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Breastfeeding

June 18, 2015

Kiss Your Babies to Keep Them Healthy

Congratulations Elizabeth W.!  You were randomly selected through the Gleam giveaway app as the winner.  I have emailed you and you have 48 hours to respond before I select a new winner.

I was at the library the other day when the sweet librarian says to my baby “Ooooh, you’re so cute! I just want to eat you up. Mmm.  And sop you up with a biscuit!”

Weird, no?  But I kind of get it.  My baby?  She’s adorable and I have this instinctive urge to, well, not to eat her…but kiss her a billion times a day.  And I’m not kidding when I say it’s an urge…I literally can’t hold her without kissing her every few seconds.

Kiss your babies and eat local thebestofbaby.com

Can any of your other mothers out there relate?  Of course you can!  But have you ever noticed that it’s more of a mom thing than a dad thing?  Sure, my husband kisses our little bubs aplenty, but he doesn’t seem to have quite the drive to smother them with smooches as I do. 

Turns out, that’s perfectly normal! 

I wrote about this before in this article, but it’s worth reiterating.  Breastmilk acts as custom-ordered immune guard for your baby.  When a mom interacts with her environment, her body will automatically create antibodies for any germs she encounters.  These antibodies are then passed on to the baby through breastmilk, thereby offering the little one a great measure of protection against sickness. 

Kiss your babies and eat local thebestofbaby.com

(Y’all, can I just press pause on the breastfeeding stuff and comment on my hair?  I love me some natural beauty products, but not all of them are well…umm, good.  Like the shampoo I used the morning of this photo session.  Ugh…I felt like I was slathering lotion in my hair. Lotion that wouldn’t wash out…but I didn’t realize it until after we’d taken all the pictures.  If you want proof that my hair doesn’t always look this sorry, check out this post.)

Anyway, if you’re a mom, and you find yourself with an insatiable desire to kiss your baby all day long, smooch away! That desire is actually a biologically driven instinct with a very important purpose.  By kissing your baby, you’re sampling the pathogens on her skin and in her environment and signaling your breast milk to produce the necessary antibodies to protect your baby.  (source)

You read that right, you’re kissing your babies to keep them healthy!

Isn’t it amazing how awesome God created breastfeeding?

Kiss your babies and eat local thebestofbaby.com 

To celebrate my love for breastfeeding, I’m partnering with Melissa from My Doula Made It for this sweet little giveaway.  One Best of Baby winner will get an “Eat Local” onesie and t-shirt from Melissa’s Etsy shop. (Available in different colors and sizes, though some colors/sizes may be limited). 

Kiss your babies and eat local thebestofbaby.com

You can read more about Melissa on her doula website, but here is a little snippet:

Melissa is a Certified Birth Doula in Orillia with DONA International, and a mother of two. She has been a Doula for over 5 years and attended 25+ births.  With plans to go on to become a Lactation Consultant, she is a breast feeding advocate.  Through her Etsy store My Doula Made It, she expresses her creativity and shares her, and other Doula’s, hand made wares.

So mamas, keep on kissing your babies and then celebrate the awesomeness of breastfeeding with these shirts. If you don’t want to take your chances on winning, Melissa is also offering a 15% off any purchase over $20 CAD (about $17 USD) using code BESTOFBABYLOVE.

Kiss your babies and eat local thebestofbaby.com

Happy clicking!

 

 

Breast Feeding “Eat Local” Mommy and Me Shirts

May 7, 2015

That Time My Baby Decided to Fast

From the moment my littlest bub was born, she was a fantastic nurser.  She latched great, drank eagerly, and was content to nurse anywhere and everywhere.  After the difficult start to my nursing relationship with my son, I was so pleased to have an easier go at it the second time around.  I breathed a sigh of relief…nursing was a breeze!

…until 3 months…

Distracted baby solutions thebestofbaby.com

…when my silly baby decided to basically fast.  The best way I can describe it is that she WOKE UP.  Baby girl realized there was a whole wide wonderful world around her…and nursing?  Well, ain’t nobody got time for that!  Our nursing sessions were a series of 3 second latches followed by 30 seconds of squirming and fussing as I tried to convince her that milk was more enticing than her surroundings.  In the end, the baby won (you can lead a horse to water…) and I gave up. But you know what happens when your baby hardly eats all day?  She wants to nurse all night long.  Because nights are boring and there’s nothing better to do anyway.  Can we say exhausting?

And I know I’m not alone in this!  Around 3 or 4 months of age, babies’ vision improves.  They become more aware of their surroundings and are very easily distracted…and then they turn from cute blubbery blobs to cute blubbery wiggle worms. They squirm, twist, grab at things, and “oh wait, what was that noise behind me?” *pop* all done nursing!

Sound familiar?  Yea it’s a baby thing.  Us, we just waited it out (for almost two months…ugh)…but it doesn’t have to be like this!  I wish I’d known that there was a solution back then…maybe I would have slept more at night. Have you ever seen necklaces like these?

 

Distracted baby solutions thebestofbaby.com

They are MAGIC when it comes to grabbing a baby’s attention.  Wearing this while nursing will draw your little one’s focus back to where it needs to be – your chest. And they offer tactile engagement so it gives them something to pull on other than your hair or your bra strap.  Or, as in the case of my baby doll, trying to pull the lips off my face.

Distracted baby solutions thebestofbaby.com

 But not only is it a great nursing necklace, it also doubles as a teething necklace.  The beads are made from baby-safe silicone that are soft to chew on and soothing on aching gums.

Distracted baby solutions thebestofbaby.com

And to top it all off, it’s super cute!  I wear mine as I would any other necklace, except this is one I actually WANT my baby fiddling with. (Unlike my other go-to necklace…that she broke).  It comes in really handy when it’s milk time or just to keep my antsy baby occupied while I’m holding her.

Distracted baby solutions thebestofbaby.com

MNB 11A

You can purchase these nursing/teething necklaces from several different places, but my favorite is from My Natural Baby.  Why? 3 reasons:

1) They’re BEAUTIFUL – They come in so many cute colors and styles.  Personally, I love their Sugargems line…I’ve never seen any other silicone necklaces like this!

2) They’re SAFE – My Natural Baby uses FDA approved, food grade silicone beads, that are free from BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, cadmium or heavy metals.  (Which, believe it or not, is not so uncommon in baby things).  If my baby is chewing on it, I want it to be as non-toxic as possible!

3) They WORK – Visually interesting, tactile stimulation, and they promote development of fine motor skills.  Plus, they love it! I mean, look at this bub…happy, no?

Distracted baby solutions thebestofbaby.com

My Natural Baby is a family run business offering eco-living products that are good for both mommy and baby.  The owners, Kelvin and Kelly, have two precious daughters.  In their years as parents, they have researched, tested, evaluated and weeded out countless of natural and organic products, so they are able to offer you the best of the best in their shop.

MNB 9

But not only are they knowledgeable, they’re also generous 🙂  My Natural Baby is offering one lucky Best of Baby reader their choice of a Sugargems teething/nursing necklace.  Have a silly, distracted baby?  Or maybe you just want a cute new necklace?  Enter below!  But if you’d rather not take your chances on winning, Kelly is offering free shipping for any orders over $30 Australian…but that’s actually only $24 US…a steal! Use code BESTOFBABY at checkout.

Distracted baby solutions thebestofbaby.com
 (Note: Babies should not be left to play with these necklaces.  Although they are teethers, they are for mamas to wear, not for babies to play with on their own.  This can pose a strangulation hazard.)
Iulia from Best of Baby was given this necklace in exchange for her honest review.  All opinions are her own. Other bloggers promoting the giveaway were not compensated in any way.

My Natural Baby Sugargems Nursing/Teething Necklace

March 9, 2015

I’m a Lactivist…and I hated nursing

I Hated Nursing www.bestofbabylady.com

If you’ve been around Best of Baby for a while, you might have picked up on the fact I’m a lactivist…like really a lot. It’s hard not to be when there are so many amazing benefits to breastfeeding.  But would you believe me if I told you that I hated nursing?  Like hated it so much that I almost quit?

It’s true.  With my first baby, nursing was hard…at times even downright MISERABLE.  Most women will experience some discomfort in the early stages as their breasts adjust to nursing, but I had extreme pain for months on end.   What made it even worse is that I kept hearing “if you’re doing it right, then it won’t hurt”.

But guess what?  I was doing it right (according to three different lactation consultants) and it still hurt…a lot. And there were SO many challenges.

1)  PAIN AT ONSET OF NURSING

Every time my son latched, I felt like he had hidden razor blades in his mouth.  It was the toe curling, back arching, bite your tongue so you don’t scare the baby with your screams type of pain.  This made me DREAD every nursing session.  So much so, that if the nurses in the hospital had told me I could go 7 hours between each nursing session, I would have gladly taken their advice!

2)  PAIN WHILE NURSING

For many people, after the initial latch, the pain mostly eases up.  Not for me!  It hurt the whole nursing session (all 30-40 minutes of it).  I attribute that to extremely sensitive skin.  My poor nips were RAW and no amount of nipple cream made it any better (TMI?  Sorry…it’s a breastfeeding post though). 

3) PAIN AFTER NURSING

Ok, so you’d think that after I was done nursing, I’d get a break from the pain, right?  Not the case.  For about half an hour straight after a feeding session, I got what I not-so-lovingly termed “Fire Breasts”…where I literally felt like I had fire coursing through my baby feeders.  To this day, I still have no idea what caused it, though some have suggested an undiagnosed case of thrush.

Thankfully, after about 3 months, the pain diminished and nursing eventually became comfortable.  But during those first 3 months, it was awful.  I hated nursing and not a single day went by where I didn’t consider quitting.  The only thing that kept me going was the absolute knowledge that I was doing the best thing for my baby (seriously, if you don’t know about the benefits of breastfeeding, check out this post I wrote).

My point in all of this…don’t be discouraged if something so natural doesn’t, in fact, come naturally at all.  It can be very painful and very challenging, but ultimately, very rewarding.  Get help when you need it (lactation consultants are your friend!), persevere as much as you can, and know that eventually it probably will get better.  But if it doesn’t, take comfort in the fact that you’re doing something wonderful (and very sacrificial) for your child. 

(Sidenote: Don’t beat yourself up if you need to supplement or quit altogether.  You need to do what’s best for your baby, and that includes having a sane mama.)

(Sidenote 2: Nursing with #2 has been a breeze…so there’s definitely hope for anyone else who had a rough go of it the first time around.)

 

February 15, 2015

7 Cool facts about breastfeeding

It’s no secret that I’m a lactivist (lactation+activist), but it’s not because I’m anti-formula or disparaging of moms who bottle feed.  It’s simply because, when possible, “breast” really is “best”.  The benefits for both mom and baby are abundant!

7 Cool Facts About Breastfeeding www.bestofbabylady.com

1.) A LA CARTE ANTIBODIES

A child’s immune system isn’t fully developed until they’re around 5 years of age, but it’s especially vulnerable as a baby.  But guess what?  Breast milk acts as a custom-ordered immune guard for your baby.  When mom interacts with her environment, her body will automatically create antibodies for any germs she encounters.  These antibodies are then passed on to the baby through breast milk, thereby offering the little one a great measure of protection against sickness.  How amazing is that?  You are your baby’s first line of defense.

But it gets even cooler.  By now, we all know that there are bad and good bacteria (thank you yogurt commercials), and that maintaining good bacteria is essential for optimal health.  Somehow, a mother’s body knows how to differentiate between good and bad bacteria, and will only make antibodies for the bad guys, while promoting a flourishing gut flora in your baby.  So not only is breast milk defensive, it’s also intelligent in its defense. 

Source

2.) MONEY

Breastmilk is cheap!  The only reason I say cheap instead of free is because you might have to buy some more food for yourself…breastfeeding hunger is no joke.  Formula on the other hand…yikes.  You can easily spend $150 on formula every month, and that’s if you go with the standard stuff.  If you go with specialized formula (like dairy free or organic), we’re talking HUNDREDS of dollars.  All that money for something your body can make on its own (and make better, to boot!)

3.) HASSLE

Imagine this…it’s 2:00am, and the baby starts crying.  She’s hungry and wants to eat NOW.  You have two options:
       a.) Pick her up, nurse her (or if you’re co-sleeping, just roll over)
       b.) Walk to the kitchen, whilst praying you didn’t forget to prep the night-time bottles. Open the fridge door and squint at the bright light that attacks your eyeballs.  Warm the bottle to just the right temperature and then sprint back up stairs because your baby’s cries are now screams.

Ok, maybe I’m over dramatizing this a bit, but there’s certainly a level of convenience that comes with breastfeeding over bottle feeding.  No buying formula, no prepping bottles, no cleaning them (have you tried scrubbing out dried milk from the tip of a bottle nipple?  it’s a pain)…none of that.  Just unveil the goods and you’re done.

4.) BURNING CALORIES…WHILE SITTING

Did you know that for every ounce of milk you produce, you burn 20 calories?  Y’all, that’s my kind of exercise! You end up burning between 200-500 calories a day just by nursing your little babe.  You’d have to run 3-5 miles just to accomplish that if you were bottle-feeding!

5.) PERFECT NUTRITION

Breastmilk is the perfect food for your little one.  Formula does a good job feeding babies too, but because it’s synthetic, it just doesn’t have all of the same properties as breastmilk does.  Not only that, but somehow, a momma’s body knows that her baby’s needs change as he/she grows, and the milk changes with it to accommodate those evolving needs.  Pretty spectacular.  Dr. Sears provides a great comparison between breastmilk and formula here.

6.) HAPPY TIMES

Breastfeeding makes you happy.  And I’m not just talking about the “Oh great, I’m doing something good for my baby” happy…I’m talking oxytocin happy.  Nursing produces a hormone called oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “bonding” hormone because it’s released through activities like cuddling, kissing, and well…that thing you did to make your baby in the first place.  It makes you feel good.

7.) CANCER PROTECTION

Breastfeeding can actually reduce your risk of breast cancer (especially if you nurse for over a year).  It’s still inconclusive as to why this is (theories include hormone production, diet, or full breast maturation), but do we even need a reason?  Sign me up!

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(NOTE:  This post is not meant to judge women who choose to/need to formula feed.  I understand that not every woman can breast feed and I’m grateful that a good alternative exists.  My intention, instead, is to encourage women who will be or want to be mothers to consider the benefits of breastfeeding.)

 
What benefits have you found from nursing?