Category Archives: What’s Happening

Available Now! Attached Family Breastfeeding Double Issue 2014

Bf 2014 Challenges smIn this issue of Attached Family, we take a look at the cultural explosion of breastfeeding advocacy, as well as the challenges still to overcome. API writer Sheena Sommers begins this issue with “The Real Breastfeeding Story,” including a look at “Extended Breastfeeding Around the World” by API writer Rivkah Estrin, followed by API Professional Liaison Patricia Mackie’s interview with the founder of Breastfeed, Chicago! and finally, I present researcher Jeanne Stolzer as she makes “Nature’s Case for Breastfeeding.”

This time of learning how to parent is crucial to the mother-infant relationship. Attachment Parenting helps mothers—whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding—view infant care in the context of the holistic parent-child relationship and learn how that give-and-take interaction that builds the foundation of secure attachment can be applied beyond feeding with love and respect. In this issue of Attached Family, we take a look at the “other side” of breastfeeding advocacy—championing compassion for the mother who encounters challenges in breastfeeding and who may not be able to breastfeed at all. API’s The Attached Family.com Editor Lisa Lord opens this issue with “When Breastfeeding Doesn’t Work,” followed by a look at “The Milk Bank Movement” by API writer Kathleen Mitchell-Askar, and an API presentation of API’s Parent Support Deserts project—each with accompanying parent stories (including that of Sara Jones Rust, who graces the cover, on page 9).

Scattered throughout this double issue are parent stories, project highlights and additional resources from around and beyond API.

– See more at: http://www.attachmentparenting.org/attachedfamilymagazine/breastfeeding2014.

Available Now! Your Attached Family: Loving Uniquely Issue

TAF2013lovinguniquelyThe Attached Family 2013 Loving Uniquely Issue is about loving each of our children as individuals with unique character traits.

Get your free copy here today.

Attachment Parenting is about loving each of our children as individuals with unique character traits. But this can be difficult to do in a culture that increasingly blames behavior on disorders and difficult temperament.

“Difficult” and “different” are not synonymous with “disordered”…

In this issue of Attached Family, we delve into temperament and how it intersects with parenting and the development of attachment style, and we challenge the notion that every hard-to-handle child needs a diagnosis.

Enjoy these features:

  • What is a Spirited Child? with Dr. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of Raising Your Spirited Child
  • The Orchid Child — API’s Sheena Sommers looks at the research behind genetic susceptibility
  • Differences, Not Disorders with Dr. Barbara Probst, author of When the Labels Don’t Fit
  • The New Gender Gap — Drs. Betsy Gunzelman and Diane Connell discuss how boys are falling behind in our society
  • Avoiding a Meltdown — API’s Leyani Redditi reminds parents of the most overlooked causes of tantrums

Plus:

  • API’s Art Yuen reviews the research at the intersection of Attachment Parenting and infant temperament
  • Father of child temperament, Dr. Jerome Kagan, weighs in
  • AP Canada’s Judy Arnall offers a quiz to parents who determining whether your child of any age is spirited
  • API Leaders discuss how to handle a violent tantrum and the toddler who wants to touch everything
  • Quick tips on dealing with public tantrums
  • API’s Lisa Lord shares her personal story on raising a challenging child
  • API’s Rita Brhel offers insight to food texture issues
  • Results of API’s Reader Poll on child spiritedness
  • Additional resources from around the ‘Net on loving our children uniquely

And more from API:

  • How you can make a difference in this world, through API
  • What’s new in the new edition of API cofounders’ book, Attached at the Heart
  • Thanks, API volunteers!
  • API Local Support Group Directory
  • API Professional Associates Directory
  • API Position Paper on Marriage, parenting and child behavior
  • API’s Patricia Mackie on making couple time a priority
  • API’s Stephanie Petters book review on Getting the Love You Want
  • API Giveaway — entries due Dec. 10, 2013

Click here to get your free copy today!

Mother-Baby Sleep Experts Offer Tips for Soothing Crying Babies, Giving Exhausted Mothers Alternatives to Crying It Out

Recent research reports have encouraged mothers to not respond to their babies when they cry. In response to this advice, a panel of noted mother-baby sleep experts from the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, and Australia have developed a free handout for parents that offers parents ways to soothe crying babies, which is available through Praeclarus Press.

“My baby is only happy in my arms. The minute I put her down she cries.”

Exhausted new parents often wonder what to do. Should they let their babies cry? “No,” says a committee of prominent experts in mother-baby sleep. Crying babies should not be ignored. This committee, representing researchers and parenting advocates from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Australia, has written a free handout for parents: Simple Ways to Calm a Crying Baby. This handout discusses current research about mother and baby’s sleep and includes specific strategies for exhausted parents.überforderung

Although having a baby who is “sleeping through the night” is something most parents aspire to, the reality is that most babies wake frequently up to 12 months of age. It is the parents’ job to help their babies return to sleep quickly. To achieve that goal, parents are often advised to let their babies cry. Unfortunately, that method is not particularly effective in helping babies settle. Rather, parents who respond to rather than ignore their babies’ cries have babies who go back to sleep more quickly.

The reason for this is that babies have immature nervous systems and need others to help them regulate their emotions. When adults hear babies crying and respond, babies develop the tools, both physiologically and emotionally, to calm themselves. Leaving babies to cry increases babies’ stress levels and often keeps them awake longer. It does not guide them emotionally or physically toward the goal of regulating their own distress and response. Continue reading

Modern parenting may hinder brain development, research shows

By Susan Guibert, reprinted with permission, Notre Dame News, http://newsinfo.nd.edu/

Social practices and cultural beliefs of modern life are preventing healthy brain and emotional development in children, according to an interdisciplinary body of research presented recently at a symposium at the University of Notre Dame.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

“Life outcomes for American youth are worsening, especially in comparison to 50 years ago,” says Darcia Narvaez, Notre Dame professor of psychology who specializes in moral development in children and how early life experiences can influence brain development.

“Ill-advised practices and beliefs have become commonplace in our culture, such as the use of infant formula, the isolation of infants in their own rooms or the belief that responding too quickly to a fussing baby will ‘spoil’ it,” Narvaez says. Continue reading

Looking for Love at Toys”R”Us

By Dr. Laura Markham, author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, www.ahaparenting.com

“Television advertisements for toys and games often exploit children’s underlying needs and desires.  Many commercials show a child playing with a game or toy with her parents.  The message is clear to young children: Ask for this product and your mother and father will pay attention to you. It is an offer they cannot resist.”  –Lawrence Kutner

DLM_183 crop (1)

Worried that your child seems to get a bit greedy at the holidays? Consider that maybe something deeper is being triggered—a longing for that happy, perfect life when he’ll feel completely enveloped by your love.  We adults have the same fantasy, of course.  It’s part of the wonder of the holidays— that promise of transformative love.

The human mind has a tendency to crave more, more, more.  Kids (like many adults) haven’t yet learned how to manage those yearnings and direct them toward what will really fulfill them, which is connection, creativity and spirituality (whether your definition of that is God, Nature or Love).

And it is possible to fill our children’s deep longings.  Not with excessive presents—which always leave kids feeling unfulfilled—but with deep meaning and the magic of love. How?

1. Explain to your child that your December holiday is about “presence” or time together, not about “presents” – and then keep your promise! When he asks you to do something with him, why not leave the dishes in the sink or your email unanswered for now? Sure, you were going to make that homemade wreath or menorah, but if you can’t do it with your child, who cares about it? (If you do it with your child, it won’t look perfect, but you’ll treasure it forever. As will she.)

2. Manage Expectations. Ask your child to carefully consider his desires and tell you four gift ideas:

  • A store-bought gift that is within your means (this may take some back and forth discussion)
  • A book he wants to read.
  • A “together” present that you will do with him, like going to the zoo.
  • A “giving” present that he can gift to someone else, like making cookies for the senior citizen home or stuffing stockings for kids in a shelter.

3. Model your values by prioritizing family activities that savor the deliciousness of your holiday. Every day, do one thing to bring your family together, whether baking, gift wrapping or simply enjoying the twinkling holiday lights together in the dark. Read and discuss books on holiday themes.  Minimize the focus on shopping and store-bought presents.

4. Give your child the experience of abundance in simple ways. You can let your kids revel in that feeling of abundance while still sticking with your values and your budget. If you’re gifting him with a trip to the zoo, print out a photo of his favorite zoo animal and a simple certificate, and wrap it, complete with ribbon. If she loves lip balm, buy four flavors and wrap each one separately.  If you baked and decorated cookies together to take to all the older folks when you visited Aunt Sue, be sure to take photos. Then print out a certificate of Commendation for Generosity with his name on it, along with a photo of a happy cookie-eater and your child, and wrap it with a ribbon and a cookie in a plastic bag. That will probably bring as big a smile to his face as a toy, especially when you regale everyone present with a story about how happy he made the senior citizens.

5. Give your child the gift of playful responses to things that you’d normally get irritated about.  When she resists your instructions, be mock horrified. Scoop her up and throw her around, making a rambunctious game of it. Interpret every “misbehavior” as a request for fun, loving connection.  (If you need to “teach” appropriate behavior, do it later.) This is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child.  You’ll be so pleased by how much more cooperative she is that you might adopt this approach permanently.

6. Minimize stress and fill your own cup so you’re in a good mood, living the spirit of the season and spreading love and good cheer. Your kids don’t want a magazine-spread holiday.  They want your love and appreciation and joy. Prioritize getting sleep and taking care of yourself so you can give your child your best—not just what’s left.

No matter what they think, kids don’t need the latest toy from Toys“R”Us or the latest electronic gadget.  Those are just strategies to feel good inside themselves. And the only way that feeling lasts is when it comes from love.

Consider the memories your kids are shaping this December. When they look back, will they describe a parent who communicated the spirit of the season with laughter, warm embraces, gracious patience?  You ARE that parent, inside.  Do you need to let go of anything so you can express all that love and joy? What could you do to make it easier for you to be that parent