Avoiding hyper-parenting

by Christina on October 22, 2014

I really liked this recent article in the NYT by Pamela Druckerman.

These are things to remember as our baby grows up:

Expect more from your children, and they will rise to it. Expect less, and they will sink,” ~ Emma Jenner

‘Seize windows of freedom joyfully, without guilt.’ The greatest insight to emerge from France since “I think, therefore I am” is that children’s birthday parties should be drop-offs. The other parents get three hours to go off and play.”

“Your child probably won’t get into the Ivy League or win a sports scholarship. At age 24, he might be back in his childhood bedroom, in debt, after a mediocre college career. Raise him so that, if that happens, it will still have been worth it.”

Try the sleeping cure. Most parenting crises are caused by exhaustion. Force yourself to observe the same nighttime rituals as your toddler: bath, book, bed.”

Have less stuff. Messiness compounds the chaos of family life.”

Don’t worry about overscheduling your child. Kids who do extracurriculars have higher grades and self-esteem than those who don’t, among many other benefits.”

“Teach your kids emotional intelligence. Help them become more evolved than you are.


Getting enough Vitamin D?

by Christina on October 11, 2014

I’ve been struggling with the question of whether or not to give vitamin D drops to our little guy.

Breast milk usually does not contain enough because nursing mothers are often vitamin D deficient. I know my Vitamin D level is low – I live in San Francisco and am rarely in the sun - when I last checked it was around 20.

That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfed infants receive 400 IU of Vitamin D supplementation daily.

But the Vitamin D drops I found in Whole Foods are sweet and berry flavored. I don’t like the idea of giving him anything besides breast milk when he’s so young, particularly not something so sweet.

Vitamin D is very important! For bones, immune function, heart disease, and more. So what’s a mom to do?

Babies could get Vitamin D from the sun, but we don’t want our babies to get too much sun exposure.

I recently learned that it is possible for nursing mothers to pass it to their babies through breast milk — see this article in Science Daily.

“How much vitamin D does the mother need so as to ensure an adequate amount in her milk? As with everything else related to vitamin D, there is a lot of individual variation, but it appears that the daily intake must be in the range of 5,000-6,000 IUs. As no surprise, that’s just about the amount needed to reproduce the vitamin D blood levels in persons living ancestral lifestyles today. And while 5,000-6,000 IU may initially seem high, it is important to remember how much the sun produces for us. A single 15 minute whole body exposure to sun at mid-day in summer produces well over 10,000 IU.”

I would need to get 5,000-6,000 IU daily in me in order to get enough in my breast milk for him. That’s relatively easy with a daily walk in the sun or taking a supplement.

So for now I’m avoiding the sweet drops. And a little late afternoon sun seems safe enough so our little man can make some of his own vitamin D… he seems to like it.



Placenta pill experimentation

by Christina on September 29, 2014

Our midwife encapsulated our placenta:

She cut it, steamed it, dehydrated it, and then encapsulated it.

We had heard about the possible benefits: prostaglandins to help shrink the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size, oxytocin to help with lactation, improved mood to prevent post-partum depression, increased energy, and repletion of iron and other nutrients.

Plus, other mammals do it so why wouldn’t we?

My mom sent me this recent article about placentophagy in the Washington Post:

“Over the past several years, there has been a dramatic rise in women choosing to ingest their placentas after giving birth, often with the support of doulas or midwives who promote the healing benefits of a practice scientifically known as placentophagy.”

The post-partum period is difficult and many women experience post-partum blues or post-partum depression.  What if eating one’s placenta could actually help prevent this?

I was curious enough that I tried it for about a week. I took 2 pills in the morning and 2 at night. While I noticed I had increased energy, I also noticed pretty drastic mood swings and much more irritability. It could have all been completely unrelated to the placenta pills, but as soon as I stopped taking them and felt back to my normal exhausted self.

Anecdotally I am not the only one that experienced a possible negative reaction — see Nancy Redd’s article “I Regret Eating My Placenta” in this New York Times blog.

There have not been ANY double blind placebo controlled clinical trials looking at the effectiveness of placentophagy, so we really don’t know what effect it has, positive or negative.

While I am interested in the potential benefits, I’m also interested in the risks. Could it worsen mood and increase irritability in some cases? What if you get Pitocin during labor (as in my case), do you ingest any of that through the placenta? What if one has chrioammnionitis or meconium during labor – what effect might that have on the placenta?

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