When did Measles Become a Human Rights Issue?

If you are anywhere near the social media these days, you have been hearing about measles and vaccines….A LOT. Let me just preface this post by saying I am not hosting a debate on whether or not you should vaccinate yourself or your child. Don’t go there. Neither will I. (and if you comment on anything other than supporting families, regardless of their decision, and supporting human rights, it will be deleted) So, when exactly did measles become a human rights issue?

That happened right around the time that some (not all by any means) people started calling for the police to round up any parents who haven’t vaccinated their children, others called for non-vaccinating families to wear the equivalent of a Nazi star, still others cried for concentration camps, and a few of the really far out violent people suggested that parents just be shot and the children taken to foster care. It wouldn’t be the first time the United States has forced people into concentration camps, and for much less than choosing not to vaccinate, but I can hope that our society has come a bit farther than that in this day and age.

Photo by Markus Grossalber

Photo by Markus Grossalber

Personally, I don’t care what you do. Vaccinate. Don’t vaccinate. My hope would be that you do your research. And by research, I’m not talking about reading the propaganda from either side but by digging into actual medical journals and evaluating what is there. I know I am not the only one who can lose track of time due to the joy of digging through the stacks. Then, take that information, along with your personal and family information, and make an informed decision (because you know your health and your family’s history). That would be my hope.

However, even if you don’t do your research and make a decision, I still don’t care what you decide. Why? It is not my decision to make. I have this thing about bodily autonomy. I happen to enjoy it. I want the right to make my own decisions regarding my heath care and what I allow others to do with my body, whether that is addressing birth choices, reproductive rights, sexual assault, physical assault, cancer treatments, or anything else. And if I want that right for myself, than I can’t expect to tell someone else that they must or must not allow someone to do something to them.

Life comes with no guarantees. There are always risks. If you are fearful that an un-vaccinated person will put you at risk or that a just vaccinated person is shedding and putting you at risk, you probably need to stay home. You have no idea who has or has not had the diseases, had the vaccines or not, had recent boosters or not. If you aren’t comfortable with the decision you have made for your family, then maybe you should re-evaluate that decision.

Now, some will loudly say that people who don’t vaccinate are putting the population as a whole at risk, and therefore we can’t risk allowing a person to have bodily autonomy in this matter. Frankly, there are a lot of factors which people at risk for these diseases, and I think we should focus on those for a minute.

Healthy lifestyles – the Standard American Diet really isn’t helping you stay healthy. Sanitation – sanitation is such a key point when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Poverty – families living at or below the poverty line are much more likely to suffer from all types of illness. We need to help everyone make a decent living wage so that they can provide for their families to be healthy. Maternity and paternity leave – the United States gets a big, huge fail on this. We need both so that our fragile newborns don’t have to go to daycares right away. Breastfeeding, breastfeeding rights, and milk banks – we should be supporting this first step in the immune system. Paid sick leave – sick people need to be able to stay home and get better instead of passing it on to everyone else. Share baked goods you bring in. Leave the illness at home.

As a recap: Let’s advocate for doing your own research. Let’s advocate for information on healthy living. Let’s advocate for good sanitation. Let’s actually work to help people who are at a higher risk in general, such as families living at or below the poverty line. Let’s call for changes in work and school policies which encourage health so that we don’t have sick people out there running around. Let’s have women not be the only ones taking time away from their chosen careers (WOH, WAH, or SAH) to care for the sick, the young, and the elderly. Promote breastfeeding! Instate both maternity and paternity policies so that parents don’t have to drop their newborns off at daycare. Let’s promote a decent living wage so that people can be healthy. 

All of these things sound like much better options than sending families to concentration camps or shooting parents, who love their kids just as much as you love yours. And all of them are positive ways to advocate for and support families without crossing that bodily autonomy line.

If you are sick, by all means…….STAY HOME!

I would also politely ask you to go wash your hands, because I have been in public restrooms;  I know the majority of people out there are not washing their hands and science backs that up. A little bit of soap and water and scrub for 20 seconds. Doesn’t that feel better? (imagine that said with the voice of your own mother)

Someone’s Hero

Welcome to the March 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Everyday Superheroes

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the remarkable people and characteristics that have touched their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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My “S” emblazoned T-shirt is covered in spit-up. The tail of my sling, aka cape, has dirty little handprints, and we won’t hazard a guess as to what exactly those crunchy items that resemble boogers are. The Mom-mobile (van) looks more like it belongs to a suburbanite, with ice skates, cloth grocery bags, and extra towels in the back. I could use some super speed to take care of everything on my to-do list which seems to grow as though it was in a vortex.

My super powers are limited to making breastmilk (and humans) and throwing together edibles from whatever is on hand, along with some mad organizational/planning skills and the ability to multi-task like no one’s business. I can nurse a baby, answer the questions of my children, churn out a bit of work, and keep the household from tumbling into a chasm all at the same time.

Overall, I don’t feel much like a hero. Sometimes I become frustrated and flustered. I make mistakes. Really, sometimes I just want to quit pretending I’m a grown up. I want to cry. I want to step back and let someone else deal with the bills, the laundry, the groceries, and dealing with all of the problems that moms (and dads) deal with.

And then someone puts their arms around my neck and gives me a slobbery kiss. I watch one of my children make a breakthrough in something they were struggling with. I see them mimic my behavior, whether good or whether making something right. They tell me they love me.

It challenges me to find myself, not only for me but for them, and to work toward being a better person every day because they deserve that. So I put on my tights and my cape. I look in their eyes, and I step up because I am someone’s hero.

 

photo credit: paurian via photopin cc

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon March 11 with all the carnival links.)

  • I Am A Super Hero — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she learned the hard way exactly what it means to be a real super hero and not a burned out shell of a human simply pretending to be one.
  • Quiet Heroics — Heroism doesn’t have to be big and bold. Read how Jorje of Momma Jorje is a quiet hero…and how you probably are, too.
  • Not a Bang, but a Whisper {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs at A New Day talks about the different types of “superheroes,” ones that come in with a bang and ones that come in with a whisper.
  • Silent courage of motherhood in rural Cambodia — Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings marvels at how rural Khmer women defy the odds in childbirth.
  • Super PappyMother Goutte‘s little boy met a superhero in checked slippers and Volkswagen Polo, his grand dad: Super Pappy!
  • An Open Letter to Batman — Kati at The Best Things challenges Batman to hold up his end of the deal, in the name of social justice, civic duty, and a little boy named Babe-O!
  • My Village — Kellie at Our Mindful Life reflects on the people who helped her to become her best self.
  • 5 Lessons My Kids Taught Me — Children are amazing teachers, when we only stop to listen. They remind us to choose happiness, to delight in the small things, to let go and forgive. There is so much we can learn from our children. Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a few of the lessons she’s learned.
  • Could you use some superpowers? — Tat at Mum in search shares a fun activity to help you connect with your own superpowers.
  • Like Fire Engines — Tam at tinsenpup tells the story of the day she saw a surprising superhero lurking in the guise of her not entirely mild-mannered four-year-old daughter.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Erica at ChildOrganics shares her list of Walker Warburg Syndrome Superheroes that have touched her life forever.
  • My Superhero of the Week: Nancy GallagherTribal Mama muses about the transcendent things her superhero mom has done.
  • My choice in natural birth does not make me a super hero — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, discusses her thoughts on her experience with the perception of natural birth and putting those mamas on a different level. Does giving birth naturally give cause for an extra pat on the back? No! All mamas, no matter how they birth, are superheroes.
  • Someone’s Hero — Sometimes being a parent means pretending to be a grown-up, but it always means you are someone’s hero. Read Mandy’s lament at Living Peacefully with Children.
  • Growing into a Super Hero — Casey at Joyful Courage shares how owning our behavior and choosing to be a better parent, a better person, is an act of courage.
  • A Math Superhero — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling writes that her 7-year-old daughter’s superhero is an MIT-trained mathematician.
  • It Starts With Truffula Trees And Tulips — Luschka of Diary of a First Child takes a hard look at the realities of her relationship with her mother, and through this post goes on a journey of discovery that ends in a surprise realisation for her.
  • We Don’t Need an Excuse — Maria Kang (aka “Hot Mom”) asks women #WhatsYourExcuse for not being in shape? Dionna at Code Name: Mama asks Hot Mom what her excuse is for not devoting her life to charity work, or fostering dozens of stray dogs each year, or advocating for the needs of others. Better yet, Code Name: Mama says, how about we realize that every woman has her own priorities. Focus on your own, and stop judging others for theirs.
  • It’s not heroic when you’re living it — Lauren at Hobo Mama knows from the inside that homeschooling does not take a hero, and that much of what we choose as parents is simply what works best for us.
  • Superheroes, princesses and preschoolers — Garry at Postilius discusses why his preschool-age son is not ready for comic book superheroes.
  • The Loving Parents of Children with Special Needs – Everyday Superheroes — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares posts with resources for parents of children with special needs along with posts to help others know how to support parents of children with special needs.
  • Everyday Empathy — Mommy Giraffe of Little Green Giraffe shares why her secret superpower is everyday empathy.
  • The Simplicity of Being a Superhero — Ana at Panda & Ananaso explains what superheroes mean to her wise three-year-old.
  • My Father, The Hero — Fathers are pretty amazing; find out why Christine at The Erudite Mom thinks hers is the bees knees.

Introducing: Attachment Parents Get Real!

I’d like to introduce a new series that will soon be hosted on Living peacefully with Children: Attachment Parents Get Real! The goal of the series is to put faces to attachment parenting. Attachment parenting is for everyone regardless of gender, race, educational background, work status, or any other differentiating factor. Attachment parenting is about connecting child and caregiver and treating everyone in a respectful, attached manner. We want others to be able to identify with attachment parents. If you practice an area of AP, we want to hear from you – mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other caregivers.

As this is a series on attachment parenting, we will be focusing on the ideals of attachment parenting. Advocating cry-it-out, hitting, or disrespectful treatment of children will not be posted. However, beyond that, anything is acceptable. Do you practice one specific area? Did you have to work through something to become a more gentle caregiver or did you struggle in an area? Do you have special needs which AP has aided? Does your family look different from others? Something else? Please share!

Attachment Parents Get Real is just that. We won’t be spinning AP for some ulterior motive. All features will be e-mailed to participants prior to posting. We want families to feel comfortable sharing and that can’t happen if there is a fear that a feature will be twisted in some way. We are all people who care about our children. There will be no surprise media spin.

First, fill out the web form. This will alert me to your interest in being featured. Please be patient. I’m a busy mom, myself, and it may take me a while to get back to you.

I will need a photo to include in your feature. Not everyone is comfortable posting personal pictures on the internet. That is perfectly fine. Find a different picture which means something to you. Flickr Creative Commons is one source of pictures for use by others. Please be certain to send appropriate links and credit with the picture.

Do you have a blog or business? You are more than welcome to promote yourself in your feature. Let me know the name and links. Feel free to include any other links such as FB pages, twitter, etc. I hope that you will also promote your feature and Attachment Parents Get Real. Need a badge? Grab one over at the right!

Questions? Feel free to drop me a line! mandy @ livingpeacfullywithchildren . com  (no spaces)

Confessions of a Low Supply Mom

Welcome to the “I’m a Natural Parent – BUT…” Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.

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Photo by Christy Scherrer

I nurse wherever and whenever my children need. I’ve had women tell me they admire that, that they love how I normalize breastfeeding, and that they applaud me for pulling out our Lact-Aids out in public. Along with my dedication to child-led weaning and perserverance through nursing during pregnancy and tandem nursing, I almost sound like a breastfeeding super-hero.

Except when it comes to breasfteeding, I’m far from it. I would do just about anything in order to exclusively breastfeed my children: pumping, eating specific foods, taking herbs, taking medications. I’ve done it all. Even though we knew prior to pregnancy that a medical condition would most likely affect my supply, I kept positive, supposedly setting myself up for success. In fact, I was setting myself up for failure – my own. When I didn’t make enough milk and I listened to my first child scream in hunger, I cried. When I first supplemented, I cried. Each time I tried something new and got my hopes up that this would be the thing that would fix everything, I would only plummet to new lows when it didn’t.

So while my dedication to child-led weaning, nursing in public, and lactivism in general stands, know that there is a crying, seething green monster inside of me that would do just about anything to shed these Lact-Aids and nurse my babies (toddlers, children) without them.

    • I hide formula in my cart. Sure, I try to be nonchalant when I do it so I don’t send the wrong message to my children. However, it always seems that something big just happens to land on top of the can of formula. I end up building a little pyramid of items around it so that I don’t have to see it. Setting items up on the conveyor belt and paying for them, I look anywhere but at the cashier. I don’t want to face what I might see reflected there: a mom with a child in a sling who can’t even fully nurse her own child. When the formula makes it home, the label comes off. Somehow, I think taking off the label lessens what it truly is and makes it easier to face. It doesn’t, but I try still do it.
  •  I am jealous of other mothers – not the ones nursing their children but the ones who gave up or didn’t even try. When a relative mentioned how she was so happy she was able to nurse her child for as long as possible (5 months) and that she had to quit because pumping at work was such a drag, it ate at me. I know what pumping is like. I pumped for the first year of my first child’s life, trying to increase supply, while also trying to nurse him. I pumped for the first year of my second child’s life once again trying to increase supply and while working through her own issues with latch, suck, and what turned out to be silent reflux, dealing with her rules for nursing that I figured out along the way. Pumping sucks and I’m glad that with my last two children we have been able to forego it, but I would do it again if it meant I could have a full milk supply. I don’t judge women who choose not to nurse, whether by culture, misinformation, or some other choice, but I am most certainly jealous of what they gave away. I know women have all sorts of reasons for choosing not to breastfeed and it isn’t any of my business, but the giant green jealous monster still rears up. If they aren’t going to nurse anyway, why couldn’t they be the one with low supply?
  • I’m afraid to go anywhere without Lact-Aids because my child might want to nurse. Even when my children are two, three, or four years old, I have Lact-Aids packed in the diaper bag any time we are out. I keep them in a littel cooler bag. I even have them in a little cooler bag around the house, a leftover facet from when my older daughter was suffering from silent reflux and gave me 30 seconds to latch her on after the very first sign of hunger.
  • I feel angry every time someone says that women shouldn’t nurse in public or talk about the benefits of breastfeeding because “some women can’t breastfeed.” Less than 2% of women who have given birth to their children cannot exclusively breastfeed, and most of them, like me, will be able to have a partial milk supply. Don’t give me the excuse that some women can’t breastfeed for not supporting nursing mothers. I am a low supply mom, and I am that 2%. The very best thing we can do for women is to give information and be supportive of breastfeeding in private or in public so that they are not being sabatoged in their breastfeeding.

So, that’s my confession. Outwardly, I’m a cool collected lactavist helping other mothers and nursing my children, with the help of Lact-Aids. Inside, I’m an insecure weeping, jealous mess who feels like a failure.

 

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I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that “natural parenting” means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

 

Feel Free to be Offended

There are those who are offended by the sight of a mother nursing her child in public. To them I say, “Feel free to be offended.”

In a world as diverse as ours, something is bound to offend another person – sexuality, race, gender, religion, clothing, speech, habits, etc. We have the right to our individual beliefs and, as a part of that, a right to feel offense. Where our rights stop is where they interfere with another person’s rights.

Personally, I’m offended by smoking. I think it’s disgusting, and I really don’t want to be anywhere near it. However, I’m not going to ask someone to quit smoking. I will quietly go somewhere else so that my children and I don’t have to be around it. I am also disgusted by the site of people chewing food with their mouths open. Apparently the memo that watching partially masticated food is unappealing didn’t make it’s way through the entire human population (or my in-laws’ house). I reserve the right to look away in my offense.

What I don’t have is the right to dictate how people legally live their lives. I may be offended by some things, but frankly it’s none of my business. I don’t have the right to dictate what they can and cannot do based on my sensibilities.

So the next time I’m out in public and breastfeed my child, feel free to be offended. Feel free to look away, walk away, cover your head in shame, or however you choose to deal with your uncomfortable feelings. You have that right, just as I have the right to nurse whenever and wherever I have the right to be.

 

This post was originally written and posted for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. I am reposting due to timely discussions.

A Matter of Choice

An Afghan woman and child in Parwan Province, Afghanistan. Photo by Sgt. Sean A. Terry, USA

A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with my children about women covering themselves, after we saw a woman who wore a head covering. My then 5 year old daughter wanted to know why the woman’s head was covered, and we discussed the fact that some religions require women to cover their heads or bodies so that others do not see them. The next question to follow was whether or not the woman had chosen to cover her head or whether someone had made her do it.

This brought about a very insightful discussion about women’s rights, and human rights in general. Some women choose to cover themselves based on their beliefs. Others are forced to cover themselves or suffer persecution.The distinction between the two – freedom and oppression – is clear; it’s a simple matter of choice.

The choice to cover oneself, including covering when breastfeeding, is a personal choice. Women who choose to cover do so out of personal preference based on their beliefs. To tell tell others that they should cover themselves is an attempt at oppression, whether the cover is meant for the woman’s head or her child’s.

Previously posted on Living Peacefully with Children and Nursing Freedom.

Natural Parents Network: The Best of 2011

I am proud and honored to be volunteer with the Natural Parents Network (NPN), a community of natural-minded parents and parents-to-be where you will be informed, empowered, and inspired. When you visit the NPN’s website you can find articles and posts about Activism, Balance, Consistent Care, Ecological Responsibility, Family Safety, Feeding With Love, Gentle Discipline, Healthy Living, Holistic Health, Natural Learning, Nurturing Touch, Parenting Philosophies, Practical Home Help, Preparing for Parenting, Responding With Sensitivity, Safe Sleep, and so much more!

The volunteers who dedicate their time and energy to make NPN the outstanding resource it is also spend countless hours informing and inspiring others on their personal blogs. To close out 2011, the NPN volunteers have come together to provide you with some valuable reading material. Each volunteer has selected either their most viewed post of 2011 or their favorite post and shared the link here. Please take a few moments to visit each post. Our intention is to expand our reach as bloggers and informed parents and parents-to-be who are still growing as we move through our own journeys. Each volunteer has provided links to other social media sites where you can follow them as well.

We hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as we enjoyed writing them. We are always looking for new volunteers so please, contact us if you are interested. Just a few hours per month can help other mamas in a huge way!

Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares her Christmas Cookie Swap Blog Hop, which is her fourth annual virtual cookie swap and most popular post of the year. Please stop by and link up your favorite holiday recipe until Dec. 31. You can find Farmer’s Daughter on Facebook and Twitter.

Adrienne from Mommying My Way shares Fear vs. Faith, one of her favorite posts about how often living a life of faith can look like a life of fear, but the two are really quite different. You can also find Mommying My Way on Facebook.

Alicia of Lactation Narration retells the story of her oldest daughter’s 5 years of nursing and weaning in her favorite post of 2011, The Weaning Party. You can find Lactation Narration on Facebook and Twitter.

Amy of Toddler In Tow shares Finding My Mommy-Zen, her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, she shares her desire to balance her own self-esteem by choice in order to parent with peace and compassion. You can also find Toddler In Tow on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter, and follow Amyables (Amy W.) on Google + and Ravelry.

Arpita of Up, Down, and Natural shares one of her most popular posts titled Reflections. This is a beautiful look at the type of mother she wants to be. You can find Up, Down, and Natural on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares Why Do Children Have More Food Allergies Than Ever Before?, her most viewed post of 2011. This post explains the shocking info that one unsuspecting mother discovered when she started researching why her daughter had a violent allergic reaction to eggs. This is a must read post for ensuring the health of your family. You can also find I Thought I Knew Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Stumbleupon.

Christine of African Babies Don’t Cry shares The Best First Food for Babies, one of her favourite posts of 2011. This well-researched post delves into the healthiest and most nutritious food to feed your baby. You can also find African Babies Don’t Cry on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.

Cynthia of The Hippie Housewife shares Gentle Discipline for Toddlers, her most viewed post of 2011. This post describes five gentle discipline tools for parenting toddlers. You can also find The Hippie Housewife on Facebook, Google +, and Pinterest.

Darcel of The Mahogany Way shares how Babywearing Is A Way of Life one of her favorite post of 2011. This post showcases some beautiful woven wraps that she has purchased, traded, borrowed, and sold over the years. Darcel also talks about the benefits of babywearing from the newborn through toddler stage. You can also find Darcel{ The Mahogany Way} on Facebook, Twitter, Her Community for Mothers of Color, and Pinterest.

Dionna of Code Name Mama shares 50 Healthy Snack Ideas for Kids Plus Fun Serving Suggestions, her most viewed post of 2011. Most of these snacks are quick to fix and portable, so you can pack them to send with your child on play dates, at preschool, or to just have handy in the refrigerator for when your child wants to grab a bite to eat “all by himself.” You can find Dionna on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Erica at ChildOrganics shares a post that is not only close to her heart, but also her most viewed post for 2011 titled Attachment Parenting in the NICU. This post shares her top 10 tips for parenting should you find yourself with a baby in the NICU. You can also find Erica on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her personal experience of returning to work, expressing milk, and the ups and downs in between in her 2011 most viewed post, Mama’s Milk. You can also find Gretchen on GFC, Blog Lovin’, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Isil of Smiling like Sunshine shares how to make an autumn tree using pumpkin seeds, her most popular post in 2011. This post features a lovely craft activity that you can do with your kids! You can also find Isil on Facebook and Twitter.

Jennifer of Hybrid Rasta Mama shares 80 Uses For Coconut Oil, her most viewed post of 2011. This comprehensive post provides background information on the benefits of coconut oil as well as outlines 80 uses for it. You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest.

Jennifer of True Confessions of a Real Mommy shares her most popular post of 2011, Weekly House Blessing (Otherwise Known as Cleaning Once a Week). This post outlines a once per week cleaning routine for busy moms. You can also find Jennifer on Twitter.

Joella, the mama behind Fine and Fair, shares An Unusual Gripe with Bebe Gluton, one of her most popular posts of 2011. In it, she discusses the controversy surrounding a “breastfeeding doll” and offers her take on the gender role implications of dolls in general. Fine and Fair can also be found on twitter and facebook.

Julia of A Little Bit of All of It shares the story of how her co-sleeping relationship ended with her daughter, her most viewed post of 2011. This post shows how her daughter transitioned to her own bed on her 2nd birthday and the emotions involved for her mom. You can also find A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest.

Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment shares True Blessings: White Noise and Grandparents, her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, Kat talks about how she maximizes getting sleep and how grateful and blessed she is to have her parents be so involved in helping and spending time with her kiddos.

Kelly of Becoming Crunchy shares That Cup Does What?, her most viewed post of 2011. This post is one of a series of reviews and information on switching to all natural menstrual products – having heard so many different options and recommendations, Kelly decided to give a whole bunch of them a try and pull all the reviews together in one week for anyone interested in making the switch. This post in particular covers the ins and outs of the Diva Cup. You can also find Becoming Crunchy on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.

Kristin of Intrepid Murmurings shares a popular post from 2011, something she and her husband made for their girls for Christmas, great for open-ended play and construction: Handmade Tree Blocks. You can also find Kristin on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Lani of Boobie Time shares Helping a Fellow Breastfeeding Mom, her inspiration for starting to blog. This post discusses the importance of fellow moms supporting each other and some tips on having a successful breastfeeding relationship.

Laura at WaldenMommy: Life Behind the Red Front Door writes about finally entering “spring” when her child with special needs begins preschool. After battling post-partum mental illness (post tramatic stress disorder) after the preterm birth of her third child, she finally begins to feel healthy and whole again in “It’s Fall, Ya’ll-Again.”

Lauren of Hobo Mama shares On not having an AP poster child, her (OK, second) most viewed post of 2011. Lauren’s first child shook her certainty that attachment parenting meant babies never cried and toddlers grew independent — and that’s all right, too. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Luschka of Diary of a First Child shares Lactivism, Breastfeeding, Bottlefeeding and Mothers at War, one of her most viewed posts of 2011. This post discusses how the breastfeeding/bottle feeding debate causes a division between mothers, leading to the alienation of women and babies, while divisive companies prosper. You can also find Diary of a First Child on Facebook, and Twitter.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how With Privilege Comes Responsibility, one of her most viewed posts of 2011. This compelling post explains her strong felt desire to stand up for those less privileged. You can also find Living Peacefully with Children on Facebook.

Melissa of Vibrant Wanderings shares a Montessori-Inspired Checklist for Choosing Toys, her most popular post of 2011. The article outlines some important Montessori principles and how they relate to children’s toys, translating that into some simple guiding principles. You can also find Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

Melissa of White Noise shares Modern Day Wet Nurse, her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, Melissa shares the benefits of human breast milk and human milk sharing. You can also find Melissa at Mothers of Change.

Momma Jorje shares Amniocentesis – What is it *really* like?, one of her most viewed posts of 2011. This open and honest series offers not only the technical process of amniocentesis, but also the emotions involved in awaiting (and receiving) the procedure and a diagnosis. Momma Jorje can also be found on Facebook.

Moorea of MamaLady: Adventures in Queer Parenting shares Fluoride: Another Reason Breast Is Best, her favorite post of 2011. This post provides research on the harmful effects of fluoride in drinking water for babies and toddlers and ways to limit fluoride consumption in your home. You can also find MamaLady on Facebook and Twitter and her Parent Coaching Site.

Rachael at The Variegated Life is Calling the Muse in her most viewed post of 2011. In this post, she describes how she uses ritual to help her tap into her creative spirit. You can also find Rachael on Twitter and The Variegated Life on Facebook.

Rebekah and Chris from Liberated Family shares Using Cloth In a Disposable Society, their favorite post of 2011. This extensive post provides a lot of information regarding the varied uses of cloth as well as the many benefits. You can also find Liberated Family on Twitter.

Sarah at Parenting God’s Children shares her most viewed post: Confessions of a Breastfeeding Advocate: I Couldn’t. She confesses her struggles with breastfeeding her daughters, but shares why she’ll continue the good fight. You can also find Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Seonaid of The Practical Dilettante offers a science- and reverence-based meditation on The Living Earth, her most viewed post of 2011. This meditation was originally written for Earth Day, but it provides a way to reconnect with your place in the living breathing planet at any time of year. You can also find Seonaid on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes shares I Recommend (But Moira Likes This Book Too), her most viewed post of 2011. This post is a review of a wonderful book that talks about all the different ways that families can be made up, along with some of why this topic is so important to her family.

Sheryl at Little Snowflakes shares her experiences with tandem nursing in Tandem Nursing – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, her most viewed post of 2011. You can also find Sheryl on Twitter.

Stay tuned for some amazing posts from all of these tremendous bloggers in 2012!