Best Breastfeeding Books for Moms

Best Breastfeeding Books for MomsIf you are like me, you constantly want to stay on top of the latest information in mommyland. I breastfed my daughter, Johanna, for 13 months. However, with the upcoming arrival of my son, I have been researching books on nursing like crazy. With my daughter, we had a rough start with nursing, and I want this time to go smoother from the start. Here are a few of the best books on breastfeeding out there, in my opinion.

3. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

This book has several authors and is written with the support of La Leche League International, so you know it is going to have valuable information and be a good read. It is a bestseller and contains stories, advice, photos, and lots of information for moms and moms-to-be.

Interesting Features:

  • Information about nursing post C-section or after a rough delivery with complications
  • Guidance for moms on breast health issues and other topics from daycare to medications that are safe
  • Internet references for moms who want more information and support from La Leche League

2. The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers

This book is written by Jack Newman. Dr. Newman has established breastfeeding clinics all over the country, and in this book, he has provided a guide for moms to overcome any fears or worries they have while traveling through their nursing journey. This book focuses on the possibilities of succeeding in breastfeeding more than the difficulties women have with nursing.

Interesting Features:

  • Information on weaning toddlers
  • Breastfeeding help for moms who adopt or have premature babies
  • How to handle a nursing strike or if baby simply refuses the breast
  • Tons of resources for mom

1. The Better Way to Breastfeed: The Latest, Most Effective Ways to Feed and Nurture Your Baby with Comfort and Ease

I recently checked out this book by Robin Elise Weiss at my local library and I was not disappointed. It features information on any topic you can think of within the subject of  nursing. I was overwhelmed with all of the information that I could use with my upcoming arrival of my son.

Interesting Features:

  • Tips and tricks for how to nurse a needy newborn and handle older children
  • Ideas for what to wear while you are breastfeeding to make you feel comfortable in public
  • References and checklists to help you know when you need to ask for help
  • Ways to incorporate breastfeeding into your everyday lifestyle

While there are many, many books on breastfeeding out there, I think these are three of the best. Breastfeeding is an amazing way to nourish your baby and take care of yourself. As moms, we should never quit wanting to learn more and grow as mothers. Get to reading, moms!

Karyn Meyerhoff  is a mom of one and one on the way. She hopes that the first month of breastfeeding her son will be a breeze after reading up on some information she forgot about.

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Best Ways to Enjoy the Water with Baby

IMG_5449When you have a child who is too young to swim, summers can be a little harder, especially if you have older kids as well. In the summer of 2013, I had 4-year-old, 22-month-old, and 4-month old daughters. We lived in Texas, where it was really too hot to play outside after 8 am. The rest of the year, we were faithfully at the park once a day, every day. There is just nothing like going outside to wear the kids out, promote creative play, and also meet other moms and kids in your area.

So what’s a mom to do? Water play is a great way to wear kids out and kids love the water in the summer time.

Wearing Baby: Mesh slings are a great way to bathe newborns, and also great for the pool or beach. They keep baby close, but free up your hands if you need to be ready to help another child. They also provide a great sense of security for your baby, which can help eliminate fear of the water as they get older.  Plus, you always know where baby is and you can nurse effortlessly anytime.

Baby Float with a Sunshade: These do not work for babies who can’t yet sit independently, but they are a great option for 6 months and up. There are styles that are made completely of plastic like a pool float, and kinds that have a fabric outer covering. I liked the fabric kind better, since it was harder to puncture. The one I bought when my oldest child was a baby still inflated and worked well four summers later when I had my last child.  Definitely use with caution in windy places with strong wind gusts. Babies are not very heavy.

Find a beach or beach-entry pool: Beaches are great since baby can toddle into the water but not be immersed higher than they are comfortable. They enjoy the water splashing around, but can also just play in the sand if they want. Some pools also have beach entrances, and they are a great way to introduce little ones to the water without it being too scary. If you are going somewhere new, most large water recreation areas provide information about which beaches and areas are great for kids. You can also usually call ahead and ask more specific questions if needed.

I was lucky to find a small beach where we live that has a roped off area for swimming, a lifeguard, and is walled off so the kids can’t go far. It also has a playground area, so after beach play, the kids run around on the playground and by the time we get back to the car, they are dry and sand-free. Winning!

Find a splash pad near you: Splash pads have grown in popularity, and are really fun for older kids and younger kids, too, if it’s not too crowded. If your baby is not used to getting splashed in the face, they may not like it as much. They can also be slippery, so if you have a toddler, you may want to grab some water shoes just to make sure your little one has firm footing when they are running around in the water. There are also baby splash pads you can buy for your little one to play on at home.

Set up your own splash park in the yard: There are many great options for water play at your little one’s pace at home. Water tables provide water fun without having to get in. You can fill a wading pool with a few inches of water and throw in some bath toys and also some things that will sink. Or, just go old school and put on the sprinkler.

Enjoy the calming effects of water with your little one this summer. Just don’t forget to invest in a good swim diaper (or three).

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three who loves going to the lake. She lives and writes in Queensbury, New York.

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Pregnancy Week 35: Writing My Birth Plan

Pregnancy Week 35: Writing My Birth PlanFive weeks to go. Yesterday, I took a tour of my hospital and got to see the rooms where my son will be born. It’s getting real, ladies. With my daughter, I didn’t write a birth plan. I didn’t really have a lot of strong opinions and I was just eager to have her. This time around, I am trying to be more educated and prepared, just in case. A birth plan is basically a written document that guides you through making educated decisions about your labor and delivery, and also tells your medical team your preferences for labor.

Here are some things I am including in my birth plan.

Labor Preferences

Do you want to be able to walk around, move, and be in different positions while laboring? How much, if any, pain medication do you want? How often do you want to be checked during labor? One question I hadn’t even considered is, do I want to see baby as he greets the world for the first time. For me, I am planning on an epidural during my labor. I am definitely going to opt for minimal cervical checks this time, however. Who do you want in the room with you as you labor? We will not have any family or friends at the hospital with us. Many women find relaxing music, dim lights, and even few distractions optimal. Whatever you want your nurses or providers to know about your labor preferences should be included here.

Postpartum Preferences

Do you want to hold baby right away after he or she is born? I do! Do you prefer for baby’s bathing to be delayed? Don’t worry about cleaning him off–just give me my sweet son and let me put his skin against mine. That’s my plan. Many moms bank baby’s cord blood. While this isn’t in my plan, I do think it’s a great idea. It’s a good idea to include your preferences about breastfeeding or formula feeding. I do not want my son to be introduced to any artificial nipples while in the hospital. No pacifiers, no bottles. We are planning for my son to be circumcised in the hospital, so this should also be included in the birth plan. I would like my husband to cut baby’s umbilical cord.

Many websites and hospitals provide birth plan worksheets to make the process of writing the birth plan easier for you. While you are pregnant, there are so many things to do, so don’t stress over a birth plan. Just get your thoughts together, write them down, and discuss them at one of your doctor visits. I plan on doing this in the next few weeks. Five weeks will pass before I know it!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way from Northeast Indiana. She is so excited to meet her little boy in 5 weeks!

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Nursing While Pregnant

Nursing While PregnantI’m sleeping! Baby has a schedule! Breastfeeding is natural and seamless! And BAM–I’m pregnant.

This is a situation many moms find themselves in. When celebrating this exciting news, so many questions about our current nursling arise. How we choose to modify our breastfeeding relationship once pregnant is a deeply personal decision. For me, I was committed to extended breastfeeding and baby-led weaning. I treasured my nursing relationship with my then 18-month-old, and I had no plans of making him adjust because I got pregnant. I knew that it isn’t always possible to nurse through pregnancy, but I was going to give it my best shot. That’s all we can do as mothers.

In the beginning breastfeeding didn’t feel any different, but it wasn’t too long before nursing was uncomfortable. The second trimester was by far the most challenging. During this trimester, my milk production was severely low, if not absent. Dry nursing–nursing with very little supply–and the lovely pregnancy hormones that make our nipples tender, was challenging for me. The third trimester, while better, still had its challenges. I would feel touched-out, and nursing made my skin crawl. I had to make some changes to our nursing relationship if I was going to continue through pregnancy and beyond, so here is what we did.

Limit frequency

The first change was frequency. We had already gradually reduced our nursing sessions, but now that I was experiencing the painful side of nursing while pregnant I needed a schedule. We settled on morning, nap, and bedtime. This helped me mentally prepare, but I would be lying if I said that we had a positive breastfeeding relationship at this time. It hurt; it felt like he was biting. Sometimes I would holler out “You’re biting,” or “OK, if you are biting we are done.” My poor son would get upset and cry. It took me a while to realize he wasn’t biting. It wasn’t about what he was doing, but the fact that my body was undergoing massive changes.

No Blaming

I had to stop blaming him for any pain I had. This was hard. Sometimes I would nurse with my teeth clenched tight, unable to look at him and enjoy this time together that I used to treasure. I had to consciously make an effort to lock eyes with him, smile, and stroke his hair, everything I used to do so naturally. Instead of crying out and blaming him when the pain seemed unbearable, I started a count down. “5…4…3…2…1, OK, no more Milkies!” This way he knew it was almost time to “put the milkies away.”

Time Limit

As time went on, more changes were necessary to preserve any sort of nursing relationship. In conjunction with my countdown, I also put a 5-minute time limit on our nursing sessions. This helped me make sure I was giving him enough time to touch base and get his cuddles in before ending the nursing session. Nursing wasn’t about food at this point; it was about the physical bond and connection we shared. At the end of each 5-minute period I would count down and make sure he knew we could snuggle.

These three changes, a long with my own determination, were integral in helping me continue nursing while pregnant. At first, all of these changes were hard for my son. But I was consistent with all of them, and he learned quickly that this was our new routine. Every time I thought about just weaning him, we would have a wonderful nursing session, he would stroke my cheek, or sign and say, “Milkies, please.”

Some nursing sessions were easier than others, but we did what was best for us. No matter what everyone is telling you as a mom, you have to do what is best for you and your family. No two people experience nursing the same. There is no right or wrong when determining something like when to wean or when to carry on. The important thing is to do what works and supports a happy mom and a happy baby.

Casey Mix-McNulty, RN, BSN is a full-time mom to an imaginative little boy and a feisty little girl.   She is also a pediatric nurse aspiring towards becoming an IBCLC.

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