Book Review: Free-Range kids

I've been out of commission for three days. On Friday, we celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary and my seventh month of pregnancy. We made the journey over to Warren, NJ to the Stone House Restauant at Sterling Ridge for dinner. Soon after returning home I began to feel queasy. This queasiness turned into a hacking cough, noise bleeding, abdominal aching, five pound weight loss, bedroom quarantined extended vacation. I'm at about 50% now, ready for work tomorrow. Thank goodness there will be no students at school this week for me, so I can be sick in peace. I went to the dollar store and purchased disposable face mask I plan to wear until I beat this cough. I know I'll be getting some strange looks, but who cares. When I had to go to Trader Joe's on Sunday, I wore one and people look at me like I had leprosy. Can't wait for my morning commute :-|.  Also on Thursday I go for the glucose screening, with a five pound weight loss I know I'm going to get a lecture from my midwife -- I CAN'T WIN!


Back in June I began to construct this post and never completed it, so here is the finish product.

As a part of my "Mommy's Book List" here, I read Free-Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy. It was an excellent, quick read. I highlighted almost every other sentence in the book, I was so engaged. The book is divided into two parts: (a) The Fourteen Free-Range Commandments and (b) the Free Range Guide to Life. In part two of the book an A-Z review of everything a parent might be worried about is provided with statistically data to support how unnecessary some of the worry is. At the end of each chapter Skenazy offers advice on three levels: Free-Range Baby Step, Free-Range Brave Step, and One Giant Leap for Free-Range Kind. In this post I will highlight a few of the more interesting facts I learned from part one of the book. 

Topics for Further Research

  • The Science of Fear, Daniel Gardner 
  • The Myth of the First Three Years, John Bruer
  • A Nation of Wimps, Hara Estroff Marano
  • Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids, Grolnick

P 54

"The problem is, if you picture the very worst outcome of every very safe endeavor, there is no way you can enjoy life. All you can do is smother it."

P 55                                                                           "Constant supervision" "Issue of control" 

"Cell phone umbilical cords" p 57

P 79                                                                           Help your child, age nine or up, find an 'apprenticeship'. 


P 85                                                                                Unsupervised playgrounds seem to be the norm in most countries, freeing up parents to do other things if they choose. 

P 86                                                                                                                                                             Parents in other countries just seem to trust their children and their fellow citizens more. Or at least, parents in non-English-speaking countries seem to. 

p 87
Cultural fear

Control is a figment of our imagination. Seeking it only makes us more anxious. It certainly isn't required for good child rearing. And to the extent that we do manage to solve all our children's problems- or keep those problems from ever even popping up- we are doing them a disservice. Not a fatal one that will stunt our children forever. But still, we are steering them away from the real source of confidence and independence, which comes from navigating the world and its surprises. Especially the unpleasant ones.

P 94
The idea is that if you're worrying, then you're doing the right thing - Lawrence Balter, editor of the encyclopedia Parenthood in America. Worrying "is like a demonstration to yourself that you're being responsible" it has become our national pastime.

P 96
The assumption behind constant availability is that there are problems facing your child that must be solved, immediately, by you. The assumption behind that assumption is that you, the parent, are capable of solving all problems. And the secret assumption behind the assumption behind the ... Whatever, is that your child is helpless without you. So if you don't solve each and every problem, he's sunk, and you haven't done your job.

P 99
In terms of parenting, the way to gradually desensitize ourselves to the fear of letting our kids go is to - you guessed it- gradually start letting them go.
                                                                                                                                                              Peter Stearns, the Anxious Parents author, recommends letting kids walk to school without you starting in first grade. 

If you can just put the risk in perspective, the fear gets put in perspective too. 

"Don't go off with strangers" versus "don't talk to strangers"

P 104
... We are not just the results of how our parents raised us 

Bottomline: Life = Risk (from

Baby #2 Preggo Weight Gain

When I became pregnant with Lil D I began my pregnancy journey at about 147 pounds. I gained about 25 pounds during my 38 week pregnancy (See my weight gain numbers below). I kept the weight on even with breastfeeding because my ass ate like a beast the 12 weeks I was home on maternity leave, won't do this again. The main reason why weight is on my mind now is because at my last prenatal visit my midwife was disturbed that I only gained 2 pounds since the beginning of this pregnancy. 


I visited the Baby Corner's website to input my numbers into their Pregnancy Weight Gain Caldendar and here is the report I got back.

This week you should weigh between: 166 and 171 lbs

You are 6 pounds under the lower end of of your target weight range. During your first trimester, you should gain between 2 and 4 lbs. Thereafter, you should be gaining between 0.5 and 0.77 lbs. per week until the end of your pregnancy.

At full term (40 weeks pregnant) you should weigh between: 173 and 183 lbs 

Total Target Weight Gain: 15 to 25 lbs.

Everyone knows I work in Manhattan. I walk to work every morning (20 blocks -- a little over a mile) rain, snow, and/or cold. I also have a very active 22 month old I spend a lot of time chasing. Imagine me at 5' 5" weighing 180 damn pounds. Hell to the NO! This would not even fit my lifestyle. As I told my midwife, I am way too active to be on target with the "recommended" pregnancy weight gain. Who the hell has time to lose 30 to 40 pounds post- pregnancy with a 2 year old and a newborn.  In the words of Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" I'm not starving myself. I'm just eating clean and organic foods -- no refined sugars or processed foods so my weight gain is slow, but steady. On this same topic my sister sent me a wonderful acticle, Why Aren't Docs Giving Obese Pregnant Women Accurate Advice? It's a quick read and quite informative check it out.

Lil D's Pregnancy Weight Gain

149 lbs. ---> 18 Weeks 

152 lbs. ---> 22 Weeks 

158 lbs. ---> 26 Weeks 

158 lbs. ---> 28 Weeks 

160 lbs. ---> 30 Weeks 6 Days

166 lbs. ---> 34 Weeks 5 Days

168 lbs. ---> 36 Weeks 5 Day

168 lbs. ---> 38 Weeks 1 Day  {Lil D's birth weight 6 lbs 2 oz}


 The take home message from this post is simply this: I will have a natural birth in a birthing center with the aid of my husband, midwife, and doula. "Eating for Two" would severely impede my ability to have a successful intervention free birth experience.

Lil D's Diet

My child does not eat much. Well, that's if you don't include brown rice with black beans, peanuts, popcorn, pizza, or bananas. We have exposed her to many foods, but she is quite finicky when it comes to food and beverages. All she will drink is apple juice, milk, and water. For weeks, I have been worried that she has not been eating enough variety to be considered a well-balanced diet. Last weekend, D and I were proactive and made the journey to Whole Foods to choose a multi-vitamin for Lil D. After reading labels on about 5 or 6 vitamins we settled on a multi-vitamin (with minerals) formulated by ChildLife. ChildLife is a company developed by Dr. Murray Clarke,  ND, D.Hom., L.Ac. Dr. Clarke has been specializing in pediatrics in his homeopathic and nutritional clinic for the past twenty years. We felt his product was the best offering the most vitamins and minerals. 

I am of the mindset that your food should be your medicine, but until Lil D is older and I can negotiate with her to eat everything on her plate I will have to supplement her foods with products like ChildLife. Our next purchase will be their Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) formula.

Information about the Multi-Vitamin from the ChildLife website:

The full spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals support healthy development, strong immune function as well as emotional and mental vitality.* Research shows that one of the fundamental reasons for the decline in children’s health and immunity is the decline in the nutritional content and value of their diet. Supplementing a child’s diet a smart way to ensure that all nutritional needs are fulfilled.Today’s children face unprecedented challenges from two very important areas. On one hand, the nutritional value of the food we eat decreases as the nutritional content of the soil is depleted through time and modern farming methods. On the other hand, the rapid increase in environmental pollution and toxic burden creates an increased need for these nutrients – the vitamins and minerals that protect, nourish and sustain a child’s natural, healthy development. Support your child’s growth and development with this Multivitamin and Mineral formula.*

Orange / Mango Flavor. 8 fl. oz. (237ml) $16.95 @ Whole Foods


During my weekly birthing resources search I arrived upon two web sites that offer in-depth information for women interested in vaginal births after cesareans. I have never had a C-section, but many of my friends have and I always cringe when they tell me their OBs tell them having a vaginal birth the next time around is out of the question. LIES... LIES... LIES. You know how I feel about women having the opportunity and right to make informed decisions not based on fear, lies, and cohesion.  


The two resources for vagina birth after cesarean (VBAC- Vee Back) are here: provides childbearing women and maternity care professionals access to evidence-based resources, educational materials, and support for VBAC and cesarean prevention.

Childbirth Connection offers great resources for women interested in having a VBAC and repeat C-Sections. 

Childhood Vaccines: An Informed Decision

Its been a while since I've blogged, once again life has taken over and I've had very little "me" time. A major development in my quest for better health has been our decision (read: my decision) to not immunize our children. Sure Lil D has had all her vaccines up to 18 months, but that will be all for her. I've got 3 years to figure out how to get her registered into a public school without having the "recommended" vaccines, I'm sure it will be an interesting journey.

We hope that you consider this list, and the side effects of vaccines before giving your child vaccinations. We have strong reasons to believe that overall, and in general, that the risks of horrible and long-term side effects far outweighs the risks of the diseases which vaccines are supposed to prevent.  Human blood is supposed to be, and traditionally was, remarkably sterile. There were virtually no bacteria or organisms present in the bloodstream. With vaccines now being so prevalent, this is no longer the case. SOURCE


Recommended Immunizations for Babies



Two Months


1-2 mos











Four Months










Six Months


6-18 mos*









6-18 mos*




6 mos through 18 years**

Twelve Months


12-15 mos*



12-15 mos*



12-15 mos*



12-15 mos*



12-23 mos*


6 mos through 18 years**

Fifteen Months


15-18 mos*


6 mos through 18 years**

Vaccine Ingredients

  1. Aborted human fetus tissue and human albumin
  2. Vaccine Ingredient: Formaldehyde
  3. Vaccine Ingredient: Mercury
  4. Vaccine Ingredient: Antifreeze
  5. Vaccine Ingredient: Aluminum
  6. Vaccine Ingredient: 2-Phenoxyethanol
  7. Vaccine Ingredient: Phenol
  8. Vaccine Ingredient: Methanol
  9. Vaccine Ingredient: Borax(sodium tetraborate decahydrate)
  10. Vaccine Ingredient: Glutaraldehyde
  11. Vaccine Ingredient: Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  12. Vaccine Ingredients: Sulfate and phosphate compounds
  13. Vaccine Ingredient: Ammonium Sulfate
  14. Vaccine Ingredient: Gentamicin Sulfate
  15. Vaccine Ingredient: Neomycin Sulfate
  16. Vaccine Ingredient: Tri(n)butylphosphate
  17. Vaccine Ingredient: Polymyxin B
  18. Vaccine Ingredient: Polysorbate 20 / 80
  19. Vaccine Ingredient: Sorbitol
  20. Vaccine Ingredient: Polyribosylribitol
  21. Vaccine Ingredient: Beta-Propiolactone
  22. Vaccine Ingredient: Amphotericin B
  23. Vaccine Ingredients: Animal Organ Tissue and Animal Blood
  24. Vaccine Ingredient: Large Foreign Proteins
  25. Vaccine Ingredient: Latex
  26. Vaccine Ingredient: Animal Viruses
  27. Vaccine Ingredient: Human Viruses
  28. Vaccine Ingredient: Mycoplasma
  29. Vaccine Ingredient: Genetically Modified Yeast
  30. Vaccine Ingredient: Foreign DNA

For a comprehensive explanation of each of these ingredients here.

More Resources:

(1) We’ve been told that vaccines stimulate the immune system with a “rehearsal” of what will happen when an actual disease comes down the pipeline. When the disease does show up, the immune system will be locked and loaded, ready to destroy the attacking germ. Source

(2) A high immunity to disease doesn’t come from a needle, pill or supplement. It doesn’t come from antibacterial soaps and a germ free environment. Actually, considering the poor state of health most people are in these days, it can’t even come from healthy food and medicinal herbs alone any more. The epidemic of allergies, asthma, obesity, gastrointestinal infestations, infections, malabsorption and so much more are all directly related to poor immunity. It all comes down to the body’s own defense systems and how well or poor these function.

Isn’t it ironic that the time when we have no actual control of our health – our early childhood, it’s the very time when life long immunity is built or affected? The first seven years of our lives are crucial. And it actually doesn’t stop there. {Source}

(3) The Entire Vaccine Industry Is Being Exposed For Unproven Assumptions And Misrepresentations of Data

(4) The Most Damning vaccination Study Not Publically Disclosed to Date

(5) 30 years of secret, official transcripts prove vaccine schedules in US and UK are based on government lies

(6) More vaccination information from Share Banoosh here.


Breastfeeding----------------------------------------------------Commercial Baby Formula

Raw Organic Milk ------------------------------------------------The Gut Connection Betw Baby + Mother

Dirt, Farms, + Animals ------------------------------------------Vaccines

Healthy Food + Lifestyle----------------------------------------Sterile Environments

{Source Here} ---------------------------------------------------Drugs


on 2012-12-09 16:07 by O. Cruz

Interesting article:

Court Requires 8-Year-Old to be Vaccinated Against Mother’s Wishes

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

I've been teaching for nine long years, during this time I have seen a host of children with a wide range of mental, emotional, and physical disorders. Most stem from the reckless behaviors of their mothers while they were in the womb. One such group of disorderes I see time and time again is FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME (FASD). The behaviors of students who have FASD often look like ADHD. On Friday, my mother went to a workshop on this topic and shared a great deal of information with me. She mentioned that 50% of pregnancies are unplanned and this often leads to cases of FAS and "involuntary infanticide". Mommy also mentioned that the highest cases of FASD are seen in middle class, college educated, White women (source). She relayed that doctors often don't ask the questions of this type of patient that is needed to find out if they are at-risk.


During my first prenatal appointment, last week, I was asked to complete a two page drug and alcohol questionnaire. With Lil D I was not given this option. I think this should be a mandatory intake process for all pregnant women, right along with NT screening. 


Facts About FASD



  • A national survey found that more than half of women age 15-44 drank while pregnant.9
  • FAS is estimated to occur in 1 to 2 live births per every 1,000 in the United States each year.11
  • Fetal Alcohol Effects (a less severe set of alcohol-related abnormalities) is estimated to occur in 3-5 live births per every 1,000 in the United States each year.2, 11
  • The FAS infant is irritable. The older FAS child is hyperactive. Fine motor skills are impaired with weak grasp, poor hand-eye coordination, and tremors.
  • The face is characteristic with short eye openings (palpebral fissures), sunken nasal bridge, short nose, flattening of the cheekbones and midface, smoothing and elongation of the ridged area (the philtrum) between the nose and lips, and smooth, thin upper lip.


     Photo Credit: here

    Photo Credit: here


    2 here

    9 here

    11 here


    Nuchal Translucency (NT Screening)

    The newest procedure is performed at 11 to 12 weeks and involves a test of the mother’s blood and a specialized ultrasound that measures nuchal translucency (NT), the amount of fluid in skin folds at the back of the fetus’s neck. These results, combined with the mother’s age, help determine a fetus’s risk of Down syndrome. The tests are not 100% accurate, but it gives doctors a baseline to determine if more tests are needed. There is no evidence of chromosomal abnormalities or other such disorders in my or D's family history. I am mainly doing the tests to get one last high tech ultrasound. During my pregnancy with LilD I had 7 ultrasounds. This to me was extremely excessive and wasteful, but when you have such good insurance some doctors take full advantage of it. SMH... Barring any complications, this will be my last ultrasound for this pregnancy.

    The Screening Consists of:

    Nuchal translucency (NT) is the sonographic appearance of a collection of fluid under the skin behind the fetal neck in the first-trimester of pregnancy. The term translucency is used, irrespective of whether it is septated or not and whether it is confined to the neck or envelopes the whole fetus. In fetuses with chromosomal abnormalities, cardiac defects and many genetic syndromes the NT thickness is increased. (SOURCE)

    Two Maternal Serum (blood) Tests 
    The blood tests measure two substances found in the blood of all pregnant women:
    • pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) - a protein produced by the placenta in early pregnancy. Abnormal levels are associated with an increased risk for chromosome abnormality.
    • human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) - a hormone produced by the placenta in early pregnancy. Abnormal levels are associated with an increased risk for chromosome abnormality. (Source


    Excellent source for Fetal Screenings here.

    Interesting Read

    Furthering my knowledge on birth and pregnancy I visited The Unnecesarean, one of my favorite sources for birth policy and hospital rates, to catch up on the latest news. On the blog I arrived upon an article published by titled, What to Reject WhenYou're Expecting: 10 Procedures to Think Twice About During Your Pregnancy (May 2012). In the article the authors mention the 10 overused procedures, 10 things you should do during your pregnancy, 5 things to do before you become pregnant, and two successful birth stories.


    10 Overused Procedures 


    1. A C-section with low risk first birth
    2. An automatic second C-section
    3. An elective early delivery
    4. Inducing labor without a medical reason
    5. Ultrasounds after 24 weeks (the margin of error increases significantly as the pregnancy progresses)
    6. Continuous electronic fetal monitoring 
    7. Early epidurals
    8. Routinely rupturing the amniotic membranes 
    9. Sending your newborn to the nursery
    10. Routine episiotomies


    After reading the section on not needing a ultrasound after 24 weeks for a low-risk pregnancy, all I could do was reflect on my experience and think about the tactics that were used on me to get me to comply with the bullshit I was feed. For instance, I was told that a full term pregnancy was 38 weeks, well according to the March of Dimes and medical research is was a big fat lie. A FULL TERM PREGNANCY IS AT LEAST 39 WEEKS. The "coercion, lies, manipulation, bullying, intimidation, threats, and anger" directed at women in their most fragile state is criminal.

    I think the summer of 2014 I will begin training as a doula. I strongly feeling women in this country are being sold a bunch of shit when it come to giving birth. Got to be the change you want to see in the world.

    About one third of the babies born in the united states are born via csection! One in three!!! Shameful.



    Response to Heather Morgan Shott Article on Mayor Bloomberg's New Initative

    I just got wind of an article on that relays the new initiative Mayor Bloomberg plans to launch this September 3. Here are the specifics according to Shott:

    As part of his Latch on NYC initiative, which launches September 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use, making it the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation, reports the Post.

    More than half of the city’s 40 hospitals have also agreed to give up swag bags sporting formula-company logos, toss out formula-branded freebies, and document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.

    Policies like Latch on NYC do nothing but create more stress and anxiety for expectant mothers. If a mom is willing and able to breastfeed her child, she will. If she’s not, she should have a viable alternative without being put through a major guilt trip. Why should NYC’s mayor–or anyone else, for that matter–have the right to institute a policy that make a new mother’s time with her baby anything but joyful?


    My response to her article:

    As a woman who was apprehensive and guarded about having her baby in a traditional hospital setting I truly appreciate Mayor Bloomberg's efforts in educating the masses and creating true social change. I've come to realize people can be given the statistical data, facts, and figures on the benefits of breastfeeding, but still choose to feed their new baby's chemically laced formula. It's mind-boggling to me and just basic common sense that a person would willingly choose the healthier alternative. But like my mama always says, "All sense ain't common". I documented my hospital birth experience here and here, and I was quite appalled at the push from the nursing for pain killers and formula. I refused both and I was obviously an anomaly. I shocked the nurse during my discharge when I took the two huge Similac containers out of its niffy backbag and stuffed it with diapers, instead of formula. She said to me, "Just take it just in case, please." Just in case of what, my breasts stop working or I get lazy and selfishly decide I don't want to feed my baby the best stuff on Earth?


    I agree that breastfeeding is not always as simple for some as it was for me, but to be able to produce milk and feed your child formula is just ludicrous. Being a mother is a sacrifice, make a decision for the betterment of your child. I applaud anyone who actively creates change for the world. Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg for understanding a change is needed. And what are breast for any way, TOO FEED YOUR DAMN BABIES. In the words of  Henry Ford, “Don't find fault, find a remedy; anybody can complain”. Bloomberg is creating policies that will greatly impact several of the preventative issues that many American children face due to unhealthy lifestyle choices, like not breastfeeding. These issues include, but are not limited to, childhood obesity, childhood diabetes,  asthma, allergies, bacterial meningitis,gastrointestinal issues, and possibly autism {don't quote me on this, but I truly feel there is a correlation to the drugs given during hospital births and autism}.

    Blurb from NYC.GOV

    Latch On NYC is a citywide initiative to support mothers who choose to breastfeed and limit practices that interfere with that choice. It involves both a hospital commitment to limit infant formula promotion and a public awareness campaign on the benefits of breast milk.

    Hospitals joining Latch On NYC have agreed to:

    • Enforce the New York State hospital regulation to not supplement breastfeeding infants with formula unless medically indicated and documented on the infant’s 
      medical chart
    • Limit access to infant formula by hospital staff
    • Discontinue the distribution of promotional or free 
      infant formula
    • Prohibit the display and distribution of infant formula advertising or promotional materials in any hospital location

    Additionally, the Health Department is launching a subway and hospital poster campaign highlighting the benefits of breast milk, such as reducing the risk of ear infections, diarrhea and pneumonia. {SOURCE}

    The only program I see with this program is the need for quality breast pumps to be issued via the hospital. 

    "Feeding synthetic human milk is not a neutral lifestyle choice. It is a critical maternal-infant health decision with monumental implications." -- Katie Allison Granju

    For more information on program check below: 

    Initiative Description here

    Committed Hospitals here

    FAQ here


    101 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child here

    The Montessori Way:Play Ideas for Developing Fine Motor Skills

    "Fine motor skill is the coordination of small muscle movements which occur in body parts such as the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes" {Source}.

    Lil D is at the age where she is developing skills rapidly through mimicking, discovery, and by direct instruction. She is a hand full to keep engaged if she doesn't have something constructive to do, I know this is true for most people. We travel a lot so finding activities that are quiet and keep her attention for long periods of time is critical to our sanity. My sister sent me a link to an amazing website that offers activities that meet our needs and develop fine motor skills for toddlers. Check it out below. Also, check out the blog dedicated to sharing several Montessori strategies as told by a parent of two adorable boys titled, How We Montessori.

    Photo Credit {here}

    Another great resource for children activities is Pinterest. Check out my favorite Pinners:

    I Can Teach My Child Boards {here}

    Teaching Our Children {here}

    Positive Parenting {here}

    Kiddies: Parenting Tips + Tricks {here}

    Mommy's Book List