Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 of 2010

In a moment of year-end curiosity, we looked to see which articles were the most read on over the past year. For those curious about what others have been reading, here are the Top 10 of 2010. It is slightly surprising that the soda and chicken pieces are #1 and #2. Guess we, as a nation, do love our junk food... (or at least talking about it!)

#10 A Man's Guide to Homebirth

#9 Babies Aren't Soldiers

#8 Mother-Baby Separation

#7 U.S. Circumcision Rate Falls to 32%

#6 Death From Circumcision 

#5 The Truth About Epidurals

#4 Mother Loses Baby, Donates Breastmilk to Another NICU Baby

#3 Baby Dies After Circumcision Surgery Blood Loss and Heart Failure
     Rest in peace sweet baby Joshua. May your suffering and loss not be in vain.

#2 Chicken Nuggets: The Other Pink Meat

#1 Your Body Within 1 Hour of Drinking Soda 


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 7 Parenting Controversies of 2010

Yesterday The Week listed their "top 7 parenting controversies" of 2010. A few are topics that takes a strong (research based) position on. Others are those that are a little more cloudy - ones where it seems literature reviews suggest an array of complicating factors. So we'd like to know what you, peaceful parenting readers, think about these 'controversies' as presented by The Week - what experiences or data have led to your conclusions? How would you respond to any (or all) of the questions below? Feel free to chime in as your passions lead you.

1. Should male genital cutting (circumcision) be banned as female genital cutting already is?

In 2011 San Francisco may have a citywide vote on whether or not it should be illegal to "circumcise, excise, cut, or mutilate the foreskin, testicle, or penis of another person who has not attained the age of 18." For more on this proposed ballet measure and related information, visit the San Francisco MGM Bill page or look into the federal and state MGM Bill propositions at The federal law prohibiting any genital cutting, for any reason - religious or otherwise, upon the body of a female minor can be found here.  If you are not otherwise fully informed on subjects related to the prepuce organ ('clitoral hood' or 'foreskin'), intact care, and circumcision, see resources on this page.

2. Why is ADHD on the rise in U.S. children? 

Nearly 1 in every 10 U.S. kids has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Back in 2003 we learned there had been an astronomical rise in ADHD during the previous decade - but now we find there has been another 22% jump since '03. What's at the root of it all? Toxins? Dis-attached parenting? Nature-deficit disorder? Kids not allowed to 'just be kids'? Over/mis-diagnosis? There are still many questions, much confusion, and not a lot of solid, for-certain answers.

3. Does writing by hand improve neurological functioning?

Kids today do so much typing and texting these days that the good ol' pen-and-paper is often pushed by the wayside. While teaching at the high school level I was astonished at the numbers of seniors whose penmanship appeared straight out of second grade. But it isn't just fancy letter writing that has been relinquished to the days of old - kids who aren't writing by hand are not utilizing parts of the brain that develop and perfect fine motor skills and other neuro functions. When children write by hand, their imagination improves, creativity increases, overall brain activity spikes, and they are even deemed to be more intelligent on standardized tests where writing is part of the assessment. In fact, the research is compelling enough to make me think we'd better start drafting a few of these posts via pen and paper instead of keyboard...

4. Is kissing your child on the lips creepy?

Yikes. I have to admit - this is a tough one for me. I realize that in many cultures a quick kiss on the lips is perfectly acceptable among people of any age. And in many families today, kissing a baby or child on the lips is a normative part of love and greeting. However, from a health standpoint, kissing babies or children on the lips is a big no-no. It is thee number one way that Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (otherwise known as "cold sores" or "fever blisters") is contracted. In fact, if you have oral herpes (HSV-1), more likely than not you got it when a well-meaning relative kissed you on the lips as a baby or child. Granted, it is a common herpes virus - one that the majority of people will carry by the time they are 60 years of age. Less commonly, genital herpes (HSV-2) can also be contracted when adults have oral sex with an infected partner and then spread it to the mouths of babies via an innocent kiss. As common as the various strains of herpes are, it is not a virus that you need to get or pass to your children. So for our babies here at home we have a rule: No kissing on the lips! Period. And really - why do you need to kiss a child on the lips? Love and kiss them all over their chubby little bodies, just not directly on the lips. Our rule has been violated twice (that I know of) by a smooch-happy relative, but hopefully we protect our own little ones enough in the future to let them decide for themselves who their lips come into contact with. I have a feeling the 2010 controversy on this subject, however, has less to do with kissing babies and oral herpes, and more to do with those who kiss older children on the lips and our general state of erotophobia.

5. Why are parents with daughters more likely to divorce?

Statistically, heterosexual parents with daughters are less likely to stay married than those with sons. Gordon Dahl (University of Rochester) and Enrico Moretti (UCLA) analyzed three million U.S. birth and marriage records, and found that married couples are 5% more likely to divorce when they have one daughter, than if they have one son. As children increase, the numbers increase - parents of three girls are 10% more likely to divorce than parents of three boys. In other nations, this division is even more pronounced. One theory is that men value sons more than daughters so they are more likely to stick around for their boys. Another is that parents believe their sons need a male role model, so rather than split and go with mom, the two remain together. A third is that mothers with daughters simply don't need a partner as much -- psychologists point to research demonstrating boys increase workload in the house, while daughters decrease it. Girls are also more likely to have strong social ties with their mothers, and daughters are more apt to stick around than sons. Notre Dame psychologist, Anita Kelly, says mothers of girls know they will "never be lonely or without help" and therefore are more likely to leave a bad marriage. An old proverb reads, "My son's my son till he hath got him a wife. But my daughter's my daughter all the days of her life."

6. What is behind the early puberty epidemic?

The AAP has repeatedly published studies in Pediatrics (their scholarly journal) citing the continued decrease in age of menarche (onset of menstruation) and breast development. A recent study (published this past August) demonstrates that 15% of girls show signs of puberty by age seven. This is twice as many as we found 10 years ago. So what is at the root of this concern? Toxins? Hormones pumped into our food/water? Chemicals in our environment/food/water/drugs/vaccinations? Does it have to do with the way we eat? Fat percentage in children (estrogen is stored in the body's fat cells)? This was a topic demanding our attention 16 years ago when I began studying human sexuality as a college student - never did I think it would grow even more concerning before we really started to wake up to what we are doing to our girls (and boys!).

7. How does spanking impact the brain?

Research is conclusive that spanking under the age of 2 and over the age of six is detrimental - to behavior, relationships, brain activity, and later success. In fact, virtually all health-centered literature on spanking shows that hitting a child or baby of any age, in any manner, is counter-productive and often downright harmful. Neurological research has shown spanking decreases IQ and impacts all other areas of development as well - emotional, spiritual, physical, relational (see: The Science of Parenting and Why Love Matters). Spanking toddlers has been shown to increase aggressive behavior. And research aside, more people are speaking up about how spanking (and those who take physical punishment to radical levels) impact our lives. One such voice comes through in Fenimore's How Spanking Changed My Life.

Still, at the end of 2009, Calvin College professor, Marjorie Gunnoe, published research based on interviews she did with 2,600 people. She found that those who were only spanked between the ages of 2-6 fared the best in a variety of other life categories as adults (academic success, optimism, careers, etc.). Although 25% of those she interviewed were never spanked, and those who were spanked as babies or after the age of 6 fared the "worst" in life, her "spanking makes you successful" conclusions were splashed across parenting boards and pop media pieces everywhere. Many researchers and parents realized it isn't the spanking that does any good for young children - rather, it is the use of age-appropriate limits set by parents with some type of structure and expectation for their kids to succeed and do well. Discipline can certainly be gentle and will be most effective if it is carried out in a manner that is truly respectful of all parties involved. See gentle discipline resources here.

Truly, in the end, it all boils down to the statement on our pp 'new parent' cards: Everyone will give you advice. The best thing to do? Listen to your heart, your instincts, and your baby. This is what parenting peacefully is all about.

What do you think?


Sunday, December 26, 2010


Jennifer's 9 month old son, Casey, Christmas Eve Morning ~ Nursing and taking a nap 

Throughout the Christmas celebrations occurring around the world, little ones are indulging in one of the very best gifts their mommas can give them - milk! In celebration, many have sent in their photos of babes grabbing a snack on Christmas. Unfortunately, oodles have already been removed due to lactiphobic flaggers from the Christmas (❤) Milk album on Facebook, so we'll treasure them here as well. You all have splendidly beautiful "Santa Babies!"

To add your photo to the collection, upload to the wall on Facebook or email to 

Bree's Santa Baby enjoying some of the really good stuff this Christmas! ♥

 Kristin writes, "Merry Christmas to all you breastfeeding mommies across the globe, from my 1 week old son ♥"

Bailey's 3 month old son, Dylan, is having his Christmas Eve Lunch ♥

 Emily's Little Santa, Danika, 17 months this Christmas Day ♥

Chelsea nurses her two-year-old to sleep, Christmas Eve ♥

Amy's 3 month old, Lilah, having her Chanukah Milkies ♥

Natalie's 3 month old son, Jonathan Karol, enjoying his Christmas morning milks. Natalie writes, "This picture is even more precious to me because Jonathan was released from the hospital just 2 days before Christmas. He'd spent several days in the PICU due to sudden bouts of seizures that left him non-responsive. Thanks be to God, after dozens of painful tests and 2 full days of not being allowed to nurse, the cause - a small cyst in his brain - was determined, and we were allowed to return home. Thanks to his anti-seizure meds - and LOTS of mommy's milk - he's back to his smiley, laughing, playful self...the best Christmas gift EVER!" 

Dana's 11.5 month old son, Nicholai Luccas, eating his momma milk on Christmas Eve. 

Annie's 14 month old nurses on Christmas Eve ♥

♥ Niki's BabyClaus #2 who she says is "taking a sip of the pure, and wishing everyone a Silent Night (for those with children over 3 anyway..." ;) 

Emilee's Santa Baby, Noah, 11 months ♥

 Lindsay's 13 month old, Myiah, peacefully nursing amongst the chaos ♥

 Meredith's little one enjoys some Christmas Milk at 19 days old ♥

 A little Christmas snack. Christina's son, almost 5 months old. ♥

Rebekah's 3 day old newborn, Eisley, enjoying her milk as she takes her first bath! ♥

"Opening all those gifts will make anyone sleepy...and a little warm Mommy Milk will make it all better. Zachary's first Christmas! 6 weeks old." 
From his mom, Melody. ♥

Christine's Tiny Santa ♥

Peppermint Breastmilk?!
Kathleen's daughter, Amelia, on Christmas. ♥

Jodi's 7 month old, Olivia, 7 nursing Christmas Morning. ♥

Christmas morning yummies for Rachel's 14.5 month old. ♥

Sharon's milk drunk Christmas boy with his new Sophie Giraffe. 5 weeks old. ♥ 

Alena's daughter has a snack in the car while Christmas shopping ♥

Lynn's son Liam is just one day shy of 11 months old in this Christmas photo. ♥

Niki's "MiniClaus" grabs a bite of something sweet. 

Meredith says, "My husband insisted I upload this one, he says it's better than the other one I uploaded." 
Talbot's 1st Christmas at 19 days old. ♥

Jen's Baby Celso (3.5 months old) and his Christmas snack. ♥

Daria's little one gets the best gift there is! ♥

Has anyone else been attacked under the Christmas tree?! 
Danelle has ~ by a hungry 16 month old! ♥

 Cynthia's son, Ethan, enjoying mama's milk on his first Christmas (3.5 months old) ♥

Margrét's 11 month old, Bríet Alda (11.8kg) enjoying her Christmas Dinner. ♥

"The Bean and I" ~Karla on Christmas morning ♥

 "Babies need milk breaks while opening presents on their first Christmas. 
Mama's milk, the best gift I gave him this year! ♥ Nearly 5 month old Jack" ~Trisha

Jacki's little one takes a Christmas Eve snooze... ♥

Looks like a beautiful Christmas full of love and gentle mothering at Nikki's house. ♥

Moxie wishes all the breastfeeding mamas of the world a Merry Christmas ♥

Georgina's little reindeer grabbing a snack ♥

"My darling daughter Yoshabelle enjoying her Christmas Milk." ~Moxie ♥

"Christmas Milk" from Jessica and her little one ♥

"Taking a break from the morning hustle and bustle to snuggle for some Christmas Milk on Trevor's first Christmas! 
(he's almost 8 months)" ~from his mom, Dorothy

Alex says, "Christmas fun wore us out, but daddy did get us some AWESOME activist apparel!! :)" ♥

 Cheri says, "I started to get a little blue seeing all of the Christmas breastfeeding pics. I SO wish I could include one of my Sam and I...then I realized...heck! I breastfed on Christmas too! It may be through an NG tube into his duodenum but Christmas marked day 150ish of pumping for, here's our pic :) Someday soon I hope to finally try and feed him naturally! For now! Merry Christmas From Sam and me." ♥ Learn more about Sam's story at "Sam I Am"

Alicia's "Christmas Nursling," Tessa, 20 months ♥

Nichole's 13 month old "Christmas Nurser" Maggie ♥

Cathy's son, Jacob (12 months), having his Christmas lunch. ♥

 Nela nurses her 15 month old, Ana, in a busy mall in Hong Kong on the second day of Christmas ♥

 Kristie's 11 month old son getting himself some Christmas Milk ♥

Erin's 14 month old, Marley, playing peek-a-boob in her new Christmas sweater ♥

 Karah's 17 month old, Fiona, getting her "Christmas Eve milkies"

Rochelle's 12 week old, Elliot, enjoying his Christmas morning while his sisters open his gifts and theirs. ♥

 Tricia's 14.5 month old, Aliya, getting a snack after unwrapping her gifts ♥

 Tasha's 11-day-old, Arik, enjoying his Christmas turkey dinner

Lana says, "What I love most about this photo is that I am feeding my son on the couch, with all of the family right there in the same room, amidst all the holiday celebrating ~ the way it should be! Just normal and natural. We shouldn't have to be sequestered in some other room, away from everyone, just because Luke needs to eat. And no, my family is not 'crunchy'!"

 Natalie's "little lush" in her Christmas jammies

 Alisha's little one having some Christmas Milk

Farrah's son, Avery, nursing on Christmas Day   

 Jennifer's son, 1 year old, grabs a Christmas time snack during the birthday party for his older sister

Marissa's little santa eating his milk & cookies

Kira's 12 month old grabs some Christmas morning milk with his buddy, Baba, 
who he has his momma 'nurse' sometimes too.

Petra's 19 month old twin son, Jacob, being comforted during the Christmas Eve dinner. 
Petra did not realize he would later be up ill all night while his brother slept peacefully... ♥

Angela's 8 month old lil Santa, Zachary, enjoys his Christmas Milk. 

Amber and her kiddos made this nursing snow momma and her babe while outside playing today.

 Allie's beautiful two month old son, Wyatt, gets his Christmas Milk

Elysia's son, Jeremiah (2 yrs), has some milk with his cookie! 

Santa Baby gets his milk too! Cartoon by Dan Reynolds

For helpful breastfeeding books, websites and articles see the Breastfeeding Resources Page.



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