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"One generation full of deeply loving parents would change the brain of the next generation, and with that, the world." —Charles Raison



As parents, one way or another, Mama, we all have to discipline our children, and that means stress for everyone involved. But being mindful about how we discipline can make a big difference in our stress levels by resulting in connected kids who behave. Parenting and discipline styles vary greatly, so it’s a good idea to evaluate all based on whether they strengthen or weaken your relationship with your child.

Peaceful Parenting starts with regulating your own emotions so that you can be the patient, emotionally generous parent you aspire to be—and that every child deserves. Peaceful Parenting has three parts. The parent commits to regulating their own emotions, prioritizes maintaining and strengthening the parent-child connection (which is the only reason children cooperate), and loves the child unconditionally.

If you're wondering whether practicing peaceful parenting instead of punishment at your house is a good idea, the short answer is that punishment undermines your relationship with your child, makes kids feel worse about themselves (which makes them act worse) and sabotages your child's development of self-discipline.

The most effective discipline strategy is having a close bond with your child. Kids who feel connected to their parents naturally want to please them. Punishment is destructive to your relationship with your child and ultimately creates more misbehavior. These 9 tips will help you establish and maintain your bond with your child and minimize the occurrence of less than desirable behaviors:

1. Loving guidance is setting limits and reinforcing expectations as necessary, but in an empathic way that helps your child focus on improving their behavior instead of being angry at you.

Rather than using "love withdrawal" or other punishment techniques or rewards to control and manipulate your child, see yourself as a coach, offering your child loving guidance, so they learn to manage their emotions and therefore behaviors.

2. Children misbehave when they feel bad about themselves and disconnected from us, so it’s a good idea to start all correction by reaffirming your connection.

• Stoop down to their level and look them in the eye: "You want your brother to move, so you pushed him. No pushing; pushing hurts! Tell your brother, 'Move please!'"

• Pick them up: "You wish you could play longer but it's time for bed."

• Make loving eye contact: "You are so upset right now."

• Put your hand on their shoulder: "You're scared to tell me about the cookie."

3. Don't hesitate to set limits as necessary, but set them with empathy.

When kids feel understood, they're more able to accept our limits. Of course, you need to enforce your rules, so start by acknowledging your child’s perspective:

  • "You’re very very mad and hurt, but we don’t bite. Let’s use your words to tell your brother how you feel."

  • "You wish you could play longer, but it's bedtime. I know that makes you sad."
  • 
"You don't want Mommy to say No, but the answer is No. We don't say 'Shut Up' to each other, but it's ok to be sad and mad."

  • "You are scared, but we always tell the truth to each other."

4. In any situation posing physical danger, intervene immediately to set limits, but simultaneously connect by empathizing.

"The rule is no hitting. You can tell your sister what you want and how you feel without attacking her."


5. Defiance is always a relationship problem.

If your child does not accept your direction ("I don't care what you say, you can't make me!"), it's always an indication that your relationship is not strong enough to support the teaching. This happens to all of us from time to time. At that point, stop and think about how to strengthen your relationship, not how to make your child "mind." Turning the situation into a power struggle will just deepen the rift between you.

6. Avoid Timeouts. They create more misbehavior.

Timeouts, while infinitely better than hitting your child, are just another version of punishment by banishment and humiliation. Though they're a more humane form of bullying than physical discipline, they leave kids alone to manage their tangled-up emotions, so they undermine emotional intelligence and erode, rather than strengthen, your relationship with your child. They set up a power struggle, and they only work while you're bigger.

7. Consequences teach the wrong lesson if you're involved in creating them.

On the face of it, consequences make sense: The child does (or doesn't do) something, then learns from the consequences. Which, when naturally occurring, can be a terrific learning experience. But most of the time, parents engineer the consequences, so any child can tell you that consequences are actually punishment.

If you are not involved in the consequences (e.g., if your child doesn’t brush their teeth and gets a cavity), and if you can handle the bad result, kids can learn a lot from suffering the consequences of their actions. Of course, you don't want it to happen more than once, or their self-image becomes that of someone who gets cavities, and they have learned an unintended lesson. It can be argued that it is better to skip such lessons, but as a last ditch strategy, we all certainly learn from letting things go wrong.

If you use consequences as punishment, most kids don't think of them as the natural result of their own actions ("I forgot my lunch today so I was hungry"), but as the threats they hear: "If I have to stop this car and come back there, there will be CONSEQUENCES!" If you are in charge of consequences, then the consequences aren't the natural result of your child's actions, but simply punishment.

To the degree that consequences are seen as punishment by kids—and they almost always are—they are not as effective as positive discipline to encourage good behavior. Using them on your kids should be considered as a last resort and a signal that you need to come up with another strategy.

8. How your child responds depends more on what you think and feel than what you say.

Your child will do almost anything you request if you make the request with a loving heart. Find a way to say yes instead of no, even while you set your limit. "Yes, it's time to clean up, and yes I will help you, and yes we can leave your tower up, and yes you can growl about it, and yes if we hurry we can read an extra story, and yes we can make this fun, and yes I adore you, and yes how did I get so lucky to be your parent?" Your child will respond with the generosity of spirit that matches yours.

9. How you treat your child is how they will learn to treat themselves.

If you're harsh with them, they will be harsh with themselves. If you're loving with them while firm about setting appropriate limits, they will develop the ability to set firm but loving limits on their own behavior. Harsh discipline and punishment, ironically, interfere with your child's ability to develop self-discipline. The problem with internalizing harshness isn't just that it makes for unhappy kids and, eventually, unhappy adults, it's that it doesn't work. Kids who are given discipline that is not loving never learn to manage themselves constructively.

To the degree that we're harsh with ourselves because of the way we were parented, we respond to it by rebelling (how many times do we cheat on our diets?) or martyring ourselves by trying hard to be good but building up resentment and lashing out at those we love, or not giving ourselves a break and ultimately breaking down. To the degree that we can accept our own loving guidance because we've learned from our parents to treat ourselves that way, we are able to set goals and use our self-discipline to attain them.

Ultimately, loving guidance and positive parenting can result in your child developing the holy grail toward which all child-raising is aimed: their own self-discipline.

Originally published in Aha Parenting. http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/use-positive-discipline

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We spend a lot of time prepping for the arrival of a baby. But when it comes to the arrival of our breast milk (and all the massive adjustments that come with it), it's easy to be caught off guard. Stocking up on a few breastfeeding essentials can make the transition to breastfeeding a lot less stressful, which means more time and energy focusing on what's most important: Your recovery and your brand new baby.

Here are the essential breastfeeding tools you'll need, mama:

1. For covering up: A cute nursing cover

First and foremost, please know that all 50 states in the United States have laws that allow women to breastfeed in public. You do not have to cover yourself if you don't want to—and many mamas choose not to—and we are all for it.

That said, if you do anticipate wanting to take a more modest approach to breastfeeding, a nursing cover is a must. You will find an array of styles to choose from, but we love an infinity scarf, like the LK Baby Infinity Nursing Scarf Nursing Cover. You'll be able to wear the nursing cover instead of stuffing it in your already brimming diaper bag—and it's nice to have it right there when the baby is ready to eat.

Also, in the inevitable event that your baby spits-up on you or you leak some milk through your shirt, having a quick and stylish way to cover up is a total #momwin.

2. For getting comfortable: A cozy glider

Having a comfy spot to nurse can make a huge difference. Bonus points if that comfy place totally brings a room together, like the Delta Children Paris Upholstered Glider!

Get your cozy space ready to go, and when your baby is here, you can retreat from the world and just nurse, bond, and love.

3. For unmatched support: A wire-free nursing bra

It may take trying on several brands to find the perfect match, but finding a nursing bra that you love is 100% worth the effort. Your breasts will be changing and working in ways that are hard to imagine. An excellent supportive bra will make this so much more comfortable.

It is crucial to choose a wireless bra for the first weeks of nursing since underwire can increase the risk of clogged ducts (ouch).The Playtex Maternity Shaping Foam Wirefree Nursing Bra is an awesome pick for this reason, and because it is designed to flex and fit your breasts as they go through all those changes.

4. For maximum hydration: A large reusable water bottle

Nothing can prepare you for the intense thirst that hits when breastfeeding. Quench that thirst (and help keep your milk supply up in the process) by always having a water bottle with a straw nearby, like this Exquis Large Outdoor Water Bottle.

5. For feeding convenience: A supportive nursing tank

Experts recommend that during the first weeks of your baby's life, you breastfeed on-demand, meaning that any time your tiny boss demands milk, you feed them. This will help establish your milk supply and get everything off to a good start.

What does this mean for your life? You will be breastfeeding A LOT. Nursing tanks, like the Loving Moments by Leading Lady, make this so much easier. They have built-in support to keep you comfy, and you can totally wear them around the house, or even out and about. When your baby wants to eat, you'll be able to quickly "pop out" a breast and feed them.

6. For pain prevention: A quality nipple ointment

Breastfeeding shouldn't hurt, but the truth is those first days can be uncomfortable. Your nipples will likely feel raw as they adjust to their new job. This will get better! But until it does, nipple ointment is amazing.

My favorite is the Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter. We love that it's organic, and it is oh-so-soothing on your hard-at-work nipples.

Psst: If it actually hurts when your baby latches on, something may be up, so call your provider or a lactation consultant for help.

7. For uncomfortable moments: A dual breast therapy pack

As your breasts adjust to their new role, you may experience a few discomforts—applying warmth or cold can help make them feel so much better. The Lansinoh TheraPearl 3-in-1 Breast Therapy Pack is awesome because you can microwave the pads or put them in the freezer, giving you a lot of options when your breasts need some TLC.

Again, if you have any concerns about something being wrong (pain, a bump that may be red or hot, fever, or anything else), call a professional right away.

8. For inevitable leaks: An absorbing breast pad

In today's episode of, "Oh come on, really?" you are going to leak breastmilk. Now, this is entirely natural and you are certainly not required to do anything about this. Still, many moms choose to wear breast pads in their bras to avoid leaking through to their shirts.

You can go the convenient and disposable route with Lansinoh Disposable Stay Dry Nursing Pads, or for a more environmentally friendly option, you can choose washable pads, like these Organic Bamboo Nursing Breast Pads.

9. For flexibility: A breast pump

Many women find that a breast pump becomes one of their most essential mom-tools. The ability to provide breast milk when you are away from your baby (and relieve uncomfortable engorged breasts) will add so much flexibility into your new-mom life.

For quick trips out and super-easy in-your-bag transport, opt for a manual pump like the Lansinoh Manual Breast Pump .

If you will be away from your baby for longer periods of time (traveling or working outside the home, for example) an electric pump is your most efficient bet. The Medela Pump In Style Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump is a classic go-to that will absolutely get the job done, and then some.

10. For quality storage: Breast milk bags

Once you pump your liquid gold, aka breast milk, you'll need a place to store it. The Kiinde Twist Pouches allow you to pump directly into the bags which means one less step (and way less to clean).

11. For keeping cool: A freezer bag

Transport your pumped milk back home to your baby safely in a cooler like the Mommy Knows Best Breast Milk Baby Bottle Cooler Bag. Remember to put the milk in a fridge or freezer as soon as you can to optimize how long it stays usable for.

12. For continued nourishment: Bottles

Nothing beats the peace of mind you get when you know that your baby is being well-taken of care—and well fed—until you can be together again. The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Newborn Starter Gift Set is a fan favorite (mama and baby fans alike).

This article is sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.

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A viral video about car seat safety has parents everywhere cracking up and humming Sir-Mix-A-Lot.

"I like safe kids and I cannot lie," raps Norman Regional Health System pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kate Cook (after prefacing her music video with an apology to her children."I'm a doctor tryin' warn you that recs have changed," she continues.

Dr. Cook's rap video is all about the importance of keeping babies facing backward. It's aptly called "Babies Face Back," and uses humor and parody to drive home car seat recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

"Switching from rear-facing to forward-facing is a milestone many parents can't wait to reach," Dr. Cook said in a news release about her hilarious video. "But this is one area where you want to delay the transition as long as possible because each one actually reduces the protection to the child."

Last summer the AAP updated its official stance on car seat safety to be more in line with what so many parents were already doing and recommended that kids stay rear-facing for as long as possible. But with so many things to keep track of in life, it is understandable that some parents still don't know about the change. Dr. Cook wants to change that with some cringe-worthy rapping.

The AAP recommends:

  • Babies and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car safety seat as long as possible, until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their seat.
  • Once they are facing forward, children should use a forward-facing car safety seat with a harness for as long as possible. Many seats are good up to 65 pounds.
  • When children outgrow their car seat they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle's lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly, between 8 and 12 years old.

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[Editor's note: Motherly is committed to covering all relevant presidential candidate plans as we approach the 2020 election. We are making efforts to get information from all candidates. Motherly does not endorse any political party or candidate. We stand with and for mothers and advocate for solutions that will reduce maternal stress and benefit women, families and the country.]

Suicide rates for girls and women in the United States have increased 50% since 2000, according to the CDC and new research indicates a growing number of pregnant and postpartum women are dying by suicide and overdose. Suicide rates for boys and men are up, too.

It's clear there is a mental health crisis in America and it is robbing children of their mothers and mothers of their children.

Medical professionals urge people to get help early, but sometimes getting help is not so simple. For many Americans, the life preserver that is mental health care is out of reach when they are drowning.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg just released a plan he hopes could change that and says the neglect of mental health in the United States must end. "Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal," says Buttigieg.

He thinks he can "prevent 1 million deaths of despair by 2028" by giving Americans more access to mental health and addictions services.

In a country where giving birth can put a mother in debt, it's not surprising that while as many as 1 in 5 new moms suffers from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, more than half of new moms who need mental health treatment don't get it. Stigma, childcare and of course costs are factors in why women aren't seeking help when they are struggling.

Buttigieg's plan is interesting because it could remove some of these barriers. He wants to make mental health care more affordable by ensuring everyone has comprehensive coverage for mental health care and by ensuring that everyone can access a free yearly mental health check-up.

That could make getting help more affordable for some moms, and by increasing reimbursement rates for mental health care delivered through telehealth, this plan could help moms get face time with a medical professional without having to deal with finding childcare first.

Estimates from new research suggest that in some parts of America as many as 14% or 30% of maternal deaths are caused by addiction or suicide. Buttigieg's plan aims to reduce those estimates by fighting the addiction and opioid crisis and increasing access to mental health services in underserved communities and for people of color. He also wants to reduce the stigma and increase support for the next generation by requiring "every school across the country to teach Mental Health First Aid courses."

These are lofty goals with a lofty price tag. It would cost about $300 billion to do what Buttigieg sets out in his plan and the specifics of how the plan would be funded aren't yet known. Neither is how voters will react to this 18-page plan and whether it will help Buttigieg stand out in a crowded field of Democratic candidates.

What we do know is that right now, America is talking about mental health and whether or not that benefits Buttigieg's campaign it will certainly benefit America.

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[Editor's Note: Welcome to It's Science, a Motherly column focusing on evidence-based explanations for the important moments, milestones, and phenomena of motherhood. Because it's not just you—#itsscience.]

If you breastfeed, you know just how magical (and trying) it is, but it has numerous benefits for mama and baby. It is known to reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis, and cuts the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by half.

If this wasn't powerful enough, scientists have discovered that babies who are fed breast milk have a stomach pH that promotes the formation of HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor cells). HAMLET was discovered by chance when researchers were studying the antibacterial properties of breast milk. This is a combination of proteins and lipids found in breast milk that can work together to kill cancer cells, causing them to pull away from healthy cells, shrink and die, leaving the healthy cells unaffected.

According to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, this mechanism may contribute to the protective effect breast milk has against pediatric tumors and leukemia, which accounts for about 30% of all childhood cancer. Other researchers analyzed 18 different studies, finding that "14% to 19% of all childhood leukemia cases may be prevented by breastfeeding for six months or more."

And recently, doctors in Sweden collaborated with scientists in Prague to find yet another amazing benefit to breast milk. Their research demonstrated that a certain milk sugar called Alpha1H, found only in breast milk, helps in the production of lactose and can transform into a different form that helps break up tumors into microscopic fragments in the body.

Patients who were given a drug based on this milk sugar, rather than a placebo, passed whole tumor fragments in their urine. And there is more laboratory evidence to support that the drug can kill more than 40 different types of cancer cells in animal trials, including brain tumors and colon cancer. These results are inspiring scientists to continue to explore HAMLET as a novel approach to tumor therapy and make Alpha1H available to cancer patients.

Bottom line: If you choose to breastfeed, the breast milk your baby gets from your hard work can be worth every drop of effort.

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