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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 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.

For all mothers

September 26, 2007 12 comments

This is for the moms who use artificial baby milk instead of breastmilk to feed their babies and for some reason take offense to my bulletins, blogs, etc. Sometimes the truth hurts. But I am NOT trying to pick a fight, I am trying to educate women about the health and welfare of their babies!!!

I am surprised that people have chosen to take such offense about an obvious truth, breast IS BEST. I never once made any type of claim to be better than anyone because I breastfeed. All mothers do what they think is best and that is the best we can do. No one is perfect, I’ll be the first to admit that I am not :) If reading the facts about breastfeeding is that upsetting for you then you should probably shield yourself from the truth to prevent further upset. You also should probably stop reading my blog, bulletins, etc. because I am a breastfeeding counselor and advocate. You can simply remove me from your friends list, blog roll, or whatever so you won’t even be tempted.

I never said that breastfeeding was the only acceptable way to feed a baby. For me, yes, it is the only acceptable way, but I want to do what is healthiest and natural for my child. If other mothers choose to use artificial baby milk then sobeit. To each his own. I simply state facts. I am not on any type of “high horse.” I think that the lack of breastfeeding education and support in our country is what has led to such a decline in breastfeeding initiation rates so I make every attempt to put out the good word about breastfeeding everywhere I can! I have a lot of childless friends and MANY have replied to me with thanks for all the articles and information I put out there. I am sorry that you don’t feel this information is of any benefit to you. But I see this as no reason to attack me.

In addition to this – I don’t make anyone feel anything. We are all adults here and chose how we respond to certain situations. If someone feels bad, they choose to feel bad. I think it’s great that you think I have some kind of magical power to control how other people feel, but unfortunately I don’t. If I did, I would make sure everyone cared enough to do the research about all the health risks involved with formula feeding. It’s a fact, there are in fact very many things wrong with infant formula in comparison to breastmilk. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends that babies receive artificial baby milk as the FOURTH option for food.
#1.Breastmilk via the mothers breast
#2.Expressed bm in a bottle from the mother
#3.Banked bm from a donor
#4.Artificial baby milk.

This not something that I made up to create controversy on the subject. Breastfeeding is the healthiest and best choice for babies. There are no questions about it. Will a child survive on artificial milk? Certainly! But are there risks involved? Absolutely! And is it 100% safe? Absolutely NOT! Do a little research before you state your opinions as fact.

Me stating facts about the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks associated with formula feeding have NOTHING to to with postpartum depression. And as far as postpartum depression goes, guess what? You’re gonna LOVE this! Breastfeeding helps with that too!
See article here

The full study on it is found here.

In the future, try to refrain from lashing out at someone who is simply stating facts on a subject that upsets you. I seriously have done nothing wrong here. I am only trying to help educate and promote breastfeeding.

Love, peace and breastfeeding,
T

Prolacta Bioscience Introduces First Human Milk Fortifier Made from Human Milk

May 2, 2007 5 comments

Prolacta Bioscience announced today that it has developed a human milk fortifier product made from concentrated, pasteurized human donor milk.

MONROVIA, Calif. (PRWEB via PR Web Direct) January 19, 2006 — Prolacta Bioscience, a privately held company dedicated to ensuring the availability and safety of donor breast milk for babies, announced today that it has developed a human milk fortifier product made from concentrated, pasteurized human donor milk.

The fortifier product, called Prolact-Plus, is an alternative to the current fortifier products made from cow’s milk and used in the neonatal intensive care units. “The advantage of a human-origin fortifier is that very low birth-weight babies will receive their own mother’s milk fortified with human milk protein and added minerals. When these babies are fed exclusively on human milk, they are protected against a variety of harmful pathogens because their digestive system maintains a protective environment. When they receive foreign proteins, like cow’s milk, some of this protection is lost,” said Elena Medo, Prolacta’s CEO.

Prolacta maintains that a mother’s own milk is always the best, but if supply falls short, parents can request that donor milk be provided. “Mothers of preterm babies express their breast milk so they can give their babies the best possible chance for survival. But babies born weighing less than 1,500 grams often need higher levels of protein and minerals than are normally found in mother’s milk. We’re pleased to be able to deliver such a valuable therapy to benefit these critically ill preterm babies.”

In August 2005, Prolacta completed construction of the world’s first and only large scale human milk processing facility. Using modern pharmaceutical processing techniques, Prolacta has developed improved methods for all aspects of human milk testing and handling. “Neonatologists and neonatal nurses have very high expectations for safety and quality. We’ve worked hard to develop a process and product they can trust.” All Prolacta products bear a nutritional label and undergo rigorous safety and quality testing by outside laboratories prior to release.

About Prolacta
Prolacta Bioscience, headquartered in Monrovia, Calif., has developed improved methods for large-scale processing, formulation and testing of donor breast milk. The company received funding from DFJ/Frontier-Santa Barbara, Draper Associates-Menlo Park., Draper Richards-San Francisco, and the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation.

http://www.nurseuniverse.com/Nursing-Job/3313.html

How incredibly amazing! I think it it truly wonderful that our country is finally recognizing the dangers behind supplementing with non human milk. I feel it is vital that all babies, especially premature babies receive mothers milk and now mothers of preemies don’t have to hear the funk about how their milk doesn’t have enough protein to help the at risk child. It’s actually more important that preemies receive their mothers milk because they are at risk. And hopefully soon there will be no more instances of mothers walking into the NICU to see their child being artificially fed because they weren’t “making enough milk” or because the caloric value wasn’t great enough for the child. The breastfeeding community now has more support and recognition…now everyone else needs to jump on the wagon and support this health related issue.

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Breastfeed a Toddler – Why on Earth?

March 20, 2007 6 comments

An obviously uneducated (and childless) woman told me today that “normal society would view me as a pervert for continuing to nurse my 2 year old.” I am here to help educate ANY and EVERY one who remotely thinks there is anything valid about this accusation. Thanks for your time. Spread the news, so many individuals are misinformed, or not informed at all and are just speculating. If I myself weren’t overly knowledgeable on this topic, I may have questioned myself, oh but no way Jose, I know better!

http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/breastfeeding/a/bf_toddler.htm

Breastfeed a Toddler – Why on Earth?
Because more and more women are now breastfeeding their babies, more and more are also finding that they enjoy breastfeeding enough to want to continue longer than the usual few months they initially thought they would. UNICEF has long encouraged breastfeeding for two years and longer, and the American Academy of Pediatrics is now on record as encouraging mothers to nurse at least one year and as long after as both mother and baby desire. Even the Canadian Paediatric Society, in its latest feeding statement acknowledges that women may want to breastfeed for two years or longer. Breastfeeding to 3 and 4 years of age has been common in much of the world until recently, and it is still common in many societies for toddlers to breastfeed.

Why should breastfeeding continue past six months?

Because mothers and babies often enjoy breastfeeding a lot.
Why stop an enjoyable relationship?

But it is said that breastmilk has no value after six months.

Perhaps this is said, but it is wrong. That anyone can say such a thing only shows how ignorant so many people in our society are about breastfeeding. Breastmilk is, after all, milk. Even after six months, it still contains protein, fat, and other nutritionally important and appropriate elements which babies and children need. Breastmilk still contains immunologic factors that help protect the baby. In fact, some immune factors in breastmilk that protect the baby against infection are present in greater amounts in the second year of life than in the first. This is, of course as it should be, since children older than a year are generally exposed to more infection. Breastmilk still contains factors that help the immune system to mature, and which help the brain, gut, and other organs to develop and mature.

It has been well shown that children in daycare who are still breastfeeding have far fewer and less severe infections than the children who are not breastfeeding. The mother thus loses less work time if she continues nursing her baby once she is back at her paid work.

It is interesting that formula company marketing pushes the use of formula (a rather imperfect copy of the real thing) for a year, yet implies that breastmilk (from which the imperfect copy is copied) is only worthwhile for 6 months or even less (“the best nutrition for newborns”). Too many health professionals have taken up the refrain.

I have heard that the immunologic factors in breastmilk prevent the baby from developing his own immunity if I breastfeed past six months.

This is untrue; in fact, this is absurd. It is unbelievable how so many people in our society twist around the advantages of breastfeeding and turn them into disadvantages. We give babies immunizations so that they are able to defend themselves against the real infection. Breastmilk also allows the baby to be fight off infections. When the baby fights off these infections, he becomes immune. Naturally.

But I want my baby to become independent.

And breastfeeding makes the toddler dependent? Don’t believe it. The child who breastfeeds until he weans himself (usually from 2 to 4 years), is generally more independent, and, perhaps more importantly, more secure in his independence. He has received comfort and security from the breast, until he is ready to make the step himself to stop. And when he makes that step himself, he knows he has achieved something, he knows he has moved ahead. It is a milestone in his life.

Often we push children to become “independent” too quickly. To sleep alone too soon, to wean from the breast too soon, to do without their parents too soon, to do everything too soon. Don’t push and the child will become independent soon enough.

What’s the rush? Soon they will be leaving home. You want them to leave home at 14?

Of course, breastfeeding can, in some situations, be used to foster an overdependent relationship. But so can food and toilet training. The problem is not the breastfeeding. This is another issue.

What else?

Possibly the most important aspect of nursing a toddler is not the nutritional or immunologic benefits, important as they are. I believe the most important aspect of nursing a toddler is the special relationship between child and mother. Breastfeeding is a life affirming act of love. This continues when the baby becomes a toddler. Anyone without prejudices, who has ever observed an older baby or toddler nursing can testify that there is something almost magical, something special, something far beyond food going on. A toddler will sometimes spontaneously, for no obvious reason, break into laughter while he is nursing. His delight in the breast goes far beyond a source of food. And if the mother allows herself, breastfeeding becomes a source of delight for her as well, far beyond the pleasure of providing food. Of course, it’s not always great, but what is? But when it is, it makes it all so worthwhile.

And if the child does become ill or does get hurt (and they do as they meet other children and become more daring), what easier way to comfort the child than breastfeeding? I remember nights in the emergency department when mothers would walk their ill, non nursing babies or toddlers up and down the halls trying, often unsuccessfully, to console them, while the nursing mothers were sitting quietly with their comforted, if not necessarily happy, babies at the breast. The mother comforts the sick child with breastfeeding, and the child comforts the mother by breastfeeding.

Revised January 2000
Written by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC

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