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Monday, April 11, 2011

Potty Learning ( The Mom: Informed Style)

     At the request of a friend, this post is on potty learning. Yes, learning, not training. You aren't training your child to poop on command, but, rather teaching them to understand the feeling of when they need to potty and how to control their muscles in order to make it to the potty.

     First things first, is your child even ready to learn how to use the potty? It has more to do with ability and willingness than age.

       Lets go over the potty readiness checklist:            

Can your child communicate effectively with words? Can they let you know that they have to go if need be?
(Keep in mind that in the early stages, your child will NOT tell you of their need. The ability just helps)

Can your child pull his/her pants up and down on their own?
(again, they won't, but, the ability helps)

Can your child walk well?

Is your child scared of the potty? Are they willing to sit and try?
(They NEED to not be scared and willing to sit)

Does your child wake up dry from their naps everyday?
(2 hour minimum dry time)

If your child passed this checklist, congratulations, you are ready to begin the process of potty learning.

I would suggest that before you begin, you set out several days in a row that will be uninterrupted. You let your child know beforehand that you will begin learning to use the potty the next day. At this time, go to the store and let your child pick out many pairs of underwear. The next morning, get your child up and remind them that today is the day. Tell them that it is time to go try to use the potty. After they have sat and tried for no more than 5 minutes, get them up and put them in underwear and explain that they can't pee or poop in them. Explain that they have to come use the potty. Take your child to try every 15 minutes regardless of whether or not they have an accident in between. Do this until it becomes more of a habit. Always say, "Lets go try to potty." before you take them. When they have that down solid with no accidents and are almost to the point of taking themselves...up the time between trips to 30 minutes. Repeat all of the above steps again until they have it down. Then, you can up the time again. Keep upping it by 15 minutes until your child goes alone without your help and has no accidents. Be sure to praise and clap and give plenty of accolades for successes. After about 3 or 4 days, your child should have had an "Ah-Ha" moment that triggers understanding of the function of pottying and how to feel it and realize the need to go. I have seen this method work time and time again. It works based on the consistent uninterrupted time taken to allow the child to learn it without relying on them to understand immediately. There will be many accidents for at least the first day. I also suggest plastic sheets and nighttime learning at the same time. Not every 15 minutes, but, no liquids after 6 or 7. And get them up at least once to potty at night. The key is to make pottying a habit first, then build on that.

Try this out consistently for 4 days at least and let me know how it works for you. You cannot deviate from the learning for the first few days. Do NOT use pull-ups or diapers. Set a timer if you have to. Make sure everyone in the house is on board.

Even a stubborn kid will decide to go if they are being made to sit every 15 minutes. 

I'm not pregnant, I'm passionate!!

            For everyone that is curious to know if I am pregnant, this is for you!!
I AM NOT!!!!:)
     Babies are my passion. From conception through toddler-hood, they have my heart. My second passion is educating young girls and women on everything from fertility to childbirth to breastfeeding to discipline and everything in between for their children. I wish everyone loved researching choices and information as much as I do. And because I know they don't and some don't even realize they can and should research or that they have a choice, I take it upon myself to do the footwork for them.

     Let me explain for those of you that don't know or are confused. I have a Facebook page and a blog, both called The Mom: Informed. On both of these, I spend my time posting links and writings with information, medical research, personal stories, news articles and more about everything from fertility to children up to school age. I do this so that mom's-to-be and new parents know the latest in research and know there are options for EVERYTHING. So, they have confidence in their choices and know that they even have choices in everything.

     I see so many new moms that do things or have things done to them, not because they researched and chose that as their best fitting option, but, because they had no clue there were MANY options to chose from. They were told that was it and they followed along. For instance, some parents have their son circumcised ONLY because they thought they didn't have a choice. NOT because they researched it to be their best option. Some women give formula ONLY because they thought they HAD to. Some women induce their labor or schedule a c-section ONLY because they doctor wanted to, with NO real medical indication. I HAVE seen this personally.  MOST women don't even know that they CAN go to 43+ weeks and deliver a perfectly healthy child. MOST women don't know that the diagnoses of having a "too small" pelvis is OFTEN wrong. Actual CPD (cephalopelvic Disproportion) is SUPER rare. And chances don't have that issue unless you were in a car accident that fractured your pelvis or you have some rare congenital deformity. Another misdiagnoses is that of "not making enough milk"...that is also a rare occurrence and is almost always from lack of nursing education and knowledge of how it all works.  Only about 2% of women CAN'T. Yep, and chances are, that doesn't include you. Which is a good thing. So, when doctor says, "baby needs to have a bottle of formula." if you comply, you just told your body that it doesn't need to make as much milk. The more baby is put to breast, the better. Did you know that you don't even HAVE to have you child vaccinated? Or that you can wait until they are 1 before you start? Do you know why this is ok or done? Babies don't HAVE to have purees or eat food at 4 months, they don't ever have to eat rice cereal, they don't even ever have to eat "baby" food.

     So with that, I would LOVE to encourage ALL of you to come join my page and read my blog. Do you research, read everything. Make and INFORMED choice and don't let anyone else do your deciding for you. Is my Facebook page...please join us there. The blog link.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Babies deal with stress naturally.

     Stress. I have it, you have it and chances are even your kids feel it. To deal with stress, most people self-soothe and learn a coping mechanism. Some people smoke, some people run, others takes medicine. I notice that I have quite a few soother habits, I bounce my leg or twirl my hair or chew the inside of my cheek.

    Some Autistic folks develop quite the arsenal of self soothing exercises...some spin to center themselves, some flap their arms, some repeat words, numbers or phrases. People with OCD have their own unique quips for dealing as well.

     Babies and toddlers have ways to deal with stress themselves...crying, sucking, nursing, sleeping. Babies who nurse get their non-nutritive sucking needs met by suckling the breast. That's how they seem to best get their stress dealt with. Bottle fed babies sometimes go for thumb or pacifier sucking to meet that need. Other kids hold blankets or dolls.

     The point of this post is to get you to look at pacifying and thumb-sucking and non-nutritive nursing in a new light. It isn't something for lazy mom's to use. It isn't something kids use as manipulation. It starts out as a reflex, that is found to be quite soothing and stress relieving. Most kids stop using a pacifier between 2 and 4 all on their own. Most kids stop sucking their thumb between 4 and 6 all on their own. A great medical postings on non-nutritive sucking and why it's normal and ok. HERE  and HERE .  Did you know that thumb-sucking and pacifier sucking releases endorphins(the feel good hormone). Yeah, that's why it is an excellent tool for babies to cope with stress. Sucking starts out as a reflex that develops into a tool.

     So, before you dismiss baby's need outside of food or even your toddlers need, remember. It is a not a bad thing. It is healthy and natural. And for the most part...most kids give them up on their own when they are old enough to understand and deal with stress in a better manner.


Friday, April 8, 2011

My advocating is NOT a targeted bash on you!

     I am a LACTIVIST. I am a breastfeeding "Nazi" to some. I am a passionate advocate for breastfeeding.  

I also breastfed my son for ONLY one month.

Why am I telling you this? Well, because every time I make a comment, share on page or make a blog post about breastfeeding, how it is better, natural, standard and wonderful...every time I say that formula is sub par, is artificial and full of not so healthy things, is no where near as good as breastmilk....every time I give handy helpful hints for breastfeeding in hopes someone will benefit, I get met with defensive attitudes. I get to hear how formula is a lifesaver when someone can't nurse, how not everyone can breastfeed, how breastfeeding is pushed so hard on everyone. 

Well, you know what? I UNDERSTAND that. I NEVER want to make another mom feel bad because she couldn't breastfeed or had to use formula. The reason I post these things is to encourage those that have NEVER seen another mom nurse to perhaps decide to try with their new one. I want mom's that are trying to NEVER have to know, if only I had known that, I wouldn't have quit. I want mom's who are struggling to maybe see these things and realize what they may be doing wrong and be able to correct it and make it a wonderful experience instead of a struggle. I want the world to view breastfeeding as what it is, THE way to feed a baby. Now, does that mean if you couldn't do that you should be judged or berated..NO, NOT AT ALL...And that has NEVER been my purpose. I am passionate about educating others because I wasn't educated on it. I had no clue what to do or how to do it. I NEVER want to see another mom like me. One who stops only because she was clueless. It's one thing to stop because you can't or because you decide it isn't for you. It's another to stop based solely on lack of information. I already feel guilty because I quit, I CANNOT have it on my shoulders the additional guilt of knowing that I could have potentially made a difference for another mom and chose not to just to not offend formula feeding moms. 

Please, if you are a nursing mom, advocate and educate. If you are a formula mom, understand and allow me to offset my guilt by teaching others. Don't berate me because I chose this outlet. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What Baby Led Solids IS and ISN'T

   I noticed people talking lately about Baby Led Solids/Weaning. And can't help but to notice that some people are kind of confused or maybe misinterpreting the philosophy behind the process. Baby Led Solids/Weaning is exactly as it is called...BABY LED.  Now, if you are spoon feeding purees to your baby..that is NOT Baby Led. Here are the basic guidelines straight from Gill Rapley:

     Here is another post on BLW...

     The idea behind BLW is that you don't use purees and that BABY controls what and how much goes into it's mouth. Never you. Breastfeeding is primary and first and foremost nutrition until after one. And is exclusive until after 6 months at the very least. Solids are just that, solids. They are given in chunks that are soft enough to eat, but, still able to be picked up by little hands. The child chooses whether to eat or not and how much it wants to eat.

     I also have noticed that people are confused by the name "weaning". In the US, weaning typically means stopping nursing or formula or bottle. In other parts of the world, like the UK, weaning means onto solids as a supplement to BM or formula. In the case of BLW, it is meant as onto solids.

     Some of the best foods to start of with in BLW are Avocados, Bananas and Baked Sweet Potatoes. Healthy and easy to chunk up for little ones.  And Avocados and Bananas make excellent travel foods as they both come in travel containers provided by nature and are easy to feed.

This video CLEARLY personifies BLW. In it, the child does choke/gag a little and quickly spits it out as she realizes she can't handle it.


Here is another well done video explaining the concept.

     Just wanted to explain the whole thing as I was seeing MANY that weren't quite "getting" it. I really like BLW...because it starts only after very clear indication that your child is physically ready for solids. The whole laying back and sucking liquid food off of a spoon just doesn't sit right with me. This to me is the way it should be. I would also like to add...this is based on MY opinion. Although I know a lot of you also share it with me. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Apparently, following directions is a hard skill to learn

ETA: Bumbo seats just got recalled because parents FAILED to comprehend and/or follow the directions of DO NOT PUT YOUR KID IN THE SEAT ON AN ELEVATED SURFACE AND STOP PAYING ATTENTION.
     Following Directions. This is a concept we all should have learned in Kindergarten. However, after seeing recall upon recall upon recall...I see that it is a concept lost on most of society.

     Today there was a recall of The Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper Baby was recalled because parents don't hook the liner into it properly. Let me repeat that. RECALLED. Because the parent's FAILED to put the liner into it properly. Uh, let me get this straight...nothing is wrong with the co-sleeper? It's the parents that can't be bothered to read the instructions or follow them? It isn't that hard to put together. Seriously.

     There was also a recall of the Graco Quattro was recalled because parents FAILED to strap their kids in properly and then failed to notice them sliding out and hanging there. I have to ask...why would you not strap your kid in? How would you not notice them sliding nearly out and strangling? I am NOT a helicopter parent and yet, I would peek in on my child in a stroller enough times so as to avoid them sliding out and dangling.

     Then, the Nap Nanny recall...why? Because people either walked off and left the baby in it, in the crib long enough that the baby leaned forward and fell to the side becoming entrapped long enough to suffocate. If you look at the Nap Nanny, it has a label on it and instructions that clearly states, "DO NOT LEAVE BABY UNATTENDED" "PLACE BABY ON FLAT SURFACE, NOT IN A BED AND NOT ON A TABLE". Hello? How can you miss all of that?

     There are also countless deaths from improperly installed car seats. Car seats that are clearly labelled and come with a booklet of clear instructions and pictures. Not to mention you can go to car seat safety checkpoint installations.

Seriously folks, it isn't that hard to follow instructions. If you cannot follow them, get someone who can to help you. And for goodness sakes, to recall something ONLY because people don't bother and expect the company to pay because of their mistakes. Wow, that says so much about society.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wear Your Baby's Hiney Out!

     No, not like that...LOL Like this:

Yes, wearing your baby can be an essential asset for a new mom. Baby is close, feels secure and mom can have her arms free to eat or even brush her hair.

     When babies are born, they have a "C" shaped spine and a round head. Time spent laying flat on their backs in cribs, bassinets, car seats, swings, name it, put undue pressure on delicate hip joints and can sometimes lead to flattening of baby's skull. And in these times of  the "Back to Sleep" campaign and portable baby car seat that will go from house to car to stroller to shopping cart, baby spends loads of time on it's back.

     However, you can help lessen that amount of time by wearing your baby at home and out. You can get stuff done at home while baby is in a carrier either on your front or back. You can wear baby through the grocery store or mall. It will also keep baby close, calm and easy to nurse.

I do NOT recommend a Baby Bjorn or any of the "Crotch Dangler" carriers, they too put stress on the baby's hips and spine.

These are some great carriers to try out:

Moby Wrap:


ONLY the Mei Tai and Ergo can be used on the back.  And ALL of them are ok for baby's hips and back.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Breastfeeding is NOT a private bonding experience

     Breastfeeding is NOT a private bonding experience. Breastfeeding is NOT best. Breastfeeding is NOT ugly. Breastfeeding is NOT sexual. Breastfeeding is NOT any other adjective you can throw at it..except for one.

     Breastfeeding IS feeding a baby

     That's it...nothing more, nothing less. It is the biological norm for feeding a child. It is not something to hide, be ashamed of, commit in dark closed off rooms or done solely in private. 

     In fact, I don't even think of it as a superior bonding time at all. Is it bonding? Yes. Is it any different bonding than when I rock my child to sleep, read to them, bathe them, feed them food, sing to them, dress them, play with them? Nope. Not at all. 

     So, why is it that folks automatically associate breastfeeding with "private bonding"? Feeding my child has never been "private bonding". Bottle, breast or solids. Not private bonding. I realize that because there is a breast involved that automatically deems it wrong, gross, private and anything other than feeding a child. Which, IMO is just ridiculous. Just because society "thinks" that something is a certain way doesn't mean we ALL have to think that way also. This breastfeeding is only done in private business has got to stop.

     Now having said all of that... Can breastfeeding be done in private if that is what MOM truly wants? YES!! Can breastfeeding be a private bonding experience? YES!!! Is it ok if MOM wants to only breastfeed in private and use bottles while out? YES!!! And that is my point: If YOU as a mom chooses it to be that way, then I am ALL for you and in your corner come what may. But if you as a mom feel pressured and bullied into this by naysayers, I would hope that you can stand up to them and feel good about what you are doing and do it in spite of them knowing that you have people backing you up.  I get so tired of people trying to tell us how WE should feel about breastfeeding. Telling us that WE should feel ashamed, hidden or private. Why, must WE feel like that when we are only feeding our child in the manner WE chose?  Just because it comes through a different receptacle than another mom chooses doesn't make it wrong or less or private. Only different. No different than if we chose a pink bottle or a green one.