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Old 08-01-2006, 01:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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One last bit!

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

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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.
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Old 08-01-2006, 01:33 AM
 
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"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).
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Old 08-01-2006, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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,
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Old 08-02-2006, 10:13 PM
 
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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.
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Old 08-03-2006, 01:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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Old 08-03-2006, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Please...anyone have something to present on the other side of this discussion? I'd really like to understand what this is about! Honestly!

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Old 05-25-2007, 07:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Bumping for newcomers who might have questions about this.
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Old 05-26-2007, 01:12 AM
 
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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.
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Old 05-26-2007, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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Old 05-26-2007, 05:48 PM
 
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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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Old 05-26-2007, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for clarifying that Linda. I was so attached to that particular quote that I couldn't even remember where I got it from (I should be shot for that sentence...) nor that it had nothing to do with AWSNA. And I was too lazy to go back a couple of pages and check.

I'll offer an excuse. I'm in the middle of moving.

http://www.waldorfresources.org/read...es/weaning.php
Here is the link to the article I quoted that has caused a bit of debate. No, it isn't officially published by AWSNA, WECAN or the Anthroposophical Society in America.
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Old 05-26-2007, 07:34 PM
 
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Hi Deborah,

Not that you need one, but that is a pretty good excuse. Apparently "moving" immediately follows "death" and "divorce" as a leading cause of stress. Diary of a move

Hope it's not too torturous, though how could it not be? I've always found moving to be Pure Awful!

You're not moving far, are you? I know your grandchildren have been so close by where you live now.
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm five minutes walk from the grandkids, which has been great, but 25 miles from work, which has been a drag, especially during the Vermont winters. My new location will be 18 miles from family and 7 miles from work. I'll even be able to ride a free bus some of the time. It basically is a service for tourists and foreign workers, so during the times of the year when neither is present, there is no bus.

This move has been less stressful than most. I've been able to drop off loads of stuff at my new apartment every time I go to work. The only problem is the gradual disappearance of all sorts of stuff. I can't always remember where things are. The word, I think, is discombobulated. How I feel, I mean.

It will all culminate next Thursday, with the real move, as opposed to the ongoing move.
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Old 05-27-2007, 05:08 AM
 
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I have only ever felt support for Bf'ing both at our Waldorf School and in my community. I still nurse my almost 2 yo in public and get nothing but smiles (and sometimes apologetic men who might walk into a room where we are nursing). And I live in Kentucky, not Cool Vermont!
I think the Christ comment is really interesting. I'm not religious much, I would identify more as a Nature worshipper. I'm not offended by the use of Christ's name while referring to bf at all, in fact, it makes sense to me, especially if I sub "The Sacred" for "the Christ". I tend not to get hung up on verbage and really focus on the message and not the delivery. I think what the author was saying is a beautiful thing.

so many roads to ease my soul...

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Old 05-27-2007, 12:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Anamama. That was lovely. I didn't even know there was a Waldorf school in Kentucky. Neat!

Vermont is varied, in terms of coolness. The long term residents tend to think a lot of us Flatlanders are silly, incompetent and faddish. And they are not entirely incorrect
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:27 PM
 
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Hello again.

I would like to clarify that I did not come onto this thread to "make a good argument" as you invited me to do, Deborah, but instead just to show my agreement with mijumom's extremely well-articulated and succinct point that I'll quote again because I'm still seeing it's relevance to your responses to my pp ~



Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom View Post
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'll mention, again, that I've had no negative experiences with regard to breastfeeding and Waldorf, personally. That is my experience which I will honestly share here, too.

The pp that I made was specifically in relation to the Christ mention. I see you reference Buddha as another example of a diety, however, like I mentioned in my pp, I have seen repeated mentions and references to Christ throughout my personal Anthroposophical studies and relationships with Waldorf through the years. . . and never a single reference to another religious diety. That is my personal experience with Waldorf education, and that is the exclusive angle from which I choose to opine. I am uninterested in compiling evidence for an objective argument in this situation. I posted on this thread simply because I think mijumom's comments are especially significant in light of the history, here and also because I agree with her: I'd have no issue with the Christ references if they were made clear. Instead, my experience with Waldorf has been such that this is an esoteric aspect of Anthroposophy. That does not sit well with me, personally.

LindaCl, thank you for sharing your comments regarding official AWSNA approval. I had no 'official' basis for the comments I shared in my pp regarding this issue - I was trying to convey what I personally observe (UNofficially) as a trend withing the global Waldorf community - that there is very much an *insider circle* whereas popularly-sanctioned written Waldorf materials are included and popularly-dismissed written Waldorf materials are vehemently excluded. I do not have formal verification for my stance on this and do not intend to gather such ~ I am simply sharing my personal experience that comes from relations with my local Waldorf community and others, and this is the strongly-consistent pattern that I have observed.
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Old 05-27-2007, 03:10 PM
 
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Quote:
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LindaCl, thank you for sharing your comments regarding official AWSNA approval. I had no 'official' basis for the comments I shared in my pp regarding this issue - I was trying to convey what I personally observe (UNofficially) as a trend withing the global Waldorf community
Hey, no problem; anytime.
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Old 05-27-2007, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay May May. I have no problem with you sharing your opinion and observations. Thanks.
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Old 05-27-2007, 05:32 PM
 
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Thanks for listening.
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Old 05-27-2007, 09:43 PM
 
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I have an anthroposophical physician who said absolutely nothing to me about my son bf'ing until age two. I did read somewhere in Waldorf literature, I wish I could remember where, that there was a concern about the mother becoming too much a part of the child if the extended bf'ing relationship continued...has anyone read that, too? It was put much better than that, but that was the general point.
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