Best Diaper Changing Technique for Newborns to Reduce Crying and Colic

Almost every parent changes their newborn with the double leg-lift technique, which looks convenient but might not be right for your baby. The roll technique, especially with newborns until they start crawling, may be a better option. Dr. John Edwards from Mama’s Chiropractic Clinic demonstrates the technique and explains why.Dr. Edwards is a member of the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association.
ADDRESSING COMMENTS & QUESTIONS ABOUT COLIC: I usually see a few reasons why a baby has colic in my office. This video is intended to show parents of newborns a technique they can do to reduce one of those factors- repetitive stress to the spine where the nerves for the intestines come out.

Optimal Foetal Positioning (for an easier birth)

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Source: Optimal Foetal Postitioning
By Jean Sutton, New Zealand MidwifeThe Optimal Foetal Position is our term for the First Vertex; Vertex Left Occipito Anterior; Vertex L.O.A. The position most commonly chosen by near term babies when they are able. [In every day terms it means baby is head down with their spine at the front of the belly on the left side]

Optimal Foetal Positioning, or OFP for short, is the term coined by myself (Jean Sutton ) and Pauline Scott to describe ways a mother can assist her baby to assume the best position if he/she is to have the simplest, safest birth. Today we are told that human babies always need help to be born, but why?

Babies managed for countless years before midwives and doctors were involved.

They know what to do, but not how to tell us how to help them. Or have we stopped listening? Parents-to-be today are bombarded with advice from all sides. Ante-natal classes teach many ways of managing labour; mothers build up an expectation of the perfect birth, but few teach about the baby’s role.

This is what optimal foetal positioning is – encouraging the baby to move into the optimal position for labour and birth.

OFP was conceived to encourage birth practitioners to view the mother’s pregnancy and the baby’s birth from the baby’s perspective. We accept that the baby is in control of the growing part, so why shouldn’t he/she largely manage the birth process?

Traditional birth wisdom and old textbooks held the view that the baby’s position at the beginning of labour predicted the result.

They divided the possible positions into vertex (head down) breech (bottom first) and a few other highly unusual angles. The most common positions came first, and the rest followed. The first choice was head down, back between Mother’s left hip and umbilicus. Vertex L O A left occipito anterior or Optimal Foetal Position. Amazingly, 75% of babies chose this position. Around 10% chose to be on Mother’s right side–this is only possible for second and later babies. That meant that only a few were facing forward,or R O P right occipito posterior, and even fewer were breech.

When mothers stayed mobile during labour, and the baby was the right way round, labour tended to start on time and proceed smoothly to a tidy birth.

If baby is to get himself/herself into the best position, baby needs mother to spend most of her time with her abdomen ( tummy ) forward, and her knees lower than her seat. Then baby will, during the last few weeks of pregnancy, be most comfortable lying with his/her back to mother’s front. Mothers aren’t keen on this, as they end up with a bulgy abdomen, a saggy back, and a “duck waddle” walk!!
Still, if they want as simple a birth as possible that’s what is needed. Today, mothers want to stay as “tidy” looking as possible for the whole pregnancy. This only happens when baby is in a posterior position (facing forward) with his back straight, or is sitting as a “bottom down” baby.

Why has the change happened?

Sometime around the 1960′s, people’s lives began to change. The modern world and technology brought us comforts undreamed of, but we may have forgotten the amazing wisdom of our ancestors. Television has us sitting in comfortable armchairs instead of upright furniture. Motorcars became common. Fewer people walked or cycled to work. Modern employment needed people with more education, so girls were at school for much longer, and not looking after smaller siblings. Work changed, sitting at a desk became the norm, and as computer use spread,we spent even more time sitting. Household chores were made easier by wetmops and vacuum cleaners. No more hands and knees–no more tubs of washing!

Now many more babies had little choice but to lie with their back against mothers. One can’t lie on one’s face in a hammock. The scene is set for problems. Overdue, long and painful labours, made worse because mothers were put to bed on their backs. The cascade of intervention became the norm.

The babies don’t like today’s way of birth.

When things go according to their expectations, they come out with the most beautiful triumphant look on their faces. Today, many come out looking confused, bewildered, or frightened. My hope is that if enough people understand the baby’s point of view, we will again see more of those lovely expressions.

Babies are my passion. They have only one birth, and it should be as safe and as pleasant as we can make it.

Optimal Foetal Positioning is not a new concept. The origins of it can be found in old midwifery text books or by talking with midwives who trained as apprentices with older, wiser and more experienced midwives. What has changed since the days of apprentice-trained midwives, is that our contemporary lifestyle has meant that mothers are at risk more than ever before. At the same time, childbirth wisdom from our past has almost disappeared. As midwives seek independence and recognition as the specialists of normal pregnancy and birth, ways to decrease the rate of medicalised labour are in everyone’s interest. The concept of OFP is very timely in our present climate of financial restraint and increasing reliance on technology.

Babies who commence their journey in the optimal position make the birth process an exciting adventure, rather than a harrowing experience for all involved.

Find out how to use your body to help baby into a good position for an easier and safer birth. We’ve had some feedback from those who have used the pillow during their labor and each of them have had fast and natural births.

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Safe Cosleeping Guidelines

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Source: Mother-Baby Behavioural Sleep Laboratory, Dr James McKenna

Guidelines to Sleeping Safe with Infants:

Maximizing the chances of Safe Infant Sleep in the Solitary and Cosleeping (Specifically, Bed-sharing) Contexts, by James J. McKenna, Ph.D. Professor of Biological Anthropology, Director, Mother-Baby Sleep Laboratory, University of Notre Dame.

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Below I have summarized and highlight some of the issues to be concerned with as you make your own decisions about where and how your infant should sleep.

What constitutes a “safe sleep environment” irrespective of where the infant sleeps?

Safe infant sleep begins with a healthy gestation, specifically without the fetus being exposed to maternal smoke.

Breastfeeding significantly helps to protect infants from death including deaths from SIDS/SUDI and from seconday disease and/or congenital conditions.

Post-natally safe infant sleep begins especially with the presence of an informed, breastfeeding, committed mother, or an informed and committed father.

Infants should sleep on their backs, on firm surfaces, on clean surfaces, in the absence of smoke, under light (comfortable) blanketing, and their heads should never be covered.

The bed should not have any stuffed animals or pillows around the infant and never should an infant be placed to sleep on top of a pillow.

Sheepskins or other fluffy material and especially bean bag mattresses should never be used. Water beds can be dangerous, too, and always the mattresses should tightly intersect the bed-frame Infants should never sleep on couches or sofas, with or without adults wherein they can slip down (face first) into the crevice or get wedged against the back of a couch.

Bed-sharing: It is important to be aware that adult beds were not designed to assure infants safety!

  • Bottle-feeding babies should always sleep alongside the mother on a separate surface rather than in the bed.
  • If bed-sharing, ideally, both parents should agree and feel comfortable with the decision. Each bed-sharer should agree that he or she is equally responsible for the infant and acknowledge that the infant is present. My feeling is that both parents should think of themselves as primary caregivers.
  • Infants a year or less should not sleep with other children siblings — but always with a person who can take responsibility for the infant being there;
  • Persons on sedatives, medications or drugs, or is intoxicated – -or excessively unable to arouse should not cosleep on the same surface with the infant.
  • Excessively long hair on the mother should be tied up to prevent infant entanglement around the infant’s neck — (yes, it has really happened!)
  • Extremely obese persons, who may not feel where exactly or how close their infant is, may wish to have the infant sleep alongside but on a different surface.
  • It is important to realize that the physical and social conditions under which infant-parent cosleeping occur, in all it’s diverse forms, can and will determine the risks or benefits of this behavior. What goes on in bed is what matters.
  • It may be important to consider or reflect on whether you would think that you suffocated your baby if, under the most unlikely scenario, your baby died from SIDS while in your bed. Just as babies can die from SIDS in a risk free solitary sleep environment, it remains possible for a baby to die in a risk-free cosleeping/bed sharing environment. Just make sure, as much as this is possible, that you would not assume that , if the baby died, that either you or your spouse would think that bed-sharing contributed to the death, or that one of your really suffocated (by accident) the infant. It is worth thinking about.

Aside from never letting an infant sleep outside the presence of a committed adult, i.e. separate-surface cosleeping which is safe for all infants, I do not recommend to any parents any particular type of sleeping arrangement since I do not know the circumstances within which particular parents live. What I do recommend is to consider all of the possible choices and to become as informed as is possible matching what you learn with what you think can work the best for you and your family.

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The Mumanu Pillow is ideal for safer co-sleeping, keeping you correctly aligned and super comfortable as you cuddle up with your baby. Order yours today for FREE SHIPPING www.mumanu.com

Study Finds Breastfeeding, CoSleeping Mothers Get More Sleep

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Source: Dr Momma, By Danelle Frisbie
Tuesday, July 19, 2011Researchers at the College of Nursing at East Tennessee State University found that breastfeeding mothers get more sleep when sharing sleep with their baby (i.e. sleeping within an arm’s reach of baby, or ‘cosleeping’).

Previous studies have found that breastfed babies have protective stages of healthy sleep/wake cycles – reducing the risk of SIDS and other breathing, hormonal, and bio-regulatory irregularities. It was previously thought that because breastfed babies spend more of their day and night in an alert state, that their mothers may have less sleep than formula fed babies’ mothers.

Drs. Stephanie Quillin and Lee Glenn, who led the study at East Tennessee State, sought to address the unsolved question of whether there is an interaction between the type of feeding (breastfed or formula fed) and sleep arrangements (sharing sleep vs. solo sleeping) that impacts mothers’ postpartum sleep.

Thrity-three first time mothers and their newborns participated in the study over the course of their fourth week postpartum. Total amount of sleep, amount of night-time sleep, number of wakings, and number of sleep periods in 24 hours were recorded using a modified version of the Barnard and Eyres sleep instrument.

Results showed that breastfed babies did have less total sleep per day than formula fed babies, but that nursing, cosleeping mothers enjoyed more sleep in each 24 hour period than those who fed by bottle or put baby to sleep solo. Breastfeeding mothers also slept significantly more often than other mothers when sharing sleep at night or during naps. Bottle feeding mothers’ amount of sleep was not changed by the location of their baby, (which is not to suggest that infants didn’t benefit from sleeping near their mothers, as we know hormones, respiration, and cardiovascular systems are significantly impacted when a baby is close to his mother during sleep vs. left solo and apart from her).

Average total sleep for a four week old baby was approximately 14 hours daily. Researchers concluded that mothers do in fact receive the most sleep postpartum when breastfeeding and sleeping next to their baby. They have suggested the need for increased and improved methods and means for breastfeeding mothers and their babies to share sleep in a safe manner.

As sociological, anthropological, and historical research has shown, the system of sharing sleep is not a novel one. Most mothers and their babies around the world today, and throughout human history, sleep near to each other during the early years of vulnerability and need for night time nourishment, comfort, security and regulation. Included in this sleep sharing paradigm are all other mammals whose babies sleep near mom during early development, and who, like humans, are defined as ‘mammals’ in part due to their need for mothers’ milk.

References

Gerhardt, S. (1999). Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

Janov, A. (2000). The Biology of Love. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.
Liedloff, J. (1985). The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books.

Quillin, S. I. M. and Glenn, L. L. (2004). “Interaction Between Feeding Method and Co-Sleeping on Maternal-Newborn Sleep.” Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 33: 580–588.

Small, M. (1999). Our Babies, Ourselves. New York: Random House.

No-Diaper Babies

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Source: Essential Mums, by Keiran Chug
6th May 2013

Bribes, trickery and stress go hand-in-hand with the arduous process of toilet training for many parents. But for a growing group of mothers, starting the process before their babies are six months old is transforming the experience into something positive. Their method, referred to as elimination communication, involves watching babies for cues about when they need to go – and the results are often babies who are diaper-free before they are one.

Wellington mum Hana Miller, 30, started putting daughter Willa on a potty when she was three months old, but she’d been laying the foundations from birth. From the day she was born, Hana would give Willa diaper-free time and acknowledge pees by making a “psss” sound.

“We started to notice that just before she did go she would fuss a little for no other apparent reason. So one day we put her on the potty, made the “psss” sound and sure enough heard a little trickle go in!”

Willa is now six months old and only wears a diaper when out.

Hana had been inspired by a good friend whose two children were out of diapers at 10 months. She says the process is about training parents to familiarise themselves with their baby’s signals, body language and habits.

“It made so much sense. A baby doesn’t want to go in her pants any more than the rest of us. It just takes a bit more communication and cooperation to make it possible, but it’s so great to foster that connection between parents and babies.”

She was worried about the potential for mess, but getting started was easy once she did things like put towels in place. She encourages parents to give the method a go, but warns it will keep them on their toes – accidents most often happen when she has guests over and misses signals.

“It’s a process like anything, and before you know it you’ll just be doing it and figuring out how to make it work as you go.”

A lot of people are surprised and amazed when they hear about Hana’s methods, but she says others probably think she lives in a “wee-ridden house”.

“But I’m happy to say that I have met quite a few other parents who are doing the same.”

Northland mum Mayana Sipes, 30, started training her daughters Billie at five months and Danu at birth – like Hana, she had been encouraged by a friend.

“Her baby was younger than mine and they were so onto it. She would, in mid sentence, casually take her baby for a pee. She just knew when he needed to go, she could pick up his cues.”

While it wasn’t as easy as her friend had made it look, Mayana persisted with her daughter.

“She obliged time and time again. I came to realise this is not “infant” potty training, but rather training the parent. The babies are connected to their eliminations, it is us who are not onto it and encourage them to disconnect from their functions by ignoring what is natural.”

By 15 months, Billie was fully potty trained. Danu was diaper-free at 10 months – she would pat at her crotch to let Mayana know she needed to go and they developed their own kind of sign language. However there was no doubt that once Danu was talking it also became easier for her to let others know when she needed the toilet.

Mayana says the first step is taking the diaper off and observing baby – the cues then become easy to spot. Besides watching, there are other methods of prediction – or developing a “pee-dar” as she calls it. The first is timing – pay attention to how long baby goes between wees. Mayana also suggests having a potty handy, changing baby after every missed pee, taking them to the toilet with you, getting the family involved, and talking about toileting.

The process was satisfying and deepened her relationship with her children, she says.

“I felt like a layer of the mystery was lifted. I had more tools to meet the needs of my baby and I wasn’t left wondering what my baby needed.”

Mayana says our ancestors managed without diapers and washing machines by tuning into the needs of their young, and we can do the same.

Another Wellington mum, who did not want to be named, says the best time to first try elimination communication is when babies first wake, before they start crying. Other cues to watch for are fussiness, and detaching from the breast during a feed. Her first baby was a real “timer”, going every 20 minutes when awake, while her second was great at giving signals. As for the benefits, she found that her children didn’t get diaper rash, and not having to deal with dirty diapers was another advantage.

Elimination communication is already practised widely throughout the developing world, often out of necessity. But around the western world, groups are also being established by experienced parents willing to share tips and advice. In Wellington, New Zealand, a group associated with the global Diaper Free Baby group meets regularly as well as offering new parents support.

Between them, they are keeping more diapers out of landfills, saving money and resources, and gaining the satisfaction of close bonds with their babies. Their perseverance is paying off.

– © Fairfax NZ News

The most comfortable pregnancy sleeping position to relieve lower back & hip pain

Sleeping well is so important during pregnancy to have you feeling full of energy and refreshed for the day ahead. Most pregnant women get uncomfortable during the night and as a result find it difficult to sleep well.

TOP TIP: The pillow between the knees is an urban myth. It puts too much pressure on the bottom leg, the knee joint twists which then twists the hip joint and pulls on the lower back. Sleeping with the pillow in foetal position further pulls on the buttocks and lower back muscles and if not supported correctly makes your spine twist. The pillow between your knees also puts pressure on your bladder so more getting up in the night. You also reduce space for your baby which means more kicking.
The Mumanu pillow relieves these problems by keeping your hip, knee and foot at the same height. It’s self-inflating so you adjust it to fit you perfectly. This position allows you to fully relax, takes pressure off your bladder and gives your baby extra space to be comfortable.

The hormone Relaxin makes your joints loser during pregnancy so it’s even more important than normal to get correctly aligned and super comfortable.
Mumanu_Pillow_Relieves_lower_back_pain
To relieve that pulling, heavy feeling in your belly, place a contoured pregnancy belly wedge under your belly to gently lift and bring your pregnant bump up to a neutral position.
Mumanu pillow range
You can purchase the Original Mumanu Pregnancy Pillow and the Mumanu Memory Foam Contoured Pregnancy Belly Wedge by visiting www.mumanu.com

Doing Too Much For Kids: 7 Signs You’re Overparenting

Source: Circle of Moms. Written by Patricia-Anne Tom

Can you be “too good” of a parent?

Circle of Moms member Katherine W. says she’s worried she has been overparenting or pampering her kids. “I tried to do the very best I could,” she relays, “taking them to parks and interesting places every weekend, reading to them, working in their classrooms and every school event, supervising homework every night, helping with Girl Scouts, driving them to after-school activities, arranging play dates, making family dinners a priority, and on and on.” However, Katherine recently noticed that her child’s friend, whose parent was not as involved, has grown into a more confident and self-sufficient person. “Did all that effort even make any difference?”

Keep reading.

How do you know if you’re turning into an overbearing parent? If, like Katherine, you’re wondering if you should be less involved, here we’ve rounded up Circle of Moms members’ advice on signs that you may be overparenting.

1. You Praise Profusely

One of the tell-tale signs that you’re being overbearing, instead of balanced, is when you notice yourself giving your child a profuse amount of praise. While children need encouragement, parents can go overboard, for instance, when they have an “unconscious, incessant need to praise and reward their kids,” says a Circle of Moms member who calls herself “Chatty.” She explains: “I think the only time extra praise is warranted is when children are very young; babies and young toddlers have to learn what is appropriate and what isn’t, and praising them in an excitable manner when they master a new skill or act in an appropriate or desirable manner helps them to learn. But, if you’re over the top and praise them every single time they do something, especially when it’s repeatedly for the same thing they’ve already mastered and done 1,000 times, it’s doing them a huge disservice.”

As an example, Chatty says when first potty training her daughter, she and her husband gave her lots of “high-fives” and “good jobs.” But once her daughter mastered the toilet, she “opened a dialogue with her about how it made her feel to be able to go to the washroom on her own.”

2. You Offer Too Many Material Rewards

Similar to offering an abundance of praise, some parents spoil their children with too many material things. Stephanie Y. came to this realization when one year her 9-year-old son “clearly expressed his utter disappointment in his Christmas gifts. He explained that he didn’t get what he really wanted and poo-pooed what he did get,” she remembers.

After unsuccessfully trying to impart a lesson about the spirit of Christmas, Stephanie realized she had been giving her children way too much. “I am the mom that would carry my kids’ backpack for them, or buy the toy to bribe them to be good in the store! I needed to change, be more of a parent.” Vowing that her children would never be ungrateful at Christmas again, she reduced the gifts her children were receiving all year round, and also reduced her children’s candy consumption, so that they would learn to appreciate Halloween, too.

Charlotte R. is another mom who believes “kids these days have way too many things. When I was growing up we had one phone for the whole house and we had to limit our time to share with everyone. We never got to just sit on the phone and call our friends all the time, because we had household chores to do and our homework and getting ready for school,” she says.

3. You Have Low Expectations

With the rigors of school and extracurricular activities, sometimes parents are hesitant to give their children too many responsibilities. But an ill-fated result of not expecting a lot from your children is that parents “do too much for their kids,” says Tracy S.

Setting low expectations while assuming there will be big rewards is especially a common occurrence in school. “According to our local teachers, a helicopter parent is one who browbeats teachers into giving their kid good grades, even though they didn’t earn them. That’s what makes kids feel ‘entitled,’” says mom Jane S.

Tracy S. says her 15-year-old son sometimes would want her help spelling things and would whine if she wouldn’t help him. “I would tell him that if he can’t try it himself, then I don’t know how close he is to begin with.” Expectations can be set low even before the school-age years, Tracy S. warns. For instance: “How come even when I take my daughter (she’s 2) to the store and a store associate is nice and gives her a little something (sticker, sucker, candy, etc.) and I tell my daughter to say thank you, the associates proceed to tell me that she doesn’t have to?” she asks. “Too many parents think that kids aren’t capable and don’t expect things from them. I expect a lot from my children. I expect that they learn to be productive and contributing people who can care for themselves when they are 18. The only way to get from here to there is to teach them along the way.”

4. You Dole Out Few Responsibilities

Setting expectations for your children includes holding them accountable for age-appropriate responsibilities, Circle of Moms members add. From a very young age, Ellen B. says, “many kitchen tasks are fair game,” and that kids are capable and often willing to bring their dishes to the sink when done, set the table, take the garbage out, and help cook. “And, yes,” she adds, “teach them to clean up their messes.” Once parents “get over the perception the only you can get things done on time, you will find training them is a time-saver.”

Increasing responsibilities and “doing less for them can give them the best possible chance” at becoming self-sufficient, independent adults, mom Ellen explains. “The more children learn to do tasks and make good decisions on their own, the better odds they have of living a productive life,” she says.

When you educate your children about their responsibilities, just be sure they understand that they’re not being asked to do things because “‘mommy is task master,’ but rather [because] ‘we live together, and share both the work and the pleasure of having our own home,'” Lisa R. notes.

5. You Repeat Yourself Frequently

Once they assign responsibilities, overbearing parents often make the mistake of repeatedly telling children what to do. But parents are not raising robots that should follow every order, mom Angelique A. says. She admits she is sometimes guilty of this with her 14- and 15-year-olds and finds herself constantly telling her own children “to do this and that.” She adds: “I mean when will it register that if you see something that needs to be done, just do it?” Still, Angelique knows she needs to lay off if she wants to raise responsible adults. “I was taught independence at a very young age. When I had to, I knew what to do when my parents were away.”

6. You Help Without Being Asked

Most parents would help their children at the drop of a hat, but several Circle of Moms members advise that parents would be wise to step back and wait to offer help until children ask for it. As a teacher, Pamela W. says she sees today’s parents doing too much for their children when it’s not necessary. “I see parents carrying their children’s backpacks for them, etc., around the school campuses. I also see far more moms and dads who accompany their children into the classroom at the kindergarten level and spend time before the bell rings,” she says.

“It’s hard not to helicopter,” Shawnn L. admits. But as someone who works at a university, she doesn’t support it: “It is extremely frustrating to watch [parents] be overbearing and [make choices] for adult freshman student[s]. It is extremely frustrating to speak to the student and have the parent answer. It is even more frustrating to watch a student make excellent choices with regards to his/her studies, only to see the parent undermine every choice because they either weren’t involved enough, or didn’t agree.”

Lucy L. summarizes: “Don’t do something for your child that he or she is capable of doing for themselves.”

On the other hand, when parents let children make more decisions and help themselves, they often find that their children are more resourceful than they initially thought. Ann F., for instance, recently encouraged her children to sell their unwanted toys to make some money. “When I checked on them in the playroom, they had a whole pile of toys they wanted to sell and were in the process of lugging them out front.” Ann’s gut reaction was to stop them, but she had a second thought and asked what they wanted to do with the money they earned. “They said they wanted to donate it to an animal shelter or children’s hospital. The whole situation reminded me that sometimes it really is best just to get out of their way, not be overbearing, and when they are making their own fun without any parental involvement, to just let them be,” she says.

As a Circle of Moms member who calls herself “Vegemite Cheese” says of parenting, “It’s not always what you do for your kids but what you teach your kids to do for themselves.”

7. You Try to Prevent All Mistakes

Of course, when making their own decisions, children will make some mistakes, but Lisa B. says it’s healthy to let mistakes happen in a safe environment. “Both my kids are extremely careful about touching hot objects and getting their little fingers caught in doors/drawers. That’s because I’ve let them try it when they were 6 months old. As soon as they were able to open and close a drawer, I’ve allowed them to close it (not too strongly, though), on their own fingers,” she says. “Rather than preventing them from doing something dangerous, I let them experience the consequences (provided it isn’t health/life-threatening). They know what it’s like to touch a hot drink. When they fall, they know they have to get up and dust themselves off, all on their own.”

As another example, Lisa adds that her son once had a bad habit of putting his fingers and toys in his mouth. “After reminding him several times that it was dirty, I waited to see what would happen. He caught a very painful mouth sore. But now he knows the consequences of putting dirty objects in his mouth,” she says. Of course, she offers the caveat that she always tries to reinforce good behavior.

Ultimately, moms and dads can avoid overparenting by being supportive of their children, but not being overinvolved, Circle of Moms members say. “There is such a thing as being too involved, too loving, too praising, too in-tune with what your kids are doing . . . just as the other extreme suggests an unhealthy relationship with kids (no affection, attention, encouragement, etc.). Balance really is the key component of all facets of humanity,” Jamie B. says.

“Being over-protective is an easy and common mistake that parents make,” admits mom Riana F., noting she sometimes closes her eyes and says, “World please be gentle with this child of mine.” But, she realizes, “The world will never be gentle, it will only ever be real, and if I try to protect my children from its challenges I will also be protecting them from its rewards.”

6 Tips for Avoiding Back Pain During Sex

6 Tips For Avoiding Back Pain During Sex
Source: YourTango, by Connie Merk, March 26, 2013For people with lower back pain, just the thought of sexual activity can induce fear instead of excitement. Sex is supposed to be pleasurable, but when it’s associated with physical pain, sexual activity stops. And when that happens, relationships suffer.

The most important advice I can give, not only as someone who is working with back pain patients all the time, but also as someone who suffered from back pain for many years, is to be open with your partner. Communication prevents tension and misunderstandings.

Your partner needs to understand that you haven’t lost your interest in him or her, but that you are afraid of aggravating your pain. Your partner needs to feel that you still love him. Otherwise, your condition could jeopardize your relationship.

Openness is key. Talk about what works for you and what doesn’t — for both of you. It is not just the position that matters. Having sex is more than a performing act. Lovemaking is about closeness, sharing, understanding, pleasure, fun, and orgasm.

There are plenty of ways people can find sexual fulfillment besides penetration. If you’ve never experimented with oral sex, sex toys, different positions, now is the time! Get creative and explore. You may find that your sex life suddenly becomes much more interesting and fun.

Here are some more useful tips:

1. Prepare well. For many people, sex is something that happens spontaneously, and thus they believe that any kind of planning makes it less valuable or less enjoyable. But nothing could be further from the truth.

When you are dealing with acute or chronic back pain, proper preparation for “the act” may be the only way to enjoy the experience. Nothing kills passion faster then a sudden onset of pain or the constant fear that the wrong movement will render you helpless on the bed.

Due to your constant pain, it may be difficult for you to relax and let go. Thus, trying to relax the affected muscles by taking a muscle relaxant or pain killer might help to prepare for the sexual encounter. Or, even better, have your partner join you in a warm bath or hot shower, or give you a gentle massage as part of your foreplay.

2. Try different positions. Plan exactly where to have sex and in what position in order to avoid pain. In the beginning, you might need to try out different positions until you find the right one for you and your partner, where you both can be comfortable.

Try preparing the room with cushions, towels and covers under the knees, head, or lower back for support. Remember, it is all about feeling relaxed so you can enjoy your lovemaking.

If it is the man who suffers from back pain, you may want to try lying on a firm surface and using pillows to support the knee and/or head. A small, rolled towel under the lower back may bring additional comfort. You could also sit on a chair with a back rest and have your partner straddle you.

If it is the woman who suffers from back pain, the missionary position with the legs bent toward the chest may be worth trying out. Sitting on the edge of a chair with your partner kneeling between your legs is also a position that works for many woman. Or, have your partner sit on a chair while you sit on his lap, facing away from him.

Finally, regardless of who suffers from back pain, a side-by-side position may be the best. Both partners should on their sides, she with her back to him. Then, he can enter from behind, which is normally a very comfortable position for both.

3. Don’t rush. Plan your sexual encounter with your partner so that you have all the time in the world. Enjoy what you are doing. Maybe you were never too much into foreplay. If so, now is your chance now to explore that part of lovemaking and get to know your partner in a new, sensual way.

Choose sensuality over sexuality as you may not be as vigorous as you once were.

4. Undress first. As I have said before, when dealing with back pain, thoughtful preparation goes a long way, and not just when it comes to your position. In the throes of passion, we are not necessarily paying attention to anything besides our sensations.

We definitely don’t pay attention to our bodies and how they move. Therefore, undress carefully. You don’t want to struggle to get your clothes off in an awkward position that may knock your back out.

5. Masturbation, oral sex and sex toys. If penetration is too painful for one of the partners, there are plenty of other ways to give your partner sexual pleasures. Oral sex, masturbation and dildos or vibrators are great ways to bring about sexual fulfillment and spice up your sex life.

The most important thing is to communicate openly about what you both like and don’t like, and to explore and experiment with new ways of giving and receiving pleasure.

6. Make sex fun. If you are up for it, why not bring some spice into your bedroom? Try playing doctor.

The more you are distracted from your back pain, the better. Sex raises the spirit and puts you in a better mood. Plus, having an orgasm also relaxes all the muscles in the body, and if your muscles are relaxed, your will feel less pain.

With a bit of preparation and fantasy, suffering from back pain does not mean that you are doomed to a life without sex. On the contrary. You could find that experimenting with longer foreplay, toys, positions and role-plays —things you would have never considered before — can actually spice up your sex life. Just be open with your partner, and have fun!

Mumanu, not just a sleeping pillow! This fabulous pillow is self-inflating so adjust the height to your own comfort. (This position is not recommended from 30 weeks pregnant.) Visit the website for more ways to use the Mumanu

mumanu-back-position-pregnancy

Sleep Awareness Week: A New Bedtime Routine for Children

Bedtime Routine For Children

Source: The Huffington Post, by Dr Robert Oexman, Director of the Sleep to Live Institute
9th March 2013

Growing up in the ’60s had its challenges, but looking back they seem so minor. My hometown was very small so it was common for kids to walk home from school, stop at a friend’s house or a park and not arrive home until dinnertime. After dinner, kids would meet up outside to practice everything from basketball to baseball and the best sport of all, kick-the-can. We arrived home just before the “street lights” came on to avoid being grounded by mom and dad. We were exhausted and bedtime was always welcome. Routine was common, from the time we woke up, lunchtime, dinnertime, homework time, bath time, and the time we got into bed. Our circadian clock, which is so well-timed with the rotation of the Earth, seemed to enjoy and thrive on our daily, well-timed routine.

Today, the only thing routine in a kid’s day may be the rotation of the Earth! Kids hang out on Facebook or “talk” via text messaging. Dinner is eaten on the run between school activities or sporting events. Bedtime is adjusted depending upon which child needs to be up latest for practices, games or school projects. Electronics in the bedroom keep kids engaged with friends long after the “street lights” come on for the night. Our need for sleep has been hardwired into our brain, but in just a few decades we have chosen to ignore this innate need and sacrifice our health and our kids’ health along the way.Sleep Awareness Week (March 3-10) should serve as a “wakeup call” for America, giving us the opportunity to get you and your child back on track to better sleep, health and learning. Here are five tips to get started.

1. Eliminate Electronics: Research has linked electronics use with sleep disturbances, and has also found an association between sleep deficiency and lower grades among children and teens. Children and teenagers who are sleep-deprived are more prone to obesity and to attention problems at school. Depression is also common and may be due to the lack of sleep. Everything from smartphones to tablets and laptops should be taken outside the room one hour before bedtime. If your child uses their phone as an alarm clock, this is easily solved — purchase an inexpensive clock for an alarm instead. Televisions should not be allowed in the room, either.

2. Establish Routine: Bedtime should be maintained each night. You should not allow your child to stay up studying late into the night. Multiple research studies have shown that getting adequate sleep after studying increases retention and test scores. It is okay if your child has one night during the week that they need to be up later due to sports or school activities. Just make sure you help them manage their time by studying extra the night before.

3. Soak Before Sleep — Nighttime Baths: A wind-down routine is crucial for a good night’s sleep. A great option is warm baths or showers before bedtime, which may help increase the quality of sleep.

4. Ready the Bedroom — Environment Counts: The bedroom should be designed for sleep! If you and your children have different bedtimes, have your children sleep with a “white noise” machine to drown out sound from those that are still awake. Keep the room temperature cool, around 68 degrees. Make sure the room is dark. If your child needs a nightlight, a “low blue light” nightlight is best, in my opinion, and can be easily purchased online. Make sure that your child is sleeping on a mattress that is supportive for their body type. Most parents spend very little money on mattresses for their kids, thinking that they can sleep on “anything and anywhere.”

5. Prep for Bed: Have your children spend at least 30 minutes preparing for bed, but one hour is optimal. Make sure all electronics are off and dim the lights. Your child can read books or you can read to them. One of my favorite things to do is spend time talking with my kids. Talk about the day, what you and your children need to do tomorrow, and make plans for the future.

Our need for sleep has not changed with our desire for a less routine schedule. It is up to us as parents to institute these routines and instill good sleep habits that will last our children a lifetime!

Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan

Source: In Culture Parent .com By Ruth KamnitzerMonday, February 28th, 2011

In Mongolia, there’s an oft-quoted saying that the best wrestlers are breastfed for at least six years—a serious endorsement in a country where wrestling is the national sport. I moved to Mongolia when my first child was four months old, and lived there until he was three.

Raising my son during those early years in a place where attitudes to breastfeeding are so dramatically different from prevailing norms in North America opened my eyes to an entirely different vision of how it all could be. Not only do Mongolians breastfeed for a long time, they do so with more enthusiasm and less inhibition than nearly anyone else I’ve met. In Mongolia, breast milk is not just for babies, it’s not only about nutrition, and it’s definitely not something you need to be discreet about. It’s the stuff Genghis Khan was made of.

Like many first-time mums, I hadn’t given much thought to breastfeeding before I had a child. But minutes after my son, Calum, popped out, he latched on, and for the next four years seemed pretty determined not to let go. I was lucky, for in many ways breastfeeding came easily—never a cracked nipple, rarely an engorged breast. Mentally, things were not quite as simple. As much as I loved my baby and cherished the bond that breastfeeding gave us, it was, at times, overwhelming. I was unprepared for the magnitude of my love for him, and for the intensity of his need for me and me only—for my milk. “Don’t let him turn you into a human pacifier,” a Canadian nurse had cautioned me just days after Calum’s birth, as he sucked for hour after hour. But I would run through all the possible reasons for his crying—gas? wet? understimulation? overstimulation?—and mostly I’d just end up feeding him again. I wondered if I was doing the right thing.

Then I moved away from Canada to Mongolia, where my husband was conducting a wildlife study. There, babies are kept constantly swaddled in layers of thick blankets, tied up with string like packages you don’t want to come apart in the mail. When a package murmurs, a nipple is popped in its mouth. Babies aren’t changed very often and never burped. There aren’t even hands available to thrust a rattle into. Definitely no tummy time. Babies stay wrapped up for at least three months, and every time they make a sound, they’re breastfed.

This was interesting. At three months, Canadian babies are already having social engagements, even swimming. Some are learning to “self-soothe.” I had assumed that there were many reasons a baby might cry, and that my job was to figure out what the reason was and provide the appropriate solution. But in Mongolia, though babies might cry for many reasons, there is only ever one solution: breast milk. I settled down on my butt and followed suit.

A Working Boob Hits the Streets

In Canada, a certain amount of mystique still surrounds breastfeeding. But really, we’re just not very used to it. Breastfeeding happens at home, in baby groups, occasionally in cafes—you seldom see it in public, and we certainly don’t have conscious memories of having been breastfed ourselves. This private activity between mother and child is greeted with a hush and politely averted eyes, and regarded almost in the same way as public displays of intimacy between couples: not taboo, but slightly discomfiting and politely ignored. And when that quiet, angelic newborn grows into an active toddler intent on letting the world know exactly what he’s doing, well, those eyes are averted a bit more quickly and intently, sometimes under frowning brows.

In Mongolia, instead of relegating me to a “Mothers Only” section, breastfeeding in public brought me firmly to center stage. Their universal practice of breastfeeding anywhere, anytime, and the close quarters in which most Mongolians live, mean that everyone is pretty familiar with the sight of a working boob. They were happy to see I was doing things their way (which was, of course, the right way).

When I breastfed in the park, grandmothers would regale me with tales of the dozen children they had fed. When I breastfed in the back of taxis, drivers would give me the thumbs-up in the rearview mirror and assure me that Calum would grow up to be a great wrestler. When I walked through the market cradling my feeding son in my arms, vendors would make a space for me at their stalls and tell him to drink up. Instead of looking away, people would lean right in and kiss Calum on the cheek. If he popped off in response to the attention and left my streaming breast completely exposed, not a beat was missed. No one stared, no one looked away—they just laughed and wiped the milk off their noses.

From the time Calum was four months old until he was three years old, wherever I went, I heard the same thing over and over again: “Breastfeeding is the best thing for your baby, the best thing for you.” The constant approval made me feel that I was doing something important that mattered to everyone—exactly the kind of public applause every new mother needs.

The Lazy Mum’s Secret Weapon

By Calum’s second year, I had fully realized just how useful breastfeeding could be. Nothing gets a child to sleep as quickly, relieves the boredom of a long car journey as well, or calms a breaking storm as swiftly as a little warm milk from mummy. It’s the lazy mother’s most useful parenting aid, and by now I thought I was using it to its maximum effect. But the Mongolians took it one step further.

During the Mongolian winters, I spent many afternoons in my friend Tsetsgee’s yurt, escaping the bitter cold outside. It was enlightening to compare our different parenting techniques. Whenever a tussle over toys broke out between our two-year-olds, my first reaction would be to try to restore peace by distracting Calum with another toy while explaining the principle of sharing. But this took a while and had a success rate of only about 50 percent. The other times, when Calum was unwilling to back down and his frustration escalated to near boiling point, I would pick him up and cradle him in my arms for a feed.

Tsetsgee had a different approach. At the first murmur of discord, she would lift her shirt and start waving her boobs around enthusiastically, calling out, “Come here, baby, look what Mama’s got for you!” Her son would look up from the toys to the bull’s-eyes of his mother’s breasts and invariably toddle over.

Success rate? 100 percent.

Not to be outdone, I adopted the same strategy. There we were, two mothers flapping our breasts like competing strippers trying to entice a client. If the grandparents were around, they’d get in on the act. The poor kids wouldn’t know where to look—the reassuring fullness of their own mothers’ breasts, granny’s withered pancake boasting its long experience, or the strange mound of flesh granddad was squeezing up in breast envy. Try as I might, I can’t picture a similar scene at a La Leche League meeting.

When They’re Walking and Talking…and Taking Their Exams?

In my prenatal class in small-town Canada, where Calum was born, breastfeeding had been introduced with a video showing a particularly sporty-looking Swedish mother breastfeeding her toddler while out skiing. A shudder ran through the group: “Sure, it’s great for babies, but by the time they’re walking and talking?” That was pretty much the consensus. I kept my counsel.

It was my turn to be surprised when one of my new Mongolian friends told me she had breastfed until she was nine years old. I was so jaw-dropped, flabbergasted that at first I dismissed it as a joke. Considering my son weaned just after turning four, I’m now a little embarrassed about my adamant disbelief. While nine years is pretty old to be breastfeeding, even by Mongolian standards, it’s not actually off the scale.

Though it wasn’t always easy to fully discuss such concepts as self-weaning with Mongolians because of the language barrier, breastfeeding “to term” seemed to be the norm. I never met anyone who was tandem breastfeeding, which surprised me, but because the intervals between births are fairly long, most kids give up breastfeeding between two and four years of age.

In 2005, according to UNICEF,1 82 percent of children in Mongolia continued to breastfeed at 12 to 15 months, and 65 percent were still doing so at 20 to 23 months. A mother’s last child seems to just keep going, hence the breastfeeding nine-year-old, and if the folk wisdom is right, Mongolia’s renown for wrestling.

As three-year-old Calum was still feeding with the enthusiasm of a newborn and I wondered how weaning would eventually come about, I was curious about what prompted Mongolian children to self-wean. Some mothers said their child had simply lost interest. Others said peer pressure played a part. (I have heard Mongolian teenagers tease each other with, “You want your mommy’s breasts!” in the same way Canadian kids say, “Cry baby!”) More and more often, work commitments force weaning to happen earlier than they would have otherwise occurred; children will often spend the summer in the countryside while a mother stays in the city to work, and during the extended separation her milk dries up. My friend Buana, now 20, explained her gold-medal breastfeeding career to me. “I grew up in a yurt, way out in the countryside. My mom always told me to drink up, that it was good for me. I thought that’s what every nine-year-old was doing. When I went to school, I stopped.” She looked at me with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. “But I still like to drink it sometimes.”

Pass the Milk, Please

For me, weaning from the breast seemed a fairly defined event. I always expected that, at some point, feedings would decrease and continue to taper off until they ceased altogether. My milk would dry up and that would be that. Bar closed.

In Mongolia, that’s not what happens. Discussing breastfeeding with my friend Naraa, I asked her when her daughter, who was then six, had weaned. “At four,” she replied. “I was sad, but she didn’t want to breastfeed anymore.” Then Naraa told me that, just the week before, when her daughter had returned from an extended stay in the countryside with her grandparents and had wanted to breastfeed, Naraa obliged. “I guess she missed me too much,” she said, “and it was nice. Of course, I didn’t have any milk, but she didn’t mind.”

But if weaning means never drinking breast milk again, then Mongolians are never truly weaned – and here’s what surprised me most about breastfeeding in Mongolia. If a woman’s breasts are engorged and her baby is not at hand, she will simply go around and ask a family member, of any age or sex, if they’d like a drink. Often a woman will express a bowlful for her husband as a treat, or leave some in the fridge for anyone to help themselves.

While we’ve all tasted our own breast milk, given some to our partners to try, maybe used a bit in the coffee in an emergency (haven’t we?), I don’t think many of us have actually drunk it very often. But every Mongolian I ever asked told me that he or she liked breast milk. The value of breast milk is so celebrated, so firmly entrenched in their culture, that it’s not considered something that’s only for babies. Breast milk is commonly used medicinally, given to the elderly as a cure-all, and used to treat eye infections, as well as to (reportedly) make the white of the eye whiter and deepen the brown of the iris.

But mostly, I think, Mongolians drink breast milk because they like the taste. A Western friend of mine who pumped breast milk while at work and left the bottle in the company fridge one day found it half empty. She laughed. “Only in Mongolia would I suspect my colleagues of drinking my breast milk!”

Living in another culture always forces you to reevaluate your own. I don’t really know what it would have been like to breastfeed my son during his early years in Canada. The avalanche of positive feedback on breastfeeding I got in Mongolia, and Mongolians’ wholehearted acceptance of public breastfeeding, simply amazed me, and gave me the freedom to raise my child in a way that felt natural. But in addition to all the small differences in our breastfeeding norms, the details of how long and how often, I ended up feeling that there was a bigger divide in our parenting styles.

In North America, we so value independence that it comes through in everything we do. All the talk is about what your baby’s eating now, and how many breastfeedings he’s down to. Even if you’re not the one asking these questions, it’s hard to escape their impact. And there are now so many things for sale that are designed to help your child amuse herself and need you less that the message is clear. But in Mongolia, breastfeeding isn’t equated with dependence, and weaning isn’t a finish line. They know their kids will grow up—in fact, the average Mongolian five-year-old is far more independent than her western counterpart, breastfed or not. There’s no rush to wean.

Probably the most valuable thing about raising my son in Mongolia was that I realized that there are a million different ways to do things, and that I could choose any of them. Throughout my son’s breastfeeding career, I struggled with different issues, and picked up and discarded many ideas and practices, in my search to forge my own style. I’m glad I breastfed Calum as much and as long as I did – it turned out to be four years. I think breastfeeding was the best thing for my son, and that it will have a lasting impact on his personality and on our relationship.

And when he wins that Olympic gold medal in wrestling, I’ll expect him to thank me.