Parenting Resources

Elizabeth Pantley

Advice, solutions, links and books about parenting. Raise children with love, compassion, respect, and consistency and learn to be a confident and joyful parent.


Mothering celebrates the experience of parenthood as worthy of one’s best efforts and fosters awareness of the immense importance and value of parenthood and family life in the development of the full human potential.

The Compleat Mother

This great site has loads of information on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.

North American Industrial Hemp Council

Learn what hemp is all about.

Links Organic

Find international connections in the organic community.

The Diaper Lady

Information for new parents on cloth diapering, vaccines, SIDS, making your own baby food, and much more. Their goal is to help parents make informed decisions about their babies’ care and to help children grow up in a chemical-free environment wherever possible. Stop by for a visit and you’ll see what I mean! Here is some specific information about SIDS prevention.This is information that is not provided in pediatrician’s offices and is left out of mainstream parenting magazines.

La Leche League International

The La Leche League International mission is: To help mothers worldwide to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

007 Breasts – Woman’s breasts are for breastfeeding!

Discusses how media and society have influenced us to see female breasts as taboos and sexual symbols and how this relates to breastfeeding. Topics include breastmilk, breastfeeding, taboo breasts, why women fail to breastfeed, bras, breast pain, normal breasts gallery, topfreedom, and more.

The Bump

This site has a lot of information and support for those breastfeeding or just wanting to learn more about it.


This website was developed to provide evidence-based information on breastfeeding, sleep and parenting.

The Bradley Method

The American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth has a near 90% rate of their students with unmedicated births. Through 12-week courses, you learn proper nutrition and exercise to keep yourself healthy and low risk. You also gain the knowledge to eliminate most of the fear that women usually have when entering childbirth. Find and instructor in your area or learn more about what they advocate. If you live in the East TN area contact me for more information.

Lisa Ross Birth & Women’s Center

East Tennessee’s only free standing baby friendly birth center. They offer a wealth of services for women from annual well-visits to water births. They also offer educational services for expectant and new mothers. Their site offers valuable resources and information.

Knoxville Home Birth Service

Lisa Coomer, Certified Professional Midwife, provides prenatal, home birth and postpartum services to families who desire to have a gentle and natural birthing experience. Serving the Knoxville, TN, and surrounding areas.


Tube Feeding with a Blenderized Diet of Whole Foods

Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With Special Needs

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how we parent despite and because of challenges thrown our way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


It won’t surprise most of you to know that breastmilk is the best first food for most babies. It is the perfect balance of fats, nutrients and immune builders for our newborn infants. Breastmilk is even more important for  NICU babies and infants with special needs. However the stress of dealing with the NICU and special needs can put a lot of stress on a mama. Adding to that stress the idea of using a breastpump every 2 hours, it can be overwhelming and exhausting, yet so vital.
When our middle daughter, Bella, was born we knew she was going to have some issues, but we didn’t know to what extent. After nearly two months in the NICU and hours of  speech therapy it became painfully obvious that she wasn’t going to be able to breastfeed.We had to deal with this fact and move on. Bella underwent surgery to have a g-tube. This is a simple tube that is inserted through an incision the abdomen. To feed Bella we attached a tube with a syringe filled with breastmilk to the little button in her tummy. I was diligent in using my breastpump and was able to feed her exclusively on breastmilk for the first year of her life.

Around that one year mark, we decided to look into supplemental foods to add to Bella’s diet. The doctors recommended Pediasure. I did a little more research and found that you could use whole foods in blended forms for g-tubes. Natural organic whole foods for my special needs daughter  made more sense to me.
I found a supportive group of parents on the Yahoo Group Blenderized Diet that were able to provide so much information. I contacted a holistic nutritionist and set up a meeting to discuss Bella’s dietary needs. Though she would not be covered by our insurance, she was well worth the money paid out of pocket.  I did have a dietician through our GI doctor, but they would only provide information in regards to calorie intake with formula. They did not support the idea of using whole foods in a blenderized form for g-tube patients. I was open in discussing this with my GI doctor but was surprised to learn he was not very informed on the topic and would just refer me to the dietician in the office. Some doctors feel that a whole foods blenderized diet can raise the risk for bacteria and infection, they are also concerned about food getting stuck in the tube. I felt these were small risks when compared with the benefits of a whole food diet.
I started slowly with a base of breastmilk. I kept a food journal and kept a regular schedule of what medications and supplements went with each feeding. I started by introducing 2 TBS of banana with 60cc’s of breastmilk, we then added foods like avocado, sweet potatoes. Our nutritionist recommended foods like beets, wheatgrass, apricots, quinoa, and goats milk. We used careful calculations figuring we needed 50 calories per pound with a goal of 650 calories per day. So each day started with me with my Vitamix calculating, measuring and storing her food for the day.  The Vitamix was an essential part of being successful with a blenderized diet. The food really must be broken down into a liquid form, not just any blender would do. When adding nuts, seeds and using fruits such as blackberries it was very important that there be no pieces that would clog the g-tube. To build Bella’s immune system we added supplements such as fish oil, colostrum, probiotics, and elderberry syrup. We always followed with water.
Since we were providing a nutrient rich blenderized diet using organic products were essential.
Later Bella was given a Zevex infinity pump for her feedings. This pump regulated the flow of the food. She had severe reflux and she needed to be fed very slowly. A large number of her feedings were given overnight. This pump was great. It made feeding Bella much more convenient and less time consuming. It worked well with the blenderized diet. I just needed to make sure it wasn’t too think and check on the consistency. The Zevex pump would be sure to beep and let me know if wasn’t pushing the food along properly.
I don’t believe a blenderized diet will work for every tube fed infant. It worked well for our family. Our daughter was gaining weight and growing well on the blenderized diet. It was not as convenient as pouring a bottle of formula into her tube would have been. So we constantly had coolers and ice packs with us. However having a child with any special need is never convenient. It’s more about making the best choices for your circumstances. Money is also an issue to consider. If you have to pay for your child’s G-tube formula it can be very expensive. However if your insurance pays for the formula, then choosing to feed organic, whole foods to your child is definitely more expensive.
I felt feeding Bella whole foods was really beneficial to her health. The life expectancy for a child with her disability of Walker-Warburg Syndrome is under one year of age. Bella lived for 16 months. Support is essential to be successful at feeding your special needs g-tube child a blenderized diet. Start with your doctors to get their viewpoint, then ask your dietician. If they lead nowhere, keep researching and find a dietician that will work with you and your family needs.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 13 with all the carnival links.)

Co-Sleeping with the Humanity Family Sleeper

Father’s Lib (at 2:00 a.m.)
 by Wally Bennett
Oh, how nice it would be,
If other dads could be like me.
While they’re up and bottles pouring,
I’m in bed soundly snoring!
-That is, of course, if there is room.
At 1 a.m. Baby pops in,
Then a toddler kicks me in the shin.
Mommy’s hanging off the edge,
Sister’s on the other ledge.
Poor dad can’t move or do a thing-
Except to buy a SUPER KING!

– taken from “The Family Bed” by Tine Thevenin


humanity-bed-baby  humanity-bed-baby-mother  co-sleeper-2


 I quickly discovered with our oldest daughter over 10 years ago, that co-sleeping is a Mama’s answer to a good night’s rest and continued successful breastfeeding.  It fosters attachment and promotes long-term security. Dr. Sarah Buckley, among others, believe the Humanity Family Sleeper is a product that can make co-sleeping even safer and easier, also calling it ‘one of the best investments a new parent can make.’
So what is the Humanity Family Sleeper? It’s an organic bed topper with an attached pillow which helps prevents roll offs or pushing your bed against the wall. We are going to discuss the use of the Humanity Organics family sleeper as an aid to successful bed sharing.
Let’s start with the body/maternity pillow feature. As a pregnant mom, you quickly learn your best friend for a good night’s rest is your body pillow.  The Humanity Organic family sleeper comes with a body pillow which is easy to unzip and separate from the generously sized pad. The pillow is made from an organic cotton sateen and filled with eco-friendly kapok, which is a natural tree fiber. The body pillow can be spot cleaned or the cover can be removed for easy cleaning in cold/warm water. Once the baby arrives the pillow is easily attached to the organic pad.  The pad measures 36 inches wide by 58 inches  long; which is a perfect size for mama and baby with no seams to irritate. The family sleeper is a high-quality bed top sleeper made of 4 layers of the finest organic cotton flannel.  There is no need to worry about waking up in a puddle of breast milk or worry about a leaking diaper. The absorbent organic pad will protect your mattress. It is machine washable (cold/warm water to prevent shrinkage) and can be hung to dry or dried on low heat.
Like mentioned in the poem above, if you sleep with more than one child the Humanity Family Sleeper can really be helpful. Simply place the baby on the side with the bolster pillow and the older child on the other side of mom. Many families have commented that the Humanity Family Sleeper is easy to travel with and they like the idea of having their familiar sleeping environment with them. This makes bedtime more relaxing when you’re away from home.  This pillow top sleeper has no toxic fumes and  is made in the USA.
As if waking up snuggled next to your wee one’s face wasn’t enough, now there is a way to make co-sleeping safer, comfortable and more convenient with the use of the Humanity Family Sleeper.

Thanks for reading a post in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival. On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the #CosleepCar hashtag.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Emotive Co-Sleeping Campaign – Miriam at Diary of an Unconscious Mother talks about her feelings on Milwaukee’s anti-cosleeping crusade and its latest advertising campaign.
  • Why Cosleeping has Always been the Right Choice for My Family – Patti at Jazzy Mama shares how lucky she feels to have the privilege of sleeping with her four children.
  • Cosleeping is a safe, natural and healthy solution parents need to feel good about. – See how Tilly at Silly Blatherings set up a side-car crib configuration to meet her and her families’ needs.
  • Black and White: Race and the Cosleeping Wars – Moorea at Mama Lady: Adventures in Queer Parenting points out the problem of race, class and health when addressing co-sleeping deaths and calls to action better sleep education and breastfeeding support in underprivileged communities.
  • Reflections on Cosleeping – Jenny at I’m a Full Time Mummy shares her thoughts on cosleeping and pictures of her cosleeping beauties.
  • Cosleeping and Transitioning to Own Bed – Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine shares her experiences in moving beyond the family bed.
  • What Works for One FamilyMomma Jorje shares why cosleeping is for her and why she feels it is the natural way to go. She also discusses the actual dangers and explores why it may not be for everyone.
  • Really High Beds, Co-Sleeping Safely, and the Humanity Family Sleeper – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives a quick view of Jennifer’s bed-sharing journey and highlights the Humanity Family Sleeper, something Jennifer could not imagine bed-sharing without.
  • Crying in Our Family Bed – With such a sweet newborn, why has adding Ailia to the family bed made Dionna at Code Name: Mama cry?
  • Dear Mama: – Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares a letter from the viewpoint of her youngest son about cosleeping.
  • Cuddle up, Buttercup! – Nada of The MiniMOMist and her husband Michael have enjoyed cosleeping with their daughter Naomi almost since birth. Nada shares why the phrase “Cuddle up, Buttercup!” has such special significance to her.
  • Co-Sleeping With A Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler – Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how co-sleeping calls us to trust our inner maternal wisdom and embrace the safety and comfort of the family bed.
  • Fear instead of Facts: An Opportunity Squandered in Milwaukee – Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses Milwaukee’s missed opportunity to educate on safe cosleeping.
  • Cosleeping: A Mini-rant and a Lovely Picture – Siobhan at Res Ipsa Loquitor discusses her conversion to cosleeping and rants a little bit about the Milwaukee Health Department anti-cosleeping campaign.
  • Our Cosleeping Story – Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares her cosleeping story and the many bonus side effects of bedsharing.
  • Cosleeping can be safe and rewarding Christy at Mommy Outnumbered shares how her cosleeping experiences have been good for her family.
  • Adding one more to the family bed Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the safety logistics of bed sharing with a new baby and a preschooler.
  • The Truth About Bedsharing – Dr. Sarah at Parenting Myths and Facts discusses the research into bedsharing and risk – and explains why it is so often misrepresented.
  • Cosleeping as a parenting survival tool – Melissa V. at Mothers of Change describes how she discovered cosleeping when her first baby was born. Melissa is the editor and a board member for the Canadian birth advocacy group, Mothers of Change.
  • Dear Delilah – Joella at Fine and Fair writes about her family bed and the process of finding the cosleeping arrangements that work best for her family.
  • CoSleeping ROCKS! – Melissa at White Noise talks about the evolution of cosleeping in her family.
  • Safe Sleep is a Choice – Tamara at Pea Wee Baby talks about safe sleep guidelines.
  • 3 Babies Later: The Evolution of our Family Bed – Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about how her family’s cosleeping arrangements evolved as her family grew.
  • Tender MomentsThe Accidental Natural Mama discusses tender cosleeping moments.
  • Cosleeping Experiences – Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure describes how she ended up co-sleeping with her daughter through necessity, despite having no knowledge of the risks involved and how to minimise them, and wishes more information were made available to help parents co-sleep safely.
  • The early days of bedsharing – Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her early memories of bedsharing with her then new born and gets excited as she plans including their new arrival into their sleeping arrangements.
  • The Joys of Cosleeping in Pictures – Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares pictures of some of her favorite cosleeping moments.
  • Symbiotic Sleep – Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children discusses how the symbiotic cosleeping relationship benefits not only children but also parents.
  • Co-sleeping Barriers: What’s Stopping You? – Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she was almost prevented from gaining the benefits of co-sleeping her family currently enjoys.
  • Co-Sleeping with the Family Humanity Sleeper – Erica at ChildOrganics shares a way to make co-sleeping safe, comfortable and more convenient. Check out her post featuring the Humanity Organic Family Sleeper.
  • Why We CosleepThat Mama Gretchen’s husband chimes in on why cosleeping is a benefit to their family.
  • Adding to the Family Bed – Darah at A Girl Named Gus writes about her co-sleeping journey and what happens when a second child comes along.

A big thank you to all of the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival participants!