Posts Tagged ‘nursing’

Whose Need Do I Meet First?

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Whose needs do i meet first?Having subsequent children inevitably creates more unmet needs. Or, at the very least, needs not met at the exact moment the children feel they should be met. This was all incredibly overwhelming my first few weeks solo with my kiddos.

My firstborn did not understand why I couldn’t read the book he wanted right away. My second-born took great issue with my failure to refill his sippy cup. New baby daughter had strong feelings about being out of the womb in general. I was a mess. I quickly realized that maybe, rather than meeting needs, I simply needed to adjust my thinking.

1.     Realize that “Loudest” does not equal “Neediest”.
My oldest son has this idea that volume equals importance. Just like the patient complaining in the ER waiting room about waiting, my son thinks if he can just tell me the right thing in the right way, that will magically move him to the front of the line. This only works if you let it happen. I promise, the more times my son sees that yelling does NOT get him what he wants, he starts to try other tactics. I am guilty of doing whatever I can to shush the loud child in the moment. But I try to think of life lessons in these moments when I so desperately want to do what creates instant comfort.

2.     Use my words, and use them calmly.
So often I find myself so frazzled that I just want the noise/whining to STOP RIGHT NOW. This is when I need to calmly say, “Son, I see that you want me to refill your sippy cup. I would love to do that for you. First, I am going to feed your sister.” If he protests loudly, I suggest he sit on his bed until he calms down.

3.     Do as much as I can on the front end.
I can’t anticipate every need. But keeping a couple of bananas within reach of my oldest child, trying to keep sippy cups filled, trying to nurse my baby near a stack of books that can be read aloud while sister eats; these are things I can intentionally do that might eliminate some of the chaos.

4.     Accept that, sometimes, some things will have to wait. And waiting is okay.
I don’t think any mom wants to raise a child that grows to be a man or woman that is incapable of patience. I try to keep the adult version of my child in the back of my mind when I am doing something that seems hard in the moment but I know will pay off eventually.

Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs very infrequently at karagaris.blogspot.com. 

Bedtime Routines for Babies

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

bedtime routines for babiesSleeping at night is a game that we need to teach our babies how to play. A bedtime routine is their cue that their job to go to sleep for hopefully many hours through the night is quickly approaching.

My babies weren’t quick to get the memo that they should sleep during the night. So, we worked very hard (and still do) to make sure they got the message loud and clear by establishing consistent bedtime routines.

Here are some things that you can try to put into your baby’s bedtime routine to let them know it’s time to go to bed:

  • Bath
  • Lotion
  • Massage
  • Nursing or a bottle
  • Singing songs
  • Reading books
  • Putting baby in their bed while they are drowsy but still awake

Our first baby, who is now 3 years old, loves his routine so much that it is still pretty much the same as it was when he was 3 months old. Every night, after getting his pajamas on, he gets three books of his choice read to him, the song “Operator” by Jim Croce is sung to him in his chair and then he hops into bed and gets his back rubbed with one last serenade of “Operator.”

The one thing that did change from the time he was a small baby was the song that we sing. I pushed for songs like “You Are My Sunshine,” but one crazy night after many attempts of calming our screaming child, my husband sealed the deal of getting our son to sleep with the ever so popular lullaby, “Operator.” I’m sure that I have broken some kind of world record of singing “Operator” the most times in a 3-year time period. My 2-year-old daughter also requests this song every night and before naps. So, yes, I win!

Our second child has challenged bedtime routines. Just when we think that we have one set in place, she changes it on us. She has taught us to be flexible and to keep trying. Even though she is set on her favorite song, sometimes she wants books, sometimes she wants to chat, or read to her babies by herself. She’s in charge. And, yes, she still has a difficult time sleeping through the night consistently. We hope to find something that impresses and pleases her before the time she is a teenager.

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to two busy toddlers. She enjoys writing and sleeping through the night.

Best Places to Breastfeed in Denver

Monday, November 14th, 2016

Denver is one of the most breastfeeding friendly places I have been.  If there’s babies, there’s moms breastfeeding!  The following are my favorite places to take my girls (and while they were still nursing, to breastfeed).

Denver Zoo 
Our favorite place to stop for a snack at the Denver Zoo is a bench watching the giraffes. I spent many breaks feeding my younger daughter while my older daughter enjoyed the giraffes and her crackers and fruit.  If you’re looking for a less public location to breastfeed, there are many less-traveled exhibits that you could nurse by. The zoo offers large family restrooms in a few locations that have chairs inside that they advertise as being breastfeeding friendly.  As I refuse to nurse in a restroom, I can’t speak on the usefulness of these areas for breastfeeding. The family restrooms are, however, great when you have a potty-training toddler and a baby that needs a diaper change!

Denver Botanic Gardens
When I was a new mom to one, I enjoyed exploring the York Street Gardens. There’s plenty of benches in the shade and off the main trails to take a quick nursing break, while enjoying the landscaping. There’s a “secret” bench in a bamboo patch that was my favorite place for a break. Across the street, the Mordecai Children’s Garden is a perfect place to go if you have multiple children. My older daughter enjoyed running around and exploring while I was nursing my younger daughter. There are multiple areas that offer benches or picnic tables in the shade.

Storytimes at the Denver Public Libraries
Denver Public Libraries have four levels of storytime (Baby storytime, Toddler storytime, Preschool storytime, and All Ages storytime).  Not only did I meet many of my mom friends through Baby storytime, no one bats an eye if you start nursing your child. With 26 locations across the city, it’s easy to find a storytime that meets your scheduling needs.

JeffCo Open Space Parks and Trails
One of the best things about living in Denver is how quickly you can get out of the city for a hike.  Many of the JeffCo Open Spaces are only a half an hour to 45-minute drive from the city.  You’ll see all kinds of people taking advantage of the trails, including many moms and families.  Whether you choose to nurse at the trailhead at a picnic table or during your hike, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful scenery while feeding your baby.

These are just four of my favorite places to take my kids and some of the best places to breastfeed in Denver.  Denver also has a great Children’s Museum, Museum of Nature and Science (that has an awesome kids zone), plenty of shopping, and lots of restaurants to enjoy.  No matter what you feel like doing, you’ll easily be able to find a good place to nurse your child.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

Nursing Through A Growth Spurt

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

nursing through a growth spurtI quickly realized my place during a growth spurt. According to my breastfed baby, I had one job. That job was to make milk, feed him, and repeat often.

Before I learned my place, thoughts like “Is this normal? When will this end? Will I survive?” ran through my mind as I sat nursing my baby in the same rocking chair for what seemed like endless hours. I was challenged to be strategic with bathroom breaks and with feeding myself.

Here are warnings that I wish that I would have received about nursing through a growth spurt:

  • You will be off your normal schedule and will not be informed about this new temporary schedule ahead of time. There will most likely not be room for things like making meals, eating meals, cleaning the house or any of that kind of productive stuff.
  • You will be starving. Eat! Your body will be working overtime to increase your milk supply to feed your baby during a growth spurt. So, keep snacks nearby and ask someone to bring you dinner on their way home because you won’t be cooking it.
  • You will need to drink a lot of water. Keep drinking it.
  • You will be tired. Even if your baby has become a decent night sleeper, they may wake often during a growth spurt for multiple snacks.
  • You will be confused. You may think that there is something wrong with your supply. A growth spurt is a baby’s way of increasing your milk supply. Don’t stop breastfeeding or start supplementing during a growth spurt because you think something is wrong.
  • This too will pass. Growth spurts often stop as suddenly as they come on. By the time it ends you may actually be worried that your baby is not eating enough! But relax. Apps like WonderWeeks are helpful for somewhat predicting these phases and can help you keep your sanity with that simple heads-up.

Good news: growth spurts only last a couple of days. And, once it is over, there’s a good chance you’ll soon need to get out some larger sized clothing for your hefty eater. Not only will a growth spurt increase your milk supply that your baby needs, but it will increase the size of your baby, too!

Sarah Cole is a stay at home mommy to a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old. She enjoys writing, playing with her busy toddlers and watching them grow.

Should We Compliment Other Moms for Breastfeeding?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Should We Compliment Other Moms for Breastfeeding? I’m all for the public ‘atta girl and know personally there have been times when perfect strangers may have given me a boost without their knowing. Parenting is tough stuff. Whether it’s troubles with nursing, lack of sleep, the challenges of going in public with one or more children, or life happening around the kids, kids make everything more complicated. A voice of recognition and encouragement can sometimes lift a little weight from the proverbial parenting shoulders.

During World Breastfeeding Week in August I saw the on-going effort of both normalizing breastfeeding in public and encouraging the competence and confidence in mothers to feel comfortable to nurse in public (or however they see fit for their particular preference). It’s a week (month really) that brings excitement into the community of mamas with young ones. I’ve nursed three babes with varying amounts of ease. I’m all for normalizing nursing, whenever and wherever. I am not particularly proactive or stagnant if ever the opportunity comes up to speak about breastfeeding.

We’ve heard the stories. There’s the stranger who pays for a breastfeeding mama’s meal. Recently an older woman came and cut up a nursing mama’s food for her. It’s unclear to me if we are normalizing or glorifying breastfeeding. Let me be clear: I’m all for supporting other moms, dads, families, and… people in general. I’ve spent years nursing babes. I’m all about spreading the love. I’m just not sure where that line blurs into this larger trend of feeling the want/need to compliment complete strangers for their parenting choices and those implications.

I think part of the problem associated with complimenting parenting, here in the United States at least, has to do with a seemingly predisposition toward black-and-white, this-or-that, me-versus-them, right-or-wrong, good-or-bad mentality. I’m not against the complimenting so much as the underlying judgment that often accompanies it. Let’s not pretend I’m observing anything particularly new: Mama drama and parent shaming are common phrases associated with parenting, especially in the early years.

Dr. Amy Tuteur makes a case for not celebrating breastfeeding in a way that becomes, what she calls, moralization. I also wonder if this “moralization” of breastfeeding (cloth diapering, low/no technology, homeschooling, no-schooling, organic, baby-led natural parenting, etc.) encourages a sort of self-deprecating parenting. I sometimes hear things like: “I’m constantly afraid I’m messing up my child” or “it’s a sign that you’re a good parent if you think you’re doing it wrong.” What does that even mean? Many of us are either actually feeling incompetent or not wanting to come across as confident all while feeling the need to dole out approval and appreciation to others. Most of us probably fall somewhere in between.

Every new mother negotiates all of her life experiences when she decides if, how, and when she feeds her child. Part of the conversation is private—we all bring our stuff to the table in how we make our comments and how we receive someone else’s comments. We can’t leave out the public aspect, the culture we contribute to, with all of our collective words, actions, and judgements. So let’s give compliments, but maybe we can initiate reflective complimenting, observing our own selves and intentions as we observe and send judgement out to others.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 5 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.