The Conscious Family Team is a team of professionals in York Region who support, guide and aid those who want to do their best each day to love, cherish and respect their children, and who want to learn and grow from their roles.

Giving birth and raising a family consciously used to be a matter of instinct. We trusted our bodies and our feelings to do the right thing. We learned from our families, and our communities how to care for and raise our children, and we just knew it would be okay. We had the support of those close to us - the village helped us to raise our children. There was no internet, no 24 - hour medical centres or helplines, and no bookshelf stocked with 50 or so of the latest advice books from "the experts", usually celebrities. Mom was at home during the day to lend a hand with the washing, or your neighbour would pop by with a casserole when times were tough.

These days, we're lucky to know our neighbour's first name. And if we need advice, we're more likely to consult Google than our brother, sister or mother. The village is truly gone.

Here with the Conscious Family Team, we want to bring the good days back by being your village and helping your family and village grow.

We believe that in order to accomplish these tasks, parenting must be a conscious endeavour, meaning that we are willing to examine ourselves, our background, beliefs, motivations, behaviours, and how these aspects affect the way we parent. Let's find the positives in the way we were parented, recognize the lessons we learned and empower ourselves to trust our own intuition and emerge as the parents we want to be.

Decisions made prior to conception, during pregnancy and in baby's first year and beyond provide the foundation for the creation of a conscious family. By consulting with one or more of the Conscious Family Team members, you will be inspired to take initiative to choose the style of caring for yourself and your infant/child that resonates with you and you'll be connected to the tangible tools and resources to support you on your journey.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Go Green - Breastfeed

What does breastfeeding have to do with Earth Day?

First and foremost, it has a zero environmental impact. Its exclusive practice for six months delays a return to fertility and, that in turn, has a cascading positive effect on the welfare of the whole community. When a mother is given what she needs to succeed in doing what's best for her children and herself, she's making a difference for all of us.

Breastfeeding saves lives while protecting the environment. When you consider the costs to the environment made by the manufacture, packaging, transportation, sales and marketing of artificial baby milks, breastfeeding wins every time.

Formula requires agricultural production, which may involve land clearing for industrial farming, chemical fertilizers and pesticides for soybeans. Infant formula is also wasted when it is thrown away if the baby does not finish a bottle; something which is unlikely to happen with breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is also drought resistant and does not require water other than what the mother drinks. There is no need for water for cleaning bottles and artificial nipples. Being breastfed also protects infants from possible exposure to dirty water in underserved communities.

Beastfeeding is "green" and saves money. Frequent breastfeeding, day and night, helps delay fertility return for the mother until her menses resume. The Lactational Amenorrhea Method is as effective as oral contraceptives when in use, reducing the need to purchase contraceptives and menstral care products for many months. Increasing the time between each child also has a positive effect on the health of mothers, children, and their families and on the social service dollar for the whole community. All in all, breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding, saves money by reducing our need for many commercial products, reduces pharmaceuticals, plastics, fuels and dairy waste products, shrinking our carbon footprint.

We all have a stake in this, locally, nationally, globally. Human milk remains one of our most valuable renewable resources and has been shown to be the far superior food for infants by every measure science has been able to offer. Simply respecting the wishes of breastfeeding families and offering a few words of encouragement can make a positive difference in their lives and ours as well.

Parents planning to breastfeed benefit greatly from prenatal education, nurturing and timely support by the newborn's household kin, extended family and the community at large. Support groups like La Leche League offer informtion and support to women and their families interested in breastfeding. Healthcare professionals including International Board Certified Lactation Consultants and York Region Health Services are also available to address breastfeeding issues.

Breastfeeding - the ultimate example of an ecologically sound food -- it comes to us from the most local source available, is delivered to its consumer without any pollution, and is the first step in a baby's understanding of nature's interconnectedness.

Denise is the owner/operator of 4 The Love of The Family, providing birth and postnatal support and breastfeeding support. She is also a La Leche League Canada Leader

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