Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wholly Salsa 1.50/1 Coupon

Visit the Wholly Salsa page and click on the coupon button to print out a coupon for $1.50 off one Wholly Salsa. Paired with a sale, you can get a container for almost free!

Damning Your Children in God's Name

"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord his God in vain."

Christians/Catholics have all heard this commandment. And most likely, you've only ever connected it to carelessly shouting it out after being cut off on the highway or stung by a bee. But what if this commandment was much more important than tossing out creative labels after breaking a nail?

When we choose to become followers of Christ, we are directly taking His name upon us. As Catholics, we believe this to be permanent and real, such as with the indelible marks of baptism/confirmation and holy orders.

We then become ambassadors for Christ. Through baptism, we become part of His family. Additionally, through marriage, we become a symbol of the future unity in heaven. Through holy orders, we become Christ's representative on earth.

What then, does it TRULY mean to take God's name in vain and to break this commandment? What is actually being warned against here? And how does that apply to us as parents?

We are the authority to our children. We represent God the Father simply and automatically because we are the parents. The way we treat our children and the way we act in His name, as Christian parents, shapes the image and reputation of God for our children.

What a staggeringly serious situation! Take some time to pray about what this means and to pray for the grace to represent God's name fruitfully so that our children can freely and joyfully find God.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children Cyberbullying

I woke up to an inbox filled with questions and concern, and questions in several groups and pages. The Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children page, an active and large community, is no longer published on Facebook. So this is my general disclaimer for all areas and people:

1) I have no idea what happened with the PPoUC page. 
2) I have no way of verifying the real owner's account, or if other accounts with similar names and photos are the actual owner. 
3) I have no way of verifying the copy cat pages and groups appearing, who owns them
 or their intent.

My gut instinct says to avoid any pages or groups alleging to be the new PPoUC, or who are using the name and any other copyrighted materials.

My gut instinct says to avoid the entire situation, actually. Cyberbullying is not only quite serious and can destroy your life, it is also often bigger than it seems. Yes, that is a nod to shills and an insinuation that more is going on than meets the eye.

To anyone involved with this situation, I encourage them to document everything, take it to the DA, file police reports and hire a lawyer. Remember that many lawyers will do a free consultation first.

Bullying and threats are very serious and can mess with your sense of well being and sanity. Do NOT delete anything. Do NOT barter or bargain with the bully. Contact authorities who can assist you. Save all information. Do not feel as if you have no rights or options; this is part of the psychological trap. If you are feeling anxious or scared about your situation, reach out to others, let them know what is happening and create a community of support.

For more information about cyberbullying:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Today's List of Spanking Links

"There are only a few ways that a parent or caregiver can respond to a child in moments of question or in need of discipline. These methods first take place within the mind of the parent and lead to the actual interaction between parent and child. I have placed them into three common categories of punishment, permissiveness, and discipline. Punishment and permissiveness can have similar underlying qualities of dis-empowerment for the child and parent, but permissiveness can also be a bridge from punishment to discipline at times when a parent is learning new techniques for teaching."

Want to spark thought with friends and family? Here's a conversation starter:

"“When we do things that are controlling, whether intentional or not, we are not going to get the long-term outcomes we all want for our kids.”" -- Alfie Kohn

It's not just the fringe people asking to protect children from punishment. Our country is slowly eeking towards the same standards as other developed countries:

"I might be able to sit him in time-out or yell at him or spank him or take away his favorite toy or otherwise coerce him out of this completely annoying habit, but in exchange for his compliance, I've lost an opportunity to connect with my child."

"In this country, if you do the same thing to your dog that you do to your child, you're more likely to get in trouble for mistreating the dog."

"We finally understood that to parent is not to mold and to push, but to nurture and protect. We understood that to parent we don’t have to have all the answers. We do have to love. We may not understand, we may get frustrated and even angry, but we always have to love."

"Today, physical punishment is considered too severe for felons, murderers, criminals of all kinds and ages, including juvenile delinquents; too demeaning for soldiers, sailors, servants and spouses. But it remains legal and acceptable for children who are innocent of any crime." -

“Sending children away to get control of their anger perpetuates the feeling of 'badness" inside them...Chances are they were already feeling not very good about themselves before the outburst and the isolation just serves to confirm in their own minds that they were right.” -Otto Weininger

"It can be very difficult to stay calm and patient with an emotional and distressed little person – but losing our cool, doesn’t encourage our children to keep their calm."

"As our son's wailing continued, my husband suddenly grabbed in a bear hug, and whispered calmly in his ear, "I love you, Aydon." The horrible tantrum ceased immediately, like a hurricane that miraculously evaporates, as Aydon reached out for a hug from his daddy." *This goes along with what we've been saying..compassion, hugs, and "I love you's" diffuse tantrums.* ~B

Do we box our children into a negative label, cutting off their potential and talent?

"We need to remember that our society has trained people to disapprove of children doing what is healthy and natural. People disapprove of horseplay, of noise, of exuberance, of too much laughter, of tantrums, of crying, and of children asking for the attention they need. This disapproval is out of line. Children are good. Their needs are legitimate, including the need to offload bad feelings."

"It's not nice to hit people; children are people."
- Pam Leo

"Genuine cooperation comes from the heart. The only cooperation worth having is that which is given freely by a child, not because he has been frightened into obedience, but because he feels loved, respected, and understood, and consequently wants to treat his parents with love and respect in return."

Children learn what they live:

"It is paradoxical, yet true: children are most in need of loving attention when they act least deserving of it."

"Really, stop and think about it for a minute. Is obedience what you are striving for? If the grandest and best thing you can wish for is to have an obedient child, then maybe training is the way to go about it. But I don't think that is an appropriate goal for a human being. When you train people to obey, you train them listen to their superiors rather than to their instincts. They lose (or never gain) the ability to use common sense or rational thinking to make decisions and instead they rely entirely on instructions or advice from others to decide what to do. You train them to be people pleasers, to be reliant on others for their own sense of self-worth."

"Punishment means you cause pain or discomfort to change the child’s behavior. And it works, in the short term and as long as you hurt them enough so they don’t do it again and as long as they’re scared of you. Read this last sentence and tell me it doesn’t sound absurd that you would go down this path as a form of discipline? Where is the respect in this relationship? There isn’t any."

"People often ask for alternatives to spanking. There is no alternative to hitting children. If your goal is to help your child to develop his autonomy you don't look for a means to making him/her obedient. And this is the only thing you achieve with spanking - but only for a while. Later the whole family will have to pay the price for their obedience. And this you should know just from the first day of your child. Then it is up to you to make the choice consciously."

Researchers found that kids who were held more by their parents, whose cries received quick responses in infancy and who were disciplined without corporal punishment were more empathic — that is, they were better able to understand the minds of others — later in life.

Add new tools to your parenting box:

"Children do as they see, not as they’re told. If you want your child to be mindful of others, you must be mindful of others yourself. If you want your child to by happy, you must smile without hesitation. There is no one more influential to your child than you. At least for now."

Some kids are MORE than others. They still deserve respectful parenting:

“Why is it so difficult to accept the importance of readiness? Normally developing children do what they can do; they do not withhold. Parents who expect their children to perform on a level the child has not yet reached are creating failure and disappointment for both the children and themselves. Don’t people realize how it possibly affects young children when what they can do is not appreciated but what they cannot do is expected?” – Magda Gerber

Calulu reflects on how and why she rejected the teachings of “To Train Up A Child,” in Parenting & the Super Religious:

Does the Bible support spanking children?

An excellent article that I pray pray pray you will read with an open heart:

More on the Bible, including quotations:

A Letter to Christians on Spanking:

Do you view God as revengeful or merciful?

Are you trying to get out of a punitive parenting cycle? Investigate your ingrained views on spanking to make sure you aren’t subconsciously sabotaging your efforts to peacefully parent!

Ready for an in-depth analysis on the topic? Steph writes 8 (EIGHT!) articles on Christianity and spanking. Part one begins here:

Spanking or Hitting?

How to use a rod:

How to test your rod:

A collection of poems to remind us what really matters:

". . . if the choice is between a spanking and a time out, I'd suggest the time out. But that's not the only choice! And both are rooted in a punitive mindset. A punishment is something that is added on to teaching to cause the child to feel bad with the underlying belief that only by feeling bad can they learn. But, in fact, they learn lots of things without feeling bad. They learn to walk and talk and spell their own name without requiring punishment, so the argument that they can't learn if they don't feel bad is completely unfounded." ~ Crystal Lutton

In this article The Hippie Housewife shares helpful thoughts about discipline and discipline tools she has found to be useful in her family:

A child acting out in public can be the most embarrassing or uncomfortable thing for many parents. Here is one story:

This is a video on why spanking isn't stopping the "degradation" of society:
Here's a post about parenting without shaming...

"Almost everyone in Western societies agrees that it is morally wrong for people to settle arguments or impose their will on each other with blows. When a big kid hits a little kid on the playground, we call him a bully; five years later he punches a woman for her wallet and is called a mugger; later still, when he slugs a fellow worker who insults him, he is called a troublemaker, but when he becomes a father and hits his tiresome, disobedient or disrespectful child, we call him a disciplinarian. Why is this rung on a ladder of interpersonal violence regarded so differently from the rest?" - Penelope Leach

"However, our findings suggest that it was negative parenting in early infancy that mattered most."

"Researchers have found that parents who anger easily and over-react are more likely to have toddlers who act out and become upset easily."

"“Toddlers that are spanked more frequently at age 3 are at increased risk for being more aggressive at age 5,” said Taylor, assistant professor of Community Health Sciences at Tulane and lead author of the study. “We found this to be true even after taking into account other factors that might have explained this association such as the parents’ level of stress, depression, use of drugs or alcohol, and the presence of other aggression within the family.”

The title says it all. :(

An uncomfortable topic that no one wants to discuss:

Some people might feel aware parenting is the right niche for them:

"Recent research has proved that the DNA of 10-year-olds who have experienced violence at a young age are found to show wear and tear normally associated with aging."

"If we wish to have a strong, healthy, happy race of men, we should lay a good foundation in the education of early childhood. We should avoid all means of brutal, slavish training which cripple man's individuality, freedom, and happiness. We should not use violence and fear. We should be careful to remove from the children all that is brutal, ugly, vicious, and fearsome. We should surround our young with the graceful, the true, the beautiful, the good, the kind, the lovely, and the loving." - Boris Sidis, Ph.D., M.D.

"Children who are bullied in childhood are up to three times more likely to self harm up to the age of 12, a study published today on BMJ suggests."

The only thing I disagree with, is the word irreversible. We are all capable of miracles, and of growing, learning and healing throughout our lifetimes. Never give up, never give in!
It really applies across the board, too:

But a growing body of research—and a new study from the trenches of the New York public-school system—strongly suggests it might be the other way around. Giving kids the label of “smart” does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it:

"The reason praise can work in the short run is that young children are hungry for our approval. But we have a responsibility not to exploit that dependence for our own convenience. A "Good job!" to reinforce something that makes our lives a little easier can be an example of taking advantage of children’s dependence. Kids may also come to feel manipulated by this, even if they can’t quite explain why."

So, praise can be detrimental? What do you do??? Read this for starters:

Link is NOT monetized. I make no money for sharing this, and am just sharing so you can review the book. Is your child MORE? Find common ground and great suggestions with this one. I've read it and would recommend it:

Link is NOT monetized. I make no money for sharing this, and am just sharing so you can review the book. This is a fantastic book that I have, and IMO every parent should read it:

Link is NOT monetized. I make no money for sharing this, and am just sharing so you can review the book. Trying to grasp this way of living? Go back to Alfie and read it from him!

Learn about spanking within the branch of neuroscience. Hitting goes farther than skin deep.

Just need a quick intro to this way of thinking? Here is an essay on it:

"Non-punitive parenting seeks respect by giving kids respect."

Worried about becoming too permissive? Want to gently parent, but unsure of how to do this effectively?

Tired of hearing that today's kids are horrible? What did they say a long time ago? LOL! From Little Hearts Books (Gentle Parenting Resources):

What is positive parenting? Find out here:

Swedish parents rely on a variety of alternatives to physical punishment to discipline their children:

What are the reasons YOU avoid spanking?

What do we want out of our parenting methods?

Monday, September 24, 2012

One Hundred Years From Now

One Hundred Years From Now  

Author: (excerpt from "Within My Power" by Forest Witcraft)

One hundred years from now
It won't matter

What kind of car I drove
What kind of house I lived in
How much money I had in the bank
Nor what my clothes looked like

The world may be a little better
Because, I was important
In the life of a child.

Confessions of a Mama who Felt Angry

© 2012 Bess Bedell

Bess shares her journey from committing to tandem nursing, to weaning her toddler after birth. Her sensations and emotional upheaval after birth have been experienced by many moms. Additionally, these emotions can occur with an only child, too. Some people think it has to do with hormone imbalance, such as adrenal fatigue or thyroid problems. Other people discovered different factors, such as teething, wanting to comfort nurse instead of extract milk and a growing mouth.

"When my oldest daughter was 11 months old I found out I was pregnant again. I was thrilled and excited and horrified over the idea that I might have to wean her or could lose my milk. I bought the book Adventures in Tandem Nursing and started doing all my research and dicovered that nursing didn't have to end, though it could become painful.

I was lucky and nursing never became very painful. I did dry up. A lot. But my committed nurser never minded. She kept on nursing and I read more and more stories on tandem nursing and the amazing bond it gave siblings and how it eased the transition from having one baby to two babies for so many families. I read the info on how to help the toddler know boundaries and time limits for when mom needs to set some kind of boundary up for her sanity and I read about supply and I read on tandem nursing positions and I was ready. Beyond ready, I was excited. This was just another adventure in our walk of breastfeeding and I was thrilled that I would get to be one of "those super hero moms who breastfeeds TWO kids." Who does the unheard of in the normal, non AP parenting world. 

Then my second baby was born. And my hormones went crazy. At the time I didn't know what was wrong with me. I thought I had gone crazy or was going crazy. My sweet little baby girl who I had happily nursed through all of pregnancy looked like this giant toddler to me who was invading my space. Eve became jealous and wanted me 24/7 to breastfeed. But only to breastfeed. If I wasn't nursing her she wanted nothing to do with me and became extremely difficult to manage. 

I became short with her and angry. Too angry. Too angry to even claim I made sense and it wasn't justifiable. When she nursed I felt like I was suffocating and I literally felt my thermostat rising. I would get more and more angry the whole time she nursed and instead of nursing being the sweet, bonding time we had- it became dangerous. She would cautiously watch me while she nursed. Her tiny baby blue eyes looking up at me like I was a bomb that would explode and take everyone down with me any moment… because that's exactly what I was. My feelings were out of control.

So three months after my 2nd baby girl was born (who I had no ill feelings toward while nursing) I weaned Eve. I cut her off cold turkey. Though, I should say… we moved and in the hectic days of moving she never asked to nurse. I didn't even realize she hadn't asked until the third day. So, I decided if she could go 3 days without nursing maybe she could stop nursing all together. When she finally asked (on day 4) I told her it wasn't time yet (which had become our phrase when I needed more time between nursing sessions). She didn't freak out or have a melt down. She just went on playing. So that was it. She asked a few more times in that first week and I'd say it wasn't time yet and she never once freaked or got upset or act like I broke her heart. Probably because I hurt her little heart enough by becoming an angry nurser. 

I'm not sure I will ever get over how bad those three months were. How horrible I felt. Things got better after she was weaned. My emotions leveled out. Our relationship, which had been broken by those feelings started to mend. I later learned about something called postpartum mood disorder, which I am 110% sure is what I had. I wasn't depressed. My emotions were just out of control. Months later she asked to nurse again and I decided to let her but she could not remember how to latch and nurse. She would try and then just get confused and not be able to do it. So I pumped and gave her milk that way and would cuddle her while she drank her mommy's milk from a cup and tell her how much I love her and how special she is to me. 

When my second daughter (Ariel) was 14 months old I found out I was pregnant again. I was terrified. Terrified to again be the mom who weans, afraid to wean her in a horrible way, like last time, and mostly afraid to hurt our relationship by going through the same postpartum experience. When she was 18 months old she self weaned because of lack of milk supply and her own loss of interest. Now I am hoping to let this third baby nurse as long as she wants and to self wean because it's her time and not because of me and my circumstances."

The Other Baby Book Review and Giveaway!

So, in case you don't know, Purple Sister is pregnant! I instantly became more interested in pregnancy and parenting books. Suddenly, it mattered a lot more to me lol.

I picked up "The Other Baby Book" by Megan and Miriam. It's a softcover and not too thick to be intimidating. It has a beautiful photo of a mama and baby on the front. Very inviting. I flipped it open to find a pleasant surprise. This book manages to touch on a plethora of topics without being overbearing or authoritative. It gently introduces the topic with the right amount of info to understand something new and then has resources for deeper research. This is exactly what I wish parents new to the "alternative" stuff could read to answer all those little questions.

Usually, I'm stuck giving out too much information and too many links when a parent new to the worldview comes to me for advice. For example, here is someone who has never heard of people avoiding vaccines. Do I give her ten thousand links? Her eyes might fall out. She's still trying to grasp the idea itself. And for those vaccine safety advocates who are wondering, yes, the book does a great job introducing various basic concepts and walking through common worries, such as herd immunity and Big Pharma.

For those intactivists wondering, the book also clearly states that beliefs about circumcision (e.g. better hygiene) are myths and then provides points for reconsidering circumcision. They do briefly mention Jewish ceremonies without condemnation. It's a mixed bag, but IMO seems perfect for introducing a mama to the topic.

At any rate, if you are looking for a simple, non-intimidating book to give to a pregnant acquaintance, I would say this is a good pick for several reasons:

~It touches on a variety of topics all in one book, so that the mama can start to deeply research them.
~It comes across as nonjudgmental, and as if the reader is competent and savvy.
~It is simple to read and written in such a way that you can float around in the book instead of reading one huge chunk or going chapter by chapter.

You can buy this book on Amazon right here. (The link is NOT monetized).

And now for the giveaway! TWENTY randomly selected winners will receive a free kindle download of this book! To enter the giveaway, just follow the easy rafflecopter widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Crunching to Success with Mission: Crunchable

Today, I'm publishing something I've wanted to do for a long time. Mission: Crunchable.

I love sharing information about crunchy, natural, alternative things. I love to learn something every day and feel inspired and excited when I'm reading stuff on here.

But what happens when you're new to these ideas? What about if you've got a LOT of changes to make? What if you don't have support? Or what if your partner, children, relatives and friends are outright hostile?

I've noticed that changing too much, too quickly, without support and encouragement during the transitional period can lead to a crash.

For those people who are interested in making improvements, sometimes the constant online newsfeed just leads to a general sensation of anxiety and of being overwhelmed. Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever feel overwhelmed after reading yet another article about some terrible toxin on your child's cantaloupe? Maybe you read that this parenting method you love to use will have your child funding a therapist's vacation home in the future. Everywhere you turn, you're doing something wrong.

Stop. Breathe! If you start to feel anxious or negative, turn off the newsfeed. Stay away from it! You don't need a constant string of news. If it's not entertaining or useful, then don't expose yourself to it.

Want to do something concrete, positive, empowering and productive? Something that won't take over your day, overwhelm you or give you a panic attack? Come join us as we embark on Mission: Crunchable!

We'll have a variety of activities that you can choose to enjoy or avoid based on what you need and want!

~ 15 minute warm ups: activities to jumpstart your day
~Weekly homework: projects to complete on your own time
~Theme of the month: ideas to guide your progress
~Healthy Habits: keep putting one foot in front of the other
~Me Time: taking care of ourselves to care for our families
~More Mary, not Martha: reflections especially for Christian Crunchies

And much more!

So stop on by the page for more details as we start our journey together on Monday!

Yes, Monday! It's time to celebrate in a different way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our Greatest Fear

Our Greatest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

—Marianne Williamson

Click for more inspirational images!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Confessions of a Mama who Dry Nursed

© 2012 Laura Fine

"When I was pregnant with my first baby, my daughter, I had a weird feeling, an intuition that I was just supposed to breast feed her, but I didn't know any one who had breastfed her child. I had worries, such as thinking it might hurt and wondering if I might be looked down upon for breastfeeding. I wanted to nurse her so badly, though!

I knew enough from my pregnancy pamphlets that "breast is best" and was sold just on it being the best thing I could feed my child. I didn't know who to contact, where to find any help, or where to look to get information.

My daughter was born on August 12th, 2008. We struggled badly with what I now know were latch issues as well as nipple confusion. I pumped milk until it eventually dried up.

Here are some beautiful moments I'd like to share."

First is a breastmilk bottle that I'd successfully pumped:

Second is our very short lived dry nursing experience:

Do you want to share your experience? September's Confession Series is "Weaning." Details here:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Confessions of a Mama who Tried to Latch

© 2012 Erin Bell

"I don't know where I should start in regards to my story.

Should I start with my firstborn? I never even considered nursing due to being young, naive and following the ideals of my family. Should I start with my 2nd born? She is 18 months younger than her older sister. I had an urge to nurse but still thought my mother knew best. I believed everything unquestioningly.

I made an amazing friend when my 2nd child was several months old. We spent a lot of time talking about many different things and my mind started to open up and see everything in regards to pregnancy and babies in a different light. I could not believe the stuff my mother had told me was right for me and my babies. I could not believe I was so blind to the truth of it all. And it wasn't just breastfeeding. It was circumcision. It was home birth. It was pain free birth. You name it, my friend had knowledge I had never been received. 

Any time I had ever brought up anything in regards to breastfeeding and other sensitive topics, my mother and father were of the opinion, "Well, we never breastfed and you turned out fine." Oh really? I would not consider my siblings nor myself "fine." What is the definition of "fine" anyways? Being diagnosed with thyroid disease at a young age? Mental health issues in the school age years of my siblings? Is that "fine?"

I guess I had assumed we were "fine" despite the obvious being in front of our eyes. And circumcision was "fine" for my father and my brother I suppose. I believed it. Now, I am married to an intact man and I will tell you, I do not know why he even agreed with me and my stance, but on our birth plan that we had for our first and second born, we would circumcise our child. We had bottles and formula only on our birth plans.

It breaks my heart knowing I wrote those words down. I am very grateful I was not blessed with a son until I had been equipped with the knowledge of what IS right. I have regret every day that I did not nurse my first 2 children.

Now, onto my third child. I still could not get my head wrapped around the idea of breastfeeding. At this point, I knew that we would not circumcise our third child. I knew I wanted a different birth. I wanted to birth my child with little or no intervention. With my 2nd, due to complications and a diagnosed heart condition in my second born, I was high risk. But at this point I had supportive friends. I had a sounding board for confirmation that everything would be OK and that I could breastfeed.

We were due to get military orders to Guam when I was about 4 months pregnant. We ended up needing to get my ultrasound at the high risk clinic to check for any heart issues with the baby. That was also when they found out I had placenta previa (when the placenta covers part or all of the cervix). I was hoping that the placenta would move so I could have the birth experience that I wanted. That was all thrown away with confirmed previa. I ended up in the hospital at the end of my pregnancy several times due to complications because of the previa. At this point I was still going to formula feed. I was set in the fact that I had bottle fed the other 2 so there was no reason why I wouldn't do the same.

I laid in that hospital for 16 days before I had my cesarean section. In recovery, I gave my daughter her first bottle. All of the formula came back out. She was a 36 weeker. I had taken the steroids to improve lung maturity but I guess her bowels were still immature. She had stridor (sounds made while trying to suck in air to breathe) and had to be taken back to the NICU.

At that time, my husband had run down to the car to grab some supplies he brought from home (which was an hour away) and when he came back up, I was in my room in TEARS. I couldn't talk well due to the anesthesia (Duramorph) and our baby was not in the room. During that time he was away, the nice old ladies who knit booties had also come in and I was a mess. They left me with some adorable festive Christmas hats and booties for my little girl.

Anyways, at that point, we had a major heart to heart talk. My husband and I, we were obviously thrown a curve ball and we needed to rethink what was truly best for our daughter. We called the nurse into the room. We ordered a pump. Our daughter was not allowed to eat. It took me a long time to get down to the NICU to see her. So I sat in the room and I pumped. I actually got some colostrum within hours of giving birth. I was so proud of myself when I saw the liquid gold I could save for my baby girl. We were now in an unfamiliar territory for us but it just felt right.

My daughter was in the NICU for nearly 3 weeks. Sometime after she was 10 days old, she was allowed to finally eat. Everything was measured and she drank my milk out of a bottle. I had no clue what that would do to our nursing relationship. I continued pumping every 2 hours. I had a huge stash of milk in the hospital and at home. I would have some for emergencies once she got out of the hospital.

I didn't feel that the hospital had provided adequate knowledge on feeding options and styles. We tried getting her to latch after her measured bottle feeding. We would try and try without success. My daughter latched. Finally. Once. ONCE. The lactation consultant was a man! One night, very late at night, when a storm was heading our way, they decided it was the perfect time to discharge my daughter because she was eating enough.

My daughter had latched ONCE.

I had committed to providing her with the nutrition she deserved. I was pumping successfully with the hospital grade pump. But she was not taking it naturally from me. At home, my daughter didn't latch. I tried. Oh, how I tried. Her bowels were moving well. She was doing great. I ended up having to return the hospital pump. I didn't have any backup. I didn't know what kind to purchase, either. My milk supply dwindled. I didn't know much about ways to increase my milk supply.

I was frustrated. Overwhelmed. My husband had to go to a school for the military within days of her getting home. I didn't have the support I needed to be successful. So, I felt I had no choice but to turn to formula. I felt like a failure. I had finally committed to doing the best for her and it didn't work. Once she started on the formula, her bowels once again blocked up quickly. This caused both of us a lot of grief.

My milk was working wonderfully for her! But I dried up. I had no pump. She wouldn't latch. I continued to try to get a latch without success. When she was several weeks old, she was nearly diagnosed as Failure to Thrive. She was struggling to have bowel movements. I couldn't nurse her. And I realized her head was turned out to one side all the time. Come to find out, part of the latching issue was fron torticollis due to her positioning inside the womb because of the previa. She had been breech or transverse nearly the entire pregnancy. I tried my best.

And now I know I needed more knowledge and I needed more support. I did go on to successfully exclusively nurse my next child, an intact son, for well over a year. He also weaned on his own. I now vow to help new mothers to the best of my ability. It is bittersweet knowing I will never have another nursling. But,  I will educate my children and help them to know what is best.

Erin Bell, mom to Ashley, Sydney, Kiley and CJ"

September's topic is Weaning. Would you like to participate? Here is the event with more info:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lying to Obtain a Religious Vaccine Exemption?

Religious exemptions to protect you or your children from vaccination: are you lying if you use one while not a member of an organized religion? Or what about if you call yourself an atheist? What about if you have no religion at all?

A quick google search uncovers plenty of inflammatory links implying parents are somehow doing something illegal, immoral or otherwise unsavory if they get a religious exemption sans a 10% tithe at their mega church every week. Mazel tov on your way to hell, is what they seem to be saying. If you believe in hell. Even anti-vaccine or vaccine-skeptic sources promote the idea that obtaining a religious exemption is some kind of anarchy, shaking a fist at the big man:

The misinformation burns!

I answer this question a couple times a week it seems and every time I answer it, I tell myself I need to compile a basic post so I can stop retyping everything out every time lol. *facepalm*

Religious exemptions, what they are, what they stand for and who can use them "legally" are perhaps the most misunderstood topic in the vaccine debate. And if you've debated vaccines, you realize that's a big statement!

Today I woke up to two messages. One was asking about religious exemptions and how to get them and the other was asking how else to get an exemption because she's not religious. It is time to write this post!

Currently, all 50 states in America have exemptions available so that a student can attend a public school (or a private school that received government funding) without vaccination. Yes, you read that correctly. When the media yells at you that vaccines are mandatory, they forgot to tell you that vaccines or a vaccine exemption are mandatory.

Of the 50 states, 48 states have a religious exemption available. This is where confusion sets in for many people on both sides of the debate. Under Federal Laws, "religious practices" are defined by law to include moral or ethical beliefs about what is right and wrong that are sincerely held with the strength of traditional views. Note the absence of the Bible and Jack Chick Pamphlets.

You have a right to (and FROM) religion in this country regardless of whether or not you have a membership with organized religions. Religious freedom includes your sincerely held moral or ethical beliefs about what is right and wrong.

What is religion? What is the definition of religious? A quick look at the dictionary gives us this:


a set of beliefs concerning the cause, natureand purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing amoral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
the practice of religious  beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

Now, that's the regular definition of religion. What about the legal definition? We are of course dealing with legalities here (emphasis mine):

Legal Concept of Religion 

"Therefore, in adherence to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantee of freedom of religion, the test in determining whether a belief constitutes a "religious belief" sufficient to qualify for the religious exemption from immunizations, is whether the adherents' beliefs and faiths occupy a place in their lives parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God held by others; or any other "sincere religious beliefs which are based upon a power or being, or upon a faith to which all else is subordinate or upon which all else is ultimately dependent." U.S. Vs. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163 (1965), Sherr and Levy vs. Northport East-Northport Union Free School district, 672 F.Supp. 81, (E.D.N.Y. 1987)

"The right to claim exemption from immunization based on religious beliefs is available to all persons who hold religious beliefs against immunization regardless of what any state statute may say regarding the necessity for membership in any particular religious group or church. Definition of religion can include specific, recognized groups. And it can include rituals. But it is not restricted to only those concepts."

(Above 2 paragraphs are quoted from Now archived on Their home page:

Are you an American who is not a member of an organized religion? Do you avoid practicing specific rituals? Do you dislike or disagree with popular sects and fundamental sets of beliefs? Well, guess what. You have religious freedom! In fact, you're practicing it already. 

Now, file those papers and stop acting like a criminal! Go to this site where you can search by state for requirements and forms: It's a very helpful site that includes information about declining vaccines and other medical interventions from pregnancy onwards, including adult exemption concerns with universities, the military and work.

You and your children have a right to bodily integrity and a right to practice your constitutional religious freedom. That means freedom to and from religion, including Vaccine Religion. Last time I checked, "heretics" have rights, too!

This is the land of the free after all, right?

Do you need more vaccine resources?

Provaccine and antivaccine links here

Links divided by topic here

Facebook focus page here

Beauty Removed

I got into one of my "computer cleaning" modes and sorted through my "deal with it later" folder. It led to me uploading an assortment of photos under various albums on my page.

Then I noticed one album was particularly....empty. I clicked on it to find out a favorite photo submitted by a friend was missing! I guess at some point, random people reported it and it was removed without notifying me. I uploaded it again without much thought.

The next morning, it was gone again. No warning, no emails. I actually thought for a moment that it was my brain at fault, and reloaded the page a couple times, expecting it to appear lol. So I uploaded it again.

And it was just removed. Again. This time with a warning that I had ignored the other mysterious warnings. *eye roll*

You can view more beautiful tandem images in our tandem slideshow:

These two posts have more links for learning about tandem nursing:

And then there were two

Three is a crowd

Saturday, September 8, 2012

One Rough Moment

Join the One Rough Moment event here:

I love sharing when gentle parenting works for us. I love seeing it work and feeling that glow of connection with my kids. It makes me excited to get on Facebook and share that guess what? It happened! It worked! Things went swell for us!

I don't post enough about when it isn't working. Here is my almost 2 year old, after I gently but firmly told him, "We do not push over baby brothers." He was screaming, "NOOOOOOO!" Those big tears are very real tears, showing how upset he was about something very important to him, that I unfortunately could not understand or resolve. Sometimes, we just have to be there and acknowledge that life is hard, especially for a toddler.

Unconditional parenting might be the most respectful way to parent, but I don't want anyone to think it's the easiest way, or that things are always perfect. In fact, parents often refer to non-punitive parenting as "get your butt off the couch parenting" because it requires complete commitment and a lot of work from the parent. It's way easier to yell across the room, give threats or spank after the fact. It's easier to tell a child to go away from you, into another room for time out. It's easier to stuff the bad feelings, and to tell them that they need to paste a smile on their face and "stop crying now!" It makes us feel more comfortable. It keeps us from dealing with uncomfortable feelings and answering difficult questions.

If you liked this post...

Spanking Resources

From a Child's View

Friday, September 7, 2012

Trust Birth = Trust Fertility

Several months ago, I decided to collect various gadgets and use various NFP methods to track my fertility cycles. (First post.) (Second post.) I wanted to compare them and write a review about each one, along with sharing my fertility journey.

And today, I am closing that project. I've thought about this from every angle and I've decided it is not right for me.

Please don't misquote me. I fully support NFP (Natural Family Planning) also called FAM (Fertility Awareness Method) <-- I hyperlinked my two favorite sites on the topic and I encourage you to check those sites out for more information. A healthy, aware lifestyle also includes being informed about our fertility and choosing healthy ways to manage it, whether to avoid or achieve conception (or simply to assist with choosing medically necessary interventions for a health condition).

No, what I mean is that I don't want to chart. I'm sorry, and my tone is sincere. I really wanted to provide some insight from a crunchy perspective. Say or feel what you will, but this is not for me. Let's get real here, I'm the person who refused to pee on a pregnancy stick, remember?

Without any serious reason to monitor my normally functioning body, I'm left feeling that NFP is at odds with my inner voice. And I can't do that to myself, my partnership and our family. Like "natural induction" I'm left asking myself why I am closely monitoring a healthy body working normally. If I say I trust my birth, my body and my babies, trusting my fertility better be in the mix, too.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Dirty Secret about Adoption

Here is a topic often overlooked by any side. Almost everyone of every political party or philosophical stance is quick to say that adoption is a good answer to an unexpected pregnancy. And, really, no one is saying that adoption on its own is bad. Adoption can be a loving family choice for everyone involved.

That being said, under the terms "forced adoption" "exiled mothers" and "adoption industry" are mothers, children, families and communities hurting from the same destructive things we talk about in other topics.

Lack of informed consent/refusal.
Lack of basic information.
Restricted access.
No resources.
No support.
No encouragement.

And then afterwards, no acknowledgment and no healing.

Non-monetized link for more information:

A beautiful friend sent this message. She approved posting her message here, provided it was anonymous:


I was just reading through your comments on your status posted about adoption as an option and it really stuck with me. I got pregnant my senior year of high school. I was that "party girl" that no one was really surprised to see end up knocked up. 

I am sure most people would have said I would have been better off choosing abortion or adoption but I knew I could do it. I re-dedicated my life to God, I stepped up and tried to learn everything I could to be the best mom I could be for him. 

I am now the mom to a healthy, intact, breastfed (toddler on demand) vaccine-free, gently raised and loved happy little 2 year old boy who is my entire world. He also made me realize what I want to do with my life and I am applying for 2 different midwifery schools over seas. 

I also feel like God has really laid it on my heart to try to change the way children are viewed and treated in the Christian community. (Referring to adoption being the replacement for abortion and wiping away the mistake.) I relate to so many of your posts and rants. 

Needless to say things can be tough financially and sometimes I am a bit lonely as a single mom but I would not change a thing. As I type this my beautiful son is asleep on my chest smiling in his sleep and I would not want it any other way. Just some encouragement for you, to keep doing what you are doing as it could make a difference for that one person..."

 For more information on this topic:

If you are a single and crunchy mom, be sure to check out the Facebook page:

Monday, September 3, 2012 National Birth Rally for Change!

Today we woke up early for a long drive to the Improving Birth National Rally for Change. This rally was inclusive, non-political, non-religious and swept across the nation like crazy.

As I stood out there on the pavement, swaying back and forth to settle my baby down for a nap in the ergo, a rally attendee asked me, "If you had all home births, why are you here? This is about improving hospitals."

Isn't that one of the most common questions? I find that a lot of people assume simply because birth advocates (or science advocates in general) oppose routine interventions, or unscientific interventions, or interventions applied callously, that somehow this means we oppose ALL medicine, medical treatments and even "science" as a topic.

Something that has continually concerned me about the "birth movement" in general is the unintended insinuation that only the "low-risk, healthy, smart, rich, educated, career accomplished, confident, extroverted, lucky, married, white women" are allowed (notice that word) to have an evidence-based, peaceful, respectful and overall good birth experience. Everyone else, well, they're just SOL.

Nonsense. Every person, from every walk of life, in every circumstance, at every location, with every complication or unique twist in pregnancy/birth has a right to a respectful, evidence-based birth. Period. Even with some kind of catastrophic emergency where the medical staff rushes to save the mama and baby from imminent death, the procedures can still be evidence-based and the staff can still be genuine and provide respectful follow up care.

Wherever we give birth, however we give birth, with whomever we give birth, we deserve the caring application of evidence based methods. 

Our BIRTHS, our BABIES and our BODIES matter.

I had three babies at home. Today I stood with my fellow sisters, their families and our community and country as a whole to demand Evidence Based Birth for ALL.

See you next year!

Nursing before the big shindig.

My daughter adamantly wanted to stand with a sign.
It might have fallen into a puddle in the process, but she had a blast!

I slipped a t-shirt onto my ergo so I could share the message while babywearing.

Two involved boys!

Celebrating afterwards

Sanfis wanted to make sure men were included, too.
He says, "Fathers deserve respect and a chance to be involved with their partners and their children during the most important time of their lives."