about how to have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

The Petition will be followed by a March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, which will grade the nation and the states on their preterm birth rate. The report card will be released November 12, on the 6th Annual Prematurity Awareness Day.

Preterm birth is a serious and costly health problem that affects 1 in 8 babies born each year in the United States and the rate of preterm birth has increased more than 20 percent since 1990. It is the leading cause of death in the first month of life. One in every eight babies is born too soon each year, Preterm birth costs the nation more than $26 billion a year, according to an Institute of Medicine report released in July 2006.

Babies who survive an early birth face the risk of serious lifelong health problems, including learning disabilities, cerebral palsy ( http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/14332_1208.asp), blindness, hearing loss ( http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/14332_1232.asp) and other chronic conditions such as asthma.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. Its mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit http://www.marchofdimes.com or http://www.nacersano.org.

Note: C-sections account for nearly all of the increase in U.S. singleton preterm births. Between 1996 and 2004, the number of preterm births increased by 59,057, and 54,405 of those were delivered by cesarean section, reflecting a cesarean-to-vaginal delivery ratio of more than 11 to 1, according to "The Relationship Between Cesarean Delivery and Gestational Age Among US Singleton Births," by Bettegowda VR. et al., published in Clinics in Perinatology, Vol. 35, 2008.

SOURCE March of Dimes


Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Heart Sarcasm

How to Make Breastfeeding Difficult

Linda J. Smith, BSE, FACCE, IBCLC

1. Tell the mother to "feed on a 4-hour schedule" or "get the baby on a schedule." This results in a low milk supply and a hungry, frustrated baby and frustrated parents. Be sure to blame the crying on breastfeeding. If this doesn't work, warn her to limit the length of feeds, which will accomplish the same thing.

2. Be sure to "get the baby used to a bottle." This can result in a confused baby who refuses the breast. It's also a great way to lower the milk supply and undermine the mother's confidence.

3. Tell her she doesn't have enough milk if:

  • "The baby wants to nurse again after only 2-3 hours"...OR
  • "The baby will take 2 ounces of formula after nursing"...OR
  • "Your breasts aren't full and uncomfortable all the time"

Since milk supply insecurity is the primary cause of lactation failure, this will introduce an element of doubt and fear to the whole process.

4. Tell her she can't or shouldn't nurse if:
  • "She wants to eat chocolate (or Mexican food or cabbage, etc.)"...OR
  • "She smokes or wants to take medication"...OR
  • "She's going back to work/school in a few weeks"....OR
  • "She wants to go out in public...nursing requires privacy"...OR
  • "Her breasts are too small (or large)"...OR
  • "Her mother couldn't"...OR
  • "She's too nervous"...

Find as many reasons for NOT breastfeeding as you can, and look for ANY reason to interrupt it. Put as much distance between mother and baby as possible.

5. Insist that "Dad should give the baby a bottle or he'll feel left out." This is another good way to minimize the importance of breastfeeding.

6. Tell her it may hurt to breastfeed, and that sore, cracked nipples are normal. Pain is an excellent adverse stimulus. Don't teach her how to position the baby correctly. Do give her a nipple shield, give the baby lots of bottles to disrupt the proper suck, and tell her to rub her nipples with a rough towel to "condition" them. And be sure to tell her every "horror story" you've ever heard about breastfeeding, in graphic detail.

7. Tell her to give the baby formula, glucose water and cereal right from the beginning, to make the baby sleep. This is another good way to insure inadequate milk supply. Tell her that her milk might be too rich or too thin. Try and make her think that formula is the "safer" option, and that there is something wrong with her milk even if she's lucky enough to have enough of it .This will further shatter her confidence.

8. Separate her from her baby at birth, and show by your actions that water, formula, pacifiers, and scheduled feedings are the appropriate way to care for the baby. Since she is especially vulnerable at this time and will follow your example, be sure to tell her how little breastfeeding matters. This will help her distrust her instincts even more.

9. Don't teach her the normal course of infant behavior. Don't warn her about growth spurts and frequency days. Don't call or visit her, and be sure to abandon her in the critical first two weeks. Blame breastfeeding for anything you can think of, and make up reasons to stop breastfeeding if necessary.

10. Give her plenty of formula samples to take home to further weaken her confidence. Make sure the literature you give her has many references to formula, and doesn't tell her how to keep her milk supply up. Make sure she doesn't call a La Leche League Leader, Lactation Consultant, breastfeeding peer counselor, or anyone else knowledgable about breastfeeding.

All these tactics, individually or collectively, will discourage breastfeeding.

(P.S. I wrote "Difficult" one day in October 1986 on an old typewriter, and it’s just as popular now asit was then!)
© 1986 Linda J. Smith

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A conversation I just had with Nicky

I looked up to find a very naked Nicky handing me the diaper he had just taken off himself. This is a few minutes after me trying to convince him to bring me a new diaper after he had brought it to my attention that his diaper was wet.

"Hey, naked baby, please bring me a diaper. You can't walk around the living room naked. Bring me a diaper!" I said.

Nicky's reply? "No." And then he walked off.

He is still naked. Guess I'll have to go get a diaper myself and do a little bit of persuading:)

Corporal Punishment of Children

Spare the Rod
Why you shouldn't hit your kids.

By Alan E. Kazdin

Posted Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008, at 7:09 AM ET

The typical parent, when whacking a misbehaving child, doesn't pause to wonder: "What does science have to say about the efficacy of corporal punishment?" If they are thinking anything at all, it's: "Here comes justice!" And while the typical parent may not know or care, the science on corporal punishment of kids is pretty clear. Despite the rise of the timeout and other nonphysical forms of punishment, most American parents hit, pinch, shake, or otherwise lay violent hands on their youngsters: 63 percent of parents physically discipline their 1- to 2-year-olds, and 85 percent of adolescents have been physically punished by their parents. Parents cite children's aggression and failure to comply with a request as the most common reasons for hitting them.

The science also shows that corporal punishment is like smoking: It's a rare human being who can refrain from stepping up from a mild, relatively harmless dose to an excessive and harmful one. Three cigarettes a month won't hurt you much, and a little smack on the behind once a month won't harm your child. But who smokes three cigarettes a month? To call corporal punishment addictive would be imprecise, but there's a strong natural tendency to escalate the frequency and severity of punishment. More than one-third of all parents who start out with relatively mild punishments end up crossing the line drawn by the state to define child abuse: hitting with an object, harsh and cruel hitting, and so on. Children, endowed with wonderful flexibility and ability to learn, typically adapt to punishment faster than parents can escalate it, which helps encourage a little hitting to lead to a lot of hitting. And, like frequent smoking, frequent corporal punishment has serious, well-proven bad effects.

The negative effects on children include increased aggression and noncompliance—the very misbehaviors that most often inspire parents to hit in the first place—as well as poor academic achievement, poor quality of parent-child relationships, and increased risk of a mental-health problem (depression or anxiety, for instance). High levels of corporal punishment are also associated with problems that crop up later in life, including diminished ability to control one's impulses and poor physical-health outcomes (cancer, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease). Plus, there's the effect of increasing parents' aggression, and don't forget the consistent finding that physical punishment is a weak strategy for permanently changing behavior.

But parents keep on hitting. Why? The key is corporal punishment's temporary effectiveness in stopping a behavior. It does work—for a moment, anyway. The direct experience of that momentary pause in misbehavior has a powerful effect, conditioning the parent to hit again next time to achieve that jolt of fleeting success and blinding the parent to the long-term failure of hitting to improve behavior. The research consistently shows that the unwanted behavior will return at the same rate as before. But parents believe that corporal punishment works, and they are further encouraged in that belief by feeling that they have a right and even a duty to punish as harshly as necessary.

Part of the problem is that most of us pay, at best, selective attention to science—and scientists, for their part, have not done a good job of publicizing what they know about corporal punishment. Studies of parents have demonstrated that if they are predisposed not to see a problem in the way they rear their children, then they tend to dismiss any scientific finding suggesting that this presumed nonproblem is, in fact, a problem. In other words, if parents believe that hitting is an effective way to control children's behavior, and especially if that conviction is backed up by a strong moral, religious, or other cultural rationale for corporal punishment, they will confidently throw out any scientific findings that don't comport with their sense of their own experience.

The catch is that we frequently misperceive our own experience. Studies of parents' perceptions of child rearing, in particular, show that memory is an extremely unreliable guide in judging the efficacy of punishment. Those who believe in corporal punishment tend to remember that hitting a child worked: She talked back to me, I slapped her face, she shut her mouth. But they tend to forget that, after the brief pause brought on by having her face slapped, the child talked back again, and the talking back grew nastier and more frequent over time as the slaps grew harder.

So what's the case for not hitting? It can be argued from the science: Physical discipline doesn't work over the long run, it has bad side effects, and mild punishment often becomes more severe over time. Opponents of corporal punishment also advance moral and legal arguments. If you hit another adult you can be arrested and sued, after all, so shouldn't our smallest, weakest citizens have a right to equal or even more-than-equal protection under the law? In this country, if you do the same thing to your dog that you do to your child, you're more likely to get in trouble for mistreating the dog.

The combination of scientific and moral/legal arguments has been effective in debates about discipline in public schools. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia have banned corporal punishment in the schools. But so far, we have shown ourselves unwilling to extend that debate beyond the schools and into the ideologically sacred circle of the family. Where the argument against corporal punishment in the schools has prevailed, in fact, it has often cited parents' individual right to punish their own children as they, and not educators acting for the state, see fit. The situation is different in other countries. You may not be surprised to hear that 91 countries have banned corporal punishment in the schools, but you may be surprised to hear that 23 countries have banned corporal punishment everywhere within their borders, including in the home.

I know what you're thinking: Are there really 23 Scandinavian countries? Sweden was, indeed, the first to pass a comprehensive ban, but the list also includes Hungary, Bulgaria, Spain, Israel, Portugal, Greece, Uruguay, Chile, Venezuela, and New Zealand. According to advocates of the ban, another 20 or so countries are committed to full prohibition and/or are debating prohibitionist bills in parliament. The Council of Europe was the first intergovernmental body to launch a campaign for universal prohibition across its 47 member countries.

Practically nobody in America knows or cares that the United Nations has set a target date of 2009 for a universal prohibition of violence against children that would include a ban on corporal punishment in the home. Americans no doubt have many reasons—some of them quite good—to ignore or laugh off instructions from the United Nations on how to raise their kids. And it's naive to think that comprehensive bans are comprehensively effective. Kids still get hit in every country on earth. But especially because such bans are usually promoted with large public campaigns of education and opinion-shaping (similar to successful efforts in this country to change attitudes toward littering and smoking), they do have measurable good effects. So far, the results suggest that after the ban is passed, parents hit less and are less favorably inclined toward physical discipline, and the country is not overwhelmed by a wave of brattiness and delinquency. The opposite, in fact. If anything, the results tell us that there's less deviant child behavior.

There could conceivably be good reasons for Americans to decide, after careful consideration, that our commitment to the privacy and individual rights of parents is too strong to allow for an enforceable comprehensive ban on corporal punishment. But we don't seem to be ready to join much of the rest of the world in even having a serious discussion about such a ban. In the overheated climate of nondebate encouraged by those who would have us believe that we are embroiled in an ongoing high-stakes culture war, we mostly just declaim our fixed opinions at one another.

One result of this standoff is that the United States, despite being one of the primary authors of the U.N.'s Convention on the Rights of Children, which specifies that governments must take appropriate measures to protect children from "all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation," is one of only two nations that have not ratified it. The other is Somalia; 192 nations have ratified it. According to my colleague Liz Gershoff of the University of Michigan, a leading expert on corporal punishment of children, the main arguments that have so far prevented us from ratifying it include the ones you would expect—it would undermine American parents' authority as well as U.S. sovereignty—plus a couple of others that you might not have expected: It would not allow 17-year-olds to enlist in the armed forces, and (although the Supreme Court's decision in Roper v. Simmons has made this one moot, at least for now) it would not allow executions of people who committed capital crimes when they were under 18.

We have so far limited our national debate on corporal punishment by focusing it on the schools and conducting it at the local and state level. We have shied away from even theoretically questioning the primacy of rights that parents exercise in the home, where most of the hitting takes place. Whatever one's position on corporal punishment, we ought to be able to at least discuss it with each other like grownups.

Alan E. Kazdin is John M. Musser professor of jpsychology and child psychiatry at Yale University and director of Yale's Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic. He is also president of the American Psychological Association and author, most recently, of The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child.

Article URL: http://www.slate.com/id/2200450/

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

BS in advertising

Ugh, I am so frustrated. The corn industry is running the 2 commercials below (and others) on TV to try to convince people that there is nothing wrong with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). People must be finally catching on because they are trying to do damage control. Too bad its a bunch of lies. For those of you who don't know, HFCS is a highly processed sweetner added to everything (really, its in almost all of our processed and baked foods here in the US but not the rest of the world). It is used in place of sugar or another sweetner because it is super cheap. Why? Can you say "corn subsidies?" So one of the reasons we all are getting fat and having insulin problems is because our tax dollars are supporting this junk. Anyway, I've included a funny spoof video and a rebuttal video and article below the dang commercial that explains HFCS and its problems and gives more detail so please read on...

Dramatic Example of How the Food Industry Lies to You About Corn

SweetSurprise.com is run by The Corn Refiners Association, which recently launched a major advertising and public relations campaign to the tune of $20-30 million, designed to rehabilitate the reputation of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). You might have even seen a few of their commercials on TV recently.

This site is nothing but an extension of their deceptive advertising that claims the product is no worse for you than sugar. One of their ads, which shows two women talking, reads:

“My hairdresser says that sugar is healthier than high fructose corn syrup.”

“Wow! You get your hair done by a doctor?”

Not surprisingly, the Corn Refiners Association is running these ads in response to the increasing public perception of the dangers of HFCS. But this “perception” was not instigated by chatty hairdressers with nothing to do but spread their own personal opinions to a captive audience. No. Scientists have linked HFCS to the rampant epidemics of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the U.S., and medical researchers have pinpointed various other health dangers associated with the consumption of HFCS compared to regular sugar (which I’ll review below).

The Corn Refiners Association has been trying to counter the seriously bad PR generated by damaging research findings since 2004, but finally realized it could no longer afford to rely on simple grass-roots marketing tactics such as sweet talking nutritionists and doctors.

THAT’S a sign that truthful grass-roots consumer information, such as the information found in this newsletter, is spreading and reaching a much wider audience! Now we just have to maintain the counter-pressure to ensure that people are not deceived AGAIN.

Hopefully we can get the word out about what these ads are really about: money.

Declining Consumption Has Turned Industry Sour… and Desperate

Since the 1970s, the consumption of HFCS in the United States has skyrocketed. Consumption of beverages containing fructose alone rose 135 percent between 1977 and 2001. That is until about 2003.

According to the Corn Refiners Association statistics, the per capita consumption in the United States actually went down from more than 45 pounds per year in 1999 to just over 42 pounds annually 2005. The USDA estimates per capita consumption at about 40 pounds per year as of 2007.

That’s a really good sign for the health of the community, but a bad one for the financial health of the companies that sell HFCS. Hence the multi-million dollar media campaign. In June a nearly $5 billion merger of Corn Products International and Bunge Ltd. signaled that corn manufacturers mean business. Revenues are expected to increase 29 percent in 2008 to reach $4 billion.

High Fructose Corn Syrup is the Number One Source of Calories in U.S. Diet

Although the trend is declining, an average intake of 40 pounds of HFCS per person, per year, is still far too much, if you want to obtain or maintain optimal health that is.

In case you forgot, or never knew in the first place, the number one source of calories in the U.S. is high fructose corn syrup. Let me restate that so you can more fully appreciate the impact of this fact. Dietary fat has 250 percent more calories than sugar, but even with this major disadvantage, the food that most people get MOST of their calories from is HFCS, primarily in the form of soft drinks.

The good news about this shocking fact is that stopping the pernicious habit of drinking sodas is one of the easiest things you can do. You can radically improve your health just by cutting out soda.

I am HIGHLY confident that the health improvement would be FAR more profound than if you quit smoking, because elevated insulin levels are the foundation of nearly every chronic disease, including:

* Cancer
* Heart disease
* Diabetes
* Premature aging
* Arthritis
* Osteoporosis

And that’s just naming a few.

But in addition to being an exorbitant source of excess calories for the average American, there are a number of other things SweetSurprise.com fails to tell you the truth about, as it relates to high fructose corn syrup.

High Fructose Corn Syrup Does NOT Metabolize in the Same Way as Sugar

HFCS is a highly processed product that contains similar amounts of unbound fructose and glucose. Sucrose, on the other hand, is a larger sugar molecule that is metabolized into glucose and fructose in your intestine.

Part of what makes HFCS such an unhealthy product is that it is metabolized to fat in your body far more rapidly than any other sugar, and, because most fructose is consumed in liquid form, its negative metabolic effects are significantly magnified.

Whereas the glucose in other sugars is used by your body, and is converted to blood glucose, fructose is a relatively unregulated source of fuel that your liver converts to fat and cholesterol.

There are over 35 years of hard empirical evidence that refined man-made fructose like high fructose corn syrup metabolizes to triglycerides and adipose tissue, not blood glucose. The downside of this is that fructose does not stimulate your insulin secretion, nor enhance leptin production. (Leptin is a hormone thought to be involved in appetite regulation.)

Because insulin and leptin act as key signals in regulating how much food you eat, as well as your body weight, this suggests that dietary fructose may contribute to increased food intake and weight gain.

Additionally, fructose is also known to significantly raise your triglycerides and LDL (bad cholesterol).

Triglycerides, the chemical form of fat found in foods and in your body, are not something you want in excess amounts. Intense research over the past 40 years has confirmed that elevated blood levels of triglycerides, known as hypertriglyceridemia, puts you at an increased risk of heart disease.

New Evidence That HFCS Contributes to Development of Diabetes

Recent research, reported at the 2007 national meeting of the American Chemical Society, found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with HFCS may contribute to the development of diabetes because it contains high levels of reactive compounds that have been shown by others to trigger cell and tissue damage that cause diabetes.

Chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS were found to have ‘astonishingly high’ levels of reactive carbonyls. Reactive carbonyls are undesirable and highly-reactive compounds associated with “unbound” fructose and glucose molecules, and are believed to cause tissue damage.

By contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar because its fructose and glucose components are “bound” and chemically stable.

Reactive carbonyls are elevated in the blood of individuals with diabetes and are linked to the health complications of diabetes. Based on the study data, the researchers estimate that a single can of soda contains about five times the concentration of reactive carbonyls than the concentration found in the blood of an adult person with diabetes.

Fructose Depletes Your Body of Enzymes, Vitamins or Minerals

Fructose also does not contain any enzymes, vitamins or minerals so it takes these micronutrients from your body while it assimilates itself for use.

Unbound fructose, found in large quantities in HFCS, can interfere with your heart's use of minerals such as magnesium, copper and chromium.

This does not mean you should avoid whole fruit, however, as it contains natural fructose together with the enzymes, vitamins and minerals needed for your body to assimilate the fructose. Eating small amounts of whole fruit also does not provide a tremendous amount of fructose, and is not likely to be a problem for most people unless diabetes or obesity is an issue.

Did You Know? -- Most HFCS is Made From Genetically Modified Corn

Adding insult to injury, HFCS is almost always made from genetically modified corn, which is fraught with its own well documented side effects and health concerns.

GMO corn will radically increase your risk of developing corn food allergies. The problem with corn allergies are that once you have a corn allergy from GMO corn you will have an allergy to even healthy organic corn products.

The Bottom Line

Sodas, of course, are not the only source of HFCS (though they represent one of the main ones). This dangerous sweetener is also in many processed foods and fruit juices, so to avoid it you need to focus your diet on whole foods and, if you do purchase packaged foods, become an avid label reader.

But if you want to drastically improve your health, the answer is plain and simple. To lose weight and reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease, STOP drinking soda and processed fruit juices that are sweetened with about eight teaspoons of fructose per serving!

Switch to pure water as your beverage of choice and you will be well on your way to better health.

However, like most areas in life, when presented with two poisons, choose carefully.

Even though HFCS is clearly something you want to avoid, it is not as bad as artificial sweeteners, which damage your health even more rapidly than HFCS. (I spent several years researching artificial sweeteners for my book Sweet Deception, which goes into these issues in great detail).

So ideally, you’ll want to avoid ALL sodas, but if you have to choose between soda sweetened with HFCS (regular soda) or artificial sweeteners (diet soda), choose HFCS.

The best and safest sweetener (although illegal to use according to the FDA) would be the herb stevia. For a great recipe for homemade Italian Cream Soda using stevia, see this video and article by Luci Lock.


Now, go check you ingredients list on your food! Seriously, this stuff is everywhere and really hard to avoid, especially in baked goods like breads and buns. Weird, huh?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saying Goodbye to KC...

Gosh, I am already tearing up! This is going to be a hard post to write...

As Nicky announced in his blog last month, we are moving to East Grand Forks, MN. In fact, Scott started his job there the beginning of this month. Its been hard to have our family separated like that, but we talk on the phone and video cams lots, and Scott was able to fly back to visit last weekend. We were very blessed that our house sold quickly, even in this not-so-great housing market. I could go on and on about the complications and drama that led up to the sale and are continuing as we try to negotiate an earlier closing time on the house we have on contract in EGF, but I won't. Despite all the stress of moving so quickly (we closed on the sale of the house in only 3 weeks!) and the still unknowns with our new home, I am feeling a bit more at peace now that my house is all packed up and ready to go. Yes, I am sitting in a house filled with boxes. Sorta like a ghost house. The only thing that isn't packed up is the computer, my bed, my dissertation stuff, various important files that need to be on hand, our suitcases, and stuff that can't go on the moving truck like candles, cleaning supplies, photos, etc. Oh, and a laundry basket filled with toys and books for Nicky. That basket is really important!

I am hopeful that our transition will be fairly smooth and Nicky, Scott, and I will all settle into our new surroundings as individuals and as a family quickly. But, I have to say, I am nearly heartbroken over leaving Kansas City. I really like this place, but what I really love are all my dear friends I will be missing. I can not put into words who much these people mean to me and the feeling in the pit of stomach when I think about not seeing them often. Many of them are mom and dad friends that I've met since having Nicky and Nicky is friends with their kiddos. I know I am not really "losing" them, but they will be so far away, and the thought of starting over with meeting people in a new place is a little daunting. I just can't imagine meeting people as great as these. I'm trying to approach the move with a positive, hopeful attitude and see it as an adventure and learning experience, though.

To add to my stress, my junky car's air conditioning went out so the ride back to ND/MN is gonna be a little harder. I am going to try to break up the drive a little and drive during the cooler times of the day to make it easier on Nicky and me. We'll see how it goes.

The next week or so will be a transition period. The moving truck arrives on Tuesday and once they have everything loaded, Nicky and I are going to go stay with some friends of ours for a few days. I need some time to settle after the stress of moving/packing is over and it will allow us to say goodbye to our friends. Also, I need to finish up some stuff on my dissertation before leaving town, things that I just couldn't do when moving activities were taking priority in the last month. Its gonna be interesting living out of suitcases in our friends' guest bedrooms and then in Scott's apartment. But, we will survive.

We are moving for a couple of reasons. First, this job should help advance Scott's career, and I am so happy for him for that. Second, it has been hard being so far away from our family and friends back in North Dakota, especially since having Nicky. It will nice to be able to have people visit us more often and us them, and be able to host birthday parties and family get-togethers and holidays. I can't wait to have family at Nicky's 2nd birthday in November. It was really sad for me that none of our fam was able to come down for his first birthday last fall. Now, they have no excuses, ha ha! I am happy that Nicky will be able to get to know his grandparents and have close relationships with them.

Also, we do miss some things about living back in North Dakota. Well, this is technically gonna be Minnesota, but its right across the border so practically the same thing, right? Although KC really still feels like a big small town to me, I know its going to take some readjusting to smaller town life up in EGF. Its just going to be different. I hope we all like it and come to love it.

As tears fall from my eyes, I find solace in the thought that all these great friendships and wonderful people that I've met mean that my time spent here in KC was well worth it!

Here's to old friends and new journeys.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

As School is Starting...

Here is another hilarious story from our friends at The Onion. This may all be sarcastic and meant to make you laugh, but kids, I'm warning you that's its true!!!!! I've been imprisoned in school for 26 years now Photobucket . Run, kids, run!!

6-Year-Old Stares Down Bottomless Abyss Of Formal Schooling
August 15, 2008 Issue 44•33

CARPENTERSVILLE, IL—Local first-grader Connor Bolduc, 6, experienced the first inkling of a coming lifetime of existential dread Monday upon recognizing his cruel destiny to participate in compulsory education for the better part of the next two decades, sources reported.

"I don't want to go to school," Bolduc told his parents, the crushing reality of his situation having yet to fully dawn on his naïve consciousness. "I want to play outside with my friends."

While Bolduc stood waiting for the bus to pick him up on his first day of elementary school, his parents reportedly were able to "see the wheels turning in his little brain" as the child, for the first time in his life, began to understand how dire and hopeless his situation had actually become.

Basic math—which the child has blissfully yet to learn—clearly demonstrates that the number of years before he will be released from the horrifying prison of formal schooling, is more than twice the length of time he has yet existed. According to a conservative estimate of six hours of school five days a week for nine months of the year, Bolduc faces an estimated 14,400 hours trapped in an endless succession of nearly identical, suffocating classrooms.

This nightmarish but undeniably real scenario does not take into account additional time spent on homework, extracurricular responsibilities, or college, sources said.

"I can't wait until school is over," said the 3-foot-tall tragic figure, who would not have been able, if asked, to contemplate the amount of time between now and summer, let alone the years and years of tedium to follow.

The concept of wasting a majority of daylight hours sitting still in a classroom when he could be riding his bicycle, playing in his tree fort, or lying in the grass looking at bugs—especially considering that he had already wasted two years of his life attending preschool and kindergarten—seemed impossibly unfair to Bolduc. Moreover, sources said, he had no idea how much worse the inescapable truth will turn out to be.

Shortly after his mommy, homemaker Ellen Bolduc, 31, assured him that he would be able to resume playtime "when school lets out," Connor's innocent brain only then began to work out the implication of that sentence to its inevitable, soul-crushing conclusion.

When pressed for more detail on the exact timing of that event, Mrs. Bolduc would only reply "soon." At that point, the normally energetic child grew quiet before asking a follow-up question, "After [younger sister] Maddy's birthday?" thereby setting the stage for the first of thousands of rushing realizations he will be forced to come to grips with over the course of his subsequent existence.

Madison Ellen Bolduc was born on Sept. 28.

After learning that the first grade will continue for eight excruciating months beyond that date, it was only a matter of time before Bolduc inquired into what grade comes after first grade, and, when told, would probe further into how many grades he will have to complete before allowed to play with his friends.

The answer to that fatal question—12, a number too large for Bolduc to count on the fingers of both hands—will be enough to nearly shatter the boy's still-forming psyche, said child psychology expert Eli Wasserbaum.

"When you consider that it doesn't include another four years of secondary education, plus five more years of medical school, if he wants to follow his previously stated goal to grow up to be a doctor like his daddy, this will come as an interminably deep chasm of drudgery and imprisonment to [Connor]," said Wasserbaum. "It's difficult to know the effect on his psychological well-being when he grasps the full truth: that his education will be followed by approximately four decades of work, bills, and taxes, during which he will also rear his own children to face the same fate, all of which will, of course, be followed by a brief, almost inconsequential retirement, and his inevitable death."

"Even a 50-year-old adult would have trouble processing such a monstrous notion," Wasserbaum added. "Oh my God, I'm 50 years old."

The first of Bolduc's remaining 2,299 days of school will resume at 8 a.m. tomorrow. On the next 624 Sundays, he will also be forced to attend church.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Wanna Go Green? Breastfeed!

This article has an interesting spin on additional benefits of breastfeeding - its good for the environment. No packaging, no resources used to make or deliver it, no waste. I like that!

Ask Eartha Steward: Mammaries for the planet

High Country Conservation Center

Dear Eartha,
In honor of National Breastfeeding Week Aug. 1-7, can you tell me why breastfeeding is good for the environment?
— Elyse Jones

Thanks for your question, Elyse. It was really interesting to learn just how important breastfeeding is, and provided the perfect opportunity to re-emphasize something that babies have known since the beginning of existence: mama’s milk is awesome!
There are plenty of medical reasons why breastfeeding is recommended for most mothers and babies. It helps strengthen a baby’s immune system and fight off sickness, and it can help reduce allergies. And for new moms, breastfeeding helps shed those extra baby pounds.

On top of that, breastfeeding is the ultimate example of an ecologically sound food — it comes to us from the most local source available, is delivered to its consumer without any pollution, and is the first step in a baby’s understanding of nature’s interconnectedness.

Only 16 percent of all women that gave birth in the United States 10 years ago breastfed for the entire first year. And although goals are set to get that percentage to 25 percent by 2010 in the United States, it is still only a small percentage. With even 25 percent of mothers breastfeeding by 2010, that still leaves 75 percent of babies being fed formula, and this means a pretty big impact on the planet.

Bottle feeding pollutes our air, water and land, wastes resources, and creates disposal problems. When a baby is bottle-fed, their tiny feet leave a huge carbon footprint.

In their first year, a baby on formula consumes an estimated average of 14,500 ounces of formula. That divides out to more than 60 canisters that are thrown away in a year by a single baby (well, by mom and dad, at least). Those canisters are made of packaging that includes tin, paper, and plastic, all materials that are resource-intensive in their production.

Then we get to the feeding bottles and nipples, which are made of plastics, glass, rubber and silicone. In the U.S., most formula-fed babies have at least six bottles each, meaning that in the U.S. alone, there are more than 20 million plastic feeding bottles sold each year. Bottles and teats must be sterilized before every use.

This uses water and energy, and while those seem to be readily available, we all know that’s not necessarily the case here in the arid West. And unfortunately, when baby finally makes the big move to grown-up food, many of those bottles are not recycled, so they either end up in landfills or incinerators, where they create more pollution.

Baby formulas are the end product of some pretty destructive industrial processes which require a tremendous use of energy and natural resources, and that’s before you consider the energy that goes into packaging and transportation. Most baby formula, before it reaches those adorable little mouths, travels thousands of miles.

It’s always fascinating to me that some of the best things we can do to help the planet are often the simplest, and that it often takes us an inordinately long time to realize what’s been under our noses (or in this case, under a stylish maternity blouse) all along.

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural processes in the world. It produces no waste, and it produces exactly what a new baby needs. Mothers need only a small amount of energy to provide milk for their babies, and this often comes from extra body fat. Breastmilk requires no extra packaging, comes out at exactly the right temperature, doesn’t need to be shipped around the world (yet, conveniently enough, mothers have a ready supply wherever they are), and provides a boost to a baby’s immune system.

It’s almost as if nature planned this whole thing out!

Eartha Steward is written by Carly Wier, Jennifer Kirkpatrick and Heather Dodd Christie, consultants on all things eco and chic at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation in our mountain community. Eartha believes that you can walk gently on our planet, even if you’re wearing stylie shoes.

Submit questions to Eartha at eartha@highcountryconservation.org or to High Country Conservation Center, PO Box 4506, Frisco, CO 80443.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Too Funny

This trend is pretty silly (kids songs sung by rock bands set to rock music) when you think about it. It really is more for the parents - pretty selfish of us:) Anyway, hope you have a laugh like I did.

Kids Songs Sung By Rock Stars - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Why Nicky is Still Rear-Facing

Nicky is still rear-facing in his car seat. The video below should explain why - it is just so much safer! I had no idea until I saw this video. A fellow mom shared it with me and I really appreciated it. Most carseats say you can turn the kiddo forward facing at 1 year if the baby is 20 or 22 pounds. However, carseats function so much better rear-facing, and the same carseats can be used rear-facing until 30 or 35 pounds (check the manual). Hope this helps someone else like it did for me.

and a similar video:

Hospitals do poorly on breast-feeding support

Regarding the article below: this is why we roomed-in with Nicky in the hospital when he was born - to get the most natural and complete start to our breastfeeding relationship. Those first few days of breastfeeding are so important, and we wanted to avoid the occasional ignorant nurse who would disregard our request that he have no bottles of formula, sugar water, or water or pacifiers like this article talks about. I understand that labor is hard work and no judgment here, but it really suprises me that other mothers don't choose to room-in. I mean, I just wanted to get to know my baby and all his needs and get into some sort of rhythm together before we went home. Sorry, but no way in hell I am relying on the nurses that I've never met before to take care of him when that's what I'd been waiting to do for 9 whole months:)! Dude, I'd rather go home from the hospital tired and let my family or someone else I know watch the baby while I napped. And rooming in helped my milk come in way quicker - it was in before we left the hospital after a 2 day stay.

Oh and here's an idea post-partum unit nurses: if the baby is crying, bring the baby to its mother instead of automatically sticking a bottle in its mouth!!!!

Hospitals do poorly on breast-feeding support
1 in 4 medical centers gave supplements to healthy newborns, study reports
The Associated Press
updated 2:47 p.m. CT, Thurs., June. 12, 2008

ATLANTA - Most U.S. hospitals don't do very well when it comes to promoting breast-feeding, according to the first national report to look at the issue. The average hospital scored 63 out of 100, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

The researchers did not attach letter grades to the scores, but the results were clearly disappointing, said Deborah Dee, a CDC epidemiologist who co-authored the report.

"There is a lot of room for improvement," said Dee.

States in New England and on the West Coast scored highest, and the South did the worst. Vermont and New Hampshire topped the list, tied with a score of 81. Arkansas had the poorest score, 48.

But practices unfriendly to breast-feeding were common throughout the country, the survey found.

About a quarter of hospitals reported giving formula or some other supplement to more than half of their healthy, full-term newborns. The practice was common even when mothers were able and willing to breast-feed, Dee said.

Of hospitals who gave supplements, 30 percent gave sugar water and 15 percent gave water.

Experts say there are no good nutritional reasons to use those, but it is commonly done to quiet crying babies separated from their mother. Sometimes it's done to test a baby's ability to feed — even though such a test is usually not necessary, Dee said.

Breast-feeding is considered beneficial to both mothers and their babies. Breast milk contains antibodies that can protect newborns from infections, and studies have found breast-fed babies are less likely to become overweight that those fed with formula.

But breast-feeding can be frustrating for new mothers because of nipple pain or the misperception that they're not producing enough milk. It's crucial that moms get proper breast-feeding advice and encouragement those first few days after birth, said Dr. Sheela Geraghty, a lactation expert at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

"It's wonderful that hospitals and birth centers are being examined because if moms aren't helped right there, where are they going to be helped?" Geraghty said.

The research was based on questionnaires filled out last year by about 2,700 U.S. maternity hospitals and birth centers. Hospitals were scored on supportive efforts, like offering breast-feeding tips and keeping the mother and the infant together. They also were evaluated on practices detrimental to breast-feeding, including supplemental feedings or including infant formula samples in gift packs for mothers.

Hospitals may regard the gift packs as benign, but the practice interferes with breast-feeding, said Laurence Grummer-Strawn, chief of the CDC's nutrition branch.
"They don't understand they're implicitly endorsing a product and they're giving an easy out for when parents are tired" to use the formula, he said.

The highest score for a hospital or birth center was 98; the lowest was 12. The CDC did not release individual scores.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25124745/

Thursday, May 08, 2008

More Research on Breastfeeding and IQ

Update: I found a much better article on the same study. Check it out. I have a copy of the actual research article, so email if you'd like it.

Breast-Fed Children Smarter, Study Finds

By Will Dunham, Reuters
Posted: 2008-05-06 15:31:46
Filed Under: Health News, Science News

- A new study provides some of the best evidence to date that breast-feeding can make children smarter, an international team of researchers said on Monday. Children whose mothers breast-fed them longer and did not mix in baby formula scored higher on intelligence tests, the researchers in Canada and Belarus reported. About half the 14,000 babies were randomly assigned to a group in which prolonged and exclusive breast-feeding by the mother was encouraged at Belarussian hospitals and clinics. The mothers of the other babies received no special encouragement.

Those in the breast-feeding encouragement group were, on average, breast-fed longer than the others and were less likely to have been given formula in a bottle.

At 3 months, 73 percent of the babies in the breast-feeding encouragement group were breast-fed, compared to 60 percent of the other group. At 6 months, it was 50 percent versus 36 percent.

In addition, the group given encouragement was far more likely to give their children only breast milk. The rate was seven times higher, for example, at 3 months.

The children were monitored for about 6 1/2 years.

The children in the group where breast-feeding was encouraged scored about 5 percent higher in IQ tests and did better academically, the researchers found.

Previous studies had indicated brain development and intelligence benefits for breast-fed children.

But researchers have sought to determine whether it was the breast-feeding that did it, or that mothers who prefer to breast-feed their babies may differ from those who do not.

The design of the study -- randomly assigning babies to two groups regardless of the mothers' characteristics -- was intended to eliminate the confusion.


"Mothers who breast-feed or those who breast-feed longer or most exclusively are different from the mothers who don't," Dr. Michael Kramer of McGill University in Montreal and the Montreal Children's Hospital said in a telephone interview.

"They tend to be smarter. They tend to be more invested in their babies. They tend to interact with them more closely. They may be the kind of mothers who read to their kids more, who spend more time with their kids, who play with them more," added Kramer, who led the study published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry.

The researchers measured the differences between the two groups using IQ tests administered by the children's pediatricians and by ratings by their teachers of their school performance in reading, writing, math and other subjects.

Both sets of scores were significantly higher in the children from the breast-feeding promotion group.

The study was launched in the mid-1990s. Kramer said the initial idea was to do it in the United States and Canada, but many hospitals in those countries by that time had begun strongly encouraging breast-feeding as a matter of routine.

The situation was different in Belarus at the time, he said, with less routine encouragement for the practice.

Kramer said how breast-feeding may make children more intelligent is unclear.

"It could even be that because breast-feeding takes longer, the mother is interacting more with the baby, talking with the baby, soothing the baby," he said. "It could be an emotional thing. It could be a physical thing. Or it could be a hormone or something else in the milk that's absorbed by the baby."

Previous studies have shown babies whose mothers breast-fed them enjoy many health advantages over formula-fed babies.

These include fewer ear, stomach or intestinal infections, digestive problems, skin diseases and allergies, and less risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that women who do not have health problems exclusively breast-feed their infants for at least the first six months, with it continuing at least through the first year as other foods are introduced.


Thanks, Heather, for sharing this with me!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Stay Strong New Parents:)

All these new babies have got me smiling when their parents talk about how the kiddo isn't sleeping at night or is nursing all the time. Smile, sigh. Completely normal, I tell them. Thought this article was a good one for new parents. Enjoy.

Night Waking: or, Will I Ever Get A Good Night’s Sleep Again?
-Anne Smith, BA, IBCLC

The answer is “no”. Once you become a mother, you will never, ever sleep the way you did before you had your baby. Even when he starts sleeping through the night, which will happen eventually (I promise), you will always have your mom radar on and will be listening for a cry in the night. Even if he is a teenager out on a date, you will lie in bed waiting for his car to pull in the driveway before you can fall asleep. When he is middle aged and balding, you will still worry about whether he is taking care of himself the way he should. The question “When will my baby start sleeping through the night?’ is one that I dread the most. Like most health professionals, I like questions that have easy answers, and this one doesn’t. I do have opinions about how to handle sleep problems, based on my experience with nursing six children, and over twenty years of working with new mothers. What I don’t have is a quick fix, or a magic solution for you that will make your baby sleep through the night.

‘Experts’ can’t even agree on what sleeping through the night means. Some define a five- hour stretch as sleeping all night, others define it as an eight to twelve hour stretch. Sleep problems are a hot topic. There are dozens of books and hundreds of magazine articles on how to get your baby to sleep longer. In our culture, a ‘good’ baby is defined as one who sleeps a lot and demands as little attention as possible. If you define sleep problems the way many experts do, then almost all babies have some sort of sleep problem.

So what is a ‘normal’ sleep pattern for a nursing infant? Anthropologists have found that in cultures where breastfeeding is common, babies nurse frequently during the night and sleep close to their mothers. The low fat and protein content of human milk, and the small size of a newborn’s stomach (see diagram) indicate that human babies were meant to feed frequently during the day and the night. Mammals who live in burrows such as rabbits and foxes) and leave their babies for long periods of time to forage for food have milk that is higher in fat and protein so that their babies will stay full for longer periods of time while they are separated from their mother. Formula is harder for babies to digest, so it stays in their stomachs longer and they don’t need to eat as often as breastfed babies. Because it is harder to digest, it also causes more digestive problems such as gassiness and constipation.

The human infant is the least neurologically mature primate at birth, and develops the most slowly. It is born with only 25% of its brain volume. Anthropologists feel that frequent feedings and close proximity to the mother, with her sounds, smells, movement, and body heat are important to the immature infant’s development. Having babies sleep away from their mother for long periods of time (the norm in this country) is a relatively recent cultural development, and the biological and psychological consequences have never really been evaluated. It may be that what we define as normal is not really normal at all.

When we look at infant’s sleep patterns, we find that babies are not miniature adults, and they sleep differently from adults. There are two main stages of sleep: active, or light sleep (also called REM, rapid eye movement), and quiet, or deep sleep. REM sleep begins in the womb. During REM sleep, blood flow to the brain is higher, dreaming occurs, and brain development is stimulated. The younger the human being, the greater the percentage of time is spent in REM sleep. A fetus has nearly 100% REM sleep, a full-term newborn about 50%, a two- year old 25%, adolescents and adults 20%, and the elderly 15%. The periods of REM sleep are greatest during the time when humans are sleeping the most and their brain is developing rapidly.

Babies need more REM, or active sleep than adults. For the first three months, babies spend 45-50% of their sleep time in REM sleep, 10-15% in transitional sleep, and 35-45% in quiet or deep sleep. This high percentage of active sleep in infancy will gradually decrease to adult levels by the time the baby is two or three years old.

Babies have shorter sleep cycles than adults. A sleep cycle is the total time spent going through both active and quiet stages of sleep Adult’s sleep cycles last about ninety minutes, and periods of active sleep occur about four times a night. Babies sleep cycles are half as long as adult’s, and they have twice as many periods of active, or light sleep. When a baby is moving from a quiet into an active state of sleep, he is most easily aroused.

The way a baby falls asleep is also different from an adult. Adults usually go quickly from being awake to being deeply asleep, without going through a period of active sleep first. Babies usually go through an initial period of light sleep for about 20 minutes, then enter a period of transitional sleep, and finally fall into a deep sleep. If a baby is disturbed by a noise or touch during the initial period of REM sleep, or during the transitional stage, he will reawaken easily because he hasn’t had time to enter deep sleep yet. That explains why some babies appear to be asleep, but wake up as soon as you lay them down in their crib, and also explains the baby who cat naps for fifteen minutes, then wakes up as soon as you try to move him.

A baby has no concept of day and night. Adults have been conditioned to stay awake during the day and sleep at night. The typical sleep pattern for infants is to sleep during the day and be awake more at night. For the first few months, most babies will sleep 14-18 hours each day without regard to the difference between day and night. His sleep patterns are similar to his nursing patterns :small frequent feedings and short frequent naps. Most newborns seldom sleep more than three or four hours at a time without waking up for a feeding. In rare cases a baby may sleep through the night (defined as a five hour stretch or longer) by ten days, but most babies don’t do this until three months or later. Waking up once, twice, or three times during the night is not uncommon. Between one third and one quarter of all babies will continue to wake up during the night even after they are a year old. If you are one of the few mothers who has baby who sleeps through the night early, count yourself lucky, but don’t think that it’s because of anything you did or didn’t do right. Don’t brag about it too much, or two things will happen: your friends with babies who don’t sleep through the night will hate you, and your next baby will probably not sleep at all just to even things out.

Babies often have their days and nights mixed up, but they soon learn that mom is in a much better mood, and life is more interesting during the day than in the middle of the night. Often older babies who had been sleeping long stretches at night will start waking more frequently when they begin teething, and also when they begin to deal with separation anxiety and need to be reassured that their mom is still there.

OK. Now you know some of the reasons why babies nurse so often during the night. But what do you do if your baby is keeping you up all night and you are suffering from sleep deprivation and ready to strangle someone? Let’s discuss some coping mechanisms.

First, I suggest co-sleeping. This doesn’t have to mean that your baby is in the bed with you all the time. It just means keeping him close by during the months when he needs night- time parenting. He may sleep in a cradle next to your bed, in a crib in your bedroom, on a pallet on the floor, or tucked in next to you in your bed. He may spend part of the night in bed with you, and part in his own bed.

Co-sleeping offers many advantages. Babies tend to sleep better tucked in close to you. Breastmilk contains a sleep-inducing protein, and when you nurse, prolactin enters your bloodstream and has a tranquilizing effect on you as well. When your baby is in another room, he has to become fully awake in order to fuss or cry loudly enough to get your attention. By the time you get up and go to him, you are grumpy and groggy after being awakened from a deep sleep, and it will take longer for both of you to get back to sleep. If he is in the room with you, you can nurse him as soon as he begins to make the transition from deep sleep to active sleep, and neither of you has to wake up completely. How you feel in the morning depends more on how you are awakened more than how many times you are awakened. I remember nights when I couldn’t have told you how many times the baby nursed, because I never woke up enough to count.

Another advantage is that babies tend to grow better if they are nursed throughout the night. Some researchers think that the skin- to-skin contact involved in shared sleeping may stimulate the production of more growth hormone in the milk. This has been found to be the case in animal studies, and possibly in humans as well. We do know that the mother’s prolactin levels are higher during the night, so more milk is produced when the baby suckles. We also know that growth hormones are secreted more during the night in babies. If babies are meant to grow during the night, it makes sense that they are also meant to eat at night.

One reason many mothers are hesitant to tuck their babies in bed with them is that they are afraid they will roll over on them. Mothers have been sleeping with their infants for millions of years without squashing their babies. When you hear a news account of this happening, it almost always involves a parent who is drinking or taking drugs.

There is some very interesting research about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), breastfeeding, and co-sleeping. This tragedy strikes approximately two of every thousand babies, who die in their sleep with no apparent cause. Most SIDS deaths occur between 2 and 6 months of age, with the peak occurring at around 10 weeks. Numerous studies have shown that not breastfeeding is a risk factor for SIDS. We also know that babies should sleep on their back or side, rather than on their stomach, to reduce the risk of SIDS. Co-sleeping may reduce the risk of SIDS because some babies don’t wake up when they have periods of apnea (not breathing) especially during periods of deep sleep. The peak age for SIDS is around the time that babies often start spending a larger period of their time in deep sleep. Babies who sleep with their mothers spend more time in REM sleep and are aroused more often by her natural breathing and movements. Since SIDS is related to a diminished arousal response in some babies, sharing sleep and night nursing may help reduce the risk. While more research is needed, it is clear that breastfeeding your baby reduces the risk of SIDS, even if we aren’t exactly sure of all the reasons why. Make sure that when you are done nursing, you lay the baby on his back or side, and not his tummy. It is also important not to lay him down and leave him on a soft surface, such as a beanbag chair or a waterbed. Sleeping face down on soft surfaces like these has been linked to a higher incidence of SIDS. By the time most babies have learned to roll over on their own, they are usually past the peak age for SIDS.

A note about co-sleeping: Dr. Sears says that although babies should not sleep on their stomachs, an exception can be made for the baby sleeping on mom or dad's chest.

During the early months, many babies enjoy nestling to sleep on their tummies. This is perfectly safe unless you are under the influence of alcohol or medications, are extremely obese, or are a very heavy sleeper.

When you are ready to lay the baby down, be sure to put him on his back.

Another reason many mothers are hesitant to sleep with their babies is that their doctors advise them not to. While I have the utmost respect for the medical profession, many mothers are not aware that doctors are trained in diagnosing and treating illnesses, not in parenting styles. Decisions about where your baby sleeps and when to wean him are not questions that involve medical expertise. These are areas where following your own instincts is more important than taking advice from someone who has no biological attachment to your baby, and doesn’t know him nearly as well as you do.

Some couples are afraid that having a baby share their bed will ruin their sex life. Having a baby, period, has all kinds of effects on your energy level as well as your libido, regardless of where he sleeps or how he is fed. Parents become very creative as they find ways to make love in other rooms, or move the sleeping baby into another room temporarily. It is always a challenge to find private time as a couple once you have children, but it is possible to make it work.

In my own experience with nursing six very different children, I have found a wide range of sleep patterns. The first three all slept through the night and moved into their own rooms early, and took long naps at predictable intervals each day. They also all had security blankets and sucked their thumbs, so they were ‘self-soothers’. I made the mistake of thinking that all my babies would be great sleepers. Wrong. The next three required very little sleep, nursed during the night till they were several years old, and took little 15 minute naps on the way to the grocery store and were still wide awake eight hours later. All my babies were breastfed on demand and started out sleeping in bed with me, but had very different sleep patterns. I have to believe it’s biologically pre-ordained. I’ve never understood why we expect babies to follow a certain sleep pattern, but not adults. Everyone knows that some people require a lot of sleep and have to get their 8 hours or they can’t function, while others do fine with 5 hours. Some people are light sleepers, some deep. Some people sleep better curled up close to their partner, some like to have their own space and have trouble sleeping if anyone is touching them.

I was always one of he people who needed lots of sleep, and wanted my own space to sleep in. I learned when I had night waking babies that I could survive on less sleep than I ever thought possible. I also learned to share my bed with wiggly little bodies, and a cat or dog as well. The important thing I learned is that all my babies eventually moved on into their own beds. Now and then, one of my little ones will still crawl in bed with me in the wee hours to cuddle. I remember nights when I wondered if I would ever have the bed to myself again, and now I think back on that time nostalgically. Children really do grow up fast, and I’m glad that my babies had to opportunity to move into the separate bedroom stage at their own pace.

This is probably a good time to mention a popular parenting program distributed by Growing Families International (GFI) that contains a lot of misleading and inaccurate information about infant feeding and sleeping practices. Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo have written Preparation for Parenting, a religiously based infant management program distributed through churches and the mail, and On Becoming Babywise, the same program with the religious references removed, and distributed through the mail and in general bookstores. These books have reached the parents of over half a million babies. Over 3,500 churches in North America use the Ezzo’s curriculum, as well as churches in 35 other countries. Neither of the Ezzos are child development experts, pediatricians, or Lactation Consultants, but their books offer a ton of advice related to infant feeding and sleeping practices which is not only inaccurate, but can lead to serious medical problems. For example, they question the practice of putting babies to sleep on their backs as a deterrent to SIDS, and imply that babies might be better off sleeping on their stomachs. This clearly contradicts the AAP and other researcher’s findings. The Ezzos advocate rigid parent directed feeding schedules for nursing babies, rather than feeding on demand. Health professionals across the country are very concerned about the number of babies who are becoming dehydrated, are growing and developing too slowly, or are “failing to thrive” while their mothers are following this program. The Ezzos also recommend letting babies ‘cry it out’, using the analogy that because Jesus' Father didn’t answer his cries while he was on the cross, we as parents should follow His example and let our babies cries go unanswered.

Regardless of what your religious beliefs are, I feel that the Ezzos philosophy of childrearing is not only scientifically inaccurate, but actually harmful to baby’s physical and psychological well-being. Unfortunately, parents are so desperate to have a “good” baby who sleeps for long periods of time that they want to believe that the Ezzo’s practices work, and that following their advice will help them gain control over their baby’s “sleep problems”.

The Ezzos are not the only ‘experts’ out there writing books that tell us how to get our babies to sleep. The advice they offer falls in two general categories: the hard line approach, involving letting the baby cry himself to sleep, restrictions on night feedings after a certain age, and prohibiting the baby from falling asleep at the breast or in his mother’s arms; and the more nurturing approach which involves getting to know your baby’s individual sleep patterns, and gently helping him get to sleep until he matures enough to fall asleep on his own. I’m sure you can tell that I believe in the more gentle, baby- centered approach. I have never believed in letting babies cry it out. A little fussing or whimpering is one thing, but frantic, hysterical screaming is another. I have never understood why babies are expected to understand that when they cry at two in the afternoon, mom rushes over to comfort them, but when they cry at two in the morning, their cries go unanswered. I do believe that if you let a baby cry long enough, he will eventually wear himself out and go to sleep. I wonder what lesson this is teaching the baby about trust. Trust in the people who love and care for him is the infant’s first lesson in life. There is plenty of time for him to become independent after trust is established.

The majority of books on babies sleep patterns take the hard line approach. These books are everywhere and easy to find. If you are interested in finding out more about the more gentle approach, try a book called Nighttime Parenting by Dr. William Sears. He is a well-known pediatrician who is married to a lactation consultant, and has eight children of his own. He has written many books about attachment parenting, including The Fussy Baby. His approach just might be right for you and your family – check it out.

Here are some suggestions on how to encourage your baby to sleep and stay asleep (and to help you cope if he doesn’t):-Try to nap when your baby naps. Avoid the temptation to unload the dishwasher or fold a load of laundry while he naps. Those chores can be done later, and maybe you can even get someone to do them for you. Learning to nap during the day can be an important survival technique to help you make it through the newborn period.

-Create bedtime routines and parenting-to-sleep routines. Since few babies are able to fall asleep by themselves during the early weeks because they have to go through a period of active sleep first, it helps to gently help him settle down by nursing, rocking, taking a warm bath, or lying down together.

-Find a sleeping arrangement that works for you, preferably one that keeps baby close by. You may keep him in your bed, in a cradle next to your bed, or in a sidecar attached to your bed. If he is in another room, make sure you have a baby monitor so you can respond to his hunger cues quickly

-Have everything you need right by your bed – extra pillows, book to read, remote control, diapers, wipes, towel or cloth diaper to absorb leaks, nursing pads, pacifier, change of clothes, extra crib sheets, etc. You want to make sure you don’t have to get up and stumble around looking for stuff while you are half asleep.

-When you feel that he is fully asleep and you put him down in his bed, sometimes he will wiggle and squirm, letting you know that he isn’t in a deep enough sleep to be left alone. Pat his back or bottom until he settles down, and remove your hand gradually until he settles into deep sleep.

-Play soothing music. I’m not a big classical music fan, but found that classical medleys put both my babies and me to sleep. There are special tapes on the market made just to help babies sleep.

-Create a quiet, dark, un-stimulating environment. Keep distractions and interactions to a minimum so that your baby won’t be tempted to stay awake and play.

-Read his cues and respond quickly. If you catch him while he is moving from deep sleep into light sleep, you can often gentle him back to sleep by patting or nursing before he wakes up completely.

-Be aware that some babies wake for night feedings because they don’t feel good. Urinary tract infections, earaches, stuffy noses, teething, and allergies can all affect babies sleep patterns.

-Don’t buy into what Dr. Sears calls the “Fill’-Em-Up Fallacy”. Many mothers believe that if they stuff their baby full of cereal or milk at bedtime, he will sleep through the night. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. If that’s all it took, then we’d all do it and there wouldn’t be all these books about how to get your baby to sleep. Feeding solids before a baby is ready (and most breastfed babies aren’t until six months or later) can cause digestive problems and allergic reactions. Study after study has shown that feeding solids at bedtime does not make babies sleep longer. They wake up because their sleep cycles are different from adults, not just because they are hungry. That’s one reason they usually don’t nurse for as long during the night as they do during the day – they’re nursing more to put themselves back into a deep sleep than they are because their tummy is empty. This is especially true of older babies.

Above all, be patient and try to keep your perspective. All babies eventually learn to sleep through the night, and become more independent during the day as well. Before you know it, the baby you thought would never move out of your bed will pretend he doesn’t know you when he is in front of his teenaged friends. Enjoy the fact that you are so important to him now, and take pride in his independence, because your loving care and attention to his needs has made it possible.

Sources include:

James McKenna, PhD; Professor of Anthropology, Pomona College, Claremont Ca. Breastfeeding Abstracts

William Sears and Martha Sears RN, IBCLC; authors of Nighttime Parenting