Archive for May, 2014

Benefits of Nursing Baby Past Six Months

Friday, May 30th, 2014

The Benefits of Nursing Past Six MonthsMany women start out on a nursing journey after their child is born but quit soon after. For some, it is a health reason or personal choice that stops nursing. According to, 77 percent of mothers nurse at birth, but less than 47percent are still nursing at 6 months, and only 25 percent continue past 1 year. But what about those women who are still nursing when baby is older? There are many benefits to nursing baby past 6 months, even after they have started eating solids.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends “exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months, with continuation of breastfeeding for 1 year or longer as mutually desired by mother and infant.”  While we all know breastfeeding is best for baby, what are some of the benefits baby’s receive the older they are from nursing?

  • Continued immune benefits from mother’s milk
  • Easy way to comfort an older infant and soothe to sleep if needed
  • Breast milk is best for children who may be allergic or have a low tolerance for formula or cow’s milk.
  • Positive influences have been shown on baby’s social and intellectual development in many studies.

Nursing past 6 months is beneficial for moms, too!

  • Delayed return of fertility
  • Lowers risks of breast and ovarian cancers
  • Lowers risks of cardiovascular disease
  • Helps moms who are still losing baby weight

The benefits outweigh any stigma you may feel about nursing a baby who can walk or talk. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine states that “breastfeeding past infancy is the biological norm.” Around 6 to 9 months, getting my daughter to sleep at naptime was a struggle. It was so nice to have a way to soothe and comfort her while calming her down for naptime. During her first 13 months of life, she was never sick. After weaning, we had three ear infections at 15 months back to back.

The benefits of nursing are endless. Keep on nursing and keep on giving your baby their best start, whether it’s a start at life, a start at crawling, or a start into toddlerhood. You can do it!

Karyn Meyerhoff lives and writes in Northeast Indiana. She can’t wait to nurse her son!

Questions You Should Ask When Interviewing a Babysitter

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Questions to Ask When Interviewing a BabysitterFinding a babysitter can be a challenge. How do you pick someone that you don’t really know to take care of your child alone? It took us forever to find a baby sitter and a few months after we finally did we moved cross country and had to start all over again in a town where we didn’t know anyone and couldn’t get any references from people we trusted.

I’ve always been leery of teenage babysitters solely because of age and felt more comfortable with older sitters–until this time. I tried using a popular website to find a reliable sitter that was older and had more experience with kids. Five sitters flaked on the interview at the last minute and tried to reschedule, and the one that I did end up interviewing sent me a text message to cancel just hours before she should’ve been there.

Then, I met a junior in high school that I just loved. It just goes to show that older doesn’t always equal more responsible.  If you’re looking to hire a babysitter for the first time, here are some great questions to ask.

  1. Do you have siblings/nieces/nephews or anyone that you have cared for before?
  2. What do you think is a good form of discipline for a baby/toddler/child? What would you do if my child doesn’t listen or do what you ask them to do?
  3. Are you comfortable preparing snacks and meals? What kinds of things do you prepare for kids you babysit? Do you have any experience preparing bottles or handling breast milk?
  4. Have you even been in a situation where you had to call the parents of the child you were babysitting? Why, what happened and how did you handle it?
  5. Has anything every happened that you’d consider an emergency?
  6. What will you do if my child won’t go to sleep?
  7. What would you do if my child won’t stop crying?
  8. Do you have experience with any health issues?
  9. Have you taken a babysitter preparation course and do you know baby CPR?
  10. What are some examples of problems you’ve had with children, how did you handle it?

Always ask the babysitter for references and a trial day. During the paid, trial day try to keep yourself busy while still being available. Observe how the sitter interacts with your child and offer some advice on what your child likes and good ways to keep them entertained.

Make sure to let the sitter know of any special routines, lovies, nicknames for things and what they’re allowed to feed them for snacks and meals and what’s off limits. Always follow your intuition, and never hire a sitter that may answer everything perfectly and have impeccable references but just doesn’t feel right to you.

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.



Summer Play Dates for Baby

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

SUmmer Play Dates for BabiesIt’s time for summer play dates! As a first-time mom, I was clueless last summer on what to do with my daughter. She wasn’t walking yet, and I felt she was just too little for most activities. Here are some great summer play date ideas—because babies just wanna have fun.

Play Dates Where You Pay

There are many activities infants and moms can do together during the summer where you pay admission fees. Many cities have infant friendly zoos. Where I live, there is a special children’s zoo. We did take my daughter to the zoo last year. Just remember that your trip may be shorter than usual with an infant. Check out your local pool or aquatic center. Many places have kiddie structures and splash areas perfect for little ones who aren’t walking yet. These play dates are super fun, especially if you have a friend with little ones to tag along. If your little one loves animals, find a local petting zoo to visit. Season passes are a great idea because if you do have to leave pretty quick into your visit, you can always come back another time.

Outside Play Dates

Picnics in the park were one of our favorite play dates last summer. Bring an old blanket and some snacks. My friend and I would sit on the blanket with our girls and watch them interact and share toys. Babies love to study each otherLet baby swing on the baby swings or bring a ball to roll back and forth. My daughter is very interested in bubbles. Find a friend with a bubble machine or just buy some bubbles at your local dollar store. ! Parks are great for taking stroller walks with a friend, too. Remember to not take baby out in extreme heat, and bring plenty of water if you’re going to play outside.

Easy and Cheap Play Dates

Invite a friend and her little ones over. Have some snacks and goodies for the moms and kids. Lay out a blanket outside or inside and have music or art time. Babies love to play with pots and pans, and other music-making things around the house. Invest in some safe finger paints and let your little ones get creative. Try out a water table! If you have a swing set or sandbox, let baby explore your back yard with you.

Whatever fun you choose to have this summer with your little one, just remember to make it memorable. Play dates for babies are a fun, social time. They also are a great refresher for mom’s sanity and help make lasting friendships.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a stay-at-home mom in Northeast Indiana. She can’t wait for summertime so she can explore the outside world with her 20 month old, Johanna Grace!

Pregnancy Week 27: Picking the Baby Name

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Pregnancy Week 27:  What’s In a Name?As my pregnancy progresses, I have started to really spend time thinking about baby boy’s name. This is not an easy task–I tend to overanalyze things, but I want to pick the perfect baby name. How do you pick a name for your child that will be perfect and last a lifetime?

Types of Names

If you look online, you can find all kinds of categories of baby names.  Just doing a Google search I discovered “shopaholic” baby girl names like River or Victoria. You can also find the perfect baby name endorsed by the Pope, such as Peter or Marcus.

Many moms-to-be go with a family name for their unborn child. I have a good friend who just had Elizabeth Suzanne two weeks ago. The name puts her mother and grandmother’s names together. But what if your family just doesn’t have any cute names? No one wants to name their child something super old fashioned or easy to tease. Try using just part of a family member’s name. My cousin is having a girl, Willa June. June is our grandmother’s middle name.

Many parents name their children after their favorite music artist, movie character, or even a presidential figure. Names like Ringo, Bella, and even Abraham are making a comeback, believe it or not. There are even people you can pay to help you choose your baby name.

I personally try to stick with names that have a strong meaning behind them, Bible names, or family names. But to those are more creative, more power to you!

When to Reveal Your Name

Some moms-to-be have their names picked out before they’re even pregnant. Others, like myself, choose to wait and announce the name after the baby is born. Remember, people are going to have strong opinions about what you choose, but ultimately, it is your child.

Many women prefer to tell their baby’s name, so that they can go for the cute, personalized diaper bag or blankets. Or, you can announce baby’s name at a sex reveal or your baby shower. You can also have a baby naming party. Invite close friends and family over. Have a few names you like and let them vote and participate in fun activities with the names.

Tips for Choosing a Name

  • Be selective on who you tell once you decide. Make sure this person knows if you want them to spill the beans.
  • Say it aloud…often.
  • Write it down.
  • Think of how the name could be altered negatively—what does it rhyme with? What do the initials spell?
  • Choose the best name for your family that makes you smile!

I know my husband and I will eventually decide on baby boy’s name. And like last time, we won’t be sharing our decision until the day we meet our son. How did you choose your baby names?

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of one and one on the way. She loves names that have meaning, but it is so hard to pick one this time around!