Top 20 of 2020

It's been quite the year of challenges! Through it all we've persevered and looked for ways we could make life better for someone, somewhere; a new momma today, a baby tomorrow, children along the way. It is our hope that you or someone you know has been empowered or uplifted or encouraged or helped this year through the work of Peaceful Parenting. It has been tough to not see you in person this year at the many expos and events we typically host, but we look forward to an even sweeter reunion when we can attend across the nation once again. 'Till then, we have gathered the Top 20 Most Read items at DrMomma during 2020. Check out those you missed, share your favorites, and pass on the love we pray comes through in our gentle parenting advocacy and education. 💖 

With this post we'd also love to showcase some of your beautiful families. If you'd like to share a photo for our 2020 Peaceful Parenting collage, drop it to this post on Facebook, into the Peaceful Parenting Community with a note that it's for the 2020 collage, or email ContactDrMomma@gmail.com

 

Top 20 of 2020

20. Take Mom's Picturehttp://www.drmomma.org/2019/07/take-moms-picture.html

19. Mama, You are Home to Mehttp://www.drmomma.org/2018/11/mama-you-are-home-to-me.html

18. Cry It Out - What is the 'It'? http://www.drmomma.org/2020/01/cry-it-out-what-is-it.html

17. The Placenta Does Not Age or Fail Post-Dateshttp://www.drmomma.org/2018/03/the-placenta-does-not-age-or-fail-post.html

16. Children Should Sleep Near Parents Until Age 5http://www.drmomma.org/2009/07/co-sleeping-children-should-sleep-with.html

15. What Should a 4 Year Old Know? http://www.drmomma.org/2011/11/what-should-4-year-old-know.html

14. Neonatal Infant Circumcision [A Video for Healthcare Professionals]http://www.drmomma.org/2011/01/neonatal-circumcision-video-for.html

13. Plastibell Infant Circumcisionhttp://www.drmomma.org/2009/08/plastibell-infant-circumcision.html

12. Your Body Within One Hour of Drinking Sodahttp://www.drmomma.org/2008/01/your-body-within-1-hour-of-drinking.html

11. Fetal Lungs Protein Release Triggers Labor to Beginhttp://www.drmomma.org/2008/01/fetal-lungs-protein-release-triggers.html

10. MRI Studies: The Brain Permanently Altered by Infant Circumcisionhttp://www.drmomma.org/2009/10/mri-studies-brain-permanently-altered.html

9. Newborn Nursing: Frequent, Lengthy, Normalhttp://www.drmomma.org/2019/10/newborn-nursing-frequent-lengthy-and.html

8. "Babywise" Linked to Dehydration, Failure to Thrive - http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/babywise-linked-to-babies-dehydration.html 

7. Intact or Circumcised: A Significant Difference in the Adult Penishttp://www.drmomma.org/2011/08/intact-or-circumcised-significant.html

6. Why African Babies Don't Cryhttp://www.drmomma.org/2010/09/why-african-babies-dont-cry.html

5. Breastfeeding in Mongoliahttp://www.drmomma.org/2009/07/breastfeeding-in-land-of-genghis-khan.html

4. Fetal Ejection Reflexhttp://www.drmomma.org/2016/07/fetal-ejection-reflex.html

3. Turn Your Crib into a CoSleeperhttp://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/turn-your-crib-into-cosleeper.html

2. Lactation Cookies: Increasing Milk Supplyhttp://www.drmomma.org/2010/08/lactation-cookies-recipe-increasing.html

#1 Most Read item at DrMomma in 2020: 

Sleeping Babies Need Mom Beside Themhttp://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/sleeping-babies-need-mom-beside-them.html




Physicians Urge Public Health Distribution of Vitamin D3

By Danelle Day, Healing Hubby

Unless you're supplementing with a quality D3 or spending the majority of your days sunbathing naked near the equator, your body is in need of D. 🌞

Signed by numerous doctors - encouraging those in public health sectors to widely distribute and encourage the use of D3 supplementation - this letter (excerpt below) is worth reading: https://vitamindforall.org/letter.html The letter's focus is on COVID-19 prevention and treatment, but D3 is an important part of many aspects of human health and healing. When my husband was first diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, his blood D levels were at 8. When I began experiencing extreme consequences of autoimmune/adrenal/thyroid issues (Hashimoto's / PCOS / Cold Urticaria / allergic reactions / early onset arthritis, etc.) my blood D levels were at 18. Even living on the beach, outside all. the. time. in an area that doesn't ever get "real winters" and is sunny most days of the year, our eldest child was also D deficient when tested. We now all take 10-15,000 IU of a quality D3 most days of the week (and us adults have bloodwork done every 3-6 months). Better Way Health has the best we've found (this link will get you 15% off an order, or they are also discounted further if you purchase 12 at a time: https://prz.io/GQ9K32Sm). Prior to making a switch to this D3, we had tried others without much success in raising blood levels, including prescription D2 that was ordered by my husband's physician. We eat a lot of green leafy vegetables (abundant in K) but if those aren't part of your regular diet, taking a quality K2 is also a good idea to go along with D3. (Thorne is our favorite for this - https://amzn.to/2KZDbOg but there are many quality brands you can rotate between). The Better Way Health D3 (pictured above) is super small and easy for anyone to swallow; however our youngest child still takes D3 in drop form instead (Thorne's D3/K2 combo is our favorite for kids who can't do capsules of any size yet - https://amzn.to/3psT9iU). Regardless of what D3 you opt for, it is *inexpensive* and incredibly worth adding into your regimen. Getting a blood test to know where you are starting is a good idea also - it is very simple to ask your physician to add D onto your next bloodwork, OR you can get a quick D test done at almost any lab without a doctor's lab order. If you've never supplemented before, you are likely very low, and would benefit by starting with 10-20,000 IUs daily for a few months. However, even for those who aren't going to get bloodwork done, and are NOT deficient to begin with, 5,000IUs daily is a very good idea for your wellbeing. 🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞 LETTER QUOTE: To all governments, public health officials, doctors, and healthcare workers, Research shows low vitamin D levels almost certainly promote COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Given its safety, we call for immediate widespread increased vitamin D intakes. Vitamin D modulates thousands of genes and many aspects of immune function, both innate and adaptive. The scientific evidence1 shows that: Higher vitamin D blood levels are associated with lower rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Higher D levels are associated with lower risk of a severe case (hospitalization, ICU, or death). Intervention studies (including RCTs) indicate that vitamin D can be a very effective treatment. Many papers reveal several biological mechanisms by which vitamin D influences COVID-19. Causal inference modelling, Hill’s criteria, the intervention studies & the biological mechanisms indicate that vitamin D’s influence on COVID-19 is very likely causal, not just correlation. Vitamin D is well known to be essential, but most people do not get enough. Two common definitions of inadequacy are deficiency < 20ng/ml (50nmol/L), the target of most governmental organizations, and insufficiency < 30ng/ml (75nmol/L), the target of several medical societies & experts.2 Too many people have levels below these targets. Rates of vitamin D deficiency <20ng/ml exceed 33% of the population in most of the world, and most estimates of insufficiency <30ng/ml are well over 50% (but much higher in many countries).3 Rates are even higher in winter, and several groups have notably worse deficiency: the overweight, those with dark skin (especially far from the equator), and care home residents. These same groups face increased COVID-19 risk. It has been shown that 3875 IU (97mcg) daily is required for 97.5% of people to reach 20ng/ml, and 6200 IU (155mcg) for 30ng/ml,4 intakes far above all national guidelines. Unfortunately, the report that set the US RDA included an admitted statistical error in which required intake was calculated to be ~10x too low.4 Numerous calls in the academic literature to raise official recommended intakes had not yet resulted in increases by the time SARS-CoV-2 arrived. Now, many papers indicate that vitamin D affects COVID-19 more strongly than most other health conditions, with increased risk at levels < 30ng/ml (75nmol/L) and severely greater risk < 20ng/ml (50nmol/L).1 Evidence to date suggests the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic sustains itself in large part through infection of those with low vitamin D, and that deaths are concentrated largely in those with deficiency. The mere possibility that this is so should compel urgent gathering of more vitamin D data. Even without more data, the preponderance of evidence indicates that increased vitamin D would help reduce infections, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, & deaths. Decades of safety data show that vitamin D has very low risk: Toxicity would be extremely rare with the recommendations here. The risk of insufficient levels far outweighs any risk from levels that seem to provide most of the protection against COVID-19, and this is notably different from drugs & vaccines. Vitamin D is much safer than steroids, such as dexamethasone, the most widely accepted treatment to have also demonstrated a large COVID-19 benefit. Vitamin D’s safety is more like that of face masks. There is no need to wait for further clinical trials to increase use of something so safe, especially when remedying high rates of deficiency/insufficiency should already be a priority. Therefore, we call on all governments, doctors, and healthcare workers worldwide to immediately recommend and implement efforts appropriate to their adult populations to increase vitamin D, at least until the end of the pandemic. Specifically to: Recommend amounts from all sources sufficient to achieve 25(OH)D serum levels over 30ng/ml (75nmol/L), a widely endorsed minimum with evidence of reduced COVID-19 risk. Recommend to adults vitamin D intake of 4000 IU (100mcg) daily (or at least 2000 IU) in the absence of testing. 4000 IU is widely regarded as safe.5 Recommend that adults at increased risk of deficiency due to excess weight, dark skin, or living in care homes may need higher intakes (eg, 2x). Testing can help to avoid levels too low or high. Recommend that adults not already receiving the above amounts get 10,000 IU (250mcg) daily for 2-3 weeks (or until achieving 30ng/ml if testing), followed by the daily amount above. This practice is widely regarded as safe. The body can synthesize more than this from sunlight under the right conditions (e.g., a summer day at the beach). Also, the NAM (US) and EFSA (Europe) both label this a “No Observed Adverse Effect Level” even as a daily maintenance intake. Measure 25(OH)D levels of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients & treat w/ calcifediol or D3, to at least remedy insufficiency <30ng/ml (75nmol/L), possibly with a protocol along the lines of Castillo et al ‘20 or Rastogi et al '20, until evidence supports a better protocol. Many factors are known to predispose individuals to higher risk from exposure to SARS-CoV-2, such as age, being male, comorbidities, etc., but inadequate vitamin D is by far the most easily and quickly modifiable risk factor with abundant evidence to support a large effect. Vitamin D is inexpensive and has negligible risk compared to the considerable risk of COVID-19. Please Act Immediately


View research cited and physicians who have signed this letter at: https://vitamindforall.org/letter.html




Circumcised babies may have trouble bonding

By Dave Yasvinski for Healthing.ca 
Read more from Yasvinski


Circumcising newborn babies may lead to a host of issues later in life, including difficulty bonding and handling stressful situations, a new study has found.

The medical procedure — usually performed on males within the first few days of life for religious, social or cultural reasons — has real ramifications despite making for difficult dinner conversation, said Michael Winterdahl, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor at Aarhus University in Denmark.

“We wanted to challenge the assumption that there are no delayed consequences of infant circumcision apart from the purely physical because of the absence of foreskin,” he said. “Our findings are especially interesting for coming parents who want to make an informed choice about circumcision on behalf of their child, but are also directed at anyone who wishes to see more light shed on a very taboo topic that often drowns in an emotional discussion.”

To test their theory, researchers enlisted 619 American men — 408 circumcised and 211 still in their natural state — and had them complete a series of questionnaires that tested their ability to handle stress and bond with others.

“The study showed that men who had undergone circumcision as an infant found it more difficult to bond with their partner and were more emotionally unstable, while the study did not find differences in empathy or trust,” Winterdahl said. “Infant circumcision was also associated with stronger sexual drive as well as a lower stress threshold.

“We know from previous studies that the combination of attachment to a partner and emotional stability is important in order to be able to maintain a healthy relationship, and thus family structure, and a lack of such, may lead to frustration and possibly less restricted sexual behaviour,” he said.

The stress experienced by circumcised infants only reveals itself in adulthood in the form of these altered behaviours, the researchers said. While the behavioural changes are not pathological, or indicative of illness, they have implications on a global level.

“Our study says something about differences at population level, not about individuals,” Winterdahl said. “It’s important to remember that as individuals, we vary enormously in virtually all parameters — also in how we bond with our partner, for example.”

Breastfeeding / Circumcision informational cards

Canada’s current circumcision rate is 32 per cent, according to a study by a group of Saskatchewan researchers that found the status of the father’s foreskin to be the single most important factor in determining whether or not his newborn would also have the procedure. Overall, 56 per cent of those polled said they would consider circumcision if they had a son. In situations where the father was circumcised, that number rose to 82 per cent; where the father was not circumcised, the number dropped to 15 per cent.

While conflicting information about the potential health benefits of circumcision has stirred a long and heated debate on its necessity, the Canadian Paediatric Society updated its policy in 2015 to offer a more neutral stance than its 1996 guidance that advised against the procedure. “The main thing that has changed between now and then is there is convincing evidence that circumcision can actually prevent HIV,” said Dr. Joan Robinson, a pediatric infectious disease specialist in Edmonton.

“I think for most parents, it’s basically a cosmetic procedure, unless you’re part of a religion that insists that you have to have it done,” she said.


Related: 

Saving Our Sons Community

Intact: Healthy, Happy, Whole

Should I Circumcise? The pros and cons 

Intact Care

SavingSons.org

IntactHealth.org



Momma's Night Before Christmas


Mother's Love painting by Kolongi. Art work available here.

Twas' the night before Christmas,
when all through the abode

Only one creature was stirring -
and she was cleaning the commode.


The children were finally sleeping,
all snug in their beds,

While visions of presents,
flipped through their heads.


Daddy was snoring in front of the TV,

With a half-constructed bicycle up on his knee.

So only Momma heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
Which made her sigh, "NOW what's the matter?"

With toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,

She descended the stairs, and saw the old man.

He was covered in ashes, which fell with a shrug.

"Oh great..." muttered Mom, now cleaning the rug.


"Ho-Ho-Ho!!" bellowed Santa, "I'm glad you're awake.

Your gift was especially hard to make."

"Thank you Santa, but all I want's time alone."

"Exactly!!" he chuckled, "And I've made you a clone."


"A clone?" Mom asked, "What good is that?

Run along now, Santa. I've no time for a chat."

But it was Momma's twin!
Same hair, same eyes - same double chin.

"She'll cook, she'll dust, she'll mop every mess.
You'll relax, take it easy, and get some good rest."
"Fantastic!!" Mom cheered. "My dream come true!
I'll read. I'll write. I'll sleep a whole night through!"


From the room above, the youngest began to fret.
"Momma?! I need you. I'm scared and I'm wet."
The clone replied, "I'm coming, sweetheart."

"Hey," Mom smiled, "She knows her part."


The clone changed the small one, and hummed a sweet tune,

As she bundled the child, in a blanket cocoon.

"You're the best momma ever. I really love you."

The clone smiled and sighed, "And I love you, too."


Mom frowned and said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal.

That's
my child's love that she's trying to steal."
Smiling wisely Santa said, "To me it is clear,

Only one loving mother is needed 'round here."


Mom kissed her child, and tucked her into bed.

"Thank you, dear Santa, for clearing my head.

I sometimes forget it won't be very long,

When they'll be too old, for my sweet mothering song."


The clock on the mantle began to chime.

Santa whispered to the clone, "It works every time."

And with the clone clung close to his side,
Santa said, "Goodnight.
Merry Christmas, Momma! You'll be alright."


~Original Author ("The Night Before Christmas for Moms") Unknown; 
  Revised Poem (2009) by Danelle Day


Soleil Life Photography



*******

Christmas To Do List


This Christmas... 

 Be present. 
 Wrap someone in a hug.
Send peace. 
 Donate food. 
 Be the light. 

 🎄❤️🎄❤️




12 Breastfeeding Days of Christmas


Not too many better ways to ring in the "12 days of Christmas" than with the Best for Babes Foundation's 12 Breastfeeding Days of Christmas (composed in 2009 and slightly updated this holiday season). Please take a moment to visit the Best for Babes site for a detailed explanation of each of these twelve life-changing gifts and take a look into how they can help "rebuild our shattered breastfeeding infrastructure."


12 Breastfeeding Days of Christmas


On the first day of Christmas 
There stood before me,
A mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the second day of Christmas 
There stood before me, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the third day of Christmas, 
There stood before me, 
Three support groups, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the fourth day of Christmas, 
There stood before me, 
Four (FABM) MDs, 
Three support groups, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the fifth day of Christmas 
There stood before me, 
Five Baby-Friendly Hospitals, 
Four (FABM) MDs, 
Three support groups, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the sixth day of Christmas, 
There stood before me, 
Six great IBCLCs, 
Five Baby-Friendly Hospitals, 
Four (FABM) MDs, 
Three support groups, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the seventh day of Christmas 
There stood before me, 
Seven partners protecting, 
Six great IBCLCs, 
Five Baby-Friendly Hospitals, 
Four (FABM) MDs, 
Three support groups, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the eighth day of Christmas 
There stood before me, 
Eight friends a-helping, 
Seven partners protecting, 
Six great IBCLCs, 
Five Baby-Friendly Hospitals, 
Four (FABM) MDs, 
Three support groups, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the ninth day of Christmas 
There stood before me, 
Nine celebs a-nursing, 
Eight friends a-helping, 
Seven partners protecting, 
Six great IBCLCs, 
Five Baby-Friendly Hospitals, 
Four (FABM) MDs, 
Three support groups, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the tenth day of Christmas, 
There stood before me, 
Ten nursing nooks, 
Nine celebs a-nursing, 
Eight friends a-helping, 
Seven partners protecting, 
Six great IBCLCs,
Five Baby-Friendly Hospitals, 
Four (FABM) MDs, 
Three support groups, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the eleventh day of Christmas 
There stood before me, 
Eleven strangers cheering, 
Ten nursing nooks, 
Nine celebs a-nursing, 
Eight friends a-helping, 
Seven partners protecting, 
Six great IBCLCs, 
Five Baby-Friendly Hospitals, 
Four FABM MDs, 
Three support groups, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, 
There stood before me, 
Twelve supportive employers, 
Eleven strangers cheering, 
Ten nursing nooks, 
Nine celebs a-nursing, 
Eight friends a-helping, 
Seven partners protecting, 
Six great IBCLCs, 
Five Baby-Friendly Hospitals, 
Four (FABM) MDs, 
Three support groups, 
Two doula/midwives, 
And a mother wanting to breastfeed!

 Mary nurses Baby Jesus in this 16th century oil painting by Andrea Solario
for similar images see: Breastfeeding Baby Jesus

Nursing mothers are welcome to join the Breastfeeding Group. Note that this group is pro-baby, pro-natural weaning, pro-nursing-in-public, and WHO compliant in guidelines (i.e. no advertising of artificial baby feeds).


~~~~


Don't Force Your Child to Sit on Santa's Lap

By Brianne Collecchio
Originally at ChildUp.com


Your Christmas tree is decorated, the lights are up, and you’ve started to tackle your list of Christmas gifts. It’s time to take the children to the mall to see Santa. In your mind you’ve envisioned adorable photos of a smiling child posing happily with Old Saint Nick. You’ve thought about how many copies you’ll need to send out to proud grandparents. Your child is excited to see the man in red, already compiling a huge catalogue of toys to ask for. But when your child gets to the front of the line and comes face to face with Santa, he’s terrified! There’s no way he’s going to get anywhere near the man, let alone sit on his lap.

A child can develop a fear of Santa or other costumed characters at any point in childhood. Maybe your daughter loved Santa for the first three years of her life, and all of a sudden just the mention of his name has her running to her room. Children have extremely short memories, so each year when Christmas rolls around it’s like they are discovering Santa for the first time.

There are many reasons why children might be afraid of Santa. He has a big white beard that covers most of his face, and when a young child sits on his lap sometimes all they can see is that great white beard. It can be pretty intimidating not to be able to see his face.

A lot of children experience separation anxiety. When a parent sees Santa, they think of a jolly old man who brings children presents. When a toddler sees Santa, they’re experiencing mom and dad putting them on a stranger’s lap and walking away. That’s terrifying!

A toddler’s mind is also growing and developing so quickly—especially their imaginations. They are learning so much about the world so fast, but they still do not have the ability to distinguish between fantasy and reality. To that child Santa is a large stranger with a booming voice, and they are being left with him. That’s pretty intense.

Don’t force your child to take a picture with Santa or meet him if he or she is too afraid—just wait until next year. It’s not fair to subject your child to that level of anxiety just for a picture—and it won’t even be a good picture. Forcing your child to meet Santa can cause your child to associate that panic, fear, or discomfort with all things holiday related, and the last thing you want is a child who has a panic attack every time they hear Jingle Bells.

Telling your child not to be afraid of Santa can make him or her feel bad about themselves. Instead, be supportive. Let your child know that nothing bad will happen to him or her and that you will be right there with them. Offer to go see Santa first or have your picture taken with him to show your child that they will be fine.

Try to recognize if your child is truly afraid, or is just shy. Stay out of the line and watch some of the other children go first and hear their interactions. It’s very possible that they will see the other children enjoying themselves and change their mind.

If your child will absolutely not go anywhere near Santa, try to look at the bright side—it means that your child has an inner stranger-danger awareness. Value that alarm! There are far worse things in life than a child who is afraid to sit on Santa’s lap. Maybe you won’t get that adorable photo to send the grandparents, but you won’t get one of your child screaming either. Take it slow. There’s always next year.



Brianne Collecchio is a registered early childhood educator and runs Busy Bees Home Childcare in Guelph.

Baby It's Cold Outside Lyrics Rewritten



Couple rewrites 'Baby It's Cold Outside' to emphasize importance of consent 
As shared at CNN by Alexandra King | Read more from King

A couple from Minnesota has re-imagined the classic Christmas song "Baby It's Cold Outside" for a 21st-century audience, changing the song's lyrics to emphasize the importance of consent. Singer-songwriters Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski, both from Minneapolis, said they were inspired to rework the song after bonding over a mutual dislike of the original's lyrics, which were penned in 1944 by Frank Loesser.

The duet features a man trying to dissuade a woman from leaving a party despite her repeated protestations that she has to go home. "What's in this drink?" is one of the female lines. "What's the sense in hurtin' my pride?" implores the male voice. The song's seeming disregard for the woman's desire to leave never sat well with Lemanski or Liza. "I've always had a big problem with the song. It's so aggressive and inappropriate," said Lemanski, 25.

Liza, 22, said she felt the same way as her boyfriend. "We started thinking of the open-ended questions that song has," she said. "You never figure out if she gets to go home. You never figure out if there was something in her drink. It just leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth."

So Wednesday night, the couple decided to write a complete set of new lyrics. "We wrote the whole thing in an hour and then we went back and used my little demo-recording microphone and did that in 15 minutes," Liza recalled. And though the melody is still the same, the lyrics strike an entirely new chord.

"I really can't stay/Baby I'm fine with that" opens the song, as the lyrics recall the original's format of a woman leaving a party. Except in Liza and Lemanski's version, she does so without protest, the man helps her get home safely and the fictional couple makes a date the next day at The Cheesecake Factory. "I ought to say no, no, no," sings Liza. "You reserve the right to say no," croons Lemanski. And as for that dubious "What's in this drink?" line. It's still there. Except, in the new version, the question is actually answered -- by Lemanski, who responds with the oh-so-now ""Pomegranate La Croix" (obviously). "I thought we were just doing like a really good, cool, funny thing and it just felt right," Liza said. "And emphasizing consent is one of the causes that I've always really been behind because I don't think I can think of one friend of mine who's a woman who hasn't been in dangerous situations with men. I've always cared about this so much," she added.

After the duo uploaded the song to SoundCloud, the couple found that what started out as a shared gripe between a boyfriend and girlfriend also resonated with the public at large. "We've heard a lot of people say, 'Wow, we never actually paid attention to the lyrics before -- this is awful!'" said Liza. The couple also said they hoped the song would raise awareness of the need for consent, given the problem of sexual assault on college campuses. "It's not just a rare thing -- it happens all the time, everywhere. Every day. And I'm afraid for my sister. And I'm afraid for my friends. And I hope that this song gets people thinking about it," Lemanski said.

Liza added that she hoped that the song would inspire others to take action to help prevent violence against women. "I hope it will be on people's minds and that people will donate to charity or do some volunteer work at shelters or sexual assault centers. Like, if you think about this and you think it's a problem, definitely step out of your comfort zone and do something and help someone," she said.

And having successfully designated their re-imagined "Baby It's Cold Outside" as an unofficial anthem for the importance of consent, the couple joked that there were some other candidates for the Liza and Lemanski treatment. "A lot of people have suggested a bunch of songs, like Ella Fitzgerald's 'She Didn't Say Yes, She Didn't Say No' and Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines,'" said Liza. "We'll just do a whole album," she laughed.


Lydia and Josiah perform 'Baby It's Cold Outside' - with updated lyrics: 




Baby It's Cold Outside - New Lyrics 

I really can't stay/Baby I'm fine with that

I've got to go away/Baby I'm cool with that

This evening has been/Been hoping you get home safe

So very nice/I'm glad you had a real good time

My mother will start to worry/Call her so she knows that you're coming

Father will be pacing the floor/Better get your car a-humming

So really I'd better scurry/Take your time

Should I use the front or back door?/Which one are you pulling towards more?

The neighbors might think/That you're a real nice girl

Say, what is this drink?/Pomegranate La Croix

I wish I knew how/Maybe I'll help you out

To break this spell/I don't know what you're talking about

I ought to say no, no, no/you reserve the right to say no

At least I'm gonna say that I tried/you reserve the right to say no

I really can't stay/...Well you don't have to

Ah, but it's cold outside...

I've got to get home/Do you know how to get there from here?

Say, where is my coat/I'll go and grab it my dear.

You've really been grand/We'll have to do this again

Yes, I agree/How 'bout the Cheesecake Factory?

We're bound to be talking tomorrow/Text me at your earliest convenience

At least I have been getting that vibe/Unless I catch pneumonia and die

I'll be on my way/Thanks for the great night!

Bye/Bye--Drive Safe Please.
Don't watch that episode of 'Breaking Bad' without me/I won't, I'll save that for you!


Lydia and Josiah discuss their rendition of "Baby It's Cold Outside" further:



*******


Why African Babies Don't Cry

By J. Claire K. Niala
Read more from Niala at In Culture Parent


Why African Babies Don't Cry

I was born and grew up in Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire. From the age of fifteen I lived in the UK. However, I always knew that I wanted to raise my children (whenever I had them) at home in Kenya. And yes, I assumed I was going to have them. I am a modern African woman, with two university degrees, and a fourth generation working woman – but when it comes to children, I am typically African. The assumption remains that you are not complete without them; children are a blessing which would be crazy to avoid. Actually the question does not even arise.

I started my pregnancy in the UK. The urge to deliver at home was so strong that I sold my practice, setup a new business and moved house and country within five months of finding out I was pregnant. I did what most expectant mothers in the UK do – I read voraciously: Our Babies, Ourselves, Unconditional Parenting, anything by Sears – the list goes on. (My grandmother later commented that babies don’t read books and really all I needed to do was “read” my baby). Everything I read said that African babies cried less than European babies. I was intrigued as to why.

photo by Andy Graham

When I went home, I observed. I looked out for mothers and babies and they were everywhere, though very young African ones, under six weeks, were mainly at home. The first thing I noticed is that despite their ubiquitousness, it is actually quite difficult to actually “see” a Kenyan baby. They are usually incredibly well wrapped up before being carried or strapped onto their mother (sometimes father). Even older babies strapped onto a back are further protected from the elements by a large blanket. You would be lucky to catch sight of a limb, never mind an eye or nose. The wrapping is a womb-like replication. The babies are literally cocooned from the stresses of the outside world into which they are entering.

My second observation was a cultural one. In the UK, it was understood that babies cry. In Kenya, it was quite the opposite. The understanding is that babies don’t cry. If they do – something is horribly wrong and something must be done to rectify it immediately. My English sister-in-law summarized it well. “People here,” she said, “really don’t like babies crying, do they?”

It all made much more sense when I finally delivered and my grandmother came from the village to visit. As it happened, my baby did cry a fair amount. Exasperated and tired, I forgot everything I had ever read and sometimes joined in the crying too. Yet for my grandmother it was simple, “Nyonyo (breastfeed her)!” It was her answer to every single peep.

There were times when it was a wet nappy, or that I had put her down, or that she needed burping, but mainly she just wanted to be at the breast – it didn’t really matter whether she was feeding or just having a comfort moment. I was already wearing her most of the time and co-sleeping with her, so this was a natural extension to what we were doing.


I suddenly learned the not-so-difficult secret of the joyful silence of African babies. It was a simple needs-met symbiosis that required a total suspension of ideas of what should be happening and an embracing of what was actually going on in that moment. The bottom line was that my baby fed a lot – far more than I had ever read about and at least five times as much as some of the stricter feeding schedules I had seen.

At about four months, when a lot of urban mothers start to introduce solids as previous guidelines had recommended, my daughter returned to newborn-style hourly breastfeeding, which was a total shock. Over the past four months, the time between feeds had slowly started to increase. I had even started to treat the odd patient without my breasts leaking or my daughter’s nanny interrupting the session to let me know my daughter needed a feed.

Most of the mothers in my mother and baby group had duly started to introduce baby rice (to stretch the feeds) and all the professionals involved in our children’s lives – pediatricians, even doulas, said that this was ok. Mothers needed rest too, we had done amazingly to get to four months exclusively breastfeeding, and they assured us our babies would be fine. Something didn’t ring true for me and even when I tried, half-heartedly, to mix some pawpaw (the traditional weaning food in Kenya) with expressed milk and offer it to my daughter, she was having none of it.

 photo by H. Anenden

So I called my grandmother. She laughed and asked if I had been reading books again. She carefully explained how breastfeeding was anything but linear. “She’ll tell you when she’s ready for food – and her body will too.”

“What will I do until then?” I was eager to know.

“You do what you did before, regular nyonyo.” So my life slowed down to what felt like a standstill again. While many of my contemporaries marveled at how their children were sleeping longer now that they had introduced baby rice and were even venturing to other foods, I was waking hourly or every two hours with my daughter and telling patients that the return to work wasn’t panning out quite as I had planned.

I soon found that quite unwittingly, I was turning into an informal support service for other urban mothers. My phone number was doing the rounds and many times while I was feeding my baby I would hear myself uttering the words, “Yes, just keep feeding him/ her. Yes, even if you have just fed them. Yes, you might not even manage to get out of your pajamas today. Yes, you still need to eat and drink like a horse. No, now might not be the time to consider going back to work if you can afford not to.” And finally, I assured mothers, “It will get easier.” I had to just trust this last one as it hadn’t gotten easier for me, yet.

A week or so before my daughter turned five months, we traveled to the UK for a wedding and for her to meet family and friends. Because I had very few other demands, I easily kept up her feeding schedule. Despite the disconcerted looks of many strangers as I fed my daughter in many varied public places (most designated breastfeeding rooms were in restrooms which I just could not bring myself to use), we carried on.

At the wedding, the people whose table we sat at noted, “She is such an easy baby – though she does feed a lot.” I kept my silence. Another lady commented, “Though I did read somewhere that African babies don’t cry much.” I could not help but laugh.

My Grandmother’s gentle wisdom:

1. Offer the breast every single moment that your baby is upset – even if you have just fed her.

2. Co-sleep. Many times you can feed your baby before they are fully awake, which will allow them to go back to sleep easier and get you more rest.

3. Always take a flask of warm water to bed with you at night to keep you hydrated and the milk flowing.

4. Make feeding your priority (especially during growth spurts) and get everyone else around you to do as much as they can for you. There is very little that cannot wait.

Read your baby, not the books. Breastfeeding is not linear – it goes up and down and also in circles. You are the expert on your baby’s needs.

photo by E.B. Sylvester

Dr. J. Claire K. Niala is a mother, writer and osteopath who enjoys exploring the differences that thankfully still exist between various cultures around the world. She was born in Kenya and grew up in Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire and the UK. She has worked and lived on three continents and has visited at least one new country every year since she was 12 years old. Her favorite travel companions are her mother and daughter whose stories and interest in others bring her to engage with the world in ways she would have never imagined. Read more from Niala at In Culture Parent.

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What to Do if You Think Your Child is Depressed


It can be incredibly painful to realize that your child may be depressed. It’s awful watching someone you love suffering, and many people experience strong feelings of self-blame. They can become isolated, and some even become depressed themselves.


If you seek treatment for your child as early as possible, you give them the best chance at recovery and at living a normal and happy life.

What is depression?

Depression is more than just feeling sad. It’s a diagnosable mental health condition that can go on for months or even years at a time.


When people are feeling depressed, they can lose all motivation, and as a result, struggle to take care of themselves or to take any positive steps to improve their lives. Left untreated, people with depression are at a serious risk of suicide or other self-harming behavior. Luckily, however, there are a lot of treatment options available.

Symptoms of depression in teenagers

Depression can be hard to spot in teenagers. It’s a time of life where mood swings can be quite commonplace. However, if you feel that your teen is spending more of their time feeling bad than they are feeling good, or you notice the development of any of the following symptoms, it may be that they are depressed:


  • Sadness and anxiety

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Joking about death and dying, or making statements like ‘everyone would be better off if I were dead.’

  • Memory loss

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Failing to take care of themselves, for example, not eating properly or not paying attention to personal grooming

  • Disrupted sleep patterns

  • Withdrawal from their friends

  • Difficulty making decisions

  • Pains in the lower back, headaches, stomach ache

  • Fatigue


If you notice these symptoms, it is important that you speak with your child and seek a diagnosis from your physician as soon as possible.

How to treat depression

Once you have a diagnosis, there will be a few treatment options available to you. Some of the most powerful options are around encouraging a healthy routine in the home, with plenty of exercise and time outside, as well as nutritious meals. These small measures can go a long way to helping someone with depression.


Medically treating teens for depression may be approached in a number of ways:


  • Medication. Your doctor may recommend a medication to help with the symptoms of depression. Medications used to treat depression can often cause side effects, and it can take some time to find the right medication. Be sure to find out as much as you can about any prescribed medication and keep talking with your doctor - especially if you think that the medication isn’t working as you’d hoped.

  • Psychotherapy. This is a general term for talking about your condition. Psychotherapy is useful for getting to the root cause of the issue and coming up with strategies for dealing with problematic situations in the future. Psychotherapy is a supportive way to set goals for your life and build positive habits and behaviors. 

  • Alternative therapies. There are many alternative treatment options available, such as mindfulness apps or art therapy classes. These aren’t for everyone, but some people find them very helpful.

  • Inpatient therapy. If your child has depression that is quite severe, it can be beneficial to treat them in a secure environment where you know that they will be safe. They will have the opportunity to work intensively with doctors and therapists without the distractions of everyday life.

Get support for yourself

Supporting someone with depression isn’t easy, so be sure that you get some support for yourself, too. That could be in the form of talking with a friend over coffee, or you could even seek out counseling for yourself. Just remember that you can’t help anyone if you burn yourself out!


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