Archive for February, 2014

Leaving Baby for the First Time

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Nervous, anxious, excited, fearful, happy: All of these words could describe the emotions you feel as you leave your baby for the first time. You may be excited or happy to go on a date with your spouse, catch a movie with a friend, or just hit Starbucks alone. Or, you could be nervous, anxious, and fearful because you are not there to watch baby every second.

Here are some things I have learned that have helped make leaving a little easier.SAMSUNG

Prepare Baby’s Food.

If you’re a nursing momma, you are going to need to think this through. Nurse baby right before you leave, and plan to nurse him or her right when you arrive home. If you’re a pumping mom as well, have 1 oz. of breast milk for each hour you will be gone. Prepare the bottles before you leave. If baby is 6 months or older and eating solids, have snacks and meals laid out for the sitter. I rarely leave my daughter with anyone but Daddy, but the one time I have, I left a detailed menu for her.

Make Everything Accessible.

Leave diapers and wipes visible. Lay out baby’s pajamas if you will be gone at bedtime. Leave the important toys or soothers close by. If baby uses a paci, make sure the sitter knows where to find it. The more organized you are, the easier time the sitter will have. To this day, I still tell the nursery workers at church that Teddy is in my daughter’s bag. Her Teddy is the one thing that will soothe her if she gets upset or doesn’t understand why mommy is leaving her there.

Relax and Enjoy Yourself.

This is the hard one. I would be lying if I said I don’t text and call when I am away from my toddler. Let the person who is watching baby know if you are a little anxious, and maybe they can help. Once a friend watched my daughter and she sent me updates throughout the day. I received texts and photos showing what fun they were having. It definitely helped me enjoy my day with my husband and not worry constantly. Remember that you will be home soon, so enjoy each moment. If you are on a date, try not to talk about baby the whole time. (Good luck!) If you are out with friends, enjoy the girl time and adult conversation.

Leaving your baby with someone else doesn’t make you a bad mom. It really makes us better. Prepare for your time, be organized, and be honest with your emotions. Friends and the Internet will have more tips for you if you’re still anxious. Enjoy your time, and give baby some extra cuddles when you get home!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a stay at home mom, so she is always with her daughter. When she gets mommy time, she likes to go shopping, go to Starbucks, or catch up with a girlfriend.

Your Rights In-Flight: Nursing on an Airplane

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Your Rights In-FLight: Nursing on an Airplane

Can nursing moms be required to pump or cover up on a flight?

That question is at the heart of a media firestorm between Delta and a breastfeeding mom. Delta is not the only airline that has been in the media over the subject of breastfeeding.  This leads many moms to wonder if breastfeeding while flying is a good idea, allowed, or even legal. The answer is: YES!

First of all, know that you never need to ask someone if it’s OK to breastfeed your baby. In many countries around the world including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the law sides with the breastfeeding mom. Breastfeeding while flying can lead to a happier baby and less to pack in the carry-on bag for mom. I have breastfed both of my babies on airplanes, and thankfully never had anyone comment in a negative way.

Pointers for Breastfeeding on an Airplane:

  • If possible, choose a seat where you will be comfortable. I prefer a window seat while nursing; I feel like it is easier to be discreet. If your baby has a favorite side when nursing, take that into consideration when choosing which side of the plane to sit on.
  • If you are traveling alone and are more comfortable sitting next to a female while breastfeeding, ask a flight attendant if this is possible.
  • Dress for nursing ease; I usually wear a tank underneath a shirt or cardigan. This makes it easy for me to nurse and I often nurse without a cover when I dress this way. See more about dressing comfortably for nursing–with or without a cover–in this post.
  • Pack a nursing cover or blanket if your baby will nurse with a cover. Both of my babies nursed under covers when they were really young, but as they got older this was no longer possible.
  • Nurse during take-off and landing; this alleviates the pressure in your baby’s ears. Both your baby and your fellow passengers should thank you for this.

Most airlines do not have an official breastfeeding policy that can be easily found online. If you are looking to fly the most breastfeeding friendly airline, here are some comments from media relations of various airlines. This ambiguity could be what has led to airline employees telling moms they must cover up while nursing.

Ask to speak to another airline employee if you are treated unfairly; keep in mind you may be dealing with an uninformed employee if you receive negative comments. If a fellow passenger is rude or making you uncomfortable, you can ask that they are re-seated or if you can move next to a more accommodating passenger.

We love to travel with our children and have found flying with babies to be quicker and often more enjoyable than a long car ride. Nursing on airplanes is easy and within your rights as a mom.

Kristen Beggs is a mom of two who has nursed both of her babies on multiple airlines without incident.

Start a Date Night In: Part II

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

date niteThe first post for Date Night In covered some of the benefits of incorporating a consistent at-home date night into your relationship and schedule.  From personal experience, I can tell you that it is such a great way to build your marriage. I don’t know that our rules are necessarily the way to do it, but after a few years of a Date Night In routine, this is what works best for us.

  1. Be Regular. This is a cornerstone of Date Night In for my husband and I. We really look forward to date night, especially when work and life with toddlers is particularly challenging. Knowing that a specific day of the week is planned and dedicated as date night gives us something to look forward to for balancing out our week. We stick to once a week because that’s what works best for us– if we only have at-home dates twice a month, we notice that we feel less connected and are more likely to have communication issues. If you are great at sticking to a schedule, pick one day a week to always be “date night.” It’ll be easier to plan for and schedule around if you use the same day each week. If you can’t commit to the same day each week, pick a day on Saturday or Sunday when you plan our your family’s weekly schedule. Put the date on the calendar, write little count-down notes to your spouse – look forward to it! It’ll become a favorite part of your week.
  2. Plan Ahead. Date Night In is about setting aside time for connection and growth in your marriage–don’t wing it five minutes beforehand. Take the time to brainstorm a few ideas for you would love to do with that time together: Is there a movie that you know your spouse really wants to watch? Is there an idea you haven’t tried that you’d know would be a blast? When you take the time to think your ideas through, it will be more fun, and your spouse will see that you’ve put thought and effort into it. Speaking from experience, the well-planned, thoughtful dates filled with small details are the best. When we’ve been burnt out and thrown a date together last minute, it feels more like any other night rather than our special Date Night In. With just a day or two of advance planning, you’ll have time to write a date invite note, pick up the Redbox movie, borrow a game from a friend, or pick up that special treat that matches your theme. Planning ahead will also help you stick to your budget. If you know you have $10 to spend for a particular date, brainstorming thrifty ideas a few days out will help.
  3. Alternate Planning Duty. Everyone has different preferences for how they like to spend their downtime. Taking turns planning Date Night In will allow each spouse to pick their preferred date style often enough to keep the dates balanced. For our at-home dates, my husband prefers movies and indulgent treats. He’ll often pick a movie for us to watch and come up with a meal or snack idea that matches the theme of the movie. I have a lot of fun with him on those dates, but my “go to” date is a variation of game night. We have a number of two-player games that we both enjoy, and I have fun chatting and being silly during those dates. Alternating planning duty is also a great “act of service” gesture–the spouse not planning that week gets to see the other spouse put some thought and time into the date, simply because they want to show their love.  It is very meaningful for me to hear my husband’s date night pitch; I love his creativity and appreciate that he spent time away from his growing to-do list to put our date together.
  4. Pick a Theme. Having Date Night In themes is really a blast. It can take a little while to get used to the idea–at first it might feel a little awkward. At first, I would hesitantly hand my husband a “date card” with the plan for our date, hoping he wouldn’t think I was silly and would be willing to go with it. Of course he loved it, and silliness in a marriage is a good thing! There is so much you can do for planning date nights based on a theme. We’ve done so many fun, creative dates for each other. Movies and TV shows are great for themes–you can decorate your date space to match a theme, print out an image from the show or movie for your date invite, pick out a meal or a snack that fits with the concept. Other ideas include game night, dancing, massage swap, cookie-baking, sports watching, bathtub soak–anything you like to do together. Get creative and think of things that would surprise your spouse.
  5. No Distractions. This is one of the most important components of Date Night In. No technology–no cell phones, no tablet, no computer. Log off of your social media sites, turn your phone to “do not disturb,” leave email for later.  Last-minute work, kitchen duty, and craft projects do not belong on Date Night. When both spouses shut out these external distractions for a few hours, it speaks volumes. It says that you are committed to Date Night In and that you are giving your spouse your full attention. Babies might wake up and disrupt at-home dates–they certainly do in our home! But for the most part, it is easy to turn off the distractions and give each other complete focus. What a gift to be able to focus on just one another for a few hours each week. As you start incorporating at-home dates with no distractions into your week, I’m sure you’ll feel the difference between time spent together with access to those little distractions and a true Date Night In.

Ready to start planning Date Night In for you and your spouse? I’m excited to share some of our favorite date nights with you–stay tuned for more Date Night In posts. Happy Dating!

Claire Dodge is a wife and mother of two toddlers living in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. She is a Birth Boot Camp natural childbirth instructor and helps her husband part-time in his prenatal and pediatric chiropractic office. She loves all things natural living and attachment parenting, and loves to get lost in books, yarn, and a good run.



Avoid Ear Infections Naturally

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Avoid Ear Infections NaturallyHad I not experienced it firsthand, I wouldn’t have believed that babies could benefit from chiropractic care. Our first experience was when my daughter was 10 months old and close to needing tubes for chronic ear infections.

Her first ear infection happened at around four months old. I can still remember the tortured screams and feeling in my heart when I had to take her in for injectable antibiotics since her prescribed antibiotics didn’t work. If you’ve ever had a child with an ear infection, you know that it’s about more than just a little ear pain. It’s the screaming, the pain, yeast infections and digestive issues from antibiotics, the not sleeping for days–and it’s totally out of your control.

Most doctors say there’s nothing you can do to prevent ear infections and not much to speed healing. Many moms who have found chiropractic care, myself included, will tell you otherwise. My daughter hasn’t had a single ear infection since we started regular chiropractic care over two years ago.

But that’s not where the benefits end. Regular chiropractic care can help babies who have colic, reflux, trouble breastfeeding, asthma, difficulty breathing, digestive issues and many more ailments.

Babies often experience spinal misalignment when going through the birth canal or during a C-section; these spinal misalignments can make them more susceptible to symptoms of disease. When there is spinal misalignment the nervous system doesn’t function at its maximum capacity. Chiropractic care in the early years ensures that your baby’s little body and nervous system is functioning at its fullest potential. It also stimulates the immune system and enhances their overall health.

Nowadays there seem to be chiropractic offices on every corner. Finding someone you can trust can be more difficult. Ask your friends if they know a good pediatric chiropractor, getting a referral from someone you trust can instantly put you at ease. You can also search for someone in your area that has been certified by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association.

Taking your baby to the chiropractor for the first time can be scary, so don’t be shy about asking questions. Ask the chiropractor to explain what they’ll be doing and to demonstrate the pressure they’ll be applying to your child so you feel good about knowing they won’t be getting hurt. Find someone you feel comfortable with and who’ll take the time to examine your child and address any concerns you may have- always follow your gut.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

Pregnancy Week 14: Nothing to Wear

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Pregnancy Week 14: Nothing to WearWell, it’s finally happened. The buttons on my pants are popping, my belly is bulging, and I’m officially starting to look a little pregnant. With my first pregnancy, I was always told how small I looked, and I didn’t show for quite a while. While every woman is different, first-time moms generally begin to start showing between 12 to 16 weeks. Moms pregnant with baby number two usually show sooner. By 12 weeks, the uterus has expanded above the pubic bone. So, what are the options for my wardrobe now? Where should I shop? How do I embrace my new belly?

Options for Your Growing Bump

A popular way to keep wearing your favorite jeans and be comfortable is to use a belly band. I purchased one of these at Target. While it does help, it is not the most discreet or enjoyable thing for me to wear. Another popular trend is a B Buckle. These are a one-size-fits-all piece of elastic that fit into your normal pre-baby jeans. My personal favorite idea when I get to the “just showing” phase of pregnancy is to just go for the maternity pants. Why put off the comfort? Maternity pants come in low panel, full panel, and even regular waist. Whatever you choose, opt for comfort, but don’t sacrifice style. I plan on wearing leggings a lot this time around, too.

Where to find maternity wear?

There are so many choices and options for where to get your maternity clothes. My personal favorite is consignment shops. Most people take good care of their maternity clothes and reuse them. Stores like Goodwill, Clothes Mentor, and even kids’ resale shops have nice items that are gently used. If you are crafty, try making your own maternity wear. Having friends who aren’t pregnant but still have their goodies is also a plus. Borrowing clothes or even buying from friends is easy, cheap, and rewarding. Some discount stores like Ross, Gordman’s, and even Target have a nice selection. Many retailers carry maternity, such as Old Navy and Sears. Of course, there are also stores like Motherhood Maternity and Destination Maternity for nicer items.

Embrace that bump!

The most important lesson I am learning this week is simply to embrace my growing bump. While my wardrobe may be limited right now as I transition from my normal clothes to what little maternity winter wear I have, it’s an amazing thing to see your belly grow. That means your little one is growing, too! Try not to be hard on yourself for your appearance and accept your new curves. As my pregnancy continues, I plan on working more and more to embrace that new, beautiful bump. What an amazing gift it is to experience pregnancy–in sweat pants or trendy clothes!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 1 and 1 on-the-way who lives in Northeast Indiana. She would rather be comfy than stylish, if she’s being honest.