Archive for Parenting

Turn the fan ON

imagesYoung infants who sleep in bedrooms with fans have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome than babies who sleep in less well-ventilated rooms, research shows. It’s possible that fans improve air circulation, preventing infants from rebreathing exhaled carbon dioxide, which can pool up in the gap between a baby’s face and the mattress. Researchers concluded that sleeping with a fan lowers SIDS risk by more than 70% so turn on those ceiling or countertop fans!

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Popular Magazines for Moms

* Cookie: All the Best for Your Family — Last year I received a free one-year subscription to Cookie after purchasing a toy through Amazon. I found the magazine to be quite liberal with tons of ads and only a few ideas to offer. It regularly included fashion trends for moms and was geared towards the cosmopolitan mom.

* Parenting: The Home of Parenting and Babytalk — This Christmas I received Parenting for free through an Amazon purchase. It is similar in many ways to Cookie. Enough said.

* Mothering: Natural Family Living — I pick up free Mothering magazines when I go to my midwife’s office. I love the natural articles in it. From cloth diapering to home births, it always provides food for thought. Again though, it is certainly not a Christian publication so discernment needs to be exercised when considering the articles presented.

* Wondertime: The Joys of Parenting Young Children — Wondertime is the only subscription I pay for. It always has loads of great craft ideas, activity suggestions and seasonal foods to make with your kids. They also review and suggest toys and products. Articles are thoughtful and often funny but as always, Christians need to exercise discernment when considering the research that is presented in the articles since it is not a Christian magazine.

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These are the days

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My son’s truck landed in the pile of clean diapers yesterday as he was playing at my feet. I snapped a mental picture and then thought, “Why not run for the camera (again)?” One day my boys will be grown and I’ll be doing laundry without trucks, without diapers, and without play clothes. The thought makes me sad so I try to relish the simple, every day life now.  It goes by way too fast, they say.

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Beware of Babywise

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Babywise is the popular name for the book On Becoming Babywise, which is a parenting regime authored by Gary Ezzo that teaches parents to “guide their baby’s day rather than be guided or enslaved to the infant’s unknown needs.” The book was self-published in 1993, as the secular counterpart to Ezzo’s religious materials for infants, Preparation for Parenting. Babywise was picked up by Multnomah Publishing in the mid-1990s, but then dropped in 2001, after publishers investigated medical issues related to the book and character concerns about Ezzo. Babywise is the first parenting guide that the American Academy of Pediatrics has publicly recommended against.

So yes, there is a lot to be concerned about. Let’s start with the author. Gary Ezzo has no medical background. He has no professional training in child development, medicine, or breastfeeding support. Ezzo, Growing Families International (of whom he is the executive director) and his publisher have attributed to him three different academic degrees that he does not have. Ezzo even stated in writing that he had an associate’s degree in business from Mohawk Community College in Utica, New York, even specifying a major and a grade-point average. He never graduated from that school, officials say (source).

Questions about Ezzo’s qualifications are relevant for two reasons. First, his lack of integrity should be a huge concern for the Christian community. 1 Timothy 4:16 says, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” Proverbs 10:9 says, “He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.” David said in 1 Chronicles 29:17, “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.” And Proverbs 11:3 says, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the falseness of the treacherous will destroy them.” As Christians, we must be committed to integrity!

Second, Ezzo’s infant feeding advice is inconsistent with standard medical recommendations. Both Babywise and Preparation for Parenting tell parents that not following his principles is a potential health concern and that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports Ezzo’s recommended number of feeding times. On the contrary, the AAP does not support scheduled feedings and has issued an AAP Media Alert about the poor weight gain and dehydration that may result. The AAP stated that Ezzo’s program “outlines an infant feeding schedule inconsistent with AAP recommendations.”

What about the co-author Dr. Bucknam, you might ask. Well, Babywise is the secularized version of Ezzo’s Christian Preparation for Parenting material (now retitled Along the Infant Way). This was in its third edition before the first edition of Babywise was published and the medical content is the same. So, it seems as though Dr. Bucknam was simply added to give credibility to the program.

In addition to a lack of credentials, John MacArthur’s Grace Community Church, where the programs got their start, affirms in a public statement that the Ezzos’ teachings demonstrate “a lack of clarity on certain fundamental doctrinal issues,” “confusion between biblical standards and matters of personal preference,” and “insufficient attention to the child’s need for regeneration,” as well as a “tendency to isolationism.” Numerous Christian groups have expressed concern over Babywise and the Ezzos in particular because they consistently exhibited a pattern of cultic behavior, including Scripture twisting, authoritarianism, isolationism, and physical and emotional endangerment (source).

Aside from a lack of credentials and integrity, Ezzo’s materials are dangerous for babies. The following is from an AAP News article in 1998:

“Expectant parents often fear the changes a new baby will bring, especially sleepless nights. What new parent wouldn’t want a how-to book that promises their baby will be sleeping through the night by three to eight weeks? One such book, On Becoming Babywise, has raised concern among pediatricians because it outlines an infant feeding program that has been associated with failure to thrive (FTT), poor milk supply failure, and involuntary early weaning. A Forsyth Medical Hospital Review Committee, in Winston-Salem N.C., has listed 11 areas in which the program is inadequately supported by conventional medical practice. The Child Abuse Prevention Council of Orange County, Calif., stated its concern after physicians called them with reports of dehydration, slow growth and development, and FTT associated with the program. And on Feb. 8, AAP District IV passed a resolution asking the Academy to investigate “Babywise,” determine the extent of its effects on infant health and alert its members, other organizations and parents of its findings.”

There are so many resources out there on Babywise and the Ezzos. A few are included as links within the text and here are a few more:

Christianity Today article

Christian Research Institute article

Evaluating Ezzo Programs — extremely helpful site with tons of info including theological concerns of Babywise, statements by organizations such as AAP and Focus on the Family, as well as alternatives to Babywise; great resource!

Blog of former Ezzo Contact Mom

New Challenges Facing Gary Ezzo…

In conclusion, I found the summarizing thoughts made by the Christian Research Institute perfectly stated, “parents and church leaders…need to be aware of the risks associated with a teaching environment where Scripture is used out of context, questioning is actively discouraged, rules and schedules become part of one’s ‘testimony,’ even other Christians are considered ‘humanistic,’ division results, and the leaders do not seem to be receptive to constructive criticism.” Beware parents!

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Christian Parenting Books

“How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14.

Pastor and teacher John MacArthur states that as Christian parents, we are the first and most important preachers that God has given to our children. He goes on to say that we have a better opportunity than anyone to help frame what they know about Christ and that every moment of their lives is a teaching opportunity (Deut. 6:6-7). Here are some books to help us bring up our children in the nuture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

What The Bible Says About Parenting: Biblical Principle For Raising Godly Children by John MacArthur
* More than ever, Christians need to know what the Bible actually teaches about parenting, and put it into practice. In What the Bible Says About Parenting, pastor/teacher John MacArthur presents time-proven principles of Biblical parenting, clearly and carefully, to help parents make sense of their duties before God and to bring up their children in the ways of the Lord. This is an absolute must-have book. I am going through it for the second time now, highlighting and soaking in every word, especially those on effectively sharing the law and gospel with your children. My husband and I love MacArthur’s work and this book is no exception.

Teach Them Diligently: How To Use The Scriptures In Child Training by Louis Paul Priolo
* Priolo gives detailed explanations along with categorized scriptures of how to convict, rebuke, teach, and train your children with God’s Word. A must-have for any parent who desires to bring up children to be spiritually equipped to handle life.

Parenting With Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments by Kara Durbin

* Author Kara Durbin’s passion is for parents to capture those teachable moments and use Scripture to shape their children’s behavior. She offers Parenting With Scripture, a unique topical guide to prepare parents with scriptural teaching and helpful activities on 100 specific behaviors.

My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts by Susan Hunt
* With this colorful book, Susan Hunt provides a fun way to help young readers learn about God’s truth. Each letter of the alphabet has a corresponding Bible verse and is accompanied by a story to illustrate the scriptural passage.

For Instructions in Righteousness: A Topical Reference Guide for Biblical Child-Training by Pam Forster

* This book will help you use the Bible every time you discipline your children! It includes hundreds of verses on over 50 areas of sin. But it is more than just a topical Bible. Each chapter includes listings such as “What the Bible says will, or should, happen to a person who sins in this way;” “Ideas for discipline that parallel these Biblical consequences;” and “How God blesses the person who resists temptations to this sort of sin.” This book is based on the premise that if we train our children to submit to the authority of God’s standards, those standards will not change when the children grow up and leave the authority of our homes and we don’t want to discipline in anger; we want to show grief over the child’s sin, and we want to lead him to true repentance. This book is has wealth of material for parents’ personal Bible study, family worship, character training, unit studies, and Bible study projects for older children.

Thanks to Karen for sharing this last book with me, along with all of her other tried and true mothering tips. What a mentor! I should also mention that when we were discussing the book, my friend Julie shared that it was by the same company (Doorposts) that made the “If-Then chart” that she keeps on her fridge (see an example line below). It sounds like another great Biblical parenting tool. Thanks, ladies! If you have a book or tool for Christian parenting that you have found helpful, please, please share it. That’s what this site it all about — learning from each other so that we may nurture and admonish our children in the ways of the Lord!

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Bible Verses to Memorize

These verses are my encouragement and guide in parenting…

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Ps. 127:3-5

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deut. 6:5-7

“Bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Eph. 6:4

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Prov. 22:6

“Do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged.” Col. 3:21

“Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod and deliver his soul from hell.” Prov. 23:13-14

“Everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40

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Cloth Diapers

Besides the fact that it takes up to 500 years for a disposable diaper to biodegrade in a landfill, who wants to put plastic on their babe’s bum or risk them getting diaper rash easier? That’s how I feel, but I should be honest. We use disposables more than cloth. It’s easier when he’s in the church nursery or we’re out and about, not to mention that I gag when they’re really nasty and then to put them in a pail and soak or scrape them…ew! (If only we had a diaper service within 30 miles.)

Good news though!…Shortly after our son was born, my friend Nicole gave me her son’s old cloth diapers to try, so I jumped at the chance. I loved (and still do) putting our son in them. I just feel like I’m doing what’s best for him. And yeah, I gag when I have to scrub off the cling-ons, but I’m still here, right? Now he’s getting close to outgrowing them, so we are at a crossroads. Do we go with disposables from here on out or do we bite the bullet and purchase cloth? I need to make a decision – move on with disposable or talk to my husband some more about cloth? I need to do some more research, but feel free to post your thoughts.

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Cloth diaper resources:

http://www.softclothbunz.com/
* Cloth diapering site full of information on how to choose diapers and accessories. Includes a list of terms to know from “insert” to “flat diaper.” You can also shop amongst numerous brands here, too. This is a wonderful site, especially if you’re new to cloth diapering.

http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/diapers/joy-of-cloth-side2.html
* Mothering magazine article on how to get started with cloth diapers.

http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/diapers/joy-of-cloth.html
* Another Mothering magazine article titled “The Joy of Cloth Diapers.”

http://www.mother-ease.com/
* These are the diapers we have used. We have the one-size and Sandy’s, which require covers, and we have the all-in-one. The all-in-one are much easier to work with, especially with a fidgety baby. My only complaint with them is that they are bulky under his clothes.

http://www.gdiapers.com/
* G diapers consist of a washable, cotton outer pant and a plastic-free flushable refill. They are perfect for parents who don’t want to fiddle with poo in the laundry (like me), but wish to put cotton on their babes’ bums while not adding more plastic to our landfills. G diaper refills are a bit more costly though, running $.41 each, which does not include the outer pant.

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