Nursing 103: “The Football Hold”

Posted: 1566 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

Successful Nursing Tips

Posted: 1567 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

nursing-tips

Successful nursing starts before the cord is cut.

Best circumstances, you’re going to have the baby on your chest as soon as he/she is born, and while the cord is still pulsating. Unfortunately in a hospital birth, they take the baby after the cord is cut to be cleaned up. So an unmedicated – natural birth – can be in the hospital, but you will need to request that the baby is placed on your chest immediately following the birth. I also suggest requesting to let the cord naturally stop pulsating before it’s cut.

If you don’t believe me when I tell you how miraculous this process is – then watch this breastcrawl video (so long as you’re not faint of heart). It’s of a baby working its way up momma’s chest directly after giving birth. Babies have a rooting reflex where if their cheek and mouth is stimulated, and they feel the nipple, they will move toward it; it’s a natural reflex. Babies are hard wired to nurse, it’s us momma’s that need some training.

Here are some training tips.

  1. Baby positioning is really important – baby’s chest to mom’s breast is the mantra/visual to have when nursing your baby. Many moms make the mistake of holding their baby in a traditional cradle hold (face up in arms) – necessitating that baby should turn its head to nurse. Have you ever tried to swallow with your head turned to one side? It’s pretty hard to do. Position your baby where his or her head is in a neutral position when latching on. For a visual on this, watch the video below.
  1. Make sure that baby’s mouth is really wide open, and literally shove as much of your breast as you can into their mouth. A lot of moms make the mistake of just trying to pry the nipple into the mouth, when really the whole areola  should go into the baby’s mouth.
  2. I’m a big fan of letting the baby nurse on demand in general, but definitely in the first week. The more baby sucks, the more your body stimulates the production of milk – you cannot spoil baby at this age.
  3. Rooming in – i.e. keeping baby close to you is critical for getting to know your baby’s signs, especially those signs telling you that they want to nurse. That’s why I’m not a big fan of babies being in the nursery down the hospital, or being in their own room the first few weeks.breastfeeding
  4. I would avoid giving a bottle at all cost, it creates nipple confusion. A baby has to work in order to get milk from a breast, and has instant gratification of high volumes of milk from a bottle. They will definitely boycott the breast if a bottle is introduced too quickly. Eventually I love the idea of pumping, and letting dad feed but I would hold off for at least 6 weeks or more before bringing a bottle into the picture.
  5. A lot of women feel pressured to supplement with “formula” because they’re told that they are not producing enough milk, or their baby is losing weight. It is very normal for a baby to lose up to 10% of its body weight after birth when nursing. As long as baby is wetting his/her diaper, you should be fine. If you have a serious concern, consult with your doctor.

If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns – I’m happy to help.

Good luck to all the new moms!

Nursing 102: “Chest to Breast”

Posted: 1594 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

Nursing 101: Supporting Baby

Posted: 1598 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

Sensory Processing Disorder

Posted: 1618 days ago in Parenting

spd

Oy Vey. Sensory processing disorders. Yet another thing to worry about in our kids, right?

But – knowledge is power! And understanding what our kids might be going through is half the battle.

I’ve seen parents being driven to drink because their kids:

  • Walk around naked.
  • Cry and run from loud noises like fireworks or even the clink of silverware
  • Always have food on their faces
  • Will only ever eat 2 or 3 foods
  • Don’t know their own strength and walk into walls a lot

These kids are exhibiting signs of a sensory processing disorder. What does that mean in English? It’s when any or all of our 5 senses – touch, smell, sight, sound and taste – are working overtime or not enough.

The slightest stimulus – like normal sounds, light or the tag in a shirt – can be amplified exponentially in these kids. They can also be under-sensitive to things like pain and pressure.

I like to call these ‘silent’ syndromes. There are no outward signs of this processing disorder other than the behaviors, so parents often think their kids are just being unreasonable. And for the record, most young kids ARE unreasonable by nature, so sensory issues can be that much more difficult to diagnose.

In addition to being difficult to live with, these issues can result in a child feeling foreign in their own bodies, which can then lead to issues with esteem, learning, and socialization. A slippery slope for sure.

The good news is there are conservative therapies and strategies that can really make a difference for these kids. Such as:

  • The Out of Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz is a terrific resource that helps address sensory processing disorders through simple and fun activities.
  • Occupational therapists commonly see and treat children and adults with this disorder with wonderful success.
  • Sometimes a come-to-Jesus meeting with the parents helps diffuse the tensions around dealing with this. I mean – does it really matter if your kid refuses to wear socks? Or if they wear earplugs to July 4th fireworks? Or if you have to do that spit-on-a-hanky thing to wipe the schmutz off of their faces umpteen times a day? So be it.

What you may find with sensory processing disorders is that ultimately they aren’t fixed, but they are managed. This may not seem like a lot, but it does diffuse the stress of dealing with it until the child overcomes the different challenges they face.

And they will overcome them.

Does Your Baby Have Good Posture?

Posted: 1632 days ago in Parenting Pregnancy

baby-posture

Wait. What?

How does a baby have good posture? They barely sit or stand yet!

Well guess what – if your baby doesn’t start out with good posture from the get-go, he or she will surely NOT have good posture when it comes time to sit and stand! Here’s what I mean…

Does your baby’s head always end up in the same position while they sleep, even if you turn it a different way?

Does it flop or turn to one side?

Do they cry when you attempt to put them in a certain position, over and over?

Do they refuse to nurse on one side?

These are all signs that your baby may have structural misalignments, or what we call “poor posture” in adults.

How does that happen???

467588149Believe it or not, poor posture can start in-utero! If a baby is in a breech or transverse position, his or her head does not enjoy the “key-in-lock” relationship that happens when the head is vertex (head down). If baby is in a less than ideal position long enough, this can result in minor postural deviations at the least, and torticollis (‘wryneck’) if it’s really bad.

Even if baby is in a perfect position in-utero, the birth process can be incredibly traumatic for him or her, especially if interventions like Pitocin, epidural, vacuum extraction or C-sections are utilized. Their tiny joints and ligaments can be sprained and strained just like an adults can. Ultimately, if left uncorrected, this can often lead to postural changes, pain, and even health issues like ear infections and colic.

The ability to move freely is really important for development of normal spinal curves and muscle formation. “Tummy time” develops the very important “C” curves of the neck and back. However, spending too much time in an infant carrier can also force baby’s spine into unnatural positions, so you’ll want to watch for that.

Pediatric chiropractors do a great job of treating obvious spinal issues like head tilt and torticollis. More importantly, they can detect subtle shifts before they become even bigger problems. It’s a great idea to get your kids checked preventatively, much like you have a dentist check their teeth as soon as they get them.

After all, ‘An ounce of prevention…’ and all that.

Cultivating Boredom

Posted: 1709 days ago in Parenting

cultivating-bore

divider2Moooooom, I’m bored!  

How many times have you heard that (and/or said that!) in your lifetime??! A bunch, I’m sure, especially if you are of a certain age.

Sometime in the last few decades, though, we have made an art out of busy-ness. Kids start pre-school at 18 months, and soccer or dance at two. Two-years-old?!  

Once kindergarten hits, watch out! The time I had to enjoy after-school snacks and riding bikes with my friends when I was a kid is non-existent now. Today, we shuttle between activities, sometimes two or three per day, often including snacks and meals in the car, on-the-go.

What a shame.

I tried to buck the system with my own kids. They chose one or two activities per week, not per day. Problem was, there were no kids to play with at home! They had each other, sure, but there’s nothing like a neighborhood gang of friends to play hide-and-seek and hopscotch with, is there?

We found a balance of sorts, but along the way, I did my best to continue cultivating boredom.

487961141How did I do that? Well, I just let them be. No activities, no outings, no new toys, TV or electronics. And if they said they were bored, they had to clean the bathroom.

Sure enough, I’d peek out the window to find them engrossed in making fairy houses out of twigs, or playing house in the gazebo.

Now, flash-forward almost two decades, and I am watching my girls cultivating their own boredom. Tan and lean, they play backgammon on the porch, and make candles in old seashells. They read, and we have impromptu “book club” where we share our stories and trade books.

Maybe, just maybe, I did a few things right?

I won’t know for sure, though, until some day in the future, when my grandchildren-to-be whine, “I’m borrrrrrred”, and my girls get the look in their eyes that they got from me, right before they hand them a toilet bowl brush.

Spending Time with Children

Posted: 1722 days ago in Parenting

spendingtimewithchildren

divider2 If you’ve been following my blog, then chances are you saw the quote I posted recently that went something like…

“Everyone talks about leaving a better planet for our kids. Let’s try to leave better kids for our planet.”

I’m not quite sure who said it (sorry!) but its brilliance is undeniable.

So how do we do it? You know, leave better children for our planet. The answer, in my opinion, is in spending time with children (the reason behind today’s quote).

If we provide for children only with our wallets, their appetites for ‘things’ will be insatiable. They will continue to do what has wreaked havoc on our planet: consume its resources, uncontrollably. But if we instead give them our time, our love, and devotion – our attention, our teachings, and our guidance, then they will be satiated by us. People, ideas, imagination. The list goes on. It’s why we shouldn’t skimp on the little things, or always look for the next iPad game to keep them busy.

They need us, people!

I recently saw this video come across my feed and I think it’s fitting for this Wednesday’s inspiration. The title of the video is called, “the best first date.” I hope it touches the hearts of all the parents out there and inspires you to do just what we’ve talked about here: moved to leave better children for our planet.

Happy Hump Day, All!

Keep Your Cool

Posted: 1752 days ago in Parenting

keepyourcool


It’s that time of year again, when the temperatures rise outside, and plummet inside the grocery stores.

For that very reason,  I keep a sweatshirt in my car to keep the frostbite away while I’m at the store for the umpteenth time in a week, filling my fridge for the hungry teenagers that appear out of nowhere.

I have a feeling many of you can relate.

I know this because I see you in the aisles with your long pants and sweaters on, even though it’s 90 degrees outside. The problem I see all too often, is when the parents are all warm and cozy in the freezer section, while their baby is in the infant car seat, donning only a flimsy onesie. Please forgive me, but I want to slap some of you, and scream “wake up!” I genuinely have to fight the urge to tuck a blanket around these babies, don’t you?

frozenBabies aren’t very effective at thermoregulation. That is: the ability to regulate their body temperatures. Additionally, the proportion of skin surface area to body size in baby is HUGE, so they are much more sensitive to environmental shifts in temperature.

Please, please, please people: bundle your babies!  

A good rule of thumb is to keep them in one more layer than you are wearing, at least until they are mobile and can move around and generate some good body heat. I kept a hat and socks on my kids until they were old enough to pull them off by themselves.

So, the moral of the story: If you’re cold, they’re colder. Put some clothes on those sweet cheeks, and don’t make me slap you to have you do it.

With Love,

Have a Baby? The Years are So Short….but the Days are So. Freaking. Long.

Posted: 1876 days ago in Parenting

Three toddlers in a bathtubeHindsight is 20/20 – blah blah blah.

If I could give one piece of advice to new parents, it would be to truly enjoy each moment with your baby.

That is so generic, right?

Of course you intend to stay present. But then the damn kid won’t stop crying, and you want to throw “it” out the window. — Did I just say that out loud?? — You are not alone if you’ve had those thoughts. Thankfully I did not throw said child out the window, but I did leave her in her crib for an hour while she screamed bloody murder, like someone was disemboweling her. I sat on the front porch, smoking a cigarette (I don’t smoke) and crying to myself that I was never going to survive this.

Did I mention that there was no clean laundry to be found, and my cupboards were bare?

When the heck was it going to get easier???

Well, guess what. It’s over 15 years later, and it’s not easier yet. It’s different, but not easier.

My point? Every day with kids is amazing, lovely, and horrible – often within the same 5 minutes. Do your best to focus and savor the amazing and lovely parts which will certainly help to get you through the horrible parts.

You will one day miss even those, I promise you.