Should I Stay or Should I Go…Back to Work?

By: Morgan Annandale

When I was about halfway through my six-week maternity leave with my son, Luke, I debated this question with my husband, my family, my friends, and myself almost daily. I felt like I was only just learning how to take care of my baby and still had so much to learn. It truly did not seem possible to return back to work in only three short weeks. 

My entire pregnancy I announced to the world, “I am definitely not staying home.” I told my friends how I “needed” to work. Not only for the money, but also for the sanity, that I just could never imagine being home alone with a baby all day (practically rolling my eyes at myself at this point). Then all of a sudden, everything changed. I found myself holding my little baby boy in my arms and thinking, I could never leave this little guy all day long.

Budget, what budget? 

So, my husband and I sat down one day and had the dreaded budgeting discussion – can we live comfortably on one salary? Personally, I have never been a good budgeter; I enjoy Amazon Prime and Starbucks way too much to budget efficiently. My husband, on the other hand, is a budget master and reigns me in the majority of the time (opposites attract and all), so you can imagine this conversation made me feel pretty nervous. My husband was surprised when I brought up the discussion. He was always under the impression that I was going to go back to work and we were going to choose daycare when my maternity leave was up. Thankfully, my husband knew when he married me that I was very indecisive, so he was open to re-thinking our original plan.

Once we pulled out the good ‘ole excel budgeting sheet he had attempted to get me to use when we first moved in together, we discovered that we could live comfortably on a single income (as long as I was willing to reduce my weekly Starbucks trips, of course). There was something about the possibility becoming a reality that made this decision even scarier for me. Now that I knew we could really do this and my husband was okay with it, I was struggling more with what to do. How in the world was I going to decide on this?

This is where I turned to Google to read hundreds of blogs, HOPING they would tell me what to do. Of course, like in any big personal decision, there was a ton of advice on the Internet, but nothing that could answer this question for me personally. However, I did find some information that helped me come to my final decision.

One reassuring tip I was reminded of was that if I did not choose to go back to work, it did not have to be the end-all-be-all decision. If for some reason I couldn’t handle being at home, I could always return back to work and vice versa! I’m not saying un-doing my decision would be any less of a challenge or risk, but it would not be impossible. Once I was reminded of this, I started to feel a little more comfortable with figuring out this situation, a familiar journey for many new moms. 

The Decision…

After about a solid week, I felt confident enough to tell my boss about my updated decision on what I was doing when my maternity leave was up. I scheduled a sit down meeting with my boss and submitted to her a written proposal for me to work part-time on specific projects and to give away other projects to other full time team members. The proposal went on to say that it could be re-evaluated and that I could return full-time when I was ready. My boss was hesitant at first, but with a tangible document and offer for her to consider, it made a huge difference. I am not sure if this would have gone over in the same manner if I had been informal on this request and not prepared for a meeting concerning my future at the company. The more formal process forced my boss to take me, and my proposal, seriously and not overlook my request. We were able to negotiate a schedule that worked for us both and I have continued to happily work part-time. It's of course it's still challenging, but for me I chose a work/baby balance that I feel is the best decision for our family.

I know that not all you moms have this opportunity in your careers, but I think its ALWAYS worth the ask. If you put a reasonable offer in front of your boss/supervisor, you never know how they could react. It could be something they will run with, and both of you could be happier in the end. I know for me, I was able to put a stronger focus on my work while I was at work. I made a big effort to have a healthy work/life balance. To keep my brain on work, and only work, while in the office, and vice versa at home. My team understood from the beginning of this endeavor that I would not answer emails or calls once I left the office, and even better (after testing me a few times) they respected it. I believe this is in part due to me providing clear boundaries and setting their expectations- then sticking to them.  

At the end of the day, there is no one that can help a mom make this decision other than her, if it is a choice to be made at all. Whether you stay at home, go back to work full-time, or figure out a brand new career path where you work for yourself from home, whatever makes you and your baby happy and healthy is the right choice.

A mimijumi Story

One of our favourite parts of working at mimijumi has been hearing stories from our customers on how our bottles have affected their lives and of course, their baby’s life. There is nothing we love more than hearing from our customers and seeing photos of their babies loving their mimijumi! 

A customer of ours located in New Zealand recently reached out to us to tell us how mimijumi has helped her son with epilepsy. After reading her story we knew that we had to share this with mums out there.

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Dear mimijumi,

My courageous son Zach and I have been a breastfeeding duo for 2 and a half years. Of course, I could have weaned him much earlier, but he has been an avid feeder from day one and it just felt natural to continue breastfeeding until he was ready to become more independent.

Six months ago, the unimaginable happened. Zach developed severe epilepsy and we have been in and out of the hospital and went from medication to medication ever since. Our day to day life has changed and our sweet son’s development (which was already delayed before the seizures started) has gone backwards probably about a year. 

Breastfeeding has been a powerful tool to reassure Zach during his recovery from all the seizures he has had to endure. There have been many days where we have spent most of the day in bed breastfeeding and cuddling, going from seizure to seizure.  

So how does all of this relate to mimijumi? Well since the epilepsy medication has not been fully effective and is causing a lot of side effects, we are about to undergo ketogenic dietary therapy with the aim to gain better control over the seizures and gradually replace the high doses of medication with the diet. I was devastated to learn that breastfeeding was not compatible with the strict ratios on the ketogenic diet. I needed a product that would simulate breastfeeding as much as possible to help soften the weaning process and provide comfort. Thankfully, mimijumi came to the rescue.

My son has never taken a bottle in his life and after a bit of experimentation he now latches onto our mimijumi bottle while being cuddled in a breastfeeding position. Zach has weaned so much more gently than I had ever anticipated and I am grateful for the part the mimijumi bottle played in this transitional journey.  mimijumi allowed us to begin the next stage in his epilepsy treatment.

I love the simplicity and thoughtfulness of mimijumi. The skin textured breast like features certainly appealed to my bubba. It has been empowering to be able to offer Zach a bottle that looks natural as he has only ever had the real thing his whole life. It is reassuring to know the materials are all free from harmful toxins. I also love the ease of cleaning and simple components are really practical.

Zach and I miss breastfeeding but in terms of his epilepsy we are heading in the right direction. Our mimijumi bottle is the next breast thing and is another tool up my sleeve to provide reassurance to Zach as he continues to climb mountains.

-Danielle

We would love to hear about your mimijumi experience. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime at hello@mimijumi.co.uk to share stories, get tips, make us smile with your adorable baby photos, or provide any feedback that will make the mimijumi experience even better!

Approaching the Weaning Blues

By Megan Egan, RN, aspiring IBCLC

Everyone's breastfeeding journey is different and subjective. Perhaps yours began in a hospital room? At home? You could be breastfeeding your first child or your third. You may have had plenty of help and support, or you may have been on your own. Maybe you supplemented, pumped, and bottle fed? Maybe you decided against it. Often, everyone's breastfeeding journey ends differently and at different times as well. As the weaning process varies from mum to mum and baby to baby. Wherever you are in the process, you have come so far and that alone is amazing.

Each day you breastfeed, you could consider it a day closer to weaning. Even though it is hard to fathom that this time may be approaching, it never hurts to be informed about how mums deal with the “weaning blues,” or for that matter, how little ones might react to weaning.

 

The "Weaning Blues" and what to expect

It is very common for women to experience a deep sadness during and after weaning. These feelings can vary between lasting only a few short weeks, to being severe and needing medical help. Many people explain the weaning blues as a form of grieving the loss of the bond that breastfeeding creates between mother and child. The weaning blues can also be linked to chemical or hormonal unbalance because less of the relaxing chemical, oxytocin, is needed to produce milk. Oxytocin is known as the "love hormone", so when there is less of it, depression tends to ensue.

Often times, when a mother is weaning, partners and other family members may not fully understand what she is going through. A partner may react negatively to her depression and not connect it to the fact she may be weaning the child. Our culture often thinks of weaning in an overly simplified way, such that it can be easily controlled and managed and that it is a conscious choice one may make. In fact, weaning starts early on with a baby’s first bite of food and can continue long after that. Evidence-based practice suggests that weaning should be child-led. Ideally, it would begin around the time that the baby is expressing less interest in nursing and the mother’s ideas are not imposed on the little one. Additionally, moms should remember to give their partner a loving heads up that they are going through the weaning period, and this should help to curb any negative comments or feelings.

 

Weaning has its positives

The process of weaning can help to make the final days of breastfeeding less abrupt, in addition to being easier on your little one. It is important to practice good and healthy habits during the weaning time period. Continue to pursue good nutrition, go to sleep at a regular time, practice deep breathing and meditation, and exercise. Try and encourage the oxytocin hormone in other ways, such as kissing and hugging your partner and children.

Other ideas mums can tie in to make weaning seem like less of a sad time, is to throw a weaning party or a celebration for the little one with other children that have weaned and can involve eating solid food treats. Sometimes children can relate to other children about their nursing experience in ways that adults can’t. This can also be seen as somewhat of a celebration because the mom and child have a newfound sense of independence, and the child can be even more a part of the dinner table. There are even some children’s books written about weaning from breastmilk and this can help a child relate to what is going on in a conceptual and fun way.

 

The choice is yours

Mothers wean at different times and it is important for the mother not to feel guilty for weaning. Hopefully, a mom feels like when to wean is partly her decision and not pushed into it by people around her or by society. It is important for a mother to look at her situation before deciding to wean and see if there is a compromise. For example, a mother going back to work may not have to wean if she is able to continue pumping and still deliver some breast milk through a bottle. 

My nursing journey is still a fairly new one. There are so many ups and downs and different things to learn along the way. For me personally, I see weaning as something that will happen between me and my child within the next couple of years. You may see weaning as something to begin tomorrow, today, or it may have happened yesterday. Remember it is all a part of your nursing experience and not just "the end."

Acid Reflux in Babies—What’s Normal, What’s Not, & When to Seek Help

By Caroline Hilla

The nights are long, and I mean really long.

Every baby has their ‘fussy’ moments; but at what point does your little one seem more irritable than normal? Screaming for hours with a bright red face, clenched tight fists, with no chance of settling down. Seeing your baby in pain feels like torture!

Now, imagine the worst possible heartburn you’ve ever experienced, but then put it in a newborn baby’s body #ouch. You can’t blame them for screaming hours on end with no method of communicating their pain to you.

What is reflux? How can I identify it? 

So, what is this “reflux” or “silent reflux” you’ve been reading about on WebMD? Infant Reflux is when the contents of the stomach are backed up and washed back into the baby’s throat.

Common Infant Reflux Symptoms:

  1. Spitting up and vomiting
  2. Refusal to eat and difficulty eating or swallowing
  3. Irritability during feeding
  4. Wet burps or hiccups
  5. Failure to gain weight
  6. Abnormal arching
  7. Frequent coughing or recurrent pneumonia
  8. Gagging or choking
  9. Disturbed sleep

It is perfectly normal for a baby to spit-up or vomit every once in a while, after feeding. While most infants outgrow this occasional reflux, some babies can develop more severe reflux such as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease GERD. Untreated GERD can lead to more serious medical problems for infants, and should therefore first be evaluated by a medical professional.

Why do babies get Reflux?

Babies are not born with fully developed digestive systems and must first train their esophagus and stomach muscles to properly swallow and digest food. To be more specific, the sphincter in the esophagus is immature and doesn’t close properly. Reflux is a common result of the undeveloped sphincter resulting in milk and acid coming back up the food pipe.  Around 40% of babies’ experience reflux with 5% of these having five to six episodes per day. Reflux is a temporary problem that usually gets better as your baby’s digestive system matures, however those with more severe cases are advised to seek medical advice.

Is it colic or reflux? 

Your screaming baby may be dealing with more than just colic. So, what’s the difference between colic and reflux and how are they related?

Colic can be defined as uncontrollable, extended crying in babies who are otherwise healthy and well-fed. All babies cry, but when they cry for more than three hours a day, three to four days a week, they are said to have colic. Colicky babies can feel very uncomfortable as a result of swallowing lots of air during long crying spells. This can cause infants to feel gassy and irritable. Untreated cases of reflux can sometimes be the cause of colicky behavior. In such cases, treating the reflux could completely eliminate the colic.

When should I see a paediatrician?

Recognizing the symptoms of severe acid reflux in newborns is helpful when deciding whether or not to consult your family paediatrician. If your baby has one or more of the following symptoms, it is recommended to consult your paediatrician for professional medical advice:

  • Isn't gaining weight
  • Consistently spits up forcefully, causing stomach contents to shoot out of his or her mouth (projectile vomiting)
  • Spits up green or yellow fluid
  • Spits up blood or a material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Refuses food
  • Has blood in his or her stool
  • Has difficulty breathing or a chronic cough
  • Begins spitting up at age 6 months or older
  • Is unusually irritable after eating (on a regular basis)

 

Paediatrician’s may advise infants with severe reflux to try anti-acids, eliminate cow’s milk, or use feed thickeners. Every baby is different, therefore please consult with your Paediatrician before determining which treatment options best fit your baby’s needs.

 

Tips for preventing reflux

  • Hold your baby in an upright position for 30 minutes after each feeding
  • Try smaller more frequent meals
  • Feed your baby in an upright position
  • Try burping your baby every 3 minutes while feeding
  • If bottle-feeding, use a bottle with a slow flow nipple. Using a flow rate bottle while pace feeding is a great way to reduce reflux. mimijumi is a slow flow bottle baby bottle designed to mimic a mother’s breast in form, feel, and function.

Remember, never feel apprehensive to consult your Paediatrician, because no one knows your baby better than you do. Understanding the basic ins and outs of acid reflux in infants will help you to identify common symptoms and potentially relieve your baby of the pain they may be experiencing.

Our Mimijumi Story: One Picky Baby's Perfect Bottle

By Taye K

Namaste!

I have not put pen to paper in a long time now. I haven't been physically well, and writing goes from relaxing to taxing when the simple act of holding the laptop drains me to the point of needing sleep. But, in my typical fashion, I won't speak too much about the less than happy moments of life. 

As I am beyond sure you know, we are a family that believes breast is best! (No debate invited or accepted.) 

I am so proud and fulfilled to be approaching the two-year mark with Baby Namaste and our nursing journey, and while I preferred latching and feeding him directly, we did end up using bottles as well.

 I pumped from the start. While latching my little bear, I pumped to provide milk for our other special little angel that we had adopted 6 weeks before the birth of my little bear.

We latched exclusively until I absolutely needed a bottle for him, so Dad could tend to him while I gradually began working again. A Google search led me to mimijumi's site. I was impressed, because the bottle actually does look like a breast! It doesn't have a fussy design, but it's still cute. I decided to contact them about collaborating and see if they would partner with me for a review--and they did. (More in-depth details here!) 

Note: We have purchased several more since then, because our son loved them so much. They are worth every penny. Always remember: You get what you pay for, tribe! 

Much to our amazement, our little bear took to the bottle almost instantly. The mimijumi is designed like a real breast, and the bottle's nipple is textured just like skin. If the baby does not latch and suckle as they would at the breast, there should be no milk flow. These bottles are designed to mimic breastfeeding as perfectly as possible, and I can attest that they hit their mark!

I was skeptical at first. mimijumi is accepted by over 90% of babies--but my son tends be a rarity. This time he fit the majority. Observe, the picky baby at 8 months old, holding his "mimis." This was taken a few days before our journey took a pretty drastic turn: I got very sick.

When my baby was about 8 months old, I developed pneumonia. The fevers were giving me tremors, y'all. I was too weak to eat, let alone nurse my little bear. I had a hands-free pump, so I could at least express milk for him. I didn't want to hold him because I was burning up. That fever plus the body aches and constant barking cough were more than enough to make me thank my lucky stars for my pump and our mimi.

During those two weeks, I was entirely miserable. I was on the bare minimum of medication so I could continue to nurse my little bear. Even if he wasn't latching, I was determined to give him my milk only. 

Fast forward: we made it! I credit this bottle with saving my nursing journey, because when I was lying there with a temp of 103, the last thing I wanted was to latch my baby and risk him getting sick. I know babies get immunity from mother's milk, but I was too weak to even hold him. I could pump, though, and Hubby Namaste was able to continue giving him the wonderful liquid gold. 

Our mimijumi saved us in another respect too: Our son never developed a nipple preference. (Nipple preference is often called nipple confusion--which is inaccurate. The baby is not "confused" about the nipple! He simply wants the easier route to receive milk. Breastfeeding requires more than just suckling. Most bottles, however, do not--that's why they drip so badly if you leave them uncapped! I unabashedly do cry over spilled (breast) milk, so I promptly eschew any container that does not keep that milk safe.) The mimijumi is a zero-flow nipple, which means the milk does not flow unless baby is latched and suckling. If baby is not correctly latched, nothing comes out. Also, the holes in the nipple more closely resemble those on an actual mother's nipple--there are not very many. (We used the slow flow, and it has one tiny hole.) 

When my mimijumi coordinator Lauren emailed me again to ask about testing out a new mimi product, you know I was on board!

The mimijumi nipple is flesh-colored. It's simple beige, nothing fussy. Lauren had a cool surprise for me, though...

The mimijumi geniuses had decided it was time to create a dark nipple for the already-popular bottle, and because I've been pretty vocal about it (the mimi is still my cover photo on my blog's FB page), she wanted to invite me personally to try it with my baby!

We were honored. Not only would the bottle feel like mom, now it would look more like mom too! When I gave him the dark nipple.... well, a picture is worth a thousand words.

...the dude abideth, times ten-eth.

To be a part of the dark launch is incredible. Now mimijumi is taking care to ensure all moms can provide their babies with a bottle without structurally OR visually disturbing their nursing routines.

Prior to the mimi, I hadn't seen a bottle so carefully created to replicate the nursing experience for baby. More importantly, I had never gotten the kind of customer service they provided. We got an email full of tips and recommendations. The team was always available!

...But when they contacted me about launching the dark nipple, my heart swelled. As I have said, Black and Brown moms are not as well represented as we need to be. I felt really proud to be at the proverbial helm of this product launch and test run because here we have a company that sells millions without changing a thing and then took the extra step to see a need to make their product even more inclusive. 

Also, when a product launches an ethnic variation, it is not generally "in tone" for us more deeply-browned cookies. 

When I opened my darker skin mimi and held it next to my skin, I couldn't help but get misty-eyed. The dark is a shade or two beyond me, but I was just so full of joy to see myself represented by this company. I couldn't show anyone the launch product, but I have never ached so badly to show someone a bottle! It was the toughest, most wonderful secret to keep. 

This has been just another wonderful benefit of working with such a conscientious, caring and involved company. No other bottle comes with a dark nipple, y'all. From personal experience, I know that in the Black community the lack of breastfeeding information, guidance and/or products that feel inclusive to us can, and often are, the last nails in the breastfeeding coffin. mimijumi has taken a step to include us! While millions of baby bottles have nourished millions of babies, no other company has been present enough to consider providing more than just a standard nipple. 

I cannot WAIT to use these with our next baby. We will absolutely 100% be breastfeeding again, and we will have our mimis for the moments when we need the option of a bottle. 

How do I feel about it?

Beyond chuffed!!!


Namastè!

-- Tayè K. ❤

Fun Facts About Breastfeeding

By Morgan Annandale

Fact one: Breastfeeding is hard. There are the sleepless nights, continuous pumping at odd hours, leaking nipples at inappropriate times, the tough transition to a bottle…the list goes on. However, there are times when you sit back and realise you, alone, are sustaining a human life. That is amazing and that along with all the health benefits you are providing for your little one, truly makes breastfeeding mums real super heroes. So, to learn a little more about breastfeeding I wanted to list out some of the most interesting facts I learned about breastfeeding as a mum. Some of these really blew my mind and reminded me how incredible the human body is! 

Breast milk changes for your baby’s needs

According to medical journals, when you breastfeed some of your baby’s saliva is released into your nipple and your body is actually able to react to your baby’s specific needs. For example, look at the photos below that went viral in 2017. They are from a woman who compared her pumped breast milk before and after her baby developed a cold. The difference in appearance is incredible and shows that the mother’s body knew her baby needed more antibodies to fight the sickness, creating the difference in color. 

Additionally, breast milk is constantly changing to be appropriate for your baby’s age and weight. Breast milk made for a one-year-old will be very different from the breast milk made for a newborn. Pretty cool to think that your body knows when to adjust its breast milk composition to fit your baby’s needs!

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*Source: Facebook/Mallory Smothers

 

Health benefits are short and long-term  for both baby and mum

As many of you mommas may already know, breastfeeding provides a ton of health benefits for your baby, such as reducing the risk of many illnesses including:   

  • Ear infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Common colds and flus
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Infant diarrhoea

Breastfeeding also provides health benefits for children as they grow older and reduces the risk of diseases like:

  • Obesity
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Type I and II diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis

But, did you know about all the health benefits breastfeeding provides for mothers? Breastfeeding reduces the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and both ovarian and breast cancer in mothers. Even more interesting, breastfeeding baby girls reduces their risk of breast cancer by 25%!

On top of all these health benefits, breastfeeding also reduces a baby’s risk of cavities and the chance they will need braces in the future. It is amazing to see all these health benefits for both mothers and babies!

 

Breastfeeding helps you get back to your old self

Breastfeeding is known to help mothers burn more calories in a day and return to their pre-baby bodies. It takes, on average, an extra 1,000 calories a day to produce breast milk. This can be a double-edged sword, since mothers typically want to consume more calories to fight the extra cravings that may occur to keep up their breast milk supply (see our blog post on Foods to Help Increase your Milk Supply if you are struggling there)., Additionally, breastfeeding helps mums heal faster during postpartum, helping the body and uterus to heal quicker and lowering postpartum blood loss. 

Breastfeeding can promote a sense of calm and bonding that can lead to more time to sleep. Breastfeeding mums sleep on average 45 minutes more a night compared to mothers who formula feed. This is also probably because human breast milk contains hormones that promote calmness in babies allowing them to fall asleep easier. As all sleep-deprived mums know…this may be the greatest benefit of breastfeeding yet!

 

All in all…the benefits of breastfeeding are fascinating, but it’s YOUR choice

Breastfeeding is incredible and can be a natural experience between mother and baby. It’s important to remember, however, that it might not be for every mum! There are many reasons why a mum might choose formula over breast milk. I believe that all mothers have the right to choose how and what to feed their babies and not feel one ounce of guilt about it as long as it is safe.

5 New Year's Resolutions for Parents

By Kelly

Every time we ring in the new year, people everywhere make resolutions. Some say resolutions are made to be broken. They last for about a week and then are forgotten about as we go back to our regular lifestyle. This year, we have come up with 5 resolutions parents should make... and stick to! Pick one, or all 5 and have a happier new year... fair warning though, none of them are easy!

1.    I will not feel guilty about my decisions. Mummy wars are a mean and nasty thing - they make it so that decisions we are already a little insecure about eat away at us. Mums can start feeling like the decision they've made is the absolute worst and she may begin to wonder exactly what was going through her head when she made that choice. Don't. We are all making mistakes as parents. What's important is that you made the best decision you could at the time you made it. If you get more information that makes you feel like it wasn't the best choice, change things up and move on! But don't waste time beating yourself up and feeling guilty about the decision you originally made.

2.    I will not yell. Parenting can be frustrating, but it's important to help your children learn how to properly handle their emotions. Getting frustrated and raising your voice to yell only teaches them to yell back at you when they are frustrated or upset. This might be one of the hardest resolutions as it truly is difficult to control our emotions. For tips and support, check out The Orange Rhino Challenge.

3.    I will enjoy every moment. Even the bad ones. Changing nappies stinks (literally!), but before you know it your little baby will be walking out your front door with the keys to the car and you'll miss the days they depended on you for everything. Parenting isn't always fun, but enjoy it because all too soon this stage (whatever stage it may be) will be over.

4.    I will make memories. Do something fun. Spend time as a family, smile, laugh, and just enjoy life with your kids. Sometimes even a situation that wasn't quite what you had hoped for can turn into a fantastic memory. Make memories, be happy, and just enjoy your child's childhood.

5.    I will not engage in drama. As we mentioned in our first resolution, Mummy wars are happening and they are MEAN and NASTY! The only way to make them stop is to stop engaging in and perpetuating them. Stay out of the drama and just be respectful of other parents. Even if you don't agree with the decision other parents have made, acknowledge that it's their decision to make and they (just like you) are doing the best they can with the information and circumstances they have access to.

What other resolutions (parenting related or not) are you making this year?

Foods to Help Increase your Milk Supply

By Morgan Annandale

Today marks the official start of the month of December, and we all know what that means… more food than we know what to do with! In my home when family is visiting for the holidays, it always means endless Christmas cookies, casseroles, and comfort food. It also brings about a little more stress than usual, and can be a fun and challenging time of the year at the same time.

This time last year when I was breastfeeding my son, Luke, I started to notice a decrease in my milk supply. I believe the stress of the holidays was starting to get to me, and took a physical effect on my body, causing a low milk supply. I didn’t know at the time that stress can negatively affect your milk supply, and what more of a stressful time of the year than the holidays with a new baby. I did some research and quickly realised that with some additions and adjustments to my diet I could increase my milk supply. So, for all you breastfeeding mums out there, listen up and get ready to be greatly pleased with some of the foods and drinks you can indulge in a little more this holiday feasting season.

Dark Beer

Yup, you read that right! Darker beer filled with extra barley and hops (both are galactagogues, which stimulate the hormone prolactin to increase milk supply) is one beverage that is known to increase your milk supply. Specifically, a milk stout is one of the best beers to indulge in while breastfeeding. A milk stout is a stout beer that contains lactose and the beers are usually flavoured like chocolate or coffee, which makes for a tasty dessert drink after holiday dinners. Some milk stouts to check out are:

  • The Duck-Rabbit Milk Stout
  • Left Hand Milk Stout
  • Belching Beaver Brewery: Peanut Butter Milk Stout

Though these dark beers and milk stouts are great to enjoy on occasion while breastfeeding, it is also important to be aware that drinking too much alcohol can start to inhibit your milk supply. It is advised to plan accordingly and wait to breastfeed 2-3 hours after you consume any alcohol. If you are worried about drinking any alcohol while breastfeeding there is always the option of finding a non-alcoholic beer rich in barley that will also help increase your milk supply.

Oatmeal

Not only is oatmeal filled with fibre and energy, which helps your digestion and gets you through the day, according to folk wisdom, oats can help mother’s increase their milk supply. Though very little scientific evidence links this food to increased milk supply, it has occurred with so many mothers consistently it has become a common suggestion for mums. Oats are rich in fibre and iron, which makes lactation pros believe it can have beneficial results for breastfeeding mamas. Regardless, having a healthy breakfast in your daily re-tune can’t hurt and maybe it will be the perfect solution for you and your baby; I know it helped me! If you are not a fan of oatmeal in the morning oats can easily be made into yummy cookies and added to smoothie recipes to enjoy throughout the day.

Fenugreek

One of the more common herbs that are found in breastfeeding supplements is known as Fenugreek. Fenugreek is another galactogogue, the same as barley, that helps promote the hormone to increase a mother’s milk supply. You can also get Fenugreek seeds and toss them in your dishes as seasoning; they create a far more pleasant taste when cooked versus eating raw. Fenugreek herb can be purchased to mix into tea as well. Other than helping increase milk supply Fenugreek is said to help reduce internal and external inflammation as well as contain numerous other health benefits! I first heard of Fenugreek while breastfeeding, but it is something that I have worked into my routine diet. To learn more about all the health benefits you can read more here: https://draxe.com/fenugreek/

Garlic

I personally love garlic and use it excessively when cooking just about anything. I never knew before I had a baby that garlic was so beneficial for breastfeeding moms and has so many different health benefits in general!

It is important to note that the strong pungent taste of garlic can adjust the taste of your breast milk and your baby may not enjoy it, but if there is not a difference noticed while feeding, the benefits garlic provides are great for both mum and baby.

Even more than increasing your milk supply, when garlic is passed on to your baby through your milk, your baby’s immunity system will get enhanced due to essential minerals, vitamins, and amino acids contained in garlic. Additionally, garlic aids in your body’s digestion, improves heart health, has anti-infective properties, and anti-fungal properties. One of my favorite ways to enjoy some extra garlic is making homemade garlic bread with minced garlic and butter melted on toast. Pairs perfect with family spaghetti night!

Lots of Veggies: Spinach, Beet Leaves, Carrots, and Asparagus

Though not as exciting, or surprising, as having beer to increase your milk supply, it is important to balance out your diet and eat some vegetables that can help increase your milk. Spinach and beet leaves both contain iron, calcium, and folic acids, which are great for mothers with an iron deficiency. They both also have detoxifying agents and are a great mixture in soups, smoothies, or on top of a pizza! It is important to know that spinach should be eaten in moderation, too much can potentially cause diarrhoea in your baby. Carrots, as we know, are full of vitamin A and also contain lactation promoting qualities. Carrots are also an easy addition to any diet since it is quick to eat with some ranch dressing as a snack, pureed into soup for dinner, or juiced or blended in a smoothie for breakfast. Asparagus is another veggie high in vitamin A and K and is high in fibre and helps stimulate hormones in breastfeeding mums. Better yet, asparagus is the easiest and perfect side dish to any dinner!

Things to Avoid

There are some food items you may want to avoid while breastfeeding. The below listed items have been known to have an adverse affect on breastfeeding:

  • Potatoes
  • Mangos
  • Bananas
  • Thyme
  • Peppermint
  • Parsley
  • Cabbage leaves

All in Moderation…

It is important to have a healthy diet while breastfeeding and be more aware of what is going into your body, and eventually into your baby’s. However, it is also important not to be hyperactive over your diet. Everything in moderation as they say! Additionally, it is common for mothers to think they are not producing enough milk, when in fact they are producing the normal amount. If you are ever concerned that you are not producing enough milk or there are other symptoms occurring that affect you feeding, you should always consult your doctor or a lactation consultant.

Why Some Babies Never Take a Bottle

By Heather Keniston

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You’ve tried everything and your baby still won’t take a bottle?

There are a number of possible reasons that can cause this bottle refusal:

Cleft Lip

Babies born with a cleft lip, which is an opening in the roof of the mouth, can have a more difficult time feeding. The suction that is needed to bottle feed is difficult to acquire for cleft lip babies. Latching while breastfeeding can also be more challenging. 

Feeding your baby with cleft lip and helping them maintain their weight is possible and achievable by following this simple formula:

Right amount of milk + right amount of feeding time + minimal air taken in = a happily fed baby. But really, this is true for all babies.

If you decide to bottle feed, you want to make sure to hold your baby upright so the formula does not make its way back into the nose area. The position of the nipple should be pointed down and away from the cleft area and the rest is up to your baby. Milk can sometimes escape through the nose, which is normal during feeding; but holding your baby upright will help.

The optimal feeding time is 30 minutes or less and while your baby is feeding; watch for signs of the baby becoming uncomfortable. This signals to you that they are tired and need to be burped.

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https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/childrens-hospital/craniofacial/feeding-cleft.aspx

Tongue and Lip-Tied Babies

Tongue and Lip-Tied babies have a small piece of tissue holding down the tongue called the frenulum. The frenulum can restrict the baby under the tongue but it can also be near the back of the tongue or under the floor of the mouth.

For lip-tied babies, the upper lip can have a frenulum that is very restrictive along with white gums.

For mums, a good indication of tongue and lip-tied babies is:

·         if you’re experiencing low milk supply

·         nipple pain or pinched nipple with bruising and creases

·         Baby has difficulty latching

·         A clicking sound during nursing, irritability or colic, and fatigue within one or two minutes of beginning to feed

A simple and minimal pain procedure can be performed to reverse this frenulum restriction and help make feeding easier.

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http://feedthebabyllc.com/tongue-and-lip-tie/

Teething

Growing a whole set of teeth is no easy task. Many babies experience discomfort during this process and will even stop feeding as a result. There are several methods to help relieve your babies discomfort. These methods will help making bottle feeding or breastfeeding possible again until the teeth have grown in.

 Teethers can assist the baby in minimizing the amount of pressure they feel on their gums. *Cold Teethers work best as they numb the area of pain*

Here are a few examples of some teethers that may help your baby:

-toothbrush

-bagel

-ice cube

-cold, wet washcloth

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https://www.familyeducation.com/life/teething-dental-care/your-baby-teething

Lipase

In some cases, babies may not be refusing the bottle but rather the milk inside of it. When the Lipase enzyme breaks down the fat in breastmilk, it can alter the taste. Excess Lipase, as a result, causes an odd unusual taste. This kind of breastmilk is not bad for your baby but can cause them to refuse your breastmilk.

Lipase can occur after just a few hours or it can sometimes happen in 24 hours or more.

Excess Lipase can be avoided with a few simple tips:

-Taste your own milk periodically to quickly determine if it’s starting to develop excess Lipase.

- Before the milk turns, the only way to remove the excess lipase is to scald the milk at a high temperature. Low temperatures aren’t sufficient in removing the bad taste of milk.

There are a few methods that work in scalding the milk. Two of the most popular ways involve the stovetop or a bottle warmer. It’s important to remember that the milk must reach a certain temperature so either route you choose, you will need to monitor the temperature.

One option is to heat to 82C and then cool right after the milk reaches that temperature. Another option is to heat the milk to 62.5C over the course of one minute and yet another temperature option is to heat to 72C for 15 seconds followed by cooling. If you use the bottle warmer, heat to 180 degrees and use a digital thermometer regardless of the route you use.

Having to go through this process can reduce the anti-infective properties as well as the nutritional value of the milk but as long as your baby isn’t drinking scalded milk all the time, it’s not enough to affect the baby. 

If you determine you have excess lipase in your milk, many milk banks will accept this kind of milk and you can donate it. This does mean you have to start over now.

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http://www.sdbfc.com/blog/2012/9/4/battling-and-resolving-excess-lipase-in-breastmilk.html

Lastly, give your baby time to adjust to the new milk. If you’ve been giving your baby milk with excess lipase from a bottle, they’ve associated the bottle to have bad milk so they may still have trouble taking the bottle. Just be patient and know that they will get there eventually.

 

 

Juggling Sleep Deprivation

By Heather Keniston

Before I became a mum, I was a nerd when it came to sleep. My husband can tell you. Sleep was a huge priority in my life and you could tell when I didn’t get in the bed at 10:00pm sharp.

I had heard all the horror stories from my girlfriends and even my own mum about the pit of sleep deprivation. I shrugged away every piece of friendly advice from my friends and family and even nosey strangers during my pregnancy.

I was determined I would be tucked in bed when 10:00pm came and my little one would be fast asleep in their crib and everything would be perfect.

You can probably tell where this is going. I was wrong. 100% wrong. 

Bringing my daughter home from the hospital was exciting. I was still naïve; I was bound and determined this sleep thing was going to work out in my favor.

Literally the first night, my daughter cried and cried. Nothing I did soothed her and my husband and I walked the floors all night, rocking her, bouncing her, rubbing her back, and nothing worked. Sleep deprivation day one, but I just thought it was a rough night. 

A few more nights like this and I was kicking myself for how cocky I had been during my pregnancy. Sleep deprivation had taken root in my home and my husband was feeling it too.

 A few doctors’ visits later and I learned my little girl had colic. If you’re a mum and your baby had colic, you know the struggle. You know they cry all the time and nothing relieves them.

So how do you deal with this as a mum? Especially as a new mum. You’re just desperately trying to do everything right and you’re so hard on yourself when it comes to the new role of parenthood. Mix in sleep deprivation and it’s enough to put you over the edge.

Obviously, I’m writing this blog today which means somehow, someway, I made it. It wasn’t easy and it took a lot of extra work on my part. Not everything I did to fight sleep deprivation was right, and sure, I messed up from time to time, but I learned from it. There were also the occasional nights I was just too wound up to fall asleep or right before I'd fall asleep I'd hear a ghost cry.  Ghost cries are the worst, where you think you hear your baby crying so you get up, just to find them fast asleep.  #NewMumAnxiety

 You can make it too. If you’re in the pit of sleep deprivation like my girlfriends and mother told me about, I have some helpful tips that worked for me. If you’re reading this, know you are not alone. 

One of the biggest things that helped me was my diet. If I didn’t sleep well one night or if I was awake feeding my daughter, the next day I incorporated things like more water, herbal teas, more exposure to light and more physical activity. It helped give me more energy and get me through those tough sleep deprivation days.

Here are some tips that helped me manage my sleep deprivation from being a new mum:

1. Hydration

 I think everyone could drink more water. It’s so important for our bodies, but we struggle with it. We can easily kick back a few cups of coffee, soda, or beer, but when it comes to water, it’s not that simple. At least for me. If you find yourself not drinking a lot of water, increasing the amount you drink will help you feel more energised during the day and sleep better at night (when you can). Try sipping on a cup of water all day to keep your body hydrated. Drinking water helps flush toxins out of your body and replenishes your body’s water supply it needs to function. And, it gives you more energy!

2. Light in the House

As crazy as this may sound, I made sure every morning when my feet hit the floor, all my blinds and curtains were open to let in the day light. Having that natural light in my house helped me feel better and I believe it kept my body going. I noticed whenever I put my little girl down for a nap during the day and I had to close her windows and rock her, I felt the most tired. The darkness didn’t work for me. So, if you’re struggling with sleep deprivation, let a little light in and see if that doesn’t improve your level of tiredness. 

3. Energy-boosting foods

Try things like bananas, eggs, trail mix, and hummus. Incorporating these energy boosting foods into your diet will help increase your energy during the day. Even just the motion of eating can increase your alertness and wake you up. Just make sure to stay away from what your body really craves when you’re sleepy: sugar. One thing I found helpful was small meals and light snacking. When I ate a larger meal, it was like going into a food coma. My belly was full and all I wanted to do was curl up and go to sleep.

4. Power in Numbers

Ever heard the saying “misery loves company?” This is true for sleep deprivation too. When someone else is sleep deprived, you’re able to help each other stay awake. If you begin to fall asleep, having someone there to wake you up or talk to you while you fight sleep can help tremendously. It’s like driving on a long trip. It’s easier for you to stay awake if you have someone to talk to in the car. These people are more valuable than they’ll ever know.

5. Activity

One thing I enjoyed that helped me get through the day with sleep deprivation was my activity level. When I sat down for longer periods of time, say nursing my little girl, sleep deprivation would rear its ugly head, and remind me how tired I was at the time. I never pushed my body to do anything difficult, like strenuous exercise, so please understand that’s not what I’m suggesting. I simply went for a quick walk down my street or up and down my driveway a few times with my daughter. Especially on the sunny days, it felt so good to get some fresh air and sunshine, even if it were just for 5 minutes. Increasing your activity with a run or walking can help you stay more alert throughout the day. 

When I could get sleep, sometimes I couldn’t fall asleep. My mind would race around all the things I needed to do. I would also arouse to every baby coo, whimper, or general noise coming from the baby monitor. 

 Here are some things I found helpful when trying to get better sleep:

1. Teas

Before bedtime, I turned to drinking herbal teas that had sleep-promoting enhancements within each tea. Herbs such as chamomile, lavender, passionflower, and lemon balm aren’t clinically proven to work, however; I found they relaxed my body and they were soothing to a tired mama. One cautionary piece of advice is to drink a cup of tea about an hour before you want to go to sleep so you can flush it out of your system by the time you lay down. Even on nights when my little girl was up for a feeding or diaper change, I tried to sip my tea as I nursed so I could begin to relax by the time my bedtime came around. It’s tough when you do lay down to sleep but you can’t seem to fall asleep because you’re too wound up. This helped relax me.

2. Milk

I’m sure your mum or grandmother encouraged you to drink a warm cup of milk before bed. That’s another piece of advice I filed away thinking I wouldn’t need it. Once sleep deprivation set in for me, I pulled this old folk remedy out of my stored memory file and used it. There’s no proven assurance from science that this method works for sleep deprivation, but it’s relaxing!

3. Lower caffeine

 I loved my afternoon Starbucks runs, but I was also in my early twenties when I made these coffee runs and they didn’t affect me as a college student. Studies have found caffeine is harder to get out of your system the older you get. Realizing I couldn’t have as much caffeine was highly beneficial to my war on sleep deprivation. Just a side note, I was also a breastfeeding mama so I watched my caffeine levels anyway. I had a small cup of coffee in the mornings, but other than that, I turned to other ways of getting energy during the day. Yes, it was hard, but worth it.

When your baby starts sleeping through the night, it’s a joyous occasion filled with cheering and date nights, and MORE SLEEP. However, if you still find it hard to get sleep, you may have a sleep disorder and should see your doctor!

To all the sleep deprived parents out there, I leave you with this: May you soon find sleep, don’t worry if the housework piles up for now and may the force be with you.

 

No need to pace feed!

By Heather Keniston

Overfeeding does not happen often when breastfeeding, but can sometimes happen when giving your baby a bottle. When a baby is overfed, they cannot properly digest their formula or breastmilk and it can cause them pain in their stomachs and gas. This is where paced feeding comes to the rescue. It’s useful for babies to be able to control how much milk they get. 

“Do you need to pace feed with mimijumi?” 

We get this question a lot from our mimijumi mums or mums interested in trying mimijumi.

The answer is no! We will explain this benefit a little later in more detail, but for now, let’s understand the ins and outs of pace feeding. 

What is pace feeding? 

The goal of pace feeding is to ultimately give the baby control, the same way they would when breastfeeding. This makes your baby work harder for the food and prevents overfeeding. Paced feeding requires correct holding of the baby, feeding cues, and bottle positioning.

There are several important steps required for paced feeding according to Mama Natural: 

  1. The baby must be sitting more upright instead of laying horizontally like they would during breastfeeding.
  2. The bottle should tickle the baby’s lips and almost trace their lips to invite them to open their mouth.Once their mouth is open, the bottle nipple should be inserted into their mouth.
  3. Natural instinct is to hold the bottle upright, letting the baby drink the milk. With paced feeding, the bottle should be held more horizontal so not a lot of milk will be available to the baby.
  4. Feedings occur in cycles of between 20 and 30 seconds and at that point, the bottle should be tilted down or even removed. The idea is to stop the milk from being available to the baby so they eat more slowly.

Since breastfeeding is a natural process that babies would go through, introducing paced feeding should mimic the way breastfeeding happens, specifically the speed of eating. As adults, we’re all in charge of how much we eat, so why shouldn’t baby be in charge of how much they eat? With paced feeding, baby is able to determine when they’re satisfied. 

But, with paced feeding, baby is not in control of the flow, but more in control of when they’re “full.” The caregiver controls the flow of the milk by letting up every 20-30 seconds. 

What if your little one could not only control how much they eat, but also could control the flow? 

Putting more power into the hands of your baby is an exciting way to feed. Not only are they controlling their feeding process, but they are strengthening and developing their muscles. 

Breastmilk has a lot of benefits for your baby, but the actual physical interaction of baby at the breast has benefits as well. The baby’s jaw, facial muscles, and tongue are all affected when breastfeeding and this is a phenomenon that does not occur to the same extent when baby drinks from a bottle. 

Until mimijumi, that is! This bottle enables mums to easily go between the breast and bottle with no bottle rejection or nipple confusion. This happens because the nipple of a mimijumi bottle mimics the breast. 

With mimijumi, your baby is able to actively suckle and control the flow of the milk. As a mum, this is great because you never have to worry about exactly matching the flow rate of your natural breastfeeding flow like you would if you were pace feeding. 

Still not convinced? 

Order a mimijumi bottle and try it for yourself. If it doesn’t work, you can send it back for a full refund. The used bottle is then donated by the mimijumi team to charity.

When looking for ways to feed your baby, all that matters at the end of the day is that your baby is happy and healthy. If you believe paced feeding is better or baby controlling the flow is better, you decide and enjoy those small moments when your baby looks up at you from their feeding and smiles. They’re only this young for a little while :) 

Let the Holiday Hallmark Season Begin

November 04, 2017 By:Morgan Annandale

Now that Halloween is over and we have secretly enjoyed stealing the extra trick or treat candy from our kids, there is a new guilty pleasure that I know I cannot wait to indulge in for the next two months… Hallmark Christmas movies. You read that right… I LOVE Hallmark Christmas movies and this year, I am not afraid to admit it.

 I am That Person

Growing up in my family we were the ones who pulled out the Christmas trees (yes, plural) and decorations the week after Halloween. My dad always fought with my mom and called us both crazy for our anticipation of the holiday season, but she and I loved it. Who wants to only celebrate Christmas for one month when you have the option to celebrate it for two months?! I still remember how my grandmother was the first one to teach me how to wrap a present. These childhood memories of the holidays are some of my favorite from growing up. Even though it is a bit eccentric to start celebrating so early, I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.

Along with the early decorations and gift-wrapping, as far back as I can remember my mom always loved Hallmark Christmas movies. When I was younger I constantly poked fun at her for watching such corny movies with predictable endings, yet I always hung around till the final kiss at the end. Now that I am a mother myself, I enjoy these movies even more and see why my mom likes them so much.

The Holidays are Stressful

As all moms know, the holidays change when you have a baby - especially once you have your first baby. Planning your baby’s first Christmas can be stressful. I know I wanted it to be perfect last year, and I drove everyone around me crazy in my attempt. Then there was dealing with the crappy feelings of missing out on parties when I was either too tired to go or I couldn’t find a sitter. Even with how much I love Christmas time, there were days when the stress of everything got to be a bit too much to handle.

Insert Dermot Mulroney, Andrew Walker, and Jesse Metcalfe staring in Hallmark Christmas classics. They, along with surprise cameos from actresses/actors I haven’t seen since I was a teenager, made me forget about all the stress the holidays brought on. There was nothing better than enjoying a predictable romantic comedy with some snacks and silence when I was so sleep deprived from breastfeeding in the middle of the night. I loved that I could fall asleep during these movies and not be confused when I woke up about the ending, the definition of the perfect nap movie.

 

This Year’s New Movies

Now that it is November the Hallmark movie extravaganza is in full swing at my house and this year is even better because my husband is deployed (there’s a silver lining to everything right?). This year I won’t have to listen to the constant nagging that these movies are “so dumb” and “how is this even on TV?” I will get to watch Gretchen Weiner’s (Lacey Chabert) debut, “The Sweetest Christmas,” next Saturday night without having to force a grown man to sit quietly through the entire movie.

I am also looking forward to the 18th on The Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel (yes, I watch both channels) when I get to watch “Christmas Homecoming” with Julie Benz and Michael Shanks. This season’s military love story will be what I'm guessing a couple struggling with the hardships of a deployment during the holidays, while hoping and praying Michael will magically return on Christmas Day. I’m sure he does and I will be crying on the couch wishing somehow Hallmark could bring my husband home for Christmas too.

 Dear Santa,

I will probably love this movie, along with the rest of the “Countdown to Christmas” movies scheduled on The Hallmark Channel. A Saturday night premiere on The Hallmark Channel pairs perfect with a glass of wine and all the gifts that will need to be wrapped throughout the upcoming months. With how long the commercials are I can usually knock out all the presents for my son during one two-hour movie.

This is our first Christmas without my husband, and there are times when I do not know how I am going to get through it all, let alone enjoy myself. Visiting Santa with a screaming child, baking cookies (that I can never stop eating), traveling with dogs and a baby to spend time with my crazy family, and managing our first home all while my husband is deployed is a lot for me to tackle this year. If only my life this year could be like the Hallmark Christmas movies I love so much. I would give anything to write a letter to Santa asking for my husband to come home and be surprised when he appears and we kiss under the mistletoe on Christmas morning.

A girl can dream right?

Trying to lose the baby weight?

By: Heather Keniston

You’ve had your precious little one. They are so cute and everything is perfect with the world…well, almost everything. Having a baby does a lot to a woman’s body and the evidence can stay there for a long time.

We all want that baby weight gone the second it appears on our bodies. We all want to look like we’re 17 again and we all want to rock our skinny jeans flawlessly like we once did. 

Sadly, and much to all our dismay, losing the baby weight is not an overnight process.

In fact, losing baby weight can take a year or more. So maybe you’ve been working hard and seemingly taking all the right steps to ditch the baby weight, but you’re just not seeing the results. 

The infamous question… WHY?

1.       Sleep deprivation

Let’s face it, life isn’t as simple as it once was. There’s dirty nappies that need changing, middle-of-the-night feedings that must take place, there’s colic, then comes bottle struggles and teething, and on and on and on. We all miss those Saturday mornings when we could sleep in until 8:00am.

The reality is, getting no sleep can wear you down in a lot of ways. It’s no secret you’re more irritable, or that your sex drive is basically non-existent, but what could be a secret is the weight gain that comes from getting no sleep.

Your chances of becoming obese increases by 30% if you’re getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night according to Baby Shusher. In addition, your appetite can increase and you can develop cravings for unhealthy foods such as high-carb foods. 

So, what can you do? Sleep deprivation comes with the job description of “new mum.” For starters, plan that your little one will wake up in the middle of the night and go to bed earlier. Don’t try to get extra house jobs done or stay up to fold your last load of laundry, after all your health is more important than a load of laundry. Get that extra sleep when you can. It’s also good to take naps, if possible, and catch up on the weekends if you have an extra set of hands around that can entertain your little one.

2.       Zero motivation to exercise

This can happen before you even realise it. Especially if you’re tired all the time, the idea of getting up off the couch can sometimes feel like having to climb Mt. Everest. When you get to this point, it’s important to realize you’re doing all you can as a mum. We all want to look like the celebrities look. We all wonder why they have it so easy. They don’t. No mum does.

Stop rushing yourself and being so hard on yourself. You’re hurting yourself more than you will ever know with negative thoughts. Your body has just undergone an incredible transformation and you’ve brought human life into this world. Celebrate, don’t shame yourself. You. Will. Get. There. Wherever that is you want to be.  Don’t think you have to have the same goals as celebrities, your friends, or family.  It’s more important to be healthy and happy than to fit into that size you once were pre-baby.

It’s a gradual process and if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you need extra calories and your baby needs those extra calories for the quality of their food. Your weight loss plan for the baby weight may extend past the earlier suggested year, but that's okay!

You can start reducing your intake of calories by a few hundred a day as you begin transitioning your baby to a bottle when you choose to make that transition. You can also begin walking a couple times each day for short intervals to build up your strength again. Again, no rush. No pressure. You do what feels comfortable to you.

3.       Too much motivation

 If you’re working out, you could be doing too much at the gym in hopes you’ll shed the pounds faster. Wrong.

When you’re burning a lot of calories in a day, your body is going to crave more food to compensate. Hence the downward spiral.

You can also injure yourself with too much exercise. The key to losing baby weight is listening to your body and doing what’s best for you. Not saying that pushing yourself a little here and there is a bad thing, just saying that your body has undergone a lot and you need to give yourself time to adjust to exercising again.

4.       Your diet can be hurting you

If you’re transitioning to all healthy food right away and low calorie options, it can be hurting you and your baby. Again, if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, you need the calories to be able to lactate. It takes energy to make this happen and low intake of calories could harm your breast milk supply. So, work with a lactation consultant about your personal goals to make sure you have a healthy balance.

It is okay to make healthy food options, but when your body needs more you should let it have what it needs.

Another damaging effect when it comes to food is the times you eat. If you’re skipping meals or eating whenever, it can hurt your baby weight loss goals as well. When you skip a meal, you tend to over-eat at the next meal time, which can put weight back on.

And how easy is it to snack at night, right!?!? When you’re up at night, breastfeeding and soothing your baby back to sleep, it is so easy to grab a biscuit or eat a “few” Cheetos. Try to resist the temptation, stay strong... Instead, drink a cup of warm milk or fix a cup of decaf coffee or tea. Those beloved biscuits can add extra pounds real quick and hurt your baby weight loss plan. But remember if you can’t one night, don’t be too hard on yourself. 

As if that were not enough, it’s important to mention that you’re going through a lifestyle change and it’s easy to eat to make yourself feel better over the spilled breast milk or mashed carrots that ended up on the wall at dinner or how you forgot your sister’s birthday. Instead of food, just get away for a second or go for a walk or maybe just take a few deep breathes in another room. Breaking the habit of stress eating early will save your baby weight loss plan in the end.

At the end of the day, it's how you feel that’s important. You brought a baby into the world and that’s something to celebrate every day. Your sweet little girl or little boy does not look at you and see baby weight, or the 20 extra pounds you think you should lose. Instead, they look at you with so much love and admiration. Next time you look in the mirror, try looking at yourself the way your son or daughter looks at you and it will change your outlook entirely.

The Awkward Situation of Being Pregnant on Public Transport

By: Heather Keniston

If you’re either a pregnant woman or already a mum, you know walking can be quite challenging once you’re far along. It can also be hard to stand for long periods of time and it can even be painful.

Those all too familiar swollen ankles seem to scream at you from somewhere beneath the belly bump, and even though you can’t see them, they’re there and they are not happy.

So, you develop “the waddle” – A way of walking as a pregnant woman in which one appears to be a penguin and the stomach area protrudes forward as the rest of your body leans backwards. It’s tough and I promise it’s as uncomfortable as it looks!

Some great strides have been made to help a pregnant woman during pregnancy and I’m happy there have been some improvements for making a prego’s day a little easier to manoeuver; however, there are also things that still infuriate me.

First, my hat is off to the blessed soul who came up with “expectant mother” parking spots across the United States. Whether you as a pregnant woman agree with using them, and do use them, or if you choose not to use them, I’m just thankful they’re there. Even if I personally haven’t used them, it’s just an awesome thing that they exist and serve a great convenience for mums-to-be.

We’ve all had those days as a pregnant woman when we’ve had morning sickness, we’re running late for work, it’s pouring outside, there’s a coffee stain on your shirt, and you need to run by the store to grab a tide-to-go pen and a ginger-ale to settle your stomach. These moments are when you praise the inventor of the “expectant mother” parking spot.

But imagine this same morning, except you’re due in 2 weeks or past your due date. Add those swollen ankles and fatigue from not sleeping because your stomach is ginormous and you are one tired mum-to-be. You live in the city and your transportation to work is a subway, a bus or train.

You get on the public transportation and it’s completely full. You’re silently praying you find a seat, but as you look around, the reality is, they’re all taken. So you’re forced to stand.

Why? How is it that you’re that far along as a pregnant woman and not one person gets up to give their seat?

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A pregnant woman from New York had taken notice of this very thing throughout her first pregnancy and a good portion of her second pregnancy. Not once was she offered a seat and it bothered her. After all, isn’t it just the right thing to do? 

During her second pregnancy, she stepped onto the subway around 8 months pregnant and a man, on his cell phone, looked up from what he was doing, saw the pregnant woman, and immediately became embarrassed he hadn’t seen her sooner.  He got up and offered his seat to her.

She had pre-planned to present a trophy to the first person who offered his seat to her while she was pregnant so she presented him with her token of appreciation.

This is a great story and it makes me so happy to hear that someone gave up their seat for this pregnant woman on the subway. However, it also infuriates me that it took this woman all the way through her first pregnancy and eight months into her second before someone noticed her and offered up their seat.

We live in a fast-paced world, always needing to be on our phones, checking our email and communicating with clients. But are we so busy that we forget about these small acts of consideration for others? Are we that self-absorbed?

It all comes down to supporting mom and baby.  It’s the small gestures and considerations for others that makes their day a little easier.  Being pregnant isn’t necessarily a “handicap”, but it’s a common courtesy that we can extend to those that are physically strained.  Even a pregnant celebrity, like Olivia Wilde commented on the inability to get a seat on a subway when she was pregnant:

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If you yourself have been offered a seat on the subway or train, or have witnessed someone give-up their seat for another person, I’d love to hear your story in the comments. If you haven’t and find yourself like me: Frustrated with society, what can be done?

On May 14, 2017, an article was published by the Seattle Times letting the world know about a measure that has been taken by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

They are going to be launching a trial-run of a new program called "Baby on Board". It comes in the form of a button that a pregnant woman can order in advance that is worn on their subway ride as a message for fellow riders to give-up their seats.

Here in the UK, you can pick up your ‘Baby on Board’ badge at a Tube station, call TfL's Customer Service Centre on 0845 330 9880, email babyonboard@tfl.gov.uk or go online at https://tfl.gov.uk/transport-accessibility/baby-on-board.

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Now, some mums will choose not to wear this badge, even though they are pregnant. That’s okay. Others will want to wear this button because they will feel that wearing this will help the public out. Often, people aren’t sure if a woman is pregnant and don’t want to offend her, so they remain quiet and seated. 

Myself and other parents often comment to their children, “Watch where you’re walking” or “Be polite.” I often find myself saying “situational awareness…try it.” We know what’s right, because we teach it to our kids every day. Do I expect my 7-year old to know when to stand up for an adult if they don’t have a seat- ABSOLUTELY!  At what age do you stop offering your seat to another person?  The answer should be- NEVER, but maybe we all need a refresher on our situational awareness and manners.  Making someone’s day a little easier isn’t difficult, but it does require noticing the opportunity.

The Loneliness of Being a New Mum

By: Lauren Fuhrer

“You’ll feel lonely:”

That's the one thing I wish someone had told me before I became a new mum. 

Instead, everyone told me “It goes by so fast,” or "You should get your baby on a sleep schedule," or they wanted to know "Are you going to breastfeed or use formula?" Nobody mentioned the lonely hours of having nobody to talk to other than my newborn. Although I felt unbelievably connected to my new son, I also began to feel more and more disconnected from everybody else (family, friends, neighbours, etc.…) and I felt lonely.  Really lonely. 

Whether you are already a new mum or are about to become one, understand that feeling lonely is not unusual.  

Having a little one changes your lifestyle. How much it changes your lifestyle is up to you. Meeting a friend for coffee after work or swinging by your 7:30 pm yoga class isn't as straightforward as it once was.  Now you have to factor in the baby's needs of course. It's easy to decide that the extra effort required to go for coffee or yoga just isn't worth it anymore.  Before you know it, those things have made their way to the bottom of the totem pole.

And even when you do make it out of the house with your little one, you can’t help but worry…

‘Am I going to be able to get through the meal without my baby crying?’

‘That damn stroller.  Once I get it out of the car will I get it back in?’

‘I hope my baby doesn’t have to eat while we are there. I feel so uncomfortable feeding in public!’ 

It can all seem overwhelming and not worth the hassle.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

You can make your own rules. My son is older now, but I wish that when he was a baby I had realized that becoming a parent doesn’t have to mean throwing on "mum jeans" and going to the park or a “kid friendly museum”. I could take my son with me to do the things that I wanted to do. I didn't have to isolate myself. I didn't have to stop going to the places I love simply because I became a parent. 

I'll now see a new mum out with her baby and make a point of encouraging her.  When she looks at me with that apologetic look or actually says "Sorry," I make sure to respond with, "No apology necessary.  I think it's great you are out and about with your baby." Motherhood can be lonely but with a little encouragement and sense of community it doesn't have to be. 

I hear some of my friends say it’s too hard to take the kids out- especially new mums with their first kid.  It’s so challenging.  You have to bring all the baby stuff and most of the time, no one wants to eat or go where I can take him or her.  How awful to feel that way?!?  How lonely?!? 

It sounds crazy, but after traveling to other countries I realized how intolerant the USA can be of children.  It went from the 1950’s, “Kids should be seen and not heard” to “Let’s just not see them either.”

 What if you could do adult things with your kids?  I know... Crazy, right?  Like going to a nice restaurant.  Or seeing a play. Or just doing something that you would want to do even if you didn’t have a kid? I’m not talking about an all-night binger, but if you want to have a drink in the afternoon while you are out and about, shouldn’t that be okay?

I love online lists about Top 10 Things to Do with Kids because they mention the parks, museums and good schools within each city. These are all places kids “should” be.

Here's my question: why isn’t everywhere in America kid-friendly?  Why is our culture more dog-friendly than kid-friendly?  I love dogs don't get me wrong, but it feels like my dog is more welcome than my kid in a lot of establishments.

mimijumi mums, tell us where you take your kids.  Do you feel judged when you do? How do you overcome the judgement?  Empower new mums to take the plunge to be part of the world outside their home instead of letting "loneliness" win. 

Five Adjectives

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By: Lauren Fuhrer

Should motherhood define you as a person?  YES.  But it’s not all of you.  Is it most likely the largest defining thing that’s happened in your life?  ABSOLUTELY!  So, if someone asked you the question, “Tell me about yourself,” how would you answer?

 If the setting is a PTA meeting or a “new mums club” does it sound something like this, “I’m originally from (enter location). I’m a mom of (enter number here) and I’m (enter relationship status).”

If you’re asked the question during an interview for a job, does it usually sound something like this, “I have (enter number of experience) at this (title).  My previous employment was with (name of company).”  And as soon as that employer asks if you have any kids (P.S.  they aren’t allowed to ask this) you cringe.  Then, you feel guilty for trying to “hide” the thing that you love more than anything and you feel uncomfortable with the whole situation you’ve found yourself in.

These answers may be contributing pieces of our life puzzle, but are they truly the description of who we are?

So, who are you?  Are you a mum?  Yes… but that doesn’t really tell me anything about you, other than you probably are lacking sleep.

How do you describe yourself once you become a mum?  Funny to think about, right?  You probably didn’t realize the specific moment you started telling people your “STATS,” as I call them, and stopped telling them your unique adjectives.

Almost like a broken record, I hear myself say, “I’m…  32 and I have a 10-month-old. I’m married, I work, and am originally from Ohio.” Don’t you feel you know everything about me now?!?  NOPE!  Not even close.

I realized the other day how little people truly know about me.  From now on, when people ask me about myself, I’m going to start using adjectives again, except... I realised, I have used them so little in the past, that I don’t even know what adjectives describe me anymore...

To give it a try, I’m… 

Outgoing.... I can usually make new friends easily and love trying new things...  but, then, when was the last time I had a night out?

Athletic… I love volleyball and was a college athlete. But that was 10 years ago and now I don’t have time to work out, so could I really call myself athletic anymore?

Musically inclined… I played the piano and even taught it... but who has time for that anymore between work and the baby?

It’s easy to question every adjective you’ve ever used to describe yourself before becoming a mum because you’re out of practice. It’s easy to lose your self-esteem, your self-image, and just consider yourself whatever status you’ve become. Trust me, I’ve been there: “I’m…  32 and I have a 10-month-old. I’m married, I work, and am originally from Ohio.”  It’s like we’ve filled out too many doctor forms or something?!?!

But, my message for you and I is that we’re so much more!  I challenge you to start working on your adjectives. 

How did you describe yourself and how do you now describe yourself?  It’s not a bad thing if it has changed, but don’t lose sight of the fact you are more than your “stats”.  I bet you’re courageous, creative, an amazing cook or you love art and music.  Maybe you’re a singer, a wine enthusiast, a dancer, you’re funny, smart, love hiking or bike riding. 

Me… I love dogs.  I love my job and teaching younger people how to do things. I am empathetic (something I would never have thought I could describe myself as before becoming a mom).  I’m sarcastic and funny.  I sing way too loud when I’m in the car.  I work my arse off at everything I do.  I can’t sit still and love a challenge.  I miss my husband who’s deployed and I love my son.  I want to paddle board more and worry less whether I’m doing the right thing. 

I want mums to know that they are amazing women and that although you are an amazing mum and wear the title well, you still deserve to be considered your own person.  You deserve so many adjectives and less focus on the stats, because those stats are only part of the complete package of YOU.

What are your 5 adjectives?

Dealing with Postpartum Depression

By: Caroline Hilla

It’s that lurking feeling that things just aren’t right.

Like most women, you’ve probably already thrown away that Postpartum Depression brochure the hospital gave you before bringing your new baby home. Maybe the grey, gloomy-looking mum picture featured on the front page seemed a little overdone? But now you feel like her and you are finally admitting to yourself that something is wrong. It’s time to stop assuming that the postpartum period is always euphoric, because for 1 in 7 women it’s not.

You’ve lost the “old you”

Mums with PPD feel overwhelmed. Not like “hey, this ‘new baby thing’ is rather hard." More like, “Sorry world. I don’t meet the emotional height requirements for this rollercoaster.” You feel a strange disconnect from your baby, your partner, and pretty much the entire outside world. You’re not having that whimsical mummy bliss that you see on Facebook or see on TV. Patience is no longer part of your personality and everything seems to set off this out-of-control rage. And the worst fear of all, looming over your head, is that this is your new reality and you’ve lost the “old you” forever”.

 So, let’s face the facts about PPD: It’s common.

Not everyone with postpartum depression feels this way, but many do. PPD is not a “one-size-fits-all” type of thing. Some women feel its effects during the first 3 weeks after birth, while others experience symptoms several months after their baby’s birth. There are several different causes of PPD and most of them are out of your control. To start off, your body just experienced a massive hormone surge followed by an immediate hormone plunge. For many women, this rapid change can trigger depression lasting days, weeks, or even months. In fact, for half of women diagnosed with PPD, this is their first episode of depression. Stress can also play a key role in igniting the PPD fire. Maybe you weren’t planning on this pregnancy? Or your partner and family don’t want to help care for your newborn? Whatever your issue may be - money, family, alcohol, drugs…you name it! Problems create stress, and stress can cause depression. Period. Believe it or not, there actually IS a light at the end of the tunnel and you’re not crazy. But, it’s time to act.

Baby Steps

In case no one has told you, you’re doing an amazing job. You are loved and you are worthy. You are not alone. Getting the right help can make all the difference for you, your baby, and your family. There is no point in suffering alone. Don’t try to wait this out. If you are having the symptoms of PPD, here’s what you can do:

·         Call your doctor. It’s okay to be honest with your doctor at your postpartum appointment and tell him/her that you are struggling. 90% of people with PPD can be treated successfully with medication.

·         Find a local support group in your area. Websites such as: The Association for Post Natal Illness and Pandas Foundation help mums going through what you're going through find people nearby who understand what you’re experiencing.

·         Talk to someone who understands. Talking to a friend or relative can be helpful when you need to vent, but when it comes to PPD, one of the best treatments can simply be another mum who can relate to your feelings and encourage you along the way.

Now it’s your turn

Postpartum Depression is a real condition that can affect your everyday life. It is best to seek treatment as soon as possible. If PPD is detected late or not at all, the condition may worsen. Also, experts have found that children can be affected by a parent's untreated PPD. Such children may be more prone to sleep problems, impaired cognitive development, anxiety, and frequent tantrums.

If you suspect you may have postpartum depression, it’s time to stop letting the baby blues bring you or your loved ones down. You are not wrong for feeling the way you do and no one blames you for it. It’s time to be kind to yourself and reach out for support because yes, you are enough, and yes, you really do matter. <3

 

The Surprise Milestone - Bottle Refusal

By Dr. Frank Drummond

Up until now, your 2-month old was feeding perfectly on both breast and bottle. But all of a sudden he/she has completely lost interest in the bottle and will even scream if it’s brought too close. You’re starting to panic and wonder if your baby will ever be able to drink from a bottle again! Sound familiar? If so, there is a likely chance that your newborn is going through a very normal and expected behavioural reflex change called the “two-month mark”.

Understanding the developmental reasons behind this seemingly spontaneous behaviour will reassure mums like you that you aren’t alone and bottle-feeding can still be successful.

The two-month mark occurs in babies aged 2-4 months and is characterised by a sudden refusal of bottles, making for a frustrated baby. Now that your baby has grown a little and mastered the art of suckling; they can latch, suck, and feed more efficiently. Because of this, they can spend less time at the breast while still receiving the same amount of nourishment. In addition to this your baby is also becoming more perceptive. He/she can now see across the room and recognize familiar faces. They are beginning to analyze what is going into their mouths and can immediately recognise if it isn’t a direct part of mum. In other words, if it isn’t mum, they don’t want it. This can cause them to become frustrated and upset when a bottle is presented to them.

Many mums are not aware that their baby’s ability to feed after birth is an involuntary survival feature they are born with. This instinctive sucking reflex is activated whether they are hungry or not when the roof of their mouth is stimulated by touch. Because of this innate behaviour, babies are able to sustain life immediately after birth without having to learn the motor skills behind suckling. The two-month mark is simply a successful cognitive development causing sucking to transition from being an involuntary reflex into a voluntary controlled response. At 2 months of age the roof of your baby’s mouth will no longer stimulate immediate sucking because they have developed the muscle memory necessary to control it on their own.

A “successful suck” is more complex than you might imagine. The baby’s lips flange and close around the nipple creating an airtight seal around the areola. They then move their tongue in and out, controlling the flow, pressing the nipple into the top of their mouth creating pressure. The suction of the downward movement of their jaw pulls the breast milk into their mouth. After taking another breath, the cycle continues. This cycle is called the Suck-Swallow-Breath (SSB) Synchrony. These pauses in feeding allow for your baby to make eye contact with you and form a bonding moment.

This is an exciting step for your baby because they are able to control their feeding for the first time ever. This can be a major complication for the 80% of mums returning to work or looking to take a break from breastfeeding for a night out. Not to worry! Useful tips and tricks such as warming the baby bottle nipple, letting someone else give the bottle, or using different positions other than the breastfeeding hold can provide a successful bottle feeding experience. Breast bottles, such as the mimijumi bottle, are also a successful way to introduce bottle-feeding again because of its unique breast-like design. Understanding what is happening as your baby grows helps you manage these sometimes surprising transitions and limit frustration all around. 

 

Is your baby hungry?

We may be biased, but we think mimijumi bottles have the cutest names out there. The Not So Hungry bottle is 120 ml / 4 oz., and its big brother is the Very Hungry bottle at 240 ml / 8 oz.

Which one do you need for your baby? How much milk should your little one be drinking each feed? These are questions best discussed with your paediatrician as every baby is different, but we've put together a quick reference for general feeding amounts based on age. Hopefully this will help you decide which bottle would best suit your baby, and give you peace of mind knowing they are eating what they should be, when they should be!

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More important than the table above is to watch your baby and pay attention to their growth. Generally speaking, your baby should be eating 2 oz. for each pound they weigh over each 24 hour period. For example, if your baby is 7 lbs., he should be eating around 14 oz. every 24 hour period broken up into many feedings. Above all, pay attention to your baby's weight gain. Your paediatrician will have growth charts that can help track your baby's progress and alert you and your doctor if there is an issue. It's important to keep up with regular well-baby visits to be able to catch any issues early on.

If you're breastfeeding your baby, it may be difficult to determine just how much your baby is eating. Feeding formula or expressed milk from bottles makes measurement much easier, but there's no need to fret about measurements! Remember that babies do have instincts. In general, they will show hunger cues and will eat when they are hungry and refuse when they aren't. Feed your breastfed baby when he/she shows signs of being hungry, and carefully monitor weight gain to be sure you aren't missing hunger cues.