Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Shall We Dance? And Nurse?

Breastfeeding a toddler is so fun! As many moms will tell you, breast-feeding a toddler is definitely different from breast-feeding an infant. My daughter is currently 13 months old and we have very few nursing sessions where she lays quietly and nurses. The majority of our nursing sessions are quick (5 minutes or less) and full of activity! Here are a few of my favorite thing she does while breast-feeding:

Dancing. She loves to dance and breast-feeding never slows her down! If she is in the middle of a meal and a catchy tune plays on TV, it is dance time. She shakes her little booty while never losing her latch!

Clapping. One of her new favorite things to do is clap. She claps along with the TV and at her brother's football games. She will clap while she is breast-feeding, no problem! This little cheerleader is already a pro at multitasking.

Waving goodbye. If daddy has to leave for work and she's in the middle of her morning snack, she can wave goodbye without ever unlatching.

Smiling. This one is one of my favorites! Whether I tickle her belly or she mimics my laugh, I love seeing that sweet little smile while she nurses.

Yoga. Otherwise known as gym"nurse"tics! My little girl will stretch her legs, touch her toes, pull her foot up to her eye, stand up and pull herself into a downward dog... All while breastfeeding. She has some serious talent. 

Everyday my little Miss Marlie does something new to amaze me. We have made it so far in our breast-feeding journey and I can't wait to see what the future brings. If you have never breastfed a toddler, I highly recommend it! 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

10 Reasons I Love Breastfeeding

In honor of world breastfeeding week, I would like to post 10 reasons I love to breastfeed:

10. I know breastfeeding provides the best possible nutrition for my daughter. It allows me to let her eat all of the candy she wants and I don't feel guilty! Just kidding! 

9. Breastfeeding allows us to take a break and spend quiet moments together. It's our break from the crazy. We have days when we rush and are busy, sometimes we can't help that. But breastfeeding allows us both to take a breath and find our center. 

8. Breastfeeding fixes everything. Tired? Hungry? Thirsty? Teething? Take a tumble? Scared? There's a Breast for that. 

7. We don't have to spend money on formula. Breastmilk is freeeee! 

6. I don't have to wash bottles. That is awesome. 

5. I don't have to worry about packing bottles, formula, and water in the diaper bag. The other day I left the house with no diapers or wipes in the diaper bag. I don't want to even know what would happen if I had to remember one more thing! 

4. I've become empowered in a new way. I've learned to be more comfortable with my body (even -especially- my squishy postpartum body). I've learned to think of my breasts as having a real purpose. (Yep, the girls aren't here just to impress guys). 

3. I've become an advocate for breastfeeding parents everywhere. Isn't it funny how sometimes you don't really care about an issue until it effects you or someone you love? Well now I care about breastfeeding, deeply, and I deeply care about all of the breastfeeding parents and their rights. I will stand up for the mother who wants to breastfeed in public, or private, with a cover or without. I will stand behind the parent who wants to breastfeed, even when our culture sends discouraging messages- and gallons of free formula samples. 

2. Who would clean my teeth or pick my nose if I didn't breastfeed? And I love those big blue eyes staring at me. I love those milky smiles. And those milk drunk naps- they. are. the. best. 

1. My daughter is me and I am her. There's a constant ebb and flow between  us. My milk helps her grow and she helps make my milk. It's an incredible cycle of love and nutrition, giving and receiving. Breastfeeding my daughter has been this amazing life force between us, and it's something I will cherish for as long as I can. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dear St. Louis, where are your AP friendly doctors?

I have been on the search, high and low, for attachment parenting friendly doctors in the St. Louis area. By AP friendly, I mean support breast-feeding, gentle parenting, and no sleep training. 

The first doctor I took my daughter to recommended using the CIO, cry it out, method of sleep training. I made it very clear that I was against this method, and all sleep training, but this doctor did not offer any other encouragement or suggestions. This doctor also recommended that I give my daughter rice cereal at four months. (The American Academy of pediatrics recommends that babies are six months of age or older before beginning any solid food.) Needless to say, although this doctor seemed like a very nice person, I was not impressed and felt like we were not on the same page.

I asked for suggestions for attachment parenting friendly doctors from some of my AP friendly Facebook groups. I was given a recommendation for another pediatrician. This pediatrician reportedly specializes in breast-feeding. One can imagine my disappointment when this doctor recommended night weaning my breast-fed baby before one year AND recommended long periods of CIO and sleep training. When I told this doctor I did not feel comfortable with sleep training, this doctor told me that it would be hard to listen to all of the crying, but I would just need to do it.

So I'm continuing my search and asking people for recommendations. People have told me that these type of physicians do not exist, and that I should continue to see a doctor that is not AP friendly and just ignore everything they have to say in regards to parenting style.

Every few weeks, I see a question from another mother asking where they can see an AP friendly doctor that does not recommend sleep training and supports breast-feeding. So far I have only heard of two recommendations, one in O'Fallon, Missouri and one in Webster Groves. These doctors either do not accept new patients or are limited in the insurance plans they accept.

This is completely unacceptable. Are St. Louis doctors not educated on the benefits of breast-feeding and the dangers of infant sleep training? Are St. Louis doctors not continuing their education to the point where they are recommending outdated nutritional information? 

Sure, I could continue to take my children to a doctor that I do not trust and that I am unwilling to ask parenting questions. But I believe that as a city, parents here deserve better than that. So St. Louis, where are your educated, AP friendly doctors?

Friday, June 19, 2015

The case of playing vs. the iPad Mini...

I noticed something today while spending time with my nephew and niece (ages 10 and 8). Our day goes smoother without electronics. Trust me, I love me some iPhone and Chromecast and all kinds of technology. I think technology is awesome and fun. But I think something has to be said for the case of playing vs. the iPad mini.

My nephew and niece were having a fabulous rainy day. We live in St. Louis and are in the middle of a summer rain streak here. We had found some activities inside to keep us busy. My niece opened up her new paint mixing set. Her and my nephew created different colors and thought up creative names for their new paints. Some of the names include "hot tamale" and "bright sunshine". There was a small dispute over who would name which colors, but all in all they were having fun.

After paint mixing they decided they were going to put on another dance show. You can read about their first show HERE. They ran off upstairs to play. They were running throughout the house making plans for costumes, songs, dance moves, and deciding who would be the "manager" and who would be the performer. They were having fun, using their imaginations, and getting along. It was an aunt's dream.

Then I did it. I found the iPad charger. My nephew plugged in and started playing online games, leaving his sister in the dust with her dead iPad. A small argument began. It started with arguing over who would get the charger, then about my nephew not playing with my niece. The two of them were bickering back and forth until finally I told my nephew that we needed to take a break from the iPad. I told him the break just had to be 10 minutes to let it charge. Luckily, he soon forgot about the iPad and got caught up in planning the show with his sister again.

Just for everyone's information, the show was fabulously creative. It began with formal wear and a slow dance to "Beauty and the Beast", including my 10 month old daughter. The middle number was "Baby Baluga" which featured my nephew swinging my daughter in his arms while she smiled and laughed. There was a costume change for the finale, from formal wear to bath robes and slippers, and the kids free-styled some hip hop to "I Got A Feeling". They performed for my sister the second she got home from work. They were so excited to show her what they created.

Without knowing anything that had happened earlier in the day, my sister says to me, "you know, I think they actually play better without their iPads". I laughed because she completely read my mind.

I think from now on we will be using the iPad Mini as a last resort. When we have exhausted all other options of play, maybe we will plug in for a little while. But playing wins. Playing definitely wins.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How we saw the benefit of slow parenting today

This summer I am spending time with my 10-year-old nephew and my eight-year-old niece. Sometimes we have errands to run and places to go and we are busy throughout the day. Then there are days when we are allowed to have more freedom. Today was one of those days and it was great.

I started out the summer with a schedule full of activities and places to go and things to do. Boy was that a mistake! I ended up with little people who expected activities and treats every day. I was frustrated, they were frustrated, it was a bad combination.

We decided to take a different route and avoid scheduling. Today was a day where I got to see the benefit of letting them have free time. 

In addition to spending time with them, I have a 10-month-old baby. She has been missing her naps the summer so I am trying to allow time for her to get some rest during the day. 

Instead of having a planned activity for the kids to do during her nap time, I told them it was up to them to play. I told them they could play with toys, go outside, and use their imaginations. To be honest, I was a little nervous of how this would turn out. 

What happened next was great. I took the baby upstairs for her nap and I could hear them playing downstairs. I heard my nephew reading stories to my niece, I heard them playing games, and I heard them planning a talent show for me and the baby after her nap. I could hear them going outside to play and talking about riding their bikes.

After the baby's nap, they performed a three act talent show with full costumes. I was impressed with their creativity! They had set up stations where they read books and played games. They played together, helped each other, and were kind to one another.

Every day I have to remind myself to slow down, not over commit, and to do the same for the children to spend time with. Today we all reaped the benefits of slow parenting and in true Snail Mommy fashion, will be spending more days taking it easy, slowing down, and enjoying the little things.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

My View is the Best View

In this moment I appreciate slowing down a little. As I watch my baby sleep, I remember why I want to learn to take life at a slower pace. I don't want to rush. I don't want to race through her infancy. There are 100 other things I could be doing right now. They can wait. Today I'm making the choice to breathe deep, slow down, and enjoy my incredible view.

Love, Michelle
(Snail Mommy)

Friday, May 22, 2015

How I used essential oils this week

"I'm not really sure about essential oils. Will I really use them?"

Yes! You most definitely will! And the more you learn about them, the more you will use them. Let me share with you the ways that my family used Essential Oils...just this week!

Let's talk heartburn and stomach aches. Remember when you were a little bit younger and you could eat all that spicy food? Yea, me too!

Sometimes I forget that there will be consequences after eating spicy food. Yesterday I had a bowl of spicy jambalaya rice. Later in the evening I was regretting it. As I was laying in bed falling asleep I could feel the heat rising up in my throat. That's when I reached for the digestive blend. I have it in a roller bottle, diluted with coconut oil and ready to use. I rolled some on my belly, on my chest, and on my throat. When I woke up with the baby two hours later, The burning feeling was gone! I was so happy to have that next to my bed! 

Healing salve, or as I call it "all better balm" is something I use quite frequently! This morning I noticed my daughter's bottom was a little pink. I put a little balm on it and... All better! Last night, my son had what looked like hives on his arm and back. He had been playing out in the grass the night before. We put some balm on his skin to soothe it. We use this balm all the time! It's made with Lavender, Geranium, and Melaleuca. These essential oils are combined with Beeswax, coconut oil, and olive oil to make the salve. It's wonderful!

My daughter is nine months old she puts her mouth on everything! I mixed up a surface and hand sanitizer made from an anti-viral blend and lemon essential oil. Just this afternoon, we went to the park and what's the first thing my baby does? She puts her mouth on the baby swing. Gross. Luckily I had my sanitizing spray with me! 

One way we enjoy essential oils is by diffusing them. My family loves the smell of citrus oils, so this week I diffused a citrus blend and wild orange. My house smelled delish! Citrus oils are uplifting and energizing for your mood as well. 

Speaking of citrus oils, I put wild orange and lime in my water this week. Both of them are great! Just one drop does the trick, and don't forget you can not use plastic bottles with essential oils. I use a glass water bottle that I got from target for $6.99! I also put a drop of a metabolic blend in my water this week. It supports a healthy metabolism and appetite. 

So that's just a few of the ways we used our essential oils this week! I would love to hear about how you used your oils this week! Leave me a comment below!