Saturday, May 16, 2015

How to remove toxins and properly bond for a natural, connected waterbirth

By now, you've probably seen Healthy Home Economist's sensationalist article on how waterbirths destroy children's guts and should be avoided. It's fascinating to me, really, because she spends a lot of time focusing on the concern of chlorine/chloramine treated tap water. Which, unless you avoided bathing in this and drinking this from 3 months pre-conception to the time of birth, means you have already altered your baby's microbiome. Why talk about the issue of chlorinated drinking and bathing water, but then blame the water birth after 9+ months of chlorine exposure in food, tap water, bathing, swimming, disposable paper products, etc?

Don't get me wrong. I feel I'm actually one of the few people who has piped up about the severe concern of halogen compound exposure in our environment. I even wrote a little brochure about it, and I have made the tough assertion that several chronic illnesses such as lyme and EDS are caused or worsened by dioxins. I think awareness is lacking, and that halogen compounds are the big kahuna being ignored.

Anyways, that aside, her article prompted me to put together some basics that I've shared about waterbirth before, as a proactive way of preparing for a natural birth that is low in toxins and that promotes physiologically normal bonding.

Here are some of the things I've done to prepare for my births that address halogen compound exposure, contaminant exposure, and bonding concerns:

1. Look for a PVC-free pool. Women are creative when it comes to birth pools. Choose what suits your needs, but take a quick look to make sure it's low in toxins. Same goes for pool liners if you're going to use one. Do not use cheap materials, such as remodeling/paint liners found in hardware stores, industrial containers, or low end animal troughs.

You can also prepare the birth pool if it is new by opening it up and placing it outside in the sunlight (think indirect if you get strong sun, don't damage it!) Spray distilled white vinegar evenly on the surface to help the offgassing. Those new plastic smells should slowly dissipate. Rinse the pool thoroughly before bringing it inside to use.

If you're using a permanent pool such as your jacuzzi or hot tub, research your options for pre-cleaning. You might be able to chemically clean it, then rinse it and fill it with filtered water just for the birth.

2. Purchase a lead-free hose and connectors. Surprisingly, a lot of people don't know about this one. Make sure the hose you buy specifies lead-free. Don't use any cheaper, older or soldered/previously soldered connectors that might also contain questionable ingredients. Another one that might not occur to parents while rushing around during a birth: rinse the hose out first before putting it into the birth pool to remove any manufacturing contaminants.

3. Water treatment. Research the various options on how to treat your water and decide which one will work for you. Boiling water and letting it stand in the birth pool will remove the majority of chlorine/chloramines....into the air. So as the birth pool is being filled and then while it stands for 5-10 minutes, you can labor in another room. Briefly ventilating the birth room after the pool is filled will clear out any concerning air. You can also use portable dechlorinating tabs and filters. And/or a filter that connects to the hose.

Reverse osmosis or steam distillation will remove the most contaminants from your water. You don't have to purchase an expensive whole-house system. Smaller systems can cost $200. But, a smaller undermount or counter top machine will take much longer to fill the pool. A combination of boiling water and filling from the reverse osmosis system can be the most reasonable method.

It's important to note that this issue is one you can certainly address, but it is not a huge, scary issue. The studies discussing chlorine exposure are talking about extended exposure in chlorinated pools. Not bathing or drinking tap water. Although I also easily address this topic in our own home with a reverse osmosis filter and dechlorinating filters for the bath faucets, this is not a deal breaking topic.

Stop and think about the way you are being manipulated to feel when it comes to worrying about waterbirth. How do you think the surfaces in a hospital are cleaned? What products and what water source do you use to clean your bedsheets, your towels, and your home for a land-homebirth? If you're feeling really scared or upset by the HHE article, take a deep breath and do an actual risk assessment, along with reviewing your many options.

Preparing the pvc-free pool with boiled water.
It's also being filled with a lead-free hose and reverse osmosis system.
Placed next to the patio door, the room was quickly and conveniently ventilated.

4. Use additives with caution. If someone is concerned about bacterial growth, standing water, if the pool becomes contaminated in some way, then empty it, clean it and refill it. Do not try to create your own shock treatment with bleach, ammonia, or other chemicals. And that includes essential oils.

I have heard a few accounts now of birth pools being shocked with heavy duty essential oils. Essential oils are wonderful, but also powerful. At high levels, they can also harm healthy gut bacteria. Some of the powerful antibacterial ones are also potentially unsafe for birth and definitely unsafe for newborns.

Also be sure to ventilate the room briefly again if diffusing essential oils for the mama, to ensure that once the baby arrives, he is not exposed. Sniffing direct from the bottle might be the most contained method to use for birth.

5. Avoid interrupting bonding. Although interruption can occur with other birth methods, due to the wet environment and concerns about temperature regulation, these interruptions might be more prominent with waterbirths. And this might also explain why some mothers, such as HHE, feel that waterbirth somehow harmed their children. Ensure that your birth team is educated on how to protect the bonding process after birth in a water environment. This means things such as:

  • Warm unscented towels in the dryer and place them over both the parent and the baby, not between the parent and the baby. 
  • Avoid submerging the baby's body or attempting to wash the baby in the pool.
  • Avoid "hatting" or placing a hat on the baby's head, which might interrupt sensory bonding.
  • Remember to rub in the vernix, and do not roughly scrub the baby dry with a towel.
  • Don't encourage the mom to separate and take a shower with scented products soon after birth. 
  • Don't encourage the baby to get bathed in a separate bath soon after birth, and certainly not with scented products.
  • Avoid scented products on the birth team, and avoid using fragrances and air fresheners during/after the birth. Birth can come with strong smells, like being in the woods. If this is uncomfortable for the birthing mother, opening a window for fresh air is helpful. Don't start misting stuff everywhere! Including essential oils!
Notice the towel is over BOTH mama and baby.
Baby is not submerged.
Mama's chest is not submerged.
6. Remember to stay together. Another reason some moms might attribute waterbirth to problems with breastfeeding is the interruption that occurs soon after birth. Once the baby is born, usually the mom cradles her baby on or near her chest in the birth pool for a few minutes. But, inevitably, they need to get out of the pool. This is when her birth team might unknowingly cause problems. As the mom and baby leave the pool, they must be moved to a safe, calm area where they can remain together and continue the physiological bonding process. The baby should stay in her (or her partner's) arms. No one should remove the baby, wash the baby, dress the baby, or leave the room with the baby. Now is not the time for the mom to spend a long time showering and dressing. If the mom is hungry, food should be brought to her.

There is something about this critical stage that is easily altered without anyone noticing. This golden hour is interrupted in key ways with waterbirths. A good birth supporter must have a trained eye for this moment and take steps to keep the mom and baby together, naked, undisturbed, and prepared for breast exploration and the breast crawl. 

Interruption occurs with other kinds of births. But, the problem here is that the brief time spent in the birth pool is often logged as the bonding time. When it is not. So once the mom leaves the pool, it accidentally represents a transition or milestone, when in reality, it is not and the mom and baby must still continue bonding.

Mama moved right out of the pool and onto
a designated bonding space. No hat, no clothing, no showering.

7. Vernix. Contrary to the fear in HHE's article, vernix is not water-soluble. That would be laughable, seeing as how the baby is submerged in fluids for months. Vernix has immune properties that are very important and I've always shared about that aspect. To claim that waterbirth destroys vernix and makes the neonate susceptible to halogen compound exposure or contaminant exposure is simply not supported by the scientific evidence. This idea shows a lack of understanding when it comes to birthing in water, along with a lack of understanding about vernix.

Vernix has many overlapping functions. It directly assists the baby in countless ways during the pregnancy and during transition from the womb to earthside. (You can read all about vernix here.)

The baby swallows it during pregnancy, which helps to develop the gut microbiome.
It has innate immune properties to help protect the baby.
It is a thermal (temperature) regulating substance.
It encourages proper skin growth.

Most importantly, and the part that seems to be missing in the waterbirth fearmongering:
As a layer on the skin, it provides a hydrophobic barrier. Translation: it is water resistant.
The brief time it takes to gently bring your baby up to your chest after passing through about 18 inches of already offgassed water is not destroying guts and ruining lives. I'm not sure how to put it in a nice way, but that idea is ignorance and total bullshit.

Bottom line: if you are freaking out because you think birthing in water will somehow destroy your child's immune system and breakdown a substance that humans have used successfully for thousands of years, don't. Take a deep breath, go through your preventative checklist with your birth team, and then relax. Waterbirth has some specifics that need to be addressed, but they aren't insurmountable or inherent issues. They are concerns that can be easily rectified ahead of time.

With all the potential benefits of waterbirth such as reduced pain, increased movement, relieving pressure and weight on the mom's joints and ligaments, bonding with her partner and children during birth, etc, it would be a shame if a mom discarded this option out of unwarranted concerns about halogen compounds and a misunderstanding of vernix.

Here comes the baby right out of the water...covered in vernix.
Photo submitted by Hethir Songstad.

It appears that the highly toxic tapwater did
not impede any vernix here!
Photo submitted by Sarah Durso.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Religion of Anti-Science Fanaticism

I've said it before and will say it again. We all need to work together to call people out when they toss around the term "anti-science" or when they claim they "believe in the science." For too long, we have accepted the misapplication of this anti-science term instead of rightly questioning those throwing it around.

  1. "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment."

Employees in the health field (licensed doctors, nurses, researchers, etc) are not "science." They are people, yes, mere humans! And they have gone through standardized education and training to perform basic duties. Duties you can perform, too. They are not the only people who can learn about the world around us. And they are not the ultimate authority on a world we are still learning more about daily.

Science is a particular method of study. Not a group of people. Not a majority rule. Not a community that all agrees on one idea. Not an ultimate truth.

This science is also continually challenged, improved, and altered as people gain more knowledge and continue to explore our world. Remember the infamous Dr. Semmelweis who attempted to convince doctors to wash their hands and instruments to save women from childbed fever?

"What Semmelweis had discovered is something that still holds true today: Hand-washing is one of the most important tools in public health. It can keep kids from getting the flu, prevent the spread of disease and keep infections at bay. You'd think everyone would be thrilled. Semmelweis had solved the problem! But they weren't thrilled. For one thing, doctors were upset because Semmelweis' hypothesis made it look like they were the ones giving childbed fever to the women."

If you believe "science" is already determined, and is merely about majority consensus, you are actually referring to religion.

If you believe a potential finding in scientific studies, or hypotheses presented by scientists are unquestionably true, you are actually talking beliefs.

If you believe in this concept of science above all else, and cannot consider criticism or permit this science to be challenged or questioned, then you are following dogma.

If you believe all people must follow this science without doubting or searching for more answers, you are demanding an act of faith.

If you believe that the amount of science you have at your hands right now is the ultimate knowledge, and that all people must be compelled through peer pressure or laws to follow this science, you are attempting to make our country a theocracy.

"Theocracy is a form of government in which clergy (doctors) have sovereignty over a territory (medicine) and official policy is either governed by officials regarded as divinely guided, (from dogmatic science) or is pursuant to the doctrine of a particular religion or religious group (pharmaceutical company and lobbying groups)."

What is real science? What does it mean to be pro-science? Who is supporting scientific exploration?

People who QUESTION current beliefs are pro-science.

People who want to EXPAND knowledge about our world are scientists.

People who FIGHT for ethical, empirical experiments are fighting for science.

People who DOUBT hypotheses and OFFER alternative ideas are encouraging scientific progress.

Those who question, those who want more investigation, those who want all aspects acknowledged, those who show caution about human rights violations or show concern for how our world might be hurt... Those people are the farthest from anti-science. So, who is actually anti-science?

Does anyone these days even remember these issues? Xrays during pregnancy? Thalidomide?
Cytotec after c-sections? Have we forgotten the numerous experiments on impoverished
cultures, on inmates, on children? Are we just ignoring serotype replacement, antibiotic
resistance, epigenetic mutations? Faith cannot save us from human error and greed.

"Nevertheless, in many U.S. hospitals today, the management of labor and delivery doesn’t look very evidence-based. Many well-intentioned obstetricians still employ technological interventions that are scientifically unsupported or that run counter to the evidence of what is safest for mother and child... These problematic motivators are not unique to obstetrics, but obstetrics seems to be particularly resistant to the evidence..."

People who want to SILENCE opposing voices are anti-science.

People who HARASS, BULLY, or THREATEN those who question are anti-science.

People who CONFUSE fanaticism with science, who confuse profit with ethics, who confuse advances with empirical development, are anti-science.

People who SUPPORT a government operating as a theocracy based on dogma are anti-science.

People try to FORCE others to follow an outdated, unproven, unethical medical program are religious fanatics.

are anti-science.

When you use the anti-science label, apply it where it belongs. And if you see someone using it inaccurately, correct them. People can and do change when presented with information.

"More recent health care provider graduates had 15% decreased odds of believing vaccines are efficacious compared to graduates from a previous 5 year period; had lower odds of believing that many commonly used childhood vaccines were safe; and 3.7% of recent graduates believed that immunizations do more harm than good. Recent health care provider graduates have a perception of the risk-benefit balance of immunization, which differs from that of their older counterparts."

Related reading...

STOP! Are you debating with a narcissist?

Custom medicine for your child.
Here and here.

Do you have blind faith?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What everyone missed about stranger abductions: natural boundaries

I've been reading both sides since the "stranger abduction experiment" video went viral. I was sad to see more pleas for anxiety and helicopter parenting. But, I was also disappointed with much of the response from the free range community, too.

One article on the free range website attempted to claim the children were taken easily since the man talked to the parents and the children thought it was a safe situation. Well, of course! That's called grooming and it's not a defense for free range parenting, it's a very serious and commonly used technique to break down natural boundaries in children and gain control of them. I wonder if the person who wrote that free range article even knew this?

Here's a thought no one wants to discuss. It's not politically correct, and most people would rather choose to feel offended by this thought instead of delving deeper. It doesn't apply to EVERY SINGLE child out there, but in general, it holds true.

Those young children walked off with the man and his puppy because they aren't attached to primary caregivers and their natural boundaries have been broken down repeatedly from infancy onwards. They are used to random adults invading their private space and telling them what to do, including taking their hands and walking somewhere.

They have been trained from a young age that any adult who is kind to them and who pays attention to them is an adult who deserves their compliance and who is automatically supposed to care for them. They have been taught by their parents and surrounding adult community that adults require unquestioning obedience and that feelings of doubt, unhappiness, fear, or sadness are invalid, and should be ignored.

This is why, for example, when I'm engaged with my children at the playground or pool, random young children approach me and ask me to take them to the bathroom, or expect me to play with them. One smiling adult is the same as the next in their world.

The abductions on that video didn't have anything to do with the man talking to the mom first. Which a "predator" (acquaintance or stranger) could easily do anyways. This didn't have anything to do with poor parenting method. Whether teaching stranger danger or tricky people awareness, whichever method you prefer, the innate issue here is a lack of boundaries in the children. (I prefer the tricky people one, and encourage you to learn more about it, by the way.)

When you look at children who are attached to a primary caregiver, who do not go to daycare, nor preschool, and who do not experience frequent babysitting/multiple babysitters, etc, those children tend to turn away from a random adult. Children who have their sense of identity, their emotions, and their needs affirmed on a daily basis have very little tolerance for random stranger attention. As babies and toddlers, they refuse to be held by other adults, even relatives. They'll often refuse to wave hello, or lean their bodies away if the adult gets too close and crosses a naturally ingrained boundary.

And when these children are a bit older, they show more caution and hesitation to adults who approach them. They aren't quick to share their life stories, and they often question why an adult is interested in them and why the adult wants them to do things or go places.

These children have retained natural boundaries. Sadly, it often causes other adults to ridicule them or to feel offended and demand intervention from the parents. If the baby leans away from a relative at a party, others might attack the mom, or claim the baby is a wuss and needs more alone time with other adults. "You pick him up too much." "She needs to start respecting her elders." "I think it's the homeschooling!" Many people in our culture have very little tolerance when it comes to the natural boundaries and feelings of children.

But, this natural caution is exactly what might prevent the scenario in the viral video. It's also what might encourage the parent to continue staying by the child's side throughout early childhood, preventing abuse of all kinds and being the child's advocate.

Interestingly, this favored attachment tends to dissipate around age 7/8, at the end of the early childhood stage and at a time when the child is better able to verbalize issues along with making more complex critical thinking decisions.

So, while the fights rage on, with each side trying to dismiss the other as wrong...I'd like to give some food for thought. Children ages 6 and under who remain attached to responsive primary caregivers are children who develop a natural sense of self, of belonging, of basic boundaries.

Ways to sustain natural boundaries in children

1. Validate feelings. When a child expresses feelings, especially negative emotions such as fear and anger, acknowledge them. For references, check out this post and this post.

2. Respect your child's no. Although you must still be the firm and guiding parent, take care to repect your child's heartfelt no as often as possible, especially in areas such as personal expression and bodily autonomy. See more here.

3. Model healthy boundaries. If you are struggling to overcome empath difficulties, or have childhood abuse scripts, work on them to provide healthier role modeling for your children. Allow your children to see healthy relationships and to see how you set down boundaries with other people.

4. Develop healthy social skills. Instead of breaking down natural boundaries, spend time every day developing healthy social skills that emphasize personal property, bodily autonomy, emotional respect, and other healthy behaviors. Just the other day, to use an example, I watched a 3-4 year old boy happily sucking on his lollipop at the playground. Another tot about the same size ran up to him and wrestled the lollipop away, then ran off to eat it. The mom of the original boy, instead of working through the altercation, told her little boy to stop crying, and that it was ok, and she was too meek to do anything! That little boy learned a rough lesson, one that would probably continue to shape him for the rest of his life. This ties into #3: work through your boundary difficulties so that you can help your children!

5. When your child cannot protect her boundaries, step in to protect them for her. This is what parenting is all about right here. When someone is invading her personal space and she is scared speechless, say something. When someone is making your son uncomfortable and he is unsure what to do, step in and offer options. With your voice, your posture, and your parenting rules, you set the tone for others and you affirm your child.

6. And FFS! Please stop forcing children to be held by someone, touched by someone, or to even stand by someone when they are uncomfortable and even scared. Steamrolling over a child's natural boundaries for a photo or to please another person sends a clear message to the child: his needs don't matter. To then try to teach him to pay attention to his instincts and to stay away from a stranger is a fruitless endeavor.

One person is missing here, because she doesn't like
characters. Is it really worth the pain and behavior modeling
just to get a photo of your child next to a scary looking character?

Learn more about grooming here:

For those who are moving away from the anxiety/fear path of stranger danger, I highly recommend Gavin DeBecker's book. He blows up a lot of myths and encourages parents to return to their original instincts and boundaries:

View the original video behind the controversy here:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Parents, don't forget the most important thing this Easter holiday

Parents, but maybe mostly mamas...can I talk to you for a moment? Can I risk that you'll feel defensive, or lash out, to say something that really needs to be said?

Today, on a day that is special for many people due to religious or cultural reasons, make the most of it in a real way. Yes, I said real. Don't skip over the nickel to pick up the penny.

When your children are firmly squeezed into their expensive, fancy clothes, don't give 'em a smack or yell at 'em when they unloosen a few buttons or get their clothes inevitably dirty while playing. Today, bite back the yell to, "Stay clean!" Instead, remind them that you love them and love their zeal for life.

Today, when they are eating that Easter feast and spill on their laps or wipe with their sleeve, make eye contact. Smile. Rejoice that your table is filled to the brim with delicious food. Be thankful that your child has food to spill. Be thankful your child is sitting in that chair next to you, healthy and alive.

When you put together that bunny basket, stop. Stop that nasty voice in your head that says you didn't do a good enough job and that you didn't give them enough, and that it wasn't fancy enough and that others have more and give more. Maybe you've just had a baby and things are crazy. Maybe money is really really tight this year. Maybe you're struggling with a chronic issue. Stop beating yourself up and putting yourself down. Instead, remind yourself that you did what you could, and that you did it for them, and that you did it with love.

When you sit down for a church service, avoid the pinches, arm grabs, death glares or taking them out back to spank them. Avoid imagining what other people are thinking about your parenting. Don't spend that time stewing, teeth grinding, anxiety rising. If they wiggle, hold them and sing louder. If you need to step outside, do silly jumping jacks and laugh for a minute with your children. Smile big, and hug your children in that church, and remind others that God welcomes the little children. Today, welcome your children at the church service, as they are and without judging them.

When your children meltdown from too much candy, too many chemical exposures, too many strangers touching them and talking to them, too much noise, too much stimulation, show them mercy. Show them comfort. They aren't doing it to embarrass you or inconvenience you. They are little people having a very hard time. Practice feeling comfortable with big emotions. Practice telling others that big emotions are okay. Take a time-in together to reconnect and calm down. Leave the event if necessary. Show your children that their needs and discomforts are taken seriously.

And most of all, today, set it down. Set down that dish. Those deviled eggs do not have to be perfect. Set down that phone. It can wait. Set down those fancy Easter decorations. Set down the broom and vacuum. Let people learn to love you and your lived in home, and if they can't, let them leave your life.

Today, show your children how to LIVE. Show them how to LOVE. Show them laughter. Show them presence. Show them what it means to feel blessed and to stretch your arms out wide and experience happiness. Don't mutter over the cost of candy. Don't curse at the dirty house. Don't yell at them when they interrupt your hurried crafting. Put it all down and BE with them today.

Today is only one day. It will never come around again, and you can never return it for a different journey. Make it count the real way.

Just in case this idea is helpful to other parents out there! What I've found really works for us
is to purchase soft, worn in suits from a thrift store or secondhand store for the boys in a slightly larger size.
So they aren't "restrained" by their clothes. It's also inexpensive, so I don't have to stress. I also never buy any children's clothing that requires special cleaning and handling! Ain't nobody got time for that!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Vaccine Damage - Safeguard your kids with Homeopathy!

Guest Post

Vaccine Damage - Safeguard your kids with Homeopathy!

Classical homeopathy can be used very effectively to prevent infectious diseases, as it has been for two hundred years. A few homeopathic medicines in your travel kit can keep you safe when journeying overseas. Homeopathy can also be used in everything from dental problemsMRSA, and Lyme Disease to pet care. Homeopathy can also be used to negate the damage caused by vaccination and over-vaccination. 

Some homeopathic medicines that are very effective in negating the side effects of vaccination are SilicaMalandrinum,Belladonna,  MezeriumThujaMercury, and Sulphur. Please note, these need to be used in specific ways, typically only one at a time, and people should see a trained homeopath to treat these kinds of cases.

With homeopathy, it is important to find the exact remedy that a person needs at any particular time. It might take a bit of careful reading, or a visit to a professional homeopath, but treating a child when young can prevent all kinds of problems, and can set up a child for an active life of happiness and wellbeing. The best time to start using homeopathy is as young as possible. The two main homeopathic potencies are the Cs and the LMs. The Cs are often used in acute and first aid cases. The LMs are used by well-trained homeopaths to treat chronic conditions and they provide the advantage of improving patients from serious conditions at two to three times the speed. There are some websites with homeopathic search tools for parents and patients who are looking for a homeopathic remedy to treat general conditions.

Many of these homeopathic medicines are also useful in the treatment of autismdepressionmood disorders,ADD/ADHD, and other modern conditions, but for serious cases, one should work with a trained and experienced homeopath.

Introducing Homeopathy for Vaccinosis
Homeopathic First Aid Room - Iatrogenesis (Reactions caused by drugs, operations, and invasive procedures) by David Little
A Comparison of the C and LM Potency by David Little

Advanced Homeopathy

Homeoprophylaxis: Human Records, Studies and Trials by Fran Sheffield (PDF format)

The Adrenal Fatigue Solution Book Review

One thing I've noticed, that maybe you've felt at times, too, is that learning about things in the natural categories can feel overwhelming and lead you to ask more questions with fewer answers. This especially happens when you're faced with chronic and somewhat vague conditions that typical doctors don't know about, or even dismiss as silly.

Before Dr. Google warns you about cancer, read on:
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is one of those things. It isn't something fancy or scary, it's simply a professional term for what parents might call being burned out. It's when your body has been working too hard for too long, leaving you worn down, tired out, prone to minor illnesses, irritable, and not healing as well as you remember back in the days where you could stay up all night at college.

When someone begins to suspect that life has been too rough on her lately and that she's developing an adrenal issue, the first thing she asks me is, "What do I do?" The answer can be long and overwhelming, especially when the poor mom is trying to breastfeed, carry a toddler, and juggle 3,000 things on her todo list. Learning about an entire medical condition, natural treatments, supplements, and bio-identical hormonal treatments when her problem is feeling overworked and overtired already is a real crunch.

That's why I have no qualms adding this new book, The Adrenal Fatigue Solution to my Recommendation Bookshelf. I read it of MY OWN ACCORD. And was NOT reimbursed in ANY WAY. I like to have simple and helpful answers for my mama friends, and this is one of them.

If you're looking for a basic, easy to read book on AFS, check this one out. You will learn, without any smugness or eye glazing wording:

~What the adrenals are and what they do
~What AFS is, symptoms, and how it progresses
~Foods to eat and foods to avoid
~How to find a doctor to help you
~Helpful supplements
~The basics of bio identical hormonal treatments

It's not an intimidating book, and it provides some concrete ideas on how to begin feeling better and how to begin structuring your life to relieve the stresses causing your symptoms. Although sadly, there is no advice in the book on how to convince your husband to pick up his dirty underwear, I feel confident that if you are new to AFS and feeling overwhelmed, this is a book you will appreciate.

Here is the book website:

Again, I did not get kickbacks, compensation, trades, or whatever from this. I'm sorry if it reads like an infomercial. I just honestly believe this is a good book that will help all the parents out there worrying about AFS and looking for simple changes to make in their lives.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Jewish Grandfather Avraham Burg Makes an Intactivist Case in Ha'aretz (Israel)

Jewish Grandfather Avraham Burg Makes an Intactivist Case in Ha'aretz (Israel).

Photo of the newspaper where this article was published.
Excerpt from Is this the generation that rejects circumcision? by Avraham Burg. Published in Ha'aretz (Israel), Aug. 29, 2014.

I approached the topic with a great deal of curiosity, and conducted a kind of man-in-the-street poll for several weeks. I asked my questions with care and got detailed responses. The many answers I received all pointed in a single direction: that the institution of circumcision is coming to an end. Or, to be more precise, the institution of circumcision has no real hold among the segment of the Israeli population that is not conservative and religiously observant… My innocent question, “Is any one of these answers sufficient reason to maim a child?” was met with silence. I asked, “Would you take out a child’s appendix soon after birth? Or implant a pacemaker in his body in order to play it safe?” The answer, with an embarrassed smile, was, “Oh, I never thought about it that way.” Nobody, but nobody, cited religious obligation as justification for the act… Here are the facts: there is no Jewish death penalty. We do not put out eyes or cut off hands. There are no rabbinic executioners, or people who amputate limbs for violations of Jewish law. All that are left are the mohalim – those who are specially trained to perform circumcisions.

Ritual circumcision is the only act of physical harm that remains. For how much longer?

The acts of physical harm I enumerated above, and many others, fell into disuse as the social and cultural conditions in which the Jews lived changed. Is our generation the one that is ripe for the abolition of ritual circumcision?

A challenging opponent has arisen against the ancient rite of circumcision: the concept of rights. Recent generations have deepened and broadened the discourse of rights – the rights of a human being to his body and dignity.

Rights and liberties are the true strength of Western society. This is a society that fights with all its might against female genital mutilation, which is customary in other parts of the world and still widespread among immigrants who refuse to assimilate and internalize the values of the new world to which they moved.

The fight against female genital mutilation is highly complex; the woman’s right to do as she pleases with her own body, her right to enjoy sexual relations at least as much as her male partner does, the freeing of the woman from any form of ownership by men (such as her father, brother, husband or pimp).

The way the fight against female genital mutilation radiates to the struggle against male circumcision is well known and extremely significant. After all, what exactly is the difference between them?

The difference is that male circumcision has positive branding compared with female genital mutilation, even though the issues are no different. On the one hand is the parents’ right to raise their children according to their faith. On the other is children’s inborn rights over their own bodies. On the strength of that right, violence against children was prohibited, and corporal punishment at home and in school utterly condemned.

It is likely that many people will continue circumcising their sons for religious or behavioral reasons, and many will look for other ways to express their membership in the Jewish collective without compromising on universal principles, which include the child’s right to an intact body.

Let us conclude with a paradox. An important part of the religious argument against abortion is the fetus’ right to life. According to this argument, the fetus is a living creature in every way. And, they claim, every child – inside or outside the womb – has the right to be born and to live.

So if the fetus, which is connected to the placenta, already has rights within the womb and may not be harmed for religious reasons, how is it possible to harm him, for religious reasons, from the moment he is born?

Avraham Burg, Is this the generation that rejects circumcision?Ha'aretz (Israel), Aug. 29, 2014.

Israeli intactivists demonstrate in support of Elinor Daniel, after a court coerced her to circumcise her son.

Israeli intactivists demonstrate in support of Elinor Daniel, with a sign that reads "A man's right to control his own body."

Kahal, an active social group for Israeli parents with intact sons, counts thousands of Israeli Jews among it's members.

Kahal, a social group for Israeli parents with intact sons is active and counts thousands of Israeli Jews among it's members.

Monday, February 23, 2015

What Carseats am I Using?

I was recently in a vehicle collision with thankfully no injuries. It was severe enough to destroy my van and all my seats needed to be replaced. (Goodbye Ole 'Dessy! We had great times! LOL.)

Anyways, since getting new seats and also sharing a few tough carseat stories online, I've received multiple messages asking me what carseats I ended up choosing and if I had any advice for others.

Before I continue, I want to emphasize something really important that needs saying all the time.

The BEST AND SAFEST SEAT is the one that you ALWAYS install correctly and ALWAYS buckle correctly for EVERY car ride!

Parents naturally want to choose the best seat for their children. Since carseats are all regulated in our country and since carseat companies try to stay competitive, you have a lot of perceived choices on the shelf, but not really as much difference as you fear.

Put your focus on finding the seat that fits into your vehicle, that you can install well and that your child will ALWAYS use correctly for EVERY SINGLE CAR RIDE. That's how you get the safest seat. What my kids like, and what fits into my Honda Odyssey might not be right for your children and your vehicle.

Visit a store or two and have your children sit in various carseats. Find out what they like. Think about options you need or want such as recline options or fabric that is better for hot summers. Have your older children buckle and unbuckle the harness. Can they do it? Does it hurt to do it? Is it too easy for Houdini toddlers who should NOT be unbuckling? Install a few of the select choices into your car. Can you do it fairly easily? Do you feel confident with your finished install? Does it fit on the seat? Do you need extra equipment to make it fit? These are things only you can decide and only after putting in a little bit of effort.'s what I ended up purchasing.

1. For my 6 year old who is too tall and heavy to rearface, I purchased a Britax Pinnacle Clicktight. It has one of the tallest harness heights on the market at 20.5 inches. (As a comparison, the popular Graco Nautilus has a height of 18-18.5 inches.) I selected the Pinnacle as it has the most side impact material out of the other Britax options in this class. (Other options include the Pioneer and Frontier.) I chose the clicktight because it's super duper amazingly awesome and if you can afford it, you will likely love it.

This is my 4 year old sitting in the KidsEmbrace Batman seat for $150.
 Look at the top harness slot.
This is the same child sitting in the Britax Pinnacle.
Look at the top slot. Big difference!
2. For my two middle children, they are going into Diono RXTs. We rearface past 40lbs, so that means we have limited options based on height and weight combination since my kids will outgrow by height before weight. If your child is trending to outgrow by weight first, you can find a couple other options that reach into the 50lb range such as the Diono Rainier and the Foonf.

3. My baby went into a Britax Boulevard Clicktight. He is taking after his grandpa and is tall for his age, mostly in his torso, so I went straight for Britax with their taller shells. It only rearfaces to 40lbs, but by then he will get one of the RXTs from his older brothers. I'm also addicted to the clicktight option, what can I say.

Pictures don't really turn out well with rearfacing lol!
This was easier for me to do because our insurance company cut us a check to buy these seats. I'm normally on a very strict budget and not "rich" in any sense of the word, so I do relate to those who look at carseat prices and want to hide in the bathroom with chocolate. One thing I would say is to try to anticipate your child's needs ahead of time so you can look for clearance. Carseat companies are competitive and try to release new colours with somewhat unnecessary upgrades twice a year (cup holders, extra recline angles, pillows, etc). So you can take advantage of clearance prices and save up ahead of time instead of buying full price right when your child needs a seat. This is how I previously obtained my carseats.

If you have less time, check out Amazon. Sometimes you can find random price drops, especially if you are flexible with fabric options. For example, The Britax Pinnacle Clicktight retails for around $369, but when I looked on Amazon, I found one fabric option was priced at $277. Someone nabbed the previous generation G1 for $164 on there. You just have to keep an eye out and be flexible about colours.

(None of my stuff here is referral linked as I don't monetize. If you do decide to purchase something on Amazon, however, my friend, Savanna, has a referral link here. She is not affiliated with any blog, business or organisation.)


Carseat measurements
Five simple steps