Google+ Authentic Parenting: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quote of the Day

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” Lao Tzu


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15 Things You Can Do To Ease the Post Partum Hospital Stay

A hospital stay can be very hard on a family, especially in a time where the family unit changes. While many moms choose a hospital stay after birth, some mothers end up in the hospital unwanted.
In either case, there are things you - as a family member or friend - can do to help the family along in these transitional times.

Image: Lisa Nail Photography


  1. Bring a thermos of postpartum broth for mommy. Bone broth speeds up postpartum recovery, and a homemade soup will be a welcome change from the bland hospital food. Try the Chinese post partum soup recipe or the standard bone broth.
  2. Bring nursing tea. If you know the mommy will be nursing, a beautiful herbal infusion to stimulate milk production will be a welcome beverage. Hot water should be easy to get, so just bringing in the tea and a tea ball should be enough.
  3. Whip up a herbal post partum tea mix. There are many great recipes online. 
  4. Thinking of a gift? Why not bring a fruit basket? This way mom can stock up on healthy vitamins and there’s always something nice for visitors to eat.
  5. Offer to take the older children somewhere. A hospital stay is a stressful situation for the whole family. An afternoon of fun for the sibling can be a welcome change.
  6. Invite the family over for dinner or make them a casserole they can heat up. The days my husband didn’t have dinner at my parent’s, he simply did not eat, because he was too beat. Luckily my daughter shared the hospital lunches with me.
  7. Call before you visit. There’s nothing worse then suddenly being overwhelmed by a herd of visitors. Some moms really don’t want any visitors at this time, so make sure that you are welcome. Ask yourself, are you paying a visit for your pleasure or theirs?
  8. Visit in small groups only. While it can be easier - logistically - to fill a couple of cars and head out, large groups are too stressful for mom and baby and you won’t be able to enjoy the visit fully either.
  9. While you are visiting, ask if there’s anything you can get from the cafeteria. Hospital food is often very bland, so mom would probably appreciate a treat.
  10. Call the husband and ask if there are any household tasks you can help out with. Do a load of laundry, clean the kitchen, make the beds... often husbands are left to their own devices to perform tasks they never did before, while they’re already overwhelmed.
  11. Bring magazines. After visiting hours, it can get quite lonely in the hospital. A couple of nice magazines can entertain mom while she’s nursing or baby is sleeping.
  12. Ask if there is anything the family needs you to bring into the hospital. Even with a planned hospital birth, there are always items that have been forgotten, or that didn’t seem a necessity at the time.
  13. Bring cloth post partum pads, they’re so much better than the chemically bleached stuff they give you at the hospital.
  14. Offer a handmade gift. When I was spending nights in a row at the NICU, the handmade quilt I got from Applesauce Crafts was one of the things that kept me sane.
  15. If your mommy friend is encapsulating her placenta, offer help, or offer a specialized person's services. 
***

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Even if you have never used herbs for health before, this guide will help you though the basics of herbal health and plant based nourishment.
Boost your health with herbs, learn how to make a herbal infusion and how to compose your own herbal mixes. Make your own sitz bath mix and cook a traditional Chinese postpartum bone broth.




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Some more inspiration for the new mother: 


 


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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Babee Greens Review and Giveaway

About Babee Greens
BabeeGreens is located in Asheville, North Carolina and offers a pretty selection of locally made nappies and accessories. All products are made from organically grown textiles, either hemp or cotton. 


Review
I received a Hemp/organic cotton growing greens diaper to review. 
I really liked the fabric of this diaper. It's really soft and velvety, without being too warm. It also dries easily. This is a birth to potty fitted diaper (it requires a cover), with a rather ingenious way to adjust the size: one side of the diaper is for the small size and the other side fits a larger bottom. This way, you don't get the bulky package at the front as you do with regular snap to fit BTP fitteds. The strange thing is that my husband explained to me how to work the diaper before I got to watching the video on the babee Greens website, so it's very intuitive too. For the very early newborn stage, you just use the insert with a cover, and as your baby gets bigger, you use the nappy on the small side (I didn't get to use the insert only, as baby was already over ten pounds when he was born).
I really like this diaper and reach for it frequently. It is a birth to potty and even fit my 3,5 year old, so it will last you until your last diapering days, and even beyond (for the sibling who likes to play baby when a new addition to your family arrives).

BUY IT:
The Growing Greens Hemp/Organic cotton Diaper is sold for 19,95USD


Giveaway

Babee Greens is offering a Hemp/Organic Cotton Growing Greens diaper like the one I reviewed to the winner of this contest.

WIN IT:

To win a Growing Greens hemp/organic cotton diaper, enter by leaving a comment and using our Rafflecopter system below.

Contest is open US residents only.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Babee Greens and tell us something you have learned! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on the blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click "Click for instructions" for guidance and then "I did this" — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the "Extra Info" box. Give it a try or visit the Rafflecopter tutorial, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Monday, February 27, 2012

Quote of the Day

“Knowledge is gained by learning; trust by doubt; skill by practice; and love by love.”
Thomas S. Szasz quotes


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New Parents and Sleep Deprivation

Written by Danielle

Having a newborn in the house can be rough on your sleep patterns, especially if you're a first-time parent adjusting to repeatedly waking throughout the night. The time you spend soothing or feeding your child can be a wonderful bonding time, but the resulting exhaustion can wear you down. Try some of these tips to get yourself through until your child begins sleeping through the night.

Schedule and delegate

Scheduling daytime activities with your baby can help you get through a sleepless time. Planning playtime, mealtime, and naptime can provide necessary structure and allow you to stay sane. Don't be afraid or hesitant to ask for help. You can’t be expected to do everything you used to before your baby arrived and you shouldn't try. Asking people in your support network to babysit while you nap or just spend some time on your own is perfectly reasonable. Consider trading tasks with your spouse so you're not trying to roust yourself at 6:00 a.m. after a 4:00 a.m. feeding. If you used to help older children get ready for school in the morning, consider trading for an evening task like cleaning the kitchen after dinner so you can get adequate sleep. Even an extra hour of rest can make a big difference in your day.

Comfort and dedication

If both you and your baby are comfortable at night, you will both be able to sleep more easily. One thing to pay special attention to is your temperature. Babies shouldn't have more than a light blanket over them; space heaters can help you both stay warm enough overnight. You can also wear comfy pajamas; fleece is an ideal material for staying warm without overheating.

Image: Oksidor

You and your family should also sleep in a manner that works for you, such as utilizing a family bed and co-sleeping. Although many people may advise you to just put your baby in a crib and cry himself back to sleep so you can get some rest, it is important that you stick to your values. Thank them politely for their advice and let them know that co-sleeping is important to you and the ways you raise your child. It may be difficult to stand up to critics, but the way you choose to parent your child is exactly that: your choice.

Healthiness and housework

Sleep is vital to your health. Being too tired to shuttle older children to school, visit the doctor, run errands, or go to work doesn't benefit anyone. You may be tempted to do the dishes or clean the bathroom when your newborn goes down for a nap, but chores can wait. If you're tired and can take time for yourself to rest (i.e., you aren't chasing around a toddler who refuses to nap or using your precious free time to meet a deadline), skip the Swiffering for an afternoon and catch some Z's. Have no fear: the dust bunnies will be waiting for you upon your refreshed return.

When you're at your most frustrated and certain your child is never going to sleep through the night, remember that countless parents have survived similar sleepless nights. Just do the best you can, let friends and family lend a helping hand, and know the time you spend with your child in the earliest hours of the morning are helping you bond and build a lifelong trust.

About the author
Danielle, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys helping her sister-in-law and brother with their newborn. She looks forward to visiting the local park with her niece when the weather warms up. Read Danielle's work at Eat Breathe Blog.


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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Surf

I've teamed up with Lauren from Hobo Mama to make Sunday Surf even more interactive. From now on you can link up your Sunday Surf at the bottom of my weekly Surf, or over at Hobo Mama. The linky will go live every Sunday and you can add your link at any time during the week.


DIY
Breastfeeding
Unschooling
EC
Parenting
Health

If you're surfing, add your post to the linky at the bottom of this Sunday Surf. You can do that here or at Hobo Mama, your link will show up on both sites. Make sure to grab the new button either from the left sidebar or the Sunday Surf page, where you'll also find a little blurb about Sunday Surf you can copy for your post. 

 


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Friday, February 24, 2012

And the Winners Are

The winner of the Lunapads giveaway is Sue Sueper, she will receive a 50 USD gift certificate valid on the entire Lunapad selection.

The winner to the Domino Pads giveaway is Mor Morotsblommor. She will receive a Domino Pads starter kit of her choice.

The giveaway hosts have both been informed and you will receive a message shortly.
Congratulations!


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Facilitating Sibling Connection

Welcome to February edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama. This month, participants have looked into the topic of “Fostering Healthy Attachment”. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!
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We can't speak of attachment within a family without mentioning the bonds between siblings. Having a new family member arrive is an event that changes the entire family dynamic, and where it is a serious change for parents, it is even more drastic for an older child.
Fostering connection between siblings is something we - as parents - should be mindful about. Cultivating a healthy sibling relationship starts even before pregnancy.

Avoiding jealousy issues
Jealousy, as much as it is seen as inevitable in our culture, is not a necessary evil, there are things that can be done in order to prevent these negative feelings from arising in your older child(ren).

  • Before planning a sibling, talk it through with your older child or children. Most often, children don't get a voice in family sizing, but why not? The family unit influences them as much, and probably even more, than it does their parents, so talking about your wish for another child seems reasonable to say the least. And don't despair if your child says no to a sibling, they may change their mind at a later time.
  • Prepare them for the arrival of a sibling. Talk to your child about all it entails to have a baby brother or sister. Stick to the reality! It's important that your child knows what to expect. You could do this by reading books about caring for babies.
  • Involve them in your pregnancy. Personally, I think it's best to let your child know very early in pregnancy that you're expecting a baby. This way, your child will understand the changes in your body and your behavior and has the time to mentally prepare for the arrival of a sibling.
  • Have your child around at birth, but make sure they are informed and prepared about what will happen at that time and that they are free to go somewhere else if they aren't comfortable.
  • Involve them in the preparations for the baby's arrival. Prepare the baby's clothes together, go shopping for baby items together, let them pick out items for their little brother or sister.
Being involved in this way makes your child feel part of a whole, instead of seeing the baby as an intruder in his family unit. It prepares them mentally for a changed situation and makes them share the excitement you as parents are feeling. Children, even at a very young age, are entirely capable of understanding and dealing with the arrival of a sibling in a healthy manner, as long as they are treated with respect.

Helping your children connect
Where the mama gets a flood of lovey dovey hormones when the baby arrives, for the rest of the family, this small new creature might not be accepted and loved instantly.
Image: Starmama on Flickr
  • Don't expect too much. If your child isn't too fond of his new sibling right away, give them time to adjust. Pushing your kid to establish a connection will only have him turn in the opposite direction.
  • Involve the older sibling in the care for baby. Your older child can help pick out baby's clothes, help put on a diaper, give a massage...
  • Establish new routines. Create moments of togetherness for the whole family, but also schedule moments of one-on-one time with the older sibling. Daddy can take care of baby while mommy reads a bedtime story, and big sister can have breakfast with daddy while mom and baby snuggle a while more in the family bed. Think daily massage as a communal routine, or family bath time.
  • Teach the right gestures right away. Children, especially smaller ones, may have difficulties applying the right touch when handling the baby. Show them often what gentle touch means and don't get cross with them if they are a little bit too rough. Their coordination isn't quite as fine tuned yet, so it may require lots of repetition.
  • Last, but probably most importantly, allow your child to hold and carry and care for the baby. Forbidding snuggles, cuddling and holding will only frustrate your child, and if well supervised and informed, even a small toddler will be capable to hold the new baby.

 


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Visit Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


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Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Unique 7-Step Parenting Tool: Sleep Talking

Written by Marcy Axness, PhD

This is the fourth post in my new holistic healing/natural health series, where we explore alternatives to mainstream healthcare and find new ways for you to care for yourself. If you would like to submit a post to this series, contact me (mamapoekie at yahoo dot com).

In my years of coaching and counseling parents-in-progress, a unique and little-known tool has proved incredibly useful: sleep talking. It is yet another way in which to practice Parenting for Peace’s #1 Principle – Presence. Speaking to your child while he or she is sleeping is a way to be present to your child in a powerful way, and to speak directly to the unconscious, bypassing whatever protective deflection your waking child might have toward the words of acknowledgement and healing you want to share.

Philipino pediatrician Rhodora Diaz was inspired to develop this as a “last resort” for two young rebellious, hostile young patients who had one thing in common: they had both been unwanted conceptions, and both mothers had resented their pregnancies.

When she got reports some months later from both of these mothers that their children’s attitudes behaviors had dramatically improved after sleep talking to them, Dr. Diaz began suggesting the technique for helping other children with puzzling or persistent problems. Over time, she refined a 4-part “Sleep Talking Script” as a guide:

  1. Statement of love
  2. Statement of the problem
  3. Interpretation / proposal for a solution
  4. Statement of love & commitment (closing statement)


Dr. Diaz suggests limiting the Sleep Talk session to five or ten minutes. She has found that the best time for a session seems to be in the early morning, before the child wakes up (which is a deep sleep).

I work with clients to help zero in on what they might “sleep talk” about with their child. I have found with many parents in my practice that previously unrecognized traumas during infancy, birth, pregnancy and even conception often prove to be avenues for discovering clues to troubling “inexplicable” behavior or developmental issues. These often serve as key points to be addressed through sleep talking. So that is Step One – thoughtfully and intuitively zeroing in on these kinds of events or experiences that may have planted the seed for these later issues.

Step Two is to prepare at least an outline of the main points you will touch upon in each of Dr. Diaz’ four parts of sleep talking. Here is just one “script” example from a parent in my practice. (Note Dr. Diaz’ four elements – which are Steps Four through Seven of my adapted protocol):
James, you are our precious boy and we love you so much… and we’re so proud and happy to be your parents… and that you came to be our son.
We notice that you’re sometimes very dreamy and you’re not quite present with us... like you’re up flying in the clouds. Sometimes what happens is that we get impatient or frustrated trying to reach you... and then that creates a separation between us. We would like to bring you back to earth, and help you really be here, and feel comfortable with us here.
When you first came to us, we hadn’t expected you, and so we were surprised. We were really happy you were coming, but we realized we had to make a lot of changes to get ready for you... and so there was some chaos and crazy times and some really hard work we had to do. So we’re thinking that might have made you feel unsure about whether or not you really belonged here with us. Maybe you got the idea that if you really came to us it would cause too much trouble.
We want you to know that we’re so happy you’re here, and all the changes we made in preparing the way for you were wonderful changes. You’ve enriched our lives so much, and we love you and want you to be fully here with us, all the way, with your entire being. We look forward to all our happy years with you, all of us growing together.

So what is the missing Step Three? Sitting with the material you plan to discuss with your child long enough to process out any “emotional overload.” As I learned from the brilliant psychiatrist Myriam who works with babies in a Parisian neonatal intensive care unit – effecting miraculous healings by simply speaking their (usually difficult) prenatal or birth stories to them – it is more effective when we can speak with words that are straightforward and unclouded by too much sentiment or emotionality.

To read more about this gentle, compassionate and useful technique, visit Dr. Diaz’ site at whilechildrensleep.homestead.com.

________________________

About the author
A member of Mothering magazine’s online expert panel, and a popular international speaker, Marcy Axness, PhD, is a professor of prenatal development, and she also has a private practice coaching parents-in-progress. She provides training for childcare, adoption, education, and mental health professionals about the latest findings in the science of human thriving, and is the author of a new book that distills that research: Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers. She invites you to join her at www.marcyaxness.com.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Quote of the Day

“Don't wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” -Mark Victor Hansen


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Applesauce Craft Review and Giveaway

About Applesauce Crafts

Creative mommy Amber makes every lovely product in Etsy's Applesauce Craft shop. From cloth wipes, to one of a kind quilts or custom garlands, AMber's here to find the product you like and make it for you. 


Review

I received a quilt and two sets of cloth wipes to review. You can see us sporting the blankie at the Newborn Care Unit after Buddha's birth.
I am very thankful for this blanket, as this cozy handmade item is something that gave me a feel of home during these hard first days when Little Buddha was staying in the Newborn Care Unit. This was one of the first items my husband brought in after our emergency transfer. We haven't stopped using it since and I'm reluctant to put it in the wash.
The cloth wipes are obviously getting used very frequently too. They're flannel and very soft. Amber has a bright selection of fabrics to choose from. 

BUY IT:
A Applesauce Craft Quilt will set you back for between 35 and 50USD
A cloth wipes set (5 wipes) is 6USD


Giveaway

Applesauce Crafts is offering a 50USD gift certificate to the winner of this contest, valid on their entire selection.

WIN IT:

To win a 50USD gift certificate, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system below.

Contest is open worldwide.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Applesauce Crafts and tell us what you would buy with the 50USD gift certificate! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on the blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click "Click for instructions" for guidance and then "I did this" — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the "Extra Info" box. Give it a try or visit the Rafflecopter tutorial, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!




a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Perfect Postpartum Partner


Written by Amy


I've experienced the postpartum period only once personally, but I am a doula and I've also assisted many friends through their babymoon times. I found my partner Jaymz to be extremely helpful and responsive to me during this very exciting and emotional time. It's my experience that partners generally want very much to be helpful and useful, but they don't always know what to do. Having a list of tasks can jump-start your brainstorming process and ultimately your success in supporting your partner through this time.

I've put together a list of tips and suggestions for partners, to help ease the pregnant Mama in your life through this huge and wonderful transition.

  • Consider reading The Birth Partner in preparation for being present through labor, birth, and the early postpartum period. My partner read this book when I was pregnant, and he found it to be a very helpful and informative tool.
  • If you work outside the home, take as much time off of work as feels comfortable after Baby arrives. Having you around the house to pitch in with midnight diaper changes and around the clock feedings will be an invaluable service to your partner.
  • After Baby is born and you are home (if you gave birth elsewhere), take over at least one large household task that Mama usually is in charge of. (The laundry and the dishes are the biggest ones, I find). Make it your mission to stay on top of that task so that she never has to worry about it getting done. If you can, take on more than one large chore. 
  • If you have guests staying with you in your house, assign them each their own tasks: cooking, running errands, fetching snacks, etc. If you leave them without specific things to take care of, they might start doing things that are unhelpful. Better to try to keep them busy!
  • Manage postpartum visitors as best you can: remind them to visit only for short periods (10-30 minutes) and politely ask them to help out around the house or with older children while they are there (if they are able). Consider keeping a jar by the front door filled chores written on small slips of paper. Each visitor is expected to complete a chore as a requirement to seeing the baby. If you're not comfortable asking guests to do this as they arrive, consider posting a playful sign on your door that will greet them with the expectation before you do.
  • If you have older children, arrange play dates and special activities
    for them
    with their closest friends (at the friends' houses, preferably)
    so that Mama can have more time to rest and bond with the new baby.
    When your older kids aren't otherwise occupied, take it upon yourself to
    be present and parent them fully, to give Mama the opportunity to focus on the new
    baby. Everyone in the family goes through a big changes with the addition of a new baby, and a little extra special attention for older siblings can go a long way to easing the transition.
  • Make sure Mama has plenty of wholesome, balanced meals and snacks to eat. Remember that when Mama is breastfeeding, components of everything she ingests will be present in her breastmilk. Newborn stomachs can be sensitive to certain foods, so take caution when preparing foods for Mama which can be irritating to the gut. One rule of thumb is if it's a food that usually gives Mama indigestion or gas (like spicy foods, broccoli, garlic, cabbage, and dairy products, to name a few common ones) it could affect Baby the same way. Just use your common sense on this one!
  • Make sure Mama always has plenty to drink. Make sure she always has water or another favorite beverage by her side.
    Hydration is always important, and even more so when breastfeeding. Remember to limit caffeine (which can have stimulant effects on Baby) and avoid herbal teas which contain mint, which can decrease milk supply.
  • Consider using an online meal registry like Meal Baby to organize meals on a schedule brought by friends and family. Spacing scheduled meals out more and more as the weeks go on will help you to transition back to being more independent without feeling quite so overwhelmed by all the tasks of running a household with a newborn.
  • Offer to intercept phone calls, emails, and other social media interactions on Mama's behalf. She may be interested in continuing to stay connected, but if it is causing her stress or interrupting sleep, offer to have her dictate to you or let you take care of it completely.
  • Help with scheduling postpartum checkups, early baby visits with your healthcare provider, and any other administrative tasks (getting birth certificate paperwork filed and such) that need to be done within a few days of the birth.
  • Take photographs of Mama and Baby. If she is the one who is usually behind the camera in your family, there are probably very few of her together with your little one(s). Capture some of these precious early memories for her.
  • Give Mama the opportunity to take regular showers, have regular meals, and have regular breaks from holding and caring for Baby 24 hours a day. You can hold Baby so she can take some time to bathe and feed herself baby-free.
  • Be very supportive and encouraging about initiating breastfeeding. Offer to grab an extra pillow if Mama looks uncomfortable. Fetch her water. Assist her in putting together a breastfeeding basket that she can keep by her favorite nursing spot.
  • Encourage her to ask for help when she needs it. (And you too!) It takes a village to help a new baby into this world.
  • Above all else, follow Mama's lead. If she seems stressed, ask her what you can do to help. If
    she seems tired, politely show your visitors to the door. The most important
    thing about the early postpartum period is giving Mama and Baby as much time as possible together to sleep, cuddle, and bond together.
The early days and weeks with a new baby can be a bit of a whirlwind with all the excitement, newness, and lost sleep. I hope this collection of tips helps ease the transition in your family. I know there's nothing like having a supportive and helpful partner to encourage this big change to go more smoothly!


About the author:
Amy is a work from home Momma to one fabulous son,
Daniel. Amy writes about the things she holds close to her heart:
family, delicious food, and many aspects of natural parenting. She is
passionate about natural childbirth, breastfeeding, gentle, intuitive
parenting, and respecting all people, no matter how small. She’s
figuring it all out as she goes, following her instincts with her son
as her guide. Amy writes at Anktangle


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Monday, February 20, 2012

Quote of the Day

‎"Children and mothers never truly part - bound in the beating of each other's heart." ~ Charlotte Gray


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Mastitis: Prevention and Treatment

Written by Megan Massaro


This is the third post in my new holistic healing/natural health series, where we explore alternatives to mainstream healthcare and find new ways for you to care for yourself. If you would like to submit a post to this series, contact me (mamapoekie at yahoo dot com).

BannerFans.com

The name itself sounds pretty awful. If you grew up in even a slightly rural area, the word may ring a bell. Isn’t that an infection milking cows get!? Yup. And nursing mamas, too. I know—I had it twice myself.

A few days after my first sweet girl was born. I just assumed all new mothers felt like they had been run over by a truck. My whole body was hot with a fever, but my breasts were red, inflamed, and on fire! Think: flu + engorgement + childbirth recovery. Eek.

My midwife was clear: I needed antibiotics. Antibiotics?! I just endured a day of unmedicated childbirth because I wanted to keep my baby pure and medication-free. This seemed like the cruelest of ironies. My midwife called in the prescription but I never picked it up. I knew enough about natural healing to know antibiotics were not the only remedy, despite her advice. After some research, I felt armed to fight the infection, and now I’m excited to provide it for other moms who want a natural alternative for healing.

First, it’s important to determine the root. I know how the first case started. Anabella didn’t have a great latch due to a slightly inverted nipple, and wasn’t draining my right breast properly. Mastitis is usually brought on by a few things: an ill fitting bra, cracked or bleeding nipples, emotional stress or getting run down (source of my second case), or skipped feedings that lead to plugged ducts.

It’s important to note: left untreated, the infection can turn into an abscess that requires draining. However, if you’re attentive and proactive, the infection can heal without surgery and usually without antibiotics.

The best remedy is…prevention. Mastitis can visit even the most established of nursing mamas, so these tips may come in handy.

Prevention

Get a well fitting nursing bra. Wearing a bra that fits you is always important, but even more so when you are nursing. Invest in a good nursing bra, your breasts will be thankful. Get a soft model that moves with you, and prefer a wireless design. If you had been nursing before your pregnancy, don't assume that you'll have the same bra size. Wear a bra designed to grow with you during pregnancy and the first week or so after birth.


Nurse. Frequently. Then, nurse again. Don’t wait for your baby to tell you he’s hungry. Offer often, as nursing will get your milk flowing, and minimize the chance of plugged ducts.

Rest. Often. You may think you’re back to normal after a few days or weeks, but your body has been through a major undertaking. Now’s not the time to tackle that organizational project you’ve been meaning to do. Have a babymoon in bed with your little one. Drink lots of fluids, read or sleep while he naps, and...nurse.

Eat well. Don’t underestimate the healing powers of copious amounts of water and good nutrition. Sugar suppresses the immune system, so it’s wise to cut out even that small nightly bowl of ice cream. Bacteria feeds on sugar and you’ll be unknowingly sabotaging your efforts if you put sugar into your system. Fresh vegetables, fruits, wild fish, and humanely-raised meat top the charts for a healthy diet.

Treatment

First, see prevention. Nursing and resting are key to treating the infection as well. Try to nurse frequently on the affected side in order to properly drain the breast.

Alternate warm and cool compresses. The warm will increase circulation, moving the infection out, and cool will decrease pain. Bags of frozen peas work well as a cool compress.

Massage. You want to keep the milk flowing, so gently massaging your breast toward the nipple will loosen any clogged ducts. You can give the massage a boost by using calendula oil, which you can easily make yourself by simmering a handful of calendula flowers in a cup of olive oil for about 20 minutes (don't let the oil get too hot, it would fry the flowers). If you are done using this oil, it can be used as a gentle skin cleanser for your baby, especially if he suffers from newborn acne.

Change positions. Experiment with your holds. The area of the breast under the baby’s chin gets emptied the fastest, so try a different position in order to fully empty the entire breast.

Raw garlic. Garlic is known for it’s antibiotic properties, without the nasty side effects. Aim for at least 2-3 cloves per day. You can chop the clove into smaller pill sizes, and swallow the pieces with a little juice. Don’t cook your garlic though - allicin, the antimicrobial property in garlic, is destroyed with heat.

Fenugreek. Steep a quarter cup of fenugreek seeds in a cup of hot water. Once the seeds are cool enough, mash them. You can smear directly on your breasts, or use a muslin cloth or bag as a poultice. Some moms prefer to make a tea with one teaspoon of the herb for each cup of boiling water.

Vitamin C. This immune booster is safe while nursing, even in a megadose. Try to take 3000-5000 milligrams per day.

Ibuprofen. It’s safe while breastfeeding and will decrease inflammation.

Potatoes. Grate a raw potato and place in a muslin bag, or some cheesecloth, and apply directly to the breasts. This should bring immediate cooling to the area.

If you have a fever, you can take Echinacea or Tincture of Oregon grape root three to four times a day to bring relief.

Above all, keep nursing! Weaning at this point could lead to more plugged ducts and further infection, requiring surgical draining of any abscesses. Eww.

If your symptoms don’t clear in a few days, it’s wise to seek medical assistance. In addition to your baby’s doctor, homeopathy and naturopathy may be viable options.

While there’s no surefire way to prevent mastitis, if you’re getting recurrent infections, take some time to examine your pace of life. Often infections are our bodies’ not-so-convenient ways of tell us to slow down. Above all, breathe deeply and love fully. Your little ones will benefit from a calm, present mama!

About the author:
Megan Massaro is a two-time mastitis survivor and author of the forthcoming book, The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year. Read more about the book on The Other Baby Book website.


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Saturday, February 18, 2012

You did that where? (Rerun)

So I’ve done it like 10,000 times, possibly a bit more*. That’s about 200 days straight if you were to add up the hours I have spent doing it. I’ve done it in all sorts of places too. Some places like one might expect, at home, in the bedroom, on a lounger, chair or couch. In the garden I’m sure plenty of times and at the table too.

I confess I have often, very often done it when out and about. At a restaurant more than once, in an airplane, which was a bit tricky but by the second time and with less turbulence turned out great. Oh even in the supermarket, in the middle of shopping I just had to stop and do it. Then I actually figured out how to do it while shopping which made things very interesting. Then there were all the times in the train – one time in first class where the seats are comfy but the commuter train is an okay place to do it too.

One of the most exciting places I’ve done it was recently while on safari – there we were watching rhinoceros and zebras and all the while I did it. It was hot so I had to do it more than once, the next time was while passing by the lions. This past weekend at the zoo I did it again, this time right in front of the raccoons, although feeding them bananas was more interesting so it was quick.

Then there were the three times I did it really high, at the top of two different mountains that is. Monte Generoso at 5,581 ft and then even higher at Monte Tamaro at 6,437 ft. I didn’t do it in the Gondola ride going up the mountain because I was feeling a bit queasy but then right away once we were up there I found the perfect spot to do it.

I’ve also done it at the public pool, at many playgrounds, at many friends’ houses, at the mall, the library, while talking on the phone, while typing at the computer, peeling potatoes, baking cookies, reading books, chatting with friends and even eating ice cream.

That’s right; I have breastfed my children in all these places, and you have the right to do it too.

It's not obscene, it's normal, natural, and an amazing gift to your children.

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

Peace & Be Well.
MudpieMama

*The number 10,000 comes from breastfeeding three babies in the past 5 years about six times a day on average although I feed on demand so who knows what it really is...

About the author

Ariadne - aka mudpiemama has three children and two dogs. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. She believes parents and children should try to have fun everyday and love life.


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Friday, February 17, 2012

Shaming or Showing The Way

Finding the kitchen floor covered in water, walls scribbled on in blue crayon, or your favorite shoes full of glue are not exactly the special moments of parenthood – or are they? Could these moments be special moments? Would you be interested in transforming those seemingly annoying, laborious, stressful situations into positive and even special moments?


When parents make a conscious choice to skip the shame, guilt and hurt that comes with using spankings, isolations and punishment for “bad behavior" and instead search for positive alternatives, they can guide children into a direction of confidence and capability.

Children are not meaning to cause trouble or mayhem- often they are just being curious and need some guidance. Working together, parents and children can find meaningful connections and learn so much about team work, life skills and how to navigate the world even in the face of “bad” moments.


If a glass gets knocked over, juice spills or milk overflows, a child can use a rag and dry it up. Perhaps the parent will help a bit, but a child as young as 18 months can appreciate the value of team work, partnership and the ability to do something for herself.

If you find markers on the wall, paint on bathroom counter, or crayon on the carpet, a warm soapy sponge and scrubbing and drying the mess together shows a child that there are solutions to problems, ways to fix “wrongs” which is such a valuable life skill.

“Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” Chinese Proverb

When we involve our children in the process, they can learn that cleaning up is hard work, while at the same time realizing they are capable. Learning how to work together with a parent or sibling can enhance family harmony, sibling relationships and a child’s overall self confidence too.

The truth is, there are no magic formulas or one-size-fits-all solutions or any one thing that will guarantee that “bad behavior” will not happen again. Several different bodies of research* show that spanking and punishment will not lead to any long term results or ultimate compliance either. On the contrary, it actually shows that over time, punishments can have negative impacts on a child’s esteem, confidence and overall wellbeing.

This parenting thing is hard work and demanding compliance may make things easier at times, but as a parent do you want your child to grow into a compliant being or into someone with bright ideas, a thinker, a leader, someone with a passion for learning, understanding and exploring the world? Fostering cooperation and helping children learn like skills even amidst stressful situations is as special as parenting moments can get.

Have you had any special moments (i.e. paint on the walls or glue in your shoes) with your child recently? How did you handle it?

Peace & Be Well,


*There are several research studies on this, just some examples are the research done by UNH researchers Trinkner; Ellen Cohn, professor of psychology; Cesar Rebellon, associate professor of sociology; and Karen Van Gundy, associate professor of sociology. Joan Durant, a professor at University of Manitoba and Ron Ensom, with the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.


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Post Partum Pad Galore: Myllymuksut Oy

About Myllymuksut Oy

Myllymuksut Oy is a very substantive ecological web shop, offering products ranging from clothing and parenting related items to craft supplies. The children's clothing on offer are very bright and fun and they even have a cloth nappy range, many of their items can be customized. The textiles used are bamboo, merino wool and organic fabrics. Myllymuksut is situated in Finland and all of their products are made locally. 



Review

I received a trial pack for reviewing purposes. The trial pack contains a liner, a day pad and a night pad. I also received a two sided travel wet bag (one side for clean pads, the other for soiled pads).
Muksut fabrics are very light and fun. They are made of  I specifically liked the breathability of the pads and the design of the hedgehog fabric. Sadly they do shift a little in the laundry, so you have to pull them back into shape each time (this works well though).
I really love the idea of the two sided wet bag and have used it many times now. It will remain handy for clean and soiled wipes in years to come! A very functional and compact travel solution that slips easily into a hand bag.


Giveaway

Muksut is giving away two trial packs like the one I reviewed to two separate winners. 

BUY IT:
Retail value of the trial pack is 22 Euro.


WIN IT:
To win a trial pack, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system below.

ADITIONALLY:
Myllymuksut is giving a 10% discount to all Authentic Parenting readers valid on their entire selection, using the code ap0212. This code is valid until 24 february 2012

Contest is open worldwide.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Myllymuksut Oy and tell us what you like from the shop! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on the blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click "Click for instructions" for guidance and then "I did this" — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the "Extra Info" box. Give it a try or visit the Rafflecopter tutorial, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Quote of the Day

“More than anything else, I believe it's our decisions, not the conditions of our lives, that determine our destiny.” -Anthony Robbins


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And the Winners Are

The winner to the Moon Times giveaway is CuteKaty P. Katy will be receiving a postpartum pad set.

The winner of the Party In My Pants giveaway is Amy Gatzemeyer, she will receive a 50USD gift certificate valid on the entire PIMP webshop.

Both giveaway hosts have been informed and will contact you shortly.

Congratulations!


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Are We Crushing Creativity (Rerun)


How many times do we parents interfere with our children's creativity and divergent thinking? Generally, our meddling is well-intended, we think we need to point out how it should be done. Sometimes it is because of what our children do does not align with our taste or our preconception of things.
I have heard parents tell their children not to use a certain color because it is not a pretty color. Or, undermine their children's musical potential because the noise is getting on their nerves. But these are extreme examples.

I think all of us happen to point out 'the right way' to our child on occasion, but shouldn't we allow them the liberty to discover their likes on their own? Shouldn't we be encouraging their creative use of things instead.

So mind yourself when you're saying: "this goes here", "that's how you play it" or "why don't you use a pencil now?". Let them try, let them make a mess, allow them to do something that doesn't sit well with your taste or style. Have them explore and explain the rules only when they come to you.



Image: rakratchada torsap / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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