Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Babywearing Flash Mob!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a Babywearing Flash Mob at the downtown library.  I wore Emi Lou in a Sleepy Wrap on the front and Gigi in a Boba on the back, while shakin' it to the Black Eyed Peas "Let's Get It Started".  (I'm super bummed that you can't hear the music, but other than that I think this video is super cool!)

Monday, August 8, 2011

How Involving My Kid Saves My Sanity!

Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

One thing I've learned as a mother of a toddler (who's now almost a preschooler!), it can be near impossible to get anything done if she's not occupied or sleeping!  So I figure I have two choices:  find something for her to do that will keep her entertained and occupied while I complete my task, or involve her in what I'm doing. 

True, the task will probably take a little longer to complete if the little one is involved, but I'll probably have fewer interruptions than if she's not.  True, there may be more mess to clean up when we're done, but she'd probably be off in another room making a mess if she weren't working with me.

Of course the greatest benefit of involving your kids in your projects is the opportunity to bond with them and teach them. You can teach math skills, like matching and sorting when assembling furniture and folding laundry.

One of our favorite activities to do together is baking.  I think this, in itself, is an important skill for children to learn, but it also gives parents the opportunity to teach children math (counting, fractions, addition, multiplication, etc.)  I almost always modify recipes (doubling the yield or reducing the fat or sugar content), so I'm always doing math when I'm baking!  At this point, learning fractions and multiplication are a little advanced for my little one, but I hope it's something she learns naturally and easily.  For now, we're just working on counting and addition!

 Here's one of our favorite recipes... Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup canola oil or 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Beat together butter, oil, and sugars until creamy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  • Add baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and flour; beat well.
  • Stir in oats and raisins; mix well. (I usually stir in half of the oats and raisins, then stir in the rest to make sure all the oats and raisins get well distributed.).
  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet.
  • Bake for 8 minutes.
  • Cool for 1 - 2 minutes on baking sheet, then move to wire rack

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

It must be a sign...

I was just upstairs changing my baby's diaper, thinking "I need to order a couple more Thirsties Duo Wraps in the next size up."

I'm so lucky because my friend loaned me this diaper cover and I LOVE it!  Since it's a two-size adjustable size diaper, it fits even small babies great!  And I love that has leg gussetts to help prevent leaks!

So I came downstairs and got on facebook while I was nursing my girls, and what did I see?  The second announcement on my FB newsfeed was a message from Thirsties saying that they're giving away a starter kit of 2-Thirsties Duo Wraps, 2-Duo Hemp Prefolds, & 2-Stay Dry Duo Inserts at this weeks "Thirsties Thursday Giveaway"!!  How awesome is that?!  I really hope I win.  I'd love to get my hands on a couple of these babies...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

How to Discreetly Nurse a Newborn in a Wrap

Since I'm an avid "couponer", my shopping trips tend to be hours long.  I almost always have my darling daughters with me when I shop and almost always end up needing to nurse.  Rather than struggling to find somewhere to sit and nurse with a cart full of stuff, I just nurse as I go.  It's really quite simple, and I doubt anyone even notices. (Unless, of course, they hear the slurping of my noisy nursers!)

Supporting and positioning a newborn is much different from nursing a toddler.  With a toddler, you simply need to loosen the wrap or the straps of your carrier so that the toddler sits lower and is at nipple level.  Generally toddlers can then find the goods and stay latched on, without any support.

It took me a week or so to figure it out how to properly position and support little Emi Lou, and I wanted to share a video of what we do.  I do need to make one clarification before you watch the video though... when I say that small newborns "don't need a lot of support," I mean they don't need a lot of support FROM THE WRAP.  I know small newborns are extremely wobbly and need a lot of support and help getting (and staying) latched, but since they don't typically weigh much, they don't need much support from the wrap.  The older and bigger your baby gets, the more support you will need from the wrap!  (I hope that makes sense!) 

Anyway, enjoy the video and let me know if you have any questions...


I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Human Milk 4 Human Babies!

Since it's World Breastfeeding Week, I thought this would be the perfect time to write about a new project I'm involved with:  Human Milk 4 Human Babies.

All human babies deserve human milk.  It's naturally best for human babies.  Unfortunately, some women are unable to breastfeed.  Though there are several milk banks around the country, the milk is expensive to purchase (upwards of $100 per day) and generally reserved for babies that are premature and/or very ill.  Consequently, many mothers turn to formula to feed their babies.

The mission of Human Milk 4 Human Babies (HM4HB) is "to promote the nourishment of babies and children around the world with human milk."  Using the popular social networking site, facebook, the group helps to connect families in need of milk with mothers that have a surplus.  Currently there are over 130 HM4HB community pages (representing 52 countries) with 20,000 community page members.  The group estimates that "through our pages, hundreds of babies in need receive breastmilk every single day."

Of course, many people may question the safety of milksharing.  HM4HB operates on the principle of informed consent.  On their website they state "we trust, honour, and value the autonomy of families and we assert they are capable of weighing the benefits and risks of milksharing in order to make choices that are best for them. We hold the space for them and protect their right to do what is normal, healthy, and ecological."  On their FAQ page, HM4HB suggests several things to consider when screening a donor, and recipients can ask for donors to take blood tests or other health screenings.

True, there are risks to informal milk sharing, but there are also risks to formula and risks of not breastfeeding.  One of the best articles I have read on the subject is "Risks of Informal Breastmilk Sharing versus Formula Feeding" on the blog PhD in Parenting.  The article touches on the fact that when you give babies formula, you are accepting the risks that babies are more suceptible to bacteria and disease, babies have a higher likelihood to have ear infections, respiratory tract infections, asthma, childhood lukemia, and diabetes, among other health problems.  Both shared breastmilk and formula are at risk for being contaminated, however breastmilk can be flash heated to kill bacteria and HIV. (Flash heating is how I've always reheated frozen breastmilk anyway.)

The World Health Organization has stated:
For those few health situations where infants cannot, or should not, be breastfed, the choice of the best alternative – expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat – depends on individual circumstances.
Notice that a "breast-milk substitute" (e.g. formula) is LAST in the priority list for alternatives to breastfeeding. 

Personally, I'm not sure why the concept of a wet-nurse is so taboo in our society.  I'd be willing to do it, but I doubt anyone I know would take me up on the offer.  I'm sure it's much easier and more convenient to use formula than to find a breastmilk donor, but I'm so glad to know that should I ever need it, there is another option to feed my baby.

I absolutely love this part of the Human Milk 4 Human Babies Vision Statement:
Breastmilk, the biologically normal sustenance for humankind, is a free-flowing resource and mothers of the world are willing to share it. Milksharing is a vital tradition that has been taken from us, and it is crucial that we regain trust in ourselves, our neighbors, and in our fellow women. Feeding any breastmilk substitute is not without risk and we support the families who know there is another option. We are the bridge that connects local families and brings them together again as milksharing communities. Indeed, the future of humanity depends on our return to sharing in a local and tangible way with one another. 
We want milksharing and wet-nursing to be commonplace and babies to be fed at women's breasts whenever and wherever they need it. We dream of a world where mothers from previous generations pass on the tradition of breastfeeding and are a wealth of knowledge and support. We can forsee a time when women protect each other and help one another feed their babies so that every mother feels whole and no mother feels broken or that her body is failing her. We imagine a world where family members, friends, lactation consultants, doctors, and midwives do not hesitate to recommend donor milk when it is needed. We envision a future where families come together to raise this generation, and the next, by nourishing human babies everywhere with human milk and unconditional love.
I think the vision of Human Milk 4 Human Babies is beautiful, and I want to do everything I can to help that vision become reality.  I encourage you to find your local HM4HB facebook page, in case you ever need a donor or could become a donor yourself. (For my local friends, here's the link to the Utah HM4HB page and to the Idaho HM4HB page.)


I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!
You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back Carries with a Newborn in a Wrap

I was totally inspired by all the pictures of mamas wearing babies on their backs in wraps in last week's Wordless Wednesday blog hop.  Lauren at Hobo Mama passed along some links to videos of back carries with a newborn, so I tried it out yesterday while I was cleaning and making dinner.

I had to have Marco help me adjust a bit, but it wasn't too hard to get Emi Lou on my back, and it was much easier and more comfortable... not to mention SAFER... to have her on my back while I was making dinner. 

I always have a hard time keeping my babies from tilting their head back when they sleep.  As you can see, the wrap is supporting her head, but I need to work on keeping her head tilted down a little more.

Do you wear your newborn on your back?  What's your favorite carrier or type of tie for back carries with a newborn?


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