"'Do No Harm' Hippocrates"
Sacred Birthing Insight

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Birthing Stones

Wahiawa Birthing Stones are a sacred area on Oahu where the Hawaiian Royalty once held their births. Royal births were not private affairs but ones that were attended by the elders, healers, wise way-showers of all neighboring clans. It was a grand gathering. And it would go on for weeks, as the families gathered ahead of time to celebrate the coming arrival.

We think Birthing Stones were used as birthing chairs, but that was never the information I received. On Kauai, birth was auspicious when it took place between two bodies of flowing water. I was shown how a particular stone of the cluster was most important to those birthing mamas because they were strongly magnetic. To move closer to the rocks, created a dramatic downward pull to assist the contractions of labor.

Since there was great importance placed on the timing of the birth, with the most auspicious time being at the moment of the rising sun, the mother could move closer to the rock, or move farther away to ease contractions some, to bring the birth as close to sunrise as possible. (Imagine trying to hold back!) Would this baby be acknowledged by the sun?

Let’s protect our babies

“For the fetus, the hangover may last a lifetime.” (3)

Many ‘different’ Hawaiian children have caught my attention lately. I see them hanging around when their parents are selling vegetables at the Farmer’s Market. They made me remember that I have seen children with this very same look in Ecuador, Spain, France, and plenty in America. There are so many of them in my awareness that I started wondering, what’s going on? I see they are retarded, but there is a similarity to them that made me look deeper. It suddenly hit me: they are children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS),

Although they are adorable when little, and couldn’t be more affectionate, they usually are born prematurely, small, look different facially, often having small heads, facial malformations, as well as internal problems with heart, spine, Central Nervous System, and way too many other problems. They develop more slowly, grow up to have IQ’s around 60 + -, and grow to an age when they stop developing. These children are difficult to raise, are not able to motivate themselves, care for themselves without supervision, or have the ability to function in the world. And just as worrisome, one generation begets another with the same problem.

I thought this was related to a “Native American problem,” but find that nothing could be farther from the truth. It is worldwide. It’s caused by alcohol. And its 100% avoidable.

All women need to understand that when they drink, the alcohol goes right into the placenta and the baby is actually drinking too. “By the time mom feels tipsy and thus socially or physically compelled to refuse a refill, the child she carries could have already passed out. … The baby in the womb becomes more drunk than its mother with every drink of liquor, wine or beer she takes.” (1)

Alcohol goes right through the placental and brain barrier, making the fetus even more drunk than mom. It goes into the liver, pancreas, kidneys, thymus, heart, and brain, concentrating in the gray matter of the developing baby. It interferes with the placenta carrying enough oxygen, and this is what creates brain damage, especially during the first and third trimester.

Brain damage is also from alcohol being a dehydrating agent so it absorbs water. The brains of a newborn whose mother drank appears desiccated, (dried up,) and smaller than they should be because the water has been sucked out of the developing cells, either killing them or rendering them functionless. Ouch.

Another reason is the difference in weight of mom and fetus: the growing fetus is tiny in comparison, yet, gets the same dose that mom gets.

The alcohol in mom’s bloodstream envelopes baby and circulates around and around until it can be detoxed, but it takes twice as long in a fetus as it does in mom.

“Women become drunk more quickly than men because their stomachs are less able to neutralize alcohol…” (5);

Looking at the FAS child’s brain compared to a normal child’s brain, there is scrambling of the layers of brain cells that are typically associated with alcohol use.

There seems there is NO safe amount of alcohol that is safe for a fetus. There are different things that make a mom be more at risk, but basically for a sacred birth, it comes down to a decision in pregnancy to NOT DRINK, and STOP all alcohol. Not a glass of wine, not a cold beer, nothing.

Most of the women I have met are not concerned because they think it’s just an alcoholic mom, or the binging mom that has a baby with FAS. But it’s not just about the size of the dose, it’s also about the dose, the age of the mother, and the timing of the dose on fetal development too. What developmental stage is the baby? The first trimester and the third trimester are highly susceptible.

Most parents reading Sacred Birthing are taking great care of their unborn baby. But at prenatals I have heard, “Well I just had a few drinks. Just this time. That’s OK, right?” Ask your baby. “Baby, is it ok that I do what I want, even if I know it might hurt you?” Absolute abstention from conception, pregnancy and while breastfeeding is the only way to protect your baby. She/he’s worth it!

With so many questions about alcohol’s effect, I think the best course of action would be at the moment when you are planning to conceive, or, know you are pregnant, make a decision one time and then both parents stick to it for the duration. Then your baby feels your commitment to his health and well-being.

Why both parents?
“Until now Fathers have not had a causal link to such disabilities. Ground breaking new research has been revealed which shows Dads may have more accountability.

Published in Animal Cells and Systems, researchers studied male mice exposed to varying concentrations of alcohol and one control group exposed only to saline. After exposure the mice were mated and resulting fetuses examined. The findings revealed previously unknown and riveting evidence that paternal alcohol consumption can directly affect fetal development.

A number of fetuses sired by males exposed to alcohol suffered abnormal organ development and/or brain development. Those in the saline group were normal. So, can developmental abnormalities be predetermined at fertilization? This research proves so. The authors believe alcohol consumption affects genes in sperm which are responsible for normal fetal development.
Until now fathers’ lifestyle choices have not seen any repercussion on their unborn children. This ground-breaking research provides the first definitive evidence that fathers’ drinking habits pre-conception can cause significant fetal abnormalities.”(4)

Plus, when a father drinks, its placing mom in a more difficult predicament of constantly having to make the choice each evening NOT to drink. Sometimes we are strong and sometimes less so. Making this decision once is the easiest and it lets baby feel your devotion. Dad, can you support your future child by choosing Not to drink, and choosing other activities that do not include alcohol? Your baby thanks you.

Four hours ago, an article from Northwestern University in Chicago came out saying, “There may soon be a cure for foetal alcohol syndrome.”(6) But really, when alcohol creates such havoc in the nervous system and brain, why take chances? Always come back to your deepest intention: “What is the highest you wish for your child? A nominal existence, or to be a child/adult who retains his innate well-being?

Another SoftBirth reason to abstain from both alcohol and weed is that they lower your vibration. When you are heading toward a Sacred Birth, it is your highest vibration that helps your baby mesh his body and soul. Since you are the Cosmos to your baby, give him your best, and your reward will be seen in the alert, clear eyes of your baby at the time of birth.

References:
1. American Journal of Obstetric Gynecology. “By the time mom feels tipsy…”
2. Doris, Michael. The Broken Cord. July, 1989
3. Enloe, Dr Cortez. Editor of Nutrition Today, 1980. “For the fetus, the hangover…”
4. Hye Jeong Lee, Jae-Sung Ryu, Na Young Choi, Yo Seph Park, Yong Il Kim, Dong Wook Han, Kisung Ko, Chan Young Shin, Han Sung Hwang, Kyung-Sun Kang, Kinarm Ko. Trans-generational effects of paternal alcohol exposure in mouse offspring. Animal Cells and Systems, 2013; 17 (6): 429 DOI: 10.1080/19768354.2013.865675
5. Charles Lieber, Dr. New York Times, 2013.
6. Redei, Eva. Health 24.com. “There may soon be a cure for foetal alcohol syndrome”.

One day old Kiana, born in this very same bathtub

Aahhhhhh…….., the feeling of a brand new baby’s head in my hand. And then, the feeling as she goes into a still-point, and energetically takes me along with her. A warm bath, or “LeBoyer Bath,” is how to induce a “stillpoint.” And a stillpoint is how to help a baby let go of the stress of birth. If you feel this picture, instead of just look at it, you can feel the deep peace that is healing her.

Lotus Birth

“Lotus Birth lengthens the peace of the womb.”

Anna, mother of 4

It is time for babies to be born in wholeness and stay whole. It’s time to practice birthing techniques that support the innate radiance of our babies and protect their innate Oneness. Lotus Birth is a choice, a gift from parents who recognize its significance.

The first step toward a Lotus Birth is to allow the cord to stop pulsing before cutting it. Amazing transformations take place in the body of the baby as she morphs from being a water baby into an air world. When baby opens her eyes for the first time, all eyes and hearts satisfy their longing that all is well.  Mother is flooded with relaxing hormones. Her relief speaks to her hormones, who speak directly to the placenta, as if saying, “Your baby is safe and well.”  With this knowledge, she relaxes, the placenta completes its work, releases and the placenta is then ready for its own birth.  It only takes 10-15 minutes. It is not necessary to hear the typical scream that accompanies the cutting of the cord and that first forced breath. Often within two minutes, the cord starts to feed baby progressively less oxygen to gently encourage her to breathe on her own. There is no need for a baby to scream. Her lungs open gently and she breathes without stress.

Taking this a step further, Lotus Birth is not cutting the cord at all. Lotus Birth softens the birth experience and allows birth to go back to a safer, more natural state.  Like water birth, there seem to be only positive effects of Lotus Birth on a baby and her family. They are all unseen and can only be felt. Keeping the cord in tact means that baby and placenta stay on the altar of the family bed, visited only by the closest of family and friends.  This keeps baby in the security of the family and slows down the pace of life.  Nobody goes shopping with a newborn and placenta in tow!  In fact, a mother does little more than go to the bathroom anyway.  As the cord is kicked off, baby is gently showed around the house and maybe to a few close friends.  In appropriate timing, baby is taken outside and introduced to the stars and moon, sun and rain.  These first few days set into the mind of parents that life happens in perfect timing, according to baby’s readiness.  By watching baby’s reaction, parents do the right thing at the right time.

When people hear about Lotus Birth it always creates a reaction.  Most are fascinated at hearing something so different and say immediately, “That feels right.”  Some though, will scream with the trauma of their own cut cord. Walk in with openness and see how this feels to entertain it for your baby.  Understanding its benefits and wishing them for your baby makes the decision easy. Would you like your baby to experience these gifts?  Ask your baby long before labor and decide if lotus birth is to be her path. If so, the logistics will easily fall into place.  It takes this commitment to make the care hassle-free.  This advance commitment seems to be felt by your baby as a high level of security when taking in her first breaths. Keeping the cord in tact allows the baby to hold her full vitality and radiance.

For babies to be born to parents who honor them with a Lotus Birth means that as a generation, we are completing this epoch of separation and moving into Oneness.  The babies being born do not need to experience separation as their core issue, as so many of us parents have had to, and so, they draw to them a different birth.

There is an entire chapter on Lotus Birth in Sacred Birthing, Birthing A New Humanity book.  It is all from my experiences in the last 24 years, since almost all of my births have since been Lotus born. This chapter informs you from start to finish, and you will understand it and how to make it happen.  Happy Trails!  Your baby thanks you.

Radiance Quotient For Babies

Here is a powerful image I was given:

I saw the Earth. Luminous sparkles lit up all areas of the Earth. I wondered what this was, and saw that birth creates a radiance on Earth. As birth occurred, the soul’s light flooded the earth. With birth after birth, there was twinkling in every part of the globe. Yet most lights suddenly faded! Then came the next wave of lights, but they too went dim. I looked around for the reason. Often the baby’s radiance was bright, but the treatment immediately after birth dulled it. I saw how babies were either damaged or protected by the treatment before, during and after birth. And, I saw that most babies could hold far more soul energy than they do. Only then can the soul lights build upon each other, wave upon twinkling wave, lighting the Earth, strengthening the collective love upon her.

The health of a newborn is the radiance of its energy field. Maintaining this radiance of all babies is really the core sign of health. Could there be a “Radiance Score” that indicates that a baby retained his highest radiance because of the quality of care given? This would be Baby Friendly indeed!

Statistics register only obvious maladies. Instead, a baby’s energy field could be measured with Kirlian photography to see which newborn practices cause an increase or decrease in radiance. This research would be easy to create. A clairvoyant can see the difference. A medical intuitive could give helpful descriptions of what affects a baby. As a culture prioritizes excellence of the newborn, we can easily find ways to accomplish this and support the radiance of all babies.

Your Baby’s Name Comes From The Soul Realm

There are many reasons to name your baby.  Some babies receive a family name handed down to honor a favorite ancestor.  Some children have a namesake as their role model.  Some names are chosen because both parents like the name and can agree on it – no easy task in itself!  Ethnic names are chosen as a link back to family roots, or new roots of choice.  Aboriginal names change to reflect the acquisition of a new ability, or an interest in one.  A spiritual teacher gives a student a name that helps develop that quality within.

Many adults are changing their names, feeling their new name better portrays who they now feel themselves to be. A name can be our guiding force through life, keeping us aligned with our purpose. Maybe those who change their names are really striving to remember their purpose and their soul name.

The choice of a baby’s name is a mighty consideration.  The precious being who stares up into your eyes right after birth is who parents address when they name their baby.  There is also another consciousness to address in your newborn baby – the soul consciousness, the wise being who oversees and participates in being conceived and born.  This vast consciousness of your baby fully understands why he is incarnating, what he is here to learn, and why he chose you as his parents.  He chooses the time to be conceived and best time to be born for certain desired qualities and attributes.  And from this vast level of awareness, he brings with him a name, or a sound that will propel his success on the path he intends.

Many a father has told me that the name of his baby was spoken to him at the first sight of his baby, or within moments of birth.  Dads know that what they heard was clearly to be the child’s name.  Some mothers have known the name of their baby years before conception.  Some, receive their baby’s name in a dream, during a quiet moment in pregnancy, or even weeks after birth.

There are no rules to receiving the name that your baby brings from his soul realm, just ask, be still and be open.  Ask your baby’s soul-consciousness to bring you the syllables or sounds that will support his potential.  Then listening inwardly while being at peace.  Your quiet, patient waiting will be rewarded.  (Be sure to write down what you receive.  It’s easy to forget.)

A baby name that comes from your child’s soul realm is a gift that will feel like a warm cloak of familiarity at the time of birth.  This name sparks a memory of another time when his purpose was attained and acknowledged.  Every time he hears his name spoken, its sound is empowering.  A soul name will immediately and continually support this child as he grows to accomplish what he came to learn.  This gift continues to offer its strength in those times of life when needed most.  It will not be outgrown.  Its comfort, empowerment and strength will support the child to find and step into his potential.

Sunlight Deficiency and Breastfeeding

By Cynthia Good Mohab MS, IBLC from BREASTFEEDING ABSTRACTS, November 2002, Volume 22, Number 1, pp. 3-4.

In the absence of underlying organic causes (e.g., liver or kidney disease, prematurity), vitamin D deficiency is sunlight deficiency. “Vitamin D” is actually a steroid hormone produced in the body from a pro-steroid which is formed upon direct exposure of the skin to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation in sunlight. Migration, industrialization, urbanization, social inequities, and concern about skin cancer have reduced sunlight exposure for many people globally. Nonetheless, direct, casual exposure of the skin to sunlight is the biologically normal, most common, and most important means of attaining sufficient levels of vitamin D for humans; dietary intake becomes important only with inadequate endogenous production and depletion of body stores. Only a few foods naturally contain significant levels of vitamin D (e.g., the liver and oils of some fatty fish). Without supplementation or enrichment, it would be unusual for people of any age to obtain sufficient vitamin D solely from their diet (1).

The Original Paradigm

The biologically normal sources of vitamin D for nurslings are primarily prenatal stores (for the neonate) and sunlight, with a smaller contribution made by human milk (2,3). Research has shown that without postnatal sunlight exposure, vitamin D stores of fetal origin were depleted by eight weeks in exclusively breastfed infants (Tampere, Finland [61°N] in winter)(2). However, studies in children have shown that only a few hours total of summer sunlight produces enough vitamin D to avoid deficiency for several months (1,4,5). In a study of exclusively breastfed Caucasian infants under six months of age (39°N; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA), 30 minutes/week (diaper only) or 2 hours/week (fully clothed without a hat) of sunlight exposure appeared sufficient to prevent deficiency (5). Exclusively breastfed Caucasian infants exposed to sunlight may not require vitamin D supplementation during the first six months of life, in spite of seasonal variations of UVB exposure, particularly if their mothers had sufficient sunlight exposure or took prenatal vitamins during pregnancy (6,7). Darkly pigmented infants may require three to six times the sunlight exposure of lightly pigmented infants to produce the same amount of vitamin D (8).

When infants and their mothers are exposed to biologically normal amounts of sunlight, human milk must be assumed to contain biologically normal amounts of vitamin D. However, human milk from mothers with vitamin D serum levels currently considered within the normal range for adults provides much less vitamin D than the 200 to 400 IU/day commonly recommended for infants in the first year of life (1). A variety of studies have shown that mature human milk contains approximately 5 to 136 IU/L of fat-soluble vitamin D, depending on how its activity is measured and on maternal vitamin D status (9,10,11). The concentration of vitamin D in human milk increases with higher maternal stores, which depend on sunlight exposure, skin pigmentation, latitude, season, and—in the absence of sufficient UVB exposure—on dietary vitamin D (12). The concentration of vitamin D in human milk increases significantly with what are currently considered pharmacological doses of vitamin D supplements (13,14). Yet administration of 1,000 IU to lactating mothers (Tampere, Finland [61°N] in winter) did not normalize the 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of their infants (15). Breastfed infants require sufficient sunlight exposure or supplementation to avoid vitamin D deficiency.

Prevalence of Rickets

Vitamin D deficiency in childhood can cause rickets whose signs and symptoms include bone deformities and fractures, muscle weakness, developmental delays, short stature, failure to thrive, respiratory distress, tetany, and heart failure (16). The effects of subclinical rickets are unknown. Vitamin D deficiency in the first few months after birth is relatively rare, but has occurred congenitally in infants of mothers who were severely vitamin D deficient during pregnancy (17,18). Overt rickets appears more frequently in children 6 to 36 months of age than in infants under 6 months and its clinical presentation varies with age of onset (16).

Rickets was epidemic in the industrialized cities of North America and northern Europe at the turn of the 20th century. By the 1960s, it had been virtually eliminated in most developed countries through the use of vitamin D supplementation and cow’s milk fortification. Rickets remains a serious health problem in some developing countries (e.g., 40.7 percent of children in China; 23 percent of children in the Ulas Health Centre Region of Turkey (19, 20,21,22)). Due to the convergence of a variety of risk factors, it is actually most common in those regions of the world where sunlight is plentiful (e.g., the Indian subcontinent, Egypt, Ethiopia, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia (23,24,25,26)). Since the 1970s vitamin D deficiency rickets in breastfed infants has been documented among at-risk populations in North America, northern Europe, and former Soviet countries (16).

Many factors (e.g., genetic, hormonal, nutritional, cultural) interact to cause rickets in susceptible children. Maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy, which is often asymptomatic, results in insufficiently developed fetal stores of vitamin D (17,18). Environmental risk factors for vitamin D deficiency in the breastfed infant interact with each other and overlap significantly with those of maternal deficiency. These include: indoor confinement during daylight hours; living at high latitudes; living in urban areas with buildings and/or pollution that block sunlight; darker skin pigmentation; sunscreen use; seasonal variations; covering much or all of the body when outside (e.g., due to cold climate, custom, fear of skin cancer); increased birth order; exposure to lead (27), and the replacement of human milk with foods low in calcium or foods that reduce calcium absorption. In the presence of these risk factors, other risk factors include not consuming vitamin D fortified cow’s milk, other vitamin D fortified foods, or vitamin D supplements.

Complexity and Controversy

There is no global consensus on whether or how to screen infants, children, or pregnant women for vitamin D deficiency or on how to best prevent vitamin D deficiency in breastfed infants and children. Recommendations for preventing vitamin D deficiency in breastfed infants include universal supplementation, supplementation of at-risk breastfed infants, and habitual small doses of sunshine; some regions with plentiful sunshine have not yet developed recommendations (28,29,30,31,32). Recommendations for supplementation of at-risk infants can be difficult to interpret and apply (e.g., the difficulty of defining “dark skin”). The exact assessment of UVB exposure is difficult. Research showing a relationship between sun exposure and an increased risk of skin cancer has led some agencies to recommend avoidance of all sunlight exposure. The determination of the exact amount of regular, brief, and nonerythemal sunlight exposure needed just to produce sufficient vitamin D in specific infants and children depends on many factors.

There are no known risks of orally supplementing infants and children with 200 to 400 IU/day. Vitamin D supplementation and fortification have been used in many countries for decades. However, that does not mean that supplementation is not problematic or without risk. The prevention of vitamin D deficiency through the routine supplementation of all breastfed infants under six months of age may be seen by some as evidence that breastfeeding is inadequate. However, continued reports of rickets among exclusively breastfed babies may also undermine efforts to increase breastfeeding initiation rates and rates of exclusive breastfeeding. Many questions related to vitamin D supplementation in breastfed infants remain unasked—and unanswered—in the scientific literature:

• Does vitamin D supplementation have any deleterious physiologic effects on the infant?
• How does vitamin D supplementation of breastfed infants at various dosages, ages, and latitudes affect the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency rickets among at-risk infants?
• Does a universal recommendation of vitamin D supplementation affect breastfeeding beliefs and behavior (e.g., use of other supplements, premature introduction of other foods, weaning)?
• How does direct sun exposure that is no greater than that needed to produce sufficient vitamin D in the breastfed infant affect the infant’s lifetime risk of skin cancer?
• What means of preventing maternal vitamin D deficiency would be most effective in reducing the risk of early vitamin D deficiency in infants?

Given the varying incidences, combinations of risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, cultural practices, and financial resources that occur across the globe, one uniform recommendation for prevention is unlikely to successfully meet the needs of infants living in different areas of the world. International organizations like La Leche League International and UNICEF acknowledge that vitamin D supplementation is necessary when sunlight exposure is inadequate and that some infants have a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than others(32,33). Research on this complex, global, controversial, and interdisciplinary issue is incomplete and must be expanded.

Cynthia Good Mojab is Research Associate in the Publications Department of La Leche League International and Senior Editor at Platypus Media. She is an independent researcher, author, and speaker in the areas of psychology, culture, and the family, particularly in relation to breastfeeding.

References

1. Holick, M. Evolution, biological functions, and recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D. In Vitamin D: Physiology, Molecular Biology, and Clinical Applications ed. M. Holick. Humana Press: Totawa, NJ, 1999, 1-16.

2. Ala-Houhala, M. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D levels during breast-feeding with or without maternal or infantile supplementation of vitamin D. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 1985:4(2):220-26.

3. Makin H., D. Seamark, and D. Trafford. Vitamin D and its metabolites in human breast milk. Arch Dis Child 1983; 58: 750-53.

4. Poskitt, E. M. E., T. J. Cole, and D. E. M. Lawson. Diet, sunlight, and 25- hydroxyvitamin D in healthy children and adults. Br Med J 1979;1:221-23.

5. Specker, B., B. Valaus, V. Hertzberg, N. Edwards, and R. Tsang. Sunshine exposure and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in exclusively breastfed infants. J Pediatr 1985; 107:372-76.

6 . Greer, F. and S. Marshall. Bone mineral content, serum vitamin D metabolite concentrations, and ultraviolet B light exposure in infants fed human milk with and without vitamin D2 supplements. J Pediatr 1989; 114:204-12.

7. Birkbeck J. and H. Scott. 25-Hydroxycholecalciferol serum levels in breastfed infants. Arch Dis Child 1980; 55:691-95.

8. Lo, C., P. Paris, and M. Holick. Indian and Pakistani immigrants have the same capacity as Caucasians to produce vitamin D in response to ultraviolet radiation. Am J Clin Nutr 1986; 44:683-85.

9 . Specker, B., R. Tsang, B. Hollis et al. Effect of race and normal maternal diet on breast milk vitamin D concentrations. Pediatr Res 1984;18:213A.

10. Hollis, B. et al. Vitamin D and its metabolites in human and bovine milk. J Nutr 1981; 111:1240-48.

11. Butte, N., M. Lopez-Alarcon, and C. Garza. Nutrient Adequacy of Exclusive Breastfeeding for the Term Infant During the First Six Months of Life. Geneva: World Health Organization 2002, 27.

12. Holick, M., J. MacLaughlin, and S. Doppelt. Regulation of cutaneous previtamin D3 photosynthesis in man: Skin pigmentation is not an essential regulator. Science 1981; 211:590-93.

13. Greer, F., B. Hollis, D. Cripps et al. Effects of maternal ultraviolet B irradiation on the vitamin D content of human milk. J Pediatr 1984; 105(3):431-33.

14. Hollis, B., F. Greer, and R. Tsang. The effects of oral vitamin D supplementation and ultraviolet phototherapy on the antirachitic sterol content of human milk. Calcif Tissue Int (Suppl) 1982; 34:582.

15. Ala-Houhala, M. et al. Maternal compared with infant vitamin D supplementation. Arch Dis Child 1986; 61:1159-63.

16. Garabédian, M. and H. Ben-Mekhbi. Rickets and vitamin D deficiency. In Vitamin D: Physiology, Molecular Biology, and Clinical Applications ed. M. Holick. Humana Press: Totawa, NJ, 1999, 273-86.

17. Pal, B. and N. Shaw. Letters: Rickets resurgence in the United Kingdom: Improving antenatal management in Asians. J Pediatr 2001; 139(2):337-38.

18. Daaboul, J., S. Sanderson, K. Kristensen, and H. Kitson. Vitamin D deficiency in pregnant and breast-feeding women and their infants. J Perinatol 1997;17:10-14.

19. Özgür, S., H. Sümer, and G. Koçglu. Rickets and soil strontium. Arch Dis Child 1996; 75:524-26.

20. Ma, X. Epidemiology of rickets in China. J Pract Pediatr 1986; 1:323.

21. Rafii, M. Rickets in breast-fed infants below six months of age without vitamin D supplementation. Arch Irn Med 2001; 4(2):93-95.

22. Thacher, T., P. Fisher, J. Pettifor et al. A comparison of calcium, vitamin D, or both for nutritional rickets in Nigerian children. New Engl J Med 1999; 341(8)563-68.

23. Raghuramulu, N. and V. Reddy. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in malnourished children with rickets. Arch Dis Child 1980; 55:285-87.

24. Lawson, D.E.M., T. J. Cole, S. I. Salem et al. Aetiology of rickets in Egyptian children. Hum Nutr Clin Nutr 1987; 41C:199-208.

25. Hojer, B., M. Gebre-Medhin, G. Sterky et al. Combined vitamin D deficiency rickets and protein energy malnutrition in Ethiopian infants. J Trop Pediatr 1977; 23:73-79.

26. Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Nutrition. Seventh Report. Rickets. Rome: FAO, 1967, 31-34.

27. Metropolitan Toronto Teach Health Units and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre. Why Barns Are Red: Health Risks from Lead and Their Prevention. A Resouce Manual to Promote Public Awareness. Toronto, Ontario, 1995.

28. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Pediatric Nutrition Handbook. 4th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics, 1998, 275-76.

29. American Academy of Pediatrics. Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics 1997; 100(6):1035-39.

30. Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997, 264-66.

31. Vitamin D Expert Panel Meeting. October 11-12, 2001, Atlanta, Georgia. Final Report. url: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/nutrition/pdf/ Vitamin_D_Expert_Panel_Meeting.pdf

32. UNICEF. Vitamin D: Rickets in children and osteomalacia in pregnant women. In The Prescriber: Guidelines on the Rational Use of Drugs in Basic Health Services. December 1993; 8:11.

33. Mohrbacher, N. and J. Stock. THE BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK (2d rev. ed., in press). Schaumburg, IL: La Leche League International, 606-7.

Placenta Stories & Lotus Birth Tales: Aboriginal Wisdom

In Aboriginal wisdom, the placenta is always buried – given back to the Earth, to let Her know that a baby has been born and, by its blood, who this baby is. In the early years, all the mothers and grandmothers of the tribe guide the growing child. Then, when a child is an adolescent, the first blood or first seed is also given to the Earth, buried in a handkerchief. The child steps away from the guidance of the mothers, into the guidance of the Earth Mother, who now begins to oversee the child to become what his/her soul intended by incarnating. Life circumstances are created by the Earth to help this child become who s/he means to be.

Without burying the placenta, Earth Mother would not know a child had been born; She would not know to cherish the baby in the years after birth, and from adolescence, the child would flounder without Her guidance. How could a child ever become what her soul intended and grow to fulfill the need of the village and the universe without this guidance from Earth Mother? This is the importance of the placenta to the child’s whole life.

The Aboriginals see energy.  They paint with dots to express what is emanating from the world of nature, rather than to express its form. They see and know that the stars above and the Earth below work together to guide and guard each child. We of the white world have a rudimentary respect and understanding of astronomy, but their star-wisdom is embedded in them and they remember they come from the stars. They remember their purpose in coming to Earth was to hold 7th dimensional wisdom. They remember how to live together in society, honoring each one’s gifts and individuality;  how to heal; how to travel;  how to be self-sufficient so they don’t need to play the money game. We belittle them as being barbaric, yet they have abilities we have lost and need.

At all times they are in intimate communication with each other, the animal, plant and mineral kingdoms, the weather, the stars and the planets. They know how to access the answers they need and their requests are heard and fulfilled. Their dancing may look funny to us, but is purposeful:  it communicates with the Earth and nourishes Her with each rhythm. The dances result in altered states that maintain open-heartedness, their continual communion with All That Is.

Therefore, it only makes sense to look most deeply into Aboriginal wisdom when it comes to the placenta. Blood wisdom is inherent in the placenta. A mixture of mother-father blood went into the creation of baby and placenta, and now, when its job is complete, the blood carries this wealth of information into the Earth. What is really happening with the burying of body fluids? The DNA tells the Earth on what stage this child plays. Who is this child? What consciousness does she carry? How must she be celebrated in her village to be who she is to be?

Another cultural difference in our childrearing is that parents with discordant patterns from their own childhood are not responsible for raising this child. Mama Earth who has known this being through all time sees the bigger picture and offers each next opportunity to become all she is meant to be this lifetime. Parents give way to the lessons of The Mother, releasing their overlays from the child. Without the limiting matrix of the parents’ belief systems that a child typically takes on as her own identity, she is free to become what her soul intends.  In this way, successive generations grow healthier.

Placenta Stories & Lotus Birth Tales: Kauai’s Little Miracle

I had found a special tree to plant on my big naked lawn, a 12 foot Kauai Camphor tree that smelled wonderful, with beautiful bright shiny leaves and white bark, and who would someday grow to have a huge spreading crown, almost as big as a Banyan tree. Knowing I bought this tree, a mother asked me if her daughter’s placenta, frozen for over 4 years, could be buried under this tree, as they did not feel that it belonged at their rented home. So we planned to plant them both at the Monday afternoon meditation. When 23 people showed up instead of 6 or 8, it emphasized how very important this ancient ritual is.

The placenta belonged to a four year old, a fiery redhead who often threw angry tantrums and would cry for unknown reasons. Naps were nonexistent and sleep was constantly disturbed. She would strike out and nobody could figure out what she needed. Both parents were at their wits end, knowing how tormented she was and not knowing how to help.

The family had prepared baskets of different colored flower petals for their placenta celebration, pink, red and white from roses, and yellow and orange from marigolds. The hole was dug, the placenta laid down, the tree placed on top and the soil packed around it. One parent spoke about her birth and one about how happy they were to finally place the placenta in the Earth. The little redhead sprinkled petals decorating the base of the tree, and everyone else added more handfuls of color. As we backed away from the tree, a mighty energy let us know we had done something important. Something had been accomplished but we didn’t know what.

The next meditations brought reports that this little girl had started sleeping through the night:  before this, she had slept through the night only one time in over four years. Planting her placenta had somehow anchored her  enough to let her rest. And, in the next 9 months, what had created such anger, also eased and she seemed much more at peace.

I felt it was so appropriate for this little one’s placenta to be beneath a Camphor Tree:  Camphor is the substance used to burn away negativity in Pujas. This tree seemed to be her homeopathic similar – Like cures Like. And it worked.