Monday, September 28, 2009

Motherhood Mondays: Donate Your Old Slings or Wraps to a Mom in Need!

Happy Monday! Today is the last day of International Babywearing Week and I have just found out * about a great organization called No Mother Left Behind, that takes in donated slings, babywraps, and carriers for women in need. I think this is a great idea and I will be donating my old sling today! Maybe you, too can help a mother in need because babywearing shouldn't be limited by income!




* Thanks to PhD in Parenting's weekend post!

Friday, September 25, 2009

International Babywearing Week, Pregnancy Progression, & Sleeping Solutions

This week is International Babywearing Week and I've neglected to give it the attention it deserves, for that I apologize. However, I will be doing a lot more babywearing this time around than I did with the big boy and to facilitate that I ordered myself a Sleepywrap, in light blue. I just received mine in the mail yesterday and it's soft and beautiful. I cannot wait to try it out. Well, I tried it on, but my tummy was in the way, however it was VERY simple to tie.


Today I am at home, unexpectedly, just haven't been feeling my best. I'm nearing my 36th week (officialy starts on Sunday) and I'm really ready to just get this baby out! I do feel blessed to have had a healthy pregnancy since my early emergency room scare. I've been reading about so many pregnancy issues that I am so happy and relieved that I've had pretty smooth sailing.


In other mommy news I am so proud of my big boy, he's been sleeping in his bed really well. As I've said before this is all thanks to Elizabeth Pantley's No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Prechoolers. Well, I will definitely be buying the original No-Cry Sleep Solution in order to get Na'im off to a good start with his sleeping habits. I know as a new mommy you may want to respond to every single noise that your baby makes at night, but the best thing is to let your baby sleep by knowing what noises are sleeping noises and what are waking noises.


According to Pantley, the first step to helping your baby sleep longer is to determine the difference between sleeping noises and awake noises. When she makes a noise: Stop. Listen. Wait. Peek. As you listen attentively to her noises, and watch her, you will learn the difference between sleeping snorts and “I'm waking up and I need you now” noises.

When I learned this eye-opening piece of information, I started “playing asleep” when Coleton made a nighttime noise. I would just listen and watch — not moving a single muscle — until he began to make actual wakeful noises. Some of the time, he never did; he just went back to sleep!

The idea, then, is to learn when you should pick your baby up for a night feeding and when you can let her go back to sleep on her own.

This is a time when you need to really focus your instincts and intuition. This is when you should try very hard to learn how to read your baby's signals.

You need to listen and watch your baby carefully. Learn to differentiate between these sleeping sounds and awake and hungry sounds. If she is really awake and hungry, you'll want to feed her as quickly as possible. If you do respond immediately when she is hungry, she will most likely go back to sleep quickly.

So, the key here is to listen carefully when your baby makes night noises: If she is making “sleeping noises” — let her sleep. If she really is waking up — tend to her quickly.


Such great advice and I can't wait to read the rest of the book to pick up some more tips!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

AP Thursdays MOC Interview: Elita from Blacktating

Name: Elita

Age: Almost 31

How old is your child(ren)?
21 months

How did you come to be an Attachment Parent?
I actually always had certain beliefs about pregnancy and parenting and I always knew I wanted an all-natural birth, to breastfeed and cloth diaper, because those are the things my mother did with me. When I was pregnant, I reconnected with an old friend on MySpace and we began emailing back and forth. I told her about my pregnancy and how I was seeing a midwife for childbirth classes and I was nervous about a hospital birth because I didn't want any medical interventions. I asked her to recommend some books to me on pregnancy and parenting. She immediately responded, "Oh, it sounds like you're going to be practicing Attachment Parenting" and recommended Dr. Sears' The Baby Book. At first I was like, "Attachment parenting? Is she nuts?" but I picked up the book and everything seemed to fall into place. Yes, this is what I wanted to do with my child. It was everything I intuitively felt and believed, confirmed for me by a doctor.

What do you enjoy most about Attachment Parenting?
I love that my son is secure in the knowledge that I will always be there for him. When I see how well he is turning out, how smart and independent, I know that we are doing the right thing.

What do you enjoy the least?
Feeling like I have to defend my parenting choices to strangers, family and friends. So many ideas about child rearing that are mainstream and considered "normal" just don't work for me. I hate that people have no qualms about telling me how I'm going to spoil or ruin my child, how he'll never sleep alone, will still be nursing in college, etc. For some reason, AP beliefs seem to be up for ridicule. I would NEVER talk to another parent that way about their choices, even it was something I didn't agree with, like using cry it out.

What would you tell other MOC's about Attachment Parenting?
When you are able to follow your instincts and nurture your baby the way your guts tells you to, everything is easier. Breastfeeding is not only better for your baby, but bonds you to him in a way that bottle-feeding can't. Learning how to discipline our kids without physical force could make such a difference in the entire community. Think about how much violence there is in the black community and all of it starts in the home, with corporal punishment. We need to let go of some of those "old school" ways if we want to heal our community. Attachment Parenting gives you the tools to raise your baby in a way that is healthy and loving.

What do you think is the most common misconception about Attachment Parenting?
That people who practice AP are hippies who don't discipline their kids. I don't hit my son, but he is definitely disciplined and even at a young age knows right from wrong.

Do you blog or twitter? What is your link?
Yes, I blog about breastfeeding at Blacktating (http://blacktating.blogspot.com) and you can also find me on twitter. I'm @Blacktating (http://www.twitter.com/blacktating)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Motherhood Mondays: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

I recently enrolled the big boy in a weekend Spanish Immersion class that is offered on site at his pre-school. His pre-school previously had weekly Spanish lessons and are now transitioning to a weekly Spanish Immersion class on Fridays. This weekend class will supplement that instruction, which begins in October. Not only do I believe in immersion for teaching a new language, I also believe that exposing a child at this age to a foreign language is the best time to do so. You all can look up the studies on this, there have been a ton. Luckily, for me we also qualified for a discount for the weekend class because he is currently enrolled in one (albeit it's the school's program and is incl. in the tuition price). This all adds up to YAY ME! in my book.

So imagine my surprise when some people expressed the notion that this class would "cost too much", especially if I planned on having him in Spanish Immersion until school age and/or he was fluent. I know some people don't like to talk about money, but here goes...this class is 10 wks. and is $180 for each 10 wk. session, that's $18 a session. On a normal weekday I spend at least that on breakfast and lunch (when I'm working), so why would I not invest that same amount of money in my child? I see people who spend money on loads of things for their children, toys, designer shoes, clothes, etc. but don't invest in their children's future or education. This money is an investment in my child's future and even if it was burdensome for my family to pay this I would try and make sacrifices elsewhere in my life to accommodate my child's education.

It's so funny that I received this response because earlier in the week I was reading an article about an elite high school in Northern Virginia and how currently the enrollment is majority Asian, the reason given was that, "Many Asian families will do whatever they can to support their children's education," said Fairfax school board member Ilryong Moon. "They will garner any and all financial resources."

As parents (shoot as an individual) look at where your money goes because it tells you a lot, where your money goes shows you what your values are. Or as the Good Book says, For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also - Luke 12:34

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Feedback: Parenting 101


Friday Feedback is a new feature to the blog, where I will be featuring comments or emails sent to the Baby Head Diaries.

Tiffany said...

This is the first I'm hearing about this term, but it sounds like parenting 101 to me. That fact that it's based on some development psychological theory is a shame. It seems like common sense to me. My mom was nurturing and reassuring. As a result she reared 4 confident, caring, and intellectual children. I intend to do the same and I don't need to study API theories to do it.

Tiffany,

I am glad that you were raised in a home where AP values were the norm, many of us were not and many more right now are not being raised in that way. I, too believe that this should be an inherent part of parenting and because IMO, it's the biologically correct way to parent, is why there is developmental psych. theory behind it. Science is just a way to explain the way things should be. It's like someone saying, "Well, everyone should know that eating vegetables and exercising is the best way to stay healthy and fit." Yes, we know that instinctively, science tells us it's so, yet we have an American population that is 31% obese (35% for blacks) and 63% overweight .

The purpose of this site is to reinforce this method of parenting and enlighten those who do not know about it, especially in the black community. Here are some basic AP issues and how black families fare with them.

Breastfeeding: “In 2001, only 52.9% African American women breastfed their infants in the early postpartum period, compared with 73% of Hispanic mothers and 72% of white mothers. The proportion of African American mothers continuing to nurse 6 months after birth was only 22%, compared with 33% of Hispanic mothers and 34% of white mothers. These rates underscore a significant racial/ethnic disparity in breastfeeding rates.” - Oyeku, S. (2003). A Closer Look at Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Breastfeeding. Public Health Reports.

Discipline: Researchers found that black children were spanked and verbally punished the most, possibly because of cultural beliefs about the importance of respecting elders and in the value of physical discipline, or because parents feel they have to prepare their children for a racist and potentially dangerous world. - Thomas, J. (2009) Early Spankings Make for Aggressive Toddlers, Study Shows.

Her study found that about one-third of the 1-year-olds, and about half of the 2- and 3-year-olds, had been spanked in the previous week, according to mothers' self-reporting to the researchers. At all three ages, African-American children were spanked significantly more frequently than those from white and Mexican-American families, and verbally punished more than the other children at ages 2 and 3, the study said. Landau, E. (2009) Spanking Detrimental to Children Study Says. CNN
For this reason this site exists and I hope that you are able to enlighten others through your site as well about the way you parent, some people just need to see a living example of what to do to change their minds. :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

AP Thursdays: Feeding with Love and Respect

According to API, Feeding with Love and Respect is a way to show love to your child. Some people think that this is a principle only for babies and is about breastfeeding, but this principle is especially important for older children, too. I've always felt the bond between food and love and envied my peers who had mothers that would regularly cook meals for them, by the time I was a pre-teen my family's jobs took so much of their time that meals were often quick and dirty affairs where we ate in our own rooms or in front of the television. Food offers an opportunity to connect with your children through family meals served at the dinner table, it's a time to see what is on your child's mind and what kind of day that they've had. Meal times are also a time to model healthy eating habits for your toddlers and older children, by encouraging your child to follow their internal cues for hunger and thirst, and to eat when hungry and stop when full.

Personally, my son was a bit resistant to certain foods, but I discovered a fun and sneaky way to get him to eat things he wouldn't normally. Instead of eating a piece of chicken, a scoop of mashed potatoes, and a forkful of brocolli, we make COMBOS! A combo is all of those things on one fork or spoon and he LOVES to eat this way. He always says, "Mom we're eating combos!" I even got him to eat grits for breakfast this way. Grits to him were a foreign yucky substance, but not when you have turkey bacon and egg with it on the fork, suddenly it's a BREAKFAST COMBO! LOL!

See he's none the wiser!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesdays:


Do you know about your breastfeeding rights in your state?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

AP Thursdays: Preparing for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

* Photo is of my eldest on his born day!

The first principle of Attachment Parenting is to Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting, which is really an apropos topic to tackle considering that I am pregnant with my second child. I will admit that this pregnancy was a surprise one, I initially thought I was food poisoned, LOL! However that doesn't mean I slacked on preparing myself once I learned I was pregnant.

I've been reading up more on Attachment Parenting specifically on how I might do things differently this time around. For example, I bed-shared with my eldest, but I am choosing to co-sleep with Na'im first in a co-sleeper and then in a crib in our room. I've also investigated ways to diffuse any conflicts that arrive from outside influences on my parenting choices, so now I have an arsenal at my disposal, which I didn't have before. Not knowing how to a stand on your parenting choices can cause havoc in your marital relationship as well as make you second guess yourself (espescially as a first time mother), however if you have done your research and trust your instincts no one should be able to stop you from parenting the way you choose to.

Another very important part of your preparation is preparing for the actual birth of your child. So many of us get caught up in buying onesies, booties, blankets, and strollers, that we forget to get to that point, you actually have to give birth! Think about how you want your birth experience to be and what are your actual options at your hospital. I wanted to be as active as possible with my eldest and because I knew from attending birth classes given by my hospital that they are a lay you down and hook you up with monitors hospitals I delayed leaving for the hospital for a while (or what I thought was a while because I ended up at the hospital for 12 HOURS!!!). The time that I did spend at home I spent eating a good breakfast (the hospital I went to didn't let you eat while in labor!), took a nice warm shower, and bounced on my birthing ball (exercise ball) to relieve some of the contractions. I had also previously created and printed out a birth plan that I had made using a template from BabyCenter, that I gave to my doctor before and to my nurse when I arrived at the hospital.


Here are some of API's suggestions on preparing yourself for pregnancy:
  • Reflect on childhood experiences and current beliefs about parenting
  • Explore parenting philosophies
  • Work through negative emotions surrounding the pregnancy
  • Prepare physically for pregnancy; eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, avoid stress when possible
  • Explore different types of healthcare providers and birthing options. Consider reading "Ten Questions to Ask" and "Ten Steps" by the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services, and visiting the Baby Friendly Initiative website by UNICEF.
  • Recommit to a strong, healthy relationship between expectant parents
  • Educate yourself about breastfeeding
  • Be alert and physically active during childbirth
  • Research all aspects of "routine" newborn care, such as bathing, circumcision, eye drops, blood samples, collecting cord blood, etc. Document your preferences and share them with health care providers.
  • Prepare to have extra help in the first few weeks after birth
  • Consider a birth and/or postpartum doula
  • Be prepared with questions to ask should unexpected birth or newborn situations arise
    • What are the benefits of this intervention, and what are your instincts telling you?
    • What are the risks and possible outcomes if I choose to do this or if I choose not to?
    • What are the other options?
    • How long do I have to make the decision?
The remarkable journey of new life is a positive, transformative experience. Pregnancy offers expectant parents an opportunity to prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally for parenthood. Making informed decisions about childbirth, newborn care, and parenting practices is a critical investment in the attachment relationship between parent and child. Education is a key component of preparation for the difficult decisions required of parents and is an ongoing process as each stage of growth and development brings new joys and challenges.

When preparing for the birth of a child, it is easy to get caught up in the material things associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care. Tiny infant clothing, the latest maternity fashions, and baby gear can all be part of preparing for a baby, but the lasting investment of preparation involves becoming informed so that you can create a peaceful, loving environment in which to grow, birth, and care for a new life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: My Little Star


He got these glasses on a class fieldtrip to Chuck E. Cheese. These are his "cool glasses". I also think he just got finished eating his favorite snack...peanut butter on a spoon!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

33 Weeks, O-M-Gosh!


Baby’s senses are continuing to improve -- when light peeks in through your (extremely) stretched belly, those tiny eyelids and irises blink and dilate. And, baby can now recognize and react to simple songs… time to start practicing your lullabies! Growth (at least inside your womb) is starting to slow, and you may notice baby descend into your pelvis at the end of this month.

My baby is a HONEYDEW! I am just so excited and still a little mystified that I will be giving birth in a matter of weeks!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

AP Thursdays: Attachment Parenting is Not...

* picture is of Hass, myself, and hubby April 2008.

I am a huge fan of PhD in Parenting's blog, she's also an attachment parent and speaks so eloquently and knowledgeably about Attachment Parenting. I've included her as a blog link on my sidebar, but I could have easily put her under resources as well. She has a wonderful post on what Attachment Parenting is NOT, that I will refer you to later.

I was thinking the other day about the reasons why some parents choose to not attachment parent their child and I think they do it more for reasons that are based in what AP is not, rather than what it is. I say this because I just cannot fathom why any reasonable and loving parent would reject any of the 8 Principles of Attachment Parenting, so I believe that the misconceptions of AP overshadow the principles at times. Here is my list of what AP is NOT.

Attachment Parenting is Not:
  • Using elimination communication and never wearing diapers. Although some AP parents practice this, it's not an AP principle.

  • Homeschooling or Unschooling your children, though some parents feel that their children will learn better in this environment.

  • Totally crunchy, i.e. organic foods, making your own baby food.

  • Against circumcision. My son is circumcised and more than likely his brother will be as well. It is a personal and/or religious choice to choose to circumcise, but if you are on the fence here's some info. from Dr. Sears.

  • For more on what AP is Not, read PhD in Parenting's List
Attachment Parenting IS:


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