Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Gentle Parent Review Plus a Giveaway


          I am really excited to finally be reviewing the newest book in L.R. Knost's series of gentle parenting handbooks, The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, and Effective Discipline. Being new to gentle parenting myself and having two toddlers at home, this was just the book I was waiting for! From day one, I tried to always be sensitive to my babies' needs through breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, baby wearing and responding to my babies' cries when they needed me. However, they are almost 3 (this month!) and one and a half now, their needs and behaviors have changed a lot since those early days. I am blessed with two very spirited boys and have found myself looking for gentler ways to guide and teach them. I am far from perfect and have a LONG way to go on my parenting journey, starting with learning to deal with my own emotions and not yelling. Written in L.R. Knost's easy to understand and straight to the point style, this book has come at the perfect time for me!

          This book is unique in that it covers discipline from birth through the teen years. It is awesome to have such a comprehensive research available. It consists of short, easy to read chapters, which is perfect for busy parents like myself. My boys keep me so busy I barely have time to read these days but books like these are super important for me to read. It has definitely given me a new perspective on quite a few things as well as added some new resources to my bag of tricks (which has been pretty limited so far). For example, I never considered the fact that my boys may be learning not to listen to me right away from my always being busy and asking them to wait or not hearing what they say when they talk to me. I have definitely been guilty of being on my phone and not paying attention yet I expect their immediate attention when they are playing and I talk to them. As L.R. says in the book, communication is a two way street beginning and ending with us, the parents. That is just one of the many insights I have gained from this book. If you are looking for a book to help you control your children or turn them into perfect angels that stay out of your way, this is not the book for you. However, this book is a must read for all parents looking for simple, gentle ways to discipline their children while continuing to build and strengthen their relationship. I, myself, can't wait to start implementing some of the new ideas I have learned from it and to see the fruit of my efforts to parent with love and respect.

         Now, without further ado, here is the lovely L.R. with a chapter by chapter synopsis of the book:

Introduction

Chapter 1  The Problem with Punishment offers insight on the punishment versus discipline debate.

A Gentle Beginning 

Chapter 2  Foundations: Setting the Stage for Discipline shares how our parenting choices in the first days and weeks and months of our children’s lives affect discipline in later stages.

Chapter 3  Castles in the Air: Building on Trust shows how laying a foundation of trust and building on it day by day, night by night, gentle response by gentle response creates the parent/child relationship essential to gentle discipline.

Chapter 4  Safe Surroundings shares simple ways to use baby proofing as visual boundaries to begin gentle limit-setting.

Chapter 5  Reasonable Expectations offers insight into normal child development and how our expectations affect our parenting.

Chapter 6  The Three C’s of Gentle Discipline presents the basic tools of gentle discipline and their components.

Toddler Time

Chapter 7  Sandbox Soapbox: Toddler Insights shares parenting insights from a toddler’s perscpective.

Chapter 8  Toddlers, Tantrums, and Time-In’s, Oh my! gives specific interventions and preventions for coping with and preventing tantrums.

Chapter 9  When Things Get Physical: Hitting, Kicking, Throwing, and Biting offers tools for working through the physical stage with toddlers and preschoolers.

Chapter 10  Testing the Boundaries shares insights and parenting techniques for guiding children through testing behaviors.

Chapter 11  Parenting in Public provides specific parenting tools for coping with behaviors in public places such as parks, shops, and restaurants.

Chapter 12  Crying Wolf: Don’t Be an Old Yeller! gives insight into the consequences of yelling at children.

Chapter 13  Toxic Parenting: Spanking, Shaming, Threatening, Manipulating contrasts peaceful, connected parenting with punitive, controlling parenting and their outcomes.

Chapter 14  All the ‘Right’ Parenting Moves gives insight into the basic truth that we are imperfect humans raising imperfect humans in an imperfect world and therefore no parenting will produce perfection.

A Preschooler with a Plan

Chapter 15  Hurting Parents, Hurting Children shares ways parents can heal from their emotional baggage instead of passing that baggage along to the next generation.

Chapter 16  The Gift of a Strong-Willed Child offers parents with the tools to help children gifted with a rich and vibrant spirit blossom while still providing them with guidance and limits.

Chapter 17  You’re Not the Boss of Me redefines defiance to give parents a new perspective and offers insights to help parents work through the more challenging behaviors of childhood.

Chapter 18  A Place for Me shares the value of children having a small space of their own to escape from the stresses and sensory overload that can often spark behavioral issues.

Chapter 19  When Children Act Out: Reflecting Our Emotions provides insight into the often unexpected outbursts that signal a child’s need for help in coping with family issues.

Chapter 20  For Everything There is a Season encourages parents to slow down and recognize the basic truth that children are not small adults and to appreciate the beauty of childhood through the eyes of their children.

Middle Childhood: Becoming Their Own Person

Chapter 21  Thoughtful Cooperation vs. Thoughtless Compliance offers tools for equipping children with inner guidance systems rather than external controls.

Chapter 22  The Butterfly Effect shares intentional shifts we can make in our parenting choices to change the trajectory of our children’s future.

Chapter 23  The Color of Change provides step-by-step changes parents can make to move from a punitive, control-based parenting style to connected, communication-based parenting.

Chapter 24  Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Parenting a ‘Problem’ Child offers insight into the world of the sensitive child and offers parents the tools to guide and support their sensory-gifted children gently and successfully.

Chapter 25  Raising Problem Solvers shares strategies to help parents provide their children with effective problem-solving tools to take into the future.

Gentle Parenting: Teens and Beyond

Chapter 26  Children of Violence gives a glimpse into a real-world scenario that children experience every day and offers insight into the root of violence and bullying in our society.

Chapter 27  The Discipline of Choice examines the life lessons learned through a teen’s their own choices and the value of unconditional support from a connected parent.

Chapter 28  Helping Hurting Teens compares and contrasts the results of punitive, control-based parenting on adolescents and offers parents alternatives to punishments.

Chapter 29  Twelve Life Lessons for Daughters and Chapter 30  Twelve Life Lessons for Sons reach out and touch parents’ hearts to reawaken their memories of their own adolescent struggles and esteem issues to help them connect with where their teens are so that they can more empathetically and effectively guide them through the often turbulent adolescent years.

Appendix A

Five Gentle Tools for Handling Lying shares a practical and gentle approach to lying.

Appendix B

Backtalk is Communication – LISTEN tackles the startling truth that when children talk back they are actually communicating.

Appendix C

Twelve Steps to Gentle Parenting: Setting Yourself Up for Success offers a twelve month, step-by-step approach to work toward a more gentle style of parenting.

This post is part of the Virtual Book Tour for the launch of L.R.Knost's newest release The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline. Click here if you’d like to check out all of the other stops on the tour! 

About the Author:

Best-selling parenting and children’s book author and mother of six, L.R.Knost, is an independent child development researcher and founder and director of the advocacy and consulting group, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources. Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages and Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood are the first in her Little Hearts Handbooks series of parenting guides. The newest book in the series, The Gentle Parent: Positive, Practical, Effective Discipline was just released on November 1, 2013. Other works by this award-winning author include the children's picture books Petey’s Listening Ears, and the soon-to-be-released Grumpykins series for ages 2 to 6, which are humorous and engaging tools for parents, teachers, and caregivers to use in implementing gentle parenting techniques in their homes and schools.


Here is the book trailer:


Buy the book:

          You may purchase the book on Amazon here. The paperback is only $8.09 and the Kindle version is $3.99, making the book super affordable for parents, just as all of L.R. Knost's books.

A special bonus:

         L.R. Knost will be publishing a series of gentle parenting workshops which will be short and will each cover a specific subject. The workshops will normally be $.99 but on November 10th, the last day of The Gentle Parent book tour, you will be able to download the first workshop in the series, "Getting Started on Your Gentle Journey" for free on Amazon by clicking here so make sure to check back then and get your free copy!

A Giveaway:

L.R. has been kind enough to offer my readers a chance to win a copy of her previous book, "Whispers Through Time: Communication Through The Ages and Stages", which I reviewed here. Giveaway ends Friday, November 8th, 2013. winner will be announced here and on the Diary of a Natural Mom Facebook page once the contest is over. Please see Rafflecopter form below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 9, 2013

Breastfeeding and Essential Oils

         About a year ago, I was introduced to the many benefits of essential oils. I had heard very little about them and was using some lavender from the health food store for mood enhancement, relaxation, and well, because I loved the scent. Besides knowing some of the properties of lavender and tea tree oils, I didn't know much else about them until my friend, Carmen, introduced me to doTerra's Certified Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. The quality and purity of these oils is amazing. I have learned a lot since and am now using oils for all kinds of stuff. I have successfully treated a UTI and was able to get rid of a bump on my toddler's head less than an hour after applying the oils! I am now a true believer and recommend these oils to everyone! Today, I have a guest post from Kristy on how these oils can help with breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding and Essential Oils

          The best food you can give your baby is breast milk.  Nothing will keep your baby happier and healthier than breastfeeding. Healthy milk starts with a healthy body, fed whole foods packed with nutrition.Taking a good quality probiotic, whole food vitamins & omega fatty acids will help create the richest, healthiest milk you can make. During times your little one may require more milk, Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils will be crucial. A CPTG essential oil has been through a rigorous six step testing process and 3rd party verified for purity and potency.  The oil has been sourced from plants grown in their indigenous lands, contains no fillers, additives or synthetic bi-products. These oils are safe for aromatic, topical and even internal use. 

         Sometimes babies will go through growth spurts, nurse-ins and teething episodes that will leave them insatiable and you might find your supply struggling to keep up.  Using doTERRA’s CPTG Basil, Clary Sage, Geranium or Fennel essential oil will help you achieve higher production during the times you need it most.  Apply 1-2 drops to the breast tissue, avoiding the nipple, three to four times daily.  There is no need to wash it off in between feedings.  You also may take these oils internally in a capsule, in a small amount of water, or under your tongue.  Supplementing with zinc has also been known to increase production.  Make sure your water intake is at least half your body weight in ounces daily.

         If engorgement or oversupply is impacting your ability to breastfeed or live life normally, CPTG Peppermint essential oil has been known to decrease supply.  This is different for everyone.  With some moms peppermint has no effect and for others just smelling it will decrease their supply.  Applying CPTG Peppermint oil to the breast tissue, avoiding the nipple, or taking it internally should alleviate some of the engorgement. 

          Dry or cracked nipples are common during the days following birth and the initiation of breastfeeding.  This is typically due to improper latch or ties of the lips and tongue.  Please speak with your pediatrician to address any lip or tongue tie issues and a Certified Lactation Consultant or Le Leche League leader to address a potential latch problem immediately.  Applying CPTG Myrrh, Geranium, Lavender, Roman Chamomile or Sandalwood to the affected area.  These oils can be applied diluted with a fatty carrier oil like coconut oil, or undiluted straight from the bottle.  There is no need to wash these oils off before breastfeeding your baby.

          Some women are more prone to infections and clogged ducts than others.  Many moms who tend to have clogged ducts are usually consuming dairy-based products such as milk and ice cream.  Try eliminating dairy from your diet to see a difference.  Massage the clogged duct gently towards the nipple area in a downward motion.  If you do not catch it in time, it can very quickly become a full-blown infection called mastitis.  I recommend taking 1000mg of vitamin C every one to two hours and massaging an antibiotic category essential oil into the infected area of the breast.  These oils include, but are not limited to Melaleuca, Oregano, Clove and Thyme.  I also recommend taking three to four drops of each of the above oils in a capsule every two hours until improvement is seen.  After that, four times a day should be sufficient to ward off lingering infection.

          More information can be found by visiting our website at www.EOEducation.com or by emailing info@eoeducation.com.  These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor.


About The Author:


Kristy Hauck of Tampa, Florida founded Essential Oils Education, LLC to help provide communities and families with science based research about the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of CPTG essential oils. After doTERRA changed her family’s life, she knew others would benefit from CPTG essential oils even more than she had.

Kristy moved to Clearwater, Florida from her native state of Colorado in 2007 for a corporate sales job. After getting married and having a beautiful baby boy in January of 2013, Kristy wanted more time with her family. She quit her corporate job to stay home and after some time at home, Kristy stumbled upon doTERRA. After careful investigation, she never looked back. Kristy has a Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Family Studies from Colorado State University and currently teaches most of EOE’s essential oil classes. She enjoys spending time with her family, swimming, yoga, kayaking and traveling.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mestina's Chic Boutique Supply and Demand Shirt Giveaway

Today marks the end of National Breastfeeding Month. It has been my pleasure to feature so many beautiful nursing stories and guest posts as well as so many fun giveaways and I hope you have enjoyed them. My goal was to post every day this month. I came close but didn't make it. However, I still have some other giveaways and special posts so I will continue posting them during the month of September, make sure to check in often so you don't miss out on the fun!

Melissa and her daughter wearing their shirts
at the Big Latch On
Tonight, we have a giveaway from Mestina's Chic Boutique, a small business owned by sisters, Christina Butler and Melissa Butler. They specialize in custom hair bows and hair flowers, tutus , and embroidered shirts. Christina lives in California and Melissa is in Florida. They hold craft shows and offer online sales at www.mestinaschicboutique.com . You can also find their items online at www.facebook.com/mestinaschicboutique. Breastfeeding is special to them both as they have been each others' support system. Christina breastfed her son for 13 months and Melissa has breastfed for 19 months thus far. Christina and Melissa have offered the chance for one of my readers to win a set of supply and demand shirts for mommy and child. Please see Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway ends Wednesday, September 4th, 2013.


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Thursday, August 29, 2013

“If I can just make it to 3 months of breastfeeding my baby, I’ll be happy…”

         We are just about coming to the conclusion of National Breastfeeding Month and I hope you have all enjoyed the giveaways and stories as much as I have. I still have a few more posts to put up that may spill over into next month so stayed tuned for more fun. Today, we have a guest post from Anna, who really loves nursing her almost two year old daughter.


“If I can just make it to 3 months of breastfeeding my baby, I’ll be happy…”

          My baby is turning 2 next month, and I am surprised, excited, and proud to say that I am still exclusively breastfeeding her! I honestly did not know much about breastfeeding before having my daughter and didn’t really care to know anything. I just knew two things: I wanted to try to breastfeed her until she was at least 3 months old, and I didn’t want to be one of those weirdos who breastfeeds their toddler! Who does that!?! Well, I do—that’s who!

         Breastfeeding is a challenge and can be very hard, and worse, people don’t talk about how hard it can be. I can remember standing in the shower day after day saying, “I can do this. I can make it to 3 months.” Those first couple months are hard. You’re getting used to the actual act of breastfeeding, you don’t sleep, your nipples bleed or crack, and you are on demand all the time! But I would lay on my couch and breastfeed her for hours on end and feel like I had the best life anyone could ask for. Breastfeeding made me happy, and I knew it made her happy and healthy too. The first time you look down and see your baby smiling at you while she is being nurtured is a high you never forget. After getting over this “hump,” I fell in love with breastfeeding. I was sold! To this day, I always tell people, “You just need to get over that hump and I promise that you will never look back.”

          Being able to breastfeed my daughter has been one of the greatest gifts that God ever gave me. It has contributed to an indissoluble bond between us that I believe will stay strong till the end of time. I promote breastfeeding not only for this bond and for the unbelievably amazing, natural nutrients, but because it makes you stop and enjoy your time with your child. There’s really no way to rush a breastfeeding session. You must pause, sit, and look down into your baby’s eyes. . . and smile. Then, as she got older, I also learned ways to multi-task while breastfeeding! At least 75% of my emails sent are with my daughter suckling away in my lap as I communicate with clients. Who knew this was possible! However, I still sit down several times a day with her in my lap and focus on her as she nurses. Just us, mother and daughter. It teaches me to slow down and enjoy the time I have with my baby.

          I am not a die-hard advocate of breastfeeding, nor do I think it’s always the best way to care for one’s baby. I am just a mom who has had an amazing time breastfeeding my daughter for the past 2 years and watching her grow bigger in my arms each month. People ask me when I plan to stop breastfeeding, but I don’t have an answer. When it feels right, when we are both ready to move on, then we will. Until then, I will continue to cherish these sweet moments I get to have with her, because, before I know it she will be in high school, and, no, I don’t plan to be breastfeeding her in high school. 

About the Author:  

Anna is a single mom who lives in Tampa and works full time from home for a process serving company. She has one daughter who will be two in September. She is passionate about fitness, boxing and keeping both herself and her daughter on a Paleo/Primal eating plan.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wean Me Gently

          As you all know, I am tandem nursing my 2.5 year old and 16 month old boys. I get the questions all the time, "You're STILL breastfeeding?", "You nurse BOTH of them?" "When do you plan to wean them?", "Why do you still nurse them?", "Don't they drink from a cup yet?", etc. The answers of course are, yes, I am still breastfeeding,yes, I nurse both of them, and yes, they both drink other liquids from cups. Nursing the both for this long has been hard work but well worth it. I nurse my boys for so many reasons. In so many ways it is good for them and for me as well. I plan to allow both of them to self wean when they are ready. Although I get overwhelmed at times and, sometimes, in a fit of desperation, tell my husband I feel like weaning them, I know what is best for them and fully intend to provide it. In reality, I don't want to wean them until they are ready and they are still so small, still my babies. The thought that one day they will no longer need me as much and will no longer nurse is bittersweet, Yes, I'll have more time for me, I won't be as overwhelmed and touched out, and my boys will be growing up and becoming independent, but, at the same time, it is sad to think that we will no longer have these sweet moments. I know our bond will outlast our nursing relationship and we will find new ways to connect, but, for now, I will cherish these sweet moments nursing my precious babies.

          I found this poem a while ago and, every single time I read it, it makes me tear up. It puts into words exactly how I feel when I think about our nursing relationships coming to an end. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Wean Me Gently
By Cathy Cardall

I know I look so big to you,

Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.

But no matter how big we get,

We still have needs that are important to us.

I know that our relationship is growing and changing,

But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,

Especially at the end of the day

When we snuggle up in bed.

Please don't get too busy for us to nurse.

I know you think I can be patient,

Or find something to take the place of a nursing -

A book, a glass of something,

But nothing can take your place when I need you.

Sometimes just cuddling with you,

Having you near me is enough.

I guess I am growing and becoming independent,

But please be there.

This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,

Please don't break it abruptly.

Wean me gently,

Because I am your mother,

And my heart is tender.

Nursing my boys at Busch Gardens
while waiting for the fireworks show

Thursday, August 22, 2013

CheekyChewy Nursing/Teething Necklace Giveaway


          Tonight we have another awesome giveaway from my friend Wilda, who owns the Esty shop, CheekyChewy. Wilda is an elementary school teacher and mother of two beautiful children, Isaac, 2, and Joanelly, 7 months. Wilda likes to craft and crochet in her spare time and started her Etsy shop to make some extra money while doing something she enjoys. She makes beautiful bows for little girls as well as nursing/teething necklaces made with all natural wooden, fabric, and crocheted beads. These necklaces are the perfect accessory for keeping your little one entertained while nursing or babywearing. Not only can they be used as teethers for your little one to chew on, but they also keep twiddling hands in check and keep little one from unlatching to look around while nursing. I can't wait to get my hands on one and, when she isn't so busy and we finally get together, I will definitely be buying one! For more information, or to buy, please visit Wilda's shop by clicking here. One lucky reader will one of Wilda's beautiful necklaces. Please see Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway ends Tuesday, August 27th, 2013.

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Kirstan's Nursing Journey

          Today, we have a guest post by Kirstan, who was unable to breastfeed her first baby but is happily still going strong with her second, who is almost one.


Kirstan's Nursing Journey

         I always knew I wanted to be a breastfeeding mother, the mother with no shame to feed her baby anytime, anywhere. Maybe it was the rebel in me, but I knew it would happen. What I didn't know was I'd be a mother so soon in my life and be pregnant by 16. Being a young mom, as many know, is hard. The world is hard enough without having a baby to take care of while still being a baby yourself. I failed, I didn't try hard enough to nurse and there were too many people in my ear who 'knew better'. Formula won.

          Fast forward 5 years and I found out I was pregnant again. I had another opportunity to breastfeed, I WAS GOING TO BREASTFEED! My 2nd son was born and it was my chance to make it all right, to be the mother I wanted to be! I never really had breastfeeding support, in fact, my in laws think it's gross. None of that mattered. He was a champ from the second he was put to my breast, perfect latch and all. IT WAS REAL. I was nervous and a million questions ran through my head,  "Can I do this?", "Am I capable?", "Is he getting enough?" Once my milk came in, I was  MISERABLE! My breasts were so engorged that my poor baby couldn't even latch. IT HURT! It got to the point where he couldn't eat and I was losing my sanity. My mom, who was there with me on a particularly bad day, rushed to the store and bought a nipple shield and I FINALLY HAD SOME RELIEF! He could get his belly full and I could get a break from the pain! We used the shield for about 3 weeks total because he seemed to have an easier time with it then with having to 'work to latch'. It was a pain, I hated that damn thing. What I tried to do was only use it every other feeding but, at times, he just was too lazy. Finally, one day, we just didn't need it. SWEET FREEDOM! We had reached our 1st month and it was all smooth sailing from there.


          I never really had a goal when thinking I was going to exclusively breastfeed. It was always "I'm going to follow his cues". If a month, or 3 months, or 6 months, I was not the leader in this journey. My body knows more than any textbook and it's just what has always felt right. We are coming up on a year now and, honestly, there is no way I could wean him at this point in our lives. I never knew how truly amazing this experience could be. It's been a very challenging and trying road, full of ups and downs. I think formula feeding  babies has its advantages, (with my first, I was able to have more freedom because he wasn't solely dependent on me for food) but I think that having a little less freedom is worth it for the bond we've created. I'm lucky enough to say that Phoenix has never had formula and never will. I am fortunate enough that I've been able to be with my babe for his entire first year and have never had to pump. I PRAISE THOSE WHO HAVE TO PUMP because it's hard and I honestly don't know if I could do it  full time. When I'm old and gray and my babies have grown into fathers themselves, I will look back on these days as some of the best of my life, I am truly blessed.




About the Author:


Kirstan is a 23 year old Stay-at-home mama of 2 boys, ages 6 and almost 1.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Breastfeeding: From a Husband’s Point of View

          Tonight, we have a very special guest post.... from MY HUSBAND! Here is Dan's take on breastfeeding from a man's perspective. 

Breastfeeding: From a Husband’s Point of View

          My wife has been breastfeeding our oldest son, Daniel, for nearly 3 years now. To be completely honest, I was very paranoid when my wife first started breastfeeding. I felt that every single guy that passed by while she was breastfeeding was trying to get a look at her breasts. I mean men will be men, right? You see a woman, shirt pulled down, breast out in the open, you can’t help but look, right? WRONG!!! Let’s be real men, if you find breastfeeding to be even mildly sexual, you have issues. All breastfeeding is, is your baby eating/drinking the most nutritious, healthy food they possibly can be. Not only is it good for the baby but it is good for the mom as well. In fact most people didn't even realize that she was breastfeeding. I think me looking so paranoid caused more attention to us as a couple than our son actually being latched on.

          The reason that most people feel uncomfortable around breastfeeding is because they didn't grow up around it and it wasn't part of their everyday lives. The first time I can remember seeing a child being breastfed was when Taisha was pregnant and she and I were sitting in an office waiting for an appointment. The woman was sitting about 4 seats down from us when her son started to fuss. She looked at her husband for approval and then she pulled that whopper out. I mean her breast had to be an F Cup (it was bigger than the baby) and she started to breastfeed her baby. I felt very uncomfortable but at the same time compelled to look. If I felt that way, I would imagine that every guy would.

          Today, Taisha tandem nurses both of our sons Joshua and Daniel. Although it is rare that she has to nurse both at the same time in public, it does happen from time to time. I am now 100% for breastfeeding anytime; anywhere. Being that a lot of the people we know now breastfeed, I am around it all the time and don’t even notice when women are breastfeeding. I think that if our society stops making breasts such sexual objects,(don’t get me wrong, I like my wife’s breasts) and helps people understand what they are really intended for, breastfeeding will be part of normal everyday life and that is the way it should be. 

Photo courtesy of Psalm 139 Studios

About the Author:

Dan is a husband to his wife, Taisha, for 6 years and has 2 wonderful boys. He also owns a water treatment company called United Environmental Solutions. UES is a distributor for multiple different types of water treatment equipment. For more information, visit their website at http://www.waterpurificationfiltration.net.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Amber's Nursing Journey

          I hope you are all enjoying these special posts and that you are inspired by the stories that have been shared so far. Tonight we have a guest post from Amber. Here are her two very different stories, marking her journey from feeding her daughter her pumped milk in a bottle for 12 weeks, following a medicated hospital birth, to having a natural, out-of-hospital birth and exclusively breastfeeding her son.

Amber's Nursing Journey
I'm a stay at home mom of a 2.5 year old daughter named Kenady and a 13 month old son named Jaxon. Motherhood has turned me into quite the crunchy mama. I'm a huge advocate of natural birth and breastfeeding. I believe in natural healing and a traditional, nourishing diet. I enjoy cooking from scratch for my family, exercising, and being around my family. I have an extremely lovingly and supportive husband. I wouldn't have accomplished many of my goals without his support.
When I got pregnant with my daughter it caught us by surprise. We were planning a wedding that was 7 months away, I was finishing up nursing school, and was focused on studying for my state board exams and applying for an internship. I had a lot on my plate to say the least. I was interested in natural birth and had my heart set on breastfeeding! Since I had so much going on, preparing for a natural birth was not a priority. We found out at 34 weeks gestation that Kenady had an issue with her left kidney. The doctors weren't sure how serious of an issue it was, or if I needed to be induced or have a c-section. Anyway, this was my main concern the rest of the pregnancy. Switching to a midwife at that point was out of the question and so was my natural birth plan (since my OB wasn't on board with it). I ended up having Kenady in the hospital (vaginal birth with an epidural) and every thing went well with her delivery. Being a new mom and totally clueless I got caught up in the moment with a lot of family being around visiting in the hospital, new feelings (some baby blues/depression) setting in, and nurse after nurse coming in to check on Kenady and me. I forgot to nurse her for the first 3 hours. When I went to try the first feeding she was so sleepy and would barely open her mouth. I missed that precious 2 hour window after her birth. She wouldn't latch on for anything. I had lactation consultants helping every hour and no success. I panicked thinking about being alone at night without the lactation consultants to help and not being able to feed my baby. A breast pump was offered and I jumped on that! I ended up pumping and Kenady ate like a champ! I had a great supply and was so relieved to be able to feed my baby. 

Me and Kenady
I ended up renting the pump when we went home and on night 2 I was having a hard time keeping up with pumping and feeding Kenady. I hadn't built up a stash at that point. I remember thinking of giving up and staring at the sample pack of ready made formula the hospital gave me. Luckily, I stayed strong and got past that bump in the road. I ended up building a stash quickly after that. I attempted to nurse Kenady frequently but she already had nipple confusion. She would scream and shake her head back and forth when I attempted to nurse her. This was the most stressful thing I had ever done. I was so depressed that I couldn't nurse my baby. I felt so alone, clueless and helpless. I pumped every 3 hours, including through the night. I was completely exhausted. Getting up for middle of the night feedings didn't just mean feeding my baby and going back to sleep. I had to feed her, usually change her, rock her back to sleep, then stay up to pump for 20 minutes and wash my pump parts, just to get up and do it again 2.5 hours later. I felt like I was bonding with my pump instead of my baby. I remember so many nights pumping while bouncing my crying newborn in her bouncy seat with my foot. I did this for 11 weeks to the day. I started to space my pumping sessions out to get more sleep at night and that quickly made my supply drop. I tried some natural ways to increase my supply but that ended up stressing me out more which increased my depression. I finally accepted that I was going to give up and was okay with that choice. I feel good that I could at least give her a solid 12 weeks (pumped for 11 weeks + 1 week worth of frozen) of nothing but breast milk. If I could start over I would've educated myself much more, reached out for help, and most importantly gone with a natural birth. I strongly believe that would've set the foundation for a much better breast feeding experience. I never would've been introduced to the pump! I was very hard on myself and still regret not trying harder but I learned a lot from my experience and am thankful for that.

Kenady nursing Minnie Mouse
Fast forward 18 months and we welcomed our baby boy Jaxon! I did not want to make the same mistakes so planned a completely natural birth out of a hospital. I fully prepared myself for a natural birth and breastfeeding. I didn't have nearly as much going on this time around as I did with Kenady. I ended up having the most amazing birth experience I could've ever dreamt. I nursed Jaxon not even 5 minutes after he was born and he nursed like a champ! I was so happy that things went the total opposite than they did the first time around. I feared that I would have many challenges again. I avoided pacifiers and pumps at all costs and never ran into any issues with nursing Jaxon. He is 13 months now and we are still going strong with no intentions of stopping anytime soon. I listened to his cues and still do as to when he wants to nurse. Nursing on demand is very demanding and exhausting in the beginning, but its so worth it and the bond is indescribable. I love both of my babies the same but felt an initial closer bond with Jaxon because of nursing. I wish I could've had the same start with Kenady as I did with Jaxon, but I'm grateful for what I learned from my experience with her as a newborn.

Our first minutes as a family of four


Me and Jaxon
About the Author: 

Amber is a Stay-at-home mom to two beautiful children, Kenady, 2.5, and Jaxon, 13 months.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

United Environmental Solutions Big Berkey Giveaway

         
         Tonight, we have an awesome giveaway from my husband, Dan's company, United Environmental Solutions (UES). United Environmental Solutions is going on its second full year in business. They have well over 1,000 satisfied customers in four different countries. UES is a water treatment distributor for multiple manufacturers, including Berkey, Propur, Kooltek, Vitashower, Aquacera, and Leveredge (through Southeast Water Systems, Inc.). They are passionate about providing families with clean water and carry shower filters, water coolers, countertop purification systems, sport bottles, and whole house purification systems. To learn more about these awesome products, be sure to visit the UES website by clicking here. Also, like them on Facebook here. We all know every nursing mom needs to stay well hydrated so one lucky reader will win a Big Berkey countertop water purification system with two Black Berkey elements. Please see Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway ends on Sunday, August 25th, 2013.


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Wilda's Nursing Journey: Two Very Different Stories

          As we all know, every baby and every nursing relationship is different. Some babies are calm and easy going, others require a little more attention. Some babies latch on like professionals and mom and baby have no trouble nursing, others have every problem under the sun. Here is a guest post from my friend, Wilda, about her very different nursing relationships with her two children.

My breastfeeding journey started on April 22, 2011, when my son was born via emergency C-section. He was then taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for being non-responsive and I didn't get to see him for the first 36 hours of his life. I "wasn't allowed" to try and nurse either because of all the medications they had me on. Of course, they gave him formula via feeding tubes to "keep his sugars up". After we were out of the hospital, our struggles continued. He never latched at the hospital and he didn't latch when we got home. In fact, he didn't latch until he was 6+ weeks old. Those first six weeks were full of tears from both of us as well as pain, engorgement, physical healing, and, to make it all worse, my body did not respond to the pump and nothing would come out when I pumped. I tried my hardest to help him learn how to latch. During that time, I met the most caring state worker I have ever encountered. Lauren Johnson helped me daily by answering questions, meeting with me, showing me new nursing positions, telling me what the best choices were if I needed to supplement, and just saying ''Good job Mama, keep going. You're almost there''. Honest and sincere support, that is all you need when you struggle during those first months with breastfeeding, which I did not receive at all from family or other friends. I just kept receiving comments like "Why don't you just leave all passion for it (breastfeeding) aside and just give him formula?", "You had formula too and you're fine'', "Stop wanting to expose yourself to people, feed him at home so he's not hungry when you go out.", or "Wait until you see a bathroom so you can feed him in there". But I was determined to help my baby learn how to latch. Around 6 weeks he just suddenly latched on and he didn't stop doing so until he was almost 20 months and I was pregnant with baby sister. He weaned himself by choice and I still miss those days but I will always treasure each and every memory I have from his breastfeeding months.
With my second pregnancy, I was even more determined to make breastfeeding the only way of nourishing my new baby. I read more literature and still kept in contact with my now amazing friend, Lauren, who never ceased to say "You got this mama". Our new baby arrived in a beautiful planned home birth and latched within minutes of being born. From that moment on, I knew she was going to be a "boobie monster". However, she had a bad latch that started hurting my nipples and, for the next two weeks, we would work on her latch during every single nursing session to make sure she was doing it right. We went through many nights where the pain of her latch was unbearable and to the point of being completely raw and bleeding but, again, if it wasn't for all the support, we wouldn't still be breastfeeding. This time around, Lauren had her hands a little more busy with her new baby boy but never stopped communicating with me to make sure I didn't quit on a bad day. I also had my husband completely on board as well as my midwife and another friend. Around 8 weeks postpartum, I suddenly did not feel any discomfort when she was nursing, she had finally latched on properly.
A month ago, I was offered a job and I took it so we had to start preparing for my going back to work. We tried so hard for J to take a bottle of breast milk or even a sippy cup. We tried and tried and tried and nothing worked. My first day of work arrived and baby girl had a rough first day but we survived. That was on Monday. Today is Friday and she's already taking breastmilk from a bottle from her caregivers and shenurses almost non stop when we are together. This whole journey has had a lot of hurdles and rough moments but we were always determined to make it work. Today baby girl is 31 weeks and we are still breastfeeding without plans to stop anytime soon. I want to say thank you to those of you that made this possible. To my husband and best friend, who was there keeping me hydrated and nourished, and would take care of toddler during those hard first weeks, my two friends, Denise and Lauren, and to every other mama that has crossed my path and has become an inspiration. Thank you. Our babies and I are really grateful for you.
My two nurslings

About the Author:

Wilda is 31 years old, is married and is mom to two beautiful babies. She is passionate about life and is against abortion. She loves to laugh, cook, and go to theme parks. She also loves music and dancing and would love to have more babies some day.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Teach Me How To Breastfeed

          I just came across the following video and I absolutely LOVE it! Inspired by the many clients she has helped as well as her own nursing experience, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) TaNefer Lumukanda decided to teach new moms how to breastfeed using a fun, catchy song. The lyrics to song, "Teach Me How To Breastfeed", consist of facts on the benefits of breastfeeding and tips to make nursing easier such as how to properly position baby, nursing on demand, etc. I really love that the video shows women of color nursing, as rates of breastfeeding tend to be lower among them and it is time for that to change. Although this song won't change everything, with it's catchy tune and fun video, I think it is a positive step towards promoting nursing as a normal and healthy part of everyday life. This is definitely a video I would love to share with all of my new mom friends, even if only to make them laugh and forget any troubles they may have in those really intense first few months.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wearing Is Caring Breastfeeding Advocacy T-Shirt Giveaway



  Tonight, we have a fun giveaway from Wearing Is Caring, a babywearing apparel company owned by Tiffany Rhodin. Tiffany is a teacher turned Work-At-Home Mom (WAHM) to stay home with her sweet high needs baby. She decided to venture into babywearing/ attachment parenting apparel as these things have been such a blessing in her life. She decided to share her passion for breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering, and planet saving through tee shirts, tank tops, and onesies (to start with). Her business opened July 1st and has been growing ever since. She custom makes everything so we can be flexible as well! Her shirts range from around $13 for a onesie to around $23 for a woman's tee shirt with rhinestones. To check out her designs, make sure to visit her website and like her Facebook page. One lucky reader will one one of Tiffany's breastfeeding advocacy shirts. Please see Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway ends this Saturday, August 17th, 2013.



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Embarassed by Hollie McNish

          For the past few weeks, the following video has been flooding my Facebook news feed. Telling the story of a mom who spent the first few months of her baby's life nursing in public bathrooms out of embarrassment, this is, by far, one of the best arguments I have heard in defense of nursing in public. The language is a little strong (not suitable for children) but her words are powerful. I loved this video so much that I did some research on the author. It turns out that Hollie McNish is not just a mom who is passionate about nursing and decided to write about her experience. She is actually a pretty talented poet and spoken word artist in the United Kingdom. She has released two poetry albums, published a collection of written poetry, and won multiple awards. Besides her own poetry performances, Hollie also runs poetry workshops and recitals for youth. Hollie doesn't just write about breastfeeding either, she speaks about other important topics such as the issue of immigration, covered in her very powerful poem, Mathematics. If you haven't yet, you should definitely check Hollie's work out at www.holliemcnish.com. Also be sure to check out her YouTube channel for more videos.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gissele's Second Nursing Journey

             Last year, my friend Gissele shared the story of how she was failed by the hospital staff and  that, coupled with her lack of knowledge, made her unsuccessful at nursing her first daughter. You can read that story here. She was pretty determined to do better next time. Tonight, she shares the story of nursing her second daughter.     
           On December 24th, 2012, God gave me a precious gift ! I gave birth to my beautiful daughter Kaylee. Since I became pregnant with her, I knew that I was going to breast feed. Well try to do it longer than with my first daughter and not give up. This time around, I had a better experience at the hospital and I had a lactation consultant or baby nurse. She helped me during my first few hours with Kay. She was so sweet and answered all of my questions without a problem. Kay latched on easier than Lily. Right away, I thought and said to myself "this is going to be a success!" 
          The next evening,  there was a new nurse. She had started to get her on my nerves, saying to give Kaylee formula because, if I didn't, she could become jaundiced. In my head, I just thought, "Oh boy, here we go again! Ugh!" I didn't listen ad kept nursing . Kaylee was a healthy baby. 
             When I got home, I kept nursing . It had become a little bit more of a challenge for me because I had to take care of Lily and she required so much attention as well. She missed me while I was in the hospital and had already started getting jealous. I also had people saying "You are not producing enough milk", "the baby is skinny", etc. I respected other people's opinions but I did what I thought was best for my baby and, as long as she was gaining weight and the doctor said she was perfect, nothing else mattered.
        Well, as the days passed by, I was exhausted and I was pumping more than latching. Unfortunately, 2 months later, I became lazy.Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, I just couldn't bring myself to pump all the time and I switched her to formula. I sometimes feel like a failure because I quit once again but I did it for longer this time and I didn't quit right away like I did with Lily. All I know is that, if God decides to give me another baby, I am definitely going to try to breastfeed longer. This experience was amazing!
About the Author:

Gissele and is the mother of  two beautiful girls, a soon to be 5 year old named Lilyanna and a 6 month old named Kaylee. She's been married for 9 years to her wonderful husband and is a stay at home mom.  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kristi's Nursing Journey

          I hope you have all been enjoying the inspiring and heartwarming stories I have been posting so far. Tonight, we have a guest post by Kristi, whose baby was admitted to the hospital shortly after birth. Here is her story of how they overcame nipple confusion early on and went on to have a beautiful nursing relationship.

I was induced on March 14th of this year at 4 days past due. We started out rough with an irregular heart rate and I was threatened with a c-section if my baby's heart rate didn't fix itself. About 13 hours later I became 10 cm and was left unchecked in excruciating pain for an hour and a half waiting on my midwife. I went on to push 15 hours into labor. Nine times and 11 minutes later my 8lb 5.5oz bundle of joy was here with us. It was so sweet to snuggle him so closely after 9 long months. We breastfed on the way to our recovery room. Breastfeeding went very well the first 2 days. He took better to the right side over the left but was thriving very well. On our second afternoon, they let us know that he was jaundiced but they weren't doing anything about it. They waited until I had discharge papers thrown in my face to tell me, "Oh, by the way, we need to admit your son to the nursery for light therapy but you are going home and there's really not a place for you to stay with him". I cried for hours and my husband brought a wad of cash to the hospital to pay cash for me to stay another night. When I asked the nurse how much it would cost to keep the room for the night, she said "Oh, you cant afford it. You need to make a college fund for your son instead". I was livid. Right then, he didn't need a college fund. He needed his mommy. 
In the end, they let me stay free of charge and with medication and meals. They told me I was only allowed to feed my baby every 3 hours and for only 45 min each. And THEN the real heartbreak set in. They forced me to bottle feed my son. He was stuck on the bottle for a week after we came home. I cried every time I tried to get him to latch. My milk had come in as we were being discharged from the hospital (day 3) and by the time I had gotten home (15 min) I had grown 2 cup sizes. I stayed engorged like this until I pumped everything. On the 5th day, I was able to feed him breast milk from a bottle and I just kept pumping every 2 hours until I was empty. On day 7, I tried to latch him again, AND HE DID IT! I cried like a baby I was so happy. He has refused a bottle and pacifier since that day.
Recently, from July 16th through July 27th, he went on a nursing strike. He refused to eat until he was completely famished. It put a really big rift in my relationship with my husband. I wanted to cry all the time and had to leave Aden with his father a few times just to go outside and cry. I wanted to give up so badly but I didn't because I knew I was giving him the best no matter how hard it was for me. Being a mother is about sacrificing yourself for your child and that's exactly what I was doing. On the 27th, it all ended and he hasn't refused since! He is actually a much happier baby now too!
The first time he latched back on after the nursing strike
About the Author:


Kristi is a 23 year old mother of one amazing boy, Aden, who is 4 1/2 months old. They enjoy their babywearing and breastfeeding adventures.

Cute Tooties Crocheting Boobie Beanie Giveaway

Stephanie
My children and I had a late night last night and I fell asleep while putting the kids to sleep and forgot to put this post up. Oops! Well, I promised today's post would be fun so here goes.... We have a giveaway today from Cute Tooties Crocheting, owned by Srephanie Otero. Stephanie is an Air Force wife and stay at home mom to 3 boys. She started crocheting during her third pregnancy, thinking she'd finally have a girl and wanting some cute handmade items for "her". Now she loves crocheting during her free time to relax. Stephanie is giving away a boobie beanie in honor of National Breastfeeding Month. Please see Rafflecopter form below to enter. Giveaway end Wednesday, August 14th, 2013. Boobie beanies can be purchased for $10 and are available in different "skin" tones. Stephanie can also make custom items at customers' request.

Stephanie's youngest son modeling
one of her creations
One lucky reader will win the boobie beanie on the right
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