Amy's Corner. our lactation consultant answers your questions about nursing.

The Science behind the Terrible Twos and How to Navigate the Terrible Twos

toddler_temper_twosWhether you’re there already or looking ahead at your future, there are big changes that occur around the time your baby turns two.  This transitional period is marked by greater physical capabilities, a broader understanding of language and ability to communicate, and the emotional evolution that comes with asserting independence while still craving nurture.  With these huge psychological shifts, tantrums, dangerous curiosity and other forms of misbehavior may arise, hence the name “Terrible Twos.”

The good news about the Terrible Twos is that it’s only a stage and, with understanding, proactive and compassionate parenting, you can navigate the terrible twos with minimal struggle.   Although every child is different and reacts individually to his particular environment and feelings, today we’re explaining the science behind the Terrible Twos to help ameliorate some of the negative effects on you, your toddler and your family.

Much like puberty, the transitional period around two-years-old is about physical, emotional, neurological and psychological changes.  It’s a period of self discovery and independence when your child’s true personality is likely to emerge.  As your toddler becomes more mobile, she’ll be able to make choices about where she wants to go and what she wants to do, much to the chagrin of parents.  This gives her the opportunity to get into things she shouldn’t and wreak havoc anywhere you go.  That can be a frustrating situation for both of you, since she will surely need to be deterred and your anxiety will elevate.

Additionally, your little one will be able to understand much more of what you’re saying and even communicate back to you.  With more words, comes more freedom to express personal thoughts and desires, many of which may conflict with your own.  While having words should make things easier to communicate with your child, they sometimes cause you to butt heads.  And your child is now all-too-aware that she is her own being and she can make choices in the world, aside from you.  Although she may appear pleased as can be that she’s marching to the beat of her own drum and testing her limits, her independence and freedom often causes an internal struggle as she still longs for a parents’ nurture, affection and direction.

When all of these transitions come to a head at the same time, major frustration can occur for both children and their parents.  The most important thing to remember is to stay calm.  Your child will feed off of your reaction and your behavior, and ultimately this is the response she will learn when faced with an adverse situation.  If your child is not in a position to be reasonable, comfort her without addressing the issue first and also ensure she is safe.  Once she has calmed down, use positive discipline methods to help you discuss what happened.  Try to boil down the feelings involved in the situation since that is ultimately what tantrums are about.  And once you understand the feelings and triggers, you can better navigate away from them in the future.  This is truly a learning opportunity for both of you.

Redirection, humor and compassion are all terrific ways to navigate the terrible twos.  Sometimes all it takes is distraction and a goofy attitude to snap your little pal out of that bad mood.  Most of the time, tantrums are short-lived and forgotten when the stressor passes.

The science behind terrible twos tells us that they are very normal and an important part of developing a healthy psyche.  It’s the way we as parents handle them that can make all the difference.

The Healing Powers of Breast Milk

If you thought breast milk is only for babies, you’ve got a lot to learn about the healing powers of breast milk.

Breast milk may be the most powerful natural substance on the planet.  The incredible benefits of breast milk for babies and mothers begin at birth and extend throughout a lifetime.  Breast milk is, of course, the most nourishing and beneficial nutrients for babies.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants are given breast milk for at least one year of life and recognizes the benefits of prolonged breastfeeding too.

fridge-breast-milkBreast milk is so phenomenal because it offers a range of hundreds of nutrients including amazing antibodies that help protect babies from illness and disease immediately and for their whole lives.  These antibodies have powerful healing properties that prevent and treat infection and inflammation.  That’s why breast milk is quickly becoming popular beyond its initial use of nourishing babies.  The healing powers of breast milk make it an extraordinary remedy for many minor health problems for children and adults.

Today we’re sharing some of the exceptional uses of breast milk other than feeding your baby.  Fresh or frozen breast milk will work beautifully.  Try rubbing breast milk on affected areas several times daily for great results.

Baby Rashes and Skin Conditions:  Babies sensitive skin is more susceptible to rashes and outbreaks but breast milk can help heal these skin issues.  Diaper rash caused by yeast, baby acne and eczema, dry skin on a baby’s head called cradle cap, circumcision wounds and heat rash can all be remedied with breast milk.

Cuts and Bites:  Scrapes, scratches and cuts can benefit from the antibacterial properties of breast milk.  Breast milk helps these skin lacerations heal faster and with less risk of infection.  Additionally, breast milk is terrific for easing soreness and redness from mosquito and other insect bites as well as bee and wasp stings.

Eye Infections and other Eye Issues:  Breast milk can be combined with liquid eye drops to help clear up conjunctivitis or pink eye.  The antibodies help fight these and other viral eye infections.  Babies tend to get clogged tear ducts as their eyes are still very immature during infancy.  Breast milk can help open ducts.  Here’s another interesting use for eyes:  add breast milk to your contact solution to moisturize and cleanse your lenses.

Dry and Cracked Skin:  Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and general dry skin can improve with the ultimate natural nourishing moisturizer, breast milk.   In winter months when skin and lips are dry, cracked and flakey, apply breast milk for faster repair.  Also, breast milk is excellent (and very convenient) for healing cracked, sore nipples after feedings.

Ear Infections:  Ear infections are all too common in infants and toddlers.  Breastfeeding is a proven way to reduce risk of ear infections, yet they are still very common in infants and toddlers. Applying 3 to 5 drops of breast milk to the entrance of the ear canal can help resolve ear infections in children and adults.

Burns and Itchiness:  As an anti-inflammatory, breast milk can relieve pain and swelling from burns, sunburns and other skin irritations.  Cold breast milk is the best way to soothe both red and inflamed skin so use chilled or frozen milk for burns.  Also keep breast milk in mind for reducing irritation from chicken pox.

Congestion:  In children and adults, breast milk can help clear nasal passages.  Squirt a few drops in each nostril to reduce sinus congestion.  This is a much better alternative than many medications that have a range of side effects.

Glowing Skin:  Under-eye bags, acne, fine lines and age spots don’t necessarily require expensive creams and serums.  Try all-natural breast milk as Mother Nature’s best formula for beautiful, youthful skin.  Also, use it as a daily cleanser by applying it all over the face and then washing it off just like soap.

Sore Throats:  Breastfeeding can help soothe a sore throat in a baby or toddler.  In adults, gargling breast milk and allowing it to coat the throat can assisting in relieving a tender, raw sore throat.

Next time you are in need of a natural remedy, think about the incredible healing powers of breast milk!

Healthy Snack Tricks for Kids

Your mom may have told you not to play with your food but we believe in the exact opposite.  Getting your kids to eat a healthy diet may be a challenge, in part due to the abundant availability of many unhealthy snack foods.  We’re here to help you overcome this snack-time problem with healthy snack tricks that will make your kids want to eat their fruits and veggies.

Shape it Up:  Some fruits and veggies lend themselves to certain shapes:    Strawberries make lovely hearts; Cantaloupe slices are natural smiles; Star fruit look like stars, of course.  You can also cut out shapes using small cookie cutters.  Squash and zucchini slices are much more edible in fun shapes.  Apples make a wonderful pallet for carving shapes as well.

Funny-food-Art-FaceMake Funny Faces:  Who can resist an edible funny face?  The possibilities are endless.  Grapes for eyes, a carrot nose, a banana mouth, green beans hair.  Let your little one help you create a super silly face and watch her devour her healthy snack afterwards.

Do the Dipty Dip:  Dipping foods always make them more fun to eat.  Hummus, tomato sauces or a low-fat ranch dressing are all wonderful dipping choices for celery, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli.  The added flavor may also make raw veggies more appetizing.

Smoothie it Out:  Smoothies are a great way to pack in some healthy ingredients for kids (and adults).  Use a yogurt or milk base to make it smooth and creamy.  Let your children help you make smoothies and pick their colors by selecting the fruits and veggies to add.  Try a “gross green” with green grapes, spinach and kiwi fruit.  How about “outrageous orange” using oranges, carrots and orange tomatoes.  Or go for “perfect pink” with strawberries, raspberries and watermelon.

rainbow skewersTaste the Rainbow:  Make snacks that include every color of the rainbow.  When you’re feeling especially crafty, put them in rainbow color order and shape them into a rainbow arch.  Or, select a color of the day and focus on fresh foods of that color.  This will teach your kids an appreciation for a variety of fruits and vegetables while also learning their colors.

Stick ‘em Up:  There is something about putting food on a stick that makes it so much more appealing.  Using toothpicks, make small fruit or veggie skewers.  You can add cheese for protein as well.

Spell it Out:  Spell your child’s name with fruits and veggies.  This works especially well with smaller foods such as peas, blueberries, edemame and beans.  Your little one will love seeing her name and it’s more likely she’ll want to snack on it too.

So go on, play with your food and encourage your kids to do the same!

Thumb Sucking: Why Kids do it and How to Gradually Wean Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is quite an adorable habit for babies and young toddlers.  And beyond looking cute, sucking is one of the first and most basic instincts of human babies.  That’s how babies know to suckle from their mother’s breast during breastfeeding.  It’s a natural reflex that cannot be stopped.  But some babies have a more intense desire to suck than others, which is where thumb sucking comes into play.

Some babies begin sucking their thumbs as early as in the womb.  Parents are often surprised to see ultrasound images of their babies sucking away before birth.  Not surprisingly, those babies are more likely to be thumb suckers a few months later when they are on the other side of the womb.

 

The Upside to Thumb Sucking

Contrary to what many parents believe, thumb sucking is not a psychological problem.  Rather, it’s a way for children to comfort themselves by using their innate suck reflex.  Thumb sucking is actually a wonderful method of self soothing that many parents value.  It’s a sign of maturity that a baby can pacify himself with a thumb that will always be available.  As children grow older, they may use thumb sucking as a form of comfort when they feel uneasy about a situation, are tired or feel ill.  The familiarity and reassurance of his own thumb can help him get through tough situations without crying or displaying other undesirable behavior.

The Downside of Thumb Sucking

Dentists are not a fan of thumb sucking because vigorous sucking can push teeth out creating misalignment.  However, thumb sucking up to age 2 will probably not cause that problem and thumb sucking before permanent teeth appear (around age 6) will usually not create lasting issues.  Kids who suck their thumbs often can suck their thumbs raw and form sores sometimes resulting in infections.  Also, it can be problematic if thumb sucking prevents a child from participating in activities or speaking.  Older thumb suckers sometimes run into issues when peers make fun of their thumb habit.

How to Handle Thumb Sucking

Most kids grow out of thumb sucking between the ages of 2 and 4.  Experts agree that the very best method is to let your child gradually wean himself from thumb sucking.  Nagging your child to stop or putting a deterrent on his thumb will usually backfire and is an unfair punishment to a very natural, comforting habit.  Because there are not severe repercussions in early childhood, try not to worry and wait until your child is ready to give up the thumb.  He will likely reach the conclusion on his own.

If thumb sucking is causing dental or behavioral issues and you need to intervene, try these tactics:

  • Keep your child’s hands busy so he doesn’t have the opportunity to suck.
  • Offer comfort in other ways, such as singing to him, rocking or giving him a massage.
  • Suggest an alternative habit, such as sitting on hands or pinching fingers together.
  • Create a relaxing environment that won’t prompt the need for self-comforting.
  • Show your child how thumb sucking is affecting his teeth.
  • Help your child identify when he’s sucking by using a silly catch-phrase that will make him laugh and release the thumb.
  • Set a reward for the eventual end to thumb sucking.

It’s highly unlikely that your child will leave for college still sucking his thumb.  Be patient, understand the reasons behind thumb sucking and employ techniques to wean when the timing is right.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas that Remind You of Mother’s Day

Dads deserve a special day designated to celebrate them as fathers and dudes.  Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to shower dad with love and gratitude, while giving him some much-needed relaxation too.  In fact, much of what dads could use on Father’s Day reminds us a lot of what moms often get on Mother’s Day.

Today we’re sharing Father’s Day gift ideas that remind you of Mother’s Day…but with a manly twist.  Check these out for inspiration when selecting the perfect gift for the dads in your life:

bambooFlowers:  Real men can appreciate a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  While you may not select pinks roses for your guy, you can certainly create a vibrant and masculine bouquet using bold colors and the right flower choices.  Use a base of thick green leaves of twigs rather than baby’s breath or other more delicate stems.  Alternatively, potted cactus plants, bamboo or bonsai trees are a masculine take on the traditional floral bouquet.

Spa Pampering:  Guys can use some pampering too.  Book a deep tissue massage, luxurious facial and shave experience, or a foot massage for dad for some much needed relaxation on his special day.  He’ll surely appreciate the time to himself and feel refreshed and ready for the rest of his celebratory day.

Homemade Gifts:  Just like moms, dads love getting homemade cards and gifts from their kids.  Work with your children to make Father’s Day cards, paint pottery or make a special craft that dad can display.  This interactive experience for your kids will be fun and give them a sense of pride in giving dad something beautiful they have created from the heart.

courtesy of takepart.comBreakfast in Bed:  Usually designated for moms, breakfast in bed is a terrific treat for dad on Father’s Day.  Let dad sleep in while you and the kids whip up his favorite breakfast.  Make it fun for everyone by decorating the meal for dad.  If you’re making pancakes, cut out a big “D” for dad or make a silly face on his waffle using fruit for the facial features.  When it’s ready, everyone can hop in bed with dad to watch him enjoy the feast.

Framed Photos:  Proud dads love showing off their adorable kids and beautiful family.  Frame a few of your family’s best photos for him to display in his office or on his bedside table.  This will bring smiles to his face time and time again.

Grooming Products:  Sweet-smelling lotions, perfumes and glam products are usually associated with gifts for mom, but masculine grooming products make a great gift for dad too.  Look for a kit of products that you think the dad in your life will enjoy that may include body lotion, shave gel, cologne and hair gel.

Date Night with Mom:  Wine and dine your guy just like you’d like to be treated.  Plan a special date night as a gift from mom to dad.  He’ll certainly enjoy the adult time and it will give you time to reconnect as a couple.  After all, isn’t that how he become a father in the first place?

We hope these Father’s Day gift ideas will satisfy all the dads on your list.  Remember, dads want many of the same things as moms so when in doubt, think about what you would want.  Just add a manly spin and he’ll be thrilled on his big day.

6 Positive Discipline Tactics that Really Work

positive discipline_courtesy of thrivetofive.orgWhile there are many parenting styles that work for different families, most parents agree that some discipline is necessary to teach children right from wrong.  Starting in infancy, parents can engage in positive discipline to set their kids on the right path to good behavior.

Today we have six positive discipline tactics that really work.  Next time you’re in a behavioral pickle, try one of these to turn the situation around and get everyone back on track.

Solicit Their Help:  Kids do love to be helpful; it’s part of their tiny human nature.  Appeal to this natural instinct to help by putting some responsibility on them.  If you present the disciplinary issue as a problem they can help resolve, they may be more inclined to do the right thing.  They will feel proud and accomplished by helping you out and you’ll get your kids to actually listen.  Also, make helping fun by crafting a game out of it as a diversion.  If your kids never want to pick up toys, set a timer and see if they can complete the clean-up before the buzzer goes off.  If you need 10 minutes of quiet time for an important phone call or to relieve a pounding headache, set up a quiet activity and play the whisper game. You’ll be amazed at how much fun your kids will have helping you while correcting their behavior all at the same time.

Praise During “Time-Ins”:  Positive discipline starts by praising good behavior.  So if you employ “Time Out” in your house (or even if you don’t), you also need to praise during “Time In.”  This begins during infancy and it’s pretty innate.  It’s natural to encourage your baby to do good things and praise when he does, such as rolling over, crawling or saying a first word.  Practice this same positive discipline tactic to encourage your child when he does something right.  Sharing, cleaning-up, listening to directions and using manners are all wonderful times to offer praise.  This helps children learn which behaviors you value and develops a sense of pride in himself.  He’ll be more likely to want to continue being good because he’ll want your praise.

Fill a Bucket:  The Bucket Fillers program is a terrific way to teach babies, toddler and preschoolers positive discipline.  The philosophy is that everyone carries an invisible bucket that can be filled when someone does something nice for us or we do something nice for others.  But when someone does something mean or we act inappropriately, our bucket is dipped.  Bucket fillers have good behavior and bucket dippers do not.  It’s that simple.  You can talk about this concept in a way that your child can visualize and there is a series of books that can also help further explain it.  Introduce the concept early so even your baby will grow up learning to be a bucket filler.

Every Problem Has a Solution:  This is a great life-lesson that helps develop problem-solving skills.  Everyone will face challenges on a daily basis but the key in life is learning how to solve them quickly and effectively on your own.  In infancy your baby may want to get into things that he shouldn’t. Rather than being exasperated and saying “NO” all the time, be more solution oriented by explaining that your things aren’t toys but there are plenty of things around you that are.  Exchange your belonging with a fun toy to show him how it’s done.  For toddlers who are throwing a tantrum because something has not gone their way, wait for a moment of calmness and discuss a solution.  When you teach your kids that every problem has a solution, gradually they will not resort to tears when life throws them lemons and eventually work with you and independently to make lemonade.

Let Kids Set Consequences:  It’s pretty hard for kids to argue with punishments when they select the consequence themselves.  Of course they’ll need a little guidance from you to make sure getting an ice cream party isn’t their idea of a consequence.  Once you set the framework, hold your kids responsible for their actions and enforce the consequence they selected if they don’t behave.  It’s important to learn that there are repercussions to bad behavior.  But this engaging form of discipline gives your child more power and elicits better results.

Energy Drain Theory:  In happy homes, kids really do want to be around their parents for the most part.  And they also cherish your ability to do fun things with them.  Reframe bad behavior as a “you issue” and explain that you only have so much energy and it can be eaten up by their misbehavior.  For example, if your kids are fighting or being too loud in the house, tell them that it’s draining your energy and you won’t be able to take them to do something fun later if you don’t have any energy left.  What you’re really saying is if you don’t behave you don’t get what you want.  But changing the terms often helps kids wrap their heads around the concept better.

Positive discipline proves to be an effective way to healthy, cooperative, well-behaved children.  Use these tactics to elicit effective results throughout your child’s early years.

Siblings and New Baby: Fostering Good Sibling Relationships with a Baby

Bringing home a baby can be a shock to your entire family and older siblings may not welcome this new addition.  When attention is diverted away from older children, they may blame the new baby for taking mommy and daddy away.  Even the most patient, nurturing and sharing children may revert to misbehavior with a new baby in the mix.  But siblings are forever and teaching your older kids that you’re all growing together is an essential part of developing a sibling bond.

Fostering good sibling relationships is important and should begin even before the baby is born.  During pregnancy involve your older children and talk at length about what to expect with a new baby in the house.  Let older children help you prepare the nursery, listen to the baby’s heartbeat and feel the baby kicking inside you.  Explain how the baby is growing inside you and how it will be born in appropriate terms for your child’s age.  There are many books that can help with these explanations and encourage excitement and anticipation for the new, proud big brother or sister.  Also, talk about when your older kids were babies and show them pictures of themselves.

Once the new baby arrives, allow older siblings to visit the hospital as soon as it is safe for everyone.  Being part of this major family experience from the beginning will help establish as sense of pride and ownership in the new baby.  Many older siblings want to help care for the baby.  While it may take more time and make a bit of a mess, do allow older children to participate in diaper changes, tummy time, rocking the baby and other nurturing and infant care activities.  These moments are when bonding can truly begin.  Give your older children responsibilities that make them feel useful and involved.  When it is not possible to allow siblings to help, such as during breastfeeding, make sure you have fun activities for them to do so they don’t dread the lack of attention.

boyandbaby-300x199Additionally, try to maintain as normal of a routine for your older kids as possible.  For the first few days this may be difficult but once you settle in at home with your baby, send your older kids back to school or daycare if that is what they typically do.  Maintain regular meal times and bedtimes and be consistent with schedules and routines.  This will help siblings feel secure and comforted that their lives haven’t been destroyed by their new baby, and mommy and daddy still very much care about their happiness and wellbeing.

Try to set aside one-on-one time with older siblings with each parent to ensure they feel your love and attention.  Accept help from friends and family to spend time with siblings as well and make sure they talk about other things than just the baby.

Some older siblings are uninterested in the new baby in their home.  That’s OK too and nothing you should worry about.  They will get used to the new addition in time and show more interest when the baby is more responsive.

It’s also completely normal for older children to act out when they are struggling to express their feelings during this adjustment period.  Tantrums, accidents and baby talk are all ways older siblings may show they are feeling sad or neglected.  Encourage them to talk about their feelings and address them directly.  Never be dismissive.  Don’t let up on the rules of your home but do understand why misbehavior may occur.  Use this opportunity to talk to your older kids and spend more time with them if that is what they are craving.

As your baby becomes more alert, older children will have more opportunities to interact.  Reading to a new baby brother or sister, making silly faces to make the baby smile or cuddling with her before bedtime are great bonding activities when your kids are old enough.  Fostering sibling relationships with baby will be a process and not one without challenges.  But the joys of your family’s relationships will far outweigh these struggles and will last for a lifetime.

What is Dry Drowning and How to Avoid It

Water safety is an especially important topic during spring and summer months when everyone enjoys swimming.  Drowning is usually a parent’s primary concern when their children are around water, however dry drowning can occur up to 24 hours after your child has been swimming.  It’s a scary thought and unfortunately one that catches many parents by surprise.

Dry drowning occurs when water is inhaled into the lungs and causes the vocal chords to spasm.  This doesn’t happen during a swim session, but rather hours after a child has been in the pool, ocean, lake or bathtub.  Dry drowning has nothing to do with heat, asthma or other outdoor conditions.  It is referred to as “dry” because it happens outside of the water.  Secondary drowning is similar but the child breathes in fluid and the vocal chords close air passages before water can reach the lungs.

babyswimMany parents are less vigilant of their children after a swim session because the immediate concern of drowning in a body of water is alleviated.  However, parents should keep an eye on their children well after swim time is over to ensure they aren’t presenting symptoms of dry drowning.  These symptoms include trouble breathing, coughing, vomiting, exhaustion or other unusual behavior for your child.  Dry drowning often occurs while a child is asleep because water in the lungs causes children to vomit and then choke in a lying position.

If you suspect your child has swallowed a lot of water while at the pool or beach, ask a lifeguard for help as they can perform preliminary measures to reduce fluid build-up in the lungs.  Next you should go to the emergency room where they can x-ray your child’s lungs to see how much fluid is present and monitor your tot for signs of dry drowning.

However, most of the time parents are unaware that their kids have swallowed enough water to cause dry drowning.  It can happen accidentally to even the best swimmers.  And kids who are not very strong in the water may unintentionally swallow water as they are gasping for air or coming up for a breath.  Watching your child during and after swimming is essential and taking breaks during swim time helps avoid inhaling water from over-exertion.

As with other drowning concerns, parents should practice water safety guidelines.  Kids should always be supervised by an adult while swimming.  Pools should be fenced and gated to avoid children straying into the area without supervision.  Kids age four and older should have swim lessons and parents should be skilled in CPR in case of an emergency.  Everyone in your family should wear a life jacket while boating.

Dry drowning and secondary drowning can occur to adults too but these conditions are more likely in children whose air passages are much smaller.  Also, babies, toddlers and young children are usually not strong swimmers and are more likely to inhale water.  Don’t let your daredevil, water-fearless child fool you.  Even children who act like fish can dry drown.

Play it safe this spring and summer while swimming and afterwards.  Know the signs of dry drowning and act quickly if you have concerns.

The Importance of Establishing a Bedtime Routine for your Baby

Establishing a bedtime routine for your baby is one of the best ways to soothe your baby into independent sleep while also spending some quality time together as a family.  Believe it or not, babies enjoy routines because it offers consistency and predictability in a vast world of unknowns.  While they may not understand the pattern at first, they will come to realize that, with a bedtime routine, the end of the day is time to wind down, cuddle and drift off to sleep.

bedtime routine_courtesy of parents.comHere’s another benefit:  bedtime routines help babies learn better sleep and personal hygiene habits.  With a bath or a quick face & hand wash, a quiet activity such as a game, song or book, and some snuggly time with mom and dad, you are teaching your baby the value of keeping her body clean and calming her body before sleep.  When your child is older and more independent, you’ll be thrilled that she understands these healthy habits.

Now that you know the importance of establishing a bedtime routine for your baby, let’s chat about how to do it.  You have lots of options for your bedtime routine so you should find a few activities that suit your baby’s interests and work for your family.  Bedtime routines can be as short at 5 minutes or last longer if it is helpful to your child.  No matter where you begin your bedtime routine, always end it in your child’s room so she accepts it as a blissful place for peaceful sleep.

One great way to start a bedtime routine is by first doing something a little more active.  Kids need to relieve stress just like adults.  Allow your little one to release some built up tension and energy by doing some tummy time, silly dances, bouncing her around the room or having a crawling race.  Once your activity is done, follow-up with something calmer, such as a quiet “thinking” game or a bedtime story.

Many parents incorporate a bath into their bedtime routine.  On top of getting your little tot clean, baths can be soothing and calming to children.  Warm water, sweet soapy smells and a little splishy-splashy time can help your baby wind down for the evening.  After bath time, a nice baby massage with an all-natural lotion or baby oil can further soothe your baby while also giving her comforting feelings of love and affection from your touch.

Make sure your bedtime routine includes taking care of all of your baby’s needs so she feels safe, secure and comfortable.  This includes changing her into a fresh diaper and clean pajamas, turning on sound machines and nightlights that your baby may like, setting the temperature appropriately and brushing her teeth.  Brushing is an essential bedtime habit that you should start early.  If your baby doesn’t have teeth, you can brush her gums to get used to the nightly ritual.  Also, breastfeeding your baby is a terrific nourishing and nurturing bedtime activity that will satisfy her tummy and her heart.

Additional elements of your bedtime routine may include singing, talking and saying goodnight.  Holding your baby close to feel your vocal vibrations as you sing is especially calming.  You can also talk to your baby about what she did that day and what you’ve got planned for the next day.  Even if she doesn’t understand your words, hearing them is important to her development.  Saying goodnight to special things around your house is also great before bedtime. After all, teddy bears, dressers and fans could use your goodnight wishes too.

Establishing a bedtime routine will help your baby understand, accept and enjoy bedtime.  The rituals you initiate now will probably stick around for years to come so soak up these tender moments and help your baby develop wonderful habits for the future.

The 5 Best Things to Eat and Drink while Breastfeeding

fish and pregnancy“Eating for two” is a cutesy thing people used to say about pregnant women, but it is actually more appropriate for breastfeeding moms.  Everything a new mom eats or drinks is passed along to her baby through breast milk.  As new moms know, the health benefits of breast milk are astounding for your baby’s growth and development in every way, from her brain and blood, to her muscles and coordination.  Breastfeeding is one of the best gifts of health and wellbeing you can offer your baby.  But what you put in your breast milk, otherwise known as your own diet, can also support your baby’s development and elevate the benefits of your breast milk.

While a well-balanced and “clean” diet is wholesome during breastfeeding, some foods are just better for new moms than others.  We’ve compiled the 5 best things to eat and drink while breastfeeding to give your baby the best start in life:

  • Oatmeal: High in iron and fiber, oatmeal is a superfood for breastfeeding moms.  When you serve it with calcium-rich milk or soy milk, oatmeal has almost all the essentials for breastfeeding moms.  Plus, oatmeal is a heart-healthy food that helps lower bad cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar levels and keeps the body feeling full and satisfied for longer.  For busy breastfeeding moms, a nutrient-packed breakfast like oatmeal can help sustain you all morning long and even increase your milk supply.  Consider also adding oats as toppings for your yogurt, cereal or ground into your smoothie for a whole grain bonus to other meals and snacks.
  • Green Leafy Vegetables: These cruciferous vegetables include kale, Swiss chard, spinach, mustard greens, escarole, broccoli, cabbage, lettuces and Brussels sprouts.  They are jam-packed with almost every vitamin, mineral and antioxidant in the alphabet, especially the B complex vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Green leafy vegetables offer a boost of energy, support strong blood flow and heart function and keep your bones strong and healthy.  While you pass along these wonderful nutrients to your baby, do be cautious about over-doing it on the greens as they may cause excess gas.
  • Low-Mercury Fish: Fish is a terrific source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are tremendous healthy fats that support cognition development and function.  Deemed one of the best brain foods, fish that are low in mercury should be part of every breastfeeding mother’s diet.  These low-mercury fish include salmon, cod halibut, tilapia, shrimp and canned chunk light tuna.  New recommendations include consuming a variety of low-mercury fish three times a week during pregnancy and while breastfeeding to support your baby’s brain development.
  • Nuts: Nuts are a great all-natural source of protein, iron, fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Like fish, nuts also contain healthy unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids.  These small but powerful foods go a long way for breastfeeding moms and their babies.  Plus they are easy to pop throughout the day for a quick pick-me-up, even during breastfeeding.  Keep in mind, nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews and pistachios give you the best bang for your buck.
  • Water: Water is an essential part of your body and your breast milk.  Breastfeeding moms need at least 10 eight-ounce glasses of water daily in order to produce milk.  Additionally, lactating women are more prone to dehydration which can lead to fatigue.  The last thing a nursing mother needs is something else making her drowsy.  Stay on top of your game and your milk by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.  Also, replace sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol with water as these substances can greatly affect your baby, often causing babies to be fussy, hyper or have gastrointestinal distress.

We hope you enjoy these best foods to eat and drink during breastfeeding.  Cheers to your health and the health of your baby!

meet AMY
Submit your own question to be answered.
Please provide us with your name, email address and question, and you may find it as the next featured Q+A on Amy's Corner.
Terms and Conditions.



Search our past Q+A's.
Choose a topic that interests you to view only related Q+A's.

4th of July
academy awards
activities with babies
actress
Alyssa Milano
American Heart Association
anaphylactic shock
Anne Geddes
Ashton Kutcher
babies
babies and playgrounds
babies and poison
babies and sleep
Babies and Type 1 Diabetes
babies in pumpkins
babies love music
baby
baby as a pumpkin
baby boy names
baby brains
baby bump
Baby bumps
baby car seats
Baby Care
baby cough
baby gates
Baby Gender
Baby Gifts
baby girl names
Baby Halloween Costumes
baby name
Baby Names
baby news
baby photography
baby pictures
baby proofing
baby safety
baby schedule
Baby Selfies
Baby Shower
Baby Skin Care
baby sleep schedule
baby sleep training
baby talk
baby wearing
baby's development
baby's first cold
baby's runny nose
baby's senses
Babymoon Destinations
Babymooning
babysitters
babywearing
bath time routine
bedtime routine for baby
being a good patient
benefits of babywearing
benefits of breast milk
benefits of breastfeeding
best breast pump
best breastfeeding positions
best discipline techniques
best foods for breastfeeding
best Mothers Day gifts
best music for babies
best things to eat and drink while breastfeeding
best toys for babies
big sister
birth
birth order
birth order traits
birth plan
Biting
bleeding gums
Body Acceptance
booster car seats
Bottle Feeding
bottles
boy names
Bra Fit Tips
Breast Cancer Awareness
breast feeding
breast milk
breast milk movies
Breast Milk Production
breast milk storage
breast pump
breast pump flange
breast pump flanges
breast pumps
Breast Reduction and Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding
breastfeeding a baby with a cold
Breastfeeding Advice
breastfeeding after c-section
Breastfeeding and Baby's Brain
breastfeeding and babywearing
Breastfeeding and Bonding with Baby
breastfeeding and burning calories
breastfeeding and co-sleeping
Breastfeeding and Earth Day
Breastfeeding and Exercise
Breastfeeding and Health Care
breastfeeding and medications
Breastfeeding and Ovulating
Breastfeeding and Pregnancy
breastfeeding and pumping
breastfeeding and smell
breastfeeding and the working mom
breastfeeding and touch
Breastfeeding Benefits
Breastfeeding Classes
breastfeeding diet
breastfeeding diet restrictions
Breastfeeding During the Holidays
Breastfeeding Education
breastfeeding help
Breastfeeding in Public
breastfeeding in sling
breastfeeding issues
breastfeeding latch
breastfeeding latch tips
breastfeeding laws
breastfeeding on Valentine's Day
Breastfeeding Policy
breastfeeding positions
breastfeeding positions lying down
breastfeeding pumping
Breastfeeding Registry
breastfeeding supplies
Breastfeeding Support
Breastfeeding Support Groups
Breastfeeding Tips
breastfeeding tops
breathing techniques during pregnancy
bump style
c-section
caesarean section
Caffeine
can pregnant women eat shrimp
Car Seats for Every Age
cdc
Celebrate Mother's Day
Celebrity
Celebrity Babies
celebrity pregnancies
characteristics of children based on birth order
child proofing
child.
childbirth
childhood obesity
children
children and dry drowning
Children's Play
Chris Hemsworth
Christian Bale
Christopher Nolan
chubby babies
cleaning car
Cluster Feeding
co-sleeping
cold weather activities
colic
colostrum
colostrum benefits
Comfortable Bras
common pregnancy questions
compression tights
Coping with Sleep Deprivation
cosmetics during pregnancy
crafts
crafts for kids
Creativity
cuddle
cuddling
Cute Babies
cute maternity clothes
dads
Danah Bordner
dangers of smoking during pregnancy
dangers of smoking while breastfeeding
delivery
dental health
dentist
depression and weaning
developing baby's senses
dietary restrictions
different ways to praise a child
Dinovember
discipline tactics that work
Doutzen Kroes
Drew Barrymore
dry drowning
eating fish during pregnancy
Eating Fish During Pregnancy and While Breastfeeding
eating fish while breastfeeding
Elie Saab
Elsa Pataky
Emily blunt
emotions behind weaning
establishing a bedtime routine
exercise with baby
Extended Breastfeeding
Facebook
family
family bed
family escape plan
family photos
family physician
Family Planning
family planning trends
family size
fashion
Father's Day
Father's Day gift ideas
fda
Fertility Calendar
fire safety for babies
fire safety for toddlers
fire safety in your home
fire safety tips
fish
fish oil
fish recommendations for breastfeeding
flanges breast pump
Flying While Pregnant
food allergies
food and drug administration
foods to avoid during pregnancy
Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding
formal maternity dresses
fostering sibling relationships
funny facts about breastfeeding
funny moments in parenting
Fussy Baby
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones HBO
Gender Prediction
Getting Pregnant
Gift Ideas
gifts for mom
girl names
giving back
giving back during holidays
golf
Halloween activities
Halloween activities for babies
hands on pumping
happy kids
harness car seats
Healing Powers of Breast Milk
health benefits of breastfeeding
healthy
healthy babies
Healthy Breakfasts
healthy diet
Healthy Eating
healthy lifestyle
healthy snack tricks for kids
healthy snacks
healthy snacks for kids
Heart disease
heart health
heart health and your baby
heart healthy diet
heart healthy family
heart healthy lifestyle
holiday schedule
holiday spirit
holiday traditions
Holidays
Hollywood
home remedies for babies
homemade gifts
homemade Mothers Day gift ideas
homemade Mothers Day gifts
hospital
Hospital Bag Checklist
how to avoid dry drowning
how to avoid poisoning
how to avoid reflux
how to baby proof
how to be a good patient
how to be sexy while breastfeeding
how to breastfeed
how to discipline a baby
how to discipline a child
how to engage your baby with toys
how to establish a bedtime routine
how to fall asleep
how to fall asleep fast
how to get kids to eat healthy
how to get rid of stretch marks
how to go to sleep
how to handle thumb sucking
how to hold baby while nursing
how to keep car clean
How to Keep Your Babysitter Happy
how to potty train
how to raise happy kids
how to sleep better
how to sleep train a baby
how to stop breastfeeding
how to stop breastfeeding at night
how to take great family pictures
how to tell if baby is overweight
humor in parenting
Illness
Imagination
immune system
In the Media
indoor activities for babies
infant
infant safety
infants
Jason Goldberg
Jason Wu
john krasinski
Just for Fun
juvenile diabetes
juvenile diabetes and babies
keep my car clean
Kerry Washington
Kids
Kraft Nabisco tournament
Kristen Cavallari
Labor Day
lack of sleep
Lactation Consultant
Latching On
laura silverman
Leading Lady nursing bras
leaking breast milk
leaking breasts
leaking nipples
leaving your job
liquid gold
little one
Losing Baby Weight
Losing Weight After Pregnancy
LPGA
LPGA tour
makeup during pregnancy
making mom friends
maternity
maternity bras
maternity clothes
maternity dress
maternity dresses
maternity fashion
mental health during pregnancy
mercury in fish
mercury levels in fish
Mila Kunis
milk movie
Milk Supply
mom
mom friends
moms
mother
Mother's Day
motherhood
Mothers Day gift ideas
Mothers Day gifts
Mothers Day ideas
music and babies
nameberry baby names
nameberry unusual names
National Breastfeeding Month
National Heart Month
natural home remedies
Natural Home Remedies for Babies
Neonatal
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Nesting
new baby
new mom
new mom sleep deprivation
New Years Resolutions
newborn
newborn photography
newborns
NICU
night weaning
nighttime breastfeeding
Nipple Confusion
nipple pain
nipple pumping
Nipple Soreness
nipples
number of kids per family
nursing
nursing attire
nursing bra
Nursing Bras
nursing cami
Nursing Fashion
Nursing Mom's Lifestyle
Nursing Positions
Nursing Supplies
Nursing Tank Tops
nursing wardrobe
nutrition
OBGYN
Old Wives Tale Gender Prediction
Olivia Wilde
omega 3
omega 3 fatty acids
oral bacteria during pregnancy
oral thrush
organizing car
Oscar awards
Oscars
Outdoor safety
Ovarian Cancer Awareness
overweight baby
Parental Guidance
parenting
parenting to your child
parents
Paula Garces
peanut allergies
peanut allergy
peanut allergy symptoms
perinatal mental health
photography
physician
Plan Your Own Mother’s Day
play room
playground recommendations for babies
poison prevention
polka dot maternity clothes
positive discipline
post-partum depression
postpartum smoking
potty training
praise for children
pre potty training tips
precautions for babies while playing outside
Pregnancy
pregnancy announcement
Pregnancy Calendar
pregnancy changes
pregnancy concerns
pregnancy cravings
pregnancy diet
Pregnancy Discrimination
pregnancy exercise
pregnancy fashion
pregnancy gingivitis
pregnancy health
Pregnancy in the work place
Pregnancy Myths
pregnancy nipples
pregnancy rules
Pregnancy Stretch Marks
pregnancy workouts
pregnant
Pregnant Belly
pregnant celebrities
pregnant women
Prenatal Dental Care
prenatal yoga
preparing for childbirth
Preparing to be a Stay at Home Mom
Preparing to Breastfeed
progesterone
proper latch
public breastfeeding
Pumping
pumping at work
pumping breast milk
pumpkin
pumpkin activities for babies
Raising Happy Kids
reading and smart babies
red carpet
red carpet dresses
refresh your play room
Returning to Work
Rh negative
Rules of Babysitters
rules of pregnancy
sadness and weaning
safe drugs while breastfeeding
safe medications for breastfeeding
Scarlett Johansson
science behind happy kids
seafood
Selfie
sensory experiences for babies
sexy new moms
Sexy Nursing Bras
Shakespeare
Sheryl Sandberg
siblings
siblings and baby
simon cowell
sleep
sleep deprivation with baby
sleep schedule
sleep tips
sleep training methods
sleep while your baby sleeps
sleeping
sleeping in bed with baby
smart babies
smoking during pregnancy
soleil moon frye
sound machine
special gifts for dad
spicy foods
spider veins
spirit of giving
spokesmom
Spring Fashion
stay at home mom
Storing Breaskmilk
stretch marks
style
sucking your thumb
Sugar
Sugar substitutes
summer maternity clothes
symptoms of common cold in baby
symptoms of dry drowning
taking pictures of baby
talking to your baby
Teach babies about heart health
teaching children about giving back
teeth during pregnancy
Thanksgiving Activities
that 70s show
The Benefits of Music for Babies
The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
The Cost of Breastfeeding
the golden rule
The History of Breastfeeding
thrush
thrush in adults
thrush in babies
thrush symptoms
thrush treatment
thumb suckers
thumb sucking
tips for sleep training
top things to do during pregnancy
toxins in cosmetics
toxins in makeup
toxins that are bad for babies
Traveling
treat your babysitter like family
trends in family size
Twins
twitter
type 1 diabetes
unique baby boy names
unique baby girl names
unique baby names
update your play space
Vacations
Vaccines
Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day nursing bras
Valentine's Day while breastfeeding
Valentino
varicose veins
varicose veins treatment
visiting the doctor
volunteer
volunteering
Ways to Burn Calories with a Baby
ways to find other new moms
ways to praise your child
ways to relieve congestion in babies
ways to sweeten Valentine's Day
weaning
weaning breastfeeding
weaning from breastfeeding
what is colostrum
what is thrush
what medicines can I take while breastfeeding
what not to do during pregnancy
what not to eat during pregnancy
what to avoid during pregnancy
what to do before potty training
what to do on Mother's Day
what to eat during pregnancy
what to get for Father's Day
what type of car seat do I need
white noise machine
why children need praise
why kids suck thumbs
wintertime activities
wirefree nursing bras
World Breastfeeding Week
yeast diaper rash
yoga with baby