Monday, January 30, 2012

INFORMED Decisions

Lately I have come up with opposition about virtually every choice I make for my kids. If it is not mainstream parenting, it means I am automatically wrong. Well, lets go into that a little bit. I will break it down by every thing I get opposition on. First of all, the biggie, co-sleeping. Yes, my kids sleep in the same bedroom. My daughter sleeps in her toddler bed right next to our bed and Ronin sleeps in our bed.

OH NO! She is next to our bed in her own bed! She is magically some how broken now! What ever have I done wrong? Oh, wait, nothing. She is perfectly happy and healthy and confident. 

Ronin on the other hand, he sleeps in the same bed as us. Uh oh, we have wronged him. 

We have wronged him yet he is always smiling and happy, and has been sleeping through the night since he was 2 weeks old. This is some how wrong? I don't know about some of you, but I thoroughly enjoy sleep, and my two kids do just that and very well! 

Granted, there are some incidents with some families who co-sleep incorrectly resulting in death. As with anything, guidelines have to be followed. No drug use, no drinking, no fluffy pillows, and preferably no other children in the same bed, and if there are (my daughter climbs into our bed and lays next to my husband), make sure they are separated. Not so difficult right? 

What are the pros to co sleeping you ask? Based on scientific proof, just a couple things, here are some. Babies sleep more peacefully when next to their parents. A more stable physiology, meaning a baby's heart rhythm and temperatures are more stable and sort of sync up with the mothers. Decreased risk of SIDS, WHAT? How could it be! Some say SIDS is attributed to a breathing disorder that has gone un-diagnosed because it is not a foreseeable issue. Think about it this way, a baby who is sleeping in a crib in another room is more likely to die of whatever reason because a parent cannot get to them fast enough. If something were to happen to one of my children, I am right there. I can take whatever measures possible to correct the issue. It takes a second for a baby to stop breathing. Can you reach your baby fast enough? Moving on, co-sleeping leads to higher self-esteem, less anxious, and more confident children. Sounds terrible. There are more death related incidents in cribs than co-sleeping. Again, the whole distance thing would seem to play a part in that. Still think I am wrong? Oh well, to each their own. For those who wonder, well what about your sex life? Well, we have two kids that are only 19 months a part... no need to go into any more detail on that! 

The next issue, select/delayed vaccinations are a big one too that I am told I am wrong on. All I have to say is go look at the ingredients in a vaccine (some include aluminum, dead fetal tissue, and mercury). This is what you want to inject into your kids? The CDC provides the side effects of the vaccines we give our children on their web page, some of which range from a mild fever reaction all the way to a permanent blood disorder and death in some cases. My children are not in daycare and should not be getting a disease that has a vaccination  from children who are vaccinated. Right? Those vaccines are after all a guarantee a child cannot get pertussis or measles. 

What else do I do wrong? Oh, my son is not circumcised. Despite there being no medical evidence at all suggesting this is necessary, people actually claim a baby has a high chance of infection. This is only true if the foreskin is forcibly retracted. You see, pulling back the foreskin to clean it is a myth. The skin is there as a protector and needs nothing more than a wipe down. Not to mention, when a baby boy is circumcised, he loses 20,000 plus nerve endings that cause less sensation in the penis during sexual activity. The penis retracts naturally on its own and does not need to be done manually. Typically speaking, if another boy were to comment on an uncircumcised boy's penis, people may question his sexuality. Girls are turned off by it? So what? My son will not have to worry about being in relationships with girls who will judge him. Good. He will also be taught that abstinence is best as will my daughter when the time comes. 

Extended breastfeeding: I breastfed my daughter for 14 months and I am extremely proud of myself for not using formula. My son has not had a drop of formula and will remain breastfed until at least the age of 2. Why not breastfeed? Breast cancer is reduced the longer a woman breastfeeds. That alone seems to be worth it to me! There are a lot of myths involved with breastfeeding, too many actually to list. Babies receive vital nutrients from breast milk whether they are a newborn drinking colostrum to a 3 year old who is still nursing. Giving your kid the best for as long as possible is extremely valuable. 

Since we are on the topic of breastfeeding, what exactly is wrong with the pictures above? Can you see my nipples? Am I revealing any more than something one would see in a Maxim or well, even on the news? Nope! So those comments saying women need to cover up, or go to the bathroom, or do it at home, or bring a bottle, whatever the excuse it for narrow mindedness, its unnecessary. To those thoughts, are you going to eat in the bathroom or if you get hungry, wait until you are home? You did not bring food with you? Better bring a snack because you should not be allowed to eat either. Breasts are not a sexual object, they are for the nourishment of a child. Society has made breastfeeding out to be some horrific act that needs to be hidden. It doesn't. I thought women should take a bottle or cover up with my daughter, what a skewed view to have. My child will get food whenever and wherever we are, covered or not. Sorry if you are uncomfortable, close your eyes or walk away. 

 We are also told rear facing our car seat will make for a boring ride for the kids. Well, so? There are height and weight limits on car seats for a reason. There is no real reason to front face a child before those limits, what would be the point in not using the car seat until the recommended time? Studies prove a child is safest rear facing by up to 500%. Questions I hear, it's boring back there, why wouldn't you forward face so they can see? Answer I give, well, if we are in an accident, I would rather my child have a broken leg than a broken neck. Or, she (my daughter) is too tall and has to scrunch her knees up... Fact is, a child's legs are actually more flexible and can be comfortable in those positions. She is also properly placed into her car seat. The chest clip is always at her chest and not near her belly, the straps are not twisted or loose. She fits perfectly into her car seat. Why do we spend so much money on a car seat? Because my children's lives are priceless. That seems pretty obvious. 

My question to everyone who does not like my choices... how does it affect you? Do my informed decisions strike a nerve because you do things the way all mainstream families do them? 


Friday, December 16, 2011

Our Home Birth Experience

As we woke up on Sunday morning, just a typical morning like all others since I went past 40 weeks pregnant, never thought a whole lot of it until I started having some slight contractions around 4pm or so. At this point, I was at 41 weeks and 2 days, just past my due date. Needless to say, I was getting a little concerned as we could not wait around forever before Ronin decided to make his entrance into the world, also there are health risks involved that I was not willing to take, but we just waited it out. Home birth was our decision and we wanted to stick to that.

After hearing from a few people say nipple stimulation works to induce labor and I was getting desperate, I figured why not, nothing else did! So around 730pm that night, I tried it for about 10 minutes and again around 10pm. Well, after 7 minutes I had to stop the second time around because these contractions were not stopping and they were STRONG and felt a whole lot like real contractions (not Braxton hicks). After maybe an hour of these not stopping and getting stronger and closer together I texted my midwife Stephanie, who lives in Elgin (same city we are in at the time) letting her know that the contractions are starting and are getting stronger but I would not continue to bother her anymore unless they got worse. Well, sure enough around 12am CT they got worse so I sent her another message, good thing I decided to call after no answer too because the message never went through the second time around. I believe her and Karen showed up around 145-2am CT and the contractions were still coming, harder and stronger still. I went to sit in a warm bath just because it was hurting to the point I felt like I was dying! Alex kept trying to rub my back and asking if I was still having strong contractions as I sat in the bath tub rolling around like a beached whale. There was no comfort to be had at this point.

We left the bathroom, went back down stairs, and laid on the couch with my butt up in the air and my face pushed up against the arm rest. I think I got loud at some point because Stephanie came in when I started crying saying I can not do this anymore it hurts so bad. She assured me that I could. For some strange reason, I believed her! Well, she was right! Not too much after this, I said I think its about time to push, and the pool needs to be filled.

Alex and his mom went to go fill the tub but only got it filled about a 3rd of the way because things were happening so quickly at this point. When I started pushing around I believe 345am CT, it felt like a TON of relief! There was no more real pain anymore. After pushing for what seemed like a long time, we went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet pushing some more. These were some pretty intense contractions and a lot of really hard pushing, enough to where my water broke. Alex was still pushing on my back and that was the only relief I felt for quite a while!

This became my next position. Except when I ended up actually having him, my knees were up and I was holding on to my legs (as well as Alex). Eventually, in this position, his head finally started to come out and Karen told me to feel my baby. I was a little turned off by this, but did it anyway, what the heck, why not! How awesome! He was right there! Only a few more pushes and he was completely out and in the world!

Finally, at 603 am CT on Dec. 5th 2011, my baby boy was here! He was placed promptly into my arms and not taken away for over an hour. It was amazing! Truly the best thing we as a couple has ever experienced is the blessing of our two children being born and without any complications.

Ronin Alexander weighed in at 9 lbs 14 oz and he is 21.5 inches long. Yes, much larger than I had ever thought! Still perfect in every single way! He started off nursing like a pro and has continued ever since. We had a long time of skin to skin contact which was awesome. This is definitely something women do not get enough of in the hospital.

Its been 11 days since Ronin was born and each day that goes by makes me think of his birth and how amazing it really was. As a friend said, it was healing after having a hospital birth. My midwife Stephanie and nurse Karen were fabulous. Hopefully some day we will be able to do this again. 

My Loves!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Parenting: Typical Job or Amazing new Life

Over the past 10 months I have noticed how my methods of parenting are vastly different than that of others. At first when I had my daughter I was a little nervous because I had no idea what to expect. As the days and months went on, everything seemed to just fall into place. My methods along with a few good friends are totally different than the "typical" style of raising a child. Some seem to think raising children is a job. Almost to the point of coming off with the attitude that it is really not a job they particularly like doing. I am not saying my way is better, just different.

I would like to point out the differences between an "alternative" parenting style and a "typical" parenting style. Perhaps we will start by defining each. An "alternative" parenting style would include things like cloth diapering, co-sleeping, baby wearing, extended breastfeeding (past 6 months), selecting vaccines more cautiously, and parenting in a more peaceful way. Now, in a "typical" parenting style, children are placed in a crib right after birth, cry it out methods are used, disposable diapers, feeding on a schedule, breastfeeding until 6 weeks than onto formula, and getting all the shots at the doctors office.

From the day my daughter was born, we co-slept. She has been breastfed up to this point, we use cloth diapers, I make her baby food, I do research on the vaccines she receives, I wear her as long as it does not break my back, and there is no way in the world I would let her cry for an extended period of time. To me crying is a sign something is wrong or the baby simply wants to be comforted. Perhaps my ideas are wrong, I am a new mother after all...

Parents need a baby sitter every now and then, that is a given. My husband and I rearranged our entire work schedules so we did not use a daycare or a babysitter. My thinking is why pay a babysitter or daycare to watch my child? I went part time and Alex goes to work 2 hours after I get home.

"Typical" parents use a babysitter any time they go out. Taking the kids out to eat is just too much of a hassle. Again, like a job or something that is a major inconvenience.

Co-sleeping makes children more comfortable and secure because they know they are loved. Baby wearing also makes children seem more secure.

I try to observe other parents and how they raise their children. Some do a fantastic job as "typical" parents, others I question why they have children if those kids are such a burden.

When I hear people say I was up all day with the kids and I am sleep deprived, I need a baby sitter so I can take a nap. It really kind of irritates me. My husband is with my daughter while I am at work, and after that, I am with her. I like my free time, but I certainly would rather be around my daughter a lot more than I value my time alone. She is my life! I love her and my husband more than anything.

What sense does it make to let a child sit there and cry because a parent is cleaning? There are so many different types of wraps and carriers one can use to carry that child around with them, which would probably make the kid happy to begin with.

Making our children happy and confident will make them do better later in life! From my time as a mother, I have done the very best I could for my daughter and I feel everything we have done to this point has been nothing more than natural and the best for her.

Sunday, February 13, 2011