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Holidays Will Be Here Before You Know It!

October is a busy month for me, and in a way, my holidays have already started! Kaiden’s birthday is tomorrow, so there’s a class party, then a private party, then gifts, then a more private party! THERE IS A LOT GOING ON! 

 

Maybe some of you are experiencing the same thing, but for those of you who are still on hiatus for now…before YOU know it the holidays will come o’ knocking. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies!

 

Get ready for the holidays, before the holidays sneak up on you.  The holidays don’t have to be filled with hustle and bustle and stress.  Preparing now will give you plenty of time to enjoy the holiday season. Relax and grab your calendar to plan a weekly task or two to get you in gear for mistletoe and eggnog.

 

Gifts, Gifts, Gifts
Start a gift giving list. Make one master list with all of your recipients.  Arrange it so that  family, friends, colleagues, children’s teachers are not left off.  Budget everyone on the list.  Knowing what your up against can help you focus on what to give.  Keep the list in your pocket book or purse.  The next time you are shopping and see a potential gift especially one on sale you can use the list to find a recipient.  Write down the gift and how much you actually spent next to the persons name.  This will help when you are out shopping again and can’t remember what you purchased or if you need to add to the gift.

 

Holiday Cards in a Snap
Get the Holiday Cards ordered.  Take the family picture and have prints ordered by Thanksgiving. I schedule our yearly portrait session for the first weekend of November.  This takes the stress out of last minute ordering.  Gather addresses for cards.  Send out an email to any new recipients whom aren’t in your address book so that you are prepared.

Holiday Party Planning Made Easy.

Create a menu plan early.  Test out potential recipes on your family now so that you have time to decide what additions you will make to wow your guests.  Decorating and changing out decor for a party can start two weeks in advance. Move around furniture, turn a long dresser into a buffet style table with the right linens. Add the appropriate glasses and dinnerware to the china cabinet. I have already received requests for apple and pumpkin pies! Can you imagine that? ITS OCTOBER!

 

Travel
Traveling during the holiday season is a must for some families.  Book flights early to avoid problems. Find the perfect  family friendly hotels.   Now is the perfect time to score a fabulous vacation.  Daily deal sites offer a variety of wonderful vacations that are easy on our wallets.  Enjoy the benefits of an early planned family holiday vacation.

 

Making a Great Gift

Wrapping, bows, and tape oh my.  The gift itself is usually the most coveted part of a gift.  Presentation is afterall half the gift . Start collecting gable boxes for baked goods.  Fabulous wrapping paper, for different ages.  Fun elements like tulle, ribbon and bows to tie onto the gifts.  Order preprinted gift cards and you are all set.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! (in advance, of course) 

 

 

Body Boss

Our bodies tell us which foods work for us and which ones do not but we often times don’t listen, probably because we don’t want to hear what our body is telling us. Who wants to give up dairy or wheat or chocolate if they don’t have to? Not many people that’s for sure. While it is interesting and informative to listen to the latest nutrition news, recent findings are never more important than what makes your body feel good and healthy.  I am not talking about eating a bowl of ice cream and feeling fantastic right after, I am referring to how you feel later that night or the next day.  Do you feel light and energetic, or sluggish and tired?  Most of us have overlooked these subtle messages for years and we wake up one day and feel old or in pain and think what happened, what drug can fix me now?

The same holds true for our children. Many parents are usually worried about how their child reacts to a certain food; most of the time their concern is about dairy. They have usually already spoken with their child’s pediatrician and some have even had their child tested for allergies. If their belief is not confirmed from a standard allergy test many go back to giving their child the food that they believe their child reacts to.  It is easier to make a change in our child’s diet when we have definitive proof from a blood test.

What is a parent to do when their observation is not supported by an allergy test? What if you are convinced that sugar makes your child hyperactive and your doctor tells you that there is no scientific proof that sugar can do that (that’s the truth by the way)? You trust your instinct! It is recommended that parents eliminate the suspected food or drink for 3 to 5 days, observe their child’s behavior and then add back the suspected food and observe again. Your child will either react and confirm your suspicion or they won’t. If you are not sure, remove the suspected food for longer but it is best to have guidance when you do this.

Depending on the food your remove you may need to follow the advice of a pediatrician or nutritionist that works in the area of food sensitivities; naturopaths are great for this. You don’t want to remove dairy from your child’s diet and not replace it with something else if that is their primary source of protein and calcium for example.  Once you are armed with the proof you need, make the necessary changes and inform your child’s pediatrician about it. Just don’t expect them to agree.

Ten ways to become a better dad !!share with Daddies )

I got this from Baby Center & liked it,so sharing this with other moms.

 

1. Be more active If fathers don’t start taking the initiative, they’ll never be able to assume the childrearing responsibilities they really want and that their children deserve. Instead of letting your partner pluck your crying or smelly baby from your arms, try saying something like, “I think I can handle things” or “That’s okay, I really need the practice.”

There’s also nothing wrong with asking her for advice: You both have insights that the other person could benefit from.

2. Get more practice Don’t assume that your partner magically knows more than you do. Whatever she knows about raising kids, she learned by doing — just like anything else. And the way you’re going to get better is by doing it, too.

Don’t be afraid to get help if you’re uncertain or feel ill-prepared to be a father. Classes are available to help fathers learn the basics of caregiving.

Learning to be an active and involved father need not be restricted to the period just after your baby’s born, either. There’s no clear evidence that this is the critical time for men to learn fathering skills or to develop emotional ties with their children.

3. Take pride in the special way you are with your kids Men and women have different ways of interacting with their children. Men tend to stress physical and high-energy activities; women, more social and emotional ones. But don’t let anyone tell you that safely wrestling, bouncing on the bed, or other “guy things” are somehow not as important as the “girl things” your partner may do (or want you to do).

The rough-and-tumble of father play teaches valuable lessons about regulating emotions such as excitement and arousal. Children with physically connected dads tend to do better in school, are more social, and are less likely to get involved in drugs, alcohol, or criminal behavior than children whose dads keep their distance.

4. Be emotionally available to your children Physical interaction is undoubtedly an important part of the father-child relationship, but being emotionally available and involved is critical, too.

As John Gottman, author of The Heart of Parenting says, “Men must allow themselves to be aware of their feelings so they can empathize with their children. Then they must take whatever steps necessary to make themselves available to their kids.”

5. Be a partner, not a helper Despite the nostalgia of some conservative social critics for the idealized Ozzie and Harriet families of the 1950s, the traditional father-as-helper-only model is outdated and outmoded, and it won’t work nowadays. If men are going to be fully involved, they’re going to have to share responsibility for the household and childcare duties in an active fashion.

6. Be available for the day-to-day To be an effective father, get involved in the day-to-day decisions that affect your kids. Leaving everything to your partner means you’ll miss out on the small pieces that give meaning to your child’s life.

Without taking part in the everyday chores, routines, and activities that make up childhood, fathers aren’t going to know their children with the kind of intimacy and nuance that’s critical to being a sensitive father.

7. Show respect for your partner Being an involved father means recognizing all the ways in which your partner keeps the family running and respecting the decisions she makes when you’re unavailable.

8. Be aware of the need to communicate If you don’t like the status quo, let your partner know. If she seems reluctant at first to share the role of child nurturer with you, don’t take it too personally. Give her time to learn that you’re serious about wanting to participate more and that you’re competent and sincerely motivated be an engaged parent.

9. Know your legal rights Legal changes have given fathers more rights that can help them balance home and work, but you’ve got to educate yourself to reap the benefits. For example, find out whether you’re eligible for family leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act so you can use this unpaid time off when your baby is born or a few months after his birth.

10. Stay involved after separation and divorce Fewer than 15 percent of fathers receive shared or joint custody of their children after divorce, and too many of those who don’t get custody end up slowly fading out of their children’s lives.

But even after divorce, there are a lot of ways in which dads can continue to play an active role. The most critical is to stay in touch — in person, by phone, by e-mail, or by regular mail. And make the time you spend with your kids meaningful.

Avoid trying to settle old marital disputes by using your children as pawns. Parents need to cooperate and support each other for the sake of the children.

Wedding Bells, It’s Time To Get Married.

 

 

Okay, okay, so you’ve been to your local bookstore, surveyed the rather large collection of wedding books and wondered how anyone even gets through this whole planning process… and oh my, all those wedding planning books are so thick!!

This is completely understandable – it is a bit on the daunting side. Planning a wedding is definitely not something you can throw together in a matter of days, and there will certainly be quite a few projects along the way to keep you busy.

But these ‘projects’ can actually be fun – a lot of fun! And with a plan, you may even find yourself looking forward to them 😉

The Plan

 

1.) Most importantly, keep things SIMPLE.

There will always be another photographer to interview, another centerpiece idea, another wedding favor website. When you find something that “clicks” with you, go with it! You’ve just crossed off one more thing your wedding checklist.

 

2.) Decide on a good filing system before you begin.

Order a box of file folders or an accordion file with multiple sections to hold all of your contracts, notes, etc. If you’re really ambitious, consider investing $20-30 in a labeler – it keeps things especially neat and organized. As you go along, designate one folder for each aspect of your planning — caterer, rehearsal dinner, guest list, etc.

 

3.) Get Started! Begin tackling items on your wedding checklist.

Look at the first list of to-do’s in the “12 Months Before” section. Don’t try to do all of these at once – take one at a time and consider putting the others on your calendar so that you know they’ll get taken care of, just not all today!

 

4.) Don’t be afraid to delegate.

Family members and attendants will more than likely be completely willing to help take on some of the planning tasks – if they offer, take them up on it! If there are parts of the planning that you know you don’t need to be (or care to be) directly involved in, ask for help.

 

5.) Have FUN!

While some tasks will take longer than others, there will be others that will balance out all of the hard work – treating yourself to a day at the spa for example 😉 Also, consider subscribing to one or more bridal magazines – when you think you’ve run out of wedding ideas, these glossy guides are a great pick-me up.

 

And lastly,

 

6.) Don’t worry that you won’t possibly be able to do all of these things…

Everything will get done, in due time, and you’ll see all of your hard work pay off when things really start to come together. Your wedding day will be a blast!

 

What else is important in planning a wedding? 

Diaper Days!

 

A friend of mine recently found out that she and her husband are expecting their first child.  She would like to begin buying diapers now, so that she has plenty on hand when the baby is born.  One of the first questions she asked me was how I saved money on diapers when I was buying them for my bundle of joy.

 

From her ears to yours, I hope this helps someone out there in JCFamilies-land! 🙂

 

One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant was register online with Pampers, Luvs, and Huggies.   After registering on Pampers.com, I began receiving samples and coupons in the mail.  I was also able to sign up for their Gifts to Grow Rewards Program.  There is a 15 character code found inside each package of Pampers diapers or wipes.  Each code is good for a certain number of points, depending on the quantity of diapers or wipes in the package.  Each code can only be entered in once.  However, every so often, Pampers will put promo Gifts to Grow codes out there that anyone can use.  Those codes can be found in e-mails from Pampers, on Facebook, etc.  So even if you do not frequently purchase Pampers products, there is still ample opportunity to find Gifts to Grow codes from other sources.  The points can be redeemed for prizes from brands such as Shutterfly, Melissa & Doug, and many more.  Pampers also puts product coupons in their monthly Procter & Gamble brandSAVER coupon insert.

 

Luvs does not have a rewards program that I know of, but I did receive samples and coupons in the mail after I registered with them.  Their current offer is that if you sign up with them online, you can print out a coupon for $1.00.  You may be able to print two of these by hitting the ‘back’ button after the first coupon prints.  You may also have to hit ‘refresh’.

 

For me personally, I received the most coupons in the mail after I signed up with Huggies. In addition to receiving Huggies coupons, many times I received coupons for other brands under the Kimberly-Clark product umbrella.   Huggies also offers a reward program called Enjoy the Ride.  Participants earn points by entering in codes found inside of packages of diapers and wipes.  Participants can also earn points by referring friends and family to the program, providing product reviews, and sharing thoughts on articles posted on Hugges.com.  Points can be redeemed for sweepstakes, magazine subscriptions, toys, and many more.  My personal opinion is that Huggies offers a wider variety of prizes than Pampers.  Huggies coupons are also available in many Sunday newspaper coupon inserts.

 

Before purchasing any diapers, I studied the Sunday ads to see what deals were available at the stores in my area.  I also began keeping a price log of the stores in my area.  I would write down what their regular price was and what their sale price typically was for each brand of diapers.  I would figure out the price per diaper in order to figure out what was the best deal.   Most times a brand name diaper (Huggies, Pampers or Luvs) was cheaper after coupon and sale price than a store brand diaper.

 

In terms of actually purchasing diapers, I do not recommend purchasing them more than three months before your due date.   This is because many stores have a 90 day return policy.   This means that you have 90 days from the date of purchase to return or exchange something as long as you have your receipt.  There are many potential reasons of why you might have to return or exchange diapers.   I have heard stories of babies getting rashes from a particular brand, certain brands fitting better than others, certain brands leaking more than others, some babies needing diapers made for those with sensitive skin, the baby growing out of a size faster than anticipated, and more.  The bottom line is that you don’t want to be stuck with diapers that you might not be able to use.  Buying them inside of the 90 day return window ensures that if you do need to return or exchange them, you can do so hassle free.   Just make sure to keep all of your receipts and try to keep them in one place.  I kept mine in an envelope near my stockpile in the closet.  Three months gives you plenty of time to build up a decent stockpile.  Obviously you want to vary the sizes that you purchase.  Newborn diapers only go up to 10lbs, so most babies will quickly outgrow that size.  

 

I’ve even seen unopened diaper packages sold on Craig’s List and at garage sales, so you never know when and where you’re going to find them at a discounted price.  Target occasionally has them on their clearance endcaps as well.

 

Diapers may seem like an expensive expenditure, but if you follow the sales and clip coupons, you can save money.  I’m not going to lie though – I do not miss my days of buying diapers!

 

(…I just wish my baby stayed that small for just a smidge longer). HAPPY SHOPPING! 

Why African babies don’t cry

J. Claire K. Niala is a mother, osteopath & writer based in Nairobi, Kenya.
I was born and grew up in Kenya & Cote d’Ivoire. Then from the age of fifteen I lived in the UK. However, I always knew that I wanted to raise my children (whenever I had them) at home in Kenya. And yes, I assumed I was going to have them. I am a modern African woman with two university degrees and I am a fourth generation working woman – but when it comes to children, I am typically African. The assumption remains that you are not complete without them; children are a blessing it would be crazy to avoid. Actually the question does not even arise.

I started my pregnancy in the UK. The urge to deliver at home was so strong that I sold my practice, setup a new business and moved house / country within five months of finding out I was pregnant. I did what most expectant mothers in the UK do – I read voraciously: Our Babies, Ourselves, Unconditional Parenting, anything by the Searses – the list goes on. (My grandmother later commented that babies don’t read books – and really all I needed to do was “read” my baby). Everything I read said that African babies cried less than European babies. I was intrigued as to why.

When I went home I observed. I looked out for mothers and babies and they were everywhere (though not very young African ones – those under six weeks were mainly at home). The first thing I noticed is that despite their ubiquitousness it is actually quite difficult to actually “see” a Kenyan baby. They are usually incredibly well wrapped up before being carried or strapped onto their mother (sometimes father).

Even older babies already strapped onto a back are then further protected from the elements by a large blanket. You would be lucky to catch a limb, never mind an eye or nose. It is almost a womb-like replication in the wrapping. The babies are literally cocooned from the stresses of the outside world into which they are entering.

All I needed to do
was “read” my baby.
My second observation was a cultural one. In the UK it was understood that babies cry – in Kenya it was quite the opposite. The understanding is that babies don’t cry. If they do – something is horribly wrong and must be done to rectify it immediately. My English sister-in-law summarized it well. “People here” she said “really don’t like babies crying, do they?”

For my grandmother
it was simple – nyonyo! It all made much more sense when I finally delivered and my grandmother came from the village to visit. As it happened – my baby did cry a fair amount, and exasperated and tired, I forgot everything I had ever read and sometimes joined in the crying too. Yet for my grandmother it was simple – nyonyo (breastfeed her!). It was her answer to every single peep.
There were times when it was a wet nappy, or the fact that I had put her down, or that she needed burping that was the problem, but mainly she just wanted to be at the breast – it didn’t really matter whether she was feeding or just having a comfort moment. I was already wearing her most of the time and co-sleeping with her, so this was a natural extension to what we were doing.

I suddenly learned the not-so-difficult secret as to the joyful silence of African babies. It was a simple needs-met symbiosis that required a total suspension of ideas of “what should be happening” and an embracing of what was actually going on in that moment. The bottom line was that my baby fed a lot – far more than I had ever read about anywhere and at least five times as much as some of the stricter feeding schedules I had heard about.

At about four months, when a lot of urban mothers start to introduce solids as previous guidelines had recommended, my daughter returned to newborn style hourly breastfeeding. She needed hourly feeds and this was a total shock. Over the past four months the time between feeds had slowly started to increase. I had even started to treat the odd patient without my breasts leaking or my daughter’s nanny interrupting the session to let me know my daughter needed a feed.

Most of the mothers in my mother and baby group had duly started to introduce baby rice (to stretch the feeds) and all the professionals involved in our children’s lives – pediatricians, even doulas, said that this was OK. Mothers needed rest too, we had done amazingly to get to four months exclusive breastfeeding, and they said our babies would be fine. Something didn’t ring true for me and even when I tried (half-heartedly) to mix some pawpaw (the traditional weaning food in Kenya) with expressed milk and offered it to my daughter – she was having none of it.

So I called my grandmother. She laughed and asked if I had been reading books again. She carefully explained how breastfeeding was anything but linear. “She’ll tell you when she’s ready for food – and her body will too.” “What will I do until then?” I was eager to know. “You do what you did before, regular nyonyo”. So my life slowed down to what felt like a standstill again. While many of my contemporaries marveled at how their children were sleeping longer now that they had introduced the baby rice, and were even venturing to other foods, I was waking hourly or every two hours with my daughter and telling patients that the return to work wasn’t panning out quite as I had planned. She’ll tell you when
she’s ready for food.
I soon found that quite unwittingly I was turning into an informal support service for other urban mothers. My phone number was doing the round and many times while I was feeding my baby I would hear myself uttering the words, “Yes, just keep feeding him/ her.” “Yes, even if you have just fed them” “Yes, you might not even manage to get out of your pajamas today” “Yes, you still need to eat and drink like a horse” “No, now might not be the time to consider going back to work if you can afford not to”. “It will get easier”. I had to just trust this last one as it hadn’t gotten easier for me – yet.

A week or so before my daughter turned five months we traveled to the UK for a wedding and for her to meet family and friends. Especially because I had very few other demands, I kept up her feeding schedule easily. Despite the disconcerted looks of many strangers as I fed my daughter in many varied public places (most designated breastfeeding rooms were in rest rooms which I just could not bring myself to use), we carried on.

At the wedding, the people whose table we sat at noted, “She is such an easy baby – though she does feed a lot”. I kept my silence, then another lady commented, “Though I did read somewhere that African babies don’t cry much.” I could not help but laugh.

My grandmother’s gentle wisdom:

Offer the breast every single moment that your baby is upset – even if you have just fed her.
Co-sleep. Many times you can feed your baby before they are fully awake, which will allow them to go back to sleep easier and get you more rest.
Always take a flask of warm water with bed to you at night to keep you hydrated and the milk flowing.
Make the feeding your priority (especially during growth spurts) and get everyone else around you to do as much as they can for you. There is very little that cannot wait.
Read your baby, not the books. Breastfeeding is not linear – it goes up and down (and also in circles). You are the expert on your baby’s needs.

Why African babies don’t cry

I was born and grew up in Kenya & Cote d’Ivoire. Then from the age of fifteen I lived in the UK. However, I always knew that I wanted to raise my children (whenever I had them) at home in Kenya. And yes, I assumed I was going to have them. I am a modern African woman with two university degrees and I am a fourth generation working woman – but when it comes to children, I am typically African. The assumption remains that you are not complete without them; children are a blessing it would be crazy to avoid. Actually the question does not even arise.

I started my pregnancy in the UK. The urge to deliver at home was so strong that I sold my practice, setup a new business and moved house / country within five months of finding out I was pregnant. I did what most expectant mothers in the UK do – I read voraciously: Our Babies, Ourselves, Unconditional Parenting, anything by the Searses – the list goes on. (My grandmother later commented that babies don’t read books – and really all I needed to do was “read” my baby). Everything I read said that African babies cried less than European babies. I was intrigued as to why.

When I went home I observed. I looked out for mothers and babies and they were everywhere (though not very young African ones – those under six weeks were mainly at home). The first thing I noticed is that despite their ubiquitousness it is actually quite difficult to actually “see” a Kenyan baby. They are usually incredibly well wrapped up before being carried or strapped onto their mother (sometimes father).

Even older babies already strapped onto a back are then further protected from the elements by a large blanket. You would be lucky to catch a limb, never mind an eye or nose. It is almost a womb-like replication in the wrapping. The babies are literally cocooned from the stresses of the outside world into which they are entering.

All I needed to do
was “read” my baby.
My second observation was a cultural one. In the UK it was understood that babies cry – in Kenya it was quite the opposite. The understanding is that babies don’t cry. If they do – something is horribly wrong and must be done to rectify it immediately. My English sister-in-law summarized it well. “People here” she said “really don’t like babies crying, do they?”

For my grandmother
it was simple – nyonyo! It all made much more sense when I finally delivered and my grandmother came from the village to visit. As it happened – my baby did cry a fair amount, and exasperated and tired, I forgot everything I had ever read and sometimes joined in the crying too. Yet for my grandmother it was simple – nyonyo (breastfeed her!). It was her answer to every single peep.
There were times when it was a wet nappy, or the fact that I had put her down, or that she needed burping that was the problem, but mainly she just wanted to be at the breast – it didn’t really matter whether she was feeding or just having a comfort moment. I was already wearing her most of the time and co-sleeping with her, so this was a natural extension to what we were doing.

I suddenly learned the not-so-difficult secret as to the joyful silence of African babies. It was a simple needs-met symbiosis that required a total suspension of ideas of “what should be happening” and an embracing of what was actually going on in that moment. The bottom line was that my baby fed a lot – far more than I had ever read about anywhere and at least five times as much as some of the stricter feeding schedules I had heard about.

At about four months, when a lot of urban mothers start to introduce solids as previous guidelines had recommended, my daughter returned to newborn style hourly breastfeeding. She needed hourly feeds and this was a total shock. Over the past four months the time between feeds had slowly started to increase. I had even started to treat the odd patient without my breasts leaking or my daughter’s nanny interrupting the session to let me know my daughter needed a feed.

Most of the mothers in my mother and baby group had duly started to introduce baby rice (to stretch the feeds) and all the professionals involved in our children’s lives – pediatricians, even doulas, said that this was OK. Mothers needed rest too, we had done amazingly to get to four months exclusive breastfeeding, and they said our babies would be fine. Something didn’t ring true for me and even when I tried (half-heartedly) to mix some pawpaw (the traditional weaning food in Kenya) with expressed milk and offered it to my daughter – she was having none of it.

So I called my grandmother. She laughed and asked if I had been reading books again. She carefully explained how breastfeeding was anything but linear. “She’ll tell you when she’s ready for food – and her body will too.” “What will I do until then?” I was eager to know. “You do what you did before, regular nyonyo”. So my life slowed down to what felt like a standstill again. While many of my contemporaries marveled at how their children were sleeping longer now that they had introduced the baby rice, and were even venturing to other foods, I was waking hourly or every two hours with my daughter and telling patients that the return to work wasn’t panning out quite as I had planned. She’ll tell you when
she’s ready for food.
I soon found that quite unwittingly I was turning into an informal support service for other urban mothers. My phone number was doing the round and many times while I was feeding my baby I would hear myself uttering the words, “Yes, just keep feeding him/ her.” “Yes, even if you have just fed them” “Yes, you might not even manage to get out of your pajamas today” “Yes, you still need to eat and drink like a horse” “No, now might not be the time to consider going back to work if you can afford not to”. “It will get easier”. I had to just trust this last one as it hadn’t gotten easier for me – yet.

A week or so before my daughter turned five months we traveled to the UK for a wedding and for her to meet family and friends. Especially because I had very few other demands, I kept up her feeding schedule easily. Despite the disconcerted looks of many strangers as I fed my daughter in many varied public places (most designated breastfeeding rooms were in rest rooms which I just could not bring myself to use), we carried on.

At the wedding, the people whose table we sat at noted, “She is such an easy baby – though she does feed a lot”. I kept my silence, then another lady commented, “Though I did read somewhere that African babies don’t cry much.” I could not help but laugh.

My grandmother’s gentle wisdom:

Offer the breast every single moment that your baby is upset – even if you have just fed her.
Co-sleep. Many times you can feed your baby before they are fully awake, which will allow them to go back to sleep easier and get you more rest.
Always take a flask of warm water with bed to you at night to keep you hydrated and the milk flowing.
Make the feeding your priority (especially during growth spurts) and get everyone else around you to do as much as they can for you. There is very little that cannot wait.
Read your baby, not the books. Breastfeeding is not linear – it goes up and down (and also in circles). You are the expert on your baby’s needs.

Child Sleeping Needs

How Much Sleep Do Children Need?

The amount of sleep a child needs varies depending on the individual and certain factors, including the age of the child. Following are some general guidelines:

 

1-4 Weeks Old: 15 – 16 hours per day

 

Newborns typically sleep about 15 to 18 hours a day, but only in short periods of two to four hours. Premature babies may sleep longer and colicky ones shorter.

 

Since newborns do not yet have an internal biological clock, or circadian rhythm, their sleep patterns are not related to the daylight and nighttime cycles. In fact, they tend not to have much of a pattern at all.

 

1-4 Months Old: 14 – 15 hours per day

 

By 6 weeks of age your baby is beginning to settle down a bit, and you may notice more regular sleep patterns emerging. The longest periods of sleep run four to six hours and now tends to occur more regularly in the evening. Day-night confusion ends.

 

4-12 Months Old: 14 – 15 hours per day

 

While up to 15 hours is ideal, most infants up to 11 months old get only about 12 hours sleep. Establishing healthy sleep habits is a primary goal during this period, as your baby is now much more social, and his sleep patterns are more adult-like.

 

Babies typically have three naps and drop to two at around 6 months old, at which time (or earlier) they are physically capable of sleeping through the night. Establishing regular naps generally happens at the latter part of this time frame, as his biological rhythms mature. The midmorning nap usually starts at 9 a.m. and lasts about an hour. The early afternoon nap starts from 12 to 2 p.m. and lasts an hour or two. And the late afternoon nap may start from 3 to 5 p.m. and is variable in duration.

 

1-3 Years Old: 12 – 14 hours per day

 

As your child moves past the first year toward 18-21 months of age he will likely lose his morning nap and nap only once a day. While toddlers need up to 14 hours a day of sleep, they typically get only about 10.

 

Most children from about 21 to 36 months of age still need one nap a day, which may range from one to three and a half hours long. They typically go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. and wake up between 6 and 8 a.m.

 

3-6 Years Old: 10 – 12 hours per day

 

Children at this age typically go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. and wake up around 6 and 8 a.m., just as they did when they were younger. At 3, most children are still napping while at 5, most are not. Naps gradually become shorter as well. New sleep problems do not usually develop after 3 years of age. In short, they need more sleep! 

 

7-12 Years Old: 10 – 11 hours per day

 

At these ages, with social, school, and family activities, bedtimes gradually become later and later, with most 12-years-olds going to bed at about 9 p.m. There is still a wide range of bedtimes, from 7:30 to 10 p.m., as well as total sleep times, from 9 to 12 hours, although the average is only about 9 hours.

 

12-18 Years Old: 8 – 9 hours per day

 

Sleep needs remain just as vital to health and well-being for teenagers as when they were younger. It turns out that many teenagers actually may need more sleep than in previous years. Now, however, social pressures conspire against getting the proper amount and quality of sleep.

 

Be sure that your little ones are getting the sleep they need! Everyone will benefit from a well-rounded, and rested, nights sleep. 

 

🙂

 

Parenting after divorce

Parenting After Divorce

Parenting after divorce with your ex can be challenging at times, especially if each of you seems to have a different outlook on how the children should be raised.  Top that off with left-over hurt feelings from the divorce, and it can seem impossible to have a civil conversation with the other parent.  If you find yourself having a hard time talking with your ex about the children, the following article can give you some ideas on how to break the communication barrier.

Building A Bridge with Your Former Spouse

What happens when you interact with your former spouse? Are you angry, fearful, upset and defensive? Or are you centered, focused and neutral? Are you proactive or reactive? Do you have your business hat on, or are you the scream machine? Are you reminded of your unresolved feelings you are still harboring? Do you find yourself upset the rest of the day after an interaction? Are you worried about the children and wondering how they are going to do with the divorce or breakup? You look ahead and realize you have a job to finish. Raising your children. And this requires a relationship with your former spouse. It is called co-parenting post divorce.

Recent research indicates that divorce itself may not be damaging to children. Rather, the on-going conflict, anger and unresolved feelings that are exhibited by one or both parents create a great deal of distress in children. Especially when they are put in the middle, and witness conflicts and arguments or hear you talk negatively about the other parent.

Doing What’s Best For The Children

Unless you have been in an abusive relationship, it is better for the children if both parents participate in the child’s life in a cooperative manner. Children can adjust to a variety of living patterns, including living in two homes. The process is more effective if the parents are working together and are focused on the children’s healthy development. Parents must put their emotional pain aside while they are coming together to discuss, support and respond to the needs of the children.

You might now be saying, how in the world am I going to talk in a business like manner when I feel like exploding every time I see him? Because of the children you must stretch and force yourself beyond your normal comfort zone. This will require you to work out your pain in the presence of others so you can be with your ex-spouse in a non-reactive business-like manner. In my personal experience it helps to connect with your spiritual self so that you have the strength to come from your heart. The mission is to build a bridge with your ex spouse and raise healthy, secure children. The results are more likely to be:

You will develop greater strength and empower yourself. 
You will become truly free. Freedom comes when you know longer react to your former spouse, not when you avoid him/her. 
You will heal your pain because as long as you are angry you stay attached. 
Your children will develop feelings of stability and will be less likely to feel abandoned. 
Children will be less likely to divide their loyalties, or try to meet the social and emotional needs of their parents by trying to replace the parent. 
You will be modeling healthy behavior for your children.

YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER!! (Baby Advice)

 

Much of yesterday’s baby wisdom has been proven untrue today…where do you rank? JCFamilies is all about staying informed! 🙂

 

Myth: Infants need to be bathed every day.

The truth: Babies don’t get stinky from sweat the way adults do, so they only need a bath every two or three days (except following a major diaper explosion!). If it’s part of your wind-down routine, a daily bath is perfectly okay too–just moisturize afterwards.

 

Myth: Babies sleep best in a room that’s silent and dark.

The truth: While some children really are light sleepers, most do fine with background noise and a little light. Plus, if your little one gets used to some activity around him when he’s sleeping, he’ll be more willing to snooze in a variety of situations.

 

 

Myth: When infants are running a high temperature, rub them down with alcohol to lower their fever.

The truth: Rubbing your baby with alcohol won’t actually bring down her fever–plus it’s unsafe, since alcohol can be absorbed through her skin.

 

Myth: Letting your little one stand or bounce in your lap can cause bowlegs later on.

The truth: He won’t become bowlegged; that’s just an old wives’ tale. Moreover, young babies are learning how to bear weight on their legs and find their center of gravity, so letting your child stand or bounce is both fun and developmentally stimulating for him.

 

Myth: Listening to classical music will raise your baby’s IQ.

The truth: Music can enrich a little one’s life, but no conclusive research has found that having a baby listen to classical music in particular can result in significant brain-boosting benefits.

 

Myth: Let your baby cry it out; if you pick her up whenever she’s wailing, you’ll spoil her.

The truth: Babies under 4 months of age have few self-soothing strategies; they know how to suck to soothe and like being swaddled, but that’s about it. Picking infants up when they cry helps them learn that parents will always be there to take care of them.

 

Myth: Babies should be woken up in the night to have a wet diaper changed.

The truth: Urine is sterile, and today’s diapers are highly absorbent, so it’s fine to leave a baby in a wet diaper overnight. However, staying in poopy diaper for too long can cause a UTI or a bladder infection, especially for baby girls–so if you smell one, change it out.

 

Myth: It’s dangerous to immunize your infant if he has a cold or a low-grade fever.

The truth: A minor illness won’t lower your baby’s immune-system response to a vaccination–or increase his risk of any nasty reactions from a shot.

 

Myth: Never apply sunscreen to an infant under 6 months of age.

The truth: The risk of skin cancer down the road from sun exposure is greater than the risk of your baby having a reaction to sunscreen. It’s best to keep her away from dangerous UV rays as much as possible from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M., but put on sunscreen with at least 15 SPF if she’ll be in the sun. The AAP says that it’s fine to apply a minimal amount of sunscreen to small areas, such as a baby’s face and the back of the hands.

 

Myth: During the first month of a baby’s life, it’s critical that all baby bottles and nipples be sterilized.

The truth: Sterilize bottles and nipples when you first take them out of the package–but after that, washing with soap and water is fine. Babies are exposed to many more germs than those that remain on a well-scrubbed bottle or nipple.

 

Myth: The safest way to put an infant to sleep is on her stomach.

The truth: The safest sleep position for a baby is on its back. In the past, doctors worried that babies might choke on any spit-up if they weren’t lying on their tummy or side, but studies ultimately linked these positions to higher rates of SIDS.

 

Myth: Putting rice cereal in your infant’s bottle will help him sleep.

The truth: Hold off on introducing solids until 4 to 6 months. Research suggests that babies who are given solids before 4 months are actually worse sleepers than their formula-fed counterparts–an studies have revealed a link between the early introduction of solids and obesity later in life.

 

Myth: It’s critical to keep your baby on a strict feeding schedule.

The truth: It’s better to feed on demand, as infants’ internal hunger cues will tell them when they’re hungry and when they’re full. By putting your child on a feeding schedule, you may negatively affect your little one’s inborn healthy-eating habits.

 

Myth: Infants need hard-soled shoes to protect their delicate toes and keep their feet properly aligned.

The truth: Babies use their toes to grip the surfaces that they’re walking on, so they should actually go shoeless indoors. To keep tiny tootsies safe outside, get a shoe with a good grip on the sole–hard-soled shoes can be too slippery.