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Just finished up two presentations last night and again this morning for parents. And in each case the discussion turned from my agenda to theirs. One woman broke down and cried saying that more workshops than just mine should address the whole family and not just the children alone. And the debate over breastfeeding, working at or away from home, and all the rest are not centered around the children or the family at all. But our right to choose as the woman in charge.

When I was a Pediatric Health Educator during one class a group of expectant parents asked me what was best to feed their newborns. Innocently I told them breastmilk. The room lit up and wouldn't you know the local news cameras happened to be filming me that day. They took turns one after the other telling me that their doctors had already told them that formula was best. I even got written up by my supervisor for saying that, when the formula companies were supplying "every" new mom with their free samples and video and so much more stuff for years. I felt like I had been set up.

Our culture is hostile toward a lot of family strengthening practices. Children are put into incubators at birth, strollers as newborns, doglike collars as toddlers, daycare and behavioral meds in preschool, and on it goes. We rarely consider our choice to foster independence from us as early as possible if not sooner. My own mother always said that she "couldn't" breastfeed. But when I had my youngest she and mother-in-law told me that neither of them did that and joined forces on a family vacation that WE paid for to discourage me from continuing. Even watching my daughter expressing her joy and in such a state of piece seemed to make them resentful. I just stopped nursing her in February when she turned 3. And their arguments would have held water had my husband and I not chosen for ourselves how we would parent our daughter. I've never experienced that level of intimacy in parenting as I have with her. I can't even explain the emotional connection that is still strong because of letting her have a healthy childhood in the best way we know how. Because she volunteers at a local farm, she has grown up watching mothers and their children in harmony as we are.

I haven't heard of a farmer willing to do this with formula, but knowing that pasturized milk would kill a calf in under 8 weeks, and how animals are given gobs more supplements not to mention real food to keep them standing upright, compared to our addiction to frankin-science instead of whole food for our children, is it any wonder that you would get attacked on this forum for speaking up for our most vulnerable? I wasn't about to be the first one in on this debate: if there really is one going on here. But I'll stand with you now so you know that compared to her peers, nearly everywhere we go folks talk about how my child stands out from the crowd starting with her facial structure. She is made of mother's milk and a ton of Mommy and Daddy love and it shows. But I'll admit that having my breast to myself again is a rush for me. I never knew I could miss my two buddies quite this much! LOL!

There's a fearless parent in all of us. Seen yours lately?

Adelaide Zindler, FP (Fearless Parent)

May 1, 2008 - 4:39pm


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