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post #21 of 50
Quote:
ah, I've heard this go round and round in several contexts, but don't think there's much truth to it. In fact, I don't think Steiner ever said anything explicitly about nursing that I've been able to locate.
In 'You are your child's first teacher' I remember reading something about 9 mos being an ideal time to wean. I don't recall exactly what it was. I remember reading it and it obviously didn't resonate with me so I just kind of skipped along.

That being said...we attend a parent-tot program and I have felt very well supported as a tandem-nursing mama!
post #22 of 50
Hi Deborah,

Don't worry... I don't get into "fights". (You may have had to edit your original post by this point, but I am referring here and below to what you originally said.)

I think my background may help in this situation:

I am a five year member of the Anthroposophical Society (both in this country and with the headquarters in Switzerland), a member of an Anthroposophical Study Group (founded by the first members of the ASA, originally in Spring Valley/Chestnut Ridge, New York/SunBridge), an early stages student of the School of Spiritual Science (first class level of the Anthroposophical Society), a founding parent and teacher of a Waldorf school, graduate student (Masters Degree) at Rudolf Steiner College in Sacramento, California for Grades Teacher-Training, a grades teacher in a Waldorf school, as well as French teacher there, and served as a Kindergarten Assistant in the early years.

I will elaborate on my original statement, once. I haven't read beyond the first post on this thread since I don't make a habit of going into pro-Waldorf threads, out of an attempt for mutual respect :

Rudolf Steiner lived in the era before the invention of formula, to the best of my knowledge. So, yes, he certainly couldn't say "zero formula" is appropriate for individuals evolving into "I AM" consciousness..

However, what I DID say was that the Anthroposophical Society, which does not stay stagnant in the past, but evolves and interprets their dogma into present-day life, states what you quoted me as saying (in the Safe Haven thread) regarding discouraging breastfeeding.

This is my direct experience: heard, read, and discussed with other members within the Anthroposophical community.

So, you may disagree with me Deborah, and I don't take issue with that.

But as I said, the statements about breastfeeding are fact from my direct experience. When people study Anthroposophy, which takes years if not a lifetime, many, many have drawn the same conclusion.

Blessings on your journey,

Beth/Beansavi
post #23 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks Beansavi. Obviously, we have spoken to different people.

Deborah
post #24 of 50
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to give my background, just in case anyone is wondering who I am in relation to all this anthroposophy stuff.

I'm 56 years old. I joined the Anthroposophical Society in 1978, when I was 28 years old, but I had been studying Steiner for several years already. I attended Highland Hall, a waldorf school, for two years as a teenager. My daughter attended the same school for 10 years, from nursery to the end of seventh grade, and later attended the Toronto Waldorf School for 3 years, from 10th through 12th. My granddaughter is going into the 1st grade at the Orchard Valley School in VT next year and my grandson is in a waldorf home day care run by my daughter.

I was employed by the anthroposophical society for 6 1/2 years full-time in the 90s and 2 more years as a consultant. In that time I attended many conferences and talked to hundreds of anthroposophists from all over the U.S. and the world.

Three years working at the Chicago Waldorf School as business manager, including attending weekly faculty and elementary level meetings.

I also taught in the Arcturus Teacher Training Program in Chicago for several years (handwork) and served on their board. I also served on the Board of the Rudolf Steiner Branch in Chicago (so many times I've lost count).

Lots of study groups over the years and plenty of other activities in many different contexts. My current work includes serving on a grant committee for the Rudolf Steiner Foundation.

Outside of my anthroposophical activities, I'm a handspinner and knitter, employed as a public librarian in a very small library in a very small town in VT. Did an undergraduate degree in history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master's degree in Library and Information Studies at McGill University (Montreal).

Deborah
post #25 of 50
Thread Starter 
Beansavi wrote:
Quote:
However, what I DID say was that the Anthroposophical Society, which does not stay stagnant in the past, but evolves and interprets their dogma into present-day life, states what you quoted me as saying (in the Safe Haven thread) regarding discouraging breastfeeding.
Beansavi, I'm certainly not accusing you of making false statements, however, I'm quite puzzled by this one.

First, in many years (28!) in the Anthroposophical Society, I have yet to encounter any dogma at all. When I joined, I was asked to agree to a statement supporting the existence of an organization to conduct spiritual research. That is the only thing I have been asked to commit to in 28 years. Currently, new members don't even have to subscribe to that statement.

Certainly, many members take strong positions on a variety of subjects. Problem is the strong positions frequently are in direct opposition to the strong positions taken up by other members. This makes for lively debate and sometimes even painful debate.

Returning to the original issue--breastfeeding--I read my newsletters, I meet with and talk to other members in person and online and I haven't heard anything about opposition to breastfeeding within the ASA.

Please--who said this? When did they say it? Where did they say it?

If this really is a new dogma of the ASA I'll have to resign.

Deborah
post #26 of 50
Thread Starter 
Beansavi wrote:
Quote:
Rudolf Steiner lived in the era before the invention of formula, to the best of my knowledge. So, yes, he certainly couldn't say "zero formula" is appropriate for individuals evolving into "I AM" consciousness..
Formula use was common by the 1920s and Steiner died in 1925, so he could certainly have recommended artificial feeding if he had thought it important. He didn't do so.

Deborah
post #27 of 50
Anthroposophical medicine and Steiner are in favor of breastfeeding babies. In fact, the position given in the anthroposophically influenced book "Guide to Child Health", which is a recent publication and one of the most widely referenced of the genre, pushes it heavily. As Deborah says in the OP, there may be a debate among some about extended breastfeeding. If so, it's not a very big one, not that I see now. Besides emphasizing the need to gradually introduce other foods besides breast milk (though not in the first six months), the Guide doesn't take a position either way, although it does claim the majority of babies will wean themselves by twelve months.

There are BF mamas all over our Waldorf community, including extended BF mamas.
post #28 of 50
Thread Starter 
http://www.waldorfresources.org/read...es/weaning.php
Quote:
RSF:
It would be more true to say that human breastmilk is more heavenly, more angelic, closer to the Christ than any other form of available nutrition. Human breastmilk, especially from the child's own mother, is the perfect nutrition. I say especially from the child's own mother because of the very close, intense and necessary communication between the being of the child and the being of the mother. The even measurable composition of the mother-baby specific milk varies from nursing to nursing and is dependent upon the communication between these two unique individualities. The baby's individuality, although still largely living in the spiritual world, is communicating with the Mother's individuality, which is also in connection with the spiritual world. It is essential for the development of the child and the development of humanity that this relationship not be disturbed.
from: Waldorf and Weaning
Risë Smythe-Freed, RN
copyright © 1999
post #29 of 50
Thread Starter 
http://www.sophiainstitute.us/First%207%20Years.htm

An early childhood conference that was held this summer:
The First Seven Years Summer Intensive

June 26 — 30, 2006

Location: Three River School located in the historic North side of La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA

Understanding Waldorf Education for children ages birth through seven

One workshop:
Quote:
Nutrition with Anne-Marie Fryer Birth—Three Years. We will focus on healthy breast feeding, the introduction of solid foods, self-help issues-sippy cups & high chairs, and toddler eating habits. Three Years—Seven Years. We will discuss the importance of food presentation for young children, and how to establish reverence and ritual at the table.
post #30 of 50
Thread Starter 
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journa...les/GW3902.pdf

From an interview with Joan Salter
Quote:
JS: Yes. And then, you see, you’re dealing with the most practical, down to earth things. Steiner didn’t
write much about babies because it was such a natural thing. We have to remember that he was writing
about one hundred years ago. You know, when I think of my mother, it was just something you did! I
haven’t found anything Steiner has written about bringing up babies, but he did write on incarnation and
reincarnation.
LM: Can you say more about how we can assist children with incarnation?
JS: Can I start with babies?
LM: Of course.
JS: I think that in order for parents to help the child incarnate, they need to know that the child has more
than one body, for example. It brings you to the most practical things, such as warmth. The ego incarnates
by joining itself to the blood. So the child needs to wear a woollen singlet. One thing about doing infant
welfare centre work in my old age is that in old age you go back to your second childhood. I can’t hold
my body temperature. I have to wear a woollen singlet every day. So warmth is frightfully important for
the baby.
And, of course, breast feeding and the introduction of food. Breast feeding is much more than the
nutritional value of the milk. Although formula and breast milk have the same amount of protein,
carbohydrate, and so on, formula lacks life. It is the life forces or etheric forces that the baby needs.
I think that is enough to go on with.

One other thing is that I am a member of the "First Class" also known as "The School for Spiritual Science." I'm familiar with the material shared during these classes and there is nothing there that is in anyway relevant to this topic.

Deborah
post #31 of 50
Thread Starter 
One last bit!

http://www.waldorfbooks.com/heal/fam...ens_health.htm

Quote:
Birth and Breastfeeding
Rediscovering the needs of women during pregnancy and childbirth

Michel Odent

Softbound

$16.95






“ Just when we thought everything had already been said about birth and breastfeeding, Odent challenges us anew with a vision that is both provocative and compelling. A book you’ll want to discuss even before you finish reading it.”
—Marian Thompson, president emeritus and co-founder, La Leche League, International

Humanity, argues Michel Odent, stands at a crossroads in the history of childbirth - and the direction we choose to take will have critical consequences. Until recently a woman could not have had a baby without releasing a complex cocktail of “love hormones.” In many societies today, most women give birth without relying on the release of such a flow of hormones. Some give birth via caesarean section, while others use drugs that not only block the release of these natural substances, but also do not have their beneficial behavioral effects. “This unprecedented situation must be considered in terms of civilization,” says Odent. It gives us urgent new reasons to rediscover the basic needs of women in labor.

At a time when pleas for the “humanization” of childbirth are fashionable, the author suggests, rather, that we should first accept our ‘mammalian’ condition and give priority to the woman’s need for privacy and to feel secure. The activity of the intellect, the use of language, and many cultural beliefs and rituals—which are all special to humans—are handicaps in the period surrounding birth. Says Odent: “To give birth to her baby, the mother needs privacy. She needs to feel unobserved. The newborn baby needs the skin of the mother, the smell of the mother, her breast. These are all needs that we hold in common with the other mammals, but which humans have learned to neglect, to ignore or even deny.”

Expectant parents, midwives, childbirth educators, those involved in public health, and all those interested in the future of humanity will find this a provocative and visionary book.
post #32 of 50
"It would be more true to say that human breastmilk is more heavenly, more angelic, closer to the Christ than any other form of available nutrition."

What the Bleep is that about? There have been so many conversations diminishing the role of religion in Waldorf. This kind of language is extremely provocative in the face of all the denial (not that I have an issue with it in and of itself, just the lack of clarity).
post #33 of 50
Thread Starter 
Good point. Also a good example of how free folks are within anthroposophy and the waldorf movement to say anything they please and get it published besides. There isn't any big Mommy certifying everything as non-offensive, anthroposophically correct.

Actually, the whole idea that there are dogmas which are distributed to anthroposophists and with which they have to agree or they aren't anthroposophists anymore is the whole piece of the discussion about breastfeeding that I find most offensive. Unfortunately, I had to edit my first post in this thread with that quote. Hey, it was probably fortunate that I had to edit it.

Anyway, if you hang out with anthroposophists you will probably be offended regularly by one or another or even several. They offend each other all the time, too.

And the degree of Christianity, in one form or another, that is present in waldorf education is probably different in every waldorf school in the world. No guarantees.

Cheers,
Deborah
post #34 of 50
Thanks Deborah.

I was in the Waldorf school bookshop today and was curious what kind of advice about breastfeeding I'd find in the books sold there. (Found some really interesting new children's story books, btw--they weren't about nursing though )

Anyway, it was unanimous in each of the 5 or 6 books I flipped through in which I found the subject mentioned. Nursing couldn't be more heavily advocated..... One even recommended those mothers donate milk who have a more than ample milk supply. Many recommended LLL to new mothers as well. There is no dissenting opinion on this in any of these anthroposophical books I saw there.

The subject of extended breast feeding was raised in two of them, and confirms what Deborah mentioned that there seems to be some differences of opinion on this among the anthroposophic medicine community. Neither of these books recommended against extended nursing, but did allude to some of the dissenting opinions on the subject.

In the new edition of "You Are Your Child's First Teacher", the author seems to have elaborated on her opinion from the first book, which I have myself at home. She comes from the point of view that she does not approve of others telling mothers what to do in this matter, and she includes LLL in this, who she reports (maybe unfairly) sometimes push mothers into nursing until their babies decide to wean themselves on their own. So Rahima Dancy is a big advocate of breast feeding until 9 months of age, and after that, one senses that she feels more cautions are in order for mamas who continue to BF than those that don't. She isn't persuaded that mamas should necessarily extended BF simply because tribal mamas do. She's worried about mamas who feel guilty about wanting or needing to wean--saying there's no real important need to BF after 12 mos, and she defends those mamas who are simply tired of it, physically or psychically. And she expresses some reservations that the value of separation between the mother and the child is too casually dismissed by those heavily pushing the 'child-led weaning' argument, maybe in the way that the importance of the nursing bond was too casually dismissed in the old days. So if I were to read between the lines, I'd say she's not real enthused about extended BF, thinks it's too much pushed on mothers, but she's careful not to push mothers with a "don't do it" of her own.

The other book was just seriously pro nursing, but it's kind of funny to me because it delved into all these really "out there" rationales for it that even Dancy kind of snickered at in her book; numerology for example. But the author didn't list this connection to angels among them.

What I gather here is that, contrary to any set position against nursing in the anthroposophical community, there's essentially unanimity of thought in support of it, but there's a lot of diverse opinions about why they think it's a good thing. Things get more divided over extended breast feeding and you get a pretty diverse spectrum of reasons to go along with those opinions too. Though there weren't any books by advocates *against* extended BF currently sold in this store, some books responded to one particular issue that seems to have recurred in older anthroposophical medical texts--that being that mother's breast milk after a certain age ties the child too strongly to the mother, a kind of residual physical, biological inheritance. Risë Smythe-Freed argues pretty much the opposite, sounds like to me, with the angels and the Christ association.

Couple that with the numerology, symbology, and some of the other issues I saw discussed in these books, and I get the impression that there's no way there's any "official" anthroposophical view at all behind any of this. One of those to weigh in even argued about the meaning behind the close proximity of the human's breasts to the heart (as opposed to say, a cow's, which are situated closer to the hind quarters ). It's pretty much the *opposite* of any set position in anthroposophy, at least from what's represented in the books sold in our bookstore.
post #35 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the research Linda. If anyone has any documentary evidence to the contrary (or even anecdotal, since a lot of this thread consists of personal experiences) they are welcome to present it. So far we have most of the documents and the majority of the first-hand experiences supporting a breastfeeding friendly waldorf and anthroposophical community.

Deborah
post #36 of 50
Thread Starter 
Please...anyone have something to present on the other side of this discussion? I'd really like to understand what this is about! Honestly!

Deborah
post #37 of 50
Thread Starter 
Bumping for newcomers who might have questions about this.
post #38 of 50
Thanks for bumping up this thread, Deborah, and thanks for expressing your openness to hearing other perspectives.


Mijumom, I strongly relate and agree with your sentiments.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom View Post
"It would be more true to say that human breastmilk is more heavenly, more angelic, closer to the Christ than any other form of available nutrition."

What the Bleep is that about? There have been so many conversations diminishing the role of religion in Waldorf. This kind of language is extremely provocative in the face of all the denial (not that I have an issue with it in and of itself, just the lack of clarity).


I don't have anything specific to the OP to mention.

I do want to respond to the Christ mention in the Anthroposophist's quote from Waldorf and Weaning.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah
Good point. Also a good example of how free folks are within anthroposophy and the waldorf movement to say anything they please and get it published besides. There isn't any big Mommy certifying everything as non-offensive, anthroposophically correct.


Hmm. But apparently it is one piece of Anthroposophical writing that you take seriously, right, since you quoted it as a valid reference for your perspective on this thread's subject?

My own experience has been that I've noticed that a mention or reference to Christ happens to be the exclusive, consistent version of what you call "saying anything they please" within the Waldorf world and without any exception.

I have a very strong guess that if that author or another supposed Anthroposophist writer were to reference another religious diety that the writing would not have gone/go anywhere in the free world. At its best, it would be "unsanctioned" and therefore commonly considered a suspect and dubious Waldorf resource if for no other reason than simply because it wouldn't be included in the menu of AWSNA-approved published materials nor available at the AWSNA Bookstore.
post #39 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by May May View Post
Thanks for bumping up this thread, Deborah, and thanks for expressing your openness to hearing other perspectives.

Mijumom, I strongly relate and agree with your sentiments.

I don't have anything specific to the OP to mention.

I do want to respond to the Christ mention in the Anthroposophist's quote from Waldorf and Weaning.

Hmm. But apparently it is one piece of Anthroposophical writing that you take seriously, right, since you quoted it as a valid reference for your perspective on this thread's subject? My own experience has been that I've noticed that a mention or reference to Christ happens to be the exclusive, consistent version of what you call "saying anything they please" within the Waldorf world and without any exception.

I have a very strong guess that if that author or another supposed Anthroposophist writer were to reference another religious diety that the writing would not have gone/go anywhere in the free world. At its best, it would be "unsanctioned" and therefore commonly considered a suspect and dubious Waldorf resource if for no other reason than simply because it wouldn't be included in the menu of AWSNA-approved published materials nor available at the AWSNA Bookstore.
I've highlighted in red the two sections where it feels to me as though you are going out way beyond what the data actually supports.

On the first one, you are making assumptions about my religious beliefs, my choice of quote, my reasons for choosing said quote, my connection with anthroposophy...all of which you are free to do...but you are wrong, alas.

I'm not religious. I chose that quote because of the strong support for breastfeeding (the main topic of the thread) and didn't even notice the mention of Christ (which was careless of me). I notice that you are ignoring the multiple other quotes and books and articles cited in this thread which don't mention Christ. Why?

On the second one you are assuming that if a hypothetical author approached a hypothetical publisher and managed to get a hypothetical article or book published supporting breastfeeding from a point of view that related positively to anthroposophy and/or waldorf but based its support on a different religious stream this entirely hypothetical document would not be listed on an AWSNA web-site. As an argument it is a bit weak.

If you want to make a good argument, do some searches on the AWSNA sites for breastfeeding articles, search them, and see if they all mention the Christ (and no other religious leaders or streams). After completing that step, you could write to AWSNA, point out the bias discovered (if it was there, which I kinda doubt) and ask how come. My suspicion is that the majority of the pro-breastfeeding materials don't mention Christ, Buddha or any other religious figure. They just talk about how great breastfeeding is.

So, I'm very sorry that I carelessly chose a quote that offended people and supported the waldorf conspiracy theories! Shame on me!

On the other hand, I think this is a good example of the narrow ledge of evidence on which some of those conspiracy theories rest. One quote leads to a whole theory on what gets published and why...

but of course it all rests on a base of personal negative experiences...

which reminds me of a wake up moment that hit me many years ago. I realized that I tended to assume things about groups of people based on the way they dressed, what language they spoke, what color skin they possessed, how old they were. Unconscious, and largely based on personal negative experiences. For example, I hated being a teenager, I was bullied and picked on as a teenager, so it took me a lot of years to stop seeing all teenagers as yucky people and start seeing them as individuals, with varying qualities.
post #40 of 50
Just to clarify........

The Christ spirit/breastfeeding passage did not come from an AWSNA publication nor is it in their bookstore. It was published by Waldorf Without Walls which is not related to AWSNA at all. And it was republished by Waldorfresources.com, which is also separate from AWSNA.

I really don't think breastfeeding is an issue that gets much attention from AWSNA. AWSNA's mission is targeted towards giving advice about the education and administration of the private Waldorf schools, and not giving advice to mothering infants. I don't think they have any affiliation with private homeschool curriculum companies like Waldorf Without Walls either.

The theories of what's "anthroposophically official" have run the full gamut here between "against breastfeeding because the milk is animal" to "pro breastfeeding because the milk is Christlike". Obviously some anthroposophist somewhere has said it all and everything in between, and not all of it can be true at the same time. And I'm sure many anthroposophists tried to point to some idea or other in Steiner to support their argument. After all, it's not like non-anthroposophists don't have the tendency to do the very same thing. And just like the rest of us, anthroposophists may suffer the common tendency to acknowledge only the evidence which reinforces their own world view and their individual point of view. So it seems pretty evident to me that there isn't an "officially sanctioned" position on this that is determining what people can or can't say. Which is cool with me. There is no "official body" of anthroposophy which is supposed to issue dictates like this.
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