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    Ten Things To Do While Breastfeeding





    Breastfeeding is the perfect opportunity for true multitasking! Here are ten things you can easily do at the same time as you are nursing your baby:

     

    1) Read. This is always my favorite thing to do while nursing! With my first baby, I finished many books in our marathon nursing sessions from the rocking chair. Clever pillow arrangement allows your hands to be free, or if you need a hand to support baby or your breast, you can get a book holder.  Set up a little table right next to your rocking chair, set the book in, and you only need one hand to turn the page! You can also read in the side-lying nursing position – just prop the book on a pillow, behind baby, and you’re golden. I don’t think I’ve read as voraciously as I did those first couple of months; I used to hope my daughter would KEEP nursing a little longer so I could finish my chapter! :)  

     

    2) Sleep. Make sure your bed is baby-safe, and get yourself & baby comfortable in the side-lying nursing position. The hormones released during breastfeeding are naturally relaxing and sleep-inducing. What better way to catch up on much-needed rest than while nurturing your little one?  Behind reading, this was definitely my favorite thing to do while nursing.  If you can get older siblings to nap at the same time, fantastic!  I found the best way to do this was to side-lie nurse, and have my then 2-year old cuddle up against my back.  She could reach over & snuggle me, and her movements (if she wasn’t sleeping) didn’t disturb baby.

     

    3) Play Poker. Yes, I have breastfed my newborn at the poker table! Really, with the right pillow or sling, you can nurse anywhere, doing pretty much anything. I’ve nursed while playing board games with friends, and I don’t think anyone knew the difference – not even my little one.  He was just happy to be with Mommy.

     

    4) Get on the Computer.  Just bring a comfy pillow to put below baby for support, latch baby on, and voila – both hands free to surf the web, work, or blog. The first few months of both of my childrens’ lives, when I was working from home, I did a lot of my computer work with a nursing (or sleeping) baby on my lap. With the dawn of smart phones, getting out on the internet while nursing is simple – you can do it anywhere – one handed!

     

    4) Have a Snack or Drink. I’ve always felt it is so important to have a drink of water with me while breastfeeding – I even kept a bottle in my bed, behind my pillow, for those nights when baby was asleep on me, and I’d wake up thirsty, but didn’t want to move (and wake baby!).  In the early days, a healthy snack (or snackS for those extra-long nursing sessons) next to my favorite chair was just what I needed to keep me energized.  Fresh fruit, whole grains, veggies are always the best choice. Try oatmeal – tastes great, is nutrient-dense, and helps boost supply!

     

    5) Cuddle Baby’s Siblings. If you have older children, nursing presents a unique opportunity for cuddling ALL your babies! There’s always an extra arm (or hand or leg or foot) available for snuggling up to while Mom is nursing.  You can read to older siblings.  Or play simple games – like Go Fish, or Memory. Or watch a movie together. My oldest used to pat her brother on the head while he was nursing and we were reading together. I know this quiet time helped their bond – they are still so close!

     

    6) Eat at a Restaurant. Breastfeeding has never kept me home. When we wanted to go out to eat, I’d just grab my sling, and hit the road.  In a restaurant, you can arrange baby in your sling, latch her on, scoot into the table, and hands are free for your fork & knife! If you don’t have a sling, you can support baby with one hand (or use your diaper bag on your lap like a Boppy pillow).  If I was ever feeling self-conscious, I always found a cloth napkin tucked & draped at just the right angle to be a perfect solution!

     

    7) Attend a La Leche Meeting. If you’ve never been to a LLL meeting, I strongly suggest you try it – at least once! I was nervous to go at first, having heard some strange things over the years about LLL.  But once I went, I was so very glad I did! Being able to breastfeed around other women who are all breastfeeding, all going through the same things, having the same worries, and the same questions as I did, was so comforting, and empowering! It also helped me to learn to be more comfortable with nursing in public. You can find a local group by visiting La Leche League’s site:

     

    8) Go Shopping. Once I learned to nurse on the go – in the sling, life became so easy! You can place a fussy baby in the sling, latch her on, and continue down your grocery shopping list, without having to stop to find a place to sit (and keep toddler occupied at the same time).  There’s always online shopping too! :)

     

    9) Write, Paint, Draw. Get those thank you cards finished! Channel your creative energy! Breastfeeding is a perfect time to do those one-handed tasks that may not otherwise get finished in the whirlwind of new parenthood. Take advantage of the quiet downtime, and keep your hands & mind busy!

     

    10) Gaze at Your Baby. Particularly in the early months, when baby nurses quietly, without too much motion or distraction, gazing lovingly at baby increases the bond you have with baby.  Gentle touches, stroking her hair, talking or singing softly, are all wonderful ways to get to know your baby better… all the while reveling in the miracle of her being and your breastfeeding – you’re the reason your baby is here, and you are the reason she’s growing! Yay mama!

     

    Posted: Sep 12 2010, 12:30 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Babies | Breastfeeding

    Sparkly Shoe Saga





    I took my daughter to buy new sneakers the other day. Her old ones were getting a bit small, and seriously ratty. When we arrived at our favorite shoe store, there were scores of cute, functional sneakers for kids. Now, in her size, most of the sneakers are no longer unisex – which stinks for the hand-me-down to brother option. Yet, with the way she uses her sneakers these days, they’re usually done by the time she’s done with them, so I was prepared to be buying a one-time-use pair of kid's shoes. So, we're there, browsing the cute sneakers when suddenly… there were these:

    They’re called Lelli Kelly’s. Cute name, admittedly. She gravitated to them almost immediately. Because, hey, who wouldn’t get pulled in by super sparkly flowery shoes? So, she says to me (keeping in mind, she’s not yet 6), "I want these shoes. And they come with lipstick." (what?) Curious, I check the price. $80. Eighty. Dollars. For kids shoes – which aren’t really sneakers. They are heavy – thick-soled, like doc martens – and encrusted with jewels.  In otherwords – definitely not machine washable. Oh, and yes, they did indeed come with a sparkly mini-purse with makeup. So, I say, “Wow those sure are pretty, but not really practical for the price. Plus, they aren’t really sneakers, and we ARE here for sneakers you can wear on the playground.” She thinks on that a bit, then says, “But Mom, I really want these. If you get them for me NOW, I won’t ask for any shoes for the rest of the YEAR.” Good barganining, but wow, seriously? “No babe we’re not getting those shoes, they’ll only fit for a few months, then we have to get new ones, and your brother can’t wear these in the future.” Sigh. I gently guided her in the direction of the sneakers, and she settled on a pair – still pink & cute, but lightwieght, practical, machine washable... her choice, yet, I saw her looking over towards the sparkly shoes as we left.

    Now, I hate disappointing my children, and I’m all for individuality and personal choice. But it really bothered me that little girls shoes came with a mini purse of make up. I didn't like the message that was sending. Also; eighty dollars – really? These two things were troubling to me.  And yet, part of me loved the shoes too. They were just so sparkly. Original. Cool. Like my daughter.  I disliked the idea of influencing my daughter's opinion, or quashing her sense of style almost as little as I liked the make up. I like to believe I would have been willing to honor her choice had it been more sensible. But is that fair? I'm an artist, afterall. I appreciate, and applaud beauty.  I actually LIKED the idea that she was drawn towards the prettiest shoes in the place. Is practicality the right message to send?

    So. So I mulled it over that evening.  The next day, we talked about it:  the coolness of the shoes, why she liked them, and why I didn't like them, and together, we came up with a plan. We’d take a pair of her current shoes – white, a bit tattered, but still fitting, and make them fancy! Here’s what we did. We went to a craft shop and she picked out a fabric dye, and several stick-on gems. Grand total, we spent less than $8, and had a fabulous afternoon of fun. She decorated them completely on her own – and I think they came out really well; a successful compromise that satisfied my desire for practicality and her hankering for style and individuality! What do you think?


    Old shoes before 


    Stirring the fabric dye


    After the dye process - looking better already! 


    Applying the jewels


    Little Bro getting in on the fun


    Done!

    Posted: Sep 09 2010, 14:16 by kelly | Comments (7) RSS comment feed |
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    Filed under: Children

    Car Trip Fun





    Traveling by car with children can be fun. Of course, it can also be boring for kids… which can in turn be frustrating or even dangerous for parents who are trying to focus on the road.
    We just recently returned from a 6-hour (each way) road trip with four adults and two children. Here are 10 ideas which have worked to help keep my children occupied and my husband and I sane (and safe while driving!):
    #1 – Wikki Stix! These things are the best $5 I’ve ever spent on a car trip. Similar to pipe cleaners in the awesomeness of range of motion and creativity – they are even more awesomely lacking in the one thing that makes pipe cleaners less-than-perfect: the sharp pointy eye-poking metal end pieces! Kids can make sculptures, wrap things up, and just play freely. They seem to be pretty much endlessly reusable as well. Creative play, no trash, no clean up… what could be better? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing.
    #2 – Paper & a Pen. Quizzes, mazes, games, writing, drawing, folding, ripping… not sure much can beat the old paper & a pen for variety. But how to use them while confined to the carseat? Daddy came up with a great idea! Buy 2 clip boards, clip a note pad to each, then apply Velcro to the top of a pen (and secure with a zip-tie), and the other side of the Velcro to the top of the clip board and… voila! Instant flat drawing space, easy to pass around the car, & no lost pen. If you have younger kids (mine are 3 & just about 6), you can do the same with a crayon or washable marker.
    #3 – Silly Bandz. Okay, okay. I even wrote a post about these. But really, on a car trip, they can be the best. Not only are they lightweight, and conveniently small, they can be wrapped efficiently and decoratively around things other than wrists – thing like: trucks, shoes, and dinosaurs. Busy hands are happy hands, I say!
    #4 – Books. (Books, and more books!) Books with flaps, with stickers, with activities. I Spy books are fantastic, come in differing levels, and even my 3 year old can do them without assistance. The old standby Where’s Waldo is always popular. There are maze books, math books, word game books (like word find or fill in the missing letter or rearrange the letters to form words), dot-to-dot books, and of course good old coloring books! And, for the independent reader, a few brand-new stories or books makes a fun treat.
    Posted: Sep 01 2010, 23:59 by kelly | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |
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