Jada Shapiro, Birth Day Presence.Is my baby getting enough milk? Is breastfeeding supposed to hurt this much? Am I doing it right? As a Certified Lactation Counselor and founder of the only on-demand breastfeeding consulting service in the country, Boober (formerly Breast Start), I hear a lot of women worrying about nursing, and it’s normal. Breastfeeding is natural, but it’s also very difficult… So difficult, that many moms give up. One of the biggest barriers to breastfeeding in America is the giant amount of misinformation that mothers receive from otherwise well-intentioned hospital staff. When their baby start fussing, they are told that they are not making enough milk, that they are starving their baby. For new moms who are impressionable and exhausted, it’s scary and worrisome and intimidating. What’s more, false or discouraging statements can quickly undermine a mom’s gut instincts, which is crucial to parenting and to a successful breastfeeding experience. To help you stay on course with your breastfeeding plans (noting there are always medical and personal reasons why you might stop breastfeeding or start supplementing), we are sorting out the real from the false. Here are 4 red-flag statements that you hear at hospitals about breastfeeding. 1. You’re not making enough milk. This statement is often followed by, “that baby is hungry” or, “you’re starving the baby.” The truth is, at first, it might not look like you’re making as much milk as you were expecting, but that’s because it’s colostrum -- a sticky, thick, and golden kind of milk that’s nicknamed “liquid gold.” Colostrum helps your baby pass his or her first stool (meconium) and is rich with antibodies to help build your baby’s immunity and reduce likelihood of illness. Though you’ll barely see a little drop in the early postpartum hours, trust me when we say that you’re likely making the perfect amount of milk for your baby. For you to eventually make more and mature breast milk, your baby has to breastfeed up to 15 times per day in the first days!! Yes, you heard me: 15 times. Breastfeeding works as a supply and demand system (although, it should really be called "demand and supply). If you give your baby unrestricted access to your breast starting right after birth, you should see milk flowing out abundantly by day 3. So feed the baby as frequently as possible in those first few days, and you will get what your baby needs. If you have doubt or are experiencing pain, ask to see the lactation consultant. Also rest assured that pediatrician and nurses on staff are available to check on your baby throughout your hospital stay. 2. Your baby only needs to eat every 2-3 hours. That’s probably what everyone has told you: the baby books, the nurses, the pediatrician. Though that statement is not altogether false (there may be a few times during the day when your baby does wait that long to nurse), the average just-born baby will often eat every 60-90 minutes. Why is it important that you know that? Because if you don’t know that feeding more often is perfectly normal, you’re going to think that your baby is always hungry and not getting enough milk. Couple that with a staff member confirming that the baby is hungry, and boom! Before you know it, you’re giving your baby a bottle, which can end up hurting your milk supply in the long run. So when should you feed your baby? Whenever he or she seems hungry. Trust your instinct and watch for cues like mouth motion, smacking lips, wide open mouth, rooting (where baby’s head rotates to the side frequently), hand in mouth, sucking-like motion, and the simple fact that the baby just woke up. 3. You need to rest. Let us give the baby a quick bottle so you can catch up on sleep. It’s true: you need to rest. But you’ll have to do that later. I know it sounds extreme, but giving a bottle to your baby in the early days of breastfeeding is the fastest way to decrease your supply and to make breastfeeding more difficult and possibly painful. Remember, breastfeeding works on a supply-and-demand basis. Every time your baby “demands” milk by suckling, your brain gets a signal to produce and “supply” milk. So giving a few early bottles to your baby means that you will not send that signal to your brain, which can in turn send a signal to diminish your milk-making capacity. If you want to counter this effect and still give a bottle, you need to use a pump to stimulate your breasts. But that won’t help you rest, so you may as well breastfeed. What’s more, some babies will find suckling at the bottle so easy that when it’s time to breastfeed again, they will latch on with a semi-closed mouth, which hurts! That’s called nipple confusion. A good and (eventually) painless latch involves a very wide open mouth and strong jaw movements. If babies get a lot of bottles early on, they can get frustrated that the milk doesn’t flow as easily, and they slightly close their mouths like they do around the bottle, which can cause pain and less stimulus to the breast. Of course, you can eventually give a bottle to your baby. But if you want to breastfeed for an extended period of time, most lactation professionals recommend waiting until breastfeeding doesn’t hurt and is well established, which is between 2 to 4 weeks postpartum for most women. 4. Breastfeeding hurts. You just have to tough it out. If breastfeeding really hurts, you should immediately seek professional lactation help. Pain can be normal at the beginning. But if it persists, it can signal that something is not working properly. For example, a poor latch not only makes breastfeeding painful and unpleasant (and therefore unlikely to last), it also means you may make milk inefficiently, which will force you to nurse longer than you otherwise would need to. So if you’re feeling pain, get help fast so you can feel good about nursing and ensure that you are on the path of making more milk! Most hospitals nowadays have lactation consultants on staff.l Don’t let these “red flag” statements hamper your breastfeeding flow. The more you know about breastfeeding before you give birth, the better prepared you’ll be to trust your gut and breastfeed successfully for as long as you want. So arm yourself with knowledge, trust your instincts, and, if you do need support, seek a qualified lactation professional. The most important thing is to do what works best for you and your family, and feed how you need!
One of the hardest areas to declutter can be your children's toy closet. Does that beeping, singing firetruck spark joy for you? Well no, in fact, it might be the most frustrating toy, but then again, having an occupied, entertained child sparks more joy than all of your household items combined.
So do more toys really mean a more engaged child? Studies say no. Having fewer toys leads to a more ordered home and encourages your child to develop creativity, concentration and a sense of responsibility for taking care of their belongings. But how do you go about reducing the number of toys your child has when there are so many "must haves" on the market? Perhaps more importantly, how do you ensure you don't bring any more toys that will be quickly forgotten into your home?
The secret: Look for toys that are open-ended, toys that will last for years, toys that encourage creativity, and toys that benefit development.
Here are some of our favorite Montessori-inspired toys.
Toys that are open-ended, rather than have just one use, empower your child to be an active participant in their own play. An example of an open-ended toy is a set of blocks, while a more limited use toy might be a talking toy robot. Blocks are only fun if your child applies their own creative thinking skills to make them fun, while the robot is a much more passive type of entertainment.
Open-ended toys also tend to keep children's interest for much longer, as they grow with your child—as their skills develop, they can build increasingly complex structures and scenarios.
There are so many beautiful sets of blocks available, but here are a few good choices.
2. Duplo Lego
Beginning in early toddlerhood, many children begin to incorporate pretend play into their repertoire. They do this all on their own, without the aid of toys, turning mud into pies and sticks into hammers.
Still, these toys will encourage their budding imaginations and also allow them to process things they experience in their own lives through role-playing and pretend play.
7. Train set
Music provides a great deal of joy to most children, and can also aid in brain development.
Providing regular opportunities for your young child to both create and listen to music will encourage him to develop an appreciation for music, an understanding of rhythm, and an outlet for creative expression.
Giving young children opportunities for movement is so important, both for their gross motor development and for giving them a daily outlet for their boundless energy. Children who spend plenty of time running around generally sleep better and are often better able to concentrate on quieter activities like reading.
Encouraging plenty of unstructured time outside is the best way to ensure your child gets enough daily movement. These toys though can help your child develop muscle coordination and strength, while also providing plenty of fun.
10. Balance bike
11. Pedal bike
Puzzles are wonderful toys for helping children develop spatial understanding, problem-solving skills, resilience and new vocabulary. Bonus, they also provide a quiet activity that can engage even young children for an extended period of time!
15. Peg puzzles
17. Layered puzzles
Games encourage your child to develop social skills such as taking turns and winning and losing gracefully.
Many games for young children also have educational benefits such as building memory or practicing counting.
18. Memory game
Taking the plunge and reducing your children's toy collection can be scary. If you're uncertain whether your child will miss a certain toy, try putting it away in a closet for a month to see if they notice. Take some time to observe your child with their reduced toy collection and notice how their play changes.
Once you commit to fewer toys, you'll find you can truly be intentional with what you provide your child and can also choose higher quality toys when you're only purchasing a few. There will also be far fewer little objects strewn around the house to trip over, which is a huge bonus!
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For so many parents, finding and funding childcare is a constant struggle. How would your life change if you didn't have to worry about finding and paying for quality childcare? Would you go back to work? Work more hours? Or just take the four figures you'd save each month and pay off your student loans faster?
These hypothetical scenarios have been playing in the minds of many American parents this week as presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren unveiled her plan for free or affordable "high-quality child care and early education for every child in America."
Universal childcare will be a cornerstone of Warren's campaign for 2020. It's a lofty goal, and one many parents can get behind, but is it doable?
Supporters note it's been done in other countries for decades. In Finland, for example, every child has had access to free universal day care since the early 1990s. Sweden, too, has been building its universal childcare system for decades.
Critics of Warren's plan worry about the price tag and potential for ballooning bureaucracy, and some are concerned that subsidizing childcare could actually make it more expensive for those who have a government-funded spot, as it could result in fewer private childcare providers.
But subsidized childcare had lowered prices in other places. In Sweden, parents pay less than $140 USD to send children to preschool. In Finland, the cost per child varies by municipality, household income and family size. A parent on the lower end of the income spectrum might pay as little as the equivalent of $30 USD, and the maximum fee is about $330 a month.
But Finland's population is on par with Minnesota's. Sweden is comparable to Michigan.
So could the Nordic model scale to serve the hundreds of millions of families in America?
As Eeva Penttila, speaking as the head of international relations for Helsinki, Finland's education department once told The Globe and Mail, "you can't take one element out and transfer it to your own country. Education is the result of culture, history and the society of a nation."
Right now America spends less on early childhood education than most other developed countries (only Turkey, Latvia, and Croatia spend less), but that wasn't always the case. This nation does have a history of investing in childcare, if we look back far enough.
Back in World War II, when women needed to step into the workforce as men fought overseas, America invested in a network of childcare to the tune of $1 billion (adjusted to today's money) and served hundreds of thousands of families in almost every state through center-based care. Parents paid between $0.50 and $0.75 per child per day (the equivalent of about $10 in today's money).
So America does have a historical and cultural precedent, not to mention a current model of universal preschool that is working, right now, in the nation's capital. In D.C. In Washington, D.C., 90% of 4-year-olds attend a full-day preschool program for free, according to the Center for American Progress. Seventy percent of 3-year-old are going too, and the program has increased the city's maternal workforce participation rate by more than 10%.
It won't happen overnight
While some American parents might be daydreaming of a life without a four-figure day care bill in 2020, the road to true universal childcare for all children in America would be a long one. Peter Moss, a researcher at the University of London's Institute of Education, previously told The Globe and Mail it took Sweden "many years to get it right."
Indeed, the 1990s saw long wait lists at Swedish day cares, but the growing pains of the '90s paved the way for the enviable system Swedes enjoy today.
According to Moss, governments in other countries look at the Nordic model and "tend to say, 'We can't do that.' But what they really mean is 'We can't suddenly do that.' In other countries, they just don't get to grips with what needs doing and actually plot a course."
Maybe America's starting point is found in its history books, or in the modern day preschools of the nation's capital, or in the conversations happening between now and 2020. It doesn't have to be Warren's plan, but America does need a plan for safer, more affordable childcare.
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It's so unfortunate that in the working world there are still those who believe mothers are more distracted and less productive than people without children.
Research proves that just isn't true—working moms are actually more engaged than working dads and fathers and equally committed—and plenty of working mothers will say that parenthood has actually made them more productive.
Ayesha Curry counts herself among those moms who become more efficient at work after becoming parents. The entrepreneurial mom of three seems unstoppable when it comes to expanding her career, which she launched as a lifestyle blog back when the oldest of her three children was still a baby.
"You don't realize how much you can get done in a day until you become a parent and you're like, 'what was I doing with my time before'?" she recently old Cheddar's Nora Ali.
Now less than seven years later she's built her own empire as a mom, not in spite of being one.
Now a New York Times best-selling cookbook author and restaurateur, Curry has also got her own brand, Homemade, and you can find her products bearing her name in places like Target and JC Penny. She's been promoting a partnership with GoDaddy and she's an ambassador for the Honest Company, too.
Curry says motherhood taught her how to multitask and manage her time.
"I have three children, so I've had to grow four invisible arms," she explains. "I've definitely learned efficiency through being a parent. It's helped me in my business tenfold."
As a celebrity, Curry's life experience is kind of unique, but her experience of becoming better at work because of motherhood isn't, according to experts.
Career coach Eileen Chadnick previously told Motherly that motherhood is an asset in the workplace, in part because it trains women to be both empathetic and assertive at the same time, a combo that makes for great leaders. "There are incredibly nice, compassionate women who are very strong and know how to take a stand," Chadmick said. "And they're trusted and admired by others even if they need to say 'no' to their employees."
That's something Curry agrees with. Because it's her name on that frying pan, cookbook or bedspread, she doesn't shy away from saying 'no' when she doesn't like something. "I'm really good about being forceful and putting my foot down," she explains.
It's easier to put your foot down when you've already grown four invisible arms. That's the balancing act of motherhood, and it's what makes this mama so good at business.
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It may seem like there are more recalls than ever these days, but that's actually a good thing for parents. It means fewer potentially dangerous products are making it to our dinner tables and medicine cabinets.
According to food safety experts, the spike in recall notices for everything from broccoli to baby toys in recent years suggests companies are doing a better job of self-reporting, and we're actually safer than we were in the days when recalls were rare.
"It reflects a food industry that takes contamination and foodborne illnesses seriously. Increasingly companies are willing to recall their products rather than expose customers to potential harm," Dr. William Hallman, professor and chair of Rutgers Department of Human Ecology, said in an interview with Food Drive."So more companies are taking a cautionary approach."
Here are the recalls parents need to know about this month:
Dollar General Baby Gripe Water
The FDA issued a recall notice for "DC Baby Gripe Water herbal supplement with organic ginger and fennel extracts" after the company received one report of a one-week old baby who had difficulty swallowing the product, and there were three other complaints "attributed to the undissolved citrus flavonoid."
The FDA says "the product should not be considered hazardous but could result in difficulty when swallowing the product for sensitive individuals."
Basically, it's not harmful if swallowed but the undissolved flavonoid makes it a choking hazard.
The gripe water was sold at Dollar General stores in four ounce bottles with the UPC code 8 5495400246 3.
Nature's Path Envirokidz gluten free cereals
If you've got a kiddo with celiac disease you're probably familiar with the EnviroKidz kine of gluten free cereals sold at Trader Joe's and other grocery stores. Unfortunately, Nature's Path, the maker of the cereals, is recalling more than 400,000 boxes of Envirokidz cereals in the U.S. and Canada due to potential gluten contamination.
Choco Chimp, Gorilla Munch and Jungle Munch are all impacted. The best before dates are: 08/01/2019, 08/24/2019, 08/27/2019, and 09/21/2019. The UPC codes are: 0 58449 86002 0, 0 5844987023 4, 0 5844987027 2, 0 5844987024 1 and 0 5844987028 9.
If you can handle gluten they are safe, but Nature's Path says "people who have a wheat allergy, celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten and wheat should not consume the cereals."