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Archive for January, 2008

Things you thought you’d never say as a Mama…

January 27, 2008 3 comments

As a parent there are situations that present themselves that we never could have predicted

And in those moments are some of the greatest quotes of history. Kick back, have a laugh and then add your own. You can e-mail me here to have your quote added. At this point I intend to keep the quotes anonymous, but if you wish to have your name included just indicate so in your submission. Thanks for your help!

ENJOY! Hear are some I overhead from my own mouth recently:
Step away from the baby with that light saber.

If you are going to touch yourself there you need to wash your hands before and after.

Get out of the fireplace.

When I asked a group of women to tell me about some of the funny things they have said as a parent, I got the following:

Babe..can I please have the Boppy pillow back. I know you both are sharing it but it is used for breastfeeding …not for grand theft auto and the playstation. ( I swear he uses it more than the baby does.)

(to my husband after he changed a very long-awaited diaper amidst allergy worries)
“Was there a lot of poop? What did it look like? What did it smell like?”
I never thought poop would be such a conversation topic.

“Please don’t play with your poop anymore.”

“Was that a green bean…..ohhh black eyed peas are scary when they come out the other end.”

And one Mama was loaded: “JT please don’t stand on the cheese anymore.” -at the grocery store.
“John, please don’t let Emma eat the baby.”
And more recently, “Does anybody know where Jesus went? Shelby had him in the playroom last night…”
“I found Jesus. He was in the bottom of the toy box, under a zebra.”
“JT, don’t dip the your race car in the cheese.”

“Take your penis OFF THE TABLE!!!” (don’t worry friends. I cleaned it, lol)

“Well go call some normal people and find out what kind of jelly they use on their sandwiches!”

“Get “Knocked up” if you want to.”
(said to my 18yo on her cell phone when she was asking me what movie to rent)

“IF YOU COME DOWN THOSE STAIRS, YOU BETTER BE PUKING OR ON FIRE!!!

“Please do not lick cheese off my shirt.”

“Is there blood? There better be blood!” Today when my daughter did one of her hair raising, earth shattering, blood curdling screams.

“Kaia, do not eat that worm!”

“Get your foot out of my potholder!”

“Please don’t punch me in the face while you’re nursing.” Seriously, nursing is a contact sport these days! She never actually hurts me, just annoys me by poking, prodding, pinching, punching, flipping over, etc.

“Don’t handcuff your sister to the cat!”

“Don’t eat that french fry out of your diaper!”

“Sit up on the potty or you’re going to pee in your face!” Zachary had a boner and needed to pee at the same time. It was stiff and he was leaning back on the toilet, forcing his “unit” to point straight in the air. LOL never a dull moment in my house.

“Don’t brush your sister’s hair with the fork.”

(Preface: Child in the bath peed, got a cup and started drinking the bath water) “Did you just drink your pee pee?”

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34 1/2 months of milk

January 22, 2008 3 comments

On January 15, 2008 my oldest daughter enjoyed her last drink of milk from the tap. Just a month and a 1/2 shy of her 3rd birthday, how time flies. It’s been one week today since she has weaned and we are both adjusting well. I think this process has been easier for me than I expected it to be because I am still nursing her 6 month old sister. Had I just stopped breastfeeding altogether I am sure that the resounding feelings would have been much different from the hormonal shift of no longer nursing. Many mothers go through a type of depression almost when they wean. Luckily for me, I still got a babe on the boob and I am feeling great.

I think the adjustment has gone well for my oldest daughter because she was closer to being ready to wean than I ever could have guessed. She was only nursing for her nap (1x a day at my limitation) and has asked at nap time to nurse everyday this past week but accepts my playful response of, “No way Jose’, you drank it all!”

Tandem nursing was quite an experience and if given the opportunity to do it again I absolutely would. I’ll never forget how grateful I was to have my toddler in those early weeks postpartum when engorgement was so uncomfortable (and messy!). I think continuing to nurse my 2 year old after the birth of her sister allowed my daughters to bond in a way that I just can’t really explain. And it allowed me to bond with my girls in a way that I’ll always remember.

As it stands I’ve I got quite a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance from the weaning and the baby has been a bit gassy with neon green poos from too much foremilk. I didn’t realize how much milk my toddler was getting until she weaned. I can seriously pump 5oz of milk at the previously scheduled nursing for her AFTER the baby nurses! On the up side, my big girl thinks it’s cool that I can pump my milk and enjoys drinking it from a cup just as much as she did from the tap. So I can still get that liquid gold into her day in and day out. Plus, I can build a stash in the freezer for the baby in case, Lord willing my hubby and I ever get a night out without our girls!

For more information on the many benefits of nursing past one year of age, read HERE.

Are you an Alabama Mom?

January 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Mission Statement:

Alabama-Moms.com is a forum for the discussion and promotion of attachment parenting in Alabama and surrounding areas, and for Alabama mothers from all walks of life to connect, share information and ideas, and form friendships.

I joined this forum in April of 2007. I have really enjoyed the sisterhood of this wonderful AP community These women are such an inspiration and invaluable resource for Mamahood. My sister is founder of this awesome community and I thank her ( ) everyday for creating such a peaceful and helpful environment filled with supportive, intelligent , educated and like-minded Mama’s. If you’re feeling like you need some more Mama mojo – you’ll find it here.

So if you are looking for some local Mama’s to meet up with for a Girl’s Night Out , wanna rendezvous for a playdate at the park or you just wanna kick back with a cup of hot tea or even a cold beer and chit chat with some like-minded Mama’s then Alabama Moms is the place for you!

Take me to Alabama Moms!

What’s in Formula? What’s Not?

January 7, 2008 Leave a comment

What is in formula?

Most infant formula comes from cow’s milk (the exception is soy formula), but a lot has to happen before it goes from the cow to the can and, ultimately, babies. The short, blunt version is that the manufacturing process literally takes cow’s milk apart and puts it back together again with some components left out and others added.

Cow’s milk is very high in saturated fat, which human babies have trouble digesting, and low in monounsaturates, the main fats in human milk. So the first step is to remove all the fat. The resulting skim milk is heated, then dehydrated if it’s going to be in powdered form. Then new fats, in the form of vegetable oil blends, are added along with proteins, milk sugar (lactose) and a long list of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are required by federal regulation to approximate their levels in breastmilk.

Cow’s milk has three times as much protein as breastmilk. Calves need this because they grow so quickly, but for human babies it would put too much of a load on the liver and kidneys. Cow’s milk also has a higher proportion of casein to whey — the two kinds of proteins in mammal milks — than breastmilk does. So formula manufacturers must reduce the overall amount of protein and add extra whey to mimic the protein balance found in breastmilk.

Other ingredients prevent the mixture from separating or going bad. Some formulas have thickeners, and specialized formulas for premature babies have enhanced levels of nutrients. Any newly developed formula must meet a number of safety and nutritional standards, including clinical evidence that it is nutritionally adequate to promote normal growth.

What’s not in formula?

Human milk is a complex substance which, even now, is not fully understood. The list of known breastmilk components not present in formula is too long to go into fully and includes enzymes, hormones, growth factors and substances that fight infection and help develop the immune system.

Simply put, human milk is alive, says James Friel, professor of human nutrition at the University of Manitoba. “Some components are biologically active. They play a role that goes far beyond nutrition,” he explains. “For example, if you put an oxidant stressor — something like cigarette smoke — in breastmilk, it resists the stressor, and breastmilk does this better than formula even though formula contains more antioxidants. That strikes me as odd and I wish I understood it better.” Friel thinks it might one day be possible to add biologically active material to formula, but doesn’t expect to see this any time soon.

One important biologically active component of human milk is a protein called secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA), which has the ability to bind to foreign substances (including harmful bacteria) so they can be eliminated from the body. It lines the wall of the gut, which is one of the main entry points for infection. Colostrum, the thicker milk that a mother’s body produces in the first few days, is especially high in sIgA.

Formula contains these little fighters as well, although they’re less plentiful and they’re bovine (cow) immunglobulins which are programmed to recognize micro-organisms that cause disease in cattle rather than humans, and operate in the bloodstream rather than the gut. Bottle-fed babies still develop immune systems, obviously, but they miss out on some of the early and long-term protection provided by sIgA.

The most immediate threat from lack of sIgA is during the first weeks of life, when a baby’s gut is vulnerable to infection. Advances in hygiene and sanitation, plus ready access to treatment, have made life-threatening gastrointestinal infections rare in Canadian babies. But they still cause considerable illness and many infant deaths in the developing world, where powdered formula is sometimes mixed with contaminated water.

Another biological capability, present in breastmilk but not formula, is the ability to alter itself. Breastmilk changes, both as the baby grows and during each feeding. Foremilk, which is produced at the start of each feeding, is relatively low in fat. As the baby sucks, the level of fat rises, satisfying him and lulling him into that blissful state a nursing mom loves to see. The fat levels of human milk also change in the baby’s second six months, when his growth rate slows. In recent years new formulas, called follow-up formulas, have been designed to more closely match some of the nutritional needs of an older baby.

How close is formula to breastmilk?

Both are milks that can sustain fledgling human life, but the similarity ends there. Nutrients in a man-made substance do not work the same way as they do in a naturally occurring substance. As dietitian Cristine Bradley, senior manager of medical affairs for Indiana-based formula maker Mead Johnson, puts it: “Compositionally, I’d call it apples to apples but functionally, it’s apples to oranges in many ways.”

A couple of examples: Iron was added to formula in the 1980s. However, the iron in formula is not nearly as well absorbed as that in breastmilk, so formula must contain considerably more for a baby to get the same amount.

Another example is nucleotides, which are the building blocks of DNA and RNA and help strengthen the immune system. After they were added to formula in the ’90s, Bradley says, the expected immunity benefit was not borne out. “There was some excitement about this for a while, but after inconsistent research findings it was generally agreed that this was not as promising as we first thought.”

What are they doing to improve formula?

Although formula is still fundamentally different from human milk, several significant improvements have been made in the past 30 years, including fine-tuning to improve the balance of proteins and the blend of fats. Manufacturers have added new varieties, including lactose-free formulas, special formulas for premature and ill babies, and hydrolyzed formulas with predigested protein, for infants with digestion problems.

The most recent innovation is the addition of two long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ARA (arachidonic acid). Both play a key role in brain development and it has been theorized, though never proven, that the presence of DHA and ARA in breastmilk may explain why breastfed babies score higher than formula-fed babies on toddler mental development tests.

This past winter Canadian babies got their first taste of formula with DHA and ARA (made from algae and fungus, respectively). The question is, will these additives make formula-fed children smarter, as the “A+” in one product’s name implies?
Sheila Innis, a professor of paediatric nutrition at the University of British Columbia, says the clinical research is mixed. “I would be very cautious about making that statement for a healthy full-term baby. In one small study, 18-month-old babies fed formula with DHA and ARA scored higher as a group than babies fed standard formula, but four other larger studies showed no difference. The evidence is much clearer for premature babies, who are born without stores of these and other nutrients.”

What are the risks associated with formula?

There are risks associated with formula feeding. To help mitigate them, parents need to fully understand them.

Improper mixing: Formula should be mixed exactly according to directions. Some parents have made mistakes, sometimes because of literacy or language problems. Some have over-diluted powdered formula, which can lead to malnutrition, or failed to properly dilute concentrated liquid formula, sometimes in a misguided attempt to increase nutrients. The result can be dehydration and kidney problems.

Contamination: Formula manufacturers say their quality control and product safety are the tightest in the food industry. Still, any man-made food carries the risk of contamination. In recent years there have been several small, isolated outbreaks of serious illness and a few deaths (mostly premature babies or those with immune problems) caused by a bacterium called E. sakazakii which was found to have come from powdered formula. (The outbreaks prompted Health Canada to recommend liquid formula — which is less likely than powder to be contaminated — for bottle-fed babies who are immuno-compromised or in intensive care.)

The take-home message is that powdered infant formula is not a sterile product and must be handled and stored properly. Dawn Walker, a nurse and former executive director of the Canadian Institute of Child Health, says that one of the most common infant feeding questions she hears is, “Can I reheat formula?” “The answer is no,” Walker says. “Once formula has been warmed up for use, if you reheat it, bacteria growth increases exponentially. It’s very risky.”

Illness: Statistically, formula-fed babies are more likely to get colds, ear infections, milk allergies, diarrhea, urinary tract infections and bacterial meningitis. How much more likely? That’s hard to say. Obviously, few babies (formula fed or not) get meningitis, so the risk is very low to begin with. With more common illnesses like ear infections, other factors also increase the risk — such as whether mom smokes or the child is in group daycare. One large study of two- to seven-month-old babies found that the risk of ear infection increased with the proportion of formula in the child’s diet; those fed entirely on formula were twice as likely (13.2 percent) as those who breastfed exclusively (6.8 percent) to have had an ear infection in the past month.

Bottle-fed infants are also at greater risk for becoming overweight; they grow and gain weight more quickly and, on average, are less lean than breastfed babies. One large German study of five- and six-year-olds found a 4.5 percent rate of obesity among those who had been bottle-fed, compared with 2.8 percent for breastfed children. Since it’s mom or dad who decides how much goes in the bottle and when, a formula-fed baby may not learn to read his body’s signals as easily as one who nurses on demand. Stephanie Atkinson, professor of nutrition in paediatrics at McMaster University, comments, “I’m concerned that there may be some kind of metabolic programming going on that may explain the increased rates of obesity in formula-fed children.”

Another concern is that formula-fed children may face an increased risk for developing Type 1 diabetes. Some studies have found a higher incidence in children who were exclusively formula-fed or who were breastfed for less than three months. Other research has found that early exposure to cow’s milk increases the likelihood of developing a type of antibody that can be found in children with diabetes. No clear link has been established, but a major ten-year international study was launched in 2002 to compare the rates of Type 1 diabetes in babies fed standard formula versus those fed hydrolyzed formula.

When you add up all the risk factors, it sounds daunting. However, trying to predict the likelihood that any one child will get any one illness is impossible. Likewise, lower risk is no guarantee; some breastfed babies get ear infections and some bottle-fed babies don’t. And let’s face it: There are a lot of healthy adults walking around who were raised on formula.

If we look at formula as a medical intervention, a way to nourish a baby when breastmilk is not available, it stands up fairly well. The problem is that this substitute became a competitor. And formula simply can’t compete with human milk. Here’s how James Friel views it: “We’ve been making formula for over 100 years and I’ve spent 20 years of my life trying to make formula better. All the people I’ve dealt with in the industry are honest, hard-working and dedicated. In spite of that, we are still unable to make formula that comes very close to human milk and, for me, that’s a disappointment. We try to break human milk down into its components and put it back together again, but it really doesn’t work that way.”

Formula’s greatest achievement may be that, although it still doesn’t really compare to human milk, it has become a reasonably safe substitute that has improved over the years. Perhaps that is all it ever can be.

SOURCE

What’s Wrong with `Growing Kids God’s Way’? (AKA Ezzo)

January 7, 2008 8 comments
A popular but controversial Christian parenting program might have plunged a million kids into dangerous waters as they enter adolescence
by Ken McDuffTrevor poked his triumphant, beaming face into my office. “It works!” he exclaimed.

Trevor’s one-month-old boy was sleeping through the night, and he wanted me to know that the the techniques taught by Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo in their popular-but-controversial parenting program, Growing Kids God’s Way (GKGW), had been successful.

But successful at what? Too often we judge a parenting style by its immediate results. What can we expect, though, when “Ezzo-babies” – as they’re sometimes called – grow up?

GKGW and its related curriculum, Preparation for Parenting, have been taught in nearly 4,000 churches over the past 10 years. The Ezzos’ organization, Growing Families International, has provided resources to 400,000 families, representing more than a million children. As the first wave of children grown “God’s way” approach adolescence, it’s a good time to evaluate the fruits of the GKGW parenting style.

GKGW methods, practiced consistently, do seem to produce “good” kids – they obey their parents, they’re generally polite and respectful, and they’re well-behaved (particularly in their parents’ presence). But, as with any parenting style, there are dangers in applying GKGW’s tenants without generous portions of common sense and parental affection.

Consider three potential dangers.

Danger 1: Parents motivated by self-interest.
The GKGW philosophy is parent-centered. The Ezzos warn that too much parental attention and sacrifice makes for a child who’s self-centered and ill-prepared for real life. They encourage parents to resist placing their kids at the center of family life. The child must be taught quickly that the world does not revolve around him; otherwise, they say, the child “will develop a self-centered perception that will carry into every relationship.”
In practice, a parent-centered philosophy translates too easily into parenting goals conceived out of selfishness. Though parents (including me) don’t like to admit it, we often have hidden motives behind our parenting tactics. We want to look good to our friends; we want to be unbothered by our child’s activity. So, we require our children to behave in certain ways – not for their benefit, but for ours.

But God’s parenting pattern is sacrificial. Author Kevin Huggins – a 20 year veteran youth leader, now a professor of Christian counseling at Philadelphia College of the Bible – reminds us in Parenting Adolescents, “Christ’s death was his profound expression of self-denial and self-sacrifice, the same elements a parent must express if he is to be relationally mature (highly involved with and responsive toward his kids)”. When parents fail to consistently respond to a child’s needs so that their lifestyle can be preserved, the second danger can result.

Danger 2: Kids who never learn to trust.
When my wife gave birth to our first child, our primary goal was to create in our daughter a sense of trust and security – a feeling that she didn’t face life alone. We responded to her cries quickly and consistently, with as much wisdom as first-time parents could muster. For a season, we altered our lifestyle to accommodate her needs. We were always nearby – and we didn’t fret about spoiling her or being manipulated.
According to the Ezzos, that’s not God’s way. Children need to learn to cope with life’s difficulties, they assert, away from their parents. By practicing what the Ezzos call “attachment parenting,” my wife and I were “fostering an emotional disability we [Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, co-authors of On Becoming Babywise] call me-ism.”

But others disagree. “To an infant,” responds Kevin Huggins, “every desire seems crucial… When these desires are not immediately fulfilled by the infant’s primary caretakers, he experiences his first relational disappointment. This disappointment arouses within him a tendency to mistrust the abilities and intentions of his parents to give him what is vital for his existence… He develops his first real problem in thinking: ‘If I’m going to feel safe and secure, I must do something to get my world to respond to me.’ ”

As a GKGW child grows, how can she gain the approval that she desires? That leads us to the third danger.

Danger 3: Kids who win approval by their good behavior.
GKGW promotes high parental control. Parents are encouraged to be “governors” in their children’s lives until the children develop the self-control and moral awareness that allows self-government. Certain behaviors are expected, and GKGW parents are quick to force conformity when necessary. The Ezzos contend that the Holy Spirit will eventually take over, building on those established patterns of compliant behavior. They call it “spiritual inertia.”
Critics see little difference between what the Ezzos advocate and behaviorism – the use of negative reinforcement (spanking, hand-slapping, “time outs,” and so on) to bring about desired behaviors. Of course, what parent doesn’t use some form of behavioristic technique? Why not? It “works.” Research studies reveal that firm and consistent parental control is associated with positive outcomes, especially when mixed with generous amounts of parental warmth.

But when parents withhold warmth and involvement, they can still get their kids to comply. Because the Ezzos’ materials habitually prefer the word “parenting” to “love,” they leave the door open for parents to use strategies mechanically. Now what happens when these compliant but emotionally unengaged kids move into adolescence? Teenagers experience sudden and drastic changes, not only in physical appearance but also in how they perceive and relate to their world. They question what they must do to be loved and to have impact on their world. If their compliance flows from a desire to win others’ approval and acceptance rather than faithfulness to Christ, the demands and struggles of adolescence can lead a young person into new, unexpected behaviors. These behaviors may take on the form of greater, even compulsive efforts to obey. But if a young person starts to believe his actions can never be good enough, he may turn to rebellious acts and defiance to signal his internal struggle.

What can you do to help a teenager whose outward compliance may not reflect a heart that’s inclined toward God?

Watch for “signal behaviors” that indicate internal frustrations. If a teenager’s strategy for winning love, security, and impact by being compliantly good fails, she may resort to “signal behaviors” such a compulsiveness, rule-breaking, defiant acts, or disregarding a parent’s instructions. Think of it as an S.O.S. It’s a time when a young person needs a friend to help her explore what’s going on deep within. If she doesn’t get help, destructive behaviors may follow.
Help parents reflect on their parenting styles and goals. Parents are the primary influencers of their children, even in adolescence. Too often, though, they fail to understand the struggles their children face. You can help parents reflect on the effects of their parenting style and provide insight on what their teenagers are doing, thinking, and feeling – and why. An excellent resource is Parenting Adolescents by Kevin Huggins (NavPress, 1989), also available as a small-group video series.
Help teenagers understand that only Christ can meet their need for relational fulfillment. Proverbs 19:22 reveals that “what a man desires is unfailing love.” Teenagers’ self-sufficient strategies and behaviors are foolish attempts to gain dependable, unconditional love – a love that’ll never be fully met in any human relationship, only in God’s lovingkindness. When a compliant young person wonders why his compliance doesn’t bring the relationship he desires, point him to the One who’ll love him regardless of his failed efforts at goodness.
When kids start to see that they can’t satisfy their deepest desires for love and acceptance by molding themselves to what others demand – that’s when they’re most open to Christ’s love. Help them to talk about their heart’s desires, then to find fulfillment in relationship with the living God.

By the way, my daughter, Karisa, is 15 now. She loves God and cares deeply about others, especially the underdogs of the world. Her heart is reflected in her life’s goal: to be a missionary. A dad couldn’t be more pleased with his daughter. Don’t get me wrong – Karisa’s not perfect, but neither are her parents. But God has established broad boundaries for successful parenting.

“Scripture has very few specific mandates… It provides spiritual goals of parenting, but not exact or specific how-to’s.” These words of Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo, found in the first chapter of Preparation for Parenting, should remind us that those responsible for the spiritual nurture of our youth – parents and youth workers alike – must continually evaluate and refine their methods, depending more on God’s grace than their own expertise and ingenuity. That’s God’s way.

Ken McDuff is an associate pastor of family ministries in California. He’s wrestled with the fruits of the GKGW program for seven years in his church, where the program has caused serious divisions among parents.

Group Magazine, July/August 1997, Volume 23, Number 5, pp. 39-42.

Reprinted by permission from Group Magazine, © 1997, Group Publishing, Inc., Box 481, Loveland, CO 80538.

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