Archives for May 2015

Loving Moments’ Breastfeeding Must-Haves

You’re going to be a new mom and you’ve decided to breastfeed your baby. We love your decision, and we’re here to help! Here are a few items from our Loving Moment’s Nursing Collection we think will be essential for your breastfeeding wardrobe:

 

Loving Moments' Breastfeeding Must-Haves

Maternity to Nursing Sleep Bra

Style L316

Every mom needs a sleep/leisure bra. While you breastfeed your breasts will become engorged with your baby’s milk supply and sometimes this can create soreness and make you feel uncomfortable. Our Loving Moments Sleep Bra is perfect when you need to relax, while the cool, cotton fabric is soft against your sore breasts making you feel comfortable again. It’s also great because the cups and can be simply pulled aside for easy breastfeeding access. There is no fuss, and no matter if its day or night your hungry baby will be feed without any trouble!

 

Nursing Pads

Style L12

Nursing pads are always something you should have while you breastfeed. Because your breasts are producing milk you will sometimes have the occasional leaking. While you are at work or on the go nursing pads will ensure you do not leak throw your clothing and keep you comfortable and dry. Our Loving Moments Washable Nursing Pads are great because you wash them and reuse them more than a couple times. They are also made from extra soft cotton and are designed to conform to every breast size while fitting perfecting in every bra. Nursing pads will help protect your clothing, but make sure to avoid wearing wet pads for an extended amount of time, and when you wash them never used a liquid fabric softener because they will absorb it and may irritate your skin!

 

Great Nursing Tank

Style L317

Nursing Cami’s are great for when you’re ready to get out of the house and you have nothing to wear because your pre-baby clothing doesn’t exactly fit you quiet the same yet. They are also helpful for breastfeeding because they have nursing clasps that can easily be unhooked and hooked for access. Our Loving Moments Nursing Cami is soft and sweet and essential for all breastfeeding moms. With both convenient breastfeeding necessities our cami is cute and stylish and has a delicate lace neckline to add a bit of flare. It can be worn just like any other tank under your favorite sweaters, tunics, and alone during the warmer months. The empire waistline gives you the appropriate feminine look that is flattering and modest, but it’s also loose fitting and can hide your after-baby belly.

 

Active Nursing Bra

L388

While you might wait awhile to be active again you should still have your basic active, t-shirt bra for your busy new mom schedule. Every mom needs their basic every day bra they can just slip on and off and that looks great under a simple t-shirt. Our Loving Moments Active Wirefree Nursing Bra is just what you’re looking for. It’s simple, soft, made out of a breathable, cotton blend, and it’s perfect for low impact activities when you’re trying to get back to your pre-baby shape.

 

Nursing Cover

L422

Loving Moments' Breastfeeding Must-Haves

For public breastfeeding it’s essential to have a nursing cover to help you feel modest and unexposed. Being a new mom, breastfeeding in public may be something you are a little uneasy about. Don’t be! Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural thing every women should experience with their baby. While you’re running around, going out to dinner with family, or lounging around at the park you will feel comfortable knowing you have a nursing cover that will hide your nerves. Our Loving Moments Nursing Cover provides discreet, on-the-go privacy during breastfeeding and pumping. It’s breathable and light weight, but it will also keep you and your little one warm during the colder months. Our Nursing Cover comes in a bunch of cute and stylish prints, and it can even be worn as a fashion scarf too!

 

 

Checkout and download our free Leading Lady Breastfeeding Handbook to learn more about breastfeeding, nursing bras, and more! http://www.leadinglady.com/pdf/Brstfdbook_web.pdf

 

 

 

Prenatal Exercises that help with Labor & Delivery

You probably know that exercise is not only allowed during pregnancy, but actually encouraged.  While extreme exercise isn’t recommended, keeping your body moving will increase oxygenated blood flow to your baby and give moms the energy they need to sustain a pregnancy.

Another great benefit of exercise is that it increases stamina and endurance, two important requirements for labor and delivery.  Studies show that moms who are in better shape before and during pregnancy have a shorter and easier labor because they are better able to handle the physical demands.  After all, they don’t call it labor for nothing.

The main muscles required for labor and delivery are those of your core.  Core muscles include a range of abdominal muscles, back muscles and the pelvic floor.  The weight of your growing belly requires a lot of back strength.  Going into labor with a sore back will only make things worse during the process.  The most significant abdominal muscle required for childbirth is the transverse abdominus, which warps around your lower core.  This muscle expands and contracts forwards and backwards and can help you push during delivery.   Additionally, a strong pelvic floor supports an easier vaginal birth and also improves incontinence after childbirth, a common complaint of women who have had vaginal deliveries.

So which exercises are best suited to prepare you for childbirth?  We’ve got your covered with these prenatal exercises that help with labor and delivery:

Prenatal Exercises that help with Labor & Delivery

Pelvic Tilt:  Lower yourself to an animal-like position on all fours starting with your head in line with your neutral back.  Slowly draw in your pelvis as if there were a string pulling your belly button towards your hands.  Your back will create a camel hump.  Hold this curl for 5 seconds and then release into the opposite position with your tailbone stretched upwards as much as possible.  Repeat 10 times.

Kegels:  This is the tried and true exercise that all women should do for a stronger pelvic floor.  This exercise can be done almost anywhere so take advantage of quiet moments in your car, at your desk or in bed to get in four or five kegel sessions a day.  Kegels are done by drawing in your vaginal muscles without using your thighs, butt or abs.  If you aren’t sure how to do it, try stopping yourself during urination and you’ll recognize the muscles you’re targeting in a kegel.

Butterfly:  Sit on the floor with the bottoms of your feet clapping.  Your legs will look sort of like butterfly wings.  Push your legs towards the floor until you feel a stretch.  Sit up with your back as tall as possible.  Do not bounce the stretch.  This will open your hips and pelvis while also supporting your back muscles and posture.

Squat:  This oldie but goodie is hard but effective.  With your feet shoulder distance apart, bend your knees and lean backwards so your weight is only on your heels.  Never let your knees come further than your toes.  Straighten and repeat.  Squats open your pelvis significantly, which is helpful when you’re trying to push a pair of baby shoulders through such a narrow cavity.

Belly Breathing:  Sitting upright on the floor with your legs crossed, hold your belly and take deep breaths in-and-out.  Use your abdominal muscles to expand and contract with each breath.  The inner transverse abdominus will help you push your baby along the birth canal during contractions.

Childbirth is physically demanding but you can prepare your body with these prenatal exercises that help with labor and delivery.  Ready…Set…Push!

Palate Training Your Baby and Toddler

Much like sleeping well and good behavior, parents can have a huge influence on their children’s healthy food preferences.  And like other behaviors, parents have the ability to condition babies and toddlers to enjoy fresh, healthy foods.  The process has been dubbed “palate training” and it begins before your baby is even born.

Palate Training Your Baby and Toddler

There’s no doubt that humans are hard-wired to enjoy sweet and salty flavors.  It’s almost impossible to un-condition those basic instincts.  However, exposing babies to a range of healthy flavors, especially from fruits and vegetables, can give them an appreciation for healthier foods.  This can lead to a better diet throughout their lives, which we all know has amazing benefits for our bodies and brains including less illness and disease, better cognition and more energy.

Babies are exposed to a range of flavors before they even take their first breath outside the womb.  A mother’s amniotic fluid contains the flavors of foods she eats every day.  In utero, babies become familiar with the taste of whatever mom is eating.  Studies have shown that if mom likes ice cream and fried chicken, their babies will recognize those flavors and gravitate towards them in the future.  But this also means that if babies are exposed to a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, they will are more likely to accept these healthy food options as part of their diet when they begin eating solids.

The same is true of breast milk, which also tastes like the foods that mom eats.  In most circumstances, regardless of what mom eats, breast milk is the healthiest option for feeding a baby as it provides hundreds of nutrients babies need to grow and thrive and antibodies to keep babies healthy.  There are countless benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers but an added bonus is that moms have the opportunity to expose their babies to an assortment of healthy food flavors even before babies are ready for solid foods.  That’s six additional months of flavors that formula fed babies aren’t getting.  This critical time period can significantly help palate training babies and toddlers.

Palate Training Your Baby and ToddlerAt six months of age babies can start their first solids.  One of the most important steps to palate training is to begin serving and continue serving healthy foods throughout infancy and toddlerhood.  Babies who were exposed to a diverse diet of fresh fruits, veggies and other foods in the womb and through breast milk will tend to prefer fresh food purees.  Yes, that’s a little more work for parents and care givers, but it’s worth it to have healthy eaters in the long run.

Texture and color are also an important part of palate training once your baby is eating solids.  Smooth purees are necessary at first, but as your baby develops a stronger swallow reflex, your homemade baby food can become chunkier to allow your baby to experience the texture of foods.  Gradually you slip from purees to chunks to tiny mushy bites to solid bites.  Infants and toddlers will also benefit from foods of a variety of colors.  Feeding your children the rainbow of fruits and vegetables is not only healthy, but also fun.  Some kids get hung up on the color of foods but starting colorful foods from a young age can help you avoid the “gross green” reaction.

If your baby does not seem to like a particular food initially, don’t give up on it altogether.  Instead, serve other foods for awhile and revisit the rejected food in the future.  The palates of babies and toddlers are constantly changing.  What they didn’t like two weeks ago may be their favorite food now.  Plus, when textures evolve, your child may enjoy certain foods better.

Palate training babies and toddlers makes for healthier children.  A diverse diet sets your child up for health and wellness now and in the future.  With just a little effort, you can condition your baby to enjoy a variety of healthy foods for a lifetime.

What to do IMMEDIATELY if you have trouble Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is unlike any experience in the world.  And, until you’ve done it, nothing can truly prepare you for it.  Every mother-and-child’s breastfeeding relationship and circumstances are unique.  While it can be a joyous time of bonding and nourishment, there may also be some bumps in the road.

There are several common challenges new moms face during breastfeeding and moms, especially first-time moms, often don’t know what to do.  Because milk supply is dependant on repetitive stimulation, addressing breastfeeding issues quickly is vital.  Today we’re sharing what to do immediately if you have trouble breastfeeding.

What to do IMMEDIATELY if you have trouble BreastfeedingThe first two tips in navigating breastfeeding problems can help in every situation.  The first is to remember your commitment to breastfeeding.  If you have set a goal to exclusively or partially breastfeed your baby, do not let challenges deter you for achieving this goal. Once you give up, it is almost impossible to get your breast milk back.  Working through breastfeeding issues will take effort, but if you remain calm and level-headed and keep your eye on the prize, you will persevere.

The second piece of advice is to seek help early.  Lactation consultants are generally the best resource for assistance with breastfeeding issues, however if the problem is related to an infection in you or your baby, you may need to call your OBGYN or pediatrician.  Lactation consultants can help with anything from latching and positioning, to milk supply and pumping.  If you’re not sure where to find one, call your OB or the hospital where you gave birth.

Low Milk Supply

Many new moms worry that their babies are not getting enough breast milk.  The best indicators of whether your baby is being nourished are weight gain and wet and dirty diapers.  If your baby is consistently gaining weight and soiling diapers, she’s eating well.  Increasing your milk supply should happen naturally and gradually as your baby progresses.  The best way to encourage more milk production is stimulation from your baby.  Feed your baby often and let her nurse as long as she wants, letting her drain one breast completely before proceeding to the next.  By draining the breast, your body will trigger a response to produce more milk, plus your baby is getting foremilk and hindmilk, which both offer great nutrition for her developing body.  This continual process leads to increased supply.  You can also pump your breasts to drain them for the same effect.

Oversupply of Milk

When new moms have an oversupply of milk, it can cause problems including choking the baby, engorgement and infections.  If the breast is very full and hard before a feeding, you may want to express some of the milk before the feeding to ensure your baby can latch and your let down does not choke your baby.  Prolonged oversupply can lead to painful engorgement or infections such as mastitis.  Letting your baby drain your breasts or pumping will help relieve engorgement and mastitis. It may be painful but releasing the pressure and keeping milk flowing freely is the best solution.  To reduce your own pain between feedings, try massaging the breast, using warm or cool compresses, drinking lots of fluids and wearing a supportive and comfortable nursing bra.  Both problems can cause fever so be sure to take it easy while your body fights the illness.

Sore Nipples

Sore nipples can be another cause of major pain for new moms.  This problem can quickly derail a mom’s breastfeeding intentions.  Usually sore nipples are caused by poor latch so work to ensure your baby is latching properly.  You can guide the latch by placing one clean finger in your baby’s mouth and helping her envelop your breast.  Nipples should be rounded and erect during feeding times.  Try repositioning your baby during each feeding so she will latch in different spots and not irritate the same areas over and over.  After breastfeeding, rub breast milk on your nipples to help them heal.  Speak to your doctor before using gels, creams and pads to heal nipples as they can sometimes cause further irritation or be harmful to your baby.  Also, change or wash your nursing pads often and wear loose, breathable nursing bras that won’t cause further pain.

Nursing Strike

If your baby refuses to eat, the nursing strike may be due to an underlying issue.  Rarely will babies suddenly wean, especially not before six months of age.  Examine your baby to see what the problem may be – a stuffy nose, a skin rash, clothes that are too tight.  If you can’t figure it out or if your baby is running a fever, take your baby to the pediatrician.  Often the issue is not apparent, such as an ear infection.  Also, your baby may be responding to something else entirely.  If there are many distractions during nursing, your baby may simply be more interested in something else.  Or if there is a stressful situation in your home or you overreacted to a previous breastfeeding frustration, she may fear a similar response from future breastfeeding.  Try to make breastfeeding a tender, loving and distraction-free time for you and your baby.

Acting immediately if you have trouble breastfeeding is key to solving the problem and continuing your breastfeeding journey.  Remember, every breastfeeding challenge has a solution so hang in there and you will reach your goals!

The Psychology behind Transitional Objects a.k.a. Lovies

The Psychology behind Transitional Objects a.k.a. Lovies

Blankie, binkie, lovey…whatever you call your child’s comfort objects, the technical term is Transitional Objects.  The blankets, toys, stuffed animals and sometimes other household items that your infant or toddler latches onto are all a normal part of his developing psychology.

In the great big world of scary things – strangers, shots, broccoli – kids need something to make them feel secure.  At some point in the first or second year of life, many kids find the “object of their affection” that makes them feel safe.  Often from their crib, this item probably travels around with your child wherever he goes.  And all the experts say IT’S OK!

Having an obsession with a blanket or toy is rarely ever an issues or indication of a huge psychological problem.  It may seem strange to you that your little one chooses Oscar the Grouch as his “lovey,” but it’s less about what the item is and more about having something to hold onto.  In fact, it actually may do your child some good to have a transitional object because it allows him to explore and become more independent at this young stage without fear.  Once he matures, he will let it go and learn to find that same strength from within.  Most kids grow out of their transitional objects by the age of five.

If you feel your child’s transitional object is becoming a nuisance in your household or a hindrance to his growth and development (such as not wanting to play, socialize or be active), you can employ a few tricks to help relieve the issue.  Never tease your child about his object and don’t bribe it away completely.  When it comes to feeling safe and secure in the world, children need to wean themselves and ease into being a more mature individual.

With that said, you can set some limits and guidelines to perpetually having a comfy cozy object follow your child wherever he goes.  Perhaps you invoke an “at home only” rule where the object cannot go outside the house.  And make sure this beloved item has its own special place in your home where you can always find it.  Should your child lose it, have a back-up on hand to avoid major meltdowns.  Baths are necessary for children and transitional objects too, so wash the item regularly to ensure it is not filthy and stinky.  To subtly help reduce time spent with transitional objects, try to keep your child occupied with games, toys, puzzles and art projects.  And offer lots of love and affection to help your little one feel safe and secure with your love.

The bottom line is that children will lose the lovie when they are ready.  The psychology behind transitional objects is quite rational and every parent wants their child to feel secure and brave enough to face the world in their own time.  With your love and encouragement, your child will be a well-adjusted, independent and lovey-free person before you know it.

Breastfeeding at Work, the Importance of Self-Care

If you’re working full-time you are spending forty hours or more at the office a week. Add on being a full-time mommy, and keeping up with your breastfeeding schedule. You have a lot going on. No denial about it. As a mother breastfeeding your child, it’s important for you to take the time to treat yourself right. While back at the work you might become forgetful and get caught up in material you had missed while gone. You might forget to eat lunch or take a break, but it’s very significant for women who are breastfeeding to relax and stay healthy; although, it seems like a hard thing to do.

Taking care of your body is just as important regardless if you are breastfeeding or not, but working mommas know stress can build up when you have a million and one things you need to take care of in one day. Following our previous post, “Is Your Workplace Breastfeeding Friendly?” you already know what questions to ask your workplace about your breastfeeding needs. You should be well prepared and ready to go. Now, take in consideration your time at work and what you need to do to be the best mom you can be to your baby, and also, the best YOU you can be. Here are some tips you can use to stay on top of you game while breastfeeding and staying a healthy momma as well:

Breastfeeding at Work, the Importance of Self-CareBreastfeeding at Work Check List

  1. Make a priority list: Before you being your day at work make a list of your priorities you expect to get done. Making a list will keep you organized and on top of things. It will feel good crossing things off and feeling accomplished after being gone those few months.
  2. Keep your expectations realistic: If you work an eight hour shift each day you should be breast pumping at least three times a day for about 20 minutes each time. This can be stressful if you have things you need to get done at work. Don’t be too hard on yourself and feel as if you need to get things done right away. To keep your stress levels low take one step at a time. It’s important you don’t forget about breast pumping, and make sure to put it in your priority list each day.
  3. Make healthier choices: Instead of ordering take out, pack yourself a salad or something a little healthier. It’s important to feed your body the nutrients it needs because while you’re breastfeeding, and taking care of a little one, you will need the extra energy. Instead of running to the vending machine, make sure you have snacks at your desk for the times when you get hungry. You’ll feel much better afterwards anyway, and guilt free by saying NO to the salty potato chips! (And if you don’t have one, make yourself a Pinterest account. You will be able to find thousands of healthy lunch and snack ideas for breastfeeding moms. There are yummy lactation recipes on there too.)
  4. Stay hydrated: Keep a few bottles of water in your desk as well. It’s important to drink plenty of water even if you’re not breastfeeding. Although the amount of liquid you take in won’t determine the amount of breast milk you produce, it’s still vital to drink when you are thirsty and keep up with supplying your body with the proper amount of fluids.
  5. NEVER skip pumps: Even if you’re tired, or if it’s just one of those days where it seems like you aren’t going to get everything done, NEVER skip your time to pump. If you want your body to become used to generating a certain amount of breast milk each day this is the most important rule to follow! Your milk supply can actually decrease if you are not ordering yourself to keep up with your pump plan. Pumping the same amount of milk each day will help with your stress, and take away the worry if whether or not you will produce enough milk for your baby.
  6. It’s okay to say no: With your busy schedule you can’t possibly take on everything you want to do. As long as it’s good for your company, and yourself, it’s okay to turn something down that isn’t on the top of your priority list. And if there is a work meeting that isn’t mandatory and it interferes with your pumping schedule, it’s okay to miss it. Ask one of your coworkers for a summary afterwards.
  7. Ask for help: Never be afraid to ask for help when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed. Talk to your supervisor about ways you can manage your time at work while you breast pump.

Now this will be the main thing to take away from this post: while you are breast pumping take a second, put the IPhone down, push aside the tablet, close your eyes for a minute and relax. This is a great time to pick up a good book or breathe for a minute during your busy schedule of being a new mommy. This isn’t just an important rule to follow for your health, but also an imperative part of producing, and maintaining the proper amount of milk for your baby. Research has shown women who actually take the time to rest produce more milk than those who are constantly running around!

How to Give your Baby a Bath

Bathing a new baby is a daunting task for many parents.  In theory, it should be so easy since your baby can’t move much.  But with all that water, soap and a sometimes fussy baby, it can be harder than you think.  Learning how to give your baby a bath is a skill you will perfect over the next few months and hopefully it becomes an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Your baby should have gotten a bath right after birth so he probably won’t need one again until you arrive home from the hospital.  It’s best to start with sponge baths on the bathroom or kitchen counter for the first week or two until the umbilical cord nub has completely fallen off.  A sponge bath simply requires you to wipe your baby down with baby soap and warm water.  Be sure to get the face first and work your way down the baby’s body leaving her diapered until the very end.  Once you’re ready to clean the genital area, remove the diaper and quickly wipe and re-diaper.

How to Give your Baby a Bath

Once your baby is a few weeks old, you can move on to your first real bath.  Most new parents use the kitchen sink or a baby bathtub for these early months since not much water is required.  Some baby tubs come with an inner sling to hold the baby up higher and ensure the head is well above the water.  Other baby tubs are inflatable, making a soft, pillowy surface for your little love.

When you give your baby a bath, the water should be warm but not hot.  Ninety degrees is about the perfect temperature.  Do not fill the tub or sink to the top, but only enough to submerge the lower part of your baby’s body.  Just like the sponge bath, use a baby-safe soap and washcloth to clean your baby.  Tear-free soaps are a good idea as we all know that getting regular soap in your eyes can really sting.  Once you’ve cleaned all body parts and the soap has been washed off, gently but security gather your wet baby’s head and body and lift her out of the tub directly into a towel and your loving arms.

Some babies love the sensation of being under water.  After all, it is much like their home for 9+ months in your womb.  Prolong the bath and let your baby enjoy splashing about as long as she is happy.  Depending on your baby’s temperament, a bath may be exhilarating and best done right after waking up and before breastfeeding to ensure your baby is very much awake for her feed.  For other babies, the warm water may be calming and a great activity to soothe your baby before bedtime.

Then there are other babies want nothing to do with taking a bath.  For this fussy set, baths can be short and sweet.  It should only take a few minutes to get your baby clean anyways.  At this young stage, bath toys are not necessary but if it distracts your baby long enough to get her clean, introduce one or two for fun.

The bath time ritual will be one that is with you for years to come.   Even if your baby isn’t very keen on it now, she will probably grow to love or at least accept that baths are necessary.  Use this time as a family bonding experience.  The stimulation from touching your baby during a bath is wonderful for a baby’s brain development, as is massaging your baby with oil or lotion and spending skin-to-skin time afterwards with your baby.  As your baby gets older, sing, play games, read stories and shower your baby with love.  The sensory experience combined with your undivided attention is a great loving moment for both of you.

Remember, when you give your baby a bath, that should be your one and only focus.  Always keep one hand on your baby and never leave the room to answer the phone or grab something you forgot.  Prepare ahead of time by having your towel, washcloth, soap and toys at arm’s length.  If an emergency causes you to need to leave the room, take your baby out of the bath and bring her with you.  Never leave the water running while your baby is in the bath as the water can become too hot very quickly.  And reset your water heater to 120 degrees to ensure the water never scalds your baby.

Also, makes sure you set yourself up for a great bathing experience by keeping your baby comfortable.  Some infants feel better with their diaper on for the first few baths.  You can remove it right at the end of the bath to clean the genitals.  Pour warm water over your baby’s body periodically during the bath to keep her warm.  And make sure the room where you are bathing your baby is not too cool.  We all know what it’s like to get out of a warm bath only to be shocked by the cold air in the bathroom.

Giving your baby a bath may seem scary at first, but with a little practice, you’ll be an old pro in no time.  Enjoy the time with your baby!

Nipple Cream for Breastfeeding Moms

Nipple Cream for Breastfeeding MomsWhen it comes time for you to decide if you want to breastfeed your baby you might be wondering about the effects it will have on your breasts. While breastfeeding has the best nutritional benefits for you and your child, it can also leave you with dry, cracked or even bleeding nipples if not cared for properly. Nipple cream is an essential when it comes to breastfeeding. A good nipple cream is able to soothe and heal, while locking in moisture and keeping your breasts rejuvenated and pain-free.

Over the Counter Methods

Many breastfeeding moms turn towards hypoallergenic and all natural products. It’s best to look for nipple creams that don’t necessarily need to be wiped off before breastfeeding because that way your baby won’t be harmed if a little gets in their mouth. Lanolin nipple creams are one of the bests. Lanolin is a fatty substance in sheep’s wool. It contains about 25% water and is used immensely to make moisturizers, soaps and various other creams. You should always make sure the lanolin cream you are using is 100% pure. Lansinoh Lanolin nipple cream is a good one to try out. Other suggested nipple creams are Mother Love, Earth Mama, Nipple Nurture Balm, and My Best Friend Cream. All are made from all natural products.

Alternative/Homemade Remedies

Some mothers use an alternative method and have made their own homemade nipple creams with things they have in their homes. Coconut oil is a great substitute compared to conventional nipple creams. What’s great about coconut oil is that it’s not only awesome for your health but it promotes skin rejuvenation, moisturizes, and fights off infections like thrush. Olive oil, shea butter and cocoa butter are other products that work well with dry or damaged skin. As long as these products are all natural they are safe for your baby. Also, using your own breastmilk is said to work in relieving dryness.

Things to Avoid When Considering Nipple Creams

You should never use creams, lotions or ointments if you are not experiencing dry or cracked nipples. This could lead to serious issues if you breasts are being excessively moisturized, including mastitis or thrush. Numbing creams or Vitamin E should never be used because it’s harmful towards your baby if ingested. Also, scented products are always a no no because it can alter the taste of your breastmilk causing breastfeeding to be difficult at times if your baby has grown used to the flavor.

The Best Option for YOU

Always ask your lactation consultant or doctor before choosing what to put on your breasts for sore nipples when breastfeeding. Some products may say “all natural” but it’s safer to ask a licensed professional who knows you and your body before you use something that could harm you or your baby.

The Importance of Prenatal Vitamins

The Importance of Prenatal VitaminsPrenatal vitamins are an essential part of the health routine for women who are trying to conceive, are pregnant or are breastfeeding.  Even for those who consume an incredibly well-balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, dairy and whole wheat, prenatal vitamins ensure women are getting specific nutrients necessary during these critical child-bearing years.

While prenatal vitamins are terrific all-around multi-vitamins, they should also contain certain vitamins and minerals that are required to sustain the health of a developing baby. These nutrients include folic acid, calcium, iron and iodine.  DHA omega fatty acids are also important components of prenatal vitamins.

Here’s a breakdown of why each of these nutrients are so important:

Folic Acid:  This pregnancy essential is a B complex vital required for neural development.  A folic acid deficiency in the first trimester and especially first 28 days of pregnancy can cause neural and heart birth defects such as anencephaly and spina bifida that affect the brain and spine.  Folic acid also reduces the risk of preeclampsia that leads to preterm births.  It is naturally found in green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, fruits and fortified grains but 400 mcg should be included in pre-natal vitamins as well.

Calcium:  Babies leach calcium from their mother’s bones during pregnancy.  Therefore, women must replenish their own calcium supply by consuming additional dairy products and ensuring calcium is part of their pre-natal supplements.  Some pre-natal vitamins do not have adequate calcium so an additional calcium supplement may be required.  This will ensure babies have the calcium they need for healthy bone development and mothers’ do not end up with osteoporosis or weakened bones.

Iron:  Iron is an important mineral that strengthens blood that circulates oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and to the baby.  When mothers become iron defiant, they can develop anemia that causes preterm delivery and low birth weight.  Pregnant women need 17 mg of iron in their pre-natal vitamins.

Iodine:  This nutrient is responsible for a healthy thyroid and ensures the baby’s physical and mental growth.  Not consuming the recommended 150 mg of iodine can lead to mental defects, deafness, stillbirth and miscarriage.

DHA Omega-3 Fatty Acids:  This specific essential fatty acid is stellar for a baby’s brain, heart, eye and nervous system development during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.  Adding this nutrient to your diet and prenatal vitamin can improve your baby’s motor skills, attention span and coordination as well as offering mom a range of health benefits too.

Most prenatal vitamins will also contain a range of additional vitamins and minerals including zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and the spectrum of B Vitamins.

Women should begin taking pre-natal vitamins as they are trying to conceive.  Since nearly half of pregnancies are unplanned, beginning pre-natal vitamins when you are in your child-bearing years is a good idea since some nutrients are necessary for embryos before women even realize they are pregnant.  Prenatal vitamins should remain part of a woman’s health routine throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Newborns and infants are still very much growing and developing and need the same nutrients from their mother’s milk as they did while in the womb.

Most prenatal vitamins will have all of the essential nutrients required of new moms however you may want to bring yours to your next OB appointment to be sure.  If you have certain allergies, food restrictions, health conditions or deficiencies, your doctor may give you a prescription for a specific pre-natal vitamin.  Also, your doctor can recommend different forms of vitamins depending on your tolerance of pills.  Most prenatal vitamins are available in chewables, gummies and liquid forms as well.  Remember, anyone with any diet can benefit from prenatal vitamins.  But women who miss out on entire food groups, such as those who are vegetarians, vegans or lactose intolerant, should be extra vigilant about taking pre-natals.  Also, some nutrients are better absorbed through a vitamin than food.

So take those prenatal vitamins to ensure a healthy pregnancy and beyond!

Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom

Breastfeeding Benefits for MomWe’ve all heard about the amazing nutritional benefits breastfeeding gives to our babies. Breastmilk supplies crucial vitamins and minerals, and is packed with disease-fighting substances that ward off things like the stomach virus, respiratory illnesses, meningitis and it is even linked to higher IQs. But what about the benefits breastfeeding gives to women?

Breastfeeding creates a special emotional connection between women and their infants. Not only are you giving them the best nutrition for life long benefits, you are also giving yourself those benefits as well. Here are just a few things to consider when debating on whether or not you want to breastfeed.

Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom:

  • It makes you happy! While you breastfeed the hormone Oxytocin is produced, which is often known as the “cuddle hormone” because it helps creates a bonding feeling and a better overall emotional health.
  • Your body will recover from childbirth faster! Oxytocin, along with creating happiness, helps shrink your uterus after delivery. The hormone helps the uterus contract lessening bleeding and returning the uterus to pre-pregnancy size quicker.
  • You’re at lower risk of developing certain types of diseases! These diseases include breast and ovarian cancer and cardiovascular disease. The longer and more you breastfeed the less likely it is for you to develop high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Breastfeeding also helps with bone strength and reduces your risk of obtaining osteoporosis.
  • Breastfeeding helps you lose weight! You can burn up to 200-500 calories a day. Studies show women who breastfeed often lose more weight and return to pre-pregnancy size faster than women who don’t.
  • Breastfeeding is a form of natural child spacing! Most woman are unaware of this fact, but while you breastfeed your body will delay its monthly cycle. As long as you stick with a regimented breastfeeding schedule you are more than likely to not see your period. However, this only lasts for about six to eight months due to your changing hormones.
  • Costs less than formula and is good for the environment! What’s great about breastfeeding is it doesn’t cost a thing. Formula can cost up to $10 a day, and while being expensive it’s also not the best for our environment. Breastfeeding is a renewable resource, it doesn’t require to be packaged or shipped, therefore reduces pollution, and it can reduce the cost of healthcare.

Before you decide to choose whether or not breastfeeding is for you speak with your doctor and learn about your options. Breastfeeding gives women an experience they can’t have with anything, or anyone, else. It provides a real and special bond between a mother and her baby. For more information about breastfeeding checkout “Breastfeeding A-Z” on our home page.