Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Doll that breastfeeds - Bebe Gloton

My daughter and I reached by my mother's home and to our surprise Dahlia got a new baby doll as a gift! But wait.. oh yeah.. the inevitable confrontation starts in five..four..three..

The baby came with a bottle to be able to feed it, DUH. Baby needs to drink milk right? How on earth would a baby get milk unless it was from a bottle!

So I grab the bottle, I look at it, I look at my mom and I think to myself 'ok Wendy, let's not go about this in a fanatical dogmatic way... because this can get sticky'. So politely I hold the bottle in my hand with a slight perplexed look on my face as I start threading this unfamiliar ground. I look at my mom and I thank her for loving Dahlia and providing Dahlia with a nice baby to play with, however, I don't think I want Dahlia playing with any bottles. "WHaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAt?!?!?!?!?! WENDY STOP your STUPIDNESS!" 'Oh goodness'.. I think to myself as I roll my eyes. Yes mom, you heard correctly, I don't want Dahlia playing with bottles making her think that that is the "normal" way to feed babies. Then, my mom uses a common line of false reasoning.. "Oh so you mean to say no bottles what happens to moms who work?! "No mom, this has nothing to do with that. Of course moms who work have to use a bottle, but that's not the point", and so ensued an almost heated debate about 'exposing' little girls 'too early' to breastfeeding.

To follow up on this I would like to introduce you to this Bebe Gloton, a doll made not for bottle feeding, but yes, you guessed correctly, a baby made for breastfeeding. WOW! Why on earth did this concept take so long??

This genius invention is by a Spanish toy maker named Berjuan. This doll was made with the express purpose of exposing young girls to breastfeeding in an effort to normalize breastfeeding again. I find that this is an incredible doll, however, when you look up 'Bebe gloton' on youtube the reactions are less mixed than they are horrified and disgusted.

Well, it's simple, and it is not my intention whatsoever to hypothesize how people came to find breastfeeding sexual etc etc. That's a whole story all by itself. Ok then, we recognize that people in general find breastfeeding ok, as long as it is done within the privacy of your own home. Teaching a little girl to breastfeed by means of this doll, well that is UNACCEPTABLE, according to most people. But why? Why is it ok for little girls then to feed their dolls bottles? A lady in the youtube video of Bebe Gloton said and I quote "I nursed my daughter until she was 6 months old, which I think is fine, but I think it goes a little far having your little girls do it". Ok Ma'am, I guess after you nursed your daughter for only six months you switched her over to formula right...? Case closed. I'm not bashing formula or women who chose to nurse up until 6 months for whatever reason ( I myself switched to formula when my daughter self weaned at one). However, how could you yourself have chosen to breastfeed your daughter, but that same daughter, you won't allow to play with a doll that mimics something so natural and teaches and impresses upon her mind something so normal as breastfeeding. I personally think that that is ambivalence right there.

As you have seen, even some women who have breastfed their infants, find it unacceptable for those same infants who were nourished from their mother's breasts to play with a doll that mimics this act. This is perplexing to me, but then again it's not. I've come across many different and many times strong emotions of repugnance in people where breastfeeding is concerned. The thought alone makes them feel nasty and dirty. This is not God's fault. He did create breasts for that purpose. So how could He possibly think that breastfeeding is "dirty" or immoral in any kind of way. Where did this attitude come from? Like I said, I'm not going in to details lest I be here all night theorizing about it. So let's get to the point then. How far is too far when it comes to letting our daughters play with breastfeeding dolls? Where do we draw the line?

In July, UNICEF's Regional Director for the Caribean had a meeting with all the NGO's in Aruba. I was privileged to be part of that. Mr. Nils Kastberg pointed out that breastfeeding education and support should be well established by the time a girl enters puberty. He said " A girl, when a teenager, should think to herself, 'When I get older and have a baby, I'm gonna breastfeed it!' " . Mr. Kastberg emphasized the importance of forming a balanced and positive attitude towards breastfeeding in the early formative years because by the time a girl hits puberty, she has imprinted in her mind how she will feed her future offspring. This was such an enjoying part of the discourse. Mr. Nils gave such deserved attention to breastfeeding and it's importance. I spoke with him after the presentation was done and I thanked him for showing so much attention for nursing and not just glossing over it. So... UNICEF recognizes that children need to be taught from small. Not by word.. but by deed. Every time a mother nurses her baby with the older child(ren) watching, she is teaching them. Kudos to all you moms who nurse 2nd, 3rd and 4th children!

So... how did it end up with my mom and this play bottle situation. I did find the bottle in Dahlia's toys again, so I hid it :) . You know what my 17-month-old daughter does now to nourish her doll? She sits down, lifts up her dress and holds the baby to eat 'mum-mums'. My heart swelled with joy when I saw that... Kudos to me..

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kangaroo care / Skin-to-Skin contact

I decided to do a piece today about the benefits and effects of skin-to-skin contact or as referred to as Kangaroo Care, between mother and newborn baby. This topic will discuss how skin-to-skin contact impacts early and successful breastfeeding initiation and extends exclusive breastfeeding duration.

Skin-to-skin contact has become more widely accepted and implemented into hospital policies because of it's many benefits. The World Health Organization launched a "Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative" in the '90 and so began the implementation of such practices as the above mentioned. For the history of the BFHI go here

So, let's go straight to the benefits of undisturbed Kangaroo Care for at least an hour after birth

*Babies are more likely to latch and get a proper latch
*The baby is less likely to cry
* The baby is more likely to breastfeed exclusively longer
*If left undisturbed, the healthy term baby takes an average of one (1) hour to orientate to the breast, attach and start to breastfeed.(This is known as the Breast Crawl in which a newborn infant literally crawls to his mothers breast unassisted in search for nourishment)Babies affected by medications used during labor and birth may require longer than one hour
*Baby adapts better, stabilizes temperature, breathing, heart rate and blood sugar levels
*Mother and baby imprinting is fostered with baby using the strongest newborn sense- smell
*Baby's hand and mouth contact with the nipple stimulates maternal oxytocin to enhance uterine contractions, milk let-down and mother-baby interaction and bonding.

Initiating breastfeeding after a vaginal birth

Unless a medically indicated procedure is required, ,immediate skin-to-skin contact with the mother is facilitated and continues undisturbed until the baby has had the first breastfeed, even if mother and baby has to be transferred. The baby is allowed to follow the normal sequence of innate feeding behaviors and initiates breastfeeding when ready.The staff should provide assistance by keeping the mother and baby together and encouraging the mother to recognize and respond to her baby's innate feeding behaviors

Initiating breastfeeding after a cesarean birth
Skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby should preferably be initiated in the theatre suite. Where this is not possible, a mother who has not had a general anesthetic is in skin-to-skin contact with her baby within 10 minutes of the time she arrives in recovery, unless a medically indicated procedure is required. A mother who has had general anesthetic should have skin-to-skin contact within 10 minutes of being able to respond to her baby. And the same protocol is followed as with a vaginal birth.

I would like to add though, that Kangaroo Care's benefits does not end once you get home. Regularly having skin-to-skin contact at home in the weeks and months to come is just as important and beneficial for mother and infant as it was right after the baby's birth

And how do we do it here in Aruba?
Having all of this said, I would like to apply this locally. In Aruba, unfortunately we do not have such a breastfeeding friendly hospital. Where skin-to-skin contact is concerned, my ob/gyn did place my daughter on my chest (not my bare chest though, and my daughter was wrapped up in a blanket because it was freezing in the L&D room. However, my daughter was taken away after about 5-10 minutes to be measured etc. I've spoken to our one and only IBCLC and RLDN (Registered Labor and Delivery Nurse)Marlene Giel, and she's explained to me that although they do encourage and implement kangaroo care to some extent, much improvement is to be made. She also explained to me that the HOH(Aruba's hospital) is in the process of adopting the BFHI (Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative). One day, hopefully soon, we will see more mothers enjoying skin-to-skin contact without unnecessary interruptions, more mothers having the choice to room in with their baby without having to be in a first class room. And more mothers enjoying holding their precious little ones without the snarl of "If you hold her, you'll spoil the baby".

To close this topic, Here I leave you with the most heart warming story I've read about a mother's love, read Carolyn Isbister's story about how skin-to-skin contact saved her severely premature baby's life

Monday, September 28, 2009

The benefits of Baby Wearing

This year and the one before has been of much experimental gain. Why? Well, last year my daughter was born and I was a young mother of 19 years. I was well educated by lots of reading and interacting with Birth Professionals before and after my daughter's arrival. I had attended a formal Childbirth Education Class which included breastfeeding classes. Through all of this, I learned about baby wearing to some extent. So, I went out and got myself a nice expensive baby carrier from Baby Bjorn. I had vaguely seen those other sling things but I remember thinking that it looks so buchi cunucu-ish. I wanted this "high performance" and sophisticated thing that attached my baby to me and made her look like a front pack. Little did I know...

I did learn later that those buchi cunucu slings and wraps are ten octillion times better, more effective, prettier and not cumbersome. So I did purchase one, actually two. It started out like this, I thought, oh how cute, I will order two types of slings and see which has more appeal to mothers here in aruba and I will sell it to them. I ordered a black Maya ring sling
and a pouch sling from Slinglings ( they're cool because if you send them your photo of you wearing your baby in their sling, they put it on their site!) I tried both of them out with my then 14 month old daughter. You should have seen me trying to decipher those things, I looked like a chimp with a remote. HA! Generally though, it just took some short practice sessions and it was a breeze slipping my daughter in and out of the ring sling. what was so nice about this particular type of sling was that, the piece of fabric that remains dangling, can be used to nurse discreetly in public. AND it has a little pocket with a zip. However, upon the arrival of my slinglings sling, I chose that one in favor of the ring sling because my daughter namely went in the hip carry position in which a pouch sling is very accommodating and simple.

So..why all this fuss about wearing our babies and children? What's so great about looking like a chiney (in aruba, Chinese people almost always wear their children). There are many many benefits of wearing our children and not so many disadvantages.

Here are a list of some of the benefits of baby wearing from

Babywearing's great for you:

* Cook dinner during the "arsenic hour" and soothe your baby at the same time
Do the gardening, chores, socialise, even dance, while providing a stimulating learning environment for your baby
* Breastfeed hands-free while on the phone or shopping
* Keep your baby close and happy while playing with your toddler
* Get some exercise (walking) while your baby sleeps
* No need to lug around an awkward, heavy carseat, or battle getting a stroller into your car, onto a bus or up stairs.

* Babies cry less. Research has shown that babies who are carried cry (on average) 43% less overall and 54% less during the evening hours (1). In cultures where babies are carried almost continuously, babies cry much less than those in non-carrying cultures (2-6).
* Good for baby's mental development. Babies spend more time in a "quiet, alert state" when carried - the ideal state for learning. Their senses are stimulated while being carried (yet there is a place to retreat too). When carried, your baby sees the world from where you do, instead of the ceiling above his crib or people's knees from a stroller. And the extra stimulation benefits brain development.
* Good for baby's emotional development. Babies are quickly able to develop a sense of security and trust when they are carried. They are more likely to be securely attached to their care-giver/s (7) and often become independent at an earlier age (8).

* Good for baby's physical development. By being so close to your body's rhythms, your newborn "gets in rhythm" much more quickly. Your heartbeat, breathing, voice and warmth are all familiar. Research has shown how this helps newborns (especially premature babies) to adapt to life outside the womb (9).
* Good for babies whose mums are depressed. Babies who are not held need more verbal interaction and eye contact, just to be reassured that you're there. Carrying your baby is a great way to connect with her (and provide stimulation too) without the "burden" of having to interact (10). Of course your baby is "right there" to enjoy whenever you feel like snuggling, kissing or talking.

So after the why's of babywearing let's talk about the how's and which

There are generally Four types of baby wearing devices which are namely :


*Pouch Slings

*Ring Slings

*Back Pack Carriers and Front carriers

So which one of the pantheon of slings should a mom choose? Well, it really depends on what your needs are. Are you a mom with a young infant that nurses often in public and wish to be discreet about it? A ring sling is perfect for you with it's extra piece of fabric to help cover up

Or maybe you're a busy mom with two/three children and a baby who needs some hands free baby loving, a pouch sling is ideal then, no rings, no extra fabric.

Or are you a busy on the go-go mom with a social life that includes your baby/toddler? A pouch sling is ideal because some of them can hold up to 35 lbs.! It's easy to fold and shove in your bag. It's simple to just pop your baby or toddler in and out. Best of all, it's easy to just put the baby in the cradle carry position and nurse without anyone even knowing!

Ideally, I recommend a wrap for newborns and very young infants because of how snug and secure your baby is nestled against you. However, once that phase is passed and your child can sit and walk good, a pouch sling is a simple solution.

Where the back pack and front carriers are concerned, I would not recommend them for two reasons. The first one being is that when a baby's legs dangle down, it puts undue strain on the infant's back and can be detrimental to the posterior structures of the spine. In rare cases the baby may even develop Spondylolisthesis. Second, experts recommend that if you do use these types of carriers, that you wait until the child is able to sit and walk well,however, since my experience with the Baby Bjorn carrier, I stopped ranting and raving about how superior it is to the buchi cunucu pieces of fabric called slings. You'll note that once the baby starts putting on weight, around 12-15 lbs, it is no longer pleasurable to keep the baby in the carrier because of the bad back ache you're gonna get. So then you're back to square one. So...? Skip it altogether..

Here locally, in Aruba, a friend of mine nurtured a wonderful idea and is turning it into a reality. The founder of Arawak Mums has some massive sewing experience and ability and a new found love for these things. So, she set out to make slings (and nursing covers mind you!) more widely available here in Aruba. Her prices are very reasonable compared to the whopping 175 Afl,- you'll pay for a ring sling here, that costed you 60$ on the internet! Her patterns are fresh and of great quality. I highly suggest you look Bethsarim Van Koetsveld-BriƱez up on facebook or look up Arawak Mums on Facebook and put your order in!

Lastly but certainly not least, in Aruba, they like to advocate separation. You'll always hear people saying in almost an accusatory tone that by holding the baby so much you'll spoil him!!! But this is not a fact. This is a complete myth. That view is so deeply entrenched that when I was in the hospital after giving birth the day before, I was cuddling with my not even 24-hour-old newborn and having skin-to-skin contact, the nurse walks in and goes, "My my, keep on holding that baby like that and you'll certainly have a spoiled child on your hands". I was so offended. But I knew she spoke out of tradition and wrongly held views. Wearing your baby a lot, maximizes bonding, while giving you hands free time, come on, who doesn't NEED that?? We're all busy stay-at-home/working moms with stuff to do. Yet, we know that a baby will develop better if it's carried rather than placed in a swing or a stroller. Another misconception is that wearing or holding a baby too much will make them clingy, too dependent children. This is an outright lie. Many a mothers note that the babies they wore the most grew up to be their most independent and free spirited children! So, with this I'll leave it up to you mothers/fathers.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

A lesson in Attachment Parenting and Gentle Discipline

This blog was inspired by a first time play date of my daughter Dahlia and my friend Noortje and her daughter Zoe

We were invited over for a play date of sorts. So excitedly we went, Dahlia and I. It was Zoe, Dahlia, Noortje and myself on the front porch watching the girls play with a play stove Zoe has. Everything was going well. Noortje's husband cut up some fresh watermelon and avocado for us and the girls ,and all ate and played happily. Then... Dahlia got interested in a bike (she loves "big girl" bikes) So, she went on it..much to Zoe's displeasure. And so it began. Dahlia and Zoe going mad.. Both were at one point screaming, then..after Noortje insisted that it is Dahlia's turn to ride the bike, Zoe lost it. Completely.. What I found so interesting wasn't the temper tantrum Zoe was throwing.. rather, it was the way Noortje was handling it..She sat there, cradling and holding Zoe tight in her arms while rocking her and shushing her softly. She empathized with Zoe and continued rocking her. I was so amazed and pleasantly surprised, because never in my life had I seen or heard of (on Aruba) a mother responding so lovingly to a screaming child. All I was accustomed of seeing was mothers yelling back and striking their children for such behavior, which in turn just perpetuated the tantrum even longer. I've seen the common method of leaving the child there to scream after being verbally punished. All of this is common to our island, but never have I beheld Noortje's method beyond my reading material.

I sat and spoke to Noortje about temper tantrums and she and I both expressed the same views about how to handle it. With love. patience. calmness. We were both so relieved to find acceptance and validation for our parenting methods. I had done some reading on the subject and am trying my best to implement it into our daily lives. Is it working? I'll find out soon enough. Is it worth it? Absolutely

What is this method I keep ranting on and on about? It's attachment parenting and gentle discipline. La Leche League International had a great article in their magazine entitled "Temper Tantrums"
In it Donna Bruschi explained that a child's tantrums is a cry for help. Further research into gentle parenting on websites such as Attachment shows that reacting to a temper tantrum with aggression and anger actually perpetuates and exacerbates the child's plea for help. Why does a child then, fall to the ground, kicking and screaming, and sapatia like we say here in aruba, and not just come to the mom and tell her what's wrong? Simple.. a child or baby, can't. What can they do then? Well, it's simple again, cry, LOUD. How we as parents respond to such behaviors has a big impact on the child's mental, emotional and physical well being and development must be wondering.. what AM I supposed to do then when my baby/child throws a temper tantrum. I'll put an excerpt from Donna Bruschi's article.

Stay calm, detached, and nearby, offering support as needed (as well as protection from sharp edges, traffic, and other hazards). The parent may have to restrain or physically remove the child to prevent him from hurting himself and others. If the parent finds herself getting upset, it is better to make sure the child is safe, leave the room, and calm down. If this is not possible, she should stop talking and breathe deeply. If this is not possible, she should try again with the next tantrum. She will handle tantrums better with each attempt.

The parent can reassure the child that she really wants to understand what is wrong. Help him to calm down. Only when he is reasonably calm should the parent continue. If the child gets upset again, return to calming techniques.

Ask the child what happened, and listen. Listen for the facts (the situation) and listen for the feeling (the emotion).

If he can't verbalize it, make suggestions and watch his body language for cues that you are on the right track. It may help for the parent to imagine herself in the child's place. Once the parent has identified the trigger, she can help the child to understand it. Common triggers are the inability to do a task or the loss of a favorite toy. Other triggers are fears, punishment, and separation from the parent. Aggravating factors can be exhaustion, hunger, and loud public places

Since reading this, I've tried it with my 19-month-old daughter too. My husband and I stopped responding with physical discipline and focused more on our daughter's emotions and feelings at that very moment. When she starts flinging and flailing her hands at me with the intention of hitting me, I grab her hands lovingly, tell her to look me in the eyes, and I calmly acknowledge her anger, her frustration and disappointment. I get down to her eye level and I verbalize her feelings and tell her that I understand how she feels and that it's normal to feel a certain way but that hitting is not an acceptable way to express those emotions. With what result? Well, our daughter has stopped hitting significantly, also, she does seem to respond more to us when we try to correct her. We hope and feel secure that she will one day (hopefully in the nearby future) learn to control her strong emotions better and that she will grow up to be an empathetic and loving human being.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pro Lechi Mama Aruba's Press Conference and Press Release

As I've blogged about a few days ago, yesterday we finally had our Press Conference and subsequently the Press Release of the Quintessence Foundation Breastfeeding Challenge. The three board members who elaborated on this event were : Minouche Lopez, Wendy Martijn and Sharine Hart.It was cute on the newspaper's behalf to have taken photos of our children that went along with some of us. From left to right top to Bottom, Noortje's Son, Marnix. My daughter Dahlia , Lainne's son Xendrick, and Noortje's daughter Zoe at the bottom (disregard the good looking woman that has only half a body) I must say, I was pretty nervous. Also, I would like to make a correction in a statement I gave about Quintessence Foundation.

* The Quintessence Foundation was established in 1998. And in 2001 the First Breastfeeding Challenge was organized and held.

Here is the Press Release from 24

Note: It is completely in papiamento.

Sleeping with your baby

Here is an article snatched from a friend's blog

by Peggy O'Mara
Published in Mothering, Issue 141

One of the biggest crises of confidence that new mothers face has to do with sleep. Mothers feel responsible for their babies' sleep. Others ask mothers if their babies are sleeping through the night, as if this is something the mothers can control. Mothers lie to one another about whether or not their infants sleep through the night. And everyone lies about not bringing their babies into bed with them.

We lie because our society has unrealistic expectations of babies, and therefore we have unrealistic expectations of ourselves as mothers. Our expectations for babies' sleep simply do not coincide with babies' actual capabilities, or with the normal behavior of our species.

It is normal for human beings to wake during the night. We each awake several times a night, but don't remember that we have. It is normal for human infants, especially, to wake at night. During their early weeks, they sleep during the day and are awake for periods during the night. It takes about two months for their day-night cycle to regulate itself. From two to four months, infant sleep is more predictable, with longer stretches of night sleep. Parents are tempted during this time to say that their babies sleep through the night, and they fully expect that they should be. This is often false hope.

New brain activities—manifested in sitting up, standing, creeping, and crawling, as well as in the eruption of new teeth—conspire to make the period from five to nine months a time of increased night-waking. Baby becomes more aware of others during this time, and may have separation anxiety and nighttime fears.

The pattern of increased brain activity, new growth and stimulation, eruption of baby teeth, and the maturation of the immune system is mostly complete by two years of age. While many parents with one-year-olds who are not sleeping through the night think that their baby has a sleep problem, it is actually not until between two and three years of age that a child regularly sleeps through the night. This does not mean that the two-year-old wakes as much as the newborn, but only that sleep is a process as well as a state.

There is nothing we can do to change this, nothing we can do to make our babies sleep through the night. We sometimes think that introducing solid food will help our babies sleep, but starting solids too early can hurt them. One study found that feeding babies rice cereal before four months was a risk factor for the development of diabetes. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not starting solids before six months; the World Health Organization suggests waiting even longer.

Even if we wait to start solids, it is not a good idea to start with rice cereal, although it is very popular. Rice cereal doesn't make babies sleep through the night. In fact, it has a high glycemic index and may raise the baby's levels of blood sugar and insulin. It is not as rich in nutrients or flavor as other foods, such as vegetables and fruits. If food actually did make babies sleep, rice cereal would not be a good choice; as a starch, it is digested quickly. The cereal became popular decades ago to complement formula feeding because it could be more easily fortified with iron.

While we cannot make our babies sleep, we can provide them with regular bedtime routines. I always nursed my babies to sleep in a rocking chair. Baths, quiet time, reading stories, soft light, and a slow pace help prepare children—and adults, for that matter—for sleep. These routines help us to relax.

It is also important that older children have time during the day to run and play, as a lack of exercise can make them wakeful. On the other hand, children who are overstimulated can also take time getting to sleep. We all need a period of unwinding from a busy day, and the transition from waking to sleep requires sensitive pacing.

Most of us, though, can figure out the baths and the bedtime stories. It's the night waking when our children are babies that drives us wild. It drives us wild because we're up in the night and don't want to be. It also drives us wild because it's a dark secret to admit that our babies wake at night.

Over 30 years ago, I sat in a room with a bunch of other new moms and bemoaned the fact that my baby was waking up during the night. I thought I was weird. All of a sudden, it occurred to me to ask the other mothers how many of their babies were waking at night. Nearly all of them raised their hands. We all breathed a great collective sigh of relief. It was not our fault. It is just the way babies are.

After observing my four babies, it is clear to me that teething is a major culprit in night waking. My babies' night waking dramatically decreased after their two-year molars came in, often at about 18 months. There can be other reasons for night waking, and it's always helpful to try to figure out if there is anything out of the ordinary in the baby's life that might contribute to wakefulness. If not, one simply has to live with it.

We have set a cruelly unrealistic standard for infant sleep. We expect babies to conform to our adult world, and we justify coercing them when they don't.

I know it's been a long time since my children were babies, and I no longer feel in my bones the ache of missed sleep, but I found it easier to handle sleep interruptions once I came to accept night waking as normal. I recently received an e-mail advertising the services of a doctor who specializes in sleep training. "Sleep training" implies that we can, and therefore probably should, control our babies' sleep habits. But is sleep a "habit"? Good sleeping habits are one thing, and they do indeed help children sleep better—but sleep itself is a need, and therefore out of our control.

Yet we parents are not only expected to control our children's sleep, we are told where our babies are to sleep. Defying centuries of ancestral wisdom and common practice, today's medical experts raise doubts in young parents about the safety of sleeping with their babies. This advice flies in the face of the fact that most of the world's parents sleep with their babies and always have. It's the way of our species. The assumption that one needs a separate room and a separate bed to safely raise a baby is elitist. There's nothing inherently wrong with these things, but they don't have a monopoly on safe sleep.

Human babies are born helpless and have the longest period of dependency of any species. We are not comfortable with this because our culture equates dependency with weakness. It is, in fact, a healthy dependency that guarantees independence. I don't think I am the only mother who has observed that her most dependent babies turned into her most independent children. As with sleep, independence is not something we can teach our children. It is something they develop.

But what is a parent to do with all of the mixed messages regarding sleep and babies? One doctor recommends swaddling babies all night long. And yet, observation of babies self-attaching to the breast shows them using their arms to locate the breast and to move toward it. Babies also move their arms to lower their body temperature, which is important—overheating can be a contributing factor in SIDS.

Another doctor recommends that parents refuse to comfort a baby who wakes at night. He suggests standing outside the door of the baby's room to listen to her cry it out. I can't imagine any other circumstances in which one would be so deliberately unresponsive to a loved one's suffering. When the baby finally falls asleep out of exhaustion, it is not because she has learned how to sleep. It is because she has given up on others.

Convincing international research supports a parent's instinct to sleep with her baby. Cosleeping seems to have a corrective effect on the infant's respiration. The baby breathes more regularly when in skin contact with the mother. For this reason, too, cosleeping is protective against SIDS. One researcher even found that cosleeping was not only safe, it was twice as safe as not cosleeping.

And yet, the gold standard for infant sleep is an approved crib. According to controversial research conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, each year 60 babies die in adult beds—but most of these babies are alone. On the other hand, 900 babies die each year in cribs, and in the last 25 years there have been 36 recalls of cribs. Does this mean that cribs are unsafe? No. It means that babies sometimes die at night.

It is cruel to suggest to parents that they could be lethal to their own children, and that the only solution is to buy a new crib, which many parents can't even afford. In fact, new products are recalled just as often as old ones. The fact that a product is new does not mean that it has been safety tested, because safety testing is not required. It may mean that it meets current mandatory standards, but if it is a new type of product, there may be no standards yet set for it. This is true even in the juvenile products market.

Common sense tells us that night waking is not a pathological abnormality but a temporary disturbance. It decreases as baby teeth come in and the immune system matures. Here are some ideas that can help:

* Accept night waking as normal.
* Sleep when the baby sleeps.
* Don't turn on the light or change diapers when the baby wake at night to nurse.
* Don't count how many times you're awake at night.
* Don't look at the clock in the middle of the night.
* Nap on weekends, or whenever you can get help with the baby.
* Carry on.


Peggy O’Mara is the mother of four grown children. She has gained international celebrity as publisher, editor and owner of Mothering Magazine. She is also the author of four books: Having a Baby Naturally: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth, Natural Family Living: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting, The Way Back Home: Essays on Life and Family, and A Quiet Place: Essays on Life and Family, all of which can be purchased in the Mothering Shop [1]. A dynamic speaker, she has lectured and conducted workshops in conjunction with organizations such as the Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche International, and Bioneers. She has appeared on numerous television and radio programs and has been featured in national publications including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Mother Earth News, and Utne Reader.

Read Peggy O’Mara’s editorials for philosophical information and practical advice about Natural Family Living

Image taken from

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fundashon Pro Lechi Mama Aruba, Quintessence Foundation and World Breastfeeding Week

The other board members and myself from Fundacion Pro Lechi Mama Aruba have had a pretty busy week-and-a-half having meetings constantly all the while trying to balance family life, work life, and somewhat of a social life together with our passion for volunteer work with this non-profit organization.

Why this rush? Well, we decided( a little last minute) to participate for the first time ever in the yearly GLOBAL breastfeeding challenge from Quintessence Foundation. The board is super excited about this idea, and we've been frantically putting things together, arranging, calling, asking and asking and asking. Ofcourse, being a non-profit organization, we rely (A LOT) on sponsors and donations.

So far we have the site arranged which will be Paseo Herencia. They have been super super kind to us to give in to our every whim of how we envision this Challenge to be. We cannot stop extending our gratitude and apreciation for all they have done and will yet do. SO! Tomorrow is the Press Conference to reveal to whole Aruba this event. It's gonna be huge, it's gonna be impacting, it's gonna be attitude altering (hopefully).

What's the purpose of all this shabang? Well, Around the world, mothers struggle to find acceptence and validation where breastfeeding is concerned, and over and over again, women are shoved into a corner, a car and even a bathroom when it comes to breastfeeding in public. This implies that nursing a infant/toddler beyond the privacy of one's own home is wrong. THIS attitude must change. Why can women degrade themselves and walk around on beaches with their breasts out, yet DARE a baby nurse or suckle from that SAME breast, FORGET about it. SCANDAL SCANDAL...what is going on...
Aruba is not to be excluded from this non-accepting mentality. That is why this breastfeeding Challenge is so timely and appropriate.

Now... If I were speaking, I'd be out of breath. I'm very excited, I want to blog about all all all the details but will wait till more stuff is finalized before I begin divulging anything.

On another note, this is my first blog, it's very simple, it's very short. I hope to get more hang of it sooner or later and add more interesting things to it. Grow with me, come along and start from the very beginning with me..

-Wendy Martijn-

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Welcome one and all To Aruban Breastfeeding Mamas

Small Introduction :

I am a young wife and mother with a passion for birth, breastfeeding and parenting. I live on the small island of Aruba. I am in progress of becoming a Certified Childbirth Educator and Lactation Consultant. I am a board member of a non profit breastfeeding organization here in Aruba called, Fundashon Pro Lechi Mama Aruba

Read and be informed as I navigate through pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenting issues, those especially common here in Aruba