Archives for July 2016

“Love in the form of Milk”

"Love in the form of Milk"“When I started breastfeeding it was for all the wrong reasons.  I didn’t want to do it but I promised my husband that I would for at least 6 weeks. My baby was born at 35 weeks and because of that he had poor suck reflex, he wouldn’t latch and also dropped 2 pounds in five days.  Just so I could prove to everyone that I could do it at least 6 weeks, I gave it my all.

I was frustrated, sad and depressed. Why was it so hard trying to feed him, even in a bottle?! I started pumping every hour or two hours, trying to latch him, and also teaching him how to suck while in the hospital. The first day he fully latched he was 12 days old and it was with nipple shields but at least he did. I was exhausted from pumping and trying so much but I said 6 weeks so I kept going.

By day 28 he was latching without any help, and better, he was wetting diapers and sleeping at least an hour or two. When we went to the hospital for his four-week check up, to my surprise, not only did he gain the birth weight back, but he gained one more pound making it a total of 3 pounds. Being able to say that, and see how we started I felt amazing.  He was healthy and eating so I pushed my date to 3 months, those 3 months ended up being 6 and eventually 9 and now 12 months later and still nursing!

I’ve learned so much through breastfeeding and my son. I have a happy, healthy, full-of-life and sweet one year old…He finds so much more than food in me.  I’m his shelter, his friend, his all. I don’t only breastfeed him, I give him love in the form of milk.”

Ambar, Jacksonville FL – La Leche League

Breastfeeding in Public + Loving Moments Nursing Cover Donations for World Breastfeeding Week

Breastfeeding in Public + Loving Moments Nursing Cover Donations for World Breastfeeding WeekBreastfeeding in public is one of the hottest breastfeeding topics covered in the media – and we don’t mean that in a good way.  Sadly, public breastfeeding is still, in 2016, very controversial with a social stigma attached.  Moms are all-too-often subject to nasty looks, heckling and sadly asked to leave or cover up.

Yes, breastfeeding is a personal choice, but one that sometimes has to be carried out in public because babies don’t care where they are when they get hungry.  So it seems that when a personal gesture of love, nutrition and health is carried out in a public place, the public feels this is a forum for commentary.

Perhaps commentary would be OK if it were positive and encouraging.  Smiling or offering an “atta girl” to a mother who is breastfeeding in public would be welcomed by most moms.  Unfortunately that is not the typical response.  And thus, the judging begins.

The obvious issue that most public breastfeeding antagonists have is that a mother’s breasts are being exposed.  To them, this may be viewed as lewd, overtly sexual, inappropriate for younger audiences or gross. Much like breastfeeding, that’s a personal choice or opinion, but one that these naysayers should keep to themselves.

Breastfeeding is a natural act and in fact, is the most natural form of nourishment on the planet.  Beyond the fact that it is the best possible nutrition for infants (and toddlers and beyond), it has a wealth of health benefits for babies and mothers, it is better for the environment and it helps the economy, breastfeeding is a mother’s prerogative.  It’s a simple as that.  And if the need arises when moms are shopping at a store, eating at a restaurant, watching a little league game or on any other occasion, she should feed her baby as openly or discreetly as she wishes.

Even among exclusive breastfeeders, mothers have different comfort levels when it comes to public breastfeeding.  While some moms are extremely open and up for breastfeeding anywhere, other moms choose to be more private about breastfeeding.  There is a broad spectrum of comfortability and every decision is a right one.

Breastfeeding in Public + Loving Moments Nursing Cover Donations for World Breastfeeding WeekAt Loving Moments we know that breastfeeding in public can be challenging.  Besides the unfortunate social aspect, logistically it can be difficult to find a comfy place to stop during a busy day.  And babies can easily get distracted while breastfeeding in public.  The change of scenery may be all-too-stimulating to stay focused on eating.  A nursing cover lends a helping hand by offering a bit of solitude.  With Loving Moments’ nursing cover, moms get the privacy they desire with an easy-to-use cover that can even be worn as a fashionable scarf.  And babies are not encumbered with a breezy soft, breathable fabric cover and can stay more attentive to eating and snuggling with mommy.

Breastfeeding in public is a choice and so is how a mom decides to do it.  We believe every mom has the right to decide if and when to breastfeed and we’re making it a little easier by donating thousands of nursing covers to breastfeeding moms this World Breastfeeding Week.  As part of our landmark $250,000 donation of nursing apparel, we’re giving moms who want privacy while breastfeeding in public an option.  We’re partnering with healthy infant feeding advocacy group Best for Babes to share this incredible donation with moms nationwide through breastfeeding support groups like WIC, La Leche League, ROSE, BMBFA and others.  We’re hoping to encourage more mothers to breastfeed and support every mother’s right to make the healthiest choices for their babies.

Regardless of the way a mom breastfeeds in public – openly, in a private space or using a nursing cover – moms should be unapologetic about breastfeeding their babies when they are hungry.  It’s what nature intended, it’s what’s best for her baby and it’s a mom’s choice.

Join us on social media for the Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week celebration!

Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week Partner Spotlight: Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association

Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week Partner Spotlight: Black Mothers Breastfeeding AssociationWorld Breastfeeding Week is all about sharing – sharing love, sharing nutrition, sharing inspiration, sharing resources and sharing support.  Our friends at the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA) are partnering with us in our donation of over a quarter of a million dollars in nursing bras.  Through our Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week program along with Best for Babes, we’re hooking up BMBFA moms with nursing apparel to help them on their breastfeeding journey.

BMBFA is a non-profit organization.  Their mission is to reduce racial inequities in breastfeeding support for African Americans by building foundational networks of support and strengthening systems to overcome historical, societal and social barriers to breastfeeding success.

Speaking of success, here’s a beautiful story of one mother’s successful breastfeeding journey thanks to the help of BMBFA:

A random Facebook post from a former classmate connected me to an organization that has changed my life. I am currently using the Doula services of Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA). I began working with this organization at seven months pregnant. I was really interested in a Doula, but had recently gotten the news that c-section delivery might be in my future. I was excited to hear that a Doula could still be used, if that was the case and that is when my relationship with Olivia began.

Olivia, my wonderful Doula, came to my house on a Saturday morning because of my insanely busy schedule. I was so thankful of the flexible hours available with weekend appointments. I didn’t know what to expect when we first started meeting but I was thoroughly informed of what services were offered. We began meeting regularly and all of my first time mom questions were answered with patience and encouraging words. Coming from a family with no breastfeeding history, an outside resource was necessary. BMBFA’s services reached beyond breastfeeding for me. I had a lot of fears when I first found out a c-section might be in my future. After meeting, with Olivia for a few weeks, my fears were eased because I was so well informed and we had a thorough birth plan in place. After my c-section, Olivia was one of the first people in the room and I had the opportunity to show her the breastfeeding skills we had spoken about in depth.

Breastfeeding is something I knew I wanted to do, but I know I wouldn’t be doing it right now if it weren’t for BMBFA’s Doula Program and Olivia.  Breastfeeding was terrible at first. I thought I had been punked. This natural and wonderful thing, for my child, was torturing me. Thankfully Olivia was so supportive and encouraging.  She constantly reminded me that I could successfully breastfeed and never let me get down on myself. Breastfeeding has not come easy for me, I had a very low supply and I think many mothers give up when that is the case. If there was anything Olivia didn’t know she asked her supervisor or referred me to another resource. Breastfeeding is one of the things that I enjoy most about motherhood. My doubts were erased by constant encouragement from the cheerleader in my corner. The best part about BMBFA are the postpartum visits. This is where the organization is most valuable. They are there well after the newness of baby has worn off. The focus is on mom and baby’s physical and emotional wellbeing. My life and my daughters life is forever changed because of BMBFA’s Doula program.  I know that Olivia is just a text or call away if I need anything at all, we have built a relationship over the past few months that is a true friendship.

I am forever grateful for the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association, they have given my daughter the best start possible. This resource is priceless and an asset to the greater Detroit community.

Naomi a.k.a. Eden’s Mom, Detroit, MI

Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to share in our Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week celebration!

Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week Partner Spotlight: Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE)

Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week Partner Spotlight: Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE)

We are ecstatic to embrace ROSE as one of our breastfeeding support organization partners in our Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week program!  ROSE does incredible work on the community level to help moms achieve success in breastfeeding.  Find out more about their goals and advocacy strategy here:

Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) is a member network that was founded to address breastfeeding disparities among people of color nationwide through culturally competent training, education, advocacy, and support. With a focus on increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates, ROSE seeks to normalize breastfeeding by serving as a catalyst that provides resources and networking opportunities for individuals and communities.

Our efforts to empower a growing cadre of advocacy-oriented “ROSE Community Transformers” top the list in our strategic direction to addressing breastfeeding inequities. ROSE Community Transformers are women with a vested interest to provide peer breastfeeding support to families within their communities. The concept of our Community Transformers resonates from the importance and impact that peer-to-peer support can have on the breastfeeding initiation and duration rates in our communities, a notion reiterated in The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding and strategy 4 of The CDC Guide to Strategies to Support Breastfeeding Mothers and Babies. ROSE strongly believes that a concerned and passionate individual can have an impact within their community.

Through the partnerships and support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Boston Medical Center CHAMPS project, National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO), Georgia Health Foundation, and the Office on Women’s Health It’s Only Natural Campaign, ROSE has been able to train and mentor a total of 162 women as Community Transformers in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Missouri, and New Jersey. As well as improve access to breastfeeding resources in the African American Community and reform health care through breastfeeding.

Post courtesy of Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere.

Breastfeeding Success Story: Rhianna, St. Louis La Leche League

Breastfeeding Success Story: Rhianna, St. Louis La Leche League“When the years of trying and failing to conceive piled one atop the next, I began to view my  body as a stranger, as unknowable and untrustworthy. A failure. We ultimately sought the care  of a reproductive endocrinologist, a fertility specialist who, after a series of modesty­squelching  tests, determined that in vitro fertilization would give us our best chance at achieving a  pregnancy. It was a meticulous process, an orchestra of expensive medications not covered by  insurance, appointments every other day for blood work and ultrasounds, twice ­daily  self ­administered injections in pinches of belly fat. There were physicians and nurses in our  most intimate physical and emotional spaces, those who surgically retrieved my eggs, those  who married my gametes with my partner’s, those who transferred our two best candidate  embryos into my uterus, and one who called weeks later with the mind ­blowing, almost  unbelievable news that this had all somehow worked. It felt like the most unnatural process  ever, but there we were: finally pregnant. I felt hopeful, but the undercurrent of skepticism  toward my body never ebbed.

One healthy pregnancy later, my gooey, freshly born son was placed on my bare chest as the  purple light of dawn crept in through my hospital room window. We lay chest to chest, our hearts  trading companionable conversation like the cozy neighbors they were for the previous nine  months. This lovely, long-­awaited baby rooted instinctively for my breast with his tiny mouth, and  in that first moment, I felt an unexpected swell of reverence for my body that I’d never felt  before.    We had our hurdles and hiccups in the beginning of our nursing relationship, but we persevered  through the latch issues, damaged nipples, a nursing shield, and wavering uncertainty that my  body could adequately nourish this stunning little being.  I fell in love with my son, with  breastfeeding, and with my body during our quiet nursing moments. With his plump little arms  and legs tucked in close to my body, his body the yin to my body’s yang, it felt like we were the  only two people who existed. With his belly filled with my milk, I was overcome with an  unrelenting awe and renewed respect for what my body can do. What infertility took away from  my sense of self, breastfeeding gave me back.”

The Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week Support

Officially World Breastfeeding Week starts next week but our Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week initiative is underway.  We are thrilled to announce that Loving Moments is donating over a quarter of a million dollars in nursing bras to moms in need through breastfeeding support organizations!  Not only that, we’ve partnered with Best for Babes to share support with the Ultimate Healthy Infant Feeding Resource Guide.  Find out more from our press release below and share in the celebration on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Ultimate WBW Event Graphic

The Best for Babes Foundation and Loving Moments by Leading Lady Issue the Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week Challenge:  Give Moms the Ultimate Support with the First-Ever Healthy Infant Feeding Resource Guide and Landmark Donation of over $250,000 in Nursing Bras

Breastfeeding Support Organizations and Advocacy Partners include WIC, La Leche League USA, ROSE, BMBFA and KellyMom.com, among others

New York, NY —July 25, 2016 – This World Breastfeeding Week, Best for Babes and Loving Moments by Leading Lady are issuing “The Ultimate Challenge (#ultimatewbw)” to Americans who care about moms and babies: help 4 million expecting and new moms Beat the Booby Traps®–the barriers to healthy infant feeding–by providing the best information, inspiration, incentive and support!

Best for Babes, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has pulled together the top non-judgmental, evidence-based tips and resources, trusted by experts and beloved by moms, into a 5×7 Ultimate Resource Guide that can be printed or shared in doctor’s offices, maternity boutiques, restaurants, airports, stores or online.  To encourage and celebrate moms, Loving Moments by Leading Lady is providing the Ultimate Donation of Nursing Bras–worth an unprecedented $250,000–and is including the Ultimate Resource Guide in every product shipped.

This ground-breaking campaign is the first to bring together leading nonprofits and education resources to shatter the myths, misinformation and negativity barriers that continue to bombard moms and undermine their personal infant feeding goals.  The Ultimate Challenge for World Breastfeeding Week aims to engage everyone to work together to put trustworthy information into the hands of every expecting and new mother. Details and links can be found at www.bestforbabes.org/resources.

The Ultimate Healthy Infant Feeding Resource Guide & Card

“Every mother should have access to insider information when it comes to healthy infant feeding, and no mother should feel judged or be harassed, whether she chooses to breastfeed, pump, use donor milk or formula, or some combination thereof,” said Best for Babes cofounders Danielle Rigg, JD, CLC and Bettina Forbes, CLC.  “For too long, moms have been vulnerable to multi-billion dollar predatory marketing by companies with conflicts of interest.  Moms deserve to have an appealing and mainstream guide with trustworthy, positive, encouraging and non-judgmental evidence-based resources at their fingertips.”

The Ultimate Resource Guide is a curated list of the very best resources, how-to links and where to seek help when challenges arise, including Kellymom.com, La Leche League, Breastfeeding USA, ILCA (the International Lactation Consultants Association), BMBFA (Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association), ROSE (Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere) and WIC (the USDA’s Women Infant and Children program) among others. The card includes trusted information hotlines and the Best for Babes Nursing In Public Harassment Hotline (855-NIP-FREE), links to celebrity interviews, and signature guidance on how to navigate and overcome the prenatal, hospital and postpartum Booby Traps.® The card also includes a link to the latest deals and giveaways by companies that uphold the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, and pledge to uphold Best for Babes’ credo of encouraging ALL moms.

“It is overwhelming and depressing to contemplate the millions of dollars spent to ensure that moms fail,” said Forbes and Rigg.  “But if we work together, and leverage all of our connections, WE CAN get the best information and support-into the hands of every single mom who delivers in the U.S.  None of us can do it alone, but all of us can pitch in and do it together.”

Best for Babes is actively looking for a grant to print the card, but in the meantime hopes that everyone who cares about mothers and babies will help share the Ultimate Resource Card virtually, or print it out and leave a small stack wherever expecting and new moms go: doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, maternity boutiques, stores, airports and the like.  The Resource Card is available for sharing or download at www.bestforbabes.org/resources.

The Ultimate Nursing Bra Donation

Loving Moments by Leading Lady, a C.A.R.E. Code Ally, is supporting the campaign and expectant and new moms with a record-breaking donation of over a quarter of a million dollars in nursing bras and other breastfeeding essentials.  Loving Moments will distribute nursing apparel and the Ultimate Healthy Infant Feeding Resource Guide to over 21,000 moms through campaign partners WIC, La Leche League USA, ROSE, BMBFA, KellyMom.com and other outreach groups, along with online giveaways. Loving Moments’ donation will help inspire and support the 86% of moms who want to breastfeed, regardless of income.  Learn more about Loving Moments’ donations at http://lovingmomentsbras.com/donations.html.

“Along with our partners at Best for Babes, we’re helping mothers with what they need most: resources and encouragement,” said Mark Corrado, third generation owner of Leading Lady.  “In our case, we are donating nursing bras and the Ultimate Resource Card to moms who need them most because every mother deserves the opportunity to breastfeed.”

The Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week Event

The Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week event kicks off July 25, 2016 in advance of World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7, 2016.  The Ultimate Healthy Infant Feeding Resource Guide will indefinitely reside at www.bestforbabes.org/resources and the event will be championed by the event partners.  Everyone is  encouraged to participate by sharing and distributing the Ultimate Resource Guide and Card, spreading  awareness of healthy infant feeding via word-of-mouth and online, and celebrate the Ultimate World Breastfeeding Week campaign through Best for Babes’ and Loving Moments’ social media channels.

 

About Best for Babes

Since 2007, Best for Babes has been raising awareness of the barriers to breastfeeding and healthy infant feeding and calling on everyone to work together to put the pressure on the Booby Traps®, not on moms!  Best for Babes is the first nonprofit to build a breastfeeding celebrity cabinet, develop an Alliance of organizations that pledge to encourage ALL moms and uphold the International Code, and create an international, consumer driven cause to get more human milk to babies in the NICU (the Miracle Milk® Stroll).    For nearly a decade, they have been helping moms to achieve their personal breastfeeding and infant feeding goals and acting as a catalyst in the maternal and infant health arena.   Follow Best for Babes on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @BestforBabes.

About Leading Lady

Leading Lady is a premier nursing and full figure intimate apparel company dedicated to creating comfortable, affordable, stylish bras and camis.  Family owned and operated since 1939; Leading Lady has been supporting breastfeeding moms and babies for over 77 years.  Leading Lady is an innovator in maternity and nursing intimates that help new and expectant moms nourish and nurture their babies.  Visit http://www.LeadingLady.com for additional information and follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @LeadingLadyBras.

About Loving Moments

Loving Moments by Leading Lady features maternity and nursing apparel for every occasion, from pregnancy through nursing. Loving Moments is the intersection of quality nursing essentials and an exceptional value. Visit http://lovingmomentsbras.com for additional information and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @LovingMomentsBras and Twitter @LovingMomentsBr.

6 Clever Ways to Store Frozen Breast Milk

Freezing your breast milk is a wonderful way to ensure your baby has the very best nutrition on the planet.  Your baby may drink stored milk on a regular basis, occasionally or you may be saving up milk for a trip away from baby or an emergency situation.  Whatever the case may be for you you’ve probably come to realize: freezing breast milk can take up quite a bit of space in your freezer and it can be difficult to find the oldest portion.  Today we’re looking at six clever ways to store frozen breast milk.

1)  Glass Storage Bottles

Small milk bottles or canning jars are a terrific way to store frozen breast milk.  Glass preserves the nutritional integrity of breast milk better than plastic because it is less porous and therefore not as susceptible to contamination.  Glass containers may take up more space but it’s worth it if your baby is consuming daily portions of frozen breast milk.

2)  Color Coding

Using those colorful round stickers you often see at garage sales, develop a color coded system that corresponds to the dates of your stored frozen breast milk bags.  If you know you are only looking for a bag with a certain color dot, it will be much easier to whip out milk when you need it.  Keep the color chart posted on your freezer door so other caregivers will have access to it.

3)  Re-sealable Gallon Storage Bags

This is an easy trick for keeping breast milk bags organized by date.  Put all of your pumped milk into individual sterilized bags and then put the bags for each week into a re-sealable gallon storage bag.  This not only offers double sealed protection, but it also makes it easier to find the oldest dated bags.

clever ways to store breast milk4)  Storage Bins

Clever moms have found all sorts of ways to store frozen breast milk in “shingles.”  First, you have to freeze your breast milk bags onto a flat surface.  We recommend using something already in your freezer such as an ice cream carton or frozen waffle box.  Once the breast milk is solid, it will be flat (like a shingle) and easier to store.  Then your storage options are numerous.  You can use anything from a plastic bins to shoe boxes to store your milk in date order.  One super creative mom uses a gift bag with a slit at the bottom.  The newest milk goes on top and she has easy access to slip out the oldest milk from the bottom.  Brilliant!

5) Ice Cube Trays

This idea is great for storing small portions of breast milk.  Sterilize an ice cube tray and then fill each cube slot with breast milk.  Cover it and freeze the cubes.  Once they are frozen you can store them in sealable bags and defrost them as needed.

6)  Breast Milk Storage Unit

You can also buy a breast milk storage unit that stacks your milk bags and allows access to the oldest date at the bottom.

We hope you find our clever ways to store frozen breast milk tips helpful!

How Many Calories does Breastfeeding Burn?

How Many Calories does Breastfeeding Burn?

Breastfeeding has many incredible benefits and one of them is weight loss.  While helping you lose weight shouldn’t be the reason you choose to give your baby the best nutritional start in life, it certainly is a bonus for mamas who are hoping to drop those pregnancy pounds and return to their pre-baby weight. Today we’re exploring the questions “how many calories does breastfeeding burn” and “how many calories should I eat while breastfeeding.”

How Many Calories does Breastfeeding Burn?

The short answer that most experts agree upon is that breastfeeding burns between 300 and 500 calories a day, although some say it can be up to 700 calories per day.  The exact amount you’re burning will depend on how much breast milk your baby is taking, which is probably dependent on his size and age.  Also, if you are pumping in between feedings, you will burn even more calories.

how many calories does breastfeeding burnBreastfeeding is hard work for your baby and you!  Your body spends up to 25% of its energy making that amazing breast milk.  You are churning out more nutrients than ever before to help your baby grow and develop and to give your baby immune boosting goodness.  Your baby requires a lot of breast milk so your body is constantly working to keep up with your baby’s needs.  Some newborns may feed up to 12 times a day.  That’s truly a labor of love for moms!

Additionally, you are giving your baby some of the calories you may have otherwise stored.  Your baby needs the calories for energy (although you probably do too!) and takes them “off your plate,” so to speak, to sustain his growth.  So if you eat your regular diet, you’ll be netting less stored calories.

How Many Calories Should I Eat While Breastfeeding?

The amount of calories you will need while breastfeeding also depends on how often and how much you are feeding your baby.  Most doctors recommend consuming around 300 to 500 more calories than your usual diet in order to keep up with breastfeeding demands.

However, you may need to eat differently than you normally do.  First of all, since you are giving away some of your energy, you’ll want to eat to optimize energy.  That means you’ll want lots of nutrient-dense foods like fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean proteins.  You also need healthy fats to maintain your breast milk.  These include nuts, natural oils and fish.

Since you are nursing your baby multiple times a day, you may need to adjust your meal schedule as well to keep yourself satiated.  Try eating lighter 300-400 calorie meals or snacks five times a day rather than just three larger meals a day.  You may find you are hungrier after feedings too.

Be sure to drink plenty of water but you don’t have to overdo it.  Drinking to satiate your thirst is a good rule of thumb.  That will probably amount to 9 to 12 servings of water a day, which should be plenty to make that superb breast milk.

Who would have thought that the best post-pregnancy workout could be nourishing your baby?  Enjoy every loving moment!

Major Developmental Milestones in your Baby’s First Year: Part 7 – Walking

Today is our final installment of our series on major developmental milestones in your baby’s first year and we’re examining walking.  This is your baby’s first “step” into the big leagues, usually a demarcation between infancy and toddlerhood.  They say babies “grow so fast” and you probably really believe that around the time your baby begins walking.

Walking independently typically occurs sometime between 13 to 15 months.  Of course some babies are toddling about at 9 months and others take until 16 or 17 months to take their first steps.  Walking is perhaps the biggest of the major developmental milestones in your baby’s first year and the one parents worry about most.  If you are concerned, speak to your pediatrician.  Chances are if your baby is progressing consistently towards walking, your doctor will not see an issue.  If there is a developmental delay, occupational or physical therapy may be in order.  At such a young age, babies usually take to therapies and progress quickly.

Major Developmental Milestones in your Baby’s First Year:  Part 7 – Walking When you believe your baby is ready to walk, it’s time to take everything off the floor and put it in a nice spot where your baby has to walk to reach it.  (Finally your play spaces won’t constantly look like a disaster zone!)  You can still keep toys at various levels to encourage squatting for low items and getting on tip toes for higher items.

Play with your baby using items that float above her head such as balloons or bubbles.  Your baby may enjoy chasing them.  You can also toss a ball or other light items such as stuffed animals or rolled socks to get your baby interested in going after these items.

Allow your baby to experience different floor surfaces by keeping her barefoot.  Walking on carpet feels different than hardwoods, tile or grass.  The sensations, textures and malleability of different surfaces will help develop balance, weight shifting and good arches.  Your baby’s hands are also important when it comes to walking:  keep both of your baby’s hands occupied so she does not try to reach out to hold on to anything.

Crawling up stairs (with your keen supervision) and encouraging transitions from the floor to standing to walking are also important skills that will help your baby walk independently.  And don’t forget to invest in a good pair of shoes for your baby even before those first steps emerge.

Many parents are interested in support systems to help “teach” their children to walk.  These can be counterproductive for babies as it gives them a false sense of balance, promotes bad posture and foot positioning, and doesn’t allow for freedom of exploration.  Most occupational therapists recommend limiting time in exersaucers and jumpers to 15 minutes daily and not using walkers at all.

There you have it, the major developmental milestones in your baby’s first year.  We’ve gone from tummy to back to rolling over, then from sitting to crawling to standing to walking.  That’s a lot to learn in just one short precious year, for both your baby and you.  Embrace your baby’s accomplishments as well as how you fostered an environment for success.  We join you in celebrating these major developmental milestones in your baby’s first year.

Sources:  MamaOT, Dinosaur Physical Therapy and Pink Oatmeal

Major Developmental Milestones in your Baby’s First Year: Part 6 – Standing

It’s time for your baby to get up off the floor and see the world from a higher point-of-view.  Standing, cruising and walking are the next major developmental milestones in your baby’s first year that we’ll be exploring over the next two days.

Your baby has probably been bearing weight on her legs since she was just a few months old.  By the time your baby is 6 months old she will likely be able to bear most of her own weigh on her legs but will still need you to keep her balanced.  In the following months she will begin pulling up on furniture and anything else that can assist her on her mission to explore the world.   Standing independently may not happen until closer to 9 months and that will be for only a few seconds.  Typically babies can stand on their own without support for longer than three seconds sometime around their first birthday.

Major Developmental Milestones in your Baby’s First Year:  Part 6 – StandingOne of the best ways to promote standing is to take the focus (and pressure) off of your baby and activate them through motivation.  Stop talking about standing and instead encourage your baby to discover new things.  This means you’ll need exciting new things for your baby to want to do.

First, start moving your baby’s favorite toys to higher play spaces.  Put them on a cardboard box, plastic table or on top of stacked couch cushions.  In order to play with them, your baby will have to practice pulling up.  Also get out and explore new places.  There are many exciting things to see in nature and your baby can view them all the better by puling up on railings, fences and play equipment.  Seeing something for the first time may be just the encouragement your bay needs.

Also invest in toys that will interest your baby in standing.  An activity table with removable legs is perhaps the best place to start because it can progressively grow with your baby.  First take the legs off and let your baby play with the table during tummy time and with assisted sitting.  Add two legs and lay the table at a diagonal for side play and more sitting.  Then add all the legs back so your baby will have to stand to enjoy the toy.  Easels, train tables, water tables, play kitchens, baby basketball hoops and car ramps are excellent choices and ones that your infant will enjoy for many years to come.  Get creative and make your own elevated play toys using boxes, laundry baskets and toy bins.

Excitement, encouragement and confidence are all necessary for your baby to begin standing and eventually walking.  Let older children and peers be role models to your baby so she sees that she too could stand like them.  When she makes strides towards standing, be your baby’s biggest cheerleader.  The more she knows mommy believes in her the more confident she will be.

Tomorrow we’ll be rounding out our series on major developmental milestones in your baby’s first year with walking.  See you then!

Sources:  Mama OT and Dinosaur Physical Therapy