April 17, 2014

Teachers are not the enemy of education reform

There is a very popular idea that teachers do not want their students to be successful. That educators are really at fault for what ails the failing education system. Additionally, there is the popular belief that those who have money have the answers. And finally, popular opinion is that newer, younger teachers are better than more experienced teachers who may or may not have tenure.

I am going to do something that I have refrained from doing on We of Hue. I am going to be blunt and direct. That is, I will sum up the above notions in one word:

Bullshit!

Because you see, I am a Teacher. An Educator. And a Parent, which encompasses both. I became a High School teacher through an alternative certification program and went back to the Bronx where I was raised to teach at Harry S Truman High School. While there, I had the pleasure of working with some amazing educators who are dedicated, exhausted, innovative, and frustrated. I have had the pleasure of dealing with some extremely compassionate administrators who, despite their personal ideologies, were forced to adhere to the guidelines put forth not by experienced educators, but by politicians who have never stepped foot in a classroom, yet alone a public school. Furthermore, I have had the spirit-crushing opportunity to meet with parents who were unwilling to actively participate in their child’s education in anyway. I have had my efforts to step outside the box and introduce new techniques of learning and teaching be hindered by the test-centered efforts of NCLB. I have been bogged down by administrative paperwork for five classes of 34 students each. I have taught students who had amazing potential but were forced to choose between being smart or fitting in- students who needed extra attention but had to compete with the extremely divided attention of their teacher. Students who needed more support and guidance than any school could possible provide as their home lives were not providing the support they needed outside the classroom.

The problem is not the teachers.

You, those of you who are so anti-educators, seem to think that the teachers have decision-making power in the schools or even in their classrooms. We do not. They do not. We are merely ship-hands on the Titanic sinking faster than ever imagined and as much as we beg for life-jackets and lifeboats we are given nothing.  And contrary to popular belief, it is not a part-time job for us. Most of us, the good teachers, bring it home with us and carry it around ALL THE TIME. It is our life’s-work. It is the only profession that requires that you have a masters and continually earn credits in order to make money. It is the only profession that requires you be skilled in a particular area and then fight to be called a professional….

Teachers are not the problem. You are.

You , the parent who believes that what you read and see on the news is the truth and the whole truth. You, the parent who believes that someone else is better at disciplining your child or advocating for your child simply because he started a company or has money. You the parent who thinks that because someone is finally paying attention to minorities that they have your best interest in mind. You the parent who spews words of hate at educators without actually knowing that for every bad teacher, there are 100 good ones who are never given attention in the news.

Some say that because the public system is not working it needs to be privatized. That charter schools (controlled by corporations and seem to succeed because they handpick the students who are more likely to succeed while denying access to those who need extra help like special education students), KIPP schools (whose philosophy that minority children need intensive discipline and structure that would never be accepted in white neighborhoods rather than addressing the societal ills that have contributed to the poor education available to minority students and whose students are actively enrolled by parents (which already says that those parents understand the importance of education and those children would probably succeed at any school)), and Bill Gates (whose Microsoft approach to education (repackage what others are saying and doing without actual long-term thought) turns success into a standard product instead of individually specific one that is based on one’s own ability)  and the Walmart Waltons are the only answer because money solves problems.

But let me ask you this: If the Waltons are truly concerned about the education and well-being of the working class, why do they continue to break the law by denying their employees basic human rights everywhere they operate? And does philanthropy negate Bill Gates’ very fascist corporatist beliefs (which may look good when taken at face value but is actually a method of controlling opposition and rewarding political loyalty by taking power away from the people and putting it in the hands of those who proclaim to know better) that do not align themselves with the betterment of the very population he claims to want to help? Why do we hesitate to question their agenda? Why do we follow blindly and then accuse those who don’t agree of supporting the status quo? And why is it that we forget those who are trying so desperately to prove that “poverty is not an excuse” are the very ones keeping people in poverty.

I don’t deny that accessibility is a problem in poor districts. But, providing equipment and materials is only one part of the problem. Increasing instructional time by 62% on average as done in the KIPP schools is only a minor fix. What is ruining education is that politicians are content to change the focus whenever their financial supporters come calling. The corporate push is why testing has become the backbone of NCLB. There is money to be made in the creation of these tests and in the materials that are used within the schools to prepare students for them. New York City changes tests so often that just when the teachers begin to understand how to revise their curriculum to meet one standard, they are forced to learn a new one. Let’s not forget another important fact of which I was reminded by a close friend, the NYC Chancellor of Schools creates the very regulations that bind teachers when it comes to discipline, requires that they teach to the test and force them to pass students who cannot read, then bashes those teachers/schools for failing, while allocating the monies given to help those failing schools to charter schools. And while public school teachers are struggling to find a way to affect positive change in the classroom with limited support regarding discipline, those charter schools are given the freedom to do just that!

Are you following, because THIS is the reality.

While many are content to put a band-aid on a gaping wound, there are people like Diane Ravitch (who was pushing for National  Standards before The Gates Foundation was even a thought) who believe that education reform must be a partnership between parents and teachers. Corporations and politics are not essential to providing children with a good education. It must be done through other means- and that is by creating a system the addresses societal failures- that incorporates more than just testing and nodding and chanting and pretty packages. Educating children must be a holistic approach in order to create free thinkers and not brand loyalty.

And this superficial blaming of teachers needs to end. Teachers want to teach. They want to educate students. It is not a field one enters into and stays in because he/she wants to make money.

We need to look to the nations that are surpassing the USA in education and realize that what matters in not quantity (extensive hours spent in the classroom) but the quality of what is being taught. We need to demand that our children receive a quality education by spending less time appeasing these egomaniacs who believe that they have the best answer. We need to revisit the old philosophies- before the indoctrination approach to education and before the Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.

In short, we need to cut the bullshit and get real!

And here are some links to help you do just that:

Kristina Daniele

Kristina Daniele

Kristina, Founder and Oz of We of Hue is one of many doing it across hues-homeschooling, wifing, mothering, and business building. She is a web designer and social media consultant with a love of building communities on line. She looks forward to intelligent conversation that is eye-opening and statement-making.

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Hate Bill Gates’ Plans for Education? Got a Better Idea?

About a week ago our illustrious founder, Kristina Daniele, posted an article by Huffington Post reporter Gary Stager entitled, “Who Elected Bill Gates?” Normally I would just read an article such as and go on about my day. But something about this piece got me a bit intrigued, especially with all the recent discussions about failing education in our country, so I decided to share my views here at We of Hue.

From the start Mr. Stager starts off on the wrong foot by categorizing Bill Gates as solely a “philanthropist” with nothing better to do with his time and money. That and he also believes Mr. Gates’ plans are “demonic” as he is also likened to Charlie Sheen as they both need an “intervention.” Let’s be frank, calling Bill Gates “just” a philanthropist is like calling Michael Jordan “just” a basketball player. Yes, if you want to nit-pick, in every sense of the word Bill Gates has been VERY philanthropic with his billions of dollars over the years. But have we forgotten that he is not one who inherited his money? If my memory serves me correctly (insert a large dose of sarcasm here), isn’t he  the man who kinda-sorta, maybe, a little bit, in a round-about sort of way revolutionized the ENTIRE WORLDWIDE COMPUTER AND SOFTWARE INDUSTRY WITH A LITTLE COMPANY CALLED MICROSOFT!!?  If there’s a person who we should listen to and who is probably capable of offering up a plan on how to best ensure our children eventually compete on a global scale it’s “philanthropist” Bill Gates. There aren’t many people in this world who have a good idea what type of workforce and leaders we will need in the coming years to keep our country competitive, while at the same time who have the $$$ to make those ideas come to life; one of those men is you guessed it, Bill Gates.

Love him or hate him (and truth be told, I’m a Mac guy), but the man puts his VERY large bank account where his mouth is in reference to education and many other causes such as AIDS research, agricultural development, and global health. From millions of dollars in scholarship money; to the KIPP Prep Academies in which he is a major contributor; to numerous speeches and presentations on the subject; to financing the movie “Waiting for Superman”, Mr. Gates seems to get it. We all know what needs to be done, but when you have billions to spend you can actually get it done. One thing money allows you to do is to cut through all the bureaucratic nonsense, do it yourself, and put forth an initiative YOU believe in regardless of what the status quo has to say about it. No need to go through mounds of paperwork and countless telephone calls to get something done. As a teacher, you have a good idea on how to teach a group of student’s physics? Go for it! You have a plan to get your students more involved in literature? Do it! It’s as if we have sucked the creativity from our teachers and refuse to let them do what they do best…TEACH! Mr. Gates fully understands it’s about getting back to educating and developing critical thinking skills and not just focusing on standardized test taking, which is what education has become in recent years. And don’t get me started on decaying schools, high dropout rates, the U.S. lagging behind many third world countries in math, science, and even English! Please, I’d jump on the chance to have my child in KIPP Prep! And don’t think I didn’t try! Just way too far away and., wait for it….there is a HUGE waiting list!

But what perplexes me to no end is why so many folks are afraid of change (I know, I know, probably because it’s change stupid, Duh!)? But seriously, I continue to hear the arguments on how privatization of education is so wrong. Is it really? I doubt that Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and members of the Walton Family (Wal-Mart) sit around a big table wringing their hands (insert evil laugh here) as they try to figure out the best way to dupe the public, while they take over the countries educational system and make money doing it.  I mean are there still some of you out there who believe that the “public” in public education still means anything?

Our public schools have been in the hands of “private” industry for years. If it’s not the multi-billion companies such as McGraw-Hill and Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt who determine what our children learn (or don’t learn) by selling text books by the bulk, it’s the way they “help” shape lessons plans as well as standardized testing at the state level in order to ensure it’s their company’s books that are used and not the competition. And less we forget companies such as Sysco who provide much of the most non nutritious, yet cheap food to our cafeterias. Our schools haven’t been “public”, or for that matter locally run for DECADES!  Think about it, when was the last time planning, funding, testing, or a major policy was decided SOLELY at the local level?

I’ll wait………(cue Jeopardy theme music)………………… EXACTLY! It doesn’t happen anymore!

Teachers and school districts across the nation are forced on a daily basis to be “reactive” instead of “proactive” due to the various cuts to their budgets. Instead of pushing the envelope and pushing their students to succeed they are busy trying to keep the ship from sinking. You CAN’T teach or educate in that type of environment! In my humble opinion, this is also one of the reasons that not only has the discussion for privatization risen in recent years, but so has the clamor for “non-traditional” methods of education. Charter schools, Montessori education, and yes, even homeschooling have all had a boon recently due to the fact that government officials and so-called education professionals have been trying to “fix” this system FOREVER and parents can’t afford to wait any longer. This is also why prep schools have been around for so long. People with “means” don’t worry about the public education debate because they send their children to prep schools; yep, just like the fictional Bel Air Academy on Fresh Prince. But all joking aside, one of the statements that troubled me from Mr. Stager is how he accused Mr. Gates of not sending his own children to the KIPP Academy’s because obviously they aren’t “good enough”.  Really? The man sets up some of the most technologically advanced and forward thinking schools in the nation (which by the way rival even some of the best prep schools in the country) and you want to kick a gift horse in the mouth!?!? These academies are the closest thing to a prep school that most regular everyday folks without “means” will see. I’m not going to get into unions, teacher tenure, etc… BUT by spending his billions to open his own schools, Mr. Gates can EASILY bypass much of the red tape drama that far too many school districts are drowning in. His money, his ideas, his way!

And just to take this discussion one step further, I’d like you to think about something for a moment. You know what doesn’t get talked about too much? It’s that the “establishment” is counting on a little thing called time. They have plenty of it, and we as parents do not. Our children continue to get older in a lackluster system because they know all too well that one day our children will be old enough and OUT of “public” education (K-12). Usually by the time many of our children have (hopefully) moved onto college we have lost the want, need, or desire to concern ourselves with how K-12 public education continues to decline. It’s as if, “Whew…I’m done, let the next group of parents deal with this nonsense!” Many of us are too tired, busy, stressed, and pulled every which way on Monday-Friday to focus on fighting the good fight, AND THEY ARE COUNTING ON THAT!

We all want what is best for our children, but let’s face it do any of us really have the means or the where-with-all to fight a system which has been playing this game since at least the 1950’s? NOPE! The status quo is counting on us not getting involved. One of the ways they achieve this is making it damn near impossible for us to find, or even enroll, our children in some of the best public schools in our own communities. And trust me I know of what it is I speak as I’m currently fighting the good fight with our local school district to get what I believe is best for my family. But In the end, they are counting on our eventual and continued APATHY to it all. If they put up enough stumbling blocks, sooner or later we will go away and they will continue to chug along.

Like Bill Gates? Hate Bill gates? Agree with him, don’t agree with him? But the facts are pretty clear if not for him, and others like him who are tired of the way our children are being educated we would not be having a serious discussion today on the future of education in America. Movies such as Waiting for Superman, The Lottery, etc… and program’s such as The Harlem Children’s Zone all have brought to light what many have been trying real hard to keep in the dark. I, for one, applaud the efforts of folks like Bill Gates and Gary Stager who are doing what they believe to be right on behalf of our children.

I think we all can agree that we want the best education for our children and that (for many) the education they are receiving is sub-standard at best. I also think we all can agree that some major changes need to be made, that none of the problems are going away anytime soon, and an open, honest dialogue where all views are respected is paramount. So if I were Mr. Stager, instead of insulting the man (I’m still trying to figure out the Charlie Sheen analogy) I’d get in line to see if I too could get a bit of the Gates Foundation money and find away to work together (yep, didn’t I mention that Mr. Stager has his own education based organization called The Constructivist Consortium!?). Because just like this problem, the money and clout of Bill Gates isn’t going away anytime soon either.

Just my two cents, what say you?

James Higgins

James Higgins

Nothing special about me at all, I'm a happily married, college educated (Go Bison!), stay-at-home father of two wonderful children. Just trying to keep myself, my wife, my children, and my cats sane as we navigate through this journey called family life.

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Don’t settle for the ADD/ADHD label

My oldest daughter gives me the most gray hairs.  At 17, I still have to manage her academically.

When she was in 8th grade her grades were horrible.  I was reteaching the material at home so she could do her homework.  She couldn’t remember things I had just taught her.  I emailed all her teachers to find out if she was paying attention in class; they all replied that she was!  They said she was a joy to have in class, organized and paid attention.  Why was she struggling for C’s and D’s then?  Why wasn’t she retaining what she was learning in a matter of an hour?

I started to probe school administration. I was concerned though about confidentiality, making sure she wasn’t just another brown girl to be quickly misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD. And frankly, I wanted to be sure the latest testing/measurement techniques were utilized.  Sue me, but the overall school system is broken and many employees are overworked and underpaid so my husband and I opted for private testing.  After a consult with her Pediatrician, we were referred to a Clinical Psychologist for a Psycho-Educational Evaluation.  The cost?  A little shy of $1000.  The results? Priceless.  After weeks of behavioral observation, review of school records and various testing we were called in to meet with the psychologist and received a 6 page Summary and Recommendation.

To sum it all up, she didn’t fit in the ADD/ADHD box.  She had habits that ruled her out to be diagnosed with having ADD/ADHD, but did indeed struggle with focusing and forgetfulness.  The doctor’s recommendation? A low dosage of stimulant medicines to be taken on school days only (pretty much what ADD/ADHD patients get but a much lower dosage) and the following classroom modifications: front of the class seating, additional individualized prompting from the teacher and extended test times.

I was concerned about the school administration following the recommendations in the report but the doctor explained to me that her written report is a legal document and they are bound by law to follow her recommendations.  Hallelujah!!  I scheduled a meeting with all her teachers, her guidance counselor and the school system’s psychologist.  We discussed the findings and I privately provided a copy to the school psychologist.  I did not share with them that she’s be on meds as I only shared what I felt was important – additional prompting, preferred seating and extended test time.  The teacher’s were not allowed a copy and the report was noted not to be copied.  I used to teach and I didn’t want her put into a “box” so I am a donkey’s butt about confidentiality in the school system.

She is now in 11th grade and she is a straight B student (even in math).  We’ve had to adjust her meds due to headaches as a side effect and up her dosage a little but now she is preparing to take the SAT and ACT.  She doesn’t like that fact that she has to take a prescribed medicine but I just keep reiterating the reasoning and necessity behind it.  It’s helping and the bottom line is in the results.  I can always tell when a few days have been missed because the grades drop and assignments are late. At first, it was very scary and emotional for me to come to terms with the fact that she has to take a stimulant to help her neurologically, but part of being a good mom is staring the issues in the face and trying to fix them the best we can.

I urge all my friends to not be easily swayed with the ADD/ADHD label. Ask plenty of questions and do your own research.  While many people cannot afford private care, take your insurance to the best doctor in town (I believe in the value of that).

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley

Pascha Dudley is a wife, mom, contract paralegal and freelance editor. She writes The Posh Blog, www.theposhblog.com and is a Social Influencer for an online retail forum. She resides in Suwanee, GA with her family.

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Guest Post: My son came home sad and skin color was to blame

by Kimberly Coleman of Mom in the City

My family moved from Harlem a year and a half ago when it was time for our oldest son Michael to attend Kindergarten.  There were several reasons that we wanted to move but one of the main reasons was that we couldn’t find a school that we felt great about.  For preschool, I traveled three hours a day (back and forth twice) to an excellent open Universal Pre-K program with a great racial mix of students.  That commute was crazy though, so we looked for a school closer to our Harlem home.  There was a great academic one, but I felt like the school was all about academics and that there wasn’t a lot of fun/creative outlets for the kids. (I’m a big fan of play for young kids!)

That left us with two school options – a charter school or travel hours each day to one of the city’s open zoned schools.  Pre-K made it obvious that a lengthy commute didn’t fit our family.  There were several great local charter schools, but they were all lottery based.  We weren’t willing to wait to see if our kid received a coveted spot, so we just moved to a neighborhood where all of the local schools were highly regarded.  That is how we ended up in Forest Hills (Queens).

For the most part, we have been happy with our choice.  Michael loves his school.  We love the education.  The only challenge (beyond the regular urban public school challenges) is that there is not a lot of racial diversity in the school – as in there are very few Black and Latinos.  As such, Michael was the only brown kid in his class last year.  For the most part, that was a non-issue, but there was one time in particular last year that color became an issue.

The incident occurred based on a lunch conversation.  Michael came home sad because one of his little White girl classmates was sharing her snack with everyone else…but him. (All of the kids shared with one another.)  “He can’t have any” she had said “because he is not White”.  Here’s the thing…at their age, I don’t really think that it was a race thing.  Rather, I think that it was a “difference” thing.  Kids at that age draw lines based on any apparent differences (freckles, red hair, etc.).  All I know is that it hurt my child’s feelings….and no mom likes to see her kid hurt unnecessarily!  The one good thing about that whole incident though is that I was able to see that Michael “got” that people are people.  He told his dad, “But I told her that we’re all the same underneath, right?” Most definitely.  Our family just had to accept the reality that there is no school setting in NYC (except maybe the UN school) that mirrors our family’s lifestyle.  We go to church and have social relationships with all races and ethnicities as well as all economic classes of folks.  After school life will just have to compensate.  Don’t get me wrong though…I’m definitely keeping a close eye on this issue.  I have no problem pulling my children out of a school if they are being harassed for being Black.  You better believe that!

On my blog, Mom in the City, I primarily write about the things that are common to all moms of young kids.  For the most part, I do believe that our lives and “likes” as moms are consistent across the board.  However, I do think that there are certain situations in our lives that arise which are very different.  This is one of those. 

How do you as a mom of color prepare your child for situations that may arise where they are singled out (in a negative way) simply because of the color of their skin?

Guest Authors

Guest Authors

We love publishing diverse articles from diverse men and women. If you have something to say and would like your voice heard on We of Hue, please head here to submit and article or here to inquire about joining our team of talented regular authors.

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Are educators failing our young black men?

For those of you that follow my personal blog, you know that on July 30, I welcomed my second son into the world. While I am honored, overjoyed, head-over-heels and feeling super charmed at being charged with the task of raising another young black male, I, ever the forward-thinking-worry-wart (so aptly named by my Mama), have also been somewhat filled with apprehension at the task.  Now, I have discussed my concerns before as they relate to pressures within our own community.  Recently, however, I came across a video on CNN revealing some startling new facts about black male performance in our national schools.

In the video, CNN correspondents revealed that the national graduate rate for black males is 47%.  Even more appalling, in my hometown of New York City, the graduation rate for black males is just 28%.  While I prepared to watch a video about biased standardized tests and socio-economic disadvantages, I was surprised when CNN Educational Correspondent and author, Steve Perry, pointed the finger directly at the prejudice of educators.  When asked specifically what he thought accounted for the discrepancy, Perry repeated “expectations, expectations, expectations.”  In sum, Perry noted that black males are more likely to be suspended as their behavior is often unfairly categorized as dangerous as opposed to mischievous –   due to educators reacting more adversely to black male behaviors than white children.  He noted that educators often expect our black boys to fail as opposed to expecting them to perform well.  Perry went on to discuss successful charter and private schools whose focus is more on the children as opposed to the educators.  As the Principal and Founder of Capital Preparatory Magnet School, he used his own school as an example of children-focused environments where changing expectations produced better results.

While I am generally skeptical of statistics, this one and the conversation that followed was particularly intriguing to me.  First, while I like to consider myself a true libertarian, I realized as a professional, I have found myself feeling somewhat insulated by own socio-economic status.  Frankly, I just assume graduating high school, college and so forth will not be an issue for my children.  Therefore, it was easy for me to point to socio-economic disadvantages as the root cause of underperformance in our communities.  However, taking a closer look at this conversation and how it has applied to my own upbringing has cast a very bright light on just how true Perry’s commentary is.  I recalled a recent conversation I had with my older brother about an experience he had in high school with a teacher who made him sit in the front of the classroom because he “looked” like he would be trouble.   Knowing my brother and knowing how he was raised, I can confidently say his only offense was being a 6’5” black man.  My brother and I laughed about it but I can tell the incident still left a bitter taste in his mouth and although he graduated, I wondered if the incident contributed to his decision not to pursue higher education.  I know my mother had high expectations of all of her children but were they overshadowed by the low expectations of the school system?  How do we even begin to call educators out on such an innate and institutionalized bias?  Is it even realistic to think that you can change an individual’s expectations of an entire race or is a total overhaul of the education system the only solution? What are your thoughts MOH?

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara Faith McCray

Tiara is native of New York City and reluctant resident of the DC Metro Area. She is a writer in her heart but a lawyer by profession. She is a wife and also a mom to two boys. She is a self proclaimed and self loving oddball. She is determined to find both spirituality and happiness and like any true totalitarian matriarch, impose both on her family. She is wise enough to know that this may not happen simultaneously.

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The case for adoptive breastfeeding

August 1 – 7 is World Breastfeeding Week. Breastfeeding is a topic close to my heart. Another topic that is close to my heart is adoption. In light of World Breastfeeding Week, I share with you an article I wrote last year that highlights both the importance of breastfeeding and adoption.

A few months back I was visiting a friend at her home. At the time, she and her husband had been anxiously waiting for the day they could bring home their adopted son. Over sips of tea and freshly made bread, we discussed her plans to bring home her adopted newborn boy. Excitedly, she shared about the cloth diapers that she had made and we laughed and talked about how her first handmade diaper had been a disaster.

After a while of chatting about diapers, I switched the subject to breastfeeding. I asked her how her relactation efforts where coming along. Her face lightened up as she said that she was able to pump and store 3 oz of milk the day before. I could tell that she couldn’t wait to have her adopted son in her arms, while she nursed him at her breast.

The idea of breastfeeding an adopted child is quite foreign to most adoptive parents. Some parents are aware of milk banks, facilities that process and store breast milk that can be acquire through a doctor’s prescription. I even remember as a child a family in my neighborhood bottle feeding breast milk to their adopted baby. I have vivid memories of coming over to their home and witnessing women from our community expressing milk that would be stored for feeding the baby later on.

Barbara Wilson-Clay states in her article, Induced Lactation, throughout history infants have been nursed by surrogate mothers. Wilson-Clay goes on to say that in the event that no already-nursing mother was available, anthropological reports from several different continents describe efforts by a non-lactating woman to induce lactation by putting the baby to her breast. These surrogate mothers, also known as “wet nurses” would nurse another mother’s child the same way a biological mother nurses her own child.

Adoptive breastfeeding takes feeding an adopted baby to a very personal and unique perspective in that it helps to develop a physical and emotional bond between mother and child. According to Adoption.com, more and more frequently mothers planning on infant adoption are considering this option as a way to promote attachment.

Adoptive breastfeeding can happen through thorough planning and preparation. One of the most important steps a mother can take to ready herself to nurse her adopted child is to educate herself about it. Although, there isn’t a lot of written information about adoptive nursing, through research you can find information coming directly from the experiences of mothers who have breastfeed their adopted children. This is invaluable information because it gives a firsthand account of what the process is like.

Many mothers discount adoptive breastfeeding because they feel if they aren’t currently breastfeeding it will be impossible to stimulate a supply of milk. Furthermore, mothers who have never breastfed are often concerned that they will not be able to produce milk. Whether you were an experienced nursing mother or you are contemplating breastfeeding for the first time, you can re-lactate or induce lactation. A woman’s body is uniquely created in a way that if she stimulates her breast she has a good chance of getting them to produce milk. Stimulation can be done through breast massages, nipple manipulation and sucking. Sucking can either be directly from the adopted baby or from pumping devises.

The amount of milk that each woman is able to produce varies from woman to woman. Predicting the volume of milk is very difficult. However, for a normal healthy woman she should be able to produce some degree of milk. Some women consider galactagogues which are substances used to increase milk supply. Some common forms of galactagogues are herbs and prescription medications. While there are no guarantees that a women will be to produce a large enough supply of milk to feed her baby through her breast alone, the more often that she nurses her child the higher her chances are of increasing her supply.

There are instances when no matter what steps a mother takes to increase her production of milk, she is not able to do so. In this situation a mother may want to try an alternative feeding method. One such method is the nursing supplementer. This devise is a container that holds expressed (or formula) milk that hangs from a cord around the mother’s neck. The container sits between the mother’s breasts and a thin tube that leads down from the contain, is taped to one of the mother’s breasts and extends slightly past the nipple into the baby’s mouth. Kellymom.com mentions that if your baby is latching on well, a nursing supplementer can be a big help in that it encourages the baby to nurse at a mother’s breast by giving him a constant flow of milk. The baby’s sucking action will further stimulate the mother’s breast and this could increase her supply.

In conclusion, if you are interested in adoptive breastfeeding you may want to contact La Leche League, a great resource for information regarding breastfeeding.

Previously posted on Quiskaeya.com

Ana Gazawi

Ana Gazawi

Single mom of two boys trying to live a greenier, crunchier life. Lover of life and all things that bring good people, great conversation, and lasting memories together.

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