Mother’s Day Memories

As Mother’s Day draws near, you may be reflecting on your experiences so far as a mother and thinking about your own mother as well. Each of us has a unique relationship with our children, which may be influenced by our own mothers. Before you sit back and enjoy being celebrated on Mother’s Day, it’s a good time to think about how you want to be remembered as a mom.

In 25 years when your children are adults, how do you want to be remembered on Mother’s Day? If you’re not living out those qualities, make some changes so you are the mom you want your kids to have. Which of these memories do you want to create?

Mother’s Day MemoriesFun and Spontaneous: Structure and schedules may keep your lives sane but memories are made from fun and spontaneous moments. Whether it’s a stop off at an ice cream shop before dinner or a surprise trip to Disney World, adding fun and spontaneity to your days will bring joy and smiles to everyone in your family. You can achieve this in small ways every day by breaking out in song when the mood strikes you or turning a chore into a game.

Love of Learning: Your kids may not appreciate all the random facts you share but they will enjoy being smart cookies. If you want to be remembered for all the knowledge you impart on your kiddos, find clever ways to incorporate learning into your everyday lives. Turn following a yummy recipe into a math lesson. Chart the weather in your city. Practice science experiments at home. Keep a map handy to talk about different places in the world when they come up in conversation. And of course, read about everything and encourage your children to ask why.

Seeking Adventure:  For the adventure-loving mom, spread your free spirit to your kids by involving them in your wild journeys. From backyard adventuring (think camp outs and scavenger hunts) to travel across the globe, your little ones will remember your adventurous nature. Risk-taking is a hard skill for some kids to learn, but you can help your kids safely take risks through adventure activities.

Leader in your Community: Whether it’s school, a scout troupe, a religious organization or a community group, demonstrating your leadership skills is something your kids will remember. Getting involved to make your world (in the most micro or macro sense) a better place can be ingrained in children at a young age. Show your kids how people coming together can make a difference. It’s a memory they will carry with them and probably emulate in their own lives as well.

Fostering Independence: Mother’s are usually nurturing by nature and that’s a wonderful thing. We’re hard-wired to be a safe and secure “home” for our children. But fostering independence will also serve them well in life. Making mistakes in the name of learning and teaching your children to be resourceful are necessary skills for productive citizens of the world. That’s not to say you have to choose tough love if that’s not your way. However setting your kids on a path to independence is a gift they will remember and thank you for in the future.

We wish you a very happy Mother’s Day full of beautiful memories – both the ones you have from your past and the ones you choose to create.

Wonderful Support for Breastfeeding and Motherhood

“In my family breastfeeding was normal. My mother nursed, my sister and sister-in-law nursed. From an early age I expected to nurse my children. I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital while I was expecting my first and thought I was ready to go. I was NOT ready for nursing!

Wonderful Support for Breastfeeding and Motherhood Looking back the one thing I would have done differently is attended La Leche League meetings while pregnant. It would have given me more time to absorb the information than just one night of a class. And I would have sought help sooner if I knew the Leaders and had a better idea of what is normal and when something is wrong. I had a very difficult 6 weeks and it took some time after that to heal and get breastfeeding to a comfortable level. The La Leche League Leader I called was a big part of helping me learn to make breastfeeding work for me. She invited me the local meetings and I started attending when my daughter was 3 months old.

I went on to nurse my daughter until she was ready to wean and I continued to attend the local meetings. I found La Leche League mothers to be a wonderful support; not just for breastfeeding but also for motherhood. I learned from the meeting topics, from the other mothers’ experiences and their questions. I enjoy being able to share my experience with others. It was so much more than just making nursing work. I learned about nutrition and developmental stages and weaning, all of which helped me as I learned to be a parent.

With my second child I attended meetings through my whole pregnancy and had a good support network. Then I was surprised at the difficulty I had nursing my second. It was a mother sharing in the meeting about her child that got me on the right track to identify the nursing issue with my second. The LLL Leader and local IBCLC helped us get the diagnosis and treatment we needed to make breastfeeding work the second time.

Being around other nursing mothers, sharing ideas and resources, supporting each other through the difficulties and celebrating successes is what makes La Leche League great and why I still love attending meetings.”

Alina, La Leche League Montgomery, AL Area

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal YogaAs your pregnancy progresses, aches, pains and a latent fear seem to be progressing with it. Soon that adorable baby bump will be a ninth month old pregnant tummy that’s read to pop; and then you’ll undergo contractions, labor pains, child birth and, of course, motherhood. Anxiety-ridden questions begin swirling around in your head – will child birth hurt, will something go wrong, am I cut out to be a mother, will all this stress somehow hurt my baby?

Instead of letting your concerns overpower your excitement, consider trying one of the most relaxing, deep-rooted practices for soon to be mothers: prenatal yoga. This well-established exercise focuses on toning your mommy muscles, improving your balance, keeping you limber, bettering your circulation, and educating key breathing techniques.

Yoga classes will generally begin by teaching you to rejuvenate your pregnant body through the core inhalation and exhalation method called ujjayi pranayama (ooh-jah-yee prah-nah-yah-mah). Ujjayi shows you how to fill your lungs while tightening your throat and breathing through your nose. It is believed that controlled breathing will bring positive changes to your emotional, mental, and physical health as a mother. Unlike alternative breathing techniques, Ujjayi is performed through all poses, assisting you in releasing any repressed feelings or sensations.

Instead of allowing your fears to take over, this helps to maintain a balanced, consistent breath to relax your mind and focus completely on the present moment. When fearful, your body produces more adrenalin and less oxytocin, the hormone that helps your labor progress. Ujjayi will teach you to relax and dismiss the urge to tighten up due to pain or fear. This, in turn, will help you face the physical and mental demands of labor, childbirth, and motherhood.

Besides offering numerous health benefits such as lower blood pressure and improved breathing rates, prenatal yoga also provides the opportunity to become a part of a pregnant community. With other mothers undergoing the same or similar experiences in an encouraging, compassionate environment, you will be given regular motivation to continue your exercise.

Keep in mind that you will need to take common exercise precautions due to your pregnancy. Speak with a qualified prenatal yoga instructor or your doctor before beginning a class to make sure your experience will be safe and beneficial.

New Years Resolutions + The Best Things You Can Do for Your Baby in 2014

Ah, a New Year is upon us!  It’s a time to make some New Years resolutions and start afresh.  As a new or expectant mom, you probably have a ton of ideas about the mother you want to become for your baby and are making plans to implement those ideas.

Just as you might set goals for yourself at work, when trying to lose weight or any other project in your life, mapping out goals as a mom is a smart way to parent, especially when those precious moments with your baby are so fleeting.  We’ve all heard that the first few years of your baby’s life are so important for development.  So take this time when you’re setting goals for 2014 to determine how to be the best mom you can be by knowing the best things you can do for your baby.

Breastfeeding_New Years ResolutionsBreastfeed

Breast is best!  The AmericanAcademy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least the first year of your baby’s life, and acknowledges positive benefits for extended breastfeeding as well.  Not only is breast milk the #1 nutrition in the world for your baby, but studies show the amazing cognitive, physical and social advantages of children who were breastfed.  Plus, breastfeeding encourages quicker bonding between mother and baby, easier weight loss for mom, lowered risk of post partum depression and lowered risk for breast and ovarian cancers in mothers.

Set yourself up for success by having a wealth of support.  Arm yourself with information about breastfeeding through online resources, books, experienced mom friends and classes.  Make sure you and your partner are on the same page about nursing and discuss ways for your partner to be involved in the experience.  Also, be prepared for breastfeeding with the few essential items necessary for the most gourmet, homemade, wholesome food on the planet:  at least three great nursing bras, a nursing pillow and some cooling pads or cream.

Be a Chatty Cathy

Talking and reading to your newborn, infant and toddler is one of the most educational gifts you can give your child and we highly recommend it for your New Years resolutions this year.  Speaking to children constantly makes them more intelligent and will expand their vocabulary…eventually.  Even if your little one is nowhere near saying her first word, chat away at her about anything in the world – the economy, the latest Hollywood gossip or the weather.  Narrate your life for your child.  You will be stunned at what she will eventually learn to say based on your early one-sided conversations.  Also, instill a love for reading early by doing it often.  Be sure to pick age-appropriate books that will capture your baby’s attention and imagination, like those with textures, bright colors and simple storylines.

Show Love and Affection

New Years Resolutions_LoveOne of the most instinctual ways we care for our babies is by simply loving them.  Babies need tons of affection and attention to feel comfortable and safe in this great big world.  Having come from such a warm and intimate place in your womb, that’s understandable!  Many parents make the mistake of trying to teach their babies a “lesson” by not always going to them when they cry.  Save that lesson for older children and always comfort your baby when she requests your attention, however loudly and however often.  Babies cry because they need something.  It may just be that they need to feel your touch, but nonetheless, they need you.  Psychology Today cites that babies who are tended to quickly after crying actually cry less and become more independent, explorative toddlers.  If you have a fussy baby who wants to be held all of the time, we recommend baby-wearing.  It allows for excellent skin-to-skin contact while also freeing up mom to get some things done.

Create a Village

Stress is bad for everyone, including babies.  For independent women, the “it takes a village to raise a child” mentality can be difficult to accept.  But getting some help now-and-then, beginning during pregnancy, is important to relieve stress.  Babies both inside and out of the womb are super sensitive to stress and that is certainly not something you want to transfer.  It can cause developmental and behavioral problems down the road.  Villages are made up of all sorts of people.  If your relatives don’t live nearby and babysitters aren’t in your budget, find some good friends, neighbors or community organizations that can offer a few hours of childcare when you need a moment to breathe.

Interact and Have Fun

Monkey see, monkey do is the name of the game with kids.  Even if babies cannot mimic your actions yet, they will certainly appreciate silly faces and funny sounds.  Make a game out of it.  Use the “peek-a-boo” concept with everything, from sticking out your tongue to, singing a silly song or playing a freeze dance game.  Your baby will delight in stop-and-go motions.  And if you haven’t learned this yet, nothing is better than watching your baby’s face light up from sheer joy.

Have a happy and joyous New Year!