Tag Archives: natural parenting

Karma kids: introducing yoga to your children

2 Mar

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Yoga has become synonymous with the goal of achieving peace and calm, something many parents believe is lacking in their children’s lives. Unless you have studied and practiced Yoga yourself you may not be aware that the practice of Yoga, as we know it in the west, one of physical stretches, postures and relaxation is only one out of the 8 limbs of Yoga as a holistic system devised to help bring health and peace to both body and mind.

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The Yoga postures (asana) with which we are most familiar with in the west today were developed over 5,000 years ago in the east when the ancients observed nature and the movements of animals. The close link with postures, animals and nature is exactly what lends Yoga to being an ideal practice for little ones to get involved with. Much like children, animals are deeply connected to the present moment and live in harmony with their environment.

Nowadays, more and more children have become caught up in the over-stressed and disconnected way of life that has been created since life became industrialised. Now the disconnection with an ongoing, loving parental presence alongside the use of electrical and artificial over-stimulation have become the new pillars of society. There is little time left over for children to explore and play in nature, connecting with the wonders of the great outdoors amongst a trusted tribe from whom they can learn. All of this has created much dis-ease and dis-harmony in our little ones.

Despite all of this, the majority of babies and toddlers have retained their natural flexibility and a care-free curiosity to explore the world, two perfect ingredients for introducing them into Yoga. For the first 2-3 years of a child’s life learning is achieved predominantly through observing those closest to them. This is why you are likely to find that your child develops a keen interest in whatever you as the parents engage in most often, even television unfortunately for some!

When is the best time to start yoga with children? The answer is as soon as possible, through practicing that which you wish to teach, your own Yoga practice. As a new mum you can begin practicing post-natal yoga as early as 6 weeks after birth if there have been no complications. If however you have had a c-section then it is best to wait 12 weeks. Following that you can then participate in one of the many classes designed for babies who are not yet walking (usually during the first year of the child’s life). Or if you prefer there are some lovely DVD sets which provide post-natal and ‘baby and me’ yoga such as Tara Lee’s collection.

If you choose to maintain a self-practice at home this will encourage your child to observe and explore Yoga even if the sessions you manage are only 10-15 minutes. You are not only giving your own body and mind some much needed TLC but also inspiring your little one with entertainment that does not require a battery or a plug!

Once the child reaches the age of 2 and a half to 3 years there is a wonderful opportunity to use Yoga as a tool to enhance play and make story time more interactive, providing a fun and loving way to connect with your child on their level.

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Many popular children’s books can be turned into a basic and fun yoga routine. This is how yoga was taught to children traditionally in the east, through story telling. As long as the story has animals or nature incorporated then yoga postures can be included. Familiar postures to Yoga practitioners include downward dog, dancer, snake, mountain, sun salutation, camel, bridge and many more. To create a balanced and flowing routine for kids you do not have to be a yoga teacher, you should however get acquainted with yoga routines by practicing yourself to become familiar with the components of a yoga class.

Below is an example of a routine based on Eric Carle’s ‘The hungry caterpillar’. Notes for each posture are numbered below the photos and correspond to the order of the pictures from top to bottom.

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1 Begin in child’s pose (egg)

2. Raise up on to all fours ( breaking out of egg) and begin to move in cat, cow pose like a caterpillar, after several repetitions jump up to standing and say hello to the warm sun by reaching up to the sun one arm at a time, repeat a few times.

3. Begin to look for food using the eyes around the clock exercise in both directions.

4. Come up into tree pose and pick 1 apple from above your head, climb the tree using opposite elbow to opposite knee movement and pick 2 pears, repeat climb, pick 3 plums and so on until you reach 5 oranges.

5. Transition down to floor using a basic sun salutation or any other way you find fun then jump through to sitting ready for forward head to knee or ‘sandwich’ posture. Go through different foods and spread, chop and throw them down your ‘leg sandwich’ before closing the sandwich top ( bend forward and reach towards your toes).

6.  Now lean forward to grab foot in ‘bow and arrow’ pose and bring foot towards mouth as if reaching to pick a leaf off the branch and then eating it, repeat on other side

7. As caterpillar gets fat, spread legs wide to make room for his bigger tummy and curl down in to ‘turtle’ pose to build and go inside the cocoon.

8. Bring feet touching together in butterfly pose and make flying movements with your wings (legs) either rocking from side to side on bottom or pushing knees gently up and down in unison. You can also add hand movements as extra wings or antennas. You might even raise one leg in the sky and balance followed by the same on the other side. Also if you’re brave enough, both legs raised together can be added in. A song can also be sung at this point such as ‘fly like a butterfly’ by Shakta kaur Khalsa.

A few general points for practicing yoga with 2-6 year olds: Don’t hold postures for too long (no longer than 10 seconds), keep it flowing. Children learn best when as many of their senses are engaged as possible so engage their visual sense by demonstrating the posture, use verbal description of the posture to engage their audio sense and make silly sounds to go with the posture (especially for animals). If necessary, gently help guide their body into the correct position. You may also like to include soft music alongside the Yoga story and end the session with a 5 minute lying down relaxation accompanied with a guided visualization CD (Relax kids do a great selection). Furthermore, placing a scented eye pillow to cover the eyes will help the child to draw their senses inwards and enter into a deeper state of relaxation. If you wish to explore practicing breathing with the child to develop a deeper breath, a soft toy or bath duck placed on the abdomen will aid in providing a visual cue to the rhythm of the breath.

Once kids reach 7 years plus, yoga can be used as a great tool to help with homework. For example, triangle pose to help visually illustrate angles in the equilateral, isosceles and scalene triangles. Also on the subject of Maths, the warrior series can be used to illustrate the different angles: right-angle, obtuse angle and acute angle.

Partner work with either kids together or an adult with the kid will aid in learning interpersonal skills such as co-operation, communication, relating and sharing.

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At this age instead of integrating story books in to the routine which can be quite lengthy, you may wish to pick a theme of interest such as olympics, around he world or outer space and base the postures around this topic. Using their creative  imagination they can weave their own story. Be sure to keep criticism out of Yoga for this age group as they are particularly sensitive to judgements. 

Sharing Yoga with children helps them to connect with themselves and their body, learning to trust their own instincts. Unlike most physical activities nowadays, Yoga is non-competitive and all-inclusive no matter what the child’s ability level. Children will have an opportunity to acknowledge and nurture their own special talents in a fun and physical, non-pressured way. Affirmations can be added alongside Yoga postures to boost self-esteem and confidence.

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Yoga can teach us to open up to change, asking questions and finding our own answers along the way. Aside from the obvious benefits of maintaining flexibility and muscle tone, on a physical level, Yoga can help children connect deeper with the breath which brings in more vital energy, decreases stress hormones and aids in detoxing and re-vitalizing the whole body.

Ultimately though, Yoga allows children to find a safe space deep within which is quiet and calm and provides a welcome retreat when the changes, challenges and confusion of the fast paced world of growing up becomes overwhelming.

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Unknown territory: how to help not hinder when offering support to attachment parents

21 Feb

imageSince becoming a mummy and walking the path of attachment and progressive parenting I quickly learnt that  no matter what style of parenting you choose, it is not a one, or even a two-man show. The people around you most likely wanting to help support you may not have trodden this path so need it lit up a little in order to be part of your tribe.

The core differences between attachment and conventional western parenting style are exactly as it says in the title, the level of attachment parent has with the child. This is to say the  issue of separation. A common way to offer parents support is to give them a ‘break’ with the offer of babysitting. For many this equates to taking the child away from primary caregiver. For the attachment tribe  a break can only be truly enjoyed if the attachment is not severed. Breast feeding and co-sleeping are two major practices which mean baby and mum want to be kept at short distance for optimum comfort and peace of mind.

So just how can you offer external support without interrupting the bonds? Come round and visit the famIly’s house and take the weight off them in other ways, helping with cooking, cleaning or playing with the child whilst they take time to have a bath, read a book or maybe have a little sleep. Knowing the child can still reach you is the best recipe for relaxation!

Patience is the key when integrating with attachment parenting families. There is often no set time, age or routine for accomplishing tasks. It is ultimately a very instinctual way of living so your flexibility will be much appreciated by the family. Where possible don’t hold families to strict times when arranging events and always expect the child’s needs to be put first, remaining open to changes of plans dependent on such factors as sleep, unexpected illness or a strong will against cooperation!

Respect the child’s personal boundaries, often attachment parenting child can be cautious of anyone other than their immediate family, especially during the first two years. It is usually best to allow the child to come to you to initiate physical contact.

And finally, if you’re unsure about what’s appropriate and helpful behaviour to support the family then ask first. If in doubt, check it out. There are many fascinating books you can read to get to know the ins and outs of this parenting style. The continuum concept by Jean Liedloff is a concise and fascinating book with a view into the world of tribes who use attachment parenting practices. Another modern-day insight into this parenting style is portrayed wonderfully in the book ‘Beyond the sling: A real-life guise to raising confident, loving children the attachment parenting way’ by Mayim Bialik.

There is also now a vast array of Internet support and information on attachment parenting including attachment parenting international and attachment parenting Uk websites. With all this information freely available there really is no reason to stay in the dark, remember the worst possible action to take is to withdraw support completely. There is always something you can offer to help out.

Uncovering the ‘shy’ child

14 Feb

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If your child is often labeled as ‘shy’ or even ‘fussy’ chances are they constitute one of the 15-20 percent of the population more accurately described as ‘highly sensitive’.

To understand more fully what it is like to live life as a highly sensitive person, watch the film ‘what women want’ and pay particular attention to the part where Mel Gibson is walking down the street and able to hear very woman’s thoughts who he passes without being able to shut the voices out of his head.

Much like this, a highly sensitive child is intensely aware of their environment and energies surrounding them to the point of  being overwhelmed and sometimes afraid. Such a child has a heightened awareness of all stimuli and has difficulty in filtering out the information that doesn’t serve them.

If your child ticks at least half of these 21 attributes chances are they come under this category;

1. Startles easily

2. Dislikes scratchy clothing, labels against the skin and/or seems in socks

3. Dislikes big surprises

4. Easily disturbed by punishment, prefers gentle correction

5. Intuitive, seems to be good at reading minds of people close to them

6. Uses big words for their age

7. Notices subtle unusual smells

8. Has a clever sense of humour

9. Has difficulty sleeping after an exciting day

10. Does not cope well with big changes

11. Wants wet, sandy or dirty clothes changed immediately

12. Highly inquisitive, always asking questions, deep and thought-provoking ones especially

13. Is a perfectionist

14. Notices and is easily disturbed by others distress/negative energies

15. Often prefers quiet play

16. is very sensitive to pain

17. Dislikes overly crowded or noisy environments

18. Notices subtleties e.g an object out-of-place or a change in your appearance

19. Has a high consideration of safety, looks before they leap

20. Performs best when strangers are not present

21. Can be very emotional, feeling things deeply

(adapted from the book ‘The highly sensitive child’ by Elaine Aron)

So you think your child is highly sensitive? Great, now lets concentrate on more amazing qualities they are likely to have as a result of being highly sensitive;

  • Trustworthy and mature
  • Empathetic, kind and considerate
  • Talented student with great perseverance
  • Can make a great leader and innovative adult one day

If like me you are blessed and challenged with a highly sensitive child, expect a bumpy ride with amazing views. There are many sub-categories of highly sensitive people. After checking the tick points above, I managed to get nearly a full set which means we have not only been challenged on an emotional and psychological  level but also physically as well. For the first 12-15 months of life we were plagued with allergies, colic, asthma and non-stop crying, resulting in no sleep at nights and many thousands of walks outside with the sling to find a sense of calm and peace.

For us, large social gatherings are about as much fun as sitting an exam. Well meaning relatives, friends and strangers cause feelings of discomfort and uneasiness as they cross personal boundaries and pass judgements on your ‘difficult child’.

As with every challenge in life, the solution lies not in trying to change others behaviour but to change the way you, as the parent reacts.

To help your child learn to thrive in a low-sensitive society, here are a few tips:

  1. Make sure your child is always well rested and feeling strong before confronting any new, potentially uncomfortable situations. Avoid entering the ‘lions den’ whilst hungry, unwell or generally weak.
  2. As the child’s guardian and role model, be strong and assertive with friends, relatives and strangers alike. Do not allow others to pressurize or force your child into anything they are not comfortable with, be it a hug or simply holding another’s hand.
  3. Combat negative criticism with positive language. Observant instead of shy, cautious instead of scared and selective instead of fussy.
  4. Do not give in to societal pressure to separate the child from its primary caregiver before both parent and child feel confident and comfortable enough, even if this means waiting until the child is old enough to tell you themselves to be sure. A child care setting before at least age 3 years may be too distressful for many highly sensitive children.
  5. Keep social gatherings small and in familiar environments if possible. Sometimes you may need to allow the child to explore the new environment before new people arrive into the mix. Avoid noisy situations with many unfamiliar faces all at once
  6. No matter where or how far you are going, always bring your survival bag which should comprise warm clothes/change of clothes in case the child becomes wet or dirty. Also, include snacks and a hydrating drink along with a pack of tissues/wipes and nappies if required. Finally, a comfort item, perhaps a favourite teddy or toy or maybe just mum if the child is breastfeeding.
  7. Be patient above all else and trust the child’s innate intelligence. You may need to allow your child much more time to adjust and feel ready to tackle something new.. Use natural consequences rather than punishment and ‘I told you so’ which create guilt and shame, a negative and useless pair of emotions for motivating behaviour changes.

Do remember, parenting a highly sensitive child will get easier with time. Nothing worth doing is ever easy they say. Take time to show your child kind acceptance and understanding and allow them to be unique in their own very special way.

A well written book ‘The highly sensitive child’ by Elaine Aron sums up the journey very nicely. “In order to have an exceptional child, you must be willing to have an exceptional child.”

Baby wearing basics: why all slings are not equal

4 Feb

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From the first day I left home where I gave birth up until he reached 6 months of age, the sling pictured above constituted my baby’s sole method of transport.

The stretchy, material wrap slings are, in my opinion the most comfortable, practical and suitable sling for a newborn/young baby. This sling design perfectly supports both baby wearer and baby’s anatomy and posture. Positioned upright is the most natural progression for the baby from it’s  position in the womb. Baby’s who are carried in this way have been shown to have a reduced incidence of Colic, as well as increased sleep throughout the day. Baby can also feed on the move, making breastfeeding not only the healthiest but also most convenient type of fast food.

Another major benefit of baby wearing, aside from leaving the baby wearer hands-free and travelling light, is the ability to foster a deep and calming connection. Baby uses your body heat to keep warm which helps to regulate their body temperature. This is called ‘skin-to-skin contact’ and is not gained solely by carrying a baby in a sling. Both the baby wearer and the baby must have their actual skin touching. This can be achieved by wearing a low-cut top such as a vest under the sling and dressing baby in a lightweight baby grow which exposes at least the baby’s entire head, hands and/or lower arms and neck. Once baby is placed in the sling the baby wearer can easily  put on a zip up top and/or coat over the top to keep both themselves and baby warm.

Post 6 months, many babies can become too active and wriggly as well as too heavy for a stretchy sling. At this point you may choose to move on another type of carrier or if your baby is happy, a push chair. We found a side sling, similar to a ring sling but with a clip instead of ring buckle and we also used a toddler sized Mei-tai in addition to occasional push chair rides post six months.

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(right photo taken from http://www.tribalbabies.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/MT-Salsa.jpg)

There are many different types available from companies such as Lenny Lamb online shop but you are unlikely to find a good selection of different sling varieties from big chain companies such as Mothercare. The most popular brands of carriers are padded and have a convenient set of clips for ease of use. Such carriers as the brand leader, mentioning no names and rhymes with ‘baby fawn’ are far inferior to other forms of carriers which need to be learnt how to tie and use.

The main reason for this has to do with the way in which the child is positioned and held in place. Any chiropractor or osteopath will confirm that a baby’s hip joints and spine are highly vulnerable and unstable. In order for the carrier to safely protect the child’s hips and spine the knees must always be supported by placing the material directly underneath the knees, raising them above the height of the bottom, much like in a fetal position.

For more detailed information on a baby’s anatomy and development in relation to baby carrying, view http://en.lennylamb.com/articles/8_anatomia_noszenia

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(top photo taken from http://jeportemonbebe.com/en/faq)  

(bottom photo taken from http://www.kiddicare.com/wcsstore/SafeStorefrontAssetStore/Attachment/brand-landing-pages/Baby-Bjorn-image.jpg)

Padded, carriers often hammock the child from the middle, leaving limbs hanging mid-air. This position neither supports the hips nor the spine and can leave the baby feeling unsupported.

(above photo taken from http://en.lennylamb.com/articles/4_nie_noś_dziecka_przodem_do_świata)

Furthermore, any carrier or sling which encourages the baby to be worn in an outward facing position can leave both the baby and the baby wearer feeling an uncomfortable weight distribution, pulling outwards. This type of carrying has been linked to increased hyperactivity in the child, something no parent wishes to encourage!

Baby wearing is truly a magical experience for both you and the child. Some love it so much, they continue to wear carriers into toddlerhood and never use a push chair.

Eat Naturally

2 Feb

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When a baby grows inside its mum it begins life as a liquidarian. Everything the mum eats  is first processed by the adult body before being delivered via the placenta as a complete liquid meal, in the form of blood. The meal is served direct to the baby at the optimum active enzyme temperature  of around 37 degrees.

Following birth and a short period of fasting to deal with the trauma of entering a foreign world, your baby is then designed to begin a diet of mother’s breast milk. Breast milk is much like the blood which baby received whilst in the womb, a whole food in liquid state with a full complement of nutrients and active enzymes alongside an optimum serving temperature of around 37 degrees, body temperature.

This way of delivering food is how your body gets the most nourishment. When people eat a solid food diet, fibre is also necessary to aid in sweeping the gut but essentially your body can only absorb and use the liquid component of food, this is why proper chewing is so important to good digestion. Furthermore, if you have consumed foods that are not in their natural state or devoid of their accompanying live digestive enzymes then the body will react in defence. This is to say the body will have to  use it’s stored nutrient supplies to construct its own digestive enzymes in order to be able to process the food. Scientific studies have shown an increase in white blood cell count after consuming cooked food in to the body, therefore indicating an immune attack towards food delivered in an altered state, devoid of enzymes, or some may say life. (www.rawfoodinfo.com/articles/art_leukocytosisandcooked.html)

Most health care practitioners agree that a baby should not receive anything other than breast milk for at least the first 4-6 months of life. This recommendation used to be a minimum of six months, correlating with the appearance of most babies first teeth.

Now for the feeding topics the experts can’t all agree on…..

1. Should babies be weaned at around 4-6 months, or is the appearance of the first few teeth to be taken as a sign that the immune system is ready for solid food?

2. What age should animal products be introduced, if at all?

3. Should it be the parents or the child itself (baby-led weaning) who decide when to introduce solid food?

4. What is the healthiest diet for a child; meat, dairy, vegetarian, vegan or raw?

Firstly you must consider whether your baby is getting what they need from your milk. I met a woman in Australia whose daughter did not move on to solid foods until 18 months old, she was developing quite healthily with the breast milk she had been given on demand.

An important question to ask yourself is ‘Do they seem healthy?’  Assessed not only by weight charts representing the general bottle fed population but also recognised by the glow of their skin and eyes and level of general contentment.

Secondly, when considering animal products in the diet you may wish to consider what you feel your baby will gain from these foods. Harvard university has now published a long-term study indicating that dairy is a unnecessary and detrimental part of our human diet. (www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/dairy.html)

Dairy has been linked with many diseases such as osteoporosis and coronary heart failure. We humans remain the only species unweaned from other animals breast milk which is simply not designed for humans. Calcium is abundantly supplied in many leafy green vegetables such as collards and also legumes, nuts and seeds.

With regards to considering protein needs you may wish to consider the strength and vitality of the herbivore animals who consume only plant matter. These include such animals as the gorilla, elephant, cow and horse to name but a few.

Complete sources of high protein which far outweigh any animal product include spirulina, goji berries, maca, blue-green algae and hemp seed. (wwwfredericpatenaude.com/interview-wolfe.html)

You might also consider how vitamin B12 is produced before fearing its potential deficiency. Herbivore animals such as the aforementioned make B12 in their guts, aided by raw plant matter which they consume daily. Humans too have this capability to produce B12 in the gut. The only obstacle to this is an unclean gut wall. The stores of this vitamin can last up to 7 years but the long-term solution for ensuring sufficient amounts is to clean out the gut through detoxing with fresh fruit and vegetables, juices and smoothies, herbs and colonic cleanses.

Thirdly, the consideration of whether parent or child decides when to wean will be dictated by many relationship factors including trust and patience. This question no one can answer for you. In my experience, extended on-demand breastfeeding relationships lead on easily and naturally to baby-led weaning. There is a sense of trust that your baby is receiving everything they need from their liquid diet which helps to allow time to be taken for a slow transition on to solids.

It is important to recognise that whatever diet you as the mother have eaten during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding, your baby will get a taste for. If your baby has been raised on formula milk they will then be left with a palate which craves artificially manufactured foods. This makes it difficult but not impossible to move on to a living and whole foods diet.

We parents all know it is difficult to encourage your child to do anything that we ourselves are not doing by example. We must practice what we preach with regards to a healthy diet and be the change we want to see in our children.

Health experts agree that for optimum health and well-being every person would do best to include as many fresh fruits and vegetables in our diets as possible.

Furthermore, a landmark study in the UK has recently concluded in 2011 that the optimum nutrient content, especially vitamin C levels, comes in the form of organic. There is also the added benefit of fewer harmful chemicals being ingested. (www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07352689.2011.554417)

With regards to our food being ‘fresh’, the more local and seasonal the food the quicker the transition will be from being picked to arriving at your mouth. Also fresh signifies how long ago the food was prepared.

Lets now summarise all the factors which constitute a healthy diet:

1. As much fresh, home-made, local and seasonal produce as possible.

2. As much organic food as possible for maximum nutrition, if you live on a budget like me then you may want to consider using the following list to select your produce.

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3. As much food containing its own digestive enzymes as possible, eliminating stress on the immune system.

To sum up these three points you could conclude that the more raw and organic, local and seasonal food you can freshly prepare and get in to you and your families diet, the better your health will be.

So the next question is how do get more raw and living foods into the diet. Raw food can be as fancy as this…….

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(photos provided by Matt Allen, http://www.theyogahealthcoach.co.uk )

…or as simple as adding in daily salads and juicing or green smoothies alongside your existing diet.

Teaching you little one how to juice/blend smoothies will help create a love of fresh food for life as well as being a perfect tool for the weaning process.

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Juices made fresh in your own slow masticating juicer and smoothies fresh from the blender for optimum nutrition are very different in quality to those ‘fresh’ pasteurized (highly heated) juices and smoothies you may have been buying from your supermarket. Most of the vitamins and all of the active digestive enzymes have all been killed in these juices leaving little behind but expensive sugared water.

Next time you’re out shopping and find your little one has been drawn to one of those brightly coloured convenience food pouches remember this….it may have started off as organic fresh fruit and vegetables but what is now left after pasteurisation and storage to reach you in an edible form is simply dead fruit or vegetable matter, much like those pre-made juices and smoothies we were just talking about.

This kind of  food and drink has little nutrient quality and quantity to help your little one grow and remain healthy. The rule I like to live by when shopping, if its got a long list of ingredients and/or any obscure chemical names that sound like another language then you are probably better of making your own food from scratch.

I have raised Ulysses, pictured above now 3 years on a living, high-raw foods diet whilst transitioning myself slowly on to a high raw, vegan diet (with the exception of bee products).

 

Amber necklace, the drug-free teething solution

25 Jan

P1000647 A natural, drug and alcohol free solution to soothing teething troubles comes in the form of a beautiful Baltic amber teething necklace. Individually knotted between each bead for safety in case of breakage. This,  by the way, never happened to ours despite being pulled and chewed as demonstrated by Ulysses in the above picture.

How does it work? Is the question most commonly asked by curious mamas and papas. Amber (especially Baltic amber) is a stone made from tree resin which has natural anti-inflammatory properties. When placed next to the child’s  skin, especially on a place that creates heat such as around the neck, the amber resin is released from the stones and absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. This then acts on calming common teething symptoms of an inflammatory nature such as fever, red cheeks and sore gums.

in my experience your child may still dribble lots and chew on things but their level of discomfort will likely to greatly decrease. Depending on when your child starts to teeth the necklace is best placed on the child before any symptoms have begun to show. Ulysses was given his necklace to wear at around 3 months old and began teething at 4.5 months. Most children will probably not require one until closer to 6 months.

We made the mistake of removing the necklace when we saw most of the teeth had come through. It is those last teeth, the molars which will cause the most pain.

Is it safe to wear all the time? Is another common question of concerned parents. This is a decision only you can make for yourself. On the one hand the body does most of its healing at night time. For many parents I have spoken with who decided to remove the necklace for any significant duration during teething, including night times, the discomfort issues have not improved for their child.

On the other hand, the safest way to be sure your little one remains safe during sleep is to co-sleep in the same bed/room. If you do not do this then perhaps you would feel more comfortable wrapping the necklace around a less vulnerable body part such as an ankle or wrist. I personally have not heard of one single story where the amber necklaces have caused danger by suffocation or any other hazard but that does not mean to say it is an impossibility.

The final advantage of the amber necklace is, like many natural cures, it’s side effect free! It will not leave your child feeling dozy or unwell in any other way. For under £20 I believe it’s worth a try, at worst you will be left with a very beautiful accessory!

You can buy a Baltic amber teething necklace at any good independent baby shop or online.

Opting out of the vacciNATION

20 Jan

(http://gaia-health.com/gaia-blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Baby-shocked-by-vaccine-needle.jpg)

Whenever I get chatting with parents about babies and health, one of the biggest jaw dropping topics always involves my decision to opt out of having my child vaccinated. 

I’d like to explore further the reasons why I made this choice, not to justify but rather to inform and iron out any doubts you may have when faced with this decision for your own child.

Firstly, my research covered all the usual NHS and pro-vaccination information which I will not cover here, primarily because you will surely have easy access to this as long as you are registered with a doctor.

The information I will present comes from a culmination of reading from the likes of Henry Lindlahr in ‘The philosophy of natural therapeutics’ and also ‘A shot in the dark’ by Harris L Coulter and Barbara Loe Fisher. You won’t find these books in your NHS sponsored bumpf.

The conventional argument for the wonders of vaccinations will now be considered in order to give the counter arguments.

1. Vaccinations are responsible for wiping out deadly diseases in the past, thereby saving many lives.

Diseases which have been wiped out in developed countries include: the bubonic plague, yellow fever and cholera. It is interesting to note that these diseases never had vaccination programmes put in place to help eliminate the problem. They began to disappear alongside the advent of  improved sanitation and hygiene. On the other hand diseases such as chickenpox and measles still occur frequently today despite vaccination programmes administered to high percentages of the population for quite some time now. The mentality which blames those unvaccinated few for spread of the disease is an interesting phenomenon in itself, if the vaccine is so effective for protection against the disease surely it is unnecessary to be concerned about ‘catching’ the disease from the ‘unprotected’.

2. Vaccinations work on the same principles as Homeopathy and function to strengthen the immune system

Homeopathic principals use small doses to ‘treat like for like’. There is such a minute amount of the disease taint administered in order that the body recognise the blue print for what protection it needs to take without being overwhelmed by toxins in such a quantity that it may seriously compromise the immune system. On the other hand vaccinations use like to prevent like, rather than to treat the invader before it has naturally entered the body. Furthermore, doses are many hundreds of times higher than used in homeopathy which has the knock on effect of compromising the immune systems overall protection capabilities against other potential invaders and diseases. This is why so many children suffer negative side effects such as skin eruptions and fevers soon after they have been vaccinated. 

3. Vaccinations are suitable for all including vegetarians and vegans.

There has been much publicity in recent years surrounding the possible links with autism and the highly poisonous vaccination preservative,  Thimerosal aka Mercury, a known toxin to the human body.  Despite knowing this ingredient as a potential hazard you may be blissfully unaware of the other delights incorporated into the ingredients of your little one’s many jabs. Here’s what’s not written on your doctor’s appointment card or immunization leaflet…

vaccineingredients

(excerpt taken from http://www.opitslinkfest.blogspot.com)

Aluminium has been found to be toxic to the human body, Formaldehyde is a component of carpet glue, and Monosodium Glutamate or MSG is a flavour enhancer which often causes food intolerance reactions such as migraine headaches.

4. Statistics support the safety of vaccines.

Statistics show that 97 per cent of all infants who die from SIDS had a vaccination within 24 hours.

(extracted from The book of herbal wisdom by Matthew Wood, p.431)

5. Vaccines do not cause allergic reactions in a large percentage of individuals.

My child is a ‘highly sensitive child’ as are at least 20% of the population. These children are highly susceptable to allergic reactions from environmental and other toxins entering their systems, often culminating in severe allergic reactions. If at least one fifth of the population are at a higher risk of suffering severe side effects then this in my opinion is an unacceptable risk. Here is just one of many tragic stories of an infant who lost their life to a vaccine: http://www.iansvoice.org/

See link for possible vaccine side effects: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm 

One final point to note specific to parents of daughters. In recent times there has been a steady increase of numbers of women unable to successfully breastfeed their babies. This true story which can be read in Henry Lindlahr’s book under the section on vaccination may be of interest to those who wish that their daughters grow up and have a healthy feeding relationship with their young…

‘When smallpox broke out in sheep in parts of Scotland some time ago the sheep were mass vaccinated. Over the course of the following few years the ewes (female sheep) were unable to nourish their lambs sufficiently. With discontinuance of the vaccination, this phenomenon ceased to exist. This incident suggests a strong correlation between the incidence of female mammary gland atrophy (milk ducts drying up) and vaccination usage.

Another interesting Henry Linddlahr fact which you may find useful when considering vaccination for your children: ‘The blood of children is hereditarily contaminated with vaccines back to the third and sometimes fourth generations’….that’s a lot of vaccine in one body don’t you think!

So there’s just a few reasons why I said no to  vaccination. Along with my heart-felt instinct that I’d be somehow cheating my child who trusts me dearly. I simply could not ignore the warning bells sounding in my head and arising as a vague and uncomfortable feeling of dread and fear.

What may you ask would I do then if my child contracted one of these diseases?

Well firstly I would visit a homeopathic practitioner to ease the symptoms using a ‘like CURES like’ principal and secondly I rest assured in the knowledge that because of the general advancement in health care, it is now very rare that anyone is permanently damaged from contracting such childhood diseases. Furthermore, I continue to do my utmost to build his immune system using natural, raw living foods, juices and herbs and steer clear of food chemicals, refined sugars, dairy, meat and processed grains…more about diet and natural health promotion to follow in other blogs.

NB: since writing this blog my child has contracted both Scarlet fever and Chicken Pox. We used solely natural methods for managing the symptoms whilst his body healed itself and this resulted in a non-traumatic and speedy recovery. Since then his health has been exceptionally good.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner and do not intend to give medical advice or give medical diagnosis. If you want medical opinions on this subject I suggest you watch the following documentary which features many qualified doctors.