Attachment parenting works for us & announcements from API

API buttonAs many of you know, I’m a big advocate of attachment parenting. I’ve seen the benefits of raising my children according to AP principles such as breastfeeding (feeding with love), baby wearing, responsive nighttime parenting, gentle discipline, etc. My husband Jody and I didn’t start out the road to parenting set on AP, it just kind of happened. For us it just feels natural, like we are trusting our instincts.

We’ve seen the way that Ava has blossomed into an almost 4-year-old who is secure, loving, friendly, healthy, imaginative and independent, and we attribute this largely to the way that we raised her. Julian is only 16 months old, but he too is a very happy, healthy, well-adjusted little person. I believe that by meeting our children’s needs when they are little, they have come to learn that they can depend on us and trust us for the long haul. It’s certainly not all been easy nor a bed of roses, but anyone who thinks parenting is convenient is surely mistaken. It is my hope that by building a solid foundation with them when they are young, we are creating a lasting, trust-based relationship that will endure throughout their adolescent years and into adulthood.

I feel fortunate that I have found a support network of like-minded parents here locally through Attachment Parenting International.

Attachment Parenting International (API), a non-profit organization that promotes parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents, has several exciting changes they would like to announce, including:

  • A newly redesigned web site and new logo at Attachment (Check out the photos on the home page – at least one might look familiar to you. It’s Jody and Ava on the right and I also took the first picture in that grouping. A few more of my pictures are scattered around the site. My little claim to fame. hehe.);
  • Attachment parenting worldwide support forums;
  • Parent Education Program – a comprehensive series of classes for every stage and age of child development from infancy through adulthood;
  • A new book based on API’s Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting by API co-founders Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson which is expected to be available this summer;
  • A series of podcasts, webinars, chats, and forums with API Advisory Board members and other supporters of AP. Future events are scheduled with Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. James McKenna, and Kathleen Kendall Tacket. Check out the events page for more information.

These are just a few of many exciting things going on at API. I hope you’ll stop by the website and check it out for yourself. Perhaps you’ll find something that resonates with you. :)

Let’s go fly a kite (BSM -3/31/08)

Saturday was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm with just enough wind for flying a kite. Jody bought a kite for Ava several weeks ago and she’d been excited to give it a try. Her excitement grew after she received the Mary Poppins DVD for Easter. So on Saturday we went to the park and flew that kite, up to the highest height. ;) It was a good thing we took advantage of the nice spring-like weather on Saturday, because we woke up to snow on Sunday!

Here are a few pics of Ava, the kite-flyer. :)

Wow! It’s flying! 3/29/08 Ava holds on tight to her kite string - 3/29/08 Ut oh! It’s heading for a tree! 3/29/08

As for my “best shot,” I’m having a hard time choosing between these two. Which do you prefer?

The kite flying high - 3/29/08

Ava flying her kite - 3/29/08

Head on over to Mother May I to see what everyone else has in store for their Best Shot Monday posts.

red BSM button

Reminder: Earth Hour is tonight (3/29/08)

Just a reminder that Earth Hour, when millions of people around the world are turning off their lights (and other electronics), is from 8 to 9 p.m. (local time) tonight.

Sign up at Earth Hour

Learn more about it:
* Crunchy Domestic Goddess – Can you turn off your lights for just one hour? – with tips on making it a fun family event
* National Geographic – Earth Hour: Cities, Landmarks to Go Dark
* National Geographic – Global Warming Fast Facts
* World Wildlife Fund – Earth Hour: A global event created to symbolize that each one of us, working together, can make a positive impact on climate change

Typical North American diet is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids – fish isn’t the only solution

Cross-posted at BlogHer

New research from the Child & Family Research Institute has shown that the typical North American diet (think meat and potatoes) is deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. This information is especially important to pregnant and nursing women since the deficiency may pose a risk to infant neurological development.

salmonOmega-3 fatty acids are unsaturated fats that are typically found in some types of fish like salmon as well as in eggs and chicken in lesser amounts, and in some seeds and plants which we’ll explore later. The fats are especially important for the baby’s developing eyes and brain.

The study revealed that babies of mothers who consumed a lot of meat and little fish and were deficient in omega-3 fatty acids didn’t score as well on eye tests as babies who’s mothers were not deficient.

Dr. Sheila Innis, the study’s principal investigator, head of the nutrition and metabolism program at the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children’s Hospital, and professor, department of pediatrics, University of British Columbia, says “During pregnancy and breastfeeding, fat consumed by the mum is transferred to the developing baby and breastfed infant, and this fat is important for the baby’s developing organs. Our next task is to find out why the typical North American diet puts mothers at risk. Then we can develop dietary recommendations to help women consume a nutritious diet that promotes optimal health for mums and babies.”

This news follows studies that have showed that pregnant women and children need to limit their fish consumption due to high mercury levels. And then, as Katy Farber of Non-Toxic Kids points out in “Do You Eat Fish?” there’s the question of the safety of farmed salmon. So what’s a mama to do?

Dr. Innis believes the key to health for all of us may lie in the old adage – everything in moderation. “For better health, it’s important for pregnant and nursing mums — and all of us — to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, eggs, and fish while minimizing consumption of processed and prepared foods,” says Dr. Innis.

To my knowledge, no vegetarian or vegan women were included in this study. However, vegan mothers also have ideas on how to stay healthy and get in their RDA of omega-3 fatty acids without looking to fish for the answer.

Debbie Took of Raw for Life points out that omega-3 fatty acids are found in many plants.

The good news for the raw vegan or vegetarian is that omega-3 is contained in many plant foods, such as dark green vegetables (like spinach and broccoli), walnuts, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and wheat, but one of the very best sources is…flax seeds (also known as linseeds).

Flax seedDebbie includes two tasty recipes on her blog for a Rocket (Arugula) and Mango Salad and an Orange and Flax Energy Drink, both high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Vegan mother Half-Pint Pixie discusses the merits of hemp, wonderful hemp. She adds the seeds to her 1-year-old vegan daughter’s mashed bananas and her daughter happily eats them up.

Vegan mother, cook and best-selling author Dreena Burton is a big fan of hemp seeds and discusses some of her creations such as Hemp-anola!, Hemp Burgers, Chocolate Hemp Squares and Energy Cookies on her blog Eat Drink and Be Vegan.

I consider my kids and myself “flexitarians” in that we eat a lot less meat (and no beef) than the average American. While I already add ground flaxseed to our smoothies, I’ve yet to try hemp seeds. However, all of this talk about chocolate squares and cookies has motivated me to pick some up on my next trip to Vitamin Cottage. I’m highly in favor of any time I can justify eating chocolate and cookies in the name of good health!

Related links:

Safe Fish CHEC List For Children, Teens and All Women of Child-bearing Age
Yorkshire Hemp Limited: Hemp Food Nutrition
Women’s Health: Omega-3 Fish Oil

Can you turn off your lights for just one hour?

Planet Earth

On Saturday, March 29, 2008, people from around the world will join together for Earth Hour 2008 and turn off their lights from 8 to 9 p.m. (your local time) to reduce greenhouse gases and raise awareness about global warming.

Last year Earth Hour 2007 was a Sydney, Australia event where 2.2 million people and 2,100 Sydney businesses turned off their lights for one hour. This year it’s getting worldwide attention and millions of people in some of the world’s major capital cities, including Copenhagen, Toronto, Chicago, Melbourne, Brisbane and Tel Aviv, will unite and turn off their lights for Earth Hour.

If your kids are still up at 8 p.m., you can make Earth Hour into a fun family event.

  • Light some candles (out of reach of the kids)
  • Have a “camp out” in your living room
  • Play a game like Hide and Go Seek
  • Talk about your day
  • Talk with your children about why you are turning off your lights for an hour
  • Try to do their normal bedtime routine in the dark or by candlelight (We did a dry run of this Monday night and Ava loved it!)
  • Go outside and look at the stars
  • Just enjoy the time together

And if your kids are NOT still up at 8 p.m. (lucky!), then by all means, enjoy a nice quiet candle-lit evening with your significant other. I won’t give you a list of activities. Surely you can figure something out. (Makes me wonder if we’ll see an “Earth Hour baby boom” 9 months from now.) ;)

Will you pledge to turn off your lights for just one hour?

  • Sign up for Earth Hour and then tell a friend or two. Together, our small actions can make a big difference.

Earth Hour doesn’t have to end at 9 p.m. on Saturday, you can incorporate it into your everyday life by doing little things like:

  • turn off lights when you leave a room;
  • switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs;
  • turn off appliances when not in use;
  • unplug things like cell phone chargers, the toaster, microwave and TV when they aren’t in use;
  • use less hot water;
  • switch to green power.

Every little bit helps to reduce global warming.

Hope you’ll join me and millions of others in the dark on Saturday! Don’t forget to sign up so you are officially counted.