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As an attachment parenting mama and also as a Attachment Parenting International Leader (since 2007) I hear a lot of misconceptions about what exactly is attachment parenting. Before I get to that though, I wanted to start by covering what it is not.

  1. Attachment parenting is NOT permissive parenting. Being an attachment parenting mama does not mean that your kids can do whatever they want. Children are children and they don’t always do nor behave how we would like them to (I’ll be the first to say that loud and clear) but in attachment parenting there are boundaries and guidance.
  2. Attachment parenting is NOT being a martyr. I hear often mamas saying that even though it’s miserable for them they are going to be attachment parenting mamas because they think it’s best for baby. One aspect of attachment parenting is balance. There are realistic expectations in mothering – any parenting style. And attachment parenting has these as well but also it has balance.
  3. Finally, Attachment parenting is NOT a checklist. I don’t start out explaining that I practice attachment parenting by listing a list of what I do. It’s so much more than a list. In fact, it’s not even remotely about a list. And often times the principles of attachment parenting are confused with a checklist of what you must do to be an attachment parent.

So what is attachment parenting?

Attachment parenting is a style of parenting that forms a secure bond between parent and child by responding to your child’s emotional and physical needs.

Interested in learning more? Here’s a link for more information.

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pregnant-just-found

As a pregnant mama, you most like have dreams of what it will be like to be a new mama. How lovely your baby will be (and she/he will be for sure!), how beautiful your baby will look in the new nursery, how when it’s time for sleep you’ll smile as you put your baby down for a nap and watch her/him sleep soundly for a couple of hours as you read a book and catch up on things….

I will thread gently when I say that it doesn’t always look like we dreamed it to be. Life with a newborn is different than what we’re shown in cultural depictions of new motherhood. It *is* lovely and you will love this little being more than you ever thought possible, but there are some realities that differ greatly from how babies are born and what we expect them to be.

Here are some tips that I hope will help.

1) Babies aren’t born to sleep all night long.
You may have a newborn that sleeps a lot, well you most likely will have a baby that sleeps a lot, but babies have small tiny tummies and breastmilk is very easy to digest and so babies are biologically and amazingly designed (for survival) to wake up often to eat.  When babies wake up they also reset their heart rates and their breathing, so wakings help to prevent SIDs. Embrace those wakings and  use it as a time to connect, bond and feed your little one.

2) Babies are contact seekers.
Your baby right now is surrounded by…..YOU. Held in your miraculous womb, surrounded by your sounds, your tastes, your movement. In this way, you’ve grown your baby in uterous and towards the end we call this the “third trimester”. When your baby is born, it’s now time for the fourth trimester. A time when your baby seeks and needs your touch, your sound, your taste, your breastmilk, your movement. During this stage your baby strives the more he/she is touched and carried and interacts with you. It’s not a want – your baby doesn’t just want to be with you. Your baby needs to be with you for neurological and physiological development.

3) A comfortable baby carrier can be your most treasured baby gear.
There are swings, strollers, bouncy seats, mats…you name it there is a baby gear for that. But a comfortable baby carrier is the only baby “gear” that allows your baby to meet his developmental needs while giving you freedom of movement and convenience. Carried babies are touched more, kissed more and cuddled more and in this are able to have mother meet their needs. While other baby gear have their place, it’s a baby carrier that keeps on giving for both mother and baby. Baby carriers  help you meet baby needs #1 and #2 above and more.

4) Follow your instincts
There will be 1million and 1 books, blogs, friends, family, even this email that will have recommendations for your baby. Guess who is your baby’s expert? YOU. Listen to your baby – your baby will tell you what he/she needs. Watch for your baby’s cues, sometimes they can be very slight but they are there. Your baby will communicate with you and it takes time to figure out what he/she is saying. And sometimes you won’t be able to, but be there for your baby and listen to your instincts. You’re eternally connect and that bond never ends. Follow it and ignore anything else that tells you to go against your gut.

Giselle Baturay

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A few days ago, I got to be in a little of heaven on earth. I got to go listen to an anthropologist genius and crusader, Dr. James McKenna. It was like sitting in the sun soaking in all of it’s energy and goodness.

mckenna

Now a little background….

When my daughter was born 9 years ago, my husband and I didn’t really talk about what kind of parents we’d be. We didn’t even realize there was such a thing as “parenting styles”. I think the most we discussed of what we would do and not do is spanking. We mutually agreed we’d not hit our daughter in any way. More than that, we didn’t know what to discuss…I mean having a baby  was going to just flow and be easy right?

Well, ofcourse like many new parents we quickly learned that while having a baby was the absolute best thing we’ve ever done, it was also one of the hardest jobs we’ve ever done as well. And the more parents we met, the more we realized we were parenting differently than most (aka than mainstream). Yes we had prepared this beautiful new nursery for her and bought her a crib, a swing, a bouncy seat all before she was born, but we instinctively felt that the crib in the other room was too far away from us. And because I also had bought a baby carrier before she was born, I also instinctively felt that she was better on me than in a stroller.  And so we went with our instincts most of the time. And the times that we didn’t were actually the harder times for us, like when we thought we should be able to put her down for sleep because went to bed earlier than we did and she would instead wake up each time when she realized I was gone. Or another time is when we put her in the swing during dinner only to find that going back and forth to the swing to soothe her was harder than just wearing her through dinner.

Ironically we found that despite the baby gear we had at home and the advice we had received from others, the more we had her on us, the happier she was.

And we went with that. It just made sense that this little one having being in my womb 9 mos, would want to naturally be on me after birth as well. Why should it be differently?

Soon after the first few months, I sought out resources for us because we didn’t have friends that were doing things like we were. And I found that there was such a thing as “attachment parenting” and I found that there were studies showing exactly what we were seeing as new parents – that babies need to be close to mama. And in this I found Dr. James McKenna.

Dr McKenna is the truly the world’s leading authority in mother-baby sleep research. He currently leads the Mother-Baby Sleep Lab at the University of Notre Dame. His experience goes back to late 1970s when after his baby boy was born, he began to study the behavior and physiology of babies and mothers sleeping together and apart. He has won numerous awards for his work and has made strides in the education of infant sleep. And it was this amazing person that I got to listen to in person a few days ago. Can you just imagine how amazing this was for me?

It felt like going full circle on a wheel that started 9 years ago for me.

And listening to him was so validating. I found myself nodding my head over and over, writing notes like a mad woman and my mind racing to think of ways to share this knowledge  in my local community.

Now three more kids later, this is truly what it’s all about for me  – sharing what I can with the local community of mothers so that they too can get that support they need in mothering and listening to their babies. I find myself now thinking of ways to bring that “utopia!” knowledge to mothers around me so that together we can change the way we view our babies in order to accept and EMBRACE their needs as a wonderful and brilliant design and not as a thing to change.

Giselle Baturay

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ChiaSeeds

guest post by Dr Dhurga Reddy

Food inspires me.  I think about how to combine the healthiest, most nutrient-packed ingredients together in unique ways to make delicious meals and snacks, during most of my free time.  I am always up for a new recipe, and I love to eat!  When I do eat, and when I share food with new friends and my near and dear, I want to make sure that every ingredient is contributing to our health in some way.  Foods that are nutrient dense - high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, and fiber - are foods that we should be incorporating in all of our snacks and meals throughout the day.  Because after-all, we are what we eat, and if we waste our time and calories eating nutrient-poor foods  our bodies will become deficient, our enzymatic processes will slow down, our immune function will become less efficient, and we will feel tired. For some of us, a diet of nutrient-poor foods can lead to depression and chronic disease.  This month, I wanted to give you some ideas about nutrient-dense super foods to stock your pantries and fridges with so that when inspiration strikes, you have healthful ingredients

  • Chia seeds – high in omega 3′s and minerals
  • Quinoa – a grain that can be substituted for rice that is high in protein and iron
  • Almonds (and almond butter) – high in omega 3′s, Vitamin E, and fiber
  • Coconut milk and coconut oil – high in medium chain triglycerides which aid the immune system in fighting off viral infections and lowering cholesterol (coconut oil is also a great oil to cook with at high temperatures)
  • Avocados – an excellent source of highly absorbable carotenoids and healthy fats which fight inflammation
  • Kale – high in iron, folate, Vitamins A, C, K, and fiber-Blueberries – high in antioxidants
  • Salmon – high in anti-inflammatory fats
  • Apples – high in fiber, low glycemic index, extremely portable
  • Green Tea – high in antioxidants to help reduce inflammation and prevent cancer, and high in L-theanine, a nutrient known to help reduce anxiety and improve focus
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – loaded with antioxidants, and also functions as a mild appetite suppressant

If you have recipes featuring these foods, please share!

Giselle Baturay

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natural mom

I’m that weird natural mom. The one that doesn’t have over the counter medicines at home for my kids. The one that makes her potions (aka herbal syrups and tinctures). I’m that mom whose kids can’t have the chips that were brought to a playdate. Yes I’m even that mom that is gluten-free, dairy-free, artificial coloring-free, processed foods-free and so on and so forth.

I’m also that weird natural mom that doesn’t get an antibiotic prescription for every little thing that my kids get. I question everything. Everything. And I need answers to be able to make an informed decision. Saying things to me like “oh the risks are really small, don’t worry” NEVER cuts it for me. And surprise, surprise I’m the mom who also doesn’t fully vaccinate my children.

I keep things as real as possible with my kids. They aren’t getting artificial anything as far as I can help it. And I’m really quite simply just not a fan of chemicals and toxins in my home, so I even make my own cleaning supplies.

My kids know what a lavender essential oil blend and wouldn’t be able to point out a Tylenol bottle from a store shelf. And the last time I had to take my kids to the Doctor was a year ago because I use natural remedies for common ailments.

All this makes me a target – I am the target of assumptions and misconceptions. It’s assumed that I let my kids suffer in pain because I don’t use Tylenol. It’s assumed that I must not be sentimental enough because I don’t wear artificial scents. It’s assumed that I don’t care as much about my children, because I don’t rush them to the Doctor for a prescription the moment they sneeze. Oh and ofcourse that I am depriving them of childhood enjoyments such as more candy and places like McDonald’s.

Right.

Because I question everything, I make choices based on solid information. I research, I read, I ask, I ask again and I make informed decisions. So instead of taking a medicine with artificial coloring, my kids get a homemade herbal syrup with pure and natural ingredients. Instead of the Happy Meal with the Super Sized fries and coke, my kids get a gluten-free almond butter and raw honey sandwich made at home. 

Why?

Because I want them to be healthy and as toxin-free as possible. Because I want to teach them that what goes INTO their bodies matter. And to empower them to know how to use our earth’s gifts for healing and health. Because even with our amazing progress in modern medicine, we actually have MORE sick people in hospitals and people getting ill than we have ever before. Hm. Interesting.

So call me crazy, call me a granola hippie (hey I don’t own a store called Granola Babies for nothing!), but me and my happy kids and family are keeping it real. As in real foods, real ingredients and real living…naturally.

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My herbalist mother

My mother is visiting from the Dominican Republic and it’s been lovely having her, as always. I truly enjoy talking to my mother when she’s visiting. She raised us in herbalism and I have so much to learn from her. Today while making Sunday brunch we talked herbs all morning long. I learned that while […]

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