Archive for April, 2015

No Wash Hairstyles

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

I ran across this video of hairstyles to wear when you didn’t have access to a shower for three days, like when you are camping out at a music festival like Burning Man or Coachella. Well, moms, you know none of us are going to be paying good money to go to an event where you’re pretty much guaranteed to not get any sleep for three days, but the no-wash hair thing interested me. I mean, new moms are the target audience for no-wash hair! Especially if you resisted the urge to cut off all your hair around 9 months pregnant.

So anyway, I tried to watch this video, I really did. But it was 15 minutes long and the girl was picking out accessories like faux cowboy boots and cat-ear headbands, and this is exactly how my three year old dresses every day, so at that point I could no longer take her seriously.

But I did find another great link to 15 hairstyles that are great for hair that’s a day old or more. Most of them are updos, and keeping your hair up is kind of essential if you back wear, since anyone who back wears can tell you just how bad it hurts when your baby grabs that hair at the center back of your neck. It’s enough to make you want to go home and shave your head.

These are all really cute, there are some for long, medium or short hair, and you don’t need to use heat to do them, which is better for your hair anyway. You also don’t need super thick hair for many of these, and they all look pretty quick to do, which as you know is key.

You can always justify your lack of showering with the fact that it’s actually bad to wash your hair and take a bath every day. Cutting back to every other day keeps your hair and skin healthier, and it may even boost your immune system by leaving some microbes sticking around that your body can busy itself fighting. So there.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three girls who sometimes has time for a shower but lacks the energy to do so. She lives and writes in Queensbury, New York. 


Your Baby has Teeth!

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Your baby has teethWhen my first was born, I thought we’d have months and months until teething began and we had to think about nursing and teeth. I was wrong.

My son started teething around 2 months and broke the first tooth at 3 months old. The rest followed in quick succession, coming in three or four teeth at a time. We were teething pretty much non-stop until getting the 2-year molars at 15 months.

This is on the early side for most babies, but we repeated this pattern pretty much identically with each of my other two children. More often, teeth come in at a more leisurely pace.

Such early teething caused some issues with our nursing relationship. My son was so young, nursing was his only real comfort. But he was fussy and his gums hurt. He began to bite down on my nipple when nursing, or ground his gums back and forth. This was not a pleasant experience for me.

I remembered from The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding that it is important to not screech or scream when this happens as it can be a shock to the baby too, who is not doing this to cause me pain but out of his pain and a desire to have me make it better. They suggest pulling baby into your breast instead to cause them to break suction to breathe. Then, firmly but nicely tell your baby that it hurts or not to bite mommy.

This took a few times before my baby learned not to bite, but it didn’t take long even as young as he was. My local La Leche League group talks often of “nursing manners.” It is so true. He learned that my nipples were there for comfort and milk but not to be used as teethers.

I got an amber teething necklace for him at around two and a half months and that seemed to make a huge difference in his comfort. As he got older, and could vocalize more, he asked for it as he got his first set of adult molars at 6 years old.

Babies truly do understand so much more than we give them credit for. They are designed to be a symbiotic pair with their mothers. But setting boundaries and working calmly to find a way through the difficult times is key to a positive and happy breastfeeding relationship.

TaiLeah Madill is mama to three and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is passionate about volunteering with her local babywearing group and helping other families enjoy the benefits of wearing their little ones. 

Nursing Past Six Months

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Nursing Past Six MonthsSix months is a long time in Baby Land. That’s a lot of sleepless nights. Maybe you’ve made it to the magical six-month mark espoused as the suggested benchmark many mamas work toward. Congratulations!

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests 6 months of exclusive breast-feeding followed by nursing with the addition of complimentary foods until at least 12 months, continuing “as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.”

For some mamas, that 6-month mark is the goal and hurdles of work, time, sleepless nights, sickness, or other challenges are enough to bring nursing to an end. I remember, at times, feeling touched-out or just overall “over” it. An afternoon here, a day or two there, every so often I thought of quitting, but I always told myself I’d reconsider the next day. That got us to over a year for both of our boys. If you’re willing, I think there are a few reasons to stick with it.

At the very least your milk is nutritionally appropriate compared to the formula you’d need to buy until baby completes year one, not to mention, free. More than that, your milk is unique in a way nothing else is, changing over time and full of nutrients catered to addressing your baby’s needs. This does not stop at 6 months, and those next months are filled with sitting, a mouth full of teeth, crawling, walking, first words, and a number of other major developmental milestones.

In addition, research from a variety of credible sources shows a variety of correlations related to continued breastfeeding and overall health. Cognitive, language, and motor development increase with nursing; allergies, respiratory issues, diabetes, and obesity all decrease in prevalence with nursing. These benefits take strongest hold in those first six months but continue rising even after six months. And not just baby benefits—breast and ovarian cancer risk lowers every year you nurse.

And last, while I firmly believe that any mama can comfort, bond with, and enjoy her babe(s) without breastfeeding, nursing provides a unique way to be close with your babe. The skin-to-skin touch of a mother’s love offers a closeness, not to mention a good reason for a tired mama to sit down for a few minutes and rest while baby feeds. Now THAT is reason to keep chugging along while baby chugs away!

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

When Your Baby Would Rather Nurse Than Sleep

Monday, April 27th, 2015

IMG_0174This is my life right now. My son Levi is 6 months old. He has woken up the past several nights at least 4 to 5 times. When Daddy goes in, he is looking for me. He would much rather nurse on momma than sleep through the wee hours of the night. So what on earth do you do when you find yourself in this situation?

Breastfed babies wake more often than formula fed babies because they digest breast milk quicker. So, they need us. They need to nurse. Night nursing helps to keep milk supply plentiful. The highest milk supply levels and levels of prolactin are released during the night hours. This ensures mom can keep up with the demands of baby’s milk needs.

There are all sorts of sleep-training methods that claim to “break” baby from night waking, but there are several reasons why a young baby would rather nurse than sleep. Here are some common reasons for night waking and nursing:

  • To Get Mom’s Attention:  Nursing creates a secure, safe environment for baby. The smell of mom, the touch of mommy’s hand, all create a safe place. Baby has your attention and you are there to respond.
  • To Not Feel Alone: Babies are not fans of mom leaving the room at night. Sometimes when they wake, they just don’t want to be alone. Cue crying, cue mom entering, cue nursing session.
  • Because they’re Hungry: This one seems obvious, but many pediatricians will tell you that a baby should not need to eat in the night. Sometimes, they are just hungry. My baby boy is usually hungry a few times a night still, because he has limited solid foods in his diet. Don’t ignore the cries. Feed your baby.
  • Growth Spurts:  See above. Feed that baby. An hour later…feed that baby.
  • Learning New Skills:  Babies wake often while they are learning new things. Crawling, rolling, learning to sit-up. All of these skills can cause baby to wake in the night and maybe just maybe want to nurse. Nursing to sleep is not a bad thing.
  • Teething Pain:  Sometimes, babies who are teething just want to nurse for comfort. Mommy is the ultimate soother and being close to you is just what the doctor ordered.

While it is good to know there are reasons why babies wake often in the night to nurse, it can still be hard to get through. Hang in there, mom. I’m right there with you. I have nights where I am exhausted. Levi will wake hourly to nurse and I just want to hand off the feedings, but then I remember how special I am to my little guy. Nursing in the night helps with SIDS prevention, as well. I can’t tell you how often I check on Levi. At least with all of his waking, I know he is safe.

So when your baby is waking hourly to nurse, remember there is a reason. They aren’t trying to manipulate you. They aren’t trying to drive you crazy. They need you. You need them. Together, you make the breastfeeding relationship work and be successful. Together, you may not get as much sleep, but I promise that one day when they sleep all night and are weaned, you will miss those precious hours of the night where they were close to you and only you.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two from Northeast Indiana. She loves breastfeeding and sleep. That’s why she drinks a cup of coffee each morning.

Date Nights at Home

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Date Nights at HomeFor many of us moms, it’s a big deal to get a date night. I know for me, date night only happens when we go home 6 hours away for a visit. However, it is still vitally important for your marriage or relationship to have date nights. It’s so easy to fall into the roles of “mommy and daddy” and forget you are “wife and husband,” too. Here are some fun ways to still get to have a date night, even when you can’t leave the kids.

Dinner for 2:

This is something I have to try. For me, like many moms, dinner consists of wrestling with my toddler and her food, all the while feeding my infant oatmeal. Somewhere in there, I take a few bites and that’s dinner. Try saving dinner for you and your spouse after the kids are in bed. For us, this would be at 8 p.m. Order in your favorite or opt for take-out. If you are really ambitious, make a meal for your spouse, set the mood with candles, and even put out menus and fancy table decorations. You may be in your dining room, but you can pretend you are in your favorite restaurant. Enjoy the food, conversation, and time alone.

Movie Night:

Pick a movie that you and your spouse want to see. Choose one that isn’t animated or rated G. Pop popcorn and buy some fancy candy that you see at the movie theatre. You can even get cute popcorn tubs and soda glasses to use. Dim the lights and enjoy the show. If you’re lucky, you may even get a few smooches during the movie!

Get Outside:

If it’s warm outside, take the time to take your kids for a stroll. If you just have one child, and it’s a baby, this is even easier. Pop the baby in a carrier and go for a long walk at the park. Most likely, your baby will snooze and you can enjoy the conversation with your spouse. Hold hands, talk about memories, and dream about your future together.

Enjoy Hobbies:

Maybe you and your spouse love sports? Watch your favorite team play and fix nachos and food you can only buy at the ballpark. Wear your team t-shirts and enjoy the game!

If you used to love to go to nightclubs, create a dance party in your living room. Get dressed up and make a fun playlist. Just don’t turn up the music too loud, so you don’t wake up the kids.

If you’re into working out, create a gym in your home and work out together.  Or, you can take advantage of local gyms and work out together while your kids enjoy the child care.

Spring for a Sitter:

If you have a trusted friend, family member, or baby sitter, it is so worth it. Schedule a few hours a month to spend together without the kids. Here the possibilities are endless! Go for a quiet, long drive. Check out a local museum. Go see your favorite band in concert. Eat at a restaurant where high chairs and sippy cups are not the norm. Splurge. It’s worth investing in your relationship.

So, mom, you can still have the romantic date night! I need to remind myself of this. I’m thinking a dinner date with some Chinese take-out is in my near future. What have you done with your spouse to keep the magic alive?  You can always go to bed early, too!

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of 2 in Northeast Indiana. She loves date nights with her husband, James, but she sure does miss her kids!