Ecoaby & Home's Blog
Before a disaster strikes, it is best to have a plan in place and emergency supplies available. We all know we need bottled water, flashlights, and food, but it’s easy to forget things for our babies. Whether you use disposable or cloth diapers, you need a plan for the inevitableness that is poop!
While you can easily throw a pack of disposables into your disaster kit, you have to remember to keep updating the size because a size 1 diaper will not be useful for a size 4 baby. It’s also difficult to determine how many diapers you will need because you never really know what the outcome of a disaster will be. You may find yourself unable to get to a store, and if you can, who knows if there will be any diapers left! Who wants to be having a fight over the last pack of diapers or spending time worrying if their baby is going to be stuck in a soiled diaper for extended periods of time? Certainly not something you want to be dealing with on top of the craziness of the disaster itself.
Even if you cloth diaper, modern diapers such as pockets and all-in-ones may not be ideal without electricity to wash them. What’s a mom to do then? You may be surprised to know there are lots of options open to you, including free items that you may have around your house. If you have a few covers and a Snappi, you have even more options available to you.
If you have an itty-bitty newborn around, you likely know that there are a lot of diaper changes to be made. One solution for diapering a newborn during a disaster is washcloths, and most families have quite a few around.
If you pair the washcloth diaper with the no-sew fleece diaper cover, you have a (likely free) solution for a water resistant (meaning you could still get wet if baby pees a lot) diaper.
For an older baby your options for emergency diapering are almost limitless. Flour sack towels, receiving blankets, t-shirts, and pretty much any other natural fabric (meaning cotton, bamboo, etc. as synthetics are usually meant to wick away moisture but not absorb) can either be folded or cut into a diaper if necessary. If you want to prepare ahead, flour sack towels can be found at most large retailers for $1 or less per towel, and receiving blankets can be purchased for cheap at a thrift store. These options can either be folded into a diaper or folded in a “pad fold” that can be placed in a cover. You can either utilize the no-sew fleece cover above or use commercially available covers and Snappis or pins.
If you really want to plan ahead, you might consider purchasing commercially available flats or prefolds along with covers for your emergency kit. Do keep in mind that natural fiber diapers do need to be prepped before you put them in the kit, otherwise they may not absorb very well. These diapers are very economical and you can do all of the above folds with commercially available flats.
Now that you have diaper options, you are probably wondering what you are going to do with the poop if you have no electricity?!? After all isn’t that why disposables would be preferable, since you can just throw them away? If conditions aren’t safe for you to go outside, that stinky diaper is probably the last thing you want to smell in a hot house for days on end! With any of the types of flat diaper, whether commercial or homemade, you can easily hand wash with a camp style washer. All you need is a bucket with a lid and a plunger. You can likely get all of this at your local home improvement store for less than $10.
I know what you are thinking. “Hand washing when I am already stressing about this disaster, you cannot be serious?” Well, I’m here to admit that I once participated in a flats and hand washing challenge for seven days for no reason than to see if I could do it. While I will admit, it was a lot of hard work; I quickly realized this was actually a useful skill to have. I was also shocked how clean those diapers got without the use of a modern washing machine!
After the diapers are washed they can be hung to dry anywhere you have a place to hang them. Shower curtain rods, towel bars, etc. all work, and since your diapers are generally only one layer of material, they dry pretty quickly.
Wipes are one other thing you need to remember when prepping for a disaster as what good is a diaper if you have no way to clean the poop off your babies bottom. Disposable wipes are one option, but you may run out. Cloth wipes are a great solution, and just like the emergency diapers above, they can be made out of many materials. Receiving blankets and old t-shirts can be cut into small squares, as can flour sack towels. Baby washcloths also make great wipes. Alternatively, there are many brands of cloth wipes for purchase. These wipes only require some water for cleaning bums and can be thrown right in with the dirty diapers for washing.
Now you have all the skills and know how to diaper your little one through a hurricane, blizzard, earthquake, or zombie apocalypse.
Summary of Supplies Needed to Cloth Diaper in a Disaster for a 24-hour Period (You’ll likely want to wash once a day to keep smells, bugs, and germs at a minimum).
- 12 Washcloths, Flour Sack Towels, Receiving Blankets, T-Shirts, or Flats to use as diapers
- At least 2-3 Waterproof Covers or Several Fleece No-Sew Covers
- Snappi or Diaper Pins (optional)
- 5-Gallon Bucket with Lid
- Laundry Detergent
- Towels, Washcloths, T-shirts, etc. Cut Into Squares or Premade Cloth Wipes
- All prefolds (new & used) 50% off
- All Strider Sport Bikes $99
- Poppy Drops Pierce Free Earrings 50% off
- Additional 20% Clearance items
- Funbites 15% off
- All Toys 15% off
- Diaper Bags 20% off
- 40% off our remaining stock of Pirose motherhood Nursing Scarfs
- Buy One Get One Free Baby Legs
- 20% off Beco Baby Carriers
- Buy One Get One Free Forest Nation Tree
Plus Bring a Friend and receive an extra 5% off your purchase! AND a FREE gift for all purchases over $50.00.
Open at the Bell Tower Shops from 10am-9pm!
Check out our Sales on Small Business Saturday too!
10:15 Free Baby Signs Intro Class
10:00-12:00 Breastfeeding 911 Drop In*
10:15-12:00 Drop In Story Time
11:00 Free Doula Consultations with Nicky Quick
1:00 Family Music Time Demo
2:00 Free Babywearing Yoga
2:00 - 4:00 Good Medicine Community Acupuncture will be doing Free Acupuncture
4:00 Essential Oils 101
5:00 Mama's Chiropractic Clinic
Treats to purchase from The Vintage Vegan Bakery!
*This is a drop-in clinic where moms get immediate, hands-on, breastfeeding assistance from International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) or a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC). Services may include a general baby assessment, having the latch observed, positioning assistance, and/or discuss any challenges or questions you have. Please note: Individual consultation appointments will be recommended or made for those needing more in-depth private assistance. This clinic is first come, first served and the wait varies from week to week. Cost is $15 for 30 mins.
- $20 off in Stock Diono Carseats and 10% off Diono Accessories
- 15% off all Toys
- Cloth Diapers 10% off
- 50% off all Prefolds
- 30% off Kangaroo Shirts
- 40% off Nursing Scarfs
- Beco Baby Carriers 20% off
- 20% off Hana Baby Wraps
- 15% off Toddler Connecta Carriers
- Diaper Bags 20% off
- Buy One Get One Half Off Funbites
- 15% Off Earthpaste
- Diffusers and doTerra Oils 10% off
- $99 In stock Strider Bikes - Sport Model
- Additional 20% off all Clearance
- Poppy Drops Pierce Free Earrings 50% off
With any purchase over $50, you can draw an instant-win prize from our Green Friday prize bowl. You’ll draw one of the following fabulous prizes:
- $5 EcoBaby Gift Cards
- BumGenius 4.0 Spence
- EIO Cup
- Cuppow Lid
- Haba Wilde Wikinger Game
- $25 EcoBaby & Home Gift Card - at least 3 available
- $50 EcoBaby & Home Gift Card - one of these
- Set of 2 wool dryer balls
- Poppy Drop pierce free earrings
- Forest Nation Trees
Here is a sneak peek at what is starting November 6 at EcoBaby & Home at the Bell Tower Shops! Let us know what you think of Babywearing Yoga! Have you done it?
Experience babywearing in a whole new way! Join Ashley and Baby Sage for a morning of baby carriers, breath and yoga. This Parent and Baby class will be specifically tailored to babywearing parents and all poses will be done with baby on board. This will be a fun and adventurous practice allowing us to explore the bonding relationship even further. This is a great opportunity to check out new and different wraps and carriers, as well as spend time in community with other parents. Moms should be 6weeks postpartum (8 for cesarean) or have a doctor/midwife note to practice. Babies through walking are welcome to participate.
Ashley has been practicing yoga since 2004. When she was growing up, she was a gymnast and finds that yoga is closely related to gymnastic movement. She has practiced many forms of yoga including, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, Power, Prenatal and even the aerial hammock yoga.
She received her 200hr RYT from Ruby and Pearls at the end of May 2014. Her teaching style is ever evolving, alignment based and puts emphasis on having fun while harmonizing the breath, body and mind. She encourages students to laugh and enjoy the asana practice but also stresses importance of focus during meditation.
Ashley loves to practice arm balance and inversion in her personal practice. She loves that yoga is never perfected and there is always a new challenge.
Shop the must have toys and gifts of the 2014 Holiday season at EcoBaby & Home.
1. HABA Magica Clutching Toy #13.95
Made of beech wood and non toxic water based stain this is a great colorful toy for your little one, great for teething and babies learning to grasp. It's even fun for adults to play with!
Easy for little hands to grab this sensory clutching rattle encourages grasping and reaching. Made with wood and elastic ties which allows baby to rattle, flatten and chew on and it always returns to its original shape!
100% certified organic cotton, natural corn fiber filling, and environmentally friendly dyes and handmade! What is not to love? Oh wait there is more.....All of the packaging is printed on recycled paper with soy ink, there Apple Park Farm Buddies would be a great gift for the baby in your life!
1. Sophie the Giraffe $21.95
Sophie the Giraffe is a staple in any teething babies arsenal, made of 100% natural rubber and food based paint, she has been around since 1961. Definitely a great classic toy.
These is a beautiful wooden push and pull toys, a classic gift that is sure to be a big hit!
3. Green Toys Stacker $14.99
8 colorful, stackable nesting pieces made in the USA from recycled milk jugs. We love the Green Toys brand because when they get dirty you can just put them in the dishwasher!
1. Green Toys Race Car $8.99
Great little gift for Boys or Girls who love cars! No BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings! This gift is ready to roll!
A safe dough made from natural plant dyes. The kids will have hours of fun sculpting and you won't have to worry about any harmful chemicals.
3. Haba Dolls Mirli & Miro $19.99 each
These are the sweetest little 8" dolls. They will be a big hit for the holiday season and we love their packaging, a paint can!
1. Strider Balance Bike $89-$169
Tanya loved the Strider Bike SO much we brought it into the store. This bike is the best bike to get your kids riding a bike with no training wheels! If your child can walk they can use the strider!
Another great item for those parents who love to travel. Kids can be in charge of their own luggage and if they get tired of pulling it around they can sit on the Trunki and be pulled. Especially great for the kids who are old enough to walk and don't like to be worn in a carrier through the airport!
3. Poppy Drops Earring Starter Kit (temporary earrings) $21.95
Hold off piercing those ears till they are ready to care for them on their own. These Veggie Based, pierce-free temporary tattoo jewelry and nail art will keep your kids having fun with no holes!
1. Goldie Blox $19.99-$29.99 (on sale 50% off)
GoldieBlox created an innovative and fun toys for girls, designed to develop early interest in engineering and confidence in problem-solving.
Probably the best brush on the market! No more crying while brushing your child's hair (or yours!). It really glides through so easily.
3. Mini Doll Carrier $30.00
Have a child who wants to be just like mommy or daddy and carry a little one? This is a perfect gift! Matching carriers would be even better!
1. Luca & Co Fun Pod $190.00
The Fun Pod allows your child to be right where the action is! Smaller than it's competitors to give you more room in the kitchen or anywhere where your child likes to help.
2. Diono Rainer $339.00
Probably one of the best car seats on market and the last carseat you will have to purchase! It Rear Faces till 55 lbs and converts to a booster till 120 lbs. It's steel frame and narrow sizing allows up to 3 comfortably in the back of most vehicles.
3. Parent/Child Baltic Amber Necklaces $45.00
Ease those teething pains for baby and mild headaches you often get and look cute all at the same time.
Moms to be/New Moms
1. Pregnancy and/or Baby Milestone Cards $26.95 each
A gift we often recommend for new moms to be to document their pregnancy or new parents to document all of their babies firsts. These are great sets that come in a keepsake box.
2. Newborn Cloth Diaper Rental $75-$120
What better way to show your support for cloth diapering to new parents than to gift them the Newborn Diaper Rental program! Newborn's grow so quickly that it is more cost effective to rent newborn diapers, keep them for 3 months, give them back, and get a store credit to start buying one size cloth diapers!
Stretchy Wraps are a great way to let mom or dad be attentive to the new baby and be hands free to do simple chores around the house or be attentive to the other children in the house. This is a must for any new mom!
Here’s a subject that tends to gets the blood boiling…Cry It Out. My instinct is that allowing an infant to scream themselves into oblivion, (or sleep), is mean, but since there’s so much debate, I hunted down some actual research…something a little more concrete than: my mom let me do it and I’m OK. For starters, according to API, (Attachment Parenting International, if you’ve been following my posts on that subject), makes the following claim: infants are not neurologically or developmentally capable of soothing themselves and regulating their emotions. They caution that allowing the stress hormone, cortisol, to spike in the brain can have long lasting effects on sleep patterns, behavior, and emotional reactions.
Admittedly, API is not a research center, and in fact, although I agree with their principles, they would most certainly be considered biased.
So, without further ado, here is some cite-able information about the subject.
In support of CIO:
A 2012 follow-up study looked at 225 kids who had been placed into two groups: sleep training group and control. The results were that there were no differences in terms of their emotional responses, stress, etc. I couldn’t get access to the entire study, but it was described in an article on CNN.com and I’m going to have to trust their explanation, (I also found references to the study elsewhere that described it essentially the same way).
I couldn’t find anything that came to any other significant conclusions. I looked, but overall what I found was lots of stories about people who did it with their kids who all turned out OK.
In summary, CIO isn’t going to hurt anything.
The first study I looked at was the one regarding the cortisol spike which had been referenced by API. I don’t have a link because the version I read was a PDF of the entire study, (OK, so I skimmed the study and read the abstract). It was done in 2011 at the University of West Texas, etc. A link to the PDF is on the CNN article referenced above.
This study measured cortisol, a hormone that helps regulate metabolism, but can spike in response to stress and is linked to a number of health conditions in adults. Cortisol in the saliva of mothers and babies was measured during a five-day CIO trial. In the beginning, the infants cried when left alone to go to sleep and cortisol spiked in both groups. After a couple of days, the babies stopped crying and the cortisol spike was seen only in the infants. This led to the conclusion that the level of stress experienced by the babies did not decrease, (they were not soothed), but rather they had stopped crying after learning that it would yield no response. The mothers’ cortisol did not spike, however, because they were not listening to their babies cry.
For starters, here’s what I learned about cortisol. Most of what I read about the dangers of high cortisol pertains specifically to adults, you can read it here. What I found about children, here, is that low levels of cortisol impacts metabolism and is related to depression. There is a disease that can cause it, Addison’s Disease, but it’s also thought that chronic stress can overwork and cause a malfunction of the adrenal glands, which secrete the hormone. Additionally, there are some researchers who suggest that in a child’s still-developing brain, it may cause even more damage. In any event, I am going to conclude that I want my kid’s cortisol levels to remain normal in both the short and long term.
While there is near universal agreement that lower stress on a mother is good for a child and a family, I’m not convinced that this should be done at the expense of the child. Furthermore, I’ll acknowledge that this study, (or at least the portion of it that I read skimmed), did not look at long-term effects.
Project SIESTA is an ongoing project at Penn State University headed by Dr. Douglas Teti. I couldn’t find the actual research, which may be because it’s still in progress, but I did find him interviewed. A portion of his research examined sleeping patterns using an overnight camera. He found that those babies who were being responded to emotionally had fewer sleep disruptions overall than those who did not. While he did not isolate CIO in this instance, and based on the article I read, this only looked at children aged 0-24 months, he stated that “the way we construed emotional availability is that an emotionally available parent is not a parent who is going to abandon a child at night and let the child cry it out.” Again, this study is neither complete nor comprehensive, based on the limited portions of it that I’ve read, but it does not support CIO.
Finally, there’s this article. It’s from Psychology Today and I don’t want to go to crazy summarizing it because it’s a good read in and of itself. It begins with an explanation of the roots of CIO being in the late 1800s and early 1900s when children were to be seen and not heard. Incidentally, this is also at time when childbirth became a medical procedure instead of a natural experience for women and you can just go ahead and assume how I feel about that “progress.” At any rate, the author goes on to explain how infants, particularly during the first six months of development, need to be responded to for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is evidenced by a study done on rats, (they are often used for studies on human brain functioning). Here is an except:
In studies of rats with high or low nurturing mothers, there is a critical period for turning on genes that control anxiety for the rest of life. If in the first 10 days of life you have low nurturing rat mother (the equivalent of the first 6 months of life in a human), the gene never gets turned on and the rat is anxious towards new situations for the rest of its life, unless drugs are administered to alleviate the anxiety. These researchers say there are hundreds of genes affected by nurturance. Similar mechanisms are found in human brains–caregiver behavior matters for turning genes on and off. (Work of Michael Meaney and colleagues; e. g., Meaney, 2001).
The article continues on with a great list of potential issues that may impact either the baby or the mother-child relationship from CIO and explains that the results are difficult, if not impossible to gauge, particularly before adulthood. I’m not being graded for writing this so I’m not going to delve into a critique of the author, since this is an article and not a study, but she is credible (Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., professor at Notre Dame and her research focus is moral cognition, moral development and moral character education). She acknowledges that this particular article is an opinion piece and not a research article, but all of her sources are cited.
The only study that looked at the effects over time did support the practice in the sense that it did not show that long-term damage would be caused, however it also did not show that NOT using CIO would cause long-term damage (ie: create poor sleeping habits, needy children/adults).
On the other hand, long-term effects of cortisol may not have been conclusively demonstrated, but they were certainly not shown to be safe either and the fact that chronic stress in adults is universally acknowledged to be harmful concerns me. The Psychology Today article poses questions about how CIO may impact brain growth and development overall and I find nothing that refutes these statements since it goes far beyond the claim that behavior and sleep patterns are not impacted when the child is six years old. Also, Project SIESTA seems to be leaning towards the notion that CIO really does not create a more sound sleeper anyway.
In conclusion, CIO is effectively reducing stress in parents, (good), while increasing the stress level in babies, (bad), which does not appear to lead to higher stress levels in older children, (neutral). It also does not seem to lead to deeper sleep or self-soothing, which are two of the main reasons for doing it in the first place. Long term effects are not known as it relates to cortisol spikes and anxiety. There is nothing suggesting that there is any danger, either short or long term, in NOT using CIO so that sounds like the safe bet to me. Go with your gut, mammas. No one actually WANTS to hear a screaming baby.
Food. This is always a hot topic among mommas once their infants reach a certain age. We hear all kinds of “helpful” advice, most of which conflicting. In fact, one common bit of advice we receive comes from our doctors and is in direct conflict with American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization guidelines: start feeding infants rice cereal at three or four months of age. Despite the prevalence of this practice, both aforementioned associations advise breastmilk, (or formula if necessary), exclusively for the first six months and then “the introduction of complementary foods” (AAP 2012). Dare I say that rice cereal doesn’t compliment anything?
I’m not here to debate the merits of this (essentially debunked) practice, but instead, introduce another approach to bringing your child to the table. It’s called Baby Led Weaning and essentially, it means encouraging your child to feed themselves from the start of their eating careers. Allowing them exposure to food through watching others and allowing them to dictate when they are ready to start experimenting themselves – typically this is around six months of age. With BLW, babies are given “normal” food from the very get-go, cut into manageable, generally French fry-sized pieces, and therefore learning the tastes, textures, skills, an d reflexes associated with food without first learning about purees (which let’s be honest, does not exactly teach them anything about how we experience food in the real world).
There are books, blogs, articles, forums, and experienced moms who will all give the-same-but-different versions of what BLW means to them. The bottom line is that the mush is skipped and the baby has some level of control over what they experience and ultimately learn. To me, the key word here is “learn.” Isn’t that the goal? We want our children to learn about food and eating in a way that will translate into healthy and comfortable habits as they grow older. The importance of food in our lives, and the unhealthy habits held by so many people in our society right now, should not be ignored.
So this is what BLW means to me.
Both my husband and I fortunately grew up in families which took the tradition of dinnertime very seriously. Elisa was bought to the table with us for meals almost as soon as she was born and sat next to us in the high chair starting at around three months. We’d offer her a toy and include her in our conversations. It was a practice she became used to and around seven months, she started expressing interest in our food. I began slowly by giving her foods such as avocado, applesauce, and bananas, (to this day she will not eat them). She clearly enjoyed tasting and playing. After a few days, I moved onto slightly overcooking whatever veggies we were eating that day; I did not mash them, but they were always softer than normal. Within a week or two, I started giving her small portions of whatever was on our plate. She wasn’t eating full meals by any stretch, I didn’t expect it and I didn’t try feeding her more. She played and she put her fingers in her mouth and experienced the flavors. Slowly, and this took months, she started eating more and more. I never pushed it and I never gave her anything which made me uncomfortable, but for example she bit chicken off a bone when she was probably ten months old. She ate spicy food, garlic, and all other textures and flavors. If her habits as a toddler are any indication, she has two foods she doesn’t like and have remained consistent (eggs and bananas), but otherwise eats nearly an adult portion at every meal. This began around 15 months.
Not only did we offer Elisa normal food, we also always gave her silverware. No, she could not operate a spoon at seven months old, but she associated it with food and always tried her best. Even still at age two, she is no expert, but she knows what utensils are for and if she is struggling with her fork, she’ll ask for a spoon to try instead. She has been able to eat a bowl of cereal or yogurt by herself since 18 months. She has also always drunk out of a cup without a lid, (of course not walking around the house or in the car, I’m not insane). Do I think she would never have picked up these skills had I not introduced them early? Of course not. But I saw no reason not to expose her to realistic food situations from the very start.
One thing I observed is that we have had no scary choking situations. In my experience, and I’ve heard this from other proponents of BLW, babies will recognize their gag reflex very early if given the opportunity. I didn’t step in when Elisa had something in her throat. She learned immediately that allowing food to go too far back into her throat caused discomfort and she figured out how to manipulate her tongue and get it out. To her, food was always chewable so there was no transition from her having first learned that all food is mushy. From the very start, she would feel it move back on her tongue, spit it out into her hand, and put it back and try again. Watching her process was fascinating for me really because without my guidance, she recognized what needed to happen. If she put something in her mouth that was too large, she would remove it before it had a chance to roll back her tongue. If something moved back before she had a chance to chew, she’d remove it and start over.
Elisa expects now to be pulled up to a table with other people for, at the very least, one major meal per day. She requested to be taken out of the high chair and sit with us, (we have a booster), when she was just shy of a year. She eats a variety of foods and textures many adults I know aren’t exposed to. One thing I have also observed is that she will control what she eats based on her own needs. I like to make sure she eats a balanced diet through the course of a week, not just a day. She’s eaten a full pound of green beans for dinner before without touching anything else on her plate, but won’t eat a green for days after. She’s eaten two chicken breasts in a sitting, but won’t touch the stuff the next day. Mornings when she has cereal or toast for breakfast, she is more likely to ask for fruit as a snack. Overall, I’ve found that BLW made feeding and introducing food to our daughter easy. It didn’t require a transition from baby to toddler, but instead, she has just had a steady learning progression from playing to eating and now learning manners. Most importantly, she eats a balanced diet, without being forced, and is not fussy in regards to tastes, textures, or mealtimes.
The fourth principle of attachment parenting is Use Nurturing Touch.
Taken directly from the API website, the basic premise is this:
Needs and the Benefits of Nurturing Touch
• For the child, nurturing touch stimulates growth-promoting hormones, improves intellectual and motor development, and helps regulate temperature, heart rate, and sleep/wake patterns.
• Babies who receive nurturing touch gain weight faster, nurse better, cry less, are calmer, and have better intellectual and motor development
• Cultures high in physical affection, touch, holding or carrying, rate low in adult physical violence
For most people, this is probably a gimme. For us, this principle manifests itself in a number of ways.
Breastfeeding is, of course, a big player, since she has been having that time with me since birth. Unfortunately she needed to take a bottle of expressed milk when I was at work in the beginning, but when I was off, she rarely had one. Additionally, she nursed through the night until 15 months or so and she’d be able to snuggle up to me whenever she needed and we had a lot of skin-to-skin, snuggling time that way. Early on, when she was still adjusting to us and had some fussy nights, my husband would take his shirt off to snuggle her against him instead of having that barrier of clothing between them.
Baby wearing is also another excellent practice for keeping our babies close. We really only have used a stroller when one of us, (yeah, not me), takes her jogging. At nearly two, she still rides on our back in her structured carrier or even occasionally on my hip in the ring sling. When she younger, I used the ring sling on nearly a daily basis and she would sit on my hip as I worked around the house. I now have a stretchy wrap which I will use for the new baby in his or her early days.
Massages are a really common way of using nurturing touch, although it’s not something that we’ve practiced often. We did when she was very little, but it didn’t take long for it to seem more like a comedy sketch in our house. My daughter was always a little too high powered to want to relax that way, but I continue to rub her back or head when she’s dozing off to sleep.
Overall, touch your kid. Hold your kid. Play with your kid. I think most parents, within and outside of the API spectrum, adhere to this principle in many ways.
What do breastfeeding moms need?
All parents-to-be experience it – the dizzying task of acquiring all the right “gear” before baby arrives. So many decisions! Carseat, stroller, high chair, baby carrier, swaddles, diapers, changing pad, and more. It seems you need to bring home the entire contents of Target just to take care of that tiny new human! One area that may be overlooked is what a new mom needs for comfortable breastfeeding. A few elements can help ensure a new mom has the right tools in place for comfortable and successful breastfeeding.
First, all a new mom really needs to breastfeed is A) a breast, and B) a baby. After all, the human race survived until the modern age with just those essentials! But consider the following list to make breastfeeding easier and more comfortable for the nursing dyad.
Nursing bras allow mom to easily unhook, or pull up or down the cup portion of a bra to uncover the breast for baby to nurse. A nursing bra should be comfortable and supportive and fit well. In the days after delivery when mom’s milk is coming in and her breasts are engorged, a nursing bra might feel too restrictive, and either no bra at all, or a light, stretchy “sleep bra” may be the most comfortable choice. Once nursing is established, bras that let mom nurse easily are a wardrobe essential. Most moms should avoid underwire and any bra that puts firm pressure on breast tissue, as these can cause blocked milk ducts or inhibit milk production. Bravado nursing bras come in a range of sizes and are comfortable and supportive.
A nursing tank is a tank top with a supportive stretchy shelf inside, with hooks to easily pull down either side to nurse. A nursing tank is a great way to stay covered while nursing in public, or a comfortable alternative to a nursing bra. A nursing tank also allows mom to nurse while keeping her post-partum belly covered. Moms will learn to appreciate the “two shirt method” of nursing. By wearing a regular shirt over a nursing tank, lifting the shirt up and the top of the nursing tank down to uncover the breast for baby, nearly all mom’s skin stays covered. Bravado makes comfortable stretchy cotton nursing tanks.
A Refillable Water Bottle
Fun fact: Breastmilk is made from blood, and blood plasma is 92% water! Breastfeeding moms need to stay properly hydrated, and it is common to feel thirsty while nursing. A big bottle of water should always be accessible where mom sits to nurse. A stainless steel bottle like the Kleen Kanteen is a great choice, because it isn’t made of plastic so there is no worry about toxic chemicals, and no risk of it breaking when stuffed in the diaper bag, thrown around in the car, or knocked over in the middle of the night! Bonus tip: get a few and place them around the house so mom can always grab one while she holds the baby.
A Comfortable Place to Sit
Gliders, rockers and even fancy Lazy Boy glider/recliners are touted as must-haves for new nursing moms, but really all mom needs is a comfortable, wide, supportive place to sit that is easy to get in and out of, and within reach of essential supplies like her water bottle, TV remote, tablet or smart phone, and burp cloths. I nursed my baby in a glider when he was a newborn, but found we quickly outgrew it as he got longer and my short arms needed to be situated uncomfortably above the arm rests to hold him. I now find the middle of a couch to be the most comfortable place, with a pillow behind me and several on each side of me. Breastfeeding a newborn is a 24-7 job, and mom will spend a lot of time sitting and nursing, so make sure she is comfortable wherever she chooses to set up her “nursing nest”.
Reusable Nursing Pads
Reusable nursing pads are made of natural materials like bamboo or organic cotton. They sit inside mom’s bra and soak up any leaks between nursings. Typically, milk supply isn’t regulated (when mom produces exactly what baby needs to eat and no more) until around baby’s third month. Until then engorgement and leaking and spontaneous let-downs of milk may happen frequently. Reusable nursing pads can be thrown in the wash with regular laundry and are chemical free, unlike disposable pads. Bamboobies nursing pads are made of super absorbent bamboo, and are thin so they aren’t noticeable under clothing.
A Nursing Pillow
A nursing pillow can be helpful to position baby for nursing, especially in the “fourth trimester” (the first three months of baby’s life). I used a “boppy” style pillow and found it helpful nursing my newborn. I found I could position the baby tucked in between me and the pillow and lean back and doze in my chair while nursing, confident the baby wasn’t going to fall, and my arms weren’t going to wear out from holding him. Some moms find the “my breast friend” style pillow more comfortable, and others just use a firm bed pillow or a smaller throw pillow. When moms are just beginning to nurse many may feel like they can’t leave the house without a nursing pillow, but don’t worry, once baby gets bigger and nursing is easier, none carry around a bulky pillow! Now when at home I use a two smaller pillows stacked up underneath my elbow to support my toddler’s head. When out and about I can just nurse with my baby on my lap. Every mom is shaped differently, and it may take a little while to figure out the best positions for nursing.
Skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby is very important to getting breastfeeding off to the right start. Kangaroo care is placing the baby directly on your chest, tucked inside a stretchy shirt specifically designed to cradle baby. Kangaroo shirts come in many styles and sizes for both men and women, and are made to wear while sitting at home, and can be worn while nursing. Stretchy wraps are one of the best options for comfortably wearing a newborn for long stretches, and for discreet nursing. Because they can be used to hold baby hands-free snugly in an upright position, stretchy wraps are invaluable for babies with reflux. Of the various types of wraps, stretchy wraps are the easiest to learn to use. A ring sling is another option for keeping a new baby close. Ring slings are best used for front and hip carries, and are excellent for discreet nursing. The “tail” of the sling provides a useful cover for privacy or weather protection. Babywearing is also a great way for a non-breastfeeding caregiver to bond with baby.
Support and Education
All breastfeeding moms should have a copy of the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding which has answers and info about breastfeeding from birth to weaning. Mom and partner should take a breastfeeding class before baby is born, and mom should attend a La Leche League or other breastfeeding support group while still pregnant, to learn about breastfeeding and where to go for help should it be needed after the baby is born. Perhaps the most critical element for breastfeeding success is supportive friends and family. All the baby’s caregivers, especially mom’s partner, should be educated about breastfeeding and follow mom’s wishes for using or not using any artificial nipples (bottles or pacifiers). Other family members, like grandparents, need to understand the importance of baby bonding with mom and the time involved in breastfeeding. It is common for Dad or other family members to claim they aren’t getting enough time with baby, or that they feel “helpless” because they can’t calm or feed baby by nursing. Dad or other caregivers can do everything else to help the baby, including changing diapers, bathing, making sure mom has plenty of food and drink, laundry, cleaning, and keeping track of mom and baby’s appointments. Some excellent advice I heard (long after I had my baby) was for the grandparents to hold the baby while he or she sleeps. This gives them time to hold the baby without interfering with the breastfeeding relationship. Also keep in mind we have a CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) on staff at EcoBaby and offer monthly support groups the 2nd Tuesday of every month at 10:30.
What did you find to be the most important things you needed to become a successful breastfeeding mother?
By Katie Betz