My Rant on the Stigma of Attachment Parenting

Naturally, many of us practice attachment parenting without even knowing what it is.  According to about.com ,”The goal of attachment parenting is to raise children who can form healthy, emotional connections with other people throughout their life. Attachment parents believe this must begin by forming a respectful, compassionate connection between parent and child.” Sounds good, right?  Well unfortunately, there is a stigma associated with the common practices of parents such as  breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping and even simply holding your child.  For some reason, responding to your babies hunger cues and keeping him close to your heart in a sling is seen as disgraceful.  When I came across the image to the right, I laughed because it is so true.  Even if you only practice one aspect of attachment parenting, like breastfeeding, you experience negative feedback from other people.  In reality, there is nothing wrong with bonding with your child and these “shameful” practices are more beneficial than harmful.  One of the most important needs of a young child is to have a trusting relationship with a caregiver and breastfeeding, baby-wearing, etc. help to facilitate that bond.  When I was in the postpartum unit, many nurses were impressed with how calm my newborn was, not crying during procedures or throughout the night like other babies.  This was due to the fact that I was unknowingly practicing “attachment parenting” right in the hospital room (co-sleeping and all, don’t tell the authorities).  As mothers, we must be confident in the way we raise our children because someone will always have something to say.  The same people who complain, are the ones who will admire how peaceful, well-mannered and intelligent your child is! 

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Article: The Importance of Breastfeeding the Muslim Child

The Importance of Breastfeeding the Muslim Child

This is a great article which basically encompasses a lot of issues I would like to discuss on this blog.  It’s a good read for anyone who is considering breastfeeding or who would like to understand more about why it is important for Muslims to breastfeed.

Oh No! My Child is Turning Two and He is Not Weaned

Many mothers worry if their child is still nursing beyond the age of two years.  As a mother myself, I understand that certain challenges can prevent a child from completely weaning as expected.  However, mothers should not put undue hardship on themselves if their child does not weaned by their second birthday.  In the translation of Surah-Al Ahqaf verse 15, Allah (swt) shows his compassion for mothers, “And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, good treatment. His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship, and his gestation and weaning [period] is thirty months. [He grows] until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.”

Naturally, weaning is a gradual process that differs for each child.  While there is a recommendation to breastfeed for two years, there is no obligation to wean at two years.  Also, there are different allowances for the length of time one can breastfeed in Islam.  Please read the following questions answered by qualified scholars to learn more about this issue.

Can I breastfeed after two years, or is it sinful?

What is the minimum age that a child should be breastfed?

Breastfeeding longer than two years in the Shafi Madhab

Is it permissible to breastfeed a child over two years old?

Is it permissible for the mother to breastfeed her child for longer then two years if there is a need?

Great Articles on Weaning:

Weaning: How does it happen?

Natural Weaning

Baby Knows Best: Baby Led Weaning Promotes Healthy Food Preferences

Formula vs. Human Milk Ingredient List

One of the greatest mysteries about human milk is its ingredients, and each year scientists discover some of it’s components.  In 2007, students Cecily Heslett, Sherri Hedberg and Haley Rumble of the Breastfeeding Course for Health Care Providers at Douglas College in New Westminster, BC, Canada compiled the most accessible and complete list to this date.  They also included the ingredients for formula which are very limited as compared to human milk.  Why give your baby less when he can have more with breastmilk?  For a more detailed explanation of ingredients checkout Native Mothering’s post What’s in Breastmilk?.

As Muslims, breastmilk is a better option because it’s ingredients are naturally pure and the source is clear. If you formula-feed be aware that not all brands are halal, and that haram sources such as alcohol and pig meat are commonly used in its production.  Checkout this recent news article about a boycott of Nestle in South Africa due to the public discovering that they used pig to make their formula.  Insh’Allah, I will address this issue in another post. Please Help Spread the Barakah of Breastfeeding by sharing this with someone.

FORMULA INGREDIENTS

Water Carbohydrates
Lactose
Corn maltodextrin Protein
Partially hydrolyzed reduced minerals whey protein concentrate (from cow’s milk) Fats
Palm olein
Soybean oil
Coconut oil
High oleic safflower oil (or sunflower oil) M. alpina oil (Fungal DHA)
C.cohnii oil (Algal ARA) Minerals
Potassium citrate Potassium phosphate Calcium chloride Tricalcium phosphate Sodium citrate Magnesium chloride Ferrous sulphate
Zinc sulphate Sodium chloride Copper sulphate Potassium iodide Manganese sulphate Sodium selenate
Vitamins
Sodium ascorbate Inositol
Choline bitartrate Alpha-Tocopheryl acetate Niacinamide
Calcium pantothenate Riboflavin
Vitamin A acetate Pyridoxine hydrochloride Thiamine mononitrate Folic acid
Phylloquinone
Biotin
Vitamin D3
Vitamin B12
Enzyme Trypsin
Amino acid Taurine
L-Carnitine (a combination of two different amino acids) Nucleotides
Cytidine 5-monophosphate
Disodium uridine 5-monophosphate Adenosine 5-monophosphate Disodium guanosine 5-monophosphate
Soy Lecithin

HUMAN MILK INGREDIENTS

Water
Carbohydrates (energy source)
Lactose
Oligosaccharides (see below) Carboxylic acid
Alpha hydroxy acid Lactic acid
Proteins (building muscles and bones) Whey protein
Alpha-lactalbumin
HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumour cells)
Lactoferrin
Many antimicrobial factors (see below) Casein
Serum albumin Non-protein nitrogens
Creatine
Creatinine
Urea
Uric acid
Peptides (see below)
Amino Acids (the building blocks of proteins)
Alanine Arginine Aspartate Clycine Cystine Glutamate Histidine Isoleucine Leucine Lycine Methionine Phenylalanine Proline
Serine
Taurine
Theronine
Tryptophan
Tyrosine
Valine
Carnitine (amino acid compound necessary to make use of fatty acids as an energy source)
Nucleotides (chemical compounds that are the structural units of RNA and DNA) 5’-Adenosine monophosphate (5”-AMP)
3’:5’-Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (3’:5’-cyclic AMP)
5’-Cytidine monophosphate (5’-CMP)
Cytidine diphosphate choline (CDP choline) Guanosine diphosphate (UDP)
Guanosine diphosphate – mannose
3’- Uridine monophosphate (3’-UMP) 5’-Uridine monophosphate (5’-UMP) Uridine diphosphate (UDP)
Uridine diphosphate hexose (UDPH)
Uridine diphosphate-N-acetyl-hexosamine (UDPAH) Uridine diphosphoglucuronic acid (UDPGA)
Several more novel nucleotides of the UDP type
Fats Triglycerides
Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (important for brain development) Arachidonic acid (AHA) (important for brain development) Linoleic acid
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
Conjugated linoleic acid (Rumenic acid)
Free Fatty Acids Monounsaturated fatty acids
Oleic acid Palmitoleic acid Heptadecenoic acid
Saturated fatty acids Stearic
Palmitic acid Lauric acid Myristic acid
Phospholipids
Phosphatidylcholine Phosphatidylethanolamine Phosphatidylinositol Lysophosphatidylcholine Lysophosphatidylethanolamine Plasmalogens
Sphingolipids Sphingomyelin
Gangliosides GM1 GM2 GM3
Glucosylceramide Glycosphingolipids Galactosylceramide Lactosylceramide Globotriaosylceramide (GB3) Globoside (GB4)
Sterols Squalene
Lanosterol Dimethylsterol Methosterol
Lathosterol Desmosterol Triacylglycerol Cholesterol 7-dehydrocholesterol Stigma-and campesterol 7-ketocholesterol Sitosterol
β-lathosterol
Vitamin D metabolites Steroid hormones
Vitamins Vitamin A
Beta carotene Vitamin B6
Vitamin B8 (Inositol) Vitamin B12 Vitamin C
Vitamin D Vitamin E
a-Tocopherol Vitamin K
Thiamine Riboflavin Niacin
Folic acid Pantothenic acid Biotin
Minerals Calcium
Sodium Potassium Iron
Zinc Chloride Phosphorus Magnesium Copper Manganese Iodine Selenium Choline Sulpher Chromium Cobalt Fluorine Nickel
Metal
Molybdenum (essential element in many enzymes)
Growth Factors (aid in the maturation of the intestinal lining) Cytokines
interleukin-1β (IL-1β) IL-2
IL-4
IL-6
IL-8
IL-10
Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) Macrophage-colony stimulating factor (M-CSF)
Platelet derived growth factors (PDGF)
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Hepatocyte growth factor -α (HGF-α)
HGF-β
Tumor necrosis factor-α
Interferon-γ
Epithelial growth factor (EGF)
Transforming growth factor-α (TGF-α)
TGF β1
TGF-β2
Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) (also known as somatomedin C) Insulin-like growth factor- II
Nerve growth factor (NGF)
Erythropoietin
Peptides (combinations of amino acids) HMGF I (Human growth factor) HMGF II
HMGF III
Cholecystokinin (CCK)
β-endorphins
Parathyroid hormone (PTH)
Parathyroid hormone-related peptide (PTHrP) β-defensin-1
Calcitonin
Gastrin
Motilin
Bombesin (gastric releasing peptide, also known as neuromedin B) Neurotensin
Somatostatin
Hormones (chemical messengers that carry signals from one cell, or group of cells, to another
via the blood) Cortisol
Triiodothyronine (T3)
Thyroxine (T4)
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) (also known as thyrotropin) Thyroid releasing hormone (TRH)
Prolactin
Oxytocin
Insulin
Corticosterone
Thrombopoietin
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
GRH
Leptin (aids in regulation of food intake)
Ghrelin (aids in regulation of food intake)
Adiponectin
Feedback inhibitor of lactation (FIL)
Eicosanoids
Prostaglandins (enzymatically derived from fatty acids) PG-E1
PG-E2
PG-F2 Leukotrienes
Thromboxanes
Prostacyclins
Enzymes (catalysts that support chemical reactions in the body)
Amylase Arysulfatase Catalase Histaminase
Lipase
Lysozyme PAF-acetylhydrolase Phosphatase Xanthine oxidase
Antiproteases (thought to bind themselves to macromolecules such as enzymes and as a result prevent allergic and anaphylactic reactions)
a-1-antitrypsin
a-1-antichymotrypsin
Antimicrobial factors (are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses.
Leukocytes (white blood cells) Phagocytes
Basophils Neutrophils Eoisinophils
Macrophages Lymphocytes
B lymphocytes (also known as B cells)
T lymphocytes (also known as C cells)
sIgA (Secretory immunoglobulin A) (the most important antiinfective factor) IgA2
IgG
IgD
IgM
IgE
Complement C1
Complement C2
Complement C3
Complement C4
Complement C5
Complement C6
Complement C7
Complement C8
Complement C9
Glycoproteins
Mucins (attaches to bacteria and viruses to prevent them from clinging to mucousal tissues)
Lactadherin
Alpha-lactoglobulin
Alpha-2 macroglobulin
Lewis antigens
Ribonuclease
Haemagglutinin inhibitors
Bifidus Factor (increases growth of Lactobacillus bifidus – which is a
good bacteria)
Lactoferrin (binds to iron which prevents harmful bacteria from using the
iron to grow)
Lactoperoxidase
B12 binding protein (deprives microorganisms of vitamin B12)
Fibronectin (makes phagocytes more aggressive, minimizes inflammation, and repairs
damage caused by inflammation) Oligosaccharides (more than 200 different kinds!)

Breastfeeding Myth: Colostrum is ‘Dirty’

Infants Stomach Capacity

In many cultures throughout the world infants are not given the first milk known as colostrum because it is believed to be immature and unclean.  In an article I was recently reading, a Latino woman expressed how her mother urged her not to breastfeed her newborn in the first few days because “pus” would come out her breasts.  This nutrient dense milk is commonly squeezed out the breasts and discarded, as was illustrated by a West African mother during a Spero News interview, “It [colostrum] was dirty and I needed to get rid of it in order to be able to feed my daughter correctly.”  This myth is also widespread in parts of Asia, where baby’s are given tea and sugar-water in the first few days after birth.  Also, in India infants are not commonly given colostrum because it is considered dirty and stale (checkout the commercial below encouraging women to give their babies colostrum ).  Some cultures even go as far as to call it “witch’s milk” and claim that it can cause any disease.

In reality, colostrum, known as “liquid gold”, is very beneficial and is specially formulated to give newborns a healthy start in life.  After birth, this thick, yellow milk helps to seal holes in the intestinal tract, protecting the gut from any harmful substances.   It is low in fat, high in proteins and carbohydrates, and very easy to digest.  Consequently, it has a laxative effect which helps a baby to pass the black, tarry stool known as meconium.  This is very important because excess bilirubin is excreted, preventing jaundice.  Colostrum is also known as the “first vaccine” because it is high in white blood cells and antibodies which help fight infections.

Over a period of two weeks after birth, the infant’s suckling stimulates the production and transition of colostrum to white, thin “mature” milk.  This provides the child’s nutrition for the remainder of time that he is breastfed.

Breastfeeding in the First Few Weeks

What is Colostrum? How does it benefit my baby?