My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

Readers enjoy your feedback and Reviews (82!) on amazon. Kindle Version Available!

Please Join me on Facebook at Punger Family Medicine.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January Blog Summary

I find that it is bittersweet at the end of the month when all my current blog posts get buried under the "cyberpile" and become archived. It is really quite amazing how fast my original writing can accumulate when I write just a little everyday. I hope that new visitors can easily find and enjoy what I have had to say and regular readers can go back to a post that was of particular interest and enjoy the newer comments (and my addendums!).

The three most popular older posts that visitors find by search engine are: Breastfeeding and Zantac, Why you need a Bassinet, Does Breastfeeding Hurt. Marked with an asteric.

I also marked the posts with most comments. *

This month I thought I would go back and list ALL relevant posts and then at the end of each month continue with a monthly listing.

January 2008 (25)
The Birds and the Bees and my Boys
Reconciling a College Education after Unschooling
Honey Crusted Pizza from Scratch
My Pregnancy Belly Cast
Why Does Mom Work?
What's the Problem with Pregnancy Tickers?
What Kept My Kids out of Organized Daycare
All About my Childcare Arrangements
Babies in the Workplace With Mom
Thumb vs. Pacifier?
I can't decide what to write next... *
Flexible Sleep Routines for Babies *
Assessment of Sugar-free Diary
Welcoming a New Blog
RSS Feeds, Bloglines, and Google Reader
Sugar-free Food Diary
Rantings about Writing
My Sugar-free Pantry
Breastfeeding Mothers' Slide Show
Sugar-free Breakfasts
Co-sleeping on a Winter's Night
You Know How Much I Love Babywearing: Four Clips f...

December 2007 (26)
I Love Learning...
Diaper Covers: Bummis vs. Bumkins
What's Unschooled?
Bumkins, FuzzyBunz and Bamboozle Cloth Diapers
Tobacco Cessation for the New Year
A Tribute to Cloth Diapers *
What's This Green(not) Thing?
I Hope I've been TOTALLY Sugar-Free for Three mont...
What's in my Hand?
Ready for Solids?
Coping with low milk supply.
"I Couldn't Ever Labor without an Epidural!"
Wife of Rockstar Wears her Baby
Mothering Books I can't recommend at
Why I Support the Nestle Boycott
Breech Awareness: Breech is NOT a disease *
Homeschooling: The First Year
Cornered by a Gift from my Neighbor *
Can You Tell I LOVE my Blog?
Besides an Epidural...
Natural Substitutes for Sugar
Continuing the Natural Family Planning Discussion
Customized Style for My Blog!
What foods is Cane Sugar found?
Before My Sugar-free Kick

November 2007 (28)
My Diet has Been Sugar-free for Two Months!!
Maternal Confidence and Subsequent Children
Natural Alternatives to Tampons and Pads
Breastfeeding and Birth Control *
Induction Scare: Are You Due in December?
My Thoughts on The Business of Being Born Document...
Who's Cooking at Your House?
My Waiting Room
Nursing Bra Humor
ICAN Birth Videos
FAQ: Burping your Breastfed Baby
Introducing Our Newest Drummer David...
Zantac, Breastfeeding, Reflux *
David's Quote of the Day
Am I still Unschooling?
It must be fun to be a mother these days....
Does Breastfeeding Hurt? *
Wear Your Baby
Self-publishing, getting started...
My Original Articles
How books get to bookstores...
My Photography Style
Information off the Internet
What is "home-centered parenting?"

October 2007 (10)
Permission To Mother Table of Contents
Are you a newbie to blogs?
My unschooled child is student of the month at TBE...
LOVE expressed by 2 four year olds
Yes, you can link to me!
Why you need a bassinet! *
Breastfeed with Confidence
Birth: "But I have no choice..."
Introducing a new blog...
Introducing my new book coming soon....

Great Blog Posts I've Been Reading

My blog time over the past few days has been occupied by reading some great posts and following the comments on these blogs. I'd like to share these posts with my blog visitors.

I like Natalie's post about homeschooling thoughts after a new baby.

I like Lauren's blog posts about transitioning from being a second grade teacher to home-centered parenting.

Rockstar has a family of nine and has given tips on saving money on groceries.
Rockstar's wife has shared a few recipes. I made the Mexican lasagna and it was a hit in my house.

Check them out!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Birds and the Bees and my Boys

Having an 11 and 9 year sons, sure makes me think of how I need to be educating them in the Birds and Bees department. As you know "sex education" doesn't start at a magic age. They are learning and picking up info constantly. Also, "sex education" isn't just limited to "sex" per say. Many of the topics I talk about and write about are actually inspired because I want certain values instilled on them and I want my thoughts organized for when we do "go there." Breastfeeding and how we birth are a part of "sex" education.

For example, let's talk about attitudes about breastfeeding. Nursing them until they reach the age of verbalization and memory isn't enough to "hope their kids will be breastfed." By the older ones observing my role model and see the younger one breastfeed goes a long way. I have stocked up on children's breastfeeding books that re-iterate the message. We do not have dolls/stuff animals/action heroes in the house that get fed with toy bottles. The toys get breastfed, eat whole foods or eat nothing, and get carried in slings. We limit the children's books with pictures of artificial feeds in it. In cases where we choose the keep the book, we discuss it. I was not exposed to much breastfeeding prior to becoming a mother, but my boys continue to be around breastfeeding in the circles I hang around in. As they mature, we will discuss that their future birth and breastfeeding values are topics to be discussed while dating.

As far as birth goes, my older boys were there for the younger brother's very normal breech birth. My boys are familiar with their own birth story, the photos, and the impact of doulas and midwives on me. They will proudly announce what they know while giggling, " We know David's feet came out of your butt first," as they have seen the photo many times. We have discussed cesarean and why doctors are quick to do cesareans. We discuss why it would have been wrong for David to be emergently birthed by cesarean. My boys have a better perspective on birth then most adults.

Lauren's wonderful post about her elementary students discovering her pregnancy is very precious and sentimental. One student innocently states, "Mrs. A, my mom had a baby and they had to cut her stomach to get it out!" And another pipes in with "And Mrs. A- you don't even want to know where else that baby can come out!" OBs aren't the only ones responsible for rising cesarean rates. We parents are! Do you think either of these girls have a chance to have a vaginal birth when you "Can't even discuss that terrible place babies come out!" The girls view emphasize the excellent insight my boys have on the female side of things. These girls view illustrate why if my sons want natural/home birth and breastfed babies, they better know how their future partners feel about birth and bf.

How about the male side of the issue? Is there a book for male adolescents that respects the AP/home centered parenting concept while teaching sex ed? One problem, I fear, with a AP book on this topic, is that the AP community tends to be so hard headed when it comes to discussing circ including bris/Judiasm is that it closes discussion. Even if I can't agree with everything that is said, I want to know that it can lead to my boys better understanding and well-roundedness. With passion and forethought to preserve (for my boys) the Jewish tradition in our assimilated world, I have journaled my experiences with newborn circumcision and bris in the past years. I have organized my feelings and am ready to arm my boys with my perspective as they mature and their eyes widen. I have decided to included appropriate parts of this journey in Permission to Mother. I found it very hard to discuss the spiritual side of birth without the circumstances surrounding circumcision and bris.

As we go through the boys Science curriculum, the boys eyes widen anytime reproduction and anatomy are discussed. They are ready to know more about their changing bodies. I am not prepard to give this lesson. I need your suggestions. I am open for suggestions: websites, books? Please let me know! Anyone hear of the book Puberty Boy. Is it any good?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Reconciling a College Education after Unschooling

William just completed the second module in 6th grade Language Arts and Science (which means he is half way through with his first semester in both classes). He is doing very well in his on-line classes. Being on-line has also given him the opportunity to take the advanced track in both classes. Remember I have unschooled him and at 11 years old this is the first curriculum we have followed. I am certain he would not have had the advanced option if he entered school this year (or been enrolled all along). Following my instincts to let him learn at his own pace all these years has paid off. He is interested and curious. He is not burned out and we can also continue at his pace.

Besides being proud of him, practically speaking I am also relieved to see that he can continue on with these classes in our homeschool agenda and get a transcript. (Until now, every organized group that provides transcripts requires a statement of a faith that excludes me and I wasn't sure if there were any other transcript options left in the homeschool world.)

By homeschooling does not mean that I am not academic. It does not mean that I am not interested in a higher education. Quite the opposite, I am very interested in my boys preparing themselves to go to college.

How do "unschooled" homeschoolers make a transition to college? I have often thought if the school system is so bad what makes college suddenly so important? We are very lucky to live biking distance to a community college that shares a campus with a state university. The campus is very open to homeschoolers in duel enrollment. So for one, I plan to take advantage of this opportunity when the boys are older. Two, the college offers on-line classes. It seems a natural progression from what William is doing now to those on-line classes. And he can come home at night! We go to the campus often as the library serves as a county library branch, also.

I went to a four year university. I lived in a dorm a year and a sorority house for the next three. I enjoyed it, I don't regret it and much of it was fun, but I can say that that is not necessarily the environment I want my sons in. (For the record, I was a totally straight, pre-med, non-dating, Science nerd, holding my own at a big party campus.) The first semester was a huge transition to dorm life, resisting all night party life, eating dorm food, dealing with homesickness and passing college classes. On weekends I worked in a hospital while attending college (paying my bills, probably kept me out of trouble).

That is not a transition I ever want my boys to make. I already talk to them how lucky we are to have a University so close to us and they can live at home. I would hope in college they could be enrolled in classes where the other students want to be there or are at least students are mature enough to know why they are there. If they want a degree that is not locally offered, well then they know why they are going (and it doesn't have to be the first semester).

With three boys, it is likely that they may not all want to go to college. They might find something different and that's ok. But for now I plan on keeping them on an academic course through unschooling and age appropriate on-line learning so they have all their options open. Good academics in the high school years goes a long way in a teens life to open the door to all other opportunities whether it be college or other. Your education is something you will always have and it can not be taken away.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Honey Crusted Pizza from Scratch

Last week I enjoyed reading Chris' post on Fresh Milled. She shows photos of her grain mill and her pizza.

I am not up to baking all my bread from scratch (at least I wasn't a year ago), but I found myself amongst a community of local (homeschool and organic) women who grind grain, teach classes, and best of all bake for me. I also get my freshly ground oat groats and whole grain flour from them. I know that the women who bake the bread use a heavier flour than what I actually purchase from them. (Different flour for different purposes.)

I make pancakes, banana bread, and most recently I made honey crusted pizza. All are sugar-free! The banana bread is straight forward. I also make the sauce for the pizza so I can control the ingredients. For someone who spent their life in books and hospitals, you can imagine what a big accomplishment cooking pizza from scratch is!

The home-made fresh bread has no artificial preservatives, tastes great, and obviously has no sugar (it has honey). I do agree with Chris that grinding grain is good for your health.

When you buy white bread from the store you are getting mostly endosperm and no fiber (think of what makes the white stuff in popcorn). I am fairly certain that most whole grain bread at the grocery store filter significant bran and germ layer out. The flour I am using (except for when I need white flour in particular) is the whole entire grain, ground up.

From reading labels, I also know that most whole grain bread at the grocery store is made of high-fructose corn syrup (worse than cane-sugar). When you think you are buying something "good" for you, you are really buying something full of processing and little relative fiber. By avoiding consumption of these breads alone, I have really improved my diet in so many ways.

( I don't have a local website to refer you to for the bread classes or purchase, but I can send local contact info on request.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Pregnancy Belly Cast

While pregnant with David (my 3rd) , mental and spiritual preparation for my homebirth and getting comfortable with my body, included my creative expression. This is my second belly cast. My doula, Dawn, plastered me the day I went into labor. She decorated it in the following days. (Remember, we didn't know he was breech.)

Dorion Stanger, sculpture and owner of Pregnant Memory Sculpture says:

"The pregnancy memory sculpture is a declaration to your child of the pride you felt when mother and child were one."
My sister made a belly cast for me when I was about 28 weeks. It is so much fun to make a cast. It's a very healthy outlet and a great way to connect with your birth team.
I have one cast in my exam room. This one is in the office, but too big to be in the room. I'd be glad to show it off if you ask.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


This is an excerpt from my sons Language Arts Assignment. Originally, I was hoping he would answer, "Yes," and explain who inspires him:

Topic: Can one person or one incident transform (change) the life of another?
Date of entry (22/01/08)

No one can inspire you. Only you can inspire yourself. If someone says, "Come on. Keep going to the top" or "Don't give up," This would be called "motivation.” If you don't want to do it you won’t. They could try to inspire you and make you think you could do it. You might realize you can't and think it’s too frustrating and hard. If you really want to do it, you have to inspire yourself.

After, I got thinking about it. I realized his wisdom. People need to do it for themselves.

How many times do I hear (in regards to wellness):

"My insurance doesn't cover it."
"It's too expensive."
"I had a doula and I still had a cesarean."
"My husband doesn't support it."

or MY favorite:

"I saw Dr. Punger for breastfeeding and she couldn't help me. "

My son is absolutely correct in his rationale. You can surround yourself with encouraging, like-minded and informative people....

But if you want it bad enough, take on self-responsibility. It must come from within.

Way to go, William!!
(William, recieved a perfect score on this assignment.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why Does Mom Work?

I had one more thought after reading through all Sarah's post about daycare scenarios and that is knowing why you work. Do you work because you have to? Do you work for extra spending money? Or do you work because it meets your needs.

Often when couples first get together, there is no dependents and both work. Subsequently, a lifestyle is created that depends on two incomes. Prior to children, it seems, very few dual income couples are able to anticipate and plan ahead for a single income with children. If this post does nothing else but makes one couple realize they need to plan ahead, it would fulfill its purpose.

I work because I feel very driven. I'd like to think that since my husband is a physician, I don't HAVE to work. :) Over 12 years there's been times, I had to work (like when we lived in a big house in Palm City), times I didn't have to (we lived in smaller houses), a time where I didn't work (in Georgia), and times we depended on a loan. At all times (for the most part) I wanted to work, loved working and felt like I was part of a community. I was full-time with the first baby, part-time after the second. Now with three boys, I have the most day-to-day flexibility in my own practice than I had being employed.

I did not like NOT working. I like the website Babies in the Workplace because it recognizes my need. It encourages me that my desire to work is normal, yet it accepts that babies and children can be integrated into the world. Women don't have to stay at home vs. leave the baby. The site presents a third option. Although, I didn't find the website until all three boys were beyond babies, I find that I am not alone in my desire to work.

What's the Problem with Pregnancy Tickers?

First what is a pregnancy ticker? It is a graphic often added to an e-mail signature that looks like a 40-42 week time line with a countdown to the birth in X days, X minutes, and sometimes X (!!) seconds. Some "cute" pointer moves along the timeline.

Yikes! A ticker knows to the second when a baby will be born!? A normal gestation is 38-42 weeks when labor is left to start on its own (if you're induced at 38, 39, 40,+, weeks, I consider that premature). What happens when you approach the end of your ticker... and... no contractions? What happens when you get to the end and you don't have a birth?

Two related scenarios come to mind that bring me to my conclusion. The first time I put an inspirational quote in my signature with the intention to inspire others, I found I was the one who the quote imprinted more than anyone else. I saw the quote over and over and over. In the case of an inspirational quote, this is a good thing. I was repeatedly reminded of my purpose. In the case of birth, you do not know when you will go into labor. You do not need to so much focus on your due date. A ticker can only add to disappointment, intervention and anxiety. There are other ways to let people know your pregnant. Typing your due date in your signature is much better then a "countdown" which reminds me of a bomb.

Say other people actually do notice your ticker and the countdown. You're going to have them nagging near the end... its time.... its time... You mean you haven't delivered yet? More anxiety and pressure to preform.

Say you know when you are going to birth because your birth is scheduled, is a ticker still harmful? I say yes, because it it propagates the myth to others who still have a chance to go into labor naturally in the 38-42 week range. Get them thinking that "I must have a ticker, too."

You probably think I am very silly, to care about a silly little trendy graphic, but I see it as a red flag to your own pregnancy. I don't necessarily see it as a sign of a healthy outlook on your birth. I see it as harmful to others. Using a ticker shows me that OBs aren't the only ones responsible for the birth crisis. It shows me that mothers are also focused on getting the baby out around a particular date and don't understand the "normal" length of a human pregnancy and don't understand that labor is best when left to start on its own.
Disappointingly, I've seen natural birth communities promote these graphics.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What Kept My Kids out of Organized Daycare

When I was pregnant with my first son, I often was told that my son would be better off in daycare and since I worked so hard for my career, I shouldn't give it up. You hear stupid stuff like this over and over you get immune to other possibilities. I knew we would need childcare. Licensed daycares eliminated me, before I had a chance to eliminate them.

Why did they eliminate us? When William was a newborn the very first consideration that eliminated us was that I worked til 7:00, 3-4 days a week. Daycares close at 5 or 6. This was absolutely not an option.

As he got older, I continued to hear the message that my son needed socialization and how good particular private daycares/preschools were. On tour, they did stress the wonderful teaching environment (if you want that kind of learning) (Whether they call it daycare or preschool it is all the same. It is just a word.) The very simple thing that wouldn't work this time is that I didn't see William napping after lunch on command. All kids in these programs are suppose to nap at that time.

Once again due to peer pressure, I looked at private preschools when he turned about three. The thing that kept me out this time was the forced toilet training routine. You had to be trained to be in the 3 yo class. William didn't bladder train til 4 and after that he suffered with soiling (encopresis). We were excluded.

Three small but not trite reasons kept me looking for other options.

I also knew that daycare kids stayed sicker. (But can you believe some doctors think that is good for their long term immunity! YIKES!)

Many mothers do truly believe that there kids are better off in daycare. I hear all the time, "My child has learned so much from going to preschool." The fact is that young ones are sponges, they will learn in many types of environments.

My previous two posts may help find more options. Here and here.

All About my Childcare Arrangements

Yesterday I wrote about bringing the baby to work. Unfortunately I never would have imagined a scenario where I could have done that 12 years ago. Childcare is one of the biggest stressors on a young family. It was very stressful for me through the years, but always worked out.

This is a list of of our childcare scenarios. I tried to categorize them as Sarah has on her blog. I found most were a combination. For various reasons, I couldn't fit most of our scenarios exactly into her categories. We never depended on Grandma for babysitting for when I was at work. We have never had a licensed provider. I also found that no one works just to earn a "little" extra income. The novelty wears off really fast even when its my handsome and adorable sons.

William 3 months old—Young female sitter in my house with her three year old daughter. Met her before the birth through an ad I placed. I didn’t know what AP meant at the time. She was a bf AP mother looking back at it. My days were too long for her, so at

5-6 months old, William was brought to another young girl’s house with a son exactly a year older. I met her through my nurse. She is my nurse’s DIL. She is a loving, nurturing young girl who bottle-fed her first son. She breastfed her next two children.

I took a maternity leave and returned with William and three month old Scott. Shortly after that she delivered her second baby. Watching four kids was too much.

Scott is now about 5-6 months old. We had a young, single non-English speaking live-in M-F. and the occasional weekend hours we worked. She had no other outside responsibilities. She kept the house straight for us, too. She was a relative of another nurse we worked with.

Scott is now 2, William is 4. They need more stimulation. My birth doula with 11 homeschooled kids at that time, alternated weeks she sent her 16 and 15 year old sons to cover the days we needed. (I worked 3-4 days a week). We tried one of her daughters, but my boys liked male input. Mary, a widowed mom of an adult Daughter with Down’s syndrome came to clean my house once a week. Her daughter is a part of the boys life, but not usually over during "working" hours.

Scott is 4 and William 5. We moved to Georgia. The teens baby-sit when we come to Florida for business meetings in their house. Not that they babysat much, but there was a lot of continuity. I didn't work in Georgia (and just so you know I was very restless without a professional outlet).

Now we move back to Florida with 7 month old David and two older brothers. At first they all stayed with me and John at home or office. Eventually, Mary who came back to help me in the house, became the Mon/Tues nanny. Mary’s nickname is “spoil them rotten.” Her Google identity is “I love David.” Wed AM, I am home. Wed PM (1-5) they go to a homeschooled families house with 4 kids, dog, pool, curriculum and organization. The now 14 and 15 yo teens in the homeschool family cover Friday. My kids have a great variety in their daily experiences. When our 1st Wed family couldn’t do it anymore, one of my patients with two sons, 11 & new baby, took over in her house and became our next Wed family. David stayed with me until he was 1 1/2.

The first Wed family bf all her babies, The 2nd Wed family breastfed the new baby. The two Wed families went to cloth diapers after seeing me do it (they are pictured in my tribute to cloth diapers post). Mary changed cloth diapers and promotes them. All these families since our move back to Florida stay in touch, read my blog once in a while, and have honorable roles in my book. I consider them very close friends. I tend to think of our arrangement "as taking care of each other's family." Its not just one-sided childcare. Well, the teens are myspace friends, not blog readers, but they are in my book. The teens mother, my doula, wrote the foreword for my book. The teen boys weren't keen on diapering. My older son chipped in here. My older boys knew the diapering routine.

Thursday I am home or they come with me if I go in. We never had a Thursday babysitter.

For most of our sitters, we were the primary employment. They were/are very dependable and loyal. My boys love them. Most had/have other part-time domestic jobs for women in their neighborhood. These families were available to non-professional families not just “2 physician families.” I also have AP mothers in my practice looking for kids to babysit and don't have any kids to watch. Their skills go under-utilized. Opportunities like this exist for those who want and seek them.

My sons are old enough now that I don’t have to worry about babysitters when I am at work. I don’t want to leave them home alone all the time, but they can manage if in a bind. If I had another baby, I would bring this baby with me to the office with a sling for everyday of the month :) . I could not imagine leaving a baby behind. I have created a work environment where I can do this.

I hope Sarah's thoughtful classification and series of posts and my experiences help you to make informed choices in childcare. Tomorrow I will post on the little things that kept me out of daycare.

Babies in the Workplace With Mom

I'd like to point out one of the links in my resource list: Babies in the work place. This is a website dedicated to "Parenting in the Workplace, in Society, and at Home: Integrating Children Into the World." I would have liked to have beeen exposed to the philosophies on this site much earlier in my working/parenting career.

I felt quite accomplished managing to work and pump breastmilk for my two older boys, maintaining an abundance of milk & never resorting to formula. As my second son moved past his first birthday, I got more involved with the breastfeeding community. I envied mothers who never had to give their baby a bottle (there are actually a few of those moms around). I wished so much I could turn the clock back and do the same. I didn't know yet that there are alternatives ways to give a baby expressed milk: syringe, spoon, or cup (not that that really solved the problem). But really the bottom line is, no matter how loving and caring, your babysitter is, there is nothing like keeping a baby at the breast exclusively. A one-on-one sitter who can meet you for all feeds is a compromise. But otherwise for the young baby, feeds provided by someone other than the mother are never in the best interest of the baby.

After time, I left that employment, was pregnant, and my third son, David was born and I did not have to report to work. I could exclusively breastfeed him. My husband and I decided to open our own practice. David stayed with me until he was about 1 1/2. His Dad took him for short times, but not long enough to miss a meal. It is with great pride I can say that David never had a bottle or a pacifier.

I did not find out about the website Babies in the Workplace with Mom until after my need was over. I love the site. Why should we have to choose to leave our babies in daycare vs. stay at home. I like the option of bringing breastfed babies in slings to the workplace. I like patronizing the few businesses that allow this. We need more role models like that. We need to create a society that prioritizes the needs of babies and mothers.

My next post will be about my childcare scenarios over the past 12 years.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Permission to Mother Book Update

Tonight I have approved the interior layout and the cover for my book, Permission to Mother. I hope this approval equals publication!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thumb vs. Pacifier?

In a newborn or young baby who is breastfed, I prefer thumb or hand (babies will root on their hand):

See Linda Smith's article, Top Ten Reasons for NOT Using a Pacifier.

In any case, a pacifier should be the last resort if used at all, not the first thing to try. Instead of reaching for the pacy, lift your shirt and unhook your bra and latching, or put the baby in a sling.

In a bottle-fed baby, I would have to individually counsel.

I have found that most well-bonded breastfed babies reject the pacifier. Mothers don't realize that pacifier rejection is *normal* behavior in a baby that gets the breast because you see babies everywhere with the THING clipped to its shirt and car seat and stuffed in a mouth. It appears to be a stylish must-have to have one clipped on all the time. In my own mothering experience, I did not want to use it. I recall my mother saying, "Just give it to him, you're going to give it to him soon enough." Well, he never took it. We hesitantly offered it to my second. He rejected it. I confidently never offered my third son one.

In Nighttime Parenting by Dr. Sears he summarizes a study on thumb-suckers: Thumb-suckers tend to be bottle-fed. The later a child weaned, the less likely he became a thumb-sucker. Thumb-suckers tend to be put down to sleep alone after a feed. Finally, they tend to be fed by schedule. Thumb-sucking may cause an overbite.

Personally speaking, I was a thumb-sucker (I never needed braces). My mother used to boast about how I fell asleep independently, routinely. I was a good baby, she said, I stayed in a play pen till I was four. (I would of stayed in it longer if she gave me the Internet and computer.) She says she didn't know what we know now. And that is the point, way to many mothers STILL don't know.

I can't decide what to write next...

I can't decide what to write next. These are some topics I have thought about writing more on, but never have.

  • Bedwetting
  • Soiling
  • Toilet Training ( I know little about, it just happens)
  • Pregnant Belly Casts
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Vitamins
  • Teething
  • More on self publishing
  • My Top Referring Sites List
  • The Websites that I have listed as resources and why
  • Why/how I chose the products that are in my store
  • Why shop locally owned and small businesses
  • Book Reviews
  • My Karate Kids
  • Hebrew School
  • Drum Lessons
  • Virtual High School
  • More on Homeschool Progress
  • What I think of pregnancy tickers (posted)
  • What my next birth plan would be (No! I am not P.)
  • Using herbs to induce labor (Avoid it)
  • Nail biting, Tics and habits in kids
  • Butterflies and Inducing Birth Analogy
  • Thoughts on preventing prematurity
  • hot flashes and aging (as related to mothering)
  • plastic surgery vs. aging naturally
  • Notable sugar-free meals
  • What sugar-free and other elimination diets have to do with pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • One-of-a-kind birth and breastfeeding success stories
  • Sling babywearing slide show
  • Herb Garden
  • Continuing on topics I have started already


  • Bread making
  • wet nursing

Its not a lack of ideas on what to write, but sometimes I have so many ideas I can't focus. Which ones of these are you interested in? Any questions on these topics? Your feedback may help me prioritize.

If you have no questions, this list is kind of like a warning and lets you know what lies ahead. :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Flexible Sleep Routines for Babies

Getting your breastfed baby to sleep at a particular time is a big concern to many parents. There are a lot of authorities on "sleep routines."

Put away the popular Expecting series and the Whisperer and Something-Wise books. They won't help your breastfed baby. They won't help your confidence.

Dr. Sear's has much better nighttime books. The Family Bed by Tine Thevenin is also great and supports the kind of parenting you are doing.

Your newborn baby does not tell time. She is used to having all its needs met 24/7 while in the womb. No one knows your baby like you do. A breastfed baby will often have a five hour sleep stretch at night, a 2 hour stretch in the first half of the day and 2 hours in the second half.

Wearing your baby as much as possible during the day is a great way to teach your baby day and night.

It is totally normal for a breastfed baby to fall asleep at your breast in YOUR arms. You do not need to wake them to burp them. You should not train them to fall asleep alone.

You should never prop a bottle and leave a baby. Your baby should have eye-to-eye contact with you during the time she is feeding.

Looking back, I am glad my kids didn't have a set bedtime. If we were out, they could fall asleep in my arms at the breast and didn't need "their bed." My days and my needs vary and I would never know what time to set as the perfect "bedtime."

If a "bedtime" and getting your baby in the crib or bed at a certain time really important and your baby sleeps whenever you want her to consider yourself lucky.

Your baby is going to sleep exactly the amount she needs per day no matter what time they fall asleep, so why force a baby to be in bed at a certain time if its not the time that works for your baby. I'm not talking about staying up all night. But does it make a difference what time nap time is or if bed time is 7, 8, 9, 10, 0r 11?

I always wondered how a daycare gets everyone to sleep after lunch. I knew this routine would not work for my kids. The sleep policy was one of the things that acted a deterrent to me to not pursue daycare. You can not make a baby who is not tired fall asleep and you can't force a tired baby to stay awake. We never did have exact nap times. My days are too busy and varied. I didn't rush home to put the baby to nap at "2:00." If I was out and the baby was sleepy, why couldn't he sleep wherever we were.

Dinner, bath, book, and breastfeeding are all part of a great evening routine to do when you are home. But if your baby doesn't fall asleep at X:00, you are not a bad mother.

Assessment of Sugar-free Diary

I hope I've shown the variety of food that can be eaten that are naturally sugar-free or some foods that can be substituted without much sacrifice.

I found that I did not reaching for little snacks because I didn't want to log on (imagine that!) and keyboard it in. I was never hungry. I always eat breakfast (I think) and was surprised to see how late I actually ate on two mornings.

The company recommends a strict 4 day rotation as to not build other sensitivities. I have never managed this. I do try to eat a variety and not to eat the same thing everyday.

Finding these foods and recipes didn't happen overnight. It took a few weeks for me to find enough sugar-free foods to "go sugar-free."

I really appreciate the information and support from those of you reading along. I'll let you know as I try new things you suggest!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Welcoming a New Blog

I have enjoyed reading a new blog written by BeyondYourPeripheralVision. This link will direct you to her blog. She is local, I know her in real life. She lives on five acres with her husband and new baby and her horse, pony and dogs and cat. So far she has written about transitioning to motherhood, her horse, and an her international perspective on breastfeeding. My readers will enjoy her content.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sugar-free Food Diary

In an attempt to share what I eat for lunch and dinner, I will keep a food diary for three days. I will update this post. I have never officially kept a food diary so this may be an eye opener for myself more than anyone.

I'll officially start the diary tomorrow. I always eat breakfast but I ran out of the house early for a dental appointment. After that I went to a U pick farm in Fort Pierce and got strawberries, spinach, roman lettuce, tomato, dill, parsley, eggplant and local juicing oranges.

Last night I made a yogurt recipe that BeyondYourPeripheralVision posted in comments of Sugar-free breakfast post. I had some of that when I got home.

I made shakes for me and my kids out of the squeezed OJ, a banana I had frozen, the fresh strawberries whey powder and agave. (Yeah, they will finally eat one of my concoctions!)

I have several friends that grind grains and make bread from honey (and no sugar!) I had a slice of that bread with honey and mango cream cheese. (The only other sugar-free bread at the store I have found is sourdough at Publix bakery and many breast are made form corn syrup, even whole grains.)

As you can see I "made up" for not having breakfast. But all the fresh stuff is delicious.

I put all the spinach into the blender and made pesto. What I don't eat tonight on pasta, I will freeze.

Basic Pesto Recipe (with my substitutes)

3 cups Packed young basil leaves (I used spinach this time)
3 heaped TBS pine nuts
1/2 cup light virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp salt
Garlic to taste (also can add lemon juice to taste)

Put basil, pine nuts, and salt in blender, process adding steady stream of oil, add garlic, process to mix and transfer to bowl fold in cheese, serve over linguini or other favorite pasta.

For snacks I finished the left over shake and made popcorn on the stove top. I cover the bottom of a large sauce pan with oil (veg table oil works well) add about 3/4 cup of kernels when the oil is hot and let it pop.


8:30 Fruit juice sweetened cereal topped with my homemade granola and rice milk, not enough water :(

12:30 Yogurt recipe posted in the comments section of sugar-free breakfast. Water, but not

2:00 Tomato based organic vegetable juice. ( I tried it, did not like it.)

5:30 "BBQ Tomato Beef Dip and Tostitos" with cheddar cheese and sour cream-- I use ground turkey instead of beef. Instead of BBQ sauce which is heavy in sugar and cornsyrup, I added molasses (see comment added on May 5, 2008)), vinegar and honey and my own spices. A few of the tomatoes were the ones I picked yesterday. Mustard is in the recipe. And water.

(The RECIPE is in the comments section.)

7:00 Very Berry Birthday Cake. You won't believe this! One of the moms reading my blog made a Sugar-free birthday cake for her son's birthday. The base was banana bread with Xylitol as sweetener. The frosting was cream cheese and yogurt and (I think maple sugar based). Delicious and beautiful. My kids couldn't believe "whole grain birthday cake exists!" And more water.

11:00 Rice milk and the boiled chicken breast my son didn't eat.


11:00 grapefruit we picked at John's mother'shouse with agave to sweeten it.

2:00 Chicken soup with vegetables (seet potato, red potato, egg plant, onion, shallots) and whole grain noodles.

Water, water, water!!!!!!!

4:00 some left over tostitos (atleast I didn't eat them all yeasterday!)

6:00 salad , romain lettuce (that I picked at the farm), hard boil eggs, sunflower seeds, raisins, croutons (I made from my friend's bread which is the best bread!)

Some late time: The rest of my tomato dip, Tostitos and cheese.


9:00 fruitjuice sweetened cereal with the granola I made on top and original flavor rice milk

11:00 orange juice

2:00 salad with sunflower seeds, raisins, croutons, fish topped with fruitjuice sweetened jam and rice. Rasberry Leaf Ice Tea (Traditional Medicinals).

4:00 snacking on more tostitos and cheese

6:00 chicken soup left overs

10:00 left over birthday cake

This all sounds really ambitious, but it didn't happen overnight. It has taken me a long time to incorporate changes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Rantings about Writing

In an earlier post I mentioned the first article I wrote was the birth story of my older two sons. It was hard to write that story back then because I didn't have writing experience. Yet, I found that I loved creative writing and it took me two years(!) to turn out another story called Reflections of my Obstetrical Training. I liked that my organized and composed thoughts could reach a larger readership.

After that my family moved out-of-town and I relied on e-mail and writing to stay in touch. I wasn't working, although I did make local friends, it took a long time. Writing to friends became my primary social communication.

I found my writing was getting better and better because I wrote a lot. Sometimes when I didn't have anyone to talk to in person and help me organize my thoughts, I went about writing my thoughts confident that one day I would have a BIG audience (I should have had a blog!).

I liked writing about my boys then and I was correct, many of the articles and the incomplete blurbs eventually merged into my upcoming book.

Now, I started my blog because I have accumulated more ideas/wisdom/experience and do not have enough time to tell everyone individually. These days, I am well socialized in real life. Writing is for fun and for efficiency because I tend to find myself writing about subjects that I tell over and over to my many family, friends, mentors, and patients. A blog should help me be less repetitive knowing that anyone interested can access what I have to say whenever they are receptive.

Because of the blog I have a new circle of people I interact with: technically literate Blog Buddies sharing related personal goals that I would have never found if I didn't start a blog. I feel very privileged to have expanded my circle of interaction.

Ironically, I am not certain that family and friends that I have stayed in touch with by e-mail on a regular basis even check the blog. It seems that having a blog hasn't been an effective communication tool for those I already "know." I am nosey and curious, if I knew a friend of mine started a blog I'd be checking in. I 'd want to know what they have to say. Maybe they are thinking a blog is like a newsletter and it will arrive in the inbox and wonder why don't I send them new posts (and they don't know they need to check the blog or subscribe to the feed) or maybe they have blogophobia. Maybe they think I will drag them into "something." (live Divacups or sugar substitutes, :P) Maybe they want the personal feel of an e-mail. I still e-mail plenty. But it's weird not knowing if my long term writing friends check the blog. I assume they are not if after all this time, nothing has been said despite my e-mail, links, and/or verbal invitations to check out the blog. My blog URL is in most of my outgoing signatures, so the post might not come in the "e-mail," but the "URL" is. It's even weirder knowing that I am writing, but wondering if my "writing" friends are missing out on this fun communication format. I miss their involvement. Are you out there?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My Sugar-free Pantry

1st row, Sea Salt Grinder, Tamari Soy Sauce, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar from the Mother, Chili Sauce, FRUIT JUICE sweetened cereal, Xylitol ( a sweetener), Avocado Oil, Maple Sugar

2nd row, Stevia by the spoonful (sweetener), agave nectar (sweetener), organic coconut oil, Fructose, another sweetener, Whey protein.

As you can see, I found a fructose-sweetened boxed cereal so I don't have to rely on my home-made granola and oatmeal constantly. I can add whey to smoothies to make a smoothie a meal with protein. I have a few new sweeteners to try to replace cane sugar. This is a new jar of coconut oil I found in the health food store today. Many sugar free recipes call for it and I have not been able to find it in a regular grocery store. Maybe some of my granola recipes will taste better now.

Other items in my pantry that are an improvement (but has nothing to do with cane-sugar):

I switched to sea salt a long time ago to replace factory manufactured salt (yes, Morton's). Even Morton's sea salt even has stabilizers in it. I've been wondering if some kinds of salt have a higher contribution to blood pressure and health problems then sea salt. Using freshly grounded salt also cuts down on the amount of salt used because the aroma contributes to flavor. Tamari soy sauce is fermented more healthfully than plain soy sauce. Organic Apple Cider from the Mother is the most healthful vinegar. Be careful with Balsamic. It is carbohydrate dense and often has added caramel coloring. There is so much more to write about... I'm sure I will, soon. I hope these items helps you find replacements in your diet.

You can click on the photo if you'd like to see the packaging more clearly.
You can click on the sugar-free label to see my previous posts on this topic.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Breastfeeding Mothers' Slide Show

Over seven years ago, I compiled breastfeeding photos from members and friends of the Treasure Coast Breastfeeding Task Force. They've been on all these years. (I had one of the first picturetrail accounts. Its been dormant many years.) Tonight I realized I can post them in a new format-- as a slide show! I am wowed by all the cool features at picturetrail.

Some photos I took, some have been shared, and I am in some. There is some good memories in these. I am grateful for all the women who continue to allow me to show off their photos. Many of us have had another baby since these photos were taken. Many will recognize themselves and our friends. It was so hard to narrow it down to the maximum of 40 photos per slide show that picturetrail allows.

If you recognize me from seven years ago, please don't tell me how old I look now. :(
Photos I am in: I'm nursing in public at Epcot. I'm in a group of three. I'm sitting in front of an x-mas tree. I tandem nurse. I nurse an amphibian and more. I've been nursing a long time. Now go look for me. I look like a baby myself in some of them.
PS-There is a photo of an adoptive mom. You'll figure it out....
PSS- I'll have to make more slideshows... it was easy....
What do you think of it?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sugar-free Breakfasts

This is a continuation of my "sugar-free" series.

A typical breakfast before my sugar detox was cereal and milk. I like Total, Raisin Bran, Cornflakes... those kind of flaky cereals. I never did eat colored cereal or coated flakes. You'd think it would be easy to find flakes without sugar. As far as I know every boxed cereal has sugar in it except something like puffed millet. I tried it...barf...

If anyone knows of a boxed flaky cereal without sugar please let me know.

I was never much of an oatmeal eater. I am aware that oatmeal improves cholesterol and counsel my patients with cholesterol problems to eat oatmeal. This is my recipe for oatmeal

2 1/2 cup milk, soy, or rice (I prefer original rice dream.)
1 cup oats
1/4 cup of agave nectar

Apples and cinnamon, or banana and walnuts to taste, A few whole flax seeds can be tossed on top.

I bring it to a boil, turn it down and simmer a few minutes. I get my oat groats from a friend who grinds them at her house, but you can get this at a grocery store.

Oatmeal also makes great granola. This has become my "cold cereal."I have made granola to suit my needs with honey, maple, agave. Its usually not sweet enough for anyone else. So, I haven't found a recipe I am willing to share. I tend to find recipes on-line and make appropriate substitutes.

Eggs are a great breakfast option.

Shakes/smoothies also work. I like rice milk or apple juice as a base and use a combination of fruit: strawberries, bananas, kiwi, pineapple, etc... honey or agave can sweeten it.

Buckwheat pancakes sweetened with honey and topped with maple syrup, or fruit. This adds another delicious grain to the diet and is easy to prepare. 2/3 cup buckwheat, 2 tsp honey, 2 tsp oil, 1 egg, 3/4 cup. My kids actually like this!

Not all soy or rice milk is sugar-free. I had to read labels and learn which ones are.
I would love suggestions if anyone has some. Next time I write about my detox I'll write how I manage lunch and dinner.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Co-sleeping on a Winter's Night

The benefits of co-sleeping on a cold winter's night (maybe the only cold night in S. Florida) is snuggling with my little heat reactors. A four year old's body is so warm when its cold out.

It's economical, too. We can blast the space heater in one room.

When the wind is blowing on the windows, it's a secure feeling to see your kids right there beside you.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

You Know How Much I Love Babywearing: Four Clips from the Tummy2Tummy Babywearing DVD

Here are four clips from Tummy2Tummy,the full length professionally filmed instructional DVD, showing 2 1/2 hours of what you need to know about babywearing. I viewed the DVD for the first time when David(my 3rd) was three. How I wish, I had seen a video like this much sooner. Babywearing is a powerful tool for mothers, not to mention the bonding. This video has a lot to offer a mom who wants to full-time babywear.

This is a clip is from the section on ring slings. This is the main carrier I used and teach in the office and *I* even learned more about the ring sling from watching the full length DVD.

The next clip is a clip from the pouch section. It shows a baby facing outward. The full legth DVD shows how to wear a baby in this position in a ring sling.

The next clip is from the section about the Mei Tai. Watching the Mei Tai section made me wish I had a new baby to carry in a fashionable and traditional looking Mei Tai.

Last but least, nursing in a wrap. The photo in my blog header is David on my back at 2 1/2 in a wrap. He wishes he could nurse in this position. :)


More information at twofloridadocs. I love having products supporting attachment in my small office based store and being able to pass on all this wonderful information.

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