Breastfeeding for Six Months Can Significantly Cut Risk of Cancer Death

new 167

Breastfeeding for Six Months Can Significantly Cut Risk of Cancer Death—As Can Less Alcohol and Staying in Shape, Study Finds
By Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff

PostsBy Beth Greenfield, Shine Staff | Healthy Living

Breastfeeding is good for you, study says.

Women still confused by the breast milk vs. formula debate may want to listen up, as a new study has found exclusively breastfeeding your baby for at least six months could cut your chances of dying from cancer and all other diseases by 17 percent—and death by heart disease alone by 8 percent.

The mass study, published online Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined breastfeeding and other lifestyle recommendations from the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and its umbrella World Cancer Research Fund International and their effects on nearly 380,000 people in several European countries over 13 years.

It found that both women and men could cut their risk of death on average by a third, simply by adhering to one or several healthy lifestyle choices: keeping lean but not underweight, eating a plant-based diet, being active for at least 30 minutes daily, avoiding sugary drinks and highly caloric foods, lowering meat intake, and limiting alcohol intake.

But findings on the additional breastfeeding recommendation for women represented perhaps the freshest recommendation in the mix.

“No previous study has investigated the association between breastfeeding and mortality in the mother,” lead researcher Anne-Claire Vergnaud told Yahoo! Shine. Dr. Vergnaud, of London’s Imperial College faculty of medicine, added that a previous study found “failure to breastfeed” related to an increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes and other conditions.

There are several connections between breastfeeding and longevity, AICR Director of Research Susan Higginbotham explained to Yahoo! Shine. “Longer breastfeeding means fewer menstrual cycles and reduced lifetime exposure to the hormonal factors, especially estrogen, that influence breast cancer risk,” she said. “Physical changes in breast tissue that accompany milk production provide some protection as well.” She added, that the shedding of breast tissue during lactation and the cell death after also decrease cancer risk, “because cells have potential DNA damage get shed before they can spark the cancer process.”

There are even benefits for the baby, Dr. Higginbotham said, as breastfeeding decreases the likelihood that a child will be overweight during early adulthood, and being obese or overweight are major risk factors for seven different kinds of cancer.

Currently, only 16 percent of women in the U.S. exclusively breastfeed their babies for six months, according to the CDC. That percentage jumps to 36 for those exclusively breastfeeding for three months, and 47 for those who breastfeed for six months but combine it with using other nutrition sources.

For the study, researchers examined the data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC), one of the world’s largest ongoing studies of diet, lifestyle and cancer. At the end of the study, nearly 24,000 participants had died of various causes. Participants in the highest healthy-lifestyle score category (5-6 points for men, 6-7 points for women) had a 34 percent lower chance of death than those in the lowest category (0-2 points for men, 0-3 points for women).

But even adhering to just one of the lifestyle recommendations—developed by AICR and WCRF in 2007—can save your life, according to the report. Maintaining a healthy BMI, for example, can lower your risk of disease-caused mortality by 22 percent, while eating a plant-based diet can lower it by 21 percent.

“We’ve known for years that following AICR’s lifestyle advice could cut the worldwide incidence of cancer cases by about one-third,” Dr. Higginbotham said of the study results. “Today we have evidence on mortality, which shows that this same practical advice could also save millions of lives from cancer and other chronic diseases around the world.”

Cinderella is Eating my Daughter and So is the Media

So recently my three year old has decided that being a princess is the way to go. She has princess pants, princess dresses, princess skirts, and best of all, a princess dance. (None of these clothes actually have princesses on them. It’s just a matter of what she feels like wearing that day that makes it princess or not.)

It is fitting that I’m sitting by and watching the transformation of my regular old daughter into mini royalty as I am currently reading a book called “Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture” by Peggy Orenstein.

I’m only shortly into the book but I’ve already read some fascinating information. Here are two studies by researchers that really caught my attention.

The First Study

Researchers took two groups of middle school age girls and showed them a series of commercials and then had them fill out a survey asking them what they wanted to be when they grow up.

One of the groups watched commercials of neutral things like phones and pens.

The second group of students watched the same commercials but this time they added two commercials that showed women in traditional gender roles. The commercials were for things like acne medicine or brownies with images of women smiling over the stove.

After the kids watched the commercials they had them fill out a questionnaire asking them about what careers they might be interested in.

The girls that watched the commercials that had the women doing things like fretting about their skin or cooking brownies showed less interest in science and math based careers.

Think about this outcome. What does t.v. and the media do to our children and specifically to our little girls and women of the future?

The Second Study

Researchers took two groups of college students and had them try on either a sweater or a bathing suit before taking a math test. These were all students that were good at math. They then looked at the scores to see if there were any differences that would not be due to chance.

This is what they found.

The young women who took the math test after trying on the bathing suit did worse than the group of women who tried on the sweater before taking the math test.

The boys did the same on the test regardless of whether they tried on a bathing suit or a sweater.

Body image. Self esteem. How we feel about ourselves.

It can affect how one performs on a math test.

If you’re a girl.

Eradicating Polio in South Sudan

My mother was around 11 years old when she got sick with what they thought was the flu or some similar illness. During the course of the illness, she got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and fell to the floor. She would never walk again without the aid of a crutch and a brace. She was separated from her family for months while she was treated for polio during the epidemic that swept the country. Today, she has some signs of post-polio syndrome. Daily chores are made more difficult; walking is not easy. She’s an amazing woman and has taken on this disability with pride and dignity. As I think about my own child, I would be devestated to watch her go through the same experience. I would not wish such a disease on any child, in any country, especially when we have the medical knowledge to take action.

Save the Children http://www.savethechildren.org is an organization dedicated to bettering the lives of children around the globe. This is one of their actions.

—-Christina

South Sudan: The Long Trek to Eradicate Polio

http://www.savethechildren.ca/everyone/blog/#womensday

Volunteers across South Sudan are battling to eradicate polio among children under five in South Sudan, through a five-day “house to house” campaign. The campaign is organized by the South Sudan health ministry, and Save the Children is supporting it by lending vehicles and in Mvolo county. The effort is to catch the children who have not been vaccinated at a health centre or through an outreach program.

Delivering polio vaccinations

To ensure that children get the two drops each of the polio vaccine, vaccinators must walk for long distances, where they find families eagerly waiting for them. Villages are far apart and roads are very poor, so vaccinators have to trek long distances between each village on foot or by bicycle. In Mvolo, Western Equatoria state, the mobile immunization team shared their experience with me, of conducting house-to-house immunization in the county.

Immunization and access

“It is difficult for us to achieve full immunization here in Mvolo County, because there is a big population that stays deep in the rural areas. They’re not easily accessible. In Lessi Payam, five of the villages are not reachable and this is a big challenge for us,” said County Health Officer William Dalli.

“I have no bicycle to move around when I am carrying out the immunization, so I move on foot. It is very far because the families live far apart and I have to go to each family,” Asumpta Achol shares.

Those who have bicycles face challenges too: “I use my own bicycle, but when it breaks down, it becomes difficult for me to move. Even with the bicycle I get tired when I ride for the whole day,” says Manase Dogbanda.

Final push to eliminate crippling disease

Save the Children conducts vaccination against polio, measles and tetanus on a regular basis both at health facilities and in outreach programs. We also provide support to the annual nationwide immunization campaign, alongside World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. South Sudan is one of few remaining countries that still has a serious polio problem and the disease has crippled many children.

Dr. Hartung takes Higher Risk Pregnancies to Woodwinds Hospital

Dear Birthing Community of the Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan Area and Chicago and wherever Women have traveled from to give birth with Dr. Dennis Hartung at Hudson Hospital of Hudson, WI.

Several of you have asked me to let you know what Denny has to say about this. He’s emailed Emme and she’s shared that message. Today Denny and I were able to talk on the phone and he’s asked me to share these primary points:

There were no bad outcomes.

There has been no sanction of practice.

Hudson Hospital participated in a policy review on nursing care and some physician practice policies. The good birth outcomes supported by Dr. Denny, his nurses and colleagues were not included in the decision made following a recommendation Hudson Hospital instituting strict policies. Water births for instance will have many more restrictions. VBAC women will have continuous monitoring with OR staff in house.

 

Newborns will be given all tests and procedures.

The reason breech vaginal birth is suspended is because not all the physicians in Denny’s group agree to his attending VBB. The review board recommended to stop breech birthing until all the physicians agree to reinstitute VBB. The strategic public letter sent out by Hudson on the 7th of

March also mentions refusal of homebirth transports.

Denny informs them that refusing a patient at the door is illegal. But even if a homebirth family comes in, I noted, and as the letter describes, the new Hudson policy is to refuse patient informed consent and informed refusal. The letter implied physicians want to do everything they can for the mother and babies, regardless of family choice, this is implied in the letter.

Denny is concerned about patients’ rights to choose between interventions and procedures that have conflicting data and, thus, no assured result. So that if a woman declines an antibiotic for GBS or a cesarean for breech she should have that right since the data isn’t weighed in the favor of the intervention.

He’s not sure the administration understands the implications of instituting strict and restrictive policies at Hudson. 1/2 of Denny’s patients come from the Twin Cities. The other OBs, John Sousa and Alissa Lynch (sp) receive an overflow of his patients, and the Pediatricians receive a higher income simply because some of the group income is shared among them. Everyone there has benefited from the family-friendly care that has been given at Hudson Hospital. Dr. Hartung’s presence has benefited Hudson Hospital greatly.

Denny will hope to care for women having Breech, VBAC and/or Twins at Woodwinds now. (If I may, this seems to be an inconvenience for him, but a benefit for us in the Twin Cities!)

Denny also asked, with deep sincerity, please don’t make your social network initiative about him, he said this is about women’s right to informed care and how policies not based on evidence based care or the parent’s choices disrespect women and families. 

Robbi Hegelberg asked in the letter to area homebirth midwives and birth centers for questions to be directed to her at 715-531-6012. I suppose they will also see it after they project their 2013 income and then find that without Denny’s right to practice evidence based care that their patient numbers will drop dramatically. (That’s a little personal note!)

Dennis Hartung will continue to work at Hudson Hospital while increasing his presence at Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury to meet the needs of his patients living in the Twin Cities area.

 

Dr. Hartung welcomes families to his care in Woodwinds, and Jeanette Schwartz, Lead Nurse at Woodwinds is happy to welcome him to come there more frequently. Laura France is the Director of Obstetrics. At Woodwinds, each Doctor makes their own practice decisions, as he understands it at this time. FYI, Denny doesn’t practice  at Regions or Joe’s.

Please don’t say things that might give Hudson any reason to sanction Denny Hartung for libel. (I know you won’t.) That’s important because it could very well come back on him, and this insight is not coming from me. I know you will be fair without name calling or blaming. Robbi and the other board members need to hear why we won’t be referring hospital birthing parents to Hudson any longer, that refusing informed consent and informed refusal is in violation of a woman’s right as a patient and as a human being, and I could go on, but I’m staying diplomatic here. Volumes of mail, calls, emails, and social network posts will make a difference. For those of you inclined, please say prayers, send victorious thoughts and/or light candles for Dennis Hartung. Denny very much appreciates this support from the community and in return he, too, is devoted to all of us, serving the birthing community with all his heart.

Kandace in Lakeville

Breastfeeding in the ICU: Medically Unavailable Mother

NICU-Mom-bfing-150x150

http://theleakyboob.com/2012/04/breastfeeding-the-icu-support-and-facebook-support-that-keeps-on-giving/

When Serena Tremblay responded to a call to share breastfeeding photos on The Leaky Boob Facebook wall, she didn’t think she was sharing anything extraordinary as she sat at the computer with both her sons, Gooney Bear-17 months  and Gorgeous-3 years, with her and her husband making dinner.  It was the first breastfeeding photo she had of Gooney Bear and she just wanted to share.  Including a bit of explanation, the Alberta, Canada mom celebrated her breastfeeding success with the community on The Leaky Boob:

“A nurse helping my 1 day old son nurse while I was in the ICU following his birth. At this point I was a quadriplegic and could only feel his soft hair and skin when he was placed by my neck to cuddle. Breastfeeding is the reason he was allowed to stay with me in the hospital for 5 months while I lived on the physical rehabilitation unit learning how to walk again (complications from when he was born). It’s amazing how much baby stuff you can fit in a hospital room. We are still breastfeeding strong at 16 months! If this is not a success story I don’t know what is :D

Within minutes there were hundreds of responses and within hours, thousands of shares.  The photo went viral, moving across the internet as an inspirational image and celebrating not just one woman’s breastfeeding success story against all odds, but celebrating every breastfeeding success story for all women.

Even if that photo captured Gooney Bear’s one and only feeding at the breast, this is a breastfeeding success story.  As it is, however, Gooney Bear is now 17 months old and still breastfeeding and these weren’t the only issues Serena and Gooney Bear had to overcome.  Together the pair battled tongue tie for 9 weeks, needing to use a nipple shield, dairy, soy, and gluten sensitivities, and all that on top of the 5 months Serena was hospitalized.

The magnitude of attention sharing this one photo received was a bit overwhelming for Serena.  To her, while this photo documents a personal success story and extraordinary time in her own life, it is also something that just is.  We don’t always realize how our stories, our struggles and triumphs, can impact someone else.  People were so inspired by Serena’s photo; moms told her they were getting ready to quit breastfeeding due to difficulties and her photo encouraged them to find a way to keep going.

“Someone else is in tears, not sure they can keep going, but they see my picture and they think they can do it, they can get through what they are struggling with.”  Said Serena when she and I talked on the phone last week.

The result of a rare birth injury, Serena was fully quadriplegic after the birth of her second son on October 19, 2010.  Her memory of everything following his birth is full of different events but lots of holes and no sequential order.  She was intubated, lucid, in the ICU, and could only feel sensation from her neck up.  The nurses and her husband would place Gooney Bear in the crook of her neck so he could snuggle and so she could feel him at least a little.

Nobody really knew what to expect for Serena’s recovery.  She regained the use of her arms on day 2 and finally saw Gorgeous again for the first time on the 24th, 5 days after the birth of his little brother.

“One of the hardest moments I’ve ever gone through, you know?  When he walked into the room, it felt like he was shy and didn’t know me anymore.  He was 22 months at that time.  After a little bit he came and sat on the bed with me and had a snuggle.  It was very hard.”  She shared.

There’s no doubt Serena Tremblay is an incredibly strong woman.  Fighting an uphill battle with her body, she never gave up.  But she says that’s not how she got through that difficult time.

So how did she get through it?  In talking with Serena one main theme emerged: support.  Her husband.  The nurses.  Her family.  The other patients on the rehabilitation floor when she moved there.  Family members of other patients.  The hospital volunteers.  The lactation consultant.  How did she get through it?  With support.  Lots and lots of support.

In the face of not knowing what was going to happen to his wife, Serena’s husband, a heavy duty mechanic, stayed with her and then with Gooney Bear.  When she was in the ICU, he slept in her bed on the maternity ward so he could be with their baby.  He advocated for breastfeeding for the pair and he and the nurses took turns helping their precious baby boy latch.  Without asking, he took pictures, a bunch of pictures and that’s how the first feed was captured on film, something for which Serena is very thankful.

Support.

The nurses on the maternity ward went above and beyond, the first nurse coming down to hand express Serena so her little boy could have his mom’s colostrum that first day.  There is much love and gratitude in Serena’s voice as she speaks of her nurses, they were heros that got her through every day.  From that time hand expressing her milk, the nurses just kept bringing the baby over on demand, whenever he was hungry, to the ICU to breastfeed until her husband or grandmother could help her or she could do it herself.

Support.

Never once did she hear anyone say “why don’t you just put him on the bottle.”  People said that, people that weren’t involved, but not the nursing staff.

Support.

It’s clear to Serena not only how she got through, but how she went on to have a positive and ongoing successful breastfeeding experience with Gooney Bear.  ”Support, support, support.  I’d like to narrow it down and say it was one person but it was everyone.  Why am I successful?  Probably only because of support and because I was determined, I just wanted to do it. Gooney Bear was able to stay with me in the hospital because I chose to breastfeed.  If we had given him bottles they would have sent him home with my husband.”

At a time when nurses, doctors, and hospitals often get a bad rap about providing insufficient breastfeeding support and sometimes down right sabotaging breastfeeding relationships, Serena’s story not only offers encouragement for moms encountering breastfeeding struggles or indeed as a testimony to the strength of the human spirit; her story also gives hope for what true breastfeeding support in the hospital can look like.  Serena’s hospital didn’t realize at the time, but they’ve gone on to provide breastfeeding support extending well beyond this one patient.

When her tube was removed and she was finally able to speak, Serena refused to say anything until she was holding Gooney Bear: she had yet to tell him she loved him.

“I wouldn’t speak to the nurses because I wanted my first words to be ‘I love you Gooney Bear.”

Through out her 5 month hospital stay, ICU for 4 days, maternity ward for 1 month, and the rehabilitation unit for 4 months; Serena was able to keep Gooney Bear with her, breastfeeding on demand and pumping for him to have expressed milk while she was at one of her regular therapy appointments.  Managing her way around the ward and even the whole hospital, Serena says how it’s amazing how much you can do in a wheelchair with a nursing pillow and a baby on your lap.  Often a breastfeeding baby.  During that time she dealt with many of the common issues breastfeeding moms face.  Once a nurse pulled a double shift and helped care for Gooney Bear during the night so she could work to get rid of a stubborn clogged duct before it turned into mastitis.  Even for the regular every day challenges of parenting life she had support, the nurses and other patients or family of patients would take turns holding Serena’s little guy so she could eat, after all, who would turn down cuddling a precious baby?

Today many of those relationships continue, their support and all that Serena and Gooney Bear gave back formed bonds of friendship that last.  Friends from the rehabilitation unit remain in their lives.  Serena and her family go back and visit the hospital staff regularly and they are all happy to see them, often crying at the progress Serena has made since she left the hospital over a year ago.  Her recovery has been remarkable and though it’s ongoing she’s accomplished so much and doesn’t take for granted what she can do.  Their family is like any other family, they like to do things every normal family likes to do, “we just have to do them a little differently” Serena shares.  Their friends understand, they were there, they have seen where they’ve come from, they supported them in the journey and in the ongoing part of that journey today.

One of the nurses that helped Serena so much is expecting her first baby soon.  Serena is looking forward to being able to support her now, encourage her in her own breastfeeding and parenting journey.  Understanding how crucial support is, Serena is already there.

“It was a horrible thing and I wish it hadn’t happen – but it did and so many good things came about from it… if my story can help one mom to get support, receive support, or give support then it was worth it.”  And so Serena shares her photo and her story.

Sometimes I am asked why people share breastfeeding photos on Facebook and other social media settings.  This is why.  It’s celebrating our personal triumphs- whatever they may be; sharing a special moment, encouraging the global community of mothers by normalizing breastfeeding, inspiring others, and giving support.  Thousands of people have been inspired and encouraged by one photo with a simple caption.  Our stories make a difference and if a picture is worth a thousand words then sharing breastfeeding photos is like breastfeeding support spreading exponentially around the world.  In the global community we’ve moved on to via the internet, sharing our photos and stories online can often be the start of support for someone.  Just ask Serena, you never know how one image can make a difference.

 

My gratitude to Serena for being so brave in sharing the original photo in the first place and then to be willing to open up and share more of her story for my readers here.  All photos in this post are the property of Serena Tremblay and used with permission.  To protect the privacy of her family, Serena opted to use nicknames for her children and as the details regarding the birth injury were not important to the point of the story, she asked that they not be included in this article.  With an open medical investigation into Serena’s case, we appreciate your respect of her privacy on these details.  ~Jessica 

 

 

Keeping Your Kids Safe in the Age of the Internet: Computer Monitoring

Gecko Image

–Guest Post By GeckoMonitor.com

As your kids grow from toddlers to pre-teens, then on into their teenage years, their interest in the digital world of computers and the internet will grow and grow. For parents, this creates another worry that we really don’t need! There are a ton of problems and dilemmas that computers can bring into our lives, starting with how we let our kids use the internet safely, without seeing content that they really shouldn’t be seeing.

Of course, digital problems go a lot further than that. We have kids who say they are doing homework in their rooms when they are really playing video games or teenagers who are growing curious and looking up things about gambling or alcohol. Younger children can be at risk too, from online predators who chat to strangers in chat rooms, to random strangers trying to befriend your children through social networking sites. However old your child, there almost always will be times when concern grows over the use of the internet.

But there are ways to make parents’ lives easier. As the use of computers and the internet has grown, as have the tools out there for helping us with our everyday digital lives. Two of these types of tools in particular can help when it comes to kids and computers. The first is parental control software, which can be used to block and filter out certain ‘unwanted’ websites when kids are using the computer. This type of application will scan a webpage before it is shown for any keywords related to promiscuity, alcohol, gambling, etc., and if any are found the page is blocked. Most applications of this type can be setup for your child’s age and just how strict you’d like to be with their browsing behavior.

The second type of application that can help is computer monitoring software. This type of software does exactly what it says on the tin; it monitors computer use. You can use Computer Monitoring Software to keep tabs on everything that happens on your child’s computer, and look over the reports and logs at a later date to see if anything out of place has happened.

Everything that goes on that machine is logged, including websites visited, applications used, everything typed, documents opened/saved and anything printed. Screenshots are also taken, so you can see exactly what they see on the screen. This means that any chat/IM conversation, Facebook activity or email sent or received will be logged by the software for you to check over at a later date. You can even have the logs sent to you via email, if you wanted to check up on them while you’re at work or away from home.

Computer Monitoring Software can work either visibly or stealthily, it’s up to you. And either way the software will be password protected, so only you can access it. If you want the software working in stealth mode, anyone using the computer will have no idea they are being monitored, with no sign of the software in the start menu, task manager or program files directory etc. In visible mode, computer monitoring software could simply be used as a deterrent to unwanted behavior when you’re away.

If you’d like to download a free trial of Computer Monitoring Software with all the features mentioned above, head to the Gecko Monitor website at http://www.geckomonitor.com

(Free software giveaway to come!)

My New Favorite Quote on Co-Sleeping and Attachment-Based Parenting Practices

CoolPix 145

“Prop them up now so they can stand on their own later…”

—Christina Robert

The other day on a mothering blog someone was wondering how to get her three year old to stop screaming in her crib at night when the lights were turned out. She said she didn’t want her child to get “attached to co-sleeping” because she was three (which I am assuming means she wants to prioritize independence and self-reliance).

I replied that her child might be screaming when she is put in her crib because she is frightened. She might need the emotional support of her primary caregiver right now. I think so many people believe that it is important to “toughen up” our young children; to prepare them for the harsh realities that the world has to offer; to make them independent and strong as soon as possible.

I think that one of the greatest misunderstandings about attachment theory and the parenting practices that arise out of these theories is that the parenting adults do not want to help in the creation of strong and independent children. In actuality, they do. Just not at the age of three and not in this manner.

Between birth and five there is so much is going on neurologically in a child’s brain that it is almost unfathomable. These critical years set the stage for a child’s patterns of behavior. Their brains are developing at a quick pace and they are learning important physcial, social and emotional skills–all this and so much more. These are the vulnerable and the impressionable years. These are the years that children need to learn they can trust adults to meet their needs. This will serve as the foundation for their interactions with other children and other adults in the future..

The commonly-held misconception that children who sleep in their parent’s bed, or whose emotional needs are met consistently year after year, will somehow end up dependent and needy, is far from the truth. What many people don’t understand is that by consistently meeting the emotional needs of you child in the early years, you are paving the groundwork for future success and independence.

Children whose needs are met consistently and sensitively are more likely to be strong, securely-attached, and confident young adults and adults.
Responding consistently and sensitively to a child’s cries and needs during infancy and beyond teaches the child that they can rely on someone to help them meet their needs at a time when they are very dependent on their caregivers for survival. In contrast, NOT responding consistently and sensitively can lead to anxious and insecure young adults. When their needs are not being met, they learn to not trust those who are most important to them in their lives.

On the blog, I summed up my response with the following advice and metaphor: “Prop them up now so they can stand on their own later.”
I think this quote and idea captures the essence of what attachment theory teaches us about child development and about parenting practices that best meet the needs of your child.

So keep on responding to your child. A child screaming in the dark is afraid. He or she may be experiencing anxiety from the caregiver separation. Being left alone in a mostly dark room is not comforting and could even be traumatizing depending on the length of separation. Find out what your child needs and help them to get the input or reassurance that they need.

Again, Prop them up now so they can stand on their own later. You’ll be happy you did. Your child will be happier, more confident and better able to form happy, healthy relationships as an adult. All the things you wanted for your child and more.

“Internet Decorum” or How the Anonymity of the Web Brings Out the Worst in People

Recently a reader read a blog post that I had written and came back with some very sharp, harsh, critical and judgmental remarks about my parenting and about the type of child I was raising. This was all based on a few pages that I wrote. She does not know me personally; we have never spoken; and she does not know my child. Although it bothered me, I also knew that I couldn’t let it get to me. The Internet is a wide open public forum where anyone can read and respond.

Regardless of the commonplace nature of such behavior, I still find it perplexing as to the kind of behave that people feel comfortable displaying and engaging in on discussion forums, Facebook, blogs, text messages, email. There is a certain sense of freedom that comes along in these electronic forums which results in some very negative behavior. I wonder about future generations. I wonder how this is going to affect future generations of young people who are growing up in a world where such behavior seems to be considered acceptable.

I believe in argumentation. I believe in the importance of disagreement. It is through disagreement and argumentation that new ideas come about and that new awareness is born. Through discussion we discover and learn.

Although the personal attack caused me to sit back and think a lot about human behavior, as well as attachment parenting practices, I am still left with the nagging sense that boundaries must exist, that one must restrain from making personal attacks, and that there are must be rules in place to protect a readership and authors from unnecessary hurt and criticism. Given the freedom of speech, I hesitate to “Reject” any response that a reader has to what I have written. The reader may not hold the same opinion I do, but he or she has the right to his or her opinion. It is not my job to censor comments and to only those through that are in alignment with my thinking.

However, I have made a decision based on my personal values around respecting others. On my blog I will not accept responses that come in the form of personal attack. I’m all for criticism; I have no problem with disagreement, but please do not make any personal attacks on anyone. Attack the idea, not the person. One can disagree with the ideas and support one’s disagreement with good argumentation and evidence.

So please, play nicely with one another. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Follow the rules of good behavior and manners — and in doing so demonstrating the same virtues and values that you are hopefully striving to instill into your children. Model for them the path you would like them to take. No criticisms of a specific person. No name calling. No attacks on one’s parenting skills or on one’s children. Let us strive for a higher level of being and for a demonstration of good Internet decorum.

Thank you,

Christina

Related Posts: https://singlemomontherun.com/2012/11/29/potty-training-and-giving-up-the-pacifier-a-relaxed-moms-perspective/

Writing about Reading Apps: Goodnight Moon and Dr. David Walsh

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/181275901.html?refer=y

READING AS RITUAL

An Article by: DAVID WALSH

Don’t let an app stop parents from reading books to their children.

“Goodnight kittens, and goodnight mittens”

“Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.”

These are but a few of the melodic and soothing verses that stir warm childhood memories for millions around the world. “Goodnight Moon” isn’t a book. It’s a ritual.

My three children, all now parents themselves, swear they remember listening to me or my wife read this children’s classic before getting tucked in for the night. While these may not be literal memories, because their brains were too young, they are a testament to the emotional power the book has had for 65 years.

My four grandchildren all include “Goodnight Moon” as one of their “required” books at naptime. I’ve noticed that each snuggles a little closer as the red balloon hanging above the bed disappears from some pages only to reappear later.

Reading aloud is one of the most important — and enjoyable — parenting and grandparenting activities we can share with our children. Science tells us it’s the first building block for literacy. Babies love the soothing sounds of a familiar voice reading. Even when they prefer “eating” their books, they are beginning to make the mental connection we want. They’re associating reading with comfort, security and enjoyment. That link is a great foundation for raising readers. As a masterpiece like “Goodnight Moon” proves, it also creates emotional memories that last a lifetime.

That’s the reason I was appalled to read that there is now an app that downloads the story onto a smartphone or tablet computer (“Say goodnight to boredom of ‘Goodnight Moon,'” Nov. 27).

The purpose of the app is to rescue parents from the boredom of reading the book to their children. Boring? Let’s remember that the book is not written for parents. It’s for children, and there is a wealth of information to pique their interest. For example, there are more than 20 details that change from page to page. A 3-year-old can tell you that the socks disappear from the drying rack when the mittens are wished “goodnight,” but they reappear later.

What this app, should anyone actually pay $4.95 for it, really would do is to rob children of an invaluable experience. Children need to hear a human voice and sit in a human lap. It would be sad indeed if some bored parents let their children “snuggle up” with an iPad as they drift off to sleep.

* * *

David Walsh is a Minneapolis psychologist and author of the books “Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids,” “Why do They Act That Way?, and “No: Why Kids–Of All Ages–Need to Hear It and Why Parents Can Say It.”

http://drdavewalsh.com/

 

Potty Training and Giving up the Pacifier: A Relaxed (and Attached) Mom’s Perspective

My child is three years and three months old and she occasionally she pee-pees and poo-poos in her pants. Not every time, not all the time. But often enough.

Recently when my daughter started at a new daycare she was not potty trained as was required by the program. She was still in pull-ups full time and had not been showing any interest in moving towards full time use of the potty. At the daycare’s advice, I took the pull-ups away cold turkey and put her in underwear during the day. This worked to some extent but not completely.

To add another layer to this, she was not allowed to use her pacifier during naptime because the program was for preschoolers and not for toddlers. I’ve heard from others that this is not unheard of, that many preschool programs except a child to be completely potty trained and do not permit use of the pacifier. The potty training I can understand due to the license and the teacher-child ratio, but the pacifier at naptime? That I do not understand.

Having come directly from a smaller toddler classroom in a daycare where they put her on the changing table to change her, sat her on the potty once a day to practice, and let her have her pacifier whenever she was upset or taking a nap, this changes were a pretty big shock to her and seriously turned her world upside down.

In the end, she was not able to potty train fast enough and the amount of help she needed was more than the daycare could offer. I was also encouraged to raise my expectations for my child and to consistently send her the message that she is a big girl and to not offer help around pottying and dressing.

Some of society’s ideas about child development fly in the face of what I feel is right for my daughter. At three she’s been on the earth for approximately 820 days. At day 821 she’s supposed to give up the warmth and comfort and security that comes along with having a mother guide her and carry her through some pretty major developmental changes? She’s also supposed to give up her pacifier because she’s crossed some arbitrary line into preschoolhood rather than toddlerhood?

This is the crux of the clash of my world view, as it applies to parenting and childrearing, and some other mainstream ways of thinking about child development.

When I posted my potty training dilemma on Facebook, some provided sympathy, whereas others felt that I needed to examine why my daughter, at three years old, was so “late” in being weaned off the pacifier and why she wasn’t potty trained.

This reaction shocked me. It had gone from being an issue whereby my child simply wasn’t potty trained to an implication that I was infantalizing my child.

My approach to parenting is definitely an “It’ll happen when it happens” type of attitude, whereby the child takes the lead in his or her developmental changes. I believe that a child will hold onto what they need until they no longer need it and that a child will make their emotional needs known somehow or another.

I also don’t see a problem with helping my child with new tasks that she is starting to master. There may be times when she can do it completely independently and times when she wants me to do it for her. When she’s tired or crabby or has had a long day, it is natural that she will want her mother’s assistance. She needs me as her object of security. There are times when she wants me to dress her and feed her and hold her hand and rock her. And I do—with pleasure. I do it because I know that I am meeting her emotional needs at that moment and that even though she is capable of pulling up her pants by herself, she simply wants the comfort of knowing her mother is there to do it for her when she asks her to.

Through all of this it has become even clearer to me that my views of parenting and childrearing, which are primarily based in attachment theory, don’t always mesh with the world at large, especially a world in which individuality and self reliance is valued over all else. In my view and practices, the relationship between me and my child is prioritized over independence. If independence is going to come at the cost of a sense of comfort then I choose comfort and security.

As for the transition to a new placement, I can only imagine that for my child,  this move to a center where they are better able to meet her needs will provide her with a renewed sense of being allowed to be who she is at this moment in time—to be the half baby/half big girl that she is; to be able to pee in the potty, or in her panties or on someone else’s lawn (if that’s where she is when she needs to go!); and to become a big girl over time and at her own pace.

As for now she’ll continue to pee in her pants from time to time and she’ll continue to suck on her pacifier when she’s feeling the need for comfort, and that’s okay with me. She’ll stay with some of these “baby things” until she’s good and ready to give them up completely. In the meantime I’ll help out by spoon feeding her when she’s tired and hungry and pull up her pants when she wants me to. I’ll encourage her and teach her to do things on her own while remaining there as a safety net when she falls. On the way I’ll gently move her towards being the big girl that she’s on her way to becoming without any rush and without any urgency.