Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

On today’s show I ran out of time before I ran out of things I wanted to talk about. So because I really wanted to talk about my favorite swim diapers and the other eco-friendly diapering options I’ve used when traveling, I’m writing a quick post.

I’ve tried several swim diapers and have two definite favorites.

Imse Vimse makes super cute patterns that pair nicely with swim shirts found online and in local stores here in Florida. (Because my kids are in the sun and in the water almost daily in the summer, we prefer swim shirts to swim suits anyway.) One aspect that’s really great about these diapers is the side snap on one side. This is great when you have a younger child who may have an accidental bowel movement while playing, because it’s easy to remove the diaper and clean up your child. It’s also great for kids transitioning to potty learning because the one-sided snap looks less like a diaper and helps give youngsters confidence of “real” swim suits. It fits trim like a swim suit bottom, with no extra bulk or elastic banding of some other versions.

Mother-Ease is my other favorite. This swim diaper has two separate layers- an outer layer with cute print options and an inner layer of mesh to contain solids. This one also fits trim, with no bulky fabric. The extra layer inside makes clean-up simple- just shake out the solids into the toilet and rinse the mesh in the sink or with a hose. This diaper has snaps on both sides and is ideal for younger children who are more likely to have bm’s while playing, but fits enough like a regular swim suit you may have to show the snaps to prove you’re complying with pool rules.

Here are a couple photos:

This photo shows a favorite Imse Vimse print we used.

Another cute print from Imse Vimse

This photo shows the inner lining I liked so much.

Another cute print from Mother-Ease.

If you are concerned about disposing of solids when you’re out at the beach or community pool, here are a few tips.

  • Plan ahead. Have an extra swim diaper to change your child into so cleaning the soiled one can be done at home.
  • Carry an extra wet bag, just in case.
  • Carry plastic or biodegradable bags. If you’re concerned that there will be nowhere to dispose of the solids (no restroom, etc) plan to shake solids into a bag and dispose in a trash can.

One last question I wanted to discuss- what about when you’re traveling?

While a lot of moms will continue to use cloth diapers and are able to access washing machines and dryers while away, this may not be the case for you. Or maybe you’re just rather not see that part of a cruise ship while you’re trying to enjoy time with your family. If that is the case, on several occasions we opted to use G-Diapers. This combination of flushable/biodegradable absorbent liner set inside a washable (and cute) reusable cover was a great combination.

After we returned home, we paired the covers with prefolds to make a completely washable/reusable diaper and didn’t have to continue to purchase their flushable liners. We’ve also shared these with other friends who have traveled, making an even greater reduction in the need for new materials.

Another hybrid option is the GroVia. I’ve seen these online but haven’t used them or seen them in person yet. If you’ve tried them, I’d love to know what you think. Add your comment below or email me directly (intentional birth (at) yahoo (dot) com.)

Cloth diapers reduce waste, can reduce your baby’s exposure to toxins, save you money, and when you’re finished you can pass them on the others- either via resale or on loan (if you’re like me and still haven’t given up on dreams of a future baby.)

Be sure to listen to the show replay here Introduction to Cloth Diapers if you haven’t checked it out yet. The information here is only what didn’t fit into the podcast, so there’s much more there including the answers to these frequently asked questions:

  • Why should you consider cloth diapers?
  • How much money can you save with cloth?
  • What are the different styles of cloth diapers?
  • What essentials do you need to buy to make it easier?
  • How do you care for cloth diapers?
  • How long do they last?
  • And more!

So download the podcast and let me know if you have questions or more tips to share with other moms!


Read Full Post »

Your life is super-busy. You may have heard about additives in food, pesticides, etc that make you wonder a little. But it seems so time consuming to figure it all out now. If you don’t have the time to sort it all out now, check out today’s show with Super Natural Mom(c) Beth Greer. She’ll be joining me at 1pm ET today to talk about her wake-up call and the steps she took that anyone can take (even busy moms) to improve their health and limit their exposure to harmful chemicals.

I’ve been on a quest for a long time to be more aware of my surroundings- to really understand the impact different choices have on my life. In my memory, the first book that made me really think was “8 Weeks to Optimum Health” by Andrew Weil. I learned about food coloring, high fructose corn syrup and trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils) and how these assaulted my system. That was 1995. It was more difficult back then to find processed foods with more natural ingredients. Now even my small town has a healthy market.

Somewhere along the way I learned about organics, reducing or eliminating animal products, genetically engineered foods, and labeling requirements (rather the LACK of labeling requirements). So we joined a local organic coop a few years ago and do our best to stick with organics and shop the local grocery store with Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” & “Clean 15” in mind.

We’ve eliminated most household cleaners in favor of vinegar and water. We keep trying different choices in dishwasher detergent, but haven’t had much success- but we’ll keep trying. For laundry soap, we use soap nuts (sustainably harvested) and occasionally a perfume and dye-free detergent. We’ve stopped using fabric softener at all (about 3 years ago) and the clothes still feel nice. I also use vinegar in the rinse cycle for some hot loads.

We don’t buy polyester pajamas for the kids- no matter how cute they are. I’m not willing to have my girls sleeping, curled up with a chemical flame retardant. We use other natural fiber PJ’s that don’t require additional chemical treatment. I expect as we replace worn mattresses, the new ones will be organic.

The whole family has been (nearly) water-only- meaning no shampoo- for 18 months or so. I was very skeptical about this- how would our hair get clean?! I was using spiking glue on my very short hair at the time. Would water actually get that out? It did- and now, in addition to being shampoo-free, I also don’t use conditioner because I don’t need it. I figured out a secret – shampoo is why I needed conditioner, because it stripped away the natural moisture in my hair. So I’m saving money, too!

There are other small changes- I go to CosmeticsDatabase.com before I buy makeup or creams or new/different bath soap, just to check out how the ingredients will possibly affect us. I use the EWG.org safe sunscreen guide and generally opt to go with the recommendation of long sleeves and a hat when we’re in the pool.

There are more small changes, but you get the idea. There are a lot more things I want to do, too.

This didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a process for over 15 years. But one small change at a time I became more prepared for the next change and the next. And now, with my girls and their health at stake, it’s even more important to me.

(If you miss the live show, you can download the podcast here.)

What changes have you made in your life? Do your thinking change once you became pregnant or now that you have children?

Read Full Post »

Today’s radio show will focus on information about circumcision that parents need to know- information that hopefully will help parents keep their newborn sons intact. The more I read, the more I hurt for baby boys (and girls) who are circumcised; and the more I hurt for parents who made the decision based on misinformation, cultural bias or blind trust in their doctor. Parents simply don’t choose to permanently injure their children without the belief that it will somehow help.

Here’s some info to get you started:

Although at one time it was only a religious rite, in the early 1900’s circumcision was promoted to eliminate or cure many diseases including hernia, nocturnal incontinence, prolapse of the rectum, syphilis, cancer, epilepsy, chorea, hysteria, and masturbation. These are the main “conditions” that moved circumcision into the medical realm. In our modern era, circumcision is not recommended by any medical or health association, although myths still circulate widely, many suggesting circumcision reduces risks for penile cancer, HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer in women, and urinary tract infection.

The most important fact to understand relating to these myths (once you get over the absurdity of some) is that not one of these conditions is caused by the foreskin or cured by circumcision. And for women- the fact that nuns have a similar rate of cervical cancer as sexually active women should be enough to conclude circumcision is irrelevant to that health concern.

With no medical reason to circumcise, most parents still need to be educated about reasons to leave children INTACT. Because currently parents in the US are from a generation of very high rates of infant circumcision, so many husbands/fathers and wives/mothers don’t know what the foreskin is for. Ignorance of what is missing, and the desire to see our bodies as ok and acceptable and same, is part of what propels tradition. To counter tradition and cultural bias, we need to learn the reasons to oppose tradition.

  1. The Foreskin is not a birth defect. It has a purpose and is necessary for normal sexual function and sensitivity. It protects the glans and maintains proper pH balance, moisture and cleanliness. The foreskin contains glands which produce antibacterial and antiviral proteins to defend against infections. In many ways, it works like the eyelids do to protect our eyes.
  2. Protect your child from needless pain. Even when anesthesia is used (which is not 100% of the time), babies feel an extraordinary amount of pain. Watch this video of a circumcision to understand how babies suffer.
  3. Children have the right to bodily integrity and can’t give informed consent. Parents don’t have the right to consent to surgical removal of healthy tissue for no medical reason. Men and women deserve to remain whole unless they choose to alter their own bodies. Legislation was passed banning Female Circumcision in the US in 1997, but similar protection for boys has not yet been passed.
  4. Long-term consequences, psychological and physical, have been identified including sexual dysfunction and impotence.

Parents and doctors can work together to eliminate this unnecessary surgery. Consider this: do you really want a doctor caring for you or your child who would needlessly (and for profit) remove any healthy organ from your baby- a kidney, for example- just because s/he can live without it? Should we remove the appendix at birth? Why not?

If doctors put the welfare of your baby first, they would find no practical or logical reason to remove the foreskin. So then, why do doctors perform this unnecessary surgery on babies?

Join me with Marilyn Milos on A Labor of Love at 1 p.m. today or catch the replay HERE.

A great resource for parents to understand current information applied to your specific questions is available at CircumcisionDecisionMaker.com. A list of resources is available HERE. You can also learn more by watching this video of Dr Dean Edell.

Your comments and stories are always welcome.

Read Full Post »

As much as I talk about myself, I know I don’t always often tell people much about my past. I don’t usually get down to the nitty-gritty especially when it’s a sensitive topic. I think I feel especially sensitive about a lot of my past. So today’s post may be a bit unusual, but I’m drawn to write it out anyway.

Today marks the 19-year anniversary of a car accident that claimed the lives of my parents. I was 17, nearly 18, so this particular anniversary means more of my life has now been lived without my parents, than with them.

Here is the story of that day:

We were visiting University of North Carolina, Greensboro. (I had applied based in part on an areal view of the campus- all that green drew me in.) I’d been accepted and offered an academic scholarship, so we were going through the motions of making the final decision. But it had really been made, because without a scholarship, I knew we couldn’t afford college.

We had toured the campus with our separate groups (kids with kids, parents with parents) and then run into each other in the quad- when each of us were supposed to be listening to some lecture inside and instead decided to duck out and explore. This apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, I guess. We wandered around together, and all knew it was the right place. We went out to dinner to celebrate.

On the way back from dinner, after getting off the interstate, my dad made a wrong turn at a confusing intersection. He incorrectly turned across another lane exiting from the highway. Our car was broadsided by the rig of a tractor-trailer. I remember seeing the headlights and then waking up with a blooming Forsythia coming in my window. The car had been catapulted across the road and down an embankment.

When emergency personnel arrived, they asked me to wiggle my fingers and toes. Neither of my parents were conscious. My mother died in the car. I remember the EMT checking her pulse and speaking with someone outside the car, saying she had died. I don’t think they were going to tell me. I started to scream and cry. It just couldn’t be happening! How could this be happening? (I still wonder sometimes.)

My dad and I were transported to a local hospital. He died within a couple of hours. I was badly injured but was able to give the emergency phone number that had been drilled into me since I was a little kid (our neighbors, who were also my parents best friends.) My brother and sister were at home in Pennsylvania. Someone had to tell them what had happened. My sister was 19, my brother 22.

It took a long time to really absorb that they had died. I was in denial for a long time, a really long time- with occasional breakdowns in between. I made it look like I was moving on. Appearances were very important to me back then. Everyone else’s life went on and I felt like mine had been irreparably broken. After 6 months people stopped asking how I was- so I figured I was supposed to be ok by then. I didn’t want people to know I wasn’t ok. I didn’t want them to think there was something wrong with me, that I wasn’t better yet. And I wasn’t anywhere even close to better. I was broken.

It took years to get my life on the inside shaped like a life I wanted to live. Even after I met and married my husband, I hadn’t healed completely. But when my daughter was born, something inside me shifted. I realized the love I felt for her, how powerful it was. I knew in a way no one could have explained that love was more powerful than anything else- even death.

Becoming a wife with my parents absent, becoming a mother without my mom around to help- these were bigger challenges than I knew going in. I still find it hard to explain sometimes when people tell us we should get away for the weekend & leave the kids with our parents. (Jim’s mom died shortly after we were married.)

Every day is not a struggle like it once was. But some days, and some milestones, are hard- even after all these years.

What I am most grateful for within this experience is that I know better than to let issues with friends go unresolved, thinking to take care of it later. I don’t wait for the right time to apologize. And although I do wonder and worry sometimes about what people think, I know there isn’t enough time to please everyone- so I listen to my heart.

I’m glad to have found my heart again. I’m glad it wasn’t broken beyond repair. I’m amazed at how much love is birthed with such a tiny baby. And I’m more than grateful to understand the gift I’ve received.

Read Full Post »

I used the title “vaccination question” because I don’t consider it a debate. We don’t debate with people outside our family about where we’re going on vacation, whether the kids should go to school or homeschool, or what to have for dinner, even when we receive suggestions, insight, and/or helpful information from others. We take in the information, discuss it, research it more sometimes, and make the choices we feel are right for our family.

We think every family has this right. And I don’t like the notion that some doctors don’t like to discuss all information available about vaccines (and what information is not available) because they are afraid parents won’t make the decision the doctor wants them to make. A big part of my skepticism is that information about risks wasn’t discussed in mainstream medicine until Autism questions forced it into the open. And even if Autism is not caused by vaccines, there are other risks that I was never warned about before vaccinating my older daughter as an infant.

No one said anything about risk – until I met a woman with a vaccine-injured child. She talked about it- you can imagine she talked about it a lot. And I discovered I had a lot of questions that I didn’t know to ask when we first chose to vaccinate. We stopped any vaccination for our oldest after 12 months, declining MMR and Chickenpox at the 12 month visit. (Our younger child has had none.)

Then I started to research online. What I found was that some diseases do pose a serious risk to some children/people- that it’s hard to define who will be affected most seriously. That wasn’t really surprising. And I read about the serious risks of vaccines for some people- and that it’s equally difficult to determine which people will have a serious reaction. I also found that other parents were upset and nervous about vaccinating; about not vaccinating; about the risks to their children from vaccines, from disease, from un-vaccinated children.

As parents we can only make decisions based on the information available. We simply don’t know what we don’t know. My reasons for currently not vaccinating are many. Among them is the idea that I believe the potential risk of damage by vaccines (not just immediate, but long-term health consequences) is greater than the risk of my children suffering long-term damage from illnesses vaccines were created to prevent.

Are there consequences I haven’t considered? Possibly. I’m willing to listen if you have a story to tell me or information to offer. I know I don’t know everything there is to possibly know about vaccines. So if you’ve got something to share, please do.

Incidentally, we were exposed to chicken-pox last week and are waiting for the arrival of spots. Each day, I check the kids and nothing yet. I’ve picked up a homeopathic remedy to use if/when the spots appear and I’m expecting that we’ll go stir crazy in the house before long. (But we may also get some needed organization and laundry done along the way to crazy.)

I’ve still got a lot of questions about vaccination. So on Monday (at 1pm ET) I’m interviewing Barbara Loe Fisher from the National Vaccine Information Center. You can access the show here. You can also call in with questions during the live show, but if you want to simply provide your opinion, I respectfully request you do so here, so that we can have as many questions answered as possible during the hour-long show.

Read Full Post »

Women experience birth. Every life experience leaves an imprint. It’s really that simple.

The experience of birthing a new life (vaginal or c-section) can have a profound impact on the woman. It can be as much of a life-changing event as parenting a new baby. For some, birth results in a new awareness, confidence and purpose. And for some, it can mean insecurity, depression, and fear.

Giving birth- especially the first time- is a pivotal point in a woman’s life. She is transforming from woman to mother. She is often confronted during pregnancy with fears and insecurities about being a good mom, knowing how to respond to her baby’s cues, and wondering how life will change.

And anyone with children knows that life will most certainly change, in many wonderful ways.

The process of giving birth- the birth experience- can impact women positively or negatively based on the woman’s perception of what happened. What many care providers see as routine, women are experiencing for the first time. Because labor and birth is largely hidden from our modern society, women have their own expectations as they approach motherhood. And many expectations are based on individual factors like self-image, education, self-confidence, and the experience of autonomy women enjoy in our contemporary culture.

I have heard first-hand from women who were so traumatized by the birth of their first child that they are purposely preventing pregnancy, even though they once dreamed of many children. I read online the blogs and stories of women coerced into submitting to interventions they initially refused, trying to figure out how to advocate for their children, when they were not able to stand up for themselves.

So what happened?

In a nutshell (and in my opinion, of course) women don’t expect the world to be turned upside down because they are pregnant. If a woman generally makes her own decisions in her life, she expects to continue making her own decisions during pregnancy and labor.

Women expect, and rightly so, that being intelligent, autonomous persons, they will be permitted (and expected) to make their own healthcare decisions, even during labor. They believe that trusting their care provider equates to being cared for. Why would a doctor or midwife attempt to manipulate or rush labor? Certainly these professionals have enough experience to understand labor can occur any time of day (or night) and last as long as it will?

The relationships women form with their providers are often based on assumption, because communication is often difficult during 5 minute appointments. But women have reason to feel confident about asserting their right to informed refusal. They are often educating themselves during pregnancy, reading books that help prepare them, mind and body, for birth. Armed with information about possible complications and procedures, they expect to discuss benefits and risks with their provider if circumstances warrant.

And when situations arise, in the office or in the hospital, where the woman’s voice is ignored, where she is discouraged from asking questions, where she is told she is endangering her baby (selfish, bad mother!), where she is manipulated or coerced in submitting to procedures or tests… then she is upside-down.

The world has suddenly shifted and she’s lost the ground. All her life, she’s been told to speak up, ask questions, try harder, think smarter. Now she’s been told she’s a bad mother for expecting to have a say about her own body.

When women with stories like these speak up, they are often told to get over it; that they are making a big deal over nothing; that they are scare-mongering other women; that they are selfish for wanting to feel whole AND have a healthy baby. (And this time, it’s usually other women/mothers calling her selfish!)

Every pregnant woman wants a healthy baby. And it’s ok to want that.

But when you say a healthy baby is ALL that matters, you disregard the mother. Mothers matter too.

Mothers want to feel cared for during pregnancy AND BIRTH.

Mothers deserve to make their own healthcare decisions- even during labor.  (Are other patients also treated with disrespect when they decline routine, but often unnecessary, tests and procedures?) Mothers deserve clear communication and to be approached with respect, as living, thinking, feeling human beings. Women are trusting midwives and doctors (and L&D nurses too) to provide safe care- to hold this trust, and help us be active participants in our care so we are making informed choices for ourselves (powerful, not powerless!)

And when women are offered a relationship of trust and care, when they are afforded the respect to make choices, when they are encouraged to trust themselves during birth, often they learn they are capable of amazing things- including mothering.

Mothering relies heavily on following your instincts. Babies don’t come with instructions and we all worry about knowing what to do. Having a birth experience where you trust yourself can give you confidence to trust yourself to meet your baby’s needs when s/he is born.

If you have experienced birth trauma, you are welcome to comment here about your experience. Also be sure to check out today’s episode of A Labor of Love for more information.

Read Full Post »

I read a fabulous post today on keeping children intact- choosing NOT to circumcise. This is an upcoming topic for the radio show and in the meantime, readers can click here to read an especially important post on Dr. Momma’s Peaceful Parenting Blog.

Thanks for an educational post with information parents need to make decisions that support children. Because the choices we make for our kids DO matter, especially when the implications are life-long. And with solid information, it’s easier to stand apart from the crowd.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »