SCREEN TIME

SCREEN TIME

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It’s safe to say We all know screen time in excess can be harmful to infants and toddlers. And I’m sure we all know it’s not great for older kids either. So, why is it that so many young kids are getting so much screen time? Well, because parents are tired and it’s often easier to plant your kid in front of a TV.

Quality caregiving requires so much of our time and energy. It’s understandable why you would want a few minutes to yourself.

I’m not here to tell you how much screen time your kids should be getting, ultimately that’s up to you. I’m also not trying to make you believe a few minutes of TV is going to damage your kid forever. I’m simply sharing the reasons my partner and I have decided to limit our little guys time in front of the TV.

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The AAP suggest TV for children under two, and no more that 1-2 hours a day for older children. For my family these recommendations ably to anything with a screen, not just TV. We don’t allow our son to play with phones, tablets, or watch television right now (he’s six months), and when he’s older his screen time will be limited. If you’d like some information about how to break your family’s TV habit, this article is extremely helpful.

So at this point, I’m sure you’re all wondering why we don’t let our little man have screen time.  Well, if I’m perfectly honest we weren’t always this way. In the beginning, we were like most parents and believed it was perfectly fine for out newborn to watch TV with us. It wasn’t until a few month in that we changed our minds. I started to notice how focused Walter was when we would watch TV together. He was always perfectly still, and quiet. At first, I thought this was great because I was able to do the things I wanted while Walter was watching TV. However, the more I observed him, the more worried I became. Whenever he was in front of the TV he became a zombie. It was almost like he was in a trance, and that really freaked me out.

Once I started doing more research about the effects of screen time on little ones, we just swore it off. Don’t get me wrong here, there are times Walter catches a glimpse of a screen every now and then. Media is everywhere, it’s impossible to keep him away from screens completely and I’m okay with that. I don’t see any harm in a few seconds ( or minutes) of screen time once in a while. The problems start when young kids spend hours in front of a screen.

Recent studies have shown excessive screen time can lead to delayed language development, connotative issues, and some have even linked it to ADHD. In fact, Dr. Ari Brown, the lead author on the American Academy of Pediatrics said, “The concern for risk is that some kids who watch a lot of media actually have poor language skills, so there’s a deficit in their language development. We also have concerns about other developmental issues because they’re basically missing out on other developmentally appropriate activities,”. Countless other studies have show that children don’t understand what they’re watching on TV until around age two.

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I do want to take a moment to touch on the difference between passive and active screen time. Passive screen time is just plopping your kid in front of a screen and expecting it to babysit them. Whereas active screen time is something like a Skype call or face-timing with a relative. There is a HUGE difference between the two! Georgene Troseth, a Vanderbilt University developmental psychologist conducts some of the country’s leading research on children and screens. She says, “We’re finding pretty consistently — in fact, two recent studies with actual Skype [calls] — that children do seem to learn better when there is social interaction from a person on video. So it’s kind of encouraging with FaceTime or Skype for parents and grandparents to know that [with] that interaction, the children might actually be willing to learn from a person on a screen because of the social interaction showing them what’s on the screen is connected to their lives,”.

If you’d like more information about raising a child without screen time, Mama natural has a fantastic blog post discussing the topic. You can find that here.

I’d like to stress how important it is to do what works best for your family. If you choose to use interactive media with your child make sure you find a healthy balance. Actually take the time to sit down with them, and get involved, that’s going to be more valuable than anything else.

xoxo

Destiny

Starting Baby on Solids

Starting Baby on Solids

I often get asked why my son hasn’t started solids yet, or what foods I want to start him on. So in this post, I’ll be going over why we haven’t started solids, when we plan to, and what foods we’ll start with. Enjoy!

WHY WE WAITED

My partner and I decided before Walter was even born that we were going to wait until he showed true signs of food readiness before we gave him anything other than breast milk. There are a thousand and one reasons why parents delay introducing solid into their babies diet. The most simple being babies only need breast milk ( or formula) to thrive. I know, it’s shocking! I’m sure someone’s mother in law just fell out of her seat. Unfortunately today it’s not uncommon for mothers and fathers to be encouraged by their doctor, or family to start solid food long before baby’s digestive system is ready. Introducing solids before baby is ready (especially grains) has been linked to food allergies later on in life. If you have a history of allergies in your family, the longer you wait the better.

WHY WE’LL NEVER GIVE OUR SON BABY CEREAL 

We chose not to give our son baby cereals for two main reasons. Number one being that babies can’t digest grains before the age of one, and two because rice cereal has been known to contain arsenic! Parents are often encouraged to give their baby cereal to held them sleep better. There is no scientific evidence that supports that theory, in fact, many recent studies have disproved it altogether. The reason people think it helps babies sleep is because it binds their tummies. The main reason babies wake up at night is to poop. If you give them a bottle filled with cereal, they’ll theoretically sleep longer. Not because their tummy is full, and they’re satisfied but because they’re constipated. As for the arsenic, I won’t go into too much detail about why I don’t want my son eating that. I’m sure most people will agree we shouldn’t be feeding our children a deadly poison. If you’d like to read more about it on your own here is a link to the FDA website.baby semolina isolated on white background

 

WHEN WILL WE FEED OUR SON SOLIDS 

The short answer is when he’s ready. I know that’s not the answer you guys are looking for so I’ll elaborate. I believe no baby should receive solid food before the age of six months. the AAP even states for optimal health and wellness babies should be breastfed for the first six months of their life. With that being said we obviously weren’t going to feed our son anything other than breast milk before he was six months old. Along with that, we chose to wait until he showed other signs of food readiness. For example:

  • A desire for something other than milk. Babies often show a desire to play with food before they are actually ready to eat it. I’ll just take a second to mention my usual disclaimer, of course, every baby is different, use your intuition when it comes to feeding your baby. Your little on may show signs of food readiness long another. Always do what YOU think is best.
  • An ability to pick up small objects. I believe it’s important to allow our little ones to feed themselves, in order for them to do so they’ll need to have developed their pincher grasp. This is when baby uses his thumb and forefinger to pick things up.
  • The ability to sit on their own. This is extremely important because this skill is needed to allow baby to swallow properly. Wait until your little one can sit on his own for several minutes before introducing solids.
  • Last but not least baby should have lost his tongue thrust reflex. This is the reflex that causes a baby to immediately push anything thicker than milk out of their mouth. I’m sure you’ve all seen a mom feeding their baby a jar of baby food and the little one immediately pushes it out of their mouth and mom scoops it up with a spoon and shoves it back in. All for the baby to spit it right back out again. If your little one does this, it may be a sign he isn’t ready for solids yet.

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WHAT FOODS WILL WE START WITH

Mostly likely we will start with avocado. Mainly because when it’s ripe is soft enough for Walter to chew without it having to be cooked first. Plus it’s high in fat which is fantastic for brain development. We plan on offering him other soft ripe fruits such as bananas, mango, and peaches. I often hear parents talk about how they are afraid of offering their baby too many sweet fruits, fearing they will only eat sugary foods and no crave the savory taste of vegetables. I’m not worried about this but to debunk this theory let discuss the natural craving for sugar. We are by nature fruit eaters. I know this comes as a surprise to most but just stick with me. Breast milk is naturally sweet, whereas cow’s milk isn’t. This is because humans are designed to have a diet high in sugars (natural sugars of course). Humans thrive in the tropics, where natural tree ripened fruit is the most abundant source of calories. In our natural environment, we would be drawn to fruits because it’s much easier to sit under a mango tree and eat until your heart’s delight than it is the hunt, kill, skin, and eat an animal.

whatever food your choose to start with is up to you. However, I do want to stress the importance of seeking out the highest quality, organic food possible. It is incredibly important to feed our little one’s food free of pesticides and chemicals, not only is it better for their bodies it’s also better for our environment. Shop at farmers markets whenever you can. This is the best way to get organic, nutrient dense foods. Plus you’ll be supporting a local small business 😉

I do want to stress that before the age of one breast milk should be your child’s primary source of calories. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.”

However, you choose to feed your child always remember they are a reflection of ourselves. If you want your child to love fruits and vegetables YOU have to love them! One of my favorite bloggers once said “If you are a mom or dad who is trying to feed your kids healthy whole plant foods, and are surrounded by negativity and discouragement to do so, I encourage you to press forward. You are not alone. You will never influence the world by trying to be like it.” -Ellen Fisher.

 

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xoxo

Destiny.

Attachment Parenting

Attachment Parenting

For me, parenting has been a very complex journey. It’s the hardest thing I’ve even done, however it has brought me a tremendous amount of joy and happiness. I’ve found that as parents we all face the same struggles, and we all hope to reap the rewards of confident, successful, and happy children. We are all just trying to do our best.

There are so many choices to make from the food you feed your children to the way they sleep. All of this can be incredibly overwhelming. I know so many families who choose to meet their children’s needs in vastly different ways. For me, I have chosen to parent outside of the norm.

My partner and I chose a more natural form of parenting. For us that means making informed decisions about our son’s medical care and choosing a holistic approach whenever possible, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, and many more decisions that don’t fall in line with a more traditional, adult-centered style of parenting.

I know that all parents get negative feedback on their style of parenting. I have encountered many people who don’t agree with my decisions and that’s okay. Below you’ll find the ways I stay sane when it feels like almost everyone has something to say about how I’ve chosen to raise my son. Enjoy.

Seek out like-minded people

I’ve found that online support from facebook groups is my saving grace.  This is my safe space to discuss information with parents who share the same beliefs I do. This applies to any style of parent. Find people with similar views, and hang out with them. Trust me it will keep you from pulling your hair out.

Have research to back you up

This one mainly applies to my crunchy mamas. Whenever you chose holistic care over more traditional care people are going to give you shit. Therefore I am always seeking out new information to help me feel more confident with my decision. The more I read, the more I learn and the better I feel when talking to people who don’t agree with my decisions.

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Don’t let other people’s thoughts influence your beliefs 

You can’t please everyone. You will always encounter someone who doesn’t agree with you. Try your hardest to offer information in a calm respectful manner. If that doesn’t work simply walk away. Always remember you don’t have to justify your decisions to anyone, and most importantly you don’t have to argue! If they don’t like it, that’s their issue, not yours.

It’s not always the most convenient but it’s worth it.

When I first read about attachment parenting I knew that was the way I wanted to raise my children. It’s just what made sense to me. Along the road I’ve debated my choice many times but I’ve never given up. My partner and I believe this is what id best for our son, that doesn’t mean it’s what is easiest for us. Trust me We’ve struggled. People told us we were crazy when we decided to co-sleep, they called us baby killers because we don’t vaccinate, they told us our son would hate not being circumcised, and they swore up and down we’d regret not having a stroller. What I trying to say is we’ve dealt with our share of hate and it hasn’t been easy. Through it all we’ve stuck to our guns, and trusted the process, because of that we have a beautiful, happy, healthy six-month-old son.

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If any of your are parents and are struggling know that you’re not alone.Trust your instincts, you know more than you think you do.

 

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xoxo

Destiny

Crunchy Mama Must Haves

Crunchy Mama Must Haves

Hello my sweet sweet friends! I’m glad you’re back. I decided to post a list of my top crunchy must haves. When I was pregnant I read tons of these to get an idea of what I might need for baby. If you’re expecting, or if or looking for more natural products this is the post for you. Enjoy! Oh and to make things a little easier for you I’ve included links to where you can buy all the products listed.

1. The Windi 

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These little beauties are a life saver. I seriously don’t know what I would have done without them. When my son was dealing with terrible gas pain I would use a windi and it seconds my little guy would be gas free. They are safe, effective, and a better option than giving your little one medicine (in my opinion).

2.Gripe Water

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If you’re looking for something to help with more that just gas I would try gripe water. This is great for colic and hiccups! It’s made from all natural ingredients which gives me peace of mind. Whenever my little guy was having a hard time with hiccups, I would gibe him a little bit of this and poof they were gone!

3. Baby Carrier

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A baby carrier is a must-have for any new mom in my opinion! This helps a ton with getting things done around the house, or just getting in some extra snuggles. If you have a baby that doesn’t like to be put down popping them in a carrier meets their needs as well as helping mama keep her sanity! They one I’m wearing here is a chimparoo woven wrap. I rented this from my local baby wearing group and I love it! I’ve tried a few different carriers and woven wraps are my favorite so far. A few other great ones are ring slings and soft structured carriers.

4. Coconut Oil

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The last thing on the list coconut oil. This is my go to for EVERYTHING! I used this when I first started nursing, and it helped a ton with sore nipples. I also mix it with a little bit of breast milk and use it as diaper rash cream. Coconut oil is the only thing I use for my little guy as far as a moisturizer.

I hope this little list helps you find some natural baby products. Each and every one of these products are staples in our household, I seriously couldn’t live without them. Make sure you check back on Sunday for a new post. If you haven’t already make sure you subscribe. When you enter your email you’ll automatically get notifications when I have a new post.  Make sure you post some of your baby must-haves in the comments!

xoxo

Destiny

 

WHY WE LEFT OUR SON INTACT

WHY WE LEFT OUR SON INTACT

Originally this post was supposed to go up on Wednesday, I’m sorry for the delay.  I spent a lot of time debating if I was going to make this post at all. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the potential backlash. After careful consideration, I decided I would go ahead with the post.

Someone very close to me told me “If you believe in something this much you shouldn’t be afraid to share it.” So I’m making this post for all the new moms who are debating circumcision. I hope my story helps you find the answers you’re looking for.

DISCLAIMER: This is just my families story. I am by no means saying you should make the same choice we do. Please DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOUR FAMILY! Also, I am in no way trying to make those who did circumcise their sons feel guilty, or saying they are bad parents.  I will be including pictures or procedures, links to videos of the procedure being performed on newborns. This content may be disturbing to some viewers. Please proceed with caution 

So I guess I’ll start by telling you all the definition of circumcise. It’s defined on Merriam-Webster as “to cut off the foreskin of (a male) or the prepuce or clitoris and labia minora of (a female)”.  Yes, you read that right females have foreskin as well, but more on that later. Next, We’ll discuss why people circumcise. The three main reasons are a religion (however for your sake and mine I won’t be discussing religious reasons in depth), medical necessity, and culture.

Religion: Like I said I won’t be going into to much detail here. Just know people circumcise their children for religious reasons. To my knowledge, this is found in most religions, but Judaism is the most common. If you’re a person of faith and anything I’ve stated here is incorrect please feel free to correct me.

Medical necessity: This is where things can get a little confusing. In the past, it was believed circumcision prevented STD transmission, penile cancer, UTI’s. More recent studies have found this to be false.

Culture: In most countries, newborn baby boys are NOT  circumcised. This is really only an American custom. In our society intact men are seen as dirty, or ugly. We’ve become so accustomed to seeing circumcised penises that men left in their natural state are ostracized. If you’d like more info about the rates of newborn circumcision click this link.

Now that we’ve learned a little bit about circumcision lets get into why my partner and I chose not to circumcise.

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Honestly, it started with this picture. I stumbled across this while researching circumcision and I couldn’t stomach the thought of my little baby being strapped into this thing. The thought of him being in pain because of something I wanted shook me to my core. His body = His choice.

After I found this picture I looked into a video called elephant in the hospital I’ve included a link if you’d like to watch it for yourself. This documentary opened my eyes even more. I started to think about my son’s basic human rights. How could I cut something off of him without his permission? I’ll put it like this, If a doctor came to you and said your baby would look a lot better without his toes would you cut them off? Of course not! That sound insane, so why are we so willing to cut off a part of our child’s penis? Why do we believe boys are born needing to be fixed? I soon learned it wasn’t just boys we had done this to. Young girls were also subjected to genital mutilation (FGM). The practice of FGM was used from the 1800s until the late 1970s to cure everything from female masturbation to lesbianism; It was finally outlawed in the US in 1996. All of that sounds insane, doesn’t it?  We can’t imagine strapping a little girl down to a table and letting a doctor cut off parts of her genitalia, so why are we doing it to our sons!  More information about FGM can be found here.

The more I researched the angrier I became. Then I learned that some babies actually die from complications of this barbaric procedure. A recent study conducted found that 117 boys die annually from circumcision-related complications. You can read more about the study here.  The fact that male genital mutilation hasn’t been outlawed based on those numbers is astounding. Here an example to help you put things into perspective. Remember drop-side cribs? In the late 2000s, it was reported that children were dropping the side of their cribs and either suffocating or strangling themselves. The CPSC banned drop-side cribs after 38 reported deaths. You can find more on that right here.  Once I discovered this information I knew circumcision was not the right choice for my family.

Like I said in the beginning, this is just my family’s story. I’m not trying to make anyone feeling guilty about their decision to circumcise or not to. My only hope is that this will open people’s eyes a little. Do your own research and come to your own conclusion. Circumcision wasn’t the right choice for my family. DO WHAT’S BEST FOR YOURS.

I’ve included a few extra links to videos of the procedure being done on a newborn baby. I’ll go ahead and warn you it’s graphic. View discretion is advised.

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xoxo

Destiny

 

 

THINGS YOUNG PARENTS HEAR TOO OFTEN.

THINGS YOUNG PARENTS HEAR TOO OFTEN.

Hello, my sweet sweet friends! If you’re a young parent like myself I hope you find this post funny! If you’re someone who has ever said any of these things to a parent you should be ashamed of yourself. Enjoy!!

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1.GOD, THAT SUCKS!

This is probably the first thing I heard when I announced I was pregnant. I get it, getting pregnant at twenty isn’t ideal, but pointing out a shitty situation doesn’t make it any less shitty. If you’ve even had a friend tell you they’re expecting a child think twice before you say this to them. Seriously, it hurts.

2. DON’T YOU WISH YOU WOULD HAVE WAITED?

I’m sure there are some people in their early twenties who couldn’t wait to have kids. So I’m sure when they found out they were expecting they couldn’t have been happier. For myself (and I’m sure for most people) this couldn’t be further from the truth. In the beginning, I was not excited, or happy at all. I was terrified and confused. I literally cried for about a week straight. That being said, when someone tells you they’re expecting a little one (most likely a little earlier than they thought they would) don’t insult them by pointing out the obvious. YES, they probably wish they would have waited. They’ve decided to roll with it, so they don’t need you pointing that out captain obvious.

3. HOPEFULLY, THEY DON’T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE YOU DID. 

If you’ve ever said this to someone go tell that person you’re sorry! I can’t count the time I’ve had someone tell me this, but each time it happens my heart breaks. This is possibly the worst thing you could say to someone expecting a baby. If you don’t have children of your own then you don’t understand how scary it can be. Seriously, everything gets scary after you have a child. Trust me, parents have enough on their minds already. They don’t need you making them feel like they’re going to mess up their kid. Believe me, they already worry about that all the time.

4. YOU’RE DOING ____ WRONG!

Feel free to fill in the blank with whatever you’d like. If you’re a parent I’m sure you’ve heard this a few times. When you become a parent it’s like people automatically assume you want their opinion. You can expect to hear from anyone and everyone how you’re doing something the wrong way. For my readers who don’t have children I’ll go ahead and let you know, there is NO right way to raise a child.

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Well, there you have it, folks, a list of things you should NEVER say to a parent! I hope you enjoyed. A new mid-week post will be up on Wednesday. I’ll be sharing a little bit about why my son isn’t circumcised. If you haven’t subscribed make sure you do, so you’ll never miss a post. When you enter your email you’ll be signed up to receive reminders whenever I post!

xoxo

Destiny