natural mother magazine
DIY UNPAPER TOWELS
THE DEADLIEST PARENTING DECISION
The Family Apothecary 10 Gentle Parenting Goals for the New Year Issue 4, Jan./Feb. 2014
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publisher, Editor in chief & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jessika Bailey
ADVERTISING MANAGER Jenny DOYLE DERAMO
Ingrid Sorensen Cheryl Diane Lewis Ali Bee Broms Aleesha Yount Cheryl Diane Lewis Meggin Dueckmann Krysta Baldenegro Scout Emmelie
Ted Zeff, Ph.D. Guggie Daly Jennifer Saleem Allyson McQuinn Paige Lucas-Stannard Tracey Biebel Johnson, LCSW Amy Jane Stewart, LMT Amy Phoenix Aleesha Yount Laura Schuerwegen Emily Rowell Allie Chee Jamie Wolf Jolene Brighten, ND Aubree Sanders
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS Ginger Horsburgh Myrriah Raimbault
© Natural Mother Magazine, All Rights Reserved Cover Photo Credit: © MNStudio - Fotolia
© Denis Tarantola
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features 5 Strategies to Prevent Your Sensitive Son from Being Bullied 8 Childhood Fever 32 Resetting Your Compass for the New Year 46 Essential Oils Quick Guide: Immune Support 52 Changing the Shame Game 66 Herbs for Stress 76 Helping Kids Make Healthy Choices 88 The First 31 Days 95 Revitalize Your Energy in the New Year 96
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Contents on the cover Car Seats: The Deadliest Parenting Decision 18 10 Gentle Parenting Goals for the New Year 24 DIY Unpaper Towels 74 The Family Apothecary 100
in every issue Letter from the Editor 6 Editor’s Picks 16 Read Up! 30 Ask Paige 38 Natural Kitchen 78 Healthy Home 86 News Worthy 99 Natural Mother’s Market 106 NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 5
A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
I cannot believe 2013 is now a thing of the past! I love a new year to conquer. I am not much one for believing that just because the calendar rolls over that everything will be different, that some magical thing will happen, and we won’t meet with life’s struggles anymore. To the contrary! I see each new day as an opportunity to start again, to renew anything that needs attention, to accomplish something. This issue is packed full of goals, tough subjects, self reflection. It’s a call to improve yourself, your parenting, your relationships. None of these things are easy, but I urge you to take today as an opportunity, no more so than yesterday, and no less than tomorrow. All the changes you want to make are waiting for you to take that first step. What’s stopping you? The fear of failure? The thought you may not accomplish what you set out to do? Can you please tell your inner voice to knock it off, for me? Jump in, fall down, get back up and try again! Every day we have on this earth is an opportunity to make a difference in our lives, and in the lives of those we love, even in the lives of those we don’t know. Every act of betterment has a ripple effect. Every kind thing we do inspires 6 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
someone else, who in turn inspires someone else. Do we know the influence we truly have on others? Do we value our place in this existance as much as we should? You are no more or less important than anyone else in the world. What you do, what you choose to do, the difference you make is 100 percent up to you. I encourage all of you to step outside your comfort zone this year, take intentional steps toward making the changes you wish to see in the world. Set that example for your children, be that woman, mother (or father), you know you can be. The difference? Being and doing! Happy New Year!
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photo credit: Earthside Birth Photography
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| by Ted Zeff, Ph.D.
5 Strategies to Prevent Your Sensitive Son from
BEING BULLIED “Mothers generally spend more time with their children, so they are frequently in a position to bolster their son’s confidence.” NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 9
Did you know that 20 percent of the population has a sensitive nervous system and the trait is equally divided between males and females? Therefore, 20 percent of all males are sensitive, or one out of every five boys has a finely tuned nervous system. A highly sensitive boy (HSB) can be easily overwhelmed by noise and crowds, fearful of new situations and shy away from aggressive interactions. He generally reacts more deeply and exhibits more emotional sensitivity than the non-sensitive boy which unfortunately could result in being bullied. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, 160,000 children miss school every day in the United States for fear of being bullied; more than 50 suicides have been linked to prolonged bullying; and approximately 85 percent of school shootings have revenge against bullies as a major motive. School-related bullying has led to depression and poor school performance in many children.
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Although research has shown that infant boys are more emotionally reactive than infant girls, by the time boys reach the age of five, they have usually learned to repress every emotion except anger. Societal values emphasize that males should be aggressive, thick-skinned, and emotionally self-controlled, which is the opposite of a sensitive boy. When boys don’t conform to the “boy code” and instead show their gentleness and emotions, they are often ostracized and humiliated. Bullies tend to target kids who seem different from others. Since the 80 percent of non-HSBs are hard wired neurologically to behave in a different manner than the 20 percent of HSBs, many sensitive boys do not fit in with the vast majority of boys and risk being bullied. Bullies also target kids who don’t fight back and who react deeply to teasing. Research shows that 85 percent of HSBs avoided fighting and most sensitive boys become more emotionally upset from bullying than other boys.
How can we prevent our sensitive boys from being bullied? Develop Confidence in your Son With Support from Mom, Dad and Other Adults Unconditional love and support from parents and other adults will give your son the confidence he needs to face difficult situations. Unfortunately, when the burden is placed on one or two frequently stressed-out adults, it’s difficult to give the unconditional love and support a sensitive boy needs. Studies have shown that boys who had positive, loving relationships with adults other than parents (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.) reported having more positive experiences as a child than those who did not have these additional relationships. Sensitive men from India and Thailand reported experiencing happier childhoods than those from North America, which may be due to the role of the extended family and community in raising children in those cultures. So invite your extended family and friends to share their love with your son.
Some people believe that boys need stronger discipline than girls. However, your sensitive son can learn a lesson better when he is calm and receptive, so when you are disciplining your son it’s vital to talk to him in a gentle manner. When you set limits in a calm, yet firm manner it will not lower his self-esteem. Mothers generally spend more time with their children, so they are frequently in a position to bolster their son’s confidence. However, fathers (or uncles, grandfathers, or other male role models) need to spend special, positive time with their sons. While a father needs to teach his son how to stand up for himself, he also has to understand, protect, and encourage his sensitive son. Both the father and the son benefit when dad accepts his son’s trait of sensitivity instead of trying to mold him into a non-HSB. It’s important to model setting limits with others so that your son will learn how to set boundaries -- if he is humiliated for his sensitivity -- so he won’t get bullied.
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Make School a Safe Place for your Son Parents should regularly discuss their son’s progress with his teacher, talk to other parents, and volunteer in the classroom. If you find out that a teacher is mistreating your son, you need to immediately let the teacher and principal know that their behavior is unacceptable. If the teacher is not receptive to changing his or her behavior, you should not let your son remain in the classroom. If your son gets bullied in school it’s important to let him know effective methods to handle the situation. According to the Youth Voice Project, which surveyed 11,000 teens in 25 schools, the most effective solutions to stopping bullying were accessing the support of adults and peers. Less effective strategies were ignoring the bullying, telling them to stop, and walking away. Learning self-defense can give your son more confidence when confronted by bullying. You could ask the P.T.A. or the principal to arrange for a professional to come to the school to 12 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
offer an anti-bullying program. If your son has tried the methods mentioned above but the bullying does not stop (or becomes violent), contact your son’s school. Your son’s safety and sense of well-being is of prime importance, so you have every justification to bring the issue to his teacher, school counselor, and/or principal. If your son’s physical safety is in jeopardy and the school authorities won’t intervene, you could contact the police. However, it may be more prudent to remove your son from a potentially physically violent situation if the bullying escalates to that point. If the bullying continues, there may be the possibility of your child attending a progressive private school (i.e. Montesori, Waldorf, Steiner), that may be more conducive to your son’s emotional and educational needs than a large public school. Homeschooling is ideal for most sensitive boys since the HSB thrives in a safe, quiet, lessstimulating environment where they are free to pursue both core and creative subjects at their own pace. To compensate for the lack of social interaction,
it’s important for your son to get together with other children who are also being homeschooled, hire tutors, and enroll him in special classes.
not learn successful interpersonal skills.
Help your Son Obtain Peer Support Through New Friendships
When a boy becomes involved in sports, he feels accepted by his peers, which increases his selfesteem. Most boys are involved in some team sports but research indicates that 85 percent of sensitive boys did not participate in team sports and most preferred to participate in individual exercise. Since HSBs do not perform well under group pressure and may be deeply hurt by the cruel culture of malicious “boy teasing” while playing sports with other boys, they generally avoid such interactions.
Most boys prefer to socialize in large groups, yet our sensitive boys usually prefer to interact with only one friend or play by themselves. Since they shy away from aggressive, combative interactions, HSBs may have difficulties making friends with other boys. It may be better for your son to have just one friend rather than trying to be accepted by a group of non-HSBs. However, it could be beneficial for your son to learn how to navigate through the majority non-sensitive boy culture as long as the friends involved remain respectful. Take some time to discuss friendship with your son and emphasize how important it is to be with friends who respect him. It’s important for your son to create a balance between spending time alone and with friends or he may
Help your Son Become Physically Fit
Regardless of athletic ability, it’s important for your son to participate in physical exercise since it will help him become healthier, stronger, and more confident. When an HSB has someone to teach and encourage him how to play various games, he could thrive, even in the insensitive world of male sports. However, before your son joins a team, you should talk with the coach and possibly other parents to make NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 13
sure that the players are treated with respect and are not overly competitive. The key is to find athletic activities that your son authentically enjoys. As previously mentioned, learning some form of self-defense can really empower a sensitive boy, helping him feel safe and better able to fend off bullies if needed. It’s important to let the instructor know that your son needs support from the trainer. The sensitive boy who masters some form of self-defense becomes less fearful, more confident and frequently more sociable. Increase your Son’s Self-esteem Research has shown that the more dissatisfied a boy is with his body, the poorer his self-esteem. Therefore, a sensitive boy who reacts more deeply to teasing about his physical appearance than a non-HSB is at risk for developing low self-esteem. Though the media can be a strong influence on your son, as an adult in his life you are the stronger influence and have the power to let him know that his body is perfect exactly as it is. Discuss how the media is perpetuating myths about what a male body should look like. 14 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
An important aspect of a positive body image is good health. Stress affects health, and since your son may be more vulnerable to stress than the non-HSB, it’s important to help him maintain a preventative health-maintenance program by making sure he eats a healthy diet, takes supplements, gets enough sleep, and gets regular exercise. Finally, while your son’s selfesteem may be diminished by his not fitting in with nonsensitive children, he will feel worthwhile as he receives nourishment from his spiritual pursuits. Since most HSBs have a proclivity toward spirituality, you can increase his self-esteem by encouraging your son to learn meditation, prayer, spend time in nature, or read spiritual books about the great sensitive and compassionate spiritual heroes like Christ, Moses and other saints and sages. There are millions of parents of sensitive boys trying to help their sons cope in a world that does not appreciate sensitivity in males. I’m sure that as you begin using the suggestions in this article you will start seeing a positive change in your son as he becomes a strong, confident, and happy boy.
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< 5 PHASES HYBRID GLASS BABY BOTTLE This bottle features a glass drop-in with a plastic outer, making this the safest glass baby bottle available today. No matter your reason for bottle feeding, this bottle will reduce your child’s exposure to toxins found in plastic baby bottles. Simply genius!
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www.motherlove.com 16 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
< 16 MINUTE CLUB The 16-Minute Club is the one-and-only home-delivery lactation support program focused on helping new nursing mothers meet their breastfeeding goals. Every six weeks you’ll open a surprise package of products and support materials tailored to your baby’s developmental needs. Created by an IBCLC, this company is a breath of fresh air! Finally, support for nursing moms!
BABY BUMP BUNDLE > Curated, handpicked pregnancy products by trimester for expecting moms, gifts for baby, and nursing essentials for new moms. You’ll find products from trusted brands, everything from tea to safe nail polish. Gift boxes for each trimester, one for newborns and one specifically for nursing moms. A wonderful company on a mission to pamper the expecting mother.
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Car Seats THE DEADLIEST PARENTING DECISION
Selecting and using a carseat is a normal practice for the average American parent and yet it is the deadliest. When quizzed, parents might list their fears over a variety of parenting and health topics -important in their own right -but fail to feel concern or fear about the risks of collisions. Going to the numbers, though, shows that injuries from vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for children (1). One study even found that almost two thirds of all carseats are installed incorrectly or buckled incorrectly (2). Just recently, a mother is facing charges due to using carseats incorrectly. One of her twin babies, a 6 week old, was killed in a collision. To make matters worse, American culture has promoted the idea that turning a child forward facing is a 18 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
| by Guggie Daly
celebratory milestone and that continuing to rearface past the minimums is poor parenting or risky. Yet this is the exact opposite of how physics works in collisions. Rearfacing cradles the whole body, including the vulnerable spine and neck, distributing crash forces evenly and protecting the child from severe injuries. Forward facing restrains the child in the seat, but allows the head to move forward violently, potentially stretching or snapping the spinal cord and leading to severe injuries involving the spine and brain. One study, for example, found that children in forward facing seats were â€œsignificantly more likely to be seriously injured than children in rearfacing carseats in all crash types.â€? (3) Despite a lengthy lapse in laws and
recommendations, both are now catching up, with many states beginning to update their minimum rearfacing laws. Additionally, various children’s organizations have released updated recommendations, urging parents to continue rearfacing until the child is at least 2 years old or optimally until the child meets the height and weight limits on the seats. The carseat industry is trying to catch up to other countries, finally offering seats that rearface to 40lbs and even 50lbs. What this means is that now more than ever, parents have knowledge, support and many carseat options to ensure their children are restrained in their vehicles as safely as possible. But where do you begin?
portant to look at the child and the vehicle. The seat needs to fit the child and the vehicle it will be used in, as not all seats fit all children and vehicles the same way. Some carseats have shorter shells, meaning a tall or fast growing child will outgrow the seat sooner. Some seats are very large and bulky, meaning they won’t fit into a smaller vehicle or fit next to other passengers. Most seats are comparable in price and luxury options, and these options have nothing to do with safety, so it’s best to start with fit and installation when deciding on a carseat.
• Measure your child’s torso height. Sit your child against a wall and measure from the floor to the top of the shoulder. The torso height helps you to decide which seat will last the longest.
When choosing a seat to buy, it’s im-
• Weigh your child and think about NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 19
your child’s general weight gain pattern. The highest weight limit on a seat in America is currently 50 lbs, with most of the other available seats trailing behind at 40 lbs and the Diono seats coming in at 45 lbs. • Research your vehicle’s rules and available options. Some cars do not have LATCH, and some cars do, but there is often a weight limit. Split seats, small seats and angled seats might mean wider carseats will tip over or install poorly. Visit www. car-seat.org to review vehicles and carseats and how they fit together from others who report their installation experiences. Buying Faced with a multitude of gadgets and nursery items to buy, many parents might bristle at the average cost of a mid-line carseat. But it’s important to prioritize and reserve money for the items that will directly protect children. With a little bit of preparation and research, it’s possible to shop frugally. • Shop at the beginning of the year. Companies roll out new designs and new colors, so you’re most likely to find good deals around this time. • Keep an eye on deal websites such as www.slickdeals.net to find out when a particular seat goes on steep discount or when a particular company has a good coupon. • Combine deals to get the best 20 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
price on in-store purchases. For example, Babies R Us often sends out flyers with 20% coupons, plus has a 25% discount during their “tradein event.” Target coupons often include clearance and you can use their credit or debit card for an additional 5% discount. Whatever store you purchase from, scope out their sales and coupon schedules to prepare. • It’s tempting to buy a used seat, especially to be earth friendly. But this is actually a hazard unless you’re buying from someone you absolutely trust. Do not purchase used carseats from strangers. They can pull a seat out of a wreck and resell it without you knowing, but the internal structure might be damaged and fail to protect your child in a future collision. • The same goes for expired seats. It might look safe to you, but the expiration date is based on plastic degradation and weather exposure. Here is an expired seat in a low-speed test. Installing Installing a carseat can be one of the hardest parenting tasks you will ever do! It can seem very overwhelming at first, especially when trying to read the manual and trying to make sure you’ve done everything correctly. But it’s vital to install it exactly as the manual instructs. There is no loophole or room for preference when it comes to the intended function of a carseat.
Misuse, besides increasing your child’s risk of injury and death, can also void your warranty, allow the insurance company to deny a claim after a collision and even net you a fine and a visit from a CPS caseworker to investigate. For example, this father was involved in a collision during a snow storm. Two of his children were ejected from the vehicle and one child suffered internal injuries. The father was cited for failing to install the seats correctly. • About that manual: Read it! Skim it briefly. Then read it again the next day to absorb more details. Also be sure to have it with you while you install the seat. If you lose the manual, many are available for download online or free by calling the manufacturer. • If you are stumped, don’t feel bad! Some of the seats out there are really tough to install. Find a certified carseat technician who can show you how to install your seat. • Do not assume that a firefighter, police officer, nurse or other authority figure is capable of installing your seat. Most of them are not trained or certified. Always ask for proof of certification as a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician). A CPST will also encourage you to install it instead of doing it for you. • No matter how much money you spend or how deluxe a seat is, if it isn’t installed correctly, it’s nothing more than a fancy death trap.
• Make sure it’s installed correctly every time, in every vehicle. If you suspect a friend or family member can’t or won’t install it correctly when watching your child, do it for them. Buckling and Usage So, once the seat has finally made it into the car, you’re really only halfway there. Now the child has to fit into the seat, and this is the part where many risky mistakes are made. Follow these guidelines and after you become familiar with them, it won’t feel inconvenient or overwhelming. • If rearfacing, the straps must be at or BELOW the shoulders. If forwardfacing, the straps must be at or ABOVE the shoulders. • The straps should be tightened until you can’t pinch them and they shouldn’t be twisted. • The chest clip must be at the chest, armpit level. • The child should be sitting comfortably, legs in whichever position is desired, and the head should be below the shell if rearfacing. If forwardfacing, consult the manual as it can vary. • During cold weather, it is important to avoid loosening the straps to fit a thick coat, blanket or snowsuit. The thick material will easily compress in an accident and the child will be ejected. Use thin but warm materials NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 21
such as a fleece jacket or purchase (or make) a carseat poncho. Store warm fleece blankets in the car. You can also place the coat on “backwards” after buckling. Learn more about winter safety here. One of the best tools when it comes to relieving carseat anxiety and ensuring safe usage is to get a visual of these concepts. You can find a variety of helpful videos divided by subtopic here. More on Rearfacing Turning a child forward is still considered a celebratory milestone and often parents have received many myths or urban legends about the debate between rearfacing and forwardfacing. It’s important to filter out the popular sayings and look directly to the physics of how a carseat works and how a child moves in a collision. • Many parents mistakenly fear their children will break their legs if they remain rearfacing. On the contrary, forward facing is associated with more injuries overall. It’s also notable that a broken leg is easy to cast. But a broken spine or damaged brain is very difficult to repair and has lifelong consequences. Rearfacing is the safest way to protect the fragile brain and head, even with a rare chance that the legs are injured. • Another common fear is that children will feel uncomfortable or 22 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
crowded if they remain rearfacing. Young children tend to be more comfortable in small spaces, curling themselves up into pretzels or hiding out in home made forts. Most seats on the market today have a deep pan, allowing for more leg room. And children can choose their own leg positions for their comfort. • Sometimes parents think that if they turn a crying child forward, it will end the tantrums or fights. It’s important to remember that children have struggled with restraints since before rearfacing carseats even existed. Toddlers don’t like to be held down in place no matter which direction they are facing. Distraction and flexibility is needed, not a reduction in safety. • In cases of true hardship such as motion sickness, seizures or other medical conditions, find support and ideas by visiting www.car-seat. org and looking for parents who have similar experiences. There are tricks and tips to try before turning your child forward. 1 CDC. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System [online]. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (producer). 2 Department of Transportation (US), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Facts Research Note 2005: Misuse of Child Restraints: Results of a Workshop to Review Field Data Results . Washington (DC): NHTSA; 2006. 3 Henary B, Sherwood C, Crandall J, et al. Car safety seats for children: rear facing for best protection. Inj Prev. 2007;13(6):398–402. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
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10 Gentle Parenting
GOALS for the New Year
| by Jennifer Saleem
The start of each new year beckons people from around the globe to reexamine their habits, lives, and goals. Resolutions are made. Goals are put in place. Promises are tucked away into every corner of our brains. This year will be different! This year will be better! This year I will meet my goals! While the typical New Yearâ€™s goals are certainly worthy, there appears to be a lack of focus on growing as a parent. Billboards abound with every kind of goal imaginable, but nowhere is there a mention of becoming a more peaceful parent. This is unfortunate because parenting involves constant growth. It requires
flexibility and a desire to constantly evaluate the approach you take as your children grow and develop. Realistically, we should be examining our parenting approaches and methodology daily. The unpredictability of parenting children means that parenting itself has fluidity about it. Something that worked yesterday might suddenly not be the best approach next week. However, not many of us really sit down and focus on our parenting goals, at least, not as often as we should. In the spirit of growing as a parent, of becoming a gentler, more peaceful mother or father, letâ€™s examine 10 gentle parenting goals that can help you on your 2014 parenting journey. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 25
Stop Yelling This is probably the most obvious of all parenting goals. Yelling is not an ideal parenting approach, unless it is a safety issue like a child running into the street. Then yes, yell out to them to keep them safe. In day-to-day parenting, yelling to get a childâ€™s attention, yelling as a form of discipline, yelling to set boundaries, and yelling to accentuate a point will not further your relationship with your child. Nor will it evoke the behavior desired. Yelling erodes the parentchild relationship. What happens when you yell at your child? When a parent yells, the child typically, but not always, interprets that one of two ways. Mom is angry with me or mom does not love me. Children cannot help these feelings. Furthermore, when a child hears the yelling, he or she will probably have an immediate reaction of fear, stress, worry, anger, frustration, panic, hurt, and the like. Yelling induces a negative emotional response. A negative emotional response opens the door to a negative physical reaction or repercussion. Essentially, it has the exact opposite effect most parents would like. Instead of the child changing their behavior for the better, a child might possibly act out even more. The more yelling a child is on the receiving end of, the deeper the long term-impact is on their emotional and mental health. When you find yourself getting ready to raise your voice, stop for a moment 26 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
and consider the impact. Remember, yelling doesnâ€™t just affect a child in that moment. It impacts that child for the rest of the day, the week, possibly much longer. What kind of impact do you want to have? One that lifts your child up or one that tears your child down? One that opens the lines of communication because there is respect or one that slams the door on communication because of fear? Maintaining control of your own emotions and not unleashing your frustration and overwhelmedness in the form of yelling at your child might be difficult for you. However, it is easier for you to stop yelling than it is for a child to flourish as a person in an environment where yelling is the default parenting style. Maintain Connection Parents mess up. It happens. We raise our voices. We yell. Unkind words might pass our lips. Eye rolling, sighs, negative thoughts and commentsâ€Ś it happens. Parents are human and therefore imperfect. Children are a mystery, often a very overwhelming mystery. Even the most gentle, patient parent will lose his or her cool. The single most important thing any parent can do is to re-connect after a difficult moment. The parent-child connection must be fed daily but especially after any sort of emotional struggle, a poor reaction, or volatile outburst by the parent. If a parent reacts poorly or treats the child badly, walking away without connecting fur-
ther damages an already hurt child.
How can you guide your child? Try to put yourself into her shoes. Look at the As soon as you realize that your parbehavior and ask yourself if this is deenting approach is going south, stop. velopmentally normal or if something Just stop. Immediately get down on else is going on. If it is developmental, your child’s level. Apologize or at least physically help your child direct her acknowledge that you did not handle energy more appropriately. Show her the situation in the best way possible. a better way. Provide a short explanaExplain, briefly, why you reacted the tion of the “why.” If something deeper way you did. Help your child to see the is going on, your goal as a parent root of your misguided response. should be to get to the root of the behavior then partner with your child Rewind if possible. Children love this! to address it. Re-do the situation with your child, this time with a gentler reaction. Include Less Words, More Action your child in the process if it is appropriate to do so. Asking your child how In the spirit of guiding, it is also impormommy or daddy should have retant to consider how much you talk at sponded can be very eye-opening. and to your children versus physically engaging in the art of parenting. GenGuide Your Child tle parenting certainly includes discussions and brainstorming with your Mindful parenting involves guidance child. It also means explaining. But and support in the most peaceful more importantly it means modeling manner possible. Children thrive on the behaviors and actions you want to loving, gentle, balanced guidance, see in your child. Instead of always vernot on being constantly ordered bally teaching your child, simply “do” around and commanded to act a the very thing you would like your child certain way or do certain things. Chilto do. Children love to mimic and this dren want and need parents who pro- is how they learn best. So show them vide firm boundaries that are lovingly what mindful living and gentle behavand consistently enforced. Children ior looks like by modeling that daily. will naturally fall into a behavior pattern based on the guidance parents Say Yes provide. If parents constantly demand and dictate, children will tend to push No should be used minimally. When back resulting in a lose-lose situation. you over use the word “no” children More importantly, a child will fail to eventually stop hearing it or figure that develop a true understanding of the you will say no and stop even asking. ‘why’ behind their behavior. ComFor very young children, the tendency manding teaches nothing and is to always say “no” as a means of potentially instills fear. Guiding opens establishing boundaries. These no’s the door to lifelong learning. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 27
are better left saved for times when no really means no. For example, if a child is about to touch a hot stove. A firm no is warranted. However, if a child is simply trying to open a drawer to explore what is housed inside, it would be more mindful to show our child what drawer she can explore versus just saying “no, leave that alone.” I like to tell my daughter that she may do XYZ instead and then succinctly explain why, at this point in time, she may not do whatever it is she was attempting or successfully doing. Get Playful Children are playful beings. That is what childhood is all about! Imagination, games, exploration, adventure, and delighting in the simple things… this is where a child is rooted. When a parent engages a child on an intellectual level, it forces that child out of their ‘being.’ Children find it very difficult to move from the state of play (which for the child under 7 they are constantly in) to a state of intellectual awareness. They cannot understand logic and reason the way an adult can. This is why it is important to communicate to children in the language they speak best. Play! When your child is struggling with a particular behavior, put a playful spin on it. Engage in imaginative play where you are able to weave in a lesson or use toys to demonstrate a certain behavior. Tell a story! Storytelling is a very powerful way to communicate with children. If your child needs a physical outlet, engage them in chase or with permission, gentle wrestling. 28 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Validate Your Child’s Feelings It feels good to be heard. It feels good to be understood. Yet somewhere along the way a child expressing emotion became impolite; a sign of a poorly behaved child. Make 2014 the year where you never come down on your child for expressing themselves. Think how it feels when you express your emotions and leave yourself vulnerable just to have someone mock you or make you feel like your response or feeling is unwarranted. It hurts. It brings feelings of anger, and potentially resentment, to the surface. It certainly breaks trust. Even more detrimental, it makes you second guess the way you are feeling. Emotions and emotional reactions/responses are beautiful even when they look ugly or feel uncomfortable. Feelings are a release. Gentle parenting is all about allowing children to express themselves safely. Let your child know that it is okay to feel how they feel. Never make a child feel like less of a person for expressing an emotion, even if it is at the worst time or in the worst place (middle of a grocery store comes to mind). Do your best to support your child in any situation even if that means removing your child so you can respond better. Acceptance Many parents like to daydream about who their child will be. Will he look like dad and have mom’s fiery wit? Will she have her mom’s laugh lines and her
dad’s sense of determination? While it is fun to imagine what traits your child will inherit, it is critical to accept who your child is and who he or she will become. When you accept your child’s inherent personality and general approach to how he or she lives life, it becomes easier to parent your child. When you fight who your child is, you are in essence rejecting the center of their being which is very unsettling to your child. When you learn who your child is, you can respond much more effectively and gently. A deeper bond based on respect, love, and trust will be able to grow. Simplify Simplicity frees your parenting. The more “stuff” you have, the more it takes over your life. Things get in the way of happiness. Things create more work and take you away from what really matters – time with family. Simplify commitments. Children do not need to be involved in 5 activities per week. The more children you have with multiple activities, the more stressed everyone is and the less you see each other. Spending time together as a family is more rewarding than any class will ever be. Children benefit from simplicity for two reasons. First, the mother and/or father will likely be happier. More can often lead to overwhelmedness and unhappiness. Happier parents naturally invite happiness in children. With less to do, children will also receive more attention from their parents. Children also
benefit from simplicity as it opens the door to more predictability and rhythm in their days/weeks. Children thrive on knowing what comes next and feeling secure in their environment. The chaos that “too much” can bring with it can potentially be difficult for a child to function in. Look Forward, Not Back Parenting is about growth. With growth comes missteps. Some missteps are intentional. Some are unavoidable. Some are circumstantial. Some are completely accidental. Whatever the root cause, learn from a less than stellar parenting decision and move forward. Guilt and shame won’t allow a parent to grow. Those powerful emotions hold you back. They cloud your ability to grow as a parent. Do not allow yourself to wallow in the past. Instead, celebrate the present and move into the future mindfully. New year, new you! Let today be the day where you resolve to expand the tools in your gentle parenting tool chest. Let today be the day where you commit to being the most mindful parent possible. Let today be the day where you continue to grow as a gentle, conscious parent who operates from a place of love, trust, and respect. For more information on how to stop yelling, please visit Aha Parenting by Dr. Laura Markham. For more information on Playful Parenting, please visit Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 29
“The Best Gifts” depicts a breasfeeding mother with beautiful paper art illustrations. The story follows little Sara and all the gifts she receives on special occassions while growing up, but underlines that the best gifts are the special moments shared with those we love. The book includes a page of breastfeeding resources. Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is the suthor of 16 books for children and young adults. The first edition of “The Best Gifts” was published in 1998.
“Mommy Overwhelm” is a step-stone guide for parents who want to overcome daily overwhelm, stress and depression. From strengthening foods and herbs to exercises and activities, this guide will kickstart your journey to happier, balanced parenting.
Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
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In 1789, Armande, a wet nurse who is known for the mystical qualities of her breast milk, goes missing. Céleste, a cunning servant girl who Armande once saved from shame and starvation, sets out to find her. Milk Fever is a rich and inspired tale set on the eve of the French Revolution -- a delicious peek into this age’s history. The story explores the fight for women’s rights and the rise in clandestine literature laying bare sexuality, the nature of love and the magic of books to transform lives.
“Breast Side Stories” combines 100 funny mini-stories of breast feeding mothers from all over the world. Together with beautiful illustrations that make the stories even more lively, we see that all of us have had some weird moments while nursing. The most natural way of feeding a baby can also be a bit humorous when you find yourself with a hungry baby in places like the zoo, the dentist or during an interview. This book is dedicated to all the breastfeeding mothers out there. Whether you are an experienced breastfeeding mother, or new to breastfeeding, you will surely relate to the stories, and find in them your own experiences.
Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 31
| by Allyson McQuinn
What Is the True Phenomenon Behind Your Child’s Suffering?
As a Parent, How and When Do I Step In? Well, it is that time of year again. We are getting calls on our clinic line for help with the flu, colds, ear infections, sinus infections, sore throats, and fevers. So let’s say that you give us a call, worried about your babe’s increasing warmth. First of all, we will want to discuss with you what the current symptoms are. Next, we’ll discern why they may be suffering at this time of year, in order to address the root cause. When a child’s healthy immune function steps up, there is always a reason. It could be due to a microbial invasion on board, or the flare up of an underlying inherited disease pattern in the family. For example, a fam32 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
ily history of tuberculosis can be the cause of annual earaches and bronchial infections from about December 21st until early February. Once the fever is guided and resolved, we’ll still need to address the underlying reason for its existence. In a healthy child, the heat of the fever will be turned up quickly, running quite warm somewhere near the range of 102°F -104.5°F for around 2-4 days. Just like a forest fire, the fever will blow through your child, who’ll need to be supported with lots of fluids and rest. A healthy child will typically have one to two fevers approximately once or twice per year, to encourage the threading of their proper immune functioning. However, if the fever function is suppressed with herbs, chemi-
cal medication, or conventional vaccines, the root cause of the fever will continue to sizzle away below the surface, ready to pounce again more dangerously at another time. Suppressed or smouldering fevers can be just as dangerous later on as fevers that run too high, producing unacceptable dizziness, deliriousness, causing too much loss of fluids, or even febrile seizures. This is the time to step in with knowledge, principles, and homeopathic remedies, and here is why:
Laying the Foundations of a Well-Controlled Forest Fire This is a concept borrowed from fel-
low homeopathic physician, Jeff Korentayer. I love his analogy so much, I thought I’d share it with you. As you may know, “prescribed fire” is a technique that’s been used effectively for decades in the forestry industry in order to promote a quick annihilation of an old, overly mature forest. An area will be designated for an intense burning in order to clean up a forest floor of debris, and brittle, dry, old growth which no longer supports new life. A forest fire creates ash and minerals, by-products needed to promote healthy new growth of the forest’s ecosystem. It wholly promotes renewal and rebirth. New trees and brush will re-seed on the winds to promote a new life cycle, creating a young, NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 33
heartier forest, repaying the devastation with healthy new growth. If the blazes are properly set and controlled on the basis of knowledge and principle, then the fire will burn itself out without harming human or wildlife communities. This way, lightning storms will not create random havoc by igniting unplanned forest fires hell-bent on achieving a natural balance or homeostasis. Just as in the case of a child’s fever, we want to mitigate the instances of out-of-control blazes and also prevent the suppression of smouldering issues that never produce the desired results, becoming a long-term chronic issue. As Korentayer cites in his blog, Fever, Inflammation and Homeopathy, “Nature will always find a way to restore balance, no matter what degree of sacrifice and destruction is required.” Why not waltz the fever, arm in arm through the process in a controlled way, safely within proper boundaries, burning off the arch nemesis, right to its logical conclusion, without causing your baby any harm? The bottom line is that fever has a positive purpose for health. This forest fire logic is the exact same logic best applied to promote your own child’s healthy ecosystem. A child will have a very clearly defined growth spurt after a normal, healthy fever in response to chicken pox, the measles, or the flu. You’ll generally see a tangible indication of growth after a well executed fever, whether at the physical, mental, emotional, or social level. This may include a distinct shift in improvement of 34 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
gross and/or fine motor skills. The fever triggers these necessary stages of a child’s development, launching their reading, writing, verbal skills, and internal immunity to a whole new level. You may witness new abilities such as seeing them climb higher on the play structure at school, advance to a two wheeler, or push themselves up to a sitting position. You may be asking how to achieve these properly set forest fire results for your own child. The first thing to consider when the fever starts is how to treat it safely to its logical conclusion. The key idea is to enable it to follow its natural course towards complete resolution. Herbs and drugs are suppressive, causing the body to retain both the disease and the drug or herb residue. Substances will be captured and absorbed by the cellular matrix of the body. Homeopathics are bioenergetic medicine with no residue retained by the body. You can review Dana Ullman’s blog article, Don’t Confuse Real Healing With Suppression Of The Disease, for more on this. These suppressed toxins become fodder later on for an unnaturally large and harmful form of fever and inflammation, or other forms of deep chronic illness. Chronic, repeated infections are a common example of this process. The toxins can be suppressed for years under Tylenol, antibiotics or even the herbs angelica, elderberry, rosemary, and yarrow, simply because they’re substances not prescribed on the law of cure, “like cures like.” We see this a lot when we systematically remove the
traumas on the patient’s timeline using homeopathic remedies. The issue will still wholly be there, the healing reaction most visible and apparent. Dr. Elmiger who wrote, Rediscovering Real Medicine, spoke at length about the principles of how to remove these traumatisms on a person’s timeline. Also confirming the suppressive nature of vaccines are Harris Coulter and Barbara Loe Fisher, who wrote a book entitled A Shot In The Dark, linking scientifically the suppression of fever with the incidence of cancer later on in a person’s life. This unexpressed energy was never permitted to be burned off by a proper fever, or cured on the basis of law, by an energetic fire to resolve it outright on its own terms. Basically, nature then harbors the smouldering issue below decks, her immune function waving white flags in surrender. With the immune system suppressed in this way, a state of “resignation” is created, and the healthy function of the immune system is instead transformed into the physiology of cancer. As mentioned, the body is ordained to always find a way to balance the equation, although, she can be cruel and crude in her action. No parent, or practitioner, ever wants a child to get polio, meningitis, or diphtheria, for example. However, there are ways to smartly deal with these childhood diseases without causing an ounce of harm. We have data showing that using homeopathic medicine to set an energetic blaze preventively, the body will have the impression that it
has already had the disease and produce the intended growth spurts afterwards. Dr. Isaac Golden speaks more to his stellar research in this regard in his book, Vaccination & Homeoprophylaxis, A Review Of Risks And Alternatives.
Reseeding On the Wind Afterwards I was once the parent of a vaccinedamaged babe whose fevers were suppressed with Tylenol. I paid dearly, though, with an autistic spectrum child after his MMR shot. He spent two years with pneumonia throughout the winter months on many rounds of antibiotics. I understand deeply what it feels like to want to try to mitigate any undue suffering for your babe. The allopathic preferred tools ended up just producing further iatrogenesis (pharma suppressed disease), trying not to let nature have her way with my beloved child. However, due to my very deleterious choices, my chronically ill son had fires both blazing and smouldering all at the same time. The question I kept asking myself was, “How do I stop his immediate suffering, without digging the pit further?” I was lost on a perilous sea of treacherous chaos. The answer is yes, of course you intervene, where necessary, but it must be done out of knowledge. There has to be a sound basis of lawful principles, solving the underlying cause while also “fighting fire with fire,” like a forestry expert. Homeopathy prescribed on the principle of “like cures like” is your well-set NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 35
fire. It is not suppressive like drugs, or herbs, in that it enables the toxins to be safely released from the cells, while also propelling the child’s fever forward to its logical conclusion. Its results are speedy with no side effects or chance of causing harm. The correctly selected homeopathic remedy will help to completely expire the fever every time, based on natural law. Also, the specific selected nosodes can be used in place of the standard vaccine program, on the sound basis of homeoprophylaxis in healthy babes. Our community has been immunizing babes, safely and effectively, this way for over 20 years now.
traumas can also create a blockage to the life force. This will later become the kindling which ignites a latent disease state, such as the inherited diseases (which we call ‘chronic miasms’). When my son suffered vaccinosis, it triggered a couple of these miasms to become active, creating symptoms of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), chronic constipation, chronic chest infections, no eye contact, and arrested cognition and speech. By systematically removing these shocks, blocks, and traumas from the individual’s timeline, the fever mechanism can be appropriately harnessed to propel the growth and development of the child forward, Certain physical shocks and emotional allowing for their full radiant health.
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A Gentle Parenting Advice Cloumn email: firstname.lastname@example.org
| by Paige Lucas-Stannard
Dear Paige, My daughter just hit the “why?” stage and I find myself saying, “Because I’m your mom and I said so!” way too often. I don’t like the way it sounds but I don’t know what else to say! For example, when I ask her to pick up her toys and she says, “why?” I want to answer her questions but she’s starting to use “why?” to stall and not always because she’s curious. If I say, “Don’t throw food.” She says, “Why?” I don’t even know how to answer that! What can I say instead? - Naomi Dear Naomi, Your instinct that saying, “Because I said so!” isn’t the best response is spot on. What it communicates is domination and control. It means “I’m bigger, older, wiser and you have to do what I say because you are smaller, younger, 38 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
and I know better.” It is really just a power play. One of the goals of gentle parenting is to share power - we often say, power with instead of power over our kids. When we default to an “I’m the boss” paradigm, we are wielding our power over our kids. Instead we share power through modeling cooperation over control and respect over dominance. And this is definitely about power. A child who reaches the “why” phase is exercising a new found control over her environment. Where before mommy said, “Put the blocks away,” and she did simply because of the joy of mastering the dexterity of picking up blocks, now she’s discovered the joy of questioning. That doesn’t mean she’s being “defiant” as traditional discipline would have us think. Traditional discipline demands immediate obedience to those in power. Any deviation from
immediate acquiescence is punished in order to reinforce the need to “respect” authority. What traditional discipline misses is teaching her to respect herself. Her feelings and ideas are valuable and if we want her to stand up for them when she’s twenty, we need to allow her to stand up for them at 3. This often means questioning authority. “Because I’m your mother,” just lets her know that her opinions don’t matter. So, do we just give up and clean the room ourselves? No, if we give up when the child argues we are allowing them to wield power over us. This isn’t modeling a healthy relationship. This is why gentle discipline is not permissive. Being permissive gives the child all the power and they never learn cooperation and respect because they are being dominant. We want her to take responsibility for her own words and actions and also learn that relationships mean sharing power. What we want is a solution that respects everyone’s needs as important and valuable. When you feel a “Because I said so,” coming on, here are three things to remember:
• If we leave the play dough out it dries out. • Grandma is coming over and we don’t want her to slip on a stuffed animal. • Food on the floor brings ants. Don’t be afraid to be honest. Maybe the reason is that you are feeling very stressed by the mess. Share that, “All the toys on the floor are making me feel stressed out, I’ll feel much better when I can see the floor.” 2. Be prepared for follow up questions It might be curiosity or it might be stalling, but answer questions that clarify your original reason. Why? • Legos are sharp. • Play dough won’t work when it gets hard. • Grandma can’t see as well as we do. • Ants get into everything. • A clean home is important to me.
1. Explain the reason
3. Stop negotiation with respect
There is always a reason (if there isn’t then you would just be hazing them - wielding power for power’s sake), share it honestly.
You have a right to be annoyed with stall tactics. Gentle parenting doesn’t mean always having a smile on your face but it does mean speaking in a respectful manner. In fact, being honest with your feelings is important to
• Legos hurt when you step on them.
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est with your feelings is important to model for your kids. When the questions become circular--a “why” to a question you’ve already answered-use a simple, “I’m getting frustrated so I’m done talking about this now,” or, “I have to make dinner so we’ll have to talk more about this later.” And then follow through--no negativity or hurling angry words--just calmly stop discussing it. If she persists, stick with, “I’m not talking about that right now.” You also have the right to have a bad day. Saying, “I’m really in a rush today and feeling frustrated at answering right now. Can we talk about this later?” The gift of calmly and respectfully modeling your own moods teaches her that she can control her own moods. Lynn Lott, author of Positive Discipline, has a technique for stopping negotiation called “asked and answered.” For older kids, where they’ve moved beyond “why” to expert-level negotiation, simply saying “asked and answered” when the “pleeeeeaaases” start, ends the discussion. I think this should be used cautiously as it can be very dismissive or make the child feel he isn’t heard. Kids should be able to plead their case, ask for an explanation, and even beg. However, if your child is used to you answering their questions patiently until you feel the need to stop (meaning you have a strong, respectful connection with them), a polite “asked and answered” can be a quick shorthand for ending the nagging. 40 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
The “why” phase can be frustrating because everything takes longer when you have to explain and negotiate (like the “I can do it myself” phase does). Using authority seems easier and more expedient in getting the task at hand done. But, think for a moment beyond the toys and the food to the bigger picture. You aren’t just teaching her to clean up, you are teaching her how relationships with people work. You can teach her they work through power and dominance or through cooperation and respect. I think the latter is well worth the time. Dear Paige, My son (5) hits his brother and throws toys all the time and time-out is the only thing that works. Sometimes he goes to time-out three times an hour. Yesterday he even rolled his eyes at me and said, “I know, time-out,” as he went over to the time-out chair. I don’t know what else to do! - Kristin Dear Kristin, I understand the feelings that this type of behavior brings up. We so badly want to raise peaceful children and seeing them hit, throw, and be destructive brings fear to the surface that we’ve failed. So, first, recognize and acknowledge that fear. Parenting from a place of fear almost always makes us lean towards authoritarian (traditional, control-based) parenting. A child who hits is not a “bad” child, and you haven’t failed as a parent. Let go of that fear and go forward
from a place of love instead.
“Time-outs” as practiced in traditional parenting have no parallel to the Here’s my secret: I do time-outs. I type of time-outs we need as adults. know, shocking in the gentle parentTime-outs are all about punishment. ing movement, right? The problem They are about making a child feel isn’t with time-outs, it is with what our bad through isolation and denial to culture has twisted time-outs to mean. “teach them a lesson” because they When I, as an adult, need a time-out, were disobedient. Time-outs in the real it means I am stressed or upset and world are all about making a person I need to hit the reset button. Somefeel better and do better in the future. times that means I need the support of They are about connecting with a friend or loved one: maybe a hug or someone else. a laugh, or, sometimes some advice. When my kids seem to be spiraling Look at the differences of intention out of control with anger, sadness, or between a time-out for punishment frustration I think they need a timeout, and a time-out for connection: too.
Time-Out for Punishment
Time-Out for Connection
An out of control child needs to be removed from the situation to stop the behavior
An out of control child needs to be removed from the situation to help him regulate his emotions
Parent displays calm displeasure
Parent displays calm empathy
Child is isolated by himself
Child gets one-on-one time with parent to discuss issue
Parent tells child why they are in trouble
Parent listens to child’s concerns with empathy
Child forced to apologize
Child listened to and given alternative strategies
Parent returns affection only after apology
Parent never relents on unconditional affection NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 41
When your son hits his brother or lashes out in anger or frustration he is doing so because he doesn’t have another way to deal with his emotion. He is feeling powerless. Punishing him for his actions doesn’t help him deal with it better next time, it tells him that he is bad. He isn’t bad -- his actions were just inappropriate. What he needs is some connection to calm his emotions and some advice from a trusted person on how to deal better next time.
like this is usually more helpful than, “What happened?” because your son’s emotions are still running high. A question like, “What happened?” even said without accusation, might feel like a challenge when emotions are high. If you’ve guessed wrong he might correct you but more than likely he’ll recognize that you are acknowledging his frustration with his brother.
3. Reflect/Remind: If he has spoken up with what happened you can reWhen kids get out of control I like to flect back what he said. Otherwise, use the DERA method. DERA stands for attempt to reflect his emotional deciDescribe, Empathize, Reflect/Remind, sion making. For example: “You got Ask. Here is what it might look like: so frustrated it just boiled up inside of you and you hit your brother.” Now, If your younger son is hurt, always deal you can remind him of why that reacwith that first. This models empathy tion was not okay: “Hitting is not okay for both children. Once you’ve combecause other people get hurt,” said forted the hurt child see if the the hitter without accusation reminds them of needs comfort. There is never a wrong the rule and sets you up for the next time for a hug. Giving affection does step. not condone the action of hitting, it reminds your child that your love for him 4. Ask: Next you want to engage is unconditional. If he is really angry him in finding a solution by asking him and doesn’t want affection, that is ok what he thinks: “What could you have too. In that case go to step 1. done instead of hitting your brother?” If this isn’t the first time you’ve done 1. Describe: Calmly go to your son this he’ll probably have some ideas. and describe in a neutral way what If he stays silent ask if you can give you see: “You seem really angry.” He him some ideas. Be obvious that the might correct you and say he’s feeling conversation is about what to do next something else, he might lash out (“I time. For example: “The next time you hate him!”), or he might stay silent. You feel that angry feeling in your belly...” don’t need to do anything other than This helps him identify his early emonod and move to step 2. tional signs, a very valuable lesson that many adults haven’t mastered! 2. Empathy: Next, show empathy for the emotion: “It is frustrating to The wonderful thing is that steps one have your little brother knock the cars and two re-establish a connection. off your track, huh?” Making a guess They say, “I acted badly but mom
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and dad still love me.” Next, step 3 reminds him that there are right and wrong ways to display emotion, while still reinforcing that a person who does a “bad” action is not a bad person. By step 4, the child is calmer and ready to be the master of his own solutions. Some call this “time-in” to differentiate from control-based time-outs. But, really, the word in English for this is timeout. Time-out means, “Time for rest or recreation away from one’s usual work or studies.” There is nothing about punishment, isolation, and withdrawal of affection that can be called rest or recreation. Time-out is about releasing the stress of an event and coming back recharged and in control. When you help a child release and gain control, you’ve given him his power back. Hitting is about feeling out of control -- feeling powerless. Connecting with him as a person and helping him see that he can control his own actions next time is a priceless gift. The best part? Wait for the day that your son tells his little brother, “Hands are not for hitting they are for loving.” You can hide around the corner and do a little victory dance because the lessons of compassion and respect are sinking in. Dear Paige, Is there is evidence that boys have a shorter attention span than girls? I have many friends that are teachers and they all say that boys have
a shorter attention span than girls. They all teach in a Montessori setting. - Roxanna Dear Roxanna, This is a wonderful question because it poses two similar questions side by side: Are boys and girls inherently different? And, do boys and girls behave differently? In feminist literature, the emphasis is often on how inherently not different males and females are. Research shows that males aren’t more physical and females aren’t more social. This is an important distinction because it means that many of our stereotypes are completely culturally constructed and not “real.” I absolutely agree with this stance. It is very important to break down false stereotypes that create inequality. Saying, “Oh, he’s a boy so he can’t sit still,” is a stereotype that, when taken as truth, limits boys in the same way that, “Oh she’s a girl, she can’t do math,” limits girls. I have twin sons who are almost 3 and they barely talk. If I had a dime for every time someone said to me, “Oh they’re boys, that’s normal,” I’d be rich. It fact, it isn’t true. There is very little differentiation in when boys and girls begin to talk. The difference is approximately one month. The fact that, at 3, my boys don’t speak is not normal and not a result of their maleness. The problem though, is that this prevailing wisdom affects the way we NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 43
interact with our children. If I believe that boys talk later, then perhaps I don’t take them for a hearing test or read to them as much. Because I’m interacting with words less they actually do talk later as a result. An invisible difference just became profound because I believed it.
them make decisions. If girls are better at verbalizing what they are thinking then it follows that they may be better at internal self talk that helps them control their inhibitions. For boys, the snowball of “boys talk later” (false), leads to less speech intervention which makes them fall behind even further. By five years of age a boy may be What does this have to do with atsignificantly behind in speech and thus tention span? Apparently, a lot. The behind in the type of internal monoskill that helps kids with attention span logue that helps his attention span. In is called inhibitory control. It controls other words, the idea that “boys talk things like distractibility (difficulty focus- later” was self-fulfilling and created ing), impulsivity, and hyperactivity, and additional problems. girls develop it sooner. So, do boys have a shorter attention But is this a biological sex difference? span than girls? Yes. Anyone who obThe evidence doesn’t support that serves a kindergarten classroom can idea. In her book, Pink Brain Blue Brain, plainly see that girls are better at imLise Eliot found no conclusive research pulse control and focusing on a task that boys have underdeveloped areas while boys are more (hyper)active, imof the brain that govern self control. pulsive, and easily distractable. This is Meaning, there is no biological reason a real and observable difference that that boys lack inhibition or that girls can’t be ignored. excel in it. She proposes another possible area that leads girls to be better However, if you ask, “Are boys hardat self-control: verbal skills. wired at birth to have a shorter attention span than girls?” I’d say no. It is Although the mean age of developmostly parental expectations brought ing speech is the same for boys and about by belief in false stereotypes girls, girls do develop verbal skills faster that create the observable difference. than boys. Their sentences are more I think this distinction is important becomplex and longer, and girls tend cause it means we need techniques to talk to themselves earlier and more to manage the five year olds we’ve often. Self-talk, it turns out, is an impor- created by helping boys with inhibitant step in inhibitory control. Children tory control, but we also need to take will talk to themselves about their sura hard look at the role we played in roundings which helps them make creating these five year olds. meaning, including regulating their behavior. This self-talk turns to private Here are five suggestions for dealing speech during the preschool years with and avoiding the “boys have and becomes their inner voice helping short attention spans” stereotype.
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1. Stop saying “boys have shorter attention spans.” Even though (especially if you are a teacher) it is observably true, saying it just perpetuates a stereotype that we created, plus the kids can hear you! Don’t think for a minute that boys don’t hear they’re rambunctious and thus decide unconsciously to be more rambunctious (as similarly, girls hear they’re bad at math and stop trying). Bonus: Also stop saying “boys talk later.”
because girls benefit from “boy-friendly” classrooms as well. Frequent breaks, frequent physical activity, engaging in teamwork, and games where impulsivity is okay (calling out the answer, for example) will help boys (and girls) break up the monotony of stationary, receptive learning.
5. Help boys learn inhibitory control. Impulse control, attention span, and focus are learned habits. There are some great school-based pro2. Parents, be intentional in talking grams out there designed to help kids with your boys. Parents tend to spend develop these habits. Play games more time in play with their boys and that require memory and concentrain talk with their girls from birth. Overtion like I Spy books or classic memory come this hidden bias by making a cards. Arts and crafts require attenpoint to read, talk, coo, make eye tion and focus. Find activities that are contact, and respond to baby boy’s boy-approved for crafts like building cues every day. If you take 15 minutes and sculpting. Lastly, boys benefit from twice a day to “talk” with your boy in- being in small working groups with girls fants, not only will they benefit, but you (girls benefit as well). As a parent, set will find yourself talking more with them up play dates with boys and girls. As a all the time. teacher, create group-work with boys and girls. Children in the early elemen3. Don’t ignore boys’ difficulty with tary grades tend to self-segregate into or delays in speech. Don’t assume that gender groups (which is normal) so their speech delay is simply a result of structured activities that let them learn being advanced physically. Certainly to work with the opposite gender are check for major problems like auditory very valuable. problems, tongue tie, or muscle development--problems that can be much Gender differences are so much more harder to fix in older kids. But also, complex than we often want to beif your boys are delayed in speech, lieve. What we observe we often bring spend even more time talking and about and then that belief just reinreading to them. The fact is that (barforces the stereotype. It is a cycle that ring any physical problem) language feeds itself into existence. We can not in = language out. The more they hear ignore that the differences exist. We speech, the more they can talk. also can’t ignore the fact that we create these differences. Creating a more 4. Allow for boy-friendly classrooms. equal future for all genders requires us I actually don’t like that last sentence to look at both facets to find solutions. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 45
for the New Year | by Tracey Biebel Johnson
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“I’m going to go to the gym 4 times a day, lose 500 pounds, make an extreme dietary change, never yell again, only think kind thoughts, and sock away a million dollars in savings.” Ah! New Year’s resolutions! Most resolutions fade into the background no later than March (or mid January).
they are happening, which leads to our inability to interrupt the very pattern we are trying to change. Deep breath.
In order to change our patterns of By writing down your goals with associ- behavior, we need to purposefully ated action items, you are much more notice our old patterns and make a conscious decision to change them, likely to follow through on them. regardless of how uncomfortable that makes us feel. Also, by adopting the mindset of “Change is a process that happens over a lifetime,” you allow yourself the Set yourself up for success by designing a plan with realistic goals that can freedom to succeed over time, as act as a compass for your life, for the opposed to the idea that if you fail to get to the gym four times in one week, coming year and beyond. This can be that you should simply scrap the whole an individual plan, a couple’s plan, or plan! an entire family plan. It can be simple or complex. It is a living document that can evolve with you and your There is evidence to suggest that family over time. humans often fail at making changes --even changes that we want--beFirst, decide on areas which you would cause we don’t like looking at our like to be purposeful: finances, marshortcomings. So, we avoid looking them in the eye when they happen, riage/partnership, parenting, health/ which leads to a lack of awareness of fittness/self care, activism, friendships, family, etc. the problem, which leads to difficulty in recognizing the old patterns when NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 47
Next, make statements/goals/action items under each chosen category. For example:
3. I will do something everyday that I know will make my partnerâ€™s life more enjoyable or less stressful.
I want to live within my means and save for the kidsâ€™ college as well as a vacation this year.
I want to be a patient, warm, empathetic, connected parent. I want to enjoy time with my children. I want to provide my children with the leadership they need to be successful, happy people.
1. I will pay the credit card off each month. 2. I will put $100 a month into college savings. 3. I will put $100 a month into a savings account marked for vacation. MARRIAGE/PARTNERSHIP I want a healthy, happy, and supportive relationship. I want to enjoy time with, and feel connected to, my partner. 1. We will schedule 1 hour a week to spend together with these rules in place: no talking about kids, work, finances, to-do lists, scheduling, or any other mundane household/ family obligations. We can talk about: current events, dreams/ hopes/aspirations/fantasies, books we have read, etc. This time can be at home or out.
1. When I feel frustrated, I will take a deep breath and remember that they are learning, that their brains are still forming, and that I am more capable than they are of managing my emotions. I will remember that I am showing them how to manage their emotions by managing mine. 2. I will remember to offer empathy first before setting limits or offering problem solving logic. 3. I will offer many hugs and kisses, back rubs, eye contact, etc. with a warm and inviting body, face, and voice.
4. I will set clear and consistent limits with great kindness, warmth, and firmness so they can learn that the world is a safe place where they can explore, make mistakes, and 2. I will make a point, each day, to nogrow. tice and appreciate verbally, things my partner does that add to my life, 5. I will make a point of putting my our family, and the overall world. phone and other electronic devices away while spending connected time with my children. This will show 48 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
them that they are more important than anything in the outside world. HEALTH/FITNESS I want to have both emotional and physical energy for living life. I want to exercise regularly, maintain (or achieve) a healthy weight, feel comfortable in my clothes, feel strong, feel comfortable in my skin, eat in a way that fuels my body, and overall, take care of myself as I would take care of someone else. 1. I will exercise at least 3 times a week. I will schedule time in my calendar each week for this exercise in order to make it a habit. 2. I will seek exercise that is both effective and enjoyable so that I will enjoy the time I spend and look forward to it. 3. When my exercise routine becomes boring or unenjoyable, I will seek new activities to maintain my interest and excitement. 4. I will plan meals ahead of time and shop with a list to ensure healthy meals are available and easy to prepare. ENVIRONMENT/COMMUNITY I will care for the environment by making choices about products and actions that care for the earth. I will find ways to add to my local community.
1. I will buy or make environmentally friendly cleaning/health/beauty products. 2. I will buy products with as little packaging as possible. 3. I will make an effort to use locally produced products whenever possible. 4. I will offer to help my elderly neighbor clean up her yard/take out her garbage/etc. at least once per month. 5. I will volunteer at the food bank 3 times this year. Friendships I will invest in my friendships. 1. I will schedule time with a friend once a week. 2. I will be more of a listener than a talker. 3. I will reach out in person instead of just electronically. 4. I will tell my friends how much I appreciate them and why. The key to success: review this list regularly--weekly is ideal. Make it a living document. Truly use it as a compass, to keep you on track. Mindful living is a choice, a decision you make each day. Choose health and happiness by taking charge of your day to day living! NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 49
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ORGANICA JANEâ€™S ESSENTIAL OILS QUICK GUIDE TO
Immune Support | by Amy Jane Stewart
ESSENTIAL OILS SHOWN TO SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM: Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) Orange (Citrus sinensis) Lemon (Citrus limon) Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) 52 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) Tangerine (Citrus tangerina) Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Sweet Marjoram (Origanum mar jorana)
4 WAYS TO SUPPORT THE IMMUNE SYSTEM WITH ESSENTIAL OILS Choose from the above-mentioned list 1. DIRECT INHALATION Place 1 - 3 total drops of essential oils on a cotton ball, place cotton ball just under nose and gently inhale. Place cotton ball in zipped, plastic bag to preserve and re-use. 2. TOPICAL APPLICATION For infants: blend 1 total drop of essential oil into 1 ounce of carrier oil or unscented natural lotion. Massage along spine and feet. For children 1-5 years: blend 5-6 total drops of essential oils into 1 ounce of carrier oil or unscented natural lotion. Massage along spine and feet.
needed. • Place diffusers in opposite corner from baby crib. • Do not add carrier oils to essential oil, cold-air diffusers. • To conserve essential oils, use a timer to diffuse on the hour for 10-15 minutes. SAFETY NOTES • Avoid direct eye contact. • Keep essential oils out of reach of children and pets. • Keep essential oil diffusers out of reach of children and pets. • Avoid placing essential oils on or around the mouths of children 0-5 years old. • In the event of direct eye contact, place a small amount of carrier oil on a cotton cloth and wipe the affected area.
For older children and adults: blend 10-12 total drops of essential oils into 1 ounce of carrier oil or unscented natu- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ral lotion. Massage well on chest, spine What are carrier oils? and feet. Gently inhale vapors. 3. STEAM INHALATION • Place boiling water in a glass bowl • Add one (1) total drop of essential oil into the bowl • Then gently stir with spoon • Cover head in a tent-like fashion with a large bath towel • Close eyes and inhale gently for 10 – 15 minutes
Carrier oils are fatty oils, which dilute essential oils; they nourish the skin while delivering essential oil components into the body. Some examples are: castor oil, grape seed oil, jojoba (a wax), sweet almond oil, olive oil.
4. DIFFUSE Place 20–30 total drops of essential oils into the glass nebulizer of an essential oil, cold-air diffuser. Refill as
Amazon eBay Young Living Abundant Health
Where can I purchase essential oil diffusers?
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“Imagine that the world had created a new ‘dream product’ to feed and immunize everyone born on earth. Imagine also that it was available everywhere, required no storage or delivery, and helped mothers plan their families and reduce the risk of cancer. Then imagine that the world refused to use it.” - Frank A. Oski
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photo credit | Kristie Sullivan
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photo credit | Holistic Birth Orlando
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photo credit | Red Birth Photography Photography photo credit | Tent Red Tent
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photo credit | Myrriah Raimbault
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photo credit | Citizen Digital Photography
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C hanging the
| by Amy Phoenix
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Warning: the nature of this article may be triggering, however, if you read it through you will potentially experience some palpable relief from a very deeply held pattern that deserves our attention.
Shame on you. Shame on you for reading this article when you probably have more important things to do. Shame on you for mothering in a way that’s different than others. Shame on you for speaking up about what you believe. Shame on you for not doing it in a way that others can receive. Shame on you for making mistakes, not meeting the expectations of others (or yourself) and, really, for just being you. How does that feel? Did you even make it through the whole paragraph?! There are two ways we experience shame, which is loosely defined as a painful feeling resulting from the awareness that we’ve done something wrong. One way is from the outside, from comments like those above. We receive shame from others when we don’t meet societal expectations and norms. Let’s be honest. It feels ultra rotten to be shamed. Ultra. It doesn’t really matter who is doing the shaming, someone we are close to or someone we don’t know very well, it just feels bad. How do we respond? When we’re little, we generally shrink. Somehow, in some way, we absorb the shame into our being and accept it as true. 68 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
We believe that we are wrong. Alternatively, we rebel against it while simultaneously wrestling with whether or not it is true. At a very basic level of existence, we question if we are wrong. Maybe we focus on the action that was deemed wrong, but more often we focus on simply being. Are we wrong for being here, being in this environment, even being alive? What do we do then? We remain confused, find some space in between or begin to shame ourselves – and others. We buy into, or rather unconsciously fall into, the trap that shaming people will actually help them do differently. Maybe they’ll feel so bad or recognize their wrong so deeply that they’ll experience an awakening and never do that thing they did so bad, again. How has this worked for you in your lifetime? Go ahead, see if you can find some instances where shame – and shame alone – has catapulted you, or someone you know, toward lasting, positive change. Sometimes shame is part of the picture when we make changes. For example, when I struggled with anger and discipline as a young mom I certainly felt shame. I knew that there were times when my actions were wrong, harmful. However, the same shame I felt contributed to a fear of actually getting the help I needed. I feared that no one would understand or actually be able to help me. I felt afraid that I would be labelled, that I would not
be seen for the good mom I could be and was most of the time. The shame was like a veil, a thin veil of stagnant mucous hanging over me, keeping me right where I was. That’s because shame doesn’t really motivate; shame instigates a sense of wrongness in a person’s way of being. Shame shames, and its potential to keep us where we are is so strong that we might just continue the cycle of shame with our own children because we don’t have the skills to do anything else. Do we really want to carry on the idea that we must feel bad to do good? It’s possible, though, that we could feel bad even considering that question. Where do we start if we want to address how we use and experience shame, not meeting expectations and learning how to move about in a world where people attempt to motivate others with shame?
deeper. We don’t want to feel whatever we are feeling, the feeling that arises in us in response to their wrongdoing. When we feel that disappointment, frustration, irritation or outright rage about another person’s actions we want to do something with those feelings. We don’t want them. In some circles, this would be called displacement. We turn our anger into shame for the other. In some way, it makes sense that we would attribute our bad feelings to the person who we perceive causes them. Wait, though, aren’t our feelings in us? I mean, when I feel anger I feel it in my body, not yours. Why do we need to spread our feelings outside of ourselves with the use of shame?
Maybe we don’t know what to do with what we feel. Possibly we’ve never been taught how to feel what we feel, own it and choose how we respond. The shame game is all we’ve Maybe we can start with how we feel known and we know it well. Shame and what we do with what we feel. laces all types of relationships from friendships to marriages and work. The The reason we feel shame is because media uses shame, as do people hidwe feel like we’ve done something ing behind online identities on social wrong or we are somehow wrong as a networks and alluring websites. Interperson. Let’s back up a bit though. estingly, the adult-child relationship is probably the most notorious for the Why do we shame others? use of shame. Children are continually shamed for doing things that don’t We want them to change. We want meet societal expectations. Even the them to know how their actions affect most loving parent can find herself usothers. We want them to hurt like we ing shame as a tool to promote better do. We want them to realize exactly behavior. Not because it works, but how wrong their actions are. Dig a little because it’s an ingrained habit, and NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 69
for some odd reason we think it’s necessary.
and really notice what’s going on inside of ourselves.
Shame is not necessary to learn, grow or even operate within a society of various expectations. We do not need to feel bad to learn how to do good. If we feel bad because we did something harmful and it promotes a desire to do different, that’s called integrity. We don’t need to instigate this feeling of badness in ourselves or others, though. If it is necessary and helpful, it can come from within as a result of our actions and as a pointer for us to make different choices.
We can start right now. Stop for a few moments and bring all of your attention into this moment. Notice how it feels to breathe. Really bring your attention into your body, feeling the rise and fall of your chest. As you notice your breath and body, also notice the space in your body. You can start in your fingertips, noticing the life energy that is present in your hands. Do this throughout your whole body as you focus on the simple rhythm of your breath. Notice any tension present and just allow it to be here.
My experiences with shame have done just that: spurred me to learn and practice new ways of being with what I feel so I don’t unload it onto my children in the form of shame. Here are three ways we can move away from, relinquish and replace shame while we encourage responsibility for one’s actions. Instead of shaming our children, we can model personal responsibility and accountability while we share the gifts of personal choice and empowerment. See shame for what it is: a pointer to check in and be with what we feel. Sure, shame may point to a deviation from an expectation, so that may be worth addressing. Learning to be with what we feel can help us attend to the expectation aspect more clearly. Whether we are feeling shame because of something we have done, or we are in the throes of shaming someone else, we are feeling something. What are we feeling? We need to stop 70 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Now bring to mind a situation where you felt shame, or anger. Locate the space in your body where you feel the feeling. With the same simple noticing you are bringing to your breath and body, bring gentle attention to the sensation. Welcome it in your body. Notice what happens. Sometimes we feel more intensely when we do this. Other times it sort of washes through like a wave. If it feels like too much, focus deeply on breathing. When you’re ready, ask the sensation what it needs. Often, we receive a simple response that we can understand. Maybe we need love, to be heard, or some help. When we acknowledge the simple space that is the basis of our being we create the space to meet shame and other emotions on the inside. As we do this we can gradually transition to learning how to feel what we feel more responsibly, so we don’t throw shame on ourselves or others. We can
share this ability with our children by example, stopping in the moment to notice how we feel and--out loud-actually describing our inner process of feeling what we feel while deciding how to respond without shame on ourselves, them or others. For example, we might feel very angry if we are cut off while driving, someone made a snide comment about our parenting choices, or our child does something we loathe. Instead of berating that person, ourselves, or our child for behaving a certain way, we can speak out loud about how we feel and what we would like to have happen in very simple terms. “I feel angry that someone drove so quickly in front of me. I really appreciate it when I have plenty of space between me and other drivers. I feel angry that someone made a comment about my parenting choices. I would like to have the freedom to parent the way that feels right to me. I feel angry that you told me you hate me. I want us to share loving words with each other.” We can name our feelings and the behavior without adding our own judgments or evaluations of the person. We can learn to be with what we feel as we communicate clearly about how we are feeling. We turn the tendency to shame into an opportunity to be responsible for what we do with how we feel. Own the ability to choose. This is huge! We choose how we respond to shame and whether or not we continue to perpetuate the use of shame to motivate. Simply consider that we are al-
ways choosing our response to life. We may feel choice-less, but as soon as we begin saying to ourselves, “I choose how I think about and respond to shame,” and start looking for evidence of the many choices we have, we will begin to realize that we really can choose our relationship with shame. We can relinquish shame if we choose to do so. Our kids, on the other hand, may not have a choice if we are using shame to teach them. They’re going to absorb the shame to some degree. Even if we are transitioning from shame, they will undoubtedly experience it simply because of the world we live in. We can still choose how we talk about and respond to shame. We can be honest about shame, what it is, what it points to and what we can do instead. We can share with our children how we choose to replace shame with honoring the ability to choose. When we feel inclined to shame another parent or child for doing something we do not agree with, we can step back a bit and choose to be curious about their choices. We can ask our child why they think a child may make that choice. What might that child be thinking or feeling? We can do this with ourselves when we feel judgmental of another parent. As we allow some space for reflection we may find a way to be supportive of that child or parent instead of condemning. In my experience, encouragement and support go much farther in helping a person be their best than any amount of condemnation. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 71
Be accountable. Human beings seem to have an inner checks and balances system. We want to be accountable and we want others to be accountable. When you feel like you want someone to be accountable, start with yourself. Be accountable for how you are handling the experience of wanting another person to be accountable. Be responsible for what you do with how you feel and how you communicate with that person about accountability. Model the behavior you want to see in another – be it your child, partner or another parent. When you slip up, admit your mistakes and communicate what you will do differently in the fu-
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ture. Mentally rehearse doing it different next time. If you’re short on communication skills that aren’t shaming, learn some. Consider Nonviolent Communication or Collaborative Problem Solving to relinquish shame and share gifts of compassion and personal responsibility with yourself and those you love. Shame is an age old practice that many of us are finding has little value. As we realize that shame doesn’t have a place in our relationships we are stretched to move beyond shame, trusting that we can pioneer a path that is worthy of the lives we are entrusted. Pioneer the path, our children are waiting.
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Do it Yourself
UN-PAPER TOWELS | by Aleesha Yount
Materials needed: ½ yard each flannel and terry cloth of your choice Scissors Thread Sewing Machine Cutting mat and rotary cutter (optional) Snap pliers and snaps (optional)
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2. Sew one flannel and one terry cloth piece, wrong sides together, with a 3/8” seam allowance around the square, leaving a 2-3” opening to turn.
3. Snip the corners and turn through the opening, use a turning stick to make the corners sharp.
4. Top stitch using a ¼” seam allowance, and use a pretty stitch from corner to corner to keep the towel together through washings. Applying the Snaps (If you’d like to skip the snaps, you can sew on small squares of Velcro instead.) *Use the instructions that came with your snap pliers.
6. Put the stud through the hole, and the snap on the other side. Use the pliers to squeeze the snap together, and viola! Do that 3 more times, and you’re done!
5. Poke a hole into the corner using an awl.
The snaps allow the towels to be joined, and wrapped up on a paper towel holder, or you can leave the snaps off entirely! NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 75
| by Laura Schuerwegen
As parents, we tend to be under a lot of stress. Peer pressure, societal expectations, mommy-wars and just the everyday stressors can get the best of us. Yet stress and parenting do not mix, and when we’re on edge, we’re most likely not to be at our best or even close to how we’d like to parent (which might again induce more guilt and stress and frustration, and then you get stuck in a vicious circle).
photo credit: Ulf Hinze
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Herbs are a natural and safe remedy stressed). So if you’re feeling overto support our body when we’re going whelmed often, it’s a good idea to through stressful periods. look into nourishing foods, as they will support your body’s ability to deal with In this article, I want to introduce you daily stressors. to some easy go-to herbs that can either be taken on the spot or over Lavender longer periods of time. All of these herbs are safe during breastfeeding. Lavender, this beautiful purple flowery shrub, reminiscent of southern France, There’s already a lot to be said about is known by most people as a scent, the simplicity of preparing and but it’s also a very powerful herb. consuming a hot beverage as a stress Lavender has a very strong taste and reliever in itself. is best used in pinches, combined with other herbs. A pinch added to equal Camomile parts of Camomile and Lemon Balm, makes a very nice tea for tension Probably the most well-known herb headaches. for relaxation and perfectly adapted to adults and kids alike, camomile is a Rooibos (Red Bush) gorgeous little prairie plant with delicate white flowers with a yellow heart Red Bush is a South African shrub, its and a delicious apple scent. In many needles are used as an infusion. It’s a regions, you can find it in growing wild beautiful red liquid, the color of a at the sides of meadows in the spring. summer sunset, with a nice flavour and relaxing properties. Use it in the Nettle evening for more peaceful sleep, or throughout the day to soothe your Nettle is known by gardeners through- nerves. out the western world as an annoying pest that’s very hard to get rid of Lemon Balm with its stingy leaves and stubborn root system. Yet it’s also a highly nourishing Another well known herb with a very herb. The leaves are best picked when nice taste is Lemon Balm. It’s often young, in the spring, before the plant used as a base for herbal infusions due starts flowering. to its taste and relaxing qualities, plus the fact that it’s easily cultivated and I included this herb in this list not grows rampant in the wild. because of its calming effect, but because of its high-nutritive value. Of- The herb alone makes a very nice ten, we get stressed easily when infusion, but it also combines well with our system is depleted (and vice versa, nettle, camomile, lavender, oat straw, we deplete our system by being & cornsilk. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 77
Natural Kitchen Valentineâ€™s Day Breakfast
Dinner Menu |by Emily Rowell
Marinated Grass-Fed Flank Steak with Cilantro Chimichurri Organic Green Salad with Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette Easy Roasted Root Vegetables
Flourless Brownies sponsored by
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Sweetheart Smoothie 1 ripe, frozen banana 2 cups frozen strawberries 1 cup frozen raspberries 1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled 1 cup coconut milk
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Marinated Grass-Fed Flank Steak with Cilantro Chimichurri 1 1/2 lbs grass-fed flank steak marinade of your choice 1/2 cup olive oil 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped 3 garlic cloves, minced 1. Combine all ingredients and marinate the flank steak for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Add one tablespoon of salt if doing a quick marinade (2 hours or less). 2. Heat an outdoor grill or grill pan on high. Once the grill is very hot, cook to desired temperature. Approximately 5-8 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Let the steak rest before cutting against the grain into thin strips. Serve with chimichurri sauce. Cookâ€™s Notes: Flank steak should not be cooked over medium (140-145Â°F). If you prefer a medium-well or welldone steak, substitute a more tender cut such as ribeye or tenderloin. Flank steak is a very economical choice. You can make sandwiches, tacos/quesadillas, salads and omelets with the leftovers.
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Cilantro Chimichurri 1 bunch cilantro 1/2 cup Italian parsley 1/3 cup olive oil 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes 2 garlic cloves, peeled 1/2 tsp. coarse salt 1. Pulse all ingredients in a blender or food processor. 2. Optionally, use a mortar and pestle to grind the herbs and seasonings together. Add the oil and vinegar to the paste and mix well. Cookâ€™s Notes: Chimichurri is a condiment native to Argentina used to compliment grilled meats. I like the dominant flavor of the cilantro but you can use more parsley if you prefer. Feel free to add more red pepper if you prefer a spicier sauce.
Fresh Lemon Vinaigrette juice of 1 lemon 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. fresh pepper 1 tbsp. olive oil 1. Whisk all ingredients together. 2. Lightly toss with your favorite leafy greens. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 81
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Easy Roasted Root Vegetables 3 carrots 1 turnip 1 large yellow or red onion 1 sweet potato a few sprigs of rosemary and/or thyme salt and pepper to taste oIive oil 1. Preheat oven to 400Â°F. 2. Cut the root vegetables into thick chunks and coat them lightly in olive oil. 3. Roughly mince the herbs. 4. Toss the vegetables, herbs, salt and pepper and spread evenly onto a baking sheet. 5. Roast for 45-60 minutes until tender, turning once half way through cooking. Cookâ€™s Notes: Feel free to substitute or add your favorite root vegetables to this recipe. Make sure the vegetables are cut to approximately the same size chunks and are in one single layer so they cook evenly.
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1 1/2 cups cooked black beans 1/4 cup coconut oil 3 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar 1 tsp. instant coffee 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided into two 1/4 cups 2 tbsp. powdered/confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional) 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9”x9” (an 8”x8” works, too) baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. Leave enough parchment paper on the sides to create a sling. This will make it easier when you lift out the end product. 2. Add all of the wet ingredients: beans, oil, eggs and vanilla together in a blender. Pulse a few times to get the ingredients to come together. Then blend until the mixture is smooth. Add the dry ingredients - sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda and coffee. Pulse a few times again and blend until the mixture is smooth. Add half of the chocolate chips and blend well.
3. Fold the other half of the chocolate chips into the mixture. Alternatively, reserve the chips to sprinkle on top before baking. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 20-23 minutes, until the center is set. Don’t over-bake! 4. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.Cut them into squares and garnish with fresh berries for a Valentine’s treat. Cook’s Notes: It is important that you don’t over-bake these brownies. Due to the nature of the ingredients, the brownies will crumble if you over-bake them. Just bake until the center sets. A high speed blender works best for this recipe but a food processor will work, too.
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10 Steps to a Healthier and More Sustainable Kitchen
| by Jessika Bailey
We all want to raise the healthiest kids we can while being as gentle to our planet as possible. The known impact of each individual on our planet is no mystery.
This easy-to-follow list of suggestions will help you to begin to transform your kitchen into a more sustainable, responsible and healthy area of your home.
Save glass jars and use them to store leftovers, snacks, grains, and more. Thereâ€™s no need to purchase expensive glass dishes. You can make this change easily by washing the jars your food comes in, removing the labels and re-using them. Glass doesnâ€™t carry the many health risks of plastic, nor does it support a heavier use of petroleum products, garbage, and recycling needs which also have a negative impact. The more you get into this habit, the more items you will find re-uses for.
Buy in bulk whenever possible to reduce transportation and waste impacts. For example, rather than buying individual serving size packets of oatmeal, buy a couple of pounds from the bulk aisle, and enjoy a healthier option as well as save money.
Stop buying bottled water. Consider investing in a water filter and purchase a re-usable, stainless steel or glass water bottle. Again, limiting our exposure to plastic, reducing trash and recycling, and saving money are just some of the reasons this makes a good idea a great idea.
One area of our homes that can have the greatest influence on both our health and our environment is our kitchen.
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Commit to not buying paper towels & napkins. Instead consider making cloth “un”paper towels (tutorial on page 74), buying extra washcloths, or cloth napkins instead. Anything to reduce the use of paper, and the amount of trash leaving our homes, the better. Many paper towels are made using bleaching agents and dyes which have a negative impact on our environment. Pre-fold cloth diapers also make great “un”paper towels and rags. Keep a bucket under your kitchen sink to toss the dirty ones in, just don’t forget to wash them on laundry day!
Make your own cleaning products. Rid your home of the toxic chemicals in conventional cleaning products. If you stock your home with baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, borax and washing soda, you can make just about anything. Check the ingredients on your current cleaners on the Environmental Working Group’s Cleaners Database to learn more about the harmful toxins lurking within.
STEP FIVE Get rid of your non-stick pans by dontaing them to the Salvation Army or the like, and buy cast iron, glass, ceramic or stainless steel instead. The coating of non-stick pans release toxic fumes when over heated and can cause flu like symptoms in humans, and kill pet birds. Undoubtedly some of the toxic fumes are making their way into whatever you cook in them.
STEP EIGHT Start composting. So many of the things we throw away would be better put to use in a compost pile. Nothing better than compost soil for that garden you are going to plant. STEP NINE Plant that garden. If you don’t have a green thumb, or much room, consider starting with things you know you’ll eat, like tomatotes. Use that compost! STEP TEN
Get another trash can, or bin. Start or STEP SIX continue recycling. Make it appealing and easier on yourself by getting Consider getting rid of your microwave organized. Hang a list of things that oven. Choose to eat more whole, can be recycled above the cans, and raw foods, and less processed food. a picture of a landfill to encourage Heating leftovers on the stove or in the you. Between composting and recyoven is a healthier option. This may cling and re-using you will be throwing also have a positive effect on how away little to nothing, which will save much food your family makes and on the money you would have spent wastes. The negative health impacts as well as reducing your consumption of microwaved food are very likely, of plastic trash bags. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 87
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HELPING KIDS MAKE
HEALTHY CHOICES | by Allie Chee Whether the subject is religion, education, politics, or even eating—when you swim against the current, you’d better be strong, confident, and resilient. Parents who work to feed their children nutritious foods know this well. The Sea of Change
States has become a matter of what was easiest to serve and most entertaining—regardless of the effect on the body—and that children as young as two or three years old were asked at the drive-through window, “What do you want to eat?”
The change in approach has been so complete that now people who Around the world and throughout invest the time and money to buy lotime, the choice of what to eat has cal, organic foods, to prepare home been made by adults combining the cooked meals, and who refuse to eat foods harvested in the region, along processed factory foods are considwith an understanding of what food ered extreme. In the case of parents combinations best served the health who do this for their children, they are needs of the people in that area and often called “strict,” “strange,” or even created pleasant tastes. Children “mean,” when working to protect their were not consulted in this matter, as children from factory foods and toxins! of course, they would not yet know Further, other adults will often sabowhat is best for their bodies. Rather, they were given to eat what the adults tage the parents’ efforts with their children by offering--or sneaking-ate—the adults knowing what was best and taking the time to prepare it. “treats” to the kids when parents aren’t watching. It is only in the last 75 years or so that food, for the majority in the Untied When children see the other kids NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 89
at school and in the neighborhood eating foods that glow in the dark, sparkle, and pop, it is only natural that they will be curious about them, and in many cases, devour them when parents aren’t around. Whoa!
nose/throat infections we see in infants and children. Simple, organic puréed grains and root vegetables first, followed by other vegetables, legumes and meats (and/ or other protein), and a small amount of seasonal fruit sets the stage for healthy choices for a lifetime.
In that environment, parents swimming against the “food current” and workYoung Children and Teens: Constant ing to keep their children healthy can learning and involvement helps use all the support they can get. children understand why parents are giving them foods different from what Some Helpful Ideas they see all around them. In Utero and Breast Milk: Mothers set the stage for their children’s tastes in utero and when breastfeeding. Of course the baby’s nourishment is directly affected by the healthy choices a mother makes before he or she is born, and the baby develops taste preferences and the ability to digest different foods from the micronutrients that are transferred in the breast milk. Beginning on Solids: When beginning children on solid foods, there is no need whatsoever for them to have added sugars, salts, or flavors. Sugary fruit juices (this includes juice without “added sugar”) and fruits in syrup are not ideal choices, and are discouraged in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Baby food in the United States—along with adult food—has become a circus of flavors and colors that are not only unnecessary, but according to acclaimed TCM doctor Bob Flaws, also lead to many of the chronic ear/ 90 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
• Have them shop with you, choose different colored fruits and vegetables, have them help cook, and discuss the nutrient properties of the foods—make it fun! • Tell them that you know what you’re doing is different, and that it is because you love and respect them and that you are working to provide the best for them. They can learn to be proud rather than ashamed of their difference. • Read books about nutrition together. “But what books are there that children would enjoy?” you ask.
Is Your Hair Made of Donuts? In her book, Is Your Hair Made of Donuts?, author Joy Feldman presents in a colorful and engaging way how literally we are what we eat! She does a wonderful job of capturing children’s attention with a subject they would often otherwise find boring. Further, she
ing a helpful book. In March of 2013, she organized and planned an enormous state-wide event where over 75,000 students, at more than 200 schools, libraries, youth programs and health centers throughout the state For parents who could use a little of Rhode Island participated in an support in helping their children apall- state event: An Act of Solidarity for Children’s Health. As a result of this inipreciate nutritious foods—and who tiative, she caught the attention of the wouldn’t? – Is Your Hair Made of Donuts? is a fun read and creates memo- Rhode Island General Assembly where she was awarded a Congratulatory rable impressions on those growing minds! Resolution for her outstanding efforts and support in promoting healthy eating and nutrition choices for children Interview with Joy Feldman during National Nutrition Month. Joy Feldman didn’t stop with just writhelps them see that though they’re not surrounded by other children eating the way they do, they are not alone or weird—they are intelligently building strength and health.
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AC: Joy, your previous work was writing for adults. What inspired you to write Is Your Hair Made of Donuts? JF: Many of my clients seemed to be having difficulty getting their young ones to make healthy choices. The idea of Is Your Hair Made of Donuts? was born from an early morning experience that I encountered in the airport. While waiting to board the airplane with my family, I observed children eating donuts. Moments later they were crying and complaining of headaches and belly aches. I knew from personal experience that the hair reflects the health of the body, and suddenly, I thought of the title of the book, Is Your Hair Made of Donuts?, a silly and fun way to teach kids that “they are what they eat.” AC: There were Donuts readings in over 200 schools in R.I. with local mayors, celebrities and the governor participating. Please tell us about interacting with the children and how they responded. JF: Interacting with the children was marvelous and magical. The children were engaged 100 percent as the smallest state in the nation conducted the largest and most synergistic celebration of children’s health, per population, this country has ever seen. An interactive website allowed children access to a wide array of information about food, characters in the book, and activities. Teachers were provided free curriculum guides as well as many classroom activity suggestions. Administrators, teachers, parents and 92 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
children created homemade donut hats, veggie hats, educational posters, rap songs, poetry, as well as thoughtful essays about the importance of health. Senior citizens took an oath to inspire our young people to eat well. Teenagers mentored our young ones. Participants danced, sang, discussed, and listened, as they learned the old adage, “you are what you eat.” The day was miraculous. AC: Donuts was written for children, but of course it’s the parents who buy and are ultimately responsible for the food children eat. How much impact do you think the book can have if the parents aren’t on-board? JF: I do not think we should underestimate the power of children. These excited young people will take this message home with them – we know from research that one of the most effective ways to bring about lifestyle changes for adults (smoking, physical activity, etc.) is for the message to come home by the family’s young children. (National Institute of Health, 2001). AC: “What we eat” can be a surprisingly sensitive subject. Have you experienced any resistance with the children, parents, or even organizations that hosted the readings? JF: Yes, of course. Food is very personal and there are many emotions tied into what people eat. However, my goal is to educate and empower, and through knowledge it has been my experience that with time, people
begin to have a better understanding JF: Eat Healthy RI is a statewide event, of their own health and what they eat. sponsored by The Picture of Children’s Health (TPOCH), that will be held on AC: Sometimes parents feel overWednesday, March 12, 2014. The spewhelmed by the challenge: they want cific objectives of the event are to to feed their children better but don’t educate children on the importance believe they have the ability, that their of healthy eating, motivate children to kids will be on-board, that they can celebrate their health, and develop a afford to, etc. Any “top tips” to give new culture that supports wellness. Eat parents working to make healthier Healthy RI will demonstrate a collecchoices for their kids? tive act of community solidarity by advocating for optimal health on JF: Teach your children “they are behalf of our young people. The what they eat,” be an excellent role campaign is seeking the support of model, have them learn from your ex- all educational institutions, nonprofits, ample, and make a family decision to businesses, libraries, community-based have more meals at home. organizations (CBO’s), and community health centers as starting places to AC: Any projects you’re working on develop children’s nutritional knowlnow that you can tell us about? edge. Specifically, Eat Healthy RI: An Act of Solidarity for Children’s Health JF: I have founded a new non profhas more than 250 schools/CBO’s it called The Picture of Children’s and businesses already committed Health whose mission is to educate for 2014’s event, with more signing and empower children to make lifeon each day. The long term goal is to long healthy lifestyle choices and to make this a national program. achieve optimal health. This organization was born from a bold and creAC: Please tell us about your happiest ative campaign to educate children moment in your Donuts journey. on the importance of healthy eating. JF: My happiest moment in the DoI have also written a second children’s nuts journey is the gift of being with the book, which will be part of a series of children. I have to tell you a secret. I eight books on healthy eating for chil- carry this quote with me wherever I go. dren. Donuts has been translated into “Making the decision to have a child Spanish, and has been animated, and is momentous. It is to decide forever will also be available in audio for Early to have your heart go walking around 2014. outside your body” (Elizabeth Stone). I believe that children are a very speWe’re keeping busy! cial gift and that we need to take every step necessary to ensure their AC: What is Eat Healthy RI? Who is health and wellness. involved? NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 93
AC: Last but not least, please tell us about your standing ovation (!) from the Senators. JF: Last year I was blessed with an award, A Congratulatory Resolution, from the Rhode Island General Assembly for my outstanding efforts and support in promoting healthy eating and nutrition choices for children during National Nutrition Month. After receiving the award in both the Senate and House, I was asked to come up to the dais to speak. Completely shocked and unprepared for this, I spoke to the importance of teaching children “they are what they eat” and explained my hop: that Rhode Island, the smallest state in the country, would hopefully be known someday as having the biggest heart for children’s health. And 94 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
that perhaps someday, we could take this model to the nation. So far in my work we’ve had mayors, local celebrities, and the governor of RI involved and wearing the “donut hat.” As a part of the vision for the national program, I have a dream to see our First Lady, Michelle Obama, wearing the donut hat and reading to school children! AC: Thank you, Joy! I believe many Natural Mother Magazine readers will share your passion in bringing this message of health to the nation, and who knows? Maybe we will see Michelle Obama wearing the donut hat someday, and children across America making healthier choices!
THE FIRST 31 DAYS
| by Jamie Wolf
The cookies are gone, the ornaments are down, and life is a little less hectic. What a great time of year to spend on you! This is when that little voice in your head, starting out small, says, “I shouldn’t have tried everything at those holiday parties… Why didn’t I make time to get to the gym or the yoga studio?….Why did I do this and why didn’t I do that?” Louder and louder it gets, finally reaching epic proportions, saying, “Ugh! I feel sluggish and bloated and …..” on and on! Why is it so hard to choose healthy, whole foods and get active after the holiday season? How can you get back on track? At this time of year, it is also easy to find every fad diet, discounted gym membership and quick weight loss plan out there. As a natural mom, you know the importance of your family eating healthy, whole foods and staying active, but how do you get back on track? Take a deep breath. Studies have shown that change in human behavior happens slowly and the best chance for success is taking “baby steps.” Ever wonder why the gym or studio is packed in January and you are back to seeing the regulars in March? In working with clients whom I advise on personal fitness, I find that
most people take on too much change at the beginning of the year and after a while, it becomes overwhelming: they’re not seeing the results they are looking for, it’s too cumbersome with their schedules, whatever the reason may be. Bottom line is: most are juggling many resolutions with little to no results, instead of tackling a few and mastering them. So, you’ve realized that you ate everything in sight at all of the holiday parties you attended. It happens. Now you’re in a mindset to get back on track. Start out slow and with the intention that you are going to eat clean consistently for 3 days a week. Do this for at least a month to establish a foundation and get in the groove. Then, once it becomes a lifestyle change – something that you no longer have to think about, but is now routine – then pinpoint your next resolution. Maybe it’s exercising? Start out slowly with a yoga practice, a running program, or whatever piques your interest. Repeat the same steps. The key is to not take on more than a couple of “resolutions” or what I like to call, “fit life habits” at one time. This is your recipe for success. Remember, you have 365 days to master your list of resolutions, don’t try cramming all of them in the first 31.
photo creidt| Myrriah Raimbault
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REVITALIZE YOUR ENERGY IN THE
NEW YEAR | by Jolene Brighten, N.D.
The most common complaint among patients who come to see me is fatigue. Many complain they donâ€™t have enough energy to make it through their day and engage in the activities they love. Others find that their energy is so low that climbing out of bed is difficult and near impossible without caffeine. Creating healthy routines and making simple lifestyle changes can help you begin to revitalize your energy and enjoy more of what you love about your life.
Stress Adopt stress reduction practices to help you cope with the stress in your life. Stress is unavoidable, but you can choose how you react to it and manage it. Making a practice of breathing deeply, with an emphasis on creating a longer exhale, each time you feel your stress levels rise, can increase your awareness of your feelings and help dissipate some of the stress you are experiencing. Chronic states of stress demand a great deal of energy from your adrenals and can create a state of adrenal fatigue, in which the adrenals are not able to produce a sufficient amount of cortisol. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 97
Sleep Aim for 8 hours of quality sleep and getting to bed by 10 pm. Listen to your body when you are tired and nap when you are able. Adequate sleep allows our body to heal, regenerate and revitalize. If you have difficulty falling asleep or feel that you are tired, yet unable to sleep, your evening cortisol levels may not be decreasing as they should in the evening. Making a bedtime routine (yes, much like a baby needs) is a gentle way to encourage your body to make hormonal shifts to help you get better sleep.
Enjoy Moderate Exercise Daily Intense exercise for prolonged periods of time can mimic chronic stress and create hormonal imbalances. Moderate exercise or high intensity interval training that gets your heart rate up can help you reset your hormones and gain more energy. If your exercise routine leaves you feeling exhausted for more than a day, it is time to switch your routine.
Limit Stimulants While high amounts of caffeine and sugar may make you feel good in the short term, they are depleting to your body and will ultimately leave you feeling more tired. Limit caffeine to one cup a day and if you can, take the weekend to give yourself a break from caffeine. The ideal is that your coffee or tea is there for your enjoyment instead of a necessity for you to function.
Diminished energy may be a result of lifestyle and diet choices or it may be due to a more serious condition. Adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, hormonal imbalance, anemia, chronic stress, insomnia or chronic disease may be the root of your low energy. If you suspect you may have an underlying condition, it is important that you schedule a visit with your doctor to speak about your health concerns. It is always important that the root of your symptoms is addressed, rather than treating symptoms alone.
Consider Adaptogenic Herbs Ashwagandha, cordyceps, eleuthero, holy basil, rhodiola, schisandra and ginseng are among a group of herbs called adaptogens. Adaptogens help Diet The more refined and processed food your body adapt to stressful periods and balance stress hormones. Considyour diet contains the lower energy er meeting with a health practitioner levels you can expect. Eating a diet to discuss if botanical therapy could rich in whole foods, avoiding food help you with your energy. As with sensitivities and having plenty of varimost herbs, caution should be used ety will give your body the nutrients it when pregnant or nursing. A qualified needs to produce adequate energy. Include quality protein with each meal health practitioner should be able to to help you maintain consistent blood advise you on what is appropriate for your individual needs. sugar and avoid taxing the adrenals.
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HAPPENINGS WORTH TAKING NOTE OF
Social Stigmas Against Breast-Feeding May Contribute To African-American College Students’ Hesitation To Breast-Feed Future Children “We need to start early with our breast-feeding education and exposure because women decide before they have children whether or not they will breast-feed,” Urmeka Jefferson, assistant professor at the Sinclair School of Nursing, said. “We need to figure out how to encourage positive breast-feeding attitudes among young Black women and make them aware that breast-feeding is the normal, natural infant-feeding method.” Source: Red Orbit Scientists Discover Children’s Cells Living in Mothers’ Brains “It is remarkable that it is so common for cells from one individual to integrate into the tissues of another distinct person. We are accustomed to thinking of ourselves as singular autonomous individuals, and these foreign cells seem to belie that notion, and suggest that most people carry remnants of other individuals. As remarkable as this may be, stunning results from a new study show that cells from other individuals are also found in the brain. In this study, male cells were found in the brains of women and had been living there, in some cases, for several decades.” Source: Scientific American Study Finds Adverse Effects of Pitocin in Newborns “As a community of practitioners, we know the adverse effects of Pitocin from the maternal side,” Dr. Tsimis said, “but much less so from the neonatal side. These results suggest that Pitocin use is associated with adverse effects on neonatal outcomes. It underscores the importance of using valid medical indications when Pitocin is used.” Source: The American Congress of Obstericians and Gynecologists NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 99
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| by Aubree Sanders
Learning to make herbal remedies for your family is a delightful and affordable way to keep your loved ones healthy all year long. Teaching your children about the healing power of herbs will give them lifelong respect and love of the Earth.
Herbs have safely been used for over 5,000 years in Ayurvedic medicine, 3,500 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine and date even further back in time when primitive man gathered plants and herbs from Mother Earth to maintain the health and vigor of their tribes and animals. Wildcrafted, home-grown, or dried herbs purchased from a reputable source are the best choices for your herbal remedies and a great alternative to over-the-counter medicines and expensive supplements from the health food store. The wonderful thing about growing your own herbs is that you know they are grown organically NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 101
with your loving intentions, which makes them all the more magical and effective as herbal medicines for your family. If you have access to land that is cared for responsibly then wild-crafted herbs, fondly known as weeds, are Mother Earth’s gift to you. When gathering herbs from the wild, offer your love and respect to them and take only what you need. In return they will bless you with potent herbal medicines. Make sure you have correctly identified the plant and collect the right part of the plant in the appropriate season. One of my favorite books on this subject is Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places, by “Wildman” Steve Brill. Let’s get started with the basics of making herbal home remedies for your Family Apothecary. All of the herbs I will be introducing to you are safe and non-toxic, but you still should introduce new herbs to your family in small amounts as occasionally there may be a mild allergy to a certain herb. Herbal Teas Everyone is familiar with a steaming cup of herbal tea. One of our family favorites is peppermint. It’s easy to grow, delicious, and safe. As my favorite herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, likes to say it’s a “blast of green energy.” We have a very large mint patch growing near our spring, we harvest and dry tons of mint to drink throughout the year. In the summer we drink 102 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
it iced, and in the winter we drink it hot. Herbal teas are a great alternative to juice, soda and other drinks high in sugar and artificial colors. You can sweeten your tea with stevia, turbinado or raw honey instead of highly processed white sugar. Here are some yummy and nutritious herbs to start with: • Peppermint: provides natural energy and is a great digestive aid for easing nausea and stomach cramps. • Chamomile: relieves stress and anxiety, eases teething pain. Add a strong cup of tea to the bath for relaxation, and cool some down for a soothing eye wash (great for newborn eye infections, too). • Lemon Balm: “The Elixir of Life,” is a remedy for anxiety, depression, ADHD, viral and bacterial infections. Bees love it and so will you! • Chamomile & Lemon Balm in equal parts work together to treat colic and also make a great iced “sun tea” in the summer-time. Medicinal Herbal Infusions Herbal Infusions are similar to herbal teas except that you use more plant matter and steep for a longer period of time in a quart size jar. Infusions are made from the leaves, flowers and buds (the more aromatic) parts of the plant. The roots are more effective when they are made as a decoction.
Stinging Nettle is a great herb to make your first herbal infusion with. When you gather it make sure you protect your hands or you will have little red welts all over them, but in its dried form it is completely harmless. Nettles are rich in iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and many other vitamins and minerals. It is a superior tonic herb strengthening and toning the entire system. Try making a Solar â€œSun Teaâ€? or a lunar infusion with your children as a special project and watch them drink it with enthusiasm. Decoctions Decoctions are made from the roots, twigs, and bark (the woody parts) of plants and sometimes seeds and nuts. My favorite decoction is made from astragalus root, as it has kept my family well through the many changes of the seasons. It is an immune stimulating herb, builds the blood, and protects the liver. Itâ€™s great for those recovering from serious illness, radiation or chemotherapy, and it helps build energy and increase athletic stamina. Oils & Salves Some of my favorite herbal remedies to make are oils and salves. I love harvesting fresh herbs and flowers, covering them with oil then sitting them on my front porch or in a sunny window to let them infuse for 3-4 weeks before using them as medicinal oil or turning them into salve. Your Family Apothecary
Nettle Herbal Infusion Recipe 1 quart jar w/lid 1 quart of boiling water 6-8 tablespoons fresh or dried Nettle Strainer Pour water over the Nettles, cover loosely with a lid and let steep for 30 min-4 hours or overnight if you are making some before going to bed. The longer you let it steep the better. Strain and drink. Try drinking this infusion for a few weeks and notice how it makes you feel. Infusions should last for a few days in the fridge, but if you do have some left over your plants will love it! Basic cup of herbal tea 8 ounces of hot water (let boiling water rest for a moment) Tea basket, tea ball, or muslin bag 1-2 teaspoons dried herb or 1-3 Tablespoons fresh herb Tea cup & Sweetener Steep tea for 10-15 min. with a plate over cup to capture the medicinal properties. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 103
Astragalus Decoction Recipe Quart jar Small pan Quart of water
would not be complete without calendula, a beautiful yellow flower that grows easily and is the perfect skin remedy for diaper rash, cradle cap and other skin irritations. You can even add the pretty blossoms to your salads, omelets and stews.
Simmer Astragalus root for 20 min. and then strain into a quart jar. Drink hot or cold and store excess in the refrigerator.
Make this Calendula Oil recipe for a fun activity with your children, and say a positive affirmation every time you shake your oil. “May this calendula oil bless us with its natural healing properties.” We also like to sing songs while we are picking the blossoms and we always say “Thank you,” when we are finished. After 3-4 weeks your oil
Calendula Oil Recipe
Calendula Salve Recipe
Clean jars (I use quart jars)
1 small pan
Fresh or dried calendula blossoms
1 cup of Calendula oil
Handful of dried chopped root Strainer
Organic extra-virgin olive oil, grape seed, almond or apricot oil Funnel Cheesecloth Fill your clean dry jar ½ - ¾ full with your freshly picked or dried blossoms. Cover blossoms with oil and leave about ½ inch at the top of jar. Sit jar in a sunny spot for 3-4 weeks to let the blossoms infuse into the oil. Gently shake your oil infusion daily and send it loving energy. 104 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
¼ c. of beeswax Lavender or chamomile essential oil Small glass jars and tin containers to hold 10 oz. of salve Heat your calendula oil over low heat and slowly add beeswax till melted. Let cool slightly and add a few drops of essential oil. Pour into tins or small glass jars and let cool. Then put the lids on, label, and store in a cool place. Your family will love using this homemade salve for cuts, bumps, bruises and rashes.
should have a lovely yellow color to it and a slightly sweet aroma. Take the oil and strain through cheesecloth, pour into a bottle or jar (a funnel is helpful), label, and store in a cool place. Apply liberally to any skin irritation, use as a massage oil, in the bath, or make into a salve. Herbal Extracts Herbal Extracts, also known as tinctures and glycerites, are very effective and potent herbal remedies that are easy and affordable to make at home. Making an herbal extract involves steeping an herb in a liquid menstruum (alcohol, vinegar or vegetable glycerin) to extract the chemical constituents of the herb. As you gain confidence making and using herbal remedies you will find great satisfaction in making your own herbal extracts for your family. My favorite herbal extract for the Family Apothecary is an echinacea glycerite. Glycerites are alcohol-free herbal extracts made with vegetable glycerin (coconut by-product), which you can find at your local health food store or order online. Sometimes vegetable glycerine is advertised as a skin care product, but as long as it’s food grade then it’s perfectly fine to use. Children seem to prefer the glycerites because they are very sweet and easy to take by the dropperful under the tongue, in a little warm water, or mixed into some organic juice. Echinacea is the perfect herb to make into a glycerite for your Family Apothe-
Echinacea Glycerite Recipe Blender 1 quart jar (macerating container) Vegetable glycerin (menstruum) Echinacea roots (dried or fresh) Several large amber tincture bottles for storage Small amber tincture bottle for administering Chop roots by hand or in the blender. Fill your quart jar ½ full with your roots and fill the rest of the jar with vegetable glycerin. Pour your herbmenstruum into the blender and blend until you see a vortex forming in the center of your slurry. Pour your mixture into your quart jar and place it in a dark cupboard to macerate for 4-6 weeks. Shake daily. When your menstruum is done macerating strain it through a heavy layer of cheese cloth and bottle. Recommended dosages for herbal extracts: Infants (2-5 drops 3x daily), Children (10-20 drops 3x daily), and Adults (30-60 drops 3x daily). Take under tongue (sublingually), in a small amount of warm water, or in organic juice. Do not take longer than 3 weeks at a time or it can lose its effectiveness. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 105
cary. It’s beautiful, easy to grow, fights off colds, flu and respiratory infections with its immune enhancing and antibiotic properties, and is safe to use. The two most common types of echinacea to grow and use for herbal extracts is Echinacea Augustifolia and Echinacea Purpurea. You can use a fresh root that is 2- 3 years old or highquality dried roots. Echinacea root is pretty tough to chop up and can make quite a racket in the blender, but get the pieces as small as you can manage. The best time to take echinacea is at the change of the seasons or when you start to see symptoms of a cold coming on. Make sure you administer it to your whole family. I have made the mistake of being so focused on taking care of my children that I forgot to give myself some! Making herbal remedies for your family is so rewarding that you will wonder why you didn’t do this before or more often. As you gain experience using herbs you will discover so many ways to use them. You may even want to start your own herb garden to grow all your favorite flowers and herbs so you have them on hand whenever you want to make an herbal remedy. Spring is right around the corner, so start planning your garden location now, make a list of the herbs you would like to grow and order your seed catalogs. Planning an herb garden can involve the whole family. Exploring the world of herbs and building your Family Apothecary is a wonderful way to stay well all year long! 106 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
natural mother’s market
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THE WATER FILTER LADY A wonderful resource for everything water! Find all the answers to your water purification questions, and purchase a water filter. www.thewaterfilterladysblog.com
Mediation by Moonlight Offers guided meditation sessions designed specifically to help pregnant women prepare for a more mindful labor and birth. Personalized sessions also available. www.meditationbymoonlight.com
Gemini Red Creations Turning Pinterest boards into reality, and donating a perecntage of all profits to the Crohnâ€™s and Colitis Foundation - Georgia Chapter (CCFA) www.geminiredcreations.com
CELESTIAL SPRING HERBS Grown & Harvested with LOVE and RESPECT for Mother Earth. Handcrafted herbals from the Ozark Mountains. www.celestialspringherbs.com
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