"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the begining of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set. From these roots grow fear and alienation or love and trust."
Suzanne Arms

Friday, November 12, 2010

We have gone jar crazy! Check out our Autumn jars!

I love, love, love these lighted jars.  I love the ambiance they give the room and the house.  They are a perfect accent!  So when I took down our Halloween Jars everything looked blah, and I didn't want to wait till after Thanksgiving to pull out the Christmas Jars (and we need to make more anyway because we gave some as gifts).  So I said . . . hey, lets do autumn jars!! 

I figured we could just do autumn colors and to make things simple, we would just collect leaves from the yard and decoupage them on.  Much easier for me because the kids weren't cutting, making a mess with paper etc. 

I am not going to get into the process again, but if you want to know how to make them check out my 2 previous blog posts HERE and HERE.

Finally I got a picture of all 5of them gluing their leaves on (well Thrace is just watching)
 I had them choose which color or colors they wanted for their jar out of what I had.  I only had orange and rad tissue paper so I improvised and used napkins to get yellow.  I wish I had some brown because I was curious how it would turn out, but alas, none to be found (and I was not going to the store).  They really did most of the work again, with me helping mostly the little ones.  The napkins were a bit tricky so I did do most of the mod podge on those.
Then we went out and each kid collected their own leaves! We live on a mountain in the woods so we have plenty of trees and leaves.  The leaves on the ground were too hard so we picked smaller leaves that were left on trees.  The cool thing is that they could learn about the types of leaves and trees while we were at it (Charlie knows all that stuff, I am clueless.)

 I had them just glue the leaves on with glue (some were tricky and I had to work with them to get them to curve around the jars and stick) and then we did the mod podge once they were stuck well.  I know they will turn brown (though some were brown already) but it doesn't matter, they are for the silhouette against the colored tissue paper when the jar is lit.

 I used the multicolored lights again because I couldn't get to the white lights, but I think ideally white lights would provide the best light . . . though the colored lights are softer.

You could really do anything you want that is autumn theamed, but these were easy for us!  We actually did these start to finish in 1 day (had them lit by evening) which is a record for us (usually I have a table full of scrap paper and partially decorated jars for days before we are finished).

I love these jars so much that I am thinking of how I can have them year round . . . Valentine jars, Easter jars, July 4th or summer themed . . . so many possibilities!!

Now, for an added photo . . . because hey, pumpkins are autumn themed and I didn't want to do a separate blog post with just a picture of me . . . but I did want to show y'all how I dressed up for Halloween . . . . 

21 wks
I did the same thing the only other time I had a belly on Halloween, when I was 29 wks pg with Ever . . . LOTS of fun (and lots of comments from people).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lighted Halloween Jars . . . and other spooky stuf!!

We made these a few wks ago and I have been trying to get them up here to show y'all but I am still having a hard time finding time to blog.

I got this idea last year when I saw the lighted jars at the Not So Idle Hands blog HERE  SO CUTE!!  But alas, I was too late for Halloween, so instead I made Christmas Jars.  Some of you may remember them, I blogged about them HERE.  They turned out great and the kids had a ball making them.  In fact we are going to have to make more this year because we gave a bunch of them away as gifts last year.

I was very excited though as Halloween came around again so we could do some Halloween jars.  We made them the same way we did the Christmas jars.  They are pretty easy to make, but beware they are a tad time consuming and can be messy.  Though I was doing them with 4 kids so that will take longer.  My oldest two (10 and 8) could do much of it themselves, I helped with cutting and stuff, but the younger 2 needed some help with the Mod Podge. And since you have to do multiple layers it does take some time.  But it is worth it!!

I'll go over the instructions again for those interested.

  • Glass Jars (I save all our peanut butter, pickle, pasta jars etc. so we never have a shortage of these)
  • Tissue Paper (I chose white, orange, black, and green for Halloween, but you can also find holiday paper that you can use as well, then yo don't even really have to decorate it, just decoupage it on)
  • Mod Podge or some other type of decoupage 'glue'
  • A brush to brush the glue on
  • Construction Paper or anything else the kids may want to decorate it with (we have used glitter, stamped paper shapes etc.)
First you want to cut your tissue paper in strips, then cover your jar with a layer of Mod Podge.   We usually cover just a small section at a time, applying the Mod Podge then the tissue paper till the whole jar is covered.
To make the pumpkins more 'pumpkin like' we did the strips vertically but in the past we have done them horizontally too.  For some of the other jars, I just let the kids put the strips on however they wanted.

 Piper, Arah and Ever adding tissue paper to their pumpkin jars
(notice the dummy hanging from the rafters of the porch in the window behind Piper . . . 
Charlie made this with the kids just a few days before . . . he is creepy!!)

 Once you have the whole jar covered with the paper (and have trimmed off the excess on top and bottom) do another generous layer of Mod Podge over the whole thing, making sure to cover all the tissue paper with a protective layer.  It is delicate so take care (and tell your kids to be extra gentle).

Once you have done that, then decorate as you wish.  Each of the kids designed their own pumpkin face, then they got to do another jar however they  liked.

Piper and Ever putting tissue paper on their 2nd jars.
Piper (8) drew and colored some black cats (one she colored very dark black, the other she drew on black construction paper and cut out) and we put them on top of her purple jar (with black construction paper stripes on top and bottom) for a silhouette.  Xian (10) did a green Frankenstein.  He used black construction paper for the face and hair.  Arah (6) drew a lot of ghosts and things that he thought were 'scary' out of plain white paper, and then cut them out and put them on his purple/black striped jar.  And Ever (3) made a purple jar too, but he added squares of other colors of tissue paper over that along with a few cut outs.  I made the white ghost.
Make sure you do a coat of mod podge over any additions to your jars.

You can use anything to light them.  Being glass, candles will work.  You can also use battery operated tea lights (I have heard that you can get them at the dollar store 2 in a pack).  I have them all lined up so using a string of lights is easiest.  Usually I will use white but apparently those were like in the bottom of the Christmas box and not so easy for Charlie to get, so we used multicolored instead and they worked fine.

For some reason my pictures of these jars didn't turn out as good as the ones I took of the Christmas jars last year, but you get the general idea.

We had a Halloween party with our local natural families group (love those guys!!).  The kids always have a ball!  We had pinatas, crafts, games, lots of goodies (we made halloween shaped sugar cookies).  Thank goodness we have friends with large houses and generous hearts who are willing to host our bi-weekly gatherings and potlucks (which can sometimes get VERY large).

 Xian (monster) Arah (ninja) Ever (lake monster) Piper (witch) and Thrace (giraffe) 
and our homemade skeleton man (made with PVC pipes, we got info from the Family Fun website)

Hope YOU have a great Fall season!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why I have been MIA most of the summer!

Aug 29,2010
12 1/2 wks with baby #6

With the 24/7 icky feeling (though thankfully a bit better than with the others) and the fact that most of my blogging and computer stuff is done after the kids are asleep, and the past 2 mo and that I have NOT been able to stay awake much past them (either that or I felt too sick to do work) the blog and many e-mails have been neglected!!

I am 13 wks though and starting to feel better and get some energy back so hopefully I can make up for it now!  My 'due date' is March 10th so I figure . . . sometime in March.  My edd's have been based on conception, and so far my babies have been 10, 6, 4, 3, days "late" and only 1 was 3 days "early" (not in that order).  Funny thing is they have all ranged from 7.12 to 8.4 lb (within 1/2 lb or so of each other) and have been from 21-22 3/4".  So not a huge amount of variation in when they decide to come or what size they are, LOL!! 

We don't use doppler or ultrasound unless I feel it is medically warranted, so I haven't heard the heartbeat, which was also the case with my last 3 kids. So it is hard for me to feel totally comfortable telling others till I feel regular movement or can pick up the heartbeat with a fetoscope (usually between 16-20 wks).  So I just have to trust that all is well and do what I can to keep track of how things are progressing.  I know my uterus has been growing just fine, which is a great sign.  I could feel it above my pubic bone by 6 wks this time and now it is at my belly button!!  This is MANY weeks higher than normal, but that is what happens when your uterus has been stretched out so many times! It was similar with my last 3 too (with #5 I could feel it above my pubic bone by 8 wks, so with each one it seems to be a bit sooner).  Just knowing it is growing at a regular rate is reassuring.  So that, and the fact that by 12 wks I could feel some movement at times when I poke around on my uterus (which I also noticed with the last 3) makes me hope that all is well.

Planning another homebirth of course, probably UC, but I like to play it by ear and decide during labor if I feel God leading me to call my midwife friend or not (so far the last 3 times I haven't felt like I needed her).  It is just SO nice to have that option and a blessing to have supportive friends.

Sooo, hopefully things can get back to normal a bit more around here since I am starting to feel a bit more normal too. There are so many things I want to blog about, I am just so long winded that it takes me forever do to a post, LOL!!  I have also considered breaking off and splitting the blog into 2.  Having just the Kozy part for Kozy related stuff and then another blog for all my other stuff.  If/when I do that though I'll let y'all know and make it easy to transition.

Monday, August 9, 2010

World Breastfeeding Week

OK so I know I have been MIA (super busy summer here).  And of course I am behind on breastfeeding week too (which was this past week) but in honor of the occasion I put my breastfeeding stats on facebook and figured I may as well blog about them too!

 Me nursing 13mo old Thrace in Yellowstone, June 2010

OK, so here are my Breastfeeding Stats . . . . 
  • I started nursing with my first child in 2000
  • I have been nursing for almost 10 years non-stop
  • I have been tandem nursing (nursing 2) for over 8 years non-stop
  • I have nursed through 4 pregnancies
  • I have tandem nursed through 3 pregnancies
  • I have nursed 3 kids for a total of a year (6mo after #3 was born, 6mo after #4 was born)
  • I have nursed a child to sleep every night for almost 10 yrs straight (and almost every day for nap)
  • I have nursed 2 kids to sleep (for bed and nap) for 8 yrs straight
  • So far, my 3 kids who have weaned did so at 4.6, 5, and 4.8 yrs old
  • I am currently nursing my 1 and 3 yr old (to bed and for nap ;0)
  • I started pumping to donate milk after #4 and 5 and have pumped 1000's of oz
  • All of my kids nursed exclusively for a min of 6mo (till they insisted on eating table food)
  • None of my kids has ever had a drop of formula 
  • None of my kids has ever had a bottle, not even of expressed milk (nor a paci)
  • And I am very grateful that I, or my babies, have never had any 'issues' or problems nursing, other than the occasional 'episode' of mastitis, ugh.
So I suppose all of this makes me 'special' or some amazing person right?  Uh no!! LOL!!  There is nothing amazing or special about me.  I just do what I have to do and what I feel is best.  What is amazing and special is the fact that God created our bodies so wonderfully and perfectly!  That we can make the most perfect food for our babies!  That breastfeeding has a host of benefits not just for baby but for mom too!

I happen to feel very strongly about nursing, and I also happen to be pretty stubborn and determined and idealistic about some things too.  No it is not always easy (especially when you are 9mo pg nursing a toddler and just barely being able to tolerate it) but I am just so convinced that allowing them to nurse as long as they need to is not only the most natural choice, but it is also so beneficial to them, that any 'issues' I may have are simply minor inconveniences and I can suck it up and deal with it (even if it means I spend over an hour every night nursing kids to sleep, LOL).  It becomes normal, it becomes natural and it is like second nature.

It is life with little ones and I wouldn't change a thing!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I'll have some grape juice with a splash of lead please!

It seems that as hard as you try you just can't ever get away from chemicals or impurities or even heavy metals!!

Some of you have probably read the recent reports released by The Environmental Law Foundation.  The articles have been passed all around Facebook but as usual, I am behind on blogging about it.  Apparently, the ELF tested some juices, fruits, baby food etc. and after testing some 148 products (mostly juices) they found that 85% contained LEAD!!  They contained enough lead actually, in one serving,  to warrant a warning label under the CA's Prop 65 (the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act).  And the shocker to me wasn't that it was juice in general (juice which is fairly natural with few additives) but that the ORGANIC juices had lead in them just like the regular stuff!!

For more information here is the ELF site where they have links to the products tested and which tested high for lead. 

My first thought was, oh crap!  Then I thought . . . OK, we get all freaked out over these little things, lead is naturally occurring, I'm sure it gets into things.  People get all worked up over minuscule amounts of lead or toxins when some of those things are almost unavoidable in nature.  Not to mention that government wants to over regulate us (product manufacturers) to death.  Which I found particularly ironic because here we are drinking lead with our juice, and yet the CPSIA seems more concerned that the fabric of our baby carriers may contain lead! (though thankfully they have backed off of many of their insane testing requirements)  Crazy!!  But I digress . . . 

Doesn't the FDA regulate juices (they regulate everything else) and aren't they tested for stuff like this?  Apparently they are, and the FDA's required min levels are supposedly higher than CA's Prop 65 which is .5 micrograms of lead per serving.  Of course I don't really trust the government to tell me what is safe to use or not.  I mean there is aluminum in antiperspirant (which many poeple are rubbing on their sensitive skin daily) and baking powder and cooking utensils etc.  along with a host of other 'toxic' items, and don't even get me started on the crap in vaccines that we inject into our (and our children's) bodies . . . these are apparently OK too.  I guess you just can't win no matter how you look at it (personal responsibility folks). 

Anyway, this is just my cynical side coming out here. 

But then I remembered . . . for children, any lead exposure is bad, and any lead ingestion is worse, no matter how much it is . . . it shouldn't be in there to begin with!!  And even in nature (untainted by man) we wouldn't be getting lead in our fruits and juices.  And any exposure to lead in nature under normal circumstances would be minuscule, we wouldn't be drinking it with our lunch (or shouldn't be). 

So my conclusion is that it doesn't matter what the recommended max levels are from any 'governing' body (CA prop 65, or the FDA) and how they may differ.  We, and especially our children, shouldn't be consuming lead in any amounts.  Because "No safe threshold for lead exposure has been discovered—that is, there is no known amount of lead that is too small to cause the body harm."  Wikipedia

So how would lead get into our fruits (and juices)?
Here is what I got from the FDA website, and I am sure there are other explanations as well (all man made)
Juice can become contaminated with lead if lead-contaminated produce is used to make the juice. Lead contamination of produce can occur as a result of past use of lead in agricultural settings. For example, past use of lead arsenate as a pesticide in what were apple orchards is believed to have caused persistent lead contamination of the soil causing carrots presently grown on these sites to contain elevated lead levels. Produce could also become contaminated with airborne lead if it is handled at sites where vehicles or equipment are operated that use leaded fuel, if the equipment is operated in a manner that exposes the produce to excessive emissions from the equipment.
So if lead comes from the fruit then what about fresh fruits?  If the lead is coming from the fruit then yes, fresh fruit would contain it as well.  But with fresh fruit you are getting fiber and other nutrients that actually help prevent the absorption of lead in your body.  That means that eating fresh fruit with traces of lead wouldn't impact your body in the same way as drinking juices from concentrates of the same fruits.  So basically I would say don't stop eating fruit!!

How does lead damage the body?
Children consume juice in huge amounts and they are the ones most vulnerable.  There is really no safe level of lead for kids, and it is also especially bad for pregnant women (and babies in utero too).  Lead toxicity can cause problems ranging from irritability and aggressive behavior, developmental issues, headaches, tremors, insomnia, seizures, coma and even death.  Children with lead poisoning are often diagnosed with autism.  HERE is one such story (and you can google to find more info about it).  Heavy metals in general (which include mercury and aluminum) can overcome children's bodies, especially considering they are more susceptible to them.  I know several kids personally who have tested high for heavy metals, for no apparent reason (not obvious exposure).  I have never tested my kids as I have never had a reason or felt that they exhibited symptoms that may be attributed to heavy metals in their body.  But I know that heavy metal testing testing has proven to be a life saver and eye opener for many, so it is definitely something to be considered as part of troubleshooting potential health issues.

What what do we do now?
For some of us, there is really very little to do.  Check the lists of products that tested high for lead and those that didn't, and buy accordingly while we wait for more info.  For others . . . DRINK MORE WATER!!  If you ever had an excuse to stop giving your kids juice in favor of water this is probably the best one.  I have never understood those kids walking around with sippy cups full of juice that they chug like it is going out of style.  First of all I don't get why they have to have a drink in their hands at all times (though granted, my 12mo old does nurse whenever he wants, LOL), maybe it is a security thing like some kids have with their paci?  Who knows.  But avoiding juice is good and it isn't just because of the lead issue.  Unlike fresh squeezed juice that you drink immediately, store bought juice has very little nutritional value . . . it is mostly just sugar. It has loads of calories.  It is horrible for the teeth and if kids drink too much it can even interfere with development (they are filling up on juice and not getting the other stuff they need in their diet).

Don't get me wrong, I am not all anti juice.  I'll give my kids juice occasionally, but literally, it is a special occasion thing (just like the occasional Gatorade or sprite when we are out).  I like them to be able to have fun stuff occasionally but they know as a rule, we drink water (or raw milk or kefir).  They get juice to drink maybe 1-2x a month and then I dilute it with water.  We use juice far more often to flavor our kefir (which we drink more often) but again, we use so little that they are getting only 1-2oz per cup of kefir.  I'll also let them have a few sips of juice to chase down any herbs or CLO I give them that taste icky (though most taste pretty good).

I definitely drink the most juice in the family.  Ever since having kids I have craved juice, particularly grape juice.  I think it is a nursing thing (since I am always nursing 2) and I think it is not just the liquid but the sugar that my body needs.  I love my grape juice!! But I ALWAYS mix it 50/50 with water (and lots of ice so it is really cold . . . mmmmm).  So if I chug a glass a day (usually the most I drink, many days I don't drink any) it is still only maybe 1/2 cup of juice.   Basically between me and the kids the most juice we will go through is a bottle every other week (sometimes a bottle of juice lasts us a month!!).  

Because we already consume very little juice I am not too worried, but you can bet I am going to be a bit more picky about the juice (and canned fruits) that we do buy.  The foods we put into our body are vital to our overall health, and being a responsible parent means that I will never cease to research and learn and be informed to try to make the best choices possible for my family (while still letting them have some fun . . . I did make regular old chocolate chip cookies last night . . . does it make it any better that we dipped them in raw milk?  LOL!!)

For more information check out these articles on lead in juices (along with the links included above)
NY Daily News
Inhabitots (has a list of the lead tainted products)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tribute to my Uncle Stacey, May 26, 2010

My Uncle Stacey

He was always our favorite uncle growing up (and still today).  My dads brother, one of 4 boys in their family, he was the baby and I always thought he looked a bit different from his brothers.

1953 My dad is on the right with his brothers and my late grandpa
. . . uncle Stacey is of course the little one

He was the cool one, with his long hair, smooth voice, and that look in his eye . . . a real charmer (and boy did the ladies love him!)  

He had this 'glow' about him (family knows what I am talking about).  We called it the "Davis Glow"

He always made you feel welcome, like you were special, and he gave the best hugs!  I regret that he lived in GA and we in VA . . . didn't get to see him often and wish I knew him better.

Oct 09 at my sister Karla's wedding in GA.  My uncles Duron and Jerry
. . . my dad and Uncle Stacey on the right.

He had a beautiful singing voice.  Coming from a musical family, to their dismay, he was too shy to sing when he was younger.  He made up for that in the last several years.  He loved going out to sing and proved that he was the most talented of all the brothers!

He was a brother, a father of 3, a grandfather and a friend to many.

He loved life, was a hard worker and took excellent care of himself. He struggled with his health but he never complained.  Having found out he had type I Diabetes at age 21, he was told he would not make it past 40
. . . . he was 57
 We love you and will miss you Uncle Stacey and we look forward to seeing you again!!

Here he is singing.  See what good shape he was in!  The cigarette was fake (part of the act)


Here is a video of him singing with my cousin Ryan.  His "performance" name was Spencer Lang.

Our prayers go out to Casey, Courtney and April and their families.  As well as with my Dad and his 2 brothers.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Penile Adhesions

Ha!!  Did that title get your attention??  But seriously, this is good info for those who may have a baby boy who is circed or who may be considering circumcising future children . . . 

First Do No Harm

Whenever I think of that creed that Dr's strive to abide by I can't help but think circumcision, and how ironic it is that the goal is to FIRST do NO harm . . . yet they are performing elective cosmetic surgery on a baby.  Without the procedure there is no harm, things are left perfect as they are, as God created them when He declared "it is good" (they have disproved supposed health benefits from circumcising).  The procedure has the potential to cause harm (or I would argue doesn't have the potential to not cause harm) . . . so it seems like there is a conflict here.

We all know there are complications with any surgery or any medical procedure period.  I am not talking about trauma or lingering pain or mental issues (much of which is also experienced)  . . . but actual physical issues as a result of the procedure.  Among the many potential complications you have things like infection, hemorrhage, buried penis, phimosis, deformity (can be caused by removing too much foreskin or actually cutting into the penis) along with more serious complications like amputation and even death.  Of course the more serious complications are very rare.  But rare or not, they do occur, and wouldn't otherwise, so it is right to acknowledge their existence.  In this article on the Estimated Incidence of Circumcision Complications in the US from 1940-1990 they estimate . . . 
At the present rate of over 1.25 million infant circumcisions annually, the estimated death rate of 1 in 24,000 translates to one infant death per week (52 deaths annually). An estimated death rate of 1 in 500,000 translates to one infant death every 152 days (between 2 and 3 deaths annually).
I know babies can die from any number of things, it is so terribly tragic, heartbreaking . . . but because this is due to an elective cosmetic surgery gives me pause.  In this case I refer you back to the first bold line of this blog post above.
Like I said though, serious life threatening complications from circ are rare.  But there are complications that are much more common, and adhesions are often either overlooked or catch parents by surprise.

What are Penile Adhesions

Penile adhesions occur when the foreskin, that has been ripped away from the glans of the penis during the circumcision procedure, adheres back to the glans in the days/weeks following the procedure.  Or if you want the words of a professional, here is a description by a nurse
When a circumcision is done, tissue which would normally be intact is split. Unless proper care is taken, the epithelium of the inner prepuce at the point where the foreskin was removed can reattach to the epithelium of the glans. The result of this is a penile adhesion.
 This has always been a complication, however I really believe that it is becoming more common. A study by Dr Van Howe showed that some 25.6% of circumcised babies had problems with adhesions and 4.1% had skin bridges.

With circumcision not being recommended by any medical establishment, and with the current trends in the culture today, I understand that a lot of Dr's are becoming more conservative and cutting off less of the foreskin.  At least this is what I am hearing from others as well as seeing first hand on children I know who have been circed and have much more of their foreskin remaining (especially compared to the dozens and dozens of preschool kids I worked with 15 yrs ago).  This is a step in the right direction, the less you cut off the better, however you are going to have the same recovery and pain issues as well as many other potential complications no matter how much is cut off.  So cutting off less doesn't make it "right" or somehow ok.  Nor can it serve as a compromise . . . a circumcision is a circumcision . . . period. 

The issue is that they are ripping the foreskin away from the glans to perform the circumcision (on an intact penis the foreskin will naturally separate in time, and should never be forced).  Then, instead of doing a "high and tight" as we may call it, and removing most of the foreskin (which can cause it's own problems like painful erections, harry penis and bent penis because, for some, there isn't enough skin left to allow for full or normal erection as adults) they are leaving more of the foreskin on.  This skin then adheres back to the penis wherever it may fall, which is where you have your adhesion issues.  The ultimate result of these more conservative circumcisions is a penis which requires the special care of a circumcised penis (especially in the first days and weeks) but you also have a good bit of foreskin remaining, that eventually, once healed and separated, must be cleaned like an intact penis (ultimately retracted and cleaned under).  I don't think parents realize this.  The circumcised penis requires more care than the intact penis during the first 3 years of life. 

As mentioned, the excess foreskin, if left alone, will adhere back to the glans causing adhesions.  Basically the remaining foreskin is just trying to do what it is supposed to do and what it would have done before it was forcefully retracted from the glans.  There are also other types of adhesions that are more serious, those involving the actual scar and the forming of bridges. Some dr's recommend constantly retracting the foreskin after birth, and doing it daily to prevent adhesionsa baby's intact penis is self cleaning and completely protected and requires no special care whatsoever . . . and I have 4 boys so I know this to be true from experience).

So it is a catch 22.  If you cut off a lot of foreskin you risk deformities, issues with function etc.  If you leave some on you have a good chance of having adhesions and it requires special care.  Seems that either way you slice it there are issues (OK bad pun, LOL, but you get the picture).

So what do you do if your baby has adhesions?   Many Dr's recommend forcibly retracting the foreskin (which would be excruciating initially unless some topical numbing cream was used) and applying ointment and repeating daily till the foreskin no longer adheres.  Remember, this is raw skin that is sticking together, I can't help but think that separating it over and over would have to be painful, especially if it is starting to 'stick'.  In my research on this I have read some message boards where parents have said that they have had to retract at ever diaper change till their child was out of diapers in order to prevent the adhesions from forming.  Yikes!!  This is backed up by a statement by Dr Van Howe . . .
There is little medical advice available on this problem but Dr. Van Howe writes that "the circumcised boy needs to have any skin overlaying the glans pulled back and cleaned regularly until 15-18 months of age to prevent adhesions from reforming and debris from accumulating." He says the debris consists of "lint, dirt, talc, stool and detritus." He found strong association between coronal adhesions and the presence of subpreputial debris. Dr. Van Howe state sthat most preputial adhesions in circumcised boys resolve by 24 months "afterparents were instructed to apply gentle retraction on the adhesion.
Some say leave it be and it will separate on it's own as they get older.  I tend to think the 2nd advice is the most sound (no surprise, I tend to take the most natural route).  Eventually, hormones will naturally cause the skin to separate as it does for an intact penis.  But there is the potential for more complications since it has been altered from it's natural state and excess skin may adhere anywhere.  Infections and debris getting caught inside, (see quote above)  skin bridges and pain etc. are all potential complications  There have been times where there have been referrals to urologists and a 2nd circumcision is recommended, HERE is one such story.  I don't know if these are always necessary or just the medical profession trying to 'fix' something they think needs fixing (something they messed up to begin with).  In fact 1 of my 5 brothers in law (who shall remain nameless) was circumcised for a 2nd time as a baby, because there were problems after the first circumcision.  His mother told me the heartbreaking story of hearing him screaming from down the hall as it was being done again. . . and 20+ yrs later she is still regretful and saddened by how needless it all was.  From the Van Howe study linked to several times above . . .
According to past studies, between 1%[2,3] and 9.5%[4] of boys circumcised at birth will have the procedure revised or redone
 I think many people think that circumcision is supposed to make things easier, it is supposed to be cleaner, it is supposed to look better (all of which is untrue by the way) and I am sure plenty of people have seen no outward issues at all after their sons circumcisions . . . but what we are doing is altering the body.  We are taking a functioning organ and removing it for no medical reason.  And we are doing it on a baby when the organ is 1/10th (shoot even smaller than that) the size it will be when that child is an adult.  Plastic surgeons won't even do many surgeries on children with deformities until they are older, because they know how much children's bodies change as they grow.

We humans try to improve on Gods design, but we can't!!  It is one thing if a child is born with an anomaly, but to alter a beautiful, perfect creation . . . there are often consequences, great or small (mental or physical).  I think back to the saying First Do No Harm and I can't imagine any procedure it applies to better than performing cosmetic surgery on a baby who is not deformed.

Here are some first hand accounts online from parents who have had to go through this, as well as some of the recommendations from their Dr's (which you will see vary greatly)

http://www.mothersagainstcirc.org/adhesions.htm (bottom of the page)

If you have a son who is circumcised and has adhesions, do your research and make sure to get a 2nd (or 3rd) opinion before deciding on something drastic like a 2nd surgery.
If you are pregnant or contemplating circumcising future sons, I encourage you to also research. While I can understand and respect that certain religions feel bound to circ (and any Christians reading need to understand that we are NOT commanded to circumcise in the Bible, nor is Circumcision spoken about positively under the new covenant), the fact is that no medical society in the world recommends circumcision.  I encourage everyone to consider their child and his rights, and consider allowing him to make this very sensitive and personal decision for himself.

More information
There is more information about circumcision and adhesions at the links included throughout the post.  More info can also be found at these links below (some are duplicates from above)
Penile Adhesion: The hidden complication of circumcision
Adhesions, what are they
Post Operative Complications of Circumcision 
Penile Adhesions after Neonatal Circumcision

Doctors Opposing Circumcision
Mothers Against Circumcision
Circumcision Information and Resource Pages

p.s. . . . If anyone wonders why there are sometimes weeks between my posts . . . it is because it sometimes takes me weeks to write them, LOL!!! (can't recall the number of times I fell asleep in bed trying to finish this one, I am only 1/2 awake right now, LOL!).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Homemade Natural Playdough

OK if you are brave (like me) then you give in and let your kids play with playdough despite the huge mess it makes!  And there is no denying that it makes a mess . . . pretty much every time!  But they just love it so much!  My kids have always loved it and lately they have been loving playing with their pokemon figurines in the playdough.

If you are thrifty (like me) then you like to make your own playdough.  I started making playdough like 15 yrs ago when I worked at an Early Learning Center (long before having my own kids).  I have seen many, many recipes on the web and I have tried many.  I like to stay away from Alum which many recipes use.  But the ones that use Cream of Tartar call for SO much of it that it seems almost wasteful.  And the natural recipes I came across talked about using natural food colorings or making your own natural food coloring to add to the playdough after it was finished and that seemed too complicated.  

So I decided to kind of wing it and take some ideas from several recipes and come up with something easy and still natural . . . and to my surprise . . . it worked!! 

What I did was start with a good recipe I knew worked.  They all call for water, so instead of water in the recipe I replaced it with some type of natural liquid that was colored. 
Then I used less cream of tarter than what is usually called for (trying to conserve it) and it turned out great!!
Here is the final recipe I came up with.  I am giving you the full recipe but after my first batch I ended up cutting it in 1/2 because I had a lot of different colors I wanted to try.  Most of the pictures you see here are of this recipe cut in 1/2 and it still makes a nice sized ball of dough.

The Recipe
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of liquid*
  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Cream of Tartar

* For liquid I used what I happened to have on hand that would make color.  I used raspberry juice concentrate, grape juice (either full strength or diluted if I thought it was needed) blueberry juice (from boiling blueberries) strong tea (coffee would have worked too).  I also used paprika and cocoa, which I just mixed in with some water.  If I would have had some liquid chlorophyll (or even spinach that I could have boiled to make green water) it would have rocked the green!!  Next time.  Not sure what I would use for blue but really, you can use anything.   Some more ideas, carrot juice, beet juice, shoot any juice you have on hand or any liquid left after boiling veggies or whatever can be used in place of water, and any powder (herb, spice etc) as well.  The raspberry, grape and blueberry turned out very similar in color, just slightly different shades. 

In a pot, mix the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil . . . slowly add your liquid

Put your pot over med heat and stir.  As it warms up it will start to thicken.

Continue to stir until the dough gets thick, forms a ball and separates from the sides and bottom of the pan.
Turn onto something like wax paper or floured surface.  Keep in mind that it is hot!!

As it cools you can kneed it to a nice smooth consistency (the kids are usually anxious to help with this part)

For these I added cocoa (left) and paprika (right) to the mix

I was concerned that using juices and stuff would make it go bad quicker, and you can always store it in the fridge if needed.  But I made this stuff over a month ago and it is still good.  I keep it in ziplock sandwich bags and make sure that I squeeze all the air out.  It still works great after a month (homemade playdough usually lasts several months for me).  If it starts to get a bit dry just put some oil on your hands before playing with it.


Grape Juice


Blueberry Juice


Raspberry Juice


Saturday, April 17, 2010

How can we save the lives of 900 babies a year?


Yep, that's it.
There was a study published a few wks ago in the journal "Pediatrics" (yes folks, I am late, don't count on me for current events, LOL) that concluded that "The lives of nearly 900 babies would be saved each year, along with billions of dollars, if 90 percent of U.S. women fed their babies breast milk only for the first six months of lifeHERE is the article from the AP.

As if we needed one more reason to prove that breastfeeding is best.

Seems that people are finally starting to see breastfeeding as more than simply a choice that moms have, but rather, as a vital aspect of health.  From the article . . . 
"The magnitude of health benefits linked to breast-feeding is vastly underappreciated, said lead author Dr. Melissa Bartick, an internist and instructor at Harvard Medical School. Breast-feeding is sometimes considered a lifestyle choice, but Bartick calls it a public health issue."

So how do we get 90% of moms nursing exclusively for 6mo?  Support and education.  There are still hospitals out there that are not baby friendly.  There are still hospitals who don't have trained lactation specialists (preferably IBCLC's) available to help moms establish nursing, make sure baby has the proper latch, make sure mom knows how supply and demand works.  We still have friends, family and others who are downplaying the importance of nursing and don't know how to help or support the mom as they try to establish nursing with their baby.  Well meaning moms or dads who tell the flustered new mom "it is OK to give a bottle of formula if you are too tired to nurse at 3am".  Shoot, we still have dr's who are clueless about how to keep milk supply up and tell the new mom that her baby, only nursed for 20 min every 4 hrs, has failure to thrive and must be supplemented (WTH? I have heard this before).  For the mother with no education and no support it is easy to see why they quit.

If we make ourselves available to our friends and family members, nurse in public where it will become more common and accepted and talk about the benefits of nursing to anyone and everyone that will listen then maybe things will change.

As for this new article . . . I guess it takes science and studies to finally make people wake up and see what to me seems only logical.  God doesn't make mistakes.  Our bodies are not insufficient.  Man cannot do better than nature.  This body that can grow a child perfectly, produces the most perfect nutrition for that child.  The fact that anyone would think that man could improve upon what God has designed to be a perfect system of creation and nurture is . . . well . . . pretty pompous of us isn't it?

 Is it too much of me to hope that maybe one day we will wake up to realize that our bodies are not broken when it comes to childbirth too?  That God, the author of birth, doesn't need to be edited?  That the body that grows the child without intervention, can birth the child without intervention?

 But I digress . . .

After reading the above article I found the comments below pretty enlightening.  Mostly the comments from women who couldn't nurse and were angry at the article and study, saying that articles like this are bullying them into feeling guilty . . . what?  How can stating facts be bullying someone?  The truth is the truth, but if the facts are beyond your control then you work with what you can control. Should we edit the truth for fear of hurt feelings?  That is a bit too PC for me.  If you truly cannot nurse your baby for whatever reason (and there are a small percentage of women who can't) then an article that states the facts shouldn't make you feel like a bad mother.  You take what is within your control and do the best you can with it!!
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt . . . "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent"

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Interview with yours truly and a giveaway!!

Rachel over at the Clean blog (also of LuSa Organics) is doing a Babywearing Celebration this week.  People have sent in poems, pictures etc.
She has some great giveaways including a Kozy!!   She also did an interview with me (super long winded of course) which she put up today, check it out HERE!! (bottom of the page) Make sure to leave a comment!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Infantino Sling Rider Recalled . . . Finally!!!

Y'all may have already heard about this (been trying to blog about it for days but my internet connection is still in and out).  After being told by some babywearing 'experts' for years Infantino has finally recalled their "bag" style sling, the SlingRider, on Wed (3.24).  The video above is from our 'local' fox station.  It is an excellent report giving good accurate information, plus Ann Marie is wearing a Kozy . . . gotta love it!!

Anyway, it was a voluntary recall, and probably as a result of the CPSC's warning about slings. Here is information from Infantion about their recall http://service.infantino.com/SlingRider.pdf  Here is a statement from Infantino.  Apparently, they are replacing it with their mei tai (yes you read that right) or another baby product.  Their mei tai doesn't look bad actually (haven't tried it, but it 'looks' ok) though on their site they say they have been working with 'babywearing experts' for 15 yrs . . . kind of curious who those experts are, LOL!!  (as I am sure there are experts I don't know ;0)  But anyway, they do have a link to The Babywear, which is excellent.  And bringing Mei Tais (even if they were inspired by those of us who made them 'popular') to the mainstream is a GOOD thing . . . so I digress . . .

As I explained in my previous post about Babywearing Safety the issue is with 'bag' style slings specifically, not all slings in general.  Information on how the design is flawed, as well as some O2 studies done with the SlingRider specifically, can be found HERE

While the recall is wonderful, and it is long overdue, it brings with it, yet again, issues surrounding sling safety in general.  Not all news stations or papers are reporting as accurately as the one above and people are getting confused and slings are bring misrepresented.  I have heard from vendors who have been contacted by distributors about 'nationwide recalls of all slings' and people are still getting hounded by strangers about their slings being recalled and dangerous! It is impacting business, not to mention the overall view of babywearing. It is insane!! 

Though Kimber (creator of the Ball Baby Mei Tai) who is working on the upcoming Babywearing Conference (at which I am teaching and amazingly the key note speaker . . . go figure, LOL) gave me a new perspective.  Apparently the conference and babywearing in general is getting more exposure and if we can turn things around it may end up being a positive thing afte rall (God works like that sometimes ;0)

We need to keep doing our best to educate the public about not just babywearing but the safety of slings in general.  They are IMO safer than most baby products.  I was reading a mainstream baby magazine the other day (maybe Parents?) which listed that there were 14,000 injuries from strollers last year!!  In comparison, we are talking about 14 infant deaths from slings in 20 YEARS!!  Don't get me wrong, any death is horribly, horribly tragic, and to that parent that lost a child it is the most profound thing in the world.  But if we put it in perspective as to overall safety and risk . . . well geez, 14 deaths in 20 yrs is not enough to label something as 'dangerous'. And for baby products (think cribs, car seats, strollers, walkers, even toys) those are not bad odds (is that horrible to say, even if it is true?).  If you take out things like user error and poorly designed products (like the SlingRider) our numbers would probably be closer to 0 in 20 yrs.  Life itself is full of much greater risks.  I mean shoot, in 1999, 64 people were killed by lightening!!  There is an interesting 'death chart' HERE Including things like how many people die from falling, or drowning, or exposure to hot tap water!  Kind of makes you wary of simply waking up every morning.

On another kind of interesting note . . . on Wed the term 'baby sling' was one of the most searched on the yahoo website (or something like that).  So Charlie noticed and clicked around and ended up on the Wikipedia "Baby Sling" page.  Imagine his surprise when he saw, at the top of the page, a picture of HIMSELF, wearing Arah in a Maya Wrap ring sling (if I remember right, that is what it looks like) at the 1st Babywearing Conference in Portland in 06!!  Too much!!  It is the first picture on the right.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spaghetti Tacos

If any of you have older kids who watch the show I Carly then you know what these are!  I don't know what took us so long to make them but one day Charlie just said hey, lets make spaghetti tacos!  So of course the kids were all about it!

I had wanted to just do them like regular tacos, but put the spaghetti on the bottom. So it would have been spaghetti with tomatoes and lettuce and cheese on top etc. (maybe some salsa too, who knows) but Charlie thought it best to just stuff tacos with spaghetti.  He was probably right, well meaning that surely the kids would prefer that.  So that is what we did.

We cooked up some regular spaghetti, added to it sauce and ground beef and mixed it all up in a large bowl
Then we took some hard taco shells and stuffed it with the pre-mixed spaghetti, and then sprinkled some cheese on top.
That's it!  Super easy!

The kids LOVED it! (as you can see below) It was a fun meal and it was surprisingly good.  I mean it was really good!  Who would have thought that spaghetti in taco shells would be so tasty!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Let me whisper my last goodbyes . . . I know, it's serious!

I try to stay away from posting political stuff . . . mostly because I don't really enjoy debating it online (in person is a bit different . . . though I tend to get a bit worked up either way, LOL).  Being a born again Christian, you can probably guess what my political opinions are ;0)

So rather than waxing poetic about all my many thoughts on current events I will simply share some profound words from Queen Amidala . . .(wow, Star Wars . . . who knew it was so prophetic). 
"So this is how liberty dies . . . with thunderous applause"
If any of you ARE interested in political commentary from a Conservative Libertarian perspective, with a lot of wit and sarcasm, my husband Charlie has a great blog that is mostly political.  And I will say he is (and always has been) a very talented writer!  In fact much of what he writes is over my head, LOL!  (meaning my mom brain can't comprehend it without having to read it a 2nd or 3rd time, LOL).  So I prefer to leave the irrevrent, politically incorrect rants up to him . . . Virtue and Tyranny

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Safety of Babywearing

OK, first my rant, then practical information, LOL!!  All the pictures in this post are me wearing newborns properly.
(me wearing my newborn niece in my favorite Wrapsody wrap by Gypsymama)

There have been a slew of news reports lately about the safety of wearing your baby in slings. You know I find it kind of ironic that we have to even discuss the safety of the ancient art of babywearing in an age where we speed down the highway at 60mph on a daily basis!  I mean babywearing is almost as old as giving birth!  For as long as women have been having babies they have been tying them onto their bodies with whatever they had handy so that they can go about their work while meeting their baby's needs.  You don't often hear mainstream moms and 'professionals' calling strollers, car seats or cribs dangerous (minus of course any recalled our outdated items).  But babywearing (not the norm in our culture, thus people are suspicious of it) is often ignorantly questioned in regards to safety.  How about runaway strollers, babies crawling out of car seats which were placed on high surfaces, falling off of changing tables etc.?  These accidents are chalked up to 'user error' with no screaming to condemned these baby 'gadgets' as inherently dangerous (after all, without a crib where would baby sleep?).  I am not even going to get into things like stairs, the cords from blinds, pots of boiling water on the stove, buckets of water in the garage, pets and many other things that tragically cause the death of babies and children every year.

 My day old niece in a custom Kozy

All of the babywearers I know can relate to being stopped by 'well meaning' people who are freaked out that our babies are either terribly uncomfortable, going to be dropped, or can't breathe.  And if it isn't one of those 3, then we are spoiling them (I need a little eye roll face to insert here).  Somehow it is overlooked that perhaps the safest (not to mention the most natural) place for our babies to spend the majority of their time is right next to our body!  Though I will say, it is almost hard to blame people for the ignorant thinking about babywearing.  It is simply a cultural thing here in the US (other countries and cultures view it differently, just as they do things like co-sleeping, extended nursing, elimination communication etc.).  It is also peoples inability to think naturally, or even outside of their mainstream, society constructed box.  Perhaps some day babywearing will become the norm here and no longer viewed as a 'fad' or something that is inherently dangerous.

Same niece as above, a few wks old in a Didymos (right)

I remember the time I was in a restaurant with newborn Thrace.  I had a man stop me asking if my baby (covered in a wrap) could breathe in there.  I very kindly turned to the side and showed him the opening on the other side, through which he could see Thrace's precious little sleeping face.  My last 2 newborns fussed unless they had their heads tucked in the wrap (and if I tried to unwrap their head, they usually woke up) so though their heads are covered, I would make sure they had a clear airway in front of their face.  My first instinct is to tell these people . . . no, my goal is to smother this child that I prayed for, that I carried for 9mo and spent 24 hrs of natural labor and 2 hrs pushing out and whom I love much more than YOU could ever imagine.  Of course I didn't say this and by the end of the conversation (talked to he and his wife for probably 15 min) I think I had a babywearing convert, LOL!!
I would think that it was nice for all these strangers to be so concerned with the well being of my babies, but in reality a lot of these people are just busy bodies who are nosy and relish in the negative.  Don't believe me, just look at the obsession we have with reality TV!

Wearing Thrace 5 wks in the type of wrap mentioned above this one is a HugABub

Sure, certain aspects of babywearing may look questionable (like throwing a baby on your back in the parking lot, having them covered in fabric, or having a sleeping baby with a dangling head, which inevitably happens when I have a baby on my back in a wrap) but I am of the opinion that while I try my hardest to make babywearing look good for the skeptics (and I do, ask my friends, I am SUPER picky about how I look babywearing) there is only so much I can do.

 (left) 4 wk old Thrace in one of my favorite wrap brands, Gypsymama

But enough of me ranting about our ignorant societies views on the ancient tradition of babywearing.

I am mostly writing in response to the statement released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warning about slings.  It is absolutely horrifying to think of any baby dying or being harmed while being worn.  But unfortunately it has happened, though as was stated, most of these babies were either premature or 'compromised' in some way or another (and I often wonder if any had been vaccinated recently, but that is for another blog).  Regardless, any death or injury is tragic regardless of the circumstances.  This is information that really needs to be shared.  People need to know what slings are good and the proper way to use them.  As a manufacturer my goal is to help parents and babies to bond, to make parenting easier and babies happier and this is the goal of all the other babywearing manufacturers I know (and I know a lot).

 2 wk old Ever in the Bei Bei

Basic one shoulder slings are the target of this specific statement as are babies under 4mo (which is why I have pictures of me wearing newborns throughout this post).  It is actually well written for the most part and has good information.  The downside is that it gives more fuel to the fire for those who already, in their ignorance, viewed babywearing as unsafe.  (hence my rant above) And the news stations have picked up on the story and there have been numerous reports and stories both on TV and online spreading misinformation.  You know how things get started and kind of snowball out of control and leave me yelling at the TV or computer trying to 'right' the 'wrongs' which is such a pointless action since I know they can't hear me (but I just can't help myself).  There are now moms who will abandon any though of babywearing and the many babies who will now end up in strollers or buckets away from the arms of the ones they need most.  I have already read far too many comments from moms whose friends and family are using this recent statement by the CPSC as justification their negative comments and thoughts on babywearing.  For those adamantly against babywearing, a statement like this is sure to be used to discourage it in favor of less intuitive, less attached and nurturing forms of transporting baby around.  And I for one do not believe that strollers or buckets are safer . . . babies in our society need to be drawn closer to us, not pushed further away.

When it comes to slings and safety, the issue is almost always user error. If a sling appears unsafe, or if a baby gets in a compromising position it is not the sling at fault, because they can be used correctly. Most of the slings and carriers on the market are well designed.  There is only 1 type of sling I know of that is a poor design and full of flaws and that is the 'bag style' sling like the one made by Infantino (among others) and can often be found at big box stores.  This link explains the issues and the inherent design flaws http://babyslingsafety.blogspot.com/   These 'bag' slings though are vastly different from your basic ring sling or pouch which are not structured and which have fabric that can be moved around to get baby into a good position.  And it is easy to do, especially if you have good instructions to follow.  What is unfortunate is that the word "sling" is being used as a sweeping term to describe any 1 shoulder carrier, and they are NOT all created equal.  Even consumer reports is not recommending slings because of the issues with the Infantino Sling Rider, which is as I said, a bag style sling which has design flaws and is vastly different from a ring sling or pouch.  Until people become educated about babywearing and see it as a viable option (not a crazy, hippy trend) there will always be misinformation and misunderstandings.

Wearing 2 wk old Arah in a Kangaroo Korner lightly padded ring sling

Safety is an issue, and it is an extremely important one!!  But the bottom line is that slings are safe . . . period!!  Providing good detailed instructions and warnings to reduce the chance of user error is something that is in the forefront of every vendors mind, along with of course, providing a well made and structurally sound product that is absolutely safe.

So the questions are . . . how do you know you have a good sling and how to you use it properly?

Finding a good sling.

It isn't hard to find a good sling.  Like I said above, most slings are safe to use, the only type of sling I know of that I cannot recommend is the "bag" style sling shown in the link above.  But despite the fact that most slings can be used safely, some brands are just easier to use and adjust and made better than others.  A well fitted pouch, ring sling, mei tai, wrap or structured carrier should be able to be used properly without any concern as to the safety of your child.  There are plenty of smaller wahm companies that make excellent quality products.  Occasionally there people selling online (usually places like ebay and the like) who may ignorantly be using inferior materials or stitching, it isn't super common but it does happen.  If you are concerned about the quality of a product then look for names from reputable companies with positive reviews and feedback. Companies that are well talked about and trusted.  Just because you can find a sling at your local WalMart or Target doesn't mean it is superior to one that is only sold online.  There are plenty of wonderful products and businesses that can't meet the low prices or manufacture in the high numbers required to be carried by larger chain stores.  Many of us wahm's who have started businesses did so out of necessity and the slings and carriers we make were designed by trial and error with our own children.  Though many wahm companies have grown quite large (hotslings, Ergo, Maya wrap just to name a few) the basic foundations are the same . . . slings and carriers designed for moms by moms, not by a large corporation.  Most of us started out with 1 goal in mind . . . to help moms wear their babies.  Anything else that may have come from starting a business has just been icing on the cake!
If you are looking for a good sling you can find information and reviews for slings at The Babywearer

Ever reclining in a KK adjustable pouch. (above)  Notice his back is straight, head up
Tummy to tummy in same brand, different color (below)

How to properly wear your baby

A note on Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility has often been overlooked in many areas of our society today.  But ultimately, that is, or should be in the center of everything we do and all the choices we make. Life is about taking responsibility for our actions, from the moment we wake till our head hits the pillow at night.  We make a million choices in a day, some of them are without any thought (do I put my left or right leg in my pants first?) some require a split second decision that is made instinctively (do I pull out into the road now or wait for that car to pass?) others require forethought and some knowledge or education on our part (how do I position my baby in this sling properly?).  This is not to be overlooked when wearing our babies.  A manufacturer can only provide you with a good sound product, directions and warnings, you have to be able to follow the directions and seek help if you have any issues or questions.   We can take responsibility by making sure we are using these products correctly.

I like to provide info on any and all possible ways to use the Kozy so that you, the customer has full information and options.  Some manufacturers don't give info on things like, how to put a newborn on your back, but I like to trust that people will take the info I provide and use it responsibly. 
This is precious cargo we are carrying.  It doesn't mean we have to be fearful.  It doesn't mean you can't try that back carry you have been wanting to try.  It simply means that you think logically.  If you are inexperienced, uncomfortable or unsure you make sure you have someone spotting you and you try new carries while sitting down.  Babywearing correctly is easy and if it isn't intuitive at first it becomes so once you get used to it.  There is nothing more natural and nothing safer than carrying your baby!

 Days old Ever nice and high and snug in the Kozy

Any good sling company should have detailed instructions on how to use their product correctly as well as warnings of what not to do.  Of course we should be cautious that we are carrying all ages of babies and kids correctly, but the dangers being addressed and cautions below apply more to specifically newborns and young babies.  These are overall 'rules' that apply to all carriers as well.  I'll list a few here, but much more detailed information can be found at the links below
  • Make sure your baby is in a good position.  A good position means that the baby is not all balled up with their back curved and their chin on their chest.  It is hard for them to breathe in this position and a newborn may not be able to lift their head to get a better airway.  Readjusting the baby's position or the sling (taking up slack) so that baby's chin is up and back is flat is important and it is fairly easy to do.  They should be held firmly against your body.  Personally, I prefer a tummy to tummy position as opposed to lying down, even with day old newborns.  I find it more comfortable, easier to monitor them and easier to assure proper positioning.  This can be done in most slings and carriers where you can adjust the fabric to pull them in close to your body. 
  • Make sure you can see baby.  I like to wear my newborns up high on my chest where they are easy to monitor.  Usually I will choose tummy 2 tummy but even in more of a reclining position, you should be able to have them up high enough (their bum above your belly button) where you can easily monitor their position and breathing.  Lowering them to nurse is fine, just make sure you can monitor them while they are nursing and reposition them up higher after they are finished nursing.  I have nursed newborns plenty of times in ring slings, wraps, and the Kozy with no issues.  If you are doing a back carry with a newborn you should be able to get them high enough on your back where you can see them over your shoulder.
  • Make sure the baby has an airway.  Most people say to keep the fabric off of the face, and this is good general advice. But like I said above, my newborns would fuss those first few months if they couldn't tuck their head in my wrap.  However, despite the fabric being over their head I was easily able to make sure they had a clear airway with no fabric lying over the front of their face or obstructing their access to fresh air, which is most important.  You just want to use common sense and make sure they are not re-breathing air which can cause problems.
 Days old Ever in the Kozy.  He had just finished nursing and fell asleep.  I didn't raise him all the way back up this time, but I did make sure he was positioned correctly with chin up.

Another good ring sling carry with 2 wk old Arah in a Zolowear

    Here is the Position Paper from the Baby Carrier Industry Alliance.  It is good, accurate information on just how safe babywearing is, and has many professional testimonies to support that!!

    Here is an excellent article by M'liss (she wrote the babywearing 101 article for Mothering's babywearing issue) with lots of pictures on the correct, and incorrect way to position baby in various slings and carriers.

    Jan from Sleeping Baby has recently put up a page about not only the difference between good slings and the potentially dangerous "bag" slings (complete with pictures of the different brands of bag slings) but she also has info on how to properly wear your ring sling.  You can find it HERE.  Make sure you pan down to the bottom of her page.  She has a PDF she made up of business sized cards you can print and cut out to hand to those ignorant, but well meaning strangers or family members who have seen these news reports and question the safety of your sling.
    Excellent job Jan!!

    Babywearing International's Safety Page

    I wanted to send out my thanks to the many babywearing vendors (and friends) who have been working extremely hard, spending their time and money for the past year (or more) traveling to ASTM meetings working to develop sling safety standards that will apply to all slings and carriers.  They are there representing all of us smaller wahm's and manufacturers (as opposed to the big mega corporations who produce babywearing items) so that our voices, thoughts, opinions and carriers are not misunderstood and we are not overlooked. Their work on this is priceless!! 

    2 wk old Thrace in the Didymos


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