Saturday, October 25, 2014

title pic A Mommy’s Story: Build a Breastfeeding Sisterhood in Your Community

Posted by Tiara on November 26, 2013

Welcome to a brand new A Mommy’s Story appointment. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Tracey is our guest today, advising moms on why and how to build a breastfeeding sisterhood in their community.

Mom breastfeeding twinsWhen I was pregnant with my first baby, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. While I understood that there could be issues along the way that could make it challenging, I don’t think I realized that that breastfeeding really can be more of a learned skill. For many women, finding help (or even realizing that there IS help) is rather challenging.

Sisterhood Salvation

Fortunately for me, I live in a community that has very strong support for breastfeeding moms. My Southern California county has a vibrant community of other moms that have interwoven the virtual support of online Facebook groups with in-person meet ups and breastfeeding support groups. Along the way, one of the biggest breastfeeding advocates (a labor a delivery nurse and IBCLC lactation consultant) coined these virtual and in person communities as “Sisterhood.” Many of the fellow moms (me included) feel that breastfeeding would have been a failure, or at least much shorter lived and far less enjoyable, if this incredible Sisterhood had not been such a big presence and support for us. Other women were available at all hours online, or weekly at in person meet ups, to help trouble shoot latch issues, supply issues, handling biting, more comfortable positions, mastitis recognition and treatment and so much more. Just as importantly, camaraderie and support of other woman in the same season of their lives, through the highs of parenthood and the lows of sleep deprivation and uncharted parenting territory, made the journey a lot less lonesome and far less frustrating. Many new, strong friendships have formed as a direct result of this Sisterhood.

More traditional cultures have the benefit of the village approach to childrearing, with seasoned advice from other moms to built-in help to assist new mothers when they need a break or help navigating new waters. Our modern culture rarely fosters this type of community, and in speaking to friends that live around the U.S., I know that the type of hybrid virtual/in person support I received isn’t as prevalent everywhere. So I write this post to encourage other woman to form their own support networks. The era of the Internet makes connections so easy, and I think many women will find that just a small group of like minded women offering other mothers support can spread like wild fire and create a vibrant community wherever you may live.

Ways to Build Your own Sisterhood Support

If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to tap into an already existing network of breastfeeding support in your own community, here are ways you can begin to build one that will be beneficial and satisfying for you and other local moms.

Tap into existing online resourcesLa Leche League International is a fabulous resource for breastfeeding moms. It’s a great starting point, with a number of breastfeeding resources, interactive forums to ask questions and help finding a local in person support group. Another great resource is Kelly Mom, another breastfeeding and parenting resource website. It is full of articles, links to other good resources like breastfeeding help lines, breastfeeding FAQ’s and determining if medications are safe or unsafe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. They also have a Mother to Mother support group on Facebook where you can connect with other moms. Both of these sites will help you become a lot more informed on the subject of breastfeeding but can also help you make local connections to tap into or build a local support system.

Facebook is Your Friend – Search Facebook for “breastfeeding” and “breastfeeding support.” At a minimum you can link up with a virtual support system, but you may also be lucky enough to find an existing group in or close to your community.

If you don’t see a group that is in your local town, start a group and invite other moms you know that are dealing with the same issues. As the group admin, you may have to put a little time into posing questions or posting information you find in the beginning(as you super sleuth sites like La Leche League and Kelly Mom). However, breastfeeding and child-rearing are very emotionally charged topics and I’d be willing to guess that you’d build a following in a short period of time with other moms seeking out answers and camaraderie and lots of fresh and relevant content would occur organically as the group grows. The local nursing support group I joined on Facebook had about 200 or so other moms when I connected with this group 2 years ago. There are now 695 members, and it is a VERY active board, lots of questions and interaction at all hours of the day.

Face to face Time Builds Sisterhood Bonds – Virtual support is great, and it is a wonderful place to start. But we are human and real, in-person relationships are key to genuine, long lasting relationships and support. As soon as you have a small tribe of Sister Mamas in your community interacting, organize a meet up (Facebook, again, makes it easy to create and share an event). If you aren’t comfortable inviting people into your home, make a play date at a local park or child friendly location. Friendships will naturally blossom from these meet-ups, and don’t be surprised if you see other parenting related groups and play dates crop up as a result. Off shoots from the breastfeeding support group in my community included babywearing groups, attachment parenting groups, healthy/organic parenting groups and more, many with their own Facebook communities plus regular in person meetups.

Try to find a knowledgeable lactation consultant that would be willing to make a regular appearance at meet ups (or host a weekly meeting), to field breastfeeding questions and concerns. It’s not uncommon for the breastfeeding journey to spark something in a new mom, and I know of several that have gone on to earn their IBCLC certification and become lactation consultants, so you may find a lactation specialist as a result of your grassroots effort to build a local Sisterhood. Many of the local group leaders in my community are lactation consultants that provide breastfeeding support groups free of charge or on a donation basis, and then they build relationships and referrals that fund their consulting business, so it is a win/win for moms and the consultants.

If you are feeling lonesome as a new breastfeeding mom, you aren’t alone. You do have support and resources at your fingertips, and it really is possible to build a strong, wonderful network of support in your own community.

About the Author

Tracey is a mom to a firecracker toddler (still nursing!) and expecting a baby boy in the spring. She is lucky enough to work from home, promoting a place she came to love as a former innkeeper, the Highland Lakes in the Texas Hill Country.

Image credit: TheDivineGoat

title pic Health Benefits of Breastfeeding a Child from Birth Up to 6 Months

Posted by Tiara on June 6, 2014

Breast Feeding

A Guest Post by Maria Mcquire.

Breastfeeding your child up at least to six months is very important, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

Exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months comes with a lot of health benefits. By ‘exclusively’ I mean your you feed your baby with breast milk only, no water nor foods, even though you can start to complement breast milk with solids after 180 days.

With Food Comes Protection

Breast milk is a blessing to your baby’s nutrition until she turns six months. It gives her the nutritional values she needs and a strong protection from illnesses thanks to antibodies that will reinforce your child’s immune system. Both nutrients and antibodies are readily available with the right quantities of fat, sugar, water and proteins in a form that is fit for the child’s immune and digestible.

The antibodies that are also in the breast milk protects the baby from illnesses and also serving to boost the child’s immune system, something that cannot be done by any other food in the child’s diet.

Exclusive breast feeding has been proven scientifically to help a child resist diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea. This is supported by the statistics showing that infants that are not breastfed for the first six months of life are 15 times more likely to die from pneumonia and 11 times more likely to die if they become infected by diarrhea, as compared to newborns who are breast fed exclusively for six months after birth. This means breastfeeding should not only be done but it should be exclusive, too.

When a mother gives birth, her first yellowish milk, known as colostrum, is essential for newborn babies. World Health Organization recommends it’s fed to the baby within the first hours of birth. This is also called initiation.

This additionally is supported by the scientific studies that breastfed babies within the first hour of birth are three times more likely to survive than those who have their first breast milk within the first 24 hours. According to the World Health Organization, 220,000 children could be saved every year as a result of early initiation.

Breastfeeding that starts from initiation and progresses exclusively is therefore beneficial to your baby. It’s okay if she also gets rehydration salts and syrups that contain medicine, as long as she feeds at your breast or pumped milk at the bottle.

If only more mothers would adhere and decide to breast feed their child exclusively for six months, globally we would through this singular act save more lives and ensure that more infants live up to maturity. However, if your child is already 180 days old or more, it’s still good to breastfeed in addition to solid foods.

With so many benefits and the fact that exclusive breastfeeding is a contributing factor to reducing child and newborn mortality, I encourage you all moms to breastfeed. :)

In Europe

Make sure to get an EHIC card, if you travel to Europe. The European Health Insurance card is helpful if you are giving birth in Europe, so as to cover the birth costs.

Share your breastfeeding experience in comments, moms!

 

title pic A 3-Item Checklist For New Moms

Posted by Tiara on May 19, 2014

Checklist for new moms

Guest post by Sophie Andersen.

Becoming a parent is probably the biggest change we experience ever since we were brought to this world.

Although you don’t have to change everything about your habits, it’s a fact that many routines that you had before the birth of little precious need the touch of a little ‘editing’ hand.

Learn to find balance

Part of the magic of motherhood is the enchantment that comes with birth. That little creation of yours is right there in your arms after 9 long months and a painful labor and the first natural instinct will be to stop thinking about yourself and only focus on taking care of your newborn child.

However, the secret to a happy motherhood lies in the balance between your life as a woman and your life as a mama.Don’t give in to the thought that you need to live in absolute abnegation now that you’re a mother — listen to your body and your mind, give them what they need, and give your baby what she needs when she asks for it.

A happy mom makes for a happy baby. Sounds odd? Believe me, it isn’t. Babies are empathetic beings and can feel what’s going on in their mama’s emotional sphere. If you’re exhausted, your baby will sense it and become fussy, colicky or frustrated.Take care of yourself.

Use push-chairs and mama-aid accessories

After the first couple of days of rest and recovery, you will be able to walk, move and carry your baby around your home.

When the baby is one month old, it is usually safe to take her to get her first ride around the town. Of course, every child is different, so you should consult with your gynecologist and pediatrician before you carry your baby around town.

As your baby is ready for a hood stroll, you need to equip your pushchair with all the necessities for the big day.

First of all, the pushchair needs to be firm and stark. Also, you will feel better and safer if the pushchair comes with a weather shield, so that your baby is protected from rain or dust carried by a stronger wind.

Apart from the rain cover, a handy pushchair will need to have a lot of place for various baby items. For example, you need to take extra diapers and baby wipes with you.

Although you can carry your baby in a rucksack, your body might still feel sore from labor, lack of sleep and swollen breasts, so it would be better to avoid the extra burden until you feel back in shape.

Here’s nice review of different push-chairs, it’s up to you to choose best for your child

Carry your baby safely

After a while, you will see that a pushchair comes useful in many situations, but that there are also many social contexts in which you simply have neither time nor space for the pushchair or you don’t know how to fold and unfold it.

Because of that, you should also get yourself a baby carrier. They come in two basic shapes and types: slings and backpacks.

Depending on your preference, you can go for one or the other. However, bear in mind that they are meant for children from 6 months of age onwards.

Check different carriers here and decide which one fits to you and your baby best.

Drive your baby risk-free(ly)

If you drive, you probably noticed that many cars have the baby on board sticker at the back.

It is important to stress out that you are driving a baby and it is even more important to get a strong and long-lasting convertible seat for her. When your baby is in the seat, all vital parts and organs of her body are safe and you can drive more relaxed, though still careful, knowing that your little bundle of joy stays safe.

While your baby adapts to cars in the first few months, have someone sit next to her, just in case anything unexpected comes up.

About the Author

Sophie Andersen is a mother, housewife and writer based in Australia. She’s fan of blogging and enjoy sharing her family tips and advices. Follow Sophie on Facebook.

Photocredit: all-free-download.com

title pic 5 Steps To Clean Your Kids’ After-Party Messes In Less than 1 Hour

Posted by Tiara on October 15, 2013

This post brought to you by BISSELL Homecare, Inc.. All opinions are 100% mine.

You know how that goes— you have your little ones’ friends over for a birthday party and in less than two or three hours the house turns into complete mess, so much that you don’t even know where to place your foot to walk in and collect the food leftovers!

I experience this headache recently with Rasha’s school award party, where even the kids’ parents contributed to the messes by leaving plastic glasses and dishes scattered around and didn’t even care to pick and throw in the trash bin. Ugh.

Here’s what I did to clean up the messes in less than 1 hour.

1. Collect food leftovers

Uncaring of the party stuff scattered on the floor, I collected all food leftovers in a large tray and placed it on the kitchen table. I didn’t stop and separate one food from another— I just really threw in all together, being careful only that I placed untouched food in one side of the tray and the other leftovers on the other side. Really, you can separate further later on. You don’t need to do it now.

Time: 10 minutes.

2. Trash all that dirty party stuff

Take one large trash bag and throw in all used plastic dishes, glasses, forks, spoons and knives, then the party decorations on the floor (they’re stepped over and dirty, so you can’t save them), any tissues and other stuff you can pick by hand quickly. Seal the bag and put it outside and just forget it for now.

Time: 10 minutes.

3. Broom away!

Use your broom to sweep around and get rid of all the remaining food, plastic and paper remnants on the floor. Throw them in the trash can. You can put them outside later on.

Time: 7 minutes.

4. Grab that vacuum cleaner!

Vacuum the entire room where the party took place. Make sure you don’t forget the corners and under tables and chairs. Empty the vacuum cleaner’s bag into the trash bag where you threw in stuff from step #3.

If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, you can enter to win one at BISSELL’s site. It’s PowerGlide® with Lift-Off® Technology that’s lightweight and easy to use, so it’s good deal. :) It also comes with a one-step removable pod and an adjustable handle, so it won’t make your arm hurt like my old vacuum cleaner. Heh.

There’s also a POWERGLIDE promo code to get $20 off plus free shipping for these products, if you need:

  • PowerGlide Pet Vacuum with Lift-Off Technology – 2763
  • PowerGlide Pet Bagged Rewind Vacuum – 38631
  • PowerGlide Pet Vacuum – 1044

The promo is valid until Nov. 30th of this year, though, so don’t let it expire. ;)

Time: 5-10 minutes.

5. Mop the floor

Mop the floor quickly and leave the room to dry naturally.

Time: 3-5 minutes

Total time: 35-42 minutes

After that 1 hour…

  • Quickly collect untouched food and put it in the freezer
  • Give half-eaten food to the dogs in the street if you can’t save anything untouched out of it
  • Take all the trash outside and make sure the bags are well sealed
  • Put the room in order now that’s clean and tidy.

Nice, isn’t it? ;)

If you’re short on ideas, you can always read some quite genial cleaning tips by BISSELL, too. I love them.

How did my 5 tips work for you? Do you have others? Please share. ;)

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title pic What Options Do You Have When It Comes To Kids Losing Hair?

Posted by Tiara on

Kid with nice hairHair loss in children may not be very common, but it does occur and a large number of children suffer from a form of Alopecia. Fortunately, a large percentage of the children outgrow the condition without the need for any type of treatment. For some children, however, treatment is necessary to deal with the hair loss. Like with adult alopecia or hair loss, it takes time and care to reverse the condition and completely restore the lost hair and for many children, it can take up to a year before full results are experienced. The condition can cause distress for both the child and the parents and it is important to look for the best treatment methods available.

Accurate diagnosis

The first step in the treatment process is determining the cause of the hair loss. Before you start seeking solutions for the condition, it is important to get a proper diagnosis. You need to consult a physician or dermatologist who can determine the cause of the hair loss. Only after you know the cause, can you seek for the best solution. Most types of children’s hair loss can be treated using different products under the physician’s guidance. It is important to find a qualified dermatologist who can come up with the best treatment plan.

Anti-fungal treatment

If the child is suffering from a fungal infection or Tinea Capitis, you can use oral and topical solutions. The scalp infection that presents as a bare patch of scaly skin on the head is often contracted from other children. Most children experience itching which further contributes to the hair loss. The oral antifungal treatment Griseofulvin, is available through prescription and it is usually taken for two months. Physicians also recommend the use of Selenium sulfide shampoo, which can be used two times a week to speed up the healing process. Most topical creams are not very effective when used without the oral medication.

Cortisone injections

Another type of treatment plan used for children’s Alopecia Areata involves the use of Cortisone injections. By injecting the hair follicles, the dermatologists find that the medication stimulates the growth of new hair. The hair loss condition can be very devastating for children and the different treatment methods have had some measure of success. It should, however, be noted that each case is different and some children might experience positive results while others do not experience any change.

Topical steroids

The most common types of hair loss treatments are those used topically. Treatment for kids Telogen Effluvium involves the use of the steroids that are usually applied for between one to two months. While some patients get relief after using the steroids others may experience some mild side effects. Most of the products have received mixed results, but extensive studies show that the new products are quite effective. The steroids are not suitable for children under 12 years.

Advanced scalp therapy

A new hair loss treatment technique involves the use of new technology. The therapy is quite effective for older children and can help to reverse hair loss and treat scalp conditions. The treatment program uses the science of Trichology, and it creates a personalized treatment plan for each patient.

Hair care products

Experts have come up with special hair products that are very effective for children with hair conditions. The products that include shampoo, conditioner and a shower gel are made from natural ingredients that moisturize the scalp and help to stimulate hair growth by ensuring the capillaries remain healthy. The products are recommended for use on kids from a few months to 9 years old. Using the products at an early age helps to combat problems in the future.

It is very important to seek medical advice when dealing with hair loss in children. In some cases, the condition may be hereditary, in which case the treatment program might be an ongoing process. It is important for the child to get good medical checkup in order to determine if the condition is caused by other underlying health issues. Parents should not use over-the-counter medication to treat their kid’s hair loss as the products could have harmful side effects. Starting treatment early enough will protect the child from emotional trauma caused by teasing, which can have a long-term effect on the child’s self-esteem.

About the Author

This post is contributed by Neena Jackson, a beautician at Pink Lime Salon & Spa, one of the best hair salons in Vancouver. She enjoys her job and follows up on the latest trends that lead to happy and satisfied clients.

Creative Commons LicenseImage credit:  Dr. Abdullah Naser

title pic How To Talk To Your Kids About Death

Posted by Tiara on October 12, 2013

MourningDeath is something we all have to come to terms with as a force in our lives at one time or another. Some people find it very hard to talk about, and others find ways to make it clear without talking about the hardest parts of it. For children, their first experience of somebody they know dying, or being seriously ill, can be life changing, as they may not have previously understood that life comes to an end and that grief is something families all have to deal with at some point. Even the death of a pet can be a seminal experience in a young child’s life. If you are in a situation where you feel that you need to have a talk with your young son or daughter about death, here are some tips:

Don’t Sugarcoat the Message

While it can be good to say some comforting things, for example that people who die are still with us in our hearts, or if you have specific religious beliefs that the person or pet who has died is in a better place, it is important the it is clear to the child that death is a permanent thing that happens to every living thing. As you try and comfort them, be sure that you aren’t saying anything that might confuse or mislead them and make them think they will get to see the person or animal again in a normal sense. You can try and be positive if you like, for example if someone has been very ill saying that they won’t have any more pain, or that someone elderly had a good, long life, but it is key that there is no ambiguity about what the death means – that the person or pet they knew will no longer be around.

Explain About Funerals

Whether you want to take your child with you to a funeral or you think they are too young, it is good to talk to them about what happens to people after they die, in the physical sense, and what funeral or cremation ceremonies mean to people culturally. The idea of people being buried or burned can sound horrifying to a child so it is important to explain that the person is no longer alive and that their body has to be laid to rest. Again, this can be explained in positive terms, and you can talk about how a funeral is important as it allows people to celebrate the life of a loved one and get together to say goodbye to them. If you are going to take your child to a ceremony, explain a little about funeral etiquette and traditions before you go so they know what to expect and aren’t intimidated or afraid. Tell them they may see people crying, but that it is OK. If there is going to be an open casket, you may also want to prepare them for the fact that they will see a dead body – this can also be frightening for a child the first time it happens.

About the Author

This post has been contributed by Keith Dunham, an employee at Abbey Cremation, a renowned cremation company in Connecticut. His hobbies include gardening and pottery.

Image credit: David Erickson

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