Baby led weaning… without fear!

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Some time ago, during the monthly visit from our small, historic, pediatrician, I brought the book dr. Lucio Piermarini, just arrived. I read just a few pages, and also on the basis of other information and suggestions found in network , I immediately felt a certain harmony with the approach of the Umbrian pediatrician, I feel full of common sense and thankfully full humble that some crazed doctors usually lack of.

But, as I have already weaned children of two (one of which is allergic) to old way following the directions of my pediatrician, I thought to take with us to visit the book and ask the opinion my doctor.

Frankly, then I was almost forgetting, but when she began to speak, to my great surprise, I immediately pulled out the book and not just the doctor told me I would be pleased if we were d ‘ agreement to proceed with the , but that the book knew him well, as the Piermarini was a colleague and great friend for many years.

So, long story short, now in the final return from our holidays, we are in the midst of this new adventure, hailed by many and that, while not as revolutionary as some may think, is teaching us a lot of new things and most importantly there is by retroactively reflect also on the two previous experiences.

To means, in short, a more direct way and not medicalized the power to introduce solid foods in infants.
This approach involves several factors:

1. there a defining moment that set me the autosvezzamento , usually begins after signs of the child such as the ability to sit alone and grasp objects with intention and expressed interest , curiosity and active participation to the foods we consume the rest of the family. All this is happening statistically around the sixth month of life, but every child is different.

2. overcome the fateful sequences food introduction : There is no need to place the food spread from month to month. For example: first the carrot, then the zucchini, then the potato … and so on until the driving license , but we try to propose a simple and natural food in a manner similar to those of the rest family, going to tastings and Setting yourself according to your taste, curiosity and the natural inclination of the individual child.

But what was wrong with the old method ” … So do me a lady with broth …” that I have personally used with success until about 6 years ago? Credited by some medical studies, mostly from northern Europe, where there is a high rate of children allergic to cod, one of the protein foods more readily available in these parts, it was discovered that the pursuit of a more gentle and less rigid, it helps a lot to trigger the baby’s immune system mechanisms that facilitate the eventual immunization to foods that is potentially intolerant or allergic.
The autosvezzamento fact, not imposed on food fossilizzandosi pediatric tables, but founded on the variety of tastes and early introduction of many varieties of food available for human consumption, has statistically reduced substantially childhood allergies and, not least, and this is my addition, reported the kitchen to be a welcoming and open, rather than a cold and aseptic chemical laboratory allowing mothers to take off his coat and put on the apron again.

For our part, with the experience of their first child, we discovered at the time of weaning may be allergic to cow’s milk protein, had already guessed (on his skin and his bronchi unfortunately!) That the definitive expulsion of the offending food was the long term strategy of all bankruptcy:

– First, because we’re both parents instinctively suspicious and reluctant to fundamentalism, even in the food.

– Because as we both got to understand, through direct experience, the reactions of our son in contact with food allergens changed from day to day and so his immune system, indeed, were almost as if diminishing over time threshold of tolerance was raising progressively by itself.

– And, finally, because, as a result, we documented outside of academic courses of conceited luminaries , and we found that according to medical studies now highly popular abroad and arrived the ears of and medical smart , it was proved that totally remove allergens from the diet of children with allergies, does nothing but in the long run, to raise awareness further the body to these allergens. A controlled and planned reintroduction of allergenic foods then, under appropriate medical supervision, thus helping the body to overcome allergies and fortify themselves against any other allergen sources.

At this point, it may well be argued that the autosvezzamento has provided us with many assurances that we were finally following a path dictated primarily by common sense .
The autosvezzamento in fact comes from a heritage of our ancestors, who gave the kids are not genetically modified meals, prepared with flour-made baby food bionic, but simply adapted what was on the table (simple food, wholesome, seasonal and prepared with natural methods) allle chewing and digestive capacity of the smallest: sminuzzandolo, tritandolo, pounding, and, why not, sometimes pre-chewing.
Use this method has so many advantages, including the right to engage immediately in the small family meals and make him share in life together, from the point of view of practical and psychological, among other things, helps a lot serenity family .

But there is, in my opinion, however, a great danger to be avoided: the tendency for us heirs of those ancestors, for we know that we return to Nature after rationalization, dangerously ‘theoretical those practices that were once completely spontaneous and sincere, to channel everything, even in good faith, in codified rules to follow blindly without wondering in the meantime our beautiful why. That is not that adapt those principles to our experience unique and unrepeatable .
And ‘here, then, coming back again dance in the ancient and atavistic concept of common sense.
And therefore that, in spite of some purists , I use the blender or food processor to reduce cream rice and boiled vegetables (intestinal gas and my previous two have never suffered so it also seems the little one!) and I do not inflict corporal punishment if for once my son does not eat fish organic, but that of the local market. And what if I make the broth for the small is not said that to force the rest of the family should eat soup for dinner for the next 365 days, or that the puppy should strive to eat pasta with tomato chopped when drooling at the sight of a nice grated apple and lemon juice.

Doing so be careful not to get caught up too carried away by the temptations of this kind of fundamentalist heritage, aspects that, in my opinion, are absolutely extraordinary and commendable approach of dell’autosvezzamento are others:

– The autosvezzamento focuses his attention on listening and observation children , instead of doctors and theories written on obsolete tables pediatric.

– The autosvezzamento integrates solid food and breast milk on an ongoing basis and not competitive or, even worse, substitute: my son at this stage to eat a certain amount of baby food and after a while ‘still wants his feeding.

– The autosvezzamento is a method, so to speak, slow food as this requires that parents or for them, to come to the center before the time of the child, rather than planning aimed at adult needs (introduction to the nest, back to work …). But it is an approach to power that still has on his side a huge flexibility and ability to adapt to situations different from each other.
In fact,

– The autosvezzamento presupposes and supports the achievement of a certain laxity parental : No more neuroses and fears by inserting food and performance anxiety.

But above all the autosvezzamento highlights the value of anthropological and social importance for all of us the power.
Why fact wean is not only the child but the whole family around him in our case is an experience that involves all in a postitiva, helping, With her approach, respectful and tolerant, with the underlying thought that it inevitably brings with it, to know ourselves better, to respect and to join even more.

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Coloring Mandalas

It’s holiday time in our house and with no school until the 9th of January, we’ve been scheduling lots of activities with our children.

Now they are more grown-up kids, most of our time has been spent outside, at relatives’ or friends’ houses or even at the theatre.

But one of the most successful activities of this time around, has been coloring Mandalas.

I read some time ago in Planting Seeds: Practicing Mindfulness With Children, another one of the wonderful books by Thich Nhat Hanh, how this activity could be simple and relaxing for kids of all ages…and not only for them!

Browsing on the web, I found lots of links, in Italian too, like this one by Claudia, written in her blog The little house on the prairie, so I decided to give Mandalas a try.

As I wrote in the post Bellies & siblings, this is a very challenging moment in our family life, due to my child P.’s aggressive reactions, especially towards his older brother.

Though I made some plans to take children engaged in some sort of activities during the entire days, I am currently suffering from managing transitional moments between the activities, as for instance, that challenging time while making lunches or dinners.

The art of Mandala has been used from ancient times and in different cultures around the world to visualize the circular form of life and universe.
Coloring Mandalas, it is said, helps finding balance and focus and it could have a reassuring and relaxing effect. Marie Louise Von Franz, Jung’s most famous pupil, used, as his master, Mandalas to study human personalities. She underlines how, by the art of Mandalas, individuals can reach clarity in psychic confusion and how they can actually empower new positive psychical abilities.

My children love drawing, but when they are at home, they usually prefer to draw by their own than coloring pre-made drawings. I attribute this to the fact both of them have been taught in school to color inside the borders as the main priority in creative arts.

However, I had been noticing that both of my children were soon attracted by the shape and the symmetry of the printed Mandalas I gave to them and they immediately began to color in a focused and quiet atmosphere.

Even P., who usually gets easily stressed if those kind of activities last for too long, surprisingly asked me to color some more of them.

Even more surprisingly, the quiet atmosphere protracted for the rest of the afternoon, even in challenging moments that usually require my full attention and patience, as for instance, before and after dinner, when children are nervous and tired and they get easily frustrated or excited.

We are longing to come back to coloring Mandalas, as soon as possible.

Fortunately, the web is full of links where anyone can download for free amazing Mandalas for kids.

For our fist experiment, we downloaded Christmas theme Mandalas too, in fact, actually there are so many out there, that you just need to digit “coloring mandala” in the search box and you’ll get millions of them!

If you are interested in purchasing the Thich Nhat Hanh’s book I wrote about in this post, you can do it from this affiliate link:

Bellies & siblings

As many of you know, I am currently pregnant with my third boy, who is going to be born approximately from the last week of January.

Since now, this has been one of my best pregnancies. I had the chance to be active and energetic during all these months behind me and I have been amused by the fact I didn’t actually feel so many hormonal roller coasters during all this period.

But…there is always a but…., during these last two months I am confronting with one of the most powerful challenges as a parent: the jealousy and the rage of my (soon to be) middle son.

He is now 5 years old and he has, by nature, a vigorous and stubborn temper.
As my belly is growing, so is growing his intolerance towards this new situation.
We usually cuddle each other very much, we share a natural physical love full of kisses, hugs and laughs. He likes my new growing body very much and he is amused by the bigger shape of my breast. But at the same time I see a certain look in his eyes, a look that makes me sometimes cry inside of me, a look that seems to show me as if he was really conscious about the fact that this body would be soon no longer his domain.

I remember when this happened to my first boy.
It has been a very hard period when we, as a family, began to understand deeply how life had been changing with the arrival of the second child. The first seemed happy and apparently kind with his new brother, but we knew how much he missed his time alone with us parents. And, beneath all, we missed it too.

My 5 years son is now aggressively pretending to behave as he was still a toddler, especially when we are at home, alone. He pretends with screams and cries my full attention during bedtime and he also proposed me to homeschool him instead of bringing him to childcare. He suffers to know me at home, now that I no longer go to work while he is at school and he is beginning to refuse his judo practice crying and adducing several pains all around his body.

He prefers now to stay at home instead of going out, even if he is scared by being left alone in a room and pretends to be led hand by hand with me if he needs to go to the bathroom or in his bedroom.
At the same time, when he is at school, he likes the companion of his most active schoolmates more than ever and in many public occasions, he has begun to front us parents,with a sort of bully-mode he had rarely showed before with such consistency.

Most of all, he is behaving aggressively with his older brother, beating him and insulting him, while doing the same with me when I refuse to be prone to his tantrums. Then, after been scolded by his father or by me for his unacceptable beating, his overreactions induce him to cry longer than usual and to feel offended and left out for his bad behavior. He calls himself “bad boy” or “wrong child” and he assures nobody won’t love him again and we will leave him alone in a trashcan at the side of the street.

Last evening, while I was lying with him in his bed, taking his hand in mine, he asked me what will happen to our bedtime ritual after the baby brother will be here. “Will this ever happen again, mom?” He asked me, looking deeply in my eyes.
I felt a crack in my heart while I was hastily reassuring him that everything will be ok and that mummy will be there for him whenever he will need me.
I told him I love him so much and that mom’s and dad’s love isn’t meant to be divided by the number of siblings in our house, but somehow, it has the magic ability to be empowered by the arrival of the new baby.
He then got asleep easily and quietly and I felt relieved my reassurances seemed to find enough space into his little heart.

But now, I know that they weren’t the more appropriate things to say, because in a way, I denied his fears of being left out. I’d have been better validating his feelings, acknowledging and putting his fears into words, instead of lavishing unnecessary and unclear pearls of wisdom.

Maybe I should have been honest and sincere with him, giving him words to live guiltless in fantasy what he wouldn’t be able to have in reality, anymore or, at least presumably, in the first days after baby’s arrival: as, for instance, telling him that he doesn’t like to be left out by the new baby and to share mom with him, too. And that it’s ok to feel this and sometimes even wishing baby won’t come home, anymore.

I know, deeply inside of me, that validating children feelings and giving them enough attention, is the only way to make them able to move on shortly, without excessive inner pain.
They, if they feel their emotions acknowledged, are naturally capable of coming to terms with reality and learning from it. They need us parents to be there and testify their struggle with love and acceptance, avoiding to deny it and to add drama to their feelings.

Only if feelings are felt deeply and without filters, guilt or other interferences, we can observe them while passing through and moving out from ourselves. Children, especially younger ones, need us to give a name to what they are feeling inside and to know that actually these are “just” feelings that won’t compromise their integrity as individuals.

I am perfectly aware I made really bad mistakes with my children.
Most of them, have been suffered in silence. Or in the solitude of not being heard.

I realize now that, most of the times, they occurred me when I didn’t listen deeply to my inner nature and when I didn’t separate myself from the vision I have of myself, from the ghosts of my past and from my parents’ behavioral patterns.

As Naomi Aldort suggests in her ispiring book Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming Parent-child Relationships from Reaction And Struggle to Freedom, Power And Joy, the most important step to heal a child is to listen deeply to him, to empathize with his feelings and give him our proper and full attention. But this won’t happen until we won’t take gently distance from our internal speech and from our particular emotional background.

I can’t erase my past and my mistakes as a parent.
But what I can actually do now is, first of all, avoiding those mistakes to stand in the way, compromising a sincere attention to my children.

I need to trust my children feelings and their ability to move on when their emotional validated struggle is over. Listening deeply without interfering. Being empathic and kind.

And I am sure that this approach, based on love, respect and trust in my children’s emotional abilities, will give them and myself the permission to move forward together, when the right time will come.
Together, towards this this new, challenging but surely beautiful phase of our family life.

If you are interested in purchasing Naomi Aldort’s book, you can do it from this affiliate link: