Based on several letters written from Carrie Monk to friends who have asked common questions. Pregnancy One of the most beneficial books during pregnancy is Naturally Healthy Pregnancy, written by Shonda Parker. This book offers a good foundation for a healthy pregnancy starting with diet and moves into various remedies for common ailments. Shonda Parker also wrote Mommy Diagnostics, a very helpful book for those desiring to take a more proactive role in their family’s health. It is probably one of the best holistic books to have for reference. We agree with most of her book except for her support of eating soy and using unsoaked grains/flour. You can purchase all of her books at www.naturallyhealthy.org.
Another excellent resource for all stages of a woman’s life, with a wealth of information to sift through and consider, would be the Weston A. Price foundation. www.westonaprice.org.
Breastfeeding Breastfeeding is one of the most natural expressions of motherhood, but that does not guarantee a hassle-free process. Every woman is different. One of the greatest concerns for new mothers is low milk production. If you drink enough water and eat a well balanced diet composed of beneficial fats, whole grains, proteins and green vegetables, this problem is rare. In Colorado the environment is so dry I find that at least 8 ounces of water every hour is necessary for good milk production; even beyond 6 months post partum. Certainly there are herbs you can take at the health food store, usually in the form of teas or tinctures, but I have found this to be too intense for an already tired body maneuvering through a hormonal labyrinth. Remember the body identifies herbs as medicine. For some, the intensity of these herbs is certainly detrimental. However, I do know of some ladies who have used them and they have worked well.
In general, for good milk production, drink a lot of pure water; avoid trans-fats and sugar; eat well; rest and keep emotional stress as low as possible. I have experienced and have found from talking with other ladies, that scheduled breast feeding can cause problems for good milk production. Smaller babies need to nurse more frequently because they have a smaller stomach and bigger babies can go longer between feedings. Make sure the little ones drain your breast so they get the cream at the end or they will be hungry too soon, fussy and gassy. In the first two weeks I nurse one breast every two hours, that way baby gets all the hind milk and you do not go too long between emptying the breast. I nurse my babies as often as they like for the first 6-8 weeks and then nudge them into something close to a three hour feeding schedule during the day. At night I nurse them when they wake and then roll them over to go back to sleep. You may have other ideas, but the goal no matter which tactics are used, is a well nourished baby and a rested, peaceful mother.
Carrie’s Diet There are very few more controversial topics than this one. For the last few years I have eaten primarily in accordance with the blood type diet presented by Dr. D’Adamo. Most all of Dr. D’Adamo’s findings regarding food have been consistent with Scott’s findings about my health except for the inclusion of soy. While pregnant I also added cultured dairy (kefir, yogurt, cultured butter and sour cream) because I have found it grows bigger babies with stronger bodies. Again, see: www.westonaprice.org for more information on this topic. The key is finding a dairy that works for you. If you want to follow Dr. D’Adamo’s diet I would suggest buying his cookbook. There are a lot of good recipes in there and a monthly diet in the back which is helpful when you have new-mother-brain. I try as much as possible to maintain a similar diet until I finish nursing.
Diet for Children Again, our way of introducing food is very similar to the information at the Weston A. Price foundation. We try not to feed our children grains until they are at least one year old and that in the form of gruel. Usually we start with oatmeal that is soaked overnight in kefir and cooked, served with butter or coconut oil, some maple syrup and salt. Weston Price does suggest using an egg yolk starting at four months, but we have found this too soon for all of our children. For us, introducing eggs around a year old has worked much better. There is more information on this topic in an article on choosehealth.net called, Dietary Guidelines. I highly recommend, Noursihing Traditions, an excellent cookbook written by Sally Fallon, offering many recipes prepared using traditional methods. I use both of these resources in caring for my family and my babies. Vitamin Cottage and Whole Foods both offer this book in their stores.
Cloth Diapers I have thoroughly enjoyed cloth diapering the girls. Personally, I would far rather sit in something soft and cottony than some synthetic material. Of course there are many reasons families cloth diaper, and no, it does not need to be labor intensive. There are many styles available online today. My selections have changed over time because more and better products are available now than even 5 years ago. Instead of restating what others have said on the web about cost effectiveness and ease of use, I will give you a couple of websites to reference. I currently use a combination of Mother-ease with wool covers and Bum Genius/Dry Bees pocket diapers. www.diaperpin.com/home.asp www.cottonbabies.com/ www.mother-ease.com/
Homeschooling I am an eclectic homeschooler, but I favor a Charlotte Mason perspective. Charlotte Mason’s books on educating the child are available online and in some libraries but are an extensive read for the parent just beginning home schooling. Another author, Karen Andreola wrote a book titled The Charlotte Mason Companion that I find refreshing. Mrs. Andreola condensed much of Charlotte Mason’s ideas and made the theory behind Mrs. Mason’s ideas a little easier to understand. I also incorporate Ruth Beechick’s Easy Start Series, and start phonics whenever there is an interest shown. The girls learn well using real books that teach real things like cooking, sewing, animal care, etc. Preschool curriculum could be matching socks, using coloring books, reading to the children, puzzles, matching games, etc…Cathy Duffy’s Top 100 Homeschool Curriculum book at the library does a good job of explaining the main ideas of educational philosophy and that may help guide you if you are unaware of those at this point. One of my goals is to make learning fun, if they enjoy learning they will see its value, but if they hate school it is no fun for anyone. So I seek to find the thing that each of my children are drawn to and work the three R’s (Reading, Writing and Arithmetic) into whatever that bend may be. Those are the basic concerns for small children. So what age do I start actively teaching? Well, we (every parent) teach them from birth. They are sponges and always learning. It is natural to teach children and will be for you too. I have bought things from www.goodthingsforthefamily.com, www.rodandstaffbooks.com, www.urbanhomemaker.com, www.singaporemath.com and garage sales. The library is an excellent resource. For a list of age appropriate classic book stories see Honey for A Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. There are multiple lists and a wealth of information on choosing reading material that your children will love.
Lastly, I am more than willing to elaborate on any of these subjects should you want more information. Please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.