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

Ending a Breastfeeding Relationship: The Emotions behind Weaning

Breastfeeding is one of the most extraordinary experiences that mothers and babies can share.  It not only allows new moms to provide the ultimate nourishment to their babies, but it also forms an incredibly special bond built from physical and emotional closeness.  So when breastfeeding eventually comes to an end, emotions will certainly run high.

Weaning happens for a variety of reasons but is typically categorized in two ways: Child-led weaning is when the baby or toddler is ready to end the breastfeeding relationship and stops showing interest and desire to nurse.  This naturally occurs between 18 and 24 months for most children, when they are also eating many solid foods, drinking cow’s milk and are aware of their environment.  Mother-led weaning is when the mother is ready or forced to stop breastfeeding, regardless of whether her baby is ready.  Many mothers stop breastfeeding at one year because the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least this amount of time, she finds this timing to be the social norm or she’s looking for more freedom in her life.  Nevertheless, there is also evidence that extended breastfeeding is highly beneficial to mothers and babies.  Sometimes weaning is a joint decision between mother and baby.  That is, the mother notices signs of disinterest and then makes a formal decision to stop breastfeeding gradually.

Leading Lady BreastfeedingFirst, it’s important to recognize when a child is not necessarily ready to wean.  Many mothers are confused by mixed signals they may be getting from their babies.  For instance, as a baby becomes more mature, he’ll have a natural curiosity for the world around him, which may cause him to be distracted during breastfeeding.  This does not mean he’s apathetic to breastfeeding or doesn’t need the nutrition, it just means mom should help him refocus by eliminating distractions as much as possible.  Some babies go on a breastfeeding strike and suddenly do not want to nurse.  Child-led weaning is rarely marked by an abrupt end to breastfeeding.  A strike is probably about something else, like an illness, a lull in growth when he needs less milk or the eruption of new teeth.  Many mothers also feel pressure to wean when they go back to work, get pregnant with another baby or are influenced by others’ opinions.  However, none of these factors should determine when a breastfeeding relationship ends.

Babies are usually pretty adaptable and, especially with child-led weaning, have an easier time when breastfeeding ends.  As moms are more emotionally mature, they often struggle during weaning and may even feel depressed.  There are many elements at play that can lead to feelings of sadness and guilt.  If the mother is ready to stop breastfeeding before the baby naturally weans, she may feel guilty about putting her own desires above her baby’s.  Sometimes if a baby weans easily, even if not by choice, mothers feel unwanted or unneeded.

However it happens, many mothers feel nostalgic about weaning and often mourn the loss of this stage in the mother/child relationship.  Hormones also contribute to feelings of sadness and depression during weaning.  Prolactin, the hormone that is required for milk production, and oxytocin, which is responsible for the release of milk through let downs, both help calm and relax mothers and contribute to feelings of love.  When these hormones drop off, especially if weaning occurs suddenly, moms can spiral into depression.  At this point, it’s important to seek professional advice to ensure the safety and well-being of both mom and baby.  Also, finding other ways to emotionally bond with your baby can curb some of these negative feelings.  Cuddling, hugging, reading, singing and otherwise maintaining skin-to-skin contact will benefit both mom and baby.

Mothers who are unsure about weaning should talk to a breastfeeding counselor or health care provider before making a decision.  Once breastfeeding stops, it is very difficult to return to it and often confusing for the child.  Mothers should be absolutely sure about their decision.  When it’s time, weaning should be done gradually starting with dropping one feeding each week.  The process may stall at certain points and continue with just a couple feedings – often morning and before bedtime – for weeks or even months before breastfeeding completely ends.  This slow wean will help level off breast milk to avoid clogged ducts or mastitis and help rebalance hormones.  Plus, it will give baby time to get used to an increase in non-breast milk and other forms of nutrients.

Just like the entire breastfeeding journey, weaning is a time that moms and babies have to navigate together.  It should be done carefully and with much love and respect for each other’s health, feelings and well-being.  Remember, the bond of breastfeeding shared by mothers and children is one that transitions beautifully into a strong and loving relationship for a lifetime.

Chubby Babies: Natural Baby Fat or Overweight

Everyone loves to see a jolly chubby baby.  There is something about those rolls of fat on the legs, arms and chin that are irresistible.  For many babies, this is natural baby fat that will begin to shed as he or she becomes more mobile.  But there is growing concern about obesity among babies that may be a precursor for being overweight or obese later in life.

Your pediatrician is the best resource to determine whether your baby is a healthy weight.  As you’ve surely noticed, your doctor plots your baby’s height, weight and head circumference on a growth chart during each visit.  This not only helps determine the wellbeing of your own child’s growth pattern, but also compares your little one to others of the same age and sex.  While there are many times comparing your baby to others is not productive, in the case of growth, these averages are helpful to ensure your tot is on a good path.

iStock_000008954862SmallThe American Journal of Health Promotion reported that nearly one-third of babies under 9 months old are overweight or obese.  There are several reasons that contribute to this trend in larger children: if a baby is born large, he will likely remain on the large end of the growth curve all his life; babies born to obese parents are more likely to be overweight; and babies born to moms who develop gestational diabetes are at higher risk of obesity.  By tracking your baby’s growth curve and gathering all of the facts about your family history, pregnancy and lifestyle habits, your pediatrician can determine if your baby is hanging on to natural baby fat or if other factors are at play.

Either way, it is never acceptable to put your baby on a diet.  There is no reason to withhold food from your baby, especially essential fats that are required for brain, heart, bone and muscle development.  Instead, your doctor may recommend a few healthy changes to redirect your baby’s health and get back on the right track.

First, breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby’s weight.  Breast fed babies are less likely to be obese later in childhood and adulthood.  Formula feeding can lead to overfeeding, which may be the source of a baby’s weight gain.  Also, starting solids too early can contribute to obesity, especially when combined with formula feeding.  Solids should be introduced between 4 and 6 months of age but the journal Pediatrics claims 40% of parents begin solids prematurely.

When the time is appropriate, make sure you feed your baby healthy foods, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables. This young age is a crucial time for developing a healthy diet and eating habits.  Good eating habits include sitting at a table for meals, eating to satisfy not to stuff even if the plate is not empty, and eating when you are hungry.  Excessive sugar consumption is a huge contributor to obesity so limit juice and sugary snacks in your child’s diet.  Furthermore, encourage an active lifestyle by giving your babies, toddler and older children plenty of opportunity to run and play.

There are varying opinions about the long term effects of being overweight as a baby.  New studies indicate that overweight babies are more likely to be obese as children and adults.  And as we all know, obesity has become an epidemic.  But does it start as a baby?  The jury is still out.  Some say that once you expose the body to excess fat storage, the body finds homeostasis in storing fat.  Others say that with the right lifestyle choices, babies grow out of their baby fat by age 4 and being on the heavy side as a baby does not necessarily lead to obesity.

The bottom line about chubby babies is to ensure they are growing at a steady pace, according to your pediatrician, and giving them the best chance at a healthy weight by making good dietary and lifestyle choices.  Enjoy those rolls while they last because chances are, they will be gone before you know it.

5 Ways to Sweeten Valentine’s Day while Breastfeeding

With a new baby in your life, there’s probably a lot of love floating around your home, but perhaps not the same passion you experienced on previous Valentine’s Days.  As exhausted and preoccupied as you may be, Valentine’s Day is a time to rally.  Celebrating Valentine’s Day while breastfeeding and shortly after having a baby may not entail all the intimacy of Valentine’s past, but there are still many ways you can sweeten the day with your love.

Need some ideas?  We’re glad you’ve come to us!

Have a Romantic Dinner in “Bistro Your House”

Turn your dining room into the fanciest restaurant in town…or at least the closest to your house.  Here’s how to do it:  Drape your table with a festive tablecloth.  Turn down the lights and strike a match on some romantic candles.  And bust out your best dishes.  Plan a meal that incorporates both of your favorite flavors.  You can either surprise your love with this one-of-a-kind dining experience or cook the meal together.  Be sure to remove the traces of the day-to-day life that happens around your house like burp cloths, toys and bouncy chairs to ensure a more sophisticated mood, at least in this one dining space.  If you’re holding off on wine while breastfeeding, toast with sparkling juice or a delicious mocktail.

Button-Up-Sleeveless-ShirtdressWear a Sassy Nursing Dress and Use your Assets to Your Advantage

Whether you’re staying home or headed out, you should take the opportunity to get dolled up on this special day.  After having a baby, you may not have had the chance to spend time pampering and primping yourself.  Well, today is the day of all days for that.  And thanks to your baby, you probably have some new assets to use to your advantage, your breasts.  Select a chic wrap dress, button or zip top, or other low-cut blouse that will show off your new, even if only temporary, features.

Make a Collage of your Family’s New “Loving Moments”

In Valentine’s past, your husband may have ogled over a new watch, sports memorabilia or a swanky sweater.  This year, give him a lasting memory of his new love.  Plan a secret photography session of your baby and create a collage of images.  Get a few of you and your baby as well.  If time and budget don’t permit professional photos, take your own or collect ones from the past few months of your baby’s life to frame for your hubby.  We bet he’ll be thrilled to keep these “Loving Moments” with him always.

sexy-nursing-braBuy a New Wardrobe of Sexy Nursing Bras

Do you want to really sweeten the pot and wow your man?  Head on over to Walmart or Walmart.com for a Loving Moments sexy nursing bra shopping spree.  Our collection features everything from sexy lace, to flirty prints.  Wear a new sexy nursing bra every day for the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, and save your favorite one for the big day, of course.  You’ll be all set for breastfeeding so your baby will be happy, and we bet you’ll get a terrific reaction from your husband too.

Make Out After your Baby is Asleep

Even if your OBGYN hasn’t cleared you for intercourse, you can sweeten your Valentine’s Day while breastfeeding by making out with you husband after your baby goes to sleep.  As soon as you finish your nighttime feeding, set the mood and start the flirtation.  It may feel a little old-school but kissing alone often creates more intimacy and stimulates a sense of closeness all the same.

Celebrating a romantic Valentine’s Day while breastfeeding is doable!  Mop up the spit-up, slap on some lipstick and light the candles.  Then get ready for a meaningful, adult evening of love and togetherness.

6 Sexy Nursing Bras for Valentine’s Day

Who’s ready for Valentine’s Day?  We are!

Leading Lady is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to look and feel great this Valentine’s Day and nurture your baby.  Our sexy nursing bras are both functional for breastfeeding and comfortable for all day and night wear.  From pops of red and rosy pinks, to steamy lace and adorably fun patterns, we’ve got it all.  Today we’re sharing our six must-have sexy nursing bras for Valentine’s Day:

 

Leading Lady Sexy Lace Cup Bra_bra calendarLace Cup Nursing Bra

This stunning bra offered in wirefree or underwire will make jaws drop, not only from its sheer beauty, but also when anyone finds out it is a nursing bra.  It comes in black, nude and sweet lavender and will make you feel like a million bucks.  More importantly, it will help you nourish your baby and bond during the priceless experience of breastfeeding.

 

 

Molded Seamless Lace Frame Nursing Brax406_nude.jpg.pagespeed.ic.srsZ-i-y7N

From all-over lace to a more subtle lace frame, this bra is a sexy twist on our classic molded seamless bra.  Lace detail frames the cups and extends to the center and back as well. The comfort and fit of this bra are perfection, and the soft lace is a breathably attractive fabric choice.

 

 

Molded Comfort Wirefree Nursing Brax4006_nude_1.jpg.pagespeed.ic.ZZVlHgFXc3

Stretchy and silky, this nursing bra is great for all stages of breastfeeding.  The flexible fabric grows with you as milk fluctuates and the lace detail outlining the cups adds a feminine touch.  Available in both nude and white, your Valentine will surely delight in this classic, sexy bra.

 

 

Modern Square Neck Nursing CamiNursing Cami

Need to add some red hot spice to your Valentine’s Day?  Check out this adorable nursing cami that gives you a splash of Valentine’s red when you unfold the nursing clasps.  The empire waist fit is flattering to moms as they return to their normal size.  This nursing tank can be worn as a stand alone top, layered under a sweater or as a pajama top for simple nighttime breastfeeding.

 

 

Shirred Front Comfort Nursing Cami and Chemise4041_BlackDot

Perhaps you need a “dot” of playfulness to spice up your Valentine’s Day.  Our fun polka dot nursing cami and nursing chemise will surely be the exclamation point you need to celebrate in comfort and style.  With bold contrasting colors, your baby will even enjoy this trendy print.

 

 

Nursing Top4049_black_withbackinset

One of our newest maternity and nursing wear pieces is this versatile black lace racer back nursing top. It’s the ideal shirt for any nursing mom on the go, especially on Valentine’s Day. The sheer lace and racer back style add a sexy detail to this flattering nursing top.

 

So go on, splurge on a few new sexy nursing bras for your special day of love.  We wish you a happy, and sexy, Valentine’s Day.

3 Ways to Teach Babies about Heart Health

It’s February, Heart Health Month and the month of love.  As a mom, you share your whole heart with your baby.  At such a young age, much of the love you give your baby is through health and security as you take care of her basic needs and ensure she feels loved and comforted. And matters of the heart – whether it’s your heart or your baby’s – are essential for your baby’s health and wellbeing throughout childhood and beyond.

Setting a heart-healthy example for your baby is crucial during these early years of life.  Babies learn health habits from their parents and all caregivers.  Nutrition, exercise and lifestyle behaviors are some of the most critical aspects of good health that you can impart on your children when they are young.  Being a role model and helping your kids learn to eat a balanced diet, get regular physical activity and make good choices will stay with them for a lifetime.  Caring for your own heart along with your baby’s will benefit you both and continue to spread that natural love.

Breastfeeding with Leading LadyA heart-healthy life begins with breastfeeding.  Breast milk provides babies with the perfect blend of nutrients for their growing bodies and continues to evolve as their developmental needs change too.  Breast milk and the closeness of breastfeeding helps regulate a baby’s heart beat to sync with her mother.  This calms many babies, creating a less fussy and more relaxed environment for the entire family.  We all know there are many amazing health benefits of breastfeeding, and these include benefits for the heart.  According to the American Heart Associate, breast milk helps decrease hypertension and high cholesterol as children get older, as well as reduce risk of diabetes, obesity and other serious conditions that affect overall health.  For moms, breastfeeding reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, in addition to cancer, diabetes and depression.

Around the sixth month, you’ll be ready to introduce solids into your baby’s diet along side breast milk.  Fortified baby cereals are a great place to start, followed by pureed fruits and vegetables.  Introduce healthy solids one at a time to gauge how your baby will react to each food.  Some babies take to solids immediately while others need some time to learn how to swallow a thicker substance.  If your baby is averse to trying new foods, mix them with breast milk to offer a more familiar scent and flavor.  Take this time to teach your baby about healthy food choices and having healthy eating habits.  It may seem quite early, but exposing your baby to a range of healthy foods has many advantages including the tremendous benefits of variety of nutrients and learning to like different flavors, textures and colors of foods.  Often, picky eaters develop because their parents permit it, which can lead to unhealthy food choices in the future.  Additionally, establishing a habit of designated meal times when everyone sits down to eat together is important at this early stage.

baby-jogging-strollerPhysical activity is another heart-healthy value you can instill in your baby.  Start by incorporating your baby into your exercise, such as bringing her with you on power walks or jogs, or integrate her into your yoga or weight lifting routines.  As your little one gets older, she’ll be much more mobile. Encourage physical activities at her level, which will strengthen muscles that she’ll eventually need to crawl, walk and run.  At first this may mean placing objects out of grasp so she has to reach for them and eventually thrust or scoot her body towards them.  As she begins to crawl, take her to a playground with soft turf where she can explore and begin to pull up on bars, slides and swings.  Before you know it she’ll be running around the park.  Make exercise fun for your tot by playing games, even if you make them up yourself.  As motor skills develop, introduce balls, bikes and other outdoor equipment that will challenge your child through play.

Finally, lead by example by making smart heart-healthy lifestyle choices.  Smoking is one of the riskiest behaviors for your own heart, but can also greatly damage your baby’s entire physical wellbeing through secondhand smoke.  Don’t drink excessive alcohol.  Eventually your baby will pick up on your drinking habits and realize that “mommy juice” is actually wine.  It’s unreasonable to think that your children will have healthy lifestyle habits if you don’t set the expectation with your own behavior from the get-go.  When they are grown, they will make their own choices and don’t you want them to be ones you taught them by example?

Heart health starts right now.  Not because it’s February.  Not because it’s Heart Health Month.  Not because it’s almost Valentine’s Day.  Do it because you love your baby.  Protecting your baby’s heart health, and overall health, is one of the most important things you can do to show your love.

Happy Heart = Happiness & Love

The Dos and Don’ts of Pregnancy: Part 2

We’re back with our two-part series on pregnancy rules.  Yes, there are rules to just about everything in life, including pregnancy.  Today we’re taking a look at what you should and should not eat, drink and otherwise consume during pregnancy.  For better or worse, everything you consume will have an affect on your baby.  As his only portal for sustenance, maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding potentially harmful substances is essential for a healthy baby.

woman with prenatalsDo take a prenatal vitamin.  In one little capsule, or gummy if you prefer, you can get most of your recommended daily allowance of tons of vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients for you and your baby.  Prenatal vitamins should contain folic acid, DHA, iron and calcium.  If yours does not, consider taking additional supplements to ensure you’re getting enough of these crucial nutrients.

Don’t take prescription or OTC drugs without a doctor’s consent.  Especially during the first trimester as your baby’s heart, lungs and brain cells are forming vital organs, avoid taking any unnecessary medications.  Your doctor can advise you on which meds are safe during pregnancy and alternatives should you not be able to take what you need.

Do eat lots of protein.  Protein is required for the cellular development of your baby and it will keep you strong and energized as well.  Pregnant women should consume 75 to 100 grams of protein daily.  But hold off on processed and packaged meats as they can contain bacteria called listeria, which can cause food poisoning.

Don’t eat too many processed foods. As pregnancy progresses, your stomach will get smaller and you’ll be eating less food.  If you fill up on junk food that lacks nutrients, you won’t have room for the healthy foods your baby needs. Plus, processed sugars lead to excessive weight gain, which is unhealthy for you and baby.

fish and pregnancyDo eat enough healthy fats.  Fats, especially essential fatty-acids like Omega-3s, are important for your baby’s developing brain.  Also, fat helps the body absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E, K and D, and also helps the skin stretch smoothly.  Two tablespoons of fat per day are recommended during pregnancy.

Don’t eat certain types of fish with high mercury content.  Swordfish, tilefish, mackerel, tuna and shark are among the fish with the most mercury.  Avoid these fish or eat them in moderation.  Chunk light tuna or salmon are safer alternatives if you’re craving fish.  Of course, do not consume raw fish, like that found in sushi and shashimi.

Do get 4-7 servings of fruits and veggies a day.  Along with your prenatal vitamins, be sure to eat plenty of nutrient-dense fruits and veggies.   These have tons of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber, which will keep your body running smoothly and your baby developing properly.

Don’t drink alcohol, smoke or take illegal drugs.  These vices are directly related to birth defects, fetal alcohol syndrome, retardation, premature birth, low-birth weight and many other serious diseases and conditions that stem from unhealthy exposure in the womb.  Even second-hand smoke can cause many of these problems.

Do drink plenty of water.  It’s important to stay hydrated during pregnancy and pregnant women typically need more water than most people.  Dehydration can lead to preterm labor and may exacerbate many pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, edema, headaches and cramps.

Don’t over-do it on caffeine.  Most OBs consider one 12-oz. serving of coffee or caffeinated tea a day acceptable during pregnancy.  But excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to over-stimulation of the baby and is associated with diseases like diabetes.  Keep in mind that foods such as chocolate also contain caffeine.

The Dos and Don’ts of Pregnancy: Part 1

Being the temporary home of your precious baby comes with a lot of responsibility.  With all the wonderful things associated with pregnancy, there sure are a lot of rules too!  You should always consult your physician about health matters that pertain to you as an individual, but there are some standard guidelines that apply to most pregnant women.  We’re breaking them down in our two-part series about the Do’s and Don’ts of Pregnancy.  Today we’re focusing on exposure and lifestyle choices, and tomorrow we’ll talk about diet and consumption.

pregnant at obgynDo see your OB for health exams on a regular basis.  This is best way to ensure you and your baby stay healthy and to correct any potential problems before they spin out of control.  Plus, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your baby is growing and developing properly in the womb.

Don’t use electric blankets or water beds.  Both emit low-level electromagnetic fields that can be harmful to a developing fetus.  Plus, electric blankets can overheat your body and water beds do not offer proper back support during pregnancy.

Do examine your skin and personal care items.  Many chemical toxins are hidden in everyday skin care products (cleansers, moisturizers, astringents), personal care items (body washes, deodorants, toothpastes) and cosmetics.  You may not recognize the ingredients as being toxic or they may not be listed at all.  Be conscious of the products you put on your skin because they absorb into your bloodstream.

Don’t subject yourself to x-rays and microwaves.  Radiation in small doses is OK for adults, but it is not recommended as your baby is growing in the womb.  Postpone dental or other body x-rays until after pregnancy and do not stand around a microwave when it is in use.

preg_yogaDo exercise and keep your weight within your recommended range.  Maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight is important for both you and your baby.  As long as your physician gives you the green light, continue regular exercise throughout pregnancy.  However, do not do any extreme exercising including anything that elevates your heart-rate above 160 bpm, which can limit oxygen flow to your baby’s growing brain.  Also, avoid lifting heavy weights and abdominal exercises.

Don’t spend time around pesticides, paint fumes or household cleaners. Toxic exposure to these and other chemical-based products when consumed, inhaled or absorbed through skin can lead to birth defects.  Avoid them whenever possible and wear gloves and ensure your house is ventilated when exposure to these products is absolutely necessary.

Do use houseplants to filter out chemicals from your home.  This little known fact is particularly helpful for pregnant women who need to limit toxic exposure.  Houseplants absorb and remove harmful chemicals that enter your home from paint, furniture stains, carpets and household cleaners.

Don’t spend much time around certain types of animals.  Reptiles in particular carry dangerous viruses in their feces as can some livestock, especially those in other countries.  Also, avoid contact with cat liter as it contains chemicals that may cause birth defects.

happy pregnancyDo practice positive thinking.  During pregnancy you have the opportunity to begin to bond with your baby.  Take this time to send warm, loving thoughts to your baby – verbally and mentally – and to connect with your tot early in life.

Don’t stress.  Stress releases adrenaline and cortisol into our bodies, both of which can effect your baby during these precious stages of growth and development.  Find ways to manage stress through meditation, relaxation and exercise.

Do follow travel guidelines as recommended by your doctor.  Your OB may advise you to stop traveling at a certain point during your pregnancy in the event that your baby is born early.  Additionally, air travel or visiting foreign countries may be particularly risky later in pregnancy.

Don’t expose your body to extreme temperatures.  In utero, babies cannot tolerate temperatures above 102.  Make sure you are not over-heating during exercise or on hot days, and avoid time in hot baths, saunas or hot tubs.

Do sit some during the day.  Standing all day long can cause swelling of the feet and arms and may contribute to varicose veins.  But sitting all day long isn’t good either, as you need your blood to circulate.  Be sure to alternate sitting, standing and walking around throughout the day.

Don’t get impromptu massages by non-professionals.  Pregnancy massages by a professional masseuse is fine, but an untrained individual may trigger reflexology that can stimulate uterine pressure points and induce premature labor.

Pre-Potty Training Tips

You may feel like potty training is pretty far in your future, but preparing for potty training before you are ready to do it is an important first step.  Most toddlers are ready for pre-potty training by 15 months.  You may not do any formal potty training for many months or even a year after that, but you will have laid a strong foundation and introduced skills and concepts that should make your potty training journey much easier.

The exact right time will be an individual decision.  Start when you feel your toddler can grasp some or all of these pre potty training tips:

Potty-Training-265x300Decide on Potty Words:  Freely conversing about your child’s bathroom habits may be a something you never dreamed you’d be doing as a parent.  But it’s actually a very important part of potty training and developing a mature child.  There are many words for urine and bowel movements to choose from.  You can go the technical route or pick something a little more fun for your child to say.  Tee-tee, pee-pee or tinkle are common for urine; poop, poopy or poopoo are widely used for bowel movements.   Select your words and stick to them for consistency.

Use Potty Words Often:  As you change your child’s diaper, use potty words to describe what you see.  “I see you’ve made a poopy.”  Also use the words when you use the bathroom too.  “Mommy has to go tee-tee.”  This will help your child identify what’s what and eventually help her describe her bathroom urges.  Never use the words as a joke or make fun of the smells associated with them.  This may make your child think it is funny to have accidents or discourage her from wanting to produce a fowl smell.

Spend Time in the Bathroom:  Help your child make the association between having soiled her diaper and using the toilet.  When possible, change diapers as soon as you realize your child has gone in her diaper and do it in the bathroom.  Dump the contents of a soiled diaper in the toilet to show your child where it is supposed to go.  Let her flush it down as an exciting part of the process.

Take Your Child to the Bathroom with You:  Let your child watch you, your partner and other close adults (nannies, relatives, etc…) go to the bathroom.  Identify what you’ve done on the potty.  Talk about how boys and girls use toilets differently and have different body parts.  Show your child how you wipe, flush and wash your hands as part of your bathroom routine.  Again, let your child flush if she enjoys it.  Children love to model behavior and this is one area where she can benefit greatly from watching others use the toilet repeatedly.

OUAP-Book-Him_600x600Read Potty Books:  In addition to conversations and setting a good example, your toddler learns so much from books at this age.  Read a variety of books about children learning to use the potty.  You may want to select ones with favorite characters or that feature children of the same gender or race as your child.  Interactive books with sound chips, lift-the-flaps or pop-ups are particularly engaging.

Sing Potty Songs:  Although you should not encourage “potty talk” outside of discussing the need to use the bathroom, singing songs about going potty may be helpful.  You can find several on the Internet or make one up yourself.

Sit on the Potty as a Routine:  Begin urging your child to sit on the potty at strategic times when it’s natural to use the toilet such as first thing in the morning, just before bedtime, right before a bath, etc…  Don’t force your child to go or reprimand her for not going, but start to create a routine that includes sitting on the toilet.  If something comes out, great.  Otherwise, praise your child for sitting still for a few minutes.  If she wants to wipe and flush, let her do so.

Use Positive Words:  Most children learn best with positive reinforcement.  Praise your child often during the pre potty training stage when she can identify what she’s done in her diaper, can tell you that she’s soiled the diaper, flushes a toilet or sits for any period of time on the toilet.  Making her feel proud of these accomplishments will help as you move into formal potty training.

The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga

Most pregnant women would agree that they could use a little more sleep, a little less discomfort, a little more flexibility, a little less stress and a little more time for peaceful breathing.  Well, maybe a LOT MORE is more like it.  When you practice prenatal yoga, you can reap all of these benefits and more.

There are many benefits of prenatal yoga for your physical, mental and emotional state now, when you’re ready to give birth and beyond.  Prenatal yoga is one of the best forms of exercise for expectant moms because it incorporates your entire body and mind without over-exerting mom and putting stress on baby.

If you’re considering yoga during your pregnancy, check out these wonderful benefits of prenatal yoga:

prenatal-2Strength & Balance:  Your body probably feels a bit off kilter these days as you learn to balance your body with the added weight of your growing baby.  Heavy weight lifting is not recommended during pregnancy but you can strengthen your body and improve balance through prenatal yoga.  This will help alleviate some common pregnancy pains such as back and hip pain, muscle cramps and carpal tunnel syndrome and also prepare you for carrying around your baby after childbirth.

Stress Relief:  Yoga involves deep breathing techniques that help your body enter a parasympathetic state of relaxation.  With the whirlwind that’s probably happening in your mind as you prepare for your baby, an organized time to be calm and find inner peace may be a welcome relief.  Plus, breathing and stretching helps relieve tension in the neck, chest and shoulders.

Better Digestion:  Calming the central nervous system through controlled breathing also eases the digestive system.  If you are experiencing pregnancy nausea, vomiting or indigestion, prenatal yoga can help work through some of these issues.

Better Circulation:  When you are pregnant your blood volume increases by 15% so it’s important to get that blood circulating throughout your body.  Your heart is working harder on circulation and to accommodate the extra weight of your baby.  Swelling of the extremities, especially feet, is common during pregnancy but can be reduced when circulation improves.

prenatalPain Management for Childbirth:  There’s a reason a substantial part of childbirth is called “labor.”  Its hard work and it can be quite painful.  Challenging your body to hold poses, perform repetitive movements and learning breathing and mental pain management techniques can help prepare you for childbirth.  Additionally, yoga helps open your hips to prepare your body for delivery.

Sleeping on Demand:  Relaxing your body during prenatal yoga should help you sleep better.  You may already be uncomfortable during the night, especially if you are not usually a side-sleeper or your baby is extra-active when you lie down.  You’ll also learn how to calm your own body to hopefully ease into a restful state when you need to.  Finding time to sleep when you have a baby is sometimes rare, so using precious quiet time to actually sleep is imperative.

Bonding with Baby:  You and your baby have a unique connection.  When you slow down and take the time to beyond before your baby is born, you will have a stronger relationship when she enters the world.  This short time may be the difference in a easing into a rhythm with your baby, including sleep schedules, breastfeeding and less fussiness.

Community:  Chances are you’ll take a prenatal class near your home or work where you can find a community of other new moms like yourself.  You will all be giving birth around the same time so you can continue your relationships with your babies in arms as well.  If nothing else, prenatal yoga classes are a chance to laugh and commiserate about pregnancy with other expectant moms.

We hope you enjoy the benefits of prenatal yoga during your pregnancy.  Be sure to wear your favorite Loving Moments maternity bra while you’re striking a pose!

The Humor in Breastfeeding: Funny Facts about Breastfeeding

Sometimes you just have to laugh about motherhood.  Along with some challenging moments, it’s full of laugh-out-laugh blunders that even the best comedy writers couldn’t have penned.  Breastfeeding is no exception – it comes with its own set of hilarious circumstances.  Today we’re sharing some of our favorite funny facts about breastfeeding.

Mom nursing babyWhere’s That Breast?

Babies are born to breastfeed and they know how to find that milk.  While they can discern their own mother’s breast milk scent, when a baby is hungry, she will likely turn towards any nipple she can find.  Watching a baby prepare to feed on your husband or grandmother is a pretty funny sight indeed.

Drunken Sailor

A well-fed baby may look a lot like a sailor leaving a bar:  drunk.  In this case, milk drunk. Babies sometimes get bleary-eyed, giggly or completely fall asleep as their tummies fill up with the good stuff, breast milk.  Be sure to get some video of your stumbling milk drunk baby to keep for posterity.

Accidental Squirting

Full breasts are meant to release whether your baby is attached or not.  This may have happened to you:  your baby latches just long enough to trigger your let down but then becomes distracted and detaches from your breast.  But the milk flow is a comin’ and anyone in the way better watch out.  You probably ended up squirting your baby, yourself or anyone else in the room with your steady stream of breast milk.

407blacklace_7Is That a Nursing Bra?

Now that your partner is sharing your breasts with your baby, he may get a little jealous.  You can satisfy both of them with a super-sexy nursing bra.  No one ever said motherhood has to be matronly.  When you wear a lacy nursing bra, your partner will be thrilled believing you bought new lingerie for him and your baby will be pleased at easy access to breast milk.  With the right nursing bra, you’ll be ready for let downs without “letting down” your partner.

Milking Time

If you’ve ever used a breast pump, you now know how cows feel.  As amazing and useful as breast pumps are, you can’t avoid feeling like a cow being milked.  Between the droning beat of the pump and the rhythmic tug at your breasts you can sit back and have a little chuckle at what you and cows now have in common.

Little Piggy

Hungry babies make the darnest noises when it’s feeding time.  You may hear snorts, snuffs, gurgles and hums as your baby suckles your milk.  And the burps may rival belches of burly men.  All of these are signs of a well-fed little tot.

Got Milk?

It’s a classic joke but it’s the truth.  If you run out of milk for your coffee while you’re breastfeeding, you’ll always have some available.  If it’s good enough for your baby, it’s a superfood that good enough for you too.

Breast Words

Perhaps you have names for your breasts but chances are your baby does too.  When your little one starts to formulate words, names for your breasts or for breastfeeding may emerge first.  After all, food is a basic need.  Infants and toddlers come up with some hysterical names for breasts like nummies, tatas and boobies.  And milk may be mimi, booby juice or something equally as entertaining.

With all of the seriously stressful parts of navigating motherhood, take time out to giggle at the truly hysterical moments too.  We bet you’ve experienced some of these funny facts about breastfeeding a time or too and we think they’re worth a big ole laugh.

 

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