Friday, July 29, 2011

The Breastfeeding Files

My wonderful friend Amanda of Wife. Mama. Educator. is guest posting for this week's Phenomenal Mom Friday.  Her post comes just in time for World Breastfeeding Week, August 1st-7th.  Amanda is a breastfeeding champ and lactivist.  She shares her perspective below...
I breastfeed my son, Ezra. He’s two.
When I was pregnant I knew I’d breastfeed. I just knew breastfeeding was normal—what moms did with babies. I was breastfed for 9 months. My sister breastfed her kids. My closest friends breastfed their children. Even my cousin, who had a baby at 18, attempted breastfeeding. I guess you could say I had a strong foundation laid for me. Friends I could count on and ask for advice, who bought me nursing pads and nipple cream even when they weren’t on my registry. I took a breastfeeding class. My husband happily accompanied me. He supported me, because even though he wasn’t breastfed, he saw the value. Simply put, I had a pro-breastfeeding support system.
And when Ezra was born, we breastfed. OMG did it hurt. I bled. It was terrible. And on top of it, no one in the hospital seemed to have the same information about breastfeeding. Feed every 2-3 hours.  No, every 3 hours. No, every 3-4 hours. Don’t use the nipple cream. Use the nipple cream. Use the nipple cream but make sure to wipe it off. It’s should hurt if you’re doing it right. It looks like you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t be hurting.
It was enough to drive me insane. And when we went to our pediatrician for E’s two day check up, she misread his initial birth weight and thought he had lost way more than 10% of his birth weight. She then proceeded to grill me. Has your milk come in? No it hasn’t. How often are you feeding? Every 3-4 hours, that’s what the nurses told me. You need to put that baby to your breast. Nurse every two hours, around the clock, to get your milk to come in, and to get the baby’s weight up.
I cried. And cried. And then I drank a glass of wine (at the advice of the pediatrician, who probably didn’t grill me, it just felt that way) and breastfed my baby.
I was lucky. By no means from that point was breastfeeding easy, but with the exception of an absolute meltdown at exactly 3 weeks post-partum—more bleeding, the height of pain, my husband thinking he was helping by offering formula, and telling my husband he better shove it and then informing him that he needed to stay home so I didn’t hurt the baby—I had no major issues. No mastitis, thrush, overactive let down, milk supply issues or any of the other obstacles that many women face and work hard to overcome.
I was also lucky because I had the privilege of staying home. I was able to nurse on demand, around the clock, with no negative ramifications. I mastered nursing laying down by the time Ez was 6 weeks old. And I was happy to nurse and nap and nap and nurse with my wee one. It became easy, second nature and I couldn’t imagine any other way.
And while I always knew I’d breastfeed, I wasn’t prepared for was how passionate I’d become about breastfeeding. I could go on for days citing reasons for breastfeeding, and the injustices for women who can’t or are made to believe they can’t breastfeed, but I won’t, because ultimately I don’t find that to be valuable. Instead, I'll share the following:
Send breastfeeding moms to the most comprehensive quick reference for all things breastfeeding.
Try not to spread breastfeeding myths. This is really hard because there is so much misinformation out there, so see above.
In most instances, if you want to breastfeed, you can. Formula is rarely needed (yes, there are exceptions, but these are exceptions, not the rule).
Support moms, no matter what. Breast milk. Formula. A combination—it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Little Things

Today, while making my second trek across the bridge and back, I kept feeling my little toe on the left foot rub up against the toe next to it.  It was driving me batty, so I decided when I got to my turn around point to take my sock off and make sure nothing was in there.  So, we stopped and I checked...didn't see anything.  Upon putting my shoe back on, it felt better.

But then it didn't.  

We drove back to my house, and I enjoyed the post workout euphoria/endorphins.  We all had a great supper, but as I was walking around the house-barefoot-something kept bothering that same little toe.  I gave Ayla a bath.  We colored on her whiteboard table.  She had a major meltdown because she's 2...and sometimes being 2 can be very tough.  

Sidenote:  When bitty finished having her total tantrum/scream & cry fest, we sat in the rocking chair.  She reached up and stroked my face, so sweetly.  I asked her, "Did you get very mad?" to which she nodded her head.  I told her, "Mama loves you even when you're mad."  She took her sippy cup full of cold water (which probably felt good after all her screaming) out of her mouth, looked right at me, and said, "Thank you Mama."  She just amazes me with her incredible understanding and perception.

Anyway, I finally sat down because my toe was driving me INSANE!  Lo and behold, I found the source of all that irritation.  The tiniest little corner of toenail had grown in there and was rubbing against my other toe.  

Really?  That tiny little thing causing so much pain and irritation?  I clipped that little sucker, and I feel like a new woman now!  Its the little things...

The moral of the story:  Handle the little things before they turn into big problems.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

San Pellegrino, Juicy Juice, and Gerber--oh my!

Our family has recently marked the beginning of our journey participating in the Nestlé boycott.  I won't re-write the posts that have inspired me with information, but I will cover some highlights.  For the entire article, please visit PhD in Parenting here.  Author Annie pointed out the following issues with Nestlé and their practices:

  • Controlling and abusing water sources
  • Purchasing from suppliers who utilize child slaves
  • Anti-union/anti-collective bargaining behavior
  • Advertising formula in a harmful and misleading way (especially in emerging countries where clean water isn't available, see video below explained by brilliant mom blogger Jessica Gottlieb.  Yes, she's in her pajamas.  Mom bloggers rule!)
Now, I will be the first to admit that this information isn't brand new to me.  I read some of facts above a few months ago, and I decided it was a battle I wasn't going to fight.

Then the information was in my face again, and this time, I couldn't deny how much it bothered me.  So, Brandon and I watched the video, discussed the facts from PhD in Parenting as well as over at Crunchy Domestic Goddess.  I asked Brandon if he thought it would be crazy to boycott...could we do it?  He immediately responded, "No, we can do it."  I am so glad to have him, someone who is also concerned with social issues, such as the ones involved with Nestlé's unethical and damaging choices.

Did I go and throw out all the Nestlé products we still have in our house?  No.  That won't impact them, only me.  They already have my dollars.  So, we're using what is left and moving forward.

In case you didn't know, Nestlé owns Gerber.  In case you hadn't read before, I've been boycotting Gerber since Ayla was maybe 5 months old.  You see, I purchased some baby food for Ayla, which was Gerber of course.  Much to my dismay, their product was packed in #7 plastic.  They defend their position and explain it on their website, but I believe in the dangers of using bad plastic. #7 plastic is the hot dog of plastics, meaning everything gets dumped into #7.  It is bad news.  So...I am not buying what Gerber is selling.  I'm not going to buy into the fact that "trace amounts of BPA aren't harmful."  When you add a little BPA exposure to a little more, it all adds up.

Boycotting Gerber hasn't been hard at all.   I will admit, I have not been perfect in this process.  For example, the Oster blender I use to make her food has a blending cup component that is made with #7 plastic.  The good news is, the food I blended didn't stay in the cup, therefore I avoided the whole issue of the plastic leaching into the food.  Like I said, I haven't been perfect.  But I'm not going to buy food that has been sitting in #7 plastic for months or even years on end (have you seen the shelf life on baby food)?  In addition to making baby food, I bought Earth's Best, which is awesome baby food and comparable in price.  You know what?  I'd buy Beech Nut (a cheaper baby food) over Gerber because at least their food is packaged in glass. 

Sidenote: For anyone concerned with BPA, you may want to stop buying canned coke products because they voted to continue using BPA in their cans.  Additionally, BPA is found in most canned products, which you can read more about over at OrganicGrace.  (That is my next eliminate most canned products or switch to the few brands-such as Eden-that pledge not to use BPA in their cans).  Also, don't hold onto your receipts longer than necessary-they also contain BPA. 

Anyway...let's get back to the boycott.

The truth it, the boycott won't be hard, but there are definitely some changes we'll be making.  Here are some of the products we've been using/consuming that we won't be any longer:
  • Lean Cuisine & Lean pockets (some of my staple go-to quick lunches)
  • Libby's pumpkin.  SAD about this one!
  • Edy's & Skinny Cow ice cream 
  • Purina dog & cat food
  • Juicy Juice (yes, I isn't good.  Babies/toddlers shouldn't have much juice.  I'm a rule breaker on this one)
  • Carnation instant breakfast (quick breakfast during the school year)
  • Nestlé Good Start water
  • San Pellegrino
  • L’Oreal, Maybelline, & Garnier products
  • Kit Kats
  • Cheerios
  • Nestlé Tollhouse
  • Maggi seasonings
Those are just the products that we used to use in our household.  For complete listings of Nestlé products/joint-owned products, see the links below. 

To read more about some of the many issues with Nestlé, check out this source, which I will now be going to read (as if I needed more convincing of the evils of Nestlé).

I can't worry about everything, and I can't control everything.  However, I do worry about these kind of practices because I feel that we are all connected.  As a consumer on my own, I may not make a difference, but when joining in with the MANY others who have been part of the boycott for the last THIRTY years, perhaps change can come.  I CAN control how I vote with my dollars.  I want to be socially and ethically responsible and teach these values to my daughter.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Live in rooms full of light. -Cornelius Celsus


My daughter will grow up knowing what it is like to have a mom with chronic pain.  With a disease  (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy aka RSD) that impacts her mom's quality of life in many ways.  

My daughter will be impacted by this.  She will be affected.  She already is affected by it.  She knows about my migraines.  When we talk about it, I tell her, "Mommy is sick.  She has an owie here (points to head)."  She kisses my "owie" (head) and tells me "make it better."  Because in her world, a kiss makes everything okay again.  

Today she pointed to her head and said, "Kiss owie," to which I told her she was okay, that "only Mommy" was "sick."

I am afraid of the moments that RSD will steal me away from my precious baby.  I mourn the moments passed it has stolen already.  It robs me even in good moments because I am always worried about if I will experience agony on her birthday/my wedding day/her special school functions or trips/etc.

Somehow, in the darkness of what my illness brings, I hope that light will still shine and good things can come.

I hope that my daughter learns compassion for those who suffer, even if their suffering is invisible.  

I hope that she learns about unconditional love when she sees Papa taking care of Mama in the worst times of suffering.

I hope my daughter learns patience from seeing how sometimes things-such as health improving-take time and don't work on "our" time.

I hope that in the moments that I can't be there-physically or with full and active participation-that she learns resilience.  

I hope she learns that illness can take moments away, but it cannot take away love.  

There are times that I forget how much RSD can take from me.  I forget the years of my life that I spent bed-ridden, the huge chunks of my life that I don't even remember because the brain is an amazing thing and blocks out that kind of ugliness.  By living in the moment, I have to refuse to believe that my RSD will take from my future the way it has taken from my past.  But in times of increased suffering and true agony, I remember.  It scares me, but it also reminds me of the strength I know I possess.  I know I have triumphed because I've done it "all" that I was never "supposed" to do.  

I have a career.
I have a (soon-to-be) husband.
I have a daughter.
I have more good days than bad.
I'm alive.  I didn't kill myself like others have.  I haven't drowned myself in a sea of drugs.  I'm aware and present and alive.

 There is so much I want to do.  I want to advocate, I want to educate.  I want RSD to be a household name because (according to conservative estimates) there are more people with RSD than AIDS, breast cancer, and multiple sclerosis combined.  1.5 to 6 MILLION Americans suffering, debilitated, hopeless.

I hope that I can do something to teach my daughter that she can make a difference.  I'm figuring out how I'm going to make one, how I'm going to be a voice for those who don't have the strength.

For more information about RSD, also referred to as Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) click here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Tale of Two Blankies

(Phenomenal Mom Fridays will return once my moms have submitted their blogs to me.  You can't rush a Mom's story, so I will continue to post the stories I've chosen as I receive them...)

When I was a baby, my mom purchased me a beautiful pink blanket.  The texture was that almost of a thermal blanket, but softer and covered in fuzz.  The edges were silky with zoo or circus animals.  The edges eventually unraveled and disappeared.  The soft fuzz covering the blanket also faded to nothing.  This left behind a beautifully faded, ragged pink blanket, affectionately named "Pinky."

Pinky has been with me through everything.  When I was having fun playing, Pinky was my dress up outfit, my cape, or the blanket to my babies as I played with them.  When I've been sad or suffered with years of illness, Pinky caught my tears and brought me comfort.  When we lost a beloved family pet, I cut a piece from Pinky to be buried with my pets.  I gave a piece because that was as close as I could come to giving them a piece of my heart to take with them.  And every animal we've had-minus water bound creatures-has spent time wrapped in Pinky or covered with Pinky or laying on Pinky.  Even when our beloved black cat, Salem, died 2 years ago, I sent a piece with him.  My niece N, who is now 8, received a specially made blanket (sewn by my BFFs Mom) with carefully selected fabrics and in the center, a piece of my Pinky.

Twenty-almost-six months ago, when my sweet baby Ayla was born, you can guess who was by my side in the hospital.  My mom?  Sure.  Brandon?  Of course.  I was surrounded by people I love.  And Pinky.
Me, Brandon, & Pinky (under my head)

A little bit of comfort in a pretty undesirable location (aka the hospital)
So...Ayla was born, and after spending some time with her, they wheeled her away for what seemed like forever (and it was a pretty long time).  Imagine my surprise when they wheeled her in with her own Pinky.

You can see the surprise in my face!
I told my Mom she was in charge of finding Ayla a "pinky" of her own.  And she did just that.  In fact, she found the exact same blanket (minus the animals on the silky border) in blue, green, and pink.  She had all the bases covered (we were contemplating not finding out the baby's gender).  Then, she topped that.  With the help of Henriette and Kathie, she was able to find a place to have it embroidered with Ayla's name.  Perfect timing meant she got a call from the place on the day Ayla was born to say that it would be ready that day.  My mom had Kathie call to tell them to put Ayla's birthday on the blanket under her name, and then she had Henriette pick up the blanket on the way to the hospital.  So when little Ayla got wheeled in with a fresh, new Pinky, I was super surprised.
Looking precious all snuggled in her own blanket
Ayla loves her blanket.  She calls it "Ayla Marley blanket."  But her true love, much to my dismay, is MY blanket.  She calls Pinky "Mama blankey," and she has to have it to sleep with.  She wants to take it with us wherever we go.  She cries for it if she can't find it.   She holds it, she snuggles it, she delights in having it with her.  When we leave the house, she searches it out as soon as we get home.  She wraps herself in it like a dress or like a hat.  She also wipes her nose on it and spills food on it.  And in the unfortunate instance of a diaper leak, well, you can figure it out.  

Which means that it gets washed A LOT.

It is unraveling more and more by the day. 
Ready to start her day!
Everyone keeps telling me I need to take it from her, hide it, and that she will thank me someday.  I see their point, but I don't know if I can do it.  
Two loves: Shrek & Mama blankey
I'm torn between the feeling of things are meant to be used and loved (which Pinky has been loved and used for the last 27 years) and bring people joy, which it so obviously does for Ayla.   But I also believe in preserving things, things to cherish, things to "go on" so to speak.

For now, I choose in letting her have joy and love and comfort and fun, even when that means finding one random unraveled strand of my precious blanket at a time throughout the house.
A perfect accessory for any outfit
She even shares (but only with the cat).

And when (if) I change my mind, she has her own right?
(On an unrelated note, isn't it crazy how much her hair has grown in just a few months?!)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Night at the Movies: A Rant

Friday evening, my lovely future husband and I decided to go out for a date night.   We enjoyed a super tasty dinner at Sonny's, which is one of our favorite "non-fancy" restaurants.  We were both stuffed to the gills, when we decided to catch a flick at a nearby dollar theatre.  I was super excited to hear on Fandango that Bridesmaids was playing there.  I guess that's the perk of a dollar theater--you can catch the movies you meant to after they are out of the big theatres.

We stopped at the dollar store to get some candy before the movie started.  Yep, we're those people.  I'm not paying $4 for candy that costs $1.

When we got to our seats, we overheard the people behind us.  I should say we overheard the infant crying and toddler chatting behind us.  For a 9:15 movie.  We actually started to whisper about what were we going to do/how inappropriate that was when Brandon started texting me for the sake of discretion.

Then, we watched another mom come to the door and tell her little kids to go sit down.  Okay.  Another group, presumably a mother, her mother (grandma), and little boy-who appeared to be only about 18 months-joined us in the theatre.  I am guessing by the time the movie started there were 3-5 groups who all decided to bring their children ranging from age infant to 6 years.

If you haven't seen Bridesmaids, you may want to stop here.  If you have, then you'll know the scenes I'm referring to.

The first few minutes of the movie show a woman and her F buddy having an exciting "romp" with lots of position changing.  Awesome.

During the 2 hours and 5 minutes of the R rated film, there are multiple scenes that, while hilarious, are entirely inappropriate.  I wouldn't bring my child to see that movie until well into high school because let's face it, it isn't that hard for a smart kid to sneak into an R rated film.  I also figure that by that point, they've probably heard (and said) the F word, which was dropped multiple times in the film.   There was also a great pooping your pants/vomit scene.

What happened during the movie really ruined the whole film for me.  I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong, but I was so furious that it was hard to focus on the movie.

The grandma/mom/little boy group was not far from us, just across the aisle.  The baby would fuss a little and both mom and grandma would grab him and tell him very harshly, "Stop!  Stop!"  This happened again and again and again.  The grandma tried rocking him, in a very spastic manner I might add.  At one point, grandma took him out of the theatre, and I'd like to hope that she was being sweet to him, but I wouldn't be surprised if she was out there giving him a whoopin'.  The baby was extremely well behaved, and I wanted to go over and give those "ladies" a piece of my mind.  How on EARTH did they expect to bring a LITTLE BABY BOY to a theatre at 9:15-11:20 and expect the child to sit still, quietly the whole time??  What was he supposed to do?  Watch the raunchy sex scene?  Or laugh at the potty humor??  I'm not one to hold back, and when I left the theatre, I was ashamed of myself for not saying anything.

My heart ACHED for that little boy.  I wanted to go scoop him up, give him a big hug, and take him home so he could go to bed.

I understand that for people who don't have a good support system, it is very hard and daunting to find someone to trust enough to leave your baby with.  Guess what?  If that were my situation, I would not go to the movies.  Does that suck?  Yes.  But guess what?  That's parenthood!  You are supposed to put the well-being of your child above your wants.  Do I think parents should get out, catch a movie, have some alone time?  Yes, but not if it means dragging your baby to a movie that is too late and far too inappropriate for little eyes.  Have we ever taken Ayla out past her bedtime?  Sure, but guess what?  When she's done, we're done.  Her actions-crying, fussing, whatever-are our signal that her needs aren't being met.

Overall, the night was eye-opening and disheartening.  Not only did this one warped pair of mom/grandma feel it was acceptable to bring the baby and treat him so poorly, but so did all the other parents who wanted to see a movie so bad, they didn't care what their children were watching or the fact that maybe they should've been at home reading bedtime stories to their babies.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Advocating & Autism

This week's Phenomenal Mom is Amber, mom of 3 amazing kiddos.  We met years ago through a military wives/girlfriends support group (I've dated a couple of military guys...) on AOL.  I still remember when she shared her news about Ethan with us, way back when.  Here's her story...
Amber & baby Ethan
It is so ironic. You spend nine months saying "I cant wait to meet him/her" and get anxious at the very thought of seeing their perfect little face. Then when they arrive you want nothing more than to put them right back in your snug little tummy. At least there you could control what happened to a point. Children have no idea how fast they can send a mother into a full blown panic attack, and sometimes over something simple like a cut on the knee! "I can't see where the blood is coming from, there's so much of it!" A mothers biggest fear is losing their child(ren) whether it be to death or some incurable disease or disorder that they have no control over. All we want is an easy fix, all of the time. Like simply wiping a child's tears away and kissing them on their "owies." On July 07, 2005 I found out my beautiful little boy with an enormous heart had a disorder that I could not just kiss away and I had no control over it. Let me just say right now that nothing prepares you for that moment, no matter how prepared you are. You nod your head and listen, aren't really listening. You have a blank stare and can hear them, but nothing is registering. I shook the panels hands and calmly drove home, not a single thought raced through my mind. Then I got home and walked him inside, where he ran to play upstairs. I sat in our computer chair across from his father and still apparently had the blank stare written all over my face. And then I said something I never in a million years expected to say..."He was diagnosed with Autism." The flood gates opened and I broke down and cried like crazy while his father remained calm. It took me a few minutes to gain my composure, but when I did it was over. And that is the last time I ever cried about his diagnosis. Why? Because there was no time for pity parties. Whatever had control over my son was obviously no monster because he is absolutely amazing. My job as his mother was to help him survive in this hectic world that had so many expectations of him...and that is exactly what I have been doing for the last 7 years.
Shining his light
Floor-Time, an experiment done on children with Autism to help them learn how to parallel play. Speech therapy, weekly. Preschool in a special setting for children with Autism, 8 hours a day, which included Occupational Therapy and more Speech therapy. Diets, both diary free and GFCF. Doctors appointment after doctors appointment, testing for other potential disorders or reasons behind their Autism. Support Groups and Experimental Studies. The list goes on and on. Looking back on all of the things I did the first four years of his diagnosis, I am amazed at how much I accomplished, and a lot of it was done while I was a single mother. Yes, his father and I divorced. Divorce rates are extremely high in the Autism community, but honestly it only had about a 25% affect on my marriage and the other was extra issues. His father was military and deployed very, very often. It is hard to understand your child when you are gone as often as my sons father was, much less understand a child with Autism. I often felt as if he did not "get it" and resented him a lot for never being there for appointments and therapies. This scenario is so very common in the Autism community, and for some families, much worse off than what I experienced. Each marriage has to have 110% support behind it. In a special needs family, times that by like 10!

I could never imagine waking up one morning and having my two typical developing children, and that was it. My daughter had a full blown vocabulary by the time she was 2-1/2. Her first two regular words were said at 4 months old, and with meaning. My son with Autism talked in 2-3 word sentences by the time he was 2, but then he drifted away and didnt start speaking in sentences again until he was 7-1/2 years old. At 9 years old, he has less of an understood vocabulary than my 3-1/2 year old daughter. Each morning when I wake up I dress my son with Autism, I brush his teeth, and ask him simple sentences to receive simple answers. Meanwhile, my daughter dresses herself, brushes her own teeth, and asks me questions even I sometimes don't know the answers to, haha. When I go out in public, I have the constant fear that he will disappear...because he has several times. He will see something that interests him and sneak off, or he will try to imitate something he seen in a movie and I will have no idea where he went. I have extra locks and alarms on my doors so he will not just walk out one day and wander off. My typical developing children don't really do these things! Do I ever hate that raising my son with Autism is more difficult than mothers who raise kids that are typical developing? No. Not ever. If anything, I love my life even more! I never take anything for granted. I don't mean this lightly either. I likely annoy people with my constant gloating over what would seem like small accomplishments to others. Every accomplishment is mountain in my eyes because not everybody gets to witness such things.
Ethan Scott
I once had a best friend tell me that only I would manage to turn everything around into a positive life lesson ten minutes after I complain about it. I could never be the kind of person that sits around and sulks about my child's Autism diagnosis, no matter how frustrating my day has been. Even with three children, you rarely hear me complain. I have two toddlers and a 9 year old with Autism whom is more difficult in many situations than you could ever imagine. But I wouldn't have it any other way. I am my children's biggest advocate. If I'm not, who will be?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bite Me!

I am ANGRY.  Pissed.  Appalled.

I am not going to censor myself, and honestly, if I lose readership over it, I do not care because a blog that gets read for me saying what you want to hear isn't a blog I care to keep and maintain.

I have read and heard, recently and on several occasions, the following advice, "Flick the baby in the mouth when they bite you [while nursing]!!"  

I do not agree.  I wholeheartedly disagree.  I think it is cruel and highly inappropriate.  

Does it hurt when your child bites you, especially while nursing?  Yes!  Does it give you a gut reaction, a reaction based out of pain?  Yes!  

Infants do not bite out of a desire to hurt their parents.  A baby bites because she is learning about these new strange object in her mouth.  She doesn't understand the purpose or function of these sharp little teeth until she tries to use them.  Will flicking the infant in the mouth stop the behavior?  Sure.  You know what else stops the behavior?  Breaking the latch and stopping nursing.  And repeating that action over and over until the baby learns, "When I use these things, I don't get to eat..."

I believe in teaching our babies and children with respect.  To me, to intentionally flick my child in the face to teach her to stop biting while nursing is inexcusable.  

And even when a child is no longer an infant and going through the "biting phase" as many children do, I do not believe in biting them back.  (Note: In my college coursework, we were taught that laws to protect children include biting as a form of abuse).  

Case in point.  About 2-3 months ago, I was rocking sweet little Ayla after our bedtime story routine, when all of a sudden-for no reason at all-she leans down and chomps me on the breast.  I yelped because, well, it hurt!  Did I bite her?  No.  Did I flick her?  No!  I held her hands in mine, looked into her eyes, and I told her, "We don't bite.  Biting hurts Mommy.  We hug."  For the next several days, she would look at me, shake her head "no" and say, "Hit," meaning "no, we don't hit."  Then she would say, "Hug" while nodding her head, smiling.

She hasn't bitten me since, nor has she bitten anyone else.

So when I say, "I would never flick my infant in the mouth," I mean it.  To each their own, but I don't have to agree with a parenting method I find offensive and disrespectful.