In case you missed tonight's Urban Homemaker phone seminar, I've taken notes to share with you.
First read what Marilyn Moll from Urban Homemaker had to say in her e-mail newsletter about the upcoming phone seminar:
“Who in the world knows what's best for my baby?” “You do!” says Dr. Leila Denmark. Dr. Denmark is a well-known pediatrician, who is considered the longest practicing pediatrician, who cared for thousands of children for 75 years! That's right, she retired in her 90's, and just celebrated her 110th birthday last month. In our fast changing culture, moms can become thoroughly confused and frustrated by conflicting child care advice from doctors and the media. Madia Bowman, mother of eleven, wrote a book endorsed by Dr. Denmark to accurately reflect Dr. Denmark's realistic, down-to-earth philosophy and medical recommendations. Her book attempts to condense the Doctor's advice into a practical, well-organized book filled with time-tested, common sense treatments for infants and young children.
Before we begin, I need to let you know that although I agree with a good share of Madia's views, and I think she sounds like a very sweet and knowledgeable Mom, I disagree with a few things, too. I'll be sending Marilyn the link to this post for her readers who might want the notes from tonight, so I hope she doesn't mind me sharing my own personal thoughts here, but I want to be honest and open with my readers. See this post about parenting your baby for my comments.
***Also, I need to remind you that I'm not advocating the following suggestions, I'm only passing along the information from tonight's phone conference. Toward the end, there were some home remedies and other medical suggestions given – a few that I may not agree with, and all of it is purely information from this end, NOT to be taken as medical advice from myself or Marilyn.
Marilyn began by talking about when her first child was born and she had a sense that medical care was becoming very impersonalized. “I realized that if I didn't start learning about medical care and what to do in various situations, I’d be in trouble because I can’t always depend on doctors… Most people these days don't have a personal relationship with their doctors because so many of them are worried about malpractice situations, and the advice they give is more about covering themselves than about giving sound advice.”
Here are bits and pieces of what Madia had to say, and she began by explaining how she first found Dr. Denmark:
- “When I was expecting our first baby I was told I needed to find a pediatrician, and a friend who lived next door was taking her baby to Dr. Denmark, as well as other ladies in our church. I was surprised to hear she was in her 80’s, so I was hesitant, wanting a doctor who would be around for a while. They convinced me that I'd learn a lot from her. I went directly to her after our baby was born, and within five minutes, I knew she was the one I wanted to help us with our children. She is still living at 110 years old and she treated all eleven of our children. I loved the things she said and the respect she gave us as parents, she really listened to us and told us that we have the capability to take care of our kids. She made us feel that our observations were important. I loved all her experience, but also she would build you up within just a few minutes, she’d remind you that being a mother was the greatest job in the world, so important to your family and to society. She'd tell us that that this vocation has a dignity that you don’t always hear about from society; she gave us a sense of confidence and encouragement. Some in the past have said she was a quack, but she has won awards through the years, ‘Woman of the Year' and many more, she has a lot of credibility in the medical field. Dr. Denmark gave advice based on her own experience, not on the latest medical advice in a medical magazine.”
- “She was married and only able to have one daughter. Dr. Denmark was a major proponent of women staying home to care for their children, and people have asked how she could say that when SHE worked as a doctor? Apparently Mary, her daughter, often played outside her window right by her clinic. Other doctors made house calls, but she made the decision early on that she was going to be home for her daughter and she was always right there with her. She had help in the home with cooking and things, but she was always there to supervise what was going on and was nearby, and she made a commitment not to attend a lot of medical meetings outside the home.”
- Madia explained Dr. Denmark's philosophy on caring for a newborn: she stressed that the baby comes to live with you, not the other way around, and she emphasized that the parent needs to teach the child their way of life. She is strongly in favor of scheduling, having baby on a routine right at the beginning, which adds peace and order in your life. She teaches that you can train them to sleep through the night as newborns. “New Moms are put on this guilt trip that they need to jump for every squeak and get up to feed baby every two hours, so Mom is afraid NOT to respond every time baby makes a noise. Moms call me who are exhausted, depressed, on antidepressants, and in most cases it's because they're extremely exhausted. Dr. Denmark taught that as soon as baby is born, put them on a routine of nursing every four hours, this worked for our family, we would train them as soon as we came home from the hospital to sleep through the night. Of our eleven children, it took an average of ten days until they were trained to sleep through night; some it took four nights, some it took longer.” Marilyn asked, “So you need to just let them scream?” Madia answered, “It’s good for children to cry, it is God’s way of enabling them to get exercise and expand their lungs after they’re born. Sometimes you do need to respond, other times it’s not necessary, there is no need for young Mom to think, ‘I have to pick this baby up every time she cries', if baby is gaining well, getting regular nourishment, it’s OK to let them cry. Some will fuss between every feeding time, maybe a half an hour before it’s time to eat; others will save all their fussing for a fussy time of day, usually between 6:00 and 10:00. If baby is crying all the time, something is wrong, but if they fuss a little just before it’s time to nurse, that’s OK. Hearing all this helped me to relax. This takes a certain amount of resolve – Dr. Denmark helped me be confident that this was a positive thing for my baby and to her benefit and to the benefit of our family. When you have that confidence it helps you have the resolve to let them cry. Once trained, you'll be surprised at how peaceful they are. Our oldest grandbaby is now two and it took her four nights to sleep through the night. Their second one took about three weeks, but ever since then she eats at her 10:00 pm feeding and then sleeps peacefully until it's time for the 6:00 am feeding. My daughter, who really needs her sleep, can now get a full night’s sleep and this baby is so happy.
- “Dr. Denmark's food plan worked beautifully for all our children, I’m not a doctor, but I can recommend this plan after using it for all our children. Breastfeed if you can do it, and most mothers can. But at 12 weeks when your babies start to drool, this means they’re equipped to digest more than just breast milk or formula, so I always started then with rice cereal. Later add some bananas and applesauce, try one food for four days in case they’re allergic to something. You can detect allergies by changes in their bowels or rashes. This is all detailed in book. She recommends mixing food together with plenty of fruit and a banana – Dr. Denmark strongly advocated feeding babies bananas. We called all this, ‘The Dr. Denmark mush'. Little by little, it’s amazing how much they start to consume. Dr. Denmark advocated weaning your baby at seven months, and I nursed mine until between seven and nine months. She recommend weaning to water in a cup, no sweet drinks or milk or formula from then on.” Marilyn said, “That seems awfully early, I'm not sure what the hurry would be, I nursed my son until he was 19 months old.” Madia said Dr. Denmark would see babies who weren't getting other foods who looked anemic. Madia said she usually made her own baby food, which was not so expensive and healthier, by using a blender at home.
- A caller later asked when to introduce dairy products. Madia said Dr. Denmark was strongly against consuming any dairy products because so many people have health issues that disappear when they cut out dairy. She said in her research it showed that something about milk causes us to not absorb iron, in her research she would add milk to an animal's diet and their red blood count would drop. Marilyn commented that much of that most likely has to do with pasteurization, not the dairy itself. (I agree, more on that at the other post with my comments.)
- Dr. Denmark was against all sweet drinks including juice – “if you want them to have fruit, give them fruit, not fruit juice – it’s mostly fructose and there is no pulp to make it a balanced food, it also stresses the kidneys.”
- Dr. Denmark never believed in flu shots, and didn't think they were effective, as there are so many different strains. She felt that the vaccines that are effective are targeted toward diseases you can only get once. Like Chicken Pox or Pertussis/Whooping cough, etc. She recommended keeping kids out of the public during the flu season, be sure you're eating nutritious food, getting enough sleep, dressed appropriately for the weather, etc. All the things our mothers and grandmothers always told us. If one has the flu, try to separate them from family. She suggested taking alcohol and wiping off doorknobs and handles.
- Later a caller asked her opinion on vaccines and the fact that so many more are “required” now than in the 1980's. She said she gets that question a lot, and if you look into it, it will scare you to death. Their family followed Dr. Denmark's advice and gave 3 doses of DTP, now DTA, and Polio starting at 5 months, and MMR at 15 months. She did research on vaccines and found that immune systems can’t handle them until 5 months. That was all we gave, those were the ones she thought were important. Sometimes there was a little fever afterward, but no other adverse reactions. Dr. Denmark said she never saw a case of hepatitis in her practice and didn’t think it was necessary. Especially for stay at home moms whose kids weren’t around many other kids. Marilyn commented on the fact that their youngest hasn't had any immunizations.
- “For strep throat treatment, this might be difficult to do, but docs used to do it routinely – we swab our children’s throats when they say it's sore with mecuricome on a Q-tip. This kills germs on the surface and alleviates the pain. Or you could gargle with mouthwash or with Listerine twice/day. You can gargle with salt-water as long as there isn't too high a concentration of salt or it can blister the skin. Stay well hydrated to keep mucus membranes moist.”
- Marilyn asked what's in her home medicine kit, Madia said it's controversial: she gives aspirin for children because it’s been around a very long time, and we know more about it than Tylenol or Ibuprofin. Also inside is a thermometer, and Chlortrimiton, an antihistimine for if the kids are congested and can’t sleep.
- Dr. Denmark recommends Silvadeen cream (by prescription, but docs will usually prescribe it easily) for cuts and burns or fungal infections.
- She also suggests having enema bags for stomach upset, and also Milk of Magnesia, which she says has saved them many trips to the doctor.
- A caller inquired about the differences in Dr. Denmark's feeding/weaning recommendations as compared to those in the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Madia said Dr. Denmark never went by what was in medical publications as they were always very trendy, and change what they say all the time. She stressed that a parent has to listen to what they’re being told, but it's YOU as parent who is in charge of this child, and it is you who needs to decide and make the best choices you can.
- A caller wondered how to get her baby to eat solids. Madia said that some love it and others play with it like a game. She suggests singing and talking to them and making mealtime fun, not forced or stressful, and eventually they'll swallow it and enjoy it.
- Another caller wondered if Dr. Denmark used herbs in her practice, but Madia said she did not, although she realizes some could be helpful.
- Dr. D recommended using dehumidifiers to prevent mold from growing in the house, and not to use humidifiers at all as it increases mold and aggravates allergies. When kids are sick she suggests giving them aspirin and chlortrimiton syrup or benedryl for stuffiness. Use the steam from a hot shower for wheezing – close the door and let the shower get hot so it's misty in the room and it helps with breathing.
- Marilyn reminded everyone that a lot of prayer needs to go into all of this, so we're sure we're making good decisions that come from God.
- Madia closed by encouraging Moms that they are doing the most important job in world. “The hand that rocks the cradle really does rule the world. You’re making people, never feel like that’s not important, what you're doing with your children is critically important. Don't let someone in the business world or in the policital scene tell you any differently, it is a God-given vocation and a blessing.