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

Summer Maternity Dresses for Every Occasion

Now that spring’s in full bloom, we’re sure that doctor appointments and your baby’s due date are not the only important events scheduled on your planner. With graduation parties, bridal showers, weddings, and even family picnics on the horizon, now is a good time to get your maternity wardrobe in order. Sporting a baby bump doesn’t mean missing out on fashionable warm-weather outfits—we’ve combed through many cute maternity clothes to bring you the perfect crop of options for casual, semi-formal, and formal events you may attend this spring or summer. Dressed up or down, our maternity picks will keep you cool and comfortable without sacrificing style.

For your daytime picnics or family get-togethers…

Coral maternity maxi skirtComfort and breathability are key during daytime events, especially if you’re going to be spending a lot of time outside. Try to pick maternity clothes made from cotton, linen, or other lightweight fabrics so you won’t overheat in direct sunlight. We love this coral pregnancy maxi skirt that features a fold-over front panel to accommodate your baby bump. Paired with a simple tee or a cami, this skirt is perfect for a casual summer event. Toss on a jean jacket if it’s a cooler day or you’re in the shade.

Maternal American Scoop Neck Maternity DressThis maternity dress is a cute daytime maternity staple that can be worn to company picnics, graduation parties, or a friend’s bridal shower or any occasion that’s a little dressier. Wear with your wirefree molded seamless nursing bra for maximum comfort and coverage without skimping on support or the smooth look you love. And bonus, this striped maternity dress is the perfect length to wear with flat sandals or wedge espadrilles depending on your preference! Seraphine Maternity Dress

We also love this above-the-knee purple maternity dress for company parties or patio brunches, especially worn with this cropped white cardigan. It’s always a good idea to bring a light sweater out if you can, because unforeseen weather changes can unexpectedly force your party indoors and into air conditioning.

For formal summer events…

Seraphine Maternity DressAre wedding bells ringing all summer long for your friends, cousins, and co-workers? From May until September couples rush to say “I do” while the weather’s nice enough for an outdoor reception. Your highest heels might not seem appealing depending how far along you are (and what kind of pain tolerance you have), but choosing the right dress starts with knowing which fabrics will look classy and keep you cool. Opt for maternity dresses like this lace overlay dress in a beautiful dove gray. The sleeves are made entirely from a soft stretch lace and will keep you covered and cool whether you’re indoors or outside. Wear our Scalloped Lace nursing bra (available in wirefree or underwire) underneath; the neckline will perfectly accommodate the scoop neck style and our nursing bra will keep you supported from ceremony to the dance floor.

Seraphine Maternity DressWe also picked this royal blue, silky stretch fabric maternity dress for its convertibility features. This formal maternity dress hits just above the knees and is generously cut so your bump and you have room to breathe. You have the freedom to twist, drape, and knot the wide shoulder panels into a number of different styles, so this maternity dress is a great option if you have quite a few weddings to attend! Whether you wear it as a halter dress or a Grecian-inspired one shoulder number, you’re sure to feel comfortable and beautiful in this elegant maternity dress.

Stay comfortable and fashionable in your Leading Lady bras, moms-to-be!

Can I Pump Colostrum If My Baby Is Having Trouble Nursing?

Can I pump colostrum if my baby is having trouble nursing?I’m a mom-to-be and this will be my first time breastfeeding. What if my baby has trouble nursing in the beginning, can I pump my colostrum so my baby doesn’t miss any important nutrients?

If your baby is nursing well after delivery, then there will be no need to pump colostrum in the early days. If your baby was born early or not nursing well for other reasons, then it may be necessary for you to pump your colostrum so baby can still reap its nutritional benefits. Packed with protein, antibodies, and vitamin a, colostrum is the perfect first food for your baby. It’s also low in fat and will be thicker than regular breast milk when you pump—so don’t worry; it’s supposed to carry a yellowish hue! That’s how colostrum got the nickname “liquid gold” and it lives up to its title.

The most effective way to pump colostrum is hands-on pumping, which is a combination of using a hand massage and an electric breast pump. Because colostrum is thicker than your typical breast milk, pumping might take more effort to express fully. But don’t be discouraged, each time you pump in the first few days you will see a little more colostrum!

Have another breastfeeding question? Let us know in the comments and we’ll bring you the answers you need!

 

Photo attribution

Dreamy Baby Photography from Sioin Liao

Wengenn-A-Priceless-Gem1000With her breathtaking, absolutely magical photographs, California artist and mother Sioin Queenie Liao has turned naptime into a work of art. Inspired by artists Adele Enerson and Anne Geddes, Liao used her son Wengenn’s daily naps as a canvas for her experimental photos. Her images depict what Wengenn’s dreams might look like, or even about what Lo wishes he were dreaming. Even though he’s asleep in every photo, Liao’s son plays a crucial role in every photograph, and we can imagine how quickly and quietly she must have worked to capture each scene without waking her son up.

Queenie attributes her first exposure to this style of baby photography to Adele Enerson’s book, When my Baby Dreams. Once she became fascinated by the concept, she tapped into her childhood imagination: “I grew up indulging myself in fairy tales. Those fairy tales from my childhood gave me a multitude of ideas to try out.” Whether her son is creating his own masterpiece or sailing on a boat to dreamland, Liao combines imaginative scenarios with everyday objects we might not associate with dreams. Overall, the project successfully captures how dreams are overlooked as we get older and how much fun we can have incorporating them into our adult imaginations.

Wengenn-Magic-Sail-Ride1000How did Sioin manage to create such elaborate scenes? Besides being blessed with a sound sleeper, Liao explained that her scenes were mostly created beforehand: “after Wengenn fell asleep, I would place him at the center of the theme I’d created and start taking pictures.” Some of Liao’s images show her son in special outfits or costumes to compliment the scene. Even though Sioin created her dreamscape scenes beforehand, from the way her son’s positioned or interacting with props you can assume that she very carefully inserted him into each scene without disturbing his nap!

Sioin’s images can be viewed at wengenninwonderland.com and her American book is forthcoming.

Breastfeeding Restrictions: Can You Eat Spicy Foods?

can-a-breastfeeding-mom-eat-spicy-foodsYou were careful about your diet during pregnancy, but now that you’re breastfeeding, do you still have to follow the same kinds of dietary restrictions? Some moms hear that they should avoid all pungent or spicy foods while nursing based on the same general idea behind avoiding sushi and goat cheese while expecting—that baby eats what mom eats. So, is that true? Thankfully, there is no real evidence that mom can’t enjoy spicy peppers or garlic while breastfeeding!

In fact, there has been some evidence that a mother’s garlic-influenced diet will help a distracted baby nurse more. Babies respond to the different breast milk flavors and actually take in more breast milk than this mom myth would have you believe. Even if your mouth is burning after consuming a particularly spicy meal, you won’t need to fear that your baby will taste the same level of heat while nursing; breast milk tends to taste on the sweeter side and does not fully absorb flavor or spice like you might imagine it would.

Exposing your baby to a wide variety of flavors and foods is beneficial in the long run, too. By starting with subtle taste differences via your breast milk, your child will be more prepared for a variety of solid foods once you transition from nursing as your child’s primary food source. Healthy growth and nutrition is supported by a varied diet full of fresh produce and protein, so there’s no need to worry about sticking to basics for your baby’s benefit. Go ahead, indulge in some spice!

What kinds of flavor do you like to add to your meals? Let us know in the comments, new moms!

 

Photo attribution

12 Up and Coming Baby Names in 2014 from Nameberry.com

iStock_000008954862SmallGame of Thrones must be making its mark on U.S. culture because popular baby name website Nameberry.com recently announced 12 up-and-coming baby names for 2014, and more than a few sound reminiscent of characters on the popular HBO show. From Shakespearian heroines to Olympic soccer stars, these names pop up in subtle ways across our culture and might just be the next names you choose for your own children or suggest to a friend.

Nameberry predicts that names like Celia, Faye and Leonore are among the girls’ names that will make a comeback with expecting parents this year. Slightly whimsical and old-fashioned, these names are shared by princesses, actresses, and Shakespeare characters. Liv, Magnolia, and Margot are also beautiful girls’ names that made the list. Magnolia in particular is a quaint update to the flowers-as-name trend we’ve seen before with Daisy, Poppy, and Rose.

Two of the boys’ names included on Nameberry’s baby names list are repurposed nouns with particularly masculine overtones. Blaise and Justus, names which are derived from blaze and justice, evoke power and righteousness. Cassian, another baby boy name that makes the cut, sounds the most like a medieval hero and has ancient Roman roots. These interesting boys’ names are joined by Huxley, Miller, and Tobin as the other picks that round out the soon-to-be-popular baby names for boys list. Even though these three names sound more like surnames than first names, Nameberry is confident that the trend will continue to grow more popular this century. Celebrities like Stella McCartney and Melissa Ethridge have named their sons Miller, while Karolina Kurachova has a son named Tobin.

What do you think of this crop of baby names, moms-to-be? Any you would consider for your unborn child? Let us know which names you like or which baby names you think are missing from this list in the comments.

LPGA Pro Golfer Danah Bordner Shares Tour Update and Exciting Family News

danah-and-taylor-lpga-instagramLeading Lady SpokesMom and Pro golfer Danah Bordner has exciting news to share with our nursing moms’ community—she and husband Steve Bordner are expecting baby #2! Danah’s first child, daughter Taylor, will step into her big-sister role in August. Congratulations to the Bordner family from all of us at Leading Lady!

Danah competes professionally on the LPGA tour and will continue to sink putts until early May. We’ll be cheering Danah on at the LPGA LOTTE Championship presented by J Golf in Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii starting April 16th.

How is Danah’s daughter Taylor taking the new baby news? Danah told us, “Taylor is very excited to be a big sister and has learned to say the word ‘baby’ while pointing at my belly!” Taylor is almost 18 months old and joins her mom at golf tournaments when possible. The whole family currently resides in sunny Florida.

Best of luck on your upcoming tournament, Danah! Leading Lady is proud to sponsor such an amazing mom and athlete.

Celebrity Baby Round Up: Springtime Pregnancies in Hollywood

Forget flowers, babies are popping up all over Hollywood! Baby bumps are in season, and we’ve got a new batch of pregnant celebrities to watch for the best in maternity fashion.

mila-kunis-ashton-kutcher-pregnancy-announcementJackie and Kelso forever—who would have thought that life would imitate art when it came to Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher? The newly engaged pair, who first met on the set of That 70’s Show in 1998, played fictional couple Jackie and Kelso throughout most of the show’s duration. An insider recently confirmed Mila’s pregnancy and the couple will welcome a baby this summer. One thing’s for sure, Mila and Ashton’s baby will have a great head of hair!

scarlett-johansson-pregnantLook who else is expecting: Scarlett Johansson and fiance recently announced that they’re welcoming their first child together this year! The actress has been looking radiant lately, and we’re happy to report that she’s 5 months along with her little one. Scarlett will still reprise her role as the Black Widow in the upcoming Avengers sequel, but sources are saying that her involvement won’t be nearly as pronounced in the second movie because of her pregnancy.

Chris Hemsworth and wife Elsa Pataky welcomed twin boys in Los Angeles on March 21st. The boys’ names have not yet been released. Hemsworth is reprising his role as Thor in the next Avenger’s installment that’s already in development. The couple’s first child, India Rose, has two new playmates to keep her company and we’re sure all three kids will keep Elsa busy.

More stars who are expecting: Alyssa Milano and husband are expecting their second child together this year. Now that Christopher Nolan’s successful Batman franchise has ended, actor Christian Bale has more time to focus on his family, and he and his wife recently announced that they were expecting their second child as well! Model Doutzen Kroes is joining in one the second-baby trend as too: the Dutch beauty is expecting a little girl with her DJ husband.

Olivia Wilde, Kristen Cavallari, and Kerry Washington are all nearing their due dates, which means that we’ll get excited over their newborn photos and celebrity baby names soon!

NICU Babies Respond to Volunteer Hugs and Cuddles

NICU-Babies-Respond-to-Volunteer-Hugs-and-CuddlesHugs and kisses have been known to soothe most cuts and bruises children come home with from the playground, but now there’s scientific evidence that shows how cuddling and reassuring words can help relax babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Babies who spend time in the NICU are surrounded by a hubbub of machines, noises, tubes, and lights that can be disorienting. Special NICU volunteers, the “cuddlers,” visit the hospital for the sole purpose of providing hugs and quiet cuddles with babies whose parents are not able to stay in the hospital around the clock.

Aside from providing reassurance and genuine comfort for these babies, doctors have measured the effects of a volunteer’s touch and have found that babies are less stressed, have a more stable body temperature, and even stronger vital signs and pain tolerance. Cuddlers simply hold these babies and speak to them in soothing tones. A much needed break from monitor beeps, these babies cling to human contact and benefit greatly from hugs.

Many of those who volunteer in the NICU are retired or have previously had a child stay in the NICU before coming home after birth. Whatever their reason for visiting these babies, each volunteer has a significant impact on the baby they hold in their arms. Parents of children in the NICU are grateful as well; with work schedules and other children at home, some parents are not able to spend every possible hour in the hospital. Knowing that their newborn is in the arms of a loving volunteer may ease a parent’s worry and guilt about their baby being in the hospital alone.

Interested in becoming a cuddler? Check with your local hospital and NICU to see if they support a volunteer program.

 

Photo attribution

Sleep Habits Moms Should Have

how-to-fall-asleep-fast-for-momsIf you’re a mom with a napping-age baby or child, we’re sure that your primary focus is set on getting your baby to fall asleep (and stay asleep). But what about your own sleep habits? Sure, all moms can relate to being tired, but getting enough sleep enables you to keep up with your kids during playtime. Even though we can’t add a few more hours to each day just for rest, we can pass along these sleep habit tips from the Center for Disease Control that will help you create a solid sleep schedule.

According to the CDC, getting enough sleep is an important factor for staying healthy in general. You’re less likely to develop a chronic disease or fall victim to endless bouts of the sniffles if you’re getting more than 6 hours of shut eye a night. Healthy mom, healthy baby, right? Set the example and keep your own health up so your kids are less likely to pick up that cold you’ve been fighting for weeks on end.

What’s your nighttime routine like after you’ve wrangled the kids into bed? Set a bedtime for yourself as well as your kids and try to stick to it. Your body will naturally feel sleepiness cues if you’re good about keeping a sleep schedule. To help get into a routine, avoid visually stimulating activities (like watching television, netflixing, or reading a magazine) and to stick good old-fashioned print books to help you drift off.

This may strike you as a silly question, but the CDC prompts you to ask yourself: is your bed comfortable? Is it a place you look forward to sleeping? It’s worth noting if you actually like climbing into bed or not because you might need to make adjustments to help you sleep more soundly. Make sure you have all of the blankets and pillows you need to feel comfy. Invest in thick shades if you need a darkened room to sleep in. Even a sleep machine might help lull you into slumber while drowning out street sounds that are potentially disturbing your sleep.

Don’t underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep! Sweet dreams, moms.

 

Photo attribution

Breastfeeding Advocacy and Awareness for Dads

 

hector-cruz-if-i-could-i-would

It’s nothing new to see moms advocating for universal support towards public breastfeeding, and now dads are joining the fight too—Project Breastfeeding is a dad-created non-profit organization that calls for dads to support their wives who struggle with breastfeeding both in the home and in public.

Hector Cruz is a freelance photographer whose wife recently gave birth to their first child, a girl. Cruz’s wife Nicole had a hard time breastfeeding baby Sophia and Hector felt unprepared to help his wife nurse successfully—Nicole had attended a breastfeeding class for moms only before their daughter’s arrival. Also, the Cruz family found less-than-enthusiastic breastfeeding help at the hospital where they had delivered Sophia.

Determined to help his wife, Hector first acknowledged his lack of information about breastfeeding. “I wish I could say I was an enlightened guy, but I wasn’t. I figured women have breasts, a baby has a mouth, it all works, and there are never any issues” Cruz told Fox News in a recent interview. When he realized that he was “very, very wrong” Hector decided to remedy his family’s tough situation by opening up his family to the larger breastfeeding community.

hector-cruz-if-i-could-i-would-2Cruz’s photography background came in handy for his newfound project; Hector cultivated a series of photographs that feature men holding their babies in breastfeeding positions (shirtless as well!) with the caption: “If I could, I would.” Cruz explains that his slogan is meant to share a father’s frustrations towards his own breastfeeding limitations, as well as his unconditional support for his wife and child. Born from his own experiences, Cruz’s new campaign is widely accepted by breastfeeding groups across the country. Hoping to establish a new breastfeeding curriculum for both men and women, Cruz wants to provide essential breastfeeding information for new and expecting parents.

Remember, dads, that even though you cannot physically nurse your newborn like your wife can, you can contribute by bringing mom water or something to eat while she nurses, watching the other kids while she breastfeeds in (relative) peace, and even getting up and giving baby a bottle of breast milk in the middle of the night. Showing your support is a great way to help keep your wife feeling confident about breastfeeding.

What do you think of Hector’s photographs and campaign? Let us know in the comments.

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