A compendium for my expectant friends

Our oldest grandson born to our oldest son and his wife in 2012.

Dear Friend

I’ve got so much on my heart to share with you. I’ve been working on presenting information for new parents, especially moms, since 2013. I’m not sure I’ve got the presentation exactly right. I don’t know everything. I struggle to adequately share the passion of my heart. Sometimes I feel I might be too passionate. I don’t want to alienate new parents, but perhaps I have.

It’s just that the stakes are pretty high. Listening to the wrong advice can impact our whole life. I try to avoid giving advice. I urge new parents to investigate and understand everything – from car seat safety to medicalised births, and all procedures that are recommended for new babies. Don’t take anything for granted, especially when there are major industries involved.

Since my first baby was born I have been passionate about breastfeeding, one of the most empowering acts a woman can do.

The wonders of breastfeeding are far-reaching and well documented, yet, despite what we know, the actual breastfeeding rates are quite low. Woman are not getting helpful information or the support they need to be successful in breastfeeding their babies. I truly don’t believe it is a failure on the part of women, but a failure on the part of our culture and society. Many times a new mother’s attempts to breastfeed can be complicated by standards of care for pregnant, laboring, and new moms. Misinformation abounds in our society. If every mother and father fully understood how breastfeeding impacts life-long health and well-being, they would be far more committed to searching out information on how to be successful. Listening and following the wrong information could sabotage your best attempts in breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is a learned art. Breastfeeding is best learned from someone who has been successful at breastfeeding, has helped other mothers reach their own goals for breastfeeding, and has enjoyed the process. All five of my babies and all six of my grandchildren have been breastfed. My daughter-in-law has told me many times that I need to write a book for young moms who are trying to navigate the world of motherhood.

Here are some of my blogs I’ve prepared for someone just like you. I pray you will browse, check out my sources, dig a little deeper, and come to your own conclusions. I am always available to discuss anything. I try to keep an open mind and dig for the truth. I share with you because I care about you and the health and happiness of your future babies.

Our oldest granddaughter born to our second son and his wife in 2010.

Many friends have shared information with me along my journey of motherhood which began in 1982. I am thankful they did. Motherhood is perhaps the most difficult yet most significant job we will ever have in life. I’ve never met anyone who wanted to be a bad mother. I’ve never met anyone who wanted a miserable baby. Yet I’ve met many mothers who face profound discouragement and when they trace back their journey they often find it was because of poor advice they were given early in their motherhood career. I pray you will find strength in your motherhood journey and have wisdom to discern what is best for you and your baby.

Blessings,

Becky

Here are some suggestions on places to start on specific topics. You could consider it something like a table of contents in a book.

Author: Becky Hastings, wife to John for 36 years, mother of five naturally born breastfed babies, grandmother of six, passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a volunteer breastfeeding counselor since 1993, Becky is devoted to helping parents, especially mothers, make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies.

Dear Soon to be New Mom

Dear mom to be,

I’m older than you; probably a lot older. I even have children who are older than you. You know many people like me and you take our words with caution – because we can’t possible know or understand your reality. You might be bombarded with well meaning advice.

I pray you will take a few minutes and try to understand my heart. I truly want only the best for you. I am older, but I have learned a lot in my many years and would love to share what I have learned with you – both from my mistakes and from my learning.

I’ve always tended toward being a trusting person. I have been duped many times because I put trust in the wrong place. My life was forever changed when I made the choice to anchor my trust in Jesus Christ alone. My wholehearted desire to seek a growing relationship with Jesus, my Savior, has led me to investigate all the decisions I make differently, especially for my babies.

When I was a very young expectant mother, God brought several wise women across my path who provided input and wisdom beyond my years. They urged me to investigate:

  • Childbirth options and drug free childbirth;
  • Drugs given to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding and what impact they might have on the developing/new baby;
  • Procedures common for childbirth and newborns like episiotomies and circumcision and whether they were the best thing for long term health;
  • Routine standard of care procedures for newborns and babies like vaccines, vitamin K injections, and prophylactic eye ointment, and if they were safe and beneficial for newborns.
  • Breastfeeding and how to be successful – learning through the vast experience of other mothers.

I totally believe in your ability to be an amazing mother. However, there are forces at work in our society which are going to make it a lot harder for you to achieve your own expectations. There has never been a more difficult, more confusing time to be a mother.

When I was younger I couldn’t imagine a world where harm would be done to babies just for the sake of making a profit. Unfortunately, as I have learned more about the world, I’ve seen it happening in far too many arenas; confirmed by far too many moms. I don’t enjoy being skeptical and suspicious, but as a mother who desires only the best for her babies, it pays to be vigilant about everything.

Most parents are quite concerned about car seats, mattresses, diapers, and other basic baby items. I encourage you to be even more vigilant about the health choices you make for your baby. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t wait until you are in the hospital or doctor’s office to investigate the many routine procedures they now perform on newborns or recommend during pregnancy. Don’t be afraid to hold a different opinion than the doctors or nurses. They probably have blindly accepted the information put out by the CDC. Their position and the pressure of insurance companies requires them to adhere to “routine standard of care” procedures, but that does not mean these practices are best for you and your baby. There are many highly intelligent members of the medical community who actively question and disagree with a lot of standard of care practices.

Making choices that go against mainstream recommendations can be a scary road to travel. I believe God gives mothers basic intuition on how to protect their baby and my desire is to nurture your intuition so that you can be a powerful advocate and warrior momma, doing everything you need to do to protect your baby from anything that could cause harm.

That is why I write. I am passionate about healthy empowered moms with healthy babies. I don’t make money! I have been researching many of these topics since I was newly pregnant 35 years ago. I have linked many of my previous blogs about these topics throughout this text. I encourage you to take a serious look at this information. I’d love to discuss any aspect of mothering with you. I realize you may make choices different from mine, and I respect your right to those choices. However, I urge you to make fully informed choices. Investigate, ask questions, dig deeper. Your baby will thank you.

All my love,

Becky

Author: Becky Hastings, wife to John for 36 years, mother of five naturally born breastfed babies, grandmother of six, passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a volunteer breastfeeding counselor since 1993, Becky is devoted to helping parents, especially mothers, make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies.

Woman to Woman on Motherhood

Just part of the family. Full family get-togethers become increasingly difficult!

Originally published on January 2017

No longer in the stage of life of having small children – with all the joys and tasks they create – I now have the blessing of grandchildren! This allows me time to think about the significance of motherhood and seek to encourage moms in the most important role they could ever have. Seeking wisdom through the Bible daily, God sheds light in my heart and I desire to share this light with others.

Peter speaks directly to leaders in chapter five of his first letter, “Shepherd God’s flock. Not for the money, but eagerly.” These words powerfully impacted my heart one morning. Who are these words directed to? Leaders. Who is a leader? Parents are leaders. Mothers are leaders. We are entrusted with the leadership of our children.

What does it mean to shepherd a flock? I’m no expert in sheep, but my guess is the obvious things – take care of them. Make sure they have safe food, a safe place to eat and protect them from forces that might attack and harm them. David is a great example of a committed shepherd. He tells us that he actively protected his sheep by killing a lion and a bear. He didn’t abandon his sheep. He didn’t expect anyone else to come in and do his work for him. He was ready. He was alert. He was practiced. He attacked the enemies that sought to attack his flock.

We also read many of David’s psalms and we know God asserted that David was “a man after God’s own heart.” David was certainly not perfect. He committed adultery and murder and sought to cover it up. He married many wives and didn’t have a great track record as a father. However, God continues to affirm that David’s heart was directed toward God. I believe part of this comes from his occupation during the boredom of looking after his sheep. Let’s face it, when you are looking after sheep, there are times of boredom – when everything seems to be going well. David used this time to exalt in God. He wrote down praises to God and he memorized them. He used his down time to extol God and bask in who God is.

As mother-leaders we are to be prepared to actively protect our flock – the children we are blessed to bear and raise. We can also use the times of boredom to dig deeper into knowing God, knowing His word, memorizing His word and exalting God in our lives.

In 2017 we need to know exactly what dangers our sheep are facing. We need to have an awareness of the very real dangers in our world so that we can expose them and help our children avoid being consumed by the enemies they will encounter. I don’t believe we are called to push for a better world, or even hope that there will be a political solution to the evil we see around us. But, as a vigilant shepherd, as a mother today, we seek to protect our babies. God has entrusted them to our care; we must be aware and warn them of danger. An alert shepherd will investigate potential danger before advancing to a new area. Shepherds should be able to understand, point out, and explain the reason a particular path holds danger.

For me personally, as someone who has been blessed to get support and information that enabled me to have natural births and breastfeed the five children I was blessed by God to bear, the world of childbirth and early parenting are close to my heart. Knowing how empowering the act of giving birth naturally was for me, knowing how empowering the act of nurturing a baby exclusively at the breast is, and watching with delight as baby grows and thrives on breast milk alone is an unparalleled experience.

I believe the enemy wants to rob women of this empowering experience. Further, the enemy seeks to sow discord in the hearts of children and break the bonding process experienced easily through natural birth and breastfeeding. I am not trying to criticize anyone who has had a different experience, but the reality is, bonding is more difficult when there are complications in childbirth and when early breastfeeding is a struggle. These are not insurmountable challenges, but require much more effort and determination to get through. As a breastfeeding counselor for 23+ years I have seen women overcome incredible challenges to successfully breastfeed, but my heart aches to watch completely unnecessary complications develop because of lack of support, or poor recommendations to unsuspecting women.

I believe the medical establishment has so medicalized the childbirth experience that most women are deprived of the support necessary to watch their body give birth. A woman is designed to give birth and her body is the most amazing part of the process. Our modern medical practices often unnecessarily complicate the process and serve to DISempower women of their biological strength. Again, this is not meant as a criticism to specific women, who generally do the best with the situation they face, but to the system. Medicalized births often lead to increased trauma to both mom and baby and can make breastfeeding more difficult. Additionally, standard hospital practices, such as early cord clamping, routine vitamin K injections, eye ointment, and some of the well meaning advice given by staff can adversely impact bonding and breastfeeding. Medical personnel who are ignorant of breastfeeding can create many obstacles for a brand new mother trying to get breastfeeding off to a good start. Routine circumcision of male newborns can seriously impact breastfeeding – yet mothers are not warned.

As a breastfeeding counselor, nothing hurts my heart more than watching innocent, but ignorant, parents, blindly follow medical or cultural advice and end up actually harming their own child. They do not intend harm to their precious baby, but the system has ensnared them into decisions that are not in their baby’s best interests for lifelong health.

How? The list is long. Giving pregnant women vaccines which are known to harm the developing baby, giving many ultrasounds in pregnancy, routine birth practices (such as routine inductions or quick C-sections) designed with the doctor or hospital in mind but which put baby at greater risk of harm, vaccines given to baby, circumcision, allergy shots for children, Tylenol, screen time for babies and children (more addictive and damaging than some drugs), GMO food, processed foods, blindly trusting public schools or curriculum, Disney movies, etc.

I was once in darkness about most of these things. I didn’t know how harmful they were. But, having researched and now understanding the danger, I can no longer blindly continue these harmful practices for myself. As an “older women” I can no longer stand idly by and watch younger women get sucked into very dangerous fields where the enemy stands ready to devour both them and their young lambs.

So, I must speak out and warn others, despite the risk of being dismissed as crazy, or ridiculed by what I point out. I am encouraged by Paul’s admission of craziness,

“For if we are out of our mind (super crazy), it is for God, and if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels, us because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all died. And He died for all that those who live, no longer live for themselves, but for Him who for their sake, died, and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:13-14

Peter warns us that we need to ‘”Be serious. Be alert. Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith.” 1 Peter 5:8-9

This is why I started this blog. Thanks for reading. Thanks for sharing.

Author: Becky Hastings, wife to John for 36 years, mother of five, MIL to two, grandmother of six, passionate follower of Jesus Christ. A full time truth seeker, especially in the areas of health and children. Navigating our present day world can be challenging, God’s timeless truths in the Bible are my guide.

Be Bold, Share Truth!

I overheard an expectant father mention that his first baby was due in September.  He was excited about picking up a large package — a gift in anticipation for the arrival of his new baby. We happened to be exiting the post office at about the same time.

I boldly started a conversation with this total stranger by asking his permission: “Would you mind if I shared some unsolicited information with you?”

He answered, “Sure.”

So I started, “Please research vaccines before you agree to give them to your new baby.”

And you know what – HE WANTED TO KNOW MORE! He asked questions. He was receptive. He was APPRECIATIVE. He wanted to get the name of my website. He wanted to take my card. He was 100% supportive of his wife breastfeeding and wanted to share information about our local breastfeeding support group with her.

He totally understood that fact that there are some irregularities between the pharmaceutical industry and our government which might not be in our best interests, and was not at all offended by my approaching him. He was THANKFUL.

So, GO FOR IT. Look out for new parents. Take the bold plunge. ASK them if you can share some important information with them. Get their permission and approach gently. Parents need to be warned about the risk and potential harm of the recommended vaccine schedule.

Every parent genuinely wants the very best for their children, but they don’t have all the facts.

Becky on stageBecky Hastings, a wife, mom, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus, health promoter, breastfeeding counsellor helping moms for 22+ years, and someone who seeks to research, understand and share truth so people can make wise choices in our crazy mixed up, deceived world!

7 Essentials for Sharing Vaccine Truth with those you love.

You have spent HOURS researching vaccine ingredients and understand the true risk of injecting vaccines. You desperately want to share what you have learned with family, friends, and even total strangers. Caring enough about the people you know and meet means making an effort to meet them where they are.

  1. Pray. God can open hearts and minds to truth, in a way we don’t always understand. In Acts 16:14 God opened Lydia’s heart to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Colossians 2 Paul reminds us that in Jesus Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Sharing vaccine reality requires sensitivity to the awakening God wants to do in every heart. We need to pray and be sensitive that this is actually a spiritual battle; it is God’s work, not ours. God can use us to share truth, but we need to proceed with humility. Ask friends to join you in prayer for specific family members. Consider implementing a “Fast and Pray strategy.
  1. Ask questions. Be more interested in the other person, how they feel, what has formed their views, their previous experiences, than you are in pushing your information in their face. Determine what they know. Do they know how many vaccines the CDC now recommends for babies – and adults? Do they know how vaccines ‘work’? Do they understand neonatal immune development? Do they have fears about specific infections?
  1. Love & Respect. Often vaccine discussions can get heated. Don’t allow your intense desire to convince others to push your buttons. Leave your emotions out. Focus on loving. Show respect. This will take time. Seek to always leave a conversation with the other person feeling heard, respected and loved.
  1. Use Third Parties. There are great documentaries, Youtube videos, etc. with rational calm presentations. Determine which might be a good fit for the person you are trying to enlighten. Short respectful videos are a good way to start. Dr Moss is a man “in the system” who speaks very respectfully about the system, yet offers very good points on questioning vaccines. Since it is short, informed, loving, and has some story components, it could be a great place to start. Other doctors I admire: Dr Suzanne Humphries, 240+ Doctors speak out on vaccine truth, Documentaries: Bought, Greater Good.
  1. Get Confident. Build your own credibility by learning and distilling facts accurately. Practice on Facebook, join a Vaccine Truth Facebook Group to learn more, or practice with friends. Focus on a few basic facts and learn them well, here is a list of vaccine objections I put together. Some good facts to review and be very familiar with: VICP compensation since 1988, table of injuries used by VICP, vaccine package inserts for different vaccines, CDC schedule, Aluminum content in vaccines.
  1. Stay calm. Don’t beat yourself up with guilt if you ‘mess up’ or it goes badly, but keep at it. Seek to be more accepting, more informative, and keep trying! If you have younger children, keep training them. Train your children to be adept at sharing vaccine/health truth with others. You are leaving a legacy of health. Never give up. The issue of vaccine safety is so huge that it is a deal breaker for many single people. It is something that needs to be discussed very early in the ‘getting to know you’ process, for anyone considering marriage.
  1. Don’t expect overnight success. Belief in vaccine safety is a deeply held philosophical concept, similar to religion, that will not be changed quickly. A good starting point is to get future parents to consider the ‘next’ vaccine decision they may face. For a pregnant woman, investigating the true risks/benefits of a flu shot or a TDaP shot; for newborns, encourage investigating Hepatitis B shots.

Author: Becky Hastings is a wife, mother, grandmother, and passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counselor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies. As a member of a Vaccine Safety Education Coalition, Becky writes and speaks on the topic of vaccine safety. From time to time Becky shares easy recipes that can help you have a healthier life!

To My Newly Pregnant Friend

Congratulations! You have been blessed to carry a new life in your body and that brings so much excitement as well as many unknowns. Whether this was a 100% humanly planned event, or somewhat unexpected, every conception is a miracle enacted by God’s design!

Excitement stirred a strong need to write to you – but then when I got going, I had a hard time stopping; the blog became too long. If you are overwhelmed, just know I tried to be brief, but my heart is so full with a desire to share what I have learned during my journey of motherhood! If you get bored, or there is TMI, please, before you leave, scroll down to my three points right at the end!

I remember 34 years ago when I found out we were expecting our first baby. I really didn’t know anything. I had no experience with babies and didn’t have any friends having babies. It was 1982. There was no internet. No social media. No cell phones. We were young but very excited.

I’m not saying you have to be a Christian to seek the very best for your baby, but as a very young Christian, I was eager to seek God’s wisdom, protection, and leading in my new adventure. I believe God specifically led two women into my life during the very first weeks of my pregnancy to help give me direction. Both women strongly recommended breastfeeding. But they were also well aware that even women who desire to breastfeed often have difficulty. They encouraged me to be as well prepared as possible during pregnancy to ensure breastfeeding success. One thing both of these women urged me to do – completely independently of each other – was to attend La Leche League breastfeeding support meetings. They knew I would find support, information, and help to formulate and achieve my personal breastfeeding goals. Both women persuaded me that I needed to attend all four of the different LLL meeting topics prior to baby’s birth.

Since God confirmed this advice through two different women from two vastly different parts of the country, I decided it must be important and found a LLL group meeting locally! There was actually one group that met in the mornings and one group that met in the evenings, so I attended both! I also read every book available in both the LLL library and the Natural Childbirth class library. I was very eager for information that would help me make wise choices and provide a good outcome for birth and baby.

After having five natural births, and breastfeeding each baby for an extended period of time, I am so eager to help other women find the same empowerment I found through these natural processes. As my children grew, I became a LLL Leader so that I could help other women achieve their breastfeeding goals. Now that my children are mostly grown, I seek to offer greater guidance and support in the area of natural childbirth and breastfeeding. I don’t know everything but have learned a lot over the years and have learned so much about supporting women on their journey through 23 years of LLL Leadership. My goal is not to help women achieve my goals, but to think through their options and formulate their own goals.

Navigating through the complexities of modern medical care during pregnancy and raising children can be a minefield; some might say a crapshoot. We daily hear stories of awful health outcomes in babies and children: SIDS, neurological diagnosis in 1 of 6 children in the USA today, rampant allergies, attention difficulties, etc. The reality is that every second child in the USA is suffering from a chronic health condition. Additionally, in recent years, powerful psychotropic drugs are routinely given to children and even babies, despite the lack of knowledge of how these drugs will impact the child’s long term life and health. Loving, caring parents may find the advice from medical experts very confusing. We all want what is best for our baby, but how do we achieve that?

I recently heard a sermon which stated that “Love is caring enough for others to do something to help them. Seeing them rush towards harm, but not warning them is not loving.” In the same sermon, we were urged to ask “What can I do in the world around me? What breaks my heart?” The thing that breaks my heart is when babies and mothers are not given all the help and support they need to navigate a healthy birth and achieve breastfeeding. What breaks my heart is babies harmed and the breastfeeding relationship sabotaged through modern medical care! I’m not saying this is happening intentionally, but many times what works for a hospital or their staff, or their routines, is not always the thing that achieves the best outcome for mom and baby. Sometimes  hospital policy can disturb an optimal breastfeeding relationship.

My desire is to love young parents enough to help them navigate their journey to a safe healthy outcome for themselves and their baby. I especially have a heart to help Christian couples navigate this journey. As Christians we often put a lot of trust in others. This can sometimes lead to our blindly following cultural norms without research or understanding what is good for us and our baby, what is best for the ‘medical or business model,’ and what is outright deception.

While every expert will agree that babies live and thrive on breastmilk from mother’s breast alone until around the middle of their first year, the truth is, in the USA, statistics indicate that only 22.3% of babies were exclusively breasted (EBF) until 6 months in 2016. That means the majority of moms struggle to navigate through the birth experience, and the early weeks and months of breastfeeding, long enough to find the simplicity and joy of nourishing her baby exclusively through the mechanism designed by our Designer to sustain human life. This intricate fabulous design provides wonderful life enhancing nuances that will benefit baby for their entire lifetime. A baby deprived of breast milk, as well as a baby who is not exclusively breastfed, is at a disadvantage throughout life. Any substance passing through a baby’s lips that is not mom’s breast disadvantages the infant gut, known as the microbiome. Additionally, the infant gut is also disadvantaged through surgical birth rather than natural birth.

Our number one goal throughout pregnancy should not be just to have ‘a healthy baby’, but to set ourselves up for the best possible chance of EBF with our healthy baby. We need support from those who understand how to help us navigate birth and the early weeks to ensure successful exclusive breastfeeding. This is NOT a nice bonus, or ‘good for those who can manage it.’ EBF is an absolutely essential component of lifelong health and well being. Any routine medical procedure that causes even a minor impediment to successful EBF should be evaluated and perhaps postponed or denied.

Holding an absolute standard is difficult but imperative.

My goal is not to criticize others or cause others to feel guilt or discouragement. What has happened in the past can be instructive and inspirational. My first birth did not happen according to my expectations and hopes. During every succeeding birth I learned more about my body and the process of birth. I certainly didn’t do everything perfectly or even achieve all my own goals, but the process of having natural births and exclusively nourishing my babies from my breasts alone is probably the most empowering act I have ever managed to achieve in my life. I believe God gave me information, support, and dedication to achieve this and I am eager to help others have the same feelings of empowerment. Additionally, I have been privileged to see mothers whose first attempt at a natural birth and EBF did not turn out as they desired, but they persevered with subsequent pregnancies. Watching them achieve their goals after experiencing disappointment is inspiring because these women display great determination. When they succeed their empowerment extends to all areas of their life.

Living for the glory of God means I cannot ignore people rushing ignorantly toward harm. Deception in the USA medical system abounds in the area of pregnancy, childbirth, and babies. Many parents have no idea how the birth industry operates, the pressure they will face from lack of sleep, emotional and physical exhaustion in the weeks after the birth, and how it will all impact their baby’s opportunity for lifelong health. Additionally, most parents have no idea that our society is full of sick children and the critical importance of navigating the early parenting years in order to achieve a robustly healthy child.

It is well known that babies deprived of exclusive breastfeeding have a greater risk of obesity, allergies, cancer, diabetes, learning difficulties, ADHD, etc.

As a starting point, I highly recommend parents to read a short book called The Basic Needs of a Woman in Labor. While short and simple, this book contains some profound truths that can give every women great confidence when facing the mystery of childbirth for the first time.

Additionally, since I don’t have time to cover every aspect of breastfeeding in this short article, my strong encouragement is

  • Immediate skin to skin contact with mother and baby. This skin to skin should not be interrupted for any reason and should be extensive. If mom is medically unable, skin to skin should be done with dad, or alternative family member. Ideally, baby should not be separated from mom during the entire time after birth, except in the most urgent situations.
  • Delay cord clamping (until the cord stops pulsating or for one hour after birth). This allows all the baby’s own blood to nourish baby’s body. The cord blood is replete with stem cells which miraculously travel through the entire body and perform healing.
  • No routine medical procedures – even vaccines – should be performed on baby until breastfeeding is well established (minimum of 8 weeks). All procedures have the potential to interfere with the establishment of breastfeeding and impede the bonding process. Some routine procedures used in most hospitals: prophylactic antibiotic ointment on babies’ eyes (to protect from potential infection if the mother is infected with chlamydia or gonorrhoea)[1], injection of vitamin K, a bath which removes important oils and vernix from baby, Hepatits B vaccine (a disease which is spread through sexual contact or shared needles) is recommended to all babies regardless of the mother’s Hepatitis B status, circumcision (a very traumatic procedure for baby which is not medically or religiously indicated, and has risks often not shared with parents).

I pray for pregnant women to become well prepared to welcome their babies so that they can experience the wonderful empowerment of childbirth and nourishing their baby from their own body. I would value the opportunity of discussing any of these points further with you.

If you are interested in learning more about the complicated topic of vaccines for babies and children, I wrote this especially for you. Also, there is a lot of pressure for pregnant women to inject themselves with the flu shot and the TDaP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and acellular Pertussis) vaccines during pregnancy. Please research the concept of injecting yourself while pregnant in depth before agreeing.

Wanting nothing but the best for you,

Becky

Thanksgiving 2015

Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counsellor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies. As a member of a Vaccine Safety Education Coalition, Becky frequently writes and speaks on the topic of vaccine safety.

[1] http://evidencebasedbirth.com/is-erythromycin-eye-ointment-always-necessary-for-newborns/

 

Crazy?

No longer in the stage of life of having small children – with all the joys and tasks they create – I now have the blessing of grandchildren! This allows me time to think about the significance of motherhood and seek to encourage moms in the most important role they could every have. Seeking wisdom through the Bible daily, God sheds light in my heart and I desire to share this light with others.

Peter speaks directly to leaders in chapter five of his first letter, “Shepherd God’s flock. Not for the money, but eagerly.” These words powerfully impacted my heart one morning. Who are these words directed to? Leaders. Who is a leader? Parents are leaders. We are entrusted with the leadership of our children.

What does it mean to shepherd a flock? I’m no expert in sheep, but my guess is the obvious things – take care of them. Make sure they have safe food, a safe place to eat and protect them from forces that might attack and harm them. David is a great example of a committed shepherd. He tells us that he actively protected his sheep by killing a lion and a bear. He didn’t abandon his sheep. He didn’t expect anyone else to come in and do his work for him. He was ready. He was alert. He was practiced. He attacked the enemies that sought to attack his flock.

We also read many of David’s psalms and we know God asserted that David was “a man after God’s own heart.” David was certainly not perfect. He committed adultery and murder and sought to cover it up. He married many wives and didn’t have a great track record as a father. However, God continues to affirm that David’s heart was directed toward God. I believe part of this comes from his occupation during the boredom of looking after his sheep. Let’s face it, when you are looking after sheep, there are times of boredom – when everything seems to be going well. David used this time to exalt in God. He wrote down praises to God and he memorized them. He used his down time to extol God and bask in who God is.

As leaders we are to be prepared to actively protect our flock. We can also use the times of boredom to dig deeper into knowing God, knowing His word, memorizing His word and exalting God in our lives.

In 2017 we need to know exactly what dangers our sheep are facing. We need to have an awareness of the very real dangers in our world so that we can expose them and help our sheep avoid being consumed by the enemies they will encounter. I don’t believe we are called to push for a better world, or even hope that there will be a political solution to the evil we see around us. But, as a vigilant shepherd, we should seek to protect the sheep God has entrusted in our care and warn them of danger. An alert shepherd will investigate the potential of danger before advancing to a new area. Shepherds should be able to understand, point out, and explain the reason a particular path holds danger.

For me personally, as someone who has been blessed to get support and information that enabled me to have natural births and breastfeed the five children I was blessed by God to bear, the world of childbirth and early parenting are close to my heart. Knowing how empowering the act of giving birth naturally was for me, knowing how empowering the act of nurturing a baby exclusively at the breast is, and watching with delight as baby grows and thrives on breast milk alone is an unparalleled experience.

I believe the enemy wants to rob women of this empowering experience. Further, the enemy seeks to sow discord in the hearts of children and break the bonding process experienced easily through natural birth and breastfeeding. I am not trying to criticize anyone who has had a different experience, but the reality is, bonding is more difficult when there are complications in childbirth and when early breastfeeding is a struggle. These are not insurmountable challenges, but require much more effort and determination to get through. As a breastfeeding counselor for 23+ years I have seen women overcome incredible challenges to successfully breastfeed, but my heart aches to watch completely unnecessary complications develop because of lack of support, or poor recommendations to unsuspecting women.

I believe the medical establishment has so medicalized the childbirth experience that most women are deprived of the support necessary to watch their body give birth. For truly a woman was designed to give birth and her body is the most amazing part of the process. Our modern medical practices often unnecessarily complicate the process and serve to DIS-empower women of their biological strength. Again, this is not meant as a criticism to specific women, who generally do the best with the situation they face, but to the system. Medicalized births often lead to some trauma to both mom and baby and can make breastfeeding more difficult. Additionally, standard hospital practices and the advice given by staff can cause harm. Advice from medical personnel who are ignorant of breastfeeding creates many obstacles for a brand new mother trying to get breastfeeding off to a good start.

As a breastfeeding counselor nothing hurts my heart more than watching innocent, but ignorant, parents, blindly follow medical or cultural advice and end up actually harming their own child. They do not intend harm to their precious baby, but the system has ensnared them into decisions that are not in their baby’s best interests for lifelong health.

How? The list is long. Giving pregnant women vaccines which are known to harm the developing baby, repeated ultrasounds in pregnancy, routine birth practices designed with the doctor or hospital in mind but which put baby at greater risk of harm, vaccines given to baby, circumcision, allergy shots for children, Tylenol, screen time for babies and children (more addictive and damaging than some drugs), GMO food, processed foods, blindly trusting public schools or curriculum, Disney movies, etc.

I was once in darkness about most of these things. I didn’t know how harmful some of these things were. But, having researched and now understanding the danger, I can no longer blindly continue these harmful practices for myself. As an “older women” I can no longer stand idly by and watch younger women get sucked into very dangerous fields where the enemy stands ready to devour both them and their young lambs.

So, I must speak out and warn others, despite the risk of being dismissed as crazy, or ridiculed by what I point out. I am encouraged by Paul’s admission of craziness, “For if we are out of our mind (super crazy), it is for God, and if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels, us because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all died. And He died for all that those who live, no longer live for themselves, but for Him who for their sake, died, and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:13-14

Peter warns us that we need to “Be serious. Be alert. Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him and be firm in the faith.” 1 Peter 5:8-9

Thanksgiving 2015

Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counsellor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies. As a member of a Vaccine Safety Education Coalition, Becky writes and speaks on the topic of vaccine safety.

Vaccine Wars

Conflict stick figuresHelp! I have a family member who wants to vaccinate a child I love. What can I do to get them to change their mind????

Sometimes significant family members refuse to research factual information, yet strongly disagrees when we present the true dangers and risk of vaccines. Vaccine debates in families can become extremely emotional. Both sides feel committed to their point of view.

If you are having vaccine safety discussions with someone you love, who also loves your child, it is critically important for you to remember that you are on the same team. You both want the best for your precious baby. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong, but it is about what is truly best for your baby. It is also important to recognize that the media and the medical system push vaccines on the public through well designed fear campaigns. Many times conversations about vaccines can become a heated topic. It is best to avoid that. Sometimes asking a friend to play the role of arbitrator can be helpful. It is always helpful to pray. God can truly work miracles, even today.

Understanding the point of view of the other person is a priority and will help open up calm rational discussion. Seek first to understand. Don’t even try to change their mind. Have a few conversations just exploring their background beliefs on the topic of vaccines.

  • Is the pro vaccine stance rooted in a fear of disease? Which particular disease? Where is their information or fear coming from?
  • Does their pro vaccine stance stem from social fear? Maybe their own parents or family has drummed it into their mind that anyone that doesn’t give vaccines is just stupid or irresponsible, and they don’t ever want to have ‘that conversation’ with them.
  • Are there any medical/educational factors in their background? Maybe a course they took where a teacher stressed vaccines were safe and effective and everyone should get them.
  • Is there a previous tragedy in the family that they think might have been prevented with vaccines?
  • Lack of education, yet pride. Sometimes when a person is bombarded with ‘scientific evidence’ it makes them feel inferior so they dig in their heels just to demonstrate their strength and power. By listening and showing respect for their views it can give them space to let go of their pride.

When you are reasonable and listen, it will enable you to slowly ask questions and impart important information about the specific risk of vaccines. Many of us have been researching the harm of vaccines for years and could give several hours worth of lectures on the topic. That is WAY TOO MUCH information to share. We need to simplify and make very simple requests like, can we read the vaccine package insert together? Many people find exploring the vaccine package inserts supplied by the manufacturer for each shot contains valuable information to understand both the ingredients in the vaccine and the adverse events noted when it was studied.

Another step is to research the disease which the pro-vaccine family member fears the most. Look at the actual number of cases of the disease so you know the risk and learn how to treat it.

A critically important area to research is the design and function of the infant’s immune system. Scientific understanding of the development of the immune system in the last 10 years has exploded. So much new information is now available on the gut/brain link and the lymphatic system that all medical textbooks need to be re-written. Most doctors are not able to keep current on the latest scientific discoveries.

A parent’s most important role in the early years of a child’s life is to protect their babies brain. Ask your pro-vaccine family member to look into the blood brain barrier. No parent will knowingly put their baby into a faulty car seat, yet we inject baby with chemicals we would never let them touch or put into their mouths. Stick to limited information. One ingredient of particular concern is aluminum.

I highly recommend watching any video on Youtube by Dr Suzanne Humphries, especially the videos in which she explains exactly HOW the infant immune system develops. All her talks contain the latest unbiased SCIENCE. Everything she explains is evidence-based with REAL science, not the bought and paid for type. I linked her video on this blog. Stress the importance of finding unbiased scientific support for any decision you make. You are on the same team and both parents want the best for your precious baby – safety from illness and a long healthy life. The question is, how is that achieved?

Regarding the recommendation implemented in 2013 by the CDC for every woman to get a TDaP for every pregnancy, please research carefully before you inject anything into your body when pregnant. I wrote about shots recommended for pregnancy here.

If you have tried everything and your partner still feels strongly about giving your baby vaccines, as a last resort, may I respectfully suggest that you ask to schedule a face to face conversation to discuss one specific request. Don’t rely on texts, or sending links via email. Make an appointment like this, “Hey, when would be a good chance for us to have an important conversation? I just want to make sure it’s a time when we won’t face any other distractions, so that we can truly hear each other.” Set a day and time.

Plan what you want to say. It might be something like this, “I know you think vaccines are really important for ____ to receive. I know you are concerned about infectious diseases and would never want our baby to suffer. I know you trust ______ (the doctor) and want to be a great parent. You are a great parent, by the way. I have one request. Could we please delay all vaccines until we are able to have some more rational conversations about this topic. We might need someone to come and help us talk about it. I would like to recommend specifically that we delay all vaccines at least until the baby’s blood brain barrier is fully formed. My particular concern is that the ingredients in the vaccines which are injected will make their way to the brain.”

There are differing opinions on when the blood brain barrier closes (perhaps your partner would want to do more research), but experts agree that it is sometime between 2 – 8 years. If you can get an agreement to wait until 2 years, research, pray like crazy, and try to understand your partner’s point of view! Asking questions and try to understand where they are coming from, without trying to win every argument will go a long way in helping them eventually come to understand the truth about the vaccine debate.

Finally, if for whatever reason, your baby is given vaccines, please read this first so that you are fully prepared and understand the process, and how to make it easier on everyone.

You might not agree, but I believe the issue of vaccine safety is part of a spiritual battle we face. Paul gave Timothy, his young prodigy, this profound advice:

“Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:25-26

Thanksgiving 2015

Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus and truth. As a breastfeeding counselor for over 23 years Becky is devoted to helping parents make wise decisions for the long-term health and wellbeing of their babies. As a member of a Vaccine Safety Education Coalition, Becky writes and speaks on the topic of vaccine safety.

Parenting 101: Raising Little Sinners

watching-the-sun-set-croppedIs there an approach to parenting that is 100% guaranteed to help me raise the type of children I desire? Is there a magic method of getting my children to respect my words and comply with my instructions as a parent?

Grandparenting must be one of the most wonderful roles a person could ever have in life. I LOVE spending time with my grandchildren, every one of them is delightful in a unique way, and they are teaching me so much!

After having my five and three year old grandchildren come for ‘four sleepovers with Granny and Grandpa’, without their parents, I have arrived at a clearer understanding of the word sin and the primary struggle of parenting. Of course I experienced these issues many times in raising my five children, but this fresh immersion into parenting brought some vivid reminders.

Sin is an uncomfortable word for most of us. We don’t easily see ourselves as sinners. The word ‘sinner’ sounds like an extremely heinous description of ‘bad’ people. Sin is actually a lot simpler and a lot subtler; the essence of sin is simply wanting our own way. We are born with a desire to get what we want and to pursue our own desires, with little thought for the needs of others. As we grow older, most of us get trained to some degree or another that we need to also respect other people in our lives, but that does not come naturally.

What does God say about sin? Sin is the thing that separates us from God. Sin prevents us from the loving connection He wants most to have with us. Sin is ignoring God’s sovereignty over us, as our Designer and Creator, and saying, “I have a better plan.” Sin is thinking God’s desires for me will limit me, but I will find happiness through pursuing the things I think will bring satisfaction.

Why is parenting so difficult? Because we are raising little sinners. Little independent people who have their own ideas about what will bring them satisfaction. Some of these little people seem to have a personality that wants to buck every single event or decision throughout the course of a day. Others may be mostly agreeable, but every once in awhile their independence will exert itself. Why can’t children just be agreeable? Why don’t they understand that we only want what is best for them, that we have years of experience that has given us insight, understanding, and wisdom for every decision we make? Why don’t they just eat the healthy food we provide? Why don’t they immediately respond when we have given them warnings and prepared them for the fact that a fun activity must now end? Why do they sometimes randomly physically attack their sibling?

Why do we feel like we are in a constant battle to see who is in charge in this relationship? Why can’t they just accept our authority?

Have I done something wrong? Am I a bad parent? Did I miss a window of “training” at a certain age?

Should I have spanked my children? Should I have spanked my children more? Should I have not spanked my children? Is there a formula for raising compliant “yes, ma’am” children that I missed? Did I read the wrong books? Did I follow the wrong advisors?

What is the answer? Is there actually an answer?

How did God ‘parent’ His people?

God’s kindness towards us leads us to repentance. Repentance is the goal. Repentance means getting off the train heading for “my way” and boarding the train heading to “God’s destination.” Every sermon given by the early followers of Jesus, which we read in the book of Acts, explains the necessity of repentance. As parents, or grandparents, our goal should be to gently help our children or grandchildren to understand what repentance looks like, and why it is desirable.

Having a “see I told you so” attitude, while very tempting, generally doesn’t lead a child toward repentance. Repentance involves a bending of our will towards God’s will. God never forces us. As parents we are often tempted to force our children to our will. This may seem to work for some children, yet this adage is true for adults and children, “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” Our goal in training children is not a compliant child. Our goal is a child with a heart that delights in God and obeying Him.

Some parenting techniques may result in a very well behaved young child. However, our goal should not focus entirely on the moment, but should also consider the long term. When I think in terms of raising a well adjusted thirty something adult, my interactions with my child may be significantly impacted. The methods of achieving my goal require a longer commitment. Sometimes having a long-term view can result in momentary embarrassment, especially in a public setting where there are people who may judge my child or me unsatisfactorily. My goal is not to please the public audience around me. My goal is not personal pride in a ‘well-behaved’ little child. My goal is raising a human being with a deep knowledge of His Creator, an understanding of their own propensity towards their own direction, and a humble submission to seeking God and His way.

Parenting with these goals is not an easy task. The other problem I face is that I am also a sinner. I naturally desire my own way. I easily fall prey to pride and judgment. It’s hard for me to see my sin or my pride. I am a sinner, raising little sinners. In my parenting journey I also need to repent. I need to get off my train toward my own perceived destination for my children, and myself and get on the train that takes me towards God’s outcome. How do I do this? Parenting requires a daily surrender and a daily seeking of wisdom from God, through His Word, and laying down my own ways. Parenting is trusting God in the way we desire our children would trust and respond to us. Parenting is modeling for our children what trusting God looks like.

Acknowledging that I will never be a perfect parent and my children will never be perfectly obedient takes a huge weight off of my shoulders. Trying to force perfection on our children or ourselves is a source of extreme stress.

Jesus wants so much more for us. He wants to refresh us with His presence. “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19

When Did Jesus Get Angry?

Angry toddler 2Jesus was furious. A man with a deformed hand needed help and healing, yet all the powerful people in positions of authority were more concerned about trapping Jesus and enhancing their own reputations, than they were about helping one man in need. Jesus, looking around in anger was grieved at the hardness of their hearts. (Mark 3:1-5)

Jesus was angry because the Jewish leaders were more concerned about their rules, their system, their reputation, their control, and their personal wealth, than they were about helping people receive healing.

InvestmentTheir system gave them prestige, power, authority, and wealth. Jesus, God in human form, was standing right in front of them, but they couldn’t even recognize Him. They demonstrated more concern for preserving their prestige than discovering the TRUTH.

A true encounter with Jesus will challenge our basic assumptions to the core. Letting go of a strongly held belief system can be a fearful experience. Coming to Jesus from a position of pain or weakness, like the man with the deformed hand, was much easier. What did he have to lose? He was already an outcast.

But the Pharisees were blinded by their position and wanted to hold on to the power and authority they thought they possessed. They didn’t realize they were in bondage. By holding on, they were harming themselves and perpetuating harm and injustice on others. That made Jesus furious.

Am I holding on to something that is preventing me from receiving something Jesus wants to give me? Am I holding on to something that could be a stumbling block or even causing harm to others?

These are difficult questions, but are imperative for those of us who are following truth and seeking to live a fully examined life before our Creator.

Here are a few more uncomfortable questions:

Does my business or my employer:

  • serve or produce poison or toxins in any way, shape, or form?
  • truly help people toward longterm health and wellbeing?
  • hide information that may damage their reputation or bottom line?
  • make money through the harm they cause to others?

Imagine how our world could change if all the “good” people resigned from working for “bad” companies. Imagine if we were all able to live completely ethically, relying on Jesus to guide and provide. A high ideal, but I like to imagine…

DSC_0062

 

Author: Becky Hastings, writer, speaker, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus and Truth.

I’d love to dialogue with you on what makes you angry.