I was shocked by the power of meditation on children…..

It’s 4am. Tabitha is crying for the 5th time tonight. I get out of bed, barely awake, and drag myself to her room. I pick her up and start to rock her, which is only met with more screams and cries. No amount of rocking, patting, singing, cuddling, or screaming in her face will get my cranky baby to sleep. Just like every other night.
I’m sure a lot of parents out there reading this know the struggle all too well. Everyone tells you that your infant will grow out of it’s sleep problems, and that they will get on a schedule. But what if that, like, never happens? For those whose babies never got the hang of that whole sleep thing, this blog post is for you!

There are many different methods parents might try to get their stubborn babies to sleep. For Tabitha, I tried no less than 16 different ways to help her sleep. We started out with co-sleeping. She cried several times a night for at least a half hour at a time, only calming down when I nursed or when my husband would offer his nipple to her for comfort during the times I was too tired to wake up. This came to an end, however, once my husband and I realized we hadn’t had sex for the past year that Tabitha had been sleeping with us. It’s just sort of awkward having sex when your one year old child is staring at you, smiling and clapping. It gets a little weird. So after the sexless year, we decided it was time for Tabitha to go into her own room. It’s not like she was sleeping well with us, so maybe it would be better if she slept on her own? How wrong I was. Tabitha’s poor sleeping habits worsened. We tried CIO (in which Tabitha ended up crying for two days straight and never slept), we tried oils, we gave her benadryl. Nothing worked.

And then I discovered something revolutionary. A dear friend of mine (who is also an amazing yoga instructor and vegan chef) told me about meditation. Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and improve lives; maybe this would help our little Tabitha? Let me tell you: meditation has changed my family’s lives.
I began by teaching Tabitha how to do vinyasa yoga before bed to help clear her mind (children should be able to follow enough instruction to learn how to do this by the age of 8 months). This helped her regulate her breathing, reduce anxiety, and become more aware of her body. This set us up for success with this new sleep training technique.
After she mastered vinyasa, I would do a nightly sage burning in her room to help clear the negative energy there. It was very cleansing for the room and I could immediately tell that Tabitha was more relaxed there. I would light incense afterwards to help keep these calm feelings going. With relaxing music playing in the background, I would lay her in her crib and begin to guide her into meditation through imagery; I made my voice as soothing as possible, and in a barely audible whisper, I would help her envision a peaceful scene until she would eventually drift off to sleep. You can get creative with these scenes; Tabitha seems to prefer walks in the woods over beaches. It can be whatever you want as long as it isn’t exciting; the more boring the better. You want to give enough detail for her to imagine something, but not so much that she’s actually interested in what’s going on. If this didn’t get her to sleep after a few hours, I would have her recite the sleep manta with me: “sleeporihaitu”. Recite this over and over. This is a mantra that monks have been using for centuries to help further clear their minds in preparation for sleep. Recite it over and over until she drifts off.
The benefits of meditation don’t end at bedtime; it can be used to help with potty training, too! We had Tabitha completely potty trained at the age of 14 months after only a few days of working on it, thanks to meditation! We would do a similar ritual that we do in her bedroom at night, but instead of laying her in her crib, we would set her on the potty. The imagery here should be all about bodies of water. Describe a peaceful, flowing river, maybe with a small waterfall, and help her envision her urine as the waterfall, and the toilet as the river below. Have her recite the manta “poo enthibumbum, poo enthibumbum”. We noticed she would start to stare off into space, as if going back to her visions, when she had the urge to urinate or defecate, and she would immediately go to the potty. We were accident free after only 2 days!
I urge everyone to turn to meditation for all the behavioral problems experienced by your toddler!

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How Profanity Affects a Fetus’ Mind

Nothing makes an expecting mother happier than their doctor telling them that their baby is perfectly healthy. I have done everything so far to make sure that my baby boy, Charley, is as healthy as possible. I have altered my diet drastically, have been taking prenatal supplements, and have been doing specialized workouts three times a week.  My doctor told me and my hubby that since Charley was past 30 weeks old he could now begin to hear us. He told me that he would be able to hear voices and music outside the womb. I was so excited to hear this, without thinking about how silly I looked, I looked down at my belly and said, “can you hear me Charley? It’s your mama!”

?????????????????????????????After our appointment I and the ol’ ball and chain were walking out of the doctor’s office as a truck was pulling into the parking spot near our car with blaring music. I had to walk near their car to get into the passenger side but my motherly instincts wouldn’t let me. I could hear the words to the song that were being blasted out of their open windows and the lyrics still echo in my head. “Smack a ho!” and “suck my d**** b****!” There was no way I was going to let my newly developing baby hear that! I waited patiently until they turned off their music so I could get into my car.

I thought I was being a little crazy so I talked about the incident with my doctor over the phone. He told me that I was being smart and directed me to some studies that proved that I was doing the right thing. According to Sciencenews, babies in the womb can learn words, and they tested this by playing a recording of the word, “tatata” near multiple mothers’ wombs and later playing it again for the babies after they were born. After analyzing the baby’s brains the scientists learned that the babies recognized and remembered that word! Call me old fashioned but I don’t want my baby knowing and remembering the words d*** and b****, or any offensive or demeaning word for that matter, while he is still developing!

Babies in the womb can identify their mother’s voice and studies have shown that a baby’s heart rate will increase when they hear their mother’s voice, showing that they are paying more attention. As a mother your voice is also the clearest to your baby and since their brains are sponges when they are developing, you should not only tell people not to say profane things around you but also police yourself and not use any profanity while you are pregnant.

It is clear that anyone who is pregnant should avoid people who have a dirty mouth or listen to offensive music. Do you really want your baby’s mind corrupted before he or she is even born? Also stay away from the sounds of movies that are action packed or have destructive themes as this may have harmful effects on your child.

I advise all mothers to be vigilant in protecting the mental health of your developing baby because only you can safeguard your child’s mind.

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Introducing: Healthy Sweet Treats from the Teat!

There is nothing more nourishing and satisfying to an infant and toddler than that magic mama juice! And there are few things as satisfying, as bond forming, and as beautiful for mama as nursing her bundle of joy. Is there anything more lovely than watching tiny lips latching on to your nipple, looking up at you with those big blue eyes that are full of love and admiration for you, and sucking that goodness right out of you?

One chilly afternoon, I sat in my rocking chair, all snuggled under my newly knitted organic yarn blanket. I picked up Belinda and held her to my waiting breast. She suckled for a moment, and then stopped, seemingly unimpressed.

Was my baby ill? Did my milk taste bad to her? Did I do something wrong?
Suddenly, it dawned on me. One week I made chicken for dinner for 5 of those days. I was so sick of chicken that just uttering the word “chicken” made me feel murderous. Was that how Belinda felt? Was she growing bored with my breast milk? It makes so much sense!
Despite Belinda being 48 months old, I wasn’t quite ready to wean her yet. Breast milk has so many physical and mental health benefits! Breastfed babies tend to have better immune systems, less allergies, higher IQs, more joint flexibility, and learn foreign languages with more ease than formula babies. Why not let those benefits feed my babies mind and body for as long as possible?
?????????????????????????????With Belinda starting to wean herself and starting to want to sleep in her own bed, and Thomas entering his sophomore year, getting my children to accept my breast milk has been becoming difficult. That’s why I have decided to start a project called “Healthy Sweet Treats from the Teat”! These are creative (and delicious!) recipes that incorporate your breast milk right into the ingredients! I will compile recipes that are appropriate for different age groups, from toddler to adult. This recipe has proven to be a hit with everyone, young and old (including my hubby and his coworker, Todd)! Gluten-free breast milk ice cream! And yes, it is as amazing as it sounds!

First and foremost, you will need to abstain from consuming anything contain gluten for at least six weeks prior to making this recipe. However, think about the flavor you want the ice cream to have. Love bananas? Eat a bunch! Your ice cream will have a delicious, subtle flavor of any foods you eat an abundance of. Without further ado, here is my recipe for gluten-free breast milk ice cream!

*2 cups heavy cream
2 cups breast milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch salt

Whisk all ingredients together until sugar dissolves. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After the ice cream is made, transfer to an airtight container. Cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve. Dish, and top with your favorite sundae toppings and enjoy!

*recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse

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I was shocked to learn the effects of haircuts on children!

Every good parent has been there. It’s time for your baby’s first haircut and they seem a little nervous. I remember my son Toby’s first haircut. Me and my husband Decided it was time for our precious, now hippy looking, boy to look ship-shape for my sisters upcoming wedding. Before I knew it Toby was in the barber chair looking dignified with his little robe and collar. He seemed a little nervous when he was sprayed with water, but when the smiling barber picked up his scissors, that’s when my little helpless boy broke town in terrified tears and screams. I quickly stopped the barber from starting the haircut and was horrified when I went home and researched the dangers of haircuts on children.

imageMost well informed parents have assumed that their children seem a little uneasy during haircuts because it is a new experience with a stranger, but new research shows that haircuts for children are far worse for a developing mind than experts have previously thought.

According to child psychologist, Penelope Leach, children perceive haircuts the same  as somebody removing a part of their bodies. Leach continues to say that to a toddler, a haircut is equally as traumatic as clipping off an ear.

As Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph. D, explains, traumatic events for children such as haircuts can cause permanent neurological damage by inhibiting the development of the central nervous system.

“But I can tell when my child is scared,” you may say. You might think you can sense when your baby or toddler is frightened but according to Dr. Perry this is a very difficult task.

If you’re like me, you have read all you can about your baby’s fears. But, until recently, I have never heard of the two ways a child responds to fear. The first is hyper-arousal, which is what my Toby exhibited when he screamed and cried. This reaction clearly shows that your child is being traumatized by the haircut. Dr. Perry warns, though, that this is only one type of response, the other is harder to identify and is called disassociation.

“A child responding to fear in disassociation will remain calm and compliant,” says Dr. Perry.

This makes determining if your child is terrified by a haircut impossible.

“Parents should be cautioned against giving their children haircuts until they are about six years old,” says the president of the Child Anxiety Association of America, Margret Banks. She continued to add, “if your child is under the age of six but you have already giving them haircuts, you can reduce the neurological effects by limiting their haircuts now.”

After researching these articles I was appalled to discover how unknown these long term health effects are to most parents. I find it irresponsible that barbershops or beauty salons don’t place informative signs that warn parents of these effects on our baby’s and toddler’s brains. It is up to us as informed parents to spread the truth and protect all children, not just our own. The research is still new, so I won’t be cutting Toby’s hair until he is eight years old, and I advise that you all do the same.

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