API Links - January 2013

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News on a mini-revolution, lies and propaganda, empathy, sleep training mistakes, ending the cycle of violence, API support, and API merch!

Editor's Picks

Best Practices for Raising Kids? Look to Hunter-Gatherers
Hold them, share them, let them run free. Why the traditional way of raising kids is better than ours.

Modern Parenting May Hinder Brain Development
Social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children.

Self-Soothing. Possibly the Biggest Lie Ever Foisted on Parents
"It figures it would be the latest propaganda about baby sleep that would wake me from my blogging slumber."

Children's Right to Play: An Examination of the Importance of Play in the Lives of Children Worldwide
"Traditional perspectives have justified play as linked to education and development, seen it as a part of the movement to eliminate child labour, or promoted its therapeutic value in crisis situations. This paper encompasses these traditional perspectives, but also sets out a broader and more far-reaching understanding of play..."

Peaceful Resolutions
Check out our peaceful parenting resolutions on Facebook.

Preparing for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

The Attached Family: New Baby Edition!
The newest edition ... is being published now! Make sure you have signed up for API Membership--it's free, and you'll receive the notice and download information for the latest The Attached Family, as well as other benefits! Features include:

  • The Benefits of a Natural Birth
  • Healing Through Your Birth Story
  • Why Early Attachment Matters
  • The New Science of Babies' Brains and Stress
  • The Heartbreak of Pregnancy Loss
  • API Leader Wisdom
  • Papas & Mamas Sing for Healthy Birth Highlights
  • Why Prevention Work Like API's Matters
  • Book Review of Simplicity Parenting
  • Eight pages of Q&As!
  • Nonviolent Communication and Parenting
  • And Much More!

API's Annual Appeal - Thank you!
Thank you for your contributions to API's Annual Appeal! This invitation to give is API's primary fundraising and budget making initiative to continue to serve families. We couldn't do it without you. As our Appeal continues and we work to reach our goal, and you are one who has not yet made a gift, we believe there are few better nonprofit missions to support and make a difference. Please consider a gift today. Thank you.

Feeding with Love and Respect

Nursing In Public Hotline
Best for Babes is taking action against nursing in public harassment. We believe in protecting the legal, civil, and human rights of breastfeeding moms and babies.

Is the Medical Community Failing Breastfeeding Moms?
That's because lactation is probably the only bodily function for which modern medicine has almost no training, protocol or knowledge. When women have trouble breastfeeding, they're either prodded to try harder by well-meaning lactation consultants or told to give up by doctors. They're almost never told, "Perhaps there's an underlying medical problem - let's do some tests."

Establishing the Fourth Trimester
Lisa Selvin's provocative article (see above), "Is the Medical Community Failing Breastfeeding Moms? has elicited a wide range of reactions from the breastfeeding community. Some have argued that the piece, which focuses on unmet needs of mothers who encounter physiologic problems with breastfeeding, "sensationalizes" breastfeeding, making it sound so treacherous and difficult that mothers should avoid it altogether.
There’s a very fine line between "sensationalizing" and "truth in advertising."

Welcome the New Congress & Deliver the Good News that Breastfeeding is Good for Families, Employers, & Economy!
"On January 24, MomsRising and U.S. Breastfeeding Committee volunteers will deliver your welcome notes along with "funny money" to each member of Congress. A dollar-shaped notepad and coin-shaped magnet (both featuring the phrase "Breastfeeding Saves Dollars and Makes Sense") will be a fun, pun-filled, lighthearted way to get our message noticed, and also, importantly, to help shape the discussion about breastfeeding for the incoming Congress."

Breastmilk Contains More Than 700 Species of Bacteria
Spanish researchers have traced the bacterial microbiota map in breastmilk, which is often the main source of nourishment for newborns. The study has revealed a larger microbial diversity than originally thought: more than 700 species.

Lansinoh Study Reveals Nearly Half of U.S. Moms Uncomfortable Breastfeeding in Public
Moms' ages and geographic locations dramatically affect opinions about breastfeeding in public, understanding of related health benefits, and perceptions about infant formula.

The La Leche League's 57 Years of Helping New Mothers
"A group of seven mothers got together at the behest of a family physician, Gregory White, to share their "expertise" on breastfeeding with other new mothers in his practice. His concern was that a mere doctor couldn't know how to help them as much as another breastfeeding mother could.
"We seven, who at one point had a combined total of well over 60 children, did just that, and ended up becoming an international organization, giving help and encouragement to thousands of mothers all over the world. We wrote personal letters to them, spoke to the thousands who phoned us and sent them pages and pages of print-outs from the book we put together: "The Womanly Art of Breast-feeding." It became a best seller and with our person-to-person approach these mothers succeeded in nursing their babies where so many before them had failed."

Responding with Sensitivity

The Problem with Empathy
One parent reflects on the painful side of empathy when tragedy strikes.

Outrospection and Empathy
Introspection is out, and outrospection is in.

Empathy First: A Parenting Story
Emily Cherkin shares a personal reflection on how to be a better parent by starting with empathy.

The Roots of Respect
When it comes to teaching our children how to see each other, to speak to each other, and to treat each other, true respect must always be rooted in empathy. Here are three easily adaptable parenting tips from Mary O'Donohue.

Empathy and Compassion in Society: Starting the Debate for Positive Change
Highlights from the Empathy and Compassion in Society Conference held in London.

Attachment Parenting
"Parents become role models of trust, respect and compassion, and little ones respond according to the bond and connection established in their upbringing. We’ve developed eight principles of parenting as a guide for parents."

Ensure Safe Sleep, Emotionally and Physically

"Let Crying Babes Lie"? So Wrong
Sleep training ignores baby's need. Letting crying babes lie ISN'T nuanced care. It is the exact opposite. Letting crying babes lie presumes that what is wrong is the crying. And it presumes that the crying stems from either wrong types of care or infants' bad habits.

Co-Sleeping/Bedsharing: The Research Speaks for Itself
The practice of putting an infant in his own room, in his own crib, is a relatively new practice. It is estimated to be between 150-200 years old. It is also considered to be a very "Western" practice, most commonly found in America. Anthropologists believe that the practice comes from the Western ideal of "personal independence". Much like with weaning a child early, we expect our children to be independent from birth.

Baby Sleep Training: Mistakes "Experts" and Parents Make
A world of "experts" and journalists tell parents about the safety of "controlled crying" or "cry it out" techniques to make babies sleep. The advice has multiple mistaken premises and conclusions about what is normal and good for babies.

SPECIAL SECTION: Breaking the Cycle of Violence

Ending Violence in Children's Lives: A Resolution We Cannot Afford to Break
Following the mass shooting in Newtown, expressions of public outrage and sadness have been rampant. The demand for action appears unprecedented. But as we start 2013, we need to ask ourselves why the collective outrage from past tragedies in Aurora, Virginia Tech and Columbine did not translate into the level of action we need. Unlike some of the new year's commitments we make as individuals, doing something effective about the epidemic of shootings and killings that plagues this country every day is a resolution we can't afford to break.

Community Violence and Young Children: Making Space for Hope
This edition of Early Childhood Matters looks at the effects of community violence on young children. Articles explore: the idea that violence should be thought of as a public health problem analogous to infectious disease; examine from a scientific perspective the impacts on children's social, emotional, and cognitive development of growing up in a violent community; share first-hand insights from children and caregivers; and explore various interventions, from the favelas of Recife, Brazil, to the inner cities of Chicago, Illinois, United States (US), and Glasgow, Scotland, which are offering a tangible sense of hope.

Early Childhood Matters
Early Childhood Matters is the journal of the Bernard van Leer Foundation. Aimed at an international audience of practitioners and policymakers, it tackles contemporary themes in early childhood, with contributions from both foundation-supported projects and outside experts drawn from the fields of practice, policy, and academia.

Childhood Trauma Leaves Its Mark on the Brain
It is well known that violent adults often have a history of childhood psychological trauma. Some of these individuals exhibit very real, physical alterations in a part of the brain called the orbitofrontal cortex. Yet a direct link between such early trauma and neurological changes has been difficult to find, until now.

Consistent and Loving Care

Five Great Ways to Connect with Your Teenager
Attachment Parenting isn't just important in the baby years. The teen years are some of the most important ones in terms of keeping that connection with your child.

Practice Positive Discipline

The End of Spanking?
As in anti-tobacco efforts, anti-corporal punishment activists have started squeezing spanking from the public sphere, shrinking the number of places where it is acceptable to swat a child.

Check out all the API merch!

Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

Just Breathe
"'Mommy, I think you should use your Breathing Tool.'
So said, Alex, my kindergartener, as I frantically raced through the back streets of Berkeley, cursing under my breath, clenching the steering wheel, snapping at my boys, all the while attempting to get them to their soccer matches on time. My efforts were in vain as we arrived late. I was harried and impatient - not one of my finer parenting moments.
Yet Alex’s words grabbed me, and I immediately shifted my emotions. From the mouth of my babe I was brought back to center, to what's most important - regulating my emotions so I'm present and connected to others, my environment, and myself. The hustle and bustle of working parenthood can sometimes unnerve me. I'm awed to be reminded by my five-year-old, who regularly makes use of his Toolbox, that I have a Toolbox available, too."

Online Message Boards Provide Outlets for Mothers' Concerns
Parenting infants and toddlers can be challenging, and for generations, mothers have turned to other moms for advice. Now, with the availability of the Internet, mothers are consulting each other using modern venues: online message boards. Research from the University of Missouri indicates online discussion boards provide safe environments for mothers to anonymously express child-rearing concerns and receive support from other moms.


Dear Supporter,

I still remember the first time I nursed my newborn in public. It was 16 years ago in a business meeting: me and four very serious, very professional middle-aged men.

To say I was nervous was an understatement. I'd searched and found a cover-up that had just the right amount of stickiness that it wouldn't slip off my shoulders (while being grateful that my baby was too tiny to pull it off), I'd grilled every experienced mother I knew on how to nurse discreetly, and I'd practiced at home in front of the mirror so often that my milk would let down when I walked past the bathroom mirror.

Fortunately, all went well and the businessmen acted like they didn’t notice. I felt like I'd dodged a bullet.

My, how things have changed! Now women proudly breastfeed their babies in public, expecting only nods of appreciation and understanding from strangers.

Long gone are the days of nursing mothers being asked to cover up, of moms feeding their babies in the bathroom, or of new mothers breastfeeding in the car because they're too worried about someone saying something derogatory.


Yeah, right. (snort)

Can you believe it? Very little has changed in the 16 years since my first baby arrived.

But a mini-revolution is in the works.

Nurse-ins, 800 NIP numbers, letter-writing campaigns, school-board meetings, Facebook support pages, and nursing manifestos are all hot right now.

All this work will pay off, and with any luck, a year or two from now covering up while breastfeeding in public will go the way of girdles, dance cards, and bustles.

Here's to progress!

This month be sure to check out

- the Editor's Picks: modern parenting vs. hunter/gatherer parenting, play, and lies told to parents;

- the Principle of Feeding with Love and Respect: breastmilk and nursing in public;

- the Principle of Responding with Sensitivity: lots of news on empathy;

- API's Principle of Ensuring Safe Sleep: bedsharing and the mistake of CIO;

- the Principle of Consistent and Loving Care: single moms and teenagers;

- API's Principle of Practicing Positive Discipline: the end of spanking?;

- the Principle of Striving for Balance: just breeeeathe;

- and the Special Section on ending the cycle of violence.

We thank you for your contributions to API's Annual Appeal. We're getting closer to our goal! We hope that if you have not yet made a donation that you will give today, as we near the end of our Annual Appeal

Happy January! (the month of my 50th birthday!)

Camille North,
API Links Editor

Please let us know what you like and what could be better about Links.

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