Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sleep Solutions: Anti-CIO Resources

So for a long time I've been wanting to put together a list of anti-cio resources. Please submit your own resources as well! Feel free to use it in whatever way you want.

No Cry Sleep Alternatives:

- No cry sleep solution

website: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth/books/0071381392.php

- Nighttime Parenting and The Sleep book

- Sleeping with your baby

- Sweet Dreams: A Pediatrician's Secrets for a Baby's Good Night's Sleep

- Dr. Sears list of sleep tips:


Pillow Talk: Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night's Sleep: http://www.mother-2-mother.com/pillowtalk.htm

- My list of sleep tips:




Peer Reviewed Research:

The Effect of Excessive Crying on Emotion Regulation: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a785034409~db=all

From the AAP: http://aapnews.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/14/4/21

Maternal Emotional Availablitly at Night Time Predicts Sleep Quality: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20545404

Baby Sleep Requirements: http://www.parentingscience.com/baby-sleep-requirements.html

Infant Crying and Maternal Responsiveness: http://www.jstor.org/pss/1127506

Science Says Excessive Crying Can be Harmful to Infants (review of research): http://askdrsears.com/html/10/handout2.asp

Australian Assocationa for Infant Mental Health Stament on CIO: http://www.gymealily.org/resources_paperva7.htm

Quotes from Health Care Professionals and Research Articles: http://bawlingbabies.blogspot.com/2006/06/quotes-from-various-doctors.html

Marital Problems Cause Baby Sleep Issues (not visa versa):


There is No Empirical Evidence that CIO is Safe:

Handout, "Is CIO Appropriate?": http://www.infantsleep.org/images/WAIMH_Handout2.pdf

No Research to Back CIO (like several books claim): http://www.infantsleep.org/cryingitoutresearch.html

Normal Infant Sleep:

Night Waking: http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/breast/AS-nightwaking.htm

Night Waking and Protection from SIDS: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/10/sleeping-with-baby-breastfeeding-night.html

Baby Sleep Requirements: http://www.parentingscience.com/baby-sleep-requirements.html

Healthy Infant Sleep (Dr. McKenna): http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/healthy-infant-sleep.html

Sleeping Through the Night: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/sleeping-through-night.html

Collection of Sleep Studies: http://home.kellymom.net/parenting/sleep/sleepstudies.html

8 Infant Sleep Facts Every Parent Should Know: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/7/T070200.asp

Is Your Baby Sleeping Through the Night Yet?: http://www.drjen4kids.com/soap%20box/sleep%20stuff.htm

Wakeful 4 Month Olds: http://www.kellymom.com/parenting/sleep/4mo-sleep.html

When Will My Baby Sleep Through The Night?: http://www.llli.org/FAQ/sleep.html

Why Are Some Babies Night Owls?: http://www.ivillage.com/why-are-nursing-babies-often-night-owls/6-n-136871


Why CIO is Harmful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbYk5RiIwZI

Additional Information:

From the Baby's Perspective: http://parentingredefined.blogspot.com/2010/12/letters-from-baby-please-dont-let-me.html

Comfort and Crying: http://theattachedfamily.com/membersonly/?p=1255

A First-Person Perspective: http://womanuncensored.blogspot.com/2009/12/just-let-her-cry.html

Culture (Africa): http://www.blacktating.com/2010/09/why-african-babies-dont-cry.html

Why I No Longer Believe Babies Should CIO: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/infant/sleep/why-i-no-longer-believe-babies-should-cry-themselves-to-sleep/article149001/print/

Crying In-Arms: http://www.instinctiveparenting.com/flex/crying_and_emotional_release_in_babies_the_aware_parenting_approach/163/1

We are Hardwired to Respond to Crying (3rd Paragraph): http://www.parenting.com/article/Baby/Care/Soothing-a-Crying-Baby

Dads are Hardwired to Respond to Crying:


The Case Against CIO:


Harvard Research Says Children Need Touching Attention (not CIO): http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/1998/04.09/ChildrenNeedTou.html

A Mother's Affection Prevents Anxiety in Adulthood: http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/07/26/mother.affection.anxiety/index.html

The Potential Dangers of Leaving your Baby to Cry: http://eduarticles.com/cry-it-out-the-potential-dangers-of-leaving-your-baby-to-cry

10 Reasons not to CIO:


Controlling or Spoiling?: http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/control.html

Controlled Crying... Oops Controlled Comforting: http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/crying.html

Early Brain Development (and how CIO is harmful/affects it):


The Science of Attachment Parenting: http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/lauren_lindsey_porter.html

Stress in Infancy: http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/linda_folden_palmer2.html

Why CIO Doesn't Work: http://www.drjen4kids.com/myths/crying%20it%20out.htm

Cry It Out. Yes? No?: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/5/T051200.asp#T051205

Should I Let My Baby Cry It Out?: http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/parenting/cryitout.htm

Peaceful Parenting (has written extensively on this topic, go to search engine and put in cio): http://www.drmomma.org/

-- Excessive Crying Harmful to Babies: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/excessive-crying-harmful-to-babies.html

-- Dangers of Leaving a Baby to CIO: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/dangers-of-leaving-baby-to-cry-it-out.html

-- CIO Causes Brain Damage: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/crying-it-out-causes-brain-damage.html

-- The Case for Cue Feeding (feeding on demand, even at night): http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/case-for-cue-feeding.html

-- The Con of Controlled Crying: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/cons-of-controlled-crying-cio.html

-- Babies Aren't Soldiers: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/10/babies-arent-soldiers.html

Getting at the CIO Approach:

Babywise is Harmful: http://www.rickross.com/reference/gfi/gfi5.html

Babywise Recalled (FROM THE AAP): http://aapnews.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/14/4/21

Dr. Sears on Babywise: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/train-up-child-in-way-he-should-go.html

Confessions of a Failed Babywiser: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/confessions-of-failed-babywiser.html

Pediatric Nurse and Former Ezzo (Babywise) Patient: http://www.drmomma.org/2010/01/pediatric-nurse-and-former-ezzo-parent.html

Evaluating Ezzo Programs: http://www.ezzo.info/index.htm

Four Lies Sleep Trainers Tell You and the One Truth They Won't: http://networkedblogs.com/g2s6a


A couple topics go hand-in-hand with the topic of CIO and STTN. One is Bed Sharing and the other is the idea of "spoiling" or "habit forming". I have more resources on these topics if you don't find the information you need above.

Another thing to consider is that babies whose parents use CIO will often sleep more. Not all babies, in fact research shows babies left to CIO end up crying more all-in-all than babies who are not left to CIO. But you will hear stories from moms who let their babies CIO and now they sleep "wonderfully". We must consider that CIO often "works" but what does this mean? (A baby stops asking for help). And at what cost? (Too high of one). Is it safe? (In many cases NO). And can we achieve the same results without letting our baby be in distress? (Yes).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Take Action: Facebook Nurse-In

I previously published a post about Facebook's practice of deleting nursing photos and accounts of women who have them on their Facebook page. I asked for more information on how to take a proactive stand against this practice. Today I learned of another way to become involved in the attempt to convince Facebook to change their policy.

On Monday the 15th of November there will be a Facebook Nurse-In. Facebook members are encouraged to post a breastfeeding picture as their profile picture or, if they are not comfortable with doing so or have no pictures to share, to post the breastfeeding logo as their profile picture.

I encourage all Facebook members to take a stand and participate in the nurse-in. At it's simplest it will take about five minutes out of your day. If you wish to be more involved please see my previous post that lists various ways you can take action.

More information on the Facebook Nurse-In.

My previous post: Facebook Deletes Breastfeeding Photos Take Action.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mommy Brain

Mommy Brain

Before having children I figured this phenomenon of "mommy brain" that people talked about was more of a joke than a reality. Rather, that it was more of a mom simply not having time or convenience to remember something, that it had a lot to do with memory. As a new mother though I am reazling the stark reality of the mommy brain phenomenon. Quite frankly it has left me feeling like a complete and utter dolt more times than I can count. Sometimes that is humorous but sometimes it is just down right frustrating.

Dolt: "a dull, stupid person; blockhead" Synonyms: idiot, fool, clod, nitwit, dummy dictionary.com

During pregnancy the most brain-lacking thing I ever did was attempt to put a shirt on for pants. A spaghetti strap shirt. It wasn't until I had it halfway up my thighs did I realize that something wasn't quite right. Even then it took a minute to figure out that this was a shirt and not my pants gone awry.

During a period of life where I was in extreme grief I made a regular habit out of waiting at a stop sign for the light to turn green. Much to my frustration it never did.

So, really it shouldn't surprise me that now as a mother things have not improved. It does. I honestly thought that once these conditions: pregnancy and grief (or insert condition here) were not affecting me that I would return to my normal literate, educated, rather well-spoken self. The person who caught onto things quickly and was proud of her problem solving and multitasking capabilities. Except, much to my frustration, I haven't seen that person in longer than I can remember.

A friend of mine who works in the maternity industry once told me that if a mother doesn't have the best nutrition during pregnancy it is possible that a fetus, or rather the body for the sake of the fetus (aka baby), sucks fat from your brain. Further referred to as brain juice. She mentioned that this brain juice cannot be restored at a later date. Now I'm not sure if this is backed in science, or in any way true, but it is nice to think that it might be. I would like to blame this issue on something that was, for the most part, outside of my control. "Well you see I'm just lacking a bit of brain juice these days, all for the sake of having a beautiful daughter."

Alas the truth of the matter is that my mind fumbles are more due to being a mother. I can honestly say that 98% of my brain power is focused on my daughter and the act of mothering: how safe is she, does she need anything, what if some crazy scenario happens to me or her. That leaves the remaining 2% to focus on the entirety of everything else in my life. That 2% only functions at it's best about 10% of the time because let's face facts when you are hungry, sleep deprived, and generally stressed then you just don't function at full speed.

So friends and family, blog readers, and customer service agents please excuse me when my mommy brain kicks in. If we are having a conversation and all my responses are making no sense because apparently we are talking about two different things then either discreetly get us back on track or just tell me I've gone nuts. I can handle it. After being puked on, peed on, bit, pinched, tackled and more all day, being told that my brain isn't working full speed is not going to surprise me one bit.

The trick of course is to convince the rest of the world, and myself once again, that I am in fact an intelligent, educated, literate, well-meaning woman AND mother.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Car Safety: Calming a Crying Baby

Who hasn't experienced the screaming baby on a trip to pay the bills, go grocery shopping, or for the more adventurous a long road trip? It happens to all of us. For some mothers it is a constant battle and for others it is sporadic but when it happens it can be heartbreaking. None of us enjoy hearing our baby cry and this lack of enjoyment only increases when we are limited in our capability to fix the problem. Instead of focusing on what we cannot do this post will feature what we can do to help a crying car seat baby.

1. Assess the car seat - There is quite a bit to this step. Make sure the car seat is comfortable for the baby. Check the straps to see if they are too loose or too tight, make sure the incline is correct, feel the fabric and the buckles to see if they are super hot or cold, feel around for any hard bumps maybe a lost toy. You also want to check to see if your baby is being hit directly with sunlight as this causes many to cry.

2. Create a car toybox - Put several car safe toy in a car safe toybox. Then when baby cries reach back and hand him/her a toy, every time. The box should have a lid and be relatively soft. The toys should be soft as well, something that wouldn't harm baby if it went flying in a car crash.

3. Pull over - Sometimes, even when five minutes from your house, you just have to pull over and comfort baby for awhile. Enjoy this time together, I promise you'll miss it later and I promise it is more important than wherever you have to be in most cases.

4. Talk or Sing to baby - Many babies are soothed by their mother's voice. Even if baby isn't soothed they will know you care about them and hear them crying. It is a way of showing affection even when you can't stop the crying.

5. Put some ice in a mesh feeder or a baby sock - Many babies love to suck on these contraptions and it can keep them occupied quite a long time.

6. Offer a binky - If your baby takes a binky then be sure to offer it for the car ride. We have a special car binky.

7. Have a special car seat toy - This toy is only played with while in the car. Babies get bored easy so this helps create novelty.

8. Bring the car seat in the house and let baby play in it - This helps break down the association of car seat as something negative.

9. Place a poster safely on the seat in front of baby - They make special baby items for this purpose. It gives baby something to look at while you are driving.

10. Play music or white noise - Many babies are soothed by music or white noise.

11. Assess for a medical condition - Babies with reflux, for example, may need the incline of their car seat adjusted (within safety guidelines) to make sure that driving is comfortable for them. There are many baby items you can purchase to help with this.

Now I know I promised a list of things you can do versus things you shouldn't do but I fibbed a bit. I do feel the need to create a small list of "do-nots".

1. Do not leave handle up of the carseat unless the manual expressly says it is safe to do so. If it is safe to leave the handle up it is still not safe to hang toys from it.

2. Do no take baby out of car seat while you or someone else is driving. The risk is not worth the perceived benefit.

3. Do not turn around while driving, pull over if you must.

4. Do not turn the car seat around to forward-facing prematurely. A lot of people will say that their babies stopped hating the car seat once it was forward-facing. However, we now know that it is much safer to rear face your child for an extended period of time. The benefits of safety far outweigh the risk of having an unhappy child.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baby Food: Spice is Nice

Using spice in your baby food can be just as exciting as trying new foods! Babies enjoy flavorful foods just as much as we do and in many cultures babies are introduced to spices from the very start of solid introduction. In general though the recommendation is to wait eight months before introducing spices regularly into babies diet, this seems to be to prevent upset tummy. Keep in mind that it is still recommended to follow the "wait four days for every new item to allow for allergy" rule.

What I recommend is an entire food experience. Babies are sensory creatures. Choose your spice and introduce it to baby's many senses. Each time you introduce a new spice think of it as a sensory learning experience and do the following.

Sight and Sound: Since spices are so small and generally do not make much sound I've combined these two senses together. Get an empty jar of some sort that is clear like a plastic water bottle or an empty baby food jar. Put some spice in there with hard beans or rice. Then tape the top. Baby can use it as a home made rattle. Of course if you have the full version of herbs and spice baby can enjoy looking at them that way as well.

Smell: Put a dab of the spice on your finger, smell it. If it isn't too strong then hold about an inch away from baby's nose and allow baby to smell. Learning smells is a fun experience!

Touch: Put some of the spice in a bowl and let baby feel it. This will be fun for baby and perhaps even help the development and perfection of the pincher grasp. If your baby uses a pacifier this is the perfect time to let baby suck on it as it will help prevent the hand to mouth scenario. If baby does not then just be sure to keep a close eye on baby to make sure a handful of spice doesn't go into the mouth.

Taste: Mix the spice with one of baby's favorite foods and allow baby to taste it!

Here are some ideas of what foods and spices may work well together. The information was gathered from Wholesome Baby Foods.


Apple(Sauce): use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, ginger

Pears: use ginger, cinnamon, a drip of vanilla or even mint

Bananas: use cinnamon, ginger, allspice, vanilla


Plain Yogurt : use with mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger, allspice, cardamom


Sweet potato: use with nutmeg, cinnamon and/or cardamom

Pumpkin: use with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and dash of vanilla

Carrots: use with basil & garlic - baked cinnamon carrots are yummy too.

Green beans: use with garlic powder

Mashed potatoes(white) : use with dill weed or garlic

Winter Squash (acorn, hubbard, butternut etc.): use with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger


Pasta: use oregano, garlic, basil

Oatmeal or other cereals: use fruits, cinnamon & nutmeg, dash of vanilla

Rice (sweet) with cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger
Quinoa (sweet): use cinnamon, nutmeg, dash of vanilla, cardamom, ginger for sweet

Quinoa (savory): use garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, basil, oregano and others


Chicken/Turkey with cinnamon and/or coriander

Chicken/Turkey with garlic powder and basil

Chicken/Turkey with lemon zest and pepper

Chicken/Turkey with basil & oregano

Chicken/Turkey with garlic and pepper
Chicken/Turkey with sage, rosemary and thyme

Beef with garlic and pepper

Beef with onion powder and pepper

Beef with Orange Zest"

Baby Food: Making your Own Purees

There is a lot of difference in how we choose to feed our children outside of the breast or the bottle. So long as the food baby is receiving is healthy and mom is taking possible health considerations, like allergies, into consideration then it is really a process of what works best for your family.

A friend of mine helped me create a how-to of making your own purees. This is helpful for the moms who don't exactly trust the ingredients in processed baby food or the moms who want to save an extra dollar (because really who doesn't need that?).

Items Needed:

- Blender or Baby Mill

- Ice Cube Trays

- Zip Lock Bags

- Stove

- Pot

- Baking Dish

- Steamer


1. Assess what type of cooking your food will need.

a. Foods you would normally put in the oven to cook for yourself like potato or in a pie like apples and peaches you probably want to bake until soft.

b. Foods you would normally steam for yourself like green beans, broccoli, and peas or foods like berries you probably want to steam until soft.

c. You can use the resource at the bottom of the page to check out how to best prepare each food for cooking. They give information like which foods need to be peeled and which do not.

2. Let the food cool after cooking.

3. Put the food in a blender. You have a choice to use a liquid to make the food a bit smoother or not. Many moms do use this option. If you do then you must make a choice on which liquid to use. Here are some options.

a. Breast Milk

b. Water from the steamer you used to soften the food. This will not work for foods high in nitrates like beets, spinach, and carrots.

c. Water from the tap

d. If you are making a "poopy" meal to help with constipation you may choose to use a small amount of no-sugar added juice.

4. Puree to the consistency that you and your baby prefer.

5. Scoop and put into your ice cube trays. Let sit for 24 hours (or until generally frozen solid).

6. Once frozen you can pop the food out of the trays and put into your ziploc bags. Please label the bags with both item and date. This helps with health and safety issues. Ziploc bags remain in the freezer.

7. In a typical freezer foods are good for about one month. In a deep freezer they are good about three months with the exception of meats which are good only one month no matter where they are stored.

8. When it is time to eat then take out the number of cubes you prefer and defrost. Some choose to defrost in a pot and some use the microwave. Each cube is approximately one ounce of food.

a. To defrost with a microwave then you put into a microwave safe bowl and heat. After heating be sure to stir well as to avoid hidden hot pockets.

b. To defrost without a microwave take the food out and put into a bowl. Put this bowl in a bowl of warm water.

c. To defrost the simple way just take out, put in a bowl, and leave in the refrigerator to defrost.

d. Foods are good in the fridge for approximately 72 hours, in a sealed container, so in general you can defrost an entire days food at the same time. Just take it out when you make breakfast for yourself or when you get up in the morning. But do not simply leave on the counter to sit because this can cause bacteria growth.

e. Do not re-freeze food that has been thawed.

Great Resource:

Wholesome Baby Foods

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Breastfeeding: Waking a Sleeping Baby

My daughter was born three weeks early and had a case of "sleepy baby syndrome". She slept all the time, even through feedings. So we were told to wake her up for her feedings and to keep her awake during them. I can tell you that it wasn't an easy task. However, I did learn a few tips that I can pass onto you.

Before giving sleepy baby advice I want to give a couple additional helpful tips. What I want to say first is that if your baby is losing weight because of "sleepy baby syndrome" then you need to be careful about how often you are feeding your infant. Make sure to wake baby quite strictly every 2-2.5 hours from the *beginning* of the last feeding. Also keep in mind that you can supplement baby with pumped breastmilk using a syringe or spoon if needed. You do not have to use formula as breastmilk is higher in calories than formula anyhow. Sometimes a Pediatrician will push formula as the solution to this problem but I can promise you there are many other options. Additionally you are typically allowed one 4 hour stretch of sleep at night.

Waking a Sleepy Baby and Keeping Baby Awake while Breastfeeding:

1. Change baby's diaper. This is always the best first thing to try. It often works and it is nice to keep a fresh diaper on a new infant anyhow.

2. Hold baby upright and rub baby's back.

3. Strip baby down to diaper.

4. Gently scratch or rub baby's head, ears, feet, or back.

5. While feeding use breast compressions. This is where you squeeze your breast above the areola, gently and in slow repetitions.

6. If all these steps fail you can put a damp washcloth or diaper wipe on baby's feet.

7. When every step above fails some parents resort to washing baby's face with cool water. This is something that only should be resorted to after you have repeatedly tried the above steps. It is not pleasant for baby and is only a last resort.

Take Action: Facebook deletes breastfeeding photos

Facebook is one of the leading social networking sites. Currently Facebook has over 500 million active users and approximately fifty percent of those users log in daily. It is far reaching. I admit that I enjoy Facebook tremendously.

This social networking site may be fun and a pleasure to use but they endorse a practice that is highly deserving of admonishment. I have considered deleting my Facebook account several times due to this practice but would prefer a more proactive approach. They delete pictures of women breastfeeding if any areola or nipple is showing in the picture. Additionally they delete entire profile's of women in some circumstances for having these types of pictures.

These pictures are on personal sites. So the only people that are seeing them are people who choose to look at your pictures. Additionally they are on Facebook groups so once again are only seen by people who choose to join a group and look at the pictures. They are not innocently stumbled upon and they are not put in the face of the general population. There is no legitimate reason these pictures should be deleted.

Here is the statement by Facebook on this policy:

"We agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we’re very glad to know that it is so important to some mothers to share this experience with others on Facebook. We take no action on the vast majority of breastfeeding photos because they follow the site’s Terms of Use. Photos containing a fully exposed breast (as defined by showing the nipple or areola) do violate those Terms and may be removed. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children (over the age of 13) who use the site."

The idea that exposure of the breast when breastfeeding is somehow unsafe or insecure is really quite disgusting and practically it is unfounded. This is coming from a site who regularly allows pictures of women in bikinis, thongs, and doing all sorts of socially questionable activities. This site also allows pictures of artificial nipples because what else is bottle other than an artificial nipple?

Forget the morality of the issue for a minute though. Public breastfeeding is protected by law in all but two states within the United States. Women have a legal right to have pictures of them nurturing and comforting their child at the breast.

Take Action:

1. Include breastfeeding photos in your Facebook photo albums.

2. Do not put up with people reporting your pictures. Make it clear that if someone reports one of your breastfeeding pictures, no matter who they are, they will no longer be a friend on your Facebook account. The majority of photos deleted have been reported to Facebook by someone with access to those photos.

3. Join this Facebook group which is aimed at letting Facebook know that it's members do not agree with their policy. "Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!"

4. Contact Facebook and let them know that you do not support their policy. The more of us that do this the better. You can do this by sending Mark Zuckerberg a private message directly. If you have other ways of contacting Facebook on this matter please let me know.

5. Make this a point on your own blog or website. Ask your friends to do the same. Let's make a big deal out of this!

If you have additional ways we can make a call to action against Facebook in this regard please leave them in the comments section.

Facebook Statistics Source

Facebook's Policy on Breastfeeding Pictures Source

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Breastfeeding: Lipase Solutions for Working Moms

If your milk tastes or smells odd after freezing and you are sure it hasn't had time to sour then you may be wondering what is wrong. Or perhaps you've already figured it out and are just looking for solutions.

Some mothers have an excessive amount of Lipase in their breastmilk. Lipase naturally occurs in all breast milk, just more so in some mothers. The indication of a lipase issue is that you freeze your milk properly and thaw it properly and after doing so your milk tastes bad. These tastes are often described as soapy, sour, or skunky. Milk with excessive lipase is okay to feed your infant but the problem occurs when a baby does not like the funny taste and thus refuses to drink it.

The proper way to deal with excessive lipase is to scald your milk before you freeze it.

How to Scald:

* Put your pumped or expressed breastmilk in a sauce pan and heat to approximately 180 F (82 C). This will generally be when you see little bubbles around the edge of the pan. Do not heat to a full rolling boil.

* Quickly cool and store the milk.
(caveat: some moms prefer to heat only to 160 because it is believed to leave a small amount more nutrients, for some mothers this will work and for some it will not).

It is a bit extra work to scald your milk but generally this method works and all is well. However if you are planning to return to work you may be wondering how you can possible deal with all these extra steps. Don't fret it can be done quite simply!

First however you need to run a couple of tests to find out what method will work for you.

Test #1: Express your milk and put it in the refrigerator. Test hourly for taste. How long does it take to turn sour?

The purpose of this test is to let you know how long it takes for your milk to start tasting bad. If it does not start tasting bad until well after 24 hours then you may not need to freeze your milk at all. You can simply pump and put it in the fridge for the next day.

Test #2: Express your milk and put it in the refrigerator for the same amount of time you'd be at work . Then scald the milk. Repeat first test.

The purpose of this test is to see if after scalding and freezing your milk will thaw without tasting bad. If you pass this test then you know that scalding will work for you. Go back to the findings of test one. Assess how long you will be at work. If you are going to be at work for 8 hours and your milk does not start tasting bad until 10 hours refrigerated then you can simply pump your milk at work, store it, and bring it home to scald.
Test #3: Repeat test two except heat milk to 160 F instead of 180 F or visa versa depending on where you started.

The purpose of this test is simply to see if you can heat to a lower amount as to possibly leave a few additional nutrients in your milk. Your breastmilk still has plenty of wonderful nutrients at 180 degrees, so this is an optional test.

Test #4: Use a bottle warmer to scald your milk. Most moms say this takes them a minute or two. You may need to experiment with this until you find the right way to scald your milk using this device.

If after completing the first three tests you realize your milk tastes bad quite shortly after pumping, if you have not scalded it, then you know you need to scald while at work. This is typically possible using a bottle warmer. After pumping at work then scald your milk using a bottle warmer then cool. Freeze when you get home.

Information obtained from kellymom.com and llli.org I am always open to corrections and feedback on additional ways to help tackle this issue.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sleep Solution: Replace Your Mommy Mantra

Image from helpfornewmoms.com

"Will this child ever sleep?"

"I am so tired."

"It's 3:00 a.m. so if baby goes to sleep now I'll get 4 hours of sleep."

"How am I going to function tomorrow?"

"This happens every night."

"I wish baby would just stop crying."

Do these phrases sound familiar? Think about them carefully. What mantra do you repeat to yourself when you are up late with your baby, toddler, or child?

Such mantras add more stress to your life. Positive thinking can go a long way to changing your feelings about difficult situations.

I understand that the solution I'm hinting at seems overly simple. For that reason many of you will dismiss this advice and continue doing what hasn't been working. That is your right. However, ask your self this: what would it hurt to try this out? This method takes little extra time and minimal effort to try out. If you are at the point of considering parenting methods that are not widely considered gentle you might as well give this a try.
Here is the method:

1. Turn your clock around to face the wall.

2. Do nothing physically different tonight (or the next night your sweet child is up all night or having trouble going down to sleep). But keep a pen and paper nearby. When you start feeling overwhelmed write down the thoughts that repeat in your mind.

3. The next day when you are feeling a bit more refreshed read over your mommy mantras. Consider how unhelpful they are. Consider this: In the moment that you are completely exhausted and frustrated you don't have too much control over how the night turns out and thus how much sleep you and baby get.

4. Now replace your mommy mantras with something useful. This may take a bit of thought or a night or two of trial and error. Practice repeating this mantra throughout the day.

5. The next time you have a long night stop yourself when you are repeating the negative mommy mantras. If you must wear a hairband around your wrist and snap it when you start the negative thought process then do it. For some that is effective but most will not need it. If the physical pain of the wrist snap makes you even more frustrated then take a sip of water each time you say something negative.

6. Now replace your negative mantras with your positive ones. Repeat as necessary. Absolutely do not let the negative ones repeat. As soon as you notice it, even the feeling of it, stop it.

Give the method a week and after the week assess how well you have been completing the steps. You can't do it halfway. You must be committed. If you have followed the steps appropriately then assess if it has been working for you. Are you less stressed about night wakings or bedtime? If it has worked for you then fantastic. If not then it's time to move on to more extensive sleep solutions. Or perhaps you just need to find another way to stop the negative mommy mantra.

In addition to replacing your mantra with something positive find other ways to enjoy bedtime or night wakings. Tape a favorite tv show and watch it (you may need to put the caption on), start a painting that you only work on at night, have a night yoga routine, save a special sweet treat for these exhausting nights, record some positive mood music. I know that enjoying this time is difficult but it is possible or mostly possible.

I've been trying to get my little girl to sleep for several hours now only to finally get her down to sleep. She will wake several more times tonight but I'm not worried about that, the worst is over for us tonight. During our difficult sleep session tonight I had a brief moment of reflection that led me to type this out. I thought to myself "wow, I am amazingly calm, why?". Thankfully I could identify the answer. I used to be a sleep freak. I mean I coveted my sleep. Of course I was a huge sufferer of insomnia and plenty of other sleep issues so sleep was a huge commodity for me. What made my sleepless nights most difficult was the negative mantras I would say to myself and the constant clock checking. Once I was able to stop these behaviors I ended up relaxing so much more about bedtime. Now I'm grateful that I've had that experience, it has served me well as a mommy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gentle Discipline: Book Recommendations

Gentle Discipline Books

I am a proponent of using gentle discipline for every situation. I do not feel as if any situation warrants causing physical harm to your child and I do not think that physical harm is an affective teaching tool. In fact quite a research supports me but I'm not talking today about the pros and cons of physical punishment. What I am here to do is provide you with alternatives!

My confession is as follows: My darling daughter is now nearing seven months old. So that means I cannot yet speak from parenting experience. I do have an abundance of work related experience but I will not get into that. My intent is to arm myself with as many tools as possible so that when my daughter is old enough to need discipline I will have tools to use that do not require physical punishment. The reason I made this confession is because instead of offering gentle discipline techniques, at this point, I am going to offer you some reading material. In the future I hope to be able to provide information on said techniques.

If you feel that there is a book that needs to be added to my list or a book that does not fit the scope of gentle, natural, or attachment parenting please let me know in the comments section. Additionally if parents who have read these books want to help me create book summaries that would be very helpful.

Recommended Reading:

1. Parenting with Love and Logic

2. Playful Parenting

3. Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishment to Love and Reason

4. Nonviolent Communication

5. Adventures in Gentle Discipline

6. Discipline without Distress

7. The Discipline Book (by Sears)

8. Hold on to Your Kids

9. Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids

10. How to talk so your kids will listen and listen so your kids will talk

image from babydustdiaries.com

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Breastfeeding: A Biting Baby!

Image from http://www.achildgrows.com

Ouch! S/he Bit Me!

One of the most predominant fears new moms have is how they are going to nurse when baby starts getting teeth. So when the first bite happens sometimes a bit of panic sets in, especially when baby thinks moms squeals of pain are super funny. I've got good news though. Not all moms will have a biting baby and those that do recover from it!

Here are my recommendations on dealing with a biting baby.

1. Assess for distractability. If biting is happening predominantly at the end of a nursing session then it is likely baby is just finished eating and is now using you as a "chew toy" so to speak. Delatch and let baby play. Or if baby is biting at the very beginning it could be that baby is in pain and doesn't really want to nurse or that you should take the measures in step 2. This also means allowing your baby to choose when to nurse. If you try to nurse LO when they aren't ready you are upping your chances for getting bit.

2. Assess for teething (which is the predominant reasons babies bite at the breast). If baby is teething then offer a cold or frozen washcloth before nursing. Or better yet put some ice in a mesh feeder or tied off baby sock. This will help the gums feel better and reduce the need for baby to chew on you.

3. When baby bites delatch. Every time. What seems to be the most affective delatching procedure for a biting baby is to pull baby into your breast so they have to delatch. You can alternatively stick a finger in baby's mouth to delatch.

4. Say a firm but gentle "No" or if you are trying not to use that word say "That Hurts" or "Ouch", anything as long as it is consistent. Verbal communication is important but must be followed through with action. Be aware of your tone when saying 'no', don't make it too playful or too scary.

5. Offer something for baby to bite on that is okay. They make teething bling you can wear around your neck. Redirect the biting to this or something else baby enjoys to bite. You might have to explore what that is. If you are comfortable offering a knuckle or finger that can help too.

6. Do not over react! This is very important. It probably doesn't seem like overreacting to you when you scream 'ouch' after baby bites because it really hurts. But if your baby is smiling or acting like this is fun then it was an overreaction. We don't want baby to think this is a game. Alternatively if your baby becomes upset at the thought of nursing you could have really scared them and now need to coax them back into it, very slowly and gently.

7. Encourage baby when s/he does not bite! Positive reinforcement is very important in teaching any lesson.

8. Have patience and be consistent. Stick to the routine and in time baby will get it. Don't give up too soon. Babies need time to learn. Usually about two weeks, sometimes shorter, if you've been consistent and you will see change. If not then re-asses what you are doing. Keep in mind that once teething is over this will likely end.

If your nipple becomes damaged from biting then please seek help from an IBCLC or your favorite La Leche Leader. You don't want nipple damage to stop you from nursing!

Keep in mind moms that this may be the first discipline measure you are taking with your child. You want it to be a positive experience for both you and set the tone for the future :).

If your nipple becomes damaged from biting then please seek help from an IBCLC or your favorite La Leche Leader. You don't want nipple damage to stop you from nursing!

Keep in mind moms that this may be the first discipline measure you are taking with your child. You want it to be a positive experience for both you and set the tone for the future :).

Edited 12/27/10 to remove elements of love-withdrawl

Monday, September 6, 2010

Take Action: Mother Friendly Workspace

Image from pumpease.com

It's not easy being a working mother today in the United States. Workplaces often value economics and individual accomplishment more than they do the worker and what makes them well and happy. It's simply about the bottom-line, profit. Of course these same workplaces seem to ignore the data that concludes having a mother-friendly workplace actually helps their profit. I suppose that given our culture of individual success as the utmost accomplishment it's hard to believe that by providing workplace mother-friendly provisions we would actually benefit economically.

There are a variety of options employers can use to make their workplace more mother-friendly:1. Allowing moms to bring their babies to work
2. On-Site Daycare
3. Having a nursing and pumping lounge and creating an atmosphere where mothers feel
comfortable pumping
4. Offering paid maternity and paternity leave

Some of these are more revolutionary than others and some cost more than others. Let's do a bit of imagining. What if every workplace simply offered an on-site daycare? How would that change the face of mothering? No worrying about extraordinary daycare costs, if you breastfeed you would be able to use lunches and breaks to nurse instead of pump and if you don't breastfeed then you'd be able to use that time to hold your baby and feed them as well. Moms wouldn't have to worry they were jeopardizing their relationship with their family by returning to work. Employers would benefit by having parents who are more committed to their workplace and have to take off less time because their child is within walking distance. It's a beautiful scenario. It would also create more jobs which, especially in this economy, is always a fantastic benefit. I understand that it comes at an initial cost to the employer and that is why we need to advocate for the government to subsidize the creation of the daycare and give tax breaks that help offset the cost of hiring the daycare provider. Of course if you continue reading below you will see that providing these benefits already provides an employer with a return on their investment.

We have reached a fantastic milestone but still have a long road ahead of us. Within the new federal health bill is a provision that allows mother's who work in places that employ more than 50 people to pump at work so long as their child is one year old or younger. These places must provide pumping breaks and a place for moms to pump: "Employers are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”" To read more visit the following website: Fact Sheet - Break Time for Nursing Mothers and the following website: Health Care Reform Boosts Support for Employed Breastfeeding Mothers.

The United States Breastfeeding Committee also put out a paper that outlines how and why allowing lactation breaks in the workplace is needed and beneficial to the business: Workplace Accommodations to Support and Protect Breastfeeding.

I realize that previously I said something about how employers actually get a return on their investment and save money when adopting mother-friendly policies. I'm sure some of you are questioning the validity of this especially if you are business owners or managers yourselves. So I want to provide you with more information on that matter. According to Babies in the Workplace bringing a baby to work offers several benefits: earlier return to work, increased employee retention, increased morale, enhanced teamwork, attraction of new employees, lower health costs, increased overall productivity, attraction of new customers, higher customer loyalty, and low implementation costs. See the website linked above for data on each of these benefits. In addition to those benefits research has shown that businesses do get an economic return on this investment of providing accommodations for nursing mothers. According to The United States Breastfeeding Committee, backed by research, at the level of basic accommodation for a one dollar investment the business gains a two dollar return. However, at the level of comprehensive accommodation for a one dollar investment the business gains a three dollar return. This is a pretty substantial financial return. Here is a brochure that outlines how businesses benefit from having such accommodations: The Business Case for Breastfeeding.

What we can do:

1. Write Senator Merkley of Oregon and thank him for putting the new federal pumping guidelines in the Health bill. Express your desire to see more mother friendly laws put into place.

2. Write your own Senator and provide him with information from the links in this article. Tell him how as his constituent you want to see him support mother friendly laws.

3. Provide the company you work for, or a mother friend works for, with the brochure linked above.

4. Start a mother's-at-work group in your area and discuss ways you can advocate for change.

Useful Link: Contact Your Senator Information Online

If you have more ideas on how we can create change in this area please let me know in the comments section.

On a personal level I faced the decision myself: go back to work and pump leaving my twelve week old baby in the arms of another or stay at home and be financially destitute but be her primary care provider and have no possibility of jeopardizing our nursing relationship. It was both the most difficult and easiest decision I ever made. I'm now a stay at home mom thanks to my wonderful husband who works like crazy to keep our heads mostly above water. Also thanks to government programs like WIC that help mothers who are low-income. I don't like relying on government help but I'm willing to sacrifice my comfort to give my child what I feel is the best. Before quitting my job however I gave them an option, let me bring my baby to work. I worked in a community room that was equipped with a television, couch, kitchen, and computer lab. It was the perfect area to allow a more progressive approach for the working mother. My request was denied and I gave up my health insurance to stay home with my daughter, unable to get more because of pre-existing conditions. If I would have chosen to work my entire paycheck, save about sixty dollars, would have went to paying for daycare costs. It simply wasn't worth it. So although now we are living at the poverty level I can rest at night because I am able to give my daughter unquestionably the best care available, that of her mother. I hope that my own daughter is never put in this position.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Breastfeeding: Feed Your Baby While Laying Down

Side Laying/Side Lying Position

The Side Laying position was one of the most difficult positions for me to learn but was by far the most rewarding. I discovered that it is difficult to learn for many moms but often a life-saver or rather a sleep-saver and sanity-saver. So after asking around a bit I've come up with a few side laying position tips. I encourage you to keep trying until you get this right, you will be amply rewarded! And keep in mind that the more head control your baby has the easier this position becomes.

Thank you to Jenna for providing this picture~

Side Laying Position Tips:

1. Lay Tummy to Tummy - After awhile this can become more flexible with baby or you laying more towards your back, but when first starting out it is important to lay tummy to tummy. This means turning baby on his/her side while you are on your side.

2. Proper Arm Positioning - Most women like to put the arm they are laying on up over the baby's head while nursing. This also helps protect your pillow from scooting down to the babies head if you were to fall asleep while nursing. I prefer to prop baby's head on my arm. It also prevents the pillow problem and for me it is most comfortable.

3. Pull Baby In - Scoot baby into you. Once you are both laying down use your arm to pull baby in closer to you. For some moms tummy to tummy works the best and for others it works best when baby's legs are pulled into the tummy but there is a little room where the head is.

4. Room for Air - Think about what naturally causes baby's head to tip back. If you align your little one's nose tip with your nipple then it will cause baby to tilt head back some. This isn't necessary if you can work it out otherwise but is helpful to moms who are concerned about this issue.

4. Hold Your Breast - Some moms will need to hold their breast with the arm they are not laying on. I'm a "breast holder" and it works for us. If you have bigger breasts this might make the difference from being able to side lay comfortably and not being able to do so. I can even comfortably fall asleep while holding my breast so don't think it will deter you if that is what you would like to do.

5. The Switch - If your baby needs to switch breasts there are two methods you can easily use. One is to simply offer your second breast while laying on your side. This works mostly for women with bigger breasts. The other method is to grab baby with the arm you are laying on up onto your tummy then simply roll baby to the other side. It's actually quite fun and baby learns quickly this means s/he will be getting more milky.

6. Pillows - For some moms it can be more comfortable to put a pillow behind their back to support it while laying on their side. For others it makes things easier to put a pillow behind baby's back (although this can pose a safety issue if you are falling asleep).

7. Safety - If you are using the side laying position to help you co-sleep please follow safe co-sleeping practices. You can safe co-sleeping tips in many places, one of which is the book "Sleeping with Your Baby" by J. McKenna. Many moms will put their arm above baby's head or under baby's head to prevent baby from moving up into her pillows. And many moms will bend their knees under their baby to prevent baby from scooting down into the blankets.

If you have additional tips please add them in the comments section and at some point you may see them included in this post!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sleep: To Sleep or Not To Sleep...

Mothering is about sacrifice.

Dear New Mother,

When will you next get some sleep?

Perhaps it will be when the first night you bring your baby home...
Or will your desire to watch the little human you created and worry over it's safety keep you awake?

Perhaps it will be when you have finally become used to have a small baby in your house and are exhausted from all the new demands put upon you...
Or will the biology of your day and night confused newborn force you to stay awake?

Perhaps it will be when your baby is a bit older, no longer a newborn, and seemingly the entire universe is telling you your baby should be sleeping through the night....
Or will the middle of the night cries of hunger for that dear bottle or breast touch your heart enough that it keeps you awake?

Perhaps it will be when you've overcome the influence of others and now have a walking and talking toddler..
Or will the tears of a "big kid" who wakes up at night sad because they have wet the bed once again keep you awake?

Perhaps it will be when you finally have a child, a little person surely capable of sleeping at night...
Or will that first nightmare that makes you want to hug your child and let him/her know how safe they really are cause you to stay awake?

Perhaps it will be when you've put that child to bed early so that Santa can come and leave a gift...
Or will that little bright excited f
ace keep you awake (or rather wake you up out of anticipation!)?

Perhaps it will be when your child has their first sleepover....
Or will the anxiety and nervousness of having your child away from home and wondering how s/he is being treated keep you awake?

Perhaps it will be when your now older child starts sleeping happily at night....
Or will that horrible illness that is spreading around vatch your kid and your desire to comfort them through the sickness keeps you awake?

Perhaps it will be not when your child sleeps, but when your pre-teen stays awake all night cramming for an exam....
Or will you worry so much about your child not getting enough sleep their self that you stay awake? Or will you stay awake yourself trying to help with the homework?

Perhaps it will be when you have a teenager fully capable of caring for themself?
Or will the first time they miss curfew and the constant wondering if you should call the cops or give it one more hour keeps you awake?

Perhaps it will be when you trust the peers of your teenager so much so that a missed curfew no longer bothers you?
Or will the time they come home heartbroken for the first time or teased to tears keep you awake?

Perhaps it will be prom night when you fully relinquish control, you no longer have a say and can only hope your child has grown into a mature responsible adult...
Or will the thoughts of that safe
-sex talk you had the night before keep you awake?

Perhaps it will come when your child, now adult, finally has their own place?
Or will the lonliness, utter silence, and worry of your child's safety keep you awake?

Perhaps it will be when your child is expecting themself and calls in the middle of the night thinking they have had labor contractions (or wife/partner has)?
Or will the anticipation and excitement, the thoughts of what your grandchild will look like, keep you awake?

And then starts a new generation. When will your daughter or son get any sleep?


When we choose to become a mother we choose our baby over ourself. At least I hope that is the case. So let's get real for a minute. When you have your beautiful new baby you have given up sleep for *at least* the next 18 years. When I read about all the moms who just want their baby to learn to sleep through the night I have to take a deep breath and chuckle a little. I want to say "But momma your little one is going to keep you up for the next eighteen years, enjoy the night wakings now and just get used to it". We might as well do just that, get used to it. When we accept that a reasonable amount of sleep is no longer something that we will always, or for some of us 'ever', get then we can find other ways to get in some rest or feel refreshed and happy as parents.

Find a way to embrace and enjoy this new era of your life. Even without that much needed sleep.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sleep Solution: Lay Me Down to Sleep.... Gently

One of the most commonly asked questions among parents of infants is how they can get their baby to sleep better at night. It can cause stress, exhaustion, and an sense of being overwhelmed. I am a strong advocate of using gentle methods of helping your infant sleep and of helping mom feel better about the sleep situation.

1. Change Your Expectations - The first thing that we need to consider is changing our idea of what normal baby sleep consists of. If we expect our child to sleep through the night before the age of 18 months then we just might be kidding ourselves. And 18 months is pretty much an arbitrary number but I've put it in here to let you know that anything younger than that is completely up in the air. In fact the human adult wakes up, on average, every 90 minutes. So perhaps it is all just a big joke. Our children will never sleep through the night. The sooner we accept this the easier this sleep issue will become. We know that mother's stress levels affect baby's mood. We know that mother's emotional availability affects baby's sleeping habits. And we know, or should know, that biologically human infants were made to wake often during the night. This being exaggerated for breastfed infants but still true for every infant. And if they do sleep through the night it is likely that will change during a growth spurt, a developmental change, an illness and so on. This doesn't mean there aren't the rare few who do sleep through the night with little intervention and those babies aren't abnormal. They are just ahead of the game. I guess all-in-all this is a soft way of saying that when you became a parent you gave up your right to a good night's sleep. It will likely be a long time until you get one and that is fully normal especially for the infant who is just responding to how nature made them. And, in fact, accepting this will actually help you get a better night's sleep. Yes, I realize that is quite an interesting conundrum.

2. Make a Happy Mommy - The next thing we can work on is helping mom feel better. Since we have accepted that our babies are not going to sleep through the night we can focus on making mom's (and/or dad's) mental health and mood positive. This could mean feeling better through night wakings, for the mom who has a baby that isn't napping, or just feeling better overall.

Mommy Wellness Tips:

A. Naps - Do your best to fit in a nap. Even cat naps are restorative. So if you can slip in ten minutes in the car after work that will help! Or sleep 20 minutes during LO's afternoon nap. The afternoon nap is the one where baby is likely to sleep deepest and longest.

B. Stations - Set up food and drink stations around the house. That way if you become overwhelmed you can nourish yourself easily. You *will* feel better if you drink plenty of water and keep up on your calorie intake. So, put water bottles where LO sleeps and little snack baggies.

C. Enjoyment - Find something you can enjoy during the Middle of the Night wakings. Play on the internet, watch your DVR or a DVD, read a book. Anything that can take your mind off your stress and bring you a bit of mindless pleasure.

D. Anticipation - Try to build up a sense of anticipation for your Middle of the Night wakings. Even make it fake if you must. Figure out anything you can focus on as enjoyable during the MOTN so you can wake up happy.

E. Assess - Assess Yourself! Are you hungry, too hot, thirsty? Yes, we know you are tired! But what about your other needs. If you aren't meeting them all then it can make everything more difficult.

3. Educate Yourself! Knowledge is power. The more you know the less difficult your challenges will be, the more normal they will seem, and the less likely you will try non-gentle parenting techniques. this will also leave you armed with information in case a friend or a doctor recommends non-gentle parenting techniques.

A. Read some gentle parenting sleep books.
My top three recommendations are (in no particular order):
aa. The No Cry Sleep Solution
bb. Sleeping with Your Baby
cc. Nighttime Parenting

B. Dispel common myths regarding infant sleep.
aa. Rocking your baby to sleep, nursing your baby to sleep and at night, and/or cosleeping does not create sleep issues and will not create a child who has problems sleeping in their own bed.
bb. Infants are not supposed to sleep through the night. Their sleep cycle biologically has them wake at night. It is even preventative of SIDS that they wake at night.

C. Learn how the Cry-It-Out (CIO) method works.
aa. The cry it out method creates stress hormones to be released in moms body. That is one reason you feel so bad if you have tried to do this. You biologically were designed to respond to your baby's cries.
bb. The cry it out method creates abnormal and harmful amounts of stress hormones in your baby's body.
cc. The cry it out method does not teach your baby to self-soothe. It teaches them to shut down when they have night time needs.
dd. This video is a fantastic resource on how the CIO method works: "Penelope Leach Talks about Crying".

4. Gentle Sleep Tips - Here we have the heart of the matter. Gentle tips that you can put into practice to help encourage better sleep habits. Now I'm going to admit up-front that nothing here is going to shock your pants off. They are all fairly simple ideas and are not at all uncommon. They are not methods like what you will find in books. They don't require you to keep a journal or watch a clock. They are simple tips that if brought into your lifestyle will likely make sleep a less challenging issue. The more you are able to incorporate, the better.

A. Routines - Establish three types of routine to help your baby sleep better. You want a bedtime routine, a naptime routine, and a sleepy sound. Routines help your baby expect sleep. A sleepy sound is something like a gentle shush that you do when you want baby to calm down and sleep. Only use it at this moment. It will teach them that when this sound is made it is time to calm down.

B. Natural Light - Exposure to natural light helps infants sleep better. So get your kid outside for a walk daily or sit in the park. Even if you can only expose your child to five minutes a day you should see some benefit to it. If the temperature outside is simply too hot to take your child outside then open the curtains and have some play time in front of the window. Please remember to always use sunscreen. And know that artificial light cannot replace natural light. I will also mention that the natural light in combination with fresh air seems to have the biggest benefit.

C. Dark and Unstimulating - When it is time for sleep try to make your baby's sleeping environment as calm as possible. When it is night you also want it to be dark.

D. White Noise - Some babies respond very well to white noise. However you should try several types of white noise if your baby is not responding to it at first. Some examples are: mimic of mom's heartbeat, white noise machine or CD, light music, natural white noise such as a box fan or dryer.

E. Skin to Skin - The more skin to skin time you have during the day the better. If you can't have skin to skin time then body to body time also has great benefits. So babywear if possible. If not then just hold your baby and bathe with your baby as often as possible. You should always be touching your baby when they are feeding from a bottle or breast. Okay so breast is kinda obvious. Consider all the devices that exist to keep your baby away from you: strollers, playpins, walkers/bouncers, bath chairs, etc...

F. Deep Sleep Cues - Be able to read your baby's deep sleep cues. If you can read these you will know when baby is in a deep enough sleep that you can set them down or leave the room without them waking. Of course it would be nice if you didn't need to use this but quite frankly that is not always possible. One of the most typical deep sleep cues is heavy limbs. If you can raise your baby's arm and it falls down to the side then that is a good sign.

G. Quick Arousal Response - Notice when your baby begins to stir from nap or night sleep and respond quickly by putting your hand on LO, patting LO, offering a binky (if you use one) to try and avoid a full waking.

H. Soothing and Distraction - Use soothing responses when your LO does wake up. Perhaps LO just needs a minute of mommy patting his/her tummy before s/he goes back to sleep. Sometimes distraction can be helpful as well. Offer your hand as a toy to play with. Some moms prefer to try these methods before a night feeding b/c often a baby will fall asleep using these methods within a minute or two. If baby does not fall asleep then please consider night feeding, whether for hunger or for comfort.

I. Smells Like Mom - Put something that smells like mom next to your baby if you are laying baby down without you. Then when LO falls into a deeper sleep remove it so as to avoid a sleep hazard.

J. Reduce Your Anxiety - Babies do pick up on their parents' anxiety and will respond accordingly. So when you are starting to feel overwhelmed take a deep breath, drink some water, get a snack, take a shower. Do anything to give you a little pick-me-up.

K. Sleep Begets Sleep - Keep in mind that the more naps your baby will get the better your baby will sleep during the day and at night. An overtired baby is much harder to put down to rest. So offer more naps and an earlier bedtime. If you need to switch a bedtime then please make sure to do it incrementally.

L. Baby Needs Activity - During the day your baby needs activity! So engage your little one in play. Make sure your LO is active.

M. Diet - If your baby is on solid foods or formula you want to consider that you may be offering something that is causing your LO some digestive issues. If poor sleeping started recently try eliminating some foods to see if it helps or with your Pedi's help switching formula. If you are breastfeeding then consider the same for what is in your diet.

N. Comfort - Make sure your baby is comfortable. The first thing you want to check is baby's diaper of course. Check baby's fingers and toes to make sure they are not red and there is no hair wrapped around them. Check for a rash under baby's neck or in baby's armpits or on baby's bum. Check inside baby's ears for redness or ooze. Check baby's mouth for mouth sores, teeth, and thrush. Check baby's clothes to see if they are too tight around the arms and legs or if there is a scratchy tag. If all of these things check out think about the temperature of the room. Is it too hot or too cold? Remember too hot is a risk factor for SIDS an blankets in bed/crib is a risk factor for SIDS.

O. Co-Sleeping - This is one of the tools I suggest strongly. Co-sleeping can greatly affect mom's ability to get some sleep! If you want to know more about it's safety and how to do it safely I highly suggest reading the book "Sleeping with Your Baby". The author is a leading authority on parent baby sleep.

P. Medical Issues - Please keep in mind that your baby may have a medical issue causing sleep loss. There are lots of medical issues that can cause sleep issues and many of them are common such as earache and reflux. One primary reason your Pediatrician asks if your baby is sleeping is to assess if there is a medical sleep issue going on. Sometimes that can get lost when the Pedi also offers parenting advice that is unwanted.

Stay tuned... I will post resources for this information soon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Take Action: Write a letter to Oprah

I'm going to tell you something that morally confounds me. That is how much of an activist issue breastfeeding is. I consider myself a lactivist and am proud to be one. But it saddens me that there even needs to be breastfeeding activism. Breastfeeding is the most natural and nutritional thing we can do for our children. It is the first thing we teach them. Yet because of lack of support and education the breastfeeding rates in our country are astoundingly low. So we need to advocate for change! Perhaps one day breastfeeding will be normal again and the term lactivist will be long lost. Until then you'll see me doing whatever I can to support the cause of breastfeeding.

Most recently I have joined MamaPear Designs "Oprah Breastfeeding Blitz"! Really it's simple. You send an online letter to Oprah. Tell her how much of a difference it would make if she covered breastfeeding as one of the topics during her last year on air. Oprah has changed the face of what we consider "acceptable" conversation by covering topics that often go unspoken. Let breastfeeding be next on the list of dinner-table conversation. Let's get rid of the need for lactivism! Or at least help the wheel get rolling in the right direction.

Follow these three simple steps to get involved:

1. Read about MamaPear Designs "Oprah Breastfeeding Blitz"

2. Send Oprah a Letter

3. Go to Facebook and tell MamaPear Designs that you sent a letter

Note: I am not getting anything in return for writing this blog post. I was simply inspired to join their cause!

If you want some letter-writing inspiration here are some starter points that may help you get started:

a. Tell Oprah about your breastfeeding experience and how more support and/or education could have helped you.
b. Give Oprah facts about breastfeeding, rates of women who breastfeed vs. those who don't and/or the top reasons women give up breastfeeding.
c. Inspire Oprah! Provide her with a link to some breastfeeding art or an article you've written on breastfeeding.
d. Let Oprah know how her shows have impacted you and how you feel this topic could impact others.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Breastfeeding: Preparing to Breastfeed

Twelve Simple Tips to Help You Prepare to Breastfeed

I was one of those gals who decided to breastfeed simply because I'm educated and knew it was more nutritious. I thought it would be natural and easy. To my surprise it was pretty hard and it was something we both had to learn how to do. I discovered that for many women it is hard in the beginning. Once we got past the hard parts I have come to LOVE nursing. It is bliss. It is probably the single best experience of my entire life. And so I'm an advocate, a lactivist. Below are resources I wish someone would have given me while pregnant. Of course there is an abundance of information I could provide but I have chosen my personal top twelve.

1. Read - "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding". It is an amazing book on breastfeeding. You want to know this information because often times nurses in the hospital simply are uniformed and may try to scare you into giving formula. Not only that but it helps you have information on how to latch which is so important and hard to learn after giving birth exhaustion. I can promise you this information will be helpful. I cannot tell you how many times I referenced this book when first breastfeeding and wished I had read it before giving birth.

2. Read - "Breastfeeding Cafe".
This book talks a bit of the politics of breastfeeding and is informational. But the real reason you should read it is because it is a compilation of real women's breastfeeding stories. If you read these you will have an idea on how to face BF challenges, what is normal, how other women manage night time feedings and going back to work. It is an abundance of real-time helpful information that is so easy to read because of the first person narratives.

3. Find - Your local LLL (llli.org).
La Leche Leaders will help you with any breastfeeding issues that may arise. Not only that but you can meet other moms who BF in your area which is fun and supportive.

4. Find - An IBCLC in your area (not just an LC) that is free or accepts your insurance (or is otherwise affordable)
. Find a Lactation Consultant. Breastfeeding complications can arise and when they do too many women talk with the Pediatrician, a Nurse, an OB etc.. These people are quite often only educated about breastfeeding at a rudimentary level and more often than not give very poor advice. When you have an issue with breastfeeding it is important you see a specialist. That would be a lactation consultant. You can choose to see any lactation consultant but I recommend an IBCLC. This is an international certification that means you are getting someone very well trained and well experienced.

5. Watch - Newman's breastfeeding videos here:
Newman Breastfeeding Clinic Videos . These videos will let you see what a good latch looks like. Latching is when baby attaches to the breast. It will let you see what a baby drinking vs. comfort sucking looks like which you will later know why it is important. There is nothing more valuable than actually seeing for yourself what these things look like.

6. Review - Newman's diagram on how to latch found here:
When Latching . This is one of the most helpful diagrams I have seen on how to latch your baby. If you ever end up with nipple pain come back to this diagram and follow the steps. Pre-birth it is nice to know what a good latch consists of. I can tell you having several nurses come in and out of my room telling me a hundred different things was not helpful. I wish I would have reviewed this.

7. Become Familiar With - Kellymom.com.
This website has researched based information on all things breastfeeding. If you have a question regarding breastfeeding, pumping, introducing solid foods etc.. you can find the information here. I check it several times a week when I have random or important questions.

8. Become Familiar With - Your local breastfeeding laws and the new federal pumping law:
Breastfeeding laws.

9. Create - A birthplan and make multiple copies. Post up signs that say breastfeeding only if you are giving birth in a hospital or birthing center. If supplementation is required get a second opinion and choose donor milk over formula.

Your birth plan can have several breastfeeding components:
a. You plan to Breastfeed
b. You require breastfeeding to be initiated within the first hour of life
c. You want to see a lactation consultant after birth
d. You do not want formula, bottles, or binkies offered to your baby
e. That you understand some weight loss post birth is normal and you do not want pressured to feed your baby formula to return this weight too quickly.
f. That you understand milk comes in, on average, around day four so you do not want pressured to feel as if your milk is not coming in soon enough.
g. That if they feel your baby needs supplementing you want a prescription for donor milk and a second opinion.
h. That if your baby needs supplementing you want to use alternative feeding methods and not a bottle. Alternative Feeding Methods.
i. If you have a premature baby and are unable to breastfeed initially you want to have kanagroo care and provide pumped milk for your baby.

10. Watch - This video on extended nursing: Nursing Beyond One.

11. Become Familiar With - The "two shirt" method. This method will help you nurse in public more comfortably. Nursing in public can be done in baby steps but once you get the hang of it you will be more free to live life with your baby instead of staying trapped in your house. It is normal and natural. If using a cover works for you then please go ahead. Instead of using a cover you can use the "two shirt" method. Practice in front of a mirror if you would like to with a doll. This is the method: Wear two shirts. The bottom shirt should be a nursing tank or a tank that has stretch straps like a spaghetti strap tank or a V neck. When nursing pull up your top shirt and pull your bottom shirt down. Using this method you will be covered very well.

12. Don't - Get caught up in the supply myth. Very few women have a true inability to produce enough milk for their baby. Many women however feel their supply is not enough due to several reasons, one common reason is fussing at the breast because of their pumping output. Pumping output is NOT an indicator of supply and neither is fussing at the breast. The best indicator of low supply is that your baby is not having enough wet diapers during the day and possibly lack of weight gain.

From the American Academy of Pediatrics: "Because of difficulty in estimating the percentage of mothers whose milk supply is truly insufficient, data on the prevalence of insufficient milk supply among breastfeeding mothers are limited.However, in 4 studies of self-selected populations of women who decided to breastfeed exclusively for at least 3 to 4 months, [less than]5% of the
mothers were unable to produce enough milk to accomplish their infant’s weight gain.30–33 These results suggest that women’s perception of having a low milk supply might, in many cases, be attributable to their lack of knowledge regarding the normal process of lactation or to technical difficulties in feeding rather than to an actual inability to produce a sufficient quantity of milk."