Posts Tagged ‘ homebirth ’

Elimination Communication: The New Poop Movement?

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

I complained in my blog last week about how hard it is to change Emmett. And I may end up trying to potty train him early–like at 18 months. Yesterday I ended up with feces on my wrist. Not fun. Then, I came across this: an article in the New York Times about the EC movement. Elimination Communication. Oh, if only I had known this existed…

Actually I was aware of this movement, but honestly didn’t know it had taken off so much. I should have guessed my old stomping grounds of Park Slope was leading the way. Next time I visit I will wear disposable covers on my shoes. Lest I step in kid sh-t.

For those of you who aren’t aware, EC means toilet training your baby from the moment of birth. Read that again. Yes, the minute they come out of the womb, in a sh-t storm of activity, you are supposed to start “observing” their bowel and urinary cues. Yeah, don’t focus on breastfeeding or your recovery, or bonding with your baby. What you need to focus on is when they are about to take a dump. Then rush them to the toilet, hold them over it, and boom, you are on your way to a diaper-free world.

I’m sure I’m going to get everyone hating on me because I’m sure moms and dads who subscribe to EC love their babies just as much as the rest of us. I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here. But I do have to wonder–if you’re spending literally every moment looking for these cues, doesn’t it get a bit distracting? Maybe I’m just jealous since my kid is a disaster to change. But I honestly can’t get my head around infants being able to grasp toilet training. For many, it’s hard to even learn how to latch on. Or to sleep a good stretch. More importantly, when you are a new mom, you are so overwhelmed and exhausted,  I can’t imagine putting this “task/pressure” on your plate.

The part where I am torn is, I do recognize how awful diapers are for the environment. So I dig that those parents aren’t contributing to the landfill. But I don’t want to start seeing signs in the city next to “Curb your dog” that says, “Curb your kid.”

(Sidenote: cloth diapers aren’t necessarily the answer either unless you launder yourself.  I researched it a bit in New York when I was pregnant. If you get a cloth diaper service where they pick up your dirty diapers and give you a fresh set, they apparently still have to launder them like 7 times in bleach. Then the trucks emit carbon gases and burn fuel doing all the deliveries. So it doesn’t seem like a full-on solution. Now I think they make inserts for cloth diapers that are probably a good idea…)

The author of the article, Anemona Hartocollis, says that many parents felt like they were rediscovering an ancient practice. Yup. Uh Huh. Heard that before.

This goes to the root of my annoyance on stuff like this. As in the homebirth movement and the co-sleeping club. If you want to homebirth your baby, go for it, but don’t say it’s because “that’s what they did in centuries past.” Because they did a lot of things back then that I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be down with. Like putting crocodile excrement in your vagina to prevent pregnancy.  It’s true–at least according to some historians researching ancient Egypt. I’m pretty damn happy I live in the modern world. And I’m pretty sure my vagina appreciates it, too.

In all the mommy wars, I don’t get why the go-to argument is often about ways to mimic ancient times. Like the co-sleepers who say we should do it because that’s what they did “back then.” No, actually, that shouldn’t be the reason. In past centuries families had no choice. They were often crowded into one room, and so exhausted from working the fields or the sweatshops that they’d all collapse together. I’m sure they would have loved a crib for their baby. If you want to co-sleep, do it because you love to cuddle with your baby. But then don’t complain when they’re 5 and still sharing your bed. And for heaven’s sake, please don’t make it because of “what they did in the 17th century” Infant mortality rates were horrendous–from curable things like diarrhea–which again, thank god, we have the modern medicine and sanitary conditions of the present day.

But I digress–I’ve said all this before in my blogs on these topics.

The author goes on to say that parents mostly do EC because they like being “in touch with their babies’ most intimate functions.” REALLY? I don’t know about you, but when Emmett poops, as much as I love him, I don’t smell roses. Poop and pee aren’t the things I love most about my kids. Or even second or third most. Yeah, I get it on some level…like when Fia started to get this far away look and grunt, I knew she was pooping. And as only a mom can understand, I found it cute. She was at least 6 months by then. Nowadays, some of our funniest conversations are when she is sitting on the toilet. So some of this resonates, but to make it an actual “movement” sounds like something for people who have too much time on their hands.

The article quotes one mom who says, “I have absolutely been at parties and witnessed people putting their baby over the sink.”  She goes on to say that one person took “…her baby and her bowl to a party, held her naked baby over the bowl…” I guess they were close friends. But still…doesn’t this seem a bit, well, affected??  Indulgent perhaps? Upper class hipster, um, crap?

My favorite part of this isn’t the article but the comments. I guess the people of the EC movement apparently have weekly support groups. One person left a comment saying she had 20 babies at her house while I guess the parents discussed at length the art of pooping. She said no one had an accident…but honestly, I can’t think of anything worse than taking my precious time, and the time of my baby, to go to a support group that revolves around sh-t. A playground sounds way more fun, right?

But the best was from a “Mom of 2″ in New York who says that people who don’t do the EC method are, you ready for this? L-A-Z-Y parents!!! Here’s her quote: “You know when your baby needs to go: after a meal, when wakes up from sleep etc. Just follow the pattern. Not doing it and continuing using diapers under pretense of various theories is a cover for a lazy parent. It’s a shame when your child can walk and talk and wears a diaper.”

People, people, how did we get here? I am seriously flummoxed. Guess it’s time for me to check out. I’ve never been so excited to change a diaper….

pic of poop via shutterstock
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My Favorite Blog Posts of 2012

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

It’s 2013. Time to toot my horn! Time to tell you my favorite blogs that I wrote from 2012. This, in hopes you have so much free time, you’ll dive in and read all of them! Yes, I’m starting off the New Year giving you work and working on my own issue with modesty (screw those resolutions).

In all honesty, I’m going to throw my editor, Sherry, under the bus and tell the truth: She asked me to give a list of my favorite blog posts from last year. I’m not saying this to brag, but it was actually really hard to choose. Do I go funny? Serious? Newsy? Controversial? Each post I do is so personal and most of them I really try and put something out there that I feel strongly about. Whether by humor or conviction.

In the end, I picked a variety of subjects and tone. The ones I left out, but am still really glad I wrote (in case you feel like getting extra credit) are the saddest. The nanny who allegedly stabbed two kids to death, the Connecticut Shootings, the Penn State (my alma mater) molestation scandal. There actually is one that is incredibly sad that I did choose. But it’s a more personal sadness. You will know which one I’m talking about below. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. The Failure Hour. My most brilliant invention yet, and what I think every mom should do!

2. Fia Turning Three. Before you roll your eyes or skip over this one, I urge you to read it (assuming you have kids. Why else would you be reading my blog unless you’re really really bored?). It’s not just about Fia. It’s about the unquenchable love these babies bring to our lives.  And our quest to hold onto it. Tight.

3. Losing Justin. The magnitude of loss is still hard to fathom. Father of two young boys. Son to my Baba Yaga. My first cousin. When Justin was killed, so many hearts shattered. I would do anything to turn back time and say it isn’t so.  I want people to read this to understand how quickly life can change. And to send peace and light to all of us who will forever grieve his death.

4. Losing My Mom. I wrote this on the one-year anniversary of my mom’s death. It actually gave me great peace to write it and to know she is in a better place. Especially since much of her life was so tragic.

5. My Embarrassing Pregnancy Problem. Okay, this has the word “Ugly Vag” in the first sentence. How can you not be intrigued?

6. Should Depressed People Procreate? Hell yeah! I did and I have the happiest babies on the block.  Lots of judgment here from those who have never been depressed.

7. The Death of Rody. I’m happy to report we have a new one. He is blue. And he’s an indoor Rody now. This, after the still-mysterious toy killer hit our yard. Last night we saw SIX–yes SIX coyotes on our street. I have my suspicions…I’m thinking coyote puppies who are teething…

8. Homebirth–I Don’t Get it. And still don’t. But I will say I am lessening my judgement with baby #2 on a few things…like cosleeping. I still believe strongly in sleep training. But I do get on some level why people sleep with their babies–because they are delicious. I do it from time to time. And did quite a bit with Emmett for the first 8 months. I just think you have to have a baseline of good sleep, both yours and your baby’s, before you go down that road.

9. A Monkey Made Me Lactate. Enough said.

10. Why The Boob Rocks. You would think this post would have been well-received by most. But oh no. There is a line in there that stirred so much controversy, I had to open another bottle of wine while blissfully nursing Emmett. In fact, I got so drunk I passed out and decided to make drinking to oblivion while breastfeeding a nightly habit. In fact, I’m in a blackout now.

 

Blog icon courtesy of Shutterstock

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Why Do Co-Sleepers Use the Past As Their Argument?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Here’s what really gets to me when I talk about sleep training. So many of the co-sleepers defend their position by comparing what people did in the dark ages with babies. Here is an example from last week’s post:

“In tribal times, you would have never made your baby cry all alone in a crib. And we wonder what’s wrong with society!!…Until the 1920′s, babies have slept with their parents for centuries. It’s still the norm in all other cultures other than in America.”

I’m not singling out this particular person. I appreciate she read my blog and took the time to comment. But this is the type of thing I generally see when discussing sleep training.

First of all, let’s get the facts straight. America is not the only country to put babies in a crib. Most of the developed world doesn’t co-sleep. That includes Europe and Asia too, which encompasses, oh, a few countries here and there. Let’s not forget Canada. You think crib makers only sell to the United States? Seriously?

But my real annoyance is the comparison of current day to that of tribal and biblical times and what those in third world countries do. I’m pretty sure a villager in Africa would be thrilled with a crib. I am guessing that is the least of their worries though.

Has anyone ever toured the Tenement Museum in NYC? It’s an amazing place. They have reconstructed a real tenement to show how families used to live. This is before housing and labor–including child labor–laws were enacted.  It was commonplace for a family of 8-10 to live in a 300-square foot space with no running water or electricity. No indoor plumbing. There was no room for cribs or separate bedrooms. Infants routinely died from diarrhea. Sanitation was completely lacking. To use those times as a barometer for what is good for today seems completely ludicrous to me.

Also, you think none of these people from past generations let their babies cry? Think again. Whether you were working all day in the fields or in the sweatshops of New York, don’t you imagine that parents were completely exhausted and just collapsed at night? They probably slept through a crying baby. If they did wake up, sure, mom put the baby on the boob so they could both sleep. I get it. It’s called survival.

Today in Sub-Saharan Africa, one in four babies under the age of 5 dies. Who wants to compare those statistics to what we have?

I know what you’re going to say: infant mortality rates have nothing to do with co-sleeping (unless you suffocate your baby, which does happen and thus why the AAP recommends against it).

But what irks me is this instant assumption that if something was practiced “for centuries” and still exists in villages in Africa, that we should use that as an argument for practices today. I spoke before about this in my case against homebirth.

There was a time when pregnant women were routinely drugged into a “Twilight Sleep” and strapped down unconscious to give birth. They were also given a pill to prevent their milk from coming in. Hard to fathom right? Seems completely insane. Inhumane even. But just because I believe in hospital births, epidurals and the beauty of modern medicine and vaccines doesn’t mean that I concur with the major and egregious practices of the past.

So sure, come up with why co-sleeping works for you: that you love having your baby snuggled tight next to you; that it’s a way for everyone to get more sleep; that it is your bonding time. Those reasons make sense. I did it too. Still do for weekend naps. Put Em on the boob and we drift off. It is heaven. It didn’t work for me at night because I was too paranoid of rolling on him. I was up constantly checking myself.  Now he’s in his crib and doing really well. So whatever works.

But for those of us who want to sleep train and have our babies in their cribs getting an uninterrupted 12-hour stretch of one of the most basic human needs, please don’t point to history and lambast us for our decision. And for the record, here is a recent study that backs up why sleep (and thus, sleep training for those babies who don’t just fall into it naturally) is so crucial. I’m just saying…..

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

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I’m Turning Hippie–For a Moment

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Will This Cure Me?

Author’s Note: I wrote a few posts before going to the hospital to deliver. I am probably still there now, getting to know my new baby so  I may be slow in getting back to the comments, but I will soon. Promise.

Okay, so I posted about my irrational pregnancy fears and my oldest friend Kirsten, who lives in Mexico, wrote to me. She had read my blog (what a good friend) and was urging me to try “flower essences” as a way to cure my obsessive phobias.  If she hadn’t been my friend since 4th grade, I would have immediately rolled my eyes. I take a plethora of herbs, but I am also a big believer in modern medicine. As in drugs.

But I got to thinking, maybe it’s worth a shot. Can’t hurt.

So I found myself at the health food store this week buying Bach Flowers based on her recommendations:

1. Crab apple (for obsessing over cleanliness and purity)

2. Mimulus (for fear of specific things…like spiders)

3. Cherry Plum (for feeling like you are about to lose it!!)

It cost me nearly $60 for 3 small vials. I am trying not to think about how much good wine I could have drank. But Kirsten is so passionate about it I didn’t want to let her down (maybe I need a tonic for co-dependency??).

She said the following to me via email:

Seriously if you haven’t been experimenting with Bach essences as a mom…it’s time to!! I don’t think I could have gotten through the last years without them. They are an integral part of my family’s emotional well-being. What’s more beautiful than flower drops to balance out negative emotional states?? They’re subtle but profound…and you can avoid the drugs! 

I happen to like the drugs. But am happy to try and experiment with the natural too. Just don’t think I’m going to advocate homebirth next.

Okay, off to drink….flowers.  Stay tuned for my progress report.

P.S. If any of you are interested in learning more, her email is  flowerkirsten@yahoo.com. She does private consultations and all that jazz. She’s a certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant too. I can barely spell all that. But it sounds impressive. And having been a life long friend, I know she is the real deal.

 

Picture of homeopathic medicine via Shutterstock

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Hospital Bag Envy

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Got my sunscreen. Got my hat. Ready for vacation!

I have hospital bag envy. My fellow blogger Berit, who shares my same due date (though mine is moved up due to a scheduled C-section) has posted about what she is taking to the hospital. Good god is she organized. All I have packed so far are earplugs so I can sleep.

I think one of the reasons I’m blowing it off a bit is because I keep thinking of Cedars-Sinai as a spa. Like Bliss. They’ll have all the beautiful toiletries and lavender wraps I need.

When I delivered with Fia at Columbia-Presbyterian in New York, we had these beautiful birthing rooms. Sadly, I never birthed in mine, though I did get 24 hours in it, looking out to Yankee Stadium while doctors shoved hands up me trying to turn her (she was head down, but sunny-side up). I was wheeled into the OR for the C-section, then taken to my room. In my case, we were allotted 4 nights. Let me tell you: it was like going from the Taj Mahal to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The rooms were tiny. And painted a dingy yellow. The floor tiles were stained with rust. Or was it blood? You couldn’t drink the water–or even brush your teeth with it. Apparently a few years ago they discovered bacteria in the pipes and have yet to remedy the problem. This is one of the top hospitals in the country, but even if we hadn’t moved to LA, and even though I loved my doctor, it would have been hard to want to birth there again.

There was one dingy light above our bed. Fluorescent. It made a buzzing noise.

It was so dark and dismal, that on day 2 the nurse held Fia up to the window to see if she had jaundice. She said she could never tell in the rooms because the paint is yellow, so she relies on the natural light coming in the small window. Fia did have jaundice. Thank you window light.

I could have brought a steamer trunk of supplies and I still would have felt dirty. We were right by the main door, so the security buzzer went off constantly, 24/7. We left after 3 nights, thinking even with the C-section and my swollen legs and traumatized vag, we’d be better off at home. And we were. (Not for birthing though. Still not a fan of homebirth!).

So now, even though I didn’t visit Cedars (just did a virtual online tour) I keep thinking I’m going to the Four Seasons. People say it’s really nice and they aren’t even coming from my third world experience.  I picture fluffy pillows and soft blankets. Sometimes when I’m daydreaming I picture a massage. I’m sure I’m up for a rude awakening–as it is still a hospital–and I will still be cut open. But this time I plan to stay the entire time if it’s even half as good as Columbia-Presbyterian. Plus, my father in law will be at our house and he has developed a constant humming habit. So I’d have to wear earplugs regardless of where I was.

I need to use Berit’s list to get my own bag packed. Time is running out to get ready for my spa week….err, the birth of my baby I mean.

Suitcase pic via Shutterstock

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