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

Stop Mom Judging!

Parenting is hard.  Every mom has had her moments of frustration where she’s reached her limit and was less than her ideal self.  Every mom has been there. So why are moms still judging one another when we can all relate?  It’s time to stop mom judging, and everyone – psychologists, media reporters, moms themselves – agree.

If you think about it, you have more in common with other moms than not.  That is to say, your ultimate goal is to raise your children in excellence.  No matter what individual choices you make, you’re coming from a place of love and trying to do what is best for your child in light of your entire family’s best interest.

2014-09-02-Untitled2-thumbAlso, we each have a unique set of circumstances that weigh on us at any given moment.  We never know what someone else’s situation is when we come across them.  They may be dealing with pressure at work, financial concerns, sick family members, feeling poorly themselves, being pulled in too many directions, a failing marriage, or perhaps their children have just pushed every button possible that day.  Haven’t we all worn at least one of these shoes?

Many psychologists cite that mom judging comes from an inner lack of confidence about oneself.  Moms feel the need to judge one another because they are lacking in some way or are not confident about their own decisions in raising their children.  If you find yourself mom judging, stop and think about your own struggles and whether what you are projecting on another mom (or even your kids) is really an internal conflict.  Many times, identifying your own feelings can help you get to the root of why you are mom judging.

As you struggle with making parenting decisions, remember that others are too.  Much of parenting is trial and error and what works for some, doesn’t work for others.  Giving solicited advice is one thing but passing judgment is something entirely different.  As humans, it’s hard to be objective, especially about something as personal as parenting.  But try not to see parenting as black and white, right and wrong.  There are so many spectrums on the parenting rainbow and all of them can be right.

Remember that mom judging is hurtful, a form of name calling really.  We teach our children not to call names and that different families make different choices.  This is a good lesson for moms as well.  For those who have been mom judged or shamed, you know how badly it feels and how much it makes you question your very existence as a mother.  Don’t make others feel that way too.  And, if you were the recipient of a harsh mom comment, try not to let it bother you too much.  Listen to your heart and know that you are doing the best you can for your family. No one else has the right to judge the way you love.

Sometimes moms are their own worst critics.  It’s true, we are often hardest on ourselves.  This is where you need to cut yourself some slack, have compassion for yourself and recognize that all moms struggle at some point.  It is normal, natural and part of the job.  Lean on friends or your partner when you self-judge.  Let them be your mirror and help you see yourself more accurately.  Especially as a new, first-time mom, often it takes an outsider to keep things in perspective.

Next time you see mothers out in public, talk to friends about what’s happening with their kids or examine your own parenting, try coming from a place of love, acceptance and objectivity.  It takes more effort to be negative and it’s certainly bad for your emotional balance and spirit as well.  Work towards judgment-free parenting and encourage your friends to do the same.  Mom judging spread because moms got other moms involved.  The opposite can be true too.  Commit to stop mom judging and it will spread like a wildfire.

The Dangers of Hair Tourniquet

Of all the strange things that can happen to our babies, it shouldn’t be a surprise a tiny piece of hair is one of them. Many of us don’t know our hair is actually very strong and has the flexibility to stretch when wet and tighten when it dries. You might notice when you shower or when you fold your laundry that your hair can get stuck in the drain or weave itself in your clothing. If you’ve had the pleasure of pulling hair out of your hairbrush, you know the strength our hair can have. Just a single strand can be such a danger to a baby. If hair wraps around a toe or a finger it can cuff off circulations, which can lead to serious outcomes. What’s scary about hair tourniquet is its ability to be so unseeing to our eyes, and many parents have no idea what could be wrong with their crying baby when they have tried everything to appease them.

This rare occasion is called hair tourniquet syndrome, a rare clinical event which can occur during all ages, but most often to infants. Since hair is most likely a thing to overlook, many parents find themselves distraught and confused when their baby is continually crying after they’ve tried many steps to soothe them not knowing they are screaming out of pain. This may go on for hours, and possibly days due to something as small as a strand of hair! When the matter is not taken care of right away your baby is at serious risk of poor circulation, infection, and maybe as serious as having the digit amputated. The areas hair has been documented to tangle are fingers, toes, wrists, penis, scrotum, tongue, vaginal labium, ear lobes, umbilicus, and nipples. All can be extremely painful and the hair must be removed as soon as possible!


If your child is showing signs, such as excessive crying, being in pain, or red and swollen digits make sure to check all areas hair can catch and call your doctor. Because hair is so fine and thin it can be hard to see, and should be only removed by a professional. To protect your baby from hair tourniquet syndrome check clothing and bath water for loose hairs and for more information talk to your pediatrician.


How Baby Traits Influence Personality

Leading Lady BreastfeedingWhen you have a baby, you have many hopes and dreams about the person she will become.  Most experts believe that your baby’s personality is a combination of nature and nurture – that is that some parts of her are hard-wired and others will evolve depending on how she’s cared for and her environment.  Some people believe that certain baby traits influence personality. We’re exploring a few of these considerations today:

Eye Color

Your baby’s eye color may change in the months after birth.  Many babies are born with blue eyes and they become their true color between six months and one year of age.  A person’s eye color is said to speak to the type of person they are. Here’s what the predictions say:

  • Brown:  As the most common eye color, those with brown eyes are loving, caring, warm, happy, confident and lovers of the earth.
  • Blue:  Prized beautiful blue eyes represent people who are powerful, kind, smart, direct, and energetic.
  • Green:  Green eyes exude passion, exuberance, intelligence, charm, mystique and radiance.
  • Hazel:  Those with this mixture of brown and green eyes are typically easy-going, fun-loving, curious, courageous and sensual.
  • Black:  Rare and mysterious, black eyes are very uncommon. They represent mystery, intuition, loyalty, hard work and practicality.


Scientists are not positive how exactly handedness develops but they believe it is a combination of genetics and environment.  Left-handed people make up approximately 10% of society, but unfortunately often have a hard time with gadgets and settings that are designed for the general public, meaning most right-handed people.

While there are a range of personality traits that encompass right-handed people, there are some common similarities among lefties. Typically, lefties are better at art, problem-solving and creative thinking.  The public tends to trust left-handed people as many recent presidents – Obama, Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ford – are all lefties.  Sports may appear to be difficult for lefties at first glance, but they may benefit in one-on-one facing sports such as golf, tennis, baseball and boxing.  This may be because left-handed people can have the advantage of the element of surprise. On the negative side, lefties have an elevated risk of mood disorders, have shorter tempers and are more likely to frighten easily.

Belly Button

All mammals that have a placenta have belly buttons because at one point we were all connected to our mothers via an umbilical cord.  Humans can either have an “innie,” which means your belly button caves inwards, or an “outie,” one that pops out.  Ninety percent of people have “innie” belly buttons.  But do belly buttons really say anything about what type of person your baby will become?  Not really!  Although some people use the same terms for introverts and extroverts, the directional pull of your baby’s adorable belly button doesn’t have the same weight on her personality.  If your baby is in the minority and has an “outie,” embrace the difference and never make her feel odd for this naturally occurring trait.

Whether you believe in these predictions or not, it’s fun to imagine how your baby’s traits may influence her personality.

Why Men with Babies are Sexier

father-baby-son-131107Let’s face it, we’ve probably all had a moment when we looked at our husband (or someone else’s) and admired the way they dote on their baby.  And in that moment, that man seems a lot more attractive than he may have otherwise.  The notion that men with babies are sexier is not just a sweet little feeling that women, especially moms, get.  There is actually evolutionary evidence and psychological truths behind the theory, and it often helps women make better choices about men.

Many studies have been done on why men with babies are sexier to women.  The results are unanimous that women do admire men who like babies (and dogs too), for several key reasons that are important to the evolutionary survival of the human species.  These reasons include acting as a provider, taking responsibility and being healthy, three essential qualities that most women find attractive for their mate.

For millions of years, women have been attracted to men who are good providers and can take responsibility for her and their family.  It’s an evolutionary trait that is now hard-wired in most women of child-bearing age.  When a man has the physical and mental capacity to provide for a child and take on familial responsibilities, a woman knows her children will be safe and protected under his care.  So the next time your sexy dad radar perks up when you watch your husband make googly eyes at your baby, you can remember that it’s your female instinct telling you that you picked a good guy.

Also, men with babies and dogs tend to be more physically and emotionally fit due to the demands of the job.  Babies require a lot of legwork, lifting and chasing around, especially as an infant grows into toddlerhood.  That’s a good extra workout for all parents.  Also, babies need lots of cuddles, love and affection, which has a positive effect on dads as well.  The act of hugging and being close to another person releases endorphins and other happiness hormones that increase joy and make a person feel good.  Additionally, physical and emotional health speak to a man’s good genes, qualities that are attractive to women as they consider a mate.

In fact, one study indicated that women can tell from simply looking at a man’s photograph whether he is good with babies.  Even when men were instructed to make neutral expressions, women more accurately identified men who like babies.  And, in most cultures, women also did not correlate a lack of masculinity with an affinity towards babies.  Research also affirms that a masculine appearance and demeanor, often determined by testosterone levels, is not related to a man’s love of children.

While women stare affectionately at men with babies, some moms find it a social impediment to their own hard efforts as a parent.  Dads providing the same care for their children as mothers are often regarded as “good dads” and seen as sexy, when moms are more often overlooked or criticized for their parenting.  This is probably because women are seen as people who should know how and want to take care of their children effectively, whereas it is extra special when a man can do the same.  As dads take on more child care responsibilities, many moms feel the public perception should change – that dads performing everyday parenting tasks should not be given any extra praise than a mom in the same position.

Regardless of whether it should happen or not, women do tend to find men with babies sexier.  Blame it on evolution, instinct or a woman’s intuition.  And with all good parenting from moms or dads, appreciate that a parent wants to spend quality time with his baby.  That’s what really matters.

Breakdown of “The Milky Way: Every Mother Has a Story”

The documentary “The Milky Way:  Every Mother Has a Story,” focuses on Jennifer Davidson, a lactation consultant, who is concerned about America’s lack of appreciation towards breastfeeding. Right from the beginning we see she has every right to be when we learn the disturbing fact that the U.S. has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world! In fact, only 15% of babies are exclusively breastfeed at the age of six months. While breastfeeding is disappearing, the formula companies are at an all-time high. With the media completely taking over and convincing women breastfeeding in public is wrong and formula is better than your own breast milk, women are subjugated to the point where they feel discouraged  when they begin having trouble breastfeeding and give up.

“We need to change,” says Jennifer Davidson.

As a country, we lack the proper knowledge of what breastfeeding is and what it can do for mothers and babies. Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural act, unlike what we have been told in the media. It’s a precious moment only shared between mothers and their babies which creates a special and loving bond that carries into our children’s lives long into adulthood. As a natural instinct many women used to display as their motherly role, our society has abused its reputation into an intimate and even sexual act that should be kept private. Breasts have become an object of sex and we have forgotten its most important role: breastfeeding and feeding our babies. Breast milk is scientifically proven to be the best possible nutrient to give to our babies. A women’s breast milk is specially designed to give their unique baby what they need to grow up strong and healthy. When you breastfeed your baby’s saliva communicates with your breast milk letting your body know which antioxidants and nutrients your baby needs. If breast milk has so many advantages, and on top if all that it’s cost effective, than why is our country so demining towards something so natural? Throughout the film, Jennifer and her colleagues, clients, and other moms continue an encouraging and dear call in the hopes everyone watching will take something from the film:

Trust Yourself, Trust Your Body, and Trust Your Baby.

Continuing her argument, Davidson compares another aspect by discussing the way U.S. hospitals treat mothers after birth versus other hospitals around the world, primarily St. Joseph’s Hospital in Berlin, Germany. St. Joseph is the first baby friendly certified hospital in the world. 97% of their babies are breastfeed and mothers are expected and encouraged to stay with their babies immediately after delivery, even if they are premature or dying. As soon as they are birthed, babies are given to their mothers to begin the bond with skin on skin contact, learning how to breastfeeding, and co-sleeping. Creating a relationship between mother and child is the most important goal for St. Joseph. Moms are given the confidence and support they need to help them feel successful.

We must ask ourselves, “What can we do to change? How can we be more supportive to mothers and babies?” As a country we need to become more knowledgeable about the benefits breastfeeding has not only for our babies, but for our nation. Learning to better care for pregnant women in the hospital, making them feel confident as mothers, being patient and teaching them how to breastfeed, and supporting them when they want to give up is just a start to changing our views on breastfeeding. As a country, breastfeeding can help our obesity problem, our expenses, and our relationships with our children. We must trust ourselves, trust our bodies, and trust our babies.



The Milky Way: Every Mother Has a Story. Dir. Jon Fitzgerald. Perf. Jennifer Davidson and Chantal Molnar. Piece of My Heart Productions, 2014. Film.


5 Creative Ways to Tell Kids “Mom is Pregnant”

Congratulations, you’re going to be a mom…again!  Each pregnancy is unique and having a second, third, fourth (dare we say more) child is different from your first in a very distinct way: you already have other children.  Sharing the news of your pregnancy is an exciting part of becoming a mom again.  But you may wonder what creative ways you can tell your kids that “mom is pregnant.”  Today we’re sharing some fun ideas that may work for your family.

babY CAKEBaby Party with a Reveal Cake:  Throw a family party and decorate with baby items.  Give each family member a bib as a napkin and a bottle of sippy cup for their drinks.  Serve baby food along with your regular dinner.  You can even hang a banner and put confetti on your table.  Wait to see if your kids say anything or guess why they are having a baby party.  At the end of the meal, bring out a cake that has a picture of a baby.  If you know the gender, you can have the inner icing color – blue or pink – indicate whether your kids will be getting a baby brother or baby sister.  If nothing else, they’ll be excited about the cake!

Scavenger Hunt:  Organize an age-appropriate scavenger hunt for your kids with various clues that incorporate the baby theme and lead them throughout your home and yard.  At the end of the scavenger hunt, have a grand prize that signifies the big news.  Your final prize can be anything that you think will have significance for your children – a baby doll, a baby blanket, balloons or a book about babies are some ideas.  This fun and interactive way to tell your kids mom is pregnant builds anticipation and offers a rewards at the end.

Ultrasound Visit:  If your children are old enough to understand it, bring them along to an ultrasound visit to meet their new sibling firsthand.  You can tell them that you need them to come with you to see the doctor, just like you go with them to their doctor’s appointments.  Then explain that the technician is going to show a picture of the inside of mommy’s tummy.  Before you know it, they’ll see their little baby brother or sister bobbing around your uterus and get to hear the heartbeat as well.  You can point out different parts of the baby’s body and watch the funny things he or she does in the womb.  This unique view can be very meaningful to children and help them better comprehend the process of a baby’s development over time.

My-Mom-Having-Baby-Kid-Month--Month-Guide-PregnancyBooks & T-shirts:  For a more subtle way to share the news, you and your partner can read books about becoming an older brother or older sister to your kids and then explain that they are going to be just like the characters in the books, an older sibling!  Reading about the process of pregnancy and welcoming a new baby into your home is an important step in acclimating your children to the idea of a new sibling, and books with relatable characters may make the concept easier to grasp.  Also, many older siblings find pride in becoming the big bro or sis and want to flaunt it on a t-shirt.

Balloon Box:  Kids love balloons so another easy way to reveal the news of your pregnancy or the gender of your baby is to fill a big box with helium balloons.  Let your kids tear into the box and SURPRISE!  Out pop a bunch of balloons in blue and pink, perhaps some with babies or storks, to share that a new baby is on the way.

However you decide to tell your kids, be ready for the unexpected.  Some kids, even those longing for a younger sibling, may be ambivalent to the news.  Others may be so overcome with emotion and confusion that they cry tears of joy or sadness.  Also, many children have a preference for a baby brother or baby sister and therefore may be disappointed if the gender of your new baby wasn’t their top choice.  Usually this dissatisfaction will go away over time and is replaced with joy and excitement.  Your children may have questions about how the baby was made so discuss a response with your partner before the big reveal.

Be sure to take lots of pictures and video of your baby announcement to your older kids.  One day, the baby will love to see how his or her siblings took the big news.

Navigating Sleep Transitions

Sleep!  It’s so important for your baby’s brain development, and also for your daily functionality.  After three to six months, most babies have figured out how to sleep for long stretches at night, what we call “sleeping through the night.”  It takes awhile for babies to adjust to the 24-hour cycle of a day, including discovering the appropriate time for long sleep is at night.  When it happens, parents are very relieved.  But sleep is constantly evolving for children and their patterns may get interrupted several more times throughout the course of early childhood.  Today our focus is navigating sleep transitions to help you get back your 8-hours of sweet dreams every night.

No matter how your baby learned to sleep through the night, whether by naturally self-soothing, the Ferber method, or crying it out, you were probably grateful that it happened.  And anything that interrupts that peaceful balance that you had when you returned to a full night of sleep may be seen as nothing short of disaster.  When your child is sick, you pull the plug on the pacifier or you travel, for example, sleep patterns may be interrupted and take some time to get back on track.  Usually within a week or two, you can all normalize and enjoy a quiet household at night.  But there are some bigger sleep transitions that may be more difficult to navigate.

Dropping Naps

Babies usually nap at least five times daily until around six months of age.  At that point they may begin to only need three naps a day, typically two in the morning and one in the afternoon.  As the naps begin to drop one-by-one, sleep transitions may pose a problem as your child’s body adjusts to a new schedule.  You may notice that your child can power through the time of the dropped nap, but can barely make it to the next nap or bedtime.  You may need to move an afternoon nap to an earlier time or even push up bedtime so your child gets an appropriate amount of sleep when he needs it.

The worse sleep transition caused by naps is usually when the last nap goes and your child is awake for 12+ hours a day.  This usually occurs between three and five, and it can be rough.  Many parents mourn the loss of this last nap because it offered a much needed break for them too.  If you feel your child is struggling during this transition, initiate “quiet time” or “rest time” when your little one spends time in his room doing something sedentary like reading a book or playing with a quiet toy.  Some kids simply like to lie in bed during this rest period.  It helps slow the body and rejuvenate to hopefully keep your child happy and even-tempered for the rest of the day.

Getting a “Big Kid” Bed

Cribs are fabulous for keeping your infant or toddler contained.  But many toddlers learn how to climb out of their cribs as early as 18-months.  This can be a major hazard and may mean your child is ready for a new bed.  The first thing to try is a sleep sack that might ktoddler-bedroom-sets-within-toddler-bedding-olive-kids-new-paisly-dreams-toddler-beddingeep your tot from being able to climb out.  If that doesn’t work, it’s time to shop for that “big kid” bed.  And then your child has the newfound ability to get out of bed whenever he wants, which can once again cause sleep transition issues.

Hopefully you can keep your toddler in his crib until at least 2½, when most kids have better self control about staying in their bed or at least their bedroom.  Experts agree that the best way to approach a new bed is by making a big deal about it and setting rules.  Explain that big kids get big kid beds because they are responsible enough to follow rules.  The biggest rule is that you sleep all night in your own bed.  When your child does come into your room, immediately take him back to his bed.  These boundaries often help children and parents navigate sleep transitions with a new bed.  It may take some time and your child may be more tired than usual from spending time playing around his room rather than sleeping, but you’ll eventually find the rhythm again.


Everyone dreams but babies lack the memory, imagination and fear for bad dreams.  When your child gets older, scary dreams may begin to keep him up at night and frighten him so much that he fears staying alone in his room.  Bad dreams tend to be about imaginary things with toddlers, but older kids sometimes dream about real fears such as a burglar, fire or other life-threatening situation.

Experts suggest talking through dreams can help your child overcome his fears.  Ask him about good and bad dreams and share your dreams as well.  Remind him that, although we may dream about people in our lives or realistic situations, dreams are not real and they go away.  Some parents make a worry jar for their kids so they can write down scary thoughts and feelings and lock them away.  Also, try to get your child to replace bad thoughts with something happier to help them work through waking from a bad dream all on their own.

Sleep transitions are hard on kids and parents but they are usually short lived.  Hang in there and this phase will pass too.

Never Buy These Used Baby Items or Accept Them as Hand-Me-Downs

As a thrifty parent, it may be your instinct to look for the best bargain on baby items.  Often gently used gear can be found at the best price, or better yet, a network of hand-me-down items is free.  But some items should not be bought used or accepted as hand-me-downs because you cannot be sure of the safety and integrity of the product.  Today we’re giving you a list of used baby items to avoid.

771f3_Baby_trend_flex-loc_car_seat Car Seats:  It’s easy enough to look up car seat standards to determine if one you see at a resale shop or have been offered by a friend is within current safety standards.  But what you can’t know is how the car seat has been treated.  If it has been dropped, twisted or damaged in any way, such as being in a car wreck, the car seat may not function properly and provide your child the safety you expect.  Don’t take that chance on a used car seat.

Some Strollers and High Chairs:  Strollers and high chairs go in the “maybe” category.  Make sure the models you are considering are within safety standards.  High chairs should have a barrier between your baby’s legs, a 5-point harness strap and locking wheels.  A stroller’s wheels should work impeccably forwards and backwards as you never know when you may be scurrying to get out of the way of danger, and should have secure seat belts and locking wheels.  Inspect these items carefully before buying used.

Cribs Made Before June 2011:  Federal regulations on crib standards changed at the end of June 2011 to prohibit the sale of drop-side cribs and increase scrutiny of slats, hardware and mattresses.  Cribs prior to this date may not meet the highest safety standards.

MadelaBreastPumpBreast Pumps and Accessories:  Most personal grade breast pumps are an open system, meaning milk may be exposed to every part of the inner tubing of the pump.  Used breast pumps may carry bacteria that can not only be introduced to a mother’s nipple, but also to a baby.  No matter how you clean it, breast pumps cannot be fully sanitized throughout.  Plus, depending on the frequency of your pumping, most personal grade breast pumps will only last through one baby’s use.

Pacifiers and Bottle Nipples:  Similar to a breast pump, pacifiers and bottle nipples can carry germs that transfer from one baby to another.  As a baby uses these items, tiny tears are created where bacteria and other microbes can make a home.  It’s actually a good idea to change these items often, even when used by just one baby.

Stained or Ugly Clothes:  Do yourself a favor, don’t accept hand-me-downs you don’t like.  Life with a baby can get cluttered enough without extra items you don’t need or want.  Baby stains are usually hard to remove – if they were going to come out, the original mommy probably would have already tried.

Bath Toys:  Where there is water, there is often mold.  Bath toys notoriously hold in moisture, allowing mold to build up.  These toys are relatively inexpensive to buy new anyways.

Dangerous Toys:  Toys with sharp edges, that are mangled or whose paint is chipping are not good ones to have around.  Your baby will want to explore every inch of his toys, especially with his mouth, so having toys with potentially harmful parts that could be swallowed may cause a major problem.  Avoid them altogether and stick with used toys that look pristine.

Being thrifty is a virtue, but be smart about where you try to save money.  Getting a good bargain should never be at the expense of your child’s safety.

Back to School: Keep Baby Safe from “Big Kid” Germs

If you have a new baby in the house along with older kids, you may be dreading back to school germs.  It’s bad enough when older kids get sick from the introduction of a new crop of gems every year, but at least they have mature immune systems to help them fight infections.  Babies are still working hard to build their immunities and are particularly susceptible to getting sick, especially those who have not yet had their full course of shots.

Today we’re sharing some preventative measures to help ensure your baby stays safe from “big kid” germs that may creep into your home as your older kids head back to school:

Build “Big Kid” Resistance before School Starts:  Part of the reason kids get sick is because their bodies have not come into contact with a particular microbe before.  When microbes are introduced in small amounts that the body can handle and fight off, immunity builds.  Therefore, if you expose your children to healthy amounts of germs prior to school, their chances of getting sick are less.  Load up on late summer camps, playdates and kid-friendly activities before school starts to help your older kids build resistance.  If their bodies can manage germs, they won’t bring sickness home to your baby who is certainly less likely to fight it off.

Wash Everyone’s Hands Often:  Everyone in your household should wash their hands often.  This includes immediately after coming home from school, after play time indoors feature_tsca_inline2or outside and before any meal.  Be sure to wash your baby’s hands as well.  This is not only sanitizing her hands, it is also teaching her a good habit for the future.

Teach “Big Kids” Good Hygiene:  Teaching your kids good health practices can prevent them from getting sick and therefore protect your baby as well.  Work on skills like sneezing and coughing into your sleeve; not sharing food, drinks, hair brushes, chap-stick or anything that is considered a personal hygiene product; not touching your hands and face without clean hands; eating healthily to keep your body strong; and getting plenty of sleep so your body is energized and refreshed to support you at your best.  Empower your kids to be responsible for their own health and the health of your family.

Clean Floors and Baby Surfaces Often:  It may be tedious to constantly clean your home but it is well worth it if it prevents your family from getting sick.  Use baby-safe cleaning products or simple soap-and-water to clean floors, counters and toys that your baby touches or puts in her mouth.  Wipes are helpful for cleaning toys as you can quickly wash them down after each play session.

Keep Older Kids away from Baby when Necessary:  If your older kids have even a hint of the sniffles, limit exposure to the baby until you are sure they are not getting sick.  It seems harsh to keep your kids away from each other, but it is extremely important if you want to keep your baby well.  Also watch out for any shared household items or surfaces that both of your kids may use daily.

Happy mother breast feeding her sonBreastfeed and Take Care of your own Health:  Along with immunizations, breastfeeding is one of the best ways to build your baby’s immune system.  Breast milk contains incomparable antibodies that not only help your baby defend herself against germs, but also strengthen her immunity in a variety of ways.  Plus, breast milk contains thousands of vital nutrients for your baby’s overall growth and development, making it the most perfect food on the planet for her little body.  You can boost your breast milk by eating healthily yourself and ensuring you are getting plenty of fluids, relaxation and sleep.  When mom is sick, breastfeeding is quite difficult so stay well so your baby can too.

Ensure Everyone has a Flu Vaccine:  Flu vaccines are recommended for everyone in your household who is six months of age or older.  Take a family trip to the pediatrician’s office or a local flu clinic to get your vaccine together.  Many practices offer a flu mist that is inhaled through the nose, making it much less scary for children to receive the vaccine.

Do Undo Others…Keep Sick Kids and Babies at Home:  Kids get sick when sick kids go to school, the playground or after school activities.  You certainly don’t want your child exposed to another kid’s illness so respect other families by keeping your kids home when they are sick.  Many schools have sick policies and, as a parent, you should have your own sick code of ethics.

Wishing you much fun, learning and health as your kids head back to school!

5 Steps to Make Breastfeeding Easier

Leading Lady BreastfeedingBreastfeeding may be one of the most natural acts on the planet, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.  Yes, we said it, sometimes breastfeeding can be challenging.  If you are experiencing difficulty, know you are not alone.  Breastfeeding is a relationship of dedication, perseverance, nurture and love.  Today we are sharing 5 steps to make breastfeeding easier.

  • Take a Breastfeeding Class and Read about Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding preparation can and should begin before your baby is born.  After all, during pregnancy your body is already gearing up to breastfeed by creating the necessary hormones and undergoing breast changes.  You should get your mind in the game as well by taking a breastfeeding class at your local hospital and reading up on breastfeeding.  Although nothing replaces real-life experience, wrapping your head around breastfeeding will help when it’s time to start putting your knowledge (and instinct) into action.  Also, many moms are unaware of potential challenges in breastfeeding, such as engorgement, latch issues and other impediments.  Having an understanding of what may occur and knowing which resources to turn to for a refresher on how to resolve them, will cut back on a lot of frustration and help you work through bumps in the road.
  • Hold your Baby ASAP after Birth: Connecting with your baby immediately after birth has a profound impact on your breastfeeding relationship.  Skin-to-skin contact kindles your baby’s desire to feed and feel safe in your arms and stimulates your milk supply.  Put your baby on the breast as soon as your doctor says it is safe for your baby.  You will be amazed at his ability to find the nipple and suck. Even if you are not successful at breastfeeding the first time, you are establishing a bond and a routine that your baby will come to know and love.
  • Learn your Baby: Here’s what the classes and books can’t teach you – your baby!  Every baby is different but every baby was born to breastfeed and every mother has the ability to nurse.  Learning your baby will help you recognize his different cries such as hunger, pain, fatigue, needing a diaper change or just wanting affection.  As you spend more time with your baby, you’ll become acquainted with signs of hunger even before your baby begins to cry, which is the best time to begin a feeding.  Schedules can be super helpful and assure parents their baby is getting plenty of opportunity to eat.  However, it’s also important to remain flexible and allow your baby to guide part of your breastfeeding relationship as well.
  • Pump when Necessary, Including when You need a Break: When it comes to breastfeeding, there is no right or wrong.  It’s all about what works best for you, your baby and your family.  Sometimes what is best for everyone is that mom gets a break.  All hail the pump!  Pumping allows mothers the freedom to spend time away from their babies, and even return to work, without losing their milk supply.  Pumped milk allows other family members and caregivers a chance to feed the baby, which is not only helpful, but important for babies to develop strong ties with others besides mom.  Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself and let your pump be your ally in some much needed rest and relaxation.
  • Ask for Help: When you are having trouble breastfeeding, don’t let the problem persist for more than two days without seeking help.  Breast milk can be fleeting so if you are not expressing milk consistently – either through nursing or pumping – your supply may dwindle.  Lactation consultants are available through a variety of organizations including your hospital, OBGYNs office and community groups such as local WIC offices.  They can help you improve milk supply, latch, your baby’s attention span and interest in nursing, and support you as you work through the many challenges new mothers face when breastfeeding.  Also, ask for help from experienced moms who may have some good advice for you.  If breastfeeding isn’t the problem but you need help with other household tasks or in getting a moment to yourself now-and-then, talk to your partner or family members about it so they can lend a hand.
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