December 2017

Attachment Parenting by Katie Allison Granju

I loved this book.   I must admit I had no idea what attachment parenting was, and from what I had heard it was not necessarily a good thing.  Boy, did my kids miss out. This is my short version of what attachment parenting is: nursing, wearing your baby, and co-sleeping.   None of these appear to me to be bad things. I think why I really enjoyed this book was because Katie just presented the facts.   She did not hound you with her opinion on what you should do as a parent.  She presented the facts and now you can make your decision on how you want to parent.

When it came to breastfeeding I had no idea there was a difference between nursing and breastfeeding.  Katie defines breastfeeding as the "transfer of nutrition and calories from you to your baby.   Nursing, however, describes a style of parenting through breast‐feeding.  In addition to feeding your baby you’re able to calm, soothe, relax, and demonstrate your love for him as well."

As for wearing your baby, Katie points out that wearing a young infant protects him from overstimulation and promotes his language and social development.   I find it interesting that as we have developed more containers for our children, our children have become less compassionate.   It is as if we have taught them they need to be independent from the time they leave the hospital in a car seat.

Regarding co‐sleeping, this is very personal and controversial decision.   I believe the decision around allowing your baby to cry himself to sleep also falls in this category.  Katie does a nice job of explaining that crying decreases the oxygenation in your baby’s bloodstream and uses up calories and energy.  But, more importantly that there is a limit to how frequently a baby or young child can be physically separated from his parents without compromising his ability to trust and bond.

I loved this books insights, and found so may little nuggets of information. (some are listed below)   But please remember, that as a CST practitioner, it isn’t your responsibility to validate or invalidate anyone else’s parenting choices with your own.   We all parent our children in our own best way.


I found it interesting that Katie stated "whatever you do, don’t go out and buy a pump manufactured by any company that also produces infant formulas. These pumps are of notoriously poor quality and will likely only lead to discomfort and problems for you. "   In hindsight, this was true for me.   And it makes sense, they want us to fail to promote their own product. She also stated "Early exposure to formula also places a baby at higher risk for serious allergy to cow ’s milk protein or soy protein."   This is something I think we have all been seeing over the past 10 years.   Two things I wish I had known 20 years ago: Frequency not duration of nursing sessions determines how much milk you will produce and not to assume that the amount of milk you are able to pump is representative the amount of your baby is getting.

The research is out there breastfeeding is best.   It protects our babies immune systems, prepares the gut for the rest of their life, and more.

Breastfeeding Facts:

  • Provides protection to babies from sudden infant death syndrome Formula feeding also raises your child's risk every day respiratory infections, urinary tract infection, ear infections, and allergies.
  • Lack of breast‐feeding is clearly and consistently associated with learning deficiencies later in childhood
  • Human milk contains exactly the right proportion of fats, proteins, minerals and calories for human babies. Teeming with infection fighting white blood cells and immunoglobulins
  • Immunological elements of breastmilk actually change over time to best meet your baby ’s particular needs. You " immunize" your child against these germs every time you nurse him. Vaccines work more effectively in the immune system of breast-fed babies.
  • The longer and women breast-feeds the more her risk of breast cancer goes down
  • Breast‐fed decreases the risk of ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, and hip fractures later in life.
  • When they do become ill, breastfed children get well faster and with fewer complications.

Your body is signaled to begin producing milk by the delivery of your placenta. Milk comes in usually in 1 to 4 days.   The key players in your milk production after birth are the prolactin and oxytocin, the same hormone that causes your uterus to contract during labor or an orgasm.   Nerve endings within your Areola send a message to the pituitary gland at the base of your skull, thus releasing the needed hormones.   Prolactin stimulates the production of your milk, oxytocin is behind your “let down”.   Within minutes after beginning a nursing session, a mother’s cortisol levels subside and her blood pressure drops, peaceful relaxation.   While nursing your temperature rises, your uterus contracts, and your nipples become erect.

Pumping mothers have high production and low production days.   Initially need to pump every three hours while at work.  It takes 4 to 8 weeks for a woman’s milk supply to become well-established.

October 2017

The Awakened Aura by Kala Ambrose

I loved this book, Kala broke down the mysteries of the aura and the auric fields into something simple and easy to understand.   She explained how four energetic vibrations help to create the aura. These vibration are composed of the individual’s thoughts, their emotions, manifestations of spiritual energy flowing into the body, and the creation of thought forms that happened around the person for a significant amount of time.   She concludes that the auric field is actually the radiance of the soul.

Kala then goes on to describe where each layer of the Aura is found, what its name is and the colors that are associated with it.

What I found most fascinating was layer 4, what she calls the astral body.   It delivers the pure energetic and vibrational energy of love from the spiritual places into the heart chakra.
Kala also states that during the first trimester of pregnancy the soul of the child remains in the astral and higher plants outside of the body and around the mother’s aura.   It is not until the second trimester that the soul of the child descendants from the higher planes and travels through the astral cord of the mother as it enters into the physical fetus inside the mother.   By the time a person reaches 21 the physical, emotional, and mental layers of the astral body are fully formed.
Since most of my work is with pregnancy and infants I found this kind of information fascinating.

As for the colors of the aura Kala points out that when we see colors, the shade, clarity, hue and opacity all affect what the color means.   She then goes into depth regarding each color and their meaning.

Again for me I found the information regarding children the most beneficial. I had no idea that the aura changes from birth to 7 years, when the physical body is developing at its greatest rate.   And this really makes sense.

I am also a firm believer in her statement that babies cry to release pent up energy, they absorb the energy around them because their fields are wide open.

Thank you Kala for writing an easy to read and understand book that goes into depth regarding the Auras.   She also explains how to learn to see auras. A great read if you are interested in Auras, what they mean and how to see them.

August 2017

The Dominant Factor by Carla Hannaford

I loved this book. For those of you who work with kids with sensory processing disorders or have some sensory issues yourself (and we all do) this was a very quick, informative read.

It started with the typical description of what each side of the brain is primarily best at: for instance: Logic (left) versus Gestalt (right).   But she expands this and tells us how each side of the brain reacts when stressed.   For example: "When under stressed the logic side: tries harder, lots of effort without results, without comprehension, without joy, without understanding, and may appear mechanical, tense, insensitive.   The Gestalt side, when under stress, loses the ability to reason well, acts without thinking, feels overwhelmed, has trouble expressing, cannot remember details, and may appear emotional or spaced out. "

Carla then has you learn how to assess a person’s dominant eye, ear, brain, hand and foot.   This Basil dominant profile is the pattern that is set up about nine weeks in utero, with the advent of the Moro reflex.   With this information you look up the person profile in the book.   The basil profile offers information on how the person best learns, and how you can help them when their system is stressed. (Remember these are just guidelines)

In her research she has found "Those senses and motor functions where the dominant eye, ear, hand or foot is on the opposite side of the body from the dominant hemisphere communicate more effectively with the brain even in times of stress. "

Carla states that 90% of what occurs in our bodies is subconscious, and when you add stress to the situation you can see how a person might get stuck in a certain response pattern.   This book gives strategies to help a person learn a new reaction to an old situation.

For those of you interested in more information.   Carla has also written a book called Smart Moves. Another excellent read.

June 2017

Placenta the Forgotten Chakra by Robin Lin

This book gave a nice history of how various cultures honor the placenta after birth.   The author provided many person stories of how the placenta may be honored versus disposed of, as in the typical American birth.

The discussion on how epigenetic is changing the birth, infants, and the placenta was fascinating and I found Robin’s definition of epigenetics to be one of the best and easiest to understand that I have encountered.  Per Robin ‐ Epigenetics is the study of inherited changes in gene expression caused by something other than DNA.  We now know what the mother eats, drinks, feels and experiences in her environment has an impact on the offspring’s future health intelligence and entire genetic manifestation. This radiates out to her future generations.

Something I was unaware of was that mothers with toxemia or preeclampsia during pregnancy may find their milk slow to come in.

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April 2017

Origin: How the nine months before birth shape the rest of our lives by Annie Murphy Paul

This was a great book, as we followed Annie during her pregnancy and she discovered what her baby was doing at each month and how her actions and environment were effecting her baby.   I also love how she includes the names of books she read to further her research with each month.

In month 2 she talks about epigenetics and her realization that maternal diet modifies the fetus’s epigenome. And that we still are not fully aware of these effects.   She mentioned a study regarding rats and that when given specific vegetables while pregnant that the offspring were immune to specific cancers.  In chapter 7 she reveals that if diabetic women were to bring down their blood sugar during pregnancy that their children would be less likely to develop diabetes.

Month 3 and 4 revelations included: women who took time off prior to birth had less C-sections and were more relaxed, Phthalates, like BPA, are in everyday products including baby bottles and these should be avoided.

Month 6 revealed that pregnancy can cause depression and anxiety in about 20% of women and we would benefit from recognizing this as normal and start treatment prior to the baby’s birth.

Again I found this book fascinating and appreciated how Annie would learn something from a friend and then delve into it in more detail.   A well written, easy read for all pregnant women. I think for me, it all goes back to how much CST can help preganat women. Craniosacral Therapy can decrease the everyday stress, assist with relieving depression and anxiety and help give the baby more room in the womb as it grows.

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Feb 2017

Craniosacral Therapy for Children by Daniel Agustoni

This book was a great review for anyone who has taken the Upledger CST1, CCPB or Peds classes.   I found no new information presented and at times felt the author was over stepping his boundaries by interjecting his personal opinions and judgments regarding certain topics.

I have included several passages verbatim as they are always a great reminder.

Craniosacral therapy works on the basics of assumption that the body is a whole.  : It sees the human person as a unity of body, mind, and soul and applies the principle that structure and function affect each other.   The body has the capacity to regulate itself, heal itself, and maintain its health.   However, events in our individual life histories have the effect of reducing that capacity for self-healing and maintaining health.   These factors in our life histories include conception, pregnancy, birth, development, extreme events, illnesses, accidents, falls, surgical operations and spiritual trauma. For a time, our bodies can deal with restrictions by compensating, but if the imbalance is not resolved, it has the effect of reducing the flow of life and the body’s fluid, and this can lead to disease process.

A previous shock or traumatic event is the hidden cause behind symptoms, illnesses, and seemingly fated accidents.   Usually the intensity of the trauma, high at the time, remain stored in the nervous system and tissues, down to the cellular level.   If clients realize and drawl on their personal resources in the security of the here and now, it counters the Traumatic memory and provides the basis for enduring healing of trauma.   The nervous system stores the new, positive sensations. The treatment can be concluded by listening at various locations to help achieve integration and sense the change between "then " and the "now".

The first cranial bones start to form from the third month of gestation at the border of the cranial base.  : Cranium of a newborn consist of 45 individual bony components. Of these, 13 small bone form of the cranial base.   The cranial base develops over a period of 5 to 7 years, changing from an initial 13 parts to a total of four, or five if the ethmoid is included.   The 13 components of the cranial base in infants are all linked to each other by cartilage and connective tissue, but it's primarily the Dura matter that holds them together.

Frequently modifying your touch as well as repeatedly changing your position send out fresh sensory stimuli and may have a disruptive effect.

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Dec 2016

The Honeymoon Effect by:
Bruce Lipton

Another great read by Bruce Lipton as he expands on previous concept regarding the fact that cells are not controlled by genes and therefore neither are we.   He takes it a step further in this book and states that if you change your beliefs you can change your relationships and that language was designed to hide feelings.

Below is a synopsis of the book The Honeymoon Effect.

Lipton points out that quantum physics teaches us that everything we thought was physical is not physical. Instead everything in this universe is made out of immaterial energy and everything radiates energy.   Every atom and every molecule both radiate and absorb light which is energy.   Since all organisms are made out of atoms and molecules, you and I and every living thing is radiating energy vibes.

This allows us to create the life vision we want by making sure that the thoughts we broadcast reflect exactly what we want to bring into our life.   The subconscious mind primarily learns through either hypnosis or the creation of habits.   He states that before you were seven years old, your subconscious mind rapidly downloaded beliefs because your brain is predominantly operating in the hypnagogic theta EEG frequency.   After seven, the subconscious mind’s primarily source of learning is through habituation.

When our conscious mind stop paying attention to the moment, we lose control of our honeymoon creation because we unknowingly engage in preprogramed behaviors we acquired through our developmental experience.   Therefore, we need to "Be conscious of what you ask for because you are going to get it."

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Oct 2016

Scared Sick by:
Robin Karr-Morse

I found this book to be very informative and insightful.   It offered the research behind many of the observations I had made in my 9 years working in the NICU.   Continue reading for a quick synapsis of the book.

This book discusses the effects of trauma on infants and children.   It goes on to discuss how the definition of trauma varies from infant to infant, and that trauma may not appear horrific to the onlooker. It may be subtle and quiet.   However both stress and trauma are triggered by the same initial biological response in the HPA axis. Stress is a normal response to feeling threatened or overwhelmed.   Trauma, is toxic stress frozen into place in our brains and bodies, where it reverberates chemically, generating tiny pathological shifts in immune an endocrine functions. Rather than discharging the energy that accompanies fight or flight and returning to balance or homeostasis, the two systems in the body are in conflict with each other. One system activates the body with chemical signs of alarm.   A second system is trying to counter this by secreting cortisol to gentle the fight-flight activation.

For an infant, when helplessness (whether real or perceived) occurs, neither fighting nor fleeting is an option.   The only options are to either remain in a state of hyper-arousal or, overwhelmed by terror, simply switch off. The "off" or "freeze" switch is thrown by the vagus nerve.   Since both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic systems are operant at the same time, the infant becomes both hyper-aroused and in a fog, frozen in a state of simultaneous arousal and dissociation.

When the stress response is chronically called upon or stuck on, the adrenal glands lose their capacity to keep up with the job and we can have too little cortisol.   When this happens, the immune system may run wild and attack parts of the body.

Dr. Taddio states a “When we do something to the baby that is not expected as a part of its normal development, especially at a very early stage, we may actually change the way the nervous system is wired.   This is precisely what many leading researchers now believe sets the stage for later disease, both physical and emotional.”

Since Infants also react to negative emotions and their parent’s moods and behavior.   A baby may show a loss of appetite or an upset stomach, increased spitting up, gas colic, fussiness, changes in sleep and elimination patterns, or difficulty being consoled or soothed, particularly if a parent is anxious.   Documented anxiety related diseases include: asthma, eczema, digestive problems, and headache.

This book goes on to discusses post partum depression and states as many as 80% of new mothers get the baby blues, experiencing sadness, crying, worrying, mood swings and difficulty focusing and sleeping.   Tiffany Field’s research with infants of depressed mother’s shows that infants carry their negative patterns into relationships with new adults.   This occurs because the perception of safety for the baby is dependent on an attuned adult system to maintain homeostasis for the first years by consistently meeting basic needs until circuits are built that allow the child to regain homeostasis by herself.

The last statement I tuned into in this book is that the majority of countries in the world today have laws that guarantee paid parental leave ranging from two months to four years. We are one of only four countries that don't have such a policy.   Food for thought.

CranioSacral Therapy is a non-invasive modality that can help to calm the physiological system, decrease stress, help regulate the HPA axis, help organize the immune system, and help set positive emotional experiences, and rebalance the ANS.

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