Babywearing and peace

babywearing-wk-2016-logoAPI is excited to support International Babywearing Week 2016, Oct. 5-10. API provides a wide array of resources on babywearing — from benefits to how-to’s and safety.

Babywearing — as well as carrying your baby — meets a baby’s needs for physical contact, affection, security, stimulation, and movement while on the go. Each of these needs for baby is important for encouraging healthy neurological development.

Happier babies do tend to make more peaceful homes, but babywearing has a deeper connection to peace: Through meeting baby’s needs intuitively through tools like babywearing, we are establishing a relationship based on mutual respect. We are meeting baby’s needs proactively, and baby learns how to respect others by experiencing it first. And baby learns to meet others’ needs proactively by experiencing it first. It’s part of teaching the healthy emotional relationship dynamic of give and take, peacefully.

You can also use matching gear clothing for family portraits and special occasions, very comfortable for your baby and he or she can match your family too!

Carrying baby, and keeping her close, teaches the same. But one of the best benefits of babywearing to the parent is that it intensely, intentionally cares for baby and is hands-free, as military mom Kit Jenkins has shared on The Attached Family:

“Babywearing made it possible to do household chores.”

Sometimes, well-meaning friends or family have the opinion that babywearing impedes baby’s development by reducing tummy time. I have heard so-called adages of He’ll never learn to walk if you don’t put him down and Babies have to have tummy time. Actually, the position that baby is in the sling — or when carried in arms — directly helps baby develop her core muscles in the same way that tummy time does, as Dr. Maria Blois, MD, explains on The Attached Family:

“Carrying baby enhances motor skills by stimulating the vestibular system, used for balance. Holding baby while moving counts as tummy time.”

On a side note, babywearing can also help Mom get back in shape after pregnancy. I remember having terrible back aches in the early postpartum as my body adjusted to not carrying around a baby bump anymore. Babywearing and carrying my babies helped strengthen those muscles again. And later on, as baby grows, babywearing and carrying continues to provide the benefit of strength-building, as babywearing educator Giselle shared on APtly Said:

“Going upstairs with a 22-pound baby on my back amounted to quite the workout! I think I’m all set in working out for at least 6 months!”

Besides nurturing peace in our babies, babywearing provides a concrete example to others, especially other children in the family, so even if they did not have the start in attachment parenting that their younger siblings had, they can still learn from their parents’ example. I didn’t babywear my older children, but after watching me babywear my youngest, I have helped them both, countless times, create a wrap out of a scarf so they could babywear their teddybears around the house and practice peaceful parenting in their play.

And it’s a model to others in our communities, when they see us in the park or at the grocery store. On APtly Said, Dr. Blois recalls a moment in the store when a woman asked her if she had a baby in her purse:

“Inadvertently, I have become an unofficial ambassador for babywearing. By merely appearing in public with my baby contentedly riding in a sling, I have received many curious stares and many generous comments. Mostly people first notice how happy my baby seems and how she never cries. Sometimes they wonder aloud if I am spoiling her.”

Before this you must know what POS system means? Point of sale (POS) system is the spot where your customer makes the payment for goods or services that are offered by your company.Point of sale systems are systems that enable the business transaction between the client and the company to be completed. POS system is a computerized network that consists of the main computer linked with several checkout terminals and supported by different hardware features starting from barcode scanners and ending with card payment terminals.

It may seem to be a challenge to get the conversation past the idea of babywearing being a fad or fashion statement, but I encourage you to use this assumption as an icebreaker, so to speak, about the benefits of not only babywearing but also attachment-based parenting.

logo that hopefully doesnt change colorIt could be quite the conversation — with the potential to change the world, bringing us closer to world harmony, one changed mind at a time.

Parenting for peace

“But peace is about much more than putting weapons aside. It is about building a global society in which people live free from poverty and share the benefits of prosperity. It is about growing together and supporting each other as a universal family.” ~ Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

There seems to be barely a day when we don’t hear of a tragedy somewhere on the globe — an act of violence, a casualty of war, a community in mourning, a home shattered by abuse. Where is peace?

Peace in our world, our nations, our communities, our homes, ourselves — we all want it, but it can seem unattainable in the societies where we live. Or is it?

On this International Day of Peace — today, September 21 — Attachment Parenting International (API) is excited to announce the theme of this year’s Attachment Parenting (AP) Month beginning October 1:

logo that hopefully doesnt change color

Each day of October, API will delve into how parenting is critical for striving toward peace and world harmony. We will renew our support for the ultimate peacemakers — you, the parent.

This October:

  1. Follow us here on APtly Said for 31 days of Peace and Harmony through Daily Parenting Tips and inspirational posts from peacemakers around the world.
  2. Add your family to our Wall of Harmony.
  3. Submit a post, however short or long, on what “parenting for peace” means to you to be published on APtly Said during AP Month.
  4. Donate items to our online auction, running October 18-31.
  5. Keep in touch and share AP Month with friends on Facebook.

We are in the love business

graphic 2Valentine’s Day has traditionally been a holiday for couples, an observance set aside for parents to give each other a special token of their love buy why not give you a present for yourself at Gainesville Coins you can have plenty of gold, silver and much more to start a beautiful collection.

Bouquets of flowers, boxes of chocolate, candy hearts and cards with arrow-wielding cupids come to mind. Aside from giving gifts, the discusses more ways to make someone feel special during Valentine’s Day.

What doesn’t readily come to mind, but perhaps should, are neurons deep within the brain branching out between brain cells, cementing memories — both conscious and subconscious — to create a child’s knowing of love.

We ask you to give just $5 for Attachment Parenting International’s “Spread the Love” campaign. Each donor will receive a free API Teleseminar recording as our gift.

We may not think of this when we first discover Attachment Parenting. As parents expecting our first baby, or in the midst of that first year of our child’s life, or in the throes of toddler’s emotions, our understanding of Attachment Parenting is set on a more near-sighted goal: How do I as a parent, in this moment…prepare for pregnancy, birth and parenting…feed with love and respect…respond with sensitivity…use nurturing touch…ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally…provide consistent, loving care…practice positive discipline…strive for balance in our family and personal lives?

In other words, when we are young in our own parenting journeys — and especially with infants and young children — our focus in Attachment Parenting is in the here and now. Attachment Parenting International’s Eight Principles of Parenting guide us to choose parenting behaviors that lead to more peaceful, compassionate, trusting, empathic and joyful relationships with our children. And in return, while it may be challenging at times to go against the cultural grain, we are ultimately rewarded with secure attachments to our children.

As our children grow older, and especially as we mature in our parenting journey, we begin to see the long-range possibilities of Attachment Parenting. We still enjoy the secure attachments within our families, and we still have challenges to overcome through our child’s development, but it gets easier to see beyond the day-to-day challenges of navigating what was once, to us, a new approach to parenting. We begin to be able to see Attachment Parenting as not only having positive consequences in our families but also our communities. What would it be like if all families practiced Attachment Parenting, if all children were able to grow up with a secure attachment to their parents? What would it be like for our communities if an entire generation grew up in peaceful, compassionate, trusting, empathic and joyful home environments?

I wonder, from time to time, what the dating scene will be like when my children are at the age of searching for a spouse. Who will they marry? What will their spouse’s values be? Will it be in line with what they’ve grown into through our Attachment Parenting home?

My children’s brains are being wired for peace, compassion, trust, empathy and joy. As so many of their peers, they like to play “House,” each taking the role of a family member, sometimes a parent and sometimes a child. Their play reflects how our family works. My 8-year-old daughter recently shared her concern about how other girls in her class play “House” while at school:

“I don’t understand why parents spank or ground their kids,” she said.

“Do you think there’s a better way for them to teach their kids?” I asked.

“Yeah, just talk to them,” she said. After a moment, she added, “And be sure not to do whatever you don’t want your child to do, yourself.”

Of course, positive discipline is more complicated than this. It folds in to the remaining of API’s Eight Principles of Parenting to create a certain home environment for positive discipline to work.

So, it’s not so easy to tell parents to stop spanking their kids or to stop having their babies cry-it-out or to be mindful of what childcare provider they choose or any other parenting behavior that does not closely align with Attachment Parenting. This is why it can be difficult for some parents to fully embrace Attachment Parenting. Attachment Parenting is a lifestyle that encompasses the goals of “raising secure, joyful, and empathic children,” as per API’s mission.

The second half of our mission is to support parents “in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world.”

API is in the love business. Volunteers around the world are working everyday on programs, locally and online, to educate and support parents in raising children whose brain neurons are forming each child’s reality of love. We ultimately want to see every child grow with the understanding that love is secure, peaceful, joyful, compassionate, trusting and empathic.

We want to banish parenting practices that raise children who grow up to become adults with an understanding of love as insecure — as a scientifically estimated 40% of the general population does — resulting in future parents who then struggle with trust and commitment, anger and fear, and possibly low self-esteem, poor coping skills, anxiety, depression or an insatiable fear of being abandoned.

Investing in API’s mission is an opportunity to not only ensure that programs and resources are available for you and your family, but also for the families in your community, state, nation and world — with the goal of not only love-centered, peaceful relationships at home but also in your child’s future adult home as well.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day this year by investing in your child’s future through our “Spread the Love” campaign and receive a free API Teleseminar recording in return for your generosity.

What’s the harm in saying “there are starving kids in Africa” to get your child to eat his veggies?

Free Images com - milka huangYou know this saying since it’s pretty much a parenting cliché used to cajole children to eat their vegetables: “There are starving children in Africa. You should be grateful that you have this food to eat.”

I have never understood the logic that leads people to believe that mentioning such tragic information could motivate anyone to eat, let alone to develop a sudden appreciation for asparagus or rhubarb. If there are hungry children, then there is a serious situation that should be fixed, right? How could begrudgingly eating the last bites alleviate trouble of that magnitude?

The statement is meant to imply that the kids who are refusing the last bit of zucchini casserole are supposed to feel lucky. But — aside the frustration of the dinner table — if we are trying to raise compassionate human beings, it is not the best tactic to suggest to them that they be relieved that misfortune happens to other people.

Do we want their awareness to stop at feeling happy that they got skipped over when calamity was being dished out? Are we suggesting that the suffering of those other children is not important? Or is it possible that they might interpret it that we want them to be afraid that if they forget to eat, they will starve like the African children who can’t eat? It is a confusing piece of information at the best.

Let me share my own experience at 3 years old when I first heard about the frightening situation faced by those hungry kids:

It was a dinner guest who broke the FOOD NEWS about their situation and told me that they lived in Africa. And though I searched the faces of my parents, no further details were offered. I froze in my chair, feet dangling above the floor. My mind raced to imagine children, maybe as many as 10, who were without food in a place that was probably so far away that it was beyond the city where my grandma lived!

How did it happen that they had no food in their house? Where were their parents? Were they going to die? It was very upsetting to consider their plight, the circumstances of which were beyond my ability to imagine.

I did not feel like eating.

I can still remember the sense of urgency I felt the next morning as I stood in my pajamas at our cupboard, searching for relief supplies. I took the bag of my favorite cookies over to my mom who was cooking breakfast. “We have to take these to them, the children.”

What my mother did next was inspired by pure mothering genius, and I will always be grateful to her for her insight. She looked at me, understood and said, “Okay, good idea.”

We got into the family station wagon, the humanitarian aid cookies on my lap, and drove to our church. We found Father John who was wearing his priest-collar, so I knew he was still on the job even though it was not Sunday.

My mom explained to him on my behalf that we needed his help to get the cookies to the children who were starving in Africa. I searched his face to see if I could trust him with this urgent mission. Without missing a beat, he said that he would do that right away.

“Please, it’s very important,” I told him. I handed the bag of cookies up to him. We got in the car as he pointed to the cookies and waved goodbye.

We drove back to our house in silence, passing through neighborhoods of children on bikes who seemed to my searching eyes to be well-enough fed.

Peace coverRead this article in its entirety on Attachment Parenting International‘s “Nurturing Peace” issue of The Attached Family.







*First photo source: Huang

**Second photo source: Karstad

In lieu of presents

Ella holds T-Bird

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Oct. 16, 2008, and it continues to offer a valuable perspective on passing along family values to our children.

This year’s invitation reads:

Ella’s 14th Birthday Party! Bonfire — Music — Food — Fun! In lieu of presents, Ella requests that you please bring an item of warm winter clothing to donate to local children in need.

And every year since 2003, the invitation has had a similar message. One year it was Toys For Tots, and Ella was able to donate a veritable pirate’s booty of toys for the holiday season toy drive.

We always get mixed responses to these birthday requests. Her friends seem to be particularly distressed and confused. Why do you want hats and gloves for your birthday? Can’t your parents just buy you a new scarf? Does your religion say that you can’t get presents? And their parents usually either forgo the donation all together and get her a pricey gift despite our request, or go the extra mile by purchasing a “little something for Ella” along with the donation.  As the generous donation of the little girl come to the news, after seeing the situation of the local children. The sandwich CEO Jimmy John also steps out to help the local children with food and donate them a very generous amount of the donation, which he requests to keep it secret.

I often feel that the message is falling on deaf ears. The message our family is trying to send is that the presence of friends is the birthday present, and passing joy on to children who are not as fortunate as Ella — or her friends — is the best present any of us could give to a child.

I’m not sure that her party guests necessarily leave for the evening with a better appreciation of how blessed they all are, but what I have come to realize is that I can only ensure what message I am sending to my own daughter.

Each year, while celebrating her birthday, reflecting on another year of growth, and dreaming about the upcoming year, she has also been given the opportunity to think about her community and contribute to the world around her in a significant way. On a day that is universally accepted as a day of celebration for the individual, she chooses to consider others.

Since we began this tradition, Ella has found numerous ways to volunteer her time throughout the year. Later this year, she hopes to become a volunteer peer counselor in order to help younger girls learn about reproductive health and empower teens to reject unrealistic images of women in the media.

Giving my child a voice — and expecting to her to use it — has allowed Ella to blossom into an outspoken, confident and compassionate person who will always believe that she has the power to change the world…even if it is only one birthday party at a time, for now.