My first child is a very good brother. He likes to help by grabbing a clean diaper for me when I need them. He also likes to help me pick out his new sister’s clothes. As a new sibling, however, there is one thing that my sweet little one just can’t help me with. He can’t help me breastfeed his younger sister. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t tried. Here are a few things I have my toddler do while I am breastfeeding that don’t break that helpful spirit, but keep him out of my hair.
Stuffed Animal Feeding Time
There are several ways this idea can work. The first is to tell your toddler that it’s time for everyone to eat. Explain the mechanics of how mommies feed their babies. It doesn’t need to be a whole biology lesson, but enough information to know what you are doing. Have mommy and baby stuffed animals and as you feed you baby let your toddler help the mommy stuffed animal feed the baby stuffed animal. The other way I have seen toddlers use this skill is to “breastfeed” the stuffed animal themselves. This is okay even with little boys. Eventually they will grow up to be fathers and should have some opinion on how their child gets nutrients.
While I was in the hospital after having my child I received a great deal of advice. I was taught how to swaddle. I learned that most germs enter through a newborns mouth, nose, and eyes and to avoid letting that happen. Most of all I was taught how to breastfeed.
Not All Breasts Are Ideal For Breastfeeding
Not even the two on my own body are created equal. One has a regular nipple that is ideal for latching on. The other side is flat and a little inverted. As a result my baby prefers one side of me much more than the other side when it comes to nursing. In the situation I was told to offer the side my baby disliked first, while my little one was very hungry and thus not as picky. If that didn’t work (after a good half hour try) then I should nurse her on the other side and pump the side she didn’t eat from. This wasn’t to be an everyday happening, but would help me be more comfortable. The other piece of advice I got on this topic was to pinch my nipple until it stood out a little more and was (hopefully) easier to latch on to.
Don’t Let The Baby Win
This was the most direct piece of information given to me by one of my nurses. Don’t let the baby win. He proceeded to let me know that breastfeeding is the natural way of feeding my child as well as the best way. That doesn’t mean that my child is going to like it. Nursing isn’t something our little ones are born knowing how to do. Like mommy, they must learn to nurse and sometimes it can be rough. Don’t give up and don’t just give your child the easy bottle when you get discouraged.
Many years ago, breastfeeding was on its way “out.” Advances in the nutrition and development of commercial formulas meant that children who needed to be on formula, whatever the reason may be, were able to thrive on good nutrition. However, with these scientific breakthroughs, and due to an enormous number of factors that I won’t do into in depth here, the general American public came to see formula as “better” than breastmilk, and women who chose to breastfeed were seen as weird, perhaps even “backwards.”
If you nurse, it will probably happen to you: You’re out and about and you THOUGHT your baby was fine, but…uh oh, he or she is doing that telltale “Eh, eh, eh” cry. Baby is hungry, you don’t have a bottle, and there are a thousand people around you! But how will they react to you stepping aside for a moment to feed your impatient child? If you’re like me, every horror story you’ve ever heard on the internet will come roaring back to you and you will grit your teeth until you have a headache and declare that staying at home until your child is weaned is the best course of action.
Nursing in public isn’t too bad once you get used to it. At a restaurant you can curl up all cozy in a booth, at a park you can sit on a bench, using jackets to cover yourself and baby if you want. In many states, nursing in public is even protected by law.
Traveling, however, can be an entirely different beast. Every few months another story makes its rounds on the news about a mother getting kicked off of a train or airplane by stern employees who insist that nursing on a plane isn’t allowed, and then if you make the horrific mistake of reading the comments on those news stories you’ll see dozens of people saying ignorant things like, “Well she should have just pumped a bottle before she got on the 10 hour flight, why did she need to nurse on the plane?” It’s enough to make anyone want to second-guess nursing while traveling, but you will probably travel at some point while you nurse a child, and your body will not stop making milk just because you hopped on a bus with sixty other people.
Skin to skin contact with your new little family member is a beautiful way to start out your relationship with him or her. It not only helps to build a better bond with your child, but comes with a whole bundle of other benefits that help your child both emotionally and physically.
What Is Kangaroo Care?
The most basic explanation for kangaroo care is skin to skin contact with your little one. In the first couple hours after delivery it’s important to lay your new little one on your bare skin, letting them feel your warmth and hear or feel your heartbeat. It’s said this this helps form the family bond that both you and you child need. Best of all it isn’t something that only works with mommy. Daddies can bond with their newborns by using skin to skin contact as well. According to my spouse, it helped him feel more connected to our first child. He also felt more included in the care process rather than left out because he wasn’t mommy.
Breastfeeding is one of the experiences that dads don’t have, but they are still a part of the breastfeeding team. Breastfeeding can be difficult, and though it’s natural, sometimes it feels like a mom just can’t do it right. She is going to need her partner more than ever to help her get through the difficulties and discomfort that comes with breastfeeding a new baby.
Feeding Times Are Crazy
Aside from the soreness of breastfeeding and childbirth, new moms sleep less. New dads do as well, but moms need to be up every two hours to feed the new family addition. That doesn’t include the time she will spend awake worrying about every little hiccup your new little one will make.
Dads, we know that you work and come home tired, and that the new baby is going to wake you up as well. It doesn’t take much to help your new mom around the house. Try doing one chore per evening that she would normally do. Make sure she gets the rest she needs as well as plenty of fluids.
On this Mother’s Day, before you enjoy your homemade burnt bacon and then get up to open your gifts of macaroni necklaces and plaster hand prints, which you truly will cherish as long as they last, please remember the good you do. We know that you are hard on yourself much of the time while you try to get your little ones to eat a full, healthy diet. You sit and wonder if you are being too strict as your five year old has a melt down in time out.
We are here to remind your that you are great just by filling the role of mother fully and to the best of your ability. There are things that you can do that no one else can for your child.
I really hate bra shopping.
Actually, I hate clothes shopping in general. A size large in one brand fits like a medium in another brand and I won’t even talk about what gigantic size I am in junior’s department clothing. Mostly, it’s a huge pain and bra shopping is even worse. Some bras have underwire, some are cut high, some low, some stretch and some don’t, sometimes you want a mix of casual and fancy bras for different occasions and sometimes even if you get measured for your correct size, some brands will just fit weird on you.
And then you get pregnant.
Your hormones don’t care whether you’ve decided to breastfeed or formula feed. Your pregnant body simply starts producing hormones which tell your stomach to start aching, your nose to suddenly hate the smell of orange juice and pork, and your breasts to start preparing for nursing a baby. It doesn’t matter that it will be about three-quarters of a year before you actually have a baby in your arms to nurse, your body just hops on that preparation ASAP. Thus, even if you have decided to formula feed your child, you will likely need to shop around for new bras at some point during your pregnancy.
Nursing bras come in a huge variety of styles and colors, just to make your life THAT much harder.
I started my parenting life as a disposable diaper gal. It was fast. It was easy to dispose of. They were easier for babysitters to work with. I got many well meaning comments. Did I know how many chemicals were in disposable diapers? Didn’t I know that they could cause cancer? Disposable diapers aren’t Earth friendly.
Later I switched to cloth diapers for the sake of my poor little guy’s rump. I thought for sure that the comments would end. No such luck. Didn’t I know that cloth diapers didn’t absorb as much and they would make my child uncomfortable? Diaper pails were unsanitary. I should just invest in some rash cream. I was going overboard.
I have often been forced to see both sides of a Mommy War concern due to the changing needs of my children. Here is what I have learned.
We understand that Mother’s Day is not really a time off for many mothers. There is breakfast in bed that was wonderful, but the kitchen was left a mess, there are sick children, and/or the kids need help getting ready for church services. There is someone who knows how you feel. Your own mom. Chances are she has been where you are on Mother’s Day smiling because her family cares while keeping their caring from going nuclear. It’s a bond that you now share. Here are a few ways to show her that you appreciate what she did for you, what you are now doing for your own children.
More Than A Phone Call
It’s important to call our moms on the day that celebrates them taking care of us, but go the extra mile to show that your mom wasn’t just an after thought. She may be far away. You may not be able to take her out to brunch or go get your nails done together. That doesn’t let you off the hook to show her that she is special. Take the time to buy or create a greeting card for your mother and mail it so that it will arrive in time for Mother’s Day. There could be a gift sent in the mail with it. Let her know that now you’re all grown up you think more of her than a quick scramble to the phone Sunday morning.
Use Your Kids
Grandchildren hold a special place in the hearts of their grandmothers. If mom lives far away, make her day special with a scheduled Skype call. Don’t plan it too close to bedtime or nap time. Make sure your children understand that grandma is your mommy and it’s her special day too. After all, they wouldn’t have a mommy without grandma. Send pictures. Be sure to pick pictures where your kids are playing with something granny has sent them or wearing an outfit she had picked out for them. This tells her her gifts are not only appreciated, they are special and used.