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Updates on the TIME article, ways to connect with other AP parents, help to continue breastfeeding, and other important info!
What Is Attachment Parenting?
Attachment Parenting has become the buzzword of the week but has been around for thousands and thousands of years. Exactly what is it? Attachment parenting is a parenting style that empathetically responds to a child's direct and indirect needs. That is it.
Measure of a Mother’s Love: How Early Neglect Derails Child Development
Investing in early childhood education provides a greater return for society than virtually any other type of spending, not only because of increased educational success and productivity, but also because of reduced crime, addiction, distress, and disorder. Early life conditions critically affect adult health. Maternal attachment plays a fundamental role in shaping who we are; remove it and the harm is great.
It may seem obvious that an isolated, parentless toddler - with or without social contact with peers - will suffer emotionally from lack of parental love. What’s not obvious is that without devoted, repeated acts of love, a child’s brain doesn’t make the growth hormone needed for proper mental and physical development.
What I Know about Being an Attachment Parent, by Alanis Morissette
"Gotta love it when something meant to instigate, instigates. Especially when what it instigates is a conversation of such far-reaching socio-psychological and physiological proportions. Jamie Lynn Grumet, the mom featured on TIME magazine's cover breastfeeding her 3-year-old son, is this year's most controversial subject of a photograph by far. A mom-turned social activist-turned witting attachment parenting advocate and heroine memorialized by the media... her single cover photo sparked heated debates across the nation - and they have been gorgeous to watch."
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|Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
Simple, Low-Cost Checklist Dramatically Improves Practices of Health Workers during Childbirth
Safe childbirth checklist program aims to prevent maternal and newborn deaths in low-income countries.
Mommy Wars: The Prequel
Ina May Gaskin and the battle for at-home births.
What to Reject When You're Expecting
Ten procedures to think twice about during your pregnancy.
Vaginal Birth after C-Section Is an Option for Women, but Not for Some Doctors or Hospitals
Melissa Lunsford wants a vaginal delivery for her fourth child. Following a series of Caesarean and vaginal deliveries for her other children, she couldn't find a doctor or a hospital willing to give her the vaginal birth option for her current pregnancy.
Feeling Lost? Confused? Like You're Missing the Secret?
Maybe being an AP parent seems harder than it should be.
Maybe your experience with parenting using AP practices doesn't look like the ones portrayed in the magazines or books.
Maybe you feel like you're not doing it right.
Maybe you think that everyone else has it figured out and you're completely lost.
You're not alone.
Where do you go to find parents just like you, who've been exactly where you are and who are, right now, exactly where you are?
Your local Support Group and the API Forum are your lifelines. Use them. They'll change your world. (You can read on the Forum without registration, but registration is free by contacting us.)
Inducing Labor at Term Can Reduce Birth Complications without Increasing Cesareans
Induction of labor beyond 37 weeks of pregnancy can reduce perinatal mortality (death before, during, or shortly after birth) without increasing caesarean section rates.
"Although there's a possibility that some other unmeasured (confounding) factor may explain these results, the authors conclude that elective induction of labour at term 'has the potential to reduce perinatal mortality in developed countries without increasing the risk of operative delivery.'"
Caesarean Section Delivery May Double the Risk of Childhood Obesity: May Be Due to Different Gut Bacteria
Delivery by C-section may double the risk of subsequent childhood obesity.
Fever during Pregnancy More Than Doubles the Risk of Autism or Developmental Delay
A team of researchers has found that mothers who had fevers during their pregnancies were more than twice as likely to have a child with autism or developmental delay than were mothers of typically developing children, and that taking medication to treat fever countered its effect.
|Feeding with Love and Respect
The Top Four Reasons Moms Stop Breastfeeding - and What We Can Do about Them
Only a third of the mothers who plan on exclusively breastfeeding for three months or more actually do it. It's too bad, because breastmilk really is the best nutrition for an infant - it's what they were meant to have. Not that formula can't be fine, but breastmilk and breastfeeding can have tremendous health and emotional benefits for babies and their mothers. Some of those benefits, like lowering the risk of obesity, can last long beyond when breastfeeding stops.
Breastfeeding: Why Do So Many Moms Fall Short of Their Goals?
Sarah's breastfeeding difficulties began in the hospital. Her daughter, born three weeks early, was too little to properly latch and struggled with weight gain and jaundice. When the two left the hospital, their troubles continued. Sarah worked with a lactation consultant who helped some, but not enough. After six weeks of "struggling and fighting," she stopped nursing her daughter, though she did continue to pump and feed her newborn whatever breastmilk she had.
Breastfeeding Considered Normal Worldwide
Despite the brouhaha over breastfeeding kicked off by a TIME magazine cover photo of a mom nursing her 3-year-old son, that’s actually the norm worldwide, experts say. But breastfeeding children that old is practiced among a tiny sliver of mothers in the United States.
Human Breastmilk Ingredient Adjusts to Optimize for Beneficial Gut Bacteria Over Time
A new study shows that human milk oligosaccharides, or HMO, produce short-chain fatty acids that feed a beneficial microbial population in the infant gut. Not only that, the bacterial composition adjusts as the baby grows older and its needs change.
The Hidden Dangers of Baby Bottles, Pacifiers, and Sippy Cups
Toddlers, don't drink and run (or walk)! Most falls while sucking on a bottle occur around age 1, when children often tend to be taking their first steps.
Can You Guess Who May's Guest Blogger Is?
"API Speaks" guest blogger Dr. Bill Sears shares his thoughts on the much talked about TIME magazine Attachment Parenting article, "The Man Who Remade Motherhood."
|Responding with Sensitivity
Chronic Child Abuse Strong Indicator of Negative Adult Experiences
Child abuse or neglect are strong predictors of major health and emotional problems, but little is known about how the chronicity of the maltreatment may increase future harm apart from other risk factors in a child's life.
|Ensure Safe Sleep, Emotionally and Physically
Dangers of "Crying It Out"
Letting babies "cry it out" is an idea that has been around since at least the 1880s when the field of medicine was in a hullaballoo about germs and transmitting infection and so took to the notion that babies should rarely be touched.
Curious about What James McKenna Has to Say about John Rosemond's Column?
McKenna, Director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, sets the record straight.
|Special Section: Update on TIME's Article on Attachment Parenting
Why TIME Magazine Shows Attachment Parenting Is Going Mainstream, Not Extreme
The photo has sparked a national debate about attachment parenting. Some say it drives mothers to extremes, but Attachment Parenting International Executive Director Samantha Gray says the TIME article only proves that attachment parenting is going mainstream.
You Asked. They Answered. TIME’s AP Moms Take Your Questions
From KellyMom: "For their May 21 cover story about Dr. Bill Sears and attachment parenting, TIME magazine took many photographs of four mothers and their children: Jamie Lynne Grumet of Los Angeles, Dionna Ford of Kansas City, Jessica Cary of Brooklyn, and Melinda Larson of Long Island. A photo of Jamie and her son was picked for the cover photo, and all of the moms were interviewed for an online article (though little of the material was actually used). The moms who were photographed asked KellyMom for a chance to bust some of the misconceptions about the TIME article. Since any of these moms could have ended up as the cover model, we’re thrilled to include all of them in our Q&A session."
TIME Magazine Baby Doctor First Stirred the Water in the Lowcountry
America dropped its jaws last week at TIME magazine's cover shot of a mother breastfeeding a son almost 4 years old. It's an in-your-face jab at an old and sensitive subject: How to raise a baby.
"Are You Mom Enough?" screams the big red type. "Why attachment parenting drives some mothers to extremes - and how Dr. Bill Sears became their guru." On Hilton Head Island, old-timers didn't have to wait to see the magazine cover. From 1976 to 1981, Sears was the island's primary pediatrician.
Alanis Morissette: "I Will Breastfeed Until My Son Weans"
Amidst all the breastfeeding controversy, Alanis Morissette has added her voice to the conversation as a pro attachment parent.
In a new interview, the singer reveals she is still nursing 16-month-old Ever Imre - and, as of yet, has no plans to stop.
What Does API Have to Say about All This?
Find out here.
|Consistent and Loving Care
Attachment Parenting Can't Be Outgrown
There is a myth that parenting with attachment can be outgrown, that families "graduate" sometime in the toddler or preschool years. This thought usually crosses parents' minds when their once-sweet baby who was content to be carried and cuddled and cooed at begins to assert herself - and not sweetly.
Babies Left to Cry Stay Unhappy Hours Afterwards As Stress Hormone Remains High
It is a blissful moment for any parent, when a once fractious baby finally learns to fall asleep without a murmur. But mothers and fathers should not be lulled into a false sense of security, because their child may actually still be upset. A study found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol remain high in "cry babies" even in the days after they have apparently learned to settle themselves. In other words, the child is still unhappy but just keeping quiet about it.
Positive Words: The Glue to Social Interaction
Words charged with a positive emotional content are used more frequently, thus enhancing human communication.
Massage and Swaddling Reduce Pain in Infants
Massaging infants' arms and hands and swaddling can significantly reduce their pain from needle sticks. Babies who experience pain are more likely to develop chronic pain as adults. "This could be really important from that perspective," one researcher said.
New Study Shows Children's Books Series Can Help Teach Caregivers How to Parent
Seventy-five percent of parents report a change in how they deal with behavioral challenges after reading Free Spirit's ParentSmart/KidHappy™ series.
Check out the Latest Issue of Parent Compass
See great photos of Barbara Nicholson's and Lysa Parker's young families and read the story of API's beginning.
|Practice Positive Discipline
Positive Discipline Q&A with Kelly Bartlett
"Today I am sharing a very insightful interview with the very lovely Kelly Bartlett, a fellow Certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator, author and mom of two. Kelly is sharing a bit about her journey into positive parenting, some of her favorite positive discipline tools as well as really helpful ideas on what to do when feeling discouraged about discipline and how to get back into a positive mind set."
|Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life
The UN Is Celebrating with One of API’s 8 Principles:
2012 Theme: "Ensuring Work Family Balance"
The International Day of Families was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 and reflects the importance the international community attaches to families. The International Day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic, and demographic processes affecting families.
Top Ways to Handle the Stress of Disciplining Your Teen
Being the disciplinarian is never easy. Even when you do the job well, you have to handle all of the stress that comes with it. This stress can get so bad that you may not be at your best when disciplining your teen the next time. How do you handle the parental stress of discipline so that you can be at your best when you teen needs you again?
Online Communication and Adolescent Relationships
Among the hallmarks of the transformation are greater teen autonomy, the decline of face-to-face communication, enhancement of peer group relations at the possible expense of family relations, and greater teen choice.
Click Clever Click Safe Campaign
This campaign is based on the belief that parent-child communication is crucial to protecting children when they go online and use other new technologies.
How many of you are thrilled that Attachment Parenting is getting press? (I sense some hands flying into the air out there.)
It’s about time, right? I mean, really, how controversial is it to follow a parenting style that’s been around for millennia?
Show of hands again: how many of you are a tiny bit irritated by all the uninformed people talking about what AP is? You know: stay-at-home moms tied to the house, babies riding in a sling 24/7, permissive parents enslaved by their child’s every whim, a dead sex life killed by cosleeping and on-demand breastfeeding, and on and on and on. (My heightened senses are detecting those same hands in the air.)
But here's a different question: what are AP parents NOT? Here’s my (very incomplete) list:
Martyrs. I don’t let my kids walk all over me in the name of child-led parenting. Good parenting comes from respect - for my kids and for myself - which is part and parcel of family-centered parenting. I've been known to eat the last cookie. (More than once. Or twice.)
Walking pacifiers. Or for that matter, sleeping, sitting, or reclining pacifiers.
SAHMs. Tons of AP moms have full-time jobs (frankly, I don’t know how they do it and stay sane!), and tons stay home. Tons have hobbies that are a vital part of their lives. One of my best friends found improv when she was in her forties and is traveling across the country with her troupe - and she’s as AP as they come. Being AP doesn’t mean we’ve sacrificed our hopes and dreams in the name of parenting.
Saints. Yes, we yell and get angry. Way more often than we like. (And in my case, want to admit.) Hey, I’m human, and my kids are intimately familiar with the location of my very last nerve.
Earth mothers. I’ve known lots of AP parents who use disposable diapers, vaccinate their kids, and let their kids eat the occasional Lunchable. Some of them don’t even make their own soap. Gasp.
Permissive pushovers. My kids definitely know the word “no” (even if they don’t always choose to listen to it). I was definitely not that mom in the bulk section letting her kid reach his grubby toddler hands into the candy bins.
Helicopter parents. I’m a big proponent of failure. I figure that if a child falls off a step when he’s two, he’ll learn his boundaries with a bump and a bruise. My kid who wouldn’t leave my side as a toddler flew by herself through one of the largest airports in the country, changing terminals during her layover, at twelve years old. I don’t hover.
Perfect parents. Even if we want to think we’re perfect, we’re not. We all make mistakes. We all try really hard and sometimes screw up. Just ask my kids.
So what IS an AP parent? One who treats those around them - their kids, their spouse, their friends, and even themselves - with respect and love. That’s the bottom line.
Now, how controversial is that?
This month we have tons of interesting topics for you:
- mainstream AP, not extreme AP;
- helping API without spending a dime;
- vaginal birth, C-sections, and induced labor;
- the link between pregnancy, obesity, and autism;
- words from James McKenna, Alanis Morissette, Bill Sears, Kelly Bartlett, and the TIME moms; and
- massage and infant pain.
We welcome our new Leaders, Maren Pritzl, API of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Cassie Kanz, API of the East End, New York, to our API family of Leaders!
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The American Family Assets Study
The American Family Assets Study presents a compelling national portrait of families. It introduces a new framework of Family Assets - relationships, interactions, opportunities, and values that help families thrive. These assets are associated with positive outcomes for young teens and their parenting adults, explaining more of the differences in outcomes than many demographics and other individual and family characteristics explain.
• Highlights critical strengths in families that contribute to positive outcomes for both kids and parents
• Introduces a new framework of Family Assets, which focus on healthy relationships and practices in families
• Emphasizes strengths that are relevant to a wide diversity of families in America
• Is based on a national study of 1,500 families (surveys of both youth and their parents)
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Photos by Mothering Touch from here and here.