Scaremongering at its best (worst?!)

Nothing causes panic like targeting the fears of parents. We’re geared to protect our young, and when they are threatened… we stand up and roar, or scoop our babe’s into arms and shield them away.

So it’s absolutely no surprise that the media articles garnering major attention this week have created a hive of buzzing amongst parents…. the baby formula powder 1080 scare, and Pete Evan’s new baby food recipe book.

In NZ, someone has threatened to contaminate baby formula as a protest over the use of 1080. While this is somewhat alarming, the Government withheld information over this threat for months.

As a result, shops took action, moving formula to behind the counter, using more security around the baby aisle. As calls to Plunketline died down, parents became more reassured that the powder was safe.

It is inconceivable that someone could actually think it would be ok to hurt children in this way.

It has also threatened our fragile dairy industry and could have had disastrous effects on the economy.

There are risks to all ways of feeding baby. I do believe that parents have been lulled into a false sense of security with giving their baby formula, forgetting that there are serious risks of using it.

However, not only does it exist hugely in our society, it does have its place. I have heard many valid reasons of why a mum cant feed her baby.

Piripoho Aotearoa stated this on their Facebook page yesterday:

**1080 SCARE**
There is a risk to every infant feeding decision, be it breastfeeding, donor breastmilk or formula. I feel that the threats have been made at the very people in our society who we should be supporting, and am shocked and disgusted.

Screened, donated breastmilk is a fantastic option for those who do not breastfeed their child. Assisting parents to source donated breastmilk from screened donors is a service which we provide at no charge. However if you have concerns relating to formula or donor breastmilk, you are invited to get in touch- ask us questions, or just vent about what is now going on in your families and minds.

Piripoho Aotearoa’s concern is the health and emotional wellbeing of families of young children, and we really feel for the families who have recently felt powerless as a result of this scare. Formula feeding is not a stress-free path to have to take, and I find the threats utterly reprehensible

Over in Australia, popular celebrity chef Pete Evans is under attack for publishing a recipe for homemade infant formula in his new cookbook (coauthored with two other writers).

The article states:

The Weekly online has learned publishers Pan Macmillan have held back release of Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way – following intervention by a consortium of health organisations that expressed grave concerns over the book’s DIY baby milk formula, based on liver and bone broth.

“In my view, there’s a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead,” Professor Heather Yeatman, president of the Public Health Association of Australia, has toldThe Weekly online.

“Especially if [the DIY formula] was the only food a parent was feeding their infant, it’s a very real risk. And [I consider that] the baby’s growth and development could be impaired.””

What makes me laugh (cynically) is this:

“Under the Paleo diet, all grains, dairy and pulses are banned. While adults can choose to follow such a diet, Prof Yeatman says it isn’t fair to subject a baby to what she characterises as an unproven set of beliefs.

“That’s the really troubling thing: the infant is totally at the whim of their parents when it comes to feeding,” she says. “If the wrong decision is made, they may be seriously affected.””

Everything that we do for our children is subjecting them to our beliefs… and I’m not talking about taking them to church. Some put their children in disposable nappies, which is said to increase the temperature of the genital area. Some formula feed despite WHO reccomendations to breastfeed. Some put their children into childcare, take them to the public pools, vaccinate, play in the rain, play with food…..

The book states: “All kids deserve the best start in life, and that means adopting a healthy lifestyle right from preconception, through pregnancy and breastfeeding, and into first foods.
“This book is a wealth of information on everything from where to source the best and freshest ingredients to how to make your own natural health remedies and how to rid your home of toxins. All recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free and devoid of refined sugar, and instead favour ingredients that are organic, unprocessed and sustainably produced.”

Heaven forbid we embrace real food, right?

“Rather than shaming one another it’s time to surrender to the fact that nobody has all of the answers. That many alternative therapies are the basis of modern medicine. That advocating for healthy living isn’t quackery – it’s the foundation of wellness. If we don’t start here, we’re doomed! That without progression, trial, error and mistakes we wouldn’t be here. That alternative therapies play a huge role. That modern medicine saves lives. That modern medicine does not have all the answers and that alternative therapies may, in some instances, come with far less side effects to achieve a better outcome. Imagine! All of us working together to make a collective difference. This can be a reality. All that needs to happen is that we stop trying to outdo each other. Acknowledge the difference we are ALL making towards saving lives.

It isn’t a competition. It’s not a race. Nobody has all of the answers and that we all have a beautiful, important role in moving ourselves towards health, together.”

From http://www.natkringoudis.com.au/medicine-quackery-hocus-pocus-rock/

At the end of the day, I think we need to remember firstly how important breastfeeding is. As a nation, we must make it a priority to support mothers to breastfeed in the first year of a child’s life.

Secondly, we mustn’t forget how much of our food is at the mercy of others. Remember the big scare of yasinia food poisoning last year, and how for a week it was thought to come from bagged lettuce? Remember apples being recalled over fears of illness?

Finally, a healthy whole food, real food diet is essential, that is what kids need. Why are we letting the media attack a chef who is trying to promote healthy eating, while the fast food giants use toys to ply our kids and half the food in the supermarket is made from numbers/chemicals?

And we really must, as united parents, stop letting the media force us into pitting against each other. Instead of asking the big questions above, each time a feeding issue comes up in the media, it turns in a breast/formula debate.

I dont have the solutions, but I do think we need to be considering this.

Let us not forget how fortunate we are to have good healthy food available to us – what an amazing resource we have compared to so many less fortunate 😦

 

 

Ashlee is a busy mama on a journey of natural living with her family. She writes at phraseology.co.nz

For infant formula:

From NZ Herald:

What to do

* Parents with any concerns could call Plunketline on 0800 933 922 or Healthline on 0800
611 116 for advice.

* The Ministry of Health said anyone who suspected tampering could contact 0800 723665 to report suspected tampering.

* Anybody who suspected their formula had been tampered with could also take it to their nearest police station.

* If cans or bottles of formula had tears, rips, holes, punctures or noticeable bulges, it was possible the product inside had been tampered with.

* Visit www.foodprotection.govt.nz for more advice on how to check packaging for signs of tampering, and for information about government’s response.

* Police said those who had information about the threats should call the Operation Concord team on 0800 723 665, or the independent group Crimestoppers on 08000
555 111.

Kindness

I have been sitting here staring at a blank page for a while now. Thinking about something significant in my parenting journey to write about.

There are so many moments, lessons learnt. I can’t quite figure out which one is more important to talk about here. Some things are very big and heavy and possibly too much for my to write about on my first post here.

So I will start a little simply.

Kindness

I want to raise children who are kind, generous of spirit, prepared to go the extra mile to do good in the world.

I say sometimes that kindness in my religion.

I am certainly human and have days I am less giving than others. I have days where people annoy me and I can’t get past how annoyed I am. BUT I have found many ways to incorporate kindness in my life and in turn in my children’s.

I actively seek out little ways my children can do RAK’s or be in the position to give. Because they get the same high I get from it.

Doing good in the world is addictive I tell you.

But I am now myself also seeking ways to make a difference in the community around me.

Mostly in my children’s school community. Some if it’s just ideas in my head at the moment but over time I am sure I will share.

 

But I wanted to list things we have done or do still that I think helped my children and I be more giving and kind.

  • Always thank the bus driver. Always.
  • Wish people who serve you a good day and look them in the eye and smile while thanking them.
  • Buy coffee vouchers from a coffee shop (we did Starbucks as my kids love their juices and iced chocolates) leave them with the cashier and ask her to assign them to the next so many patrons. (I did this on my birthday a couple of years ago for the first time).
  • Same as above but give the vouchers to your children to gift to people they think need a little love (we did this on Christmas eve last year).
  • Take change uptown with you and look for parking meters that need change as you walk around.
  • Take baking into your school’s staff room with a note from your children.
  • Give baking to teachers or families you like or even just randomly.
  • On my children’s birthdays I take in cupcakes for them to share with their class and staff they choose, they love walking around knocking on classrooms offering staff the cupcakes. Biggest high for them ever. My son whom is now at high school prefers I pack cookies for him now so I don’t have to go in.. yes it is a bit shame for mums to come in at that age).
  • On Christmas eve we make little packages of treats up and doorbell ditch them with wee cards.
  • We took baking to the firehouse recently, and plan to do the police station and the library next.
  • We take a plastic bag to the part with us , or when out for a walk and collect rubbish while we are out.
  • We now through the bookcrossing website release books into the wild. Sadly none have been registered by whoever took them yet which has made us a bit sad but we are still hoping.
  • Our school is low decile and are lucky to have fruit for schools and sandwich ingredients provided for kids who have no lunch. If your children’s school has these things in place offer to help with them. I did sandwiches last year and it really opened my eyes up to how many kids didn’t have lunch.
  • Talk to your kids about this. I have told my kids to always make sure they eat lunch as I don’t want them going hungry (as one child was giving away most of her lunch) but yes if a child has no lunch share your sandwiches or baking with them if they notice the need.
  • We regularly clear out cupboards and “stuff” we do often on sell things but also box up stuff for local charity shops (never save mart) as I think our old things can do more good via those shops.
  • Good deeds in your family. I openly try to do good deeds for extended family. But also within the home. Now my kids do these for each other (between fights, let’s be real here). Kind notes. Little treats for each other etc. It is beautiful to see.
  • Leave kind comments on blog posts you really enjoyed. Bloggers really do appreciate them.
  • Compliment people. It feels weird to start with but it can really make people smile.

I am sure I will remember heaps more once i have pushed publish.

doorbell ditch doorbell dtiching doorbellditch

(These pics are of the kids doorbell ditching on a Christmas eve)

 

But. Kindness. Random and otherwise.

Children learn to be kind by seeing it around them. They mimic you. So if you go out of your way to help people in turn your children will too.

Embracing kindness and making it a daily goal has improved my parenting. My children love coming up with ways to help others and they go out of their way to see a need.

I encourage you to be a little kinder this coming week.

As I tell my kiddos… “You will never regret being to kind”.

 

I would love to hear things your family does to teach and demonstrate kindness.

 

Green

When Spilling Becomes a Problem (Part I)

Throughout my whole pregnancy, I was so excited to meet my precious little boy that I thought of little else. I was about to become a Mum and impending motherhood was going to be filled with tender newborn snuggles, time spent breastfeeding my bundle and changing dirty diapers. And let’s not forget walking the hall getting my babe to sleep and then watching him sleep. I probably wasn’t being very realistic, but what first time mother has a sound and true knowledge of what being a Mum is like.

What I’d failed to factor in was all the things that could go awry. My perfect baby boy arrived 3 weeks before his due date and was a tiny 5lb 2oz. He was hungry. He fed, and fed and fed. Then spewed, and spewed and spewed, then hit repeat.

It shouldn’t have surprised me really. I was a ‘spilly’ baby who failed to gain weight and was eventually diagnosed with reflux and failure to thrive. So it was no shocker that my baby was a ‘spilly’ baby. But how much spill is too much? When does being a ‘spilly’ baby become a reflux baby?

These questions were all answered in time, but it took an agonizing 8 weeks to get the answers we searched for. I asked the lactation consultant while we were still in hospital if there was a chance Connor could have reflux as even in his first days of life, whenever he spilled, he would become increasingly unsettled. I was fobbed off. “Babies don’t develop reflux until at least 2-3 weeks of age. Stop being paranoid.” I mentioned that I had been a reflux baby and also diagnosed as failure to thrive but it mattered to them little.

After 6 days in hospital with my boy, we were finally released into the world and we got to take him home! The day we all wish for but also dread. No nurses with a wealth of knowledge, no cleaners to whisk away the spilled over sheets and blankets and bring back fresh ones. No meals delivered to your bedside (not that hospital meals are anything to be excited about!).

We took our baby home, delighted to be together as a family for the first time. AND in our own home. The first few days went relatively smoothly. There was some spilling, some tears (mine and Connor’s), but we carried on. And then he stopped sleeping. My two week old newborn would have to be fed to sleep, would wake and cry as soon as you removed him from the breast and would take another hour to settle. In the end, by 4 weeks old he would be awake anywhere from 1-5 hours then sleep 4-6 hours and repeat. I asked about reflux again. This time, my midwife. She assured me she doubted it was reflux, but if I was concerned, to take him to see the Doctor for their opinion.

The doctor wasn’t a huge help. We were given a prescription for baby gaviscon, but advised not to give it to our boy until he was at least 6 weeks old and then only to be given sparingly. I gave him his first dose the very next day. What do you know, it settled him slightly and the spilling reduced! A week later, it was no longer working and we were back where we started. By this stage, we’d been referred to Plunket for sleep advice.

We’d also stopped trying to put Connor in his bassinet after trying all the other tricks of the trade (raising the head end of the bassinet, warming the sheets before putting him in, swaddling tightly. You name it, we’d tried it), we’d given up. Every time we laid him on his back, a screaming match would ensue. The only place he would sleep semi-comfortably was my chest – the one place he would sleep was also the one place I was being told in no uncertain terms he should not be sleeping. So against all advice, to save our sanity and get some sleep, we started bedsharing, something we had never, ever intended to do.

Connor was now bringing up almost all of every feed, and feeding pretty much 24/7. The only place he was content, I wouldn’t call it happy, was at the breast. I felt homebound. I missed family events, I stayed in. The only place I went was coffee group. Connor would scream for the entire 20 minute drive to the rooms, then feed and promptly crash out for the 3 hours we were there. It was my only respite, the only place I felt able to take my screaming baby where I received no judgement. Family told us that the way Connor cried wasn’t normal, and now they tell us that they should have done more, but in the moment, it’s about getting through.

At times, I wondered if it was all in my head, but my instincts told me it wasn’t. My boy was in pain. He would scream, and I mean scream, like I’ve never heard a baby scream. If he was asleep on me and transferred to someone else’s chest, he would wake within minutes and scream. My husband was working 10 hour days then coming home and doing all the housework, the washing, cooking dinner. Everything. While I sat on the lazy boy with the baby screaming at my breast, arching his back, or bringing up his feed. It was an endless cycle. A vicious cycle. He’d been back to the doctors twice and while we’d been referred to the Pediatricians, when I asked how long the referral would take the answer was 6-8 WEEKS! I promptly followed up with “Well what do I do in the meantime?”

“Hang in there.” REALLY? Seriously? You’re telling the new mama on tenterhooks to “Hang in there!”?!

Taken at the hospital after 10 hours of being awake and crying

And then the next day he cried for 13 hours. Yep, you read that right. 13 hours straight. My 8 week old baby boy, screamed his little heart out for 13 long, exhausting, horrific hours. I put him to the breast and he would arch his back in pain and flail about. I put him on my shoulder and he would scream in my ear. I handed him to my husband with tears in my eyes. “I can’t do this anymore.” And so we took him to ED. We were at wits end. We’d tried everything. We couldn’t keep going the way we were. It was impossible.