Archives for April 2016

Your Postpartum Body

postpartum body__1460040944_162.206.228.38After having a baby, nature may leave you with a few extra gifts besides just your baby.  Many women find that their postpartum body is nothing like their pre-baby body.  Even if you lose most of your pregnancy weight, your body proportions may be askew.  While there are some things you can do to help remove marks, lift sagging and tone flab on your postpartum body to get it close to its original state, some changes due to pregnancy may never go away.

Today we’re looking at common changes to your postpartum body and offering a few pointers to help you reinstate your pre-baby look.

L6012-BLK-prod-page_230x303Your Belly

The skin on your abdomen stretched quite a bit to create that adorable bump you had during pregnancy.  But it’s a lot less cute as it shrinks.  And it feels like it will never shrink enough.  This belly flab may take awhile to disappear.  Make sure you get in at least 30-minute of fat and calorie burning cardio four times a week.  Abdominal exercises help but really focus on the transverse abdominals that wrap around to the back.  This will help you tighten the muscles underneath.  Also try tummy tucking shapewear that help flatten your belly and slim your waistline.

Your Skin

Stretch marks are quite common on moms.  Despite all the moisturizing and massaging you may have done during pregnancy, stretch marks are inevitable for some women.  They may have been darker during pregnancy but on your postpartum body they may appear lighter than your natural skin color.  Stretch marks are most common on the belly, breasts and thighs, which are the areas that expand the most during pregnancy.  Retin-A can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks although some may linger as a permanent badge of honor for moms.

L301-Nude-prod-pageYour Breasts

Pregnancy and breastfeeding cause your breasts to grow larger, expanding breast tissue and the skin around your breasts.  After pregnancy the skin is not as elastic and therefore has a sagging effect.  The best solution is a supportive and comfortable nursing bra that will lift your breasts to reduce sag and bounce.  You can also do some breast-lifting exercises like chest presses and push-ups to encourage the muscles in this region to naturally perk up your breasts.

Your C-Section Scar

As small as the incision may be, a fine line usually remains after giving birth via c-section.  Unfortunately this is one part of your postpartum body you cannot surgically remove or exercise your way out of.  Scar-reducing creams may work or you can apply waterproof makeup or tinted lotions to the area.  Otherwise of it bothers you, you may want to invest in more coverage during bathing suit season.

Your Veins

With extra weight and blood during pregnancy blood vessels dilate and often cause veins to become dark and noticeable, especially on the legs.  This can be painful for some women.  Veins can be treated to fade the color.  Tinted self-tanning lotion can also help mask varicose veins.

It’s hard to find a mom alive who didn’t experience at least one of these postpartum body changes.  Having children is a sacrifice in many ways and your postpartum body may be proof.  As you embrace your growing family, embrace your postpartum body too.  After all, it was created in the name of love.

Baby’s Medicine Cabinet & Baby Care Supplies

Don’t get stuck running to the drug store at midnight when you think your baby has a fever!  Stocking your baby’s medicine cabinet and collecting baby care supplies is a good idea so you are prepared to help treat, comfort and groom your baby.  But most new parents aren’t exactly sure which items are needed.  Don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Baby’s Medicine Cabinet

During pregnancy or shortly after your little one arrives, purchase these medical supplies to keep on hand.  Hopefully you will never need most of them, but better safe than sorry.

baby care__1460040442_162.206.228.38Medications, Creams and Ointments

  • Diaper rash cream:  There are tons on the market.  Finding the one that takes care of your baby’s bum best may be trial and error.  None-the-less, have at least one available from the get-go.
  • Children’s acetaminophen:  Ask your pediatrician before administering any drugs but generally babies between 2 and 6 months can take acetaminophen for mild fevers and pain relief.  Babies over 6 months can take ibuprofen.
  • Hydrocortisone cream:  This anti-inflammatory cream will help with rashes, dry skin, eczema and bug bites.
  • Antibacterial ointment:  Use this to clean out cuts and scrapes.
  • Petroleum jelly:  This lubricant will help take your baby’s temperature rectally and can be used for circumcisions or as a moisturizer as well.
  • Saline drops: Help keep your baby’s nose clean by decongesting with saline water.
  • Gripe water:  These are drops that may help relieve your baby’s gas.
  • Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide:  Keep all of your medical supplies clean with these agents.

Medical Supplies

  • Digital thermometer:  As unpleasant as they may be for everyone, rectal thermometers are most accurate for infants.
  • Nasal aspirator:  Have several of these on hand to clean out your baby’s nose and suction her mouth as necessary.  Babies often cough up mucus and collect excess saliva in their mouths that you can help them remove with this tool.
  • Medical syringe:  Your baby won’t know how to swallow medicine from a cup or spoon for awhile.  Use an oral syringe to let medicine gently trickle into her mouth.
  • Bandages: For life’s little boo-boos.
  • Gauze pads or roll:  Cover up larger cuts and scrapes with gauze.  You can also use these to cover circumcision wounds and wipe your baby’s gums after feedings.
  • Cotton balls: Apply lotions, creams and ointments using these soft and handy items.
  • Flashlight: Checking for problems in dark places will be easier with a flashlight.  You can also use it to see if any teeth are cutting through.
  • Fist aid manual:  When you’re not sure what to do about your baby’s ailment, check your manual.

Baby Care Supplies

Keeping your baby groomed and maintained requires a few items.  Often you can buy a kit that includes most of these supplies.  Make sure it has the following:

  • Baby nail clippers and a nail file: Clipping your baby’s nails is nerve-racking.  Make sure you have the proper small nail clippers.  For parents who are too afraid of cutting skin, use a file instead.
  • Soft hairbrush:  Just like your own hair, you’ll want your baby’s hair to be nicely brushed.  Make sure it has soft bristles that won’t hurt her head.  Brushes can also help remove dry skin on the scalp known as cradle cap.
  • Baby shampoo and body wash:  Usually this is a 2-in-1 product that is a no-tear formula.
  • Baby lotion:  There are many brands on the market that use various baby-friendly ingredients.
  • Sunscreen:  Baby-safe sunscreen is the best way to go.  Usually these are tear-free formulas that are gentle for a baby’s skin.
  • Insect Repellant:  Again, baby-safe is a must to avoid toxic ingredients that your baby may ingest or inhale.
  • Teething toys:  Teeth may show up before you know it so be prepared with teething toys.
  • Distraction toys:  When administering medicine, bandaging your baby or grooming her, you’ll want a distraction toy to occupy your baby so you can get the job done quickly.

You Think your Milk Supply is Low? Maybe Not!

milk supply__1460040579_162.206.228.38It’s very common for breastfeeding moms to fear that their milk supply is low.  After all, there are not little indicator lines on the side of your baby’s stomach showing how much he’s eaten.  However, concern over low milk supply is often unfounded due to misconceptions.  Today we’re taking a look at how to tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk and which methods do NOT mean your milk supply is low.

How to tell if your baby is getting enough breast milk

Most babies can thrive on breast milk alone for the first six months of their lives.  That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding during that time.  However every baby is different, every mother is different and every breastfeeding experience is different.  Without reassurances mothers can feel anxious over milk supply and whether their babies are drinking enough.  If this is you, it is a completely normal fear!

One way you can determine whether your baby is feeding adequately is if he is having frequent bowel movements and clear urination.  You can easily stay informed about BMs and urination during diaper changes.  If you are concerned, keep a diaper log to count how many stools and wet diapers you get per day.

Another way to know that your baby is getting enough breast milk is if your baby is gaining weight consistently and appropriately.  You don’t have to wait until your pediatric appointments to weigh your baby.  Simply step on the scale with your baby and subtract your own weight to determine how much your baby weights. This will help reassure you that your baby is gaining a healthy amount of breast milk.

Additionally, listen for your baby’s swallow.  If he is latched properly, he should be sucking and swallowing consistently.  Also, babies are usually content after eating your amazing, tasty breast milk.

How NOT to determine your milk supply is low

Many factors about breastfeeding will evolve as your baby grows, which can be confusing for new moms, especially when it comes to milk supply. If you are breastfeeding regularly and your baby latches properly, your body will likely adapt to all of the changes your baby requires of your breast milk.  Don’t fall prey to these misconceptions about low milk supply:

  • Your breasts don’t feel full.  You may have felt engorged in the first month or two after giving birth but after awhile your body regulates milk supply based on your baby’s needs.  Therefore, your breasts may feel soft even when you have plenty of milk.
  • Your baby wants to nurse all the time.  When a baby hits a growth spurt, he’ll want and need to nurse more often.  Your body will sense this change and produce more milk to keep up.  Also, sometimes babies really like to suck and be close to their mothers.  It’s comforting and emotionally satisfying to them.  In this case, the only thing they are not getting enough of is you!
  • Your breasts aren’t leaking.  Leaky breasts have nothing to do with milk supply.  Be happy that you don’t leak and stay positive about your supply.
  • Your baby will take a bottle after a full breastfeeding session.  Again, some babies really like to suck, even if they aren’t hungry.  It’s better not to supplement after feedings because doing so could impede your milk production.
  • You don’t feel a let-down.  Some women never feel let-downs.  Some feel them several times during a feeding.  You are still producing milk even when you don’t have a let-down.
  • Your baby is fussy after eating.  Don’t confuse the need for a burp or baby fatigue as dissatisfaction over not getting enough milk.  Get to the bottom of the issue if your baby is fussy after eating.  Chances are it isn’t that your milk was lacking.
  • You pump and get nothing.  Your baby is much more efficient at your breast than a pump.  Plus, your baby stimulates your breast much better than a pump and therefore encourages your milk supply.

Before you have a meltdown about your low milk supply, make sure you are not using any of these misconceived methods as an assumption.  Instead, watch your baby and use him as a true gauge for the health of your milk supply.

Top 10 Ways Breastfeeding is Good for the Planet

Breastfeeding is one of the most natural acts in the world and a tremendously nutritious renewable resource.  Animals across the globe do it without thinking twice.  As we celebrate Earth Day tomorrow, we’ll all be contemplating ways to take cues from nature, improve our environment, and help the planet.  We can’t think of a more ecological and naturally healthy way to celebrate than breastfeeding.

In honor of Earth Day we’re sharing our top 10 ways breastfeeding is good for the planet:

10 – No manufacturing required:  Breastfeeding is a manufacturing-free experience.  Well, unless you count the hard work it takes you to make breast milk.  Manufacturing formula, formula dispensers, bottles and bottle accessories all take a toll on the environment, from factory and transportation emissions, toxic waste and water pollution, to non biodegradable materials used in the manufacturing and packaging process.

9 – No contamination:  When you breastfeed, you know exactly what you are giving your baby.  There’s nor risk of contamination through manufacturing, packaging, shipping and living on the shelves at a store.  When you think about it this way, the purity of breastfeeding takes new meaning.

breastfeeding good for planet__1458691543_162.206.228.388 – No shopping required:  Your breast milk is always available, anytime day or night.  Forget extra trips to the grocery store to buy feeding supplies.  You have everything you need right on your body.

7 – No plastics required:  Breastfeeding is plastic-free.  Plastics are not easily bio-degradable and therefore remain for years taking up space in landfills.  Even when you pump and store milk, the plastic impact on the planet is far less than the alternative.

6 – No packaging waste:  Breastfeeding simply requires you and your baby without the fuss of packaging.  Therefore, you’ll have no disposable packaging waste.

5 – Less energy required:  Breast milk is always the right temperature…your temperature.  Save energy on warming bottles by breastfeeding.

4 – Less water required:  Breast milk is made of water but it’s the water you are already drinking.  Formula requires water to make and water for warming the bottle.  In some countries, water is a precious commodity and hard to come by.  Conserving water is great for our planet.

3 – Delayed Menstruation:  Breastfeeding moms typically do not return to regular menstrual cycles for an average of 14 months.  Less menstruation creates less waste on sanitary products.

2 – Less healthcare impact:  Because breastfeeding offers phenomenal health benefits for babies and mothers, both get sick less.  This means they aren’t taxing the healthcare system, which requires tons of resources and money.

1 – Resources can be used elsewhere:  When poor health, land and air pollution and waste disposal are less of a burden on our communities, resources can be spent improving our environment in other ways.

Join us in celebrating Earth Day by breastfeeding!  Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day Activities to do with your Baby

If you think your baby is too young to participate in Earth Day, think again.  There are several fun things you can do with your baby to celebrate the Earth and discover ways to be a better environmental citizen.  Today we’re sharing Earth Day activities to do with your baby.

Enjoy Nature:  Although the traditional nature Earth Day activities like planting a tree or cleaning up a nature preserve aren’t appropriate for your tyke, you can still enjoy the wonders of nature by visiting a park, nature center or local botanical garden.  Describe the scene to your baby including all of the beautiful colors and sounds found in nature.  Let her touch what’s around her as well so she can feel the difference between grass and dirt and a tree’s bark.

Earth Day with baby__1458691891_162.206.228.38Plant if you Can:  Depending on your baby’s temperament and mobility, you may be able to do some light gardening projects with her help or her observation.  Without being too ambitious with your project, plant a few seasonal items – perhaps some pretty flowers or vegetables she can watch grow throughout the spring and summer – in your garden bed or low pots.  Help your baby dig in the soil with her hands or a small shovel.  Show her how you put the seeds or bulb in the dirt and let her help you cover it back up.  If anything she can be amused by your toiling from the comfort of a nearby picnic blanket.

Visit the Library:  Fostering a love for reading shouldn’t be expensive.  In fact, with a library card, it’s free and good for the environment.  Borrowing books is a terrific way to cut costs and the environmental impact of textiles and transportation of goods.  Spend your Earth Day reading books at the library and taking advantage of any infant programs they offer such as story time or sing-a-longs.

Donate Toys and Clothes: As your baby grows out of her clothes, pass them along to a friend.  Even if you think you may have another baby down the road, start a hand-me-down chain where you can eventually get all of your items back.  Do the same with toys as they are no longer age-appropriate for your little one.  Reusing clothes is great for the Earth and saves you money too.

Make your own Play:  Forget the store bought stuff and make your own finger paints, clay and bubbles.  These activities can be fun for hours and you’ll feel great knowing you made them from scratch with all-natural ingredients.

Walk Somewhere Instead:  Make a point to walk to one destination on Earth Day.  Whether it’s the supermarket, a park or a coffee shop, pack up the stroller or put your baby in a carrier and hit the road by foot.  This is wonderful exercise, a great way to enjoy some fresh air and scenery, and helps reduce your impact on your community.

We hope you all enjoy these Earth Day activities to do with your baby!  Happy Earth Day!

How likely are you to have multiples?

multiples__1458740768_162.206.228.38When you’re contemplating having a baby and trying to conceive, most of us imagine just one baby at a time.  The thought of multiples may have crossed your mind but how likely are you to have multiples? Today we’re exploring that very topic.

Types of Multiples and Statistics

There are two types of multiple births that can occur:  identical and fraternal.  Identical multiples develop when an egg splits into two or more eggs and is fertilized by the same sperm.  Identical multiples will therefore look very similar and always be the same sex.  Fraternal multiples happen when more than one egg drops during ovulation and the eggs are fertilized by separate sperm.

Twins occur in around 3 out of every 100 births in the U.S. Identical twins occur in approximately 3.5 of every 1,000 births.  Triplets and beyond develop in about 1 out of 837 births.

Factors that Affect Likelihood of Multiples

Having identical twins, triplets or more is somewhat a fluke of nature.  There is not a known cause of an egg splitting into multiple eggs.  However, women who have identical multiples in their family have a slightly higher risk of giving birth to identical twins.  This is especially true if she herself, her siblings, her mother or her sister’s children are identical multiples.

On the other hand, more factors affect your likelihood of having fraternal multiples.  First, these factors are all based on the mother’s history, genetics, and lifestyle.  Since multiples are a result of a mother’s ovulation, a father’s sperm does not come into play.

Here’s what the statistics show:

  • Women in their 30s and 40s are more likely to have multiples than those in their teens and 20s.  As we age, our ovaries have an increased likelihood of producing multiple eggs during a cycle because after age 35 we produce more follicle stimulating hormone.
  • Also, women who have more children have more multiples.  In some ways that’s just a matter of numbers but it may also be because women with many children are quite fertile and ovulate well.
  • Moms who have already had multiples are twice as likely to have twins or multiples again.
  • Women with a higher BMI (body mass index) and who consume more fat in their diets have a greater chance of multiples.  Conversely, women who are vegans or vegetarians have less multiples.
  • Twins are more common in Caucasian and African-American women than Hispanic and Asian women.
  • Location matters too, possibly due to climate and diet. Twins are more common in Western Europe and Nigeria but less common in Southeast Asia.
  • Fertility drugs stimulate the ovaries to release eggs, which can cause the release of multiple eggs.  Women may take fertility drugs for many reasons and they may combine them with other fertility treatments that also increase the chance of multiples.
  • IVF (in vitro fertilization) increases a woman’s likelihood for multiples quite a bit depending on her age.  IVF entails implanting one or more embryos in a woman’s uterus.  The more embryos that are implanted, the more of a chance she has to have multiples.

 

Why Breastfeeding makes you Tired

Breastfeeding is hard work!  If you’re like many new moms you might find that breastfeeding makes you tired…really tired.  You’re not just imagining it.  Breastfeeding has these side effects for several reasons.

Today we’re exploring why breastfeeding makes you tired.

It’s not uncommon for new moms to feel tired.  After all, you’ve recently given birth, are up several times a night with your baby and you’re adjusting to the needs of a new baby.  Those things alone could make you exhausted.  There’s no doubt, breastfeeding can add to the fatigue.

breastfeeding sleepy__1458741993_162.206.228.38Your body is working extremely hard to make that glorious breast milk.  Breastfeeding and producing breast milk uses about 25% of your body’s energy. That’s less than the energy required for brain function.  As you expend all that energy, you are sure to feel tired.

Also, breastfeeding burns up to 1,000 extra calories a day.  It’s just that much work!  While you may not feel hungry enough to consume that many additional calories, you should eat a little extra to help sustain your energy.  When you don’t get proper nutrition, not only can your milk supply suffer, you may also feel fatigued.

Breastfeeding releases oxytocin and prolactin, which stimulate milk production and give moms feelings of relaxation and contentment.  As soothing calmness envelops your body, breastfeeding makes you tired.  In addition, some moms develop hypothyroidism that can cause drowsiness day and night.

Despite the hormones, when breastfeeding isn’t going as smoothly as expected, moms can feel stressed.  Stress and anxiety over breastfeeding may cause sleeplessness or could simply further exhaust your body.  Plus, learning your baby’s likes and dislikes can be frustrating and stressful itself, especially if your baby cries a lot.

In the early weeks of breastfeeding, your body is still recovering from childbirth.  After labor and delivery or a c-section, your body has been through a lot and feels exhausted.  Between the likely reduced sleep you got towards the end of pregnancy and now being up at all hours feeding your baby, you’re sure to be more tired.

Lying down while breastfeeding or breastfeeding in a rocking chair can make you drowsy too.  These comfortable positions and motions are a natural way to lull anyone to sleep, baby and mama alike.  Lying or rocking while breastfeeding are especially tiring at night when your body wants to be sleeping anyways.

If you find breastfeeding makes you tired, it probably means everything is completely normal.  Between the hard work of producing milk, being awake throughout the day and night to feed your baby, your hormones and recovering from childbirth, breastfeeding is pretty exhausting…and totally worth it!

8 Reasons You Need Easy-to-Use Nursing Bras this Spring

Spring is the time to get out and enjoy beautiful weather and new activities.  When you’re breastfeeding, simplicity and functionality are essential for enjoying springtime with your baby.  Forget the hassle of trying to make-do with your regular bras.  Head to Walmart or Walmart.com for Loving Moments’ easy-to-use nursing bras this spring.

Still not convinced you need easy-to-use nursing bras in your bra wardrobe?  Here are 8 reasons you do:

Reason #1:  Nursing bras are a snap…literally. 

The drop-down cups on our nursing bras have one-handed snap clasps that are a cinch to use.  Lifting your whole bra or having to remove your bra to breastfeed isn’t necessary with this simple feature.

Reason #2:  Nursing bras offer great support. 

When you’re breastfeeding your breasts may be larger and heavier than usual.  A supportive nursing bra is vital to keeping your breasts lifted to avoid uncomfortable sagging and tension across your shoulders and back.

L347-Pink-Gingham-prod-page_230x303Reason #3:  Nursing bras are super comfortable. 

Not only do they give you that great support we just mentioned, but they are also designed for a mother’s ultimate comfort with features like lightly padded cups and straps and delightful fabrics.

Reason #4:  Nursing bras offer flexibility for your changing breasts. 

With multiple hook-and-eye closures, adjustable straps and fabric blends that include slightly stretchy spandex, nursing bras adapt to your milk fluctuations throughout the day and over the course of your breastfeeding journey.

Reason #5:  Nursing bras look great under your clothes. 

You may feel your breasts aren’t their normal shape and probably not their normal size.  A properly fitting contoured nursing bra ensures a beautiful silhouette for your favorite springtime outfits.

Reason #6:  Nursing bras are offered in styles for every occasion. 

The bra you wear to work is probably not the one you want to wear to the gym or on a swanky night out.  Nursing bras come in a variety of styles to meet your lifestyle needs for every activity, day and night.

Reason #7:  Nursing bras are made of soft, breathable fabrics. 

Spring calls for easy breezing clothes and that includes your bras.  Don’t get caught in the heat in heavy bra materials that trap moisture and itch.  Select nursing bras with flexible light fabrics that will keep you cool and dry this spring.

Reason #8:  Nursing bras are stylish.  No really, they are!

New moms want to wear the same stylish bras while breastfeeding that they did pre-baby.  That’s why we offer a variety of styles, colors and patterns that suit every mama’s tastes and keeps her looking chic, sweet, cute and sassy.

We hope now you are convinced that easy-to-use nursing bras are the right choice for spring.  Head on over to Walmart or Walmart.com for our complete Loving Moments collection.

Leaky Breasts: Why it happens and What to do about it

As a new breastfeeding mom you may look down and see milk spots on your shirt.  Leaky breasts are fairly common among moms of newborns.  It’s a sign that your body is enthusiastically producing breast milk…perhaps more than your baby even needs.

fun workouts with baby__1453481909_108.89.137.58Leaky breasts occur when your breasts are so full of milk that your body needs to express it even if your baby isn’t eating.  Leaky breasts often occur when you have a let-down and your baby is not nursing at that time.  Let downs often happen to new moms when they are thinking or talking about their babies, hear their baby or another baby cry or when it is time for a feeding and the baby isn’t nursing yet.  Leaky breasts also may spring during a warm shower, overnight or in the opposite breast when your baby is nursing on the other one.

While not ideal, leaky breasts are not a medical problem and don’t pose a threat to your baby.  Sometimes breasts that tend to leak may also squirt your baby, especially at the beginning of a feeding when they are very full.  Again, this is not an issue other than your baby may be displeased when he suddenly pulls off the breast and gets squirted by your nipple.

Leaky breasts can be embarrassing, however, especially if you are in public.  The best way to stop leaky breasts is to apply pressure on them.  You can discreetly do this by folding your arms across your chest and pushing down.  If you are sitting, you can place your elbows on the table and press your forearms into your breasts.  Of course if no one is around, gently cup your palms over your breasts and apply pressure.

leaky breasts_washable padsSome women choose to wear shirts with prints that will hide leaks.  But you can avoid leaking out of your bra with nursing pads.  If you have leaky breasts, wearing reusable washable nursing pads is a smart idea.  These cloth pads are soft and won’t irritate your skin like many disposable pads.  Fabric pads soak up moisture to avoid infections.  Plus, they are washable and better for the environment since they don’t create more waste.

You may want to breastfeed your baby more often at the beginning to help regulate your milk supply.  Usually leaky breasts end after 6 to 12 weeks when you and your baby are on a solid breastfeeding routine.  Your body will then recognize when it should express milk and when to close off the faucet until the next feeding.  Until then, if you cannot breastfeed or pump and you realize your breasts are extremely full, excuse yourself to the restroom and manually express a little milk from each breast to relieve the pressure and avoid a leak.

Lastly, keep in mind that breastfeeding is natural and leaky breasts sometimes come with the territory.  It may be embarrassing or inconvenient, but try to have a sense of humor about it.  Just like other aspects of motherhood, for better or for worse, leaky breasts are part of the experience.

100 Benefits of Breastfeeding Part 5

breastfeeding 3__1458691269_162.206.228.38Today is our last installment of our series on the 100 benefits of breastfeeding.  We’re thrilled to share the extraordinary powers that breastfeeding and breast milk can bring to babies, mothers, families and the world.  We hope this list has amazed and inspired you to breastfeed and advocate for breastfeeding.  Above all, we hope you see these numerous benefits of breastfeeding as the gift that keeps giving, and perhaps the most loving act a mother could ever do for her child.

81 – Breastfed babies tend to have a higher IQ and greater cognition in childhood and adulthood.  This goes for both intelligence level and academic achievement.

82 – Studies show social development is more advanced in babies who are breastfed for at least one year.

83 – Breastfeeding promotes oral motor development.  Babies who are exclusively bottle-fed may develop tongue thrust problems that can lead to improper mouth posture and strength. Breastfed babies statistically have better speech development.

84 – Breast milk can be used as a healing ointment for the entire family. It has powerful antimicrobial agents that are excellent for treating a variety of skin wounds including bites, stings, burns, rashes, cuts and infections.

85 – Breast milk can be used to improve your baby’s clogged tear ducts by simply rubbing it into the infected area.  It is also a great way to treat conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and can be used as a contact lens solution.

86 – For ear infections, drop breast milk into the ear canal to help relieve pain and encourage quicker healing.

87 – When your baby has a cold or congestion, gently squirt breast milk into his nose to clear nasal passages.

88 – Breast milk can help your baby if he has a sore throat.  It can even be gargled by other family members with sore throats to kill off bacteria that are causing symptoms.

89 – Breast milk is a superb anti-inflammatory, which can help clear up baby acne, alleviate eczema and keep your baby’s skin soft and smooth.  Many adults also use it as a facial cleanser or moisturizer to keep skin looking younger and more vibrant.

90 – Breastfeeding a first child often makes it easier to breastfeed subsequent children.  If your younger children are born prematurely or tend to get sick more often, being a veteran breasttfeeder will really come in handy.

91 – Breastfeeding is better for the environment because it requires no packaging, shipping or traveling to purchase supplies.

92 – Breastfeeding uses less water because none is required to make or clean bottles.

93 – Breastfeeding promotes optimal child spacing because ovulation is delayed and conception is less likely during this time.

94 – Breastfeeding is an opportunity to bond with other new mothers who are also nursing their babies.

95 – Your baby will know you better if you breastfeed because he will smell the unique scent of your milk.

96 – Breast milk can be frozen and stored for up to 5 months.  Even after you’ve stopped breastfeeding, your baby or toddler can enjoy the benefits of breast milk straight up, with cereal or as a nutritional boost in foods you cook or bake.

97 – You can help another baby by donating your unneeded breast milk.  This extreme act of altruism gives other babies the same great start to life you offered your own baby.

98 – Breastfeeding is a natural part of bearing children and becoming a mother.  You’re joining a club of mothers that have been breastfeeding for millions of years.

99 – Breastfeeding just feels good – for you and for your baby!

100 – Breastfeeding is a badge of honor you can wear knowing that you gave your baby the very best nutrition and nourishment from the beginning of your lifelong relationship of love.