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See also: Chiropractic Care for Babies and Children

Need urgent help? Nowhere else to turn? API comes to the rescue (again)!

API Warmline - Attachment Parenting International launches the API Warmline to serve families in urgent or distressing situations when information or support is not available on the API Forum or website.

They also generously make their newsletter archives easily available.  Thank you!

API urges families to first contact their local API parent group for ongoing and local support or seek support on the API Forum. When local support is not available, a message can be left at API's 800 number: 1-800-850-8320 for U.S. families, or a message sent to info@attachmentparenting.org. The call will be returned by an accredited Leader who can help. (As always, any life-threatening or medical calls should go to your emergency 911 number.)

Donations to support this program can be made on the API website or sent to API, P.O. 4615, Alpharetta, GA 30023.

Kids in the House -- short VIDEOS - one of the top resources for parents. They have over 8,000 videos about many different topics to help you learn more and find solutions for whatever "kid issue" you may be facing.

Elizabeth Pantley shares her advice on sleep, tantrums, potty training,  picky eaters, parent's anger, and much, much more.

What Your Pediatrician Doesn't Know Can Hurt Your Child encourages mothers to take a more natural approach to parenting, and to trust our instincts when it comes to raising emotionally and physically healthy children.  Dr. Susan Markel (an American Board Certified Pediatrician)  is dedicated to helping parents and children empower themselves to have a healthier and happier lifestyle.  Children come into the world ready to Love, Learn and Play...

Hand-in-Hand - Nurturing the Parent-Child Connection - Classes, resources, and lots of support for parents of young children and professionals who work with them. For over 20 years, Parenting by Connection has brought parents practical tools to resolve universal family challenges.

Attachment Parenting Counseling with Jan Hunt by phone or email - 877-593-1547

Science shows up Supernanny - A mental health expert warns that fashionable advice to ignore your child's tears may cause lifelong harm
Amelia Hill, education correspondent
Sunday November 7, 2004

Natural Family Online

"Living Joyfully With Children" by Win and Bill Sweet

I think it's a great book to give to new parents.  It is easy to read and written in short bits with plenty of anecdotes to give you an idea of how to apply the principles presented.  It does deal with toddlers and older children primarily, not much on infants.  The best thing it has to offer is to help people be conscious and present in their parenting.  So much of actual parenting seems to be reactive in nature and replaying old scripts from our own childhood experiences.  The other really useful thing is that it gets both parents on the same page.  The Sweets recommend sitting down and forming principles to govern your family by.  This allows you to talk it out between yourselves and determine if your parenting goals are the same. Then as your children get older they begin to participate in this process.  This allows them to feel a part of making the family work, instead of just being told what to do.  There is also a huge emphasis on letting children have as much unstructured play as possible, even and especially as they approach and enter adolescence.  All around I think it is a very good choice to give to new parents. It's easy to read, broken down in small digestible bits, and very practical.

The CureChild program is a set of powerpoint presentations related to child health, including Your Child’s Immune System, Your Child’s Diet and Nutrition, Your Child’s Need for Nutritional Supplements, Your Child's Colds and Viral Illnesses, Your Child’s Allergies, Your Child's Temperament and Behavior, Your Child’s Learning Style, Your Child's Talents, Infant Supplements

Attachment Parenting Blog: - "A fun and opinionated web site written by an attachment parenting couple raising three children in our modern times."

The Holistic Moms Network is for moms who are interested in natural health and holistic therapies, follow an "alternative" parenting style, or are looking to connect with other moms who share their  perspective?

Marcy Axness is the author of PARENTING FOR PEACE: RAISING THE NEXT GENERATION OF PEACEMAKERS (due out in 2011?)

Mindful Mama - Good News for Mom, Baby and the Planet

Hooked on Nature is an educational campaign to inspire communities to develop an infrastructure that provides youth of all ages with an opportunity to develop a relationship with the natural world - based in Palo Alto, CA.

Is Nature Deficit Disorder Real?

AstrasScouts: Help Us Reinvent Scouting for Tomorrow.  AstrasScouts Values and Goals: Ending All Prejudice, Honoring of all Cultures, Pursuit of Knowledge, Personal Responsibility, Individual Excellence, Teamwork/Friendship, Justice brings Peace, Global Awareness

America Serves is a student-driven, student-focused service project opportunity for high school students interested in learning about the challenges faced by children in other parts of the world, and doing something about them.  The goal of each AMERICA SERVES project is to design, plan, and execute an educational fundraising event for an overseas relief organization chosen by the students.  This excellent resource is now available from Amazon.com.

Seeds of Compassion - from a conference Apr. 11-15, 2008, with the participation of the Dalai Lama. When we look across secular and religious wisdom traditions, and across human history and cultures, compassion may well be the virtue that is valued most highly and most broadly. The resources below seek to expand our conversation about what compassion looks like in action and how best to nurture it in future generations.

The Natural Child Project - Our vision is a world in which all children are treated with dignity, respect, understanding, and compassion. In such a world, every child can grow into adulthood with a generous capacity for love and trust. Our society has no more urgent task.

Healthy Child Online - the parenting website and E-Newsletter that gives you reliable information about natural health and holistic medicine for children. In addition, we offer you insights on encouraging and fostering in children the following qualities: self-love, compassion for others, joy, contentment, and vibrant health and vitality on all levels - physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

New Method For Parents Helps Children Clear Negative Emotions Early from mercola.com

Building a Foundation for Compassionate Intelligence by Diane Gordon

Children and Nature - A Relationship of Primary Importance - Discusses crucial elements in raising a healthy child.

Children of the New Earth magazine - the first, and currently only, international magazine to bring together all the latest information on everything pertaining to the extraordinary phenomena collectively known as the “Children of the New Earth.”

Why Wear Your Baby? By Sharon Reuven - "Although babywearing is an old concept, researchers in the past fifty years have confirmed the wisdom of this timeless practice. Studies have revealed that our children's social, emotional, and physical development are all significantly affected by early exposure to motion and human contact."

Spiral Scouts - an alternative scouting structure - Many families who choose homebirth or midwifery care may be uncomfortable with the intolerance exhibited by some of our national scouting organizations.  Spiral Scouts is a response that provides a structure for scouting groups where different belief systems can plug in their own belief system modules.  I think this is a neat idea!

Get Mothering Advice From Your Pet--Not Your Doctor

Reading Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce is an essential eye-opening experience for a conscious, conscientious parent. [ Reaching Beyond Magical Child - six, one-Hour videos, is now available from Touch The Future .]

Here's the transcription of an interview on educating and birthing children.

One of his most important messages is that for very young children, the problem with television isn't the content of the shows.  In fact, the problem is that images on television are a level of abstraction that is inappropriate for such young children.  It forces their brain to develop this prematurely, at the expense of more developmentally appropriate skills.  It's a sobering thought that watching television can lead to Sensory Palsy.

Mothering Magazine celebrates the experience of parenthood as worthy of one’s best efforts and fosters awareness of the immense importance and value of parenthood and family life in the development of the full human potential. As a readers’ magazine, we recognize parents as the experts and wish to provide truly helpful information upon which parents can base informed choices.

They maintain a nice index of articles from their archives.

Pathways magazine for thought provoking articles for your family's health.  This magazine is from the Holistic Pediatric Association and the Alliance for Holistic Family Health and Wellness

NursingFamilyMagazine - The Instinctive/Attachment Parenting Newsletter - Our goal at Nursing Family Magazine is to bring encouragement, support, enlightenment, information, and empowerment to families everywhere. This is a publication about creating strong family bonds by following your heart! Breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping, gentle birth, simpler living and more! Celebrate Motherhood!

Aware Parenting Online Support Groups - Attachment Parenting

The Earthy Birthy Thought Swap - We hope to foster a positive *Web Community* that will nurture, support & inspire the Natural Instinctive style that Atttachment/Continuum Parenting symbolizes.

The Compleat Mother Magazine Forum - Bulletin Board from The Compleat Mother - The Magazine of Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding

The Kindred Spirits Mothering Forum

Attachment Parenting - API's Eight Principles of Parenting

Aware Parenting is a philosophy of child-rearing that has the potential to change the world. Based on cutting-edge research and insights in child development, Aware Parenting questions most traditional assumptions about children, and proposes a new approach that can profoundly shift a parent's relationship with his or her child. Parents who follow this approach raise children who are bright, compassionate, competent, non-violent, and drug-free.

Empathic Parenting , Journal of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.  Many articles from the journal can be found at the Home of Empathic Parenting .


The Natural Child Project - Our multiple-award-winning site on empathic parenting, homeschooling, and child advocacy has a parenting advice column, personal stories, and articles by Jan Hunt, Alice Miller, Naomi Aldort, Joseph Chilton Pearce, and others.

Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children: Creating a Culture for Compassionate Parenting

Harvard Researchers Say Children Need Touching and Attention

America's "let them cry" attitude toward children may lead to more fears and tears among adults, according to two Harvard Medical School researchers.

Instead of letting infants cry, American parents should keep their babies close, console them when they cry, and bring them to bed with them, where they'll feel safe, according to Michael Commons and Patrice Miller, researchers at the Medical School's Department of Psychiatry.

Nurtured.Com :  A meeting place for those who follow less traditional methods of raising children.

Birth Bonding as the Foundation for Attachment Parenting

Attachment & Special Issues


For a wonderful set of links to natural products for babies and children, .  Better yet, simply subscribe yourself .

Nursing Family Magazine maintains a very large list of resources.

What does Child-Friendly Mean?  A quiet place to nurse or feed your child.  A little extra time to board the bus.  The warmth and support of the entire community.  A place for children in daily life.  Contact www.childfriendly.org 800-500-5234 - Ask for a How-To Kit and start transforming your neighborhood into a place that supports and respects children.

Mothering Magazine (Jan/Feb 2005 issue, p. 25) has a list of 24 groups that help moms do their job well.

Empowered Motherhood LLC helps moms-to-be successfully transition into motherhood.

Growing Up Yourself (for Parents)

Sometimes you find yourself becoming a parent without feeling like you're completely grown up yourself.

If you feel like you're not completely grown up, responsible and mature, pregnancy is a great time to put the finishing touches on your growing up process.

10 Secrets to Satisfying Sex by Ed Fell - These are simple guidelines for enhancing a sexual relationship, but they are based on the premise that the quality of your sexual relationship reflects the quality of your personal, partner relationship.

The first step is to GROW UP

"To be a master lover, first become a masterful man. Work on yourself and don’t indulge in petty excuses or complaints. Live your life with purpose. If you don’t know what it is, find it, then live it with gusto. Live with integrity. Be a clear communicator. Learn to be vulnerable. "

Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys by Kay S. Hymowitz - Women who choose homebirth are often strong, self-reliant women.  Sometimes they end up with immature men who rely on their partner to be the adult in their relationship.  But when it comes time to give birth, a woman needs to feel that her partner is a solid rock for her to lean on during this very vulnerable time.

Partnering: A New Kind of Relationship by Hal Stone and Sidra Stone - This is an excellent starter resource for bringing a more grown-up aspect to your relationship.

If you're more oriented towards audio learning resources, you might really enjoy The Heart of the Matter - this is an excellent resource for anyone who feels that they could stand to brush up on their relationship skills of all kinds, but focusing on a life partner.  "Unfortunately, over half of marriages end in divorce. Rather than become another unhappy statistic, there is an alternative. We can learn to create healthy relationships not just by happenstance but by learning the skills to keep our relationships healthy, loving and fun. On each episode of The Heart of the Matter, Rev. George will be joined by his co-hosts Tom and Joyce DeVoge, relationship specialists, taking calls and exploring ways to keep relationships alive, fresh and loving."
New Mankind Project - From Wikipedia: ManKind Project (MKP) is a non-profit, educational organization, with the stated purpose to "support men in leading meaningful lives of integrity, accountability, responsibility, and emotional intelligence."

What does it mean to be a modern, mature man?

They've got some great intro resources, incl. video, podcasts

Straight Talk - Boys and Men Need Support

The Good Men Project - Recognizing changing roles in work and family life—and the absence of thoughtful media aimed at men—the Good Men Project Magazine set out to revolutionize what a men’s magazine can be.


Some wonderful articles by Sarah J. Buckley, MD, from the section on Mothering - Care of the Newborn at Women of Spirit

Research on Infant Sleep and Parenting Advice

The Humanity Sleeper from Humanity Family Bed has a bolster to keep baby from rolling off the bed and has an extra thick absorbent pad to absorb breastmilk leaks.  People love it!

Cosleeping & SIDS Fact Sheet from Linda Folden Palmer, DC, author of Baby Matters

From Primates to Late Nights: One Researcher’s Path to Sleep Studies - Interview with James McKenna, Ph.D.,  Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame.

This is an excellent article about the way in which co-sleeping helps to regulate the baby's physiological functions and reduces the SIDS risk.

Why babies should never sleep alone: a review of the co-sleeping controversy in relation to SIDS, bedsharing and breast feeding.
McKenna JJ, McDade T.
Paediatr Respir Rev. 2005 Jun;6(2):134-52.

" . . . co-sleeping at least in the form of roomsharing especially with an actively breast feeding mother saves lives . . . "

Shunning the Family Bed. Who Benefits Most? from Dr. Mercola

Babies: Not Designed to Sleep Alone by Dr. Jay Gordon

And Baby Makes Three in One Bed from the NYTimes 12/29/05

Bedtime Story by James J. McKenna contains amazing information about just how beneficial cosleeping really is. [This article is available at birthlove.com, a subscription site that is well worth the small cost!]   [Ed: birthlove.com is not available at this time.]

Sharing a bed with your baby from UNICEF UK.

If your child's sleep problems are severe enough, you may consider trying some of the tips from sleep and crystal children.  Children love crystals for their jewel quality, and a protective bedtime ritual is likely to be very reassuring for them.

Elizabeth Pantley has tons of information about gentle parenting.

New information released July, 2017

The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley.  Professionals who work with parents of babies may request a set of 4 newsletters, which are also available online: Newborn Babies and Sleep, What is Preventing Your Baby from Sleeping Through the Night?, Regular Naps Improve Nighttime Sleep, Early  Bedtime Means Better Baby Sleep.

Checklist for Safe Co-Sleeping

She also has a new book out called Gentle Baby Care : No-cry, No-fuss, No-worry--Essential Tips for Raising Your Baby.  Some excerpts are available online:  Going Visiting with Your Baby, Crying in the Car Seat, Handling Unwanted Advice, Stop Diaper Changing Battles

Professionals can request a set of one-page articles from my books - for use on your website, as handouts, or in your newsletter. I provide these to many professionals who work with parents of babies and young children. I will be happy to send you the newsletter set at no charge. The titles are:

Newborn Babies and Sleep
Colic –What Can You Do About It?
Toddler Cooperation
Wonderful Sounds for Sleep
Going Visiting with Your Baby
Crying in the Car Seat
Baby Tantrums
Hitting, Kicking, Biting & Hair Pulling
The Baby Blues: Do You Have Them? & What to Do
Stop Diaper Changing Battles
Help Your Crying Baby
Eight Sleep Tips for Every Child
Solving Naptime Problems
Tantrums, Fussing and Whining
What Triggers Your Anger?
Stop the Interrupting
Moving from Crib to Bed
Should Babies & Toddlers Watch Television?
Handling Unwanted Advice
Quick Facts About Potty Training
The Potty Training Readiness Quiz
Potty Training – Get Ready, Get Set, Go!
First Born Jealousy
How to Have a Happy Marriage When You’re Busy Being Parents

All titles are available in Microsoft word text files by email. (Some are in PDF reproducible format.)
Spanish versions of some titles are also available upon request.

Tim Seldin, President, The Montessori Foundation and Chair, The International Montessori Council wrote the forward to my newest book, The No-Cry Discipline Solution. He has graciously provided four articles for this set:

Children are Little Scientists
Learning How to Pour
Learning to Observe your Child
Children Love to Work and Play

Signing with Children

Sign with Your Baby by Joseph Garcia - How to communicate with hearing infants before they can speak

Translating Newborn by Sonia Shah - You know your baby’s trying to tell you something, but what is it?

American Sign Language Browser

Singing with Children

Music Together - The Joy of Family Music! - Music and movement for newborns - preschoolers and the adults who love them!

Fam Jam! Music Together® is a registered Music Together® center based in Eldorado and in Santa Fe, run by a friend of mine.


see also: Father's Hormones

see also: Postpartum Depression and Maternal Birth Trauma

Not-patient and not-visitor: A metasynthesis fathers' encounters with pregnancy, birth and maternity care. [Expanded abstract]
Steen M, Downe S, Bamford N, Edozien L.
Midwifery. 2012 Aug;28(4):362-71. Epub 2011 Aug 6.

CONCLUSIONS: fathers cannot support their partner effectively in achieving the ideal of transition to a successful pregnancy, joyful birth and positive parenthood experience unless they are themselves supported, included, and prepared for the reality of risk and uncertainty in pregnancy, labour and parenthood and for their role in this context.

Support for Postpartum Dads when mom has a postpartum mood disorder. 

The 7 Secrets of Being A Home Birth Dad By Ven Batista - a lovely mini-essay.  I love this line: "At the end of a home birth, *the midwives leave. Not you.* "
"After experiencing both hospital and home birth my wife and I wouldn't even consider going to a hospital again unless there was a very compelling medical reason why we should do so. That's compelling, by *our standards* of reason and common sense. Not what any medical professional says. It's a no-brainer for us. As a Dad there is really no comparison to be made. You are a key part of a home birth. The mother needs you and is relying on you. In a way it's a shame when it's all over because you revert back to being a useless man again before the midwives' leftover tea goes cold."

Q: What do you think is a father’s most important role in labor?
A: At the onset of transition, a woman gets the drench of catecholamines and often she will say, “I can’t!” This is when I encourage the husband to move in close, hold her hands, look in her eyes and lend her his strength. I tell her to pull her strength through him­“Let him breathe for you. Go limp in his love.” Husbands have told me afterward that when their wife got overwhelmed, he felt overwhelmed, too, so having the instruction to share their strength and energy allowed him to move into her space and experience in a meaningful way. Because of this, he felt like he was connected to the birth.

from Midwifery Today

Birth Navigators - Teaching Men About Childbirth.  Their book looks excellent!  It's Men At Birth (or through Amazon.com)

Internet Resources for Fathers

Appeal to Fathers about breaking the generational trauma of circumcision.

Fatherhood Is Not Motherhood Lite By Jonathan Bartlett, MA, MFT

Just for Dads from betterbirth.com

I have seen workshops offered with the title, "The Daddy Shift" to help expectant fathers prepare.

Father's Home Birth Handbook by Leah Hazard

The Fathers-To-Be Initiative is bringing you a newsletter to update you on our progress in the field of fathering education. Fathers-To-Be provides opportunities for parents, birthcare professionals and educators to learn about the importance of fathers and how they can beneficially contribute to pregnancy, birth and early parenthood.

Fathers-To-Be Handbook -   A Road Map for the Transition to Fatherhood by Patrick M. Houser

Articles and Research

The Science of ‘Father Love’

One Baby Two Parents - Supporting Early Parenthood Campaign

Breast is best...for Dads too

The Evolution of Dad : A Documentary-In-Progress about the Evolving American Father by Dana H. Glazer

As a father and a filmmaker, I want to share why it's as important to get fathers involved in this movement as it for moms.

Most dads aren't aware of what's really going on in our culture. They think the issues promoted on MomsRising.org have nothing to do with them - that these are just women's issues.  At the beginning of this past year I started work on a documentary film project about the changing role of fatherhood, titled The Evolution of Dad.  (www.evolutionofdad.com)

Before embarking on the project, I figured that, being a fairly involved dad of two young sons, I must know something about fatherhood. However, looking back, it's amazing how little I really did understand, especially regarding all the different cultural assumptions and messages we're given about what defines a good father. The bottom line is that while our society might say that fatherhood is important, the real underlying message is that dads are better off spending more time at work and less at home.

From my perspective, the only way we're going to create any serious change is by getting dads more aware and more involved in the process. That's why I'm making my film and that's why I'm doing all I can to support Moms and FamiliesRising.  These are issues that affect every one of us.

What I'm asking from you is to include the men in your life in the conversation about work/family balance as much as possible. Tell them why you became a member of MomsRising.org, why they should become a member of FamiliesRising.org (at http://www.momsrising.org/signup) and share this link: http://www.momsrising.org/familiesrising

Only together, moms and dads united, can change really happen.

Men and Conscious Fathering

Paternity Angel

Happy Father of Home Born Babies - This is designed to be a forum for fathers who have homebirthed their children or for fathers who are contemplating the homebirth experience.

New book just for dads!

Men at Birth by David Vernon (ed) - What does it feel like to attend the birth of your own child? How do men overcome their natural anxieties int his situation and how can they best support their partners? These and many more issues are explored in this groundbreaking book, through the stories shared by fathers involved in all kinds of births.

BREAST IS STILL BEST, EVEN IF IT IS DAD'S by Alexandra Frean - Times Online - June 13, 2005

This is a fabulous article from Mothering Magazine:

Labor Union: The Story of a Bradley Dad
By Dimitri Kaasan
Issue 119 - July/August 2003

Birthrites: Healing After Caesarean has a new section on Men's Experiences [Here men can contribute their own stories and read other stories about cesarean and VBAC experiences.  I find that many men don't understand the impact that it has on a woman to have her body cut open, her baby extracted, and her uterus brought outside her body for repair, after which she is expected to recover from her pregnancy and her surgery while nursing a newborn baby and looking radiant for the photos.]


Meet the men who got PTSD from seeing their partners give birth - Whilst the physical trauma of birth is solely female, there is also a large body of evidence suggesting that new fathers equally struggle to recover from their experiences in the delivery room. And while, as a result, many of these men are in dire need of psychological counselling or medical help, the resources simply aren't there.

STRESS AND WEIGHT GAIN OBSERVED IN MEN DURING PARTNER'S PREGNANCY -  First-time fathers are more likely to put on weight and drink excessively during their partner's pregnancy than after the baby is born, according to the findings of a study by Australian researchers.  [Medscape registration is free.]

New dads can get postpartum depression, too

I Will Support - A Father's Affirmation by Patricia Blomme

The Fathering HomePage

Father's World Web Ring

Fatherhood At Its Best

I Will Support - Father's Affirmation - by Patricia Blomme

[I received a report that this magazine was defunct.]
FirstTime Dad.com - "answers your questions about being a new dad and talks about issues important to you, in your language."

Home School Dads - Geared specifically for the fathers who homeschool. Get the latest homeschooling news, articles, organizations, events, Homeschool Mall, and much, much more!

The National Center for Fathering - 1(800) 593-DADS

Paternal postnatal depression

A second study in this week's news highlighting the importance of a consequence of pregnancy that is often ignored looked at the impact of postnatal depression in fathers on the development of their child.

The research, which involved 8431 fathers and 11,833 mothers, found that 4 percent of men scored higher than 12 on the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale at 8 weeks postpartum, indicating major depressive disorder, compared with 10 percent of women. This paternal depression was found to be predictive of adverse emotional and behavioral outcomes in the children at age 3.5 years, even after adjusting for maternal and later paternal depression.

"Although largely neglected to date, paternal depression in the postnatal period should be recognized and treated by health professionals in order to lessen any adverse effects on the child," the researchers, led by Paul Ramchandani from the University of Oxford in the UK, advise.

Paternal depression in the postnatal period and child development: a prospective population study.
Ramchandani P, Stein A, Evans J, O'Connor TG; ALSPAC study team.
Lancet. 2005 Jun 25-Jul 1;365(9478):2201-5.

FINDINGS: Information was available for 8431 fathers, 11,833 mothers, and 10,024 children. Depression in fathers during the postnatal period was associated with adverse emotional and behavioural outcomes in children aged 3.5 years (adjusted odds ratio 2.09, 95% CI 1.42-3.08), and an increased risk of conduct problems in boys (2.66, 1.67-4.25). These effects remained even after controlling for maternal postnatal depression and later paternal depression. INTERPRETATION: Our findings indicate that paternal depression has a specific and persisting detrimental effect on their children's early behavioural and emotional development.

Siblings Adjusting to New Baby

Encouraging Children with New Siblings By Kelly Bartlett [3/15/11] - Encouraging Children through a New Sibling Transition

Attachment Parenting group has some excellent resources about sibling relationships.

Help Your Toddler Bond with the New Baby

Sibling Bonding - Help foster a bond between your children

Search Results for SIBLINGS at Attachment Parenting

One of my clients is concerned that when she gives birth to her second child, her son (who will be a month shy of two years old on the estimated arrival date of his little sister) will be upset by her lack of availability for his needs because the baby will require so much of her time & attention.

My first two are 20 months apart.  I was concerned about two things; That I wouldn't love the second one as much as I loved the first, and how my daughter would still feel loved, important & valued even as I spent time meeting the needs of the new baby.

I read books in advance about bringing home baby, being a big sister etc.

I made sure to spend time with her when baby was sleeping.

I included the older one in my arms (arm) while breastfeeding the baby.

I asked for and appreciated daddy's extra help with the older one.

I asked for help.

We all survived.

buy a gift for her first child from the baby....works like a charm.

We did a gift from the baby to big brother also - he still talks about how <baby> left the hospital to go get him a gift LOL!!!
And books, and spending special time with the older child, and have the older child help with the baby (bring diaper, pick out an outfit, etc).
There will be ups and downs, but everyone will survive!

One way to facilitate a special bond with the newborn is to arrange to have the siblings brought to the mother and newborn as soon as the placenta is out and most of the blood is out of view, or as soon after that as practical.  It is especially meaningful for siblings to see the baby still attached to the placenta and perhaps to participate in cutting the cord.  The newborn will still have bonding hormones for about 60-90 minutes after the birth, and there will still be bonding hormones "in the air" that the older sibling will absorb.

If the older sibling doesn’t see the newborn for some hours after the birth, then it helps to have the newborn lying on the bed alone; this way the sibling doesn't first see the newborn in the mother's arms, as if the newborn has taken the place of the older child.  Then, allow the sibling to discover the newborn on their own.

In The Experience of Childbirth (p. 56), Sheila Kitzinger writes,
"The baby should be in a cot[1] and not in the mother's arms when he sees it for the first time, and the mother should avoid any elaborate displays of affection for the new baby.  She can point out the tiny nails and eyelashes and how little and helpless the baby is - which will almost certainly invoke a response of tenderness on the part of the older child - but should allow the first expression of joy in the baby's birth to come from the child himself.  If a doll or some other special present is waiting to celebrate the birthday, the advent of the baby is made even more welcome.  The toddler can sit on the bed and can be cuddled at the same time as the baby, and if a special store of biscuits[2] or fruit is kept by the mother's bed for feeding times, and toys and other materials for quiet occupations are in her room, they can be very pleasant and looked forward to rather than resented by the displaced child.  By no word or action should the mother suggest that the older child intends to hurt the baby, and she should instead be given positive encouragement and help to hold him correctly.

"When grandparents, relations and other visitors arrive, a toddler who enjoys it can be the person who takes them to the new baby and shows him to them.  In this way the new baby belongs to her too and is not simply a rival."

[Notes about the British words:
1. The British use the word cot instead of crib or bassinet.  I personally would recommend having the baby simply lying on the bed or sofa next to the mother.
2. The British use the word biscuits instead of cookies.  I might suggest a more nutritious snack.]

Mental Development

Brainy kids' brains develop slowly - [3/29/06] - Very smart children, despite their reputation for being ahead of their peers mentally, actually lag behind other kids in development of the "thinking" part of the brain, a new study says.  . . .

"Intellectual ability and cortical development in children and adolescents.
" Shaw P, Greenstein D, Lerch J, Clasen L, Lenroot R, Gogtay N, Evans A, Rapoport J, Giedd J.
Nature. 2006 Mar 30;440(7084):676-9.

"Children who are adept at any one of the three academic 'R's (reading, writing and arithmetic) tend to be good at the others, and grow into adults who are similarly skilled at diverse intellectually demanding activities. Determining the neuroanatomical correlates of this relatively stable individual trait of general intelligence has proved difficult, particularly in the rapidly developing brains of children and adolescents. Here we demonstrate that the trajectory of change in the thickness of the cerebral cortex, rather than cortical thickness itself, is most closely related to level of intelligence. Using a longitudinal design, we find a marked developmental shift from a predominantly negative correlation between intelligence and cortical thickness in early childhood to a positive correlation in late childhood and beyond. Additionally, level of intelligence is associated with the trajectory of cortical development, primarily in frontal regions implicated in the maturation of intelligent activity. More intelligent children demonstrate a particularly plastic cortex, with an initial accelerated and prolonged phase of cortical increase, which yields to equally vigorous cortical thinning by early adolescence. This study indicates that the neuroanatomical expression of intelligence in children is dynamic."

Laundry Issues

Delicate newborn skin can react with rashes to all sorts of minor irritants, especially dry cleaning fluid and laundry detergents!

Fabric softener can be amazingly irritating to sensitive skin.  Some alternatives include using natural fabrics, using a lot less detergent, drying on low heat and not overdrying your clothes.

THE SOAP THAT GROWS ON TREES!TM - Maggie’s Soap NutsTM are the only laundry soap that grows on trees!
Truly effective, 100% natural and safe for your most sensitive skin. Soap NutsTM are the dried fruit of the Chinese Soapberry tree.   They contain saponin, a natural cleaner used for thousands of years to clean clothes, just like the plants used by Native Americans for washing.

I'll add my vote for Charlie's Soap, which is dye- and perfume-free. It cleans well and rinses clean - here's some detailed info.

My son had eczema and I have pretty allergic skin, and it made a big difference for us.

I'm also very sensitive to the issue of laundry detergents, since I'm laundering and sterilizing linens for use on newborn babies at birth, and I also have very sensitive skin.

I used those discs for a while, and they didn't seem to do much. I poked around online and found some interesting information about them.  The most interesting thing was that they may seem to work the first few times you use them because there is usually so much residual detergent in our laundered clothes and linens that they bring their own detergent to the next laundry cycle.

Here's a webpage that calls those laundry discs a hoax.

What I learned from all this was that you can actually wash your clothes without any laundry detergent at all.  Apparently water and mechanical agitation get clothes pretty clean without any added cleaning agent.  Now, I just use a very small amount of fragrance-free Seventh Generation laundry liquid in my regular laundry and do a separate load if there's anything that needs extra cleaning.

Other Parenting Information

The Sling Station has helpful information on how to choose a sling or baby carrier.

Statement from La Leche League of Southern California/Nevada on Baby Sling Safety Warning from U.S. CPSC

How to Deal with Child Protection Workers in Unassisted Births by Capper, a former child protection worker (called Child Protective Services in the US) and now police officer. [As of spring, 2002, the BirthLove site is by subscription only - it's well worth the $10 membership fee; you can get a "sampler" by reading BirthLove's Top Twenty- For Free! .]  [Ed: birthlove.com is not available at this time.]

Dressing for sexes by Jo Paoletti - A fascinating romp through some of the history of the pink/blue color coding of children.  In 1918, it was written that "the generally accepted rule is pink for the boy and blue for the girl.  The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for a boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl."

Popular Baby Names from the Social Security Administration

Strollers and baby carriages are being introduced into Africa, but the pediatricians there are concerned that they may damage the mother/child relationship.  In contrast to current practices of carrying their babies in wraps or slings, the strollers are seen as "the ultimate in pushing the baby away from you", according to Nairobi child psychiatrist Frank Njenga.  "The baby on the back is actually following the mother in warmth and comfort.  The baby feels safer, and safer people are happier people." [from San Francisco Chronicle, 5/20/04, quoted in the APPPAH newsletter, Spring? 2005]

My chiropractor told me to put extra padding underneath the cushion in my car seat because the way it was designed was not adequate for little ones and was likely causing some pain in their back. So if your baby cries all the time in the car seat, you might try adding some padding here or there.


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