The age of information and technology has brought about the ability for people to connect like never before. The world has become very small. Yet with all the connections, we have today, we are still grasping for information and answers – particularly when we are parenting our little ones.
For many new parents, their relatives are far away and there isn’t much of a support system in place as they navigate the murky waters of new parenthood. So they reach for resources and information online or through parenting books. Many of the advice that can be found on parenting today can be narrowed down to several “types” or “styles”.
Personal philosophies, parental upbringing, religious influences, and cultural expectations all play into the way a parent relates to, disciplines, and interacts with their children. Parents today may fall into any one – or two – or ten – parenting style(s). Most parents fall into one or more of the parenting styles listed below.
This philosophically based style focuses on recognizing that each child is unique. Helping children find their personal path is seen as the best way to go, as opposed to giving them a set mold to try and fit into. This philosophy believes that being true to the self will produce happy and secure individuals.
Attachment parenting has become popular in recent years. It is based on the idea that a child’s solid emotional attachment to their caregiver produces a healthier and more well-rounded child in the long run. There has been much research on attachment theory, and findings support a strong attachment to a caregiver as a child grows.
This style of parenting believes that traditional methods of discipline, rewards, and positive reinforcement teach a child that love is conditional. In this approach, parents show their children love and acceptance regardless of their behavior or actions. They try to limit enforcement of disciplinary measures to curb poor behavior, and they use rational discussion instead.
Spiritual does not mean “religious parenting” in the orderly sense. It is based more on an eastern style of spirituality that focuses on being fully present in the moment. It says that formal instruction is not as effective as simply being the role model of what you want your children to become, so they learn by example. In essence, become what you want them to be.
Many parents today may fall into this particular approach. It combines an expectation of obedience from the child with warmth and comfort from the parent. Children are expected to be respectful and responsible, while given the freedom of still being children within certain safety boundaries.
Conversely, authoritarian parents provide boundaries and expect obedience, but without the relationship and connection that children desperately need.
Permissive / Indulgent Parenting
Parents who are labeled “permissive” are sometimes criticized because of their lack of boundaries and discipline. Conversely, they tend to give their kids extra attention and comfort.
Uninvolved / Neglectful Parenting
These are parents who, true to the title, neglect their children. They provide no boundaries or structure and no emotional support for them and as a result, the children suffer.
The name is just as it sounds. These are parents that hover and smother. They tend to place their children in a bubble to keep them from harm. Helicopter parents have a reputation for doing everything for their children rather than expecting them to independently take care of their own age appropriate responsibilities. As a result, these children grow up rather spoiled and unprepared for the real world.
Do any of these seem relatable? Does anything seem to fit? Do you see yourself in one or several of these? Do any of them make you feel uncomfortable?
Finally, how were you raised? Examine your feelings about your own parents’ styles when you were raised. As parents-to-be, define a parenting style that aligns with your values, personality, and your child. Consider areas such as discipline, food, sleep care, age appropriate responsibilities as children grow, etc.
Call it what you want – give it a label if you wish. At the end of the day, let’s just call it the adventure of parenting.
On The Safety Of Placenta Encapsulation with GBS
Recently, the CDC released a statement regarding the safety of placenta encapsulation. Their determination that placenta encapsulation was unsafe came after a single incident where placenta encapsulation was implicated in a GBS infection in a baby. In this case, it was found that the placenta capsules that the mother had been taking were infected with the same GBS bacteria that the baby was tested positive for.
Rather than review placenta encapsulation processes, learn about the preparation methods used, or consider other means by which the baby could have become ill, the CDC simply stated that encapsulation was likely the culprit and therefore it was unsafe – end of story.
But let’s unpack this.
GBS is a normal, natural bacteria found in the digestive tract. The risk it poses has always been related to the baby’s exposure to it during birth with moms who have high colonization of the bacteria in the birth canal. This is why we test for it at the end of pregnancy around 37 weeks. If a mom is found to have been colonized, she is considered GBS positive status and offered antibiotics as a treatment during birth. Unfortunately, results take 2-3 days to receive and your GBS can easily change by the time labor begins.
The Oregon Case
In the case in question, the mother was tested as being GBS negative at the end of her pregnancy. With symptoms present at the time of birth, the baby was tested positive for GBS infection before the mother received or began taking her placenta pills. The baby had recovered after a course of antibiotics.
The baby got a second GBS infection 5 days later and was admitted to another hospital. It was there that the mother shared she had begun ingesting placenta pills, and the doctor asked to have them cultured.
The culture showed that the GBS bacteria in the baby was the same bacteria that was in the pills. Therefore, they decided that the placenta pills were causing the problem, despite the fact that the baby had contracted a GBS infection of the same bacteria PRIOR to the placenta pills being used. In addition, the mother’s expressed breast milk tested negative for the GBS bacteria.
They state (emphasis mine): “Consumption of contaminated placenta capsules MIGHT HAVE elevated maternal GBS intestinal and skin colonization, facilitating transfer to the infant.”
Mother’s intestinal GBS bacteria colonization would not have affected the baby, since her breast milk was tested negative for the bacteria. There might have been some bacteria on her skin because she touched the pills, but the article does not state whether the hospital lab cultured the outside of the pills or just the inside contents of the capsules.
Furthermore, the baby could have come in contact with the GBS bacteria from anywhere. Though the capsules contained the same GBS bacteria that is found within the mother’s digestive tract, the re-emergence of symptoms in the baby could have been anything – from the child not receiving enough antibiotics to a lack of hand washing.
Either way, correlation does not prove causation in this case. Not even close.
About Placenta Preparation
It is important parents are aware of their options in regards to placenta preparation. First, I should note that when a mother has symptoms of infection, the place of birth should not release the placenta for any reason. Maternal or infant infection is an immediate contraindication of encapsulation.
When an infection is not present – in an otherwise healthy mother – care should be taken when transporting the placenta and processing it. There are two ways to process it: Raw and using the Traditional Chinese Method.
Raw preparation has a high yield of capsules and new preliminary results from testing have shown enzymes and hormones are at the highest concentration. On the other hand, it also has the highest concentration of lingering bacteria.
By contrast, the Traditional Chinese Method uses a steam preparation. It has a lower yield of capsules, and the steam reduces the amount of hormones and enzymes. However, it will also kill a much higher level of bacteria.
It is unclear what method of preparation was used for the Oregon mother whose baby became ill. In any case, parents need to know what their options are, what the risks and benefits are, and how to safely store their placenta pills. If you’d like to discuss placenta preparation methods and pill storage with me, I’m glad to do so.
What we need to remember is that this is ONE case and it hasn’t been connected directly to capsules or the encapsulator. Carefully selecting your encapsulator and the preferred process for your unique birth and needs is important in protecting safety. But safety is a multi-step process with responsibilities in hands of the hospital regarding proper storage and release (or refusal of release), proper food grade preparation methods by the encapsulator, and proper capsule storage by parents.
If you have any questions regarding placenta encapsulation, please contact me!
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