Interview with Cynthia Lair :: Feeding the Whole Family

Cynthia Lair is the author of “Feeding the Whole Family”, a cookbook interspersed with really Cynthia Lair Feeding the Whole Family Foodrelevant parenting advice about food. My favorite pages are 43-48, “Parents as Role Models and Setting Boundaries.”

“Its not fair to have a strict no-sugar policy and then stay up late for some adults only Godiva chocolates!”

Obviously as parents there’s much thought in how our actions are viewed by our children. Have you always felt it was important to set food rules for children that parents also follow or did you come to this through your own experiences as a mother?

When I read research that babies as young as three months old pick up non-verbal cues about food from their parents, I realized that what parents DO around food choices is more important than what they say. If a parent hates vegetables or grabs breakfast at McDonald’s, the child will notice and want to be like daddy or mommy.

One of the primary functions of a child’s caregiver is to lead the way toward healthful foods. By designating poor quality foods as “baby food” or “kid’s menu food”, or even “adult foods” (with some exceptions) we don’t construct a bridge but create separation. Good leaders don’t talk about what their subordinates should do, they lead by example.

It is challenging as a parent when your young child won’t eat the food you’ve painstakingly prepared for them with love. Your section on “Setting Boundaries” applies to children between the ages of 3-10. What can parents do if they have a child under three who is eating solids but refusing certain foods such as vegetables?

Toddlers have a biological need to separate from their parents and begin the discovery of their selves as individuals. Some choose to exert that independence by refusing certain foods. At this age, any painstakingly prepared food should be for the parents with tastes of it offered to the child. If they refuse, so be it.

We place too much importance on (and generate fear about) toddlers eating vegetables. Let it go. Let children see you eat many different kinds of vegetables with enjoyment. Don’t force or be concerned if they don’t want any. Wait for them to ask for a bite. Many fruits contain some of the same nutrients as vegetables (like vitamin C and vitamin A) and most children are willing to eat fruit.

Always look at your child – are they growing, rosy-cheeked, smiling? Those are the best signs of adequate nourishment.

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Interview with Brian Leaf :: Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi

I’m thrilled to share this special Fathers Day Q&A with Brian Leaf, a self described parenting yogi and the author of Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi: Cloth Diapers, Cosleeping, and My (Sometimes Successful) Quest for Conscious Parenting. It’s a book that will have you laughing before page one, think Larry David by way of Ram Dass and throw two kids into the mix.Misadventures of a Parenting Yogi by Brian Leaf

What have been your proudest moments as a father this past year?

So many. Watching my six-year-old expressing himself through dance. He’s like a small Billy Elliot. Watching my ten-year-olds passion for computers blossom. Giving them both space for this.

Of all the parenting philosophies you studied and wrote about in your book, which ones do you find yourself leaning towards the most?

Free Range Kids. I think it’s so important to let kids take risks and give them some (age appropriate) autonomy.

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Bedtime Stories :: Annie Haas

Annie Haas singer/songwriter, artist, and photographer

Annie Haas

Annie Haas is a mother of 3, singer, artist and all around inspiring mom. Here she shares her bedtime routine, which is very much in the spirit of Dr. Sears Attachment Parenting philosophy. When you’re a parent, getting your child to sleep is important, and there are myriad ways to achieve this. So, while Annie’s family sleep routine has me looking for some lavender rub, remember every family’s style is based on their personal values and philosophies. There isn’t one right time or way to get your baby to sleep. You can find Annie on Instagram and visit her website for more information about her art, parenting and Waldorf home.

What ages are your children?

My children are very spread out! They are 15, 8, and 4.

How do you help them slow down towards evening?

My teen reads before bed, and I read and sing to my younger two. Sometimes they have a bath first but not every night. I use a lavender rub on their chest or chamomile tea especially if they need to calm down but sometimes they are so tired they don’t need it!

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Interview with Christie Ellis :: Nourished Postpartum

I’m so excited to have this interview with Christie Ellis, the Seattle based postpartum doula behind Nourished Postpartum. It’s always such a pleasure for me to hear how my peers began their careers in birth work and I’m honored Christie took the time out of her busy practice to answer a few questions about how Nourished Postpartum was conceived.Postpartum Doula Christie Ellis

What inspired you to become a Postpartum Doula?

I was inspired to become a postpartum doula by my own personal experience as a new mom. Living in Seattle, thousands of miles away from my extended family, I entered life after childbirth very alone, except for the couple weeks that my parents and in-laws visited in the beginning. I was so grateful for their company, yet it didn’t take long to realize that it can take much more than a few weeks to integrate a birth experience and adjust to life as a parent. While I did have a supportive spouse, local friends and a mom’s group that I participated in weekly, the lack of in-home help led to isolation and suffering for me. After I emerged from the newborn fog of my second child, I resolved to be part of creating more positive experiences for other parents. I wanted to offer parents nourishment, encouragement, and nonjudgmental support as they find their way in those early days, and it turns out, becoming a postpartum doula let me do just that.

When we show up in parenting, tune in to the needs of our child, and respond to them in love, we are doing a great job. And that is more than enough.

Do you offer any other services related to your Doula work?

I do! In addition to being a postpartum doula, I’m also a massage therapist specializing in in-home postnatal massage. I love being able to offer soothing touch that nourishes parents’ nervous system, helps them reconnect with themselves as individuals, and places a value on self-care.

What is your philosophy?

My philosophy is that my job is to nourish and nurture new parents so that they have the energy and confidence to face the challenges of early parenting and discover their own unique parenting style. There are already many people in parents’ lives telling them how they should do their job. Instead of adding yet another opinion to the heap, my style is to step back, encourage parents to tune in to their inner wisdom, and walk with them along the way. In addition to emotional support, I also nurture new families with food designed to meet their physiologic needs during the postpartum time. By offering massage, belly binding, and support in mindfulness practices to my clients, I’m able to further support their well-being and optimal recovery.

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Doula Care for The Postpartum Period

As a postpartum doula and childbirth educator, a large part of my job is helping parents learn to care for their babies, and themselves, independently.

Parents often want to know how long they will need postpartum doula care. I say book enough time to feel like you are maintaining a happy medium of your old life and new one. If you would like to keep up your previous lifestyle, book for longer, and vice versa.

doula care

What works for each family varies, but some examples of postpartum doula care schedules are as follows:

If one parent works and one stays at home, the family would have doula support on workdays.

When both partners are home everyday, they would hire help for every other day to have time off to recuperate.

Families with twins will want help daily, and ideally nightly, until sleep settles into a predictable and consistent pattern.

When there is a toddler in the family who isn’t yet in school, have a daytime nanny dedicated to ensuring this child has care and attention and a postpartum doula for the new baby.

A family with a live-in nanny who works during the day, may choose to hire night help and weekend support as well.

Some families have support every night, even 24/7 care, up to a year and beyond.

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